Highlights: July 2021

It was a super hot June here in Minnesota, and while we aren’t missing the snow and ice by any means, it would be nice if July would settle down with the heat waves. But that said, between holiday weekends and longer days, we are taking advantage of all the outdoor time when it isn’t uncomfortable to do so. And we have some titles that we are looking forward to read on these hot summer days! Here are our picks for July’s Highlights!

Serena’s Picks

Book: “Red Wolf” by Rachel Vincent

Publication Date: July 27, 2021

Why I’m Interested: Well, I have to go for the Triple Crown of “Red Riding Hood” stories for the summer, of course! But after enjoying the first two so much, I’m not going to lie, I’m a bit nervous whether this one will keep up or break the streak! In many ways, with its story of a girl named Red who must venture into a dark wood every month to bring supplies to her grandmother, it’s definitely the one of the three that sounds most similar to the original tale. I guess that could either be a good or bad thing, in the end! Either way, props to the art department for another stellar cover. All three definitely knocked it out of the park on that front.

Book: “The Empire’s Ruin” by Brian Staveley

Publication Date: July 6, 2021

Why I’m Interested: I’ve really enjoyed all of the books I’ve read by Brian Staveley in the past, both his original “Unhewn Thrown” trilogy and the stand-alone “Skullsworn” set in the same world. So I was beyond thrilled when I saw that he was coming out with a new book. Even more so when I saw the cover featuring a rough and tumble redhead, promising more adventures for one of my favorite characters from the original trilogy, the fierce Gwenna. She shares the book with a character we met in “Skullsworn,” Ruc, as well as with a thief-turned-priest who grew up alongside Kaden before his adventures began. I’m a bit sad not to have more chapters from Adare’s perspective, but I’m excited to see the fallout of the world after the events of the first trilogy and to see what is in store next for my lovely Gwenna! The book description promises new locations out side the Annurian empire as well as the return of some powerful force. Could we be getting even more history regarding the Nevariim and Csestriim?

Book: “She Who Became the Sun” by Shelley Parker-Chan

Publication Date: July 20, 2021

Why I’m Interested: This book is billed as “Mulan” meets “The Song of Achilles.” While I haven’t read the latter, even the barest hint of “Mulan” is usually enjoy to get me to pick up a book. I’ve had on and off success with retellings of this story, but this book looks particularly interesting as, as far as I can tell, the only real “Mulan” connection is a Chinese setting and the story of a young girl taking on the identity of her brother. This leaves a lot of room for original storytelling. The book is also billed as being queer, so I’m curious to see how that romance is worked into the story. There are also a number of references to our main character, Zhu, doing whatever it takes to survive, so I’m hopeful for another ruthless, powerful warrior character there. Also, again, the cover art here is fantastic!

Kate’s Picks

Book: “Falling” by T.J. Newman

Publication Date: July 6, 2021

Why I’m Interested: This book is getting a lot of buzz, and while it took me awhile to actually look into the hype, once I did I was VERY interested. “Falling” is billed as “Jaws” on an airplane, and given that “Jaws” is a much loved movie in our household, anything that has shades is sure to please! Bill is an airplane pilot with a loving wife and two kids. But one flight, he is suddenly given a message: crash the plane, or his entire family dies. Once he confirms that his family is, indeed, in danger, Bill has to figure out how to save both his loved ones, and his passengers and crew. Talk about high stakes! It may damper my perception of flying for awhile, but hey, I’m not getting on a plane until probably next year, so whatever!

Book: “The Book of Accidents” by Chuck Wendig

Publication Date: July 20, 2021

Why I’m Interested: While “Wanderers” had some pretty glaring misses for me, overall I enjoyed Chuck Wendig’s writing style and approach to a story filled with darkness as well as hope. When I found out he had a new horror novel coming out, I was absolutely on board, and thus we have “The Book of Accidents”! Nate is a man who overcame an incredibly abusive childhood, and now has wife Maddie and teenage son Oliver to care for and love. When his father is on his deathbed, he offers Nate the childhood home, and while Nate has bad memories, his family is interested to move for a change of setting. But once they move in, they all start experiencing strange things. And a dark entity has it’s sights on all of them. Sounds creepy, which is great, but knowing Wendig you can count on a lot of genuine heart as well.

Book: “The Final Girl Support Group” by Grady Hendrix

Publication Date: July 13, 2021

Why I’m Interested: Well I mean, come on. I’m sure you can guess. 1) I love slasher movies, especially those that deal with Final Girl heroines and tropes. And 2) Grady Hendrix has never steered me wrong. Lynette is part of a support group for Final Girls, women who has survived a slasher killer and whose story became entertainment for the masses. But when one of their own ends up murdered, Lynette is convinced that they are all in danger. Now Lynette and her compatriots have to try and figure out who is going after them, and see if they can survive again…. especially since survival has been hard to cope with for all of them. Anything slasher is going to be a home run for me, and Hendrix has the knowledge and the wry sense of humor to make this a really fun ride.

What new books are you looking forward to this month? Let us know in the comments!

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