A page in my new fall journal I’m currently working in. I’ll show the whole journal once it’s completed. I really enjoyed putting this page together and the bookmark I made for the book. The bookmark is made from an image out of a magazine, scrapbook paper and a piece of left-over fabric.
The journal page is simple with a touch of paper collage, postcard and a authentic 1940s photo of a group of ladies. I’ll add a journal label to the bottom left of the page. The actual page I’m working on is from my 12” x 12” scrap-booking paper stash from the early 2000s and what a great way to use those big sizes of paper! I wonder who those ladies are and what their story is or was.
Journaling fills one’s soul with gratitude and healing calmness. It’s an appreciation for the old and the newness of life’s journey.
Happy crafty Friday!
Stephanie Hopkins Mixed Media Artist/Abstract Painter/Book Maker/Book Blogger
About the Cover: Firstly, I have to confess that it wasn’t the cover that directed my attention to this book, but the title. If I were designing the layout, I’m not entirely sure I would have chosen the shade of blue to contrast the Mona Lisa painting. Nonetheless, if you look closely, you will see the cracks in the painting carrying over to the right side of the cover. I thought that was a nice touch and the pealing of the upper left corner and tears in the image represents age.
About the Book: The Mona Lisa is a famous portrait painting by artist Leonardo da Vinci and is, without a doubt, the most talked about painting in history. I remember as a young child learning about the Mona Lisa and the artist. I have to admit, throughout most of my life, shockingly, the painting didn’t leave an impression on me as one would expect. It wasn’t until later in my adulthood that I developed an appreciation for the painting and the history. Maybe, it’s because of its artist and depiction in various forms and media that sparked an interest in me to learn more about its creation.
I’ve added The Last Mona Lisa by Jonathan Santlofer to my book pile and look forward to reading the story. – Stephanie Hopkins
Published August 17th 2021 by Sourcebooks Landmark
August, 1911: The Mona Lisa is stolen by Vincent Peruggia. Exactly what happens in the two years before its recovery is a mystery. Many replicas of the Mona Lisa exist, and more than one historian has wondered if the painting now in the Louvre is a fake, switched in 1911.
Present day: Art professor Luke Perrone digs for the truth behind his most famous ancestor: Peruggia. His search attracts an Interpol detective with something to prove and an unfamiliar but curiously helpful woman. Soon, Luke tumbles deep into the world of art and forgery, a land of obsession and danger.
A gripping novel exploring the 1911 theft and the present underbelly of the art world, The Last Mona Lisa is a suspenseful tale, tapping into our universal fascination with da Vinci’s enigma, why people are driven to possess certain works of art, and our fascination with the authentic and the fake.
About the Cover: Landscape turned upside down? Great effect for the story’s apparent mystery, intrigue and violent escalates. Though, I’m not certain I like where the title is placed but I guess that can’t be helped because the positioning of the person’s hand. In addition, I would have gone with a different shade for the sky. Despite my minuscule nitpicking, I quite like the design.
About the book: I have two minds about this story seeing as I love mystery and crime thrillers. I’m just not sure this particular story is up my alley on several scores, I won’t go into, but I sense my mood changing in how these stories are written. Hmm…I’m sure there will be readers out there that will enjoy Five Strangers. -Stephanie Hopkins
Pub Date: Oct 5, 2021
Five strangers witness a brutal murder in broad daylight — but can they truly believe what they saw?
With its grassy hills and breathtaking city views, London’s Hampstead Heath is the perfect place to spend an afternoon with friends and loved ones—and on an unseasonably warm Valentine’s Day, the lawns are especially full. So, when an aggressive lovers’ quarrel breaks out, there’s an audience of park goers nearby to hear the shouts traded back and forth, and to watch as the violence escalates suddenly to murder, then suicide.
For the five strangers who observed the gruesome act, the memory of the gore is unshakable. But one of them—disgraced journalist Jen Hunter—is compelled to question the truth of what she thought she saw. Are the facts of the case plain as day, or were they obscured, in the moment, by the glaring sunlight?
