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 Barnes 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


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


Charity - Community Service Sewing Project

A Group of fellow quilters decided to get together on Martin Luther King's Birthday and do our part by sewing needed items.

1. Portacath Pillows - two friends have conquered colon cancer and thought these pillows for the car seatbelt are a great idea.

Here are links with detailed instructions:

The pillows are easy to make and use up those pesky scraps of fabric!

2. Surgical hats for children:

The Portacath Pillows were definitely easier than the Surgical caps. One recommendation for the caps is to make a basting stitch when sewing the 1/4 edge under. Pull slighlty to gather before ironing the 1/2 inch casing for the elastic. I found it easier to iron a 1/2 inch hem and zigzag along the edge to form the casing. We cut our circles 18 inches to cut some from a fat quarter or half yard of material. Since the material needed to be prewashed, some pieces of material were not big enough. The first hat we made, I cut the elastic 17inches....that made a really small hat. The second one I cut the elastic 18 inches and the whole process was easier.


A recommendation for the pillow is to iron the fabric down @1/4 inch and leave one end open to stuff the pillow. This makes it much easier to sew the opening closed.

#portacathpillow #portpillow #surgicalcapsforkids #communityserviceprojects


2018 Monthly Color Challenge Quilt

I love starting new BOM (Block of the Month) Quilts, finishing them, not so much. However, it is a new year and let's see what happens!

I saw a post on FB about a Monthly Color Challenge Quilt and that concept intrigued me. So, of course, I roped a few friends in and posted it on my Guild's FB page to see if anyone is interested in doing it with me.

The Challenge is being hosted by blogger, "Patterns by Jen, " and the blocks are available in two sizes, 6 inches and 12 inches. What makes this BOM interesting is that Jen is creating a block each month and she has invited other quilters/designers to create one too. There are two blocks to chose from each month. Jen has some sponsors and prizes as an incentive to complete each month's blocks. 

The color for January is RED and I chose to make Jen's block. I am going to use a black and white batik fabric as a background in each block.

I had a difficult time joining the sections together, some were noticeably smaller than others and my points are not as accurate as I would like. I may rework this block and be more careful in my sewing of the HST and the cutting process. Jen suggests a "scant" quarter inch seam and I moved my needle one space. I may wash my batik before continuing, it is puckering from being ironed and sprayed with Best Press. 

If I redo it, I will post an updated picture. 

February's color is BLUE! This block is so easy, I completed it in just one hour. All of the blocks are half square triangles and a scant 1/4inch seam. To get February's block, visit Jen's Blog.

January and February blocks!

March's color is Yellow...and all I can think of is sunshine.  

There is an error in the last picture on the instructions. Since I am a visual person, I usually look at the pictures/diagrams before reading instructions. in this case, I looked at both and it was an easy block. 

I didn't fussy cut this blocks, but I love that the center two blocks look like alien eyes, starbursts or sunshine. 

April - Orange

April is a bit of a challenge because it calls for 3 shades of orange. I bought a beautiful orange batik and it did not play well with the other oranges in my stash. And I still wanted to use the black and white batik as the background. I chose two other oranges and an orange and purple batik with hearts on it for my center block.

The color for May is Green!

June is PURPLE! 

In the next few months, the tertiary colors will be strutting their glory! 

July is Yellow Green!

I'm not sure that I am loving my fabric choice for this one...It was easy to construct, I made a change in the center block because I am using two colors rather than the suggested three.

I also used the "pressing clapper" that I bought from www.tntquiltboards.com at the Chantilly VA Quilt Show. It is amazing how flat it made my seams. 

Life has a way of getting in the way, so it took me a few months to catch up...

August - Red Orange

September - Red Violet

October  - Blue Violet 

November - Blue Green

One more month to go.... The final Block - December - Black and White

I wish I had done a more contrasting color for the corner squares. 

Next to decide on a layout... Jen has a few on her blog that will work! Not a great picture, but I will post with a better picture when the top is completed.

Patterns by Jen has indicated there is a 2019 Color Monthly Color Challenge...stay tuned and follow her at https://patternsbyjen.blogspot.com. I will be one of the bloggers for this challenge. I am so excited, this has been a fun quilt to make and Jen's instructions are so easy to follow.

