Tag Archives: Folklore

Books of the Week #35

Beginner Belgium Cookbook: Deliciously Easy Belgium Recipes for the Whole Family by Stephanie Sharp

Food in Belgium is influenced by Dutch and French cooking and is highly respected,
Belgium has a variety of local specialties. Fresh produce such as games, endives and asparagus play a big role in Belgian cooking. Belgium borders the sea so Seafood plays a huge part also. Grey and brown prawns and mussels are very popular. High quality chocolate and a vast range of beers are also a specialty in Belgium.

French fries are also famous in Belgium. Actually, they are Belgian fries that originated there. The fries are served with a range of sauces.

Waffles, wow! We cannot forget waffles, made in a wide range of styles, served with exotic toppings.

https://books2read.com/u/m2VYr1

Nadia: The Girl Who Couldn’t Sit Still by Karlin Gray (Author), Christine Davenier (Illustrator)

Nadia Comaneci was a feisty and fearless little girl who went from climbing trees in the forests of Romania to swinging into history at the 1976 Olympic Games, where she received an unprecedented seven perfect scores in gymnastics. But as readers will see in this first-ever illustrated picture book about Nadia’s journey to Olympic gold, the road from small-town girl to world-class athlete was full of many imperfect moments.

Expert illustrations that capture the energy and fluidity of Nadia’s exuberant gymnastic routines and referential back matter round out this inspirational story of determination and overcoming adversity. A perfect 10.

https://books2read.com/u/4j2PNZ

The Greenest Branch: A Novel of Germany’s First Female Physician (Hildegard of Bingen Book 1) by P.K. Adams

The Greenest Branch is the first in a two-book series based on the true story of Hildegard of Bingen, Germany’s first female physician and one of the few women to attain that position in medieval Europe. Set against the backdrop of the lush oak forests and sparkling rivers of the Rhineland, it is a tale of courage, strength, sacrifice, and love that will appeal to fans of Ken Follett, Umberto Eco, Elizabeth Chadwick, Margaret Frazer, Bernard Cornwell, Conn Iggulden – and to anyone who enjoys strong female protagonists in historical fiction.

https://books2read.com/u/38Zy6r

The Crumpled Letter (Belle Epoque Mystery Book 1) by Alice Quinn

On the French Riviera during the belle époque, a murder draws two women into the dangerous shadows of Europe’s privileged elite…

One winter evening in 1884, beautiful young courtesan Lola Deslys discovers the lifeless body of a chambermaid hidden in the gardens of the Hôtel Beau Rivage in Cannes. Even more distressing is that Lola knows the girl well. When the inquiry into her murder fails to reveal a single substantial clue, Lola is persuaded by novelist Guy de Maupassant to delve into the case on her own.

Eager to exert her independence and defy conventions, Lola agrees. But she needs help in her investigation, and there’s no better partner in her pursuit—however unlikely—than Miss Gabriella Fletcher, a highborn, well-educated, and currently disgraced English governess.

To solve this dreadful crime, Lola and Miss Fletcher must navigate the depths of respectable society. But will their determination suffice in a city where fortune, secrets, men, and appearances reign supreme?

https://books2read.com/u/bP9yA7

Zmeykovo (Volume 1) (Bulgarian Edition) by Ronesa Aveela

Vsichko zavinagi se promenya za dvanadesetgodishniya Teo v denya, kogato ogun i led se izsipvat ot nebeto. Toi razbira, che drakonite deistvitelno sushtestvuvat, kogato triglavoto chudovishte Lamya otvlicha sestra mu. Veshtitsa i govoreshto svrache mu pomagat da otvori portala kum Zmeikovo – zemya, za koyato e chuval samo ot mitove, myasto, koeto e dom na strakhoviti sushtestva. Kogato se ozovava tam, toi se sreshta s mistichna gorska nimfa. Teo tryabva da se nauchi da se doveryava na instinktite si i na novite si chudati priyateli, dokato tursi Lamyata, predi tya da e pozhertvala sestra mu. Po vreme na svoeto puteshestvie momcheto otkriva sledi, koito sochat, che edinstveno toi mozhe da spasi tainstvenata zemya, narechena Zmeikovo.

https://www.amazon.com/Zmeykovo-1-Bulgarian-Ronesa-Aveela/dp/0999686194

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Books of the Week #31

The Woman on the Orient Express by Lindsay Jayne Ashford

Hoping to make a clean break from a fractured marriage, Agatha Christie boards the Orient Express in disguise. But unlike her famous detective Hercule Poirot, she can’t neatly unravel the mysteries she encounters on this fateful journey.

Agatha isn’t the only passenger on board with secrets. Her cabinmate Katharine Keeling’s first marriage ended in tragedy, propelling her toward a second relationship mired in deceit. Nancy Nelson—newly married but carrying another man’s child—is desperate to conceal the pregnancy and teeters on the brink of utter despair. Each woman hides her past from the others, ferociously guarding her secrets. But as the train bound for the Middle East speeds down the track, the parallel courses of their lives shift to intersect—with lasting repercussions.

Filled with evocative imagery, suspense, and emotional complexity, The Woman on the Orient Express explores the bonds of sisterhood forged by shared pain and the power of secrets.

https://books2read.com/u/4AzQgq

A Divided Inheritance : Epic historical fiction by Deborah Swift

London 1609 Elspet Leviston has always managed her father’s lace business and expects to continue in his footsteps. So when her hot-headed cousin Zachary Deane appears from nowhere, his arrival in her life is like an earthquake.

Zachary is not who he seems, and has no love at all for Leviston’s Lace. When her father dies unexpectedly, Elspet is horrified to find her inheritance is tied to her cousin’s. But by now, her father has sent Zachary on a Grand Tour, and he is in Spain. Determined to regain her rightful inheritance, she goes to Seville in search of him.

Zachary is in training at the sword school of the charismatic Senor Alvarez, and here, in the searing heat and dust of Spain, Elspet’s real journey begins. A journey that throws her into one of the most turbulent moments of Spain’s history, and leads her to question everything she has ever known about her country, her faith and herself.

