9/7/18

Three Days Missing


Three Days Missing by Kimberly Belle. Park Row Books, 2018. 336 pages. ****

Ethan, a nine-year-old genius is missing from a second-grade school overnight field trip. His mother, Kat Jenkins, is involved in a nasty divorce battle and can't think of anyone who would harm her son, not even his father. Evidence at the site suggests that a fire was deliberately set as a distraction to allow the kidnapper to take Ethan. As the investigation continues, questions arise as to whether the wrong boy has been snatched. Neither Kat nor her ex-husband has anything of value or the means to pay a ransom, why was Ethan chosen? Like the clues that Ethan leaves behind, Belle hints throughout the story that all is not what it seems.

I purchased this book to read on a long flight and it held my interest until I finished it. I guessed the identity of the kidnapper but wasn't sure of the motive. If you are looking for suspenseful, escapism reading, you will not be disappointed. I enjoyed her book, The Marriage Lie, and recommend that one also.

Review of The Marriage Lie

Kimberly Belle is the bestselling author of four novels: The Last Breath, The Ones We Trust, The Marriage Lie, and Three Days Missing. Her third novel, The Marriage Lie, has been translated into a dozen languages and was a semifinalist in the 2017 Goodreads Choice Awards for Best Mystery & Thriller. A graduate of Agnes Scott College, Kimberly worked in marketing and nonprofit fundraising before turning to writing fiction. She lived for over a decade in the Netherlands and currently divides her time between Atlanta and Amsterdam.

The Alice Network


The Alice Network by Kate Quinn. New York: William and Morrow, 2017. 560 pages. ****

The Alice Network is told in the alternating voices of Charlie St. Clair and Eve Gardiner and in two different time frames, 1915 and 1947. Charlie is on a quest to find her cousin Rose who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war and is lead to Eve, a drunk, who wants nothing to do with reliving her life as a spy and a member of the Resistance. Throw in a handsome, rugged, handyman and driver for Eve and romance ensues.

I picked up this book to take on a river cruise in France. One of the towns, Rouen is mentioned in the book and visiting that town helped to bring the book alive. Women spies fascinate me and that story line held my interest. While more character driven than possibly historically factual, my interest was held and now I want to read more books on this subject. Quinn mentions events that happened and puts her own spin on the why of the atrocity that occurred. Read more about it here. I enjoyed this novel and will probably do some research on the Massacre of Oradour-Sur-Glane. I wish I had been able to visit Limoges and this town. 


Kate Quinn is a native of southern California. She attended Boston University, where she earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Classical Voice. A lifelong history buff, she has written four novels in the Empress of Rome Saga, and two books in the Italian Renaissance, before turning to the 20th century with “The Alice Network” and the upcoming “The Huntress.” All have been translated into multiple languages.

Kate and her husband now live in San Diego with two black dogs named Caesar and Calpurnia, and her interests include opera, action movies, cooking, and the Boston Red Sox.

#thealicenetwork #womenspies #theresistance

.

8/5/18

Night of Miracles


Night of Miracles: A Novel by Elizabeth Berg. New York: Random House, 2018. 288 pages. To be published November 2018. *****

Night of Miracles is the sequel to The Story of Arthur Truluv. It can be read as a standalone, however, I highly recommend you read Arthur Truluv first. The main characters are introduced by means of alternating voices in the opening chapters of the novel. Lucille Howard, eighty-eight years old, is living in the house that Arthur left to Maddy and is missing her friends. Lucille is feeling her age and realizing that she may have lived past her time of importance and relevance. Falling in love with Frank in high school and reconnecting at the age of eighty-three, only to have him die of a heart attack before they marry, reinforces the feeling of "here, then gone again." Lucille dreams of Frank, intense dreams, she smells Old Spice and "hears his voice as plain as day." When an angel appears to summon her, Lucille resists and shows why she has to stay.

Iris, Abby, and Monica have their own issues with men, independence, and loneliness.

