Bookish Delights: Platinum Doll by Anne Girard

I read Platinum Doll by Ann Girard but never got around to writing my review. I recently announced that I would no longer be reviewing books. However, I have many books on NetGalley I haven’t gotten to and I will be doing so. I’ve also thought that instead of my thoughts being an official review. I would do something a little different with my experience of the stories I read. I’m still working on how that will play out. Platinum Doll will be my first attempt. Once I’m done rereading the story, I will start to draft my post.

Platinum DollAbout the book:

Platinum Doll by Anne Girard

Paperback, 352 pages

Published January 26th 2016 by Mira

Set against the dazzling backdrop of Golden Age Hollywood, novelist Anne Girard tells the enchanting story of Jean Harlow, one of the most iconic stars in the history of film.

It’s the Roaring Twenties and seventeen-year-old Harlean Carpenter McGrew has run off to Beverly Hills. She’s chasing a dream; to escape her small, Midwestern life and see her name in lights. In California, Harlean has everything a girl could want; a rich husband, glamorous parties, socialite friends; except an outlet for her talent. But everything changes when a dare pushes her to embrace her true ambition: to be an actress on the silver screen. With her timeless beauty and striking shade of platinum-blond hair, Harlean becomes Jean Harlow. And as she’s thrust into the limelight, Jean learns that this new world of opportunity comes with its own set of burdens. Torn between her family and her passion to perform, Jean is forced to confront the difficult truth; that fame comes at a price, if only she’s willing to pay it. Amid a glittering cast of ingenues and Hollywood titans: Clara Bow, Clark Gable, Laurel and Hardy, Howard Hughes, Platinum Doll introduces us to the star who would shine brighter than them all.

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Putting Fiction and Art Together

Flying Fish Club (1)

A year or so ago I had this idea to bring artists and writers together for a collaboration of their work. I wondered what that would be like and how would their work complement each other. My client and friend, Janet Stafford wrote a book called, “Heart Soul & Rock ‘n’ Roll” and there is a Karaoke scene in the book and the setting is a place called, “The Flying Fish.” The story is about Forty-year-old Lindsay Mitchell is an assistant minister at a church where she’s always been happy. But suddenly she misses her old college rock band. “I just want to rock one more time before I die,” she moans to friends Sue and Patti. When Patti invites her to vacation at Point Pleasant Beach, Lins meets Neil Gardner, front man for the Grim Reapers. The two have musical chemistry. But a whirlwind romance with a broke, agnostic musician who lives over a music store? That just might be more than Lins bargained for. Thus, begins our project to put a collaboration together.

I contacted Graphic Designer Lee Davis whom I have known for quite a while now and I love his work and talent. I thought he would be perfect for this project because it would be completely different from anything he has ever done. I wanted to challenge him and have him reach deep down and come up with what he imagines the characters in the Karaoke scene looks like. To put a face to a name. Wow did he do a great job!

Janet had artist Dan Bush put together an image of the Karaoke Bar and in Janet’s blog post about the collaboration, she talks about how the image was inspired.  Head on over to Squeaking Pips Press Blog and check out the graphic pages designed by Lee Davis and the read the scene that inspired this project!

Stephanie M. Hopkins

Links:

Squeaking Pips Press Blog

Lee Davis

Amazon Link to Heart Soul & Rock ‘N’ Roll

L.A.P. it Marketing LLC

 

The Ocean At The End Of The Lane by Neil Gailman

The Ocean at the End of the Lane II

I was hesitating to download this audio book because I read Neverwhere years ago for a book club read and it was too disturbing and dark for my taste to finish. Having said that, in no way am I saying Gailman is not a good writer. He is s superb story teller and his imagination is really something else.

Have you ever heard Him speak? I can listen to Him talk all day long. Anyhow, I came across The Ocean At The End of The Lane last night and decided to take a chance. Wow, am I glad I did! I was literally drawn in from the first few lines. That really says a lot about the story. At first, I was thinking maybe because it was His voice that is so mesmerizing…. but I think it’s everything about the story, the characters and the way He is weaving the tale. This is one story I am going to be sad when I get to the end of it.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

About the book:

The Ocean At The End Of The Lane by Neil Gailman

Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what.

A groundbreaking work from a master, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human, and shows the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out. It is a stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly’s wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark.

Cover Crush: Saving Phoebe Murrow by Herta Feely

Cover Crush banner

I am not a cover designer but I can agree that cover layouts play an important role in the overall presentation of stories and I must admit, often times I first judge a book by its cover.

