Cover Crush: The Social Graces by Renee Rosen

The Social GracesPaperback, 400 pages
Expected publication: April 20th 2021 by Berkley

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.

Previous Cover Crush

A cover-crush-banner

Cover Crush: The Heiress: The Revelations of Anne de Bourgh by Molly Greeley

The HeiressThe 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!

-Stephanie Hopkins

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.

Previous Cover Crush

A cover-crush-banner

Cover Crush: Glory Road by Lauren K. Denton

Glory RoadThe 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.

Previous Cover Crush

A cover-crush-banner

 

Cover Crush: Girl in the Walls by A. J. Gnuse

Girl in the WallsThe 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?

Previous Cover Crush

A cover-crush-banner

Cover Crush: The Orchard House by Heidi Chiavaroli

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.

Stephanie Hopkins

***************

The Orchid HouseThe Orchard House

by Heidi Chiavaroli

Hardcover, 432 pages

Expected publication: February 9th 2021 by Tyndale House Publishers

Concord, Massachusetts

 

2001

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.

1865

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.

2019

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.

A cover-crush-banner

Cover Crush: The Seamstress by Allison Pittman

Cover Crush The Seamstress

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.

 

A cover-crush-banner

Collages & Master Boards

Last night I was making paper collages aka master boards for my mixed media projects and I was thinking of maybe making a book on my designs. Then I got to thinking that Amazon probably already has tons of books on collage designs. Haha! Sure enough, they do. Though I do think that some other art books I’ve blogged about has this subject. Gah, it’s one of those weeks.

While I have my own technique and style, I thought it would be fun to check out other designs and see what people are up too. So why not blog about them? Maybe they could help inspire someone wanting to get into collage making.

For those of you who are not familiar with master board, it is a term many mixed media artist use that is taking a larger piece and creating a collage-if you will-and cutting it down to different sizes to use in other art projects. At least I think that is what it means? Please correct me if I’m wrong. I only have heard the term recently.

The last few days I have been paper-crafting like crazy because I’ve spent so much time on my slow stitching, quilting and textile pieces, I ran out of paper collages for my journals, pouches, envelops and note cards. I forgot how addicting it can be. I love it! Alas, I need to get back to my quilting. Not complaining.

This evening I will share more of the paper collages I have been making via video on my Facebook Page. I can’t wait to show you those pieces. One of them I made over the weekend and blogged about yesterday, I cut it down to size and used in a really cool collage. It turned out fabulous! Some of the best work I’ve done in a long while. -Stephanie

***********

If You Can by Hollie ChastainIf You Can Cut, You Can Collage: From Paper Scraps to Works of Art by Hollie Chastain

If You Can Cut, You Can Collage is specially designed for people who feel like they can’t make art. Want to know a secret? You can! You just need a little inspiration, instruction, and confidence.

Collage is a wonderful creative outlet, particularly for people who want to make art, but don’t feel they have the skills or confidence for other endeavors. You can still explore and experiment with color, composition, and various themes and end up with exciting and often unexpected results.

If you Can Cut, You Can Collage takes some of the mystery out of collage through easy illustrated pages that show you the basic techniques of collecting and cutting imagery, composing and adhering compositions, and then provides a wealth of exercises that get readers going on their own creative projects.

We’ll get you started with simple, focused, projects like making a collage with only circles, where you’ll learn important concepts like how to create a focal point, how to use repetition successfully, how to achieve contrast, balance, symmetry, and more. You’ll be incorporating vintage ephemera, typography and lettering, and even urban and found materials in no time!

Paper Collage Chinese StylePaper Collage Chinese Style by Zhu Liqun Paper Arts Museum

This beautifully illustrated guide to Chinese paper collage art demonstrates the techniques and philosophy behind this creative and fun art form.

Paper collage art has a special charm. It can be as exquisite as oil painting or as freehand (xieyi) as ink wash painting. A paper collage art is a perfect mean to express humor and romance, demonstrate subjective perspectives and emotions, record special moments, and depict favorite scenes.

