Thursday, May 26, 2016

Review: A Death Along the River Fleet (Lucy Campion Mysteries #4) by Susanna Calkins

Lucy Campion, a ladies’ maid turned printer’s apprentice in 17th-century London, is crossing Holborn Bridge over the vilest portion of the River Fleet one morning when she encounters a distraught young woman, barely able to speak and clad only in a blood-spattered nightdress. The woman has no memory of who she is or what’s happened to her, and the townspeople believe she’s posessed. But Lucy is concerned for the woman’s well-being and takes her to a physician. When, shockingly, the woman is identified as the daughter of a nobleman, Lucy is asked to temporarily give up her bookselling duties to discreetly serve as the woman’s companion while she remains under the physician’s care. As the woman slowly recovers, she begins-with Lucy’s help-to reconstruct the terrible events that led her to Holborn Bridge that morning. But when it becomes clear the woman’s safety might still be at risk, Lucy becomes unwillingly privy to a plot with far-reaching social implications, and she’ll have to decide how far she’s willing to go to protect the young woman in her care.

My thoughts:

A Death Along the River Fleet is the first book I have read by Susanna Calkins and probably the first historical fiction book I have read that takes place soon after the great London fire. The title of the book, the cover and the premise really drew me in. I was completely absorbed in the story from the very beginning.

I’d have to say that Lucy Campion is now one of my favorite female heroines. She is strong, intelligent, wise even. I love her process of thought and her desire to help people. The fact that she works as a printer’s apprentice helps a great deal too! Also, how the people around her respond to her is fascinating. Really strong character development here.

There are solid historical aspects to this story and I was thrilled with the intrigue! How the story unfolded and how the clues were stacking up was brilliant! This is about the best mystery story I have read in a long time. I really can’t say enough great things about this book. I highly recommend it. Now I will be sure to go back and read the other three books that came before this one!
Rated: Five Stars!

I obtained a copy of this book through NetGalley for an honest review.

This review was previously published on my wordpress.


Stephanie M. Hopkins

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Featuring indiebrag Children's & Middle Grade Books

In the beginning of the month on indiebrag was Children’s Book Week and throughout the whole month on indiebrag and Layered Pages, we are featuring indiebrag award winning middle grade and children’s books. Indiebrag’s mission is to discover new and talented self-published authors and help them give their work the attention and recognition it deserves. Their primary focus is fiction across a wide range of genres; however, they selectively consider non-fiction books as well.

“The More that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go,” -Dr. Seuss

Today I am sharing books by Paul E. Hohmann, Julia Randall, Sheri Fink and Katie Tavella. Stories about facing and overcoming fears, ADHD, sensory, growing up, love, acceptance, relationships and more.





‘Tale of Tango’ is a wonderful story about a little plane that is very content and happy where he is and nervous about the changes that are occurring in his life. Even though these changes are inevitable, he is always afraid of trying new things…Until he actually tries them.

‘Tale of Tango’ is the story of a plane written by an actual pilot. It weaves an entertaining story for children with a lesson about facing and overcoming their fears. It includes enough facts and interesting points about aircraft to keep children interested while reading and will encourage them to learn even more about planes and aviation.

‘Tango’ is an excellent book that is written to help children prepare for the changes that they will face in life whether that change is starting a new school, moving to a new town or just trying a new food. A must have for any child’s shelf.



This award-winning book is for all the wiggly kids you know! Some children are full of wiggles that last all day – from excitement, ADHD, sensory stimuli, and more. This book is aimed to inspire and embrace the endless energy of children – no matter what the cause. Take this playful journey with a little girl as she recruits school children to try to get their parents and other grown-ups wiggling – to help bring happiness to their stoic town. In this story, being wiggly is what saves the day.



The Little Firefly is an enchanting tale about a late-blooming firefly who can’t wait to be all grown up. When all the other fireflies are glowing except for the Little Firefly, she discovers that true friends will love and support her just the way she is. This charming story helps kids learn about love, friendship, and acceptance.
Themes include: Shyness, Popularity, Growing Up, Maturity, Love, Acceptance, Tolerance, Friendship, Sports



Set in a Victorian garden, The Little Gnome is a heartwarming tale about an adorable garden gnome experiencing the wonder of the four seasons for the first time.

When summer changes to Fall and then to Winter, the Little Gnome learns to look for the good in change. The enchanting story helps kids of all ages embrace change while learning about the seasons.
The Little Gnome is the perfect gift for the special children in your life who are facing changes such as moving, starting a new school, marriage, divorce, new siblings, struggling with peer pressure, and more.





