Sandy’s Selections – Juicy Summer Books

The best new summer books of July. Mysteries, historical fiction, thrillers, and plain good reads for the pool or beach.
July and summer reading list summer books sandy's selections

Start your summer holiday season with the best July book releases! There is a classic beach read from Elin Hildebrand; we take a look at The New Tourist, which is about the travel industry; we dive into historical fiction from Tracy Chevalier; we lose ourselves in a biography about women running Fifth Avenue, and we add some mysteries and humor. Enjoy lemonade by the pool and read a great book.

Swan Song by Elin Hilderbrand | Family Life Fiction

Swan Song by Elin Hilderbrand
Swan Song by Elin Hilderbrand

Swan Song is the cleverly titled final installment of the popular Nantucket series. When rich strangers move onto the island, social mayhem and a possible murder follow. They have lavish parties, and all the locals are present, but the island is in chaos when their 22 million-dollar mansion goes up in flames. This final novel is chock-full of all Nantucket’s hallmarks, from family drama to romance.

When Women Ran Fifth Avenue by Julie Satow | Biography

When Women Ran Fifth Avenue is a glittering, glamorous portrait of the golden age of American department stores and three visionary women: Hortense Odlum of Bonwit Teller, Dorothy Shaver of Lord & Taylor, and Geraldine Stutz of Henri Bendel’s. While each department store was known for something different, their success was all based on the women in charge and their unique business savvy.

The Main Character by Jaclyn Goldis | Psychological Thriller

The Main Character by Jaclyn Goldis
The Main Character by Jaclyn Goldis

The Main Character is a “homage” to Agatha Christie’s on a modern-day Orient Express, but with a twisty murder mystery that is completely original. Its characters are a group of friends and family who all have underlying problems, some of which have never been spoken about. The famous train ride allows all the shocking secrets to be revealed, with everyone being pitted against one another by the end of the trip.

The New Tourist by Paige McClanahan | Travel/Nonfiction

The New Tourist by Paige McClanahan
The New Tourist by Paige McClanahan

Tourism has shaped the world for better and worse. The New Tourist delivers a message of hope – that the right kind of tourism and tourists can be a powerful force for good. It looks to local groups and local governments working to manage tourism better. This book is essential for anyone looking for a deeper understanding of the implications of their wanderlust.

The Glass Maker by Tracy Chevalier | Historical Fiction

The Glass Maker by Tracy Chevalier
The Glass Maker by Tracy Chevalier

The Glass Maker is set on Murano Island, across the canals from Venice, and spans over 500 hundred years. Time moves forward, but the family of glassmakers ages very little. The descriptive prose on glassmaking artistry and delightful characters creates a historical drama of the changes of a woman’s place in glassmaking alongside the transformation of Venice from a center of trade into a city of tourists.

The Midnight Feast by Lucy Foley | Murder Mystery

The Midnight Feast by Lucy Foley
The Midnight Feast by Lucy Foley

The Midnight Feast starts at the grand opening of a luxury hotel during the summer solstice. The story is told from multiple points of view and a 15-year-old summer journal, each with a clearly separate voice and fully developed characters. The past has come to crash the party as old friends and enemies circulate among the resort guests. This atmospheric, slow-burning mystery ends in death and fire as secrets are revealed.

How to Age Disgracefully by Clare Pooley | Humor

How to Age Disgracefully by Clare Pooley
How to Age Disgracefully by Clare Pooley

How To Age Disgracefully is a laugh-out-loud funny, heartwarming story featuring members of the Senior Citizens’ Social Club in London. When the city council threatens to sell the doomed community center building, the members of the Social Club join forces with their tiny friends in the daycare next door—as well as the teenaged father of one of the toddlers and a senior dog—to save the building.

In Case You Missed It: Here’s Sandy’s summer reading list from July 2023

As summer is heating up, it’s time to dive into a new book (or two). Sandy’s summer books list for July includes a lot of fun adventures to get your mind working overtime (while not thinking too much). Lose yourself in historical fiction or a memoir, or check out never-before-seen photos from Paul McCartney and the Beatles from 1963-1964. July’s reading list includes something everyone can take to the pool or beach and enjoy a little fun in the sun. 

Speak Up by Linda Mason | Memoir 

SPEAK UP by Linda Mason
Speak Up by Linda Mason

Speak Up: Breaking the Glass Ceiling at CBS News reflects on Linda Mason’s forty-seven-year career with CBS News and the leadership lessons she learned along the way. The formula she shares is timeless: work hard, don’t complain, ask questions, and when the time is right, speak up about what is next.  As one of the first female producers in broadcast news, Mason led teams around the world in pursuit of breaking news. 

