Tag Archives: France

Books of the Week #30

The Supreme Victory of the Heart: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Synchronicity by Sharon Rawlette

When her French fiancé told her about the other woman in his life, she began to wonder if there was more to love–and the universe–than she had dared imagine.At 29, Sharon Hewitt was about to see her dreams come true. For the past decade, she’d been living the academic high life in New York, Paris, and Boston but struggling to feel at ease far from her rural roots and the religious faith she’d left behind in college. Now, engaged to a Frenchman and about to settle on a beautiful farm in the rolling countryside of Brittany, she felt she’d finally come home…

…until a girl her fiancé had known in high school unexpectedly resurfaced, changing everything.

The Supreme Victory of the Heart is Sharon’s candid account of the months following her French fiancé’s tearful admission that he wasn’t sure he could marry her after all, when she stood to lose not only the man she deeply loved, but the country she had inwardly adopted as her own. Torn between rage and sorrow, sympathy and steely resolve, Sharon found herself plumbing the depths of human love, as well as encountering the distinct possibility of something she’d given up on long ago: a higher purpose behind it all. This book tells the story of her challenging personal journey, and of the intriguing synchronicities that left her with a growing suspicion that love just might be destined to emerge victorious after all.

https://books2read.com/u/bP958j

The Beatrice Stubbs Boxset Two (Beatrice Stubbs Series Boxset Book 2) by JJ Marsh

For lovers of intelligent crime fiction, three more heart-racing European adventures in one boxset.

Beatrice Stubbs of Scotland Yard: detective inspector, metaphor mixer and stubborn survivor. Battling crime by day and her own demons by night, the question is always the same.
Justice or the law?

Cold Pressed: “Two things people fear the most? Change and death.”

Santorini. Turquoise seas, ancient ruins and beautiful sunsets. And a woman thrown from a cliff. The violent death shocks fellow passengers of the Empress Louise, a grand cruise liner packed with British tourists. DI Beatrice Stubbs flies to Greece to assist. When another lady is killed in her cabin, terror spreads like contagion. Murder is aboard and someone has Beatrice in his sights. Revenge is a dish best served cold.

Human Rites: “Judgement is in the eye of the beholder.”

Adrian Harvey has a stalker. Someone is stealing his post, vandalising his shop and making allegations to the police. And who is that nun? When DI Beatrice Stubbs is dispatched to Germany to investigate art theft, Adrian seizes the chance to flee the city. Yet the stalker is still on his heels. Adrian runs from danger to the remote island of Sylt. But danger follows and Adrian has run too far.

Bad Apples: “Some people are just rotten to the core.”

A police conference in Portugal is hardly a dangerous assignment, so Beatrice Stubbs invites family and friends for a holiday. It should be the perfect work-life balance. Until one of her colleagues is murdered. An eclectic alliance of international detectives forms to find the assassin. But are they really on the same side? Meanwhile, tensions rise at the holiday villa. A clash of egos sours the atmosphere and when a five-year-old child disappears, their idyll turns hellish. Trust can be a fatal mistake.

https://books2read.com/u/mZKPME

Murder in Mykonos (Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis Series Book 1) by Jeffrey Siger

First in a series of “thoughtful police procedurals set in picturesque but not untroubled Greek locales” (The New York Times), revealing the wildly lucrative dark side of an internationally renowned Greek island playground for the world’s rich and famous, those battling for control of its vices, and the innocents affected by it all.

Politically incorrect detective Andreas Kaldis, promoted out of Athens to serve as police chief for Mykonos, is certain his homicide days are over. Murders don’t happen in tourist heaven. At least that’s what he’s thinking as he stares at the remains of a young woman, ritually bound and buried on a pile of human bones inside a remote mountain church.

Teamed with the nearly-retired local homicide chief, Andreas tries to find the killer before the media can destroy the island’s fabled reputation with a barrage of world-wide attention on a mystery that’s haunted Mykonos undetected for decades.