Explore new places and make new friends in this imaginative rhyming children’s tale. When two siblings are forced to stay indoors on a rainy day they discover that by using their imaginations a whole array of adventures can be had. All it takes is a little imagination and creativity and the children begin to find that everyday objects can transform into playful animals. The children’s adventure is made all the more memorable when their busy mother joins in the fun.




Tuesday, May 24, 2016

I’ve Got My Eye On You!

I have been over the moon about the titles I have been spotting lately. Who am I kidding, I’m always over the moon when it comes to books. One of my greatest frustrations as an avid reader is finding more time in the day to read. I know many of you can relate. So why am I tempting you all with great looking book?! Because I can’t help myself and I am so excited about theses, I had to share!

Here are just a few of the books I have an eye on hundreds! Maybe thousands. But who’s counting? All these titles are available to purchase on Amazon.  I hope you enjoy!

London, 1885. Three years before the Whitechapel killings, London is a city of fog and darkness. A severed head is dredged from the Thames; ten miles away, a woman's body is discovered on Edgeware Road. The famed American detective William Pinkerton is summoned by Scotland Yard to investigate. The dead woman fits the description of a grifter Pinkerton had been pursuing for a long time--someone he believed would lead him to a man he has been hunting since his father's death.
Edward Shade is an industrialist without a past, a fabled con, a thief of other men's futures--he seems a ghost, a man of smoke. The obsessive hunt for him that began in the last days of the Civil War becomes Pinkerton's inheritance. What follows is an epic journey of secrets, deceit, and betrayals. Above all, it is the story of the most unlikely of bonds: between Pinkerton, the greatest detective of his age, and Shade, the one criminal he cannot outwit.

Steven Price's By Gaslight is a riveting, atmospheric portrait of a man on the brink. Moving from the diamond mines of South Africa to the fog-enshrouded streets of Victorian London, the novel is a journey into a cityscape of grief, trust, and its breaking, where what we share can bind us even against our better selves.

In the tradition of The Paris Wife and Mrs. Poe, The Other Einstein offers us a window into a brilliant, fascinating woman whose light was lost in Einstein's enormous shadow. tTis is the story of Einstein's wife, a brilliant physicist in her own right, whose contribution to the special theory of relativity is hotly debated and may have been inspired by her own profound and very personal insight.

Mitza Maric has always been a little different from other girls. Most twenty-year-olds are wives by now, not studying physics at an elite Zurich university with only male students trying to outdo her clever calculations. But Mitza is smart enough to know that, for her, math is an easier path than marriage. And then fellow student Albert Einstein takes an interest in her, and the world turns sideways. Theirs becomes a partnership of the mind and of the heart, but there might not be room for more than one genius in a marriage.

After her father dies, March Middleton has to move to London to live with her guardian, Sidney Grice, the country’s most famous private detective.

It is 1882 and London is at its murkiest yet most vibrant, wealthiest yet most poverty-stricken. No sooner does March arrive than a case presents itself: a young woman has been brutally murdered, and her husband is the only suspect. The victim’s mother is convinced of her son-in-law’s innocence, and March is so touched by her pleas she offers to cover Sidney’s fee herself.

The investigations lead the pair to the darkest alleys of the East End: every twist leads Sidney Grice to think his client is guilty; but March is convinced that he is innocent. Around them London reeks with the stench of poverty and gossip, the case threatens to boil over into civil unrest and Sidney Grice finds his reputation is not the only thing in mortal danger.

Political unrest permeates York at the cusp of the fifteenth century, as warring factions take sides on who should be the rightful king--Richard II or his estranged, powerful cousin in exile, Henry Bolingbroke. Independent minded twenty-year-old Kate Clifford is struggling to dig out from beneath the debt left by her late husband. Determined to find a way to be secure in her own wealth and establish her independence in a male dominated society, Kate turns one of her properties near the minster into a guest house and sets up a business. In a dance of power, she also quietly rents the discreet bedchambers to the wealthy, powerful merchants of York for nights with their mistresses.

But the brutal murder of a mysterious guest and the disappearance of his companion for the evening threatens all that Kate has built. Before others in town hear word of a looming scandal, she must call upon all of her hard-won survival skills to save herself from ruin.

In pre-war Prague, the dreams of two young lovers are shattered when they are separated by the Nazi invasion. Then, decades later, thousands of miles away in New York, there's an inescapable glance of recognition between two strangers...

