Layered Pages Book Recommendations

Normally I post a cover crush on Fridays, but today I’m doing something different. There is so much information out there and the main-stream media has taken front and center in the world’s education. I want to recommend that people take a step back, start questioning what is being fed to them by this entity. Do you feel out of touch? Are you feeling ill at ease? Are you feeling controlled or that you’re not getting enough information and facts? There is a reason for that. Without going into a long discussion about this, I would like to recommend a few books you can start reading that would help. I might be posting a part II of this recommendation. There are so many extraordinary books out there that so many people are not aware of. -Stephanie Hopkins

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A must read: The Holy Bible: New American Standard Version, NASB!!

Notes from UndergroundNotes from the Underground

Dostoevsky’s most revolutionary novel, Notes from Underground marks the dividing line between nineteenth- and twentieth-century fiction, and between the visions of self each century embodied. One of the most remarkable characters in literature, the unnamed narrator is a former official who has defiantly withdrawn into an underground existence. In complete retreat from society, he scrawls a passionate, obsessive, self-contradictory narrative that serves as a devastating attack on social utopianism and an assertion of man’s essentially irrational nature.

Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, whose Dostoevsky translations have become the standard, give us a brilliantly faithful edition of this classic novel, conveying all the tragedy and tormented comedy of the original.

Brave New WorldBrave New World by Aldous Huxley

Brave New World is a dystopian novel by English author Aldous Huxley, written in 1931 and published in 1932. Largely set in a futuristic World State, inhabited by genetically modified citizens and an intelligence-based social hierarchy, the novel anticipates huge scientific advancements in reproductive technology, sleep-learning, psychological manipulation and classical conditioning that are combined to make a dystopian society which is challenged by only a single individual: the story’s protagonist.

 

A Farewell to ArmsA Farewell to Arms

A Farewell to Arms is the unforgettable story of an American ambulance driver on the Italian front and his passion for a beautiful English nurse. Set against the looming horrors of the battlefield – the weary, demoralized men marching in the rain during the German attack on Caporetto; the profound struggle between loyalty and desertion—this gripping, semiautobiographical work captures the harsh realities of war and the pain of lovers caught in its inexorable sweep. Ernest Hemingway famously said that he rewrote his ending to A Farewell to Arms thirty-nine times to get the words right.

19841984 by George Orwell

The year 1984 has come and gone, but George Orwell’s prophetic, nightmarish vision in 1949 of the world we were becoming is timelier than ever. 1984 is still the great modern classic of “negative utopia”—a startlingly original and haunting novel that creates an imaginary world that is completely convincing, from the first sentence to the last four words. No one can deny the novel’s hold on the imaginations of whole generations, or the power of its admonitions—a power that seems to grow, not lessen, with the passage of time.

 

The Life and Times of Jesus the MessiahThe Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah by Alfred Edersheim

One of the best known and most important references on the life of Christ ever written, Alfred Edersheim’s “The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah” is a storehouse of information on the background of the New Testament. This classic work successfully portrays the streets, the marketplaces, the religious conflicts, the people, and the places of Jesus’ earthly ministry.

Edersheim divides his work into five sections, or books:
Book 1 “The Preparation for the Gospel”
Introductory historical, religious, political, and cultural material based on the author’s extensive knowledge of Jewish lore and customs.
Book 2 “From Bethlehem to Jordan”
The background of Herod and his reign, St. John the Baptist and his message, and the birth and baptism of Jesus.
Book 3 “From Jordan to the Mount of Transfiguration”
Thirty-seven chapters explore the miracles and teachings of Jesus’ early ministry.
Book 4 “The Descent into the Valley of Humiliation”
A history of the latter part of Jesus’ ministry from the Transfiguration to the journey to Jerusalem.
Book 5 “The Cross and the Crown”
A chronicle of each day of Passion Week, from Palm Sunday to the Resurrection.
Appendices
Valuable background material on Jewish history, tradition, and law”

Cover Crush: The Seamstress by Allison Pittman

Cover Crush The Seamstress

The premise sounds intriguing, great title and I love the cover design! Adding this book to my to-read list -Stephanie Hopkins 

A beautifully crafted story breathes life into the cameo character from the classic novel A Tale of Two Cities.

