July 2018 Must-Reads

 July 2018 Must-Reads from MomAdvice.com

Well, get ready for a major brag session because I read THIRTEEN books in July.  This is a personal record for me and I attribute the acceleration on my new purchase.

I didn’t realize how motivating reading electronically would be for me, but seeing that amount of time in the corner of my reader really pushes me to keep going.

I mean, how hard is it to read just one more hour? And now that I did that, I might as well read another thirty minutes. Well, now I’m only two hours away from finishing a book. What is two hours in the grand scheme of things?

Seriously, the house is a disaster and I haven’t been making it out of my workout clothes, but look at how many books I read!

Also, that night light?

Geesh, is sleep really even *that* important?

Let me bask in my unwashed, barely dressed, dirty house smugness today.

Did I mention I read REALLY incredible stuff? I can’t wait to fill you in! This stack is, seriously, chat-worthy!

My Usual Reminders

If you want to see more of what I am reading,  please feel free to friend me on GoodReads! You can find me right here and I am always happy to connect with people there! There is nothing more motivating than seeing what other people are raving about and my to-be-read pile continues to grow with all of my new friends on there!

In fact, many of the books featured are ones that I have found through my friends on GoodReads.

Looking to add some variety to your stack? Feel free to join our book club! I can’t believe we have over 1,600 bookworms in this group. Our discussion this month was AMAZING and it is so much fun to have so many participating (and enjoying) the books that I selected to share. I announced our selections (here is what we will be reading in July) and you can find them pinned at the top of the group page. I understand that if you enjoyed, Big Little Lies, you probably enjoy this month’s selection.

Need another challenge to push you out of your reading comfort zone? Be sure to download this year’s Reading Challenge Worksheet.

Book of the Month

The Book of Month Club Selections Are Out!!

This month’s selections:

Sweet Little Lies by Caz Frear

The Air You Breathe by Frances de Pontes Peebles

The Line That Held Us by David Joy

The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle

Goodbye, Paris by Anstey Harris

This month’s special:

New members will get a free book with code HEATWAVE. How it works: Members will pay $14.99 when they sign up for a subscription that will renew monthly. They’ll also receive a credit for a free book at the time of this transaction (redeemable at any time). Then they’ll be renewed at the end of their second month (unless they cancel).

Here are 13 must-read books I tackled in July:

Other People's Houses

Other People’s Houses by Abbi Waxman

I received a copy of this novel from the publishing house. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Other People’s Houses had been selected a couple of months ago as a Book of the Month selection so it had been on my radar for awhile. If you are a fan of mama drama, than I think you will appreciate Waxman’s exploration of one woman’s affair and how it impacts the people around her.

The characters are quirky and her writing is laugh-out-loud funny. As a mom, I found the book relatable as Waxman creates a lot of dynamics between the characters in this story. She also writes very frankly about the difficulties of parenting teens, which I don’t think is explored often enough in fiction.

If you just want a quick escape, pick this one up. Although the story itself was shallow, the humor outweighs the plot holes. I have a feeling fans of, Big Little Lies, will embrace this read.

3 out of 5 Stars


Limelight by Amy Poeppel

I received a copy of this novel from the publishing house. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Perhaps one of the best book surprises this month was Poeppel’sLimelightIf you struggled to connect with her first book (*raises hand*), I doubt you will struggle with this dishy fictional celebrity story.

When Allison Brinkley moves to Manhattan, she finds that she struggles to find her place in the big city. She can’t seem to fit in with the other parents, not to mention that she can’t fit their belongings in their very tiny apartment.

When she gets in an embarrassing fender bender at school, she ends up in an unlikely role as a personal assistant to a spoiled teen celebrity that gives her purpose (and a headache). The reader gets to follow along as Allison puts out one fire after another with a kid that is headed down the wrong path. The one fire that might consume his career though is preparing for a show on Broadway, Limelight, and Allison ventures on a quest to get him to fulfill his commitment… no matter what.

Fans of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s writing will connect with this fun escape and the peek into the difficulties of personal assistant work that just might be happening behind-the-scenes of today’s celebrities.

