I was shocked to realize that another month had gone by! I think I spent half of the month still thinking that it was June, only to realize that it was nearly August. I didn’t feel like I had added very many books to my TBR, and a handful of them were upcoming releases by authors that I tried for the first time, that don’t even have a title or a cover yet. In total, I added 56 books to my Goodreads TBR in July, which was a lot more than I expected. The majority of the books that I added were thrillers that came up on my Goodreads feed, adding to my ever-expanding list of thrillers that I mean to try but haven’t picked up. To be honest, I don’t even remember finding the majority of these books and was a bit surprised to realize that I’d added so many to my list, even though it is far from the highest number I’ve ever added in a single month.
1) House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland
I added this one to my TBR because I recognized the author’s name as someone I’ve been meaning to try. Krystal Sutherland has previously written two YA contemporary books, both of which have been on my TBR for way too long. This one is described as a modern, dark fairytale, and it focuses on Iris Hollow and her two older sisters, Grey and Vivi, who disappeared for a month, only to return with no memory of what happened to them. Since their return, strange things seem to follow them, and they have been slowly changing physically. Ten years later, Iris is doing all she can to fit in during her senior year of high school, but when one of her sisters goes missing again, Iris and Vivi are left with only a bizarre trail of clues to find out what happened to her. In the course of their search, they realize that the story they’d been told about what happened to them may not have been the whole story, and the world that they visited then might be calling them to come back now. This book sounds really creepy, but also so fascinating! I love any kind of dark fairy tale-inspired story so this sounds like something I’d really enjoy.
2) Sorry I Missed You by Suzy Krause
I have no idea where I originally saw this one, but I would guess it was on a list of new and upcoming 2020 releases since it just came out at the beginning of June. This book is about three strangers, Mackenzie, Sunna, and Maude who move into a converted rental house together. The only thing they have in common is that each of them has an important person in their lives who have “ghosted” them. When a strange letter appears in their mailbox hinting at an explanation, each of the women assumes it is for them, and they decide to stake out the coffee shop mentioned in the letter to find out who it was from. The more the women learn about each other, the more questions they begin to have. At the same time, creepy things start happening around their house, which suggests that they may have a ghost for real. I have no memory of finding this book at all, but it seems like it will be such an interesting one!
3) Wench by Maxine Kaplan
This one immediately caught my attention because of the title. There have been a few books lately that have to do with this kind of Medieval or Medieval-themed setting, but this one seems a bit different since it is actually a fantasy setting. It is about a girl named Tanya who has worked at the tavern since she was young, but she is at risk of losing it all when her guardian dies. Tanya sets out on a quest to petition the queen to help her keep the tavern, facing a variety of obstacles in the process. I think I initially thought this was more along the lines of Well Met or The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly, although I haven’t read either of those yet. This book is not out until next January, so there is not too much detail about it yet, but the early reviews seem quite mixed. I’m definitely curious to find out more about it closer to the release date, and I’m especially interested in seeing more reviews. I don’t think I’ve ever read a fantasy book that has been based on this kind of premise, and it sounds so intriguing.
4) The Guest by Cathryn Grant
This is one of the many thrillers that I added to my TBR, and I think I discovered it because it came up on my Goodreads feed. This one is about a woman named Ellie, who owns a successful art gallery, and is happily married to Seth, with whom she has two children, Brandon and Simone. Ellie starts to notice that Seth seems distracted and distant lately, and it doesn’t help when he invites a mysterious stranger named Ace to stay with them. Ellie soon finds herself attracted to Ace, while also suspecting he has some kind of strange agenda. When a student at her son’s school is murdered, Ellie is devastated to learn that the police think Brandon may have been involved, and decides to search for the truth and clear her son’s name. I tend to love thrillers that have this kind of storyline, involving a parent trying to come to terms with the idea that their child may have done something horrible. Some of my favourite thrillers (Defending Jacob, for example) have followed this premise, and I’m curious to see how this one will play out. This one is a little on the shorter side, at only 270 pages, so I’m a little worried that it will not be enough time for the plot to really develop.
