The Latest Reading Agenda

me III

Hi, everyone!

Its been a while since I last blogged on Layered Pages. I wanted to share with you some of the upcoming books I will be reading. I’ve already started, The Space Between. I’m reading this one for review through NetGalley. I’m behind as usual on my reviews. Hoping to knock them out by reading at least one or two of them a month. I know that doesn’t seem like a lot but I don’t want to feel overwhelmed. My next blog post will be about books a dear friend gave me and I am really excited about them and can’t wait to share. This year I am focusing on expanding on the topics/themes I don’t usually read about. Much love to you all. -Stephanie Hopkins

The Space Between IThe Space Between by Dete Meserve -NetGalley Review

The truth isn’t what it seems in this stirring novel of suspense.

After presenting a major scientific breakthrough to a rapt audience across the country, renowned astronomer Sarah Mayfield returns home to a disturbing discovery. Her husband, Ben, a Los Angeles restaurateur, has disappeared, leaving behind an unexplained bank deposit of a million dollars, a loaded Glock in the nightstand, and a video security system that’s been wiped clean. The only answers their son, Zack, can offer are the last words his father said to him: keep the doors locked and set the alarm.

Sarah’s marriage was more troubled than anyone suspected, but now she is afraid that her husband’s recent past could be darker than she dares to admit. Suspecting that nothing about Ben’s vanishing is what it seems, Sarah must delve into the space between old memories, newfound fears, and misleading clues to piece together the mystery of her husband’s disappearance—and find what she hopes in her heart is the truth.

The Lies We ToldThe Lies We Told by Camilla Way

The highly acclaimed author of Watching Edie returns with a new novel of dark psychological suspense that explores how those closest to us have the most to hide…

When Clara’s boyfriend, Luke, disappears, everyone believes that he’s left her, but Clara thinks she knows the truth. Recent evidence suggests that Luke had a stalker, and Clara worries that he’s been kidnapped. Then Luke’s older sister, Emily, who vanished twenty years ago, suddenly reappears.

Emily wants to help Clara with her search for Luke, but she refuses to talk about what happened–even though it nearly destroyed her family when she vanished. And the deeper Clara digs into Luke’s mysterious disappearance, the more convinced she is that the two incidents are connected.

Forgotten Bones by Vivian BarzForgotten Bones by Vivian Barz

An unlikely pair teams up to investigate a brutal murder in a haunting thriller that walks the line between reality and impossibility.

When small-town police officers discover the grave of a young boy, they’re quick to pin the crime on a convicted felon who lives nearby. But when it comes to murder, Officer Susan Marlan never trusts a simple explanation, so she’s just getting started.

Meanwhile, college professor Eric Evans hallucinates a young boy in overalls: a symptom of his schizophrenia—or so he thinks. But when more bodies turn up, Eric has more visions, and they mirror details of the murder case. As the investigation continues, the police stick with their original conclusion, but Susan’s instincts tell her something is off. The higher-ups keep stonewalling her, and the FBI’s closing in.

Desperate for answers, Susan goes rogue and turns to Eric for help. Together they take an unorthodox approach to the case as the evidence keeps getting stranger. With Eric’s hallucinations intensifying and the body count rising, can the pair separate truth from illusion long enough to catch a monster?

The Soul’s Code by James HillmanThe Soul’s Code by James Hillman

Plato and the Greeks called it “daimon,” the Romans “genius,” the Christians “guardian angel.” Today we use the terms heart, spirit, and soul. To James Hillman, the acknowledged intellectual source for Thomas Moore’s bestselling sensation Care of the Soul, it is the central and guiding force of his utterly compelling “acorn theory” in which each life is formed by a unique image, an image that is the essence of that life and calls it to a destiny, just as the mighty oak’s destiny is written in the tiny acorn.

In this new look at age-old themes, Hillman provides a radical, frequently amusing, and highly accessible path to realization through an extensive array of examples. He urges his readers to discover the “blueprints” particular to their own individual lives, certain that there is more to life than can be explained by genetics or environment. As he says, “We need a fresh way of looking at the importance of our lives.”

What The Soul’s Code offers is an inspirational, positive approach to life, a way of seeing, and a way of recovering what has been lost of our intrinsic selves.

 

A Basket Full Of Lemons

basket of lemon waterI’ve always heard that you should drink a glass of water with fresh lemon juice after going to a chiropractor or after getting a massage. It just occurred to me, then shouldn’t people drink water with lemon after working out at the gym? After all, you are breaking down your muscles fibers to build up again and the lemon water would flush out the toxins that was released in your body. Let’s get down to why I am really writing this post. I’m going to get really personal. Okay, maybe not completely but I will be using some words that are uncomfortable words for some people to say out loud or on social media where everyone can see for that matter. Since I was a wee lass-I’m not Scottish, I just like saying that-I’ve had UTI’s, Bladder Infections, Kidney Infections and among other physical problems. I’ve had somewhere in the ball park of 16 surgeries. Not all related to my bladder mind you. When I was four, I had bladder surgery. I won’t go into much detail about it thank you very much.  Throughout the years and especially in my adult years after having my daughter, I had UTI’s left and right. The doctors were constantly putting me on antibiotics. One thing that occurred to me was that they never talked about my diet or if there was a way to naturally avoid UTI’s, except not to take baths and don’t drink so much caffeine. Did that advice help me? No. It sure didn’t.

