Cover Crush: A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams

a-hundred-summersMemorial Day, 1938: New York socialite Lily Dane has just returned with her family to the idyllic oceanfront community of Seaview, Rhode Island, expecting another placid summer season among the familiar traditions and friendships that sustained her after heartbreak.

That is, until Greenwalds decide to take up residence in Seaview.

Nick and Budgie Greenwald are an unwelcome specter from Lily’s past: her former best friend and her former fiancé, now recently married—an event that set off a wildfire of gossip among the elite of Seaview, who have summered together for generations. Budgie’s arrival to restore her family’s old house puts her once more in the center of the community’s social scene, and she insinuates herself back into Lily’s friendship with an overpowering talent for seduction…and an alluring acquaintance from their college days, Yankees pitcher Graham Pendleton. But the ties that bind Lily to Nick are too strong and intricate to ignore, and the two are drawn back into long-buried dreams, despite their uneasy secrets and many emotional obligations.

Under the scorching summer sun, the unexpected truth of Budgie and Nick’s marriage bubbles to the surface, and as a cataclysmic hurricane barrels’ unseen up the Atlantic and into New England, Lily and Nick must confront an emotional cyclone of their own, which will change their worlds forever.

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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 books and I must admit, often times I first judge a book by its cover.

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Yes, we are in the winter season so I can’t help wanting to post a cover that personifies warmth and the ocean. I’m a Florida girl by birth and crave the sun and beach. I love everything about the cover, premise and title. I hope the presentation of the book rings true to the story. I shall enjoy finding out one day soon!

Stephanie M. Hopkins

More Great Cover Crushes!

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!

stay-calm-and-support-book-bloggers

Wish-List 5: Random Bits of Bookish Delights

I really like to mix things up a bit and this month’s wish-list is no exception. Be sure to read all these great book descriptions and hopefully-fingers crossed-you will add a few to your own reading pile. Thank you for visiting Layered Pages today. Enjoy!

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the-invisible-libraryThe Invisible Library

One thing any Librarian will tell you: the truth is much stranger than fiction…

Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, a shadowy organization that collects important works of fiction from all of the different realities. Most recently, she and her enigmatic assistant Kai have been sent to an alternative London. Their mission: Retrieve a particularly dangerous book. The problem: By the time they arrive, it’s already been stolen.

London’s underground factions are prepared to fight to the death to find the tome before Irene and Kai do, a problem compounded by the fact that this world is chaos-infested—the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic to run rampant. To make matters worse, Kai is hiding something—secrets that could be just as volatile as the chaos-filled world itself.

Now Irene is caught in a puzzling web of deadly danger, conflicting clues, and sinister secret societies. And failure is not an option—because it isn’t just Irene’s reputation at stake, it’s the nature of reality itself…

the-red-notebookThe Red Notebook

Heroic bookseller Laurent Letellier comes across an abandoned handbag on a Parisian street. There’s nothing in the bag to indicate who it belongs to, although there’s all sorts of other things in it. Laurent feels a strong impulse to find the owner and tries to puzzle together who she might be from the contents of the bag. Especially a red notebook with her jottings, which really makes him want to meet her. Without even a name to go on, and only a few of her possessions to help him, how is he to find one woman in a city of millions?

the-good-neighbor-iiThe Good Neighbor

Shadow Cove, Washington, is the kind of town everyone dreams about—quaint streets, lush forests, good neighbors. That’s what Sarah thinks as she settles into life with her new husband, Dr. Johnny McDonald. But all too soon she discovers an undercurrent of deception. And one October evening when Johnny is away, sudden tragedy destroys Sarah’s happiness.

Dazed and stricken with grief, she and Johnny begin to rebuild their shattered lives. As she picks up the pieces of her broken home, Sarah discovers a shocking secret that forces her to doubt everything she thought was true—about her neighbors, her friends, and even her marriage. With each stunning revelation, Sarah must ask herself, can we ever really know the ones we love?

binary-witnessBinary Witness

Police detectives rely on Amy Lane to track the digital debris of their most elusive criminals—when she’s not in the throes of a panic attack. After two students disappear in Cardiff, Amy uncovers photographic evidence that they’ve been murdered. From the safety of her computer, she looks through the city’s digital eyes to trace the steps of a killer.

Amy’s investigation requires footwork, however, and the agoraphobic genius can’t hack it alone. She turns to her newly-hired cleaner, ex-con Jason Carr. Jason is fascinated by both Amy and the work, and can’t refuse even when she sends him into situations that risk returning him to prison.

