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.

 

This Day In History, Handmade Cards & Bookish Delights

Happy Monday! This weekend was busy with art, card making, chatting with friends and much reflection. Today I had planned a “This Day In History” post and had it all planned out how I wanted to talk about the different events that happened. However, looking through history timelines, I was a bit dismayed at all the sadness and wars noted for this day. Yikes! I know many of the events made an impact our how history and its important to discuss but that isn’t were I was wanting to go with the topic. I chose two interesting events for two reasons. The first, is the U.S.A. War Time Mail because during that time and still often today that was an enormous important way of communication due to the lack of technologies we have today. Then I thought about as I was hand making Valentines Cards how much we have lost the communication of mail, putting pen to paper and letter writing.

The Second one I chose was about Elvis Presley. To this day he is still talked about and his music is listened to by many. Elvis and his art plays’ a big part in music history. There are many books about him as well and today I am spotting lighting Careless Love by Peter Gualnick. Full book description below.

1941 – U.S.A. War Time Mail

War Mail

1941: Mail Route was created between Washington D.C., and Harrisonburg, Virginia, and the mail for this route was carried on buses which were built with facilities on board for sorting, handling, and dispatch of mail.

1958 – Elvis Presley

1958: Elvis Presley’s ballad “Don’t” reached #1 on music charts. This was his ninth #1 hit single since he had produced “Heartbreak Hotel”. In all, Elvis had recorded a total of 17 #1 hits.

On another note:

ten valentine cards 2-2020Yesterday, I made several Handmade Vintage theme Valentine’s Cards and have them ready to mail out today! I am thrilled with them and they come from my heart. Each one is personalized and will reflect about the person I’m sending it too and shows a little of my style in crafting. I’m already thinking about 2020 Vintage Christmas Cards!

In light of Valentine’s being on Friday, I’ll be posting my weekly Cover Crush on Thursday at Layered Pages. Friday I will be blogging about Valentine’s Day and you’ll be able to get a better look at the cards. Have a beautiful week, everyone! -Stephanie

Careless Love The Unmaking of Elvis PresleyAbout Careless Love by Peter Guralnick

Careless Love is the full, true, and mesmerizing story of Elvis Presley’s last two decades, in the long-awaited second volume of Peter Guralnick’s masterful two-part biography.

Last Train to Memphis, the first part of Guralnick’s two-volume life of Elvis Presley, was acclaimed by the New York Times as “a triumph of biographical art.” This concluding volume recounts the second half of Elvis’ life in rich and previously unimagined detail, and confirms Guralnick’s status as one of the great biographers of our time.

Beginning with Presley’s army service in Germany in 1958 and ending with his death in Memphis in 1977, Careless Love chronicles the unravelling of the dream that once shone so brightly, homing in on the complex playing-out of Elvis’ relationship with his Machiavellian manager, Colonel Tom Parker. It’s a breathtaking revelatory drama that for the first time places the events of a too-often mistold tale in a fresh, believable, and understandable context.

Elvis’ changes during these years form a tragic mystery that Careless Love unlocks for the first time. This is the quintessential American story, encompassing elements of race, class, wealth, sex, music, religion, and personal transformation. Written with grace, sensitivity, and passion, Careless Love is a unique contribution to our understanding of American popular culture and the nature of success, giving us true insight at last into one of the most misunderstood public figures of our times.

**********

“No copyright on images infringement is intended” Used for blogging about history purpose only. Image and credit of picture from Harvard Club Washington, DC

If you missed my Saturday Sunday Post on the Mighty Smash Book please check it out HERE

(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.)

Cover Crush: Olive the Lionheart by Brad Ricca

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

Although the cover reminds me a bit of a movie poster (maybe it’s the positioning of the fonts?), I still love it and the colors used. If you read the book description below, even the main character is a, “Redhead.” That one got a smile out of me. Now, it would have been hilarious if the character’s name was, “Auburn.”  As in, “Auburn the Lionheart.” Ha! I’m getting a kick out of this week’s cover crush write up! On a sober note, is there not enough contrast in the layout? Hmm…Or maybe the ladies color of dress and travel trunk does the trick? Or is it her looking off to the distance of a new world unknown to her? See how her upper body is slightly turned with her left arm behind her back? Its as if she is unsure she should continue on, knowing the dangers she obviously will be facing. Regardless, the cover definitely has a dramatic effect going on.

I’m curious as to how the author portrays Olive-since this is based on a true story- and if she will be another predictable heroine I often see in stories or how will the author portray the different cultures mentioned. However, the story does draw on Olive’s own letters and secret diaries so there is that. Will this story truly be real life like or will it be sugar coated so not to offend anyone? If you know the history of Africa during that time or of anytime, you’ll understand where I’m coming from.