Berg has a gift for weaving mundane life events together to show how relevant we are in ways that we cannot see and how love can find us when we least expect it. She gives us hope, love, and acceptance in a heartwarming tale of friendship that captivates and amuses. I wish that I had reread Arthur Truluv prior to reading this one, I loved that story and am so glad that Berg wrote the sequel. Not all sequels reflect the craftsmanship of the original story, but Berg does not disappoint her readers. The spirit of Arthur lives on in this heartwarming tale. To be published in November, I will be giving both novels as holiday presents.

I received an ecopy for a review.

My review of The Story of Arthur Truluv.

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.

For more on Elizabeth Berg, check out her website http://www.elizabeth-berg.net and her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/bergbooks/.

8/4/18

Birthday Musings

Words of wisdom on my 67th Birthday:
This moment is the youngest I will ever be and the oldest I have ever been. 
Age is only a number (I’m really 21 inside, that’s the Birthday we announced our engagement)
I don’t need 2 eyes with perfect vision to see what’s important in life.
It’s how you treat others that is a reflection of who you are, not how others treat you. 
Marry the person who makes you feel like “you are enough” just as you are and wants you to be his dancing partner each and every day. 
When you apply sunscreen on your face, include your neck, it may prevent neck wrinkles. 
TSA Global Entry is worth every penny. 
Traveling with Grandchildren is the best, it gives a fresh perspective on events, people, and places. Plus, she laughs out loud at the absurdity of life and most of what comes out of my mouth...the eye roll completes it... It seems that no one says “mojo, chillaxing” anymore and dancing to the music in public places is frowned upon even if it is Graceland! 
The people who love me when I am least lovable are “my people.”
A dying friend once told me, it’s all about “the Love”...I am feeling the love today and counting my blessings. Thank you for all of the Birthday wishes.


Even though we were staying in a hotel, my Husband gave me this rose for my Birthday... he's a keeper!

7/22/18

I See Life Through Rose`-Colored Glasses






I See Life Through Rose`-Colored Glasses: True Stories and Confessions by Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella. New York: St. Martins Press, 352 pages. *****

Seeing life through the lens of this mother-daughter team is hilarious, touching, and real. This collection of stories is totally relatable, they invite us into their imperfect lives and allow us to join in the comedic side of life.

No subject is off limits, from a do it yourself colonoscopy, to peeling a hard-boiled egg and giving up a pool chair to a pool bully.
Lisa points out the incongruities of growing older and the way in which we cope with emerging technologies (Live Feeds), news stories on Facebook (it's all true especially the snake coming out of the toilet), a favorite uncle Mikey who brings Christmas presents that fell off of the back of a truck and the power of steroids to heal a sore throat while providing the energy to accomplish everything needed for Christmas.
Francesca navigates us through her dating world, planning her birthday, and knowing when it is over as evidenced by a ravaged birthday cake. Her empathy and love for her pets shine through in her advocacy for air conditioning and a dog stroller for Ruby, "Francesca Serritella, Attorney at Paw."

The stories are a must read for this summer, this writing duo has an endless supply of everyday occurrences for us to laugh with them and at ourselves.

A previous book, summer 2017.
I need a Lifeguard everywhere but the pool.

I received an ecopy for a review.

Lisa and her daughter Francesca write a Sunday humor column, Chick Wit, for the Philadelphia Inquirer. These stories have been collected in a New York Times bestselling series of books including this one. Scottoline presently has 30 million copies in print in the United States, not including audio, e-book and various large print editions. Internationally, Lisa is published in 35 countries.

The Other Woman


The Other Woman by Sandie Jones. Minotaur Books, 2018. 304 pages. ***** Publication Date August 21, 2018.

Emily is content living the independent life until she meets and falls in love with Adam.  He's kind, considerate, and is equally in love with her. Adam speaks so highly of his mother and seems so protective of her, that Emily is thrilled when he finally introduces them. Until...she gets to know Pammie, the evil future mother-in-law. Pammie seems to have Adam's best interests at heart and Emily tries to give his mother the benefit of doubt and not complain about her behavior. James, Adam's handsome brother, becomes her ally in the family's dynamics and Emily begins to feel drawn to James when Adam doesn't see how manipulative his mother is to all of them. Pammie seems determined to sabotage the wedding, even taking it upon herself to invite Emily's former best friend to the bachelorette activities despite hard feelings between them. 

