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


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.



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


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


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.