Cover Crush: A Saint from Texas by Edmund White

Cover: I like the simplicity of this book cover and the sketch-like drawing of the image. Cover layouts doesn’t always have be heavy-if you will- or bright with contrast to make a statement.

Premise: Two sisters from humble beginnings and decades of life changing experiences and what they make of it sounds intriguing.

Stephanie Hopkins

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A Saint from TexasA Saint from Texas

by Edmund White

Bloomsbury Publishing

Pub Date 04 Aug 2020

Description

From Edmund White, a bold and sweeping new novel that traces the extraordinary fates of twin sisters, one destined for Parisian nobility and the other for Catholic sainthood.

Yvette and Yvonne Crawford are twin sisters, born on a humble patch of East Texas prairie but bound for far more dramatic and tragic fates. Just as an untold fortune of oil lies beneath their daddy’s land, both girls harbor their own secrets and dreams-ones that will carry them far from Texas and from each other. As the decades unfold, Yvonne will ascend the highest ranks of Parisian society as Yvette gives herself to a lifetime of worship and service in the streets of Jericó, Colombia. And yet, even as they remake themselves in their radically different lives, the twins find that the bonds of family and the past are unbreakable.

Spanning the 1950s to the recent past, Edmund White’s marvelous novel serves up an immensely pleasurable epic of two Texas women as their lives traverse varied worlds: the swaggering opulence of the Dallas nouveau riche, the airless pretension of the Paris gratin, and the strict piety of a Colombian convent. For nearly half a century, Edmund White’s work has revitalized American literature, blithely breaking down boundaries of class and sexuality, and A Saint From Texas is one of his most joyous, gorgeously written, and piercing works to date.

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(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.)

 

 

Reviving the Hawthorn Sisters by Emily Carpenter

Last week I started reading the (ARC) book below and so far I’m really enjoying the premise. Emily Carpenter is among my favorite Southern Writers. Her characters are electric and this story has the Pastoral Gothic feel of the rural areas of Alabama. Carpenter also portrays that the south holds tight to their traditions. I feel it is weaved through the story marvelously from what I’ve read so far.

I’m taking my time with this story and look forward to writing my review and sharing it with you all. -Stephanie Hopkins

Reviving the Hawthorn SistersLake Union Publishing

Pub Date 20 Oct 2020

Description

The bestselling author of Burying the Honeysuckle Girls returns to uncover a faith healer’s elusive and haunted past.

Dove Jarrod was a renowned evangelist and faith healer. Only her granddaughter, Eve Candler, knows that Dove was a con artist. In the eight years since Dove’s death, Eve has maintained Dove’s charitable foundation—and her lies. But just as a documentary team wraps up a shoot about the miracle worker, Eve is assaulted by a vengeful stranger intent on exposing what could be Dove’s darkest secret: murder…

Tuscaloosa, 1934: a wily young orphan escapes the psychiatric hospital where she was born. When she joins the itinerant inspirational duo the Hawthorn Sisters, the road ahead is one of stirring new possibilities. And with an obsessive predator on her trail, one of untold dangers. For a young girl to survive, desperate choices must be made.

Now, to protect her family, Eve will join forces with the investigative filmmaker and one of Dove’s friends, risking everything to unravel the truth behind the accusations against her grandmother. But will the truth set her free or set her world on fire?

Ephemera & Mixed Media

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! The past two days, I created a few art pieces, made two journal pages and chilled out with shows on the tube. I may have enough ephemera and embellishments to last me several journals at this point but I can’t stop making them!

I used watercolors and watercolor paper for these backgrounds. After the paint dried, I used Tim Holtz Inks to create my image with Clear Stamps. The stamps are from various craft supply companies. There are a few here that I will need to fussy cut but it shouldn’t be a problem. I’m really pleased with how they came out. Do you prepare your Ephemera ahead of time? What are some of the techniques you use? There are so many different ways in creating them.

These two pieces come from a larger Master Board I painted on Saturday using a watercolor paper and acrylic paint I’m keeping the remaining pieces for future projects.

This piece came from a master board I created last week. Some of you might remember that project.

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Additional pieces I made.

Here are two books that I recently acquired that I’m hoping to get to soon. Can’t wait!

Be sure to check out my friend and fellow blogger’s post about Journaling Life: Anatomy of a Journal Entry!  -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.)