The Spectacular by Fiona Davis | Historical Fiction

The Spectacular by Fiona Davis

The Spectacular, set in 1956 New York City, tells the story of a Radio City Rockettes dancer who solves the 16-year mystery of the “Big Apple Bomber.”  The two storylines are woven together to create a very satisfying and surprising conclusion.  The Spectacular is a thrilling story about love, sacrifice, and the pursuit of dreams, set amidst the glamour and glitz of New York during its mid-century heyday.       

Lady Tan’s Circle of Women by Lisa See | Asian Historical Fiction

Lady Tan’s Circle of Women is based on a real-life woman who became one of the only female physicians during the Ming Dynasty. It is a look at early 1400s Chinese culture, including foot binding, masochism, concubines, and the differences in socioeconomic levels. This book beautifully emphasizes the circle of women Lady Tan had in her life and how they had to build each other up and support each other’s lives.

1964: The Eyes of the Storm by Paul McCartney | Nonfiction

1964 The Eyes of the Storm by Paul McCartney
1964: The Eyes of the Storm by Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney shares his largely unseen photos of The Beatles from 1963-64 in The Eyes of the Storm. Featuring 275 images taken with his Pentax camera, the photos are the first time to see “Beatlemania” from one of the band members. During that explosive period, The Beatles became an international sensation and changed the course of music history.

 Zero Days by Ruth Ware | Mystery/Thriller

ZERO DAYS  by Ruth Ware
Zero Days by Ruth Ware

Zero Days is about a woman in a race against time to find her husband’s murderer and clear her name. Jacintha (Jack) and her husband, Gabe work in the security field; she checks for potential building break-ins, and he hacks computer systems. But after a routine assignment goes horribly wrong, Jack arrives home to find her husband dead. She is the prime suspect and must find Gabe’s murderer to save herself.    

The Beach at Summerly by Beatriz Williams | Historical Fiction

THE BEACH AT SUMMERLY by Beatriz Williams
The Beach at Summerly by Beatriz Williams

Inspired by actual episodes from the Cold War, The Beach at Summerly crosses several genres, from espionage, suspense, romance, family drama, and literature full of action, mystery, and intrigue. The story is driven by two alternating chapters between the current, 1954, and the past,1946. This slow-burn spy novel is actually a beautiful love story that readers will enjoy. 

Beware the Woman by Megan Abbott | Psychological Thriller

BEWARE THE WOMAN by Megan Abbott
Beware the Woman by Megan Abbott

Beware the Woman masterfully uses the pretext of a pregnant woman’s heightened sense to build a claustrophobic atmosphere of mistrust and insecurity.  Stunningly twisty, Beware the Woman holds some of the most pressing feminist issues of our time in an eerie, ominous grip. Bodily autonomy, reproduction, patriarchal power – this thriller feels terrifyingly of the moment, and perhaps that’s where the truest horror lies. You’re sure to get chills.

In Case You Missed It: Here’s Sandy’s summer reading list from July 2022

Good Husbands by Cate Ray | Fiction

Good Husbands by Cate Ray
Good Husbands by Cate Ray

Three women who are complete strangers receive identical letters accusing their husbands of committing a sexual assault more than twenty years ago. How could this be hidden for so many years? Who is the victim? Will justice ultimately be served? The women come together to hunt for the truth but are not prepared for what they find.

Horse by Geraldine Brooks | Historical Fiction

Horse by Geraldine Brooks
Horse by Geraldine Brooks

Horse is based on the remarkable true story of the record-breaking thoroughbred, Lexington. The author weaves the wonderful story of the spirit and passion of horse racing across the United States’ history. It’s a novel of art and science, love and obsession, and America’s unfinished reckoning with racism. It is also the love story between one of the greatest racehorses of all time and his lifelong friend, his groom.

Counterfeit by Kirstin Chen | Fiction

Counterfeit by Kristen Chen
Counterfeit by Kirstin Chen

Counterfeit is a stylish and feminist caper with a strong point of view and an ax to grind. It’s a look behind the curtain of the upscale, designer fashion handbags and the Chinese factories where luxury goods are produced. Counterfeit explodes the myth of the “model minority” through two Chinese women who are determined to get more out of life.

More Than You’ll Ever Know by Katie Gutierrez | Mystery

More Than You'll Ever Know by Katie Gutierrez
More Than You’ll Ever Know by Katie Gutierrez

This true crime drama is about a woman caught leading a double life after one husband murders the other. A journalist becomes obsessed with telling the “whole story” behind how an international banker could split her time between two families in two countries. More Than You’ll Ever Know is both a gripping mystery and a wrenching family drama.

