Wish List 5: 1976

me-iiI enjoy putting together wish list for books I want to read and this month’s list was a lot of fun to put together. It came to me a few weeks ago to explore books that were published the year I was born. Alas, I had two minds about this. One: If I do this, it will reveal my age! Two: What the heck. Live a little. I went with the latter. Ha! A few of these were made into movies which I have seen. I thought it would be great to read the books. There are so many interesting titles during 1976 that I am wanting to take a look at. Who knows? I might do another wish list post like this in the future. Feel free to use this idea for your book blogging. Cheers!

Stephanie M. Hopkins

the-great-santiniThe Great Santini by Pat Conroy

Step into the powerhouse life of Bull Meecham. He’s all Marine — fighter pilot, king of the clouds, and absolute ruler of his family. Lillian is his wife — beautiful, southern-bred, with a core of velvet steel. Without her cool head, her kids would be in real trouble. Ben is the oldest, a born athlete whose best never satisfies the big man. Ben’s got to stand up, even fight back, against a father who doesn’t give in — not to his men, not to his wife, and certainly not to his son. Bull Meecham is undoubtedly Pat Conroy’s most explosive character — a man you should hate, but a man you will love.

 

a-river-runs-through-itA River Runs Through It and Other Stories by Norman Maclean

Just as Norman Maclean writes at the end of “A River Runs through It” that he is “haunted by waters,” so have readers been haunted by his novella. A retired English professor who began writing fiction at the age of 70, Maclean produced what is now recognized as one of the classic American stories of the twentieth century. Originally published in 1976, A River Runs through It and Other Stories now celebrates its twenty-fifth anniversary, marked by this new edition that includes a foreword by Annie Proulx.

Maclean grew up in the western Rocky Mountains in the first decades of the twentieth century. As a young man he worked many summers in logging camps and for the United States Forest Service. The two novellas and short story in this collection are based on his own experiences—the experiences of a young man who found that life was only a step from art in its structures and beauty. The beauty he found was in reality, and so he leaves a careful record of what it was like to work in the woods when it was still a world of horse and hand and foot, without power saws, “cats,” or four-wheel drives. Populated with drunks, loggers, card sharks, and whores, and set in the small towns and surrounding trout streams and mountains of western Montana, the stories concern themselves with the complexities of fly fishing, logging, fighting forest fires, playing cribbage, and being a husband, a son, and a father.

the-deepThe Deep by Peter Benchley

A young couple go to Bermuda on their honeymoon. They dive on the reefs offshore, looking for the wreck of a sunken ship. What they find lures them into a strange and increasingly terrifying encounter with past and present, a struggle for salvage and survival along the floor of the sea, in the deep.

 

 

 

adolf-hitlerAdolf Hitler by John Willard Toland

Pulitzer Prize-winning historian John Toland’s classic, definitive biography of Adolf Hitler remains the most thorough, readable, accessible, and, as much as possible, objective account of the life of a man whose evil effect on the world in the twentieth century will always be felt.

Toland’s research provided one of the final opportunities for a historian to conduct personal interviews with over two hundred individuals intimately associated with Hitler. At a certain distance yet still with access to many of the people who enabled and who opposed the führer and his Third Reich, Toland strove to treat this life as if Hitler lived and died a hundred years before instead of within his own memory. From childhood and obscurity to his desperate end, Adolf Hitler emerges as, in Toland’s words, “far more complex and contradictory . . . obsessed by his dream of cleansing Europe Jews . . . a hybrid of Prometheus and Lucifer.

in-my-fathers-houseIn My Father’s House by Corrie ten Boom

Corrie ten Boom’s ‘prequel’ to the classic The Hiding Place Concentrating upon her family and their life in Holland before the war, this inspiring and revealing book describes in moving detail living above the family watch shop in Harlem and her memories of the family together before their lives changed for ever with the advent of war and persecution. Corrie believed that this life helped prepare them for carrying out God’s work later and gave her the strength to survive the war, brutal hardship and persecution and begin her worldwide ministry. This much loved book is being re-issued in B format with a contemporary cover.

Here are some of the wish lists from a few of my friends this month:

Erin @ Flashlight Commentary

Colleen @ A Literary Vacation-Coming soon

Heather @ The Maiden’s Court

Magdalena @ A Bookaholic Swede-Coming soon

Holly @ 2 Kids and Tired-Coming soon

stay-calm-and-support-book-bloggers

Bookish Happenings and A Confession Of A Frustrated Reader

me-iiHello my bookish friends! Not much is happening this week at Layered Pages. However, I do have my wish-list 5 and cover crush to post in the next coming days. I have been extremely busy working on another book site this week and getting things ready for next month or so. I have had two new ARC (Advance Reader Copy) galley books come in to review. I am so behind on book reviews. It is disgraceful. Alas it can’t be helped.

