A troubled community and a good mystery: A Deadly Divide by Khan

This is the first novel that I have read by Ms. Khan, although it is not her first novel. I plan to read this entire series of mysteries featuring Esa and Rachel, along with the significant people in their lives.

This novel is a mystery but more than that. It has an important story to tell that resonates in the current climate of being less than welcoming to immigrants. The story takes place in a small Quebec community where the Muslim population is mistrusted by many. An attack occurs at a mosque and deaths result. Who is at fault? What has led to such deep feelings of unease on everyone’s part? Is the situation hopeless?

In A Deadly Divide there are members of the Wolf Gang, a white supremacist group, the Lilies, a group of girls, whose role in all that goes on seems ambiguous, the local priest, a reporter, the police force and a government spokesperson, among others. All are well described and become real and distinctive.

Along with the mystery and the politics, this novel is very much about the relationships of the characters with one another. This felt true to life as human feelings and emotions do not go away, even in the light of crises and volatile political situations.

I recommend this novel. It will make you think about the positions that you hold while also enjoying a well told story. Fans of author Suzanne Chazin’s series will want to read this. Both series look at the role of immigration in our world view while also depicting complex mysteries.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this e-galley. The opinions are my own.

“Outstanding…Khan perceptively explores who fear can quickly erupt into violence.”―Publishers Weekly (Starred and Boxed)

“Khan peoples her police procedural with believably nuanced characters to highlight the consequences of hate. The tension never lets down.”―Kirkus

AUSMA ZEHANAT KHAN holds a Ph.D. in International Human Rights Law and is a former adjunct law professor.

A fun title for kids on Ancient Egypt: Egypt Magnified

When I was a kid I loved going to our local museum and visiting the exhibit on Ancient Egypt. I saw a mummy and I also remember some painting on bricks. When I grew up I was able to visit the Temple of Dendur and a much bigger exhibit than my childhood one. I think that lots of kids and adults are like me and are fascinated by ancient Egypt. This book will be welcomed by them.

The set up of this book is clever. Each two page spread has a topic; examples include the Sphinx, Cleopatra, Tutankhamun’s Tomb, Death and Mummies, etc. Each section is elaborately illustrated in a Where’s Waldo way. The reader is given ten objects to find on each topic; information for each object is given as is additional information in the larger drawing. At the end of the book, there are the solutions, another chance to look for the objects, a timeline and more.

This book should really appeal to those who enjoy learning about ancient Egypt and would like to have some fun while doing so. Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this fun book.

#EgyptMagnified #NetGalley

From the publisher:

The Library of AlexandriaTutankhamun’s Tomb

How To Use This Book

Turn the page and soak up the action before your eyes… Each time you revisit a scene, you’ll see something new! Read the text and find out what’s happening. Which Egyptians are misbehaving at the family wedding? Can you spot the pharaoh in the grand procession? Can you see the embalmer putting the mummy in the sarcophagus?

Next, grab your magnifying glass and see if you can spot the 10 items described on each page. Take a close look at each action-packed scene and cut-away illustration. You’ll find so many treasures in each eye-boggling illustration, each described down to the tiniest detail.

Now turn to page 40 and test your memory. Can you remember where you saw each item? If not, don’t worry, we won’t mummify you… just yet! Grab your magnifying glass and go back for one more search-and-find adventure. You’re bound to spot much more this time around. Lastly, learn how to write in hieroglyphics on page 38 and then turn to page 44 to study the timeline.


Educate yourself: A Story About Cancer

Fortunately the author lets you know from the cover that this is a story “with a happy ending.” That makes it easier to read.

This book is told from the point of view of a fifteen year old girl who has been treated for cancer. She voices feelings that young cancer patients most likely experience but do not, perhaps, share with those around them. For example, the teen in this book does not want to be told that she is brave. She does not feel that she is and she feels pressure to have to be that way, fearing that she will disappoint others. This girl talks frankly about what it is like to be in the hospital, her sadness at the death of a friend and her teenage crush on a boy named Victor. Everything that is expressed feels very genuine. Reading this even though the reader knows the ending from the title, there is suspense. The reader will feel relief as they close the book.

