Cover Crush: From Rome With Love by Jules Wake

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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.

from-rome-with-loveHarperCollins UK, HarperImpulse

HarperImpulse

Romance, Women’s Fiction

Pub Date 13 Jan 2017

If you can’t stand the heat…

Rome is the city of love and seduction, right? Not if you find yourself staying in a beautiful apartment with your childhood-friend-turned-arch-enemy, Will Ryan…no matter how hot he is!

Romance is the last thing on Lisa’s mind. She’s got more important things to focus on, like hunting down her estranged father. Except when her search falls at the first hurdle, Will doesn’t just help her get back on track, he also shares the romantic sights – and exquisite tastes – of the Eternal City, and Lisa starts to wonder if it’s not just Rome seducing her.

Only, as Lisa and Will dig into the past, neither of them is prepared for the long-buried secrets they reveal. Secrets that will turn both their world’s upside down.

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I spotted, From Rome With Love’s cover on NetGalley. I love it. I like the airy and light feel it gives you. It makes me long for Summer and traveling…Kudos to the design team!

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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Book Review: Dead Silence (Stillwater Trilogy #1) by Brenda Novak

dead-silenceThere’s a body buried behind a Mississippi farmhouse

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 yetshe’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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me-iiMy thoughts:

I connected with Brenda Novak a few years ago on Facebook and even though I followed her post, I hadn’t read her books. Until recently. Dead Silence is the third book I have read by her and I must say, she writes a heck of a story. Having said that, I am not a romance reader or reviewer. Sometimes I make an allowance. The story has to have more than just romance and the plot has to be solid. I do love a good crime thriller and mystery, so her stories fit that bill nicely. I also have to admire how she is not heavy on the romance but gives you realistic relationship situations.

Dead Silence is the first book in the Stillwater Trilogy and I’m really looking forward to the next book. I think what first appealed to me about this book was the setting. As a southerner myself, I am always on the lookout for stories that take place in the South. The second thing that drew my attention was the premise. A body buried on a farm and the family is trying to forget but how can they when the body is buried on their property and they know why? One of the family members Grace-who was probably affected the most-left years ago to only return and face the secrets her family tried to bury along with the body and a town who is suspicious of what happened. Now that makes for a great story!

When she returned to town, she did not expect to stay long or get find a connection in the most likely of men-Widower Kennedy Archer. I enjoyed their interaction and how they come to grips with their problems and how their relationship develops. I look forward to reading more about them in the next book and will be cheering for them!

Last but not least, I really thought Novak did a great job with the supporting characters and they really enriched the story and I thought the small town feel she gives you was perfectly told.

I rated this book three and a half stars!

Stephanie M. Hopkins

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Book Review: To Capture What We Cannot Keep by Beatrice Colin

to-capture-what-we-cannot-seeIn February 1887, Caitriona Wallace and Émile Nouguier meet in a hot air balloon, floating high above Paris, France–a moment of pure possibility. But back on firm ground, their vastly different social strata become clear. Cait is a widow who because of her precarious financial situation is forced to chaperone two wealthy Scottish charges. Émile is expected to take on the bourgeois stability of his family’s business and choose a suitable wife. As the Eiffel Tower rises, a marvel of steel and air and light, the subject of extreme controversy and a symbol of the future, Cait and Émile must decide what their love is worth.

Seamlessly weaving historical detail and vivid invention, Beatrice Colin evokes the revolutionary time in which Cait and Émile live–one of corsets and secret trysts, duels and Bohemian independence, strict tradition and Impressionist experimentation. To Capture What We Cannot Keep, stylish, provocative, and shimmering, raises probing questions about a woman’s place in that world, the overarching reach of class distinctions, and the sacrifices love requires of us all.

My Thoughts:

As I’m sure most of the people in the world know of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. It has always been a deep fascination for me. I have to admit growing up I questioned why it was built but never really wondered at who built it and the ingenuity that went into it. As I got a bit older, I did think on that and about the people who built the tower. I was delighted when this book came along. During that era, the tower became the largest man-made structure in the world. As it was being constructed, many people doubted it’s success. The tower-of course-proved its grandeur.