Providence is giving Lenka and Josef one more chance. From the glamorous ease of life in Prague before the Occupation, to the horrors of Nazi Europe, The Lost Wife explores the power of first love, the resilience of the human spirit- and the strength of memory.









Be sure to check out my wish-list 5 on Layered Pages this month by clicking here

INTERESTED IN MORE WISHLISTS?
CHECK OUT WHAT MY FRIENDS HAVE BOOKMARKED:

Erin at Flashlight Commentary
Magdalena at It's a Mad Mad World
Heather at The Maiden's Court
Colleen at A Literary Vacation (coming the 27th)
Holly at 2 Kids and Tired (coming the 27th)

Monday, May 23, 2016

Featuring indiebrag Children's & Middle Grade Books

In the beginning of the month onindiebrag was Children’s Book Week and throughout the whole month on indiebrag and Layered Pages, we are featuring indiebrag award winning middle grade and children’s books. Indiebrag’smission is to discover new and talented self-published authors and help them give their work the attention and recognition it deserves. Their primary focus is fiction across a wide range of genres; however, they selectively consider non-fiction books as well.

“The More that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go,” -Dr. Seuss

Today I am sharing books by J. Wagoner, Jennifer Adkins, Peter Doerfler, Gina LoBiondo and Suzan Johnson. Readers will find unexpected gifts in adventure, learns life lessons, explore questions of insecurities, met a pirate and meet a dragon!






Jamie, an exceptionally bright and inquisitive eight-year-old, is given the opportunity to see New Orleans in a way that few will ever see it. Upon accepting the gift, he finds that he is able to interact with the “shadows” of the city, the essences of people hidden away from the rest of the world. As a result, Jamie learns difficult, yet important, lessons about the emotional pain, regret, and fear with which some must live.




Mom, Am I Different?” chronicles the heartfelt journey of a mother and her young daughter, as they explore the questions and insecurities all children face as they discover their own identities and passions.




You’ve heard of a pirate with only one eye, or a pirate with only one leg. But how about a pirate who has only one tooth, because he spends all of his gold on candy? Such a pirate is One Tooth Tim, first mate and best friend to Pirate Jim. Join them as they untangle the surprising schemes of the Backward Man, the Pirate Princess of Kendor and Randolph Macon. In a fast moving finale that has more twists than One Tooth Tim’s beloved cinnamon sticks, our hero must test the limits of his courage to save the one thing that matters most to him. Perfect for 4-9 year olds.




It’s a sweet, precious story that children of all ages will love, with adorable characters and a simple but moving plot. For hundreds of years’ tales of dragons have been told and cherished.  What child hasn’t wished to have his or her own dragon or to fight the great fire-breathers?
Pegasus – A Dragon’s Tale is the delightful, heartwarming story of two young bear cubs and the dragon they find that changes their lives forever.

The main theme is the deep friendship of the three characters, a friendship that transcends both time and species.




This is a story of a girl name Sofie, who doesn’t want to take ballet. She soon realizes though that she likes it and with the help of her friend Chloe she does quite well. When a chance comes along to be the prima ballerina in the next recital, Sofie is torn because she has to compete against her best friend Chloe. Who will win? Will the girls be friends in the end?




Friday, May 20, 2016

Featuring indiebrag Children's & Middle Grade Books

In the beginning of the month on indiebrag was Children’s Book Week and throughout the whole month on indiebrag and Layered Pages, we are featuring indiebrag award winning middle grade and children’s books. Indiebrag’smission is to discover new and talented self-published authors and help them give their work the attention and recognition it deserves. Their primary focus is fiction across a wide range of genres; however, they selectively consider non-fiction books as well.

“The More that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go,” -Dr. Seuss

Today I am sharing books by Gerry Renert, Annette Rivlin-Gutman, Sybrina Durant, and Angie Harris. Explore the fun adventures of Superheroes, a rabbit and a very hungry Fox! Face the challenges with Sue as she shares her dreams with us. Learn to help loves ones when they are sick and cherish each moments with your family! 


B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree


Rooney is the only ‘regular’ kid in an elementary school of superheroes. When he wants to play soccer with his superhero classmates, they shun him because he’s a mere mortal. Meanwhile at school, all the superheroes get involved in a daily eating contest, which Rooney shuns. After a while, the superheroes become so heavy, they’re bursting out of their superhero suits. Even worse, they are unable to fly and utilize their super skills in the championship soccer game, but Rooney comes in and saves the day. “Brave Rooney and the Super-Sized Superheroes” is designed to encourage a fun appreciation of healthy eating.




