Tag Archive | France

Extraordinary life stories – listen up! #audiobooks for all

Most of us would say that we lead unexceptional lives. That’s why we’re so intrigued by celebrities and folks whose lives are anything but ordinary.

This week, we get to listen in on the lifestories of superstars in the world of sport and the world of art, with two free audiobooks from AudioSYNC (thanks again, publishers!).

Click on a title below by Wednesday 17 July 2019, follow the easy directions at the AudioSYNC page, and you can keep the downloaded free audiobook on your device as long as you wish.

CD cover of Becoming Kareem,  by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar | Read by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Published by Hachette Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Becoming Kareem, by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Read by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Published by Hachette Audio

US basketball legend recounts his life from boyhood in New York through his professional career and onward as an activist for social change, sharing the many lessons learned from his mentors.

CD cover of Vincent and Theo,  by Deborah Heiligman | Read by Philip Fox Published by Dreamscape Media  | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Vincent and Theo, by Deborah Heiligman

Read by Philip Fox

Published by Dreamscape Media

The Van Gogh brothers shared dreams and heartaches throughout their lives, with Vincent leaving their family home to pursue his art and Theo later giving him a place to stay and work in Paris. Based on their lifetime of correspondence.

What other biographies would you recommend?
**kmm

In wartime, she finds A WHALE IN PARIS! by Daniel Presley & Claire Polders (book review)

book cover of A Whale in Paris, by Daniel Presley & Claire Polders. Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers. | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Running through the heart of Paris,
the smooth river in the City of Light –
is that a submarine or a whale?

We don’t have reported whale sightings in Paris during World War II, but young ones definitely can become separated from their pod when disoriented by percussive noises like bomb blasts.

Hope, determination, and Mama’s ukelele – that’s all that Chantal and Franklin have to aid them during the long and perilous trip back to the sea.

What is the hope that you cling to during terrible times?
**kmm

Book info: A Whale in Paris: How It Happened That Chantal Duprey Befriended a Whale During the Second World War and Helped Liberate France / Daniel Presley & Claire Polders; illustrated by Erin McGuire. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2018. [Daniel’s author site] [Claire’s author site] [illustrator site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Miraculously, despite German soldiers swarming through Chantal’s beloved Paris, a whale appears in the Seine River!

Such hope it brings to the war-weary citizens! So angry are the Germans that it won’t obey their orders! The 12 year old names him “Franklin” after the American president who has promised to liberate France.

But food is so scarce in 1944, and some Parisians say that Franklin is eating all the river fish, that perhaps he should be feeding them instead!

Why did this wonderful sea beast come so far up the river?

Can Chantal convince Franklin to go away to safety?

Can she overcome her fear of the water that claimed her mother and go with him?

In the darkest days of World War II for Paris, a young whale and a young woman race to rescue Papa and Aunt Sophie from prison.

Far from shore on A Sea of Love, by Wilfrid Lupano & Gregory Panaccione (book review)

book cover of A Sea of Love by Wilfrid Lupano, illustrated by Gregory Panaccione. Published by Lion Forge | recommended on BooksYALove.com Snatched from his fishing waters by a factory-fishing-ship,
Adrift on the wide ocean in such a small boat,
the old man sees land ahead – but which land?

When he doesn’t return that night to their small coastal town, the fisherman’s wife goes searching for him, consulting the marine authorities, a soothsayer, and her own heart.

Join them on this wordless adventure/voyage/love story with scary and hilarious sidetrips!

Are you ready to travel to recover someone or something that you love?
**kmm

Book info: The Sea of Love / Wilfrid Lupano; illustrated by Gregory Panaccione. Lion Forge, 2018.  [artist site]  [publisher site]  [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: A Breton fisherman’s daily routine goes awry when his small boat is entangled by a mega-trawler, sending him on a trans-oceanic adventure far beyond his familiar French coastal waters in this near-wordless graphic novel.

Paddling the life raft to their village, the first mate tells the fisherman’s distraught wife that the huge ship Goldfish has taken the old man away!

How will he survive stormy seas and angry seagulls?
Can she get word to the captain of Goldfish to help her husband?
If the vision in the pancake is correct, he is safe, but how to get there?

Love and devotion, Brittany’s traditional lacemaking, tropical island and revolution, cans of sardines (oh, how he loathes sardines…) – over 200 pages of mishaps, persistence, and waves for miles make this story a keeper.

One Paris Summer, by Denise Grover Swank (book review) – out of tune with romance

book cover of One Paris Summer by Denise Grover Swank published by Blink Books | recommended on BooksYALove.comDad is remarrying in Paris,
new French stepsister hates her,
No way she will find love in the City of Light!

Sophie is so mad at Dad for leaving them behind, for not following through on promised piano, for… everything!

More complex than the usual ‘summer romance in a romantic city’ story, Sophie has to work through her feelings of abandonment, apprehension about auditions and college costs, and misunderstandings with her own brother (and all the French teens in Camille’s group, all of them!) as she decides if a summer love is worth potential heartbreak.