I recommend this one for kids of the right age; it will help them to know that they are not alone with their feelings but that others have experienced them as well The book is also a valuable resource for parents and caretakers. It will help them to be more sensitive to the person that is going through the experience.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an important read.

***** five stars


#AStoryAboutCancerWithAHappyEnding #NetGalley

Now in Paperback

Much has been written about Ernest Hemingway and his wives but no-one writes about them better than Paula McLain, whose new novel is about Ernest Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn. I thought that this author’s debut novel, The Paris Wife, was a wonderful book; it told the story of the young Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley. The author beautifully captured Hadley’s voice. When I started Love and Ruin, I wondered if Ms. McLain would be able to again capture the essence of an historical character…she does!
Martha Gellhorn and Hemingway initially meet in Florida. They become closer when traveling to Spain during the Civil War, a war which is hearbreakingly portrayed in the novel. Hemingway and Gellhorn travel together to Cuba, Florida, Europe during WWII, Utah, etc. with each locale coming alive. World events unfurl in their presence.
This is also the story of a relationship; what is it like to be in the orbit of a truly charismatic person? Is that enough? How does one maintain a sense of identity? Gellhorn, a writer and reporter of merit, struggles as a relationship of equals becomes less so. There is love and yes, ruin, in the coming together and apart of these two historical personages. The reader is a witness to the joys and struggles of this couple.
I highly recommend Love and Ruin. It is one of the finest historical novels that I have read. Thanks for this one NetGalley! It was special.

The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath

The Recovering is, simply. an excellent non-fiction title.  The author, Leslie Jamison, also wrote The Empathy Diaries which was well received.

The Recovering is a hybrid book.  In parts, the author shares her own history of alcohol abuse and her candid thoughts about drinking, her efforts to stop and her life during these years.  At times, these sections read like a novel; the reader hopes for Ms. Jamison and keeps turning the pages to learn how she fares.

In addition, the author, who has a PhD, explores her thesis subject; she looks at the life stories of many authors who faced or did not face their issues with alcoholism; for example, there are sections on Raymond Carver and Jean Rhys.  There is also information about many treatment centers (some historical), types of treatment and attitudes towards addiction over the years.

If you would like to understand more about alcoholism, read this graceful and moving book.  Highly recommended.

Some other opinions:

A sprawling, compelling, fiercely ambitious book…Its publication represents the most significant new addition to the canon in more than a decade…Jamison’s writing throughout is spectacularly evocative and sensuous…She thinks with elegant precision, cutting through the whiskey-soaked myths…Jamison is interested in something else: the possibility that sobriety can form its own kind of legend, no less electric, and more generative in the end.”―Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic

Masterful…beautifully honest…Essential reading…The most comprehensive study of the relationship between writing and alcohol that I have read, or know about…The prose is clean and clear and a pleasure to read, utterly without pretension. Although the subject is dark, Jamison has managed to write an often very funny page turner…In short, The Recovering is terrific, and if you’re interested in the relationship between artists and addiction, you must read it.”―Clancy Martin, Bookforum

Magnificent and genuinely moving. This is that rare addiction memoir that gets better after sobriety takes hold.”―Dwight Garner, New York Times

A remarkable feat…Jamison is a bracingly smart writer; her sentences wind and snake, at turns breathless and tense…Instead of solving the mystery of why she drank, she does something worthier, digging underneath the big emptiness that lives inside every addict to find something profound.”―Sam Lansky, Time

Don’t walk away from this read: How to Walk Away by Center

Margaret and Chip appear to be the perfect couple at the start of this women’s fiction title. Both have just completed their MBAs and are on the path to high achievement. Margaret is hoping that Chip will propose to her. Not much of a spoiler because what I am writing next happens very early in the book. Chip does propose but does it in a small plane that Margaret had not wanted to fly in. There is an accident and Margaret suffers a serious injury which upends her life. The novel then tells the story of what happens to Margaret. The story is also about Margaret’s parents, her sister, Chip and his family and the hospital staff, especially Ian.