Just Breathe is for any child who feels anxious or worried when facing everyday life circumstances such as going to a new school, taking a test, arguing with a friend, or trying out for a team. In this rhythmic story, the child remembers to breathe deeply in order to find his own inner calm and successfully cope with each new situation.



Have you heard about the Rabbit and the very hungry Fox? For generations, this endearing old world mnemonic* was passed from father to son by word of mouth only.

Now, this clever memory jogger has been revived as “Learn To Tie A Tie With The Rabbit and the Fox”, a cute, beautifully illustrated story with a lively instructional song. This story book offers a fun and simple lesson for tying a “school boy knot” in a tie.

It is a family activity book meant to make it fun for parents to teach their children the most popular method for tying a tie. It is so easy, in fact, that a very young child can quickly master it. Just grab a tie for each person to follow along with the story and the step by step illustrations. Soon, everyone will be have a perfectly tied necktie. Then, try singing the song as you practice your new skill. You won’t be able to forget the skill or the song!

Currently available in English, Spanish and Tagalog (Philippino).  Accompanying song can be heard in all 3 languages at Sybrina.com.  Will be available in Hanzi (Simplified Chinese) soon.


Poor Momma is sick and she needs our help. But are we really big enough to help her? We have an idea, and now a plan. Can we pull it together for Christmas Day?

Join Momma’s Little Helpers as they share big adventures to help make their Momma feel better.






Every night, Sue has been having bad dreams that wake her up. But are her dreams really that scary, and how will she make the dreams stop? Join Sue as she shares her dreams with us, and see if she finds them so scary after all.


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Featuring indiebrag Children's & Middle Grade Books


In the beginning of the month on indiebrag was Children’s Book Week and throughout the whole month on indiebrag and Layered Pages, we are featuring indiebrag award winning middle grade and children’s books. Indiebrag’s mission is to discover new and talented self-published authors and help them give their work the attention and recognition it deserves. Their primary focus is fiction across a wide range of genres; however, they selectively consider non-fiction books as well.

“The More that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go,” -Dr. Seuss

Today I am sharing books from James Cardona, Bill Merical, Nechama Liss-Levinson, Christopher Dean and Elle Jacklee. Take a journey with Aliens, Miranda Moon, Gertie, Chief Mountain Top, Nathaniel Hancock. Adventures await!





 In this fast paced, Children’s holiday, science fiction adventure, Edwin, a fourteen-year-old and an odd character dressed as Santa Claus, attempt to stop aliens and save the planet in 1950’s Manhattan.
When Edwin cuts his finger, dripping a few drops of blood onto a bone-colored tracking device he becomes a target of a group of aliens that think he holds the secret to the human race’s defeat. The only person who seems to know what to do is a fat man wearing a Santa Claus suit and he somehow seems to know just a little too much.

Who is he and why does he know so much? Where did the aliens come from and what are they after? Can a Fourteen-year-old wandering the cold, empty streets of Manhattan late on Christmas Eve and an odd character dressed as Santa Claus stop the aliens, save the planet and discover the true meaning of Christmas/



Miranda Moon’s vivid imagination has gotten her into trouble more times than she can count. This time, she’s been suspended from school. So her straight-laced younger brother, Marcus, blames her when they’re relegated to their late grandparents’ old cabin over Halloween weekend. But when Miranda finds a curious trinket, they’re mysteriously whisked away to Wunderwood, where magic flows through the trees and everyone already knows their family name. A place even Miranda never imagined.

Just as they arrive, a sinister warlock, Thornton Crow, is freed from a long banishment. He resumes his deadly agenda to find The Tree of Mindala, the source of all the realm’s magic. As Miranda and Marcus discover branches of their own family tree that they hadn’t even known existed, they learn that Thornton has a score to settle with anyone in their bloodline. Especially them… Though justice has always had a way of being naturally restored in Wunderwood, Thornton’s latest evil deed just may be the tipping point.

When Miranda discovers her own role in Thornton’s release, she knows it’s up to her to stop him from stealing not just magic, but also hope. With travel companions that could as easily be foes as friends, and only the cryptic words of a prophecy to guide her, Miranda must decide if she can carry out the task that will either save Wunderwood… or doom it forever.



