Tag Archives: Italy

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 #28

Skitnikut – usmivki I sulzi: Rasmisleniata na edin bulgarski emigrant (Bulgarian) by Ronesa Aveela

Vseki chovek e edin postoyanen proekt: promenya se, adaptira se – ponyakoga kum po-dobro, drug put– kum po-losho. Tsyal jivot nie se skitame, za da namerim po-dobro myasto za zhivot, po-dobra rabota, da usvoim novi umeniya, da napravim otkritie ili da izobretim neshto stoinostno.

V nashi dni tekhnologiite premakhnakha fizicheskite granitsi. Skitame ne samo putuvaiki do razlichni mesta po sveta, no vuv virtualnoto prostranstvo s lekota „ot·skachame“ v mrezhata, kudeto suzdavame poznanstva v sveta okolo nas. Kogato putuvame, nie gradim novi domove, namirame novi priyateli, otglezhdame detsata si, vdigame svatbi i kazvame posledno sbogom na priyateli i blizki, izprashtame gi v otvudnia svyat. Dori na khilyadi kilometri ot myastoto, kudeto sme otgledani i vuzpitani, nie produlgavame da spazvame nashite obichai i da praktikuvame traditsiite, s koito sme zakurmeni. Spodelyame gi s novi priyateli, koito imat razlichno kulturno nasledstvo, mirogled i vyara; i na svoi red priemame novi. Tryabva da se nauchim da pochitame drugite kulturi tolkova, kolkoto podkrepyame horata ot sobstvenata si obshtnost.

Traditsiite sa chudesen nachin da nauchim detsata na kulturnata i religiozna istoriya na roda, kato im dadem sobstvena samolichnost i koreni.

Kulturata e khram za choveshkata dusha. Tova e neshtoto, koeto nosim sus sebe si, dokato se skitame; neshtoto, koeto razvivame, kogato se prisposobyavame kŭm myastoto, koeto izberem da narichame svoi dom.


The Wanderer – A Tear and A Smile: Reflections of an Immigrant by Ronesa Aveela

A memoir of the life of Ronesa Aveela, relating stories of life in Bulgaria and abroad.

Each person is a constant project: changing and adapting—sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. All our lives we wander to find a better place to live or a better job, to learn new skills, to make a discovery, or to invent something of value.

Today, technology has removed boundaries. We can easily physically travel to different places in the world, but we can also “bounce” around the virtual space of the web, where we make acquaintances worldwide.

In our travels, we build our homes, make new friends, raise our children, attend weddings, and say goodbye to friends and family, sending them to the world beyond. Even thousands of miles from where we were born and raised, we keep our customs and practice the traditions that we have been nourished with. We share them with friends who have a different cultural heritage, upbringing, and faith; and we in turn accept new ones. We must learn to respect other cultures as much as we support people in our own community.

Traditions are a great way to teach children the cultural and religious history of mankind by giving them their own identity and roots.

Culture is a temple for the human soul. This is what we carry with us as we wander, what we develop as we adapt to the place we choose to call our home.

https://books2read.com/u/3Raq5j

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? / Oso pardo, oso pardo, ¿qué ves ahí? (Bilingual board book – English / Spanish) (Brown Bear and Friends) by Bill Martin, Jr and Eric Carle

A big happy frog, a plump purple cat, a handsome blue horse, and a soft yellow duck– all parade across the pages of this delightful bilingual edition of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See? (Oso pardo, oso parado, que ves ¿qué ves ahí?). Children will immediately respond to Eric Carle’s flat, boldly colored collages. Combined with Bill Martin’s singsong text, they create unforgettable images of these endearing animals.

https://books2read.com/u/31rEAr

My Brilliant Friend (Neapolitan Novels Book 1) by Elena Ferrante

From one of Italy’s most acclaimed authors, comes this ravishing and generous-hearted novel about a friendship that lasts a lifetime. The story of Elena and Lila begins in the 1950s in a poor but vibrant neighborhood on the outskirts of Naples. Growing up on these tough streets the two girls learn to rely on each other ahead of anyone or anything else, as their friendship, beautifully and meticulously rendered, becomes a not always perfect shelter from hardship. Ferrante has created a memorable portrait of two women, but My Brilliant Friend is also the story of a nation. Through the lives of Elena and Lila, Ferrante gives her readers the story of a neighborhood, a city, and a country undergoing momentous change.