France, 1788
It is the best of times . . .

On a tranquil farm nestled in the French countryside, two orphaned cousins—Renée and Laurette—have been raised under the caring guardianship of young Émile Gagnon, the last of a once-prosperous family. No longer starving girls, Laurette and Renée now spend days tending Gagnon’s sheep, and nights in their cozy loft, whispering secrets and dreams in this time of waning innocence and peace.

It is the worst of times . . .

Paris groans with a restlessness that can no longer be contained within its city streets. Hunger and hatred fuel her people. Violence seeps into the ornate halls of Versailles. Even Gagnon’s table in the quiet village of Mouton Blanc bears witness to the rumbles of rebellion, where Marcel Moreau embodies its voice and heart.

It is the story that has never been told.

In one night, the best and worst of fate collide. A chance encounter with a fashionable woman will bring Renée’s sewing skills to light and secure a place in the court of Queen Marie Antoinette. An act of reckless passion will throw Laurette into the arms of the increasingly militant Marcel. And Gagnon, steadfast in his faith in God and country, can only watch as those he loves march straight into the heart of the revolution.

 

A cover-crush-banner

Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy

MigrationsI’m currently reading two books right now but this story took front and center in the first page. I spent the better part of the evening-yesterday- reading it and it was a struggle to put it down to sleep. I’m half way through and it’s all I can think about. This story has ceased hold of my heart. It’s the story for the ages and a story that I want to shout from the roof tops about how extraordinary and evoking it is. I can’t remember the last time I have been transported and completely immersed in the characters lives. It’s as if the character’s hopes, dreams, longing, plight is your own. This is the story and the writing I have been waiting for! -Stephanie Hopkins
 
Pub Date 04 Aug 2020
Franny Stone has always been a wanderer. By following the ocean’s tides and the birds that soar above, she can forget the losses that have haunted her life. But when the wild she loves begins to disappear, Franny can no longer wander without a destination. She arrives in remote Greenland with one purpose: to find the world’s last flock of Arctic terns and follow them on their final migration. She convinces Ennis Malone, captain of the Saghani, to take her onboard, winning over his eccentric crew with promises that the birds she is tracking will lead them to fish.
 
As the Saghani fights its way south, Franny’s new shipmates begin to realize that she is full of dark secrets: night terrors, an unsent pile of letters, and an obsession with pursuing the terns at any cost. When the story of her past begins to unspool, Ennis and his crew must ask themselves what Franny is really running toward—and running from.

Book Review: Reviving the Hawthorn Sisters by Emily Carpenter

Reviving he hawthorne sistersAbout the Book:

Expected publication: October 20th 2020 by Lake Union Publishing

Dove Jarrod was a renowned evangelist and faith healer. Only her granddaughter, Eve Candler, knows that Dove was a con artist. In the eight years since Dove’s death, Eve has maintained Dove’s charitable foundation—and her lies. But just as a documentary team wraps up a shoot about the miracle worker, Eve is assaulted by a vengeful stranger intent on exposing what could be Dove’s darkest secret: murder…

Tuscaloosa, 1934: a wily young orphan escapes the psychiatric hospital where she was born. When she joins the itinerant inspirational duo the Hawthorn Sisters, the road ahead is one of stirring new possibilities. And with an obsessive predator on her trail, one of untold dangers. For a young girl to survive, desperate choices must be made.

Now, to protect her family, Eve will join forces with the investigative filmmaker and one of Dove’s friends, risking everything to unravel the truth behind the accusations against her grandmother. But will the truth set her free or set her world on fire?