Considering that it is Jones' debut novel, the plot is filled with suspense, conflicts, and enough twists and turns to keep me guessing. Readers of psychological thrillers will enjoy her convoluted plot. 

Fans of The Girl in Cabin 10, B.A. Paris, and Mary Kubica will enjoy this novel. I look forward to more from Jones and hopes that she develops as an author in the psychological thriller genre. 

I received an ecopy for a review.


Sandie Jones has been a freelance journalist for over 20 years, interviewing celebrities such as Justin Timberlake, Isla Fisher, Simon Cowell and Naomie Harris. Her debut novel, The Other Woman, is a psychological thriller about the destructive relationship between a woman and her partner's mother.

If Sandie wasn't an author she'd be an interior designer as she has an unhealthy obsession with wallpaper and cushions!She lives in London, England, with her husband and three children.

A Merciful Silence




A Merciful Silence by Kendra Elliot. (Mercy Kilpatrick Book #4) Seattle: Montlake Romance, 2018.  344 pages. *****

Eagle's Nest police officer Ben Cooley is driving home when he sees that the road ahead of him is washed out by the heavy rain.  Calling for assistance, he reports that the guardrail is gone and then he notices the rock with eye sockets and teeth. In the latest FBI Special Agent Mercy Kilpatrick and Eagle's Nest police chief Truman Daly story, this crime-solving duo attempt to solve a present-day mass murder and in the process, revisit a similar 20-year-old murder case. The convicted killer in the previous murder is behind bars, so is this the work of a copycat or has the wrong man been incarcerated? There is a witness to the first murder if only she could remember what happened on that fateful night. 


This book is the latest one in the series, and while some series may grow stagnant or stall, this one keeps getting better. Be prepared...once you start this book, you are not going to want to stop until the last page. 

I received an ecopy for a review.


Kendra Elliot has sold over 5 million books, hit the Wall Street Journal top ten bestseller list six times, and is a three-time winner of the Daphne du Maurier award. 
Her 2017 release, A MERCIFUL DEATH, was a #1 Amazon overall bestseller and was optioned for TV by Warner Brothers Television and Ellen Degeneres' A Very Good Production. 
She is also an International Thriller Writers' finalist and a Romantic Times finalist. She grew up in the lush Pacific Northwest and still lives there with her family, three cats, and two Pomeranians. She's always been fascinated with forensics, refuses to eat anything green, and can't wait to wear flip flops every day. 
More on Kendra Elliot on her website https://www.kendraelliot.com/home/.

#thriller #mystery #romance 






6/27/18

Liar, Liar


Liar, Liar by Lisa Jackson. New York, Kensington, 2018. 416 pages. ****

Didi Storm is determined to hit it big as a celebrity impersonator in order to claim fame and to care for her family. Remmi, her daughter, is fifteen and is much more realistic about their future especially since Didi now has twins with no husband in sight. When Didi takes one of the twins on a late night ride and Remmi is accidentally locked in a secret compartment in the car, Remmi witnesses a car explosion. Didi's actions are erratic after that late night assignation and Remmi fears for her life and the lives of her brother and sister. When Didi fails to return one day, Remmi sets out with her brother to find her. Fast forward twenty years later, a tell-all book is published about Didi and a woman in Didi's clothes falls from a San Francisco building just as Remmi is approaching the building. Is it Didi on the sidewalk? Who wrote the book about her mother and can Remmi finally get the answers to that fateful night in the desert?

An intriguing plot of mystery, fame, family relationships, and heartbreak. I always enjoy Lisa Jackson's books and I was not disappointed. This is the kind of book that you take on vacation, enjoy it and pass it on to a friend. Remmi is a very strong, resilient, likable character, Didi, not so much. I felt that Jackson did a good job of tying together all of the subplots, a couple of surprises, but satisfying at the end.