 

Sons of Blackbird Mountain (Blackbird Mountain #1) by Joanne Bischof

I started this story last night and so far so good! -Stephanie

Sons of Blackbird MountainAfter the tragic death of her husband, Aven Norgaard is beckoned to give up her life in Norway to become a housekeeper in the rugged hills of nineteenth-century Appalachia. Upon arrival, she finds herself in the home of her late husband’s cousins—three brothers who make a living by brewing hard cider on their three-hundred-acre farm. Yet even as a stranger in a foreign land, Aven has hope to build a new life in this tight-knit family.

But her unassuming beauty disrupts the bond between the brothers. The youngest two both desire her hand, and Aven is caught in the middle, unsure where—and whether—to offer her affection. While Haakon is bold and passionate, it is Thor who casts the greatest spell upon her. Though Deaf, mute, and dependent on hard drink to cope with his silent pain, Thor possesses a sobering strength.

As autumn ushers in the apple harvest, the rift between Thor and Haakon deepens and Aven faces a choice that risks hearts. Will two brothers’ longing for her quiet spirit tear apart a family? Can she find a tender belonging in this remote, rugged, and unfamiliar place?

A haunting tale of struggle and redemption, Sons of Blackbird Mountain is a portrait of grace in a world where the broken may find new life through the healing mercy of love.

Cover Crush: Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy

My thoughts on the cover and my overall impression about my first glimpse of the story description: 

MigrationsMigrations by Charlotte McConaghy

Flatiron Books|Pub Date 04 Aug 2020 

Cover: Sometimes a little is a lot and this cover portrays that in the simplicity of the design yet holds meaning of a story. I love the hues chosen and the flight of birds. with the landscape background blended on the lady, one feels the destination the book description speaks of. 

Premise: I believe this story will appeal to a wide audience and one many might relate to. I look forward to reading this book and thank you to Netgalley for a copy. -Stephanie 

About the Book:

Franny Stone has always been a wanderer. By following the ocean’s tides and the birds that soar above, she can forget the losses that have haunted her life. But when the wild she loves begins to disappear; Franny can no longer wander without a destination. She arrives in remote Greenland with one purpose: to find the world’s last flock of Arctic terns and follow them on their final migration. She convinces Ennis Malone, captain of the Saghani, to take her on-board, winning over his eccentric crew with promises that the birds she is tracking will lead them to fish.

As the Saghani fights its way south, Franny’s new shipmates begin to realize that she is full of dark secrets: night terrors, an unsent pile of letters, and an obsession with pursuing the terns at any cost. When the story of her past begins to unspool, Ennis and his crew must ask themselves what Franny is really running toward—and running from.

Propelled by a narrator as fierce and fragile as the terns she is following, Migrations is both an ode to our threatened world and a breathtaking page-turner about the lengths we will go for the people we love.

The Previous week Cover Crush

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

(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.)

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Cover Crush: Ikebana Unbound by Amanda Luu

My thoughts on the cover and my overall impression about my first glimpse of the story description: 

Ikebana UnboundIkebana Unbound

A Modern Approach to the Ancient Japanese Art of Flower Arranging

by Amanda Luu; Ivanka Matsuba

Artisan Books

Crafts & Hobbies

Pub Date 28 Apr 2020

Cover: The image of the flower arrangement on the cover tells a story. That is what captured my attention. This cover is a piece of art in itself. Absolutely beautiful.

Premise: For those who are new to Ikebana, it is the art of Japanese flower arranging. The arrangement if the flowers even the vase is very specific. Flowers hold meanings and Ikebana portrays that in the most beautiful ways! This book shows the readers new ways to tell new stories. I’m adding this book to my wish-list!

I rate the cover five stars!

Stephanie Hopkins

Description

At its heart, the Japanese art of ikebana is about celebrating an intimate connection with nature. To practice ikebana is to find inspiration in the seasons, favor unassuming blooms and branches, seek balance and simplicity, and remain fully present in the moment. It is a beautiful, pure antidote to our age of distraction and excess. Honoring the lineage of ikebana while making the art their own, Amanda Luu and Ivanka Matsuba of Studio Mondine show us new ways to tell stories with flowers. They offer step-by-step instructions for dozens of stunning, seasonal arrangements, while in the process introducing readers to the themes and stylistic signatures of the art. In Studio Mondine’s hands, this centuries-old practice feels undeniably fresh—and readers are given the gift of learning to create unique, meaningful, and authentic arrangements.

The Previous week Cover Crush

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

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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.)

