Best Books Of July- Fiction

July 20, 2013

bookpilesMore than 300,000 books are published every year in the U.S. If you include self-published books, the number rises to more than 3,000,000. So many books, so little time. How does one choose from the overwhelming selection? We’re here to offer some suggestions on new books to read for July. To place a hold on a book, click the book title to get to the LION catalog and have your library card/bar code handy.

Don’t forget the Essex Library staff is always happy to suggest a good read in person too.

Amy Falls Down by Jincy Willett
A simple accident, as a result of which something happens, and then something else, and then a number of different things, all as unpredictable as an eight-ball break. At first the changes are small, but as these small events carom off one another, Amy’s life changes in ways that range from ridiculous to frightening to profound. This most reluctant of adventurers is dragged and propelled by train, plane, and automobile through an outlandish series of antic media events on her way to becoming–to her horror–a kind of celebrity.

& Sons by David Gilbert
The funeral of Charles Henry Topping on Manhattan’s Upper East Side would have been a minor affair (his two-hundred-word obit in The New York Times notwithstanding) but for the presence of one particular mourner: the notoriously reclusive author A. N. Dyer, whose novel Ampersand stands as a classic of American teenage angst. But as Andrew Newbold Dyer delivers the eulogy for his oldest friend, he suffers a breakdown over the life he’s led and the people he’s hurt and the novel that will forever endure as his legacy.

Bad Monkey by Carl Hiaasen
Andrew Yancy–late of the Miami Police and soon-to-be-late of the Monroe County sheriff’s office–has a human arm in his freezer. There’s a logical (Hiaasenian) explanation for that, but not for how and why it parted from its shadowy owner. Yancy thinks the boating-accident/shark-luncheon explanation is full of holes, and if he can prove murder, the sheriff might rescue him from his grisly Health Inspector gig (it’s not called the roach patrol for nothing).

The Bat by Jo Nesbo
The electrifying first appearance of Jo Nesbø’s detective, Harry Hole. Inspector Harry Hole of the Oslo Crime Squad is dispatched to Sydney to observe a murder case; Harry is free to offer assistance, but he has firm instructions to stay out of trouble. The victim is a twenty-three-year-old Norwegian woman who is a minor celebrity back home. Never one to sit on the sidelines, Harry befriends one of the lead detectives, and one of the witnesses, as he is drawn deeper into the case.

Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich
A rollicking, sensuous, feel-good romantic comedy about a grieving young widow who decides to get in shape . . . and winds up getting her groove back–and a whole lot more! Holly didn’t expect to be a widow at thirty-two. She also didn’t expect to be so big. After her husband’s death, food was the one thing she could always count on. Now, those extra pounds make flying coach feel like medieval torture–especially when she’s squished next to Logan Montgomery. A personal trainer to famous pro athletes, her seatmate is so hot that he makes Holly sweat in all the right (and so embarrassingly wrong!) places.

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
Crazy Rich Asians is the outrageously funny debut novel about three super-rich, pedigreed Chinese families and the gossip, backbiting, and scheming that occurs when the heir to one of the most massive fortunes in Asia brings home his ABC (American-born Chinese) girlfriend to the wedding of the season. When Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home, long drives to explore the island, and quality time with the man she might one day marry. What she doesn’t know is that Nick’s family home happens to look like a palace, that she’ll ride in more private planes than cars, and that with one of Asia’s most eligible bachelors on her arm, Rachel might as well have a target on her back.

A Dangerous Fiction by Barbara Rogan
A romp of a publishing mystery that introduces Jo Donovan, literary agent-cum-detective, that will delight fans of Janet Evanovich, Lisa Lutz, Alan Bradley, and ABC’s Castle Jo Donovan always manages to come out on top. From the backwoods of Appalachia, she forged a hard path to life among the literati in New York City. At thirty-five, she’s the widow of the renowned author Hugo Donovan and the owner of one of the best literary agencies in town. Jo is living the life she dreamed of but it’s all about to fall apart.

