Halloween and Spooky Reads

Fall time header 2017

Halloween is practically around the corner and I’m trying to decide if I want to just stick with my fall reads or add a couple books for this spooky occasion. Hmm…there are two books I think I will add that will be perfect and I’m dying to get to them. However, today you won’t find out what they are. I know, I know…I’m a tease. I think I will blog about them and post it next week for your enjoyment. I do like to keep people in suspense. Okay, maybe I’m getting a tiny bit carried away with that statement. Ha!

Have a great weekend everyone and see you on Monday!

Stephanie M. Hopkins

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Cover Crush Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moira Fowley-Doyle

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I am not a cover designer but I can agree that cover layouts play an important role in the overall presentation of stories and I must admit, often times I first judge a book by its cover.

Spellbook of the Lost and FoundSpellbook of the Lost and Found Hardcover by Moïra Fowley-Doyle 

One stormy Irish summer night, Olive and her best friend, Rose, begin to lose things. It starts with simple items like hairclips and jewelry, but soon it’s clear that Rose has lost something much bigger, something she won’t talk about, and Olive thinks her best friend is slipping away.

Then seductive diary pages written by a girl named Laurel begin to appear all over town. And Olive meets three mysterious strangers: Ivy, Hazel, and her twin brother, Rowan, secretly squatting in an abandoned housing estate. The trio are wild and alluring, but they seem lost too—and like Rose, they’re holding tight to painful secrets.

When they discover the spellbook, it changes everything. Damp, tattered and ancient, it’s full of hand-inked charms to conjure back things that have been lost. And it just might be their chance to find what they each need to set everything back to rights.

Unless it’s leading them toward things that were never meant to be found…

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Flashlight Commentary. Her latest Cover Crush HERE

Other great book bloggers who cover crush:

Heather @ The Maiden’s Court

Magdalena @ A Bookaholic Swede

Holly @ 2 Kids and Tired Books

Colleen @ A Literary Vacation

Meghan @ Of Quills & Vellum

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Author Ridley Pearson at the Fox Den

Ridley & Me 2017

On October 11, I went to a book event at the FoxTale Book Shoppe featuring Author Ridley Pearson. He is the New York bestselling author of the Peter and the Starcatchers and the Kingdom Keepers series. It was such a wonderful experience to meet him and talk about his stories and the projects he is working on. His enthusiasms and energy in writing and talking about his books is amazing and awe inspiring. I was so pleased with how he interacted with his young audience and how he answered their questions. I could have listen to him speak all day. What a nice gentleman and I really admire the stories he brings to children. We need more authors like him.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

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Here are the two books I had signed by Ridley:

Ridley Books Signed

The Initiation (Lock and Key #1) by Ridley Pearson

Bestselling author of Peter and the Starcatchers and the Kingdom Keepers series, Ridley Pearson reimagines the origins of the epic rivalry between Sherlock Holmes and James Moriarty. Set in modern times and focusing on Moriarty’s bone-chilling beginnings, this middle grade mystery-adventure series will upend everything you thought you ever knew about Sherlock Holmes—and the true nature of evil.

In the pantheon of literature’s more impressive villains, Sherlock Holmes’s greatest nemesis, James Moriarty, stands alone. As Sir Arthur Conan Doyle describes him in the classic tale “The Final Solution,” Moriarty is a genius, a philosopher, and a spider in the center of his web. He is the Napolean of crime—and now, for the first-time ever, New York Times bestselling novelist Ridley Pearson explores the origins of his evil ways.

Our story begins when James and his younger sister, Moria, are unceremoniously sent off to boarding school at Baskerville Academy. It is not a fate either want or welcome—but generations of Moriarty men have graduated from Baskerville’s hallowed halls. And now so too must James. It’s at Baskerville where James is first paired with a rather unexpected roommate—Sherlock Holmes. The two don’t get along almost instantly, but when the school’s heirloom Bible goes missing and cryptic notes with disconcerting clues start finding their way into James’s hands, the two boys decide that they must work together to solve a mystery so fraught with peril, it will change both their lives forever!

