The Wake Up

The Wake Up: A Novel by Catherine Ryan Hyde. Seattle: Lake Union Publishing, 2017. 332 pages. Book Club Questions. **** Published December 5, 2017.

Aiden Delacorte is a forty-year-old rancher who has lost his ability to raise cattle for slaughter. His "wake up" comes when he hunts and kills a buck and he feels the buck's pain. Aiden begins to feel the fear and pain from animals around him and he is haunted by his past behavior. When he meets and falls in love with Gwen, his life is further complicated by her son, Milo. Milo has been abused by his father and acts out in his distrust of anyone. Aiden begins to recall his early years with his stepfather and draws on his memories to work with and get close to Milo.

Catharine Ryan Hyde's love for animals comes through clearly in her books. Aiden gives a foal to Milo with the hope that somehow Milo will be more responsible and learn to care for his horse. Aiden's stepfather did the same for him. Hyde's books are heartwarming stories filled with love, hope, and possibility. Realistic in her portrayal of characters who are "broken" and beyond repair, Aiden is investigated when Milo breaks his arm while throwing rocks at some rabbits on the ranch. I have reviewed a few of her other books (Allie and Bea is one of my favorites) and she continues to grow as a writer and I couldn't wait to read this one. I bumped it ahead of the books to be reviewed and I wasn't disappointed!

I received an ecopy for a review.

Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of thirty-two published books. Her bestselling 1999 novel, Pay It Forward, adapted into a major Warner Bros. motion picture starring Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt, made the American Library Association’s Best Books for Young Adults list and was translated into more than two dozen languages for distribution in more than thirty countries. Her novels Becoming Chloe and Jumpstart the World were included on the ALA’s Rainbow List; Jumpstart the World was also a finalist for two Lambda Literary Awards and won Rainbow Awards in two categories. The Language of Hoofbeats won a Rainbow Award. More than fifty of her short stories have been published in many journals, including the Antioch Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, the Virginia Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, and the Sun, and in the anthologies Santa Barbara Stories and California Shorts as well as the bestselling anthology Dog Is My Co-Pilot. Her short fiction received honorable mention in the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest, a second-place win for the Tobias Wolff Award, and nominations for Best American Short Stories, the O. Henry Award, and the Pushcart Prize. Three have also been cited in Best American Short Stories.

Hyde is the founder and former president of the Pay It Forward Foundation. As a professional public speaker, she has addressed the National Conference on Education, twice spoken at Cornell University, met with AmeriCorps members at the White House, and shared a dais with Bill Clinton.

@catherineryanhyde #thewakeup 



What is #quiltersbookpassport?

This picture showed up on Instagram and intrigued me...a book and fabric????

It had the #quiltersbookpassport and so I searched that hashtag. It seems that there are a lot of books and fabric out there. Started by buttoncounter (Monica Nauert), there are guidelines to the process: 

I have to admit, I was more intrigued by the fabric then getting the book to read...since I review books, I have more than I can read at any given time, but still, BOOKS and FABRIC? Win-win!

I jumped in with the comment that I wanted this one and I was first. It arrived Priority Mail in a few days and the fabric is gorgeous. I love fabric with printed words on it so I will add it to my stash.
I read the book in a few days and it was an easy, fast read. I messaged the next person on the comments and it is "buttoncounter." 

The hardest part of the whole process is selecting the fabrics to send with the book to the next reader/quilter. I went fabric shopping and checked my stash. I hope she likes them because I think they represent the story. I took the package to the post office and it is on its way!

Will I do it again? Absolutely!

#quiltersbookpassport #booksandquilts


Our Grand Finale

Our Grand Finale: A Daughter's Memoir by Laraine Denny Burrell. She Writes Press, 283 pages. Pictures. ****

A totally relatable memoir of a daughter called home because her father is ill and discovers that he is dying. Having lived an adventurous life traveling as a performer, Laraine always thought there would be the time in the future to spend with her parents, but sometimes life has other ideas. Going through his belongings and reminiscing about events in her hometown, the grief-stricken daughter realizes how much she loves her father and misses him. Chronicling her father's life provides a window into his career as a Royal Yachtsman, his stewardship of a pedigree cat owned by Her Majesty, the Queen Mother and the self-absorbed relationship of her parents.

I'm not sure that Laraine realizes what an amazing life she has led so far. She is paying tribute to her father in this book, however, being left alone as a child which led to her independence clearly defines who she has become today. Her accomplishments are impressive, her courage and determination to keep her son while unwed (and against her parent's wishes) is a story in itself.

While sad at times, this book is a tribute to a life well-lived and the rediscovered love for her father. Burrell's message is clear --- "later" doesn't always come. The black and white photographs throughout the book enhance the story. If you like memoirs, this one is worth a read. 

I received a paperback Advanced Reading Copy for a review.

Laraine Denny Burrell was born and raised in England and at sixteen won a full scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dancing in London, England. Burrell spent many years living and working all over the world, performing as a professional dancer, singer, and actress. After retiring as a performer, she went on to obtain three academic degrees, including a law degree. Burrell currently practices as an intellectual property attorney and litigator for a well-established law firm in Washington State. 

