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With more than a thousand books publishing in July 2021 alone, we thought we’d narrow the list down for readers looking for something new to read. We’ve compiled the 30 most intriguing 2021 book releases for July!
We chose based on the focus of this site, but we still included a large variety. We picked Historical Fiction, Romance (typically more on the sweet side than the steamy), YA books, Fantasy, Mystery, Women’s Fiction, and more. So, there’s plenty of great books to choose from!
RELATED: New Fiction Book Reviews: 10 Historical Fiction, Romance, And More Books You Need To Read
If you have a new book recommendation, and it’s not on the list, let us know! We’re always on the hunt for new books, and with numerous books published each month, it is easy for many to fall under our radar.
(Note: We have not read all the books on this list. We selected based on research and what sounds good to us and what we think readers of Silver Petticoat will enjoy! We cannot vouch for the quality of the books or the content.)
TOP 30 NEW BOOK RELEASES FOR JULY 2021
#1 Capture The Crown
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, YA
Publication Date: July 6, 2021, by Harper Voyager
Bestselling author Jennifer Estep returns to her Crown of Shards world with an all-new trilogy and a bold new heroine who protects her kingdom from magic, murder, and mayhem by moonlighting as a spy.
Gemma Ripley has a reputation for being a pampered princess who is more interested in pretty gowns, sparkling jewelry, and other frivolous things than learning how to rule the kingdom of Andvari. But her carefully crafted persona is just an act to hide the fact that Gemma is a powerful mind magier—and a spy.
Gemma is undercover, trying to figure out who is stealing large amounts of tearstone from one of the Ripley royal mines when she encounters Prince Leonidas Morricone of Morta—her mortal enemy. Gemma tries to steer clear of the handsome prince, but when she finds herself behind enemy lines, she reluctantly joins forces with Leo. Also coming to Gemma’s aid is Grimley, her beloved gargoyle.
Despite the fact that Andvari and Morta are old, bitter enemies, a dangerous attraction sparks between Gemma and Leo. Further complicating matters is Leo’s murderous family, especially Queen Maeven Morricone, the mastermind behind the infamous Seven Spire massacre.
The closer Gemma gets to the stolen tearstone, the more deadly plots she uncovers. Everyone is trying to capture the crown, but only one queen can sit on the throne …
Why You Should Check It Out: This book is full of thrilling action, magic, and romance and is for all fantasy lovers who want to read a story about princesses, spies, and lots of cute romance. It’s a coming-of-age YA story, so expect it to read on the younger side. There is some violence, though.
#2 A Cup of Silver Linings (DOVE POND #2)
Genres: Magical Realism, Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: July 6, 2021, by Gallery Books
New York Times bestselling author Karen Hawkins returns to her beloved Dove Pond series with another “mesmerizing fusion of the mystical and the everyday” (Susan Andersen, New York Times bestselling author)—but this time, the magic is in the tea leaves.
Ava Dove—the sixth of the seven famed Dove sisters and owner of Ava Dove’s Landscaping and Specialty Teas—is frantic.
Just as her fabulous new tearoom is about to open, her herbal teas have gone wonky. Suddenly, her sleep-inducing tea is startling her clients awake with vivid dreams, her romance-kindling tea is causing people to blurt out their darkest secrets, and her anti-anxiety tea is making them spend hours staring into mirrors. Ava is desperate for a remedy, but her search leads her into dangerous territory, as she is forced to face a dark secret she’s been hiding for over a decade.
Meanwhile, successful architect Ellen Foster has arrived in Dove Pond to attend the funeral of her estranged daughter, Julie. Grieving deeply, Ellen is determined to fix up her daughter’s ramshackle house, sell it, and then sweep her sixteen-year-old granddaughter, Kristen, off to a saner, calmer life in Raleigh. But Kristen has other plans. Desperate to stay with her friends in Dove Pond, Kristen sets off on a quest she’s avoided her whole life—to find her never-been-there father in the hopes of winning her freedom from the grandmother she barely knows.
Together, Ava, Kristen, and Ellen embark on a reluctant but magical journey of healing, friendship, and family that will delight fans of Alice Hoffman, Kate Morton, and Sarah Addison Allen.
Why You Should Check It Out: If you haven’t read book one, good news, reviewers say you can read it as a standalone! However, you may still want to read the first book for a bit of background. Read if you’re looking for a heartwarming, cozy novel good for the soul with a touch of magic and romance on the side. And without explicit content.
Genres: YA, Romance, Fairy Tales, Fantasy
Publication Date: July 20, 2021, by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Merit Cravan refused to fulfill her obligation to marry a prince, leading to a fairy godling’s curse. She will be forced to live as a beast forever, unless she agrees to marry a man of her mother’s choosing before her eighteenth birthday.
Tevin Dumont has always been a pawn in his family’s cons. The prettiest boy in a big family, his job is to tempt naïve rich girls to abandon their engagements, unless their parents agree to pay him off. But after his mother runs afoul of the beast, she decides to trade Tevin for her own freedom.
Now, Tevin and Merit have agreed that he can pay off his mother’s debt by using his con-artist skills to help Merit find the best match . . . but what if the best match is Tevin himself?
Why You Should Check It Out: If you’re looking for a fun and clean fairy tale retelling with a cool twist, this one sounds like a good choice! It’s received good reviews so far.