This past weekend I was restless with finding something to read. My mood was all over the place and I kept reading a few chapters from four different books then putting them aside. I finally came across one that drew my attention. It’s not a type of story I generally read. Although it is a thriller/mystery but it is also an Amish story. Check it out.

whispers-from-the-deadWhispers from the Dead by Karen Ann Hopkins

Some Amish communities aren’t so cozy.

Whispers From The Dead is the powerful and thrilling sequel to Lamb to the Slaughter in the Amish mystery series, Serenity’s Plain Secrets. Sheriff Serenity Adams and Daniel Bachman are once again partnered up in a criminal investigation, when they travel to a northern Amish settlement that has been riddled by arsons for the past two decades. Serenity quickly discovers that there is a lot more going on than just barns being set on fire in the touristy community of Poplar Springs. And this group of Amish has their own secrets to hide. Serenity begins to unravel an extensive criminal underworld that threatens to destroy everything that the simple people of Poplar Springs hold dear, and once again puts her own life in jeopardy. And even though Serenity tries desperately to avoid it, things begin heating up between her and Daniel, making her wonder if true love and happiness are really within her grasp.

ARC (Advance Reader Copy) Netgalley books to review…

last-hope-islandLast Hope Island

Britain, Occupied Europe, and the Brotherhood That Helped Turn the Tide of War

by Lynne Olson

Pub Date 25 Apr 2017

Description

A groundbreaking account of how Britain became the base of operations for the exiled leaders of Europe in their desperate struggle to reclaim their continent from Hitler, from the New York Times bestselling author of Citizens of London and Those Angry Days

When the Nazi blitzkrieg rolled over continental Europe in the early days of World War II, the city of London became a refuge for the governments and armed forces of six occupied nations who escaped there to continue the fight. So, too, did General Charles de Gaulle, the self-appointed representative of free France.

As the only European democracy still holding out against Hitler, Britain became known to occupied countries as “Last Hope Island.” Getting there, one young emigré declared, was “like getting to heaven.”

In this epic, character-driven narrative, acclaimed historian Lynne Olson takes us back to those perilous days when the British and their European guests joined forces to combat the mightiest military force in history. Here we meet the courageous King Haakon of Norway, whose distinctive “H7” monogram became a symbol of his country’s resistance to Nazi rule, and his fiery Dutch counterpart, Queen Wilhelmina, whose antifascist radio broadcasts rallied the spirits of her defeated people. Here, too, is the Earl of Suffolk, a swashbuckling British aristocrat whose rescue of two nuclear physicists from France helped make the Manhattan Project possible.
 
Last Hope Island also recounts some of the Europeans’ heretofore unsung exploits that helped tilt the balance against the Axis: the crucial efforts of Polish pilots during the Battle of Britain; the vital role played by French and Polish code breakers in cracking the Germans’ reputedly indecipherable Enigma code; and the flood of top-secret intelligence about German operations—gathered by spies throughout occupied Europe—that helped insure the success of the 1944 Allied invasion.

A fascinating companion to Citizens of London, Olson’s bestselling chronicle of the Anglo-American alliance, Last Hope Island recalls with vivid humanity that brief moment in time when the peoples of Europe stood together in their effort to roll back the tide of conquest and restore order to a broken continent.

Advance praise for Last Hope Island
 
“Lynne Olson is a master storyteller, and she brings her great gifts to this riveting narrative of the resistance to Hitler’s war machine. . . . Last Hope Island is a smashing good tale.”—Evan Thomas, New York Times bestselling author of Being Nixon

“A powerful and surprising account of how figures from Nazi-occupied Europe found Great Britain an essential shield and sword in the struggle against Hitler. This is a wonderful work of history, told in Olson’s trademark style.”—Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of American Lion

“You wouldn’t think that there would still be untold tales about World War II, but Lynne Olson, a master of that period of history, has found some. Not only does she narrate them with her usual verve, but her book reminds us how much we unthinkingly assume that it was the United States and Britain alone who defeated the Nazis in Western Europe. Last Hope Island is a valuable, and immensely readable, corrective.”—Adam Hochschild, New York Times bestselling author of King Leopold’s Ghost

london-calling-by-sara-sheridanLondon Calling by Sara Sheridan

Pub Date 28 Mar 2017

Description

In the years following World War II, former Secret Service employee Mirabelle Bevan has found a refuge in the quiet coastal town of Brighton. But she can’t seem to resist an attraction to danger and a thirst for justice . . .