As she mounts an obsessive investigation for a seemingly-impossible alternative, the lives of the other witnesses begin to unravel, each in its own particular way. Soon one thing becomes clear: the crime they witnessed was more terrible, more twisted, and more far-reaching than they ever could have imagined.
About the Author:
E. V. Adamson is a pseudonym of award-winning journalist and author Andrew Wilson. He is the author of four acclaimed biographies, including one on Patricia Highsmith, and four Agatha Christie novels, which feature the Queen of Crime as a series sleuth.
Cover: I like the simplicity of the cover. The decorative frame adds a quiet elegance. The image of the yellow house is compelling in a unusual sort-of way. Though it may seem out of place to many, one might see its’ relevance and meaning.
Thoughts of the story:
I was delighted to be able to get a galley copy of The Thin Place. This book is not listed on goodreads or on Amazon in the US as of yet. Looking forward to reading and reviewing this story! -Stephanie Hopkins
The Thin Place by C D Major
Amazon Publishing UK
General Fiction (Adult) | Historical Fiction | Mystery & Thrillers
Pub Date 15 Apr 2021
“I devoured this novel in a single sitting. The Thin Place will stay with you long after you turn the final page.” –Clare Mackintosh, bestselling author of After the End
She has to know the truth about Overtoun Estate, but there is a reason it has stayed buried for so long.
When journalist Ava Brent decides to investigate the dark mystery of Overtoun Estate—a ‘thin place’, steeped in myth—she has no idea how dangerous this story will be for her.
Overtoun looms over the town, watching, waiting: the locals fearful of the strange building and the secrets it keeps. When Ava starts to ask questions, the warm welcome she first receives turns to a cold shoulder. And before she knows it, Ava is caught in the house’s grasp too.
After she discovers the history of a sick young girl who lived there, she starts to understand the sadness that shrouds it. But when she finds an ominous old message etched into a windowsill, she is forced to wonder—what horrors is the house protecting? And what will it cost her to find out?
With her own first child on the way, Ava knows she should stay away. But even as her life starts to unravel, and she receives chilling threats, the house and the bridge keep pulling her back…
The Cover: I love the background image, colors and the ladys’ hats! This cover definitely gives you the glamorous upper crust feel to it.
The Story: You know how I said above, “This cover definitely gives you the glamorous upper crust feel to it?” While we go see the gilded age as glamorous and such, more times than not, it wasn’t. Not to put a damper on things here. Let’s get back to the story.
I’ve said this many times before that I love stories taken place during the Gilded Age and Especially New York!
I’m highly interested in this story on several scores and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of this book! -Stephanie Hopkins
About the Book:
The author of Park Avenue Summer throws back the curtain on one of the most remarkable feuds in history: Mrs. Vanderbilt and Mrs. Astor’s notorious battle for control of New York society during the Gilded Age.
In the glittering world of Manhattan’s upper crust, where wives turn a blind eye to husbands’ infidelities, and women have few rights and even less independence, society is everything. The more celebrated the hostess, the more powerful the woman. And none is more powerful than Caroline Astor—the Mrs. Astor.
But times are changing.
Alva Vanderbilt has recently married into one of America’s richest families. But what good is money when society refuses to acknowledge you? Alva, who knows what it is to have nothing, will do whatever it takes to have everything.
Sweeping three decades and based on true events, this is a gripping novel about two fascinating, complicated women going head to head, behaving badly, and discovering what’s truly at stake.
The Cover: The blue bottle caught my eye at first. I’m really drawn to the color of blue at present. I do like the flowers in the background and the design gives them a feeling of movement. Really cool.
The Story: While I’m particular about my Austen stories-based books, this one looks mighty interesting! I wonder if it will be as good as the last one, I read? Hmm… Anne has always been at the back of my mind. I will be keeping my eye on what readers get out of this one!