#4 A Fiancée’s Guide to First Wives and Murder
Genres: Historical Fiction, Cozy Mystery, Romance, Victorian
Publication Date: July 27, 2021, by Kensington Books
In Dianne Freeman’s lighthearted mystery series set in Victorian England, the American-born Countess of Harleigh uncovers more deadly intrigue among the uppercrust…
For Frances Wynn, widow to the late Earl of Harleigh, life has a cosmopolitan flavor of late. No sooner has she sent her mother and daughter off on a shopping trip to Paris than she and her fiancé, George Hazleton, are socializing with visiting members of the Russian royal family. Yet amid this whirlwind, scandal also comes calling when Inspector Delaney turns up outside Frances’s house with a young French woman with a shocking claim: she is Mrs. George Hazelton.
As the future Mrs. George Hazelton, Frances assumes the woman is either lying or demented. “Mrs. Hazelton,” aka Irena, makes other outrageous statements. Among them, she insists that she is the illegitimate daughter of Russian royalty, that she has been abducted and held for ransom many times, and that someone is sending her threatening letters. When George arrives, he clarifies that he is certainly not married to Irena–though he can confirm her royal parentage. But even as he agrees to investigate whether Irena’s life is in danger, her claim proves tragically true. Irena is found strangled in Frances’ garden.
To uncover a killer–and clear their own names–Frances and George must determine which of Irena’s outlandish stories were based in fact, and who stood to benefit from her death. And as the search reaches a shocking conclusion, they may find that villainy lurks all too close to home…
Why You Should Check It Out: It may be book four in a series, but the description makes it seem like readers could enjoy it as a standalone – or maybe this will entice you to check out the rest of the Countess of Harleigh Mystery book series. It sounds like Downton Abbey meets a charming British mystery show. We’re in!
#5 The Forest of Vanishing Stars
Genres: Historical Fiction, WWII
Publication Date: July 6, 2021, by Gallery Books
After being stolen from her wealthy German parents and raised in the unforgiving wilderness of eastern Europe, a young woman finds herself alone in 1941 after her kidnapper dies. Her solitary existence is interrupted, however, when she happens upon a group of Jews fleeing the Nazi terror. Stunned to learn what’s happening in the outside world, she vows to teach the group all she can about surviving in the forest—and in turn, they teach her some surprising lessons about opening her heart after years of isolation. But when she is betrayed and escapes into a German-occupied village, her past and present come together in a shocking collision that could change everything.
Inspired by incredible true stories of survival against staggering odds, and suffused with the journey-from-the-wilderness elements that made Where the Crawdads Sing a worldwide phenomenon, The Forest of Vanishing Stars is a heart-wrenching and suspenseful novel from the #1 internationally bestselling author whose writing has been hailed as “sweeping and magnificent” (Fiona Davis, New York Times bestselling author), “immersive and evocative” (Publishers Weekly), and “gripping” (Tampa Bay Times).
Why You Should Check It Out: The historical fiction novel has made numerous best books of the summer lists and has received strong reviews. So, if you love WWII fiction, this one is probably a great choice. Content warning – there are a couple of brief sex scenes and descriptions of violent acts.
#6 Half Sick of Shadows
Genres: Fairy Tales, Retellings, Fantasy, Arthurian
Publication Date: July 6, 2021, by Ace Books
The Lady of Shalott reclaims her story in this bold feminist reimagining of the Arthurian myth from the New York Times bestselling author of Ash Princess.
Everyone knows the legend. Of Arthur, destined to be a king. Of the beautiful Guinevere, who will betray him with his most loyal knight, Lancelot. Of the bitter sorceress, Morgana, who will turn against them all. But Elaine alone carries the burden of knowing what is to come–for Elaine of Shalott is cursed to see the future.
On the mystical isle of Avalon, Elaine runs free and learns of the ancient prophecies surrounding her and her friends–countless possibilities, almost all of them tragic.
When their future comes to claim them, Elaine, Guinevere, Lancelot, and Morgana accompany Arthur to take his throne in stifling Camelot, where magic is outlawed, the rules of society chain them, and enemies are everywhere. Yet the most dangerous threats may come from within their own circle.
As visions are fulfilled and an inevitable fate closes in, Elaine must decide how far she will go to change destiny–and what she is willing to sacrifice along the way.
Why You Should Check It Out: If you love the poem “The Lady of Shalott” or enjoy Arthurian retellings, this new book sounds like the perfect choice. It’s one of the new book releases we’re most excited about! Warning: There is some violence, but the sexual content is behind closed doors.
#7 How Sweet It Is
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Chick Lit, Rom-com
Publication Date: July 13, 2021, by Forever
What happens when the queen of romance falls for the king of horror–you get “a hilarious rom-com comp,” perfect for fans of Beach Read. (Kirkus, starred review)
Event planner Kate Sweet is famous for creating the perfect happily-ever-after moment for her clients’ dream weddings. So how is it that her best friend has roped her into planning a bestselling horror writer’s book launch extravaganza? But the second Kate meets—or rather, accidentally maims—the drop-dead-hot Drake Matthews, her well-ordered life quickly transforms into an absolute nightmare.
Drake Matthews is tired of the spotlight and tired of his reputation as the Knight of Nightmares. He’s really a nice guy! But he’s not prepared for Kate, a fearless agent of chaos in steel-tipped stilettos, or for that sweet sting of attraction he feels for her. She’s inspiring him to take his writing in a whole new direction—one that no one expects. Because now Kate and Drake are changing up the rules, and this plot twist might just surprise everyone . . . including themselves.
Why You Should Check It Out: It has excellent reviews (including a Kirkus starred review) and features in a couple of must-read lists for July. Besides that, it sounds like a fun, humorous romance with small-town charm. Content warning – the romance is a slow burn, but it builds up to some steam.
#8 The Ice Swan
Genres: Historical Fiction, Romance, Christian Fiction
Publication Date: July 6, 2021, by Thomas Nelson
Amid the violent last days of the glittering Russian monarchy, a princess on the run finds her heart where she least expects it.