My Thoughts:

With a dual time line, one of the main themes to the story is about finding out Dove’s life back in the 1930’s and Eve must uncover a mystery in Dove’s past to protect her family. Not everything is what it seems and the more she uncovers, the more the story unfolds and Eve questions if she can trust the people around her.

There is a good flow to the story and the dual time-line worked for me. I was also interested in the theme of uncovering your family’s past. Throughout history and to this day people in all cultures have been interested in where they came from and so forth.

For me, the mystery would have had more depth to it if the Dove’s and Steadfast Coe scenes were fleshed out a bit more than they were. I feel like there was more focus on the revivals more than anything.

I think that Althea, Griff and Eve make a great team and would love to read more stories based around them.

I have to say when reading a story, I want to make a connection to the characters or at least one of them and that didn’t happen for me in this story. Overall it is a good story but I really wasn’t invested in the characters.

I thought it was really neat how the author added the old hymns throughout the book. That was a nice touch and has brought back a lot of fond memories for me.

I have rated this story three stars and I received a copy of this book through NetGalley for an honest review.

Stephanie Hopkins

 

Non-fiction on the LP Radar Part I

I have recently complied a list of non-fiction books I want to eventually read. If you have read any of these, I would love to hear your thoughts. I’ve always been drawn to non-fiction for several reasons including, evidential support on subjects that interest me, and the value it brings to the table of reading, knowledge and looking at sources from different avenues. I’m also interested in reading about people from different walks of life and why they do what they do or what led them to do it in any situation whether it be crime, or making major decisions that impact lives. That is only the beginning of my interest in the genre but it sure does back a punch. 

Today I’m sharing three from my list and will be posting more in the coming weeks. -Stephanie Hopkins 

The Splendid and the Vile A Saga of Churchill Family and Defiance During the BlitzThe Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz

by Erik Larson

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Devil in the White City and Dead Wake delivers a fresh and compelling portrait of Winston Churchill and London during the Blitz

On Winston Churchill’s first day as prime minister, Adolf Hitler invaded Holland and Belgium. Poland and Czechoslovakia had already fallen, and the Dunkirk evacuation was just two weeks away. For the next twelve months, Hitler would wage a relentless bombing campaign, killing 45,000 Britons. It was up to Churchill to hold his country together and persuade President Franklin Roosevelt that Britain was a worthy ally—and willing to fight to the end.

In The Splendid and the Vile, Erik Larson shows, in cinematic detail, how Churchill taught the British people “the art of being fearless.” It is a story of political brinkmanship, but it’s also an intimate domestic drama, set against the backdrop of Churchill’s prime-ministerial country home, Chequers; his wartime retreat, Ditchley, where he and his entourage go when the moon is brightest and the bombing threat is highest; and of course 10 Downing Street in London. Drawing on diaries, original archival documents, and once-secret intelligence reports—some released only recently—Larson provides a new lens on London’s darkest year through the day-to-day experience of Churchill and his family: his wife, Clementine; their youngest daughter, Mary, who chafes against her parents’ wartime protectiveness; their son, Randolph, and his beautiful, unhappy wife, Pamela; Pamela’s illicit lover, a dashing American emissary; and the advisers in Churchill’s “Secret Circle,” to whom he turns in the hardest moments.

The Splendid and the Vile takes readers out of today’s political dysfunction and back to a time of true leadership, when, in the face of unrelenting horror, Churchill’s eloquence, courage, and perseverance bound a country, and a family, together.

Bad BloodBad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

by John Carreyrou

The full inside story of the breathtaking rise and shocking collapse of a multibillion-dollar startup, by the prize-winning journalist who first broke the story and pursued it to the end in the face of pressure and threats from the CEO and her lawyers.

In 2014, Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes was widely seen as the female Steve Jobs: a brilliant Stanford dropout whose startup “unicorn” promised to revolutionize the medical industry with a machine that would make blood tests significantly faster and easier. Backed by investors such as Larry Ellison and Tim Draper, Theranos sold shares in a fundraising round that valued the company at $9 billion, putting Holmes’s worth at an estimated $4.7 billion. There was just one problem: The technology didn’t work.

