6/15/17

Badlands


Badlands by Melissa Lenhardt. (Book 3 Sawbones series) New York: Redhook Books, 2017. ***** Interview with the Author. Release date June 27, 2017.

In the third book in the series, Laura is once again separated from William and has been kidnapped by Rosemond. William is on trial for desertion and Laura has no money and no place to go. Rosemond claims that William asked her to look after Laura and to keep her safe. When the trunk of full of their belongings is left on a train and Laura wakes from a drug-induced stupor, she has a hard time believing anything she is told. Is the whore Rosemund her friend or foe and does William have feelings for her? Who is the mysterious stranger who seems to be everywhere and is definitely interested in their past? When Laura receives a telegram that informs her that William has been executed, she realizes that it is time to confront her accusers and clear her name.

I read somewhere that this is the last book in the series. I hope that there will be others, however, Lenhardt wrapped up the series and provided justice. It was a satisfying ending and I look forward to future books by Lenhardt. Not since Outlander have I enjoyed a historical fiction series or one that held my attention like this one did. 


I received an ecopy for a review.

Melissa Lenhardt is on the board of directors for the North Dallas chapter of Sisters of Crime, as well as a member of the DFW Writers Workshop. She lives in Texas with her husband and two sons.

#badlands 

Sawbones


Sawbones by Melissa Lenhardt. (Book 1 Sawbones Series) New York: Redhook Books, 2016. 410 pages. Reading Group Guide. *****

In this first book in the series, it is 1871 and Catherine Bennett is one of the few female doctors in New York City. Catherine comes home one night to see the police banging on her door, she is accused of murdering her supposed lover with a fireplace poker. Her best friend, James, persuades her that she will be hung if she stays to defend herself. Deciding to head west to Colorado and starting a new life, Catherine encounters horrors that she never could have imagined. Changing her name does not protect her from being pursued by bounty hunters and those who want to collect the reward for her capture.

I read the 2nd book, Blood Oath,  and then reserved the first one at the Public Library. This series is captivating, engrossing and I love it. History, romance, murder, betrayal, this series has it all. Lenhardt does a wonderful job of leaving us hanging, my only complaint is having to wait for the next one to find out what happens to Laura/Catherine and William.

I received an ecopy for a review.

Melissa Lenhardt is on the board of directors for the North Dallas chapter of Sisters of Crime, as well as a member of the DFW Writers Workshop. She lives in Texas with her husband and two sons.

#sawbonesseries #historicalfiction #sawbones

Blood Oath


Blood Oath by Melissa Lenhardt. (Book 2, Sawbones Series) New York; Redhook Books, 2017. 282 pages *****

In this second book in the Sawbones Series, Kindle and Laura are heading to Fort Worth disguised as brothers trying to stay one step ahead of the bounty hunters and Pinkerton detective looking for them. Laura's voice is still hoarse after her encounter with Cotter Black and she is recovering from her physical ailments after her brutal attack at the hands of her kidnappers. Kindle has grown a beard and sports an eye patch attempting to hide his scars and evade the military consequences of his desertion. No stranger to violence, Laura and Kindle are willing to kill in order to be safe and to stay together.  As a doctor, Laura questions her ability to practice medicine in the future based on her acts in the present. Laura risks her life to save a Native American woman who is being savaged by bandits, only to once again find her reckless act curtails her freedom. However, Laura is an independent woman, not a trait valued on the frontier) and Kindle is madly in love with her. Seeking solace with Kindle's sister, who runs an orphanage, Laura and Kindle must face their own demons while learning to trust each other.

I received an ecopy for a review.

I read this book in one sitting on a flight from Bozeman, MT (by way of Dallas FW) to Philadelphia. I love historical fiction and this series really captured my attention. I received the 2nd one to review and quickly reserved the first one from my Public Library and requested to review the 3rd. I am so impatient when I get to the end and have to wait until the next one is published. (I don't do too well watching mini-series either) The violence of the frontier is realistically portrayed and the brutal acts committed against humanity are well documented. But, it is also a love story and one that survives against all odds. I recommend that you start with Sawbones because it is a little disjointed to start with Blood Oath. I could follow the story, because Lenhardt does backtrack, but I think you will enjoy them in order.