5) The Dream Job by Kiersten Modglin
I’ve been really interested in reading books that deal with office politics, and I think it is such a fascinating backdrop for a thriller. It is about a woman named Autumn, who has changed her name to Lark to distance herself from her former life. Desperate for a job, she interviews at a mysterious company and jumps at the chance to work for them when she is offered an excellent salary. Lark soon learns that this company has a bizarre hiring process, where she must be locked in a luxury cabin with five strangers, known only by codenames, and led by a cryptic figure called Mr. X. Lark has to compete with the others for the job through a series of challenges, and none of them are allowed to keep their phones. When Lark sees something that she shouldn’t, she begins to ask questions that may put her in grave danger, if she decides to continue pursuing the truth. I have a few thrillers by this author on my TBR already, but I have not tried any of them yet. This one sounds particularly intriguing because I tend to love this kind of locked-door setting for a mystery/thriller. I guess this isn’t quite the “office politics” story that I originally thought, but it sounds just as interesting.
6) 4 Riverside Close by Diana Wilkinson
This one, predictably, caught my attention because of the creepy-looking houses on the cover. I still don’t know why these covers always draw me in! The Goodreads synopsis was pretty vague, so I ended up garnering a bit more information from some of the reviewers instead. The book focuses on the residents of a North London neighbourhood who have signed up to be part of a social network called Join Me, which is run by a couple named Caroline and Jason. The aim of the network is to match people of the opposite sex and offer opportunities for them to meet in-person and visit tourist attractions around London together. When Jason’s body is discovered in a house, everyone in the neighbourhood becomes a suspect, as does his wife. It is a bit of a difficult one to describe because I found the descriptions a bit confusing, but I’m very interested in trying it because I love thrillers that focus on social media. I’m hoping this will make more sense when I actually pick it up, but I’m sure it will!
7) A Million Reasons Why by Jessica Strawser
I may need to add Jessica Strawser to my list of priority authors to try next year, since I have all of her books on my TBR already! This one is her upcoming 2021 release, due out in March, so it may be a little early to add this one, but I wanted to keep it in mind. This book is about a woman named Caroline who is living a happy life with her husband and children, but soon finds it turned upside down when she is contacted by Sela, who claims to be her half-sister who found her due to a DNA test for an ancestry site. Sela needs a kidney transplant and, with the rest of her life crumbling, she worries about what will happen to her young son if she cannot find a donor in time. If Caroline really is her blood relative, she might be her best option to find a match, but it is also a big thing to ask someone she has never met, and Sela is hesitant to even bring it up. As her health begins to deteriorate, she is left with little choice, but at the same time, Caroline begins to uncover hidden secrets about her parents and her newfound sister. This is the first of Jessica Strawser’s books that is not tagged as a thriller, but it brings up the same kind of ethical dilemma kind of plotline that I love in Jodi Picoult’s books, so I’m very intrigued to try it.
8) The Long Shadow by Anne Buist
This is another one that drew me in because of the cover art, and especially once I saw that the main character was a psychologist. It is about a woman named Isabel who has come to a town called Riley because her husband is assessing the hospital, which might close down. Isabel, a mother to a toddler herself, is running a mother-baby therapy group, but on her first day, she finds an anonymous note from one of the mothers warning her that “the baby killer” will soon strike again. A child had been murdered in this town once before, and Isabel wonders whether the note is a serious threat or if it is an attempt to scare her husband off of closing down the hospital. As Isabel begins to learn more about the women in her group, she starts to believe that the murder that took place in the past might be the key to preventing any further harm. This sounds like such an intriguing premise, and I love the group therapy setting! As someone who studied psychology myself, I love seeing characters who are in that field. It’s not a thriller that I’d heard much about, possibly because it is from Australia, but it sounds very good. Also, another fun fact that I just discovered is that the author is married to Graeme Simsion, who wrote The Rosie Project!
