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I pulled up a chair as Aunty Matile put a plate in front of me, overflowing with food. Steam rose in tantalizing swirls and the aroma had my mouth watering. I had only nibbled on the cardboard airplane meals, and I realized I was famished. Picking up my fork, I dug into the most recognizable item on the plate – fried rice – and took a huge mouthful, burning my mouth in the process. Aunty smiled at my enthusiasm.

“You are too skinny, Leila.
Oka
! Does nobody cook good food for you in America? Your grandmother - what does she cook for you?”

I choked on a piece of chicken at her words and paused to take several gulps of ice water. No-one had ever called me too skinny. And the idea of my elegant, Vogue magazine, grandmother actually
cooking
anything was enough to make anyone who knew her hysterical.

“My grandmother doesn’t cook. But she has a very nice lady – Maria – who made our meals.”

“So why are you so thin, then? While you’re here, we need to make sure you eat good food and put on some weight. Need to get healthy. Here, try some of my chop suey.”

Aunty scooped a pile of noodles onto my plate. I started on the other unfamiliar foods - chunks of grey potato-like stuff covered in a thick white sauce. Gingerly, I took a small bite and was surprised by the rich creaminess.

“This is good.” I exclaimed, and was answered with a beaming smile from Aunty.

“That’s
kalo,
taro. In coconut cream. Makes our Manu Samoa rugby boys big and tough.” Uncle Tuala offered helpfully.

I smiled with a mouthful of rugby player food as I made a mental note NOT to eat too much taro – I certainly didn’t need to grow any more. Aunty handed me a steaming mug of thick black liquid that I regarded with some mistrust. It looked like engine oil, thick enough to harbor state secrets. But the aroma of roasted chocolate made me bold. The first sip confirmed for me what I had always suspected. White people drank dirty water. Brown people? Now they knew how to make cocoa.

“This is amazing stuff, Aunty. I’ve never tasted anything like it back home.”


Kokosamoa
. Made from the roasted coco bean. I make it myself from our tree out back.” Aunty spoke with pleasure, as if unused to receiving compliments on her cooking. “Plenty of sugar to make it sweet. I put five spoons in your cup. Is that enough?” She looked worried.

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I spluttered on my mouthful of
koko
. Five spoons of sugar!?
HELLO – this stuff was diabetes waiting to happen.

Uncle Tuala spoke. “Your grandmother would like you to call her. To let her know that you have arrived safely and are settled.”

Only a tremble of my hand betrayed my shock at this unexpected news. I took a deep breath to steady myself before answering, annunciating each word carefully to emphasize my calmness.

The

“My grandmother? You spoke to my grandmother?”

Uncle sounded surprised. “Yes, of course. She called us, a few days before your arrival. While we have never met, we were in complete agreement about the foolishness of this visit of yours. However, she seemed resigned to the fact that young people will do what they want to. Especially one as strong willed as you appear to be.” A slight smile softened his words somewhat, but I was still reeling at finding out that, far from being an independent force taking on the big wide world on my own, I was, in actual fact, on a journey that had been somewhat ‘sanctioned’ by Grandmother Folger. How deflating. Thinking of the old woman sitting in her Potomac mansion, reaching out with money-driven tentacles to control me, even now. Even here, thousands of miles away in Samoa. I began to seethe.

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Aunty chimed in. “Your grandmother and I agreed there must be some rules for your stay with us. Rules that will ensure your safety.”

My dad would have seen my exceptionally polite tone for what it was. An indicator of my raging inner storm of anger. “Really? Rules you discussed with my grandmother. And what might these rules be?”

Aunty was pleased with my apparent acquiescence. “Well, both Tuala and I work all day at the church offices so you will need to be responsible and trustworthy. My cousin Falute comes every day to help with the house and the cooking so you will not be alone here. Also, Tuala has a nephew, Kolio, who works in the yard. It’s not decent for a young woman to go around unsupervised in this country. You will take the bus to school and back. But you will not venture anywhere else. School and home. Oh, and church on Sunday, of course.”

“Of course.” I reiterated dryly, clenching my palms tightly under cover of the table.

“You can enrol at school under our last name – Sinapati – it will make the process easier. We would rather keep your visit here as low key as possible. Oh and please, you will refrain from discussing your parents with anyone outside this house.”

“Excuse me?” The first few rules I had expected, but this? This was insane.

Uncle shifted his feet awkwardly and stared out the window as Aunty Matile continued.

“Leila, you must try to understand. There are things you don’t know. About life here. And it would not be a good thing for your presence here to become common knowledge. It could be awkward.” Matile halted, as if unsure how to proceed. “Oh – I wish you would reconsider staying here. This can’t end well. It won’t end well. This place is too small. Oh, how can we possibly keep this quiet?” Her voice rose one hysterical notch and for one awful moment, it looked as if she were about to cry. Uncle took over, placing a comforting hand on hers.