4 out of 5 Stars

Girl's Night Out

Girls’ Night Out by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke

I received a copy of this novel from the publishing house. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Following up the success of, The Good Widow, proved to be a challenge and an inspiration to this dynamic writing duo. The writers confess that they felt pressured to deliver as successful of a book and that, in the end, it even ended up threatening their own friendship.

This is exactly what they decided to explore in this fictional friendship of three estranged friends who have some wounds to heal. The three head to Mexico to try to get past some of their difficulties and address the current decision of two of them needing to decide if they want to continue in their business together or sell it.

When one of the girls goes missing, the other two must piece together what happened to her and the mystery surrounding a local man who had decided to befriend the missing girl.

Each of them carries secrets that also cloud whether their involvement could also have been linked to the disappearance and each of these secrets is explored through their own viewpoint.

This is a fun read to pack in your beach bag and a testament to two friends who overcame their own hurdles to put another thriller out into the world.

3 out of 5 Stars

Matchmaking for Beginners

Matchmaking for Beginners by Maddie Dawson

I received a copy of this novel from the publishing house. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I am not much of a chick lit reader, but Matchmaking for Beginners was absolutely adorable and a fantastic summer escape.

Marnie just wants an ordinary life and she thinks she will get it when she becomes engaged to the man of her dreams. She quickly discovers though that she just can’t seem to fit in with his posh family and, at a family gathering, she finds solace in a quickly blossoming friendship with a great-aunt who refuses to fit in.

When the marriage ends, just two weeks later, Marnie is shocked to receive a letter that she has inherited the brownstone apartment from great-aunt, Blix, …on the condition she reside in the property for three months.

You see, Blix is a bit of a matchmaker and she has seen the sparkle in Marnie and the partner that she just must meet to seal her fated happiness.

I loved these dynamic characters and Dawson’s writing seems to sparkle off each of the pages. This is my first book that I have read by this author and now I can’t wait to dig into more!

5 out of 5 Stars

The One

The One by John Marrs

I think I have been reading too many thrillers because they just haven’t been grabbing me in the same way. I can’t say that though about, The One, which will be my top thriller recommendation this year.

Black Mirror fans may recall an episode of the show where potential mates are matched in a very science-fiction type of way. This thriller explores the concept of DNA matching in a similar fashion, but goes much deeper into the complexities of love and lust that happen when we are told that someone is scientifically matched to you.

There are several amazing stories going on- a straight man who finds out he is matched to a man, a woman who discovers her match has died before she has connected with him, a woman who finds out that her match is terminally ill, the founder of the profiling system and the relationship with her match…oh, and a serial killer who is out on the loose and pursuing a few matches of his own.

I listened to this one on audiobook and the narration is absolutely fantastic. There wasn’t a dud in the stories and I loved, loved, loved the plot twists in this one.

If you want a thriller you can’t put down, this is better than any of the summer buzz book thrillers I have read. I think you will love it!

5 out of 5 Stars

The Kiss Quotient

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

Looking for a steamy summer read? The Kiss Quotient is just the ticket!  Hoang was diagnosed in 2016 with Autism Spectrum Disorder and her own journey inspired this incredibly fun romance that is the first in a series.

Stella has Aspergers, but that doesn’t stop her parents from pressuring her to get married. Stella doesn’t know the first thing about dating, choosing to focus her time on algorithms to predict customer purchases, so she decides to hire someone to help her navigate the romance waters.

She hires Michael Phan, a professional escort, to help guide her through a lesson plan she had devised to teach her everything from kissing to…Well, you get the picture.

Before long, Stella has overcome her intimacy issues and the professional relationship starts blurring into a real one.

This reverse, “Pretty Woman,” story is wildly witty and wildly steamy.

If you shy away from romance novels (*raising my hand*) I think you will find this romantic novel a lot more satisfying than, “50 Shades,” could ever be!

Reading Challenge Completed- The first book in a new series.

4 out of 5 Stars

When Katie Met Cassidy

When Katie Met Cassidy by Camille Perri

I was such a huge fan of, The Assistants, that I absolutely could not wait to read Perri’s latest nove, When Katie Met Cassidy.”