When another young woman disappears, political niceties no longer matter. With the investigation now a rescue operation, Andreas races against a killer intent on claiming a new victim…

https://books2read.com/u/3yEDB6

Trailing the Hunter: A Novel of Misconception, Truth, and Love by Heidi Eljarbo

Opposition, courage, and determination. Not the most pleasing qualities for a young, eligible woman.But to some, her strength could mean life or death.

1661 in Norway.Clara Dahl has made a decision. She has seen the dread and sorrow witch-finder Angus Hill has caused in her hometown and sets out to find him. Her goal is to fight the wrongful and wicked misconceptions about witch hunting. But the witch-finder’s influence is strong. How can she warn the villagers of something they don’t understand?

Clara’s heartfelt desire is to protect and rescue the women who are in danger without causing more harm. As Clara develops secret plots to thwart the plans of the notorious witch-finder and works to help the villagers, she finds friendship and the possibility of true love.

From the bestselling author of Catching a Witch comes the continuing story of a brave, unwavering woman who defends the innocent. Set during a tumultuous time in history, Trailing the Hunter will captivate readers.

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

Le chant de Sam par Hannah Howe

L’amour fait mal. Pour Derwena de Caro, chanteuse, icône de la pop et des ados, le succès a apporté avec lui drogues, alcool et un petit ami coureur de jupons. Le succès a également apporté la fortune, la gloire et un harceleur, selon ses dires. Et c’est là que j’entre en scène : pour enquêter sur l’identité de ce soi-disant harceleur, en étant loin de m’imaginer que la piste me mènera jusqu’au meurtre et un scandale qui fera la une des journaux pendant des mois.

L’amour fait mal. Pour moi, Samantha Smith, détective privée, l’amour est toujours arrivé au bout d’un coup de poing. D’abord avec ma mère alcoolique, qui se défoulait sur moi quand j’étais plus jeune, puis avec mon mari, Dan, qui considérait les violences conjugales comme faisant partie intégrante du mariage. Mais j’ai survécu. J’ai obtenu le divorce, conservé mon sens de l’humour et un semblant d’optimisme. J’ai lancé ma société et gagné le respect de mes pairs. Mais je n’étais ni prête à ce que Dan refasse irruption dans ma vie ni pour l’affection que le Dr. Alan Storey me porte – un psychologue empathique et assez alléchant.

Le chant de Sam est l’histoire d’une semaine qui a pour toujours changé ma vie.

https://books2read.com/u/mKxkoV

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 #24

Bring me to Light: Embracing my Bipolar and Social Anxiety by Eleanor Segall

Eleanor Segall’s life was beginning. An aspiring actress and a family girl, she never thought her future would be derailed by mental illness. After a spate of depressive episodes, panic attacks and social anxiety, Eleanor found herself in The Priory at age 16. The diagnosis? Bipolar affective disorder.

But Eleanor didn’t let it stop her for long. Now a successful blogger, journalist, and pillar of the mental health and Jewish communities, she writes about finding recovery and hope after being unwell. Her story is of picking herself back up again and surviving against the odds. It will resonate with many – and it can help them find that light in the darkness too.

https://books2read.com/u/3npRO8

Mercy Roadby Ann Howard Creel

Inspired by the true story of the World War I American Women’s Hospital, Mercy Road is a novel about love, courage, and a female ambulance driver who risks everything.
In 1917, after Arlene Favier’s home burns to the ground, taking her father with it, she must find a way to support her mother and younger brother. If she doesn’t succeed, they will all be impoverished. Job opportunities are scarce, but then a daring possibility arises: the American Women’s Hospital needs ambulance drivers to join a trailblazing, all-female team of doctors and nurses bound for war-torn France.

