Summer Reads Part Two: Arts

There’s something about beautiful books that make my heart sing. I understand that with all the ways we read it isn’t practical to make every book an artistic treasure but I would also be perfectly content with the experience if even the most ratty used book was rendered in aesthetic beauty.

Lately I have been reading a lot of how-tos, art books and books with stunning visuals. This list is not at all exhaustive but here are four recent books I’ve been reading that I’m putting under the loose category of Arts. Three are instructional as well as being aesthetically delightful and one is just a thing of absolute beauty.

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Summer Reads Part One: Mystery

I haven’t been posting many reviews on here lately although I am still actively reviewing Netgalleys on Goodreads. Right now is a time for change in my life and I think it’s a great time to change up the way I review books on my blog! So, in that spirit I’m going to post brief reviews/insights from the books I’m reading and listening to this summer.

I’m starting off with the Mystery genre. I love to read all sorts of mysteries ranging for gritty noir to heady thrillers to cozy mysteries that are “fun” despite the heavy fact that they center on murder. Lately I’ve been listening to mysteries rather than reading them because they lend themselves well to the audiobook format and then I can read while I work on art projects. These four mysteries vary in darkness but all four center around female lead characters.

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Goodreads Review: The Pursuit of Endurance

The Pursuit of Endurance: Harnessing the Record-Breaking Power of Strength and ResilienceThe Pursuit of Endurance: Harnessing the Record-Breaking Power of Strength and Resilience by Jennifer Pharr Davis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

*I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Normally I wouldn’t talk about my life in a book review but with Pursuit of Endurance it feels appropriate. This year has been tumultuous with big moves and work changes on the horizon. I’ve been reaching for this book when I’ve needed extra strength to take the deep breaths and keep moving forward.

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Goodreads Review: Murder and Mendelssohn

Murder and Mendelssohn (Phryne Fisher, #20)Murder and Mendelssohn by Kerry Greenwood
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have enjoyed the Phryne Fisher books but by Murder and Mendelssohn I found myself falling out of love with Phryne. As she “collects” children, pets and men some of her charm feels hollowed out particularly when I realized that the timeline for the 20 books is condensed to…I think it was six months. I also wasn’t fond of the writing of a gay character who made an exception for Phryne–not so much the principle of it, truth is always stranger than fiction and in life people are more complicated than labels but I found myself worn out by Phryne’s marvelousness.

Complaints aside, the series itself has charm particularly in the little details and characters periphery to Phryne. These are the reason I can genuinely say that I liked it. The resolution of the story was a bit obvious and I am unsure if this was intentional or if Greenwood is just exhausted by Phryne’s marvelousness too. I really want to continue loving the series but I admit a certain disappointment with Murder and Mendelssohn that I just can’t shake.

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Goodreads Review: Murder in the Garden

Murder in the Garden (DI Hillary Greene #9)Murder in the Garden by Faith Martin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

*I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Having read a previous book (#7) in the series I went into this one optimistically. The other book in the DI Greene series had a slow start which left me a little undecided about the series. As such, I was excited to have a chance to read another in the series. Murder in the Garden has a great start full of tension and potential. Plot points reach back into #8 and #7 but you won’t have had to read either to get caught up and move through #9. Many of the points I disliked about #7 (Murder in the Meadow) were softened, edited or absent and the strengths of Faith Martin’s writing shone through. I found myself unable to put the book down.

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Goodreads Review: The Belles

The Belles (The Belles #1)The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

*I received a copy to review through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

A promising start to a sickly sweet world. The book beckoned to me. Young Adult novels aren’t my usual fare but something about the cover and the description that made me want to look further—excellently marketed by the way because the cover and the book description do genuinely hint at the world that waits within the pages of Belles.

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