Saturday, July 31, 2021

Reading Wrap Up: July 2021

(books not listed on book club and challenge posts)
The Bounty
by Janet Evanovich, Steve Hamilton
Mystery, Thriller, Paris | Published: March 2021 | Goodreads | my rating: 3
amused with the banter

Straight as an arrow special agent Kate O’Hare and international con man Nick Fox have brought down some of the biggest criminals out there. But now they face their most dangerous foe yet—a vast, shadowy international organization known only as the Brotherhood.

Directly descended from the Vatican Bank priests who served Hitler during World War II, the Brotherhood is on a frantic search for a lost train loaded with $30 billion in Nazi gold, untouched for over seventy-five years somewhere in the mountains of Eastern Europe.

Kate and Nick know that there is only one man who can find the fortune and bring down the Brotherhood—the same man who taught Nick everything he knows—his father, Quentin. As the stakes get higher, they must also rely on Kate’s own father, Jake, who shares his daughter’s grit and stubbornness. Too bad they can never agree on anything.

From a remote monastery in the Swiss Alps to the lawless desert of the Western Sahara, Kate, Nick, and the two men who made them who they are today must crisscross the world in a desperate scramble to stop their deadliest foe in the biggest adventure of their lives.

The Hive
by Gregg Olsen
Mystery, Thriller | Published: June 8, 2021 | Goodreads | my rating: 4
the focus on the inner circle of a kinda cult
pulled me into this story, which had a slow reveal
ugh! for the guru

Glamorous messiah or charlatan? A mask of beauty hides deadly secrets in #1 New York Times and Amazon Charts bestselling author Gregg Olsen’s mesmerizing novel of suspense.

In the Pacific Northwest, police officer Lindsay Jackman is investigating the murder of a young journalist found at the bottom of a ravine. Lindsay soon learns that the victim was writing an exposé. Her subject: a charismatic wellness guru who’s pulled millions into her euphoric orbit…

To hear Marnie Spellman tell it, when she was a child, a swarm of bees lifted her off the ground and toward the sunlight, illuming her spiritual connection with nature—an uncanny event on which Marnie built a cosmetics empire and became a legend, a healer, and the queen of holistic health and eternal beauty. In her inner circle is an intimate band of devotees called the Hive. They share Marnie’s secrets of success—including one cloaked in darkness for twenty years.

Determined to uncover the possibly deadly mysteries of the group, Lindsay focuses her investigation on Marnie and the former members of the Hive, who are just as determined to keep Lindsay from their secrets as they are to maintain their status.

No Spring Chicken
Stories and Advice from a Wild Handicapper on Aging and Disability
by Francine Falk-Allen
Travel, Disability | Published: 2021 | Goodreads | my rating: 5
informative gem, the travel tips are helpful

As we age, we all begin to have physical difficulties to contend with. It can be challenging for spouses, children, and friends to adapt to the changes people go through as they age—to drop expectations and meet their loved ones where they are. And, often, even though the advice is well-meaning, it is unrealistic and doesn’t help solve problems.

In No Spring Chicken, Francine Falk-Allen offers her own take on navigating the complications aging brings with equanimity (and a sense of humor).

The book is divided into three sections: Part I is a jaunt through accessible travel pleasures and pitfalls; Part II addresses the adaptations caregivers can make for a mutually rewarding relationship with their loved ones, plus advice for physically challenged and aging persons themselves regarding exercise, diet, pain management, mobility, care tips and more; and Part III discusses the rewards of engaging with support groups sharing similar issues, with a little activism and advocacy thrown in for good measure.

Accessible and wryly funny, No Spring Chicken is an informative guide to living your best and longest life―whatever your physical challenges, and whatever your age.

The Personal Librarian
by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray
Historical, New York | Published: 2021 | Goodreads | my rating: 4
felt anxious throughout in fear of the Belle's secret being revealed
interesting to learn about acquisition for a private library

The remarkable, little-known story of Belle da Costa Greene, J. P. Morgan's personal librarian--who became one of the most powerful women in New York despite the dangerous secret she kept in order to make her dreams come true, from New York Times bestselling author Marie Benedict and acclaimed author Victoria Christopher Murray.

In her twenties, Belle da Costa Greene is hired by J. P. Morgan to curate a collection of rare manuscripts, books, and artwork for his newly built Pierpont Morgan Library. Belle becomes a fixture on the New York society scene and one of the most powerful people in the art and book world, known for her impeccable taste and shrewd negotiating for critical works as she helps build a world-class collection.

But Belle has a secret, one she must protect at all costs. She was born not Belle da Costa Greene but Belle Marion Greener. She is the daughter of Richard Greener, the first Black graduate of Harvard and a well-known advocate for equality. Belle's complexion isn't dark because of her alleged Portuguese heritage that lets her pass as white--her complexion is dark because she is African American.

