Readers' Favorite

July 31, 2019

Our Favorite Reads of July

There's always a bunch of great summer reads. Almost too many to get through in one summer. We have read and reviewed some awesome books, which makes our task of naming our favorite read of the month even more difficult. If you are looking for one more book to read before summer is over, then check out these titles.

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The Phantom Forest by Liz Kerin

I really enjoyed The Phantom Forest the best. Not that the other books this month weren't good, it was definitely a tough decision to make, but Liz Kerin's book really drew me in on several levels. I'm a fan of fairy tales, folklore, and tales from different cultures, as well as fantasy and sci-fi. There's also a thread of horror (and some body horror, tbh, but at least it's not terribly gross) so this book pings all my interests at once. Read my full review. ~ MK French

Seycia's father told her this story as a child -- a story of the most holy place in the Underworld, The Forest of Laida, where all souls go to rest before embarking on a new life. But Seycia's father is dead now, and his killer has put a target on her back.

After being chosen for her village's human sacrifice ritual, Seycia is transported to the Underworld and must join forces with Haben, the demon to whom she was sacrificed, to protect the family she left behind from beyond the grave. In this story of love, survival, and what it means to be human, Seycia and Haben discover that the Underworld is riddled with secrets that can only be unlocked through complete trust and devotion, not only to their mission, but also to one another.

Buy The Phantom Forest at Amazon

Mistress of the Ritz by Melanie Benjamin

I try to read light books during the summer but this one kept showing up in social media, so I had to give it a try and I'm sure glad I did.  I didn't mind that it was too hot to go outside for a couple of days - my mind was in Paris during WWII! This well-researched book about a little known couple from Paris is fascinating and intriguing. How they handled going from taking care of rich and important people to taking care of the Nazi hierarchy was amazing, especially since the officers tended to be very cruel to the Auzellos and everyone else in Paris. Be sure to read the Author's Notes at the end of the book to find out more about Claude and Blanche and the true story of the Ritz in WWII. ~ Susan Roberts

Nothing bad can happen at the Ritz; inside its gilded walls every woman looks beautiful, every man appears witty. Favored guests like Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Coco Chanel, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor walk through its famous doors to be welcomed and pampered by Blanche Auzello and her husband, Claude, the hotel's director. The Auzellos are the mistress and master of the Ritz, allowing the glamour and glitz to take their minds off their troubled marriage, and off the secrets that they keep from their guests--and each other.

Until June 1940, when the German army sweeps into Paris, setting up headquarters at the Ritz. Suddenly, with the likes of Hermann Goring moving into suites once occupied by royalty, Blanche and Claude must navigate a terrifying new reality. One that entails even more secrets. One that may destroy the tempestuous marriage between this beautiful, reckless American and her very proper Frenchman. For the falsehoods they tell to survive, and to strike a blow against their Nazi "guests," spin a web of deceit that ensnares everything and everyone they cherish.

But one secret is shared between Blanche and Claude alone--the secret that, in the end, threatens to imperil both of their lives, and to bring down the legendary Ritz itself.

Based on true events, Mistress of the Ritz is a taut tale of suspense wrapped up in a love story for the ages, the inspiring story of a woman and a man who discover the best in each other amid the turbulence of war.

Buy Mistress of the Ritz at Amazon

Death Comes to the Fair by Catherine Lloyd

I bought this book a while back when I saw it on the discount rack at Barnes & Noble. I haven't read any other books in this series or any other books by Catherine Lloyd, but since I have a weakness for cozy mysteries I had to buy it. I was just going to read it in the pool, but after I started it I couldn't put it down. I loved it. It might be my favorite book of the summer. I can't wait to find more books in this series as I'm quite sad I finished it so quickly. ~ Donna Huber

As Miss Lucy Harrington, daughter of the village rector, and Major Sir Robert Kurland plan their nuptials, the major is beginning to wonder if he'll ever hear wedding bells. He's seen complex military campaigns that involved less strategy, and he's finding Lucy's meddling family maddening.

When the body of Ezekiel Thurrock, the church verger, is discovered crushed by a gargoyle that has fallen from the bell tower, the wedding is delayed. But the evidence suggests this was no accident, and Lucy wonders if bad blood at the village fair had anything to do with the man's mysterious demise, since there was much bitterness over Ezekiel's prizewinning vegetables.

As Lucy and Robert uncover long-standing village feuds, the town's dark secrets begin to take their toll and the couple soon finds they too are in grave danger

Buy Death Comes to the Fair at Amazon

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  1. Oooh, I like the sound of The Phantom Forest. I love when books have a subtle horror element to them. Will have to check it out!