9) The Mothers by Sarah J. Naughton
I added this one to my TBR because it has been compared to Big Little Lies, which I loved, and several other thrillers that are pretty high on my list. It’s another case where the Goodreads synopsis was so vague, so I had to dig a bit to find out more. It is about a group of women who met at a group for expecting mothers, and their friendship endures. When Bella’s husband Ewan goes missing, the police begin to ask questions, and soon realize that the stories they are getting from Bella and from her friends don’t quite add up. The story is told in dual timeline, focusing on the present-day investigations of Ewan’s disappearance, and flashbacks to the past where we find out more about Bella and the other women. I found it a little frustrating that I couldn’t get a clearer idea of what the book was really about. I didn’t want to delve too far into the reviews because I’ve had a lot of bad luck lately with accidentally spoiling myself for books by doing that, and it’s especially irritating when it is a thriller. Given the comparisons to Big Little Lies, I’m expecting to really enjoy this one too.
10) The Code for Love and Heartbreak by Jillian Cantor
Aside from thrillers, I also added a handful of YA and contemporary romances to my TBR. I can’t remember exactly where I saw this one either, but it looks so cute! This book is about a math genius named Emma, who is tasked with creating a matchmaking app with George, her Coding Club co-president. Emma aims to use algorithms to calculate people’s compatibility, but George hates the idea of meddling in other people’s lives. At first, the app seems to be a huge success but when the couples who are supposed to be perfectly matched start breaking up, Emma is at a loss and can’t figure out why her math has failed, especially when her own feelings defy any calculations. This book has been pitched as a modernized version of Jane Austen’s Emma, which I haven’t read, but I feel like I’m going to have to pick up sometime soon. I keep seeing so many books compared to Emma, and it would probably help to have some familiarity with the original, although it doesn’t seem necessary. This book reminds me a bit of The Rosie Project in terms of its concept, which is one of my favourite books, and I’m looking forward to giving this one a try.
11) Twice Shy by Sarah Hogle
I added this one to my TBR immediately upon seeing it, even though I haven’t read Sarah Hogle’s debut yet! I keep hearing great things about it though, but I’m pretty confident I’m going to like it. This book is due out next April, and it is about a woman named Maybell, who inherits an old manor from her eccentric Great Aunt Violet, and decides that it is the perfect chance to get a fresh start. When she arrives at her new home, she is surprised to see that the building is falling apart, and the groundskeeper Wesley seems to want nothing to do with her. Great Aunt Violet has also left Maybell with a list of tasks that she must complete within six months if she wants to keep control of the estate, and she needs Wesley’s help to accomplish them all. The more she gets to know Wesley, the more Maybell begins to realize that his avoidance may be the result of anxiety even worse than her own panic attacks, and she starts to think they have more in common than they realized. I’m not the most interested in “bucket list” kind of plots, but this one just sounds too good to pass up! I may need to add both of Sarah Hogle’s books to my TBR for next year.
12) Thoughts & Prayers by Bryan Bliss
I only discovered this one within the past couple of days, and the title immediately caught my attention. This one is about Claire, Eleanor and Brezzen (or possibly Brendan? The synopsis says Brezzen, but the reviews all say Brendan), who have little in common except for the fact that they all hid together during a school shooting that took the lives of several classmates. Each of them copes with the trauma as best as they can as the world keeps moving on around them. I was especially intrigued by this one because the synopsis referred to it as a “the story of what happens after the reporters leave and the news cycle moves on to the next tragedy.” That sounds like such an intriguing perspective, and one that I really have not seen before. I have read a few books that deal with school shootings, usually from the perspective of a survivor in the immediate aftermath, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a story that follows the long-term impact. It sounds like such an interesting and unique book, and I’m very interested in trying it.