1917, Petrograd. Fleeing the murderous flames of the Russian Revolution, Princess Svetlana Dalsky hopes to find safety in Paris with her mother and sister. But the city is buckling under the weight of the Great War, and the Bolsheviks will not rest until they have erased every Russian aristocrat from memory. Svetlana and her family are forced into hiding in Paris’s underbelly, with little to their name but the jewels they sewed into their corsets before their terrifying escape.
Born the second son of a Scottish duke, the only title Wynn MacCallan cares for is that of surgeon. Putting his talents with a scalpel to good use in the hospitals in Paris, Wynn pushes the boundaries of medical science to give his patients the best care possible. After treating Svetlana for a minor injury, he is pulled into a world of decaying imperial glitter. Intrigued by this mysterious, cold, and beautiful woman, Wynn follows Svetlana to an underground Russian club where drink, dance, and questionable dealings collide on bubbles of vodka.
Out of money and options, Svetlana agrees to a marriage of convenience with the handsome and brilliant Wynn, who will protect her and pay off her family’s debts. It’s the right thing for a good man to do, but Wynn cannot help hoping the marriage will turn into one of true affection. When Wynn’s life takes an unexpected turn, so does Svetlana’s—and soon Paris becomes as dangerous as Petrograd. And as the Bolsheviks chase them to Scotland, Wynn and Svetlana begin to wonder if they will ever be able to outrun the love they are beginning to feel for one another.
Why You Should Check It Out: If you’re looking for a good book club book or enjoy well-researched historical novels with an epic romance, this one’s for you! Publishers Weekly says, “fans of historical romance should snap this up.”
#9 If It Rains
Genres: Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction
Publication Date: July 6, 2021, by Tyndale
A story of resilience and redemption set against one of America’s defining moments—the Dust Bowl.
It’s 1935 in Oklahoma, and lives are determined by the dust. Fourteen-year-old Kathryn Baile, a spitfire born with a severe clubfoot, is coming of age in desperate times. Once her beloved older sister marries, Kathryn’s only comfort comes in the well-worn pages of her favorite book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Then Kathryn’s father decides to relocate to Indianapolis, and only the promise of a surgery to finally make her “normal” convinces Kathryn to leave Oklahoma behind. But disaster strikes along the way, and Kathryn must rely on her grit and the ragged companions she meets on the road if she is to complete her journey.
Back in Boise City, Melissa Baile Mayfield is the newest member of the wealthiest family in all of Cimarron County. In spite of her poor, rural upbringing, Melissa has just married the town’s most eligible bachelor and is determined to be everything her husband—and her new social class—expects her to be. But as the drought tightens its grip, Henry’s true colors are revealed. Melissa covers her bruises with expensive new makeup and struggles to reconcile her affluent life with that of her starving neighbors. Haunted by the injustice and broken by Henry’s refusal to help, Melissa secretly defies her husband, risking her life to follow God’s leading.
Two sisters, struggling against unspeakable hardship, discover that even in their darkest times, they are still united in spirit, and God is still with them, drawing them home.
Why You Should Check It Out: This book seems promising for fans of inspirational historical novels. Publishers Weekly even gave it a lovely review! The Wizard of Oz connection sounds especially intriguing.
#10 Incense and Sensibility
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Chick Lit, Retellings
Publication Date: July 6, 2021, by William Morrow
Yash Raje, California’s first Indian-American gubernatorial candidate, has always known exactly what he wants—and how to use his privileged background to get it. He attributes his success to a simple mantra: control your feelings and you can control the world. But when a hate crime at a rally critically injures his friend, Yash’s easy life suddenly feels like a lie, his control an illusion. When he tries to get back on the campaign trail, he blacks out with panic.
Desperate to keep Yash’s condition from leaking to the media, his family turns to the one person they trust—his sister’s best friend, India Dashwood, California’s foremost stress management coach. Raised by a family of yoga teachers, India has helped San Francisco’s high strung overachievers for a decade without so much as altering her breath. But this man—with his boundless ambition, simmering intensity, and absolute faith in his political beliefs—is like no other.
Yash has spent a lifetime repressing everything to succeed, including their one magical night ten years ago—a too brief, too bright passion that if rekindled threatens to destroy the dream he’s willingly shouldered for his family and community . . . until now.
Why You Should Check It Out: If you love Austen retellings and everything Austenesque, this contemporary romance novel sounds like a fun, romantic read! It’s also Amazon Editor’s Pick for the best romance book of July. Based on reader reviews, it’s overall a clean read.
#11 It’s Better This Way
Genres: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: July 13, 2021, by Ballantine Books
After her marriage ends, one woman’s struggle to pick up the pieces finally leads to a new beginning but is the past truly behind her? #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber explores the powerful intersections of love and family in this poignant novel.
It’s been nearly six years since Julia Jones had her heart broken. After her husband became involved with another woman, she did everything she could to save their marriage, to no avail. Their two daughters continue to stand by Julia in the wake of their father’s behavior—and they’ve had a tough time getting along with the “other woman” who became their stepmother. Distraught after selling the family home, Julia moves into a condominium complex that offers the warmth and charm of a fresh start. Now, having settled into her new community and sold her successful interior design business, she’s embraced a fulfilling new life, one that doesn’t seem to need a man in it. Her beloved father’s trusty saying is ringing truer than ever: It’s better this way.
But when Julia meets a handsome new resident in the building’s exercise room, she can’t help but be drawn to him. Heath Johnson is a welcome change from the men she’s encountered on the occasional—mostly disastrous—dates her sister has eagerly planned for her over the years. As she and Heath, a divorcé himself, begin to grow close, their friendship blossoms into an unexpected love. However, they soon realize that combining families proves to be a challenge, even though their four children are adults.
