November: Book Round-Up

I must confess that this year I’ve enjoyed listening to books more than I’ve enjoyed reading physical ones. That is not to say that physical books have ceased to be my favorite medium of story-telling. Perhaps, it is because I have been undoubtedly engrossed in my art than ever before and listening seems to be easier while working on art. In fact, I’ve created an incredible number of florals, landscapes and abstract paintings. The journey has and is a worthwhile pursuit of growth and discovery. I digress.

As I said above, I’ve been listening to more books than reading physical ones this year. However, this month was an almost even selection and below are those stories. What books have you read or listened to this month and which ones are your favorite?

Stephanie Hopkins

Physical Copy: A Sudden Light by Garth Stein

When a boy tries to save his parents’ marriage, he uncovers a legacy of family secrets in a coming-of-age ghost story by the author of the internationally bestselling phenomenon, The Art of Racing in the Rain.

In the summer of 1990, fourteen-year-old Trevor Riddell gets his first glimpse of Riddell House. Built from the spoils of a massive timber fortune, the legendary family mansion is constructed of giant, whole trees, and is set on a huge estate overlooking Puget Sound. Trevor’s bankrupt parents have begun a trial separation, and his father, Jones Riddell, has brought Trevor to Riddell House with a goal: to join forces with his sister, Serena, dispatch Grandpa Samuel—who is flickering in and out of dementia—to a graduated living facility, sell off the house and property for development into “tract housing for millionaires,” divide up the profits, and live happily ever after.

But Trevor soon discovers there’s someone else living in Riddell House: a ghost with an agenda of his own. For while the land holds tremendous value, it is also burdened by the final wishes of the family patriarch, Elijah, who mandated it be allowed to return to untamed forestland as a penance for the millions of trees harvested over the decades by the Riddell Timber company. The ghost will not rest until Elijah’s wish is fulfilled, and Trevor’s willingness to face the past holds the key to his family’s future.

A Sudden Light is a rich, atmospheric work that is at once a multigenerational family saga, a historical novel, a ghost story, and the story of a contemporary family’s struggle to connect with each other. A tribute to the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest, it reflects Garth Stein’s outsized capacity for empathy and keen understanding of human motivation, and his rare ability to see the unseen: the universal threads that connect us all.

Physical Copy: Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

Maggie Holt is used to such questions. Twenty-five years ago, she and her parents, Ewan and Jess, moved into Baneberry Hall, a rambling Victorian estate in the Vermont woods. They spent three weeks there before fleeing in the dead of night, an ordeal Ewan later recounted in a nonfiction book called House of Horrors. His tale of ghostly happenings and encounters with malevolent spirits became a worldwide phenomenon, rivaling The Amityville Horror in popularity—and skepticism.

Today, Maggie is a restorer of old homes and too young to remember any of the events mentioned in her father’s book. But she also doesn’t believe a word of it. Ghosts, after all, don’t exist. When Maggie inherits Baneberry Hall after her father’s death, she returns to renovate the place to prepare it for sale. But her homecoming is anything but warm. People from the past, chronicled in House of Horrors, lurk in the shadows. And locals aren’t thrilled that their small town has been made infamous thanks to Maggie’s father. Even more unnerving is Baneberry Hall itself—a place filled with relics from another era that hint at a history of dark deeds. As Maggie experiences strange occurrences straight out of her father’s book, she starts to believe that what he wrote was more fact than fiction.

Audio Book: Under the Harrow by Flynn Berry

When Nora takes the train from London to visit her sister in the countryside, she expects to find her waiting at the station, or at home cooking dinner. But when she walks into Rachel’s familiar house, what she finds is entirely different: her sister has been the victim of a brutal murder.
Stunned and adrift, Nora finds she can’t return to her former life. An unsolved assault in the past has shaken her faith in the police, and she can’t trust them to find her sister’s killer. Haunted by the murder and the secrets that surround it, Nora is under the harrow: distressed and in danger. As Nora’s fear turns to obsession, she becomes as unrecognizable as the sister her investigation uncovers.


A riveting psychological thriller and a haunting exploration of the fierce love between two sisters, the distortions of grief, and the terrifying power of the past, Under the Harrow marks the debut of an extraordinary new writer

Audio Book: The Unexpected Guest by Agatha Christie

The Unexpected Guest—A foggy night, a lonely country house, and a woman with a gun in her hand quietly surveying the dead body of her husband. It looked like a straightforward case of murder. Or was it? As the ghosts of an old wrong begin to emerge from the past, the case begins to look anything but straightforward.