About the Book:
As a fussy baby, Anne de Bourgh’s doctor prescribed laudanum to quiet her, and now the young woman must take the opium-heavy tincture every day. Growing up sheltered and confined, removed from sunshine and fresh air, the pale and overly slender Anne grew up with few companions except her cousins, including Fitzwilliam Darcy. Throughout their childhoods, it was understood that Darcy and Anne would marry and combine their vast estates of Pemberley and Rosings. But Darcy does not love Anne or want her.
After her father dies unexpectedly, leaving her his vast fortune, Anne has a moment of clarity: what if her life of fragility and illness isn’t truly real? What if she could free herself from the medicine that clouds her sharp mind and leaves her body weak and lethargic? Might there be a better life without the medicine she has been told she cannot live without?
In a frenzy of desperation, Anne discards her laudanum and flees to the London home of her cousin, Colonel John Fitzwilliam, who helps her through her painful recovery. Yet once she returns to health, new challenges await. Shy and utterly inexperienced, the wealthy heiress must forge a new identity for herself, learning to navigate a “season” in society and the complexities of love and passion. The once wan, passive Anne gives way to a braver woman with a keen edge—leading to a powerful reckoning with the domineering mother determined to control Anne’s fortune . . . and her life.
An extraordinary tale of one woman’s liberation, The Heiress reveals both the darkness and light in Austen’s world, with wit, sensuality, and a deeply compassionate understanding of the human heart.
The Cover: Such a beautiful cover! Makes one want to walk down that dirt road amongst the flowers and trees over hanging.
The Story: What a great title and fitting to the cover design. I do love reading southern stories and about generations of people’s lives. I’m not really into heavy romance so I hope this one fits the bill for me as far as my reading taste goes. The story sounds great and I am adding this one to my to-read pile! -Stephanie Hopkins
Glory Road by Lauren K. Denton
Paperback, 368 pages
Published March 19th 2019 by Thomas Nelson
Written in Lauren Denton’s signature Southern style, Glory Road tells the story of three generations of women navigating the uncertain pathways of their hearts during a summer that promises to bring change–whether they’re ready for it or not.
At thirty-eight, garden shop owner Jessie McBride thinks her chances for romance are years behind her and, after her failed marriage, she’s fine with that. She lives contentedly with her fiery mother and her quiet, headstrong daughter. But the unexpected arrival of two men on Glory Road make her question if she’s really happy with the status quo. Handsome, wealthy Sumner Tate asks her to arrange flowers for his daughter’s wedding, and Jessie finds herself drawn to his continued attention. And Ben Bradley, her lingering what-could-have-been from high school days who’s known her better than anyone and whom she hasn’t seen in years, moves back to the red dirt road. Jessie finds her heart being pulled in directions she never expected.
Meanwhile, Jessie’s fourteen-year-old daughter, Evan, is approaching the start of high school and trying to navigate a new world of identity and emotions–particularly as they relate to the cute new guy who’s moved in just down the road. At the same time, Jessie’s mother, Gus, increasingly finds herself forgetful and faces a potentially frightening future.
As all three women navigate the uncertain paths of their hearts and futures, one summer promises to bring change–whether they’re ready for it or not.
The Cover: I’m crazy about the color blue! That is what first caught my attention about this cover. I might have design the cover layout itself a little different to give it a more Gothic feel to it. The cover almost looks Cartoonist to me. Having said that, I love the color, as I said above, the wallpaper, arch way and the clock! The cover has actually inspired me to create an art piece using some influence of the layout.
The Story: Great title for a story and it give it a mysterious feel. From the description, we can see that this is a meaningful story with a life lessons. What is the difference between a house and a home.
There is also the creep vibe to the story that would probably interest a lot of readers. Many people have their own stories to tell about their homes and I’m sure would be interested in this one. Having said that, I have not read this book. I will be keeping my eye on it and how it does with it’s audience! -Stephanie Hopkins
Girl in the Walls by A. J. Gnuse
Expected publication: March 4th 2021 by 4th Estate
Girl in the Walls is a story of overcoming grief, of unconventional friendships and learning that we shouldn’t always fear what we don’t understand. It is about understanding the difference between a house and a home and what it means to lose both.