When a dramatic revelation threatens the happiness they’ve found, Julia and Heath must reconcile their love for their children with their love for each other. If they can’t, their bright future together may be nothing but a dream.
Why You Should Check It Out: This one’s for readers who enjoy clean, heartwarming romances for middle-aged women. Debbie Macomber is a popular author who continues to tell lovely light-hearted stories.
#12 The Lights of Sugarberry Cove
Genres: Magical Realism, Women’s Fiction, Contemporary
Publication Date: July 20, 2021, by Forge Books
The Lights of Sugarberry Cove is a charming, delightful story of family, healing, love, and small town Southern charm by USA Today bestselling author Heather Webber.
Sadie Way Scott has been avoiding her family and hometown of Sugarberry Cove, Alabama, since she nearly drowned in the lake just outside her mother’s B&B. Eight years later, Sadie is the host of a much-loved show about southern cooking and family, but despite her success, she wonders why she was saved. What is she supposed to do?
Sadie’s sister, Leala Clare, is still haunted by the guilt she feels over the night her sister almost died. Now, at a crossroads in her marriage, Leala has everything she ever thought she wanted—so why is she so unhappy?
When their mother suffers a minor heart attack just before Sugarberry Cove’s famous water lantern festival, the two sisters come home to run the inn while she recovers. It’s the last place either of them wants to be, but with a little help from the inn’s quirky guests, the sisters may come to terms with their strained relationships, accept the past, and rediscover a little lake magic.
Why You Should Check It Out: It sounds like a light, sweet read full of enjoyable magical realism Fried Green Tomatoes fans should like.
#13 THE MIXTAPE
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Chick Lit, Multicultural Romance, Mental Health
Publication Date: July 1, 2021, by Montlake
Since the death of his twin brother, Oliver’s caught between pleasing his fans and finding himself. Emery finds him first.
Emery has never felt more alone. Raising her daughter is both her pleasure and her pain as she struggles to hold on to her job as a bartender and keep a roof over their heads. With no one to help them—no support system—any unexpected expense or late bill could turn their whole world upside down.
Reeling from the death of his twin brother and bandmate, rock star Oliver Smith is trying to drink his problems away. Apparently he isn’t very good at it; they follow him wherever he goes. Also in hot pursuit are the paparazzi, who catch Oliver at his lowest low.
He could have walked into any bar in California, but he walked into hers. Emery helps Oliver lose the crowd, and they find themselves alone: two people whose paths are marked with loss and pain. However, they hold an unshakable hope for healing. They find solace together, but can their love withstand the world?
Why You Should Check It Out: Publishers Weekly gave this already #1 bestseller in romance a starred review, and it already has more than 4,000 ratings on Amazon. If you love romances that deal with mental health and healing, check this one out.
Content Warning/Trigger Warning: There is talk of different types of abuse (including rape). There are a couple of sex scenes, but the story’s focus is more on the characters than on graphic love scenes.
#14 Radar Girls
Genres: Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction, WWII
Publication Date: July 27, 2021, by MIRA
An extraordinary story inspired by the real Women’s Air Raid Defense, where an unlikely recruit and her sisters-in-arms forge their place in WWII history.
Daisy Wilder prefers the company of horses to people, bare feet and salt water to high heels and society parties. Then, in the dizzying aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Daisy enlists in a top secret program, replacing male soldiers in a war zone for the first time. Under fear of imminent invasion, the WARDs guide pilots into blacked-out airstrips and track unidentified planes across Pacific skies.
But not everyone thinks the women are up to the job, and the new recruits must rise above their differences and work side by side despite the resistance and heartache they meet along the way. With America’s future on the line, Daisy is determined to prove herself worthy. And with the man she’s falling for out on the front lines, she cannot fail. From radar towers on remote mountaintops to flooded bomb shelters, she’ll need her new team when the stakes are highest. Because the most important battles are fought—and won—together.
This inspiring and uplifting tale of pioneering, unsung heroines vividly transports the reader to wartime Hawaii, where one woman’s call to duty leads her to find courage, strength and sisterhood.
Why You Should Check It Out: If you want to read a transporting novel about a little-known moment in women’s history, this one sounds like a good choice! It has some romance on the side too. The book has many great reviews recommending it.
#15 Radha and Jai’s Recipe for Romance
Genres: YA Contemporary Romance, Rom-com
Publication Date: July 13, 2021, by Crown Books for Young Readers
To All the Boys I Loved Before meets World of Dance in this delectable love story that combines food, dance, and a hint of drama to cook up the perfect romance.
Radha is on the verge of becoming one of the greatest kathak dancers in the world . . . until a family betrayal costs her the biggest competition of her life. Now she has left her Chicago home behind to follow her stage mom to New Jersey. At the Princeton Academy of the Arts, Radha is determined to leave performing in her past and reinvent herself from scratch.
Jai is captain of the Bollywood Beats dance team, ranked first in his class, and is an overachiever with no college plans. Tight family funds means medical school is a pipe dream, which is why he wants to make the most out of high school. When Radha enters his life, he realizes she’s the exact ingredient he needs for a show-stopping senior year.
With careful choreography, both Radha and Jai will need to face their fears (and their families) if they want a taste of a happily ever after.
Why You Should Check It Out: Bestselling authors Meg Cabot (The Princess Diaries) and Julie Murphy (Dumplin’) recommend this new YA rom-com! It’s a sweet read full of dance, culture, and romance. Read this one if you’re in the mood for a feel-good novel.