“What your aunty means is that you are here in a strange place that you know nothing about. There are different customs and … and expectations here that may seem strange to you. We are responsible for your safety. And your behavior will be a reflection on us – your
aiga
. We wish to ensure that your stay here is as uneventful and peaceful as possible. That means working hard at school, going to church on Sunday like a good girl, and not roaming about like some manner-less child with no parents.”

I winced at his phrase.
A child with no parents
. My rage seeped away, my body wilting in the late afternoon heat as I mulled over those words. What else had Grandmother Folger told him? About my fighting at school? My nightmare-filled nights? The psychiatrist the school had insisted I go to after my dad’s death? The medication I had refused to take? The long days filled with crying? The failing out of most of my classes? I thought I would escape all that, here in this tropical paradise. But who was I trying to fool? Even here, I was Leila Pele Folger. A child with no
real
family. No friends. An anger management problem.

I refused to cry in front of these strangers. Quietly I pushed my chair away from the table and rose to my feet. “Uncle I totally understand. And I promise you both I will be no trouble. If you don’t mind, I’m very tired. Can I call my grandmother later, after I’ve had a rest?”

Aunty rushed to reassure me. “Of course. You go have a good sleep. That’s what you need after your long trip. We can talk again later. Tomorrow we will go to town to get your uniforms for school on Monday. And any other supplies you might need.”

Great. A uniform. Just what I always wanted.

My steps were unsteady as I made my way back to the little room, turning on the fan before tumbling face down onto the bed. The threatening tears, however, did not come. But blessed sleep did instead.

I woke the next morning unsure of my surroundings. The fan whirred overhead and traffic rattled and roared past on the road out front. I must have been asleep for at least ten hours, but instead of feeling refreshed, I only felt sluggish and hot. Gathering my things, I slipped down the hall to the bathroom where a cold shower went a long way towards waking me up and lifting my mood somewhat.

Once clean and dressed, I ventured out to find my ‘family.’ The kitchen was empty, but, on the table was a still-hot kettle of
kokosamoa
, and underneath a netted dome covering was a platter piled high with little round pancakes. Breakfast. I sampled them hesitantly but needn’t have worried. They were delicious. Crunchy on the outside and sweet with ripe banana on the inside. And perfect when dunked in sugary sweet koko. However prickly and unpleasant staying with these people would be, the food, at least, would never be a disappointment. When I was done washing up my dishes, I knew I couldn’t put off the call home to Grandmother Folger any longer. I took a deep breath, before hitting speed dial on the pink iPhone she had given me as a farewell gift before I left. The one loaded with limitless credit “
so you can keep me updated via email and direct calls every day on where you are and what you are doing. I want daily reports Leila, do you hear me?! If you do not agree to this condition then I will have my lawyers make your trip to Samoa VERY difficult. I can put a freeze on all your accounts. And you don’t even want to know what good lawyers and a disgusting amount of money can do to your trust fund if you take this too far young woman! Don’t you dare push me Leila, I can’t stop you from going, but I can make sure you have no money when you’re there.”

Yes, Elizabeth Folger had been scrambling for ammo when I announced my decision to come to Samoa. It was driving her crazy that, as of my birthday a few months ago, I was legally an ‘adult.’ And she was going double as crazy that my dad’s life insurance policy had given me a substantial amount of money immediately that was
separate
from the Folger trust fund I would inherit when I turned twenty-one. As the executor of the trust, she had been counting on the fund to control me and had been most displeased that the death money gave me the freedom to fly halfway round the world. Away from her. Elizabeth Folger wasn’t used to people defying her. Especially not her own family. But a month after my father’s death, she’d had a mini-stroke and her health was now a barrier to enforcing the kind of control she liked to have over everyone and everything. I had never seen her so frail as the morning I had said goodbye, and it was that frailty more than her threats that had made me agree to accept the phone and now, to use it.

As the line rang, I was rehearsing my replies for all the possible questions and attacks she would have ready for me. So much so, that when she did answer, I was taken off guard.

“Hello.”

“Oh, Grandmother Folger, is that you?”

“Well of course it’s me, you foolish child. Who else would be answering my personal line? Leila? I’ve been expecting your call, you were supposed to call yesterday. Where are you? What is it like? Where are you staying? Is it safe and secure?”