1952: Eighteen-year-old debutante Rose Bellamy Gore was last seen outside a Soho jazz club in the company of a saxophone player named Lindon Claremont. Now her mysterious disappearance is front-page news in the London tabloids.

When Lindon turns up the next day in Brighton, desperately seeking help, Mirabelle counsels him to cooperate with the authorities. After the local police take the musician into custody and ship him off to Scotland Yard, Mirabelle and her best friend, Vesta Churchill, hop a train to London in search of the truth.

As they scour smoky jazz clubs searching for clues to the deb’s disappearance, they descend into a sinister underworld where the price of admission can be one’s life. Mirabelle will need to draw on her espionage skills to improvise her way out of a disappearing act of her own . . .

Praise for the first Mirabelle Bevan mystery, Brighton Belle

“Beneath that prim exterior lies a fearless, fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants kind of gal. One part Nancy Drew, two parts Jessica Fletcher, Mirabelle has a dogged tenacity to rival Poirot.” —Sunday Herald

“Unfailingly stylish, undeniably smart.” —Daily Record

“I was gripped from start to finish.” —Newbooks

“Fresh, exciting, and darkly plotted, this sharp historical mystery plunges the reader into a shadowy and forgotten past.” —Good Book Guide

“Early 1950s England is effectively portrayed in this intriguing mystery story . . . An excellent read for the beach or a long flight.” —Historical Novel Review

“After many twists and turns, she finally unravels the mystery in an entertaining romp pitting her wits against underworld characters and scheming impostors.” —Bookseller

“An entertaining mystery read—light, intriguing and ideal for a weekend escape. Bits of history enhance the plot without overwhelming it, and a handful of unexpected twists keep the reader guessing.” —RT Book Reviews

 

 

Love of Reading Month

Join indieBRAG for LOVE OF READING MONTH

lady-of-devices-bragLady of Devices by Shelley Adina

London, 1889. Victoria is Queen. Charles Darwin’s son is Prime Minister. And steam is the power that runs the world. At 17, Claire Trevelyan, daughter of Viscount St. Ives, was expected to do nothing more than pour an elegant cup of tea, sew a fine seam, and catch a rich husband. Unfortunately, Claire’s talents lie not in the ballroom, but in the chemistry lab, where things have a regrettable habit of blowing up. When her father gambles the estate on the combustion engine and loses, Claire finds herself down and out on the mean streets of London. But being a young woman of resources and intellect, she turns fortune on its head. It’s not long before a new leader rises in the underworld, known only as the Lady of Devices…

When she meets Andrew Malvern, a member of the Royal Society of Engineers, she realizes her talents may encompass more than the invention of explosive devices. They may help her realize her dreams and his…if they can both stay alive long enough to see that sometimes the closest friendships can trigger the greatest betrayals…

Historical Fiction Goodness

throwing-clay-shadows-brag

Throwing Clay Shadows by Thea Atkinson

B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree

It’s 1807 on the Isle of Eigg. Four-year old Maggie believes she has killed her mother by saying bad things and now she won’t say a word. It’s true that Ma’s voice stays in the cottage even though Da says she’s gone, and sometimes Maggie can see her in the shadows, but it’s not the same thing as having a real ma. She’s worried if she says anything, she will kill her da too.

She doesn’t want him to die, and so no matter how much he tries to get her to, she won’t speak.

The trouble is, the consumption that really took her ma and her premature sister, has marked Maggie too. It forces Da to marry Janet so Maggie can have a woman to look after her.

It gets harder for her to stay silent, though, because Janet tries just as hard to get Maggie to talk. She’s not sure she can hold out when this new ma reveals secrets that make her squirm, that make her feel like Da is doing things he shouldn’t be.

It seems there is more to worry about than a few words. He is indeed in trouble and much of that danger comes from the things his new wife isn’t saying.

If she can just understand what Ma is telling her from those corners, Maggie will be able to face her fears and find her voice and true power. The question is: will that power be enough to bind the family together even against the darkest secrets?

Author Website

Book Review: These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

these-shallow-gravesJo Montfort is beautiful and rich, and soon—like all the girls in her class—she’ll graduate from finishing school and be married off to a wealthy bachelor. Which is the last thing she wants. Jo secretly dreams of becoming a writer—a newspaper reporter like the trailblazing Nellie Bly.