When Katie finds herself sitting across from the negotiating table from Cassidy, during a business meeting, she could never imagine how it will turn her life upside down.  In a perfectly tailored suit and with an unflappable attitude, she couldn’t be further from Katie’s traditional Southern world.

After being dumped by her fiancée, Katie finds herself heading out to have a drink alone, desperate to project her own self-assuredness in her new single life. It is there that she finds herself outside of the boardroom, and in front of the very intriguing Cassidy.

What unfolds is a beautiful love story between these two women and Katie’s own self-discovery of a secret world that she has never understood or had ever wanted to be part of.  This charming romance novel showcases, once again, Perri’s humor and heart that had me laughing out loud and loving her writing all over again.

4 out of 5 Stars

Baby Teeth

Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage

It is no secret that I am a huge horror movie fan and, Baby Teeth,” was as incredible as any horror flick I’ve seen this summer.

Suzette has a chronic and debilitating illness and knew that if she ever had children that it would be difficult on her body. She knows though that her husband would love to have a child and that is how she finds herself with their daughter, Hanna.

Hanna isn’t like other children though and has not spoken yet, even at seven-years-old. What Suzette had discovered though is that Hanna doesn’t need words to manipulate her father and to pit her against her husband. Hanna has been kicked out of her school for her defiant behavior and Suzette has been given the impossible task of parenting a child that she tries to love, but doesn’t really like.

When Hanna begins to talk to Suzette, it is with an accent and she claims to have been a witch. As Suzette uncovers the disturbing story, that Hanna claims as her own, Suzette doesn’t know if this possession is real or if Hanna is just a remarkably manipulative child.

I could not put this book down and read it in a single day. Stage delivers a book that should be seen on the big screen and it was just as satisfying and fun as I had hoped. If you are looking for a great book escape, add this one to your reading wish list!

Reading Challenge Completed- A book you can read in a day.

5 out of 5 Stars

The Last Time I Lied

The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

I received a copy of this novel from NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Camp was where I spent many of my own summer days so I couldn’t wait to read Sager’s latest novel, The Last Time I Lied,” and dive into this twisted thriller about the disappearance of three girls from a summer camp.

Emma is now a successful artist who has made her fame on selling paintings of the three girls who disappeared from her cabin fifteen years ago at a summer camp for girls. She is haunted by her cabinmates disappearance so when the camp’s founder reaches out to see if she will be involved in the camp’s reopening, she just can’t stay away. While there, she is hoping to uncover more clues about the mysterious disappearances and figure out who could have been involved and taken these girls from the camp.

Ironically, she finds herself in the same cabin and begins to sense that she is being watched.  As clues begin to unfold and Emma grows closer to the answers, the girls in her own cabin go missing again and she is the number one suspect.

It is hard to craft an ending that I can’t guess, after reading so many thrillers, but Sager’s plot twists are smart and kept me guessing until those final pages. I couldn’t have enjoyed this thriller more and recommend it if you are looking for a well-written mystery!

5 out of 5 Stars


Vox by Christina Dalcher

I received a copy of this novel from NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I am going to guess that, Vox,” is going to be a book that a lot of people are going to be talking about this month. Hot off the heels of the success of the Handmaid’s Hulu series, Dalcher explores this same topic with a bit of a dystopian slant.

Imagine you live in a world where women are only allowed 100 words per day.  Dr. Jean Mcclellan could have never imagined that the political officials would have ever been able to pass such a law, but she now finds herself wearing an electronic bracelet where each word is counted and each word overage is punished. When the president needs her expertise to help his brother recover from an accident, where his brain speech center has suffered from disruption, she decides to leverage this to have her word count bracelet removed and utilize this opportunity to help herself and her family.

Dalcher uses her background as a linguist in a really clever way through this story. This story is a really uncomfortable one and questions our own role as women and our silence during political times. What are we doing now with our voices and what would we do if our ability to use them was taken away from us?

If you are not angry about what is happening in the #metoo world, you will be after reading this book.

This controversial story would yield a passionate, and perhaps, uncomfortable book club discussion about what is happening in politics today.