In To Capture What We Cannot Keep we meet Émile Nouguier, the engineer and co-designer of the Tower. He meets a Scottish woman Cait-who is a chaperone for two rich, spoiled older young adults. Throughout the story of Emile’s, Cait and her charges become the center focus and how life deals with them. Or rather how they deal with life. We are also introduced to a supporting cast of a collective group of people.

The storyline of the tower being built was genius and the author gives such wonderful insight of the process. Alas, the overall plot dragged for me about almost half way through and I felt the relationship between Cait and Emile was poorly told. I kept wondering when it was going to happen! The Romance that is….I wasn’t convinced of the appeal they had for each other or the love for that matter. The main characters frustrated me, and the story left me just wanting to read about the Tower, Paris, the art world and nothing else.

Having said that, many parts of the story was atmospheric and resonated Paris of that time. The author did a good job getting you into that world and attitudes of the people. There are also some morality issues that play a part in this book and the character’s predicaments were rather interesting.

I rated this book three Stars.

Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

Stephanie M. Hopkins

Cover Crush: The Worthington Wife by Sharon Page

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the-worthington-wifeLady Julia Hazelton is the most dazzling among 1920s England’s bright, young things. But rather than choosing the thrill of wanton adventure like so many of her contemporaries, Julia shocks society with her bold business aspirations. Determined to usher the cursed Worthington estate into a prosperous, modern new era, and thus preserve her beloved late fiancé’s legacy, the willful Julia tackles her wildest, most unexpected adventure in Cal Carstairs, the reluctant new Earl of Worthington.

The unconventional American artist threatens everything Julia seeks to protect while stirring desires she thought had died in the war. For reasons of his own, Cal has designed the ultimate revenge. Rather than see the estate prosper, he intends to destroy it. But their impulsive marriage—one that secures Julia’s plans as well as Cal’s secrets—proves that passion is ambition’s greatest rival. Unless Cal ends his quest to satisfy his darkest vendetta, he stands to ruin his Worthington wife and all her glittering dreams.

My thoughts on the cover and premise:

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I’ve said this before and I will say it again. 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 I first judge a book by its cover.

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As a rule of mine, I generally do not read romance novels. For various reasons I won’t get into here today. However, this cover and premise caught my eye. I know many people would ask why. There-I’m sure-are many similar romance stories like this one. Or maybe there is something that sets this book apart. When one opens a book, we can only hope that there is…

This story is also a period piece, so that draws me in some and the fact that I like the era. Another thing, I find reading about impulsive marriages interesting. I am always curious to the reasons why we rush into things and I am always on a lookout for something original to analyze. I know that sounds, “Geekish” but there you have it.

My moods about cover art vary at times, so today I like this cover and maybe I will think differently another day. The cover is appealing in the sense of time and place. The woman’s dress is stunning and I love the chair she is sitting on. As I look at the picture of the estate, I think, “I could live there!”

I am taking a serious chance with this book and adding it to my reading list. Let’s see if it draws out that passion, the unconventional American personality, a woman’s bold aspirations of that era and if she withstands Cal’s darkest vendetta.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Flashlight Commentary. Check out her latest here.

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 -Coming soon

More cover crushes over at indieBRAG!

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**Bookish Happenings**

book-open

Today, I’m sharing a few bookish things that have been going on this week from my fellow book bloggers, indieBRAG and myself at Layered Pages. 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. In this post, I will share some posts highlights and events happening this week from the people I mentioned above.

This week at Layered Pages, I have created several posts but I would like to highlight my Wish-List 5: Dublin Murder Squad. Take a look at the post here and be sure to check out my other post this week! Lots of great books mentioned.

Right now I am reading several books. One of them is a buddy read and I wonder if we are ever going to be able to finish it! The book is, To Capture What We Cannot Keep by Beatrice Colin. We recently finished buddy reading, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (I have LOTs to say about this book!). I am still reading Lincoln’s Autocrat (The Life of Edwin Stanton) by William Marvel, The Civil War Source Book by Philip Katcher (I’m having issues with some of the content but it’s interesting), Yesternight by Cat Winters (almost done) and recently started, The Good Sisters by Helen Phifer. This latest book I started is for review and I will be through with it this week. I know, it’s a lot of reading material to read at once but I am able to keep up with it and I can’t help myself.

the-good-sisters

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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.