The Personal Librarian tells the story of an extraordinary woman, famous for her intellect, style, and wit, and shares the lengths to which she must go--for the protection of her family and her legacy--to preserve her carefully crafted white identity in the racist world in which she lives.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Jane in July 2021

Jane Austen July
hosted by:
Katie @Books and Things
Marissa @Blatantly Bookish
Claudia @Spinster's Library
#JaneAustenJuly2021 (here)

I am going the Persuasion route with the challenge prompts. Starting late, so this will spill over into next month.


1. Read one of Jane Austen’s six novels
by Jane Austen
An Annotated Edition
edited by Robert Morrison
Classics, Historical, England | Published: 2011 | Goodreads

Published posthumously with Northanger Abbey in 1817, Persuasion crowns Jane Austen’s remarkable career. It is her most passionate and introspective love story. This richly illustrated and annotated edition brings her last completed novel to life with previously unmatched vitality. In the same format that so rewarded readers of Pride and Prejudice: An Annotated Edition, it offers running commentary on the novel (conveniently placed alongside Austen’s text) to explain difficult words, allusions, and contexts, while bringing together critical observations and scholarship for an enhanced reading experience. The abundance of color illustrations allows the reader to see the characters, locations, clothing, and carriages of the novel, as well as the larger political and historical events that shape its action.

In his Introduction, distinguished scholar Robert Morrison examines the broken engagement between Anne Elliot and Frederick Wentworth, and the ways in which they wander from one another even as their enduring feelings draw them steadily back together. His notes constitute the most sustained critical commentary ever brought to bear on the novel and explicate its central conflicts as well as its relationship to Austen’s other works, and to those of her major contemporaries, including Lord Byron, Walter Scott, and Maria Edgeworth.

2. Read something by Jane Austen that is not one of her main six novels

A Tale.
part of Love And Friendship And Other Early Works
A Collection of Juvenile Writings
by Jane Austen
online from Project Gutenberg's Complete Works of Jane Austen (here)
ha! amusing little bitty story

3. Read a non-fiction work about Jane Austen or her time
Who Was Jane Austen
by Sarah Fabiny
Biography, Childrens | Published: 2017 | Goodreads | my rating: 5
quick bio bits, loved the illustrations

Jane Austen
(Little People, Big Dreams)
by Mª Isabel Sánchez Vegara
Biography, Childrens | Published: 2018 | Goodreads | my rating: 5
little gem with color illustrations
4. Read a retelling of a Jane Austen book
Recipe for Persuasion
(The Rajes #2)
by Sonali Dev
Romance, Contemporary, Retelling - Persuasion by Jane Austen
Published: 2020 | Goodreads | my rating: 4
second chances with more than one relationship, enjoyed the cooking reality tv show element
note: some dark experiences mentioned

Where The Rhythm Takes You
by Sarah Dass
YA, Romance, Retelling - Persuasion by Jane Austen | Published: 2021 | Goodreads

5. Read a book by a contemporary of Jane Austen
by Maria Edgeworth
Classics, Romance, England | Published: 2009 (first 1801) | Goodreads

6. Watch a direct screen adaptation of a Jane Austen book
Persuasion (1971)
Director: Howard Baker
Writer: Julian Mitchell
Based on book by: Jane Austen
Stars: Ann Fairbank, Bryan Marshall
History, Romance | imdb | my rating: 4

Eight years earlier, Anne Elliot, the daughter of a financially troubled aristocratic family, was persuaded to break off her engagement to Frederick Wentworth, a young seaman, who, though promising, had poor family connections. When her father rents out the family estate to Admiral Croft, Anne is thrown into company with Frederick, because his sister is Mrs. Croft. Frederick is now a rich and successful Captain, and a highly eligible bachelor. Whom will he marry? One of Anne's sister's husband's sisters? Or will he and Anne rekindle the old flame?

A lot of long walks including a super sweet one with Captain Wentworth towards the end makes this version a bit tedious. But Anne in a couple atrocious dresses and big hair adds to the amusement of it all.

7. Watch a modern screen adaptation of a Jane Austen book
Modern Persuasion (2020)
Directors: Alex Appel, Jonathan Lisecki
Writers: Jonathan Lisecki, Barbara Radecki
Based on book by: Jane Austen
Stars: Alicia Witt, Mark Moses
Comedy, Romance, Jane Austen theme | imdb

A single woman focused on her career in New York is forced to deal with the aftermath of a failed relationship when an ex-boyfriend hires her company.