I tried not to let my exasperation show in my voice as I replied. “Hello Grandmother Folger. Yes, it’s me, Leila. And yes, everything’s ok here, I mean, alright here. I’m sorry I didn’t call last night but I was really tired from the trip. Aunty Matile and Uncle Tuala met me at the airport and they’ve given me a lovely room in their home to stay in. It’s very clean, very safe. The property is fenced. Nobody else lives with them. Aunty Matile is a wonderful cook and made tons of food to welcome me. We’ve already discussed the rules and guidelines for my stay with them – including the fact that I’m just to go three places while I’m here. Home, school, and church.” I could totally imagine the satisfaction that last bit would give her.

“School in a third-world country harrumph. What an incredible waste of time. When you could be working on getting valuable credits at the private summer academy I went to great lengths to arrange for you. Honestly! Your stubbornness serves you no good at all when it is so misdirected. When are you going to shake off this ridiculous mood you’ve got yourself in and start facing up to your responsibilities? Your commitments here at home? The longer you delay college, the more difficult it will be and dallying about in some wretched little island in the middle of nowhere will do nothing for you – not to mention … blah, blah, blah.”

I automatically zoned out as she continued on a much-worn path of brisk recriminations, knowing that she wouldn’t take a breath until she was done with having her say. She was starting to wind down though, just as I saw Tuala’s pick-up pull up at the front of the house. Quickly, I interrupted her.

“Grandmother, I have to go now. Matile is taking me to town to get uniforms for school on Monday and I can’t keep her waiting. It was lovely to talk to you. I’ll call you again tomorrow – or maybe just send you an email. Bye!” I hung up before she could protest, and put the ringer on silent before going to help Matile carry in plastic bags of shopping. She nodded appreciatively.

“Thank you. Tuala and I went out early to do some shopping at the market. We didn’t want to wake you but I left you some breakfast – did you eat?”

“Yes thank you. And those were the best pancakes I’ve ever tasted Aunty.”

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A stiff smile was my reward as Matile moved about the kitchen putting her groceries away. “Was that your grandmother you were speaking to on the phone earlier? Is everything alright?”

“Yes. I checked in with her, let her know I’ve arrived. I told her I would be enrolling in school on Monday.” As if a lecture from thousands of miles away wasn’t enough, Matile then proceeded to speak to me sternly.

“Good. It’s important that you keep in contact with your grandmother. I know you haven’t had much exposure to your Samoan culture, but here in Samoa, a young woman would never disobey her elders and travel around the world by herself this way. We are very sorry for your grandmother. She must be so worried about you and frustrated about your trip. I hope that while you’re here, you can learn many more useful customs and traditions, about what it means to be a
tamaitai Samoa
, a Samoan woman. Now come, let’s get you to Carruthers store in town for those uniforms.”

I took a deep breath and followed her out the door to the car, reminding myself
stay calm Leila, be polite, you’re a guest here, she’s your aunty, be patient, nod and smile and agree with everything.

Thankfully, Aunt Matile’s lectures were substantially shorter than Grandmother Folger’s and the ride to town was punctuated only by Tuala’s attempts to be a helpful tour guide as he pointed out places he deemed to be of interest along the route. Places like the church headquarters on the main Beach Road where he and Matile worked. The Police Station. The Mulivai Cathedral. The weary courthouse where a sniper had shot a protesting Mau leader. The government building of offices on a stretch of reclaimed waterfront land. I looked around with great interest. Apia was small. Dusty. Hot. And colorful. I loved the abundance of flowers everywhere and the view out to the golden blue harbor was breath-taking. We stopped first at an ATM so I could withdraw some cash, the Samoan tala notes feeling strange in my hands. At the clothing supplier, buying the uniforms was painless as the first one I tried on, fit perfectly. It was the colors that had me reeling – bright orange pinafores and sunburst-yellow blouses.

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The Secret Keeper of Jaipur

Author: Alka Joshi
Publsiher: MIRA
Total Pages: 400
Release: 2021-06-22
ISBN 10: 0369701046
ISBN 13: 9780369701046
Language: EN, FR, DE, ES & NL

A NEW NOVEL BY THE AUTHOR OF THE HENNA ARTIST, A REESE'S BOOK CLUB PICK 'Captivated me from the first chapter to the last page.' —Reese Witherspoon on The Henna Artist In New York Times bestselling author Alka Joshi’s intriguing new novel, henna artist Lakshmi arranges for her protégé, Malik, to intern at the Jaipur Palace in this tale rich in character, atmosphere, and lavish storytelling. It’s the spring of 1969, and Lakshmi, now married to Dr. Jay Kumar, directs the Healing Garden in Shimla. Malik has finished his private school education. At twenty, he has just met a young woman named Nimmi when he leaves to apprentice at the Facilities Office of the Jaipur Royal Palace. Their latest project: a state-of-the-art cinema. Malik soon finds that not much has changed as he navigates the Pink City of his childhood. Power and money still move seamlessly among the wealthy class, and favors flow from Jaipur’s Royal Palace, but only if certain secrets remain buried. When the cinema’s balcony tragically collapses on opening night, blame is placed where it is convenient. But Malik suspects something far darker and sets out to uncover the truth. As a former street child, he always knew to keep his own counsel; it’s a lesson that will serve him as he untangles a web of lies.

