Weekend Agenda & Bookish Mischief

me-iiThis week has been really interesting and I’ve had lots of great on-line conversations with like-minded book bloggers and authors. That is a big part of the many wonderful things about being plugged in to the book world. Not only do you get to meet wonderful, talented and extraordinary people, you learn and grow so much from them. Also, there is the fact you get to talk about books all day long and what can be more glorious than that?! *Cough* Yes I know…I’m not forgetting reading lots and lots of books!

With that in mind, I have a few bookish things to share with you before I talk about what I will be doing this weekend. This year I regretfully admit my reading and reviewing hasn’t been on point like it usually is. Though I am bound and determined to make up for that. When, you ask? Err…in the near future, I hope. Lately though I have been getting into audio books, if you remember. There is just the matter of finishing them!

what-she-knewNow that I’ve gotten that out of the way…let’s talk weekend plans! This weekend I am hoping to finish listening to at least one of those audio books (not holding my breath) and I want to start reading, Winter People by Jennifer McMahon. This year I had planned to get through many of my unread books on my bookshelves at home. Let me tell you, there are a lot and that doesn’t include what’s on my Kindle. I know I should be reading to write reviews but…. this weekend I am solely reading for myself. That is all there is to it.

winter-peopleI do have a couple of projects to start working on. I need to begin drafting a few blog posts for Layered Pages and indieBRAG. The week of the 20th I will be mostly off-line and I want to be sure things are in somewhat order while I’m gone. I’m also hoping to do a little pre-spring cleaning and straighten up a couple of bookshelves. They need it bad.

I want to wish you all a lovely weekend and be sure to take time to enjoy a book! There is nothing like getting lost in a good story. Be sure to check out a few of my favorite book bloggers below. They are great people and dedicated to their craft! Happy reading!

Stephanie M. Hopkins

A few Book Blogs to follow: (In no particular order)

Rather Too Fond of Books

Essays & reviews

A Bookaholic Swede

Just One More Chapter

A Literary Vacation

Flashlight Commentary

A Bookish Affair

Celticlady’s Reviews

Of Quills & Vellim -Author/Book Blogger

The Maiden’s Court

Let Then Read Books

2 Kids and Tired Books

A Reader’s Voice Out Loud

me-iiOne of the greatest passions I have working with Geri Clouston-president of indieBRAG-is to give authors the tools and insight on how to reach their readership in the most creative ways. The market has changed in the last decade or so and the scope of promoting has widen. This has given us lots of thought into finding new ways to show authors how to draw in more readers on their journey of self-discovery as a story-teller. Not only that but along this journey authors may learn more about their craft in ways they couldn’t imagine.

Another important aspect for an author to grow as a writer and to continue the path of reaching out to people, is to hear what their readers have to say. Geri has created a new interview series for our readers to express how they feel authors present themselves on social media.

On March 13th at indieBRAG, I will take part in this series and share my own thoughts as a reader. If you are a reader for indieBRAG, we would be honored for you to participate in this new project. Be sure to contact Geri Clouston via email. -Thank you.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

indieBRAG Blog Link HERE

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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

 

 

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

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Manic Monday & Bookish Delights

me-iiAs we all know Mondays can be pretty manic and generally I look forward to Monday’s nonetheless. Last Friday I normally post my Bookish Happenings but I decided to take a day off and this past weekend I was able to read some in-between shopping for Christmas and what-not.

I was really hoping to start reading, Roma Amor by Sherry Christie this weekend but I am still working on finishing up another story. I won Sherry Christie’s book in a giveaway on-line. Hopefully by Wednesday I can. So many books…so little time…

 Check out my book review for Girl In Disguise by Greer MacAllister HERE and my review for Ruler of The Night by David Morrell HERE

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Be sure to check out and follow these amazing book bloggers! They do a tremendous job in supporting authors and books.

Flashlight Commentary

The Maiden’s Court

A Bookaholic Swede

A Literary Vacation

Let Them Read Books

2 Kids and Tired Books

Celticlady’s Reviews

Reading the Past

A Bookish Affair

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indiebrag-winter-reads-brag

This week at indieBRAG, there will be special posts from our readers and authors starting today through Friday HERE

And don’t forget to check out the great selections of books from indieBRAG! They make great holiday gifts!

Thank you for visiting Layered Pages today and please be sure to come back tomorrow for a great interview with Award Winning Author Helena Schrader! She has recently won a B.R.A.G. Medallion for her book, Envoy of Jerusalem.

Stephanie Moore Hopkins

**Bookish Happenings**

me-iiIt’s that time again for bookish happenings! Today, I am sharing a few things that have been going on in the world of blogging and at indieBRAG. We are completely drawn into the world of stories and the people who write them. Our passion is to share our love of reading, good reads and our hunt for them. Daily we are exploring social media and various book sites for the next great read.

This week has been a really busy week with blogging posts, setting up author interviews, catching up on emails, social media promoting and reading of course! Though I have to admit, I am in a bit of a reading slump still. But I think I am getting out of it. One of the things to help me do that is buying more books! Ha! One of the books I ordered on Amazon this week was The Inn Keeper of Ivy Hill by Julie Klassen. Which is perfect because I have been watching a series-Cranford on amazon Prime and I hear that this book fits in line with village life in England. How lovely! I should be getting my copy in the mail tomorrow. I am really looking forward to it.

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the-innkeeper-of-ivy-hillThe Innkeeper of Ivy Hill!

First Series from Bestselling Author Julie Klassen!

On a rise overlooking the Wiltshire countryside stands the village of Ivy Hill. Its coaching inn, The Bell, is its lifeblood–along with the coach lines that stop there daily, bringing news, mail, travelers, and much-needed trade.