Paris – alone or with a special someone?
**kmm

Book info: One Paris Summer / Denise Grover Swank. Blink, 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Meeting him was the best part of her summer in Paris, but since Matthieu is friends with the new stepsister who hates Sophie, even the prospect of using his mom’s piano to practice for upcoming auditions loses its luster.

And with her former crush traveling over to stay with her brother Eric for a few weeks (Dad is trying to make peace after leaving them behind in South Carolina after the divorce), it’s all going to get complicated… really, really complicated!

Is it okay to like Matthieu when he was Camille’s friend first?
When will Dad understand that abandoning his kids for a fancy French wife is unforgivable?
Why can’t she clear her mind and just practice, practice, practice for music scholarships?

Mixed messages from Matthieu may be more than errors in translation when Sophie’s emotions swing wildly during One Paris Summer as first love may be just around the corner.

Prince Without a Kingdom, by Timothee de Fombelle (book review) – rooftops, espionage, war, love, danger

book cover of A Prince Without Kingdom by Timothee de Fombelle, translated by Sarah Ardizzone, published by Candlewick Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com A zeppelin, skyscrapers, a quest,
war looming, young people fleeing,
across countries, toward memories…

Through the early years of World War II, intrepid teens try to outwit ingenious villains in a game of chase through the US and Europe with deadly consequences.

Yes, it’s Book 2 of a duology. No, you don’t have to read Vango: Between Earth and Sky to get up to speed on the complex and fascinating storylines (I had only this one and easily got up to speed on who was who, etc.). But if you can get Book 1, do it, just so you can doubly glory in the wordplay, round-the-world plots, and stunning translations of the adventurous tale of Vango, Cat, the invisible monastery, Ethel, and Zefiro.

Who would you follow across oceans?
**kmm

Book info: A Prince Without a Kingdom (Vango, book 2) / Timothee de Fombelle, translated by Sarah Ardizzone. Candlewick Press, 2015. [author bio] [translator interview] [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Chased from his childhood refuge, orphaned teen Vango uses disguise and stealth to track down the man trying to kill him, while Ethel formulates plans to assist him as World War II erupts.

Intricate webs of love, hatred, family, loss, and intrigue flow between Vango and Ethel, a nanny in Russia and a doctor in Italy, an out-of-tune piano and the Black Sea in 1913 and a prize-fighter impersonating a prince, as oceans are crossed by airships, identities are cross-wired, and missed connections can mean life, death, or dessert…

The Cat connects clues and Resistance fighters as she traverses the rooftops of Occupied Paris – too many enemies?
How can the abbot of the Invisible Monastery be aboard the Hindenburg zeppelin?
Is Edith’s brother safe as an Allied aviator?

Second in the Vango duology, A Prince Without a Kingdom can easily be read alone as a cross-continent, multi-stranded adventure of love and loyalty during wartime, stunningly translated from the French original.

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F for fear in France with a Drop of Night and deadly peril, by Stefan Bachman (book review)

book cover of A Drop of Night by Stefan Bachman published by Greenwillow Books | BooksYALove.comEscape the adoptive family,
Tap into unusual skill set,
Die in an underground palace of terrors?

Anouk hates so much about her sophisticated adoptive parents, perfect little sister, and their polished life. The chance to join an exclusive teen research team in France is too good to pass up… and definitely too good to be true.

Read the first chapters of A Drop of Night here courtesy of the publisher, and get hooked on this diverse crew of teens assembled for a supposed archaeology exploration… into a death trap.

Can you ever really outrun the past?
**kmm

Book info: A Drop of Night / Stefan Bachman. Greenwillow Books, 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]   Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Lured to the French countryside by the promise of a unique historical exploration, 17-year-old Anouk gladly escapes her posh New York City family and finds herself in a subterranean chateau filled with mysteries and death traps.

Maybe the five teens were picked for their various skill sets, but Anouk, Will, Jules, Hayden, and Lilly start wondering about Project Papillon’s true motives soon after they arrive at the remote French chateau with armed guards (and no cellphone service).

Why is Sapani Corporation relying on these kids to explore a historical site that’s been sealed for over 200 years?
Who is controlling the fighters they encounter underground and the hideously deadly puzzle rooms they must get past?
What if Professor Dorf isn’t the only one watching them down here?

The story alternates between the viewpoints of Anouk in the present day and Aurelie during the French Revolution as more secrets about Palais du Papillon and its frightening purpose are revealed. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

A for Along the Way, by Jacqueline Kolosov (book review) – 3 friends on a pilgrimage

book cover of Along the Way by Jacqueline Kolosov published by Luminis | BooksYALove.comShould have broken in those boots before walking 500 miles
Should have trusted her instincts about that young man…
Should have been ready for miracles on the pilgrimage…

Three far-flung friends walk the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage from the French Pyrenees to the Spanish coast, each for her own reasons, encountering heartache, love, physical woes, and personal victories in their month together during the summer after graduation.

Ask for this travelogue in three voices at your local library or independent bookstore – they may have to invoke interlibrary loan or special order, but it’s worth the wait!