Saving Phoebe MurrowSaving Phoebe Murrow by Herta Feely

Upper Hand Press

Pub Date 02 Sep 2016

Description

Inspired by the tragic story of Megan Meier, who committed suicide following a cyber-bullying incident, Saving Phoebe Murrow follows DC lawyer Isabel Winthrop as she struggles to balance work and the responsibilities of being a mother and wife. She does everything in her power to keep Phoebe safe but fails when the mysterious Shane appears on Facebook and flirts with her teenage daughter.

This novel, which has won three separate awards (most recently a 2018 National Indie Excellence Award), explores the devastating impact social media can have on teenage girls along with the difficult, yet delicate relationship between mothers and their teenage daughters through five different points-of-view.

My thoughts:

I really can’t pin point why I’m drawn to this cover so much. Maybe it’s the rain on the widow effect and how the butterfly is up against it and the colors of the wings seem to be bleeding…? Does that make sense or does it sound totally morbid! *laughing* Yikes! Anyhow, the cover is great and I think it draws one in to find out more about the story.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

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

Other great cover crushes from my fellow book bloggers: 

Magdalena at A Bookaholic Swede
Colleen at A Literary Vacation
Heather at The Maiden’s Court
Holly at 2 Kids and Tired

 

Wish-List 5: Audible Books 

Me IIIts my daughters first day back to school and I’ve been working on catching up on a few things that I’ve gotten behind on. For starters, I haven’t posted a Wish List- 5 post in two months! Yikes! Normally I would post it towards the end of the month but this one is special and needed to be shared sooner rather than later. Lately I have been listening to audible books more and more. For some reason-I don’t know why-I’ve had a hard time focusing on printed books and it is taking me forever to get through them. These days, I feel audio books are just as good. Here are five audio books that are on my wish-list I want to share with you. I have two available credits and I’m having a hard time deciding which ones to choose next! Opinions which two I should pick first anyone? I’d love to know! -Stephanie M. Hopkins

Pieces of HerPieces of Her by Karin Slaughter

Expected publication: August 21st 2018 by William Morrow

What if the person you thought you knew best turns out to be someone you never knew at all?

Andrea Cooper knows everything about her mother Laura. She knows she’s spent her whole life in the small town of Gullaway Island; she knows she’s never had any more ambition than to live a quiet life as a pillar of the community; she knows she’s never kept a secret in her life.

But one day, a trip to the mall explodes into violence and Andrea suddenly sees a completely different side to Laura.

Twenty-four hours later, Laura is in hospital, shot by an intruder who’s spent thirty years trying to track her down. Now, Andrea must go on a desperate journey to follow the breadcrumbs of her mother’s past. If she can’t uncover the secrets hidden there, there may be no future for either of them.

The Clockmaker's DaughterThe Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton

Expected publication: September 20th 2018 by Mantle

From the bestselling author of The House at Riverton and The Secret Keeper, Kate Morton brings us her dazzling sixth novel, The Clockmaker’s Daughter.

My real name, no one remembers.
The truth about that summer, no one else knows.

In the summer of 1862, a group of young artists led by the passionate and talented Edward Radcliffe descends upon Birchwood Manor on the banks of the Upper Thames. Their plan: to spend a secluded summer month in a haze of inspiration and creativity. But by the time their stay is over, one woman has been shot dead while another has disappeared; a priceless heirloom is missing, and Edward Radcliffe’s life is in ruins.

Over one hundred and fifty years later, Elodie Winslow, a young archivist in London, uncovers a leather satchel containing two seemingly unrelated items: a sepia photograph of an arresting-looking woman in Victorian clothing, and an artist’s sketchbook containing a drawing of a twin-gabled house on the bend of a river.

Why does Birchwood Manor feel so familiar to Elodie? And who is the beautiful woman in the photograph? Will she ever give up her secrets?

Told by multiple voices across time, The Clockmaker’s Daughter is a story of murder, mystery, and thievery, of art, love, and loss. And flowing through its pages like a river is the voice of a woman who stands outside time, whose name has been forgotten by history, but who has watched it all unfold: Birdie Bell, the clockmaker’s daughter.

CirceCirce by Madeline Miller

Published April 10th 2018 by Lee Boudreaux Books

The daring, dazzling and highly anticipated follow-up to the New York Times best seller The Song of Achilles

One of the Most Anticipated Books of 2018

“An epic spanning thousands of years that’s also a keep-you-up-all-night page turner.” (Ann Patchett)

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child – not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring, like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power – the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur; Daedalus and his doomed son, Icarus; the murderous Medea; and, of course, wily Odysseus.

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from or the mortals she has come to love.

With unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language and pause-resisting suspense, Circe is a triumph of storytelling, an intoxicating epic of family rivalry, palace intrigue, and love and loss as well as a celebration of indomitable female strength in a man’s world.