Collage Art teaches you how to pick up some magazines, newspaper, and color paper around you that are no longer needed and put your ideas onto a piece of paper.

You can create some decorations for your desk, bedroom, office, as well as some collage crafts for your friends on festivals and weddings. These collages not only present your unique style but also will also get lots of compliments!

The Collage Ideas BookThe Collage Ideas Book by Alannah Moore

Collage allows your creativity to run riot. It lets you juxtapose disparate elements, styles and media against each other and create something entirely novel, bizarre, arresting, beautiful, ironic or unsettling. Old and new can be fused together; digital and hand-produced can be combined. What you can create with collage knows no bounds.

Expertly curated with an eye to the fresh, the exciting collection of new collage ideas will inspire collage artists at every level, from those dipping a toe in the art form to experts.

Collage Imagery 2: A Collection of Photographic Images for Use in Personal Art by Catherine Anderson looks amazing as well!

Saturday Sunday: Mixed Media Textures

Adding Textures To Your Art Backgrounds/For Mixed Media Projects

Collages/Journaling/Canvas

Paris Pages I

 

This blog post is getting a late start today. Yesterday afternoon I had an accident and broke my little toe so badly I had to put it back in place. Alas, that delayed finishing my journaling pages I am blogging about today and writing this post.

Paris clothes shopAdding texture to your art projects is a lot easier than people may think and is so much fun to play with. There really is no wrong way of creating texture. You just have to experiment with what works. That is part of the fun. Today I am showing you three pages I created using several scraps from my mixed-media supply stash.

I am out of white gesso so I mixed in white acrylic paint with the clear gesso and it worked out great. That was my first layer of paint to cover the packaging I used as my pages.

Paris is a good ideaThen I started with my layers and paste for texture. Below is a complete list of the materials I used. It looks like a lot-yeah it is-but it is all from what I have on hand.

Using the coffee grounds and coffee for texture and staining was marvelous!

Two of the pages were a little dark to me so I took the baby wipes and rubbed it on the areas I wanted to lighten. I also used the baby wipes to blend the distress crayons.

The darker layers of two of the pages represents centuries of old building changing companies over time…

Paris signThese pages are my Paris Pages and I am thrilled with how they turned out! No, I have never been to Paris but it is on my bucket list and I love reading stories that take place in that city. Please excuse my blurry images. My camera has been giving me fits! I hope you enjoyed this post and if you have any questions about creating with textures, please feel free to ask me. -Stephanie

**********

Supplies Used:

White & Milky White Acrylic Paint

Clear Gesso

Mod Podge

Ranger Texture Paste

Tim Holtz Distress Crayons

Coffee-for staining

Coffee Grounds to mix with Texture Paste

Scraps of pattern paper

Artist Painting Brushes

Crafting Paint Pink Roller

Napkins for background

Baby Wipes-No harsh chemicals/Alcohol Free

Resistance Canvas Embellishments

Tim Holtz Brick Stencil Pattern

Printing paper for words

Envelope

Up-Cycled Packaging Cardboard

 

 

 

 

Cover Crush: Death of an American Beauty by Mariah Fredricks

Cover Crush banner

Y’all I just had to bring back the Cover Crush Series because I am a sucker for cover art! I am not a book cover designer but I can agree that cover layouts play an important role in the overall presentation of stories and I must admit, often times I first judge a book by its cover. This latest one just really popped out to me due to the colors and the Lady’s dress and hat I believe.  

Death of an American BeautySt. Martin’s Press/Pub Date 14 Apr 2020

 

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated by Erin at Historical Fiction Reader .

Other book bloggers who participated in the great cover crushes series. 

Magdalena at A Bookaholic Swede
Colleen at A Literary Vacation
Heather at The Maiden’s Court
Holly at 2 Kids and Tired