She doesn’t exist. She can’t exist.
Elise knows every inch of the house. She knows which boards will creak. She knows where the gaps are in the walls. She knows which parts can take her in, hide her away. It’s home, after all. The home her parents made for her. And home is where you stay, no matter what.
Eddie is a teenager now, almost a grown-up. He must no longer believe in the girl he sometimes sees our of the corner of his eye. He needs her to disappear. But when his fierce older brother senses her, too, they are faced with the question of how to get rid of someone they aren’t sure even exists.
And, if they cast her out, what other threats might they invite into their home?
The Cover: Hands down this is a fantastic cover in my opinion. Is it the dress, or sketched house and tree? Or maybe the colors used? The woman sitting in front of a window reading and you can actually see her face? Or the fact the title is named after Louisa May Alcott’s historic Orchard House? All of the above!
The Story: There are three time-lines to this story. Not sure how I feel about that. Hmm….I will have to think on this. Having said that, the premise sounds really intriguing and it’s set in one of my favorite periods in history. Plus, I love reading about writers. As for the romantic intonations or themes -if you will-I’m wondering just how much of that is weaved into the story.
The Orchard House
by Heidi Chiavaroli
Hardcover, 432 pages
Expected publication: February 9th 2021 by Tyndale House Publishers
Abandoned by her own family, Taylor is determined not to mess up her chance at joining the home of her best friend, Victoria Bennett. But despite attending summer camp at Louisa May Alcott’s historic Orchard House with Victoria and sharing dreams of becoming famous authors, Taylor struggles to fit in. As she enters college and begins dating, it feels like Taylor is finally finding her place and some stability . . . until Victoria’s betrayal changes everything.
While Louisa May Alcott is off traveling the world, Johanna Suhre accepts a job tending Louisa’s aging parents and their home in Concord. Soon after arriving at Orchard House, Johanna meets Nathan Bancroft and, ignoring Louisa’s words of caution, falls in love and accepts Nathan’s proposal. But before long, Johanna experiences her husband’s dark side, and she can’t hide the bruises that appear.
After receiving news of Lorraine Bennett’s cancer diagnosis, Taylor knows she must return home to see her adoptive mother again. Now a successful author, Taylor is determined to spend little time in Concord. Yet she becomes drawn into the story of a woman who lived there centuries before. And through her story, Taylor may just find forgiveness and a place to belong.
The premise sounds intriguing, great title and I love the cover design! Adding this book to my to-read list -Stephanie Hopkins
A beautifully crafted story breathes life into the cameo character from the classic novel A Tale of Two Cities.
France, 1788 It is the best of times . . .
On a tranquil farm nestled in the French countryside, two orphaned cousins—Renée and Laurette—have been raised under the caring guardianship of young Émile Gagnon, the last of a once-prosperous family. No longer starving girls, Laurette and Renée now spend days tending Gagnon’s sheep, and nights in their cozy loft, whispering secrets and dreams in this time of waning innocence and peace.
It is the worst of times . . .
Paris groans with a restlessness that can no longer be contained within its city streets. Hunger and hatred fuel her people. Violence seeps into the ornate halls of Versailles. Even Gagnon’s table in the quiet village of Mouton Blanc bears witness to the rumbles of rebellion, where Marcel Moreau embodies its voice and heart.
It is the story that has never been told.
In one night, the best and worst of fate collide. A chance encounter with a fashionable woman will bring Renée’s sewing skills to light and secure a place in the court of Queen Marie Antoinette. An act of reckless passion will throw Laurette into the arms of the increasingly militant Marcel. And Gagnon, steadfast in his faith in God and country, can only watch as those he loves march straight into the heart of the revolution.