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
*Persuasion by Jane Austen

Extra add-ons to do:

Jane Austen Literary Lines
A 1000-Piece Jigsaw Puzzle | details

The Unemployed Philosophers Guild has made this handsome jigsaw puzzle featuring Jane Austen’s works! Each quote is rendered by hand, charmingly filigreed, and ornamented to pleasing effect. You’ll lose yourself for hours in this captivating puzzle – a new way to surround yourself with Jane Austen’s words – her wit, her empathy, and her still-brilliant observations about a party.

Tea time and flip-through:
Anne Eliot's Hope (Persuasion theme)
Qig Xin Cultivar Green tea
Bingley's Tea: Jane Austen tea series (here)
The Lost Books of Jane Austen
by Janine Barchas
History, Jane Austen theme | Published: 2019 | Goodreads

In the nineteenth century, inexpensive editions of Jane Austen's novels targeted to Britain's working classes were sold at railway stations, traded for soap wrappers, and awarded as school prizes. At just pennies a copy, these reprints were some of the earliest mass-market paperbacks, with Austen's beloved stories squeezed into tight columns on thin, cheap paper. Few of these hard-lived bargain books survive, yet they made a substantial difference to Austen's early readership. These were the books bought and read by ordinary people.

Packed with nearly 100 full-color photographs of dazzling, sometimes gaudy, sometimes tasteless covers, The Lost Books of Jane Austen is a unique history of these rare and forgotten Austen volumes. Such shoddy editions, Janine Barchas argues, were instrumental in bringing Austen's work and reputation before the general public. Only by examining them can we grasp the chaotic range of Austen's popular reach among working-class readers.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Paris in July 2021 pt2

Paris in July
hosted by Thyme for Tea
(details & signup)

Paris in July is an international blogging event that brings together lovers of Paris and all things French, for a Virtual visit to Paris through literature, film, theater, art, music, food, wine and memories.

On a rainy day in June 2012 we spent the afternoon exploring the artwork creations in the Pompidou Centre. The view from the escalator ride up reveals the overcast day and the iconic Eiffel Tower in the distance.

Riffle Company Puzzle
18th century farmhouse in Gascony, France

Pulled this french themed puzzle from my tbr pile. Plan to shop for a Paris themed puzzle for next time.
A Paris All Your Own
Bestselling Women Writers on the City of Light
edited by Eleanor Brown
contributors: Michelle Gable, Jennifer Coburn,
Cathy Kelly, Julie Powell, Lauren Willig,
Therese Anne Fowler, Maggie Shipstead
Essays, Memoir, Travel, France | Published: 2017 | Goodreads | my rating: 5
loved the different perspectives, not necessarily rosy

"My time in Paris," says New York Times-bestselling author Paula McLain (The Paris Wife), "was like no one else's ever." For each of the eighteen bestselling authors in this warm, inspiring, and charming collection of personal essays on the City of Light, nothing could be more true.

While all of the women writers featured here have written books connected to Paris, their personal stories of the city are wildly different. Meg Waite Clayton (The Race for Paris) and M. J. Rose (The Book of Lost Fragrances) share the romantic secrets that have made Paris the destination for lovers for hundreds of years. Susan Vreeland (The Girl in Hyacinth Blue) and J. Courtney Sullivan (The Engagements) peek behind the stereotype of snobbish Parisians to show us the genuine kindness of real people.

From book club favorites Paula McLain, Therese Anne Fowler (Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald), and anthology editor Eleanor Brown (The Light of Paris) to mystery writer Cara Black (Murder in the Marais), historical author Lauren Willig (The Secret History of the Pink Carnation), and memoirist Julie Powell (Julie and Julia), these Parisian memoirs range from laugh-out-loud funny to wistfully romantic to thoughtfully somber and reflective.

An American In Paris (1951)
Director: Vincente Minnelli
Writers: Alan Jay Lerner
Stars: Gene Kelly, Leslie Caron
Drama, Musical, Romance | imdb | my rating: 5

Three friends struggle to find work in Paris. Things become more complicated when two of them fall in love with the same woman.