The killer strikes again and again, and Amy and Jason are the only investigators closing in on him. But Amy’s psyche is cracking under the strain, and Jason’s past is catching up with him. To stop the next murder, they must hold their unconventional partnership together at any cost.

radio-girlsRadio Girls

London, 1926. American-raised Maisie Musgrave is thrilled to land a job as a secretary at the upstart British Broadcasting Corporation, whose use of radio—still new, strange, and electrifying—is captivating the nation. But the hectic pace, smart young staff, and intimidating bosses only add to Maisie’s insecurity.

Soon, she is seduced by the work—gaining confidence as she arranges broadcasts by the most famous writers, scientists, and politicians in Britain. She is also caught up in a growing conflict between her two bosses, John Reith, the formidable Director-General of the BBC, and Hilda Matheson, the extraordinary director of the hugely popular Talks programming, who each have very different visions of what radio should be. Under Hilda’s tutelage, Maisie discovers her talent, passion, and ambition. But when she unearths a shocking conspiracy, she and Hilda join forces to make their voices heard both on and off the air…and then face the dangerous consequences of telling the truth for a living.

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 

stay-calm-and-support-book-bloggers

Manic Monday & Bookish Delights

me-iiAs we all know Mondays can be pretty manic and generally I look forward to Monday’s nonetheless. Last Friday I normally post my Bookish Happenings but I decided to take a day off and this past weekend I was able to read some in-between shopping for Christmas and what-not.

I was really hoping to start reading, Roma Amor by Sherry Christie this weekend but I am still working on finishing up another story. I won Sherry Christie’s book in a giveaway on-line. Hopefully by Wednesday I can. So many books…so little time…

 Check out my book review for Girl In Disguise by Greer MacAllister HERE and my review for Ruler of The Night by David Morrell HERE

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Be sure to check out and follow these amazing book bloggers! They do a tremendous job in supporting authors and books.

Flashlight Commentary

The Maiden’s Court

A Bookaholic Swede

A Literary Vacation

Let Them Read Books

2 Kids and Tired Books

Celticlady’s Reviews

Reading the Past

A Bookish Affair

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indiebrag-winter-reads-brag

This week at indieBRAG, there will be special posts from our readers and authors starting today through Friday HERE

And don’t forget to check out the great selections of books from indieBRAG! They make great holiday gifts!

Thank you for visiting Layered Pages today and please be sure to come back tomorrow for a great interview with Award Winning Author Helena Schrader! She has recently won a B.R.A.G. Medallion for her book, Envoy of Jerusalem.

Stephanie Moore Hopkins

Cover Crush: Tiny Little Thing by Beatriz Williams

tiny-little-thingIn the summer of 1966, Christina “Tiny” Hardcastle stands on the brink of a breathtaking future. Unlike her spirited sisters, Tiny was the consummate well-behaved debutant, poised and picture-perfect, raised to serve as a consort to a great man. Now, as her handsome husband, Frank, runs for a Massachusetts seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, that long-sought destiny lies nearly within reach.
 
But behind her glamorous facade, Tiny’s flawless life is cracking. She and Frank both have secrets in their pasts that could shatter their political ambitions and the intricate truce of their marriage. So when two unwelcome visitors arrive at the Hardcastle family’s Cape Cod estate—Frank’s cousin Caspian, a Vietnam war hero who knows a thing or two about Tiny’s hidden past, and an envelope containing incriminating photographs—Tiny is forced into a reckless gamble against a house that always, always wins…

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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 books and I must admit, often times I first judge a book by its cover.

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Another book that takes place in the 1950’s to add to my to-read list! This cover is stunningly beautiful and the title fits the picture of the lady on the cover perfectly! You can definitely tell this lady was born into wealth. But also gives you the feel that maybe the glamorous rich life she has had is not working out for her so much. I premise of the story sounds so intriguing!

Stephanie M. Hopkins

More Great Cover Crushes!

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: Ruler of The Night by David Morrell

ruler-of-the-night1885. 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.

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My Thoughts:

When I have presented Morrell’s De Quincey novels to various readers and friends-they had never heard of him. Thomas de Quincey was an English 19th century writer. At a young age he ran away from home and became addicted to opium. In the mid Victorian era in England, one was able to walk into a chemist’s shop and purchase the drug without a prescription from doctors. These types of dangerous drugs were used for making home remedies… de Quincey wrote a story called, Confessions of an Opium-Eater where Morrell draws a lot of his inspiration for his trilogy. Ruler of the Night is his third and final installment and is a fine ending to what is an outstanding Victorian mystery story.

The English Railroad during this era was a popular means of travel and the brutal murder that occurs on a train in the beginning of the story sets the tone for another intriguing mystery.

It was a true delight to read about Thomas de Quincey, his Daughter-Emily, Ryan and Becker-who are two detectives- and their dangerous adventures in finding a murderer. Their process of solving murder crimes is extraordinary and entertaining.

Morrell’s 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!