Blood Orange Night by Melissa Bond | Memoir

Blood Orange Night by Melissa Bond
Blood Orange Night by Melissa Bond

Blood Orange Night is an exceptional firsthand account of the struggle with addiction to benzodiazepines taken for insomnia. Following her doctor’s orders, a young mother takes pills night after night, which causes her body to shut down, and she collapses while holding her infant daughter. This cautionary tale will help many understand how prescription drug dependency can happen and the strength and courage required to overcome it.

Can’t Look Away by Carola Lovering | Psychological Thriller

Can't Look Away by Carola Lovering
Can’t Look Away by Carola Lovering

Can’t Look Away is a sexy suspense novel about the kind of addictive, obsessive love that pulls you back in – no matter how hard you try to look away. The story is told from three points of view of each member of the love triangle. Showing these perspectives builds suspense throughout the book and creates a sophisticated and complex thriller.

CLASSIC: This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald | Fiction

This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald

This Side of Paradise is the book that established F. Scott Fitzgerald as the prophet of the newly dawned Jazz Age. Published in 1920, when he was just twenty-three years old, the novel mirrors some of his own experiences at Princeton University. The first printing sold out in a matter of days, and the book brought him instant fame and financial success. This romance of the early Jazz Age is a commentary on how love can often be affected by money and social status. 

In Case You Missed It: Here’s Sandy’s summer reading list from July 2019!

Summer Books – Sandy’s Picks

Treat yourself to some engaging summer books. Double the reading relaxation effects by heading outdoors and reading on a lounge chair by the pool or under an umbrella on the beach.

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert | Historical Fiction | NYT Best Seller

Looking back on her life at age 89, the fictional Vivian tells the tales of her youth, her failures, and how she overcame them all. Through glamour, sex, and adventure in New York City in 1948, Vivian discovers you don’t have to be a good girl to be a good person.

Readers Recommend:

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

Big Sky by Kate Atkinson | Mystery

Big Sky, the fifth in the Jackson Brodie, Private Investigator Series, is filled with old secrets and new lies that intersect in this brilliant new novel. Murder, sex trafficking, adultery, families, relationships – this book has it all! Watch the “Case Studies” BBC series by author Kate Atkinson

Readers Recommend:

Case Studies by Kate Atkinson

Witch Elm by Tana French

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

The Unbreakables by Lisa Barr | Historical Fiction

The perfect husband of 27 years is listed in Ashley Madison’s Secret On-Line Dating Site for Married Couples as the top cheater in their town with 43 dates. Unbreakables is a tribute to a woman’s strength in the face of heartbreak, adversity, and rebuilding her life.

Readers Recommend:

The Naked Truth by Leslie Morgan

Fugitive Colors by Lisa Barr

Meet Me in Monaco by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb

Fatal Inheritance by Rachel Rhys | Historical Fiction/Mystery

Get swept away to the South of France in 1948, where family secrets lurk under the glitz and glamour of French Cote d’Azur wealth. A twist of fate brings a mysterious inheritance of a Mediterranean Sea villa from a wealthy stranger to a naïve young girl from England.

Readers Recommend:

Transcription by Kate Atkinson

Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys

Watching You by Lisa Jewell

The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo | Family Saga

The Most Fun We Ever Had is a rich and rewarding domestic dramedy about a big Chicago family. The family has ups and downs, lives through parenthood and resentment, sisterhood and deception, revealing the grace and hard work that goes into making a happy family.

Readers Recommend:

Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen

Murder in the Crooked House by Soji Shimada | Suspense/Thriller

Murder in the Crooked House is a Japanese locked-door murder mystery with a familiar storyline from Agatha Christie’s The Crooked House. A guest is murdered in impossible circumstances, followed by another murder. The police are unable to solve this puzzle.

Readers Recommend:

The Crooked House by Agatha Christie

Tokyo Zodiac Murders by Soji Shimada

The Lady Killer by Masako Togawa

The Plaza: The Secret Life of America’s Most Famous Hotel by Julie Satow | Non-Fiction

A fascinating history of how one illustrious hotel has defined our understanding of money and glamour from the Gilded Age to today’s Billionaire Row. Well-researched with exciting stories from behind the scenes as well as ownership issues. This book captures it all!

Readers Recommend;

At the Plaza by Curtis Gathje

Inside the Plaza by Ward Morehouse

Eloise at the Plaza by Kay Thompson

Read Next:

Sandy’s Selections: Start Your Summer Reading List

Books by Women Authors that All Women Should Read


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