#16 The Rehearsals
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Chick Lit, Time Travel Romance
Publication Date: July 13, 2021, by Little, Brown and Company
In this delightful and romantic debut novel―with a Groundhog Day twist―a couple calls off their wedding after a disastrous rehearsal dinner, only to wake up the next morning trapped in a time loop. Together.
Two people. One wedding. No end in sight.
“Irresistible . . . A fun, yet thought-provoking, rom-com.” —Elin Hilderbrand, author of Golden Girl
“A clever, enchanting story about finding our way back to ourselves and to those we truly love.”—Sarah Haywood, author of The Cactus
“Christie writes with honesty, heart, and a great deal of charm.” —Helen Hoang, author of The Kiss Quotient
Megan Givens and Tom Prescott are heading into what is supposed to be their magical wedding weekend on beautiful San Juan Island. But with two difficult families, ten years of history, and all too many secrets, things quickly go wrong. After a disastrous rehearsal dinner they vow to call the whole thing off—only to wake up the next morning stuck together in a time loop. Are they really destined to relive the worst day of their lives, over and over? And what happens if their wedding day does arrive?
A funny, romantic, and big-hearted debut novel, The Rehearsals imagines what we might do if given a second chance at life and at love—and what it means to finally get both right.
Why You Should Check It Out: Read this new romance if you enjoy time loops and a lot of angst! Beware, there is some cheating in this novel.
#17 The Second Life of Mirielle West
Genres: Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Publication Date: July 27, 2021, by Kensington
In this thought-provoking and sensitive novel, inspired by the true story of a Louisiana leprosy hospital where patients were forcibly quarantined, acclaimed author Amanda Skenandore tells an extraordinarily timely tale of resilience, hope–and the last woman who expected to find herself in such a place…
The glamorous world of a silent film star’s wife abruptly crumbles when she’s forcibly quarantined at the Carville Lepers Home in this page-turning story of courage, resilience, and reinvention set in 1920s Louisiana and Los Angeles. Based on little-known history, this timely book will strike a chord with readers of Fiona Davis, Tracey Lange, and Marie Benedict.
Based on the true story of America’s only leper colony, The Second Life of Mirielle West brings vividly to life the Louisiana institution known as Carville, where thousands of people were stripped of their civil rights, branded as lepers, and forcibly quarantined throughout the entire 20th century.
For Mirielle West, a 1920’s socialite married to a silent film star, the isolation and powerlessness of the Louisiana Leper Home is an unimaginable fall from her intoxicatingly chic life of bootlegged champagne and the star-studded parties of Hollywood’s Golden Age. When a doctor notices a pale patch of skin on her hand, she’s immediately branded a leper and carted hundreds of miles from home to Carville, taking a new name to spare her family and famous husband the shame that accompanies the disease.
At first she hopes her exile will be brief, but those sent to Carville are more prisoners than patients and their disease has no cure. Instead she must find community and purpose within its walls, struggling to redefine her self-worth while fighting an unchosen fate.
As a registered nurse, Amanda Skenandore’s medical background adds layers of detail and authenticity to the experiences of patients and medical professionals at Carville – the isolation, stigma, experimental treatments, and disparate community. A tale of repulsion, resilience, and the Roaring ‘20s, The Second Life of Mirielle West is also the story of a health crisis in America’s past, made all the more poignant by the author’s experiences during another, all-too-recent crisis.
Why You Should Check It Out: This book would be great for a book club and the discussion that would go with it. Content/trigger warning, though, there is suicide in the novel.
#18 The Secret Path
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women’s Fiction/Chick Lit, Romantic Suspense
Publication Date: July 8, 2021, by Macmillan Australia
An old flame. A new spark.
Love can find you in the most unlikely places.
Sunday Times bestselling author Karen Swan returns with The Secret Path, taking us deep into the heart of the Costa Rican jungle – complete with her trademark romance, glamour, and jaw-dropping twists.
At only twenty, Tara Tremain has everything: she’s a trainee doctor, engaged to the man of her dreams – Alex, a passionate American biology student. But just when life seems perfect, Alex betrays her in the worst way possible.
Ten years later, she’s moved on – with a successful career, good friends and a man who loves her. But when she’s pulled back into her wealthy family’s orbit for a party in the heart of Costa Rica, she’s flung into a crisis: a child is desperately ill and the only treatment is several days’ trek away, deep in the jungle.
There’s only one person who can help – but can she trust the man who broke her heart?
Your Costa Rican adventure awaits.
Why You Should Check It Out: Based on reader reviews, this one sounds like a page-turner with a fabulous setting, mystery, suspense, adventure, and romance. Unclear if there is any explicit content.
#19 Six Crimson Cranes
Genres: YA, Romance, Fantasy, Mythology
Publication Date: July 6, 2021, by Knopf
A princess in exile, a shapeshifting dragon, six enchanted cranes, and an unspeakable curse… Drawing from fairy tales and East Asian folklore, this original fantasy from the author of Spin the Dawn is perfect for fans of Shadow and Bone.
“A dazzling fairytale full of breathtaking storytelling.” –Stephanie Garber, New York Times bestselling author of Caraval
Shiori’anma, the only princess of Kiata, has a secret. Forbidden magic runs through her veins. Normally she conceals it well, but on the morning of her betrothal ceremony, Shiori loses control. At first, her mistake seems like a stroke of luck, forestalling the wedding she never wanted. But it also catches the attention of Raikama, her stepmother.
A sorceress in her own right, Raikama banishes the young princess, turning her brothers into cranes. She warns Shiori that she must speak of it to no one: for with every word that escapes her lips, one of her brothers will die.