#bookmail #MagicofMemoir @BookSparks 


Mini Mosaic Quilts

I love taking classes and learning new techniques in the quilting realm. The Brandywine Valley Quilt Guild held a Mini Mosaic Workshop taught by Cheryl Lynch.

Cheryl has a unique and easy way to create these quilts. My sister, Mary, and I selected a "Heart" pattern. Cheryl mentioned that it is the quickest one to complete.


And yes, we showed up in similar clothes to the Workshop! I found this process so relaxing....the squares are 3/8th of an inch. No worries, Cheryl has designed a cutting ruler that makes cutting those little squares incredibly easy.


Mary was determined to finish her heart by the end of the day and she designed her background.

I waited until the end of the day to purchase additional patterns from Cheryl just to make sure I wanted to do more.

I finished my Heart...

I had to make a Flamingo next.


My next pattern is the cutest cat for my Granddaughter, shhh, don't tell!

If you are interested in making a Mini Mosaic for your self...check out Cheryl's Etsy Shop or her Blog. Cheryl is also available for Guild Presentations and/or a Workshop.

#minimosaicquilts @cheryllynchquilts #flamingoquilt


A Cold Day in Hell

A Cold Day in Hell (A Cold Case Investigation #1) by Lissa Marie Redmond. Minnesota: Midnight Ink, 397 pages. Publication Date February 8, 2018. ****

Lauren Riley is a very dedicated detective who with her partner, Shane Reese, works in the Cold Case Homicide Office. Thirty years' worth of unsolved cases are stuffed into three rooms on the second floor of Buffalo police headquarters. She is so good at what she does that defense attorney Frank Violanti wants to hire her as a private investigator in the case of his eighteen-year-old godson, David. Lauren is a thirty-eight-year-old, twice-divorced mother of two college-age daughters and has been feeling lonely and out of sorts which may be why she accepted the ten thousand dollar retainer. Lauren soon realizes that investigating the high-profile murder of Katherine Vine could mean the end of her career. A punch in the mouth by the defense detective on the case and her ex-fiance, Joe Wheeler, does not deter Lauren in her search for the truth. Is David the innocent eighteen-year-old he claims to be and was just in the wrong place? Or will Katherine Vine's husband's alibi hold up in court?

A Detective who dunit at it's best! The murder case has enough subplots to keep me guessing and Lauren's propensity for choosing the wrong lover adds to the intrigue of the story. The ending was a surprise and I look forward to #2.

I received an ecopy for a review.

Lissa Marie Redmond (Buffalo, NY) is a recently retired cold case homicide detective of the Buffalo Police Department. She’s also a member of Sisters in Crime.

#detectivefiction #mystery #thriller #suspense


Aurifil Thread

This afternoon I listened to a lecture at The Old Country Store, Intercourse, PA, from Alex Veronelli on how Aurifil thread is manufactured. He showed us a video capturing the manufacturing process, absolutely fascinating!

Quilters seem to complain about the price of the thread, however, after seeing the process from cotton to packaged spool, it's a bargain!

 Alex shared with us many quilts designed and sewn by well-known quilters. 


Of course, there was fabulous,  colorful thread on sale, all weights! I use 50 weight to piece and quilt. 


Each participant was given an Aurifil Bag with a small spool of thread in each weight available. I am so excited to try the wool and embroidery thread.

I asked about clear monofilament thread and there was none available today. Aurifil does sell a clear and a smokey color, but they do not manufacture it at their Milan plant.

Aurifil is coming out with a three strand of thread in cones for longarm quilters later this fall.  My HQ Sweet Sixteen loves this thread and so do I!

#aurifil #aurifilthread #theoldcountrystore @alexveronelli


The Stolen Marriage

The Stolen Marriage by Diane Chamberlain. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2017. 384 pages. ***** Published October 3, 2017.

It's 1944 and Tess DeMello has her life planned. She is engaged to marry her first and only love when her doctor fiancĂ© volunteers to go to Chicago to help out during an infantile paralysis epidemic. Tess has a one-night stand when Vincent extends his stay in Chicago and she soon realizes she is pregnant. Filled with shame and having nowhere to turn, she agrees to a loveless marriage to the stranger who is the father of her child. When Tess travels from Baltimore, Marland to Hickory, North Carolina, she discovers that her new husband has even more secrets than she does and isn't the man he seems to be. Tess is bored in her new role as a wife and has a difficult time adapting to her mother-in-law's expectations. She yearns to be reunited with her family and to confess all to Vincent. Would he have forgiven her? Will Henry grow to love her and his mother and sister accept her?

Chamberlain is a master at writing historical suspenseful fiction. Her research must be extensive to transport the reader to a time and place so successfully. Fans of Jodi Picoult and Lisa Scottoline will enjoy her stories. I love a book that takes a social issue and presents it in a way that causes me to question my beliefs on that issue. What do I think, what would I do? 73 years later and there are probably still places in the U.S. where someone like Tess or Henry would encounter the same prejudices and societal expectations. I enjoyed and was captivated by this story and recommend it for Book Clubs to consider. There are many discussion points and topics to be debated.

I received and ecopy for a review.

Diane Chamberlain is the New York Times, USA Today and Sunday Times bestselling author of 24 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.

#thestolenmarriage #historicalfiction