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I’m finally almost caught up on my monthly reads for 2020 (so far) and July was a big reading month for me! It was the month I decided to do my thriller read-a-thon, so that’s why there are so many on this list. I was in the mood for them and I was committed to it. The two non-thrillers I started at the end of June and just finished in July. So, here is everything I read in July 2020!
Amazon Woman: Facing Fears, Chasing Dreams, and a Quest to Kayak the World’s Largest River from Source to Sea
Author: Darcy Gaechter
Genre: Non-fiction travel
About the book: On her 35th birthday, Darcy set off on a 148-day journey kayaking the entire length of the Amazon River with her boyfriend of twelve years and a mutual kayaking friend/colleague. The emotional waters encountered on the trip were often more difficult to navigate than the class five rapids on the river itself.
Along the way they encounter 25 days of whitewater rapids, illegal loggers, narco-traffickers, Shining Path rebels, ruthless poachers, and surprisingly friendly locals before reaching the triumphant end becoming the first woman to kayak the length of the Amazon River.
Final thoughts: I loved this! I love books about walking long distances and this was just a different version of that. I can’t imagine ever doing something like this and loved reading about the experience, especially as a woman doing this with two companions. It was so cool and I’m so glad I found this. Plus, I just love South America and all things Amazon, so I couldn’t not read this.
Author: Erica Ferencik
About the book: Lily found a way to escape the endless foster care system and once she steals enough money for the plane, she’s off on a teaching job in Bolivia. Once she gets there, things fall through but she decides to stay and falls for a local man trying out city life.
Soon Omar learns his nephew was killed by a jaguar and gives Lily a choice: stay in the city alone or join him in the ever more remote villages. Now she has to navigate the jungle and all it’s wonders and terrors.
Final thoughts: This was not even close to what I would call a thriller. It was entertaining enough but I definitely wouldn’t read it again. I also thought this took place over a number of years, but it was really like, one at most. If you want an actual thriller, pick something else for sure. I love all things Amazon Jungle, so I had high hopes for this and it was just fine.
Author: Megan Miranda
Rating: 4/5, maybe closer to 3.5
About the book: Nicolette Farrell left her hometown ten years ago after her best friend Corinne disappeared from Cooley Ridge without a trace.
Now she’s back to care for her sick father and tie up loose ends, but old wounds are opened when Nic’s former boyfriend’s current girlfriend goes missing within days of Nic’s return home.
Told backwards, the truth of Annaleise’s and Corinne’s disappearances is revealed.
Final thoughts: I liked the way this was written (backwards, chronologically) but I did forget that sometimes and it could be a little confusing. But overall I enjoyed it. It as a little hard to get through at some points and I thought Everett was totally unnecessary, but overall, good.
Author: Angie Kim
About the book: A group of people in a small town in Virginia know each other because they all belong to a special treatment center, a hyperbaric chamber to cure a range of conditions.
One day it explodes and two people die, but it wasn’t an accident. A showdown ensues as stories are told and secrets are revealed.
Final thoughts: I really enjoyed this one. It was more realistic on the “realistic to not at all” thriller scale. It wasn’t some wild crime, but a crime of mistakes, good intentions, and plain old greed.
Author: Alexis Schaitkin
About the book: Claire is only seven when her college-aged sister disappears at the end of a family vacation on the Caribbean Island of Saint X. Two days later they find her body on a nearby cay and two resort employees are arrested, but the evidence is slim.
Years later Claire is living in New York City when a chance encounter brings her in contact with one of the men arrested for her sisters murder. Now she sets out to find the truth while an unlikely attachment develops.
Final thoughts: I was SO excited to read this and it was another one that I’m still not sure how I feel about it. I like the concept (very Natalee Holloway if that case interested you) but it was.. strange. It goes between Claire’s present and past with Clive’s past mixed in, which was interesting, but I also didn’t really find myself caring about Clive’s past.
**MINOR SPOILERS** And you never even really find out what actually happened! It’s very vague and we’re left to fill in the blanks which I still haven’t done (in September!)
Author: Stephanie Wrobel
Rating: 4/5, maybe even 3.5
About the book: Rose Gold Watts grew up thinking she was seriously ill: allergic to everything, using a wheelchair, and practically living at the hospital. Neighbors helped anyway they could: holding fundraisers and offering shoulders to cry on.
But no matter what they did, doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with Rose Gold. Her mom, Patty Watts, was just a great liar. She spends five years in jail and has nowhere to go when she gets out.
The whole community is shocked when Rose Gold says yes, but Patty insists she just wants to make amends but Rose Gold knows Patty Watts always settles a score and she’s waited for so long for her mother to come home.
Final thoughts: This one was definitely not as thrilling as I hoped it would be. Rose Gold and her mother are both awful people so it was hard to like either of them, but at least you can see where Rose Gold is coming from and why she s the way she is. I think it could have been done better, but I did like it for what it was.
Author: J.T. Ellison
Genre: YA thriller
About the book: At the top of a hill in Marchburg, Virginia The Goode School is a prestigious prep school known as Silent Ivy. It’s a boarding school for the daughters of thee rich and influential, accepting only the best and brightest.
But now a stranger has showed up and things are changing. In a world where appearance is everything, as long as students at least pretend to follow the rules, secret societies and bad behavior are generally ignored. At least until a popular student is found dead.
Final thoughts: I loved this. It reminds me of a Pretty Little Liars standalone in it being about a bunch of rich girls in a prep school. This is a little ridiculous too, but it’s still enjoyable. Teen dramas this this and PLL are my jam though.
Author: Samantha Downing
Genre: Domestic thriller
About the book: What happens when your perfect marriage gets too boring? Murder, I guess. After fifteen years with a gorgeous woman, kids, and a life in the suburbs, they shared their darkest secrets and biggest dreams.
Everyone keeps their marriage alive somehow and they just happen to use murder for that.
Final thoughts: This was strange and pretty ridiculous but if you go into this knowing it’s not a really a scary thriller and more of a fun one, I think it’s better. It’s weird, it’s silly, and it’s not realistic at all, but it is entertaining.
Author: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Genre: YA sci-fi
About the book: This is the second book in the Aurora Cycle series (I read Aurora Rising in May) and don’t want to spoil the series (because it’s so good!) so I won’t have much of a description here.
Squad 312 is back to help save the universe (literally) as they run from the illegitimate GIA agents and real government while trying to stop an ancient evil that’s trying to take over the universe and everything that lives in it.
Final thoughts: I LOVED THIS SO MUCH. I already knew I would. I love the Illuminae series and loved Aurora Rising so this was no surprise to me.
Author: Christina McDonald
About the book: Abi Knight is startled awake in the middle of the night when her phone rings. There’s been an accident and Olivia, her daughter, fell off of a bridge. And she’s pregnant.
Olivia is now on life support to keep the baby alive when Abi notice the bruises on her wrists. The police rule the fall an accident but Abi wants to uncover the truth. Was is really an accident or was it something more sinister?
Final thoughts: This felt a little slow at the start and it took me a while to get into but I enjoyed it. The “twist” wasn’t super twisty and didn’t come out of left field, it made a lot of sense, so that was actually kind of nice that it wasn’t some wildly spun tale. It was more emotional than I anticipated but it’s very good.
What did you read in July? Have you read any of these? Which ones?