Elena Ferrante is the author of three previous works of critically acclaimed fiction: The Days of Abandonment, Troubling Love, and The Lost Daughter. With this stylishly plotted novel, the first in a series dubbed the “Neapolitan Novels,” she proves herself to be one of Italy’s greatest storytellers.

https://books2read.com/u/baW17L

A Solitary Reaper: A Captain Savva Mystery by Rachael Wright

Secrets, lies, and pain lie under the beautiful and serene mask of the isle of Lesvos, Greece. Captain Alexandros Savva of the Hellenic Police knows all three first hand. The decade-old murder of his only child haunts him and pushes him to solve every case regardless of how undeserving its victim.

Savva and his team are called to Mount Lepetimnos by an American tourist who finds a man murdered on the summit. After fingerprints identify the victim as Matthias Papatonis, a former Greek mafia enforcer, locals and police brass alike label the murder a revenge killing and declare the case closed.

Amid the arrival of a trafficked woman in his home, rescued by the efforts of Syrian refugees, Savva and his newly-minted Lieutenant, Stelios Booras, question what really happened to Matthias. Twenty years ago Matthias ruined countless lives during his tenure in Athens. As Savva investigates to see if there’s more to the brutal murder than the mafia tying up loose ends, long-buried secrets resurface, as do the people who are haunted by them. For not on the small island of Lesvos, nor on the quiet streets of Mitilini, can secrets be kept forever.

A gritty, emotionally-charged mystery, A Solitary Reaper, is a profound exploration of the love which binds us and the secrets which tear us apart.

https://books2read.com/u/b68yO6

Saving Grace: A Victorian Mystery by Hannah Howe

Based on a true story and written by Hannah Howe, author of the Amazon #1 Sam Smith Mystery Series, Saving Grace, “the courtroom drama of the year.”

The Western Mail

2 August 1876

Sensation in the Charles Petrie Case!

Readers may recall that a young banker, by name Mr Charles Petrie, with every opportunity of succeeding in his profession, and commanding a not illiberal income, returned home after riding his horse to dine with his wife, Grace, and her companion, Mrs Quinn. During and after dinner he had nothing to excite him save the receipt of a letter which somewhat annoyed him, and that his wife consumed rather more wine than he considered to be good for her health. Immediately after retiring to his room he was seized with symptoms of irritant poisoning, and despite every effort made on his behalf, he succumbed to its effects. An inquest was held, which vexed the minds of the Coroner’s jury to a degree without precedent in Coroners’ Inquest Law, and an open verdict was returned. However, the matter will not rest there, for after questions in Parliament, a second inquest has been called under suspicion that Mr Charles Petrie was murdered.


* * *

Who poisoned Charles Petrie? Dr James Collymore, a man familiar with poisons, a man harbouring a dark secret that, if exposed, would ruin his career; Florrie, the maid who supplied Charles with his bedtime drink; Bert Kemp, a disgruntled groom, who used poisons in his work, who four months previously had predicted Charles’ dying day; Mrs Jennet Quinn, a lady’s companion with a deep knowledge of poisons, and a deep fear of dismissal; or Grace Petrie, Charles’ wife of four months, a woman with a scandalous past, a woman shunned by polite society.

With crowds flocking to the courtroom and the shadow of suspicion falling upon Grace in the shape of the hangman’s noose, could dashing young advocate, Daniel Morgan, save her?