Cover Crush: Summer Island by Natalie Normann

My thoughts on the cover and my overall impression about my first glimpse of the story description: 

Summer IslandMy Thoughts:

I absolutely love everything about this cover! The colors, composition of the images, the images itself, the title. EVERYTHING! Now, I’m not a romance reader except for classic romance stories. You know, the oldies…the ones without all the descriptive-ahem-love scenes in them. Yep, I’m rated G when it comes to those books. Or has the ratings changed? Though I’m not saying this book has love scenes in it because I have no idea. Hmm…Anyhow, I regress.

The Cover: Five star rating from me!

The Premise: Hmm…the location and the premise sounds interesting. I will definitely be keeping track of what readers are saying about this book when its published. -Stephanie

Summer Island by Natalie Normann|HarperCollins UK, One More Chapter| Romance|Pub Date 24 Jun 2020

Description

He never meant to stay.
He certainly never meant to fall in love…

Summer Island off the coast of Norway was the place London chef Jack Greene should have been from. He’s an outsider in the community that should have been his family, and now he’s setting foot on the strange land he has inherited for the first time.

The welcome is a mix of distrust and strange gifts of food, especially from enigmatic Ninni Toft, his nearest neighbor, who has arrived for the season to get over a broken heart. Her wild spirit and irrepressible enthusiasm for the quirky locals are a heady brew for city-boy Jack, who is discovering the simple pleasures of island life – and what it means to belong. To a place. To a people. To one person in particular…

Home is where the heart is, but is Jack’s heart with the career he left behind in London, or on the wind-swept shores of Summer Island, with Ninni?

The Previous week Cover Crush

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

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Be Still My Heart: The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner

Early on in the month I was approved of an (ARC) The Jane Austen Society
by Natalie Jenner
from St. Martin Press through NetGalley. My first thoughts were, “How glorious the title was, the premise, Jane Austen, the cover, debut novel, new author I haven’t read, memorable characters, new beginnings, and strong literature. Maybe not all in that order but Jane Austen fans get me. I began my journey back into Jane Austen’s world last night and much to my surprise, even at the early stages of the story, I’m completely and madly in love with the what I’ve read, and a few characters thus far. How can this unknown writer- to me- capture my heart so quickly? These days, it is extremely hard to hold my interest in stories.

I can tell that Jenner knows her stuff, as my Grandmother would to say. It’s as if Jenner knows Jane Austen’s mind and heart. As if she has had an engrossing conversation with Austen about her characters motives and emotions. I felt a kinship to the story and two of the characters in the first scene.

Now my evenings can’t come fast enough to lose myself in the world of Jane Austen and the people who live in the town of Austen’s final home and connection the Great House and over a hundred years later after her death. May this story continue to capture my undivided attention. Right now, I have no doubt. -Stephanie

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

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.

 

Cover Crush: Veiled in Smoke (The Windy City Saga #1) by Jocelyn Green

My thoughts on the cover and my overall impression about my first glimpse of the story description: 

The Cover first caught my attention and as I read the book description, I became even more interested in the over all presentation of the book. This story is written in the era I’m highly interested in our American History. Of course, when there is a bookshop mentioned, there is no question that I want to read the story ASAP!

The cover really speaks for itself and clearly shows that there is a fire sweeping a city with the imagery of smoke. Not only that but the title speaks volumes on that score. The ladies dress is absolutely stunning and her facing the smoke filled city is quite atmosphereic! I’m rating this book cover five stars! -Stephanie

Veiled in smokeVeiled in Smoke

(The Windy City Saga #1)

by Jocelyn Green

Paperback, 416 pages

Published February 4th 2020 by Bethany House Publishers

Meg and Sylvie Townsend manage the family bookshop and care for their father, Stephen, a veteran still suffering in mind and spirit from his time as a POW during the Civil War. But when the Great Fire sweeps through Chicago’s business district, they lose much more than just their store.

The sisters become separated from their father, and after Meg burns her hands in an attempt to save a family heirloom, they make a harrowing escape from the flames with the help of Chicago Tribune reporter Nate Pierce. Once the smoke clears away, they reunite with Stephen, only to learn soon after that their family friend not only died during the fire–he was murdered. Even more shocking, Stephen is charged with the crime and committed to the Cook County Insane Asylum.

Though homeless, injured, and suddenly unemployed, Meg must not only gather the pieces of her shattered life, but prove her father’s innocence before the asylum truly drives him mad.

Available for request on NetGalley

Last week’s Cover Crush

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

(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.)

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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.