Tag Archives: France

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.
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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

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 #10

Lights on the Sea by Miquel Reina

On the highest point of an island, in a house clinging to the edge of a cliff, live Mary Rose and Harold Grapes, a retired couple still mourning the death of their son thirty-five years before. Weighed down by decades of grief and memories, the Grapeses have never moved past the tragedy. Then, on the eve of eviction from the most beautiful and dangerously unstable perch in the area, they’re uprooted by a violent storm. The disbelieving Grapeses and their home take a free-fall slide into the white-capped sea and float away.

As the past that once moored them recedes and disappears, Mary Rose and Harold are delivered from decades of sorrow by the ebb and flow of the waves. Ahead of them, a light shimmers on the horizon, guiding them toward a revelatory and cathartic new engagement with life, and all its wonder.

Wildly imaginative, deeply poignant, and entirely unexpected, Lights on the Sea sweeps readers away on a journey of fate, acceptance, redemption, and survival against the most rewarding of odds.

https://books2read.com/u/bw2dVe

Daybreak by Viktor Arnar Ingolfsson

When the shotgun-blasted body of a goose hunter is discovered, the police believe they have a list of suspects who may have wanted the victim dead, from his young wife to the caretaker of his property. But then a second body, another hunter, is found with a similar fatal wound. And then a third. As the pattern emerges—all goose hunters, all shot at the break of dawn—Reykjavik policemen Gunnar and Birkir face the terrifying possibility that a serial killer is stalking the idyllic Icelandic countryside.

Gunnar and Birkir set a trap for the one they call “the Gander,” but it quickly becomes a wild goose chase as the murderer plays some tricks of his own. With the clock running out and the discovery of another body all but guaranteed, the cops must determine if there is a thread connecting the victims or if the killings are all part of a twisted game.

https://books2read.com/u/mZBjMp

Exciting Destinies – The Complete Collection: A Collection of Science Fiction/Speculative Fiction Short Stories by Nicholas C. Rossis

What would you do with a time machine—win the lottery or save the world? Why have mermaids suddenly reappeared? And what would you do if you met your god?

This omnibus edition includes four collections of science/speculative fiction short stories including Infinite Waters, voted one of the Best 50 Indie Books of 2015.

31 short and very short fiction stories that will keep you on the edge of your seat
The Perfect Read For Your Commuting.

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

Hearts of Resistance by Soraya M. Lane

At the height of World War II, three women must come together to fight for freedom, for the men they love—and for each other.

When Hazel is given the chance to parachute into Nazi-occupied France, she seizes the opportunity to do more for the British war effort than file paperwork. Alongside her childhood friend, French-born Rose, she quickly rises up the ranks of the freedom fighters. For Rose, the Resistance is a link to her late husband, and a way to move forward without him. What starts out as helping downed airmen becomes a bigger cause when they meet Sophia, a German escapee and fierce critic of Hitler who is wanted by the Gestapo. Together the three women form a bond that will last a lifetime.

But amid the turmoil and tragedy of warfare, all three risk losing everything—and everyone—they hold dear. Will their united front be strong enough to see them through?

https://books2read.com/u/mla2WY

Love and Bullets: A Sam Smith Mystery (The Sam Smith Mystery Series Book 2) by Hannah Howe

It had been a week since the incident at the abandoned quarry, a week since I’d shot and killed someone, a week since my ex-husband had been murdered. It had been an emotional week. But life goes on. I’d been hired to discover who was sending death threats to Dr Ruth Carey, a controversial psychiatrist. The trail led to two high-powered villains and soon the death threats were aimed at me, threats that increased following two murders.

Meanwhile, after years of domestic violence, I was trying to make sense of my private life. Dr Alan Storey, a prominent psychologist, claimed that he loved me, and I was strongly attracted to him. But the years of domestic abuse had scarred me emotionally and I was reluctant to commit to a relationship.

Love and Bullets is the story of a dramatic week in my life, a week of soul-searching, self-discovery and redemption.

Available in English, French, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00RQLAVRS

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