EdenlandEdenland by Wallace King

Published May 24th 2016 by Lake Union Publishing

Born a slave, Bledsoe had never left Our Joy plantation, and a daring escape offers his only chance for liberty. On the run he encounters Alice, an Irish indentured servant, committing what appears to be an act of murder as she burns down a shack in the Great Dismal Swamp of North Carolina.

Faced with the threat of capture, Bledsoe and Alice become reluctant allies. An epic tale unfolds as their quest for freedom pulls them from swamp to city, from North Carolina to Virginia. Somewhere between injustice and loss, they discover a hidden place that seems an Eden, where their bond and love are forged.

But the Confederate army is on the march and soon tramples their tenuous freedom. Separated, they are cast into fates they never imagined. Through it all, the hope of deliverance drives them onward and the memory of their Edenland remains, burning bright against the darkness of slavery and the American Civil War.

The Silent SisterThe Silent Sister (Riley MacPherson #1) by Diane Chamberlain

Published October 7th 2014 by St. Martin’s Press

In The Silent Sister, Riley MacPherson has spent her entire life believing that her older sister Lisa committed suicide as a teenager. Now, over 20 years later, her father has passed away and she’s in New Bern, North Carolina cleaning out his house when she finds evidence to the contrary. Lisa is alive. Alive and living under a new identity. But why exactly was she on the run all those years ago, and what secrets are being kept now? As Riley works to uncover the truth, her discoveries will put into question everything she thought she knew about her family. Riley must decide what the past means for her present, and what she will do with her newfound reality, in this engrossing mystery from international best-selling author Diane Chamberlain.

 

What Are Your Marketing Needs?

I’ve worked in the clothing/book retail business and have been blogging and marketing authors, artists, and book bloggers for years. I was formally on the indieBRAG Team for five years as their social media director and was a co-short-list judge for the 2016 Historical Novel Society indie award. I have reviewed books for the Historical Novel Society, and currently reviewing for various Publishing Houses, NetGalley and indie Authors.

My knack for marketing, branding and creativity in promoting different professional’s products and my passion for fashion, literature, art and photography is the inspiration for bringing outstanding products to the public.

Not only that, but my own endeavors in fashion, creating mix media art, dabbling in photography and my love for reading and writing gives me the advantage of finding new inspiring ways to spotlight different mediums.

My Poshmark Closet @artsycouture42
Use my code ARTSYCOUTURE42 to sign up for Poshmark and get a $5.00 credit!

Poshmark

L.A.P. it Marketing LLC

If you are interested in my consulting service or would like a promo of your work, please contact me at layeredpages@yahoo.com

Stephanie M. Hopkins

Layered Pages Book Sales

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Every Friday I will be listing 6 used books for Sale here at Layered Pages! If you are interested in purchasing a book, email me at layeredpages@yahoo.com. I accept PayPal Payments. The shipping free for US Residents only. For international, price will vary. Sale prices are nonnegotiable. – Stephanie M. Hopkins

All Books are gently used. All sales are final. All books shown here are Paperback.

The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach by Pam Jenoff

Sale: $7.00

Summer 1941  

Young Adelia Monteforte flees fascist Italy for America, where she is whisked away to the shore by her well-meaning aunt and uncle. Here, she meets and falls for Charlie Connally, the eldest of the four Irish-Catholic boys next door. But all hopes for a future together are soon throttled by the war and a tragedy that hits much closer to home.

Grief-stricken, Addie flees—first to Washington and then to war-torn London—and finds a position at a prestigious newspaper, as well as a chance to redeem lost time, lost family…and lost love. But the past always nips at her heels, demanding to be reckoned with. And in a final, fateful choice, Addie discovers that the way home may be a path she never suspected.

Faro’s Daughter by Georgette Heyer

Sale: $7.00

Paperback, 288 pages

Published July 27th 2004 by Arrow (first published 1941)

Skilled in the art of card playing, Deborah Grantham, a gambler’s daughter, uses that skill as her sole means of support as mistress of her aunt’s elegant and exclusive gaming club in 18th-century London. The beautiful young mis must find a way to restore herself and her aunt to respectability, preferably without accepting either of two repugnant offers. One is from an older, very rich and rather corpulent lord whose reputation for licentious behavior disgusts her; the other from the young, puppyish scion of a noble family whose relatives are convinced she is a fortune hunter.

