Book Review: Dead Silence (Stillwater Trilogy #1) by Brenda Novak

dead-silenceThere’s a body buried behind a Mississippi farmhouse

Grace Montgomery knows who it is, and she knows why it happened. She was only thirteen the night it all went wrong. And now, like then, she has no choice but to keep her mouth shut.

Grace left the town of Stillwater thirteen years ago, trying to forget, trying to make good. As an assistant D.A. in Jackson, she’s finally achieved the success that was supposed to change her life. But it hasn’t so she’s come back to confront her own history. Which means returning to the farmhouse now owned by her brother and facing the people of Stillwater, a number of whom suspect the truth.

Widower Kennedy Archer is one of those people. He’s running for mayor and needs to stay as far away from Grace as possible. And yetshe’s an enigma he can’t resist. Even though her enemies are close to finding out what really happened and that could ruin them both.

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me-iiMy thoughts:

I connected with Brenda Novak a few years ago on Facebook and even though I followed her post, I hadn’t read her books. Until recently. Dead Silence is the third book I have read by her and I must say, she writes a heck of a story. Having said that, I am not a romance reader or reviewer. Sometimes I make an allowance. The story has to have more than just romance and the plot has to be solid. I do love a good crime thriller and mystery, so her stories fit that bill nicely. I also have to admire how she is not heavy on the romance but gives you realistic relationship situations.

Dead Silence is the first book in the Stillwater Trilogy and I’m really looking forward to the next book. I think what first appealed to me about this book was the setting. As a southerner myself, I am always on the lookout for stories that take place in the South. The second thing that drew my attention was the premise. A body buried on a farm and the family is trying to forget but how can they when the body is buried on their property and they know why? One of the family members Grace-who was probably affected the most-left years ago to only return and face the secrets her family tried to bury along with the body and a town who is suspicious of what happened. Now that makes for a great story!

When she returned to town, she did not expect to stay long or get find a connection in the most likely of men-Widower Kennedy Archer. I enjoyed their interaction and how they come to grips with their problems and how their relationship develops. I look forward to reading more about them in the next book and will be cheering for them!

Last but not least, I really thought Novak did a great job with the supporting characters and they really enriched the story and I thought the small town feel she gives you was perfectly told.

I rated this book three and a half stars!

Stephanie M. Hopkins

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Manic Monday & Bookish Happenings

me-iiAs we all know Mondays can be pretty manic but nonetheless I was looking forward to it. Why? Because I want to share all my bookish happening for last week and over the weekend! What can be more exciting for a book blogger? Well, besides reading books and discovering new books to read. Every single day!

Today I am combining two post. Last week- due to the Holidays- I did not post Bookish Happenings. However, last week was a great Thanksgiving at indieBRAG with lots of wonderful guest post from our award winning authors. Be sure to check them out here.

In the last week and over the weekend I received several ARC’s from NetGalley and I am so excited about them. Here is the list:

  1. Bardwell’s Folly: A Love Story by Sandra Hutchinson
  2. We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter
  3. The kaiser’s Last Kiss by Alan Judd
  4. Out of Reach by Elizabeth McGregor
  5. His Kidnapper’s Shoes by Maggie James.

For my reading pleasure this week I am hoping to get to, A Twist in Time by Julie McElwain. Julie is one of my favorite new authors and I have had the pleasure chatting with her about her first book last year.

a-twist-in-time-ii

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Here is a few of my fellow book blogger’s book highlights from last week! Be sure to check them out. These bloggers are dedicated to their craft of sharing stories and a big support to the book world. I highly recommend you follow their blogs. #supportbookbloggers

return-to-taylors-crossing-iiHeather’s interview with award winning author Janie Dempsey Watts at Maiden’s Court, here.

Colleen’s book review of The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins at A Literary Vacation, here.

Magdalena’s book review of The Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin at A Bookacholic Swede, here.

Erin’s book review of The battle of Seattle by Douglas Bond at Flashlight Commentary, here.

all-i-want-for-christmasHolly’s All I Want for Christmas…Review at 2 Kids and Tired Books, here.