Can you ever be fully prepared for a journey that’s guaranteed to change your life?
**kmm

p.s. Happy first day of the Blogging from AtoZ Challenge! I’ll recommend 26 books in 26 days of April, A to Z.

Book info: Along the Way: Three Friends, 33 Days, and One Unforgettable Journey on the Camino de Santiago / Jacqueline Kolosov. Luminis Books, 2015.  [author blog]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Walking the Camino de Santiago brings three young women closer together as the childhood friends meet other pilgrims from around the world, push their own physical and emotional limits, and find what they didn’t even know they were seeking.

Dani, Piper, and Tessa met as kids in Chicago, but live far apart now, so this 500 mile pilgrimage from France through Spain is their chance to reconnect before college and journey beyond their own comfort zones.

How can they balance family expectations with their own dreams?
Are the girls walking away from problems or toward understanding?
Cute guys in France and Spain – distractions or companions?

Three voices, three hearts, one long path taken step by step. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Meow meets wow in photos – Men & Cats, by Marie-Eva Gatuingt and Alice Chaygneaud

book cover of Men & Cats by Marie-Eva Gatuingt and Alice Chaygneaud published by Perigee | recommended on BooksYALove.comIf kitty pix make you go “Awwww” and photos of gorgeous guys make you go “Rawr!” then this is your book!

Add it to your favorite indie bookstore wishlist (search here for a great bookstore near you: http://indiebound.org) or just go buy it now as a gift for the person who appreciates cat cute and masculine musculature.

And, yes, the French photographers are adding more fellow and feline picture-pairs to their tumblr!

**kmm

Book info: Men & Cats /Marie-Eva Gatuingt and Alice Chaygneaud. Perigee Books, 2015.  [authors’ tumblr]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Photos of men and cats in matching poses prove that no words are needed to communicate the concepts of “cute plus captivating” as the creators of the wildly popular Des Hommes et des Chatons tumblr have created 50 new combos for this book.

Whether shirtlessly lounging in the sunshine or dually dapper in bowties, each pair of pix has a particular shared visual element (the one with blue eyes!).

Praying and yawning, serene and playful – enjoy men, enjoy cats, enjoy this preview of the book:

750 Years in Paris, by Vincent Mahé (book review) – 1 city block seen over 8 centuries

book cover of 750 Years in Paris by Vincent Mahe published by NoBrow | reviewed on BooksYALove.com“If these walls could only talk…”
People change (or do they?) –
The City of Light remains, a beacon!

Noted magazine illustrator Mahé has distilled centuries of French history into this wordless graphic novel, detailing the changes in a single block of buildings through good times and bad from 1270 to recent times.

Ask for this October 2015 release at your local library or independent bookstore or favorite comics shop, and enjoy his full-length publishing debut with all its verve and humorous/tense details.

What changes have you seen in your own town’s buildings over the years?
**kmm

Book info: 750 Years in Paris / Vincent Mahé. Nobrow Books, 2015. [author’s Facebook page]  [publisher site]   Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Buildings rise and fall, as history’s parade of changes affects a single street in Paris over the centuries, as seen by a French illustrator with an eye for fascinating details.

Vincent Mahé four-color palette ably depicts military victories and invasions, celebrates society’s modernizations, and portrays the City of Light’s evolution from dirt-street hamlet to vibrant metropolis, all from the perspective of one short city block’s buildings.

As its narrow lens helps readers focus on history’s broad sweep, 750 Years in Paris uses human-scale details to wordlessly convey the gradual or abrupt changes that this single location has seen since the 13th century.

A timeline at the end of the book notes each of the 60 time-snapshots portrayed and what memorable event merited their inclusion. Enjoyable for all readers of all ages – especially good for fans of history, graphic design, and hidden pictures! (One of 8,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Courageous teens in World War II – stories to read with your ears

For this final week of their summer program, AudioSYNC brings us two very different stories of teens coping with World War II .

Remember, these free complete audiobooks are only available from Thursday through Wednesday (12 Aug 2015), but you have free use of them as long as you keep them on your computer or electronic device. Just click on the title to reach its download page with quick registration.

Thank you to @AudioSYNC and all the audiobook publishers who provide these great free downloads – looking forward to summer 2016!

CD cover of Under a War-Torn Sky  by L.M. Elliott | Read by Elizabeth Wiley Published by Tantor AudioUnder a War-Torn Sky
by L.M. Elliott
Read by Elizabeth Wiley
Published by Tantor Audio

Shot down behind enemy lines during WWII, a young American pilot tries to reach safety with the help of French Resistance members and learns first-hand of their sacrifice and bravery.

 

The Old Brown SuitcaseCD cover of The Old Brown Suitcase  by Lillian Boraks-Nemetz | Read by Sofia Bunting Newman Published by Post Hypnotic Press Inc.
by Lillian Boraks-Nemetz
Read by Sofia Bunting Newman
Published by Post Hypnotic Press Inc.

From the Warsaw ghetto to a new life in Canada, Slava carries a battered suitcase filled with memories and more sorrow than any 14 year old should have endured – can the young Jewish woman ever fit in?

Courage in harrowing circumstances – got it?
**kmm