Also, I’m invested in keeping an eye on how this story influences readers. Having said all this, St. Martin Press is one of my favorite publishers because they tend to publish quality stories. The gist of what I’ve read from the description below is that Olive the Lionheart entails jungles, swamps, cities, deserts, letters, secret diaries, cobras, crocodiles, wise native chiefs, a murderous leopard cult, a haunted forest, and even two adorable lion cubs. Whew, that is a lot to digest. Sign me up! -Stephanie

Olive the LionheartOlive the Lionheart

Lost Love, Imperial Spies, and One Woman’s Journey to the Heart of Africa

by Brad Ricca

St. Martin’s Press

Biographies & Memoirs

Pub Date 11 Aug 2020

Description

In 1910, Olive MacLeod, a thirty-year-old, redheaded Scottish aristocrat, received word that her fiancé, the famous naturalist Boyd Alexander, was missing in Africa.

So she went to find him.

Olive the Lionheart is the thrilling true story of her astonishing journey. In jungles, swamps, cities, and deserts, Olive and her two companions, the Talbots, come face-to-face with cobras and crocodiles, wise native chiefs, a murderous leopard cult, a haunted forest, and even two adorable lion cubs that she adopts as her own. Making her way in a pair of ill-fitting boots, Olive awakens to the many forces around her, from shadowy colonial powers to an invisible Islamic warlord who may hold the key to Boyd’s disappearance. As these secrets begin to unravel, all of Olive’s assumptions prove wrong and she is forced to confront the darkest, most shocking secret of all: why she really came to Africa in the first place.

Drawing on Olive’s own letters and secret diaries, Olive the Lionheart is a love story that defies all boundaries, set against the backdrop of a beautiful, unconquerable Africa.

This book is avaible for request at NetGalley.

Last week’s Cover Crush

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

Other book bloggers who participated in the great cover crushes series. 

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

(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.)

Cover Crush banner

 

Cover Crush & Collage: The Camera Never Lies by David Rawlings

Tha Camera Never Lies

Book Collage by Stephanie Hopkins

I spotted this book on Facebook  and the title, colors of the background and the premise intrigued me. I have an older mix media art piece I created on Canvas that I thought would be perfect for a collage of this book. I took my image and the book cover and made digital art with them. I did sharpen and added a few little mediums to really make it pop. I think it turned out pretty cool.

 

 

 

The Camera Never LiesThe Camera Never Lies

by David Rawlings

Daniel, Kelly, and Milly appear to be the perfect family. But an old camera will expose secrets no one wants developed.

Daniel Whitely is a successful marriage counselor and bestselling author, yet his own marriage is in crisis and his daughter is drifting further away each day. To make matters worse, the deadline for his second book has come and gone, and he still hasn’t written a single word.

When Daniel inherits an old camera from his grandfather, he notices an inscription on the bottom: “No matter what you think you might see, the camera never lies.”

Daniel begins using the camera, but every time he develops his photos, they threaten to reveal secrets that could sabotage both his marriage and his career—exposing him as a fraud and destroying the life he has worked so hard to build.

He’s faced with a choice: keep his secrets and save his career or come clean and possibly save his family. Which will he choose? Which would you choose?

*****

Cover Crush banner

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

Other book bloggers who participated in the great cover crushes series. 

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

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

Book Wish Granted

Oh my goodness! I haven’t been on NetGalley for a while and I got on there Wednesday to see which book I need to review next and I saw I had this book wanting for me to download! I had wished for it but didn’t think I’d get it. Hooray! Can’t wait to start reading it. Nancy Bilyeau is among my favorite authors!

DreamlandPaperback
Expected publication: January 16th 2020 by Endeavour Quill

The year is 1911 when twenty-year-old heiress Peggy Batternberg is invited to spend the summer in America’s Playground.

The invitation to the luxurious Oriental Hotel a mile from Coney Island is unwelcome. Despite hailing from one of America’s richest families, Peggy would much rather spend the summer working at the Moonrise Bookstore than keeping up appearances with New York City socialites and her snobbish, controlling family.

But soon it transpires that the hedonism of nearby Coney Island affords Peggy the freedom she has been yearning for, and it’s not long before she finds herself in love with a troubled pier-side artist of humble means, whom the Batternberg patriarchs would surely disapprove of.

Disapprove they may, but hidden behind their pomposity lurks a web of deceit, betrayal and deadly secrets. And as bodies begin to mount up amidst the sweltering clamour of Coney Island, it seems the powerful Batternbergs can get away with anything…even murder.

Extravagant, intoxicating and thumping with suspense, bestselling Nancy Bilyeau’s magnificent Dreamland is a story of corruption, class and dangerous obsession.

Code Name Hélèn by Ariel Lawhon

Code Name Hélèn by Ariel LawhonOh, my word!! I got an ARC of Code Name Hélèn by Ariel Lawhon!!!!!!!! *DOING THE HAPPY DANCE*

I am so thankful to Doubleday Publishing!

Pub Date 07 Apr 2020

Description

BASED ON THE THRILLING REAL-LIFE STORY OF SOCIALITE SPY NANCY WAKE, comes the newest feat of historical fiction from the New York Times bestselling author of I Was Anastasia, featuring the astonishing woman who killed a Nazi with her bare hands and went on to become one of the most decorated women in WWII.

