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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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

Manic Monday & Bookish Happenings

me-iiAs we all know Mondays can be pretty manic but nonetheless I was looking forward to it. Why? Because I want to share all my bookish happening for last week and over the weekend! What can be more exciting for a book blogger? Well, besides reading books and discovering new books to read. Every single day!

Today I am combining two post. Last week- due to the Holidays- I did not post Bookish Happenings. However, last week was a great Thanksgiving at indieBRAG with lots of wonderful guest post from our award winning authors. Be sure to check them out here.

In the last week and over the weekend I received several ARC’s from NetGalley and I am so excited about them. Here is the list:

  1. Bardwell’s Folly: A Love Story by Sandra Hutchinson
  2. We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter
  3. The kaiser’s Last Kiss by Alan Judd
  4. Out of Reach by Elizabeth McGregor
  5. His Kidnapper’s Shoes by Maggie James.

For my reading pleasure this week I am hoping to get to, A Twist in Time by Julie McElwain. Julie is one of my favorite new authors and I have had the pleasure chatting with her about her first book last year.

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Here is a few of my fellow book blogger’s book highlights from last 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. #supportbookbloggers

return-to-taylors-crossing-iiHeather’s interview with award winning author Janie Dempsey Watts at Maiden’s Court, here.

Colleen’s book review of The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins at A Literary Vacation, here.

Magdalena’s book review of The Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin at A Bookacholic Swede, here.

Erin’s book review of The battle of Seattle by Douglas Bond at Flashlight Commentary, here.

all-i-want-for-christmasHolly’s All I Want for Christmas…Review at 2 Kids and Tired Books, here.

And my feature Layered Pages post from last week, Wish-List 5: A little of This & A little of That, here.

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Thank you for visiting Layered Pages today. It is always a treat to be able to talk about books with you all. Be sure to stay tuned all week long for more great posts. Happy reading and God Bless.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

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Book Review: The Guests on South Battery (Tradd Street #5) by Karen White

the-guests-on-south-batteryWith her extended maternity leave at its end, Melanie Trenholm is less than thrilled to leave her new husband and beautiful twins to return to work, especially when she’s awoken by a phone call with no voice on the other end—and the uneasy feeling that the ghostly apparitions that have stayed silent for more than a year are about to invade her life once more.

 But her return to the realty office goes better than she could have hoped, with a new client eager to sell the home she recently inherited on South Battery. Most would treasure living in one of the grandest old homes in the famous historic district of Charleston, but Jayne Smith would rather sell hers as soon as possible, guaranteeing Melanie a quick commission.

Despite her stroke of luck, Melanie can’t deny that spirits—both malevolent and benign—have started to show themselves to her again. One is shrouded from sight, but appears whenever Jayne is near. Another arrives when an old cistern is discovered in Melanie’s backyard on Tradd Street.

 Melanie knows nothing good can come from unearthing the past. But some secrets refuse to stay buried….

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My Thoughts:

Old homes fascinate me. As I come across one, I often wonder about the people who lived there, what their lives were like and what the inside of the homes look like. I love visiting the historic district of Charleston! Its not often I get to. So when I discovered this series, I was thrilled! The first book, The House on Tradd Street is by far my favorite in the series. I have read the first three books and skipped over the fourth one to read The Guest on South battery. I did not do that intentionally, mind you. When this came up for review at NetGalley, I immediately requested it.

In the first couple of characters or so, I found the story to be interesting and I felt the main characters were a bit different than the first three books in the series. At first I contributed that to that fact that maybe it’s because Jack and Melanie are now married and have two children. Or that because her relationships with her mother and father have changed. But as I read on, that wasn’t the only reason the story-line had changed for me. I am sad to report it wasn’t for the good.

What bothered me the most about Melanie in this story was, she is very uptight on small things that don’t really matter and ignores things that do matter. Or maybe she is just being overly cautious and her insecurities are getting the better of her? Not entirely sure. Melanie’s personality is all over the place and her relationship/marriage with Jack wasn’t believable to me and I couldn’t figure out what they saw in each other anymore. Jack was quite changed as well but not as bad as Melanie. I didn’t like her one bit in this story. The other characters were-just- okay. I liked Melanie’s mother-Ginnette-much better.

