Sunday, May 09, 2021

The Perfect Daughter


The Perfect Daughter by D. J. Palmer. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2021. 384 pages. ****

When Grace finds four-year-old Penny abandoned in the park, she feels an immediate connection with her. Convincing her husband to adopt Penny isn't easy, however, Grace believes that Penny is the daughter she has always wanted. Flash forward to today, Sixteen-year-old Penny is discovered covered in blood, holding a weapon next to the corpse of her biological mother. Grace already has her hands full trying to keep the family pizza restaurant open, however, she is determined to do anything to prove Penny's innocence. Penny remembers nothing from that night, and she is confined in the state mental hospital awaiting a trial. While there she is treated by Dr. Mitchell McHugh to determine if she has Dissociative Identity Disorder. Is Penny a victim of multiple personalities or a master manipulator and a cold-blooded killer?

I love the many twists and turns of Palmer's plots. Penny's many personalities fascinate me in their uniqueness and believability. Grace's single-mindedness keeps her from seeing what's right in front of her. I kept telling myself just one more chapter and then I'll go to bed. Of course, I didn't and then it was done. Perfect escape reading, this story will suck you in and not let you go until you understand why the killer had no choice. 

I received an ecopy for a review.

Review of  Saving Meghan

For more information on D.J. Palmer, click here.

Daniel Palmer is the USA Today bestselling author of ten critically acclaimed suspense novels. He published his first novel, DELIRIOUS, after a decade-long career in e-commerce, where he helped launch first generation websites for major online retailers including Barnes & Noble and Dick Sporting Goods. Following the success of Daniel's publishing career, he founded DAY IN THE LIFE MEDIA, a video production and communication company committed to helping brands identify their brand heroes so they can tell stories in a way that directly impacts the bottom line. A recording artist, accomplished blues harmonica player, and lifelong Red Sox fan, Daniel lives in New Hampshire with his wife and two children.

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#psychologicalthriller #multiplepersonalities #murder #suspense #perfectdaughter 

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

The Woman with the Blue Star


The Woman with the Blue Star: a novel  by Pam Jenoff. Canada: Park Row Books, 2021. 336 pages. *****  Publication date May 4, 2021.

1942. Sadie Gault is eighteen and living with her parents amid the horrors of the Kraków Ghetto during World War II. When the Nazis clear the ghetto, Sadie and her pregnant mother are forced to seek refuge in the sewers beneath the city. Wet, dirty, no food, and sharing living quarters with another family is hauntingly brought to life by Jenoff. 

Ella Stepanek is a rich Polish girl living a life of relative ease with her stepmother, who entertains the occupying Germans. Lonely and scorned by her friends because of her stepmother's activities, Ella walks the streets longing for her fiancé, who has gone off to war. 

The two girls become aware of each other when Ella catches a glimpse of Sadie beneath the sewer grate in the street. Aware of the danger for each of them, a friendship forms between the two girls who grow to depend on each other for survival. One misstep and all of them will be shot. 

Unlike other World War II fiction books, Jenoff wrote this book during the Pandemic lockdown and captured the feeling of isolation and an uncertain future in her writing. If you have taken a break from Holocaust books, you will want to read this one. Jenoff states that the book was inspired by the true story of a small group of Jews who survived WWII in the sewers of Lviv, Poland. While her book is fictitious, it reads true. I was in the sewer feeling the fear, despair, and horror.  I asked myself several times, would I have survived?  This book is mesmerizing and engrossing, once started I couldn't stop reading even though I was fearful of how it would end. I recommend it as a Book Club choice with many discussion and research points. 

For more information on this subject:

Pam is the author of The Kommandant's Girl, which was an international bestseller and nominated for a Quill award, as well as The Winter Guest, The Diplomat's Wife, The Ambassador’s Daughter, Almost Home, A Hidden Affair and The Things We Cherished. She also authored a short story in the anthology Grand Central: Original Postwar Stories of Love and Reunion. She lives outside Philadelphia with her husband and three children.

For more information on Pam Jenoff, click here. 

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#bookstagram #thewomanwiththebluestar #historicalfiction #holocaustfiction 


Monday, May 03, 2021

Boy Underground


Boy Underground by Catherine Ryan Hyde. Seattle: Lake Union Publishing, 2021. 336 pages. ***** Book Club Questions. Publication Date December 7, 2021. 

It's 1941, Steven Katz is the son of a wealthy landowner in California and has distanced himself from his school friends. While trying out for the high school baseball team to please his father, Steven meets Suki, the son of a field worker who introduces him to Nick and Ollie. The four become fast friends even though Steven knows his parents will not approve of his new friends, they become inseparable. Life in the United States is changing particularly in rural California. With the bombing of Pearl Harbor Steven and his friends each have their own challenges to face and overcome. Suki's family is relocated to an internment camp at Manzanar and forced to take only what they can carry. Ollie enlists in the Army and is gone before they know it. Nick is accused of brutally beating a man even though he has an alibi since he was camping with his three friends. The police aren't interested in where Nick says he was that night since it is his own father who claims his son did it. Steven suggests hiding Suki and Nick at his father's immense farm so that they will not be separated from each other. Only one of the boys takes him up on his offer and Steven hides him in the root cellar. Responsibility for his friend's every need begins to wear on Steven especially when his family is unconcerned and disconnected from what is happening to others because of the war. Staying true to his convictions isolates Steven and reinforces how different he is from his family and the people in town. Forced to make difficult and adult decisions, Steven finds his voice and to verbalize what's important to him. 

