Cover Crush: The Girls with No Names by Serena Burdick

My thoughts on the cover and my overall impression about my first glimpse of the story description: 

The Cover: I believe it was the title that first caught my attention. I really do like the hues, composition and the image that invokes a story of  mystery and the period the story. 

The Premise: I’m fascinated with the gilded age so The Girls with No Names fits the bill. While the premise of the story sounds interesting and atmosphereic, I’m  wondering if this might be too depressing to read at the moment. Having said that, I’ve added this book to my to-read wish-list. -Stephanie 

The Girls with No NamesThe Girls with No Names by Serena Burdick

The Girls with No Names pulls readers into the gilded age of New York City in the 1910s, when suffragettes marched in the street, unions fought for better work conditions—and girls were confined to the House of Mercy for daring to break the rules.

Not far from Luella and Effie Tildon’s large family mansion in Inwood looms the House of Mercy, a work house for wayward girls. The sisters grow up under its shadow with the understanding that even as wealthy young women, their freedoms come with limits. But when the sisters accidentally discover a shocking secret about their father, Luella, the brazen older sister, becomes emboldened to do as she pleases.

But her rebellion comes with consequences, and one morning Luella is mysteriously gone. Effie suspects her father has made good on his threat to send Luella to the House of Mercy and hatches a plan to get herself committed to save her sister. But she made a miscalculation, and with no one to believe her story, Effie’s escape from the House of Mercy seems impossible—unless she can trust an enigmatic girl named Mable. As their fates entwine, Mable and Effie must rely on each other and their tenuous friendship to survive.

The Home for Unwanted Girls meets The Dollhouse in this atmospheric, heartwarming story that explores not only the historical House of Mercy, but the lives—and secrets—of the girls who stayed there.

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated by Erin at Historical Fiction Reader 

(Images may be subjected to copyright. All book reviews, interviews, guest posts, art work and promotions are originals. In order to use any text or pictures from Layered Pages, please ask for permission from Stephanie.)

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Sons of Blackbird Mountain (Blackbird Mountain #1) by Joanne Bischof

I started this story last night and so far so good! -Stephanie

Sons of Blackbird MountainAfter the tragic death of her husband, Aven Norgaard is beckoned to give up her life in Norway to become a housekeeper in the rugged hills of nineteenth-century Appalachia. Upon arrival, she finds herself in the home of her late husband’s cousins—three brothers who make a living by brewing hard cider on their three-hundred-acre farm. Yet even as a stranger in a foreign land, Aven has hope to build a new life in this tight-knit family.

But her unassuming beauty disrupts the bond between the brothers. The youngest two both desire her hand, and Aven is caught in the middle, unsure where—and whether—to offer her affection. While Haakon is bold and passionate, it is Thor who casts the greatest spell upon her. Though Deaf, mute, and dependent on hard drink to cope with his silent pain, Thor possesses a sobering strength.

As autumn ushers in the apple harvest, the rift between Thor and Haakon deepens and Aven faces a choice that risks hearts. Will two brothers’ longing for her quiet spirit tear apart a family? Can she find a tender belonging in this remote, rugged, and unfamiliar place?

A haunting tale of struggle and redemption, Sons of Blackbird Mountain is a portrait of grace in a world where the broken may find new life through the healing mercy of love.

Cover Crush: Ikebana Unbound by Amanda Luu

My thoughts on the cover and my overall impression about my first glimpse of the story description: 

Ikebana UnboundIkebana Unbound

A Modern Approach to the Ancient Japanese Art of Flower Arranging

by Amanda Luu; Ivanka Matsuba

Artisan Books

Crafts & Hobbies

Pub Date 28 Apr 2020

Cover: The image of the flower arrangement on the cover tells a story. That is what captured my attention. This cover is a piece of art in itself. Absolutely beautiful.

Premise: For those who are new to Ikebana, it is the art of Japanese flower arranging. The arrangement if the flowers even the vase is very specific. Flowers hold meanings and Ikebana portrays that in the most beautiful ways! This book shows the readers new ways to tell new stories. I’m adding this book to my wish-list!

I rate the cover five stars!

Stephanie Hopkins

Description

At its heart, the Japanese art of ikebana is about celebrating an intimate connection with nature. To practice ikebana is to find inspiration in the seasons, favor unassuming blooms and branches, seek balance and simplicity, and remain fully present in the moment. It is a beautiful, pure antidote to our age of distraction and excess. Honoring the lineage of ikebana while making the art their own, Amanda Luu and Ivanka Matsuba of Studio Mondine show us new ways to tell stories with flowers. They offer step-by-step instructions for dozens of stunning, seasonal arrangements, while in the process introducing readers to the themes and stylistic signatures of the art. In Studio Mondine’s hands, this centuries-old practice feels undeniably fresh—and readers are given the gift of learning to create unique, meaningful, and authentic arrangements.

