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.

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Images from: Lovelytocu