Monthly Book Preview- July 2020

Posted July 1, 2020 by stuckint in Features, Monthly Book Preview / 2 Comments

Hello everyone and welcome to a new feature that Emily and I are extremely excited about.

On the first of every month we will share a monthly book preview highlighting the new releases coming out that month.

Haley’s Picks

So You Want To Read A YA Thriller

Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Powers (July 7th)

Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power
Published by Delacorte Press on July 7, 2020
Pages: 352

From the author of the New York Times bestseller Wilder Girls comes a new twisty thriller about a girl whose past has always been a mystery–until she decides to return to her mother’s hometown . . . where history has a tendency to repeat itself.
Ever since Margot was born, it’s been just her and her mother. No answers to Margot’s questions about what came before. No history to hold on to. No relative to speak of. Just the two of them, stuck in their run-down apartment, struggling to get along.
But that’s not enough for Margot. She wants family. She wants a past. And she just found the key she needs to get it: A photograph, pointing her to a town called Phalene. Pointing her home. Only, when Margot gets there, it’s not what she bargained for.
Margot’s mother left for a reason. But was it to hide her past? Or was it to protect Margot from what’s still there?
The only thing Margot knows for sure is there’s poison in their family tree, and their roots are dug so deeply into Phalene that now that she’s there, she might never escape.

I enjoyed Power’s debut novel Wilder Girls well enough but Burn Our Bodies Down gave me serious Kim Liggett vibes with it’s rural, small town setting that seems just a little too idyllic and plenty of strangeness. Also the cover is gorgeous.

The Girl in the White Van by April Henry (July 28th

The Girl in the White Van by April Henry
Published by Henry Holt & Company on July 28, 2020
Pages: 224

A teen is snatched after her kung fu class and must figure out how to escape—and rescue another kidnapped prisoner—in this chilling YA mystery.
When Savannah disappears soon after arguing with her mom’s boyfriend, everyone assumes she's run away. The truth is much worse. She’s been kidnapped by a man in a white van who locks her in an old trailer home, far from prying eyes. And worse yet, Savannah’s not alone: Ten months earlier, Jenny met the same fate and nearly died trying to escape. Now as the two girls wonder if he will hold them captive forever or kill them, they must join forces to break out—even if it means they die trying.
Master mystery-writer April Henry weaves another heart-stopping young adult thriller in this story ripped straight from the headlines.

This one was a recent discovery but a novel from the POV of a girl who has been kidnapped seems like the perfect, edge of your seat thriller to pick up this summer. Especially if you loved books like No Exit by Taylor Adams or The Other People by CJ Tudor.

So You Want To Read A Fairytale Retelling

Cinderella Is Dead by Kalynn Bayron (July 7th)

Cinderella Is Dead by Kalynn Bayron
on July 7, 2020

It’s 200 years after Cinderella found her prince, but the fairy tale is over. Teen girls are now required to appear at the Annual Ball, where the men of the kingdom select wives based on a girl’s display of finery. If a suitable match is not found, the girls not chosen are never heard from again.
Sixteen-year-old Sophia would much rather marry Erin, her childhood best friend, than parade in front of suitors. At the ball, Sophia makes the desperate decision to flee, and finds herself hiding in Cinderella’s mausoleum. There, she meets Constance, the last known descendant of Cinderella and her step sisters. Together they vow to bring down the king once and for all–and in the process, they learn that there’s more to Cinderella’s story than they ever knew . . .
This fresh take on a classic story will make readers question the tales they’ve been told, and root for girls to break down the constructs of the world around them.

This is a diverse retelling of Cinderella with a touch of The Handmaid’s Tale and a f/f romance. In my continues effort to read more diversely and promote ownvoices novels. Basically it’s up to our capable, badass heroine to bring down the corrupt ruling class who parade women in front of potential husbands like objects.