Hyde has taken a very difficult time in American history and a sensitive subject to explore through the friendship of four very different young men and their families. Hyde creates complex characters who clearly compliment each other and have strong voices that resonate throughout the story. Awakening feelings for the same sex are handled beautifully and suggest that this will make an excellent YA book. Family values are an integral part of each boy even when he has to overcome them to do what is right for him. 

Each of Hyde's books are unique and I love that she explores a sensitive topic (more than one) and always includes an animal with a pivotal role. I know that once started, I will not put her book down until the very end. I started Boy Underground on a flight from Orlando to Philadelphia and I finished it on the same day. 

Once again Hyde has written an excellent story about friendship, the kindness of strangers, family values and the strength and goodness of people. The fact that she can so eloquently express her character's thoughts and feelings provides insight to a time and place. As Churchill once said, "Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it."  

I received a copy for review. 

 Other Hyde books reviewed by me: 

Seven Perfect Things

My Name is Anton  

Brave Girl, Quiet Girl

Have You Seen Luis Velez?


 Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of forty published and forthcoming books. An avid traveler, equestrian, and amateur photographer,  she shares her astrophotography with readers on her website. 

For more information about her and her books, click here

Follow me on Instagram at flamazing_books

#LGBTQfamilyfiction #LGBTQhistoricalfiction #friendshipfiction #boyunderground

Sunday, May 02, 2021

2021 Monthly Color Challenge - May


Potato - Brown 

Potato Facts:

    The potato is about 80% water and 20% solids.

    *An 8 ounce baked or boiled potato has only about 100 calories.

    The average American eats about 124 pounds of potatoes per year while Germans eat about twice                        as much.

My husband's family is PA Dutch, so this dish is always on our family's holiday table. 

Pennsylvania Dutch Potato Filling Recipe

This month's block and all of the block's are available at Pattern's by Jen's Blog. Make sure you follow Jen's instructions and draw your lines on the reverse side of the fabric. 

This project has been so much fun each month. I am still on the hunt for fabric for a few of the future month's blocks.

May Bloggers

Bea - Bea Quilter

Sheila - So this is Kentucky

Kathy - Kathy's Kwilts N More

Raylee - Sunflower Stitcheries and Quilting

Andi - True Blue Quilts

Crystal - DayBrook Designs

Ashli - Quilt 2 End Alz

Joanne - Everyone Deserves a Quilt

Don't forget to link your block at the end of the month to be eligible for these great Prizes.

Dragonfly's Quilting Design Studio Goodie Bag

Bea Quilter PDF Pattern

For The Love of Geese PDF Pattern

True Blue Quilts Book: Monochromatic Quilts Amazing Variety

Make Modern Magazine 6 month subscription

Island Batik Fat Quarter Bundle

Benartex Fat Quarter Bundle

Quilters Dream Batting 60 x 60 Dream Poly

The Warm Co 90 x 108 Warm and Plush 100% Cotton

Appliques Quilts and More $10 Gift Certificate

Patterns By Jen Tucker Trimmer 1 Ruler

Fat Quarter Shop Gift Certificate

Daybrook Designs 2 PDF Patterns

Join us on Facebook and share your blocks!

Follow me on IG at kathy.nester

#2021monthlycolorchallenge #mayblock #grateful #potatoes

Friday, April 16, 2021


Eternal by Lisa Scottoline. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2021. 468 pages. *****

It is May 1937 and three best friends, Elisabetta D'Orfeo, Marco Terrizzi and Sandro Simone look out for each other despite their family differences. Changes are coming to Italy and Mussolini is both revered and reviled by their families and neighbors. Sandro, a Jewish mathematician and scholar, has his future in academia assured until Mussolini aligns his Fascists with Hitler's Nazis and enacts the Race Laws. Marco, a playboy and cyclist, who works in the local Fascist office, likes his uniform and the power it brings until his actions make him a target for two OVRA officers. Abandoned by her mother, Elisabetta, a waitress in the local Italian restaurant, takes care of her alcoholic father while dreaming of becoming an author. The two boys vie for Elisabettas's love and each one hopes to marry her someday. When the highest-ranking officer of the SS in Rome demands fifty kilograms of gold within thirty-six hours or two hundred Jews will be arrested and deported to Germany, nothing will ever be the same for the three friends and their families. Their childhood did not prepare them for the food shortages, loss of jobs, separation of family members, secrets, and brutal murders. 

Definitely not her usual style of writing and choice of subject, Scottoline has proven herself in yet another genre. Extensively researched and well-written, I love historical novels that transport me and transports me to a time period and place -- the food, the smells, the fears, the hardships, and the friendships. I visited a Jewish Ghetto in Italy and Lisa has captured the essence of it perfectly. The women in the story are strong-willed and ferocious in their love for their family, however, they are no match for the Nazis when they invade Rome. Eternal is an excellent Book Club selection, many research and discussion topics. I highly recommend this novel.

