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In July, I read a lot of ARCs that I will talk about by themselves closer to the release dates. Of the 13 books that I read, these three really stood out because of the quality of their characters. Here are the highlights from a character filled month.

Remarkably Bright Creatures

Found Family – Second Chances – Octopus

Our first and best character is Marcellus the octopus. Tova, dealing with losing her husband while still reconciling with the death of her son shortly after his graduation, befriends Marcellus during her night job cleaning the local aquarium. This is just the beginning of the story for a gang of misfits and an octopus who is using all the tricks in his book to bring them together.

The Summer Skies

Scotland – Find your Bliss – Coming Home

I am a sucker for a book set in Scotland, especially if it happens on an island and is written by Jenny Colgan. In The Summer Skies, Morag heads home to help out in her family’s isle hopping flight service. The descriptions of these small islands and the life the people are living on them are beautiful and peaceful. The characters that use the plane to travel from island to island are the stars of this one. The arc of the story is pretty predictable, but it’s still an enjoyable, easy read.

The Secret Book of Flora Lea

Dual Timeline – Family Secrets – Operation Pied Piper

There have been many books that originate with the real life Operation Pied Piper, the evacuation of children from London, but this one is done with beautiful story telling. When Hazel discovers a story in a book that she believed was only know to her and her missing sister she discovers she can’t let go of the past. Even for a promising future. Hazel and her sister and the town full of characters that they escaped to during the war fill this story of perseverance and hope.