A Dual Inheritance by Joanna Hershon
Forging an intense friendship in their senior year at Harvard, Ed, a Jewish, girl-crazy scholarship student; and Hugh, a Boston Brahmin who dedicatedly pines for the one who got away; abruptly  and mysteriously go their separate ways years later and pursue very different lives that are shaped by their past bond. Their unlikely friendship is bolstered by a fierce shared desire to transcend their circumstances. When their paths diverge–one rises on Wall Street, the other becomes a kind of global humanitarian–testing their friendship.

The English Girl by Daniel Silva
Madeline Hart is a rising star in British government: beautiful, ­intelligent, driven to succeed by an impoverished childhood. But she also has a dark secret. She is the lover of Prime Minister ­Jonathan Lancaster. When she vanishes on the island of Corsica, it’s clear her kidnappers know about the affair and intend to make the PM pay dearly for his sins. Fearful of a scandal that will destroy his career, Lancaster ­decides to handle the matter privately, and not involve the police. Enter Gabriel Allon; assassin, art restorer and spy; who must find Madeline within seven days before she is executed.

The Fame Thief by Timothy Hallinan
There are not many people brave enough to say no to Irwin Dressler, Hollywood’s scariest mob boss-turned-movie king. Even though Dressler is ninety-three years old, LA burglar Junior Bender is quaking in his boots when Dressler’s henchman haul him in for a meeting. Dressler wants Junior to solve a “crime” he believes was committed more than sixty years ago, when an old friend of his, once-famous starlet Dolores La Marr, had her career destroyed after compromising photos were taken of her at a Las Vegas party.

Fin & Lady by Cathleen Schine
It’s 1964. Eleven-year-old Fin and his glamorous, worldly, older half sister, Lady, have just been orphaned, and Lady, whom Fin hasn’t seen in six years, is now his legal guardian and his only hope. That means Fin is uprooted from a small dairy farm in rural Connecticut to Greenwich Village, smack in the middle of the swinging ’60s. He soon learns that Lady-giddy, careless, urgent, and obsessed with being free-is as much his responsibility as he is hers. So begins Fin & Lady , the lively, spirited new novel by Cathleen Schine, the author of the bestselling The Three Weissmanns of Westport .

The Fire Witness by Lars Kepler
Flora Hansen calls herself a medium and makes a living by pretending to commune with the dead. But after a gruesome murder at a rural home for wayward girls, Hansen begins to suffer visions that are all too real. When she contacts the police department with claims about a murder at a rural home for wayward girls, detective Joona Linna investigates bizarre clues only to find himself confronting more violent truths and a figure from his past.

Five Star Billionaire by Tash Aw
Phoebe is a factory girl who has come to Shanghai with the promise of a job–but when she arrives she discovers that the job doesn’t exist. Gary is a country boy turned pop star who is spinning out of control. Justin is in Shanghai to expand his family’s real estate empire, only to find that he might not be up to the task. He has long harbored a crush on Yinghui , a poetry-loving, left-wing activist who has reinvented herself as a successful Shanghai businesswoman. Yinghui is about to make a deal with the shadowy Walter Chao , the five star billionaire of the novel, who with his secrets and his schemes has a hand in the lives of each of the characters. All bring their dreams and hopes to Shanghai , the shining symbol of the New China, which, like the novel’s characters, is constantly in flux and which plays its own fateful role in the lives of its inhabitants.

Ghost Moth by Michele Forbes
During the hot Irish summer of 1969, tensions rise in Belfast where Katherine, a former actress, and George, a firefighter, struggle to keep buried secrets from destroying their marriage. As Catholic Republicans and Protestant Loyalists clash during the “Troubles” and Northern Ireland moves to the brink of civil war, the lines between private anguish and public outrage disintegrate. An exploration of memory, childhood, illicit love, and loss, “Ghost Moth” is an exceptional tale about a family–and a country–seeking freedom from ghosts of the past.