And my feature Layered Pages post from last week, Wish-List 5: A little of This & A little of That, here.

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Thank you for visiting Layered Pages today. It is always a treat to be able to talk about books with you all. Be sure to stay tuned all week long for more great posts. Happy reading and God Bless.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

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Cover Crush: To Marry an English Lord: Tales of Wealth and Marriage, Sex and Snobbery by Gail MacColl

to-marry-an-english-lordTo Marry an English Lord: Tales of Wealth and Marriage, Sex and Snobbery by Gail MacColl

From the Gilded Age until 1914, more than 100 American heiresses invaded Britannia and swapped dollars for titles–just like Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham, the first of the Downton Abbey characters Julian Fellowes was inspired to create after reading To Marry An English Lord. Filled with vivid personalities, gossipy anecdotes, grand houses, and a wealth of period details–plus photographs, illustrations, quotes, and the finer points of Victorian and Edwardian etiquette–To Marry An English Lord is social history at its liveliest and most accessible.

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My thoughts on the cover. Title and premise:

I’ve said this before and I will say it again. I am not a cover designer but I can agree that cover layouts play an important role in the overall presentation of books and I must admit I first judge a book by its cover.

I am no means a romance reader. Having said that, I will make certain allowances to that and I think this story has much more than the usual romance we often find in books. The title and cover caught my attention. I love the elegance of the cover and the soft colors. The dress is absolutely stunning. The cover kind-of reminds me of Downton Abby a little and I do adore reading stories from the Gilded Age. When I read the premise, I thought, “Yes, this looks right up my alley.” I am definitely adding this to my wish-list.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

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

Other great book bloggers who cover crush: 

Heather @ The Maiden’s Court-coming soon

Magdalena @ A Bookaholic Swede

Holly @ 2 Kids and Tired Books 

Colleen @ A Literary Vacation -Coming soon

More cover crushes over at indieBRAG!

Book Review: The Guests on South Battery (Tradd Street #5) by Karen White

the-guests-on-south-batteryWith her extended maternity leave at its end, Melanie Trenholm is less than thrilled to leave her new husband and beautiful twins to return to work, especially when she’s awoken by a phone call with no voice on the other end—and the uneasy feeling that the ghostly apparitions that have stayed silent for more than a year are about to invade her life once more.

 But her return to the realty office goes better than she could have hoped, with a new client eager to sell the home she recently inherited on South Battery. Most would treasure living in one of the grandest old homes in the famous historic district of Charleston, but Jayne Smith would rather sell hers as soon as possible, guaranteeing Melanie a quick commission.

Despite her stroke of luck, Melanie can’t deny that spirits—both malevolent and benign—have started to show themselves to her again. One is shrouded from sight, but appears whenever Jayne is near. Another arrives when an old cistern is discovered in Melanie’s backyard on Tradd Street.

 Melanie knows nothing good can come from unearthing the past. But some secrets refuse to stay buried….

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My Thoughts:

Old homes fascinate me. As I come across one, I often wonder about the people who lived there, what their lives were like and what the inside of the homes look like. I love visiting the historic district of Charleston! Its not often I get to. So when I discovered this series, I was thrilled! The first book, The House on Tradd Street is by far my favorite in the series. I have read the first three books and skipped over the fourth one to read The Guest on South battery. I did not do that intentionally, mind you. When this came up for review at NetGalley, I immediately requested it.

In the first couple of characters or so, I found the story to be interesting and I felt the main characters were a bit different than the first three books in the series. At first I contributed that to that fact that maybe it’s because Jack and Melanie are now married and have two children. Or that because her relationships with her mother and father have changed. But as I read on, that wasn’t the only reason the story-line had changed for me. I am sad to report it wasn’t for the good.

What bothered me the most about Melanie in this story was, she is very uptight on small things that don’t really matter and ignores things that do matter. Or maybe she is just being overly cautious and her insecurities are getting the better of her? Not entirely sure. Melanie’s personality is all over the place and her relationship/marriage with Jack wasn’t believable to me and I couldn’t figure out what they saw in each other anymore. Jack was quite changed as well but not as bad as Melanie. I didn’t like her one bit in this story. The other characters were-just- okay. I liked Melanie’s mother-Ginnette-much better.