On the front lines, Arlene and her fellow ambulance drivers work day and night to aid injured soldiers and civilians. In between dangerous ambulance runs, Arlene reunites with a childhood friend, Jimmy Tucker, now a soldier, who opens her heart like no one before. But she has also caught the attention of Felix Brohammer, a charismatic army captain who harbors a dark, treacherous secret.

To expose Brohammer means risking her family’s future and the promise of love. Arlene must make a choice: stay in the safety of silence or take the greatest chance of her life.

https://books2read.com/u/bxvRRo

An Elderly Lady Is Up to No Good by Helene Tursten

Maud is an irascible 88-year-old Swedish woman with no family, no friends, and… no qualms about a little murder. This funny, irreverent story collection by Helene Tursten, author of the Irene Huss investigations, features two-never-before translated stories that will keep you laughing all the way to the retirement home.

Ever since her darling father’s untimely death when she was only eighteen, Maud has lived in the family’s spacious apartment in downtown Gothenburg rent-free, thanks to a minor clause in a hastily negotiated contract. That was how Maud learned that good things can come from tragedy. Now in her late eighties, Maud contents herself with traveling the world and surfing the net from the comfort of her father’s ancient armchair. It’s a solitary existence, and she likes it that way. 

Over the course of her adventures—or misadventures—this little bold lady will handle a crisis with a local celebrity who has her eyes on Maud’s apartment, foil the engagement of her long-ago lover, and dispose of some pesky neighbors. But when the local authorities are called to investigate a dead body found in Maud’s apartment, will Maud finally become a suspect?

What Is Climate Change? by Gail Herman (Author), John Hinderliter (Illustrator)

Learn more about what climate change means and how it’s affecting our planet.

The earth is definitely getting warmer. There’s no argument about that, but who or what is the cause? And why has climate change become a political issue? Are humans at fault? Is this just a natural development? While the vast majority of scientists who study the environment agree that humans play a large part in climate change, there is a counterargument. Author Gail Herman presents both sides of the debate in this fact-based, fair-minded, and well-researched book that looks at the subject from many perspectives, including scientific, social, and political.

Grade level 3 – 7

https://books2read.com/u/b6kwpJ

Mind Games: A Sam Smith Mystery (The Sam Smith Mystery Series Book 11) by Hannah Howe

A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. Sasha Pryce, a teenage chess prodigy, presented me with a problem. She wanted me to track down Steve Chapin, her coaching assistant. Steve had mysteriously disappeared, leaving no clue as to his whereabouts. However, Sasha insisted that I should follow her strict instructions – her father, eminent pharmacologist Professor Christian Pryce, must not learn of my investigation.

Meanwhile, Professor Pryce had hired a handsome bodyguard, Blake, to protect Sasha. For what reason? She had no idea. And to complicate matters further, Blake decided to cast a lascivious eye over my romance-shy friend and assistant, Faye Collister.

Mind Games, a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma, an exploration of the many aspects of love.

https://books2read.com/u/49QyzX

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 #22

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.
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The House by the River by Lena Manta

From acclaimed Greek writer Lena Manta comes an emotionally powerful saga following five young women as they realize that no matter where life leads them, the only constant is home.
Theodora knows she can’t keep her five beautiful daughters at home forever—they’re too curious, too free spirited, too like their late father. And so, before each girl leaves the small house on the riverside at the foot of Mount Olympus, Theodora makes sure they know they are always welcome to return.
Having survived World War II, the Nazi occupation of Greece, and her husband’s death, Theodora now endures the twenty-year-long silence of her daughters’ absence. Her children have their own lives—they’ve married, traveled the world, and courted romance, fame, and even tragedy. But as they become modern, independent women in pursuit of their dreams, Theodora knows they need her—and each other—more than ever. Have they grown so far apart that they’ve forgotten their childhood home, or will their broken hearts finally lead them back again?
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Never Stop Walking: A Memoir of Finding Home Across the World by Christina Rickardsson

