5/20/18

Feared


Feared: A Rosato & DiNunzio Novel by Lisa Scottoline. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2018. 394 pages. ***** Publication Date August 14, 2018. 

In this latest thriller, Nick Machiavelli returns to sue the Rosato & DiNunzio law firm for reverse sex discrimination—claiming that three applicants were not hired because they were men. Their lone male employee, john Foxman, makes matters worse when he admits that he is looking for another position because he doesn't believe he will make partner as a male in an all-woman firm. Bennie and Mary feel betrayed when John admits he may have expressed his feelings during job interviews with competing law firms. Machiavelli has always been out to get Mary and even though she is pregnant, she and her law firm are in his sights. He will stop at nothing to bring Rosato & DiNunzio down, but murder? Mary is determined to show him for what he is even if it means including Flavia, his mother, and the Rosary Society. 

I always enjoy a Scottoline book, but this is the best Rosato & DiNunzio book so far. No spoilers here, I won't divulge whether Mary and Anthony have a boy or girl. Scottoline has the Italian/South Philly experience at its best...I was laughing out loud at some of the dialogue between "Mare" and the ladies from the Rosary Society, practically smelling the chocolate chip cookies and baked ziti. I finished this book in two days because I couldn't wait to see what happens next. I worried right along with Mary when she couldn't feel the baby move and breathed a sigh of relief when all was well.
Add this one to your list to read this summer and in the meantime, read the previous five books in the series. 

I received an ecopy for a review. 

Other books in the Rosato & DiNunzio series:





Lisa Scottoline is a New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award-winning author of twenty-eight novels. She has 30 million copies of her books in print in the United States, she has been published in thirty-five countries, and her thrillers have been optioned for television and film. Lisa also writes a weekly column with her daughter, Francesca Serritella, for The Philadelphia Inquirer, and those stories have been adapted into a series of bestselling memoirs, the first of which is entitled Why My Third Husband Will Be A Dog. Lisa lives on a Pennsylvania farm with an array of disobedient pets. Visit Lisa at www.Scottoline.com, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram @LisaScottoline.

#feared #rosatoanddinunzio #Philadelphiamystery @LisaScottoline 


5/18/18

Bring Me Back


Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2018.  240 pages. **** June 19th publication date.

Finn and Layla are returning from a ski vacation in Megeve when his girlfriend, Layla disappears. Finn stops for a restroom break about an hour and a half from Paris and leaves Layla sleeping in the car at the Rest Stop. After reporting her missing and an extensive search, Finn moves on with his life. As the boyfriend, Finn is suspected in her disappearance and repeats his story, claiming his innocence for the next 12 years. The one person who believes him is Ellen, Layla's sister. When Ellen and a former neighbor claim that they have recently seen Layla, Finn begins to question if Layla has been living in hiding and has returned. Is Layla alive or is someone determined to make Finn and Ellen believe that she is?

I loved the two previous books written by Paris. I couldn't wait to start this one...from the very beginning I was drawn into the story and questioned Finn's version of Layla's disappearance. However, there was something about the characterization of Finn that didn't seem realistic, I initially thought he was a "she." I enjoyed how the suspense built throughout the book, though slow and repetitive at times. Knowing her penchant for twists and turns, I was prepared for a surprise and unexpected ending. And it was complicated, convoluted, and satisfying! If you are a Paris or psychological thriller fan, you won't want to miss this one.


I received a copy for a review.

Other books by B.A. Paris

The Break Down

Behind Closed Doors

B.A. Paris is the internationally bestselling author of Behind Closed Doors and The Break Down. She grew up in England but has spent most of her adult life in France. She has worked both in finance and as a teacher and has five daughters.


#BringMeBack @BAParisAuthor #psychologicalthriller


5/14/18

The Dream Daughter


The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain. New York: St. Martin's Press, 384 pages. ***** October 2018. 

It's April 1965 and Carly Grant is a student intern at a private rehabilitation center when she agrees to work with a difficult patient who claims to have fallen accidentally from a three-story building. Hunter Poole is characterized as "unmotivated, a clinically depressed suicide risk", but for some reason, he wants to work with Carly. She agrees and sets in motion a series of events that neither one of them could have predicted. Fast forward to April 1970, Carly is twenty-four weeks pregnant and an ultrasound has shown that her baby has a heart condition that is fatal. Carly despairs until her physicist brother-in-law suggests a course of treatment that is unbelievable and dangerous. To what lengths will a mother go to save her baby? 

