Herbs for Stress and Anxiety by Rosemary Gladstar. Published by Storey

Gladstar begins by explaining how the nervous system works and that offers natural treatments to help both calm and strengthen the nervous system. Recipes are included for teas, tissanes and tinctures. Also included is a list of useful plants and herbs to grow or purchase. By looking at the individual as a whole, Gladstar is able to show readers how to treat themselves naturally and safely. A must have for every home bookshelf.

Virgile’s Vineyard by Patrick Moon. Published by Matador

Moon has purchased a derelict home in the Languedoc which he plans to renovate. His plans are somewhat sidetracked when he meets Virgile, a young wine maker who offers to teach Moon the intricacies of turning grapes into wine. The young man is a perfectionist and insists everything be done exactly by the book. Unfortunately, with his limited funding, that means Virgile has a very small wine cellar. Moon’s neighbor is the exact opposite, he turns out gallons of cheap read plonk. He sees this as the only way to make wine and make money doing it and, he too, sets out to show Moon how wine is made. A hilarious adventure, traveling from vineyard to Moon’s rapidly deteriorating home. A must read for all who ever wanted to buy a house in France and get away from it all.

What Else is there for a Boy like me? by Patrick Moon. Published by Matador

Those who know Moon for his lush descriptions of life in France will see him in a new light after reading this sobering memoir. Moon begins an extended visit to India, a land he has visited in the past and come to love. Now he returns to see of the land is as he remembered and if he is the man he thought he would be. His travels take a 180 degree detour when he meets Mohamd, a young man with great potential, but who is crippled both by poverty and caste. Moon sets out to help the young man, sure that he can help him overcome his obstacles. But the obstacles are great and Moon, try as he might, is no match for India’s rigid belief system. While Moon does not “save” Mohamd and there is no happy ending, there is a tremendous feeling of accomplishment for trying to overcome the odds and a certain beauty and wisdom that comes from tilting at windmills.

Arrazat’s Aubergines by Patrick Moon. Published by Matador

In this sequel to Virgile’s  Vineyard, Moon takes on the culinary history of the Languedoc region of France. While trying to keep his grape vines safe from unsavory types, Moon gets caught up in the excitement when the local cafe becomes a restaurant that will feature local fare under the watchful eye of an ambitious young chef. Soon, Moon is helping out in the kitchen, where it’s messy, dangerous and wild. The adventure whets his appetite for more and he begins to explore the local produce from backyard gardens and huge conglomerates alike. In his journey he is privy to such mysteries as the making of olive oil and the whereabouts of the famous Perrier spring.

A tremendously fun romp through the French countryside. Moon once again proves himself a delightful tour guide to all things French, the good, the bad and the ugly.

Ember Island by Kimberly Freeman. Published by Touchstone

In 1876, Tilly has been humiliated. Her new marriage falls apart when she discovers that her husband is a fortune hunter who has only married her for her money. She takes a position as a governess on Ember Island in far off Australia, hoping to leave her shame behind. She will be caring for the daughter of prison superintendent Sterling Holt. Her charge, Nell is a precocious young girl and keeps Tilly on her toes. She tries to ignore her growing attraction to Sterling and soon becomes friends with a female prisoner. Unbeknownst to Tilly, Nell is watching and writing down everything she sees in her journals and then hiding them around the house.

In 2012 Nina Jones, a successful writer cannot think of another book idea to save her life, her boyfriend has dumped her, and now some journalist wants to talk to her about her grandmother Nell’s secret past. Needing a break, Nina returns home to the family estate, Starwater on Ember Island. While she’s there, she finds Nell’s diaries hidden in the walls of the old home and becomes caught up in the story of her grandmother’s life and is determined to solve the mystery the journalist hinted at.

Nobody writes grand sweeping Australian sagas like Freeman. Readers will be unable to put this mesmerizing novel down

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North. Published by Redhook

Harry dies over and over again and no matter what he does while he is alive, he always ends up back at the same place. As a young boy in each life, he has full knowledge of his previous lives, but is powerless to change his ending…..and beginning all over again. As he grows closer to death during his 11th life, he is approached by a young girl who tells him she has a message for him. For Harry, hopefully, nothing will ever be the same.

A remarkable time slip novel in the tradition of Life after Life. North writes a story with enough twists and turns to keep the most cynical readers on the edge of their seats.

The Other Half by Sarah Rayner. Published by St. Martins

In this wicked and witty novel, readers meet both the wife and the other woman. Chloe is a free-spirited, talented young woman who is ready to embark on the career of a lifetime. She wants to run her own magazine and has met the man she thinks may help her achieve her goal, potential boss, James. There is an instant attraction and the two do little to stop their head long rush into passion, despite the fact that James is married. Maggie would tell anyone who asked that she is happily married. But the truth is her husband has been coming home from work later and later, some nights he doesn’t come home at all.  Told in both Chloe and Maggie’s voices, readers will like both women. Chloe for her intelligence and ambition and Maggie for her dedication and devotion. Not to be missed