An extraordinary memoir of one woman’s fight to find her true self between the life into which she was born and the one she was given.
Christiana Mara Coelho was born into extreme poverty in Brazil. After spending the first seven years of her life with her loving mother in the forest caves outside São Paulo and then on the city streets, where they begged for food, she and her younger brother were suddenly put up for adoption. When one door closed on the only life Christiana had ever known and on the woman who protected her with all her heart, a new one opened.
As Christina Rickardsson, she’s raised by caring adoptive parents in Sweden, far from the despairing favelas of her childhood. Accomplished and outwardly “normal,” Christina is also filled with rage over what she’s lost and having to adapt to a new reality while struggling with the traumas of her youth. When her world falls apart again as an adult, Christina returns to Brazil to finally confront her past and unlock the truth of what really happened to Christiana Mara Coelho.
A memoir of two selves, Never Stop Walking is the moving story of the profound love between families and one woman’s journey from grief and loss to survival and self-discovery.
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Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman

Andre Aciman’s Call Me by Your Name is the story of a sudden and powerful romance that blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parents’ cliffside mansion on the Italian Riviera. Each is unprepared for the consequences of their attraction, when, during the restless summer weeks, unrelenting currents of obsession, fascination, and desire intensify their passion and test the charged ground between them. Recklessly, the two verge toward the one thing both fear they may never truly find again: total intimacy. It is an instant classic and one of the great love stories of our time.
Now a Major Motion Picture from Director Luca Guadagnino, Starring Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet, and Written by James Ivory
WINNER BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY ACADEMY AWARD
Nominated for Four Oscars

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Stardust: A Sam Smith Mystery (The Sam Smith Mystery Series Book 10) by Hannah Howe

Hired by multimillionaire Jeremy Loudon, my task was simple – find his missing briefcase. Loudon claimed that his briefcase held ten thousand pounds, his winnings from a poker game. However, as the trail unravelled and led to Europe my suspicions deepened. What was in Loudon’s briefcase, beyond the money? Why was he being so evasive? Why did he insist on no police involvement?
My search for the missing briefcase took me to pimps, pornographers, radical feminists, gun runners and the Red Light District of Amsterdam.
Meanwhile, my investigation held a mirror to my own life. Loudon had everything – more money than he could spend, a successful business and a beautiful lover. My business was doing well and my marriage offered plenty of love and happiness. Yet, encounters with my Dutch colleagues raised the question – should I ask for more out of life?
Stardust, the story of one woman’s dream and my hopes for the future.
Also available in Dutch.
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Books of the Week #21

The Seine: The River that Made Paris by Elaine Sciolino

A vibrant, enchanting tour of the Seine from longtime New York Times foreign correspondent and best-selling author Elaine Sciolino.

Elaine Sciolino came to Paris as a young foreign correspondent and was seduced by a river. In The Seine, she tells the story of that river from its source on a remote plateau of Burgundy to the wide estuary where its waters meet the sea, and the cities, tributaries, islands, ports, and bridges in between.

Sciolino explores the Seine through its rich history and lively characters: a bargewoman, a riverbank bookseller, a houseboat dweller, a famous cinematographer known for capturing the river’s light. She discovers the story of Sequana—the Gallo-Roman healing goddess who gave the Seine its name—and follows the river through Paris, where it determined the city’s destiny and now snakes through all aspects of daily life. She patrols with river police, rows with a restorer of antique boats, sips champagne at a vineyard along the river, and even dares to go for a swim. She finds the Seine in art, literature, music, and movies from Renoir and Les Misérables to Puccini and La La Land. Along the way, she reveals how the river that created Paris has touched her own life. A powerful afterword tells the dramatic story of how water from the depths of the Seine saved Notre-Dame from destruction during the devastating fire in April 2019.
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Bread on the Table: Recipes for Making and Enjoying Europe’s Most Beloved Breads [A Baking Book] by David Norman