Epic historical fiction set in 17th Century London and Golden Age Spain.

https://books2read.com/u/4AzQpk

Metropolis by Ellie Midwood

Weimar Berlin, 1924 Unemployed actors, profiteers, cabaret girls, and impoverished aristocracy – out of this wild set of characters populating Weimar Berlin, Margarete Gräfin von Steinhoff belongs to the latter category. Having lost everything due to hyper-inflation, she considers jumping into the freezing waters of the Spree rather than facing the humiliating existence shared by millions of her fellow Germans. However, a chance meeting makes her change her mind at the last moment and offers her a chance to rely on the help of the metropolis itself, where anything can be sold and bought for money and where connections are everything. The bustling nightlife of cosmopolitan Berlin, with its casinos and dance halls, brings good income for the ones who don’t burden themselves too heavily with morals.

After a New Year’s Eve party, Margot finally meets her ever-absent and mysterious neighbor, Paul Schneider, who makes a living by producing a certain type of film for his rich clientele. Under his guidance, Margot discovers a new passion of hers – photography and soon, her talents are noticed by the prominent newspaper, Berliner Tageblatt itself. But being an official photographer of the most celebrated events of the La Scala and most famous Berlin theaters no longer satisfies Margot’s ambitions. As soon as the chance presents itself for her to get involved with the cinematography on the set of “Metropolis” – the film with the highest budget ever produced by the UFA – Margot jumps at it, without thinking twice. At the same time, Paul becomes involved with a rival project, “The Holy Mountain,” which stars an as yet unknown actress and an emerging director in, Leni Riefenstahl. As the two women meet, professional rivalry soon turns into a true friendship, fueled by their passion for cinematography. However, due to the economic woes facing Germany, both projects soon run out of money and now, both film crews must go to extreme lengths to save their respective productions.

Set against the backdrop of a decadent, vibrant, and fascinatingly liberal Weimar Berlin, “Metropolis” is a novel of survival, self-discovery, and self-sacrifice, in the name of art, love, and friendship.

https://books2read.com/u/4XXaN5

The Danish Way of Parenting: What the Happiest People in the World Know About Raising Confident, Capable Kids by Jessica Joelle Alexander, Iben Dissing Sandahl

What makes Denmark the happiest country in the world — and how do Danish parents raise happy, confident, successful kids, year after year? This upbeat and practical guide reveals the six essential principles that have been working for parents in Denmark for decades:

– Play: essential for development and well-being- Authenticity: fosters trust and an ‘inner compass’- Reframing: helps kids cope with setbacks and look on the bright side- Empathy: allows us to act with kindness towards others- No ultimatums: no power struggles or resentment- Togetherness: a way to celebrate family time, on special occasions and every day.

A revealing and fresh take on parenting advice, The Danish Way of Parenting will help parents from all walks of life raise the happiest, most well-adjusted kids in the world.

https://books2read.com/u/b5578p

Mystical Emona: Soul’s Journey by Ronesa Aveela

Past, present & future come together in this explosive modern tale of love and revenge.
Travel to the world of the Balkans with Mystical Emona: Soul’s Journey and discover the secret lives of samodivi (Veelas). You’ve met these wondrous, mysterious creatures in different books. Now let Mystical Emona introduce you to samodivi as legend portrays them.

Carina, the most enchanting maiden in all of Thrace, is ravished on her wedding day her ring cursed. It will bring happiness to none but her. The curse will be broken only when the ring guides her true love back to her. Every spring she goes to “the other side of the moon” to await the return of her soul mate. After centuries, the ring flashes like a beacon to guide a handsome man named Stefan to Emona.

Stefan is a widowed artist from Boston, Mass, with a young daughter. He hopes moving to a secluded village on the Black Sea coast will ease his pain, and the wild, untamed beauty of this surrounding will inspire him to take up his art once again. He meets a mysterious woman and his life changes. He is drawn to her by some unknown bond, but cannot give his heart to her fully because his memories refuse to release their hold on him. Then the dreams begin. Some delightful. Others terrifying.

Take the journey to Mystical Emona and find out if the lovers reunite. The book is sure to enchant you with its perfect blend of history, legends, rituals, and romance.

https://books2read.com/u/4DyOwe

Books of the Week #29

The Vine Witch by Luanne G. Smith

A young witch emerges from a curse to find her world upended in this gripping fantasy set in turn-of-the-century France.

For centuries, the vineyards at Château Renard have depended on the talent of their vine witches, whose spells help create the world-renowned wine of the Chanceaux Valley. Then the skill of divining harvests fell into ruin when sorcière Elena Boureanu was blindsided by a curse. Now, after breaking the spell that confined her to the shallows of a marshland and weakened her magic, Elena is struggling to return to her former life. And the vineyard she was destined to inherit is now in the possession of a handsome stranger.

Vigneron Jean-Paul Martel naively favors science over superstition, and he certainly doesn’t endorse the locals’ belief in witches. But Elena knows a hex when she sees one, and the vineyard is covered in them. To stay on and help the vines recover, she’ll have to hide her true identity, along with her plans for revenge against whoever stole seven winters of her life. And she won’t rest until she can defy the evil powers that are still a threat to herself, Jean-Paul, and the ancient vine-witch legacy in the rolling hills of the Chanceaux Valley.

https://books2read.com/u/38ZDqw

Mediterranean Diet For Beginners by Laura Violet

The Mediterranean is the world’s largest inland sea which borders Europe, Africa and Asia. Around fifteen countries including France, Spain, Greece, Portugal and Italy among others call this region home.

The Mediterranean diet and way of life may take root from various countries but they do follow a similar pattern. All in all, this diet consists of whole grain, legumes, dried beans and a wide range of fruits and vegetables. Red meats are taken in small amounts and in some cases not at all.

It is this kind of diet that has helped people from this part of the world to stay healthy.
A healthier body and lifestyle is certainly within your grasp thanks to the Mediterranean diet. This eBook is meant to be your personal guide to exploring this healthy diet. It also teaches you valuable tips on improving your health.

In this book you will learn of all the benefits of this diet in the long term. For your convenience, many recipes and meal plans are included as well.