The best parts of this story was when there was talk of the old homes and the people who lived there. Also, Jack’s research into the home of Melanie’s client they were trying to fix up and potentially sell. I enjoyed reading that most of all.

Overall, I felt this story was weaker than the first three and I found it too predictable. I had the plot all figured out half way through and I was disappointed with the ending. Hopefully there will be another book in this series and it will be stronger and less predictable.

I have rated this story, two stars.

I obtained a review copy from the publishers through NetGalley, for an honest review.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

Wish-List 5: A Little of This & A Little of That

Today I have a bag of mix titles on my wish-list: 5 this month. I guess you can say I have a collective taste in books! Enjoy!

Be sure to take a look at these fabulous books and check below for my Wish-List 5: Dublin Murder Squad and other great Wish-List from my fellow book bloggers below.

calico-palaceCalico Palace (Rediscovered Classics)

This thrilling story of the California gold rush is not about the forty-niners, the prospectors who came rushing to the San Francisco area in 1849, but about the men and women who were there when it all began with the first discovery of gold in 1848, when San Francisco was a village of 900 people. These were the people who went up to the hills and came back staggering under the weight of the treasure they carried, and who began transforming San Francisco from a shantytown into one of the most brilliant cities in the world.

This novel tells the unforgettable story of how these people walked into one of the most spectacular adventures in the world’s history. They saw the first samples of gold brought to the quartermaster, who said they were flakes of yellow mica. They were there when the first people who saw the gold were laughed at and called “crackbrains.” And they laid the foundation of the golden empire before the first forty-niners got there. Some of them could not meet the demands of this strange new world; others grew stronger and shared the greatness of the country they had helped build. Calico Palace is their story brought to vivid life.

the-thieves-of-threadneedle-street-the-incredible-true-story-of-the-american-forgers-who-nearly-broke-the-bank-of-englandThe Thieves of Threadneedle Street: The Incredible True Story of the American Forgers Who Nearly Broke the Bank of England 

In the summer of 1873, four American forgers went on trial at the Old Bailey ― London’s iconic law court ― for the greatest fraud the world had ever seen. The attempted crime: stealing five million dollars from the Bank of England from under the noses of its unsuspecting officials. In The Thieves of Threadneedle Street, Nicholas Booth tells the extraordinary true story of the forgers’ earliest escapades in Chicago, Louisville, and Manhattan, culminating with the heist at the world’s leading financial institution, the Bank of England. At the heart of the story is the charming criminal genius Austin Bidwell who, on the brink of escaping with his fortune, saw his luck finally run out.

They were apprehended after a manhunt across three continents. There were double crosses and miraculous escapes. There were chases across rural Ireland, through Scottish cities, across the Atlantic on ships heading toward Manhattan and ― most exotic of all ― Cuba, where the most elusive thief would eventually be captured, only to escape again. Hot on their trail was William Pinkerton, “the greatest detective in America,” scion of the famous detective agency.

With its cast of improbable villains, curious coincidences, and extraordinary adventures, it is an astounding international caper with twists and turns that often defy belief. It includes a colorful cast of supporting characters ― crooked policemen, corrupt officials, bribable warders, and love interests of varying hues of respectability: femme fatales, innocent lovers, hookers, and dupes. With access to previously unopened archives, Nicholas Booth has unearthed the greatest untold crime saga of the Victorian Era.

the-pawn-patrick-bowers-filesThe Pawn (Patrick Bowers Files) 

Special Agent Patrick Bowers had only met one man who made him truly afraid. Until now. When he’s called to North Carolina to consult on the case of an area serial killer, he finds himself in a deadly game. Cunning and lethal, the killer is always one step ahead of the law, and he’s about to strike again. It will take all of Bowers’s instincts and training to stop this man who calls himself the Illusionist. And just when the pieces start to come together, Bowers realizes they’re not quite adding up. Can he unravel the pattern and save the next victim? Or will the Illusionist win the game by taking one of his opponent’s pieces? Thrilling, chilling, and impossible to put down, The Pawn will hold suspense lovers in its iron grip until the very last page.

galway-bayGalway Bay

In a hidden Ireland where fishermen and tenant farmers find solace in their ancient faith, songs, stories, and communal celebrations, young Honora Keeley and Michael Kelly wed and start a family. Because they and their countrymen must sell both their catch and their crops to pay exorbitant rents, potatoes have become their only staple food.