Wild aspirations aside, Jo’s life seems perfect until tragedy strikes: her father is found dead. Charles Montfort accidentally shot himself while cleaning his revolver. One of New York City’s wealthiest men, he owned a newspaper and was partner in a massive shipping firm, and Jo knows he was far too smart to clean a loaded gun.

The more Jo uncovers about her father’s death, the more her suspicions grow. There are too many secrets. And they all seem to be buried in plain sight. Then she meets Eddie—a young, brash, infuriatingly handsome reporter at her father’s newspaper—and it becomes all too clear how much she stands to lose if she keeps searching for the truth. Only now it might be too late to stop.

The past never stays buried forever. Life is dirtier than Jo Montfort could ever have imagined, and the truth is the dirtiest part of all.

My thoughts:

My interest of late lies in 19th century America due to my own research and writing. I was looking for something light to read in this era and was delighted that, These Shallow Graves caught my attention. I read, A Northern Light by the author a few years ago, so I was even more curious about this story.

This story is truly atmospheric and captures the attitudes and traditions of the people during the era. Though I found the story to be a bit predictable, alas there was a surprise about two characters I did not see coming…  Having said that, the predictability doesn’t take away from the good story telling this author weaves. Not only that, I found each character to be unique and intriguing.

This story has a solid premise, a good build up, tension in all the right places and concludes with a strong ending.  I hope to see more stories like this from the author!

I rated this book three stars.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

Cover Crush: The Butterfly Sister by Amy Gail Hansen

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 books and I must admit, often times I first judge a book by its cover.

the-butterfly-sisterPublished August 6th 2013 by William Morrow Paperbacks

In The Butterfly Sister by Amy Gail Hansen—a moving Gothic tale that intertwines mystery, madness, betrayal, love, and literature—a fragile young woman must silence the ghosts of her past.

Ten months after dropping out of all-girl Tarble College, Ruby Rousseau is still haunted by the memories of her senior year, a time marred by an affair with her English professor and a deep depression that caused her to question her sanity.

When a mysterious suitcase arrives bearing Ruby’s name and address, she tries to return it to its rightful owner, Beth—a dorm-mate at Tarble—only to learn that Beth disappeared two days earlier.

With clues found in the luggage, including a tattered copy of Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, which Ruby believes instigated her madness, she sets out to uncover the truth.

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I love covers with pictures of luggage or traveling chest on them. Having said that I have to admit when I read the title my first thoughts were, “How does the picture go with the title?” Then I read the book description and it made more sense.

I’m adding this one to my reading pile!

Stephanie M. Hopkins

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More Great Cover Crushes!

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

Other great book bloggers who cover crush:

Heather @ The Maiden’s Court

Magdalena @ A Bookaholic Swede

Holly @ 2 Kids and Tired Books

Colleen @ A Literary Vacation 

More cover crushes over at indieBRAG!

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Wish-List 5: Male Protagonist

This month my focus is on finding more stories with male protagonist. Preferably stories that involve mystery blended with historical fiction or a period piece. Having said that, I do like modern day mystery stories as well. If you know of any with male protagonist, please comment below! This wish-list provides a Victorian mystery series written by Will Thomas.

From his bio at goodreads: Thomas was born 1958 in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, is a novelist who writes a Victorian mystery series featuring Cyrus Barker, a Scottish detective or “private enquiry agent,” and his Welsh assistant, Thomas Llewelyn. The Barker/Llewelyn novels are set in the 1880s and often feature historical events, people, and movements. Martial combat is a recurring theme throughout this hardboiled series.

Prior to writing novels, Will Thomas wrote essays for Sherlock Holmes society publications and lectured on crime fiction of the Victorian era.

Will Thomas’ first novel, Some Danger Involved, was nominated for a Barry Award and a Shamus Award, and won the 2005 Oklahoma Book Award. In 2015, he won the Oklahoma Book Award a second time for Fatal Enquiry. Will Thomas has been featured on the cover of Library Journal, and was the Toastmaster at the 2007 Great Manhattan Mystery Conclave in Manhattan, Kansas. His fifth novel, The Black Hand, was nominated for a 2009 Shamus Award. He is married to Julia Thomas, author of The English Boys.

some-danger-involvedSome Danger Involved

An atmospheric debut novel set on the gritty streets of Victorian London, Some Danger Involved introduces detective Cyrus Barker and his assistant, Thomas Llewelyn, as they work to solve the gruesome murder of a young scholar in London’s Jewish ghetto. When the eccentric and enigmatic Barker takes the case, he must hire an assistant, and out of all who answer an ad for a position with “some danger involved,” he chooses downtrodden Llewelyn, a gutsy young man with a murky past.