Say goodbye to your old unhealthy diet and be ready to set sail towards a healthier you! Enjoy the reading!

https://books2read.com/u/bov6n

The Impaler’s Wife by Autumn Bardot

The year is 1464. King Matthias controls Hungary, his family, and the fate of the world’s most notorious political prisoner, Prince Vlad Dracula.

Ilona Szilágy, the king’s cousin, is young and ambitious. Dracula is determined to marry into the family. It is love at first sight, but the king has other plans. The Impaler Prince, however, never takes no for an answer.

Eager to become his trusted confidant, Ilona enters a treacherous world where revenge, betrayal, ambition, and passion transcend all that is sacred. And love demands the ultimate sacrifice.

Woven throughout is a peek into the life and times of one of the world’s most enigmatic and maligned rulers…the man before the legend.

https://books2read.com/u/4j2w2X

The Adventures of Lily Huckleberry in Scandinavia by Audrey Smit and Jackie Knapp

In the first Lily Huckleberry adventure, Lily meets a new friend and is invited into The Worldwide Adventure Society of Shenanigans and Hullabaloos.

Her new magical globe brings her to Scandinavia in the middle of a Midsummer party mishap – the strawberries are missing!

Will Lily be able to solve the mystery?

Children, whether they wake up grumpy or not, are invited to join Lily if they are…

…very silly
…very brave, and
…always ready for adventure!

Kids love Lily’s escapades in Scandinavia, where she meets many new friends (a mermaid, an elf and some grumpy Vikings!), and has magical adventures!

Parents love the underlying message: people aren’t always what they seem.
Get it NOW and share the magical hullabaloo with your child!

No magic doubters allowed!

https://books2read.com/u/bP9JLj

La profezia del Villaggio del Drago (Italian Edition) by Ronesa Aveela


Il giorno in cui fuoco e ghiaccio compaiono nel cielo, per il dodicenne Theo tutto cambia per sempre. Quando Lamia, un mostro a tre teste, rapisce sua sorella, lui scoprirà che i draghi sono veri. Una strega ed una gazza parlante lo aiuteranno ad aprire un portale per il Villaggio del Drago, una terra mitica, un posto pieni di creature terrificanti ma anche, per esempio, di esseri amichevoli come la giovane ninfa delle foreste che diventerà sua amica. Theo dovrà imparare a fidarsi del suo istinto mentre cerca un modo di sconfiggere Lamia prima che il drago sacrifichi sua sorella. Durante il suo viaggio, scoprirà dei segreti che riveleranno come solo lui potrà salvare quel luogo mitologico.


Alcune delle più terrificanti creature della mitologia bulgara e slava popolano le pagine di questo libro. Alcune sono note, ma con nomi diversi: le Vile, ad esempio, sono le Veela della saga di Harry Potter, che qui si presentano come sovrannaturali ninfe dei boschi. Baba Yaga, Arpie ed altre creature compaiono in queste pagine, insieme alla temibile Lamia.

English and Bulgarian versions are also available.

https://books2read.com/u/4j2w7j

Books of the Week #27

The Shadow of the Cross: Imprisonment by Dmitry Yakhovsky

1243, near Carcassonne, France

Shrouded in darkness is the history of a time of terror. A time when people lived in fear, were divided, conquered and enslaved. The state was the church, and the church was the law; when justice was the tool of the self-seeking, and when imprisonment and poverty weren’t enough to satisfy the enemy’s appetites…

Featuring the stunning artwork of Dmitry Yakhovsky, this debut graphic novel is a bold undertaking. The novel is a complex and visually inspiring epic based in history, and will thrill with its masterful depth of imagery.

https://books2read.com/u/mla0zA

Tomten Saves Christmas: A Swedish Christmas Tale by Linda Liebrand

This gorgeous Nordic tale, in the tradition of Astrid Lindgren’s Tomten Tales and Ulf Stark’s The Yule Tomte and the Little Rabbits, will have readers of all ages believing in the magic of Christmas. This is one to pull out every year and treasure!

Grumpy old Farm Tomten just wants to stay at home and avoid the terrible Christmas celebrations altogether. His cousin, Yule Tomten, is up to his ears in Christmas presents and thousands of children waiting. With just two more days till Christmas, will an invite for Christmas coffee be enough to melt Farm Tomten’s grumpy heart so they can save Christmas together?

If you’re looking for a fun, Scandinavian Christmas tale with crunching snow, red cottages and the traditional Swedish character of the farm gnome, or tomten, you’ve found the right book. Tomten Saves Christmas will bring a smile to kids, young and old, and it reminds us that it’s never too late to change your old ways, with a little Christmas magic and the company of a good friend.

https://books2read.com/u/m2rGkj

Oranges for Christmas: A Berlin Wall Escape Novel by Margarita Morris

The war is over but the fight for freedom has only just begun.

Berlin. August 1961. The Cold War. When the Berlin Wall brutally divides East from West, Sabine is separated from her beloved brother, Dieter. Escape to the West is the only option if the family is to be reunited. But the Wall is guarded by soldiers operating a shoot to kill policy. And Sabine finds herself at the mercy of the Stasi and their brutal interrogation techniques. She must fight to escape. She must fight to survive.

Separated from his family by the Berlin Wall, Dieter teams up with a rebel group determined to rescue their loved ones from East Berlin. They have a plan. But it’s a dangerous mission, beset with difficulties at every turn. Who can they really trust? Who is friend or foe?

Shortlisted for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, if you like authentic historical details, tenacious characters, and stories of hope in the face of tyranny, then you’ll love Margarita Morris’ emotional page-turner.

https://books2read.com/u/bM9j1B

A House in the Mountains: The Women Who Liberated Italy from Fascism by Caroline Moorehead

The extraordinary story of the courageous women who spearheaded the Italian Resistance during the Second World War

In the late summer of 1943, when Italy changed sides in the War and the Germans – now their enemies – occupied the north of the country, an Italian Resistance was born. Ada, Frida, Silvia and Bianca were four young Piedmontese women who joined the Resistance, living clandestinely in the mountains surrounding Turin. They were not alone. Between 1943 and 1945, as the Allies battled their way north, thousands of men and women throughout occupied Italy rose up and fought to liberate their country from the German invaders and their Fascist collaborators.