The Henna Artist

Author: Alka Joshi
Publsiher: HarperCollins
Total Pages: 352
Release: 2021-08-05
ISBN 10: 9354226930
ISBN 13: 9789354226939
Language: EN, FR, DE, ES & NL

Trusted with the secrets of the wealthy, she can never reveal her own... Escaping from an abusive marriage, seventeen-year-old Lakshmi makes her way alone from her 1950s rural village to the pink city of Jaipur. There she becomes the henna artist-and confidante-most in demand to women of the upper class. Known for her original designs and sage advice, Lakshmi must tread carefully to avoid the jealous gossips who could ruin her reputation and her livelihood. As she pursues her dream of an independent life, she is startled one day when she is confronted by her husband, who has tracked her down these many years later with a young girl in tow-a sister Lakshmi never knew she had. Suddenly the caution that she has carefully cultivated as protection is threatened. Vivid and compelling in its portrait of one woman's struggle for fulfillment in society, The Henna Artist opens a door into a world that is at once fascinating, stark and cruel.

The Henna Artist

Author: Alka Joshi
Publsiher: Unknown
Total Pages: 304
Release: 2021-07-07
ISBN 10: 9781867231929
ISBN 13: 1867231921
Language: EN, FR, DE, ES & NL

A REESE WITHERSPOON x HELLO SUNSHINE BOOK CLUB PICK 'This vivid story is so rich and complex...reading about Lakshmi's journey from escaping an abusive marriage to becoming one of the most sought-after henna artists in Jaipur captivated me from the first chapter to the final page.' Reese Witherspoon Escaping from an abusive marriage, seventeen-year-old Lakshmi makes her way alone to the vibrant 1950s pink city of Jaipur. There she becomes the most highly requested henna artist-and confidante-to the wealthy women of the upper class. But trusted with the secrets of the wealthy, she can never reveal her own... Known for her original designs and sage advice, Lakshmi must tread carefully to avoid the jealous gossips who could ruin her reputation and her livelihood. As she pursues her dream of an independent life, she is startled one day when she is confronted by her husband, who has tracked her down these many years later with a high-spirited young girl in tow-a sister Lakshmi never knew she had. Suddenly the caution that she has carefully cultivated as protection is threatened. Still she perseveres, applying her talents and lifting up those that surround her as she does. Vivid and compelling in its portrait of one woman's struggle for fulfillment in a society pivoting between the traditional and the modern, The Henna Artist opens a door into a world that is at once lush and fascinating, stark and cruel.

The Royal Jewel Cinema

Author: Alka Joshi
Publsiher: Mira Books
Total Pages: 384
Release: 2021-06-22
ISBN 10: 9780778331858
ISBN 13: 0778331857
Language: EN, FR, DE, ES & NL

A NEW NOVEL BY THE AUTHOR OF THE HENNA ARTIST, A REESE'S BOOK CLUB PICK 'Captivated me from the first chapter to the last page.' --Reese Witherspoon on The Henna Artist In New York Times bestselling author Alka Joshi's intriguing new novel, henna artist Lakshmi arranges for her protégé, Malik, to intern at the Jaipur Palace in this tale rich in character, atmosphere, and lavish storytelling. It's the spring of 1969, and Lakshmi, now married to Dr. Jay Kumar, directs the Healing Garden in Shimla. Malik has finished his private school education. At twenty, he has just met a young woman named Nimmi when he leaveS to apprentice at the Facilities Office of the Jaipur Royal Palace. Their latest project: a state-of-the-art cinema. Malik soon finds that not much has changed as he navigates the Pink City of his childhood. Power and money still move seamlessly among the wealthy class, and favors flow from Jaipur's Royal Palace, but only if certain secrets remain buried. When the cinema's balcony tragically collapses on opening night, blame is placed where it is convenient. But Malik suspects something far darker and sets out to uncover the truth. As a former street child, he always knew to keep his own counsel; it's a lesson that will serve him as he untangles a web of lies.

The Secret Keeper

Author: Kate Morton
Publsiher: Simon and Schuster
Total Pages: 484
Release: 2013-07-16
ISBN 10: 1439152810
ISBN 13: 9781439152812
Language: EN, FR, DE, ES & NL

Withdrawing from a family party to the solitude of her tree house, 16-year-old Laurel Nicolson witnesses a shocking murder that throughout a subsequent half century shapes her beliefs, her acting career and the lives of three strangers from vastly different cultures. By the best-selling author of The Distant Hours. Reprint. 200,000 first printing.