I have rated this story four stars and obtained a copy from the publishers through NetGalley for an honest review.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

Book Review: Girl In Disguise by Greer MacAllister

girl-in-disguiseWith no money and no husband, Kate Warne finds herself with few choices. The streets of 1856 Chicago offer a desperate widow mostly trouble and ruin―unless that widow has a knack for manipulation and an unusually quick mind. In a bold move that no other woman has tried, Kate convinces the legendary Allan Pinkerton to hire her as a detective.

Battling criminals and coworkers alike, Kate immerses herself in the dangerous life of an operative, winning the right to tackle some of the agency’s toughest investigations. But is the woman she’s becoming―capable of any and all lies, swapping identities like dresses―the true Kate? Or has the real disguise been the good girl she always thought she was?

My Thoughts:

The Pinkerton Agency is widely known for their pursuit of Jesse James, the Dalton Brothers and Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch. What is not commonly known is the agency hired the first female Detective-Kate Warne- in the U.S. during the mid-1850’s. The founder Allan Pinkerton immigrated to Chicago from Scotland in the early 1840’s and joined the Chicago police department and soon after opened the first Pinkerton Agency. Before reading, Girl in Disguise, I had not known about Kate, so I was delighted when I discovered this book on NetGalley.

Kate Warne is an extraordinary woman-especially someone as independent as she was in the 1800’s. During those times it was unheard of for women to do what was considered a “Man’s job”. Allan Pinkerton was hesitant-if you will-to hire her but in his knowledge of undercover work, he knew that often times it was not easy for males to gain access to the people they were pursuing. With strong intellect and determination, Kate quickly proves herself to be invaluable and gains the trust of Pinkerton.

Kate’s talent for gathering information is well displayed in this story and gives you great insight into detective work and I found this highly fascinating to read about. As the story developed further, the Pinkerton Agency flourished and you really get a sense of the character’s will to fight for justice.

The second half of the story focuses on the American Civil War and the agencies role. This is where I learned some new things about the agency I had not realized before. I did find a few scenes disjointed and there is a brief romance that just seem to appear and I was not sure-at first- how that would play out in the story. In the end I believe it worked and really helped Kate’s motivation for the actions she took. I do question Kate’s ability to travel freely on her own while the war was raging and I’m not sure that was believable to me. Nonetheless it did not entirely distract me from enjoying the story.

After finishing the story, I tuned to the author’s notes and I was glad I did. I developed a deeper appreciation for the story from having read it and I highly recommend that readers take the time to do so.

I have rated this story four stars and obtained a copy from the publishers through NetGalley for an honest review.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

Manic Monday & Bookish Delights

me-iiAs we all know Mondays can be pretty manic and generally I look forward to Monday’s nonetheless. As many of you know, Friday I mentioned I was still in a reading slump. Well, guess what?! I’m not anymore! This past weekend I was able to finish two books and start on another one. So I am delighted about that! This week be on the lookout for the reviews for those two book here on Layered Pages. Also, Saturday I received in the mail, The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill by Julie Klassen that I had ordered from Amazon. Hooray for more books!

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I would like to mention a few other bookish things that have happen Friday and over the weekend:

  1. On Facebook Friday, I spotted a post called, A Day In The Life and it is hilarious! Check it out HERE.
  2. I always like to hear about writer’s favorite book stores. I spotted 7Writers on Their Favorite Bookstores over at the Historical Novel Society on Facebook. You can check out the post HERE.
  3. I love to see what my fellow book bloggers are up too on their Facebook Pages. Check out A Bookaholics Mad World’s page HERE.
  4. Last but not least, I have been getting some awesome page views on my interview with best-selling author C.S. Harris. If you haven’t read my interview with her, click HERE to see what she has to say!

Thank you for visiting Layered pages today and be sure to come back tomorrow! Happy reading!

Stephanie M. Hopkins

Cover Crush: The Life She Was Given by Ellen Marie Wiseman

the-life-she-was-givenPaperback: 304 pages

Publisher: Kensington (July 25, 2017)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1617734497

ISBN-13: 978-1617734496

On a summer evening in 1931, Lilly Blackwood glimpses circus lights from the grimy window of her attic bedroom. Lilly isn’t allowed to explore the meadows around Blackwood Manor. She’s never even ventured beyond her narrow room. Momma insists it’s for Lilly’s own protection, that people would be afraid if they saw her. But on this unforgettable night, Lilly is taken outside for the first time—and sold to the circus sideshow.

More than two decades later, nineteen-year-old Julia Blackwood has inherited her parents’ estate and horse farm. For Julia, home was an unhappy place full of strict rules and forbidden rooms, and she hopes that returning might erase those painful memories. Instead, she becomes immersed in a mystery involving a hidden attic room and photos of circus scenes featuring a striking young girl.

