Book Club Picks for July 2021

by Heather Caliendo
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Are you ready for the book club picks for July 2021 list??

How is your summer going so far? As usual, it’s really hot in Phoenix (what else is new, right?). So we’re spending plenty of time in the A/C as I catch up on my summer reading. I didn’t have a great reading month in May—I started and stopped several books—but June is already much better. And there are plenty of books to get excited about in July!

I tend to keep these lists to about five books each month. But if you’re looking for more recommendations, you can check out my huge must-read book club picks list and my summer 2021 list as well.

Let’s get to the July book club list!


Hell of a Book by Jason Mott

The synopsis is purposely vague for Hell of a Book by Jason Mott, which is done on purpose. I had to read it a couple times to get somewhat of a grasp of the plot. It sounds like a very impactful and relevant read that covers racism, police violence and more. Here’s the synopsis:

In Jason Mott’s Hell of a Book, a Black  author sets out on a cross-country publicity tour to promote his bestselling novel. That storyline drives Hell of a Book and is the scaffolding of something much larger and urgent: since Mott’s novel also tells the story of Soot, a young Black boy living in a rural town in the recent past, and The Kid, a possibly imaginary child who appears to the author on his tour.

As these characters’ stories build and build and converge, they astonish. For while this heartbreaking and magical book entertains and is at once about family, love of parents and children, art and money, it’s also about the nation’s reckoning with a tragic police shooting playing over and over again on the news. And with what it can mean to be Black in America.

Who has been killed? Who is The Kid? Will the author finish his book tour, and what kind of world will he leave behind?  Unforgettably told, with characters who burn into your mind and an electrifying plot ideal for book club discussion, Hell of a Book is the novel Mott has been writing in his head for the last ten years. And in its final twists it truly becomes its title.

You can order the book on Amazon here. The book will publish on June 29.


The Startup Wife by Tahmima Anam

I’ve heard a lot of good buzz for The Startup Wife by Tahmima Anam. A couple builds an app to replace religious rituals and they soon find themselves leading one of the most popular social media sites in the world. This one also takes a look at the tech world and marriage. Here’s the synopsis:

Meet Asha Ray.

Brilliant coder and possessor of a Pi tattoo, Asha is poised to revolutionize artificial intelligence when she is reunited with her high school crush, Cyrus Jones.

Cyrus inspires Asha to write a new algorithm. Before she knows it, she’s abandoned her PhD program, they’ve exchanged vows, and gone to work at an exclusive tech incubator called Utopia.

The platform creates a sensation, with millions of users seeking personalized rituals every day. Will Cyrus and Asha’s marriage survive the pressures of sudden fame, or will she become overshadowed by the man everyone is calling the new messiah?

In this gripping, blistering novel, award-winning author Tahmima Anam takes on faith and the future with a gimlet eye and a deft touch. Come for the radical vision of human connection, stay for the wickedly funny feminist look at startup culture and modern partnership. Can technology—with all its limits and possibilities—disrupt love?

You can order the book on Amazon here. The book will publish on July 13.


She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan

She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan is promoted as Mulan meets The Song of Achilles. That’s not something you see every day in publishing so this sounds very intriguing! It’s said to be a bold, queer, and lyrical reimagining of the rise of the founding emperor of the Ming Dynasty. Here’s the synopsis:

“I refuse to be nothing…”

In a famine-stricken village on a dusty yellow plain, two children are given two fates. A boy, greatness. A girl, nothingness…

In 1345, China lies under harsh Mongol rule. For the starving peasants of the Central Plains, greatness is something found only in stories. When the Zhu family’s eighth-born son, Zhu Chongba, is given a fate of greatness, everyone is mystified as to how it will come to pass. The fate of nothingness received by the family’s clever and capable second daughter, on the other hand, is only as expected.

When a bandit attack orphans the two children, though, it is Zhu Chongba who succumbs to despair and dies. Desperate to escape her own fated death, the girl uses her brother’s identity to enter a monastery as a young male novice. There, propelled by her burning desire to survive, Zhu learns she is capable of doing whatever it takes, no matter how callous, to stay hidden from her fate.

After her sanctuary is destroyed for supporting the rebellion against Mongol rule, Zhu takes the chance to claim another future altogether: her brother’s abandoned greatness.

You can order the book on Amazon here. The book will publish on July 20.


The Sinful Lives of Trophy Wives by Kristin Miller

The Sinful Lives of Trophy Wives by Kristin Miller sounds like one of those novels that combines domestic fiction with thriller elements. In this story, you’ll meet the trophy wives of Presidio Terrace, San Francisco’s most exclusive—and most deadly—neighborhood. Here’s the synopsis:

Mystery writer Brooke Davies is the new wife on the block. Her tech-billionaire husband, Jack, twenty-two years her senior, whisked her to the Bay Area via private jet and purchased a modest mansion on the same day. He demands perfection, and before now, Brooke has had no problem playing the role of a doting housewife. But as she befriends other wives on the street and spends considerable time away from Jack, he worries if he doesn’t control Brooke’s every move, she will reveal the truth behind their “perfect” marriage.

Erin King, famed news anchor and chair of the community board, is no stranger to maintaining an image—though being married to a plastic surgeon helps. But the skyrocketing success of her career has worn her love life thin, and her professional ambitions have pushed Mason away. Quitting her job is a Hail Mary attempt at keeping him interested, to steer him away from finding a young trophy wife. But is it enough, and is Mason truly the man she thought he was?

Georgia St. Claire allegedly cashed in on the deaths of her first two husbands, earning her the nickname “Black Widow”—and the stares and whispers of her curious neighbors. Rumored to have murdered both men for their fortunes, she claims to have found true love in her third marriage, yet her mysterious, captivating allure keeps everyone guessing. Then a tragic accident forces the residents of Presidio Terrace to ask: Has Georgia struck again? And what is she really capable of doing to protect her secrets?

You can order the book on Amazon here. The book will publish on July 20.


Three Words for Goodbye by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb

The fantastic historical fiction duo is back with their latest novel, Three Words for Goodbye. This novel is set in pre-WWII Europe and follows two sisters on an unforgettable journey. Here’s the synopsis:

New York, 1937: When estranged sisters Clara and Madeleine Sommers learn their grandmother is dying, they agree to fulfill her last wish: to travel across Europe—together. They are to deliver three letters, in which Violet will say goodbye to those she hasn’t seen since traveling to Europe forty years earlier; a journey inspired by famed reporter, Nellie Bly.

Clara, ever-dutiful, sees the trip as an inconvenient detour before her wedding to millionaire Charles Hancock, but it’s also a chance to embrace her love of art. Budding journalist Madeleine relishes the opportunity to develop her ambitions to report on the growing threat of Hitler’s Nazi party and Mussolini’s control in Italy.

Constantly at odds with each other as they explore the luxurious Queen Mary, the Orient Express, and the sights of Paris and  Venice,, Clara and Madeleine wonder if they can fulfil Violet’s wish, until a shocking truth about their family brings them closer together. But as they reach Vienna to deliver the final letter, old grudges threaten their reconciliation again. As political tensions rise, and Europe feels increasingly volatile, the pair are glad to head home on the Hindenburg, where fate will play its hand in the final stage of their journey.

You can order the book on Amazon here. The book will publish on July 27.

Happy reading!

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