A Bookaholic Swede’s Post highlight this week: Wish-List October: Most Wanted Mystery Books of 20017

Flashlight Commentary’s Post Highlight this week:  Cover Cliché: Old Hollywood Glamour

A Literary Vacation’s Post Highlight this week: Spotlight on Fill the Sky by Katherine A. Sherbrooke + Giveaway!!

The maiden’s Court’s Post Highlight this week: Wish List 5: Microhistories

2 Kids and Tired Book’s Post Highlight this week: Duty to the Crown…Review

there-is-still-time-indiebrag-event

indieBRAG is holding a month long Halloween event here! The event ends Monday the 31st. Be sure to check out all the great posts by some our B.R.A.G. Honorees, book deals and enter your chance to win a $20.00 Amazon Gift Card!

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Thank you all for visiting Layered Pages today and checking out what is happening with my fellow book bloggers, indieBRAG and I! We greatly appreciate your support and enthusiasm for great reads! Check back next week with all of us for more great bookish happenings!

Cover Crush: The Invitation by Lucy Foley

 

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the-invitationAn evocative love story set along the Italian Riviera about a group of charismatic stars who all have secrets and pasts they try desperately–and dangerously–to hide.

Rome, 1953: Hal, an itinerant journalist flailing in the post-war darkness, has come to the Eternal City to lose himself and to seek absolution for the thing that haunts him. One evening he finds himself on the steps of a palazzo, walking into a world of privilege and light. Here, on a rooftop above the city, he meets the mysterious Stella. Hal and Stella are from different worlds, but their connection is magnetic. Together, they escape the crowded party and imagine a different life, even if it’s just for a night. Yet Stella vanishes all too quickly, and Hal is certain their paths won’t cross again.

But a year later they are unexpectedly thrown together, after Hal receives an invitation he cannot resist. An Italian Contessa asks him to assist on a trip of a lifetime–acting as a reporter on a tremendous yacht, skimming its way along the Italian coast toward Cannes film festival, the most famous artists and movie stars of the day gathered to promote a new film.

Of all the luminaries aboard–an Italian ingenue, an American star, a reclusive director–only one holds Hal in thrall: Stella. And while each has a past that belies the gilded surface, Stella has the most to hide. As Hal’s obsession with Stella grows, he becomes determined to bring back the girl she once was, the girl who’s been confined to history.

An irresistibly entertaining and atmospheric novel set in some of the world’s most glamorous locales, THE INVITATION is a sultry love story about the ways in which the secrets of the past stay with us–no matter how much we try to escape them.

My thoughts about the cover:

I’ve said this before and I will say it again. I am not a cover designer but I can agree that cover layouts play an important role in the overall presentation of books and gladly admit I judge a book by its cover.

This cover is stunning! It fits the era the story is written in and gives it an atmospheric feel to it. I love the colors and design.  Though I am not a big fan of romance I am really looking forward to reading this book.

Key elements I am interested in about with this story:

  1. Setting and period.
  2. Culture
  3. History
  4. Secrets
  5. A relationship of two people from different worlds.
  6. Conflicts

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-Coming soon

Magdalena @ A Bookaholic Swede 

Holly @ 2 Kids and Tired

Colleen @ A Literary Vacation -Coming soon

More cover crushes over at indieBRAG!

 

Interview with Author Sheri Fink

sheri-fink-bragI’d like to welcome Sheri Fink today to talk with me about her latest book release, Cake in Bed. Sheri is an inspirational speaker, a #1 best-selling author, an award-winning entrepreneur, and the creator of “The Whimsical World of Sheri Fink” brand. Sheri writes books that inspire and delight kids of all ages while planting seeds of self-esteem. All five of her children’s books have become #1 best-sellers, including The Little Rose which was a #1 Amazon Best-seller for over 60 weeks.

CBS Los Angeles selected her as one of the top three authors in the local area, a distinction she shares with Dean Koontz. Sheri’s brand is the recipient of the prestigious Mom’s Choice Award for the best in family friendly entertainment. She was recently named an inspirational beauty by supermodel Cindy Crawford’s “Beauties Give Back” campaign.