The Previous week Cover Crush

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated by Erin at Historical Fiction Reader 

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(Images may be subjected to copyright. All book reviews, interviews, guest posts, art work and promotions are originals. In order to use any text or pictures from Layered Pages, please ask for permission from Stephanie.)

New Beginnings: Spring is Near

Butterfly II

Happy Wednesday! Today I am sharing a glimpse at a recent page in my smash book. I have always been drawn to butterflies and this coming Spring is inspiring me to create in depths I haven’t reached before. They’ve been bottled up inside me far too long and the Butterfly is about new beginnings. How fitting.

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Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you. -Nathaniel Hawthorne

Novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne was a 19th Century American writer whose literature of the Nation’s Colonial history is well noted. His writings focus is around new England and evokes moral Puritan inspiration.

What stories have you read by Hawthorne?

Stephanie

Cover Crush: Summer Island by Natalie Normann

My thoughts on the cover and my overall impression about my first glimpse of the story description: 

Summer IslandMy Thoughts:

I absolutely love everything about this cover! The colors, composition of the images, the images itself, the title. EVERYTHING! Now, I’m not a romance reader except for classic romance stories. You know, the oldies…the ones without all the descriptive-ahem-love scenes in them. Yep, I’m rated G when it comes to those books. Or has the ratings changed? Though I’m not saying this book has love scenes in it because I have no idea. Hmm…Anyhow, I regress.

The Cover: Five star rating from me!

The Premise: Hmm…the location and the premise sounds interesting. I will definitely be keeping track of what readers are saying about this book when its published. -Stephanie

Summer Island by Natalie Normann|HarperCollins UK, One More Chapter| Romance|Pub Date 24 Jun 2020

Description

He never meant to stay.
He certainly never meant to fall in love…

Summer Island off the coast of Norway was the place London chef Jack Greene should have been from. He’s an outsider in the community that should have been his family, and now he’s setting foot on the strange land he has inherited for the first time.

The welcome is a mix of distrust and strange gifts of food, especially from enigmatic Ninni Toft, his nearest neighbor, who has arrived for the season to get over a broken heart. Her wild spirit and irrepressible enthusiasm for the quirky locals are a heady brew for city-boy Jack, who is discovering the simple pleasures of island life – and what it means to belong. To a place. To a people. To one person in particular…

Home is where the heart is, but is Jack’s heart with the career he left behind in London, or on the wind-swept shores of Summer Island, with Ninni?

The Previous week Cover Crush

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated by Erin at Historical Fiction Reader 

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Be Still My Heart: The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner

Early on in the month I was approved of an (ARC) The Jane Austen Society
by Natalie Jenner
from St. Martin Press through NetGalley. My first thoughts were, “How glorious the title was, the premise, Jane Austen, the cover, debut novel, new author I haven’t read, memorable characters, new beginnings, and strong literature. Maybe not all in that order but Jane Austen fans get me. I began my journey back into Jane Austen’s world last night and much to my surprise, even at the early stages of the story, I’m completely and madly in love with the what I’ve read, and a few characters thus far. How can this unknown writer- to me- capture my heart so quickly? These days, it is extremely hard to hold my interest in stories.

I can tell that Jenner knows her stuff, as my Grandmother would to say. It’s as if Jenner knows Jane Austen’s mind and heart. As if she has had an engrossing conversation with Austen about her characters motives and emotions. I felt a kinship to the story and two of the characters in the first scene.

Now my evenings can’t come fast enough to lose myself in the world of Jane Austen and the people who live in the town of Austen’s final home and connection the Great House and over a hundred years later after her death. May this story continue to capture my undivided attention. Right now, I have no doubt. -Stephanie

The Jane Austen SocietyThe Jane Austen Society
by Natalie Jenner
St. Martin’s Press
General Fiction (Adult), Historical Fiction
Pub Date 26 May 2020

Description

One hundred and fifty years ago, Chawton was the final home of Jane Austen, one of England’s finest novelists. Now it’s home to a few distant relatives and their diminishing estate. With the last bit of Austen’s legacy threatened, a group of disparate individuals come together to preserve both Jane Austen’s home and her legacy. These people—a laborer, a young widow, the local doctor, and a movie star, among others—could not be more different and yet they are united in their love for the works and words of Austen. As each of them endures their own quiet struggle with loss and trauma, some from the recent war, others from more distant tragedies, they rally together to create the Jane Austen Society.

A powerful and moving novel that explores the tragedies and triumphs of life, both large and small, and the universal humanity in us all, The Jane Austen Society is destined to resonate with readers for years to come.