The bloody civil war that ensued across the country pitted neighbour against neighbour, and brought out the best and worst in Italian society. The courage shown by the partisans was exemplary, and eventually bound them together as a coherent fighting force. The women’s contribution was invaluable – they fought, carried messages and weapons, provided safe houses, laid mines and took prisoners. Ada’s house deep in the mountains became a meeting place and refuge for many of them.

The death rattle of Mussolini’s two decades of Fascist rule – with its corruption, greed and anti-Semitism was unrelentingly violent, but for the partisan women it was also a time of camaraderie and equality, pride and optimism. They had proved, to themselves and to the world, what resolve, tenacity and, above all, exceptional courage could achieve.

https://books2read.com/u/mKxnwv

The Christmas Thief (A Baba Treasure Chest story Book 1) by Ronesa Aveela

Seven-year-old Christopher is determined he is going to catch the Winter Monster who steals food from his family’s porch every Christmas. What he discovers instead is the meaning of sharing.

The Christmas Thief is a short story and coloring book. In the tradition of family togetherness, Baba Treasure Chest stories are geared toward the entire family: Adults reading stories to children, children and adults working together on coloring pages. Print copy contains activities and coloring pages.

https://books2read.com/u/m2rwJ7

Books of the Week #25

The Christmas Wish (Wish Series) by Lori Evert (Author), Per Breiehagen (Illustrator)

This New York Times bestselling Nordic tale in the tradition of The Snowman, The Polar Express, and the many books of Jan Brett will have readers of all ages believing in the magic of Christmas. This is one to pull out every year and savor!

Long ago, a brave little girl named Anja wanted to be one of Santa’s elves. So she leaves a note for her family and helps her elderly neighbor prepare for the holiday, then she straps on her skis, and heads out into the snowy landscape. From a red bird to a polar bear to a reindeer, a menagerie of winter animals help Anja make her way to Santa. A generous trim-size, matte cover, extraordinary photographs, and foiled title make this a special book for the holiday season.

https://books2read.com/u/bPRB77

The Little Book of the Icelanders at Christmas by Alda Sigmundsdóttir (Author), Megan Herbert (Illustrator)

Christmas in Iceland is special. Ask any Icelander and they will tell you. It is a time of year when everything pulsates with vibrant activity, and the nation delights in those festive traditions that make them a tribe. Music is all around, friends gather, restaurants are filled with people partaking of festive Yuletide offerings, authors are out and about reading from their new works. Everything pulsates with a vibrant, happy energy. There is even a word for the gleeful excitement one feels when waiting for Christmas—jólaskap, literally “Christmas mood”.

In this book, Alda Sigmundsdóttir invites you on a journey of Iceland’s magical Yuletide season, all the way to New Year’s Eve, and beyond. You will learn about the special foods, traditions and customs that makes Christmas in Iceland so special, and meet a colourful cast of characters that are such an integral part of the Yule. In her inimitable style, and using examples from her own life, Alda gives you not only the modern version of Christmas, but also the historical and cultural background to many of that traditions that are still observed today.

https://books2read.com/u/bQaY9v

The French for Christmas by Fiona Valpy

Evie used to LOVE Christmas, but this year she can’t wait for the tinsel and presents to be a distant memory.

When her best friends offer the use of their cottage in the beautiful French countryside, Evie jumps at the chance. With her soon-to-be-ex-husband, celebrity chef Will Brooke, plastered over the news with his latest ‘love interest’, leaving the country seems like the perfect plan.
Armed with her French grandmother’s tattered notebook of recipes, Evie is determined to ignore Christmas altogether and bake herself back to happiness.

And when Evie meets her next-door neighbour – the très gorgeous doctor Didier she finds a very willing taste-tester. But is it possible that he could be interested in more than just her Tarte Tatin?

With snow falling, a special Réveillon dinner and a little Christmas magic in the air, could Didier even be the one to thaw Evie’s heart? Or will a visit from the ghost of Christmas past change everything?

https://books2read.com/u/b5QV0O

Shooting at the Stars: The Christmas Truce of 1914 by John Hendrix

Shooting at the Stars is the moving story of a young British soldier on the front lines during World War I who experiences an unforgettable Christmas Eve. In a letter home to his mother, he describes how, despite fierce fighting earlier from both sides, Allied and German soldiers ceased firing and came together on the battlefield to celebrate the holiday. They sang carols, exchanged gifts, and even lit Christmas trees. But as the holiday came to a close, they returned to their separate trenches to await orders for the war to begin again.John Hendrix wonderfully brings this story to life, interweaving fact and fiction along with his detailed illustrations and hand-lettered text. His story celebrates the humanity and kindness that can persist even during the darkest periods of our history. Back matter includes a glossary, additional information about World War I and the Christmas Truce and its aftermath, and an archival photograph taken during the Truce.

https://books2read.com/u/3yvjrB

The Miracle Stork (A Baba Treasure Chest story Book 2) by Ronesa Aveela

Rada knows little about her Bulgarian heritage because her family doesn’t practice their customs. That changes when her grandmother comes to visit. On a trip to the zoo, Rada discovers more than animals. She learns that diversity is not something to be ashamed of. Her grandmother tells her about the traditions of their ancestors and the meaning of the martenitsi that she makes every spring.

The Miracle Stork is a story about creating and maintaining traditions and customs to embrace who you are.