But when blight destroys the potatoes three times in four years, a callous government and uncaring landlords turn a natural disaster into The Great Starvation that will kill one million. Honora and Michael vow their children will live. The family joins two million other Irish refugees–victims saving themselves–in the emigration from Ireland.

Danger and hardship await them in America. Honora, her unconventional sister Máire, and their seven sons help transform Chicago from a frontier town to the “City of the Century.” The boys go on to fight in the Civil War and enlist in the cause of Ireland’s freedom.

Spanning six generations and filled with joy, sadness, and heroism, GALWAY BAY sheds brilliant light on the ancestors of today’s forty-four million Irish Americans–and is a universal story you will never forget.

the-book-of-killowenThe Book of Killowen 

What sort of book is worth a man’s life? After a year away from working in the field, archaeologist Cormac Maguire and pathologist Nora Gavin are back in the bogs, investigating a ninth-century body found buried in the trunk of a car. They discover that the ancient corpse is not alone—pinned beneath it is the body of Benedict Kavanagh, missing for mere months and familiar to television viewers as a philosopher who enjoyed destroying his opponents in debate. Both men were viciously murdered, but centuries apart—so how did they end up buried together in the bog?

While on the case, Cormac and Nora lodge at Killowen, a nearby artists’ colony, organic farm, and sanctuary for eccentric souls. Digging deeper into the older crime, they become entangled in high-stakes intrigue encompassing Kavanagh’s death while surrounded by suspects in his ghastly murder. It seems that everyone at Killowen has some secret to protect.

Set in modern-day Ireland, The Book of Killowen reveals a new twist on the power of language—and on the eternal mysteries of good and evil.

Here are some of the wish lists from a few of my friends this month:

Colleen @ A Literary Vacation

Heather @ The Maiden’s Court

Magdalena @ A Bookaholic Swede

Holly @ 2 Kids and Tired

Erin @ Flashlight Commentary

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Manic Monday: Books & More Books

me-iiAs we all know Mondays can be pretty manic but nonetheless I was looking forward to it. Why? Because I want to share all my bookish happening for the weekend! What can be more exciting for a book blogger? Well, besides reading books and discovering new books to read. Every single day!

This week is the Thanksgiving Holiday and I have so much to share with you all throughout the week. This past weekend, I was a guest at the indieBRAG Blog, sharing my Thanksgiving tradition. I want to encourage you all to read that post.On Saturday I received a new book in the mail from a book giveaway. Yay! The book is, Roma Amor by Sherry Christie. I have not read any books by her before. So I am curious about her stories.

roma-amor

For my reading pleasure- this past weekend- I read, Dead Silence (Stillwater #1) by Brenda Novak in one day! I devoured it! Great read! I am really looking forward to the next book in this Trilogy. Another book I was reading from and still am is, Ruler of the Night by Davis Morrell. Fantastic read! I am enjoying it very much and I knew I would. Morrell’s Opium-Eater (Thomas De Quincey trilogy) a Victorian mystery trilogy, is truly brilliant.

Thank you for visiting Layered Pages today. It is always a treat to be able to talk about books with you all. Be sure to stay tuned all week long for more great posts. Happy reading and God Bless.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

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dead-silence

Grace Montgomery knows who it is, and she knows why it happened. She was only thirteen the night it all went wrong. And now, like then, she has no choice but to keep her mouth shut.

Grace left the town of Stillwater thirteen years ago, trying to forget, trying to make good. As an assistant D.A. in Jackson, she’s finally achieved the success that was supposed to change her life. But it hasn’t so she’s come back to confront her own history. Which means returning to the farmhouse now owned by her brother and facing the people of Stillwater, a number of whom suspect the truth.