Wonderful classic film with lovely Gershwin romance tunes.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Lovely Books and Things - 7.25.21

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update

Linking up with:
Sunday Post (details)
Mailbox Monday (details)



1. Preparing next week for Jane in July (host details)
2. Browsing in a bookstore in a leisurely manner
3. Dolce & Gabbana window - the Carretto print caught my eye

The Decagon House Murders
by Yukito Ayatsuji
translated by Ho-Ling Wong
Mystery, Crime, Japan | Published: 2020 (first 1987) | Goodreads

Library: audiobook
Where The Rhythm Takes You
by Sarah Dass
YA, Romance, Retelling - Persuasion by Jane Austen | Published: 2021 | Goodreads

Friends and Strangers
by J. Courtney
Contemporary, Women's Fiction, New York | Published: 2020 | Goodreads


Virtual Author event: hosted by Third Place Books
See archive of this (here)
by Lish McBride
Fantasy, YA, Retelling - Beauty and the Beast | Published: 2021 | Goodreads


AND watched: Netflix
The Last Letter from Your Lover (2021)
Director: Augustine Frizzell
Writers: Nick Payne, Esta Spalding
Based on book: Jojo Moyes
Stars: Shailene Woodley, Callum Turner, Joe Alwyn, Felicity Jones, Nabhaan Rizwan
Drama, Romance | imdb | my rating: 5

A pair of interwoven stories set in the past and present follow an ambitious journalist determined to solve the mystery of a forbidden love affair at the center of a trove of secret love letters from 1965.

Loved how the time period was captured. Beautiful scenes and scenery in Spain.


* comment and TELL me what you have acquired for your shelves recently

Thanks for stopping by :-)

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Books and Laundry: Ghost Forest

Ghost Forest
by Pik-Shuen Fung
Contemporary, Chinese Canadian | Published: 2021 | Goodreads | my rating: 4
vignettes of the feels, poetic

How do you grieve, if your family doesn't talk about feelings?

This is the question the unnamed protagonist of Ghost Forest considers after her father dies. One of the many Hong Kong "astronaut" fathers, he stays there to work, while the rest of the family immigrated to Canada before the 1997 Handover, when the British returned sovereignty over Hong Kong to China.

As she revisits memories of her father through the years, she struggles with unresolved questions and misunderstandings. Turning to her mother and grandmother for answers, she discovers her own life refracted brightly in theirs.

Buoyant, heartbreaking, and unexpectedly funny, Ghost Forest is a slim novel that envelops the reader in joy and sorrow. Fung writes with a poetic and haunting voice, layering detail and abstraction, weaving memory and oral history to paint a moving portrait of a Chinese-Canadian astronaut family.

First sentence(s):
Twenty-one days after my dad died, a bird perched on the railing of my balcony. It was brown. It stayed there for a long time.

Hi Dad. I said. Thanks for checking up on me.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Lovely Books and Things - 7.18.21

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update

Linking up with:
Sunday Post (details)
Mailbox Monday (details)



1. Fresh french bakery croissants
2. Paris in July (here)
3. Old San Francisco buildings - SF Chronicle building (1924)

Library: audiobook
A Paris All Your Own
Bestselling Women Writers on the City of Light
edited by Eleanor Brown
contributors: Michelle Gable, Jennifer Coburn,
Cathy Kelly, Julie Powell, Lauren Willig,
Therese Anne Fowler, Maggie Shipstead
Essays, Memoir, Travel, France | Published: 2017 | Goodreads

An Annotated Edition by Jane Austen
edited by Robert Morrison
Classics, Historical, England | Published: 2011 | Goodreads

The Lost Books of Jane Austen
by Janine Barchas
History, Jane Austen theme | Published: 2019 | Goodreads

Freebies: from Free Little Library
Maisie Dobbs
by Jacqueline Winspear
Historical, Mystery, England | Published: 2004 | Goodreads

Virtual Author event: hosted by Third Place Books
See archive of this (here)
A Psalm for the Wild-Built
by Becky Chambers
SciFi, Novella | Published: 2021 | Goodreads


AND watched: theatre
Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain (2021)
Director: Morgan Neville
Documentary | imdb | my rating: 5

A documentary about Anthony Bourdain and his career as a chef, writer and host, revered and renowned for his authentic approach to food, culture and travel.

Enjoyed learning about the other parts of Bourdain's life apart from food and travel.

AND watched: DVD
Watchmen (2019)
tv series
Creator: Damon Lindelof
Based on DC characters by: Dave Gibbons
Stars: Regina King, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II
Action, Drama, Mystery | imdb | my rating: 5

Set in an alternate history where masked vigilantes are treated as outlaws, Watchmen embraces the nostalgia of the original groundbreaking graphic novel of the same name, while attempting to break new ground of its own.

Got me thinking... what is saving the world, what is saving humanity?

fyi: jigsaw puzzle sighting at episode 4.

* comment and TELL me what you have acquired for your shelves recently

Thanks for stopping by :-)

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Books and Puzzles: No Spring Chicken

Food, not food

book: No Spring Chicken: Stories and Advice from a Wild Handicapper on Aging and Disability
by Francine Falk-Allen

puzzle: Bon Apetit! Summer Salad art by Tracy Flickinger
Ceaco (300 pc)
Imagination Designs
Images from: Lovelytocu