Down A Rabbit Hole I Go

A Novel/History/Art

The last few days has been really interesting and sometimes I think I bite off more than I can chew when it comes to history the details. Thank goodness I take notes and file them away for reference! Let’s begin with this past weekend. One of the books I’m currently reading is, “Temple” by Matthew Reilly and there are a lot of interesting history involved.

Now let’s skip forward to Monday. My particular interest in American History is the 19th Century though often times more than not, it takes me further back. I started to think about the colonies and how they formed. William Penn came to mind for some reason. Those thoughts were a bit scattered and I posted about it on Facebook. I’m conflicted on a few of the content about him and have quite a few questions. Penn was an interesting man and I’m hoping to discover more to have with you all in a future post.

Tuesday as I was thinking about the book, “Temple,” later on that day a YouTube Video came up on my feed titled, “America Unearthed: Ancient Mayans Secrets in Georgia.”Now isn’t that interesting! I watched half of the documentary and hoping to finish the rest soon I highly recommend looking at the video and into the history.

Abstract EditedYesterday I spent the day with work, reading, organizing my craft area-it’s gets messy real fast-and cleaning out some stuff in the basement. I’m been on a cleaning frenzy of late and it has been a real eye opener on fast things get piled up! I hope you all are having a good week and I want to share one more thing before I go. Recently I made an abstract with acrylic paint and I pinned it to a velvet board and placed it in a wood shadow box. It looks great in the shadow box but was unable to get a decent picture of it without the reflection from the glass.

Stephanie Hopkins

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

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

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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.

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Cover Crush: The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue

The Pull of the StarsThe background and the image of the pocket watch grabbed my attention. I love textures and the depth it gives the cover.  The premise looks pretty intense and with themes that hit close to home during this time but its important to read about history, humanity and survival.

-Stephanie Hopkins

The Pull of the Stars

by Emma Donoghue

Little, Brown and Company

Historical Fiction | Literary Fiction

Pub Date 21 Jul 2020

Description

Dublin, 1918: three days in a maternity ward at the height of the Great Flu. A small world of work, risk, death, and unlooked-for love, by the bestselling author of The Wonder and ROOM

In an Ireland doubly ravaged by war and disease, Nurse Julia Power works at an understaffed hospital in the city center, where expectant mothers who have come down with the terrible new Flu are quarantined together. Into Julia’s regimented world step two outsiders — Doctor Kathleen Lynn, a rumoured Rebel on the run from the police, and a young volunteer helper, Bridie Sweeney.

In the darkness and intensity of this tiny ward, over three days, these women change each other’s lives in unexpected ways. They lose patients to this baffling pandemic, but they also shepherd new life into a fearful world. With tireless tenderness and humanity, carers and mothers alike somehow do their impossible work.

In the Pull of the Stars, Emma Donoghue once again finds the light in the darkness in this new classic of hope and survival against all odds.

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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.

 

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Novels on the LP Radar

The Preserve

I hope everyone had a great weekend! Today I’m sharing three novels that are on my radar and will be watching closely. I’m extremely interested in the premises and loving the covers!

The Preserve by Ariel S. Winter

Atria Books

Mystery & Thrillers

Pub Date 03 Nov 2020

Description

The critically acclaimed author of the “bold, innovating, and thrilling” (Stephen King) novel The Twenty-Year Death and the “brilliant” (Booklist, starred review) novel Barren Cove returns with a dark and compelling mystery set in the near future.

Decimated by plague, the human population is now a minority. Robots—complex AIs almost indistinguishable from humans—are the ruling majority. Nine months ago, in a controversial move, the robot government opened a series of preserves, designated areas where humans can choose to live without robot interference. Now the preserves face their first challenge: someone has been murdered.