Widower Kennedy Archer is one of those people. He’s running for mayor and needs to stay as far away from Grace as possible. And yet she’s an enigma he can’t resist. Even though her enemies are close to finding out what really happened and that could ruin them both.

stay-calm-and-support-book-bloggers

Cover Crush:Paradox Forged in Blood by Mary Frances Fisher

Cover Crush banner

paradox-forged-in-bloodParadox Forged in Blood by Mary Frances Fisher

A murder on Millionaire’s Row.
A killer’s chilling words, “Shh. I know where you live.”
A woman tormented by her guilt-ridden past.

A historical murder mystery, Paradox Forged in Blood is set in Cleveland, Ohio, during the late 1930s. Four decades after the murder of socialite Louis Sheridan, the cold case is resurrected with receipt of new evidence that transports detectives back to Nazi Germany. The only living witness, Ellen O’Malley, must confront a haunting secret and her complicit actions.

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My thoughts on the cover and premise:

I’ve said this before and I will say it again. I am not a cover designer but I can agree that cover layouts play an important role in the overall presentation of books and I must admit I first judge a book by its cover.

I think the cover is perfect for the premise of the story. The blood spattered on the cover certainly gives it a dramatic flair.

I love a good murder mystery and I am highly interested in the setting and period for the story. A cold case is an intriguing part of this story and I can’t wait to discover what the detectives find in Nazi Germany. Bumping up this book on my to-read list!

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

Other great book bloggers who cover crush: 

Heather @ The Maiden’s Court-coming soon

Magdalena @ A Bookaholic Swede

Holly @ 2 Kids and Tired Books 

Colleen @ A Literary Vacation -Coming soon

Be sure to check out Colleen’s latest indieBRAG’s cover crush here

More cover crushes over at indieBRAG!

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Book Review: To Capture What We Cannot Keep by Beatrice Colin

to-capture-what-we-cannot-seeIn February 1887, Caitriona Wallace and Émile Nouguier meet in a hot air balloon, floating high above Paris, France–a moment of pure possibility. But back on firm ground, their vastly different social strata become clear. Cait is a widow who because of her precarious financial situation is forced to chaperone two wealthy Scottish charges. Émile is expected to take on the bourgeois stability of his family’s business and choose a suitable wife. As the Eiffel Tower rises, a marvel of steel and air and light, the subject of extreme controversy and a symbol of the future, Cait and Émile must decide what their love is worth.

Seamlessly weaving historical detail and vivid invention, Beatrice Colin evokes the revolutionary time in which Cait and Émile live–one of corsets and secret trysts, duels and Bohemian independence, strict tradition and Impressionist experimentation. To Capture What We Cannot Keep, stylish, provocative, and shimmering, raises probing questions about a woman’s place in that world, the overarching reach of class distinctions, and the sacrifices love requires of us all.

My Thoughts:

As I’m sure most of the people in the world know of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. It has always been a deep fascination for me. I have to admit growing up I questioned why it was built but never really wondered at who built it and the ingenuity that went into it. As I got a bit older, I did think on that and about the people who built the tower. I was delighted when this book came along. During that era, the tower became the largest man-made structure in the world. As it was being constructed, many people doubted it’s success. The tower-of course-proved its grandeur.

In To Capture What We Cannot Keep we meet Émile Nouguier, the engineer and co-designer of the Tower. He meets a Scottish woman Cait-who is a chaperone for two rich, spoiled older young adults. Throughout the story of Emile’s, Cait and her charges become the center focus and how life deals with them. Or rather how they deal with life. We are also introduced to a supporting cast of a collective group of people.

The storyline of the tower being built was genius and the author gives such wonderful insight of the process. Alas, the overall plot dragged for me about almost half way through and I felt the relationship between Cait and Emile was poorly told. I kept wondering when it was going to happen! The Romance that is….I wasn’t convinced of the appeal they had for each other or the love for that matter. The main characters frustrated me, and the story left me just wanting to read about the Tower, Paris, the art world and nothing else.

Having said that, many parts of the story was atmospheric and resonated Paris of that time. The author did a good job getting you into that world and attitudes of the people. There are also some morality issues that play a part in this book and the character’s predicaments were rather interesting.

