About the Cover: I discovered this book on Instagram and the title and cover drew me in with fascination. There is a song with that title by The Marshall Tucker Band. Highly recommend listening to it. The song has great lyrics and instrumental poetry…
The book cover showcases wonderful imagery. There are many mixed media artists who take faces and create florals above and around the heads and the affect expands on visual attention. I love the choice of colors as well and when a cover and title sparks this much interest, it makes one even more curious about what is inside.
About the Book: I have a feeling if I read this book, I would be in tears throughout the story. Or maybe I’m clinging to that old feeling for way too long and could handle the premise. Despite my mixed emotions, I’m curious about how this story is told and what the author offers in the conclusion. -Stephanie Hopkins
Side Note: I’m moving my cover crush series to Wednesday’s!
From Tracey Garvis Graves, the bestselling author of The Girl He Used to Know comes a love song of a story about starting over and second chances in Heard It in a Love Song.
Love doesn’t always wait until you’re ready.
Layla Hilding is thirty-five and recently divorced. Struggling to break free from the past―her glory days as the lead singer in a band and a ten-year marriage to a man who never put her first―Layla’s newly found independence feels a lot like loneliness.
Then there’s Josh, the single dad whose daughter attends the elementary school where Layla teaches music. Recently separated, he’s still processing the end of his twenty-year marriage to his high school sweetheart. He chats with Layla every morning at school and finds himself thinking about her more and more.
Equally cautious and confused about dating in a world that favors apps over meeting organically, Layla and Josh decide to be friends with the potential for something more. Sounds sensible and way too simple―but when two people are on the rebound, is it heartbreak or happiness that’s a love song away?
A few days ago, I was chatting with my good friend Lisl on the phone and she was talking about creating a blog post of her favorite things. Hello! Stop the presses! What fun! May I join? She is brilliant and our ideas turn into great conversations. Once we utter our silly and often times crazy greetings, before we know it, hours have gone by and we have gone down many rabbit holes. No joke. At some point, we usually start putting our heads together to come up with new blog topics and series. This blog topic, of favorite things, we decided on a few entertaining questions to answer.
After going through and answering these questions, I thought to myself that I would like to dig deeper into this topic. Or do I? It could be a scary place to venture. Kidding! Though I’m still pondering that it could possibly get really complex.
In Lisl’s post, she mentioned, about these things related to the lock-down many are experiencing globally and trying to find our happy place. Or how we can get to know each other more as individuals. I’ve heard many people around the world talk about how they found themselves through these troubling times and they’ve learned they have interests and talents; they otherwise would have probably never realized.
Be forewarned, some of my favorite things are subject to change at a moments notice. I have a tendency, on occasion, to be indecisive. Or is is because I love so many things? Let’s get into this, shall we?
Favorite lunchbox snack? Sugar, of course!
The chocolate variety. Possibly with peanut butter added to the mix. I don’t think I could survive without chocolate.
Favorite game to play outside? Bocce Ball
Love playing this game outdoors with family and friends! It has been far too long since the last time. It is one outdoor game I’m actually good at.
Fun fact: Did you know that Bocce’s origins date back to 5000 BC?
Favorite fairy tale: The Princess and the Pea
Don’t ask me why?
Favorite childhood memory? There are so many but going to the beach often was the best. Immensely grateful for growing up near the ocean. I’m always longing for the beach and try to go as much as possible.
Favorite nursery rhyme? Row, Row, Row Your Boat
Probably because it involves a boat and water.
Favorite bird: Chickadee
They’re so cute and tiny!
Favorite color(s) rose? Red or White
I’m a hopeless romantic. Swoon.
Some of you history lovers may be thinking of the Tudor rose. I dare say, I could be as well.
Favorite sea creature? Does Starfish count?
They are referred to as sea stars. How cool is that!?
Favorite thing about a rainy day? Listening to the sound of rain against the windows and rooftop. There is something calming about the sound of rain fall. Great time for reflection or to gather your pillows and comfy blankets to curl of with a book(s).
Often times when I’m writing or reading, I will listen to a rain app if it’s not raining outside.
Favorite dinosaur? Velociraptor
I know, that sounds vicious and dark. But I have a perfectly good reason why they are my favorite. Honest. Might write about it in another blog post.
Favorite fictional place you’d want to visit?
Middle Earth in Lord of the Rings.
Oh, for so many reasons. Narnia comes in second or sometimes first.
Favorite road to drive on?
There are so many wonderful roads in my State. Choose one?
Goodness, that is simply impossible. I would have to say the back roads to Dahlonega from the Ball Ground area are a treasure. This is ridiculous because I really can’t choose a particular road in North Georgia. Also, the roads in the Blue Ridge Mountains are spectacular. One doesn’t mind getting lost driving along those back roads. Watch out for Dear and other wild animals, such as, Squirrels! I swear, they seem to have a death wish.
Favorite things about America? Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Freedom of expression, individualism, opportunity, diverse cultures and freedom to live by your faith in God.
Favorite 80’s song? Oh, heavens. There are a lot of 80’s favorites! I have to choose just one? What is the fun in that?
U2: With or Without You
Or Free Fallin by Tom Petty. Hmm…Okay, lets go with, With or Without You. Sigh. Not a fair question at all.
Favorite music genre(s)? I have several favorite music genres, depending on my mood. For everyday purposes: Classical music and 90’s Alternative.
Favorite American Classic movie? Picking just one classic movie is like asking someone to pick just one favorite book or one favorite song. Impossible!