The best parts of this story was when there was talk of the old homes and the people who lived there. Also, Jack’s research into the home of Melanie’s client they were trying to fix up and potentially sell. I enjoyed reading that most of all.

Overall, I felt this story was weaker than the first three and I found it too predictable. I had the plot all figured out half way through and I was disappointed with the ending. Hopefully there will be another book in this series and it will be stronger and less predictable.

I have rated this story, two stars.

I obtained a review copy from the publishers through NetGalley, for an honest review.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

Manic Monday: Books & More Books

me-iiAs we all know Mondays can be pretty manic but nonetheless I was looking forward to it. Why? Because I want to share all my bookish happening for the weekend! What can be more exciting for a book blogger? Well, besides reading books and discovering new books to read. Every single day!

This week is the Thanksgiving Holiday and I have so much to share with you all throughout the week. This past weekend, I was a guest at the indieBRAG Blog, sharing my Thanksgiving tradition. I want to encourage you all to read that post.On Saturday I received a new book in the mail from a book giveaway. Yay! The book is, Roma Amor by Sherry Christie. I have not read any books by her before. So I am curious about her stories.

roma-amor

For my reading pleasure- this past weekend- I read, Dead Silence (Stillwater #1) by Brenda Novak in one day! I devoured it! Great read! I am really looking forward to the next book in this Trilogy. Another book I was reading from and still am is, Ruler of the Night by Davis Morrell. Fantastic read! I am enjoying it very much and I knew I would. Morrell’s Opium-Eater (Thomas De Quincey trilogy) a Victorian mystery trilogy, is truly brilliant.

Thank you for visiting Layered Pages today. It is always a treat to be able to talk about books with you all. Be sure to stay tuned all week long for more great posts. Happy reading and God Bless.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

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dead-silence

Grace Montgomery knows who it is, and she knows why it happened. She was only thirteen the night it all went wrong. And now, like then, she has no choice but to keep her mouth shut.

Grace left the town of Stillwater thirteen years ago, trying to forget, trying to make good. As an assistant D.A. in Jackson, she’s finally achieved the success that was supposed to change her life. But it hasn’t so she’s come back to confront her own history. Which means returning to the farmhouse now owned by her brother and facing the people of Stillwater, a number of whom suspect the truth.

Widower Kennedy Archer is one of those people. He’s running for mayor and needs to stay as far away from Grace as possible. And yet she’s an enigma he can’t resist. Even though her enemies are close to finding out what really happened and that could ruin them both.

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Tuesday Book Spree: I Got Books On The Mind

me-iiToday, I have a lot of work to do but I will be fitting in a LOT of reading time. I’m getting books to review faster than I can read them! That tends to happen with people who are totally obsessed with stories. We can’t get enough and we can’t say, “no”, very often! A problem most book bloggers don’t mind having even though it can’t get a bit hectic. I will prevail!

Anyhow, three more books have come in to review and I woke up with several request from publishers in my email. Still haven’t decided what to do about the later. I might have to put those on the back burner for now. Then there is my own writing. I must make time in the day for that. There will come a point where I will have to start saying, “no,” more often so I can fit more time in for my own stories. I hate to turn people down but, well-writers- you know how it goes.

Books are a wonderful way to escape, to travel to destinations you can’t in reality, to build imagery in your mind and to live a thousand lives over and over…Good stories give you such a strong sense of place and time. I want to encourage all of my visitors to pick up a book this week and lose yourself into another world. Be sure to check out the books below I have to show you. Thank you for visiting Layered Pages today and happy reading!

By the way…you might be seeing a new book review from me!

Stephanie M. Hopkins

juliets-answer-iiJuliet’s Answer by Glenn Dixon

Pub Date 07 Feb 2017 

Eat, Pray, Love meets The Rosie Project in this fresh, heartwarming memoir by a man who travels to Verona and volunteers to answer letters addressed to Shakespeare’s Juliet, all in an attempt to heal his own heartbreak.

When Glenn Dixon is spurned by love, he packs his bags for Verona, Italy. Once there, he volunteers to answer the thousands of letters that arrive addressed to Juliet—letters sent from lovelorn people all over the world to Juliet’s hometown; people who long to understand the mysteries of the human heart.