Told in interweaving timelines organized around the four code names Nancy used during the war, Code Name Hélène is a spellbinding and moving story of enduring love, remarkable sacrifice and unfaltering resolve that chronicles the true exploits of a woman who deserves to be a household name.

It is 1936 and Nancy Wake is an intrepid Australian expat living in Paris who has bluffed her way into a reporting job for Hearst newspaper. She is fighting to cover the disturbing reports of violence coming out of Vienna and Berlin when she meets the wealthy French industrialist Henri Fiocca. No sooner does Henri sweep Nancy off her feet and convince her to become Mrs. Fiocca than the Germans invade France and she takes yet another name: a code name.

 

The Latest Reading Agenda

me III

Hi, everyone!

Its been a while since I last blogged on Layered Pages. I wanted to share with you some of the upcoming books I will be reading. I’ve already started, The Space Between. I’m reading this one for review through NetGalley. I’m behind as usual on my reviews. Hoping to knock them out by reading at least one or two of them a month. I know that doesn’t seem like a lot but I don’t want to feel overwhelmed. My next blog post will be about books a dear friend gave me and I am really excited about them and can’t wait to share. This year I am focusing on expanding on the topics/themes I don’t usually read about. Much love to you all. -Stephanie Hopkins

The Space Between IThe Space Between by Dete Meserve -NetGalley Review

The truth isn’t what it seems in this stirring novel of suspense.

After presenting a major scientific breakthrough to a rapt audience across the country, renowned astronomer Sarah Mayfield returns home to a disturbing discovery. Her husband, Ben, a Los Angeles restaurateur, has disappeared, leaving behind an unexplained bank deposit of a million dollars, a loaded Glock in the nightstand, and a video security system that’s been wiped clean. The only answers their son, Zack, can offer are the last words his father said to him: keep the doors locked and set the alarm.

Sarah’s marriage was more troubled than anyone suspected, but now she is afraid that her husband’s recent past could be darker than she dares to admit. Suspecting that nothing about Ben’s vanishing is what it seems, Sarah must delve into the space between old memories, newfound fears, and misleading clues to piece together the mystery of her husband’s disappearance—and find what she hopes in her heart is the truth.

The Lies We ToldThe Lies We Told by Camilla Way

The highly acclaimed author of Watching Edie returns with a new novel of dark psychological suspense that explores how those closest to us have the most to hide…

When Clara’s boyfriend, Luke, disappears, everyone believes that he’s left her, but Clara thinks she knows the truth. Recent evidence suggests that Luke had a stalker, and Clara worries that he’s been kidnapped. Then Luke’s older sister, Emily, who vanished twenty years ago, suddenly reappears.

Emily wants to help Clara with her search for Luke, but she refuses to talk about what happened–even though it nearly destroyed her family when she vanished. And the deeper Clara digs into Luke’s mysterious disappearance, the more convinced she is that the two incidents are connected.

Forgotten Bones by Vivian BarzForgotten Bones by Vivian Barz

An unlikely pair teams up to investigate a brutal murder in a haunting thriller that walks the line between reality and impossibility.

When small-town police officers discover the grave of a young boy, they’re quick to pin the crime on a convicted felon who lives nearby. But when it comes to murder, Officer Susan Marlan never trusts a simple explanation, so she’s just getting started.

Meanwhile, college professor Eric Evans hallucinates a young boy in overalls: a symptom of his schizophrenia—or so he thinks. But when more bodies turn up, Eric has more visions, and they mirror details of the murder case. As the investigation continues, the police stick with their original conclusion, but Susan’s instincts tell her something is off. The higher-ups keep stonewalling her, and the FBI’s closing in.

Desperate for answers, Susan goes rogue and turns to Eric for help. Together they take an unorthodox approach to the case as the evidence keeps getting stranger. With Eric’s hallucinations intensifying and the body count rising, can the pair separate truth from illusion long enough to catch a monster?

The Soul’s Code by James HillmanThe Soul’s Code by James Hillman

Plato and the Greeks called it “daimon,” the Romans “genius,” the Christians “guardian angel.” Today we use the terms heart, spirit, and soul. To James Hillman, the acknowledged intellectual source for Thomas Moore’s bestselling sensation Care of the Soul, it is the central and guiding force of his utterly compelling “acorn theory” in which each life is formed by a unique image, an image that is the essence of that life and calls it to a destiny, just as the mighty oak’s destiny is written in the tiny acorn.

In this new look at age-old themes, Hillman provides a radical, frequently amusing, and highly accessible path to realization through an extensive array of examples. He urges his readers to discover the “blueprints” particular to their own individual lives, certain that there is more to life than can be explained by genetics or environment. As he says, “We need a fresh way of looking at the importance of our lives.”

What The Soul’s Code offers is an inspirational, positive approach to life, a way of seeing, and a way of recovering what has been lost of our intrinsic selves.