I rated this book three Stars.

Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

Stephanie M. Hopkins

Tuesday Book Spree: I Got Books On The Mind

me-iiToday, I have a lot of work to do but I will be fitting in a LOT of reading time. I’m getting books to review faster than I can read them! That tends to happen with people who are totally obsessed with stories. We can’t get enough and we can’t say, “no”, very often! A problem most book bloggers don’t mind having even though it can’t get a bit hectic. I will prevail!

Anyhow, three more books have come in to review and I woke up with several request from publishers in my email. Still haven’t decided what to do about the later. I might have to put those on the back burner for now. Then there is my own writing. I must make time in the day for that. There will come a point where I will have to start saying, “no,” more often so I can fit more time in for my own stories. I hate to turn people down but, well-writers- you know how it goes.

Books are a wonderful way to escape, to travel to destinations you can’t in reality, to build imagery in your mind and to live a thousand lives over and over…Good stories give you such a strong sense of place and time. I want to encourage all of my visitors to pick up a book this week and lose yourself into another world. Be sure to check out the books below I have to show you. Thank you for visiting Layered Pages today and happy reading!

By the way…you might be seeing a new book review from me!

Stephanie M. Hopkins

juliets-answer-iiJuliet’s Answer by Glenn Dixon

Pub Date 07 Feb 2017 

Eat, Pray, Love meets The Rosie Project in this fresh, heartwarming memoir by a man who travels to Verona and volunteers to answer letters addressed to Shakespeare’s Juliet, all in an attempt to heal his own heartbreak.

When Glenn Dixon is spurned by love, he packs his bags for Verona, Italy. Once there, he volunteers to answer the thousands of letters that arrive addressed to Juliet—letters sent from lovelorn people all over the world to Juliet’s hometown; people who long to understand the mysteries of the human heart.

Glenn’s journey takes him deep into the charming community of Verona, where he becomes involved in unraveling the truth behind Romeo and Juliet. Did these star-crossed lovers actually exist? Why have they remained at the forefront of hearts and minds for centuries? And what can they teach us about love?

When Glenn returns home to Canada and resumes his duties as an English teacher, he undertakes a lively reading of Romeo and Juliet with his students, engaging them in passions past and present. But in an intriguing reversal of fate and fortune, his students—along with an old friend—instruct the teacher on the true meaning of love, loss, and moving on.

An enthralling tale of modern-day love steeped in the romantic traditions of eras past, this is a memoir that will warm your heart.

death-at-st-vedastDeath at St. Vedast by Mary Lawrence

Pub Date 27 Dec 2016

During the tempestuous reign of Henry VIII, London alchemist Bianca Goddard has seen up close what keeps a man alive—and what can kill him. A good thing, for she will need all her knowledge to keep a friend away from the gallows . . .

Bianca and her husband John are delighted to share in the glad fortune of their friend, Boisvert, the silversmith, who is to wed Odile, the wealthy widow of a goldsmith. But a pall is cast over the upcoming nuptials when the body of a pregnant woman is found beneath the bell tower of St. Vedast, the very church where the betrothed are to be married.

Tragedy strikes again at the couple’s reception, when Odile suddenly drops dead in the middle of the wedding feast. The constable suspects Boisvert poisoned his new bride for her money, but there’s not a trace of poison in her food or wine. Could the two deaths be connected? To prove their friend’s innocence, Bianca will need to employ her knowledge of alchemy—for if she can determine how the bride was killed, she may find the person responsible for her murder—before another victim is added to the death toll . . .

the-magdalen-girls-iiThe Magdalen Girls by V.S. Alexander

Pub Date 27 Dec 2016

Dublin, 1962. Within the gated grounds of the convent of The Sisters of the Holy Redemption lies one of the city’s Magdalen Laundries. Once places of refuge, the laundries have evolved into grim workhouses. Some inmates are “fallen” women—unwed mothers, prostitutes, or petty criminals. Most are ordinary girls whose only sin lies in being too pretty, too independent, or tempting the wrong man. Among them is sixteen-year-old Teagan Tiernan, sent by her family when her beauty provokes a lustful revelation from a young priest.