Glenn’s journey takes him deep into the charming community of Verona, where he becomes involved in unraveling the truth behind Romeo and Juliet. Did these star-crossed lovers actually exist? Why have they remained at the forefront of hearts and minds for centuries? And what can they teach us about love?

When Glenn returns home to Canada and resumes his duties as an English teacher, he undertakes a lively reading of Romeo and Juliet with his students, engaging them in passions past and present. But in an intriguing reversal of fate and fortune, his students—along with an old friend—instruct the teacher on the true meaning of love, loss, and moving on.

An enthralling tale of modern-day love steeped in the romantic traditions of eras past, this is a memoir that will warm your heart.

death-at-st-vedastDeath at St. Vedast by Mary Lawrence

Pub Date 27 Dec 2016

During the tempestuous reign of Henry VIII, London alchemist Bianca Goddard has seen up close what keeps a man alive—and what can kill him. A good thing, for she will need all her knowledge to keep a friend away from the gallows . . .

Bianca and her husband John are delighted to share in the glad fortune of their friend, Boisvert, the silversmith, who is to wed Odile, the wealthy widow of a goldsmith. But a pall is cast over the upcoming nuptials when the body of a pregnant woman is found beneath the bell tower of St. Vedast, the very church where the betrothed are to be married.

Tragedy strikes again at the couple’s reception, when Odile suddenly drops dead in the middle of the wedding feast. The constable suspects Boisvert poisoned his new bride for her money, but there’s not a trace of poison in her food or wine. Could the two deaths be connected? To prove their friend’s innocence, Bianca will need to employ her knowledge of alchemy—for if she can determine how the bride was killed, she may find the person responsible for her murder—before another victim is added to the death toll . . .

the-magdalen-girls-iiThe Magdalen Girls by V.S. Alexander

Pub Date 27 Dec 2016

Dublin, 1962. Within the gated grounds of the convent of The Sisters of the Holy Redemption lies one of the city’s Magdalen Laundries. Once places of refuge, the laundries have evolved into grim workhouses. Some inmates are “fallen” women—unwed mothers, prostitutes, or petty criminals. Most are ordinary girls whose only sin lies in being too pretty, too independent, or tempting the wrong man. Among them is sixteen-year-old Teagan Tiernan, sent by her family when her beauty provokes a lustful revelation from a young priest.

Teagan soon befriends Nora Craven, a new arrival who thought nothing could be worse than living in a squalid tenement flat. Stripped of their freedom and dignity, the girls are given new names and denied contact with the outside world. The Mother Superior, Sister Anne, who has secrets of her own, inflicts cruel, dehumanizing punishments—but always in the name of love. Finally, Nora and Teagan find an ally in the reclusive Lea, who helps them endure—and plot an escape. But as they will discover, the outside world has dangers too, especially for young women with soiled reputations.

 

 

Manic Monday & Bookish Delights

me-iiThis weekend was fantastic. It’s not often I can just totally chill and do what I want and I can’t say that I felt foreboding that Monday was drawing near. Though the first day of the week tends to be manic, I was quite looking forward to it. Why? This weekend I was able to get lots of reading time in, drank lots of tea, watched a few shows on Netflix, and set up a couple of blog posts. Now I know that we have to get back to the work week, which leaves us very little time for reading. But, at least we can talk about the books we’ve been enjoying! There is that. *smiles*

This past Saturday, I was checking my emails and saw that I got approved for a review copy of, Ruler of the Night by David Morrell (book description below). “David Morrell is a Canadian novelist from Kitchener, Ontario, who has been living in the United States for a number of years. He is best known for his debut 1972 novel First Blood, which would later become a successful film franchise starring Sylvester Stallone. More recently, he has been writing the Captain America comic books limited-series The Chosen.” (bio from goodreads).

His Opium-Eater (Thomas De Quincey trilogy) a Victorian mystery trilogy, is truly brilliant. Every historical detail is impeccable; you hang on to every word. His characters are unforgettable and he transports to you the Victorian London streets with vivid imagery, as if you were really there. Murder mysteries at its finest!

The first book is, Murder as a Fine Art. The second, Inspector of the Dead. You can find these books on Amazon and goodreads. When the third, Ruler of the Night was announced, I was so very excited and wanted to get my hands on a review copy. Badly. Grateful I was able too! I am hoping to get to it this week. I highly recommend them.