In the tradition of family togetherness, Baba Treasure Chest stories are geared toward the entire family: Adults reading stories to children, families participating in activities, and children working together on coloring pages. Print edition contains coloring pages.

https://books2read.com/u/brVke7

Books of the Week #23

Vegetarian Cookbook: Delicious Meatless Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Recipes from Bulgaria: Family-Friendly Vegetarian Meals by Vesela Tabakova

Everyday Vegetarian Recipes the Whole Family Will Love!
For anyone following a vegetarian diet – flexitarians who adopt plans like Meatless Mondays – as well as committed vegetarians and fans of Clean Eating here is a delicious collection of easy, meat-free mains for everyday.
Inspiring and practical Vegetarian Cookbook: Delicious Meatless Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Recipes from Bulgaria features some of the most delicious and easy vegetarian recipes on the planet! They can be served on their own or as side dishes with some meat.
If you’re looking for quick, healthy and nutritious meat-free meal ideas for you and your family, this book is for you!
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The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

Late one night, exploring her father’s library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters addressed ominously to ‘My dear and unfortunate successor’. Her discovery plunges her into a world she never dreamed of – a labyrinth where the secrets of her father’s past and her mother’s mysterious fate connect to an evil hidden in the depths of history.
In those few quiet moments, she unwittingly assumes a quest she will discover is her birthright – a hunt for the truth about Vlad the Impaler, the medieval ruler whose barbarous reign formed the basis of the Dracula myth. Deciphering obscure signs and hidden texts, reading codes worked into the fabric of medieval monastic traditions, and evading terrifying adversaries, one woman comes ever closer to the secret of her own past and a confrontation with the very definition of evil.
Elizabeth Kostova’s debut novel is an adventure of monumental proportions – a captivating tale that blends fact and fantasy, history and the present with an assurance that is almost unbearably suspenseful – and utterly unforgettable.
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The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

A.J. Fikry, the grumpy owner of Island Books, is going through a hard time: his bookshop is failing, he has lost his beloved wife, and his prized possession-a rare first edition book has been stolen. Over time, he has given up on people, and even the books in his store, instead of offering solace, are yet another reminder of a world that is changing too rapidly.
But one day A.J. finds two-year-old Maya sitting on the bookshop floor, with a note attached to her asking the owner to look after her. His life – and Maya’s – is changed forever.
Gabrielle Zevin’s enchanting novel is a love letter to the world of books–an irresistible affirmation of why we read, and why we love.
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Notre-Dame: A Short History of the Meaning of Cathedrals by Ken Follett

‘Two days after Notre Dame burned, I flew to Paris to appear on the TV programme La Grande Librairie for a discussion about cathedrals. The following morning I had breakfast at the Hotel Bristol with my French publisher and she asked me to write a short book about Notre Dame and what it means to all of us. She said she would donate the publisher’s profits to the rebuilding fund and, if I wished, I could do the same with my royalties. Yes, I said; of course, I’d love to.’
Ken Follett
In aid of the crucial restoration work to restore Paris’s great cathedral, Notre-Dame: A Short History of the Meaning of Cathedrals is a moving, short piece of non-fiction celebrating the stunning history of this beloved building, from Ken Follett, author of the multi-million copy selling Kingsbridge series.
This edition contains an exclusive extract from The Evening and the Morning, a prequel to The Pillars of the Earth, publishing Autumn 2020.
A minimum of 50p per copy on each sale of this book will go to the charity La Fondation du Patrimoine.
BE91B8AD-D736-46BA-ABE9-1C9AD9038049

A Study of Rusalki – Slavic Mermaids of Eastern Europe (Spirits and Creatures Series Book 2) by Ronesa Aveela

Seductive. Beautiful. Dangerous!
 
Or are they innocent and looking for love? Discover the allure of Slavic mermaids – Rusalki.
 
If Henry Wadsworth Longfellow had grown up in Eastern Europe, his soul would have longed for the secrets of the rivers, lakes, and marshes, rather than the sea. And the pale, beautiful maidens residing there would have been the ones who sent “a thrilling pulse” through him, instead of the heart of the great ocean.
 
And who are these lovely maidens? … Rusalki, a Slavic version of mermaids.
 
If only the modern-day Ariel from “The Little Mermaid” had been born one of them. She would already have had legs, and not a fish tail, and wouldn’t have had to give up her voice! Well, maybe.
 
It’s more than legs that makes the Rusalki different from what you know about mermaids.
 
· Discover their origins.
 
· Learn how to protect yourself from their enchantments.
 
· Read about terrifying encounters.
 
Through folklore, literature, music, videos, and illustrations, you’ll uncover the secrets of these spirits who have haunted Eastern Europe for centuries.
 
The “Spirits and Creatures” series has been called “brilliant,” “fascinating,” “well researched,” “humorous,” “intriguing,” “engaging,” “lyrically written,” “beautifully organized,” and “informative.” It’s the perfect book for those who want to learn about Eastern European folklore, but don’t want to read a dry, academic book.
 
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Books of the Week #17

Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz

He was an unbeliever and a pagan soldier, she was a Christian and of exotic beauty. He decides he must have her as his concubine, but she is intent on living a pure life. Brought together during Emperor Nero’s reign of terror, whose world would survive?

In this edition, Joe Wheeler provides a comprehensive introduction to this class work, as well as thought-provoking discussion questions to help the reader get the most out of the story.

 

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Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

The great Norse myths are woven into the fabric of our storytelling – from Tolkien, Alan Garner and Rosemary Sutcliff to Game of Thrones and Marvel Comics. They are also an inspiration for Neil Gaiman’s own award-bedecked, bestselling fiction. Now he reached back through time to the original source stories in a thrilling and vivid rendition of the great Norse tales. Gaiman’s gods are thoroughly alive on the page – irascible, visceral, playful, passionate – and the tales carry us from the beginning of everything to Ragnarok and the twilight of the gods. Galvanised by Gaiman’s prose, Thor, Loki, Odin and Freya are irresistible forces for modern readers and the crackling, brilliant writing demands to be read aloud around an open fire on a freezing, starlit night.
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Europe: A History by Norman Davies

Here is a masterpiece of historical narrative that stretches from the Ice Age to the Atomic Age, as it tells the story of Europe, East and West. Norman Davies captures it all–the rise and fall of Rome, the sweeping invasions of Alaric and Atilla, the Norman Conquests, the Papal struggles for power, the Renaissance and the Reformation, the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, Europe’s rise to become the powerhouse of the world, and its eclipse in our own century, following two devastating World Wars. This is the first major history of Europe to give equal weight to both East and West, and it shines light on fascinating minority communities, from heretics and lepers to Gypsies, Jews, and Muslims. It also takes an innovative approach, combining traditional narrative with unique features that help bring history alive: 299 time capsules scattered through the narrative capture telling aspects of an era. 12 -snapshots offer a panoramic look at all of Europe at a particular moment in history. Full coverage of Eastern Europe—100 maps and diagrams, 72 black-and-white plates. All told, Davies’s Europe represents one of the most important and illuminating histories to be published in recent years.
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Madame Fourcade’s Secret War: the daring young woman who led France’s largest spy network against Hitler by Lynne Olson

