8/23/17

I sewed a quilted heart



My Granddaughter and I have always believed in "paying it forward" and have done a few projects which promote that philosophy. We are truly blessed to have each other and many common interests. We love to sew and quilt. When I saw the "I Found A Quilted Heart" movement, I knew it was for us.
All of the information, rules, etc. can be found here.

Our process is simple:

  • Quilt together two fat quarters. We used fusible batting and it was so easy.
  • Trace a heart shape on the quilted fabric and cut out the hearts using pinking shears.
  • We sewed a straight stitch close to the edge, so it doesn't fray or come apart. 
  • We printed out the sample tags found on the website. and glued them to the back of paper hearts. We made the paper hearts out of card stock and hole punched them to facilitate hanging.



My Granddaughter hand wrote "Take Me Home" to the front side of the heart tags.











We added rick rack, buttons, lace, etc. to the hearts.


We added ribbon or rick rack as a hanger and stitched it on with the sewing machine to make it strong.

We made 11 hearts the first day!


We sowed 2 hearts that first day in Pennsylvania and it was really hard to walk away and not to hang around and see if anyone noticed the heart or claimed it. It rained so hard that night that I woke up and wondered if the hearts were in the rain.

I am taking two hearts with me this weekend to Maryland and my Granddaughter is taking two with her to South Carolina. I wonder if everyone else who makes these hearts checks the FB page to see if anyone has claimed/recorded their heart as often as I do? Just think, you may be lucky enough to find one. We'll be making more hearts next week!

#isowedaquiltedheart 

Don't Let Go




Don't Let Go by Harlan Coben. New York: Dutton, 2017. 291 pages. ***** to be Published September 26, 2017.

Napoleon Dumas has spent the last fifteen years talking to his dead brother, looking for his missing girlfriend, and playing vigilante. When the fingerprints of his missing high school girlfriend surface during a murder investigation, Dumas begins to question the facts that surrounded his brother's death along with Diana, his brother's girlfriend, on the train tracks. Is anything true that he was told at the time or have all of his friends lied to him? If Maura is alive and complicit in this latest murder, why did she run away 15 years ago and why has she not contacted him? Were Leo, Diana, and Maura, all members of the Conspiracy Club, a secret society, along with Hank, Rex, and Beth? Rex has now been murdered, Hank is missing and Beth is unavailable. It's up to Nap to connect the recent murders with what happened 15 years ago and to find Maura.

In true Coben fashion, the plot twists and turns, confusing the reader (in a good way) as to who is the good guy and who is the killer. Nap tries to right wrongs and questions whether he is being played for a fool. The endings in his books are usually a surprise and this one was no exception. Great escapism reading.

I received an ecopy for a review.

This is a story of friendship, love, loyalty, and secrets.

With more than seventy million books in print worldwide, Harlan Coben is the internationally bestselling author of thirty novels, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers Home, Fool Me Once, The Stranger, Missing You, Six Years, Stay Close, Live Wire, Caught, Long Lost, and Hold Tight, as well as the Myron Bolitar series and a series aimed at young adults featuring Myron's nephew, Mickey Bolitar. His books are published in forty-three languages around the globe and have been number one bestsellers in more than a dozen countries. The winner of the Edgar, Shamus, and Anthony Awards, he lives in New Jersey.

8/18/17

Beartown


Beartown by Fredrik Backman. Translated by Neil Smith. New York: Atria Books, 2016. 418 pages. ****

The story opens with "a teenager picked up a double-barreled shotgun, walked into the forest, put the gun to someone else's forehead, and pulled the trigger." Beartown is a town that has lost most of its economic base, closed some schools, and is getting swallowed up by its desolateness. The town's hope for a bright future is hockey. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semifinals and the town is counting on their star player, Kevin. A win will change the lives of the team members and justify the choices that the general manager and coach have made for the boys and their families. The actions of the players at an unsupervised party the night before the game challenges the beliefs of the parents, townspeople and the players themselves. When the police remove one of their own from the bus on the day of the big game, the players and townspeople rally to support him even though his innocence is questioned by his best friend. 

Backman has tackled a difficult subject and this book is unlike his others. Initially, I was disappointed because if you have read my previous posts, I love his writings and was hoping for similar characters and plot. This is one of those books that starts out slow and I knew something tragic was unfolding based on the first few lines. Yes, it is a book about hockey, but it could be any town and any sport. When players are idolized and are seen to be above the rules of society and the adults turn a blind eye, anything can and does happen. There are no easy answers and even the players who stand up for what is right and just are beaten for their stance. It is through Backman's characters, that hope, love, and courage win over ego and violence. 

 I am not a sports fan and maybe some of the situations are predictable and cliched, however, Backman's unique character development gives this story an edge. Difficult to read at times because of the anticipated outcome, I couldn't "look away" and had to keep reading.


Recommended for Book Clubs, there are many cultural and societal issues addressed and are ripe for discussion.

Reviews of his other books, click here.

Fredrik Backman's stories have been published in more than forty countries. He lives in Stockholm, Sweden, with his wife and two children. Visit him online at his blog: FredrikBackman.com, on twitter @backmanland, or on Instagram @backmansk.