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

In a manor by the sea, 12 sisters are cursed.

Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor with her sisters and their father and stepmother. Once there were 12, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls’ lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last – the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge – and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods. 

Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that her sister’s deaths were no accidents. The girls have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn’t sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who – or what – are they really dancing with?

When Annaleigh’s involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it’s a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family – before it claims her next. House of Salt and Sorrows is a spellbinding novel filled with magic and the rustle of gossamer skirts down long, dark hallways. Get ready to be swept away.

Sunday Reflections

Floral Painting by Stephanie Hopkins

“A flower’s appeal is in its contradictions — so delicate in form yet strong in fragrance, so small in size yet big in beauty, so short in life yet long on effect.”– Terri Guillemets

Sunday Reflections

“History is a kind of introduction to more interesting people than we can possibly meet in our restricted lives; let us not neglect the opportunity.” – Dexter Perkins

Yesterday morning, I posted a page on Instagram I made in my fall journal. The morning air was cool and crisp and the season brings reflections of times past and the people who lived long ago. To ponder their story as what it may have been like. How did they live? What did they witness? We may not always know who they were but the love and opportunity of using their pictures in our journals keeps their existence intact.

Many family’s belongings are lost or discarded and that is sad to say the least. I consider crafters who save these treasures and use them in their journals and their other creations, that give them a new life, memory keepers. By using their images, we are keeping an essence of them alive through their images.

I do not know the lady’s name in the photo I’m using. I can only imagine what her life must have been like. There is a story there.

Today, as I work in another page, I will use another photo and think of the people in the past and wonder what they would think of us today.

Journaling fills one’s soul with gratitude and healing calmness. It’s an appreciation for the old and the newness of life’s journey.

May your Sunday be filled with contentment and peace.

My wish is for you to be encouraged and inspired. God bless.

Stephanie Hopkins

Sunday Reflections

Art by Stephanie Hopkins

Sunday is a time when you sit back and reflect on all the blessings that you have received. Smile at all the good things that you are enjoying. – Sera Train

Floral painting in a vase.

I work with wood panels, paper and canvas.

Original Art by Stephanie Hopkins

Mixed Media Artist/Abstract Painter

A Sudden Light by Garth Stein

I’m in the throes of cleaning out two closets in my bedroom and I discovered stacks of books I’ve forgotten about or rediscovered-if you will. How is that even possible with a book worm? Believe me, it happens. As I started to undergo the stacks of books, I came upon Garth Stein’s novel, A Sudden Light. I had purchased the hardback when it was first published and I cannot recall how it ended up in my closet. For shame! That said, the novel was sitting on a wired shelf, protected by leaves of clothes surrounding the stacks. The closet cleaning quickly became a distant memory, for about ten minutes, as I opened the book to read the description and peeked through the pages. Intrigued with the premise, I chose to start reading this extraordinary story the night of rediscovery and I’m delighted with my decision to do so. I have much to say about this story thus far. -Stephanie Hopkins

About the book:

In the summer of 1990, fourteen-year-old Trevor Riddell gets his first glimpse of Riddell House. Built from the spoils of a massive timber fortune, the legendary family mansion is constructed of giant whole trees and is set on a huge estate overlooking Seattle’s Puget Sound. Trevor’s bankrupt parents have begun a trial separation, and his father, Jones Riddell, has brought Trevor to Riddell House with a goal: to join forces with his sister, Serena, dispatch the ailing and elderly Grandpa Samuel to a nursing home, sell off the house and property for development, divide up the profits, and live happily ever after.

But as Trevor explores the house’s secret stairways and hidden rooms, he discovers a spirit lingering in Riddell House whose agenda is at odds with the family plan. Only Trevor’s willingness to face the dark past of his forefathers will reveal the key to his family’s future.

Morning Journal: Memories

This is the last page in this morning journal I’ll decorate. I wanted it to be extra special. A memory of what I created the most in my childhood. I was always coloring, painting, sketching, doodling landscapes, water and skies whether it be at home, church, school, camp or at friends’ houses. I never thought about it really, I just created them. Maybe it’s being in the constant frame of mind of nature and God’s glorious creation. This page is a dedication to those memories.

The flower stem is from one of my painted papers I love to create and every time I glance at it, the stem reminds me of a zucchini peal. Ha! The ephemera in the pocket to the right side of the spread is for journaling. I like to keep my journaling hidden for the most part.

I really enjoyed working in this journal I made and I cherish writing in the morning time. Every morning is a new day with endless of possibilities. It is also a fresh start. Why not make the most of it?

