The Summer of France
By: Paulita Kincer
Format/Source: Paperback courtesy of the author as part of the The Summer of France Book Tour
When Fia Jennings loses her job at the local newspaper, she dreams of bonding with her teenage twins. As she realizes she may be too late to pull her family closer, her husband Grayson pressures her to find another job to pay the increasing bills. Relief comes with a phone call from Fia’s great Uncle Martin who runs a bed and breakfast in Provence. Uncle Martin wants Fia to venture to France to run the B&B so he and his wife Lucie can travel. He doesn’t tell Fia about the secret he hid in the house after fighting in World War II, and he doesn’t mention the people who are tapping his phone and following him, hoping to find the secret.
After much cajoling, Fia whisks her family to France and is stunned when Uncle Martin and Aunt Lucie leave the same day for a Greek cruise. She’s thrown into the minutiae of a running the B&B without the benefit of speaking the language. Her dreams of family bonding time fade as her teenagers make French friends. Fia’s husband Grayson begins touring the countryside with a sophisticated French woman, and Fia resists the distractions of Christophe, a fetching French man. Why the whirlwind of French welcome, Fia wonders after she comes home from a day at the beach in Nice to find someone has ransacked the B&B.
Fia analyzes Uncle Martin’s obscure phone calls, trying to figure out this WW II hero’s secret. Can she uncover the secret and relieve Uncle Martin’s guilt while building the family she’s always dreamed of?
(No violence. No graphic sex, some sexual situations.)
I first came across The Summer of France on Goodreads as one of the giveaways. The premise was interesting, mixing a bit of family drama/relocating to a new place to start over and a family mystery involving an event that happened during World War Two. I’m excited to take part in the blog tour for this novel hosted by France Book Tours. Be sure to check out the end of this post where you can enter to win a paperback copy of this novel (US/Canada only)!
This book is part of the Books on France Reading Challenge 2013 that I am participating in.
By: Liam O’Shiel
The province of the Twenty Clans, founded on the shores of Lough Ennell in Ireland, is about to celebrate its millennial year. As this milestone year approaches, the Province and its Celtic allies in Cornwall, Wales, Scotland and Brittany are threatened by an even-colder climate overspreading Europe and by determined, powerful enemies on land and sea.
The fight to defend the Province and its allies is led by Conor Laigain, a poet who dreams of peace and a hilltop cabin; his sister Fethnaid, an archer fighting in the Line of Bows and comes to realise that old ideas must change if the Province is to survive; Conor’s fiancee Mairin Fotharta, a warship captain in the Province’s naval squadron whose sleep is plagued with nightmares of a brutal childhood; and his towering Uncle Padraic, general of the army since the death of Conor’s legendary father Domnall.
This is a story of human beings fighting for the right to live and enjoy the beauty of the world as they see it. When a great battle between the armies of the Province and the Ghaoth Aduiadh carpets a lovely meadow with thousands dead and dying, Conor’s mother Liadan tries to console herself with words written by her father-in-law, philosopher Uinseann Laigain: “We must be content with life and love and the beauty of the earth. All the rest is dust in the wind.”
I received a copy of this book a year and some ago as a First Reads from GoodReads. Unfortunately I didn’t get around to it right away because if I recall correctly I had finished up my thesis and was tackling a fairly large to-read pile at the time. But here we are now =)
Tao of Life and Death
By: Stephen McDonough
The story, set in ancient and modern China, is a supernatural tale of mythological, historical, and fictional characters and the lessons they learn.
I received a copy of this volume from the author himself. I haven’t ventured much into Chinese history and culture beyond what I learned from other history courses I’ve done in the past (namely Japanese and British history) so reading this was an interesting experience. It was interesting how the reader is introduced to a couple of different stories but over the course of the volume these stories begin to intertwine with each other (I’d make a reference to one of the beliefs of the Eastern religions but as I’m very hazy in them, I won’t). I think my favourite of the stories was Zhong Kui & Gnarled Pine early in the volume. It was also wonderful that the short stories were accompanied by the author’s artwork, which was a nice touch. Overall it’s an impressive volume utilising Chinese history and culture.
Visit the author’s official website