lab girl by hope jahren 275A memoir from a passionate paleobotanist, Jahren writes an engaging, elegant  and humorous account of her childhood in Minnesota, how she grew to love trees and plants, her early experiences in laboratory work, her battle with anxiety and depression, and the longtime friendship with her quirky, beloved lab partner, Bill. Jahren intersperses stories about plants with stories about her own life in a way that makes for a surprisingly mesmerizing read. This will have you looking at trees in a different way and even if you have no passing interest in trees, there is a lot here to keep you entertained!

barkskinsThis is a sprawling saga of a novel that begins in 17th century Canada following the fortunes and misfortunes of two families over a period of three hundred years. But it is equally the story of our forests and how they were destroyed by greed and about the genocide of the Native Americans.

This is not so much a character-driven ficitonal work but an insightful. historical look into the ecological costs of progress-the destruction of forests and of Native Americans as their hunting lands are destroyed and their entire lifestyle. It gave me insights about how we have destroyed the very environment on which we depend for survival.

It is a profound book but but be prepared for a long patient read that it is 700 pages.

Ove2A perfect blend of a light hearted, humorous and yet deeply moving novel about a 59 year-old curmudgeon who finds his life turned upside down when a young family moves in next door. A touching look at the impact that others have on our lives as well as reflections on love and loss.  The author's characters are so well written, you will surely know some real life equivalents-I know I did!

travelersAn international spy thriller that moves from  New York, to Argentina, to Paris, to Barcelona, to Dublin, to Capri, to Stockholm, to Edinburgh, to Iceland. Will Rhodes, on assignment for a travel magazine in Argentina, meets a woman who seduces and then blackmails him drawing him into a tangled web of international intrigue. It becomes clear that nothing is as it seems and no one is who they appear to be. Intricate plotline and a real mindgame challenge of intrigue for the reader!

Kulti1A childhood infatuation with a famous soccer player, Reiner Kulti, led Sal Casillas to become the best soccer player she could be but fast forward 20 years later  Kulti becomes her coach.  However, problems start to emerge with his leadership and Casillas stands up to him. This slow-burning romance was emotionally stirring, and I never wanted it to end! Zapata writes about relationships and strong female characters. It was a true pleasure to watch Sal and Kulti grow from enemies into best friends and then fall in love. Anyone who likes contemporary romances will love this book.

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