Chief of Police Jesse Laughton on the SoCar Preserve is assigned to the case. He fears the factions that were opposed to the preserves will use the crime as evidence that the new system does not work. As he digs for information, robots in the outside world start turning up dead from bad drug-like programs that may have originated on SoCar land. And when Laughton learns his murder victim was a hacker who wrote drug-programs, it appears that the two cases might be linked. Soon, it’s clear that the entire preserve system is in danger of collapsing. Laughton’s former partner, a robot named Kir, arrives to assist on the case, and they soon uncover shocking secrets revealing that life on the preserve is not as peaceful as its human residents’ claim. But in order to protect humanity’s new way of life, Laughton must solve this murder before it’s too late.

The Preserve is a fresh and futuristic mystery that is perfect for fans of Westworld and Blade Runner.

Someone Like You

I absolutely LOVE this cover and thought about using it for my cover crush series. Isn’t it stunning and so fitting for the premise. I give the cover a five star rating!

Someone Like You by Karen Kingsbury

Atria Books

Pub Date 05 May 2020

Description

Science raises questions only love can answer in this moving and thought-provoking novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of “heart-tugging and emotional” (Romantic Times Book Reviews) life-changing fiction.

One frozen embryo. Two families with life-long secrets. And a guy who never planned to fall in love again.

Maddie Baxter West is shaken to the core when she finds out everything she believed about her life was a lie. Her parents had always planned to tell her the truth about her past: that she was adopted as an embryo. But somehow the right moment never happened. Then a total stranger confronts Maddie with the truth and tells her something else that rocks her world—Maddie had a sister she never knew about. Betrayed, angry, and confused, Maddie leaves her new job and fiancé, rejects her family’s requests for forgiveness, and moves to Portland to find out who she really is.

Dawson Gage’s life was destroyed when London Quinn, his best friend and the only girl he ever loved, is killed. In the hospital waiting room, London’s mother reveals that London might have had a sibling. The frozen embryo she and her husband donated decades ago. When Dawson finds Maddie and brings her to Portland, the Quinns—her biological parents—welcome her into their lives and hearts. Maddie is comforted by the Quinns’ love and intrigued by their memories of London, who was so much like her. Is this the family and the life she was really meant to have?

Now it will take the love of Dawson Gage to help Maddie know who she is…and to help her find her way home.

The Templars

I never get tired reading about this history! Should be interesting. -Stephanie Hopkins

The Templars

The Legend and Legacy of the Warriors of God

by Geordie Torr

Arcturus Publishing

History

Pub Date 03 Apr 2020

Description

Shrouded in myth and conspiracy, the history of the Knights Templar is little understood. Geordie Torr pulls fact from fiction, revealing the astonishing tale of this military-religious order that dominated the politics of the medieval Middle East.

Initially created to protect Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land in the wake of the First Crusade, the Templars soon became an institution of incredible power, possessing wealth and influence throughout the courts of Europe. Yet just two centuries later they dramatically fell as its members were accused of heresy and burned at the stake.

Set against the dramatic backdrop of the wars between Christians and Muslims, this illustrated book brings to life the legacy of this secretive order and the characters who defined the era.

 

Happy Mail Haul

I am thrilled to be sharing a happy mail haul with you all! A dear friend and fellow papercrafter of mine sent me goodies to create with! I could barely contain my excitement when her package arrived this past Saturday, knowing it was going to be filled with so many fantastic materials to work with. So much in fact, I starting using them that very day.

Below are pictures of some of the mixed media projects I put together. She sent me some adhesive measuring tape and washi tape that I absolutely adore. Those were the first to be used and then I used a speckled button and a metal vintage style key.

 

I create a lot of tags and ATC’s because you can use them for all sorts of mixed media projects. On another note, I’m a history enthusiast and that includes art history. People say Artists Trading Cards started in the late 20th Century but in fact they go much further back than that. I will be blogging about that one day soon.

One can get really creative without having to break the bank from buying craft and art supplies. Most of the items she sent me are thrifted and from things she had been collecting. The materials I used from my own stash are mostly scraps and cut outs from bigger images. The floral arrangement on the Happy Easter Tag is from a Hallmark card bought at the Dollar Tree.

Be sure to check out my friend’s website HERE! 

I hope everyone is having a safe week! Be well and God bless.