Melissa Lenhardt is on the board of directors for the North Dallas chapter of Sisters of Crime, as well as a member of the DFW Writers Workshop. She lives in Texas with her husband and two sons.

#sawbonesseries #bloodoath #historicalfiction

Maxine Rosenthal and One - Block Wonder

I had the pleasure of attending a One - Block Wonder Workshop by Maxine Rosenthal. What a fun, inspiring and challenging day! Maxine is truly a delight, she has a quick wit and likes to make the process easy and fun!



My biggest challenge was to select a fabric that I liked... which we then cut into strips and then into the hexagons!

Some of the final hexagons!

I liked the process and design so much, I may actually finish this quilt...stay tuned.

For more information about the One - Block Wonders...there are several books...




#oneblockwonders #oneblockwonder #maxinerosenthal

6/10/17

Murder Mystery Quilt 2017

I thought it would be easier to keep up with the Murder Mystery Quilt each month than it has been. I have been travelling and not very motivated to sew. If I did a project like this again, I will purchase my fabric each month when a new pattern or row is introduced. I purchased it all up front and now I'm not sure I like how it is coming together. It is supposed to be divided on the diagonal with warm colors on one side and cool colors on the other side.


I did substitute fabric the very first month, but I seem to like the ones where all of the fabric is coordinating. I will have to wait and see what this month brings design wise and have faith and continue onward and upward.

#murdermysteryquilt2017

6/6/17

The Promise Girls


The Promise Girls by Marie Bostwick. New York: Kensington Books, 2017. 346 pages.  A Reading Group Guide ****


The Promise Girls are three sisters who are raised by an overbearing, controlling mother. They have been conceived by "test tube" and groomed by their mother to be a genius in a particular career. Unfortunately for Minerva Promise, her daughters -- gifted pianist Joanie, artisitic Meg and storyteller Avery, are removed from her care and squander their gifts. Fast forward twenty years and each of the girls is questioning her choices in life and personal relationships. A genius himself, filmmaker Hal Seeger, contacts the girls in an effort to document their lives and reconnect with Joanie. When Meg is in a car crash and is faced with huge medical bills, the sisters agree to cooperate  and allow Hal and his film crew into their lives. This decision has a huge impact on the present especially when secrets are revealed and the girls are reunited with their mother.


I purchased this book and had the pleasure of meeting Marie.

This is the first book in some time that Marie has written that does not include quilting and one that when finished, she felt "incandescently happy." As she should, it is well-written and complete. A intriguing story that fuels the "nature vs nurture" debate and when is someone considered a failure? Is it career choices, relationships, family or being happy? Bostwick is a natural as a storyteller and she grows as a writer with each book.

Marie Bostwick was born and raised in the northwest. In the three decades since her marriage, Marie and her family have moved frequently living in eight different states and eighteen different addresses. These experiences have given Marie a unique perspective that enables her to write about people from all walks of life and corners the country with insight and authenticity.  Marie currently resides in Oregon, where she enjoys writing, spending time with family, gardening, collecting fabric, and stitching quilts.
Visit her at www.mariebostwick.com.


#thepromisegirls

I Need a Lifeguard Everywhere but the Pool


I Need a Lifeguard Everywhere but the Pool by Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2017. 232 pages *****

This mother - daughter writing team will make you laugh out loud. From Philadelphia to New York City, told in alternating voices, they keep it real and talk about everyday life experiences...smell dating, pets, online drunk shopping, recipes, New Year's Eve, etc.  Both women are equally funny and have no problem tackling sensitive subjects and making themselves the object of the joke. Thoroughly enjoyable!

I received an ecopy for a review.