The debut cookbook from cult favorite Austin bakery and beer garden Easy Tiger, featuring recipes from author David Norman’s time spent exploring bread traditions throughout Europe and North America, plus menu ideas for incorporating homemade bread into everyday meals.
In this highly anticipated cookbook, culinary instructor and baker David Norman explores the European breadmaking traditions that inspire him most–from the rye breads of France to the saltless ciabattas of Italy to the traditional Christmas loaves of Scandinavia. Norman also offers recipes for traditional foods to accompany these regional specialties, so home bakers can showcase their freshly made breads alongside a traditional Swedish breakfast spread, oysters with mignonette, or country pâté, to name a few examples. With rigorous, detailed instructions plus showstopping photography, this book will surprise and delight bakers of all stripes.

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Celtic Mythology: History for kids by Dinobibi Publishing

No mythology is more magical than Celtic mythology. The Celts of Ireland, Scotland, and Wales created an imaginative world full of fairies, sea monsters, and nature gods. In Ireland especially, the land and culture are alive with stories from the past. People living there who believed in strong, powerful gods, fairy folk who were sometimes up to no good, and all sorts of supernatural beings who lived alongside humans.
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I’ll Push You: A Journey of 500 Miles, Two Best Friends, and One Wheelchair by Patrick Gray and Justin Skeesuck

Two best friends, 500 miles, one wheelchair, and the challenge of a lifetime.
Friendship takes on new meaning in this true story of Justin and Patrick, born less than two days apart in the same hospital. Best friends their whole lives, they grew up together, went to school together, and were best man in each other’s weddings. When Justin was diagnosed with a neuromuscular disease that robbed him of the use of his arms and legs, Patrick was there, helping to feed and care for him in ways he’d never imagined. Determined to live life to the fullest, the friends refused to give into despair or let physical limitations control what was possible for Justin.
So when Justin heard about the Camino de Santiago, a 500-mile trek through Spain, he wondered aloud to Patrick whether the two of them could ever do it. Patrick’s immediate response was: “I’ll push you.”
I’ll Push You is the real-life story of this incredible journey. A travel adventure full of love, humor, and spiritual truth, it exemplifies what every friendship is meant to be and shows what it means to never find yourself alone. You’ll discover how love and faith can push past all limits—and make us the best versions of ourselves.
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Mermaid’s Gift (A Baba Treasure Chest story Book 4) by Ronesa Aveela

Nine-year-old Nick celebrates his Name Day in December, on St. Nicholas Day. But the day is filled with worry because his father is caught out fishing on the ocean during a storm. He receives a special gift from his mother that day, a gift that has an unusual message. Mermaid’s Gift is a short story. In the tradition of family togetherness, Baba Treasure Chest stories are geared toward the entire family.

https://books2read.com/u/mqDoO6

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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 #12

The Museum of Abandoned Secrets by Oksana Zabuzhko

Spanning sixty tumultuous years of Ukrainian history, this multigenerational saga weaves a dramatic and intricate web of love, sex, friendship, and death. At its center: three women linked by the abandoned secrets of the past—secrets that refuse to remain hidden.
While researching a story, journalist Daryna unearths a worn photograph of Olena Dovgan, a member of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army killed in 1947 by Stalin’s secret police.

Intrigued, Daryna sets out to make a documentary about the extraordinary woman—and unwittingly opens a door to the past that will change the course of the future. For even as she delves into the secrets of Olena’s life, Daryna grapples with the suspicious death of a painter who just may be the latest victim of a corrupt political power play.

From the dim days of World War II to the eve of Orange Revolution, The Museum of Abandoned Secrets is an “epic of enlightening force” that explores the enduring power of the dead over the living.

https://books2read.com/u/brVar7

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

The Elegance of the Hedgehog is a moving, funny, atmospheric novel that exalts the quiet victories of the inconspicuous among us.