It’s another seat-of-your-pants mystery from the bestselling author of Peter and the Starcatchers and The Kingdom Keepers series, Ridley Pearson.

The Downward Spiral (Lock and Key #2) by Ridley Pearson

James Moriarty hasn’t been the same since he enrolled at Baskerville Academy. During his first year, he was forced to room with the insufferable Sherlock Holmes, he grew distant from his younger sister, Moria, and then, horribly, his father died under mysterious circumstances.

Now with school back in session, James has become more isolated than ever. And for the first time in her life, Moria isn’t sure if her brother is on her side. The only person she can trust is Sherlock. Sherlock listens to Moria’s problems and tries to break through James’s wall. He is obsessed, maybe to an extreme, with finding the truth about their father’s death. But at least Sherlock cares, and that’s why Moria joins him on a quest that leads to a secret sect, a rare jewel, and a murder that may change everything. The search for the truth is darker than even they could have anticipated. Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson series, said, “Only a mastermind like Ridley Pearson could put such a fresh spin on Sherlock Holmes.” It’s another edge-of-your-seat mystery-adventure from New York Times bestselling author Ridley Pearson.

More about author:

Ridley Perason

Ridley Pearson is the author of more than twenty novels, including the New York Times bestseller KILLER WEEKEND; the Lou Boldt crime series; and many books for young readers, including the award-winning children’s novels PETER AND THE STARCATCHERS, PETER AND THE SHADOW THIEVES, and PETER AND THE SECRET OF RUNDOON, which he cowrote with Dave Barry. Pearson lives with his wife and two daughters, dividing their time between Missouri and Idaho.

Author website

FoxTale Book Shoppe

FoxTale Book Shoppe Facebook Page

FoxTale Website

FoxTale is located at:

105 E Main St Ste 138

Woodstock, Georgia 30188

 

Fall Reads: Paperbacks On My Shelf

Fall banner 2017

As a book reviewer it is not often I have time to read books from my personal library. I have made it a goal to read at least five books from my shelf by the end of November. I really hope I met that goal seeing as I have others to get through for review.

I had a lot of fun putting this collection of books together and creating a fall theme presentation for them. I am rather pleased with how it turned out and I feel it gives me a better sense of anticipation to read the books. I look forward to journaling about them soon. Once I get the journal going I will be sure to share with you of how it is coming together.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

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The Guineveres IIThe Guineveres by Sarah Domet

Hardcover, 352 pages

Published October 4th 2016 by Flatiron Books

To four girls who have nothing, their friendship is everything: they are each other’s confidants, teachers, and family. The girls are all named Guinevere – Vere, Gwen, Ginny, and Win – and it is the surprise of finding another Guinevere in their midst that first brings them together.

They come to The Sisters of the Supreme Adoration convent by different paths, delivered by their families, each with her own complicated, heartbreaking story that she safeguards. Gwen is all Hollywood glamour and swagger; Ginny is a budding artiste with a sentiment to match; Win’s tough bravado isn’t even skin deep; and Vere is the only one who seems to be a believer, trying to hold onto her faith that her mother will one day return for her. However, the girls are more than the sum of their parts and together they form the all-powerful and confident The Guineveres, bound by the extraordinary coincidence of their names and girded against the indignities of their plain, sequestered lives.

The nuns who raise them teach the Guineveres that faith is about waiting: waiting for the mail, for weekly wash day, for a miracle, or for the day they turn eighteen and are allowed to leave the convent. But the Guineveres grow tired of waiting. And so, when four comatose soldiers from the War looming outside arrive at the convent, the girls realize that these men may hold their ticket out.

In prose shot through with beauty, Sarah Domet weaves together the Guineveres’ past, present, and future, as well as the stories of the female saints they were raised on, to capture the wonder and tumult of girlhood and the magical thinking of young women as they cross over to adulthood.