Stephanie

(Images may be 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.)

Journaling Life: Finding Your Inspiration

A special dedication to fellow blogger Lisl. A friend whose mutual love and passion for journaling, the classics, vintage, and the deep understanding for upcycling and the simple things in life.

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“Jo’s eyes sparkled, for it’s always pleasant to be believed in, and a friend’s praise is always sweeter than a dozen newspaper puffs.”-Louisa May Alcott

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Lisls stashRecently I sent Lisl a package of mixed media goodness to help her grow her stash for her journey in making lasting memories. It wasn’t long ago that we discovered we both had a love for journaling. A connection that we weren’t aware of having known each other for years! To both of our delight, we found our kindred spirit hearts and so began our joy in sharing each other’s journey.

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“Have regular hours for work and play; make each day both useful and pleasant, and prove that you understand the worth of time by employing it well. Then youth will bring few regrets, and life will become a beautiful success.”- Louisa May Alcott

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Little Women bookLisl asked me if I had ever watched Little Women or had seen the movie. I had on both scores and matter of fact, I read the book as a child and had seen the original adaptation several times growing up. If I remember correctly, it was more a favorite of my sisters’ than mine but nonetheless, I have fond thoughts of the story. My daughter has recently discovered Little Women by seeing the new movie and loves the story!

This past weekend, I was talking to Lisl about my dismay in people dismantling vintage books to make their junk journals.  Her personal sentiments are the same as mine and she told me about a scene in the new Little Women movie where Jo’s book is being printed and it shows the old process of book making. That scene in itself explains so much of why I can’t bring myself to dismantle a perfectly intact vintage book. I hope you take the time to watch the scene HERE.

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“Jo had learned that hearts, like flowers, cannot be rudely handled, but must open naturally.”- Louisa May Alcott

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I hope you please take the time to read Lisl’s beautiful and heartfelt piece about Journaling Life: Little Women Edition.

We hope our love for the old arts and the simpler things in life extends to you, our dear readers.  Many Blessing to you and yours. -Stephanie

 

 

Saturday Sunday: Recording Family History

Family Jouranl

Last night I started a new junk journal and worked on two pages dedicated to my Father’s Castilian Aunt Nita. She was a dancer and she passed away many years ago. I took the original photo and scanned it to photo shop and printed the photo from there. The Original photo will go into a separate family album.  I have always been drawn to this photo and her pose. I wish I had known her because as my father and I were discussing her, I could tell by his voice that she was an extraordinary woman.

I made a brief video on a painting technique I did on the pages. I hope you check it out. I posted it on my Layered Pages Facebook Page HERE. When I get a tripod for my phone, I will be able to film step by step the techniques I use. When painting on book pages, you need to glue at least three pages together to add the thickness for the paint and other mediums you apply. There are several layers involved and your pages need to be strong. This journal has three signatures and I will have ten or twelve pages per signature. That is all you really want to have because of the thickness that your pages will be once completed. When you tear out pages be sure to reuse them in your journal. Any left overs will be great to up-cycle for other projects. There are a couple other art projects I worked on this week that I was going to show more of  today and discuss how I made them and the end result of the work, but I think I will blog about that next week. If you have any questions on how to start a junk journal, please don’t hesitate to ask me. There are so many ways and I would be delighted to help you find what works best for you. You don’t need any fancy materials to do so. You’ll be amazed what you can use around your home to make all sorts of mixed media projects and journals. I hope you all have a blessed weekend and see you on Monday. -Stephanie

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(Images may be 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.)

 

 

A History Glance Of The First Valentine’s

Valentines 9

In America before the mid 1800’s Valentine’s Cards were handmade including real lace, ribbons and what-not. If you do a little research, you’ll find all sorts of stunning handmade vintage cards online. Maybe you even have one passed down to you.

Then the whole mass production of card making by machines came about towards the end of the 19th century and they arrive in abundance to retail stores making Valentine’s Day- most likely- the biggest card selling day of the year.

Lets back track a little to an earlier time in history. Valentine’s Day goes way back to even the Roman times, but who knows, maybe even earlier.