As they inch ever closer to the shocking truth behind the murder, Llewelyn is drawn deeper and deeper into Barker’s peculiar world of vigilante detective work, as well as the heart of London’s teeming underworld. Brimming with wit and unforgettable characters and steeped in authentic period detail, Some Danger Involved is a captivating page-turner that introduces an equally captivating duo.

to-kingdom-comeTo Kingdom Come

Victorian enquiry agent Cyrus Barker and his young assistant Thomas Llewelyn, first introduced in Will Thomas’s critically acclaimed debut novel Some Danger Involved, are back with a new mission in To Kingdom Come.

When a bomb destroys the Special Irish Branch of Scotland Yard, all fingers point to the increasingly brazen factions of Irish dissidents seeking liberation from English rule. Volunteering their services to the British government, Barker and Llewelyn set out to infiltrate a secret cell of the Irish Republican Brotherhood known as the Invisibles. Posing as a reclusive German bomb maker and his anarchist apprentice, they are recruited for the group’s ultimate plan: to bring London to its knees and end the monarchy forever.

Their adventures take them from an abandoned lighthouse on the craggy coast of Wales to the City of Light, where Llewelyn goes undercover with Maire O’Casey, the alluring sister of an Irish radical. Llewelyn again finds himself put to the test by his enigmatic employer as he is schooled in the deadly science of bomb making.

Fraught with explosives, secret initiations, and vicious stick fights, and featuring historical figures such as Charles Parnell and W. B. Yeats, To Kingdom Come is a riveting sequel to Some Danger Involved.

the-limehouse-textThe Limehouse Text

In The Limehouse Text, Barker and Llewelyn discover a pawn ticket among the effects of Barker’s late assistant, leading them to London’s Chinese district, Limehouse. There they retrieve an innocent-looking book that proves to be a rare and secret text stolen from a Nanking monastery, containing lethal martial arts techniques forbidden to the West. With the political situation between the British Empire and Imperial China already unstable, the duo must not only track down a killer intent upon gaining the secret knowledge but also safeguard the text from a snarl of suspects with conflicting interests.

Prowling through an underworld of opium dens, back-room blood sports, and sailors’ penny hangs while avoiding the wrath of the district’s powerful warlord, Mr. K’ing, Barker and Llewelyn take readers on a perilous tour through the mean streets of turn-of-the-century London.

the-hellfire-conspiracyThe Hellfire Conspiracy 

In the latest adventure in what is “fast becoming one of the genre’s best historical-mystery series” (Booklist), roughhewn private enquiry agent Cyrus Barker and his assistant Thomas Llewelyn must track down London’s first serial killer.

When Barker and Llewelyn are hired to find a girl from the upper classes who has gone missing in the East End, they assume her kidnapping is the work of white slavers. But when they discover five girls have been murdered in Bethnal Green, taunting letters begin to arrive in Craig’s Court from a killer calling himself Mr. Miacca.

Barker fears that Miacca might be part of the Hellfire Club, a group of powerful, hedonistic aristocrats performing Satanic rituals. He must track the fiend to his hideout, while Llewelyn confronts the man who put him in prison.

Dodging muckrakers, navigating the murky Thames under cover of darkness, and infiltrating London’s most powerful secret society, The Hellfire Conspiracy is another wild ride that “brings to life a London roiling with secret leagues, deadly organizations, and hidden clubs”

the-black-handThe Black Hand

When an Italian assassin’s body is found floating in a barrel in Victorian London’s East End, enquiry agent Cyrus Barker and his assistant Thomas Llewelyn are called in to investigate. Soon corpses begin to appear all over London, each accompanied by a Maf ia Black Hand note. As Barker and Llewelyn dig deeper, they become entangled in the vendettas of rival Italian syndicates — and it is no longer clear who is a friend or foe.

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Please note: There are only five book listed out of the eight in the series. You may find the rest of the series of goodreads and Amazon.

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Here are some of the wish lists from a few of my friends this month:

Erin @ Flashlight Commentary

Colleen @ A Literary Vacation

Heather @ The Maiden’s Court-Coming Soon!

Magdalena @ A Bookaholic Swede-Coming Soon!

Holly @ 2 Kids and Tired

stay-calm-and-support-book-bloggers