So You Want To Read A Dark YA Fantasy

Ghost Wood Song by Erica Waters (July 14th)

Ghost Wood Song by Erica Waters
on July 14, 2020

Sawkill Girls meets Beautiful Creatures in this lush and eerie debut, where the boundary between reality and nightmares is as thin as the veil between the living and the dead. 
If I could have a fiddle made of Daddy’s bones, I’d play it. I’d learn all the secrets he kept.
Shady Grove inherited her father’s ability to call ghosts from the grave with his fiddle, but she also knows the fiddle’s tunes bring nothing but trouble and darkness.
But when her brother is accused of murder, she can’t let the dead keep their secrets.
In order to clear his name, she’s going to have to make those ghosts sing.
Family secrets, a gorgeously resonant LGBTQ love triangle, and just the right amount of creepiness make this young adult debut a haunting and hopeful story about facing everything that haunts us in the dark.

All I needed to know was that this eerie debut has similarities to Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand and it was already preordered. Atmospheric, creepy and features an LGBTQIA+ love triangle. I need it!

So You Want To Read A Haunted House Story

Wonderland by Zoje Stage (July 14th)

Wonderland by Zoje Stage
on July 14, 2020

If Shirley Jackson wrote The Shining, it might look like this deliciously unsettling horror novel from the acclaimed author of Baby Teeth.
A mother must protect her family from the unnatural forces threatening their new and improved life in a rural farmhouse.
The Bennett family - artist parents and two precocious children - are leaving their familiar urban surroundings for a new home in far upstate New York. They're an hour from the nearest city, a mile from the nearest house, and everyone has their own room for the very first time. Shaw, the father, even gets his own painting studio, now that he and his wife Orla, a retired dancer, have agreed that it's his turn to pursue his passion.
But none of the Bennetts expect what lies waiting in the lovely woods, where secrets run dark and deep. Orla must finally find a way to communicate with - not just resist - this unknown entity that is coming to her family, calling to them from the land, in the earth, beneath the trees... and in their minds.

This book has been marketed as The Haunting of Hill House meets The Shining and that’s really all I need to know. But, the story also features a potentially haunted woods and an isolated house where at least one of the characters may or may not be losing their mind. I do not think this book could be anymore in my wheelhouse if I wrote it myself.

So You Want To Read A Lush Historical Fiction

Trouble the Saints by Alaya Dawn Johnson (July 21st)

Trouble the Saints by Alaya Dawn Johnson
on July 21, 2020

The dangerous magic of The Night Circus meets the powerful historical exploration of The Underground Railroad in this timely and unsettling novel, set against the darkly glamorous backdrop of New York City at the dawn of WWII.
Amidst the whir of city life, a girl from Harlem is drawn into the glittering underworld of Manhattan, where she’s hired to use her knives to strike fear amongst its most dangerous denizens.
But the ghosts from her past are always by her side—and history has appeared on her doorstep to threaten the people she loves most.
Can one woman ever sacrifice enough to save an entire community?
Trouble the Saints is a dazzling, daring novel—a magical love story, a compelling chronicle of interracial tension, and an altogether brilliant and deeply American saga.

This novel is definitely out of my comfort zone but it sounds so good I just had to add it to our preview. It’s an alternate history set in New York at the beginning of WWII. Basically this is a book full of anti heroes and I am here for it! Also, it delbes into themes of racism and contains of touch of magic. It sounds like utter perfection.

So You Want to Read A Diverse Horror

The Year of Witching by Alexis Henderson (July 21st)

The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson
on July 21, 2020
Pages: 368

A young woman living in a rigid, puritanical society discovers dark powers within herself in this stunning, feminist fantasy debut.
In the lands of Bethel, where the Prophet’s word is law, Immanuelle Moore’s very existence is blasphemy. Her mother’s union with an outsider of a different race cast her once-proud family into disgrace, so Immanuelle does her best to worship the Father, follow Holy Protocol, and lead a life of submission, devotion, and absolute conformity, like all the other women in the settlement.
But a mishap lures her into the forbidden Darkwood surrounding Bethel, where the first prophet once chased and killed four powerful witches. Their spirits are still lurking there, and they bestow a gift on Immanuelle: the journal of her dead mother, who Immanuelle is shocked to learn once sought sanctuary in the wood.
Fascinated by the secrets in the diary, Immanuelle finds herself struggling to understand how her mother could have consorted with the witches. But when she begins to learn grim truths about the Church and its history, she realizes the true threat to Bethel is its own darkness. And she starts to understand that if Bethel is to change, it must begin with her.