Valentines 8

Did you know that British Library in London houses the oldest known to us humans, surviving Valentines? From what I learned it is a poem composed in French in 1415 by Charles Duke of Orleans to his wife, which he sent while imprisoned in the Tower of London. Wow, now that is some Valentine’s card! Can you imagine? Then again, it is said that Saint Valentine himself actually sent the first valentine so who really knows. The important thing to remember is that the tradition of expressing one’s special greetings and love is a really old affair.

Let’s get back to card making, shall we? This year I decided I wanted to make a few Valentine Cards with the focus of personalizing each one and blending my style with what I know each persons’ interest. What fun that was and I want to encourage people to consider making your Valentine’s to love ones and friends. They are much more appreciated and from the heart. They also carry on the traditions of the old arts and give you a sense of calmness and a moment of slowing down in this fast-paced world we live in. Happy Valentine’s Day! -Stephanie

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“No copyright on images infringement is intended” Used for blogging about history purpose only.

(Images may be 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.)

 

Advance Readers Copy Approved!

I’m seeing quite a few of particular hues in book covers this year. I love it and St. Martin Press and NetGalley approved me for an ARC (Advance Reader Copy) of The Jane Austen Society!! I am thrilled to no need! I will be starting with this one right after I finish Finding Dora Maar.

I’ve also acquired an ARC of The Indigo Ghosts by Alys Clare by NetGalley and Severn House Publishers. The premise sounds fantastic! Check it out below and let me know what you think. I adore both covers!

I have been in a reading/reviewing slump for a while and these new ARC’s will really help, I think. I am so thankful for the publishers’ for not giving up on me! I hope you all are having a wonderful week and happy reading! -Stephanie

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The Jane Austen SocietyThe Jane Austen Society
by Natalie Jenner
St. Martin’s Press
General Fiction (Adult), Historical Fiction
Pub Date 26 May 2020
Description

“Fans of The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society will adore The Jane Austen Society… A charming and memorable debut, which reminds us of the universal language of literature and the power of books to unite and heal.” —Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Girls of Paris
Just after the Second World War, in the small English village of Chawton, an unusual but like-minded group of people band together to attempt something remarkable.
One hundred and fifty years ago, Chawton was the final home of Jane Austen, one of England’s finest novelists. Now it’s home to a few distant relatives and their diminishing estate. With the last bit of Austen’s legacy threatened, a group of disparate individuals come together to preserve both Jane Austen’s home and her legacy. These people—a laborer, a young widow, the local doctor, and a movie star, among others—could not be more different and yet they are united in their love for the works and words of Austen. As each of them endures their own quiet struggle with loss and trauma, some from the recent war, others from more distant tragedies, they rally together to create the Jane Austen Society.
A powerful and moving novel that explores the tragedies and triumphs of life, both large and small, and the universal humanity in us all, The Jane Austen Society is destined to resonate with readers for years to come.

The Indigo GhostsThe Indigo Ghosts

by Alys Clare

Severn House Publishers

Historical Fiction, Mystery & Thrillers

Pub Date 02 Jun 2020

Description

In this gripping forensic mystery set in Stuart England, Gabriel Taverner uncovers a series of shocking secrets when he’s summoned by his former naval captain to investigate strange goings-on aboard his ship.

October, 1604. Former ship’s surgeon turned country physician Gabriel Taverner is surprised to receive an urgent summons from his old naval captain. Now docked in Plymouth harbour, having recently returned from the Caribbean, Captain Colt believes his ship is haunted by an evil spirit, and has asked Gabriel to investigate.

Dismissive of the crew’s wild talk of mysterious blue-skinned ghosts, Gabriel is convinced there must be a rational explanation behind the mass hallucinations. But matters take a disturbing turn when he and the captain discover a body hidden behind one of the bulkheads. Calling on the help of his old friend, Coroner Theophilus Davey, piece by piece Gabriel uncovers a terrifying tale of treachery, dark magic, unimaginable cruelty – and cold-blooded murder.