I highly recommend this book if you or someone you know needs a laugh!

LISA SCOTTOLINE is a New York Times bestselling and Edgar award-winning novelist and coauthor of this series of humorous memoirs. There are 30 million copies of her novels in print, and she has been published in thirty countries. She and Francesca also write a Sunday column entitled Chick Wit for The Philadelphia Inquirer. She lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with an array of disobedient pets.

FRANCESCA SERRITELLA is a New York Times bestselling author and a columnist for The Philadelphia Inquirer. She graduated cum laude from Harvard University, where she won the Thomas Temple Hoopes Prize for her novella. She lives in New York City with one dog and one cat, so far, and she is working on a novel.

#humorousbooks




6/1/17

Allie and Bea


Allie and Bea by Catherine Ryan Hyde. Seattle: Lake Union Publishing, 2017. 392 pages. "Allie and Bea Book Club Questions. *****

Allie and Bea form an unlikely alliance when Allie's parents are arrested for tax fraud and elederly Bea becomes homeless after falling for an IRS telephone scam. Allie is placed in a foster home after her parent's arrest and is soon in over her head when one of the girls steals the only things that Allie owns and Allie files a complaint against her. Allie leaves the home when her life is threatened and finds herself in an even dire situation. Bea packs up her belongings and lives in her van with her cat to stretch what little money she has left.  One night as Bea is driving down the highway Allie jumps in front of her van, climbs in  and tells Bea to "Drive!"

I received an ecopy to review.

There is something so "right" in Hyde's stories, that feeling that there are good people in the world and everything is going to be okay. Allie and Bea are generations apart, but form a bond that enables them to survive without a home and little money. They each have their own concept of right and wrong and neither are willing to compromise on some issues and situations. Bea has forgotten what it is like to "live" for herself and Allie has lived a very privileged and sheltered life. There aren't always happy endings, but there are memories to be made and people to love. Hyde has a way of showing and not telling through her characters. Allie and Bea is one that you will want to share with your friends.

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. Hyde is the founder and former president of the Pay It Forward Foundation. For more information http://www.catherineryanhyde.com.

5/23/17

Favorites


I am often asked for book recommendations and it's so difficult to suggest a book because it depends on what I have been reading, my interests at the time, etc. I tend to like historical fiction, psychological thrillers, and mystery books.

Authors:

Elizabeth Berg - http://www.elizabeth-berg.net

Marie Bostwick - http://www.mariebostwick.com

Chris Cleave - http://chriscleave.com/about-2/

Patricia Cornwell - http://www.patriciacornwell.com

Michelle Cox - http://michellecoxauthor.com/about-michelle-cox/

Janet Evanovich - http://www.evanovich.com

Diana Galbadon - http://www.dianagabaldon.com

Sara Gruen - https://www.facebook.com/SaraGruenBooks/

Khaled Hosseini - http://khaledhosseini.com

Catherine Ryan Hyde - http://www.catherineryanhyde.com/blog/

Sue Monk Kidd - http://suemonkkidd.com

Anne Lamott - https://www.facebook.com/AnneLamott/

Kate Morton - https://katemorton.com

B. A. Paris - http://www.darleyanderson.com/authors/b-a-paris

Anne Perry - http://www.anneperry.co.uk/miscellany/title-list/

Jodi Picoult - http://www.jodipicoult.com

Kris Radish - http://www.krisradish.com

Lisa Scottoline - https://scottoline.com

Lisa See - http://www.lisasee.com


Books:

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

The Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Series:

The Cousins O'Dwyer by Nora Roberts

Outlanders by Diana Gabaldon

Sawbones by Melissa Lenhardt

#favoriteauthors #bestbooks




The Break Down


The Break Down by B.A. Paris. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2017. 328 pages. *****

Even though she promised her husband that she wouldn't, Cass takes a shortcut through the woods and sees a car stopped by the side of the road. Should she stop and offer help? Is it a ruse to harm Cass? There is a woman in the car and what if her car won't work? Guiltily, Cass decides to continue on home and not tell anyone what she saw. She is shocked to learn the next morning that a woman was found murdered on that stretch of road. Cass is so distraught and distracted that she begins to be forgetful and frightened when she receives phone calls and the person won't speak. Her husband humors her about her memory loss, but Cass is also haunted by the fact that her mother had dementia. What if the murderer saw her, what if she is losing her mind? The pills prescribed by the doctor make her drowsy and sleepy, to the point that she misses appointments and her friends become concerned for her welfare.