Finnish, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish versions are also available.

https://books2read.com/u/bpO09W

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 #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.
9905B7D0-4916-4E53-B129-075842CF810C

Books of the Week #19

My Love Affair With Italy: Memoir of a single woman’s travels to Italy spanning 45 years from a teenager to retirement by Debbie Mancuso

As a 17-year old Italian American from New Jersey, Debbie became obsessed with the idea of traveling to Italy, and the summer after completing her junior year in high school, she realizes her dream when her parents agree to send her on a student tour for 40 days with no one she knew. Friendships form with another American student, and with Cesare, an Italian medical student living in the same “hotel.” But what transpires is something no one ever expected, especially her mom.
Over the next 45 years, Debbie returns 11 more times, mostly alone. Other trips include her two best friends, another with her father, and horseback riding adventures in the Chianti Region of Tuscany with cousins. Some of the places visited include Rome, Tuscany, the Almalfi Coast, Sicily, Capri, and a 2,500 year-old village in Umbria where the only mode of transportation allowed is a moped or donkey. One hundred years after her great grandmother migrated to America, Debbie locates her family in the most unusual way, culminating with a heartwarming reception.
Rarely staying in hotels, My Love Affair With Italy describes each of the trips, all the types of accommodations such as the agriturismi (farmhouses), the apartments, vineyards, the medieval villages, monastery, villas, and horseback riding centers she stayed in addition to the romances and friends met along the way. At the age of 50, Debbie learns how to horseback ride English style and takes a 100-mile tour cantering through Tuscany, something she was not nearly qualified to do. Within a year, she becomes an exchange student and enrolls in school in Siena, one of Tuscany’s most magnificent cities, to learn Italian and moves in with a local family, she not knowing Italian and they not knowing English. While in school, she befriends a German woman who invites her to stay at her home in the beautiful Bavarian Alps during her next visit to Europe, and Debbie accepts in an attempt to practice Italian with her former classmate, but the trip becomes a shocking revelation.
The book also details the “jewels” of Rome not mentioned in brochures such as The Scala Sancta, the Holy Stairs, holy because they are said to be the stairs that Jesus climbed on his way to his trial before Pontius Pilate, and the Aventine Keyhole, a nondescript-looking door on the Aventine Hill, neatly placing the dome of St. Peter’s right in the center.
Each trip also details why she returns each time, the struggles endured at home after becoming a caregiver, the 50-year friendships that get her through it all, and the shocking way her father shows his presence in Piazza Navona. Lastly, four decades after it all began, there are very surprising reunions and the most unusual romance.
E4FD43DF-7AB3-4524-91AF-37C226C26B09

Treacherous Is the Night (A Verity Kent Mystery Book 2) by Anna Lee Huber

In 1919 England, in the shadow of The Great War, many look to the spirit world for answers. But it will take an all too earthbound intrigue to draw in the discerning heroine of Anna Lee Huber’s latest mystery . . .
It’s not that Verity Kent doesn’t sympathize with those eager to make contact with lost loved ones. After all, she once believed herself a war widow. But now that she’s discovered Sidney is very much alive, Verity is having enough trouble connecting with her estranged husband, never mind the dead. Still, at a friend’s behest, Verity attends a séance, where she encounters the man who still looms between her and Sidney—and a medium who channels a woman Verity once worked with in the Secret Service. Refusing to believe her former fellow spy is dead, Verity is determined to uncover the source of the spiritualist’s top secret revelation.
Then the medium is murdered—and Verity’s investigation is suddenly thwarted. Even Secret Service agents she once trusted turn their backs on her. Undaunted, Verity heads to war-torn Belgium, with Sidney by her side. But as they draw ever closer to the danger, Verity wonders if she’s about to learn the true meaning of till death do us part . . .

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Night Train To Lisbon by Pascal Mercier

Night Train to Lisbon tells the story of mild-mannered, middle-aged Classics scholar Raimund Gregorius. When, one afternoon, he walks out of his class while in the middle of giving a lesson, his uncharacteristic impulsiveness surprises him as much as his students. This break from his usually predictable routine is driven by two chance encounters that morning on his way to work – the first with a mysterious Portuguese woman, and the second with a book discovered in a forgotten corner of an old bookshop, the journal of an enigmatic Portuguese aristocrat. With the book as his talisman, Mundus finds himself boarding the night train to Lisbon on a journey to find out more about its author, Amadeu del Prado – who was this man whose words both haunt and compel him, seeming somehow clairvoyant?
His investigations lead him all over the city, and bring him into contact with those who were entangled in Prado’s life. Gradually, he makes unexpected friends and the picture of an extraordinary man emerges: a difficult, brilliant, charismatic man, a doctor and a poet, and a rebel against Salazar’s dictatorship. And as Prado’s story comes to light so, too, Gregorius himself begins his life anew.
Hurtling through the dark, Night Train to Lisbon is a rich tale, wonderful told, propelled both by the mystery at its heart and its evocative subject.
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Spartacus: The Roman History of the Heroic Slave Revolution by Kelly Mass