Nine-year-old Gertie and her family have to flee New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina is about to flood the city.  Gertie must leave behind her friends, her house, her “stuff” and life as she knew it before the storm.  In this thoughtful and optimistic book, Gertie attends a new school, makes new friends, and tries to cling to family traditions as her world turns upside down.  She realizes that no matter where she is, her innate gifts and talents will always be with her.  Indeed, she is the change that heals and makes the world a better place.  A wonderful and charming resource, written by a psychologist, for children ages 8 and up, dealing with any type of loss or change in their lives.  As timely today as seven years ago.



The Journey of Fallen Rock is a children’s story about family, the adventure of traveling coast to coast across this great land and the lesson that we all can enjoy our natural resources while we still protect and preserve them.  The story starts with Chief Mountain Top sending his sons Fallen Rock and Running Water on a journey from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean with six task to complete, the brother who returns first will be the next chief of their village. You will get to travel with Fallen Rock on his journey and experience each of his 6 task as he completes them while doing all he can to beat his brother home. You will get to meet along with Fallen Rock members of The Protectors of Our Land as he travels. Work Zone, Deer Crossing, Exit, Rail Road Crossing, Mile Marker and others and learn how they and the other members of The Protectors of Our Land are all over the world and how they do whatever they can to help protect and preserve all of our natural resources.



An epic adventure is set in motion when talented young artist Nathaniel Hancock receives a new drawing pen for Christmas, he promises his great-grandfather that he’ll prepare him a Masterpiece for the following year. But Nathaniel is naive for the Pen is magical-and as he makes his finishing touches, the Masterpiece comes to life before his very eyes. After entering the drawing, he discovers that he’s added new territory to the enchanted land that lies beyond: The Inkworld, a pen-and-ink realm where reality is limited only by the artist’s imagination. After Nathaniel rescues the drawing of an elf from a deadly prison, he realizes the Inkworld is far more complex than he ever imagined. For dark forces lurk beneath the idyllic surface. In saving the elf, Nathaniel accidentally unleashes an ancient evil that threatens to destroy all that’s good in the Inkworld… And it’s up to him to set things right…

Monday, May 16, 2016

Featuring indiebrag Children's & Middle Grade Books


In the beginning of the month on indiebrag was Children’s Book Week and throughout the whole month on indiebrag and Layered Pages, we will be featuring indiebrag award winning middle grade and children’s books. Indiebrag’s mission is to discover new and talented self-published authors and help them give their work the attention and recognition it deserves. Their primary focus is fiction across a wide range of genres; however, they selectively consider non-fiction books as well.

“The More that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go,” -Dr. Seuss

Today I am sharing books with you from Ashleigh Hanley, Julia Randall, Tracy Bryan, John Paul Padilla and Linda Kipley. Discover a dinosaur with a special gift, a whimsical journey, why we get homesick, an amusing duck and self-esteem.




Anky is a dinosaur with a special gift – he can see the future! Sometimes this makes him do strange things that his friends and family don’t understand, but Anky’s always looking out for them…especially when a strange egg crosses his path!
Aimed at readers aged 4-9, “Anky the Daydreaming Dinosaur” is a magical story straight from the Jurassic.



Experience the creativity of childhood imagination in this whimsical journey of a little girl who frolics around her house, engaged in mischief, in order to avoid bedtime.

Excerpt: “I try to prepare for bed, but mischief finds me instead. So I, Jump on my bed. Balance pillows on my head. Weave yarn into my hair. Dress a tutu on Teddy Bear. March around gleefully. Use a toothbrush on my knee. Jump rope in the hall. Put a mask on my ball.”
Will she ever get to bed with these antics? Maybe…



Everyone feels a little homesick when they are away from familiar things like family, pets and friends. It’s a natural human reaction, some people just feel it more than others! Learn why we get homesick and some great ways to face the fear when you go BEYOND YOUR COMFORT ZONE!



Johnny Big-Ears, The Feel-Good Friend is an inspirational story about a five-year-old boy who is being teased by his classmates at school because his ears are big. The story while fictional, is one in which many children presently face in school.

The book helps children with their self-esteem, and there are questions at the end of the book parents or teachers can ask their children. Young readers will also be delighted to know that there is a page which allows children to draw and color themselves.

Johnny Big-Ears is not simply a story, but a children’s book that educates, and encourages children to value who they are.

A great children picture book for ages 4 TO 10



The family dogs, Barrett and Shadow, are on the move since a baby duck comes to live with them. Sunshine’s antics capture the hearts of Mom and Dad, but the dogs just want to find some peace and quiet!

This amusing book is based on a true story about a happy little duck who thought she was a dog.