Bookish Happenings: Lots of reading going on!

Steph Pic retakeThis week has been a great week for reading. I’ve posted two reviews and have started drafting another. My goal is to work up to posting two to three book reviews a week. I am wanting to knock out my review pile because I am focusing more on my own writing and hope to publish in the near future. Alas, I have accepted more book to review this week! Yes, I know! It is madness! After I got them I was like, “What the heck is the matter with you, Stephanie? You’re supposed to stop that nonsense!” I do have a perfectly good excuse. No, really, I do. You see, reading helps writers grow in their craft of writing. Seriously. Though I know I should tone it down a bit as much as that sounds boring too. Sigh. My love for reading knows no bounds. The written word is my muse. Let’s not forget the characters. I love a compelling character. They drive the plot so you have to have good strong characters. Currently I am working on a post about that and will share it soon the indieBRAG Blog. Meanwhile, I want to share with you the books I received to review this week.

One more thing before we get started, last night an idea came to me for a story so I quickly grabbed a notebook and started writing before I would forget the story-line and it turned into a nice flash fiction that I think I will expand into either a novella or full-blown novel. I couldn’t believe how fast the story came to me and how it came out of nowhere! It was an exhilarating experience. If that ever happens to you, please share! I would love to hear about your experience. Okay, let’s talk books:

A Mortal LikenessA Mortal Likeness (A Victorian Mystery) by Laura Joh Rowland

Crooked Lane Books

Mystery & Thrillers

Pub Date 09 Jan 2018


A photographer in Whitechapel, London, Sarah Bain is also a private detective—skilled at capturing others’ dark secrets, and expert at keeping her own. When a wealthy banker, Sir Gerald Mariner, posts a handsome reward for finding his missing infant, all of London joins in, hoping to win that money for themselves. Usually discouraged by a saturated market, Sarah is instead curiously allured as she realizes the case hits much closer to home than she first thought.

As she dives in, she discovers a photograph of baby Robin Mariner and his mother. But it eerily resembles the post-mortem photographs Sarah, herself, takes of deceased children posed to look as if they were alive. Now it’s unclear whether the kidnapping is a cover-up to hide the reality of his disappearance, or if it’s truly a cry for help.

The clock is ticking and Sarah must uncover the truth before her past catches up to her in A Mortal Likeness, the gripping follow-up to bestselling author Laura Joh Rowland’s The Ripper’s Shadow.

Why I chose this book to review:

In the discription the words: photographer, Whitechapel, London, private detective, and  post-mortem photographs stood out to me and I knew that yes, I had to get my hands on a copy of this book! Now, don’t think I am being morbid and all. Okay, maybe just a little but still, those combinations make up for an interesting premise, don’t you think? I like the cover too.


The King of Bones and AshesThe King of Bones and Ashes (Witches of New Orleans, Book 1) by J. D. Horn


General Fiction (Adult), Sci Fi & Fantasy

Pub Date 23 Jan 2018


From the bestselling author of the Witching Savannah series comes the first book in a fascinating trilogy following the quest of a young witch to uncover her family’s terrifying secret history…

Magic is seeping out of the world, leaving the witches who’ve relied on it for countless centuries increasingly hopeless. While some see an inevitable end of their era, others are courting madness—willing to sacrifice former allies, friends, and family to retain the power they covet. While the other witches watch their reality unravel, young Alice Marin is using magic’s waning days to delve into the mystery of numerous disappearances in the occult circles of New Orleans. Alice disappeared once, too—caged in an asylum by blood relatives. Recently freed, she fears her family may be more involved with the growing crisis than she ever dared imagine.

Yet the more she seeks the truth about her family’s troubled history, the more she realizes her already-fragile psyche may be at risk. Discovering the cause of the vanishings, though, could be the only way to escape her mother’s reach while determining the future of all witches.

Why I chose this book to review:

I hope you are not starting to see a trend here. It just happened that I picked these sorts of books to review right now. Maybe because fall time is near? This story does look good and it’s important to read lots of different sorts of story-lines. Honest.


The Family Next DoorThe Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth

St. Martin’s Press

Women’s Fiction

Pub Date 13 Mar 2018


A novel about desperate mothers, secrets among neighbors, and things women keep hidden in a suburban drama from the author of The Mother’s Promise.

Small, perfect towns often hold the deepest secrets. Such is the case for Essie and her family. Essie is a new mother, but few of her friends know that in a moment of maternal despair: she once walked away from her newborn, asleep in her carriage in a park. Disaster was avoided and Essie got better. But she still fears what lurks inside her, even as her daughter gets older and she has a second baby. When a new woman moves next door to Essie, she is an immediate object of curiosity in this neighborhood. Why single, when everyone else is married, with kids? Why renting, when everyone else owns? What mysterious job does she have? And why is she so fascinated with Essie? As the two women grow closer and Essie’s friends disapprove, it starts to become clear that Isabelle’s choice of neighborhood was no accident. And that her presence might bring even more secrets to light.

Why I chose this book to review:

St. Martin is one of my favorite publishers to review for and they have great authors. Lately I have been on a real thriller kick and this story fits that bill. I love reading about small towns and hold deep, dark secrets.

I hope you have enjoyed this post and do be sure to come back and visit with me at Layered Pages again! You will always find interesting, honest and fun posts here.

Stephanie M. Hopkins



3 thoughts on “Bookish Happenings: Lots of reading going on!

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