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Sting-Ray Afternoons: A Memoir by Steve Rushin

With hundreds of books hitting bookstore shelves every month, it can be difficult to sift through new releases for the best finds. That’s why we’ve done the heavy lifting for you! Here are ten of the most popular novels that were published in July

Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine

A few weeks ago, we interviewed Rachel Caine on BubbleLife before she released her newest work, Stillhouse Lake. Since then, the novel has received quite a bit of praise from readers. The novel follows Gina Royal, a Midwestern housewife whose life is thrown into turmoil when her husband is found to be a secret serial killer.  As if being a mom isn’t hard enough, Gina must now learn to fight for her children’s lives.

“In this rapid-fire thriller…Caine spins a powerful story of maternal love and individual self-realization.” - Publishers Weekly

Final Girls by Riley Sager

When Stephen King hails a book as “the first great thriller of 2017,” then you know it has got to be a worthwhile read. Sager’s novel tells the tale of a college student who went on vacation with her five friends… and came back alone. She was the one survivor in a horrifying massacre, and now she must attempt to put her ever-present nightmares behind her. Unfortunately, they begin to seem more real than ever.

“The tale builds to a fantastic conclusion that will have readers thinking of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl and Paula Hawkins’s The Girl on the Train… This brilliant horror/psychological thriller will fly off the shelves.” - Library Journal

What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum

In the mood for a charming, funny piece of young adult fiction? Then look no further: Buxbaum’s What to Say Next is equal parts emotional and funny as it tackles the struggles teens often face. High school junior Kit Klowell lost her father in a recent car accident, and now she’s having a difficult time handling the social pressures of school and friends. Buxbaum’s insight into the teen psyche, as well as the tenuous relationships formed during high school, will strike teen and adult readers alike.

“Heartfelt, charming, deep, and real. I love it with all my heart.” - Jennifer Niven, New York Times bestselling author of All the Bright Places

The Life She Was Given by Ellen Marie Wiseman

Acclaimed author Ellen Marie Wiseman’s most recent novel is packed with tender, heartbreaking moments, as well as an indomitable sense of hope. Lily Blackwood, a young woman living in the Depression, was sold to the circus when she was young. She becomes one of the circus’ biggest stars after she discovers a rare affinity for animals.  Meanwhile, Julia Blackwood’s life is full of strict rules and boundaries back at her parents' estate. Wiseman brings the two girls together in an extraordinary way that will leave you impressed.

“Wiseman offers heartbreaking and historically accurate depictions… The richly developed coal town acts as a separate, complex character; readers will want to look away even as they're drawn into a powerful quest for purpose and redemption… A powerful story.” - Publishers Weekly

The Breakdown by B.A. Paris

Many people were anxiously awaiting this book’s publication, and most of them felt that Paris exceeded expectations. A first-rate psychological thriller, The Breakdown describes a school teacher living in England who happens to leave a party during a heavy rainstorm. Of course, she decides to take a dangerous shortcut through the woods, which leads to her discovery of a ghastly scene. Mysterious and creepy, this one will have you turning pages as quickly as you can.

“A story with a ratcheting sense of unease — a tale of friendship and love, sanity and the terrible unraveling of it.” - USA Today

The Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson

This powerful Southern novel confronts various big topics, from the truth about privilege to other harsh realities. The main character, Leia Birch Briggs, is a graphic novelist who becomes pregnant with a biracial baby and must deal with her future as a single mother. When she returns to her grandmother’s house in Alabama after her death, she discovers secrets from her family’s past, as well as other hidden aspects of the world she thought she knew.

“In a story of incredible love and bravery, [Jackson] lasers through the weathered grace and mossy tradition of the contemporary south to explode its comic book dualism with blistering genius… Imagine Flannery O’Connor in a Wonder Woman suit, and you’ll get close to the big heart of this brilliant book.” - Lydia Netzer, author of Shine Shine Shine 

The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

Although most wouldn’t know it, there are a handful of people living in modern-day New York who have magical abilities. The Mageus, as they are called, are confined to the island by a dark energy barrier. Esta, a talented thief, has been raised to steal from those who created the barrier in hopes of uncovering hidden secrets. In doing so, she’ll face betrayal, danger, and of course, magic. Maxwell’s story is both enchanting and entertaining, as well as packed with characters you’ll grow to love.

"This twisty tale of alchemy and magic in Gilded Age New York will keep you guessing until the very last page." - Cinda Williams Chima, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author

Spoonbenders by Daryl Gregory

Teddy Telemachus, Gregory’s main character, is a charming man with a knack for sleight of hand. When he has the opportunity to participate in a government study about telekinesis, he leaps at the chance. There, he meets Maureen, who has genuine powers and intense blue eyes. From then on, his life is changed forever. Fast-forward a bit and the two are married with three children who are anything but normal, and the story really begins. 

“Masterful... gracefully balances the outrageous melodrama of Chicago mobsters and shadowy government agencies with the ordinary mysteries of family dynamics... Readers will emerge from the fray sure they know each Telemachus down to the smudges on their hearts. A skillfully written family drama that employs quirk and magic with grace.” - Kirkus Reviews (Starred)

Sting-Ray Afternoons: A Memoir by Steve Rushin

Rushin tells a story of road trips, cartoons, and childhood in the 1970s. It’s not just any story; it’s his. His witty commentary on youth culture forty years ago will have you laughing out loud and taking a step back in time. With anecdotes about his family and friends, Rushin weaves a story full of truth and love.

"Magnificent... You will not read a better book this summer - and maybe well into the fall and winter, too." - New York Post

The Late Show by Michael Connelly

Connelly’s protagonist, the fierce young Detective Ballard, works the night shift in Hollywood. After filing a sexual harassment complaint against a supervisor, she is assigned the job as punishment. One night, she catches two assignments that she just can’t turn over to the day shift. She sets out to solve some terrible mysteries (and break some rules in the process).

"Any new book by Michael Connelly is a cause for celebration." - Jackie Cooper, Huffington Post

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