Spartacus is the central figure in the first few chapters of this book. He led the slaves to rebel against the Roman oppressors insomuch that it made a significant impact. His name will be remembered in history because of his heroic deeds. Subtopics will be addressed, such as:
 
– Soldiers in the army of Rome.
– Spartacus’ flame and rebellion, and his refuse in Vesuvius.
– What the slave war did.
– Other slave wars.
– The significance of the Auxilia.
– The day the Romans were hit by the Vesuvius’ eruption.
– Historical figures involved in the slave revolution.
– Via Appia and the habit of crucifying.
– Rights of slaves, prostitutes, and household members.
– Racism, taboo, and sexuality in the ancient Roman Empire.
– The rebellion in Sicilly.
– Public patterns and rituals among the Roman population.
– Facts about the soldiers, the army, and the organization of it.
 
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Mystical Emona: Soul’s Journey by Ronesa Aveela

Past, present & future come together in this explosive modern tale of love and revenge.
 
Travel to the world of the Balkans with Mystical Emona: Soul’s Journey and discover the secret lives of samodivi (Veelas). You’ve met these wondrous, mysterious creatures in different books. Now let Mystical Emona introduce you to samodivi as legend portrays them.
 
Carina, the most enchanting maiden in all of Thrace, is ravished on her wedding day her ring cursed. It will bring happiness to none but her. The curse will be broken only when the ring guides her true love back to her. Every spring she goes to “the other side of the moon” to await the return of her soul mate. After centuries, the ring flashes like a beacon to guide a handsome man named Stefan to Emona.
 
Stefan is a widowed artist from Boston, Mass, with a young daughter. He hopes moving to a secluded village on the Black Sea coast will ease his pain, and the wild, untamed beauty of this surrounding will inspire him to take up his art once again. He meets a mysterious woman and his life changes. He is drawn to her by some unknown bond, but cannot give his heart to her fully because his memories refuse to release their hold on him. Then the dreams begin. Some delightful. Others terrifying.
 
Take the journey to Mystical Emona and find out if the lovers reunite. The book is sure to enchant you with its perfect blend of history, legends, rituals, and romance.
 
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Books of the Week #13

The Snow Gypsy by Lindsay Jayne Ashford

From the bestselling author of The Woman on the Orient Express comes a haunting novel of two women—one determined to uncover the past and the other determined to escape it.

At the close of World War II, London is in ruins and Rose Daniel isn’t at peace. Eight years ago, her brother disappeared while fighting alongside Gypsy partisans in Spain. From his letters, Rose has just two clues to his whereabouts—his descriptions of the spectacular south slopes of the Sierra Nevada and his love for a woman who was carrying his child.
In Spain, it has been eight years since Lola Aragon’s family was massacred. Eight years since she rescued a newborn girl from the arms of her dying mother and ran for her life. She has always believed that nothing could make her return…until a plea for help comes from a desperate stranger.

Now, Rose, Lola, and the child set out on a journey from the wild marshes of the Camargue to the dazzling peaks of Spain’s ancient mountain communities. As they come face-to-face with war’s darkest truths, their lives will be changed forever by memories, secrets, and friendships.

https://books2read.com/u/bzv1wZ

A Song for Bellafortuna: An Italian Historical Fiction Novel by Vincent B. “Chip” LoCoco

The beautiful, yet secluded, hilltop village of Bellafortuna, Sicily, is a great producer of wine and olive oil. The entire village prospers. However, after the arrival of the Vasaio family, production dwindles and the villagers soon find themselves in crushing debt to the Vasaios. Only the Sanguinetti family remains outside the control of the Vasaios, but the reason haunts Antonio Sanguinetti every day of his life, and he offers financial and emotional support to his fellow villagers. When Antonio’s only son, Giuseppe, discovers his family’s past, he becomes determined to take on the Vasaios and remove them from power. Led by the young Giuseppe, a plan is hatched that could result in either complete freedom for the villagers, or if it fails, forever solidify the Vasaios’ control.