We are in an elegant hôtel particulier in the center of Paris. Renée, the building’s concierge, is short, ugly, and plump. She has bunions on her feet. She is cantankerous and addicted to television soaps. Her only genuine attachment is to her cat, Leo. In short, she is everything society expects from a concierge at a bourgeois building in a posh Parisian neighborhood.

But Renée has a secret: she is a ferocious autodidact who furtively devours art, philosophy, music, and Japanese culture. With biting humor she scrutinizes the lives of the building’s tenants—her inferiors in every way except that of material wealth.

Then there’s Paloma, a super-smart twelve-year-old and the youngest daughter of the Josses, who live on the fifth floor. Talented, precocious, and startingly lucid, she has come to terms with life’s seeming futility and has decided to end her own on the day of her thirteenth birthday. Until then she will continue hiding her extraordinary intelligence behind a mask of mediocrity, acting the part of an average pre-teen high on pop subculture, a good but not an outstanding student, an obedient if obstinate daughter.

Paloma and Renée hide both their true talents and their finest qualities from a world they suspect cannot or will not appreciate them. They discover their kindred souls when a wealthy Japanese man named Ozu arrives in the building. Only he is able to gain Paloma’s trust and to see through Renée’s timeworn disguise to the secret that haunts her.

https://books2read.com/u/b5QXvR

The Artificial Silk Girl: A Novel by Irmgard Keun

Before Sex and the City there was Bridget Jones. And before Bridget Jones was The Artificial Silk Girl.

In 1931, a young woman writer living in Germany was inspired by Anita Loos’s Gentlemen Prefer Blondes to describe pre-war Berlin and the age of cinematic glamour through the eyes of a woman. The resulting novel, The Artificial Silk Girl, became an acclaimed bestseller and a masterwork of German literature, in the tradition of Christopher Isherwood’s Berlin Stories and Bertolt Brecht’s Three Penny Opera. Like Isherwood and Brecht, Keun revealed the dark underside of Berlin’s “golden twenties” with empathy and honesty. Unfortunately, a Nazi censorship board banned Keun’s work in 1933 and destroyed all existing copies of The Artificial Silk Girl. Only one English translation was published, in Great Britain, before the book disappeared in the chaos of the ensuing war. Today, more than seven decades later, the story of this quintessential “material girl” remains as relevant as ever, as an accessible new translation brings this lost classic to light once more.

https://books2read.com/u/bM9YAV

The Gondola Maker: A Novel of 16th-Century Venice (Venetian Artisans Book 2) by Laura Morelli

Venetian gondola-maker Luca Vianello considers his whole life arranged. His father charted a course for his eldest son from the day he was born, and Luca is positioned to inherit one of the city’s most esteemed boatyards. But when Luca experiences an unexpected tragedy in the boatyard, he believes that his destiny lies elsewhere. Soon he finds himself drawn to restore an antique gondola with the dream of taking a girl for a ride.

The Gondola Maker brings the centuries-old art of gondola-making to life in the tale of a young man’s complicated relationship with his master-craftsman father. Lovers of historical fiction will appreciate the authentic details of gondola craftsmanship, along with an intimate first-person narrative set against the richly textured backdrop of 16th-century Venice.

https://books2read.com/u/bw2KJO

Ripper: A Sam Smith Mystery (The Sam Smith Mystery Series Book 4) by Hannah Howe

“I love breaking the rules.” – Cardiff Jack.

Someone was murdering prostitutes, placing their bodies in the Bay and covering them with roses. To the media, he was ‘Cardiff Jack’, to the rest of us he was a man to avoid and fear. 

Meanwhile, I was searching for Faye Collister, a prostitute. Why was Faye, a beautiful woman from a privileged background, walking the streets? Why had she disappeared? And what was her connection to Cardiff Jack? 

As questions tumbled into answers, I made a shocking discovery, a discovery that would resonate with me for the rest of my days. 

Ripper – the story of a week in my life that reshaped the past, disturbed the present and brought the promise of an uncertain future.

https://books2read.com/u/bpEwXg