B.A. Paris is a master at building tension and setting the stage. Once started, I didn't want to stop reading. Having read her first book, I knew there was going to be a twist and something unexpected in the plot. While I deduced who the murderer was there were enough surprises that I wasn't disappointed. If you enjoyed Behind Closed Doors and like psychological thrillers, you will enjoy this one.

I received a copy for a review.

B.A. Paris is the internationally bestselling author of Behind Closed Doors. 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. @BAParisAuthor.

#whocanyoutrust #thebreakdown

The Story of Arthur Truluv



The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg. New York: Random House, 2017. 130 pages. ***** Available August 2017.

Arthur Moses climbs the steps of a bus every day with a packed lunch and a fold up chair to have lunch with his deceased wife, Nola.  Arthur is eighty-five years old and hopes to live to be one hundred. Since he started going to the cemetery, a part of a person's life story reaches Arthur as he passes the tombstone. It doesn't happen for everyone, just a few, but somehow he knows that what he sees is true about the person buried there. It is at the cemetery that Arthur sees Maddy for the first time and wonders why she isn't in school. He's not sure of her age, fourteen or fifteen, dressed in a t-shirt, ripped jeans with spiky black hair, she looks ready to run when she realizes he has noticed her. Maddy often visits the cemetery to take pictures and hang out until school is over for the day. When Maddy inevitably meets Arthur and hears his story, she nicknames him Arthur Truluv because of his love for Nola. Maddy is bullied at school and has no friends so Arthur is happy to take her under his wing. Arthur's next door neighbor, Lucille, is lonely, loves to bake, and invite Arthur to keep her company. All three bond by their loss, love, and need for understanding and friendship.

Elizabeth Berg's books resonate with people of all ages. She often writes abut circumstances that alter one's chosen path and unexpected possibilities that offer something better in life. She has insight that few share and can express. Berg made me laugh, cry, and wish for more. Her unassuming characters form a friendship that when it exists, it's to be treasured and valued. In the Acknowledgements, Berg writes about sending the manuscript to a friend with the hope that she "gets" it. I got it, loved it and will recommend it to friends.

I received an ecopy for review.

Elizabeth Berg is the author of many best novels, including Open House, Talk Before Sleep, and the Year of the Pleasures, as well as the short story collectionThe Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted. Durable Goods and Joy School were selected as ALA Best Books of the Year. To learn more visit elizabeth-berg.net or Facebook.com/bergbooks




4/26/17

The Perfect Stranger


The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2017. 267 pages. ****

When ex-college roommate Emmy suggests that she and Leah start over in a small town in Pennsylvania, Leah jumps at the chance. Leah has burned her bridges in Boston as a journalist when an article she has written puts her career and the newspaper in jeopardy. When Emmy disappears and a local woman is attacked, Leah's boring life as a teacher comes under scrutiny. Does Emmy even exist and what proof does Leah have that someone is stalking her? Sleeping with the detective on the case is probably another bad decision, but Leah is determined to convince him that she is the victim and not the liar that he suspects she is.

I received an ecopy for review.

I loved the book, All the Missing Girls, and couldn't wait until this new book was released. I started it and was immediately drawn in and couldn't stop thinking about it and wonder where the story would take me. I had some initial insights and thought I had figured it out. I was so wrong and I didn't guess the outcome. My only hesitation in reviewing this book is that the story seemed to fizzle out for me. Initially, I couldn't put it down and then it seemed to lose its momentum. Towards the end, as she is wrapping up the mystery, I am "what?" Maybe it is me, but I am disappointed.