For years, Holmes had been misleading investors, FDA officials, and her own employees. When Carreyrou, working at The Wall Street Journal, got a tip from a former Theranos employee and started asking questions, both Carreyrou and the Journal were threatened with lawsuits. Undaunted, the newspaper ran the first of dozens of Theranos articles in late 2015. By early 2017, the company’s value was zero and Holmes faced potential legal action from the government and her investors. Here is the riveting story of the biggest corporate fraud since Enron, a disturbing cautionary tale set amid the bold promises and gold-rush frenzy of Silicon Valley.

American PredatorAmerican Predator: The Hunt for the Most Meticulous Serial Killer of the 21st Century

by Maureen Callahan

Go deep into the investigation behind one of the most frightening and enigmatic serial killers in modern American history, and into the ranks of a singular American police force: the Alaska PD.

Most of us have never heard of Israel Keyes. But he is one of the most ambitious, meticulous serial killers of modern time. The FBI considered his behavior unprecedented. Described by a prosecutor as “a force of pure evil”, he was a predator who struck all over the United States. He buried ‘kill kits’ – cash, weapons, and body-disposal tools – in remote locations across the country, and over the course of fourteen years, would fly to a city, rent a car, and drive thousands of miles in order to use his kits. He would break into a stranger’s house, abduct his victims in broad daylight, and kill and dispose of them in mere hours. And then he would return home, resuming life as a quiet, reliable construction worker devoted to his only daughter.

When journalist Maureen Callahan first heard about Israel Keyes in 2012, she was captivated by how a killer of this magnitude could go undetected by law enforcement for over a decade. And so began a project that consumed her for the next several years – uncovering the true story behind how the FBI ultimately caught Israel Keyes, and trying to understand what it means for a killer like Keyes to exist. A killer who left a path of monstrous, randomly committed crimes in his wake – many of which remain unsolved to this day.

American Predator is the culmination of years of on-the-ground interviews with key figures in law enforcement, and in Keyes’ life, and research uncovered from classified FBI files.

Novels on the LP Radar

The Preserve

I hope everyone had a great weekend! Today I’m sharing three novels that are on my radar and will be watching closely. I’m extremely interested in the premises and loving the covers!

The Preserve by Ariel S. Winter

Atria Books

Mystery & Thrillers

Pub Date 03 Nov 2020

Description

The critically acclaimed author of the “bold, innovating, and thrilling” (Stephen King) novel The Twenty-Year Death and the “brilliant” (Booklist, starred review) novel Barren Cove returns with a dark and compelling mystery set in the near future.

Decimated by plague, the human population is now a minority. Robots—complex AIs almost indistinguishable from humans—are the ruling majority. Nine months ago, in a controversial move, the robot government opened a series of preserves, designated areas where humans can choose to live without robot interference. Now the preserves face their first challenge: someone has been murdered.

Chief of Police Jesse Laughton on the SoCar Preserve is assigned to the case. He fears the factions that were opposed to the preserves will use the crime as evidence that the new system does not work. As he digs for information, robots in the outside world start turning up dead from bad drug-like programs that may have originated on SoCar land. And when Laughton learns his murder victim was a hacker who wrote drug-programs, it appears that the two cases might be linked. Soon, it’s clear that the entire preserve system is in danger of collapsing. Laughton’s former partner, a robot named Kir, arrives to assist on the case, and they soon uncover shocking secrets revealing that life on the preserve is not as peaceful as its human residents’ claim. But in order to protect humanity’s new way of life, Laughton must solve this murder before it’s too late.

The Preserve is a fresh and futuristic mystery that is perfect for fans of Westworld and Blade Runner.

Someone Like You

I absolutely LOVE this cover and thought about using it for my cover crush series. Isn’t it stunning and so fitting for the premise. I give the cover a five star rating!