All About Eve, comes to mind. I never get tired of watching that one. It’s brilliant and the cast of characters…swoon. The film came out in 1950 and, and, and Betty Davis and Anna Baxter co-stars in it! Love!
BUT, if I had to choose a favorite film period, it would be the 1940’s. Oh, for so many reasons. I think this causes for a blog post about the film industry in the 1940’s. Yes, I think I will.
Favorite Leonardo DiCaprio movie? How can I even…
If I had to choose the best acting, he performed in a movie, it would have to be, Shutter Island. I think. I’m torn. Because of his acting in, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? and a couple of others. Hmm…
Perhaps, many of you will disagree with me on this one. I would probably would disagree with myself too.
Favorite Harry Potter movie? Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (set in 1992-93)
Favorite celebrity? Ryan Reynolds Swoon. Fanning myself over here. I know you must be thinking, really Stephanie? I can’t help it. .
I’m a mixed media artist and I appreciate the essence of crafting as a whole. My Main go-to craft is collage because of its form and I use it quite often in my journals and ephemera making. I’m also an abstract painter and my current focus is creating new paintings and exploring different techniques. Truly, I can’t answer this question by naming one form of craft. Surely many will understand this.
Favorite thing to cook?
Favorite comfort food?
Most foods that are related to pie or stews.
Favorite Asian dish?
Crispy Honey Chicken with Fried Rice though I try real hard to stick to a plant based diet. Alas, I’m failing miserably right now. Though I’m totally blameless, of course.
Favorite ice cream flavor? Rocky Road
Favorite season? Autumn
Favorite holiday? Christmas
Foreign country: Scotland. I’ve never been and one day I will journey there. Might blog about this more.
Favorite TV show: Currently, Miss Scarlet and the Duke. Oh, and Sanditon.
Period shows and movies are my favorite.
I will say I long for more period shows that takes place in America. That I can tolerate and not cringe at every inaccuracy. Don’t think me a snob. I’m a history enthusiast, particular and I can not abide certain liberties concerning real-life events, social norms, objects not of the period, manner of dress and people. History is interesting enough without it being distorted. Though do not mistaken that I’m not aware when it comes to historical, there are allowances for artistic license-if you will. There are so many ways to look at this topic. Maybe we shall another time.
Instrument: Always, Classical Piano. I keep having this strange feeling I might have said something else once?
One of my favorites played on the piano, “Moonlight Sonata” by Beethoven.
Bach/Gonoud – Ave Maria is another great one! Okay, there are a lot of classical favorites played on the piano.
Have you listened to, Chopin – Preludes, Op. 28: No. 15 “Raindrop”? A must!
I seem to be doing a lot of swooning lately. Have you noticed?
Way to Relax: Reading, crafting, sewing and long walks in the woods.
This was so much fun! What are your favorite things? -Stephanie Hopkins
Expected publication: April 13th 2021 by Lake Union Publishing
Caroline Grant is struggling to accept the end of her marriage when she receives an unexpected bequest. Her beloved great-aunt Lettie leaves her a sketchbook, three keys, and a final whisper…Venice. Caroline’s quest: to scatter Juliet “Lettie” Browning’s ashes in the city she loved and to unlock the mysteries stored away for more than sixty years.
It’s 1938 when art teacher Juliet Browning arrives in romantic Venice. For her students, it’s a wealth of history, art, and beauty. For Juliet, it’s poignant memories and a chance to reconnect with Leonardo Da Rossi, the man she loves whose future is already determined by his noble family. However star-crossed, nothing can come between them. Until the threat of war closes in on Venice and they’re forced to fight, survive, and protect a secret that will bind them forever.
Key by key, Lettie’s life of impossible love, loss, and courage unfolds. It’s one that Caroline can now make right again as her own journey of self-discovery begins.
When we hear of Venice, we think of, art, music, festivals, food, religion, beautiful architecture and the Grand Canal. In the late 1930’s there was a war looming but many of the people of Venice thought surely with their rich culture, and Mussolini’s pact with Germany, they wouldn’t be affected
Juliet “Lettie” Browning, an English woman, is a woman of strength and courage. The life she experienced and saw during her stay in Venice were during uncertain times. Her will to behave uprightly puts her in many dangers but her resilience is an example to us all. I will say at times I felt that she might be too perfect to be true but those thoughts didn’t take away my admiration of kindness towards others.
I enjoyed reading about the people Juliet met and formed relationships with in Venice. They are such extraordinary people in their own unique ways, you begin to feel kinship to them. The author’s character development is superb.
As an artist I appreciate the author’s focus on much of the arts in Venice. Reading about the people’s love and their understanding and importance of art brought richness to the story. There was a scene where Juliet was taking an art class and her professor, in so many words, talked about forgetting everything she learned and turn the objects, she was drawing, into one design. Bravo!
With dual time-lines, Caroline’s story intertwines perfectly with Juliet’s and find yourself fully immersed in their lives. I know this may sound like a cliché but I truly did not want the story to end. In fact, there are several character’s in the book that I would love to read more about their back story.
There were previous comments from me stating that I was burned out on Word War II stories but when I saw this one, I knew that I had to read it. Bowen does a marvelous undertaking in portraying the Venice culture and spirit of the people. I was not disappointed one bit and I highly recommend this story.
I’ve rated this book five stars and obtained a galley copy from the publishers through NetGalley. My opinions and thoughts of the story are my own.