Lady Mablethorpe was aghast. Her young son Adrian was marrying Miss Deborah Grantham–a gambling-club wench! Thus she sent her trusted nephew, the vastly wealthy, clever, and imperturbable Max Ravenscar, speeding to the faro tables to buy the hussy off. To Ravenscar’s surprise, Deborah turned out to be remarkably handsome, witty, and–he could scarcely believe it–well-bred. Nevertheless, he expected she’d be grateful for the price he offered to give up her young suitor. Arrogant Ravenscar comes to buy her off, an insult so scathing that it leads to a volley of passionate reprisals, escalating between them to a level of flair and fury that can only have one conclusion….

Winter King: Henry VII and the Dawn of Tudor England by Thomas Penn

Sale: $9.00

Paperback, 480 pages

Published March 12th 2013 by Simon & Schuster (first published September 29th 2011)

It was 1501. England had been ravaged for decades by conspiracy, violence, murders, coups and countercoups. Through luck, guile and ruthlessness, Henry VII, the first of the Tudor kings, had clambered to the top of the heap–a fugitive with a flimsy claim to England’s throne. For many he remained a usurper, a false king.

But Henry had a crucial asset: his queen and their children, the living embodiment of his hoped-for dynasty. Queen Elizabeth was a member of the House of York. Henry himself was from the House of Lancaster, so between them they united the warring parties that had fought the bloody century-long War of the Roses. Now their older son, Arthur, was about to marry a Spanish princess. On a cold November day sixteen-year-old Catherine of Aragon arrived in London for a wedding that would mark a triumphal moment in Henry’s reign.

In this remarkable book, Thomas Penn re-creates the story of the tragic, magnetic Henry VII–a controlling, paranoid, avaricious monarch who was entering the most perilous years of his long reign.

Rich with drama and insight, Winter King is an astonishing story of pageantry, treachery, intrigue and incident–and the fraught, dangerous birth of Tudor England.

Mariana by Susanna Kearsley

Sale: $7.00

Paperback, 364 pages

Published April 1st 2012 by Sourcebooks Landmark (first published 1994)

From the winner of the Catherine Cookson Fiction Prize, this mesmerizing, suspenseful, and richly atmospheric tale of time travel draws us into the heart of a heroine we won’t soon forget…

The first time Julia Beckett saw Greywethers she was only five, but she knew that it was her house. And now that she’s at last become its owner, she suspects that she was drawn there for a reason.

As if Greywethers were a portal between worlds, she finds herself transported into seventeenth-century England, becoming Mariana, a young woman struggling against danger and treachery, and battling a forbidden love.

Each time Julia travels back, she becomes more enthralled with the past…until she realizes Mariana’s life is threatening to eclipse her own, and she must find a way to lay the past to rest or lose the chance for happiness in her own time.

The Private Patient (Adam Dalgliesh #14) by P.D. James

Sale: $7.00

National Bestseller

Paperback, 368 pages

Published November 3rd 2009 by Vintage (first published January 11th 2008)

**A little yellow around the edges of book. Otherwise is great condition.

Cheverell Manor is a beautiful old house in Dorset, which its owner, the famous plastic surgeon George Chandler-Powell, uses as a private clinic.  When the investigative journalist, Rhoda Gradwyn, arrives to have a disfiguring facial scar removed, she has every expectation of a successful operation and a peaceful week recuperating.  But the clinic houses an implacable enemy and within hours of the operation Rhoda is murdered.   Commander Dalgliesh and his team are called in to investigate a case complicated by old crimes and the dark secrets of the past.  But Before Rhoda’s murder is solved, a second horrific death adds to the complexities of one of Dalgliesh’s most perplexing and fascinating cases.

The Venetian Bargain by Marina Fiorato

Sale: $9.00

Paperback, 407 pages

Published by St. Martin’s Griffin (first published 2012)

Venice, 1576. Five years after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire at the Battle of Lepanto, a ship steals unnoticed into Venice bearing a deadly cargo. A man, more dead than alive, disembarks and staggers into Piazza San Marco. He brings a gift to Venice from Constantinople. Within days the city is infected with bubonic plague—and the Turkish Sultan has his revenge.

But the ship also holds a secret stowaway—Feyra, a young and beautiful harem doctor fleeing a future as the Sultan’s concubine. Only her wits and medical knowledge keep her alive as the plague ravages Venice.

In despair, the Doge commissions the architect Andrea Palladio to build the greatest church of his career—an offering to God so magnificent that Venice will be saved. But Palladio’s life is in danger too, and it will require all the skills of Annibale Cason, the city’s finest plague doctor, to keep him alive. What Annibale had not counted on was meeting Feyra, who is now under Palladio’s protection—an impossible woman whose medical skills and determination are matched only by his own.

From Marina Fiorato, author of the acclaimed historical novel The Glassblower of Murano, comes a triumphant return to historical Venice with Venetian Bargain.