The little-known true story of the woman who headed the largest spy network in Vichy France during World War II.
In 1941, a thirty-one-year-old Frenchwoman, a young mother born to privilege and known for her beauty and glamour, became the leader of Alliance, a vast Resistance organisation — the only woman to hold such a role. Brave, independent, and a lifelong rebel against her country’s conservative, patriarchal society, Marie-Madeleine Fourcade was temperamentally made for the job.
No other French spy network lasted as long or supplied as much crucial intelligence as Alliance — and as a result, the Gestapo pursued its members relentlessly, capturing, torturing, and executing hundreds of its three thousand agents, including Fourcade’s own lover and many of her key spies. Fourcade herself lived on the run and was captured twice by the Nazis. Both times she managed to escape.
Though so many of her agents died defending their country, Fourcade survived the occupation to become active in post-war French politics. Now, in a dramatic account of the war that split France in two and forced its people to live side by side with their hated German occupiers, Lynne Olson tells the fascinating story of a woman who stood up for her nation, her fellow citizens, and herself.
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Light Love Rituals: Bulgarian Myths, Legends, and Folklore by Ronesa Aveela

Readers’ Favorite 2019 Silver Medal Winner
Non-fiction – Cultural
 
Discover Ancient Bulgarian Myths, Legends, Folklore, and Mythology
 
Meet Heroes from Greek Mythology with Thracian Origins
Enjoy Diverse, Delicious Modern and Traditional Bulgarian Recipes
 
A book the whole family can enjoy. Take a journey and discover Bulgarian folk tales, legends, and mythology. Whether you want to learn a little about their ancient Thracian origins, or you want to experience rituals practiced throughout the year with a fictitious Bulgarian family, or even if you’re only interested in traditional Bulgarian cuisine, this book has something for everyone.
 
Bulgarian culture is rich in folklore and traditions surviving since the days of the ancient Thracians. As pagan and Christian religions collided, many celebrations merged into one. Light Love Rituals will take you on a journey to discover these unique festivals.
 
Illuminated by the light of the full moon, a woman in a long, white robe holds an icon while she dances in a trance over burning coals. The mystical music of a shepherd’s pipe plays in the background.
 
Women dressed in colorful outfits dance in a circle, then pass through an enormous wreath made of magical healing herbs.
 
Wild spring flowers decorate the hair of young girls. Laden with baskets filled with colorful Easter eggs, the youths travel from house to house singing to bring health and prosperity to the village.
 
Men clothed like wild animals with colorful, scary masks parade around a village. Attached around their waists, giant cow bells resound announcing their arrival. The men jump and yell to scare away evil spirits.
 

Light Love Rituals not only describes the rituals, but also makes them interesting and understandable to people of all ages. The book is divided into four seasons, beginning with winter. It includes activities where you can learn how to make martenitsi, survachka, and Easter eggs dyed with natural colors. A short quiz after each season lets you test your knowledge of what you’ve read. To help you engage in the traditions in the book, you’ll meet Maria and her family. They’ll open the doors of their home so you can participate in these celebrations along with them. For an added taste of Bulgaria, try some of the traditional recipes at the end.

 
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Books of the Week #16

 

Broken Ghost by Niall Griffiths

A Welsh community is drawn together and blown apart by a strange vision in the mountains: the huge spectre of a woman floating over a ridge. The people who live here in these mountains already have their own demons – drink, drugs, domestic violence, psychoses – but each character has a different experience of this strange apparition, a different reaction, and for some it will change everything. Is it a collective hallucination? A meteorological phenomenon? Whatever it is, they all saw something, early one morning on the shores of a mountain lake, something that will awaken in them powers and passions and, perhaps, a possibility of healing these broken people in a broken country.
An examination of modern humanity’s desperate need to live meaningfully and vividly in a mediated world – where individual autonomy is lost and the collective heart is atomised and exploited – this is a novel that gives voices to the marginalised, the dispossessed, the forgotten. Disturbing and unforgettable, darkly funny and deeply moving, written in a charged language that is vernacular, lyrical and hieratic all at once, Broken Ghost is – simultaneously – a howl of anguish and a summoning of gods.
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Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident by Donnie Eichar

The mystery of Dead Mountain: In February 1959, a group of nine experienced hikers in the Russian Ural Mountains died mysteriously on an elevation known as Dead Mountain. Eerie aspects of the incident—unexplained violent injuries, signs that they cut open and fled the tent without proper clothing or shoes, a strange final photograph taken by one of the hikers, and elevated levels of radiation found on some of their clothes—have led to decades of speculation over what really happened.
As gripping and bizarre as Hunt for the Skin Walker: This New York Times bestseller, Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident, is a gripping work of literary nonfiction that delves into the mystery of Dead Mountain through unprecedented access to the hikers’ own journals and photographs, rarely seen government records, dozens of interviews, and the author’s retracing of the hikers’ fateful journey in the Russian winter.
You’ll love this real-life tale: Dead Mountain is a fascinating portrait of young adventurers in the Soviet era, and a skillful interweaving of the hikers’ narrative, the investigators’ efforts, and the author’s investigations. Here for the first time is the real story of what happened that night on Dead Mountain.
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Eastern Europe! by Tomek Jankowski