https://books2read.com/u/mgG7Xx

Sea of Memories by Fiona Valpy

When Kendra first visits her ailing grandmother, Ella has only one request: that Kendra write her story down, before she forgets…

In 1937, seventeen-year-old Ella’s life changes forever when she is sent to spend the summer on the beautiful Île de Ré and meets the charismatic, creative Christophe. They spend the summer together, exploring the island’s sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters, and, for the first time in her life, Ella feels truly free.

But the outbreak of war casts everything in a new light. Ella is forced to return to Scotland, where she volunteers for the war effort alongside the dashing Angus. In this new world, Ella feels herself drifting further and further from who she was on the Île de Ré. Can she ever find her way back? And does she want to?

From the windswept Île de Ré to the rugged hills of Scotland, Sea of Memories is a spellbinding journey about the power of memory, love and second chances.

https://books2read.com/u/bQajd7

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

This multi-million-copy phenomenon is a funny, moving, uplifting tale of love and community that will leave you with a spring in your step.

At first sight, Ove is almost certainly the grumpiest man you will ever meet. He thinks himself surrounded by idiots – neighbours who can’t reverse a trailer properly, joggers, shop assistants who talk in code, and the perpetrators of the vicious coup d’etat that ousted him as Chairman of the Residents’ Association. He will persist in making his daily inspection rounds of the local streets.

But isn’t it rare, these days, to find such old-fashioned clarity of belief and deed? Such unswerving conviction about what the world should be, and a lifelong dedication to making it just so?

In the end, you will see, there is something about Ove that is quite irresistible . . .

https://books2read.com/u/4XZ2l7

The Unborn Hero of Dragon Village by Ronesa Aveela

Available in Bulgarian, English and Italian.

The day fire and ice erupt from the sky, everything changes forever for twelve-year-old Theo. He discovers that dragons are real when Lamia, a three-headed monster, kidnaps his sister. A witch and a talking magpie help him open the portal to Dragon Village, a land he knows only from myth, a place filled with terrifying creatures. A young woodland nymph befriends him when he arrives. He must learn to trust his instincts as he searches for a way to defeat Lamia before the dragon sacrifices his sister. In his journey, he uncovers secrets that reveal that only he can save the mystical land.

In this book, you will discover some of the terrifying creatures from Bulgarian and Slavic mythology. Some you may know by other names: Samodivi are Veelas from Harry Potter fame, only here they’re shown as supernatural creatures of the forest.

Baba Yaga, Harpies, and other creatures find their way into these pages, as well as the dreaded Lamia.

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

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

Europe by Book #2

The Rhine: Following Europe’s Greatest River from Amsterdam to the Alps by Ben Coates

The Rhine is one of the world’s greatest rivers. Once forming the outer frontier of the Roman Empire, it flows 800 miles from the social democratic playground of the Netherlands, through the industrial and political powerhouses of Germany and France, to the wealthy mountain fortresses of Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

For five years, Ben Coates lived alongside a major channel of the river in Rotterdam, crossing it daily, swimming and sailing in its tributaries. In The Rhine, he sets out by bicycle from the Netherlands where it enters the North Sea, following it through Germany, France and Liechtenstein, to its source in the icy Alps. He explores the impact that the Rhine has had on European culture and history and finds out how influences have flowed along and across the river, shaping the people who live alongside it.

BBlending travelogue and offbeat history, The Rhine tells the fascinating story of how a great river helped shape a continent.

books2read.com/u/3nK0eR

The German Girl: A Novel by Armando Lucas Correa

Berlin, 1939. Before everything changed, Hannah Rosenthal lived a charmed life. But now the streets of Berlin are draped in ominous flags; her family’s fine possessions are hauled away; and they are no longer welcome in the places they once considered home. A glimmer of hope appears in the shape of the St. Louis, a transatlantic ocean liner promising Jews safe passage to Cuba. At first, the liner feels like a luxury, but as they travel, the circumstances of war change, and the ship that was to be their salvation seems likely to become their doom.