At first, The Barlow Brothers’ Circus is just another prison for Lilly. But in this rag-tag, sometimes brutal world, Lilly discovers strength, friendship, and a rare affinity for animals. Soon, thanks to elephants Pepper and JoJo and their handler, Cole, Lilly is no longer a sideshow spectacle but the circus’s biggest attraction. . .until tragedy and cruelty collide. It will fall to Julia to learn the truth about Lilly’s fate and her family’s shocking betrayal, and find a way to make Blackwood Manor into a place of healing at last.

Moving between Julia and Lilly’s stories, Ellen Marie Wiseman portrays two extraordinary, very different women in a novel that, while tender and heartbreaking, offers moments of joy and indomitable hope.

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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 books and I must admit, often times I first judge a book by its cover.

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I love reading stories that involved a traveling circus in the Depression-era and stories in that take place in the 1950’s. Circus theme stories have always fascinated me. I think it’s because you find such complex characters and realities of life unlike your own. But are they really so unlike after all?

Then you have family secrets, tragedy, hope and joy. An extraordinary mix of emotions displayed. These are stories that impact us, change us and open our hearts to other people’s struggles in life. We can learn so much from these stories.

I believe it was the circus tent that first drew my attention to this book. Then it was the little girl in the yellow dress. So atmospheric! The title really is intriguing and makes you want to read about this girl’s life she was given.

I am really looking forward to reading this story. I have pre-ordered my copy!

Stephanie M. Hopkins

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More Great Cover Crushes!

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

Magdalena @ A Bookaholic Swede

Holly @ 2 Kids and Tired Books 

Colleen @ A Literary Vacation -Coming soon

More cover crushes over at indieBRAG!

 

An Oldie but Goodie

A few weeks ago, I started an Oldie but Goodie Series of older reviews that I had written. The series has really kicked off and today I am delighted to share another one! It is so amusing to look back at older reviews. My reactions have been, “What was I thinking? Oh, I quite like what I wrote or I should have expanded on some things further.” Having said that, I won’t be rewriting the reviews. One must learn from one’s own writing! Today I am sharing one of my reviews for Stephanie Thornton’s books. She is an amazing story-teller and one of my favorites. I can’t get enough of her stories. Check out my review below of, The Conqueror’s Wife: A Novel of Alexander the Great!

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the-conquerors-wife-ii

330s, B.C.E., Greece: Alexander, a handsome young warrior of Macedon, begins his quest to conquer the ancient world. But he cannot ascend to power, and keep it, without the women who help to shape his destiny. His spirited younger half-sister, Thessalonike, yearns to join her brother and see the world. Instead, it is Alexander’s boyhood companion who rides with him into war while Thessalonike remains behind. Far away, crafty princess Drypetis will not stand idly by as Alexander topples her father from Persia’s throne. And after Alexander conquers her tiny kingdom, Roxana, the beautiful and cunning daughter of a minor noble, wins Alexander’s heart…and will commit any crime to secure her place at his side. Within a few short years, Alexander controls an empire vaster than the civilized world has ever known. But his victories are tarnished by losses on the battlefield and treachery among his inner circle. And long after Alexander is gone, the women who are his champions, wives, and enemies will fight to claim his legacy…

Review:

When this book came available to review, I knew I couldn’t pass this up. Not because I wanted to read another story of Alexander the Great, mind you. I have read enough of him and his atrocities. However, Thornton brings us a new story- a story of the strong women who surrounded him.

I would like to start with his Mother-Olympias. She personifies a power hungry political in my opinion. A ruthless Queen where everyone is her pawn and how she manipulates her pawns is without mercy. Or is that just me? Needless to say, I don’t care for the woman. I know many would argue with that statement. Thornton does such splendid work with Olympias’s characterization. She is just as I would imagine her to be…

I cared little of, Roxana. She left a bad taste in my mouth. But wow! What an unflinching narrative! Thornton evokes such strong dislike from her readers when reading about this woman. I kept on waiting for her demise throughout the story. Or least I felt that way about Roxana. *laughing*

I adore Drypetis-a Persian princess-and Alexander’s sister, Thessalonike for many reasons. Then there is Hephaestion. *sigh* He was Alexanders second in command, best friend and lover. Probably the only person among the very few people Alexander trusted and completely loved. His narrative in the story is one I will never forget.

I cannot say enough about the characters, or their stories. Beautifully told and Thornton immerses you in an unforgettable period of our history and gives you a marvelous exploration of people living during that time. She keeps you so wrapped up in the conflict of the ancient world, culture and the conquest of Alexander that when you put the book down, you can almost still hear their voices and imagine their movements in your mind. This story is a masterpiece.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

Review originally posted here