Megan Miranda is the author of several books for young adults, including Fracture, Hysteria, Vengeance, and Soulprint. She grew up in New Jersey, attended MIT, and lives in North Carolina with her husband and two children. Her novels for adults include All the Missing Girls and The Perfect Stranger. Follow @MeganLMiranda on Twitter, or visit MeganMiranda.com.

#allthemissinggirls #psychologicalthriller


4/9/17

Quilt Retreat March 2017


Quilt Retreat, don't know what to take? Checkout my Quilt Retreat Checklist!



No matter how hard I try to cut back on what I take with me to Retreat, the "what if I need it?" mentality kicks in. My sister and I did share some tools; a cutting mat and rulers, iron and ironing surface. My pillow is an absolute must have!



 My sister and I had a very nice room, two queen size beds, and a huge bathroom. I always bring my own quilt and pillow, sometimes I coordinate with the season or just bring my Betty Boop Quilt.













The View from the room through the window. 
Blackrock Retreat Center is in a wooded area
 and is so peaceful.

Our rooms are located in the Main Building and couldn't be nicer!

 

The Main area has two working fireplaces, comfortable chairs, puzzles, and chess.






The Dining Hall has tables reserved for our group:  it is clean and inviting.











The food is served buffet style with salads, fresh fruit, entree, and vegetables. Dessert is always yummy and there is coffee, tea, lemonade, water available 24/7. Picnic Tables and a grill are on an outside deck.
 
Our sewing room was very spacious, we each had our own table with extra tables for cutting stations and snacks!

A few of the projects I worked on...


A mug rug for a friend from Cheryl Lynch's Philly Love pattern. I shrunk it 50% to make it a mug rug size.



I am participating in Pat Sloan's Summer Solstice Challenge!



I took a class last month with Erin Underwood at the Blue Hen Quilt Shop. Erin is a fantastic teacher and I love these "Fantastic Flying Geese!"


I also did a demo on making Easy Nine Patch Blocks based on Barb Vedder's method. My Quilt Guild is doing a nine patch block swap in July.

My Sister and I had a great time!


There were many fun activities planned:

  • Scavenger Hunt - who thought quilters could be so competitive?
  • Mystery Table Runner
  • Ice Cream Social
  • Demos
  • Door Prizes
  • Guess my Secret Game
There were many laughs and it definitely was a fun weekend!

#quiltretreat #summersolsticechallenge #phillylove #quiltretreatchecklist 












3/29/17

One Perfect Lie





One Perfect Lie by Lisa Scottoline. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2017. 355 pp. *****+

Chris Brennan is applying for a job as a Central Valley high school government teacher and as an assistant baseball coach. He's the first to admit that his impeccable resume, references,  and background is false. He has studied the curriculum, googled the staff members, researched the principal and the town. Central Valley is a small town in south-central Pennsylvania. One surprise, once he is hired, is that a staff member from Wyoming and wants to bond over fond memories of where they both grew up. Chris is on a mission and is looking for a particular high school student, a fatherless boy, a loner, and one who is easily manipulated. Befriending the boys on the baseball team is easier than he expected; getting to know their families reveals secrets of betrayal, fraud, sexting, and manipulation. The apparent suicide by one of the teachers raises questions as to what is really going on in the high school and town. Who is the aggressor and who is the victim?

Scottoline takes us on a wild ride in this psychological thriller. No one is who they seem to be and yet all of the characters are likable and relatable. I loved that she kept me guessing and I wanted to get to the answers but didn't want the book to end. The fact that she is a local author and some of the action takes place in the Philadelphia suburbs and many of her landmarks are identifiable adds to the reality of the story. However, it could take place at any suburban high school because Scottoline accurately portrays a high school environment. Scottoline is a master at creating scenes and this novel could easily be made into an action packed film. I loved this book from the beginning until the end.