I received an ecopy for a review.

Lisa Jackson is the number-one New York Times bestselling author of more than 85 novels, including Afraid to Die, Tell Me, You Don’t Want to Know, Running Scared, Without Mercy, Malice, and Shiver.  She is also the co-author of the Colony Series, co-written with her sister, Nancy Bush. There are over 20 million copies of Lisa Jackson’s books in print in twenty languages.

Before she became a nationally bestselling author, Lisa Jackson was a mother struggling to keep food on the table by writing novels, hoping against hope that someone would pay her for them. Today, neck deep in murder, her books appear on The New York Times, the USA Today, and the Publishers Weekly national bestseller lists. More about Lisa www.lisajackson.com.

#mystery

6/24/18

The Patchwork Bride


The Patchwork Bride by Sandra Dallas.  New York: St. Marin's Press, 2018. 217 pages. ****

Ellen is reminiscing about her life while working on a wedding quilt for her Granddaughter, June, when June arrives at the ranch and proclaims the wedding is off. Through a series of stories about a woman named Nell, Ellen tries to reassure June that many brides have cold feet and that sometimes waiting to be sure is better. Nell is a young woman who journeyed to the New Mexico territory in 1898 in search of a husband. While working on her Aunt Lucy's ranch, Nell falls in love with a handsome cowboy, Buddy. Engaged to be married, stubborn Nell runs back to Kansas when Buddy tries to control her.  Engaged two more times, Nell eventually marries the love of her life. In the process of staying with her grandparents on their ranch and listening to Nell's story, June makes up her mind about marrying Dave.


I received an ecopy for a review.

The first Sandra Dallas book I read was "Prayers for Sale." Dallas has a way of capturing and retelling a tale that is both heartwarming and hopeful. Life is filled with disappointment and hardships, however, Dallas always shows the love that transcends the hurt. She breathes life into her characters who reflect the times and situations in which they lived. I love stories about strong women who don't settle in life and forge ahead in self-discovery and in search of their dreams. A great summer read!

New York Times best-selling author SANDRA DALLAS, the author of fifteen adult novels, two young reader novels, and two non-fiction books, was dubbed “a quintessential American voice” by Jane Smiley, in Vogue Magazine. Sandra’s novels with their themes of loyalty, friendship, and human dignity have been translated into a dozen foreign languages and have been optioned for films. For more info https://www.sandradallas.com.

#historicalfiction #quiltingfiction #patchworkbride #quiltsfiction

6/15/18

Dark Tide Rising


Dark Tide Rising: A William Monk Novel by Anne Perry. New York: Ballantine Books, 2018. 244 pages. ***** Published September 18th, 2018.

In this latest book in the William Monk series, Monk is asked to accompany Harry Exeter in paying the ransom for the return of his wife, Kate Exeter. When the ransom drop goes horribly wrong, Monk and his men are caught off guard and attacked, Monk begins to suspect that one of his own men has alerted the kidnappers. Monk realizes that he doesn't know about the personal lives of his men and he embarks on a mission to arrest the kidnappers and uncover the perpetrator who has corrupted his team. His investigation takes an ugly turn when the suspected kidnapper is found with his throat slashed and a bank teller is murdered.  Everyone has something to hide and it is up to Monk to uncover what it is and whether it is relevant to this case.

Set in Victorian England, Anne Perry has a gift for bringing the sights, sounds, and brutality of that era to her readers. I have always liked Jack the Ripper type books complete with the mystery of who he actually was and whether he has been identified. The William Monk series is well-written and has a plot complicated enough to hold my attention and always has a twist at the end. This one is no exception, it was engrossing from beginning to the end. Each of her books may be read as a stand-alone, but I would start at the beginning of this series and read them all!

I received an ecopy for a review.

