July Reads, 2022
78. Spy x Family #6 by Tatsuya Endo - Twilight and his fellow spy Nightfall (who wants to take the place of his current fake wife, the assassin) must enter a tennis tournament and win in order to get their hands on an important object that contains a document they need to save the world from the brink of war. But, Nightfall's crush on Twilight may prove a hazard. More Spy x Family fun. I love this manga series.
79. Rage by Bob Woodward - Rage is the second of three books written by Woodward about Donald Trump's presidency. The first, Fear (link leads to my review, the last of several in the post) felt a little disjointed but I just reread my review and it looks like I got plenty out of it. When Woodward was researching Rage he had the advantage of the president's disappointment with Fear. To ensure that he was well represented, Trump allowed Woodward to repeatedly interview him — 17 times, in all. So, instead of secondhand descriptions, Woodward got direct quotes. He describes the hiring and firing of General Mattis and Rex Tillerson, Trump's frustration with the Mueller investigation and the bizarre ending to it, and how Rod Rosenstein was blamed for Comey's firing and came to the decision to hire a special prosecutor. But, most importantly, he describes the challenge of Covid and how the president completely hosed the job of leading the country through the early days of a pandemic because he was too busy worrying about the next election. Rage is a much better book than Fear but Trump's rambling might make you want to poke your eyes out. He really has no focus whatsoever.
80. Spaced Out by Stuart Gibbs - When the Base Commander for Moon Base Alpha goes missing, everyone frantically searches for her and even 12-year-old Dashiell (who solved the mysterious death in Space Case) is mystified. Meanwhile, the wealthy Sjoberg family seems to be up to no good as they've gone into hiding. Could they be involved in Nina's disappearance? Another fun entry in the Moon Base Alpha middle grade series. This series is a trilogy and I've already begun reading the final installment. I'm disappointed that it won't continue beyond the three books.
81. Greenglass House by Kate Milford - In a fictional area known for its smugglers sits Greenglass House, an inn with beautiful stained glass windows, regular customers from the smuggling crowd, and a lengthy and storied history. 12-year-old Milo is looking forward to a quiet Christmas with no guests when the bell rings and rings again till the inn is filled with a secretive crowd and things begin to go missing. Who is stealing, why, and what are they really after? Fun but a bit slow for me, however, I was feeling a little slumpy when I read Greenglass House. The first in a series.
82. 300 Minutes of Danger by Jack Heath - A series of adventurous short stories by the Australian author who has written several similar books. I've read one other, 400 Minutes of Danger, and the stories were all interconnected. In 300 Minutes of Danger, there are some interconnections but no final conclusion that ties them all together. This was my stationary bike book for part of the month.
83. Still Life by Sarah Winman - As WWII is drawing to a close, a young man and an elderly woman meet in Italy. She is an art historian, he a British soldier. They become instant friends but then he returns to Great Britain, where his wife has moved on without him and given birth to a child by an American to whom she is completely devoted in spite of the fact that he hasn't returned to her after the war. When the young man inherits an apartment in Florence, he takes the child and a friend and makes a new life. Over the years, he and the elderly historian cross paths many times without actually meeting. A very understated and lovely story about life, love, friendship, and the beauty of Italy.
84. Finlay Donovan is Killing It by Elle Cosimano - Author Finlay Donovan's romantic suspense books haven't sold well, she's broke, the bills are piling up, her ex-husband is attempting to gain full custody of the children and has fired the nanny, and her latest manuscript is late. When she goes to talk to her agent at a Panera, someone overhears her and thinks she's a contract killer. She's slipped a note offering her a great deal of money to kill the woman's husband, who is a very bad man. Finlay doesn't really mean to kill him but when he winds up dead in her van and she and the nanny bury him, they must investigate and figure out how to give back the money when a second hit job is requested. Again, I was in slump mode so it took me a while to get into this book but I loved it in the end.
85. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken - A British children's classic published in 1962. Sylvia lives with her elderly aunt but is going to live with her wealthy cousin Bonnie at Willoughby Chase while Bonnie's parents leave the country to seek a cure for her ailing mother. Miss Slighcarp will be their governess. But, when Miss Slighcarp shows up, it turns out she was not a great choice for governess. She begins selling off everything in the house, burns Bonnie's parents' will, and sends the children to a boarding school where they work as slave labor and are barely fed. With help from a friend, they will try to escape. But, is it too late to recover Bonnie's home? And, are her parents really dead? Really, quite gripping. I enjoyed this book immensely.
86. Mac B, Kid Spy #1: Mac Undercover by Mac Barnett (reread) - I read this book as an ARC, a few years ago, so I was thrilled to see that my daughter-in-law had found the series and bought 3 of them for my granddaughters. It's the 1980s and Mac gets very good grades (but has terrible handwriting). The Queen of England calls him and requests his help finding a missing part of the Crown Jewels, a royal spoon. Very silly and I loved it just as much the second time.
87. Mac B, Kid Spy #2: The Impossible Crime by Mac Barnett - Mac is trying to beat an arcade game when the Queen of England calls and asks for his assistance again, this time because the Crown Jewels are under threat of theft. Locked into a room with Mac and a beefeater, they still go missing. Never fear, Mac is on the job with the help of one of the queen's corgis. Loads of fun and I meant to read the third book but I had to run an errand and when I returned it had been packed (serves me right for waiting till the last day of vacation to read the books).
So, that's 10 books but actually . . . I didn't realize Sunday was July 31. I'd already moved on mentally to August, by then, and it wasn't till after I photographed my stack (sans the final book finished when I woke up at 4am on Sunday) that I found out it was still July. Ah, well. No biggie. I've got a start on my August stack, then.
I had one DNF, this month: A Lite Too Bright by Samuel Miller. I believe it's a YA. I made it 84 pages and will probably give this one a second go as I started reading it during the worst of my slump and then I started packing for vacation (in Cape May, New Jersey) and decided I needed a quick read that I could finish before we left so I could just take a couple short books along. That didn't happen. I ended up finishing Finlay Donovan is Killing It in Cape May and then reading The Wolves of Willoughby Chase and the two Mac B, Kid Spy books. I almost finished In Five Years on our second leg of the flight home but had about 30 pages to go when I crashed. However, this is by far the best I've ever done on a vacation, reading-wise, so I'm celebrating that milestone.
If I had to choose a favorite, it would be Still Life because it was such an immersive story and a pleasurable setting (Florence, Italy, mostly). I liked everything I read in July. Nothing absolutely blew me away this month, though.
Isabel says: "Smells like treason."
Don't mind me. I'm just repeating what the cat said. Everyone got involved in this flatlay:
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