One Two Three

Author: Laurie Frankel
Publsiher: Henry Holt and Company
Total Pages: 416
Release: 2021-06-08
ISBN 10: 1250236789
ISBN 13: 9781250236784
Language: EN, FR, DE, ES & NL

From Laurie Frankel, the New York Times bestselling author of This Is How It Always Is, a Reese's Book Club x Hello Sunshine Book Pick, comes One Two Three, a timely, topical novel about love and family that will make you laugh and cry...and laugh again. In a town where nothing ever changes, suddenly everything does... Everyone knows everyone in the tiny town of Bourne, but the Mitchell triplets are especially beloved. Mirabel is the smartest person anyone knows, and no one doubts it just because she can’t speak. Monday is the town’s purveyor of books now that the library’s closed—tell her the book you think you want, and she’ll pull the one you actually do from the microwave or her sock drawer. Mab’s job is hardest of all: get good grades, get into college, get out of Bourne. For a few weeks seventeen years ago, Bourne was national news when its water turned green. The girls have come of age watching their mother’s endless fight for justice. But just when it seems life might go on the same forever, the first moving truck anyone’s seen in years pulls up and unloads new residents and old secrets. Soon, the Mitchell sisters are taking on a system stacked against them and uncovering mysteries buried longer than they’ve been alive. Because it's hard to let go of the past when the past won't let go of you. Three unforgettable narrators join together here to tell a spellbinding story with wit, wonder, and deep affection. As she did in This Is How It Always Is, Laurie Frankel has written a laugh-out-loud-on-one-page-grab-a-tissue-the-next novel, as only she can, about how expanding our notions of normal makes the world a better place for everyone and how when days are darkest, it’s our daughters who will save us all.

The Secret Keepers

Author: Trenton Lee Stewart
Publsiher: Chicken House
Total Pages: 512
Release: 2017-02-02
ISBN 10: 1911077295
ISBN 13: 9781911077299
Language: EN, FR, DE, ES & NL

When Reuben discovers an old pocket watch, he soon realizes it holds an incredible power: it can turn you invisible for fifteen minutes. And the watch's power is even more extraordinary than he knows. Soon, he's on the run from a despot determined to possess it for himself ...

The Secret Keeper

Author: Brea Brown
Publsiher: Wayzgoose Press
Total Pages: 329
Release: 2019-09-15
ISBN 10:
ISBN 13:
Language: EN, FR, DE, ES & NL

Peyton Stratford is her family’s unofficial keeper of all things secret, from the petty and mundane to the potentially life-changing. But Peyton is keeping a secret of her own. And it’s a doozy. Pastor Brice Northam is used to hearing secrets. After all, it’s part of his job description. But he’s about to hear one that’s going to challenge him almost as much as his feelings for the person confessing. Peyton needs some serious help from Brice, but how much does she dare tell him? And what, exactly, is Brice hiding from Peyton—and himself? Clearly they both have some serious soul-searching to do. But maybe, just maybe, the answer to secrets isn’t silence. Or more secrets. Maybe it’s love. * * * Note: While the Secret Keeper series does feature some characters who are Christian (the hero is a pastor, so that’s a dead giveaway), it is not a Christian romance in the traditional sense, and some characters find themselves in adult situations and using strong language. Not that the pastor approves! But he’s fallen in love with a complex, modern woman whose life is anything but predictable. If you think you could too, then dive in. Bring your sense of humor and your compassion, and then hold on for the emotional ride of your life!

A Murder at Malabar Hill

Author: Sujata Massey
Publsiher: Unknown
Total Pages: 432
Release: 2021-06
ISBN 10: 9781761065279
ISBN 13: 1761065270
Language: EN, FR, DE, ES & NL

A legally-minded sleuth takes to the streets of 1920s Bombay in a fascinating new mystery.

City of Light

Author: Lauren Belfer
Publsiher: Dial Press
Total Pages: 512
Release: 2010-09-01
ISBN 10: 0307764028
ISBN 13: 9780307764027
Language: EN, FR, DE, ES & NL

A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK It is 1901 and Buffalo, New York, stands at the center of the nation's attention as a place of immense wealth and sophistication. The massive hydroelectric power development at nearby Niagara Falls and the grand Pan-American Exposition promise to bring the Great Lakes “city of light” even more repute. Against this rich historical backdrop lives Louisa Barrett, the attractive, articulate headmistress of the Macaulay School for Girls. Protected by its powerful all-male board, “Miss Barrett” is treated as an equal by the men who control the life of the city. Lulled by her unique relationship with these titans of business, Louisa feels secure in her position, until a mysterious death at the power plant triggers a sequence of events that forces her to return to a past she has struggled to conceal, and to question everything and everyone she holds dear. Both observer and participant, Louisa Barrett guides the reader through the culture and conflicts of a time and place where immigrant factory workers and nature conservationists protest violently against industrialists, where presidents broker politics, where wealthy “Negroes” fight for recognition and equality, and where women struggle to thrive in a system that allows them little freedom. Wrought with remarkable depth and intelligence, City of Light remains a work completely of its own era, and of ours as well. A stirring literary accomplishment, Lauren Belfer's first novel marks the debut of a fresh voice for the new millennium and heralds a major publishing event.