Last year I had a hysterectomy among a few other things they had to fix while in there.  Ten months leading up to the surgery, I had an ongoing UTI. NOTHING was helping and I was losing my mind. You can imagine the constant pain I was in. After a while, it messes with you emotional and mentally. At that point, I was so over doctors but thankful for the hysterectomy, I must admit. After the surgery, I still had an infection despite the antibiotics. I’m just going to give it to you straight, those drugs just don’t work on me anymore and I am limited to what I can take because I have a lot of allergies to drugs.

glass of lemon water

A few months after my surgery, I was seeing my Pelvic Floor Therapist and I was talking to her about some of my problems and she suggested drinking water with fresh lemon juice. I was confused by that at first because I thought it would be too acidic for me to drink. She said it wouldn’t be and that it would help restore my PH Balance as well. She also said it will help flush out toxins and bad bacteria out of my body. I was sitting there listening to her and not completely sold on the idea because if that was the case then why hadn’t all the doctors, I’ve seen told me this.

I was desperate so I was willing to give this a try. I went to the store a bought lemon and started drinking lemon water. I have to admit there were days I skipped because I wasn’t in the habit yet. Guess what? NO MORE UTI’S! I do still have bladder spasm however but that is because of something else and they are getting less and less.

Here are some other benefits I’m experiencing. Softer skin, my daily vitamin C, better digestion. Less muscle and joint pain. Praise God! Run do not walk to your kitchen a drink a large glass of fresh lemon water. Also, be sure to drink a glass first thing in the morning before consuming anything else. That is really important.

Also, recently I have changed my diet completely to a Whole Food Plant Based Diet. Watch “Forks Over Knives” on Netflix. It will change your life. Be sure to research further about the benefits of drinking lemon water. There are a ton of benefits!!

I do want to point out that I am not a doctor or nurse. Just someone who has been through a lot of medical issues and I want to help others find relief and comfort as I have. Be sure to discuss changing your diet with your doctors before doing so and don’t be afraid to speak up! You just might change someone’s life.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

 

Book Review: The Life She Was Given by Ellen Marie Wiseman

The Life She Was GivenOn a summer evening in 1931, Lilly Blackwood glimpses circus lights from the grimy window of her attic bedroom. Lilly isn’t allowed to explore the meadows around Blackwood Manor. She’s never even ventured beyond her narrow room. Momma insists it’s for Lilly’s own protection, that people would be afraid if they saw her. But on this unforgettable night, Lilly is taken outside for the first time–and sold to the circus sideshow.

More than two decades later, nineteen-year-old Julia Blackwood has inherited her parents’ estate and horse farm. For Julia, home was an unhappy place full of strict rules and forbidden rooms, and she hopes that returning might erase those painful memories. Instead, she becomes immersed in a mystery involving a hidden attic room and photos of circus scenes featuring a striking young girl.

At first, The Barlow Brothers’ Circus is just another prison for Lilly. But in this rag-tag, sometimes brutal world, Lilly discovers strength, friendship, and a rare affinity for animals. Soon, thanks to elephants Pepper and JoJo and their handler, Cole, Lilly is no longer a sideshow spectacle but the circus’s biggest attraction. . .until tragedy and cruelty collide. It will fall to Julia to learn the truth about Lilly’s fate and her family’s shocking betrayal, and find a way to make Blackwood Manor into a place of healing at last.

My thoughts:

If I remember correctly in the last few years I have read a total-including this one-three book that include a circus setting. These stories capture my attention for many reasons. Especially when the story takes place during the depression era in the early 20th Century. The Life She Was Given has a uniqueness to the story unlike the others I have read before it. It should be obvious what it is by reading the book description.

Normally, when I read stories this good, I devour it in a couple of days but I decided to savory this one. During the 1930’s and into the 40’s, the circus struggled to stay open due to the depression. Often times they had to make tough choices and this story shows some of that.  Often times they were cruel, heartbreaking and unnecessary decisions. I have to say that ignorance plays a big part in the decisions. Another theme in this story was the “freak Show,” and how these extraordinary people were treated. There are several other themes to this story that moved me and really portrays how cruel life can be. We all have many things to learn from this story and I highly recommend people read this book.

Wiseman’s ardent portrayal of an era, subject and setting, sets the stage for an unforgettable read.

I have rated this book five stars.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

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