Lisa Scottoline is a #1 Bestselling Author, The New York Times bestselling author and Edgar award-winning author of 33 novels, including her latest work, Eternal, her first-ever historical novel.

She also writes a weekly column with her daughter Francesca Serritella for the Philadelphia Inquirer titled “Chick Wit” which is a witty and fun take on life from a woman’s perspective. 

For more information on Lisa Scottoline.

Follow me on IG at flamazing_books

#historicalfiction #eternal #grateful #Eternal #bookstagram #jewishgetto #mussolinifiction #italyworldwarII

Sunday, April 04, 2021


Harmony - Quilt Along by GE Quilt Designs 
Sunday, August 16, 2020 

For all of the information and story behind Harmony and to purchase the pattern, go to GE Quilt Design. 

Gudrun encourages us each to take our own journey with color and what this quilt will mean to us. Our world seems to be in a state of flux, change, and sometimes even anger. I am a very simplistic person—- I want everyone to get along and everyone to be equal.  My Grandkids and I joke that “it is always sunny in Nona’s world.”  Is it really? I must say that this pandemic and politics are trying my soul. So for me, this quilt is a coming together of all people, no matter race or creed. The background color is my favorite color and the black and white represent all people. 
Gudrun provides special guests, music, recipes, cocktails, and gives us the opportunity to play with fabric, it’s all good and my soul is happy! 

While I was in the store (used to be Weaver’s Fabrics, picking out my fabric, I had the opportunity to meet two men from Wilmington Prints, they were pleased that I chose these two jelly roll bundles. I especially like that the strips in the jelly roll have straight not pinked edges.

I bought a new ruler to make this quilt, The XL Stripology Ruler from GE Designs. I watched Gudrun's video on how to cut the fabric. I admit to being challenged in this area. My fabric was cut using my usual 6x24 inch ruler and the new ruler. It is going to take some practice on my part to master the new tool. Gudrun has videos on using this ruler. Fabric is cut for the first eight blocks.

Working on the layout.

Susan Racobaldo  from Quilts on Wawaset did the longarm quilting. The geometric quilting design is perfect! 

I think he likes it! 

My other Quarantine Sew Along Quilts:
#harmony #pandemicsewalong #harmonyqal

Friday, April 02, 2021

The Orphan Collector


The Orphan Collector by Ellen Marie Wiseman. New York; Kensington Books, 2020. 392 pages. A Reading Group Guide and Further Reading. ****

It's 1918 and the streets of Philadelphia are crowded with men, women, and children jostling each other to get a better view of the Liberty Loan parade. There is a flu hitting Boston and New York, however, Philadelphia residents aren't worried because the Board of Health advised keeping their feet dry, staying warm, eat more onions, and keeping their windows and bowels open, they'd be fine.  Thirteen-year-old Pia is uneasy in such a large crowd and can't shake the feeling that something is wrong. Her mother admonishes her and reminds her that they must prove themselves to be loyal Americans after President Wilson said that all Germans are alien enemies. Poor, hungry, and missing her father who has enlisted in the military, Pia doesn't understand why her mother lost her job and there is so little to eat.  Within seventy-two hours of the parade, hospitals are filled to capacity and many Philadelphians are dead. Signs appear on doors, "Quarantine Influenza: Keep out of this house." Crepe ribbons are hung on doorknobs signifying who has died. Stores close, people stay indoors and food is scarce. When Pia's mother becomes ill, Pia is forced into the role of mother to her twin brothers. Ill-equipped and riddled with guilt, Pia makes tough choices for her family. 

An intense book, this novel is not for the faint of heart during a pandemic. I have seen pictures on social media from that pandemic and have been curious as to how people survived without sanitation, clean water, antibiotics, food sources, etc. My family lived in Philadelphia during that time and yet very few died from the flu. Wiseman describes the conditions in Philadelphia Orphanages and my father grew up in one in the 1930s, not much changed it seems.  He rarely spoke about his life in the Asylum, he and his brother were sent there when his mother died and his father could not provide for six children. She does not spare us the gruesome details of the flu and the hardships of the families left behind. The lengths to which people will go for self-survival and greed is evident as well as the innate goodness and the kindness of strangers. I found myself holding my breath at times and wanting to know what happens and yet, not wanting to know. Well-researched, Wiseman provides a guide for Further Reading. Add this book to your TBR list when you are ready for it. 

Information about the 1918 Spanish Flu:

Smithsonian Magazine

Born and raised in Three Mile Bay, a tiny hamlet in Northern New York, Wiseman is a first-generation German American who discovered her love of reading and writing while attending first grade in one of the last one-room schoolhouses in New York state. Since then, her novels have been translated into eighteen languages and published worldwide. A mother of two, Ellen lives on the shores of Lake Ontario with her husband and dogs. 

For more information on Ellen Marie Wiseman.

Follow me on IG at flamazing_books

#bookstagram #historicalfiction #1918SpanishFlufiction