Witches, cults and body horror oh my! This book has so many things that I love including a Purtanical cult like society, a charismatic prophet, and a heroine who doesn’t belong but is determined to find her place and her voice in a community that considers her an abomination because of her mixed race heritage. This novel is truly prescient for our time.

Emily’s Picks

So You Want Diverse Middle Grade Fantasy

Muse Squad: The Cassandra Files by Chantel Acevedo (July 7th)

Muse Squad: The Cassandra Curse by Chantel Acevedo
on July 7, 2020

The first in a middle grade fantasy duology about a Cuban American girl who discovers that she’s one of the nine Muses of Greek mythology.
Callie Martinez-Silva didn’t mean to turn her best friend into a pop star. But when a simple pep talk leads to miraculous results, Callie learns she’s the newest muse of epic poetry, one of the nine Muses of Greek mythology tasked with protecting humanity’s fate in secret.
Whisked away to Muse Headquarters, she joins three recruits her age, who call themselves the Muse Squad. Together, the junior muses are tasked with using their magic to inspire and empower—not an easy feat when you’re eleven and still figuring out the goddess within.
When their first assignment turns out to be Callie’s exceptionally nerdy classmate, Maya Rivero, the squad comes to Miami to stay with Callie and her Cuban family. There, they discover that Maya doesn’t just need inspiration, she needs saving from vicious Sirens out to unleash a curse that will corrupt her destiny.
As chaos erupts, will the Muse Squad be able to master their newfound powers in time to thwart the Cassandra Curse . . . or will it undo them all?

I squealed when I read about this book and am so excited that it is coming out soon.  This is the first in a new Middle Grade duology focusing on Callie Martinez-Silva, a Cuban-American girl who finds out she is one of the Greek muses. So it’s a diverse, middle grade, fantasy novel based on Greek mythology.  GIVE. IT. TO. ME. NOW.  

So You Want To Read Ownvoice Debut Literary Fiction

Well-Behaved Indian Women by Saumya Dave (July 14th)

Well-Behaved Indian Women by Saumya Dave
on July 14, 2020

From a compelling new voice in women's fiction comes a mother-daughter story about three generations of women who struggle to define themselves as they pursue their dreams.
Simran Mehta has always felt harshly judged by her mother, Nandini, especially when it comes to her little "writing hobby." But when a charismatic and highly respected journalist careens into Simran's life, she begins to question not only her future as a psychologist, but her engagement to her high school sweetheart.
Nandini Mehta has strived to create an easy life for her children in America. From dealing with her husband's demanding family to the casual racism of her patients, everything Nandini has endured has been for her children's sake. It isn't until an old colleague makes her a life-changing offer that Nandini realizes she's spent so much time focusing on being the Perfect Indian Woman, she's let herself slip away.
Mimi Kadakia failed her daughter, Nandini, in ways she'll never be able to fix---or forget. But with her granddaughter, she has the chance to be supportive and offer help when it's needed. As life begins to pull Nandini and Simran apart, Mimi is determined to be the bridge that keeps them connected, even as she carries her own secret burden.

I am so excited for this debut novel that follows three generations of Indian-American mothers and daughters.  According to all the reviews I read, it is incredibly well-written and has a lot of staying power.  This one is giving me major A Woman is No Man vibes, and I am definitely here for it.  I can’t wait to check this one out.

So You Want to Read A Lengthy Urban Fantasy Series

Peace Talks by Jim Butcher (Dresden Files #16) (July 16th)

Peace Talks (The Dresden Files, #16) by Jim Butcher
Published by Ace Books on July 14, 2020
Pages: 352

HARRY DRESDEN IS BACK AND READY FOR ACTION, in the new entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling Dresden Files.

When the Supernatural nations of the world meet up to negotiate an end to ongoing hostilities, Harry Dresden, Chicago's only professional wizard, joins the White Council's security team to make sure the talks stay civil. But can he succeed, when dark political manipulations threaten the very existence of Chicago--and all he holds dear?