I made this journal from scraps of paper that I collage onto a bigger piece, from mail packaging, for the cover. The signature is a selection of scrap papers, including vintage papers. I would say that this journal comes very close to be considered a junk journal. It is definitely a mixed media journal of created and found objects.

Do you journal? What do you like most about it and how does it impact your life? These are questions to think about.

My wish is for you to be encouraged and inspired.

Stephanie Hopkins

Itty Bitty Journal

I acquired a mini journal from a fellow crafter and I absolutely adore working in it. It is so tiny and at first, I thought it might be a challenge to create it but I find it easier than I thought! It is such a great way to use up your little bits of paper, scrap fabrics, small images and what not.

I created a page inspired by my longing for extended travel. I added a postage stamp from Maryland with a sailing boat image on it at a port and with the word, “Nowhere”. You can find that page on my Instagram account. I think it would be cool to take a trip with nowhere in mind. Just to get on the road and go where the wind takes you. In this case, this trip would be at sea.

I love how my painted papers worked on this spread. I wasn’t sure, at first, if it would be too bulky. It turned out great and I like the blend of mixed media with the vintage image of the lady.

In the below picture, I used the painted face of a girl that my fellow crafter paints and includes in her ephemera packs. I dig the colors she uses because they are in line with my style. This page is dedicated to my passion of mixed media.

These little journals are perfect to travel with wherever you go. They fit perfectly in purses, backpacks, bags and even wallets! Just add few ephemera pieces to a pocket and take a small glue stick or mini paperclips and there you go!

My wish for you is to be inspired and encouraged!

Stephanie Hopkins

Journals and Ephemera Kits for Sale

On Fridays and Saturdays, I will be selling art, journals and ephemera packs on Instagram. I’ll eventually open another IG account for my products. The journals and ephemera will be sold once or twice a month depending on my inventory. All products are homemade by me. The ephemera packs are great for journals, card making and other craft projects. If you are not on Instagram and would like to purchase an item you see, please email me at layeredpages@yahoo.com and I will reserve your item.

My Instagram LINK

This weekend Listings:

Small Ephemera Packs with Painting

More pictures will be on Instagram.

Thirty-one pieces in a pack.  

1.2″ x 2″ Original Acrylic painting on Fabriano Watercolor Painting.

Each pack may vary on the images, color and fonts. The pack size it a little over 3”x 5” inches.

Junk Journal Ephemera Paper Kits with Original Painting

More pictures will be on Instagram.

A lot of the Paper dates from the 1920s through the present. I want to include as many decades as possible. There are 51 pieces in this series.

3″× 4″ Floral Acrylic Painting on Fabriano Watercolor Paper/Original Art by Stephanie Hopkins

Each pack varies on the images, colors, paintings and fonts. See pictures for an “example” of what to expect in the packs.

Mini Tags for Art and Journal Projects

More pictures will be on Instagram.

12 Tags per pack.

Each pack varies on the images, colors, paintings and fonts. See pictures for an “example” of what to expect in the packs.

The tags are mini and the sizes vary. There is hand stitching on a few of the tags. Lots of fabric and paper collage on the tags. There is room for a little writing on the back of them.

These tags are sturdy and great for art, craft, gift and journal projects.

Mini Keepsake Journals

More pictures will be on Instagram.

3’ x 4’ Mini Journal.

The size is about a centimeteror a couplebigger- than size mentioned.

The covers are a cross between a soft and hard. They’re sturdy and flexible. Fabrics are on the cover and inside cover, along with a tag and ephemera pieces. There are two vintage papers added to each signature from a children’s book and a music book. There is a little hand stitching on a page.

*At this time, I’m only shipping in the United States.

Stephanie Hopkins

Art in Motion Glue Book

There are so many pages you can create with a glue book. The purpose for this medium is to glue things to a base to make a collage. You decide how you want to design your layouts and what book(s) you want to use. It can be a blank book, altered book, notepads, blank art books or anything thing you see fit. There really are no rules to this creative endeavor. It is for your wish alone to come up with your own ideas. That is the wonderful thing about glue books.

I made this glue book, that I altered, using a magazine by cutting it in half through the middle. Then I folded the pages to create a base for my layouts. This book is getting chunky and grungy! Love it! Sometimes, gluing paper to a page is the best medicine. What do you like most about collage work? Have you tried this form of medium before?

Check out my art journey on Instagram and at my Mixed Media Art gallery here at Layered Pages! My wish is for you to be inspired and encouraged.