I received a copy for review. Full disclosure...I am a huge Scottoline fan! It will be published on April 11th, add it to your "Must Read Book" list.

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.


#oneperfectlie #highschoolthriller #thriller



3/27/17

A Ring of Truth


A Ring of Truth by Michelle Cox. Berkeley: She Writes Press, 2016. 306 page ***** Publication Date April 4, 2017.

In this second book of the series, newly engaged Henrietta and Clive discover that meeting each other's families is proving much more difficult than they imagined. Clive failed to tell Henrietta that not only was she engaged to an Inspector in the police force but also an heir to the Howard estate and fortune. Set in Chicago during the 1930s, Cox paints a grim picture of the poor, and the luxurious lifestyle of the rich. Henrietta is overwhelmed by the food, clothes, and mindset at the Howard estate, she is more comfortable helping the maid make the bed than playing the role of "lady of the manor." When a woman living in a cottage on the estate claims that she has been robbed of a family heirloom,  Henrietta is determined to find the thief. Clive and his parents seem unconcerned about the mysterious thief and discourage Henrietta from investigating. What is even more puzzling is that Clive's parents claim that Henrietta's mother is the daughter of a well-known privileged family. Henrietta doesn't know what to believe and begins to question who is the real Clive, Chief Inspector or future Lord of the Manor? It's obvious that Clive loves her but is there a place for her in his future?

I received an advance copy for a review.

This second book can be read as a stand-alone, but I recommend you read A Girl Like You first. (read my review here) Cox has an easy style of writing that draws me into the story from the very beginning. I like historical fiction and mysteries, so this series is a perfect match for me. Add the engagement of Clive and Henrietta and I couldn't put it down. The only negative about the series is that I have to wait until the next book is published to see if Henrietta and Clive marry.

Michelle Cox has a B.A. in English Literature from Mundelein College, Chicago, and is the author of the award-winning, A Girl Like You, the first in the Henrietta and Inspector Howard series. She is known for her wildly popular blog, "How To Get Your Book Published in 7,000 Easy Steps---A Practical Guide" as well as her charming "Novel Notes of Local Lore"-- a blog dedicated to Chicago's forgotten residents. Ms. Cox lives with her husband and three children in the Chicago suburbs.

#historicalmystery


3/21/17

T Shirt Quilt

I volunteered to make a T-shirt quilt for a friend's daughter. Her favorite color is green and I found this gorgeous Amy Butler fabric on sale and bought 10 yards of it. It doesn't photograph in all of its glory, but it is bright greens, yellow, a little orange, and pink!


I started laying the t-shirts on the living room floor to get an idea of a layout.


I did some research and texted a friend as to what kind of fusible interfacing to use, she suggested Pellon 44F at 99 cents a yard at Jo-Anns. It is 20 inches wide, so I bought 12 yards. My rationale was 2 shirts per yard, cutting the fusible 18 by 20 inches. Everything I read said to cut the shirts up the side and across the neckline...then apply the fusible before trimming the shirt to the correct size. 


I then measured each front of the shirt with the design side up to see what a common size would be to cut. A friend loaned me plastic templates, a huge time saver....most of the shirts could be cut to 12.5 inches square, but 4 were too big and needed to be 14.5 inches square. So, I trimmed them all to 15 inches. I decided to seam two of the shirts together to make one shirt and did this twice. 
There was one shirt left when they were all laid out 4 x5, but I decided not to use that one. 


My plan is to add a frame around each shirt and a white strip in between, even without borders, I realized this quilt will be big...!!! My husband (the engineer) suggested making the first and last column narrower (12.5 x14.5) and the center row smaller. (10.2 x 14.5) 



It seemed to work visually, so I started auditioning fabric strips to frame the blocks. 

I didn't realize how labor intensive a "T-shirt" quilt is to make. 