Someone Like You by Karen Kingsbury

Atria Books

Pub Date 05 May 2020

Description

Science raises questions only love can answer in this moving and thought-provoking novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of “heart-tugging and emotional” (Romantic Times Book Reviews) life-changing fiction.

One frozen embryo. Two families with life-long secrets. And a guy who never planned to fall in love again.

Maddie Baxter West is shaken to the core when she finds out everything she believed about her life was a lie. Her parents had always planned to tell her the truth about her past: that she was adopted as an embryo. But somehow the right moment never happened. Then a total stranger confronts Maddie with the truth and tells her something else that rocks her world—Maddie had a sister she never knew about. Betrayed, angry, and confused, Maddie leaves her new job and fiancé, rejects her family’s requests for forgiveness, and moves to Portland to find out who she really is.

Dawson Gage’s life was destroyed when London Quinn, his best friend and the only girl he ever loved, is killed. In the hospital waiting room, London’s mother reveals that London might have had a sibling. The frozen embryo she and her husband donated decades ago. When Dawson finds Maddie and brings her to Portland, the Quinns—her biological parents—welcome her into their lives and hearts. Maddie is comforted by the Quinns’ love and intrigued by their memories of London, who was so much like her. Is this the family and the life she was really meant to have?

Now it will take the love of Dawson Gage to help Maddie know who she is…and to help her find her way home.

The Templars

I never get tired reading about this history! Should be interesting. -Stephanie Hopkins

The Templars

The Legend and Legacy of the Warriors of God

by Geordie Torr

Arcturus Publishing

History

Pub Date 03 Apr 2020

Description

Shrouded in myth and conspiracy, the history of the Knights Templar is little understood. Geordie Torr pulls fact from fiction, revealing the astonishing tale of this military-religious order that dominated the politics of the medieval Middle East.

Initially created to protect Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land in the wake of the First Crusade, the Templars soon became an institution of incredible power, possessing wealth and influence throughout the courts of Europe. Yet just two centuries later they dramatically fell as its members were accused of heresy and burned at the stake.

Set against the dramatic backdrop of the wars between Christians and Muslims, this illustrated book brings to life the legacy of this secretive order and the characters who defined the era.

 

Cover Crush: A Saint from Texas by Edmund White

Cover: I like the simplicity of this book cover and the sketch-like drawing of the image. Cover layouts doesn’t always have be heavy-if you will- or bright with contrast to make a statement.

Premise: Two sisters from humble beginnings and decades of life changing experiences and what they make of it sounds intriguing.

Stephanie Hopkins

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A Saint from TexasA Saint from Texas

by Edmund White

Bloomsbury Publishing

Pub Date 04 Aug 2020

Description

From Edmund White, a bold and sweeping new novel that traces the extraordinary fates of twin sisters, one destined for Parisian nobility and the other for Catholic sainthood.

Yvette and Yvonne Crawford are twin sisters, born on a humble patch of East Texas prairie but bound for far more dramatic and tragic fates. Just as an untold fortune of oil lies beneath their daddy’s land, both girls harbor their own secrets and dreams-ones that will carry them far from Texas and from each other. As the decades unfold, Yvonne will ascend the highest ranks of Parisian society as Yvette gives herself to a lifetime of worship and service in the streets of Jericó, Colombia. And yet, even as they remake themselves in their radically different lives, the twins find that the bonds of family and the past are unbreakable.

Spanning the 1950s to the recent past, Edmund White’s marvelous novel serves up an immensely pleasurable epic of two Texas women as their lives traverse varied worlds: the swaggering opulence of the Dallas nouveau riche, the airless pretension of the Paris gratin, and the strict piety of a Colombian convent. For nearly half a century, Edmund White’s work has revitalized American literature, blithely breaking down boundaries of class and sexuality, and A Saint From Texas is one of his most joyous, gorgeously written, and piercing works to date.

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