Chamberlain has written a story that will leave your head spinning and your heart in your mouth! Fast-paced, a remarkable plot that stretches credibility and at the same time had me hoping that it is possible. I don't want to give anything away, but I highly recommend this book. I love Chamberlain as an author and as someone who reads many books, it is difficult to come up with a plot that is fresh, new and exciting to me.  I recommend it as a Book Club choice, there are many discussion topics: in vitro heart surgery, health and infant intensive care advancements, faith, hope and a mother's love. 

I received an ecopy for a review.

Other books by Diane Chamberlain:



Diane Chamberlain is the New York Times, USA Today and Sunday Times bestselling author of 25 novels published in more than twenty languages. Influenced by her former career as a social worker and psychotherapist, she writes suspenseful stories that touch both heart and mind.

#thedreamdaughter #motherslove #timetravel





4/22/18

Quilt Retreat April 2018

Quilt Retreat 2018

My sister and I love to go to our Quilt Guild's Retreat together. We pack up her car and head to Black Rock Retreat in Quarryville, PA. In order to remember everything we need, I've created a Checklist.

QUILT RETREAT CHECKLIST

I added a portable tabletop ironing board that I purchased at the Lancaster Quilt Show.





The view along the way is one of farms, open fields,  and Pennsylvania beauty.


The Quilt Retreat Chairs are very organized and each quilter shares her table with one other quilter. I decided this year that my sister and I needed some fun. We give each other a little gift bag and I went with a flamingo theme this year.

















My sister surprised me with a flamingo cup that lights up. Our solar flamingo dollar store finds and flamingo lights were a big hit.

Our quilt stations by the second day!

 

The view from my window...


Activities were posted on the whiteboard daily and participation was voluntary.



One of the demos was how to create quilt blocks using the "Cake Mix Recipe" sheets from Missouri Star Quilt Company using two layer cake pieces.







 


 We were challenged to choose from the layer cake pile and to create two blocks for a charity quilt.


 


These are so easy to sew, juts straight stitching and follow the lines!



Once the blocks were completed they were joined to create two charity quilt tops!


 


We also created Needles on the Go . For each ten that we made for the Quilt Sh,ow we were able to make one for ourselves.




Of course, we can work on our own projects and we did. My sister and I purchased a kit to make the Hatters Tea Party by Janet Wecker Frisch and she was determined that we would finish the top on one of our four days. Thankfully, one of the quilters was able to show us an easy (her words, not mine) way to make mitred borders.

 

Woohoo!

I also worked on a wall hanging, which will be finished on another day.



A new activity added this year was chair massages...a very welcomed addition. I wish I had selected two 15 minute massages rather than one 30 minute massage.


The most important thing to remember, "What happens at Retreat, stays at Retreat!" Unless, of course, I am taking pictures!

Have fun!



Past Retreats

Quilt Retreat March 2017

Quilt Retreat April 2016



#flamingo #quiltretreat #cakemixrecipequiltblocks #quiltretreatchecklist #hattersteaparty


3/17/18

The Magdalen Girls


The Magdalen Girls by V.S. Alexander. New York: Kensington Books, 2017. 294 pages. ***


A historical fiction novel based on the Magdalene Asylums in Ireland which were institutions from the 18th to the late 20th centuries to house women believed to be prostitutes, unwed mothers, indigent girls and girls believed to be immoral. The story of sixteen-year-old Teagan, set in Dublin in 1962, brings to light the cruel and inhumane conditions in which she and others like her lived and worked. Her alcoholic father in the middle of the night delivers Teagen to the gated community of The Sisters of the Holy Redemption because a parish priest has confessed that her presence causes impure thoughts in him. Her parents disown her and deny her very existence from this day forward. Teagen befriends Nora and they make plans to escape the drudgery of their work assignment in the laundry. Dressed in uniforms, shorn hair and with new names, Teagen and Nora are cut off from the outside world, families, and life, as they knew it. The other women who sleep in their dormitory like bedroom seems to have been beaten down and indifferent to their need to escape. Both girls befriend Lisa; an unassuming girl who prays constantly, whose job it is to copy The Book of Kells onto parchment as a gift to the convent. This unlikely trio forms a friendship, which helps them survive their day-to-day indignities, however, ends in tragedy.