The Cherry HarvestThe Cherry Harvest by Lucy Sanna

Hardcover, 326 pages

Published June 2nd 2015 by William Morrow

A memorable coming-of-age story and love story, laced with suspense, which explores a hidden side of the home front during World War II, when German POWs were put to work in a Wisconsin farm community . . . with dark and unexpected consequences

The war has taken a toll on the Christiansen family. With food rationed and money scarce, Charlotte struggles to keep her family well fed. Her teenage daughter, Kate, raises rabbits to earn money for college and dreams of becoming a writer. Her husband, Thomas, struggles to keep the farm going while their son, and most of the other local men, are fighting in Europe.

When their upcoming cherry harvest is threatened, strong-willed Charlotte helps persuade local authorities to allow German war prisoners from a nearby camp to pick the fruit.

But when Thomas befriends one of the prisoners, a teacher named Karl, and invites him to tutor Kate, the implications of Charlotte’s decision become apparent—especially when she finds herself unexpectedly drawn to Karl. So busy are they with the prisoners that Charlotte and Thomas fail to see that Kate is becoming a young woman, with dreams and temptations of her own—including a secret romance with the son of a wealthy, war-profiteering senator. And when their beloved Ben returns home, bitter and injured, bearing an intense hatred of Germans, Charlotte’s secrets threaten to explode their world.

The Secret ChordThe Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks

Hardcover, 302 pages

Published October 6th 2015 by Viking

Peeling away the myth to bring the Old Testament’s King David to life in Second Iron Age Israel, Brooks traces the arc of his journey from obscurity to fame, from shepherd to soldier, from hero to traitor, from beloved king to murderous despot and into his remorseful and diminished dotage.

The Secret Chord provides new context for some of the best-known episodes of David’s life while also focusing on others, even more remarkable and emotionally intense, that have been neglected.  We see David through the eyes of those who love him or fear him—from the prophet Natan, voice of his conscience, to his wives Mikhal, Avigail, and Batsheva, and finally to Solomon, the late-born son who redeems his Lear-like old age. Brooks has an uncanny ability to hear and transform characters from history, and this beautifully written, unvarnished saga of faith, desire, family, ambition, betrayal, and power will enthrall her many fans.

The Beekeeper's ApprenticeThe Beekeeper’s Apprentice (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes #1) by Laurie R. King

Paperback, 341 pages

Published March 26th 2002 by Bantam

Long retired, Sherlock Holmes quietly pursues his study of honeybee behavior on the Sussex Downs. He never imagines he would encounter anyone whose intellect matched his own, much less an audacious teenage girl with a penchant for detection. Miss Mary Russell becomes Holmes’ pupil and quickly hones her talent for deduction, disguises and danger. But when an elusive villain enters the picture, their partnership is put to a real test.

A Monstrous Regiment of WomenA Monstrous Regiment of Women (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes #2) by Laurie R. King

Paperback, 336 pages

Published 2000 by HarperCollins

Looking for respite in London after a stupefying visit from relatives, Mary encounters a friend from Oxford. The young woman introduces Mary to her current enthusiasm, a strange and enigmatic woman named Margery Childe, who leads something called “The New Temple of God.” It seems to be a charismatic sect involved in the post-World War I suffrage movement, with a feminist slant on Christianity. Mary is curious about the woman, and intrigued. Is the New Temple a front for something more sinister? When a series of murders claims members of the movement’s wealthy young female volunteers and principal contributors, Mary, with Holmes in the background, begins to investigate. Things become more desperate than either of them expected as Mary’s search plunges her into the worst danger she has faced yet.