Gloria by Kerry Young
Jamaica, 1938. Gloria Campbell is sixteen years old when a single violent act changes her life forever. She and her younger sister flee their hometown to forge a new life in Kingston. As all around them the city convulses with political change, Gloria’s desperation and striking beauty lead her to Sybil and Beryl, and a house of ill-repute where she meets Yang Pao, a Kingston racketeer whose destiny becomes irresistibly bound with her own. Sybil kindles in Gloria a fire of social justice which will propel her to Cuba and a personal and political awakening that she must reconcile with the realities of her life, her love of Jamaica and a past that is never far behind her.

The Heist by Janet Evanovich
The first adventure in an electrifying new series featuring an FBI agent who always gets her man, and a fearless con artist who lives for the chase.  FBI Special Agent Kate O’Hare is known for her fierce dedication and discipline on the job, chasing down the world’s most wanted criminals and putting them behind bars. Her boss thinks she is tenacious and ambitious; her friends think she is tough, stubborn, and maybe even a bit obsessed. And while Kate has made quite a name for herself for the past five years the only name she’s cared about is Nicolas Fox–an international crook she wants in more ways than one.

The Highway by C J Box
When two sisters set out across a remote stretch of Montana road to visit their friend, little do they know it will be the last time anyone might ever hear from them again. The girls–and their car–simply vanish. Former police investigator Cody Hoyt has just lost his job and has fallen off the wagon after a long stretch of sobriety. Convinced by his son and his former rookie partner, Cassie Dewell, he begins the drive south to the girls last known location. As Cody makes his way to the lonely stretch of Montana highway where they went missing, Cassie discovers that Gracie and Danielle Sullivan arent the first girls who have disappeared in this area.

The Humanity Project by Jean Thompson
After surviving a shooting at her high school, Linnea is packed off to live with her estranged father, Art, who doesn’t quite understand how he has suddenly become responsible for raising a sullen adolescent girl. Art’s neighbor, Christie, is a nurse distracted by an eccentric patient, Mrs. Foster, who has given Christie the reins to her Humanity Project, a bizarre and well-endowed charity fund. Just as mysteriously, no one seems to know where Conner, the Fosters’ handyman, goes after work, but he has become the one person Linnea can confide in, perhaps because his own home life is a war zone: his father has suffered an injury and become addicted to painkillers. As these characters and many more hurtle toward their fates, the Humanity Project is born: Can you indeed pay someone to be good? At what price?

A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams
Memorial Day, 1938: New York socialite Lily Dane has just returned with her family to the idyllic oceanfront community of Seaview, Rhode Island, expecting another placid summer season among the familiar traditions and friendships that sustained her after heartbreak. That is, until Greenwalds decide to take up residence in Seaview. Nick and Budgie Greenwald are an unwelcome specter from Lily’s past: her former best friend and her former fiance, now recently married–an event that set off a wildfire of gossip among the elite of Seaview, who have summered together for generations.

Hunting Eve by Iris Johansen
New York Times bestselling author Iris Johansen brings us book two in a heart-stopping new Eve Duncan trilogy The stakes are raised even higher in Hunting Eve as Eve battles the man who is holding her prisoner. Secrets about why Eve has been targeted come into the light, bringing Eve even closer to danger. With its cliffhanger ending, Hunting Eve sets up perfectly for the finale, Silencing Eve.

Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty
My darling Cecilia, if you’re reading this, then I’ve died. . . . Imagine that your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret–something with the potential to destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others as well. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive. . . .

If You Were Here by Alafair Burke
Magazine journalist McKenna Jordan is chasing the latest urban folktale–the story of an unidentified woman who heroically pulled a teenage boy from the subway tracks seconds before the arrival of an oncoming train. When McKenna locates a video snippet that purportedly captures the incident, she thinks she has an edge on the competition scrambling to identify the mystery heroine. McKenna is shocked to discover that the woman in the video bears a strong resemblance to Susan Hauptmann, a close friend–and a classmate of her husband’s at West Point–who vanished without a trace ten years earlier.