When the legendary Romulus killed his brother Remus and founded the city of Rome in 753 BCE, Plovdiv—today the second-largest city in Bulgaria—was thousands of years old. Indeed, London, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Madrid, Brussels, Amsterdam are all are mere infants compared to Plovdiv. This is just one of the paradoxes that haunts and defines the New Europe, that part of Europe that was freed from Soviet bondage in 1989, and which is at once both much older than the modern Atlantic-facing power centers of Western Europe while also being much younger than them. Eastern Europe! is a brief and concise (but informative) introduction to Eastern Europe and its myriad customs and history.
Even those knowledgeable about Western Europe often see Eastern Europe as terra incognito, with a sign on the border declaring “Here be monsters.” Tomek Jankowski’s book is a gateway to understanding both what unites and separates Eastern Europeans from their Western brethren, and how this vital region has been shaped by but has also left its mark on Western Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa. It is a reader-friendly guide to a region that is all too often mischaracterized as remote, insular, and superstitious.
The book comprises three parts, The first sums up modern linguistic, geographic, and religious contours of Eastern Europe, while the second, main part delves into the region’s history, from the earliest origins of Europe up to the end of the Cold War. Closing the book is a section that makes sense of geographical name references — many cities, rivers, or regions have different names — and also includes an “Eastern Europe by Numbers” feature that provides charts describing the populations, politics, and economies of the region today. Throughout are boxed-off anecdotes (“Useless Trivia”) describing fascinating aspects of Eastern European history or culture.
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Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe by Kapka Kassabova

When Kapka Kassabova was a child, the borderzone between Bulgaria, Turkey and Greece was rumoured to be an easier crossing point into the West than the Berlin Wall so it swarmed with soldiers, spies and fugitives. On holidays close to the border on the Black Sea coast, she remembers playing on the beach, only miles from where an electrified fence bristled, its barbs pointing inwards toward the enemy: the holiday-makers, the potential escapees.
Today, this densely forested landscape is no longer heavily militarised, but it is scarred by its past. In Border, Kapka Kassabova sets out on a journey to meet the people of this triple border – Bulgarians, Turks, Greeks, and the latest wave of refugees fleeing conflict further afield. She discovers a region that has been shaped by the successive forces of history: by its own past migration crises, by communism, by two World wars, by the Ottoman Empire, and – older still – by the ancient legacy of myths and legends. As Kapka Kassabova explores this enigmatic region in the company of border guards and treasure hunters, entrepreneurs and botanists, psychic healers and ritual fire-walkers, refugees and smugglers, she traces the physical and psychological borders that criss-cross its villages and mountains, and goes in search of the stories that will unlock its secrets.
Border is a sharply observed portrait of a little-known corner of Europe, and a fascinating meditation on the borderlines that exist between countries, between cultures, between people, and within each of us.
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Family Honour: A Sam Smith Mystery (The Sam Smith Mystery Series Book 7) by Hannah Howe

When the biggest villain in the country makes you an offer you can’t refuse, what should you do? In my case, I decided to accept that offer, made by Mr Vincent Vanzetti. Vanzetti hired me to find his missing daughter, Vittoria, while threatening reprisals should I fail in my task. While searching for Vittoria, I had to deal with the other members of the Vanzetti clan: Sherri, Vanzetti’s second wife, at twenty-two the same age as Vittoria. Sherri was an ‘actress’, a porn star with ambitions to appear on Reality TV; Catrin, Vanzetti’s granite-hard ex-wife, the power behind his criminal empire; and V.J. Parks, Vittoria’s boyfriend, a boxer, a young man in his prime, in training for a shot at the world title.
 
Meanwhile, closer to home, it was decision time for yours truly and my lover, Dr Alan Storey. Alan was keen on marriage while I was still coming to terms with my past and years of physical abuse. Could I find the courage to finally lay the ghosts of my past and pledge my future to Alan?
 
Family Honour, the story of a villain and his family, the story of a moral dilemma. Should I kill in the name of justice, or should I allow a villain to walk free? In answering that question I discovered a lot about myself and the person I longed to be.
 
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Books of the Week #11

This week, we are featuring authors who are taking part in the European Friendship Tour.

Killing Floor (Jack Reacher, Book 1) by Lee Child

Jack Reacher jumps off a bus and walks fourteen miles down a country road into Margrave, Georgia. An arbitrary decision he’s about to regret.

Reacher is the only stranger in town on the day they have had their first homicide in thirty years.The cops arrest Reacher and the police chief turns eyewitness to place him at the scene. As nasty secrets leak out, and the body count mounts, one thing is for sure.

They picked the wrong guy to take the fall.

https://books2read.com/u/4ExRJY

Silver Bay by Jojo Moyes

Liza McCullen will never escape her past. But the unspoilt beaches and tight-knit community of Silver Bay offer the freedom and safety she craves – if not for herself, then for her young daughter, Hannah.

Until Mike Dormer arrives as a guest in her aunt’s hotel, and the peace of Silver Bay is shattered. The mild-mannered Englishman with his too-smart clothes and disturbing eyes could destroy everything Liza has worked so hard to protect: not only the family business and the bay that harbours her beloved whales, but also her conviction that she will never love – never deserve to love – again.

https://books2read.com/u/bxvekd

The Winter Ghosts by Kate Mosse

A haunting ghost story from the French mountains.

The Great War took much more than lives. It robbed a generation of friends, lovers and futures. In Freddie Watson’s case, it took his beloved brother and, at times, his peace of mind. Unable to cope with his grief, Freddie has spent much of the time since in a sanatorium.

In the winter of 1928, still seeking resolution, Freddie is travelling through the French Pyrenees – another region that has seen too much bloodshed over the years. During a snowstorm, his car spins off the mountain road. Shaken, he stumbles into the woods, emerging by a tiny village. There he meets Fabrissa, a beautiful local woman, also mourning a lost generation. Over the course of one night, Fabrissa and Freddie share their stories of remembrance and loss. By the time dawn breaks, he will have stumbled across a tragic mystery that goes back through the centuries.

By turns thrilling, poignant and haunting, this is a story of two lives touched by war and transformed by courage.

https://books2read.com/u/3LpR7X

Fall of Giants: Enhanced Edition (The Century Trilogy Book 1) by Ken Follett

The first in Ken Follett’s bestselling Century Trilogy, Fall of Giants is a captivating novel that follows five families through the world-shaking dramas of the First World War, the Russian Revolution, and the struggle for votes for women.

A world in chaos.1911, a thirteen-year-old boy, Billy Williams, begins working down the mines as George V is crowned king. The escalating arms race between the empire nations will put not only the king but this young boy in grave danger.