Readers will be rooting for Margaret as she figures out what to do in her life. The reader will undoubtedly enjoy spending time with her family and with Ian as well.

I enjoyed this novel which I read quickly. The author does not sugarcoat what Margaret experiences in her recovery. However this is a romance so each reader will have to decide if they want to buy into the semi-fairy-tale.

I would read other books by the author and would look forward to doing so. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the e-galley of the novel which I was given in exchange for an honest review.

#HowToWalkAway #NetGalley

“Center explores the limits of hope and love…[she] transforms the story of a family tragedy into a heartfelt guide to living the fullest life possible.” ―Publisher’s Weekly

“With its appealing characters and wisdom about grappling with life’s challenges, Center’s sixth novel has all the makings of a breakout hit.” ―Booklist (starred review)

Inspiring and romantic… A touching and truthful novel that shows how people can find comfort in the most unexpected places.” ―Library Journal

“A story about survival that is heartbreakingly honest and wryly funny, perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes and Elizabeth Berg.” ―Kirkus



More fun: The World’s Best Jokes for Kids Volume 2

As was true of volume one, this book is full of jokes that are sure to amuse and entertain elementary school aged children. A few examples:

Why was the man fired from the calendar factory? Because he took a day off.

What dogs make the best scientists? Labs

What do you call a police cat? Claw enforcement

There are many, many more jokes in this illustrated volume.

Understanding jokes and puns makes kids feel clever. They also love trying to stump the adults around them. For these and other reasons, joke loving kids will enjoy this book!

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for these laughs. The opinions are my own.

#TheWorldsBestJokesForKidsVolume2 #NetGalley

A dream of a book: The Book of Dreams by Nina George

When was the last time that you read a book and found that tears were rolling down your cheeks? For me, it has been quite a while but I cried over this one.

When I told my husband about this novel, he said that it must have been depressing. I replied that it was not depressing but that it was sad. Sadness is an essential piece of this book and yet to me it was a wonderful read and one that I recommend highly, if it is your kind of book or if you are willing to see if it is.

Henri, a French man with a history, was a journalist who covered wars. His thirteen year old son, Sam, did not know him. Just when they are about to meet, Henri saves a young girl but himself is injured and thereafter is in a coma. This means that Sam and Henri’s reunion takes place in the hospital where Sam, who has synesthesia, senses deeply and feels Henri’s presence. Sam spends every day at the hospital sharing himself with Henri and the novel’s other protagonists.

This book is the story of several characters: Sam, Madelyn who is a young girl in a coma and Eddie, the woman that Henri let get away. Their relationships are explored and intersect with one another over the course of the novel which is told in alternating voices.

There is a philosophical underpinning to this book. The characters both live their lives and imagine the ways in which their lives might have played out differently with the same people. The author also explores what she imagines that characters think and feel when they are in a non-awake state and what happens when someone is about to die.

Nina George comments that she wrote three of her novels, of which this is the third, to better understand death. She was writing in the aftermath of her father’s death. The book is beautifully written.

I very much enjoyed this author’s novel, The Little Paris Bookshop and feel that The Book of Dreams is also a keeper. For me, it is a five star novel.

Many thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for a moving and wonderful read. The opinions are my own.

#TheBookOfDreams #NetGalley

For young adventurers (adults will love it too!) Atlas of Adventures/Wonders of the World

This is a wonderful book that will give young readers a sense of how amazing and interesting the world is. The author describes places on every continent, including Antarctica. The illustrator has created worlds with lot of detail that show how unique each site is. Every two page spread includes fun facts. The narrator speaks in the second person, telling the reader “You are there…”
I enjoyed visiting places like the Eiffel Tower, Angkor Wat, Yosemite, Mount Everest and the Forbidden City. I also spent time in places that I did not already know including Burj Khalifa and Pantanal. Plus for additional fun, the end of the book has a section with details of illustrations that children can hunt for in the text.

I highly recommend this one. It will encourage children to dream of travel and adventure! Many thanks to NetGalley and Quarto for this enjoyable trip. The opinions are my own.