From her website,  "Anne Perry's publishing career began with The Cater Street Hangman. Published in 1979, this was the first book in the series to feature the Victorian policeman Thomas Pitt and his well-born wife Charlotte. This is arguably the longest sustained crime series by a living writer.  She has now started a series featuring their son Daniel, beginning with 21 Days (2017). She began the Monk series in order to explore a different, darker character, and to raise questions about responsibility, particularly that of a person for acts he cannot remember. How much of a person's identity is bound up in memory? All our reactions, decisions, etc. spring from what we know, have experienced. We are in so many ways the sum of all we have been!" For more information on Anne Perry, visit her website.

#victorianenglandmystery #williammonkseries 

6/4/18

Summer Reading Suggested List 2018







If you are looking for book suggestions for this summer:

Heaven Adjacent by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Feared by Lisa Scottoline

The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

After Anna by Lisa Scottoline

I've Been Thinking by Maria Shriver

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

Authors:
All of the above and...

Elisabeth Berg
Frederik Backman
Kate Morton
Michelle Cox
Jane Green

Some of the books I will be reviewing this summer :

The Other Woman - Sandie Jones
A Merciful Silence - Kendra Elliot
The Patchwork Bride - Sandra Dallas
Liar, Liar - Lisa Jackson
Dark Tide Rising - Anne Perry
A Measure of Darkness - Jonathon Kellerman
I see Life through Rose -Colored Glasses
A Gentleman in Moscow - Amor Towles
The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat - Edward Kelsey Moore

Best Beach Reads: 50+ awesome summer book recommendations from PA Librarians

Banned and Challenged Books

Jimmy Fallon's Summer Reading Poll

I would love to know your thoughts if you read any of the above books!


6/3/18

When The Lights Go Out


When The Lights Go Out by Mary Kubica. Canada: Park Row Books, 2018. 316 pages. ***

For Jessie's whole life it has only been Mom and her. Mom is in the hospital dying and Jessie isn't sure what she is going to do. Unable to sleep and not wanting to leave her Mom's side, Jessie survives on hospital cafeteria coffee and the kindness of the nurses. When the college financial aid office calls Jessie and tells her that there is a problem with her college application and that the social security number that Jessie has provided belongs to a dead girl. Jessie soon feels like Alice falling down the rabbit hole and starts to question who her mother really is and what happened to her father. Told in the alternating voices of Jessie and her mother, Eden, a horrifying story unfolds.

I have loved Kubica's previous novels, see my links to their reviews, but this book did not keep my interest. I guessed early in the book where the plot was going and hoped I was wrong. Maybe it is where I am right now, but the characters of Jessie and her mother did not hold together for me. It will be interesting when it is published to see how it is received and what others think of it. You'll have to read this one to decide for your self.

I received an ecopy for a review.

Previous books by Kubica:

Don't You Cry

Pretty Baby 


Mary Kubica is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of four novels, including THE GOOD GIRL, PRETTY BABY, DON’T YOU CRY and EVERY LAST LIE. A former high school history teacher, Mary holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in History and American Literature. She lives outside of Chicago with her husband and two children, where she enjoys photography, gardening and caring for the animals at a local shelter.

#psychologicalthriller #whenthelightsgoout

5/28/18

Heaven Adjacent


Heaven Adjacent by Catherine Ryan Hyde. Lake Union Publishing, 2018. 319 pages. Publication Date June 19, 2018. *****

There are some days when everything is going wrong and we each question our purpose in life. Roseanna Chaldecott is a high-powered lawyer in Manhatten when Alice, her law partner, and best friend, drops dead in the middle of a meeting. Roseanna gets in her car one day and decides to keep driving, out of the city and out of her life. She runs out of gas and happens upon a neglected farm that seems perfect for her new life. Considering her current state of mind, perhaps Roseanna should have investigated the barn and the other building on the property. Unexpected developments threaten her peace of mind and solitude. Leaving behind all of her responsibilities in the law firm, Roseanna soon realizes that "heaven" comes with a price. 