New York, 2014. On her twelfth birthday, Anna Rosen receives a mysterious package from an unknown relative in Cuba, her great-aunt Hannah. Its contents inspire Anna and her mother to travel to Havana to learn the truth about their family’s mysterious and tragic past.

Weaving dual time frames, and based on a true story, The German Girl is a beautifully written and deeply poignant story about generations of exiles seeking a place to call home.

books2read.com/u/mKEnPP

The Voice of the Violin (The Inspector Montalbano Mysteries Book 4) by Andrea Camilleri

Inspector Montalbano, praised as “a delightful creation” (USA Today), has been compared to the legendary detectives of Georges Simenon, Dashiell Hammett, and Raymond Chandler. As the fourth mystery in the internationally bestselling series opens, Montalbano’s gruesome discovery of a lovely, naked young woman suffocated in her bed immediately sets him on a search for her killer. Among the suspects are her aging husband, a famous doctor; a shy admirer, now disappeared; an antiques-dealing lover from Bologna; and the victim’s friend Anna, whose charms Montalbano cannot help but appreciate…But it is a mysterious, reclusive violinist who holds the key to the murder.

books2read.com/u/bpKvv6

Hippie by Paulo Coelho

After hitchhiking from Brazil to nearly halfway around the world, Paulo stumbles across Karla, a young Dutch woman and like-minded soul, in Amsterdam’s famous Dam Square.
Together they decide to take the fabled hippie trail across Europe to Nepal, aboard the Magic Bus, in search of self-discovery. So begins a life-defining love story that will set the course for the rest of their lives.

Drawing on the rich experience of his own life, Paulo Coelho relives the dreams of a generation that longed for peace and challenged the established social order.

books2read.com/u/mv7A2X

The Hermit of Hisarya by Hannah Howe

This book is available in English and Bulgarian.

Some people will stop at nothing in their pursuit of wealth and power. Indeed, the greedy will often resort to murder.

“You’ve been through a stressful time recently, ” my fiance, Dr Alan Storey said. “I’m off to Bulgaria to attend a psychology conference so why don’t you accompany me and we’ll throw in a holiday as well.”

Great idea, I thought. However, when I arrived in Bulgaria my inquisitive nature compelled me towards a mystery dating back to the Second World War. That mystery involved Emil Angelov, the Hermit of Hisarya. As I delved into the past I stirred up some ghosts, which led to murder and the prospect of spending the rest of my days in a Bulgarian gaol.

The Hermit of Hisarya – a story of corruption, of murder, of a woman and her seventy-year-old dream, offering proof that the past, the present and the future are all intrinsically entwined.

books2read.com/u/47zKWa

Viva Italia

Dreamland by Julia E Clements

Awarded the One Stop Fiction 5-star Book Award for excellent reads, Readers’ Favorite 5-star review, IHIBRP Recommend Read 5-star Award, and Our Author Gang’s Best Children’s Cover Award.

Daniel Green is a typical ten-year-old boy with just one difference – when he goes to sleep at night, he travels to Dreamland, a magical place where he can create amazing adventures using only his imagination.

But he is not alone. An evil being follows him into his enchanted world and joins forces with Stregona, the powerful witch who reigns over the Dark Forest. Together they are determined to destroy Dreamland.Who is this dark entity, and what does he want with Danny?

A magical story for children age 9-12.

Available in English and Italian.

books2read.com/u/bxz7BP

La Passione: How Italy Seduced the World by Dianne Hales

A jubilant celebration of Italy’s outsize impact on culture, from literature to art, music to movies, that “masterfully examines the multitude of reasons why so many people fall in love with Italy and the Italian lifestyle” (Forbes)

Can you imagine painting without Leonardo, opera without Verdi, fashion without Armani, food without the signature tastes of pasta, gelato, and pizza.?The first universities, first banks, first public libraries? All Italian.

A lyrical portrait of a spirit as well as a nation, La Passione appeals to the Italian in all our souls, inspiring us to be as daring as Italy’s gladiators, as eloquent as its poets, as alluring as its beauties, and as irresistible as its lovers.

books2read.com/u/bQ6qgE