Thank you for visiting Layered Pages today. It is always a treat to talk about bookish things with you all. Be sure to check out my interview with award winning author Lee Davis at indieBRAG. Today, I talk with him about his graphic designing and his process. I highly recommend you read the interview. It’s brilliant and insightful. You might learn something.

Oh, I almost forgot! A few of my fellow book bloggers and I are buddy reading, Girl in Disguise by Greer Macallister-about the first female Pinkerton detective-and I discovered a show called The Pinkertons on Netflix! How cool is that?!

This week is going to be another great discussion in all things books and writers from my fellow bloggers and myself. On Friday, I will be sharing much about that. So stay tuned!

Cheers!

Stephanie M. Hopkins

ruler-of-the-night

The notorious Opium-Eater returns in the sensational climax to David Morrell’s acclaimed Victorian mystery trilogy.

1855. The railway has irrevocably altered English society, effectively changing geography and fueling the industrial revolution by shortening distances between cities: a whole day’s journey can now be covered in a matter of hours. People marvel at their new freedom.

But train travel brings new dangers as well, with England’s first death by train recorded on the very first day of railway operations in 1830. Twenty-five years later, England’s first train murder occurs, paralyzing London with the unthinkable when a gentleman is stabbed to death in a safely locked first-class passenger compartment.

In the next compartment, the brilliant opium-eater Thomas De Quincey and his quick-witted daughter, Emily, discover the homicide in a most gruesome manner. Key witnesses and also resourceful sleuths, they join forces with their allies in Scotland Yard, Detective Ryan and his partner-in-training, Becker, to pursue the killer back into the fogbound streets of London, where other baffling murders occur. Ultimately, De Quincey must confront two ruthless adversaries: this terrifying enemy, and his own opium addiction which endangers his life and his tormented soul.

“Ruler of the Night is a riveting blend of fact and fiction which, like master storyteller David Morrell’s previous De Quincey novels, “evokes Victorian London with such finesse that you’ll hear the hooves clattering on cobblestones, the racket of dustmen, and the shrill calls of vendors” (Entertainment Weekly).

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**Bookish Happenings**

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It’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 at Layered Pages I have created several posts but would like to highlight my All in A Day of Reading. In the post I mention and share several ARC’s I have been approved for and I am really looking forward to reading soon. Be sure to check out my other posts for the week! Lots of great books mentioned.

Currently I am reading several books! As usual. Ha! I can’t help myself. I am almost finished reading; I see You by Clare Mackintosh. What a fantastic read! When I think I’ve got it all figured out, there is a new twist! I have posted the book discretion below. I am still buddy reading Girl in Disguise by Greer Macallister and hope to start The Typewriter’s Tale by Michiel Heynes this weekend.

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i-see-you-iiKindle Edition, 372 pages

Expected publication: April 4th 2017 by Sphere

You do the same thing every day.

You know exactly where you’re going.

You’re not alone.

When Zoe Walker sees her photo in the classifieds section of a London newspaper, she is determined to find out why it’s there. There’s no explanation: just a website, a grainy image and a phone number. She takes it home to her family, who are convinced it’s just someone who looks like Zoe. But the next day the advert shows a photo of a different woman, and another the day after that.

Is it a mistake? A coincidence? Or is someone keeping track of every move they make . . .
I See You is an edge-of-your-seat, page-turning psychological thriller from one of the most exciting and successful British debut talents of 2015.

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

Let Them Read Books has a marvelous guest post with Annelisa Christensen. Author of, The Popish Midwife here

A Bookaholic Swede has a Cover Crush this week that I am absolutely wild about! I must get my hands on a copy of the book! Check out the post here.

2 Kids and Tired Books shared with us this week a post about books she has forgotten. Check out this great posts here

A Literary Vacation shares with us a spotlight on Roman Rescue by Michelle Gilliam and a book giveaway! Be sure to check that out here and enter that giveaway!

The Maiden’s Court share with us a wonderful book review of the Mail Order Brides of the West: Evie by Caroline Fyffe here.

Flashlight Commentary shares with us a Cover Cliché: The Painted Veil here. She has some really interesting things to say about this so be sure to check it out!

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Be sure to check out the indieBRAG Home Pages for the latest B.R.A.G. Medallion Honorees and please visit the B.R.A.G. blog as well! Lots of great posts from award winning authors!