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

Stephanie Hopkins

September: Book Round-Up

This month has been tough to get reading time in and I listened to more books rather than reading physical ones. I didn’t use to be able to listen to audio stories at all and it is something I’ve been training myself to do more of. Overall, I enjoyed what I read with a few minor hiccups.

I read The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane years ago and it is one of my favorites. I decided to revisit the story again but this time, to listen to it. I must say, my experience with the story was better reading it than listening to it. Though, I wonder if maybe I’m examining the story differently. Has that ever happened to you? You know, as readers, we grow and our taste can change.

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane (The Physick Book #1) by Katherine Howe

Harvard graduate student Connie Goodwin needs to spend her summer doing research for her doctoral dissertation. But when her mother asks her to handle the sale of Connie’s grandmother’s abandoned home near Salem, she can’t refuse. As she is drawn deeper into the mysteries of the family house, Connie discovers an ancient key within a seventeenth-century Bible. The key contains a yellowing fragment of parchment with a name written upon it: Deliverance Dane. This discovery launches Connie on a quest–to find out who this woman was and to unearth a rare artifact of singular power: a physick book, its pages a secret repository for lost knowledge.

As the pieces of Deliverance’s harrowing story begin to fall into place, Connie is haunted by visions of the long-ago witch trials, and she begins to fear that she is more tied to Salem’s dark past then she could have ever imagined.

I listened to this book and it took me a while to get through it. I really enjoyed the story but I felt it dragged on in certain parts, which made me struggled to keep up at times. I will say that Mary’s character development was fantastic! I would still rate this book high.

The Other Bennet Sister by Janice Hadlow

Mary, the bookish ugly duckling of Pride and Prejudice’s five Bennet sisters, emerges from the shadows and transforms into a desired woman with choices of her own.

What if Mary Bennet’s life took a different path from that laid out for her in Pride and Prejudice? What if the frustrated intellectual of the Bennet family, the marginalized middle daughter, the plain girl who takes refuge in her books, eventually found the fulfillment enjoyed by her prettier, more confident sisters? This is the plot of The Other Bennet Sister, a debut novel with exactly the affection and authority to satisfy Austen fans.

Ultimately, Mary’s journey is like that taken by every Austen heroine. She learns that she can only expect joy when she has accepted who she really is. She must throw off the false expectations and wrong ideas that have combined to obscure her true nature and prevented her from what makes her happy. Only when she undergoes this evolution does she have a chance at finding fulfillment; only then does she have the clarity to recognize her partner when he presents himself—and only at that moment is she genuinely worthy of love.

Mary’s destiny diverges from that of her sisters. It does not involve broad acres or landed gentry. But it does include a man; and, as in all Austen novels, Mary must decide whether he is the truly the one for her. In The Other Bennet Sister, Mary is a fully rounded character—complex, conflicted, and often uncertain; but also vulnerable, supremely sympathetic, and ultimately the protagonist of an uncommonly satisfying debut novel.

I read this book for review and won’t post it until January.

The Last House on the Street by Diane Chamberlain

When Kayla Carter’s husband dies in an accident while building their dream house, she knows she has to stay strong for their four-year-old daughter. But the trophy home in Shadow Ridge Estates, a new development in sleepy Round Hill, North Carolina, will always hold tragic memories. But when she is confronted by an odd, older woman telling her not to move in, she almost agrees. It’s clear this woman has some kind of connection to the area…and a connection to Kayla herself. Kayla’s elderly new neighbor, Ellie Hockley, is more welcoming, but it’s clear she, too, has secrets that stretch back almost fifty years. Is Ellie on a quest to right the wrongs of the past? And does the house at the end of the street hold the key? Told in dual time periods, The Last House on the Street is a novel of shocking prejudice and violence, forbidden love, the search for justice, and the tangled vines of two families.

I read this book for review. It did take me a while to get through the story but glad I pushed on.

The Disappearing Act by Catherine Steadman

A woman has gone missing

But did she ever really exist?

Mia Eliot has travelled from London to LA for pilot season. This is her big chance to make it as an actor in Hollywood, and she is ready to do whatever it takes. At an audition she meets Emily, and what starts as a simple favour takes a dark turn when Emily goes missing and Mia is the last person to see her.

Then a woman turns up, claiming to be Emily, but she is nothing like Mia remembers. Why would someone pretend to be Emily? Starting to question her own sanity, she goes on a desperate and dangerous search for answers, knowing something is very, very wrong.

In an industry where everything is about creating illusions, how do you know what is real? And how much would you risk to find out?