Jane Bell lives on the edge of the inn property. She had been a genteel lady until she married the charming innkeeper who promised she would never have to work in his family’s inn. But when he dies under mysterious circumstances, Jane finds herself The Bell’s owner, and worse, she has three months to pay a large loan or lose the place.

Feeling reluctant and ill-equipped, Jane is tempted to abandon her husband’s legacy and return to her former life of ease. However, she soon realizes there is more at stake than her comfort. But who can she trust to help her? Her resentful mother-in-law? Her husband’s brother, who wanted the inn for himself? Or the handsome newcomer with secret plans of his own . . . ?

With pressure mounting from the bank, Jane struggles to win over naysayers and turn the place around. Can Jane bring new life to the inn, and to her heart as well?

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I have several posts to highlight. Normally I highlight mine and my fellow book bloggers posts. Which you will see but I am also adding two posts from authors that have really stood out to me this week.

Be sure to check them out. These bloggers and authors are dedicated to their craft of sharing stories and a big support to the book world. I highly recommend you follow their blogs and stories.

This is brilliant! Neil Gaiman on Writing: “Your first draft doesn’t count.” by Neil Gailman

Who would have thought a post about the postal service would be fascinating?! Well, it is!  A brief note about the post by Anna Castle  

Today I am highlighting two posts this week from both Layered Pages & Layered Pages II: Top 12: Historical Fiction Authors Who Write English Historical Fiction Novels  & Cover Crush: The Life She Was Given by Ellen Marie Wiseman

throne-of-grace Guest Post by Cecily Wolfe, Author of Throne of Grace over at A Literary Vacation

 Cover Crush: A Long Time Gone by Karen White over at A Bookaholic Swede

 Books I Have Forgotten over at 2 Kids and tired Books

 secrets-in-the-mistReview: Secrets in the Mist by Anna Lee Huber over at Let Them Read Books

 Audiobook Discussions: How Do You Listen? Over at The Maiden’s Court

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Thank you for visiting Layered Pages today and enjoy your weekend! Happy reading!

Stephanie M. Hopkins

stay-calm-and-support-book-bloggers

 

 

 

 

Bookish Happenings & Social Media Mishaps

me-iiIt’s that time again for bookish happenings! Today, I am sharing a few things that have been going on in the world of blogging and at indieBRAG. We are completely drawn into the world of stories and the people who write them. Our passion is to share our love of reading, good reads and our hunt for them. Daily we are exploring social media and various book sites for the next great read.

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This week I was not able to post this post, yesterday. The reason is, I had a marvelous interview with author C.S. Harris on Thursday and so my Cover Crush was posted on Friday. Alas, no time like the present to publish bookish happenings! I few bookish things have been going on this week. I’ve added a few new books to my reading pile and have taken on a few more books to review. Which I need to slow down on that so I can catch up!

 Also, I have been interacting in a few conversations about content on social media. It has been enlightening to say the least. Ha!

For example:

Author Clare Mackintosh asked her followers on Facebook what we like to see authors post about/talk about on social media. My answer. “I am a book blogger and I work in the book industry. I follow and work with a lot of authors. I love it when an author draws themes from their story and post about that. I love the writing quotes and when they support book bloggers. Also, I love the interaction between the author and reader. What I don’t like is when authors post none stop about politics. I’ve seen it get ugly time and time again. One must be careful of that when promoting one’s brand. You can lose a lot of readers that way…”

Now, before you get in a tizzy about authors being citizens and all. I totally get that authors are citizens and have a voice and have the right to express themselves like everyone else. That is great and all, but just know you seriously run the risk of demolishing your “brand” by alienating potential readers and fans-if you’re insulting people for believing differently than you or posting none stop political posts. I don’t recommend doing that. Having said that, I do actually like some political posts-when they are intelligent, insightful and respectful.

Matter of fact, a couple of authors and I on Facebook were discussing talking about the parallels of historical and modern day politics from stories written. Now that was interesting!

I’d like to further add that talking about negative reviews on social media platforms is a bad idea. I don’t recommend it. Here’s why: While some-authors- mention about negative reviews are totally legit. (Meaning, some of the things people say in reviews that have no standing on the story is ridiculous and embarrassing!  I understand why the author would want to vent about it on Facebook to their “friends.”) Just consider you are even then taking a risk in doing so. Now, often times, I do see authors complaining about negative reviews (reviews that make sense) on social media, and it turns into a bully fest and then it carries over into bashing book bloggers/book reviewers in general. NOT cool at all. Here is my advice: Just don’t do it. Period. It does not complement you what-so-ever. On top of that, you run the risk of losing readers or potential book bloggers support and you need us. Just like we need your stories!

Just my two cents.

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Today I want to highlight my interview with C.S. Harris. She has written a story that I feel is the most important works of historical fiction I have read this year thus far. Check out the interview HERE.

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Here is a few of my fellow book blogger’s book highlights for the week! Be sure to check them out. These bloggers are dedicated to their craft of sharing stories and a big support to the book world. I highly recommend you follow their blogs.

in-a-dark-dark-woodColleen over at A Literary Vacation reviews, In A Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware HERE.

Magdalena over at, A Bookaholic Swede has a fun cover crush of, The Dastardly Miss Lizzie by Viola Carr HERE

Holly over at 2 Kids and Tired Books has a wonderful post called, Пятница Ponderings: He was an example to me HERE.

Heather over at The Maidens Court shares with us her Top 5: Non-Fiction Books Read HERE.

the-alice-networkErin over at Flashlight Commentary reviews a book I’m dying to get my hands on called, The Alice Network by Kate Quinn HERE.

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Thank you for visiting Layered Pages today and enjoy your weekend! Happy reading!

Stephanie M. Hopkins

stay-calm-and-support-book-bloggers