A terrible war. Billy’s family is inextricably linked with the Fitzherberts, the aristocratic owners of the coal mine where he works. And when Maud Fitzherbert falls in love with Walter von Ulrich, a spy at the German embassy in London, their destiny also becomes entangled with that of Gus Dewar, an ambitious young aide to Woodrow Wilson, and two orphaned Russian brothers, the Peshkovs, whose plan to emigrate to America falls foul of conscription, revolution and imminent war.

A revolution that will change everything. When Russia convulses in bloody revolution and the Great War unfolds, the five families’ futures are entwined forever, love bringing them closer even as conflict takes them further apart. What seeds will be sown for further tragedy in the twentieth century and what role will each play in what is to come?

https://books2read.com/u/bQaV6d

A Study of Rusalki – Slavic Mermaids of Eastern Europe (Spirits and Creatures Series Book 2) by Ronesa Aveela

Seductive. Beautiful. Dangerous! Or are they innocent and looking for love? Discover the allure of Slavic mermaids – the Rusalki.

Ripples on the water.
A song on the breeze.
Laughter amidst bending stalks of grain.
But when I approach, no one is there.

If Henry Wadsworth Longfellow had grown up in Eastern Europe, his soul would have longed for the secrets of the rivers, lakes, and marshes, rather than the sea. And the pale, beautiful maidens residing there would have been the ones who sent “a thrilling pulse” through him, instead of the heart of the great ocean.

And who are these lovely maidens? … The Rusalki, a Slavic version of a mermaid.
If only the modern-day Ariel from “The Little Mermaid” had been born one of them. She would already have had legs, and not a fish tail, and wouldn’t have had to give up her voice! Well, maybe.

It’s more than legs that makes the Rusalki different from what you know about mermaids.
· Discover their origins.
· Learn how to protect yourself from their enchantments.
· Read about terrifying encounters.

Through folklore, literature, music, videos, and illustrations, you’ll uncover the secrets of these spirits who have haunted Eastern Europe for centuries.

The “Spirits and Creatures” series has been called “brilliant,” “fascinating,” “well researched,” “humorous,” “intriguing,” “engaging,” “lyrically written,” “beautifully organized,” and “informative.” It’s the perfect book for those who want to learn about Eastern European folklore, but don’t want to read a dry, academic book.

https://books2read.com/u/3kpePG

Books of the Week #9

A Manuscript of Ashes: A Novel by Antonio Muñoz Molina

It’s the late sixties, the last dark years of Franco’s dictatorship. Minaya, a university student in Madrid, is caught up in the student protests and the police are after him. He moves to his uncle Manuel’s country estate in the small town of Mágina to write his thesis on an old friend of his uncle, an obscure republican poet named Jacinto Solana.

The country house is full of traces of the poet—notes, photographs, journals—and Minaya soon discovers that, thirty years earlier, during the Spanish Civil War, both his uncle and Solana were in love with the same woman, the beautiful, unsettling Mariana. Engaged to Manuel, she was shot in the attic of the house on her wedding night. With the aid of Inés, a maid, Minaya begins to search for Solana’s lost masterpiece, a novel called Beatus Ille. Looking for a book, he unravels a crime.

https://www.amazon.com/Manuscript-Ashes-Antonio-Muñoz-Molina-ebook/dp/B0079OHIPK/

Nordic Tales: Folktales from Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, and Denmark

Trolls haunt the snowy forests, and terrifying monsters roam the open sea.
A young woman journeys to the end of the world, and a boy proves he knows no fear.

This collection of 16 traditional tales transports readers to the enchanting world of Nordic folklore. Translated and transcribed by folklorists in the 19th century, and presented here unabridged, the stories are by turns magical, hilarious, cozy, and chilling. They offer a fascinating view into Nordic culture and a comforting wintertime read. Ulla Thynell’s glowing contemporary illustrations accompany each tale, conjuring dragons, princesses, and the northern lights.

https://books2read.com/u/bw2vre

Go, Went, Gone by Jenny Erpenbeck

Go, Went, Gone is the masterful new novel by the acclaimed German writer Jenny Erpenbeck, “one of the most significant German-language novelists of her generation” (The Millions). The novel tells the tale of Richard, a retired classics professor who lives in Berlin. His wife has died, and he lives a routine existence until one day he spies some African refugees staging a hunger strike in Alexanderplatz. Curiosity turns to compassion and an inner transformation, as he visits their shelter, interviews them, and becomes embroiled in their harrowing fates. Go, Went, Gone is a scathing indictment of Western policy toward the European refugee crisis, but also a touching portrait of a man who finds he has more in common with the Africans than he realizes. Exquisitely translated by Susan Bernofsky, Go, Went, Gone addresses one of the most pivotal issues of our time, facing it head-on in a voice that is both nostalgic and frightening.

https://books2read.com/u/mVrwW6

The Sinclair Betrayal: A Jayne Sinclair Genealogical Mystery by M J Lee

In the middle of a war, the first casualty is truth.

For years, Jayne has avoided researching her own family history. There are just too many secrets hidden in the past. Then she is forced to face up to the biggest secret of all; her father is still alive. Even worse, he is in prison for the cold-blooded killing of an old civil servant. A killing supposedly motivated by the betrayal and death of his mother decades before.

Was he guilty or innocent?

Was her grandmother really a spy?

And who betrayed her to the Germans?

Jayne uses all her genealogical and police skills to investigate the world of the SOE, and of secrets concealed in the dark days of World War 2.

A world that leads her into a battle with herself, her conscience and her own family.

https://books2read.com/u/mlawgM

Born From the Ashes (A Baba Treasure Chest story Book 3) by Ronesa Aveela

Illustrated short story. 

Kerana is spending the summer with her grandmother while her mother is busy with work. Keeping with old traditions, Baba (the grandmother) initiates Kerana as a znahar, an herbal healer, who people often call a witch. Things go wrong when she disobeys her grandmother’s warning.

In the tradition of family togetherness, Baba Treasure Chest stories are geared toward the entire family: Adults reading stories to children, families participating in activities, and children working together on coloring pages. Print edition contains coloring pages.

https://books2read.com/u/3RaNRD