5 out of 5 Stars

Salt Houses

Salt Houses by Hala Alyan

I can’t believe that we are already halfway through the year on the MomAdvice Book Club! This month’s selection, Salt Houses,” was an excellent example of another book that pushed me out of my normal reading comfort zones.

On the eve of her daughter Alia’s wedding, Salma reads the girl’s future in a cup of coffee dregs. She sees an unsettled life for Alia and her children, along with much travel and luck.  She decides not to share these predictions with her daughter, but finds that this all comes to pass when their family is uprooted in the wake of the Six-Day War of 1967.

Alyan ambitiously writes the story of three generations, within one Palestinian family, and how each of them views different times in history, their own displacement, and what home means to them. Her background as a poet really brings a lyrical quality to this story and challenges the reader to think about these different times in history through the eyes of this Palestinian family.

I had never even heard of the Six-Day War before, and it is stories like these that make me thankful that historical fiction exists. These stories challenge my viewpoints on many times in history and also allow the reader to see the story differently as it is told through the generations.

While I enjoyed this one, the constant shifting in narrative made it difficult to follow this story. Alyan provides a family tree at the beginning of the book and you will need it to constantly reference who each of these characters are. The story would have been more effective, for me, if it had been told through just a couple of viewpoints so I could better get into the rhythm of what was happening.

4 out of 5 Stars

SickSick by Porochista Khakpour

I listened to the audiobook of, Sick,” and had a lump in my throat for a good portion of this story. Khakpour narrates her own story of struggling with a chronic illness and her difficulties with getting answers on her failing body while fighting the racism of others during our tumultuous political years.

The author is an Iranian-American, a writer, and a lifelong sufferer of undiagnosed health problems. After spending over $100,000 on medical bills, she finally receives her answer that she has Lyme disease. In this tell-all, she shares about her own physical illness as well as her mental illness that is uncovered as she struggles with getting the answers and treatment she needs to move forward.

Unflinchingly, Porochista writes honestly about her addiction to prescribed benzodiazepines and how her illness strips her of  her own identity as a writer as well as her difficulties in maintaining relationships with others when she is so sick.

If you struggle with a chronic illness (or have someone in your life who does), you will nod your head through large portions of this book and how your struggles often don’t feel validated by others and the encouragements to, “just get over,” your illness. Khakpour self-destructs through large portions of this book, which can be frustrating to hear as a reader, but those times of self-destruction are often warranted when you hear her raw and difficult journey to diagnosis.

4 out of 5 Stars

Emergency Contact

Emergency Contact by Mary H. K. Choi

If you are looking for a YA read that is just as sweet and adorable as, Eleanor & Park, you are going to be madly in love with this charming read.  Choi’s unlikely love story between two broken people captured my heart and didn’t let me go until the final page.

Penny and Sam both have complex relationships with their mothers  and have had their own share of struggles in love. It is when Sam is having a panic attack over the news that his ex-girlfriend is pregnant that Penny enters his life and goes from becoming an acquaintance to his, “emergency contact.” The two begin texting and it is through these texts that their relationship grows and blossoms.

The world feels against them though and they have much to go through before they can meet in person. Not to mention, Sam happens to be known as Penny’s roommate’s uncle and is the one person that is deemed off-limits.

Penny is unlike any girl Sam as ever met though…crazy about science fiction, comics, black clothing, and emergency preparedness. Sam is a down-on-his-luck barista who dreams of producing his first documentary. The two couldn’t be more alike or more different, but their humor for life is what really brings them together.

Penny is a character that a girl can get behind and she makes perfect literary sense after reading that Choi has been a writer for the Marvel comics.

This debut is absolutely adorable and a YA read that even non-YA readers will love.

5 out of 5 Stars

Amy Allen Clark

Read With Me This Year:

January 2018 Must-Reads

February 2018 Must-Reads

March 2018 Must-Reads

April 2018 Must-Reads

May 2018 Must-Reads

June 2018 Must-Reads

July 2018 Must-Reads from MomAdvice.com

What did you read this month? Looking for book ideas? Check out our entire Book section of the site! Don’t forget to friend me on GoodReads! xo

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though.

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Published August 01, 2018 by:

Amy Allen Clark is the founder of MomAdvice.com. You can read all about her here.

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