Sheri’s newest adventure is a contemporary romance. She was inspired to write Cake in Bed, her debut novel, to empower women to be their authentic selves and to not settle for less than they deserve in life or in love, because everyone deserves to have their cake and eat it too … preferably in bed! Discover more about Sheri and her books here.

Hi, Sheri! Thank you for visiting me today at Layered Pages Congrats on your new book release, Cake in Bed. Please tell me about your story and the inspiration behind it.

Cake in Bed is a fun and flirty book that empowers women to be their authentic selves and not settle for less than they deserve in life or love, because we all deserve to have our cake and eat it too … preferably in bed! Several years ago my world changed when I found myself happily divorced and dating for the first time in my adult life. The emotions I was feeling and the experiences I was having inspired me to write something completely new. It’s a sexy, happily-ever-after story for smart women who believe in love in the modern world. And trust me, it’s NOT your grandmother’s romance.

Why is everlasting, romantic love so important to Julie?

Julie is a hopeful romantic. She has always given more than she has received and wants a true partnership with a good man. In the beginning of the story, she misguidedly believes that she needs a man to be happy. Through her experiences with dating and her friends, she discovers happiness within herself and then finds love unexpectedly. I think a lot of women can relate to Julie’s fictional journey.

cake-in-bedWhat are Julie’s emotional triggers and how does she act on them?

Based on her limited past experiences with men, Julie’s biggest emotional trigger is abandonment. She is so afraid of losing someone that she doesn’t stop to consider whether they’re worth keeping in the first place. Initially, she acts from a place of fear. Eventually, she discovers her value and makes choices from a place of self-love.

How is she influenced by her settings and is something humorous that she embarks on?

Julie discovers herself on a humorous and sometimes heartbreaking journey while finding love in an unexpected place. In the opening scene of Cake in Bed, Julie is wearing her wedding dress, eating what would’ve been her one-year-wedding anniversary cake in bed alone. She sets out to find true love but is new to dating, so she encounters situations that befuddle her. Her transformation is one that many women go through as we learn to truly love and value ourselves.

What was your process when writing your story?

I began writing dialogue and pivotal scenes several years ago as they would flow into my mind. The characters took me on a roller coaster ride as the story unfolded for me through their eyes. That continued for over 2 years until I decided to type my writing into a manuscript and then filled in the missing scenes. It was challenging and rewarding to finish the book.

Where can reader buy your book?

Cake in Bed is available in paperback and ebook formats:

Amazon US / Amazon UK / Amazon Canada
Barnes & Noble
iBooks
Kobo

What do you link most about writing Romance and will there be any more romance stories from you?

I really enjoyed the challenge, freedom, and flexibility that came from writing in a new genre. My goal was to write something sweet, sexy, and romantic that I would actually want to read. I wanted to empower women to believe in themselves and their possibilities. I have ideas for 3 more books in the Cake in Bed series … Stay tuned!

In your bio it says you are an empowering speaker. Will you tell me a little about that?

One of my joys is inspiring and empowering audiences. I share my strategies for overcoming adversity and living life with passion and aliveness. My talks focus on authenticity, confidence, and personal empowerment. I also speak about what it takes to be a successful author and the behind-the-scenes of transforming an idea into a book. I’ve been really blessed in my career to get to speak to over 30,000 people throughout North America. I love it!

How has writing impacted your life?

I’ve been writing since I was a little girl. Having the courage to share my writing with the world has completely changed my life. I love hearing from Fans that my books, articles, and talks inspired them to go after their dreams. It makes all the hard work worthwhile to know that I’m creating something I love and making a positive difference in the world.

What is up next for you?

Coming soon are audiobook editions of the The Little Rose and The Little Seahorse, as well as paperback editions of all 5 of my best-selling children’s books: The Little Rose, The Little Gnome, The Little Firefly, The Little Seahorse, and Exploring the Garden with the Little Rose. I’m expanding my Cake in Bed Painting Parties (Cake in Bed-themed painting, wine, cake, and reading) throughout Southern California. I’m also excited to share that I’ve been selected as a contestant on this season’s Dancing with the South Bay Stars in which I’ll be dancing on behalf of the wonderful non-profit South Bay Children’s Health Center. It’ll be so much fun!

B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree

Article at indieBRAG: Writing Across Genres: How Boldly Following Your Inspiration Can Change Your Destiny

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