If you are in the mood for an awesome urban fantasy series, you absolutely cannot go wrong with Harry Dresden.  I’m not sure how to sum up a fantasy series that’s now on it’s 16th book, but basically Harry Dresden is a Chicago-based Private Investigator wizard and I freaking ADORE this series.  The first 2 are a bit slow, but the series hits the gas at book 3 and doesn’t look back.  If you haven’t read these before, I HIGHLY recommend the audiobooks, which are read by James Marsters and are absolutely amazing.

So You Want to Read a Standalone Historical Fantasy

Splinters of Scarlet by Emily Bain Murphy (July 21st)

Splinters of Scarlet by Emily Bain Murphy
on July 21, 2020

Enchantée meets Downton Abbey in this atmospheric YA historical fantasy set in nineteenth-century Denmark, where secrets can kill and magic is a deadly gift.
For Marit Olsen, magic is all about strategy: it flows freely through her blood, but every use leaves behind a deadly, ice-like build-up within her veins called the Firn. Marit knows how dangerous it is to let too much Firn build up—after all, it killed her sister—and she has vowed never to use her thread magic. But when Eve, a fellow orphan whom Marit views like a little sister, is adopted by the wealthy Helene Vestergaard, Marit will do anything to stay by Eve’s side. She decides to risk the Firn and uses magic to secure a job as a seamstress in the Vestergaard household.
But Marit has a second, hidden agenda: her father died while working in the Vestergaards’ jewel mines—and it might not have been an accident. The closer Marit gets to the truth about the Vestergaard family, the more she realizes she and everyone she’s come to love are in danger. When she finds herself in the middle of a treacherous deception that goes all the way up to the king of Denmark, magic may be the only thing that can save her—if it doesn’t kill her first.

I admit this was a major case of love-at-first-sight when I laid eyes on this cover, and the glowing early reviews completely back up my desire to read this as soon as possible.  Splinters of Scarlet is a YA historical fantasy novel set in 19th century Denmark, and is full of intrigue and mystery and magic.  I am 100% all in on the concept of this novel and cannot wait to check it out!

So You Want to Read Post-Apocalyptic Fiction

Deal with the Devil by Kit Rocha (July 28)

Deal with the Devil (Mercenary Librarians, #1) by Kit Rocha
Published by Tor Books on July 28, 2020
Pages: 336

Orphan Black meets the post-apocalyptic Avengers in the vein of Ilona Andrews’ Hidden Legacy series by USA Today and New York Times bestselling author duo Kit Rocha

The United States went belly up 45 years ago when our power grid was wiped out. Too few live in well-protected isolation while the rest of us scrape by on the margins. The only thing that matters is survival. By any means. At any cost.
Nina is an information broker with a mission: to bring hope to the darkest corners of Atlanta. She and her team of mercenary librarians use their knowledge to help those in need. But altruism doesn’t pay the bills—raiding vaults and collecting sensitive data is where the real money is.
Knox is a bitter, battle-weary supersoldier who leads the Silver Devils, an elite strike squad that chose to go AWOL rather than slaughter innocents. Before the Devils leave town for good, they need a biochem hacker to stabilize the experimental implants that grant their superhuman abilities.
The problem? Their hacker’s been kidnapped. And the ransom for her return is Nina. Knox has the perfect bait for a perfect trap: a lost Library of Congress server. The data could set Nina and her team up for years...
If they live that long.
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

This series is called Mercenary Librarians.  NEED I SAY MORE?!  I’m always on the lookout for a new urban fantasy series and this one looks awesome.  I can’t wait to dig in!

What About You?

What new releases are you excited about in July? Let us know in the comments and what you think of our picks in the comments!

2 responses to “Monthly Book Preview- July 2020

  1. Candice Tallent

    Wow, wow, wow!! Fantastic reviews that have me so excited to add to my TBR. I love that you’ve shared such variety of genres, they all look so good! Wonderland, Burn Our Bodies Down, and The Girl In the White Van are definitely calling to me, and Trouble the Saints sounds super intriguing. Love your new Monthly Book Preview 🙂

    • stuckint

      This was definitely a fun list to put together and is in no way exhaustive but there are so many good books coming out this month!

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