*****Five stars

#AtlasOfAdventuresWondersOfTheWorld #NetGalley


Australasia & Oceania

From the ancient landscapes of Australia to the tropical islands of the Pacific, there’s beauty and wonder to be found in abundance. The monolithic Uluru begins your journey, then perhaps to the Great Barrier Reef, the heart-shaped island of Tasmania, the hot springs of New Zealand, the lush paradise of Bora Bora…it’s a region of pristine wonders, waiting for you.



In some ways the whole of Antarctica is a great wonder! A frozen continent covered in snow and ice, hardy cold-loving animals like seals and penguins, glaciers edging inches each year toward the sea, pristine blue icebergs floating on the ocean…You’ll need your warmest clothes, but jump on a cruise ship and head all the way south.

A fun genealogy title for kids-Famous Family Trees

We live in a time when many people are very interested in their family roots and genealogy. Think about the use of all of those DNA testing kits for example.

This book, which I love, looks at the family trees of a number of well and lesser known figures. Just some of the trees featured are those of Mary Shelley, Abraham Lincoln, William Shakespeare, Ada Lovelace, Henry Ford, Marie Antoinette and Queen Elizabeth the First. Some of the families I did not already know included, for example Desiree Clary, a jilted fiancee of Napoleon who later became Queen of Sweden and the tree of the founder of an Indian dynasty. There are fun facts listed for each entry and a bit of history to give perspective.

If you know a budding genealogist or a child who enjoys history, consider getting this book for them. It is a treasure.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Quarto for this e-galley. The opinions are my own.

***** five stars

#TheamousFamilyTrees #NetGalley

Today’s e-book bargains

Not My Daughter by [Delinsky, Barbara]I read this when it first came out and found it to be a good women’s fiction read.  It takes place in a Maine town that felt very much like the one where LL Bean is located.  The subject is a rash of teen pregnancies and their impact.

From Publishers Weekly

Delinsky proves once again why she’s a perennial bestseller with this thought-provoking tale of three smart, popular teenage girls who make a pact to become pregnant and raise their babies together. Lily, Mary Kate, and Jess also happen to be the daughters of best friends Susan, Kate, and Sunny, and the mothers are thrown into a tailspin by this unexpected news. Susan, the principal of the town’s high school, has the most to lose, when the schools superintendent and editor of the local newspaper question her abilities as a leader and mother, and other parents prove quick to blame her—a single mother herself who got pregnant as a teenager—as a poor role model. But all three women must come to grips with where they failed as mothers, how the dreams they had for their daughters are disappearing, and scathing smalltown judgment. Timely, fresh, and true-to-life, this novel explores multiple layers of motherhood and tackles tough questions. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Revenge in a Cold River: A William Monk Novel by [Perry, Anne]
Readers of this blog know that I love Anne Perry’s novels.  This is one in the William Monk series.


“The storytelling is dazzling, as it always is in a Perry novel. . . . Like the great Dickens novel Our Mutual Friend, the Monk series has a deep, almost primal bond with London’s river, which disgorges all sorts of objects, including human bodies, with each tide. . . . [An] uncommonly atmospheric mystery.”—The New York Times Book Review

“Fascinating and addictive . . . Another strong historical mystery that is true in both culture and manners to its Victorian setting.”—New York Journal of Books
The House at the Edge of Night: A Novel by [Banner, Catherine]
I have not read this one but now think that I will!
“Banner’s four-generation saga is set on an island near Sicily, where myths of saints get served up with limoncello as the Esposito family’s bar. As the captivating characters are challenged by war, financial crisis and heartbreak, their bonds hold them together. The island is fictional, but consider this dreamy summer read your passport.”People

“Like pictures of a childhood summer, or a half-forgotten smell, this book is sweet and heady with nostalgia; not radical, maybe, but comforting as a quilt.”—NPR

“A gorgeous, sweeping story set over four generations . . . The novel calls to mind Captain Corelli’s Mandolin and Beautiful Ruins. It is not just the protagonists and their struggles that make Banner’s narrative incredible, but also the smaller, secondary characters that add color and detail, and the intricately described island of Castellamare itself.”Interview

“Rich and immersive, this book will take you away.”—Vox.com