Bruised

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Author: Tanya Boteju
Publsiher: Simon and Schuster
Total Pages: 336
Release: 2021-03-23
ISBN 10: 1534455043
ISBN 13: 9781534455047
Language: EN, FR, DE, ES & NL

Whip It meets We Are Okay in this vibrant coming-of-age story, about a teen girl navigates first love, identity, and grief when she immerses herself in the colorful, brutal, beautiful world of roller derby—from the acclaimed author of Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens. To Daya Wijesinghe, a bruise is a mixture of comfort and control. Since her parents died in an accident she survived, bruises have become a way to keep her pain on the surface of her skin so she doesn’t need to deal with the ache deep in her heart. So when chance and circumstances bring her to a roller derby bout, Daya is hooked. Yes, the rules are confusing and the sport seems to require the kind of teamwork and human interaction Daya generally avoids. But the opportunities to bruise are countless, and Daya realizes that if she’s going to keep her emotional pain at bay, she’ll need all the opportunities she can get. The deeper Daya immerses herself into the world of roller derby, though, the more she realizes it’s not the simple physical pain-fest she was hoping for. Her rough-and-tumble teammates and their fans push her limits in ways she never imagined, bringing Daya to big truths about love, loss, strength, and healing.

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The Blood of Flowers

Author: Anita Amirrezvani
Publsiher: Little, Brown
Total Pages: 400
Release: 2007-06-05
ISBN 10: 0316006505
ISBN 13: 9780316006507
Language: EN, FR, DE, ES & NL

A sensuous and richly-imagined historical novel that centers on a skilled young carpet weaver, her arranged marriage, and her quest for self-determination in 17th-century Persia. In 17th-century Iran, a 14-year-old woman believes she will be married within the year. But when her beloved father dies, she and her mother find themselves alone and without a dowry. With nowhere else to go, they are forced to sell the brilliant turquoise rug the young woman has woven to pay for their journey to Isfahan, where they will work as servants for her uncle, a rich rug designer in the court of the legendary Shah Abbas the Great. Despite her lowly station, the young woman blossoms as a brilliant designer of carpets, a rarity in a craft dominated by men. But while her talent flourishes, her prospects for a happy marriage grow dim. Forced into a secret marriage to a wealthy man, the young woman finds herself faced with a daunting decision: forsake her own dignity, or risk everything she has in an effort to create a new life.

What s Up Beanie

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Author: Alina Tysoe
Publsiher: Houghton Mifflin
Total Pages: 224
Release: 2021
ISBN 10: 0358455480
ISBN 13: 9780358455486
Language: EN, FR, DE, ES & NL

'A collection of 160 comics from the hugely popular What's Up Beanie?, all adorable, humorously frank, completely wholesome, and acutely relatable'--

What Strange Paradise

Author: Omar El Akkad
Publsiher: McClelland & Stewart
Total Pages: 256
Release: 2021-07-20
ISBN 10: 0771050313
ISBN 13: 9780771050312
Language: EN, FR, DE, ES & NL

From the widely acclaimed author of American War: a new novel--beautifully written, unrelentingly dramatic, and profoundly moving--that brings the global refugee crisis down to the level of a child's eyes. More bodies have washed up on the shores of a small island. Another over-filled, ill-equipped, dilapidated ship has sunk under the weight of its too many passengers: Syrians, Ethiopians, Egyptians, Lebanese, Palestinians, all of them desperate to escape untenable lives in their homelands. And only one has made the passage: nine-year-old Amir, a Syrian boy who has the good fortune to fall into the hands not of the officials but of Vanna: a teenage girl, native to the island, who lives inside her own sense of homelessness in a place and among people she has come to disdain. And though she and the boy are complete strangers, though they don't speak a common language, she determines to do whatever it takes to save him. In alternating chapters, we learn the story of the boy's life and how he came to be on the boat; and we follow the girl and boy as they make their way toward a vision of safety. But as the novel unfurls, we begin to understand that this is not merely the story of two children finding their way through a hostile world, it is the story of our collective moment in this time: of empathy and indifference, of hope and despair--and of the way each of those things can blind us to reality, or guide us to a better one.