Island Girls by Nancy Thayer
Charming ladies’ man Rory Randall dies with one last trick up his sleeve: His will includes a calculating clause mandating a summer-long reunion for his daughters, all from different marriages–that is, if they hope to inherit his posh Nantucket house. Relations among the three sisters are sour thanks to long-festering jealousies, resentments, and misunderstandings.

Kind Of Cruel by Sophie Hannah
Amber Hewerdine suffers from chronic insomnia. As a last resort, she visits a hypnotherapist, doubtful that anything will really change. Under hypnosis, Amber hears herself saying, “Kind, cruel, kind of cruel.” The words awaken a vague memory, but she dismisses the whole episode as nonsense. Two hours later, however, Amber is arrested for the brutal murder of a woman she’s never heard of, and the only way she can clear her name is by remembering exactly where she’s seen those words.

Kiss Me First by Lottie Moggach
A chilling and intense first novel. When Leila discovers the Web site Red Pill, she feels she has finally
found people who understand her. A sheltered young woman raised by her mother, Leila has often struggled to connect with the girls at school; but on Red Pill, a chat forum for ethical debate, Leila comes into her
own, impressing the Web site’s founder, a brilliant and elusive man named Adrian. This is the story of a solitary young woman drawn into an online world run by a charismatic web guru who entices her into impersonating a glamorous but desperate woman.

The Last Summer Of The Camperdowns by Elizabeth Kelly
The Last Summer of the Camperdowns, from the best-selling author of Apologize, Apologize!, introduces Riddle James Camperdown, the twelve-year-old daughter of the idealistic Camp and his manicured, razor-sharp wife, Greer. It’s 1972, and Riddle’s father is running for office from the family compound in Wellfleet, Massachusetts. Between Camp’s desire to toughen her up and Greer’s demand for glamour, Riddle has her hands full juggling her eccentric parents. When she accidentally witnesses a crime close to home, her confusion and fear keep her silent. As the summer unfolds, the consequences of her silence multiply.

The Last Word by Lisa Lutz
The sixth installment of the critically acclaimed, New York Times bestselling, Edgar- and Macavity-nominated and Alex Award-winning series by Lisa Lutz, finds our intrepid heroine of the series, Isabel Spellman, PI, at a crossroads. In The Last Word , Izzy’s troubles are just beginning. After her takeover of Spellman Investigations, her employees are the fur-thest thing from collegial…and Izzy finds herself struggling to pay the bills. But when she is accused of embezzling from a former client, the ridiculously wealthy Mr. Slayter, the stakes become immense.

The Lemon Orchard by Luanne Rice
The Lemon Orchard, Rice’s romantic new love story between two people from seemingly different worlds. In the five years since Julia last visited her aunt and uncle’s home in Malibu, her life has been turned upside down by her daughter’s death. She expects to find nothing more than peace and solitude as she house-sits with only her dog, Bonnie, for company. But she finds herself drawn to the handsome man who oversees the lemon orchard.

Letters From Skye by Jessica Brockmole
A sweeping story told in letters, spanning two continents and two world wars, Jessica Brockmole’s atmospheric debut novel captures the indelible ways that people fall in love, and celebrates the power of the written word to stir the heart. March 1912: Twenty-four-year-old Elspeth Dunn, a published poet, has never seen the world beyond her home on Scotland’s remote Isle of Skye. So she is astonished when her first fan letter arrives, from a college student, David Graham, in far-away America. As the two strike up a correspondence–sharing their favorite books, wildest hopes, and deepest secrets–their exchanges blossom into friendship, and eventually into love. But as World War I engulfs Europe and David volunteers as an ambulance driver on the Western front, Elspeth can only wait for him on Skye, hoping he’ll survive.