Penniless, voiceless, and alone, Shiori searches for her brothers, and uncovers a dark conspiracy to seize the throne. Only Shiori can set the kingdom to rights, but to do so she must place her trust in a paper bird, a mercurial dragon, and the very boy she fought so hard not to marry. And she must embrace the magic she’s been taught all her life to forswear–no matter what the cost.
Weaving together elements of The Wild Swans, Cinderella, the legend of Chang E, and the Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, Elizabeth Lim has crafted a fantasy like no other, and one that will stay with readers long after they’ve turned the last page.
Why You Should Check It Out: With fabulous reviews and an entertaining sounding plot – if you’re looking for an epic fairy tale fantasy, this one sounds very promising. Note: This is primarily a clean read, but it does have some violence.
#20 Small Favors
Genres: YA, Fantasy, Romance, Paranormal
Publication Date: July 27, 2021, by Delacorte Press
From the New York Times bestselling author of House of Salt and Sorrows comes a mesmerizing and chilling novel that’s The Village meets Needful Things about what lurks in the shadows of the people you think you know.
“Unique, enchanting, and haunting.”—Brigid Kemmerer, NYT bestselling author of the Cursebreaker series
Ellerie Downing is waiting for something to happen. Life in isolated Amity Falls, surrounded by an impenetrable forest, has a predictable sameness. Her days are filled with tending to her family’s beehives, chasing after her sisters, and dreaming of bigger things while her twin, Samuel, is free to roam as he wishes.
Early town settlers fought off monstrous creatures in the woods, and whispers that the creatures still exist keep the Downings and their neighbors from venturing too far. When some townsfolk go missing on a trip to fetch supplies, a heavy unease settles over the Falls.
Strange activities begin to plague the town, and as the seasons change, it’s clear that something is terribly wrong. The creatures are real, and they’re offering to fulfill the residents’ deepest desires, however grand, for just a small favor. These seemingly trifling demands, however, hide sinister intentions. Soon Ellerie finds herself in a race against time to stop Amity Falls, her family, and the boy she loves from going up in flames.
Why You Should Check It Out: It sounds a bit like The Village with a fantasy/fairy tale twist. This book comes from the talented bestselling author Erin A. Craig, and this one sounds like another page-turner. Warning, there is some violence in the novel.
#21 Song of the Forever Rains
Genres: High Fantasy, Romance, Adult Fiction
Publication Date: July 1, 2021, by Montlake
From the award-winning author of the Dreamland series comes a new dark romantic fantasy about a young woman finding hope in her powers of destruction.
The Thief Kingdom is a place hidden within the world of Aadlior. Many whisper of its existence, but few have found this place, where magic and pleasure abound. There, the mysterious Thief King reigns supreme with the help of the Mousai, a trio of revered and feared sorceresses.
Larkyra Bassette may be the youngest of the Mousai, but when she sings her voice has the power to slay monsters. When it’s discovered the Duke of Lachlan is siphoning a poisonous drug from the Thief Kingdom and using it to abuse his tenants, Larkyra is offered her first solo mission to stop the duke. Eager to prove herself, Larkyra accepts by posing as the duke’s potential bride. But her plans grow complicated when she finds herself drawn to Lord Darius Mekenna, Lachlan’s rightful heir. Soon she suspects Darius has his own motivations for ridding Lachlan of the corrupt duke. Larkyra and Darius must learn to trust each other if there is to be any hope of saving the people of Lachlan—and themselves.
Welcome to the world of Aadilor, where lords and ladies can be murderers and thieves, and the most alluring notes are often the deadliest. Dare to listen?
Why You Should Check It Out: This book is for fantasy romance lovers who enjoy new adult fiction. Kirkus Reviews calls it “spellbinding.” Content warning – there is a sex scene and some violence.
#22 These Hollow Vows
Genres: YA, Fantasy, Fairies/Fae, Romance
Publication Date: July 20, 2021, by HMH
From New York Times best-selling author Lexi Ryan, Cruel Prince meets A Court of Thorns and Roses in this sexy, action-packed fantasy about a girl who is caught between two treacherous faerie courts and their dangerously seductive princes.
Brie hates the Fae and refuses to have anything to do with them, even if that means starving on the street. But when her sister is sold to the sadistic king of the Unseelie court to pay a debt, she’ll do whatever it takes to get her back—including making a deal with the king himself to steal three magical relics from the Seelie court.
Gaining unfettered access to the Seelie court is easier said than done. Brie’s only choice is to pose as a potential bride for Prince Ronan, and she soon finds herself falling for him. Unwilling to let her heart distract her, she accepts help from a band of Unseelie misfits with their own secret agenda. As Brie spends time with their mysterious leader, Finn, she struggles to resist his seductive charm.
Caught between two dangerous courts, Brie must decide who to trust with her loyalty. And with her heart.
Why You Should Check It Out: The first in a duology, this fantasy novel has been praised for its worldbuilding! So, if you love books about fae, good worldbuilding, and are looking for romance, this book sounds promising!
#23 Three Words for Goodbye
Genres: Historical Fiction, WWII, Women’s Fiction
Publication Date: July 27, 2021, by William Morrow
From Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb, the bestselling authors of Meet Me in Monaco, comes a coming-of-age novel set in pre-WWII Europe, perfect for fans of Jennifer Robson, Beatriz Williams, and Kate Quinn.
Three cities, two sisters, one chance to correct the past…
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.
Why You Should Check It Out: With adventure, romance, and the promise of a Hindenburg connection, this historical fiction novel sounds intriguing! It has good reviews and book endorsements too.
#24 Too Good to Be Real
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Chick Lit, Rom-Com
Publication Date: July 6, 2021, by St. Martin’s Griffin
In her trade paperback debut, Melonie Johnson brings her signature humor, sexy romance, and strong female friendships in this hilarious romantic comedy about finding perfectly imperfect love, Too Good to Be Real.