Teagan soon befriends Nora Craven, a new arrival who thought nothing could be worse than living in a squalid tenement flat. Stripped of their freedom and dignity, the girls are given new names and denied contact with the outside world. The Mother Superior, Sister Anne, who has secrets of her own, inflicts cruel, dehumanizing punishments—but always in the name of love. Finally, Nora and Teagan find an ally in the reclusive Lea, who helps them endure—and plot an escape. But as they will discover, the outside world has dangers too, especially for young women with soiled reputations.

 

 

Manic Monday & Bookish Delights

me-iiThis weekend was fantastic. It’s not often I can just totally chill and do what I want and I can’t say that I felt foreboding that Monday was drawing near. Though the first day of the week tends to be manic, I was quite looking forward to it. Why? This weekend I was able to get lots of reading time in, drank lots of tea, watched a few shows on Netflix, and set up a couple of blog posts. Now I know that we have to get back to the work week, which leaves us very little time for reading. But, at least we can talk about the books we’ve been enjoying! There is that. *smiles*

This past Saturday, I was checking my emails and saw that I got approved for a review copy of, Ruler of the Night by David Morrell (book description below). “David Morrell is a Canadian novelist from Kitchener, Ontario, who has been living in the United States for a number of years. He is best known for his debut 1972 novel First Blood, which would later become a successful film franchise starring Sylvester Stallone. More recently, he has been writing the Captain America comic books limited-series The Chosen.” (bio from goodreads).

His Opium-Eater (Thomas De Quincey trilogy) a Victorian mystery trilogy, is truly brilliant. Every historical detail is impeccable; you hang on to every word. His characters are unforgettable and he transports to you the Victorian London streets with vivid imagery, as if you were really there. Murder mysteries at its finest!

The first book is, Murder as a Fine Art. The second, Inspector of the Dead. You can find these books on Amazon and goodreads. When the third, Ruler of the Night was announced, I was so very excited and wanted to get my hands on a review copy. Badly. Grateful I was able too! I am hoping to get to it this week. I highly recommend them.

Thank you for visiting Layered Pages today. It is always a treat to talk about bookish things with you all. Be sure to check out my interview with award winning author Lee Davis at indieBRAG. Today, I talk with him about his graphic designing and his process. I highly recommend you read the interview. It’s brilliant and insightful. You might learn something.

Oh, I almost forgot! A few of my fellow book bloggers and I are buddy reading, Girl in Disguise by Greer Macallister-about the first female Pinkerton detective-and I discovered a show called The Pinkertons on Netflix! How cool is that?!

This week is going to be another great discussion in all things books and writers from my fellow bloggers and myself. On Friday, I will be sharing much about that. So stay tuned!

Cheers!

Stephanie M. Hopkins

ruler-of-the-night

The notorious Opium-Eater returns in the sensational climax to David Morrell’s acclaimed Victorian mystery trilogy.

1855. The railway has irrevocably altered English society, effectively changing geography and fueling the industrial revolution by shortening distances between cities: a whole day’s journey can now be covered in a matter of hours. People marvel at their new freedom.

But train travel brings new dangers as well, with England’s first death by train recorded on the very first day of railway operations in 1830. Twenty-five years later, England’s first train murder occurs, paralyzing London with the unthinkable when a gentleman is stabbed to death in a safely locked first-class passenger compartment.

In the next compartment, the brilliant opium-eater Thomas De Quincey and his quick-witted daughter, Emily, discover the homicide in a most gruesome manner. Key witnesses and also resourceful sleuths, they join forces with their allies in Scotland Yard, Detective Ryan and his partner-in-training, Becker, to pursue the killer back into the fogbound streets of London, where other baffling murders occur. Ultimately, De Quincey must confront two ruthless adversaries: this terrifying enemy, and his own opium addiction which endangers his life and his tormented soul.

“Ruler of the Night is a riveting blend of fact and fiction which, like master storyteller David Morrell’s previous De Quincey novels, “evokes Victorian London with such finesse that you’ll hear the hooves clattering on cobblestones, the racket of dustmen, and the shrill calls of vendors” (Entertainment Weekly).

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