Lexicon by Max Barry
At an exclusive school somewhere outside of Arlington, Virginia, students aren’t taught history, geography, or mathematics; they are taught to persuade. Students learn to use language to manipulate minds, wielding words as weapons. The very best graduate as “poets,” and enter a nameless organization of unknown purpose. Whip-smart runaway Emily Ruff is making a living from three-card Monte on the streets of San Francisco when she attracts the attention of the organization’s recruiters. Drawn in to their strange world, which is populated by people named Brontë and Eliot, she learns their key rule: That every person can be classified by personality type, his mind segmented and ultimately unlocked by the skillful application of words.

The Light In The Ruins by Chris Bohjalian
1943: Tucked away in the idyllic hills south of Florence, the Rosatis, an Italian family of noble lineage, believe that the walls of their ancient villa will keep them safe from the war raging across Europe. Eighteen-year-old Cristina spends her days swimming in the pool, playing with her young niece and nephew, and wandering aimlessly amid the estate’s gardens and olive groves. But when two soldiers, a German and an Italian, arrive at the villa asking to see an ancient Etruscan burial site, the Rosatis’ bucolic tranquility is shattered.

The Love Affairs Of Nathaniel P by Adelle Waldman
A debut novel by a brilliant young woman about the coming-of-age of a brilliant young literary man “He was not the kind of guy who disappeared after sleeping with a woman – and certainly not after the condom broke. On the contrary: Nathaniel Piven was a product of a postfeminist 1980s childhood and politically correct, 1990s college education. He had learned all about male privilege. Moreover, he was in possession of a functional and frankly rather clamorous conscience.”

Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish by David Rakoff
From the incomparable David Rakoff, a poignant, beautiful, witty, and wise novel in verse whose scope spans the twentieth century. Through his books and his radio essays for NPR’s This American Life , David Rakoff has built a deserved reputation as one of the finest and funniest essayists of our time. Written with humor, sympathy, and tenderness, this intricately woven novel proves him to be the master of an altogether different art form.

Massacre Pond by Paul Doiron
Edgar finalist Paul Doiron’s superb new novel featuring Game Warden Mike Bowditch and a beautiful, enigmatic woman whose mission to save the Maine wilderness may have incited a murder. Investigating the senseless slaughter of five moose found on the estate of a wealthy animal rights activist, Game Warden Mike Bowditch finds the controversial case turning more sinister when the activist’s daughter is killed in a suspicious accident, a situation that compels Bowditch to risk everything he cares about.

My Education by Susan Choi
An intimately charged novel of desire and disaster from the author of American Woman and A Person of Interest. Regina Gottlieb had been warned about Professor Nicholas Brodeur long before arriving as a graduate student at his prestigious university high on a pastoral hill. He’s said to lie in the dark in his office while undergraduate women read couplets to him. He’s condemned on the walls of the women’s restroom, and enjoys films by Roman Polanski. But no one has warned Regina about his exceptional physical beauty–or his charismatic, volatile wife. My Education is the story of Regina’s mistakes, which only begin in the bedroom, and end–if they do–fifteen years in the future and thousands of miles away.

On The Floor by Aifric Campbell
Longlisted for the Orange Prize. A hard-living investment banker has three days to decide her destiny in this thrilling novel. It has been 182 days of vodka and insomnia since Geri Molloy got dumped. A twenty-eight-year-old investment banker with a rare knack for numbers, Geri counts the days since her breakup with the same determination that has made her serious capital on her firm’s London trading floor. But it is January of 1991, and war in the Middle East is about to shake up the markets-and maybe also change the course of her career.

Please Don’t Tell by Elizabeth Adler
New York Times bestseller Elizabeth Adler returns to suspense with a novel about three women, one serial murderer, and the mysterious man who has infiltrated their lives Fen Dexter’s quiet life on the idyllic California coast is interrupted one stormy night when a blood-covered man shows up on her doorstep, claiming to have had a car accident. He tells her that he is on his way to San Francisco to help the police solve the murder of his fiance. Unable to make it to the hospital because of the storm, he stays the night at Fen’s, and the attraction between them is obvious.

Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews
In the grand spy-tale tradition of John le Carré…comes this shocking thriller written with insider detail known only to a veteran CIA officer. In present-day Russia, ruled by blue-eyed, unblinking President Vladimir Putin, Russian intelligence officer Dominika Egorova struggles to survive in the post-Soviet intelligence jungle. Ordered against her will to become a “Sparrow,” a trained seductress, Dominika is assigned to operate against Nathaniel Nash, a young CIA officer who handles the Agency’s most important Russian mole.

The Silent Wife by A S A Harrison
A chilling psychological thriller about a marriage, a way of life, and how far one woman will go to keep what is rightfully hers. Jodi and Todd are at a bad place in their marriage. Much is at stake, including the affluent life they lead in their beautiful waterfront condo in Chicago, as she, the killer, and he, the victim, rush haplessly toward the main event. He is a committed cheater. She lives and breathes denial. He exists in dual worlds. She likes to settle scores. He decides to play for keeps. She has nothing left to lose.

Stranded by Alex Kava
Tired travelers and weary truckers have stopped at rest areas on the nation’s highways for decades to refuel, grab a bite, and maybe get some shut-eye, but one man’s rest stop is another’s hunting ground. When FBI special agent Maggie O’Dell and her partner, Tully, discover the remains of a young woman in a highway ditch, the one clue left behind is a map that will send Maggie and Tully on a frantic hunt crisscrossing the country to stop a madman before he kills again.

The Unknowns by Gabriel Roth
Eric Muller has been trying to hack the girlfriend problem for half his life. As a teenage geek, he discovered his gift for programming computers-but his attempts to understand women only confirm that he’s better at writing code than connecting with human beings. Brilliant, neurotic, and lonely, Eric spends high school in the solitary glow of a screen. By his early twenties, Eric’s talent has made him a Silicon Valley millionaire. He can coax girls into bed with ironic remarks and carefully timed intimacies, but hiding behind wit and empathy gets lonely, and he fears that love will always be out of reach.

Unseen by Karen Slaughter
Will Trent is a Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent whose latest case has him posing as Bill Black, a scary ex-con who rides a motorcycle around Macon, Georgia, and trails an air of violence wherever he goes. The cover has worked and he has caught the eye of a wiry little drug dealer who thinks he might be a useful ally. But undercover and cut off from the support of the woman he loves, Sara Linton, Will finds his demons catching up with him.

Visitation Street by Ivy Pochoda
Summer in Red Hook, Brooklyn, an isolated blue-collar neighborhood where hipster gourmet supermarkets push against tired housing projects and the East River opens into the bay. Bored and listless, fifteen-year-olds June and Val are looking for fun. Forget the boys, the bottles, the coded whistles. Val wants to do something wild and a little crazy: take a raft out onto the bay.When a late night adventure on the bay takes a tragic turn, resulting in the disappearance of her best friend, Val, who was washed ashore semi-conscious, is left to deal with the aftermath in their blue-collar neighborhood of Red Hook, Brooklyn.

Whistling Past The Graveyard by Susan Crandall
In the summer of 1963, nine-year-old spitfire Starla Claudelle runs away from her strict grandmother’s Mississippi home. After being put on restriction yet again for her sassy mouth, Starla is caught sneaking out for the Fourth of July parade. She fears Mamie will make good on her threat to send Starla to reform school, so Starla walks to the outskirts of town, and just keeps walking. . . . If she can get to Nashville and find her momma, then all that she promised will come true: Lulu will be a star.

The White Princess by Philippa Gregory
When Henry Tudor picks up the crown of England from the mud of Bosworth field, he knows he must marry the princess of the enemy house-Elizabeth of York-to unify a country divided by war for nearly two decades. But his bride is still in love with his slain enemy, Richard III-and her mother and half of England dream of a missing heir, sent into the unknown by the White Queen. While the new monarchy can win power, it cannot win hearts in an England that plots for the triumphant return of the House of York. Henry’s greatest fear is that somewhere a prince is waiting to invade and reclaim the throne.

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