Hyde writes books that always makes me hopeful about the inherent goodness in people. Her interest in "paying it forward" shines clearly in her novels. It is such a warm, thought-provoking story, that I didn't want it to end. Her relationship with her son is complicated as it often is in families, however, it rings true. There are many humorous situations and I especially enjoyed Ernest, the orphan horse. 

Add this novel to the top of your Summer Reading List, grab a glass of wine, and escape for awhile. 

I received an ARC ecopy from NetGalley for a review.

Other books by Catherine Ryan Hyde:

Ask Him Why

Worthy

Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of thirty-three published books. Her bestselling 1999 novel, Pay It Forward, adapted into a major Warner Bros. motion picture, 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. An avid equestrian, photographer, and traveler, she lives in California.

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 


1/28/18

After Anna


After Anna by Lisa Scottoline. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2018. 400 pages. ***** Publication date April 10, 2018.

Noah Alderman has a thriving medical practice, is married to the lovely, Maggie Ippolitti, who has become a mother to his young son, Caleb. Living the suburban dream, all is close to perfect when Maggie receives a phone call from the daughter she hasn't seen since she was a baby. After Anna's birth, Maggie suffered from postpartum psychosis and her then-husband, highly successful Florian Desroches, took advantage of Maggie's illness to obtain physical custody of Anna. Maggie is overjoyed to hear from Anna that she is unhappy at her boarding school and is willing to come and live with Noah and Maggie. Discovering that Anna is an heiress and not used to rules and being part of a family, is an adjustment for all of them especially Noah. In a very short time, their lives are turned upside down, Noah is accused of murder and Maggie doesn't know who to believe. Maggie and her best friend Kathy are determined to learn the truth about Anna and what happened to Anna's missing friends.

Scottoline never disappoints! I enjoy her fast-paced writing style and in this case having heard her speak at Barneds and Noble, I can just imagine Lisa sitting down and breathlessly telling this story.  Reading one of her books is like seeing a friend that you haven't seen in awhile and picking up where you left off and time stands still. Told in the alternating voices of Maggie and Noah, I didn't want to stop reading until I discovered what really happened. I kept thinking, what??? There are many subplots within this story...prison violence, corruption, sex trafficking, mental illness, psychological manipulation, and abandonment. At times it seemed like too much was going on and yet that added to the tension within the story. As much as I enjoy the Rosato and Dinunzio series of books, I love her stand-alone novels best. I admit to being a huge fan and you will be too when you finish reading After Anna.

I received an ecopy for a review.


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.

Lisa dedicates this latest book to her daughter, "For Francesca, with love."

#afteranna #psychologcalthriller #humantrafficking @LisaScottoline

1/23/18

Girl Unknown


Girl Unknown by Karen Perry (Karen Gillece and Paul Perry) . New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2018. 289 pages. ****

David and Caroline Connolly have the perfect family--one boy and one girl; David's career is taking off at the university; Caroline has returned to a job at an ad agency after years of staying home with the children. David and Caroline are rebuilding their marriage after some recent problems. None of what they have been through prepares them for a student in David's class claiming that he is her father.

Naively, David accepts Zoe's story of her childhood and current situation. Caroline believes she sees the real Zoe and has reason to mistrust everything Zoe says and does. A positive DNA match does not sway Caroline's opinion and places David in the middle between his wife and daughter. Is Zoe an innocent, misunderstood daughter? Or does she have a sinister plan to ingratiate herself in David's family?

Girl Unknown is a fast-paced psychological thriller with surprising twists and turns until the very end of the book. Just when I thought I had it figured out, I didn't! (which is rare for me) Fans of B. A. Paris will enjoy reading this writing duo. Loved it!

I received an Advanced Reading Copy for a review.

Karen Perry is the pen name of Dublin-based authors Karen Gillece and Paul Perry. Karen Gillece is the author of four critically acclaimed novels. In 2009 she won the European Union Prize for Literature (Ireland). Paul Perry is the author of a number of critically acclaimed books. A recipient of the Hennessy Award for New Irish Writing, he teaches creative writing at University College Dublin. They can be followed on Facebook.

#girlunknown #psychologicalthriller