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Art & Books: Journal Your Passion

Kate and I at HNS Denver 2015 III enjoy creating book art and experimenting with different mediums. The picture below is my latest creation. I was going through a collection of my art supply to see what I needed to throw out or give away and came across a few vintage items I thought would be splendid to showcase Kate Quinn’s book, The Alice Network. After talking with a friend and fellow book lover on-line about books and art, we decided to work on a few art projects. I am wanting to put together a book Journal with my presentations of books and my opinions of the stories and so on… I think it is inspiring to reflect on the stories you have read and the art you created with the covers. Do you journal with art and what are your projects or ones you would like to start?

*Photo of Kate and I at the HNS Denver Conference back in 2015.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

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The Alice Network Book Art

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

Paperback, 503 pages

Published June 6th 2017 by William Morrow Paperbacks

In an enthralling new historical novel from national bestselling author Kate Quinn, two women—a female spy recruited to the real-life Alice Network in France during World War I and an unconventional American socialite searching for her cousin in 1947—are brought together in a mesmerizing story of courage and redemption.

1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She’s also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie’s parents banish her to Europe to have her “little problem” taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister.

1915. A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she’s recruited to work as a spy. Sent into enemy-occupied France, she’s trained by the mesmerizing Lili, the “Queen of Spies”, who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy’s nose.

Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. Until a young American barges’ in uttering a name Eve hasn’t heard in decades, and launches them both on a mission to find the truth …no matter where it leads.

About Author:

Kate Quinn

Kate Quinn is a native of southern California. She attended Boston University, where she earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Classical Voice. A lifelong history buff, she has written four novels in the Empress of Rome Saga, and two books in the Italian Renaissance, before turning to the 20th century with “The Alice Network.” All have been translated into multiple languages.

Kate and her husband now live in San Diego with two black dogs named Caesar and Calpurnia, and her interests include opera, action movies, cooking, and the Boston Red Sox.

Kate’s website

Cover Crush: Love Thine Enemy by Nora Fountain

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I am not a cover designer but I can agree that cover layouts play an important role in the overall presentation of stories and I must admit, often times I first judge a book by its cover.

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Love Thine EnemyLove Thine Enemy by Nora Fountain

Kindle Edition, 544 pages

Published January 26th 2017 by Endeavour Press

The clouds of war are gathering in Europe, but some remain hopeful a diplomatic solution can be found, especially eighteen-year-old Helen Latimer, visiting from England.

Paris has always been one of her favourite places, but as she walks down the street on her first day and sees a tall stranger with cornflower blue eyes and hair the colour of wheat, she is hit by what the French call un coup de foudre, and her life is changed forever.

Maximilian von Engelberg is a German, but despite being proud of Germany, he is against the Nazis, unlike his brother Herman, who is with the SS. He, too, hopes war can be averted, but knows it is a matter of time. He also knows he should stay away from Helen Latimer, but he can’t help himself.

Christian Meursault is the Count of Clemenceau, and owns a chateau in Normandy. He has his friends for a weekend, including Helen and Max, and as they play in the pool and eat fabulous food, no one can imagine war.

But soon, Hitler invades Poland, and war is inevitable. As Helen’s brother Charles calls her home, Max’s brother Herman insists he return to the Fatherland as well. But when Helen discovers she is pregnant, Max decides they will marry, and escape to Portugal, a country that is neutral.

But fate has other plans for them, and Max ends up in Germany. Soon they are both married to other people, as war rages around them.

But despite impossible odds, this is not the end of the story for Max, who ends up based in Normandy, and Helen, who starts to work for the French Resistance when her beloved brother Charles is shot down over the English Channel.

With so much death, who knows who will survive, and at what cost?

My thoughts:

I adore everything about this cover! What’s not to love? Plus, the story has a great title and premise. One I hope to explore sometime soon.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Flashlight Commentary. Her latest Cover Crush HERE

Other great book bloggers who cover crush:

Heather @ The Maiden’s Court

Magdalena @ A Bookaholic Swede

Holly @ 2 Kids and Tired Books

Colleen @ A Literary Vacation

Meghan @ Of Quills & Vellum