The 3 Best Books of July – Summer Reads 2017

I set a high reading goal for myself in 2017. Ten books a month is the aim. And, so far, I’ve made it. Rather than give you a listing of every book I read this month, I’m bringing you a concise selection of my top three picks. The list below encompasses my favorite books from the month of July with brief descriptions and ratings . Happy Reading!

THRILLER – Final Girls
by Riley Stager


A “Final Girl” is a well-known trope in horror films. She is the last woman left standing to confront the killer and survives to tell the story. Stager brings the Final Girl allusion out of the screen and onto paper in his slasher-style thriller novel of the same name.

In Final Girls, three surviving women are struggling to move on with their lives after the fall out from each of their respective attacks. There’s Lisa, who dedicates her life to helping other victims; Samantha, who retreats into a life off-the-grid; and Quincy, who has closed that chapter of her life, denotes the Final Girl title she’s been given by the press, and is doing her best to make a new start.

All three seem to be doing well. That is, until Lisa turns up dead.

She is found with her wrists slashed in what appears to be a suicide. But as details of Lisa’s death come to light and Samantha appears at Quincy’s door uninvited, the truth starts to unravel from the lies. Can Quincy stop her attacker from finishing what was started in a bloodied, woodland cottage 10 years ago?


Final Girls is the best version of every cult-classic slasher flick you’ve ever loved. Sager’s sharp-edged writing style makes the pages fly by with delicious unease. Final Girls is a true thriller.

Verdict: Buy It
Rating: 9/10
Length: 352 Pages
Publisher: Dutton (July 11, 2017)

READ MORE: Like suspense and thrillers? Check out this psychological thriller from Mary Kubica

by Lisa Wingate


Between 1924 and 1950 Georgia Tann kidnapped an estimated 5,000 children. These innocents were given new identities and masqueraded as orphans, allowing Georgia Tann to profit highly under the guise of doing good. She was the mastermind behind one of the largest black markets for children in American history.

Established author Lisa Wingate has written a story inspired from this oft unopened chapter of U.S. history. Before We Were Yours tells a fictional portrayal of what may have happened to one of the affected families from a child’s perspective.

In 1939, Rill Floss is the eldest of her siblings. They are the offspring of river rats who live their life solely over water on a shanty boat they call home. One storming night, Rill’s mother suffers from difficulties during childbirth and is rushed to the closest hospital. The children are left alone under young Rill’s care. It doesn’t take long for Rill and her siblings to be forcibly taken into Georgia Tann’s notorious custody. The children are locked away in a terrifying orphanage where they suffer abuse, neglect, and the pain of separation.

A lifetime later in present day South Carolina, a successful career-woman, Avery Stafford, returns home to help her father during a health crisis. She has an unusual encounter that leaves her with questions only searching through her family’s history will answer. What Avery discovers can lead only to one thing – ruination or redemption.


Wingate handles a difficult page of history with the grace of an experienced writer. She allows an eye-opening discovery of the narrative through alternating perspectives that often pull at the heartstrings. Before We Were Yours is a window into the torment, pain, and sadness that affected thousands of families under the cruel reign of Georgia Tann.

Verdict: Buy It
Rating: 8/10
Length: 352 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books, an imprint of Random House (June 6, 2017)

READ MORE: Is Historical Fiction your favorite? Check out this WWII inspired novel from Jennifer Robson

FICTION – The Shark Club
by Ann Kidd Taylor



On a summer day in 1988, Maeve Donelly is bitten by a blackitp shark. Though most victims would fear the ocean and the sharks that call it home, Maeve can’t wait to dive back in. Eighteen years after the attack, her obsession has blossomed into a career. Maeve is a marine biologist known reverently as, “The Shark Whisperer.”

After a months-long research excursion she returns to the island she calls home. Waiting to greet her are Maeve’s twin brother, grandmother, and David – her first love.

Maeve is pulled under by the siren call of what might have been. Should she rekindle her flame with Daniel, the fiance she abandoned for her work so many years ago? Or should she revel in a new romance with her colleague, Nicholas, a marine biologist who loves the sea as much as she does?

As the deadline for her next research assignment in Mozambique approaches and an illegal shark finning operation comes to a head, Maeve is forced to make a decision. Should she sacrifice her love of the ocean for a chance at a life with her first love?

READ MORE: Read the full review of The Shark Club here.


The Shark Club is the perfect book to read this summer. Don’t let the season end before adding this to your to-be-read pile! Taylor has created an easy-to-read novel with an inspiring, relatable character in Maeve and has blended in the perfect touch of beachy romance.

Verdict: Buy It
Rating: 8/10
Length: 271
Publisher: Viking (June 6, 2017)

Out of the ten books I read this month, these three stood out. What books did you enjoy most this summer? Leave your favorite titles in the comments below!

READ MORE: More book recommendations! Check out my picks for the 5 Best Books of May

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