I found the premise of the story fascinating and couldn't help researching the Magdalen girls (named after Mary Magdalene) to find out more about them. (See links below) Prior to this story, I knew nothing about this blight on the history of women in the Catholic Church. The fact that these asylums/prisons/laundries existed in other countries as well as the United States and that the last one closed in Ireland in 1996 is incomprehensible to me. Alexander has written a sympathetic story, one that reads as if it were highlighting a time in the dark ages. I suspect that as horrific as this story is, it doesn't begin to scratch the surface of what was done to these women in the name of love and redemption. While I was fascinated and appalled by the incidents in this book, I felt that it lacked depth of character and plot. As my family historian of Irish descent, it has made me want to read more books on this subject and investigate if there are records as to which women were institutionalized. I finished it and keep talking to myself about how women can be abused in the name of love by their families, nuns, and the Catholic Church.

I recommend this book to those who enjoy historical fiction and like to read about women's issues in the Catholic Church.


For more information on the Magdalen girls:
Seeking Redress for a Mother's Life in a Workhouse
Magdalene Asylum
A Blot on Ireland's Past
Report of the Inter-Departmental Committee to establish the facts of State involvement with the Magdalen Laundries

V.S. Alexander is an ardent student of history with a strong interest in music and the visual arts. V. S. lives in Florida and is at work on a second historical novel for Kensington.
#magdalengirls #irelandfiction #womeninthecatholicchurch

3/12/18

The Great Alone


The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2018. 440 pages. *****

Ernt Allbright returns from the Vietnam War a broken man. A prisoner of war, he is a volatile man who can't seem to hold a job. When he loses yet another job and inherits property in Alaska, Ernt decides that a fresh start is just what he and his family needs.

Ernt, his wife Cora and 13 year old, Leni are ill-prepared for the hardships of the Alaskan frontier. Moving to a remote part of the state in a cabin without running water surrounded by wildlife and darkness does not relieve Leni's anxiety about her father's stability. Their nearest neighbors are survivalists preparing for Armageddon and help fuel Ernt's paranoia and insecurity. He takes out his frustration by beating Cora for imagined offenses.  Leni's escape from the endless daily chores and her father's wrath is attending school. There she makes her first true friend, Matthew. When the darkness of winter descends, the Albright’s are soon at the mercy of the townspeople and their generosity.

Hannah builds the tension in this story page by page. The reader knows something bad is coming, but not quite sure where the threat is coming from, who is the enemy?  I love how she writes and unfolds the drama to the point where I didn't want to put the book down but didn't want to find out what Ernt would do next. I found myself holding my breath and disappointed when once again Cora takes him back and refuses to press charges. Hannah has crafted a plot that is complex and takes on the uncomfortable subjects of PTSD, family violence, and spousal abuse. This unforgettable tale is also an emotional story of forgiveness, first love, and friendship. A must read, but you will need tissues for this one.

Kristin Hannah is the New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty novels. A former lawyer turned writer, she is the mother of one son and lives with her husband in the Pacific Northwest.

#thegreatalone #Alaskafiction #survivalstory

2/6/18

Gnome for the Holidays - BOM

Gnome for the Holidays is a FREE, did I say FREE?  BOM offered by Fat Cat Patterns at http://www.fatcatpatterns.com/bom2.html.


The first block is available and is easy and fun to make! There's something about gnomes that makes me smile and they seemed to be big this past Christmas. 

I have some really nice black and white fabric that I thought will work, but soon realized I didn't have enough for the background in all of the blocks.  My LQS had it in the opposite print white on black and I decided why not? Picking out the green tree fabrics from my stash was easy, I knew I wanted to make it in bright tones. Blanket stitching around each tree was tedious.



While adding the stars to the top of the trees, I traced a heart for one tree. 

Is it distracting? Cute? 


I finally decided what it really needs is some bling and I will add it after the top is quilted. 



Even though there are many people making these blocks and gnomes (there's also a Fat Cat Friends FB Group) the gnomes seem to develop an individual personality. 


It's not too late to join...and if you go to the Fat Cat Patterns Website, you may have the patterns emailed to you for 5.00 (one time fee) if you sign up for the FatCat BoM Club. Otherwise,  the block is free each month during that particular month. 

Block #2 was relatively easy and I am having so much fun making these blocks. I've decided to add the white with black dots fabric as the sashing.


My text is a little wonky because I have had retina surgery and my vision is not what it should be. Gnomes are mischevious, aren't they? 

Members in the facebook page suggested that we needed a female gnome and Jen graciously provided one in two sizes. I had to make a Gnometta for my next block. 


Isn't she cute? The only problem is that I grabbed the wrong sized block for block three. Instead of 8.5 x 12.5, it is 12.5 x12.5...so Block #3 will now be Block #5. 




#gnomefortheholidys #fatcatpatterns #gnomequilt #gnometta