She plans to prove there’s a dozen reasons why life isn’t like a romantic comedy, only to discover the one reason it is…
While her friends wish for meet cutes worthy of their favorite rom-coms, Julia is ready to give up on love. Swiping right has replaced getting swept off your feet and good old-fashioned romance has become, well, old-fashioned.
A writer for a popular website, love becomes the last thing on her mind when impending layoffs threaten her job. As Julia searches for the ultimate pitch to impress her boss, she stumbles upon a resort offering guests a chance to live out their romantic comedy dreams. Real life dating is so bleak, who wouldn’t want to spend a week in a fantasy rom-com world with your best friends?
At the resort, Julia literally falls into a not-quite-meet-cute involving an aggressive seagull and an adorably awkward guy named Luke who is also participating in the rom-com experience. Julia hides the fact she is there to do a story, but Luke harbors a few secrets of his own. Among further encounters with thieving seagulls, a gaggle of corgis, kisses in the rain, and even a karaoke serenade, their feelings deepen quickly. But could their love be real when they haven’t been honest about their true identities? Once the fantasy is over, can they have a relationship in the real world?
Why You Should Check It Out: With numerous strong reviews and book endorsements, this is one of the most anticipated new romance releases of 2021. If you’re in the mood for a cute escapist rom-com, this one should fit the bill. Content warning, though, there are a couple of steamy sex scenes.
#25 The War Nurse
Genres: Historical Fiction, WWI, Women’s Fiction
Publication Date: July 6, 2021, by Sourcebooks Landmark
Another gripping historical fiction masterpiece from international bestselling author Tracey Enerson Wood
She asked dozens of young women to lay their lives on the line during the Great War. Can she protect them?
Superintendent of Nurses Julia Stimson must recruit sixty-five nurses to relieve the battle-worn British, months before American troops are ready to be deployed. She knows that the young nurses serving near the front lines of will face a challenging situation, but nothing could have prepared her for the chaos that awaits when they arrive at British Base Hospital 12 in Rouen, France. The primitive conditions, a convoluted, ineffective system, and horrific battle wounds are enough to discourage the most hardened nurses, and Julia can do nothing but lead by example—even as the military doctors undermine her authority and make her question her very place in the hospital tent.
When trainloads of soldiers stricken by a mysterious respiratory illness arrive one after the other, overwhelming the hospital’s limited resources, and threatening the health of her staff, Julia faces an unthinkable choice—to step outside the bounds of her profession and risk the career she has fought so hard for, or to watch the people she cares for most die in her arms. Based on a true story, The War Nurse is a sweeping historical novel by international bestselling author Tracey Enerson Wood that takes readers on an unforgettable journey through WWI France.
Why You Should Check It Out: If you enjoy novels based on true stories or enjoyed shows like The Crimson Field, this new historical novel (with some romance) should be a good fit! It’s received good reviews so far.
#26 The Wartime Singers
Genres: Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction, WWI, Romance
Publication Date: July 8, 2021, by Aria
With war looming, can they lift the spirits of the troops?
It’s 1914 and the effects of war are reaching London. Sick and injured servicemen are returning home and Lizzie Kellaway and her godmother Margaret Penrose are determined to do their bit to help them. With Lizzie’s beautiful singing voice and Margaret’s talent for the piano, concerts in hospitals and convalescent homes offer the perfect opportunity to lift the spirits of men who have suffered so much.
When Polly Meadows‘s fiancé rejects her and leaves for the war, she doesn’t hesitate before travelling to London to be with her childhood friend, Lizzie. It isn’t long before she’s persuaded to join their efforts to entertain the troops. At least while performing Polly can forget her troubles and open her soul to the joy of singing.
But the ongoing war brings even more heartache. With all three women facing struggles, one thing is certain: these wartime singers will need each other more than ever before…
A heartwarming and gritty wartime saga, perfect for fans of Nancy Revell, Molly Green and Elaine Everest.
Why You Should Check It Out: All three main female protagonists have romances – none of which are explicit. So, if you’re in the mood for a clean, historical read, this one sounds lovely!
#27 Widows of Champagne
Genres: Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Christian Fiction, WWII, Romance
Publication Date: July 27, 2021, by Love Inspired Trade
For readers of Lilac Girls and The Lost Girls of Paris comes a captivating novel of resilience, as three generations of women battle to save their family’s vineyard during WWII.
Gabrielle Leblanc Dupree is taking her family’s future into her hands. While she should be preparing for a lavish party to celebrate two centuries of champagne making, she secretly hides Chateau Fouché-Leblanc’s most precious vintages behind a fake wall in the cellar in preparation for the looming war. But when she joins the resistance, the coveted champagne isn’t the most dangerous secret her cellar must conceal…
A former Parisian socialite, Gabrielle’s mother, Hélène, lost her husband to another war. Now her home has been requisitioned by the Germans, who pillage vineyards to satisfy the Third Reich’s thirst for the finest champagne. There’s even more at stake than Hélène dares admit. She has kept her heritage a secret…and no one is safe in Nazi-occupied France.
Josephine, the family matriarch, watches as her beloved vineyard faces its most difficult harvest yet. As her daughter-in-law and granddaughters contend with the enemies and unexpected allies in their midst, Josephine’s deep faith leads to her own path of resistance.
Across years and continents, the Leblanc women will draw on their courage and wits, determined against all odds to preserve their lives, their freedom and their legacy…
Why You Should Check It Out: If you love historical romances that are uplifting, this book could be an excellent choice for your next read.