#2018monthlycolorchallenge #BOMcolorchallenge #Januaryredblock #redblock #Februaryblueblock #blueblock #Marchyellowblock #yellowblock #orangeblock #Aprilorangeblock #Maygreenblock #greenblock #purpleblock #Junepurpleblock #Julyyellowgreen #pressingclapper #Augustredorange #redorangeblock #Septemberblueviolet #Octoberredviolet #Novemberbluegreen #bluegreenblock #Decemberblackandwhite #blackandwhite

Quilting 2018

I always start off the new year with the best of intentions. Many BOM (Block of the Month) Quilts start at this time and my attitude is...it's only one block each month and it is a group activity...I can choose my own fabrics and use my stash rather than buy new fabric...I will be motivated to keep sewing and stay committed to completing it because there are incentives or prizes. Wrong! I lose momentum sometime during the year if the instructions are poorly written if there are mistakes and people in the Group start griping about the issues and I get disheartened if I begin to dislike the quilt or the method of creating the blocks seems convoluted. My other problem for me is that it is just one block, so I let other projects come before it each month. I now have a stack of clear boxes with previous BOM projects in them.

My past progress and completing rate doesn't stop me from starting new ones if it sounds like fun and my friends are doing it.

This year I am working on two:

The Speedy Turtle Fund Raising Quilt

2018 Monthly Color Challenge Quilt

and hope to finish the Pat Sloan Summer Solstice Quilt. I especially like Pat Sloan's Sewalongs, her instructions are clear, well-written and her enthusiasm is great! Blocks are completed and it needs to be sewn together. Here is my progress...https://pennyformythoughts-nona.blogspot.com/2017/02/solstice-challenge.html

In my defense, I did make two very special quilts this year...

#monthlychallengecolorquilt #speedyturtlequilt

One Word 2018

For the last few years, I have chosen One Word to represent the new year. Some years I felt that the "word" was easy and it seemed to choose me and other year's, I chose it by default. 

2017 - Balance
2016 - Promise
2015 Abundance
2014 Believe
2013 Simplify

2017 brought with it some challenges and my life wasn't often in balance and many times I couldn't recall what word I chose. The older I get, the more I feel as if I am missing something...a thought, an idea, a memory. It's there one second and then "poof" it's gone. And for the life of me, I can't remember it. Yet somehow, it seems important. Just like a dream that haunts me all day long and I can't recall it, but it seems like a warning or a foreshadowing. I hate that feeling.

I decided to actually use a process to choose my word, to listen to my intuition. Listening is also not my strong suit, I like to talk and use words to communicate. So, briefly, I did consider "listen." 

I made a list of words between Christmas and New Year. Some of the words I considered for 2018:

    • Inspire                              Wellness  
    • Thankful                           Strong
    • Present                             Calm
    • Joy                                   Trust
    • Create                              Peace
    • Connect                            Spirit
    • Imagine                            Design
    • Dream                              Pause
    • Release                            Clarity
I want my word to be positive and not invoke difficult situations in my life for the coming year. I circled the four words that I considered: Present, Trust, Pause, and Clarity.

I then wrote down what each of those words meant to me as well as my goals for 2018. I'm not really big on resolutions, giving up something only makes me want it more. Aspiring to be someone different or better just leaves me frustrated. I want to be present and trust; pause and listen too. Somehow, Clarity encompassed the other actions.

I want to be clearer about my intentions; what do I want and does the activity serve me? I often volunteer to do things that take a lot of time. I have had a few health challenges in 2017 and I am trying to learn the lesson from them. One concerns my vision and I know there is a message in there somewhere. It is frustrating to have limitations and not be able to read the way I once did and to limit my book reviewing. Perhaps, I am being offered an opportunity for quality over quantity.

I have always been a "goal" oriented, type A personality and have struggled with a sense of purpose since retiring 4 years ago. I am hoping that "clarity" will bring joy and peace to my activities throughout the year. 

Quilting and creating are important to me, so I want more time to finish my projects started and to explore new ideas, and techniques. 

My Granddaughter has chosen "Service" as her word and maybe we can work together on some projects this year. 

I have created a Pinterest Board on Clarity (I did mention type "A" personality, right?) https://www.pinterest.com/kmnester/clarity/

#clarity #myoneword2018 #oneword2018