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ONTD Reading Challenge: July - Surprised Pikachu Face

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Welcome to our July Reading Challenge! We hope everybody is staying safe. This month our challenge is to read a book with a plot twist! milfordacademy and myself have come up with ten recommendations of books that fit the theme of the challenge - but as always, they are just suggestions! Please feel free to discuss what you plan on reading or any recs!

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

Working as a lady's companion, the heroine of Rebecca learns her place. Her future looks bleak until, on a trip to the South of France, she meets Max de Winter, a handsome widower whose sudden proposal of marriage takes her by surprise. She accepts, but whisked from glamorous Monte Carlo to the ominous and brooding Manderley, the new Mrs de Winter finds Max a changed man. And the memory of his dead wife Rebecca is forever kept alive by the forbidding housekeeper, Mrs Danvers…



The Secret House of Death by Ruth Rendell

Louise North doesn't care what the neighbors think. She lets her lover leave his car just outside her house in broad daylight, telling everyone a cockamamie story about him being a central heating salesman. Still, it's a shock when she's found shot dead, covered by the equally dead body of the "salesman." Now Susan Townsend—the Norths' next-door neighbor, who discovers the bodies—must help Louise's husband, Bob, get back on his feet. But is she helping a neighbor. . . or a murderer?


Innocent Blood by PD James

Adopted as a child into a privileged family, Philippa Palfrey fantasizes that she is the daughter of an aristocrat and a parlor maid. The terrifying truth about her parents and a long-ago murder is only the first in a series of shocking betrayals. Philippa quickly learns that those who delve into the secrets of the past must be on guard when long-buried horrors begin to stir.


Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

Sue Trinder is an orphan, left as an infant in the care of Mrs. Sucksby, a "baby farmer," who raised her with unusual tenderness, as if Sue were her own. Mrs. Sucksby’s household, with its fussy babies calmed with doses of gin, also hosts a transient family of petty thieves—fingersmiths—for whom this house in the heart of a mean London slum is home.

One day, the most beloved thief of all arrives—Gentleman, an elegant con man, who carries with him an enticing proposition for Sue: If she wins a position as the maid to Maud Lilly, a naïve gentlewoman, and aids Gentleman in her seduction, then they will all share in Maud’s vast inheritance. Once the inheritance is secured, Maud will be disposed of—passed off as mad, and made to live out the rest of her days in a lunatic asylum.

With dreams of paying back the kindness of her adopted family, Sue agrees to the plan. Once in, however, Sue begins to pity her helpless mark and care for Maud Lilly in unexpected ways...But no one and nothing is as it seems in this Dickensian novel of thrills and reversals.

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

In a dark, dark wood

Nora hasn't seen Clare for ten years. Not since Nora walked out of school one day and never went back.

There was a dark, dark house

Until, out of the blue, an invitation to Clare’s hen do arrives. Is this a chance for Nora to finally put her past behind her?

And in the dark, dark house there was a dark, dark room

But something goes wrong. Very wrong.

And in the dark, dark room....

Some things can’t stay secret for ever.

The Dinner by Herman Koch

It's a summer's evening in Amsterdam, and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant for dinner. Between mouthfuls of food and over the polite scrapings of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of polite discourse - the banality of work, the triviality of the holidays. But behind the empty words, terrible things need to be said, and with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened.

Each couple has a fifteen-year-old son. The two boys are united by their accountability for a single horrific act; an act that has triggered a police investigation and shattered the comfortable, insulated worlds of their families. As the dinner reaches its culinary climax, the conversation finally touches on their children. As civility and friendship disintegrate, each couple show just how far they are prepared to go to protect those they love.


The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino

Yasuko lives a quiet life, working in a Tokyo bento shop, a good mother to her only child. But when her ex-husband appears at her door without warning one day, her comfortable world is shattered.

When Detective Kusanagi of the Tokyo Police tries to piece together the events of that day, he finds himself confronted by the most puzzling, mysterious circumstances he has ever investigated. Nothing quite makes sense, and it will take a genius to understand the genius behind this particular crime…


Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke

When it comes to law and order, East Texas plays by its own rules--a fact that Darren Mathews, a black Texas Ranger, knows all too well. Deeply ambivalent about growing up black in the lone star state, he was the first in his family to get as far away from Texas as he could. Until duty called him home.

When his allegiance to his roots puts his job in jeopardy, he travels up Highway 59 to the small town of Lark, where two murders--a black lawyer from Chicago and a local white woman--have stirred up a hornet's nest of resentment. Darren must solve the crimes--and save himself in the process--before Lark's long-simmering racial fault lines erupt.

Death Notice by Zhou Haohui

The brutal murder of respected police officer Sergeant Zheng Haoming sends shock waves through Chengdu, a modern metropolis in the heart of China's stunning Sichuan province. He had been obsessed by an unsolved, eighteen-year-old murder case until an entity calling itself Eumenides (after the Greek goddess of vengeance and retribution) releases a terrifying manifesto. Is the manifesto a sick joke, or something more sinister? Soon, the public starts nominating worthy targets for Eumenides to kill, and, two days later, Sergeant Zheng is dead.

Eumenides' cunning game is only getting started. The police receive a "death notice," a chilling note announcing the the killer's next target, the crimes they have committed, and the date of their execution. The note is both a challenge and a taunt to the police. When the first victim dies in public, under their complete protection, the police are left stunned. More death notices are coming. The chase is on.


The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

The leaves were cold and slightly clammy. There was no mistaking them. She had seen their likeness painstakingly sketched in her father's journal. This was his greatest secret, his treasure and his undoing. The Tree of Lies. Now it was hers, and the journey he had never finished stretched out before her.

When Faith's father is found dead under mysterious circumstances, she is determined to untangle the truth from the lies. Searching through his belongings for clues, she discovers a strange tree. A tree that feeds off whispered lies and bears fruit that reveals hidden secrets.

But as Faith's untruths spiral out of control, she discovers that where lies seduce, truths shatter...



SOURCES 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

More book ideas:
Please use spoiler cuts when necessary... we don't want to ruin the surprise!



Also, we're past the halfway point now in this year's challenge -- how has it been going for you so far? Any notable books? What months do you still need to read for? To recap, here are the challenge themes done so far:

January: Read a Book That is Being Adapted Into a Movie or TV Show in 2020
February: My Cousin Just Moved to Nigeria to Discover New Talent
March: Everyone was Dad
April: Read a Book With a Scandalous Past
May: Real Housewives Yelling at Cat
June: Ok Boomer
Tags: books / authors, ontd original, ontd reading challenge
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