#beartown #fredrikbackman 

8/13/17

You Were There Before My Eyes


You Were There Before My Eyes by Maria Riva. New York: Pegasus Books, 467 pages. ***** Publication Date - October 7, 2017.

The story begins, "The morning her mother died, Giovanna gave up on God." An only child, raised by a remote father and disciplined by the nuns in a quiet turn-of-the-century Italian village, Giovanna is determined to escape the inevitable future planned for her. When the brother of a friend returns to the village to choose a wife with certain qualities for a perfect marriage. When his chosen fiance turns him down, Giovanna volunteers to marry Giovanni and travel with him to America to start a new life as his wife.
Nothing prepares Giovanna for Ellis Island and the train journey to Detroit where her new husband works in the Ford factories. Renaming themselves, Jane and John, they are determined to fit into life in their new neighborhood and the culture surrounding employment in the Ford factory. Henry Ford has strong opinions about how his employees should behave and rewards those who are married. It is 1913 and the factory is installing the first assembly line to produce the Model T. John, a leader among his immigrant friends at the factory, is optimistic about the many opportunities available by working at the plant. Jane is determined to be a good wife to John and to make him proud of her, even if the many norms and customs in America are strange to her. With the advent of World War I, their world becomes one of suspicion, loss, and betrayal.

I knew nothing about this time period and the workings of the Ford factory, but I was absolutely captivated by this love story. Riva introduces us to everyday life for the poor working class at the turn of the century. The factory workers who revere the owners and those who covertly meet to push the "union" agenda. Immigrants who come to America believe that if one works hard enough, a better life and prosperity will be theirs. Being a family historian and ggggrandaughter of Irish immigrants, I am fascinated by the hardships, friendships, and relationships that they formed when they arrived in America. Riva gives us a glimpse into how it really does take a village to survive as an immigrant. Hannah, the landlady, takes Jane under her wing, befriends, and counsels her. The best historical fiction transports me to a time and place and I become lost in that other world, Jane and John's story does that for me.


I received an ecopy for a review.


Maria Riva was born in Berlin in 1924 and is the only child of Marlene Dietrich.  Maria performed in Germany and Italy as part of a USO troupe during World War II and taught acting at Fordham University upon her return to the United States.  She has performed on Broadway, radio, television, and film and has been nominated for an Emmy. Maria continues an active life in California and spends time visiting her sons and grandchildren. 

Enigma


Enigma by Catherine Coulter. New York: Gallery Books, 2017. 311 pages. ***** Published September 12, 2017.

In this latest FBI novel, Agents Savich and Sherlock race against time to free a pregnant woman held hostage by an armed stranger. When Savich saves Kara Moody from the crazy man who claims to be protecting her, Savich discovers a convoluted plot by a scientist to enable his father and others to live forever. At the same time, Wittier and Cabot track a violent criminal who has escaped during a well-planned rescue. Throw in the murder of the girlfriend of the President's Chief of Staff's only son and all bets are off.

Coulter once again delivers a heart-thumping, roller coaster of a ride. Her plots are involved and believable with likeable characters. This is her 21st FBI novel and I hope there will be many more from her. It's not easy to develop two plots simultaneously with strong alpha characters and create believable scenes and romantic situations. Make sure you have the time to finish this one once started because you are not going to want to put it down.

I received an ecopy for review.

Catherine Coulter is the New York Times bestselling author of 75 books. She lives in Sausalito, California. To learn more...http://www.catherinecoulter.com

8/5/17

A Dangerous Woman From Nowhere


A Dangerous Woman From Nowhere by Kris Radish. Tempe: Booksparks, 2017. 272 pages. ****
(Paperback- September 12th 2017.)

Briar Logan has finally found the love of her life only to see him kidnapped by lawless gold miners. Having survived a horrific childhood and life on the western frontier in the 1860s, Briar is determined to save her husband and return to the solace of their ranch. The harsh realities of the elements -- cold, snow, and gold thieves, whiskey runners, etc. force Briar to allow Jack and Percy to accompany her to the mines to save Logan. Jack, a damaged young man, and Percy, a notorious female horse trainer, prove their worth when Briar is injured and suffers a concussion. This unlikely trio forms a bond of love, courage, and resilience in an unforgiving world, however, is it enough to save Logan and bring him home?

Kris Radish's work always incorporates strong female characters. Pushed to their limits, they prove their worth in the face of extreme adversity. Every woman in the story has an important role in the survival of each other and Briar and Percy are no exceptions to this premise. I have liked her writing since the first book I read, The Elegant Gathering of White Snows. It's hard to believe that Kris is terrified of horses since Briar has a special relationship with her horse, Willow. This is a story of survival and love. Escapism at its best.

A received an ecopy for a review.

Kris Radish is the author of eleven novels and three works of nonfiction. A former journalist, nationally syndicated columnist, and university instructor, Radish is terrified of horses but has wanted to be a cowgirl her entire life. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, but readily admits her heart is in the mountains and the spirit of Mika is lurking her west. When she's not polishing her boots, Radish is working on a nonfiction book, a compilation of her poetry, her next two novels, and some really great stories to share around the campfire in Montana.

#historicalfiction #westernfrontierfiction