#28 A Woman of Intelligence
Genres: Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Mystery Thriller
Publication Date: July 20, 2021, by St. Martin’s Press
From “a master of historical fiction” (NPR), Karin Tanabe’s A Woman of Intelligence is an exhilarating tale of post-war New York City, and one remarkable woman’s journey from the United Nations, to the cloistered drawing rooms of Manhattan society, to the secretive ranks of the FBI.
A Fifth Avenue address, parties at the Plaza, two healthy sons, and the ideal husband: what looks like a perfect life for Katharina Edgeworth is anything but. It’s 1954, and the post-war American dream has become a nightmare.
A born and bred New Yorker, Katharina is the daughter of immigrants, Ivy-League-educated, and speaks four languages. As a single girl in 1940s Manhattan, she is a translator at the newly formed United Nations, devoting her days to her work and the promise of world peace—and her nights to cocktails and the promise of a good time.
Now the wife of a beloved pediatric surgeon and heir to a shipping fortune, Katharina is trapped in a gilded cage, desperate to escape the constraints of domesticity. So when she is approached by the FBI and asked to join their ranks as an informant, Katharina seizes the opportunity. A man from her past has become a high-level Soviet spy, but no one has been able to infiltrate his circle. Enter Katharina, the perfect woman for the job.
Navigating the demands of the FBI and the secrets of the KGB, she becomes a courier, carrying stolen government documents from D.C. to Manhattan. But as those closest to her lose their covers, and their lives, Katharina’s secret soon threatens to ruin her.
With the fast-paced twists of a classic spy thriller, and a nuanced depiction of female experience, A Woman of Intelligence shimmers with intrigue and desire.
Why You Should Check It Out: There is a lot of buzz for this historical fiction novel. Numerous publications feature it as one of the best books of the summer, including Pop Sugar, Bookriot, and Good Morning America. So, if you love historical thrillers, this one is probably a fantastic choice.
#29 The Women’s March
Genres: Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Publication Date: July 27, 2021, by William Morrow
New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Chiaverini returns with The Women’s March, an enthralling historical novel of the woman’s suffrage movement inspired by three courageous women who bravely risked their lives and liberty in the fight to win the vote.
Twenty-five-year-old Alice Paul returns to her native New Jersey after several years on the front lines of the suffrage movement in Great Britain. Weakened from imprisonment and hunger strikes, she is nevertheless determined to invigorate the stagnant suffrage movement in her homeland. Nine states have already granted women voting rights, but only a constitutional amendment will secure the vote for all.
To inspire support for the campaign, Alice organizes a magnificent procession down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC, the day before the inauguration of President-elect Woodrow Wilson, a firm antisuffragist.
Joining the march is thirty-nine-year-old New Yorker Maud Malone, librarian and advocate for women’s and workers’ rights. The daughter of Irish immigrants, Maud has acquired a reputation—and a criminal record—for interrupting politicians’ speeches with pointed questions they’d rather ignore.
Civil rights activist and journalist Ida B. Wells-Barnett resolves that women of color must also be included in the march—and the proposed amendment. Born into slavery in Mississippi, Ida worries that white suffragists may exclude Black women if it serves their own interests.
On March 3, 1913, the glorious march commences, but negligent police allow vast crowds of belligerent men to block the parade route—jeering, shouting threats, assaulting the marchers—endangering not only the success of the demonstration but the women’s very lives.
Inspired by actual events, The Women’s March offers a fascinating account of a crucial but little-remembered moment in American history, a turning point in the struggle for women’s rights.
Why You Should Check It Out: If you’re fascinated with the history of women’s rights and want to learn more about these real and fabulous women, The Women’s March could be an excellent choice. The book has favorable reviews from Kirkus and Booklist as well.
Genres: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Publication Date: July 13, 2021, by HarperTeen
Jenny’s never had much time for boys, K-pop, or really anything besides her dream of being a professional cellist. But when she finds herself falling for a K-pop idol, she has to decide whether their love is worth the risk. A modern forbidden romance wrapped in the glamorous and exclusive world of K-pop, XOXO is perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Maurene Goo.
Jenny didn’t get to be an award-winning, classically trained cellist without choosing practice over fun. That is, until the night she meets Jaewoo. Mysterious, handsome, and just a little bit tormented, Jaewoo is exactly the kind of distraction Jenny would normally avoid. And yet, she finds herself pulled into spending an unforgettable evening wandering Los Angeles with him on the night before his flight home to South Korea.
With Jaewoo an ocean away, there’s no use in dreaming of what could have been. But when Jenny and her mother move to Seoul to take care of her ailing grandmother, who does she meet at the elite arts academy she’s just been accepted to? Jaewoo.
Finding the dreamy stranger who swept you off your feet in your homeroom is one thing, but Jaewoo isn’t just any student. Turns out, Jaewoo is a member of one of the biggest K-pop bands in the world. And like most K-pop idols, Jaewoo is strictly forbidden from dating anyone.
When a relationship means not only jeopardizing her place at her dream music school but also endangering everything Jaewoo’s worked for, Jenny has to decide once and for all just how much she’s willing to risk for love. XOXO is a new romance that proves chasing your dreams doesn’t have to mean sacrificing your heart, from acclaimed author Axie Oh.
Why You Should Check It Out: Do you love Kpop or Kdrama? This adorable sounding book should be right up your alley! It’s a clean YA romance with fabulous reviews and is also listed on YALSA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults.
Bonus: The Jane Austen Society – Paperback Release
The paperback version of this bestselling historical fiction novel is now available as of July 2021! Find out why we love this book so much in our review of The Jane Austen Society, and check it out if you haven’t read it yet.
What 2021 book releases from July do you plan to read? Do you have any other new books from July to recommend? Let us know in the comments!