Finally! All of the frames are sewn and I added white sashing around all of the blocks. The 3.5 inch flowered border has been added and it's off to the longarmer.










#tshirtquilt #tshirtquilts












3/11/17

The Amish Cooking Class: The Seekers


The Amish Cooking Class : The Seekers (The Amish Cooking Class, book 1) by Wanda E. Brunstetter. Ohio: Shiloh Run Press, 2017. 310 pages. Recipes. Discussion Questions. *****

Married for eight years without children and her husband won't adopt, Heidi Troyer decides to share what she does best. She advertises to teach a cooking class modeled after the quilting classes taught by her aunt. What Heidi didn't count on are the students who signed up for her class bring their troubles, concerns, and drama to her door. The cooking students are Charlene, who is engaged to be married, but is a disaster in the kitchen; Kendra, a pregnant teen; Loretta, widowed with two children; Ron, a hustler who parks his van on the Troyer farm; and Eli, an Amish widower who wants to learn to cook for himself. Add a mystery and romance between the students and cooking class is never dull.

Reading a Brunstetter book is like greeting an old friend. Her characters have a certain grace, peace, and faith. They work through life's problems and joys with drama and arrive at a quiet acceptance. One of her greatest strengths as a writer is her ability to bring her characters to life. I have read all of her books and each character is unique. When I finish one of her books I believe all is right with the world, escapism at its highest form. The recipes sound yummy and are a bonus! I am looking forward to the next book in the series.

I received a copy for a review.

New York Times bestselling, award-winning author, Wanda E. Brunstetter, is one of the founders of the Amish fiction genre. Her books are well-read and trusted by many Amish, who credit her for giving readers a deeper understanding of the people and their customs. To learn more about Wanda, visit her website at www.wandabrunstetter.com.

#amishfiction #christianfiction


3/7/17

Drop In





Drop In: Lead With Deeper Presence and Courage by Sara Harvey Yao. Berkeley: She Writes Press, 2016. 184 pp. *****

Yao has written a simple, yet effective, method for becoming present. Classified as a business book, it reads more as a life plan for navigating the complexities of life and work. Seldom has a book so resonated with me. I like to read self-help books and eagerly began this one. By asking oneself a few questions at any given time will remind you "the essence of you and your reactions are two very different things." For anyone who suffers daily anxiety, this premise can be life changing. Her chapter   "Accessing Your Connected Heart," discusses the power of listening and the four levels of listening. This chapter alone makes the purchase worthwhile. To fully listen and accept that the person speaking "was already whole, capable, and resourceful," is a lesson for all aspects of life. There were many aha moments and the marking of passages to return to and reflect on. Full of practical tools applicable for all aspects of communicating with others, both at home and at work. I recommend this book; buy one for you and one for a friend.


I received a copy for a review.

Sara Harvey Yao is a leadership consultant and coach who specializes in helping people lead from a state of presence by accessing the wisdom of their head, heart, and gut. She has developed and trained thousands of leaders across the globe, and her work is favored by leaders at companies such as Microsoft =, Smuckers and Brooks Athletics. Whether working one-on-one, as a facilitator, or presenting in front of large audiences, she is committed to guiding people to their innate clarity and presence. Sara is also the author of Get Present: Simple Strategies to Get Out of Your Head and Lead More Powerfully.

#dropin 

2/24/17

Solstice Challenge

I received these fabrics in a Quilty Box and loved them. They are perfect for Pat Sloan's Solstice Challenge Sew Along. 

Hand Maker Fabrics by Natalie Barnes for Windham Fabrics

Aren't they gorgeous?



Block #9 Among the Stars This block is huge and I love it!





Block #10 The Coffee Shop



















                            Quilt Math # 11



Jacob's Ladder #12

I'm not too sure about this block, it might be too low volume with the other blocks. 



#SolsticeChallenge #Beyondthereef #handmakerfabrics @nataliebarnes