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Stay Up With Me

Author: Tom Barbash
Publsiher: Simon and Schuster
Total Pages: 400
Release: 2013-10-10
ISBN 10: 1471128458
ISBN 13: 9781471128455
Language: EN, FR, DE, ES & NL

'Stay Up With Me belongs to the tradition of the classic American story and, like John Cheever, Barbash dramatizes the messy lives of New Yorkers' Independent on Sunday A newly single mother wrestles with the evidence of her son's love life during his Christmas vacation; an anxious husband persists in playing the host at his annual drinks party even though his marriage is in trouble and his wife mysteriously absent; a young man watches his widowed father become the toast of Manhattan's midlife dating scene while he struggles to find his own footing in life . . . The characters in Tom Barbash's acclaimed, Folio Prize-nominated collection explore the myriad ways we seek to connect with each other and the sometimes cruel world around us. In the classic tradition of John Cheever or Tobias Wolff, Barbash laces his narratives with sharp wit, psychological acuity and pathos, so that they pierce the heart and linger in the imagination. 'One of the most satisfying cover-to-cover short story collections I can remember' Dave Eggers 'Tom Barbash's wise and bittersweet stories map the gulfs between us, and the unexpected connections. I tried to keep track of my favorite one, but it was always the story I'd just finished'David Mitchell 'Is there such a thing as the Great American Story Collection? Yes, and this is it' Justin Cronin

The Hound of the Baskervilles

Author: Anonim
Publsiher: Evans Brothers
Total Pages: 56
Release: 2010
ISBN 10: 0237540878
ISBN 13: 9780237540876
Language: EN, FR, DE, ES & NL
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Arthur Conan Doyle's classic Sherlock Holmes tale investigates a fearsome animal and a family curse, retold for younger readersWritten by in 1902, 'The Hound of the Baskervilles' is one of his most frightening books. It tells the story of the curse of the Baskerville family--a family haunted by a terrifying hound on Dartmoor. The beast is thought to be responsible for killing many members of the Baskerville family. Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson arrive to investigate. This retelling has been shortened and illustrated for younger readers.

The Last Draft

Author: Sandra Scofield
Publsiher: Penguin
Total Pages: 272
Release: 2017-12-05
ISBN 10: 152470508X
ISBN 13: 9781524705084
Language: EN, FR, DE, ES & NL

The definitive handbook for the novelist who is ready to revise This wise and friendly guide shows writers how to turn first-draft manuscripts into the novels of their dreams. A critic, longtime teacher, and award-winning novelist, Sandra Scofield illustrates how to reread a work of fiction with a view of its subject and vision, and how to take it apart and put it back together again, stronger and deeper. Scofield builds her explanations around helpful concepts like narrative structure, character agency, and core scenes, using models from classic and contemporary writers. The detailed, step-by-step plan laid out in The Last Draft offers invaluable advice to both novice and experienced writers alike. In Scofield, they will find a seasoned, encouraging mentor to steer them through this emotional and intellectual journey.

The Woman Before Wallis

Author: Bryn Turnbull
Publsiher: MIRA
Total Pages: 400
Release: 2020-07-21
ISBN 10: 148805892X
ISBN 13: 9781488058929
Language: EN, FR, DE, ES & NL
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“Brimming with scandal and an equal amount of heart…a sweeping yet intimate look at the lives of some of history’s most notorious figures from Vanderbilts to the Prince of Wales… A must-read.”—Chanel Cleeton, New York Times bestselling author of When We Left Cuba and Next Year in Havana “Bryn Turnbull takes a story we think we know and turns it on its head, with captivating results… A beautifully written, meticulously researched and altogether memorable debut.”—Jennifer Robson, USA TODAY bestselling author of The Gown For fans of The Paris Wife and The Crown, this stunning novel tells the true story of the American divorcée who captured Prince Edward’s heart before he abdicated his throne for Wallis Simpson. In the summer of 1926, when Thelma Morgan marries Viscount Duke Furness after a whirlwind romance, she’s immersed in a gilded world of extraordinary wealth and privilege. For Thelma, the daughter of an American diplomat, her new life as a member of the British aristocracy is like a fairy tale—even more so when her husband introduces her to Edward, Prince of Wales. In a twist of fate, her marriage to Duke leads her to fall headlong into a love affair with Edward. But happiness is fleeting, and their love is threatened when Thelma’s sister, Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt, becomes embroiled in a scandal with far-reaching implications. As Thelma sails to New York to support Gloria, she leaves Edward in the hands of her trusted friend Wallis, never imagining the consequences that will follow. Bryn Turnbull takes readers from the raucous glamour of the Paris Ritz and the French Riviera to the quiet, private corners of St. James’s Palace in this sweeping story of love, loyalty and betrayal.

America for Beginners

Author: Leah Franqui
Publsiher: HarperCollins
Total Pages: 320
Release: 2018-07-24
ISBN 10: 0062668773
ISBN 13: 9780062668776
Language: EN, FR, DE, ES & NL

Recalling contemporary classics such as Americanah, Behold the Dreamers, and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, a funny, poignant, and insightful debut novel that explores the complexities of family, immigration, prejudice, and the American Dream through meaningful and unlikely friendships forged in unusual circumstances. Pival Sengupta has done something she never expected: she has booked a trip with the First Class India USA Destination Vacation Tour Company. But unlike other upper-class Indians on a foreign holiday, the recently widowed Pival is not interested in sightseeing. She is traveling thousands of miles from Kolkata to New York on a cross-country journey to California, where she hopes to uncover the truth about her beloved son, Rahi. A year ago Rahi devastated his very traditional parents when he told them he was gay. Then, Pival’s husband, Ram, told her that their son had died suddenly—heartbreaking news she still refuses to accept. Now, with Ram gone, she is going to America to find Rahi, alive and whole or dead and gone, and come to terms with her own life. Arriving in New York, the tour proves to be more complicated than anticipated. Planned by the company’s indefatigable owner, Ronnie Munshi—a hard-working immigrant and entrepreneur hungry for his own taste of the American dream—it is a work of haphazard improvisation. Pival’s guide is the company’s new hire, the guileless and wonderfully resourceful Satya, who has been in America for one year—and has never actually left the five boroughs. For modesty’s sake Pival and Satya will be accompanied by Rebecca Elliot, an aspiring young actress. Eager for a paying gig, she’s along for the ride, because how hard can a two-week 'working' vacation traveling across America be? Slowly making her way from coast to coast with her unlikely companions, Pival finds that her understanding of her son—and her hopes of a reunion with him—are challenged by her growing knowledge of his adoptive country. As the bonds between this odd trio deepens, Pival, Satya, and Rebecca learn to see America—and themselves—in different and profound new ways. A bittersweet and bighearted tale of forgiveness, hope, and acceptance, America for Beginners illuminates the unexpected enchantments life can hold, and reminds us that our most precious connections aren’t always the ones we seek.

Blood and Beauty

Author: Sarah Dunant
Publsiher: Random House
Total Pages: 544
Release: 2013-07-16
ISBN 10: 0679603867
ISBN 13: 9780679603863
Language: EN, FR, DE, ES & NL

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY KIRKUS REVIEWS The New York Times bestselling author of the acclaimed Italian Renaissance novels—The Birth of Venus, In the Company of the Courtesan, and Sacred Hearts—has an exceptional talent for breathing life into history. Now Sarah Dunant turns her discerning eye to one of the world’s most intriguing and infamous families—the Borgias—in an engrossing work of literary fiction. By the end of the fifteenth century, the beauty and creativity of Italy is matched by its brutality and corruption, nowhere more than in Rome and inside the Church. When Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia buys his way into the papacy as Alexander VI, he is defined not just by his wealth or his passionate love for his illegitimate children, but by his blood: He is a Spanish Pope in a city run by Italians. If the Borgias are to triumph, this charismatic, consummate politician with a huge appetite for life, women, and power must use papacy and family—in particular, his eldest son, Cesare, and his daughter Lucrezia—in order to succeed. Cesare, with a dazzlingly cold intelligence and an even colder soul, is his greatest—though increasingly unstable—weapon. Later immortalized in Machiavelli’s The Prince, he provides the energy and the muscle. Lucrezia, beloved by both men, is the prime dynastic tool. Twelve years old when the novel opens, hers is a journey through three marriages, and from childish innocence to painful experience, from pawn to political player. Stripping away the myths around the Borgias, Blood & Beauty is a majestic novel that breathes life into this astonishing family and celebrates the raw power of history itself: compelling, complex and relentless. Praise for Blood and Beauty “Dunant transforms the blackhearted Borgias and the conniving courtiers and cardinals of Renaissance Europe into fully rounded characters, brimming with life and lust.”—The New York Times Book Review “Like Hilary Mantel with her Cromwell trilogy, [Sarah] Dunant has scaled new heights by refashioning mythic figures according to contemporary literary taste. This intellectually satisfying historical saga, which offers blood and beauty certainly, but brains too, is surely the best thing she has done to date.”—The Miami Herald “Compelling female players have been a characteristic of Dunant’s earlier novels, and this new offering is no exception. . . . The members of this close-knit family emerge as dynamic characters, flawed but sympathetic, filled with fear and longing.”—The Seattle Times “The Machiavellian atmosphere—hedonism, lust, political intrigue—is magnetic. . . . Readers won’t want the era of Borgia rule to end.”—People (four stars)