One Word 2017

In anticipation of the New Year, I am trying to decide what my word will be for this year. Last year my word was "Promise" and as much as I thought it was a good one, I really didn't connect with it. So, the pressure is on for this year.

My past words:
2016 Promise
2015 Abundance
2014 Believe
2013 Simplify

If you haven't chosen a "word" of the year before and are wondering what this is all about...Regina Brett has written a wonderful article explaining her word for 2017. Read it at:http://www.clevelandjewishnews.com/columnists/regina_brett/let-s-change-the-world-one-word-at-a-time/article_54354a7a-cddd-11e6-b883-1b727094540d.html

A great website to help in choosing your word is the My One Word.

There are many different ways to remind yourself throughout the New Year of your word:

  • Order jewelry with your word on it...Google "word jewelry" "one word" "hammered jewelry" "word necklace"
  • Create a sign with your word on it
  • Make a pillow, pillow case as a reminder

  • #your word, ex. #Promise and add it to your Blog posts and social media 
  • Pinterest has some creative ideas for writing on mugs with permanent marker
  • If you are into tattoos, get one of your word and the year.
My Granddaughter has chosen "positivity" and a friend with cancer has chosen "strength." 

The first word that came to mind when I thought about this exercise was balance and I dismissed it as being too mundane and vague to achieve, but the more I thought about it, it's exactly what I need.

Balance in my eating, exercise, quilting, time management, etc. I tend to devote all of my energy in one activity to the detriment of others and then get stressed because I can't finish everything. I lost 20 pounds in the last two years and have gained 10 pounds back, so one of my first steps is going to be moving more and drinking more water.

This says it all!

I have many quilts in various stages to finish and more books to review, places to go and people to see! Stay tuned...#balance


Murder Mystery Quilt 2017

I saw this Murder Mystery Quilt monthly activity and decided to join.

The Murder Mystery Quilt is a monthly subscription club that reads along together and stitches up a quilt to find clues and solve the murder mystery contained in the story.  

There are 12 blocks, one for each month of the year. The last mystery sew-along I did was the Downton Abbey Mystery Quilt designed by Ebony Love. It was great fun and I love my quilt!

I will blog about my experience each month and show you my quilt in progress (unless it is against the rules).

I received permission to Blog about the process so I will be posting monthly throughout the year. There are five other women from my Quilt Guild who are also participating in this challenge, we will meet monthly to discuss our blocks and share the experience. Our first meeting was at Panera Bread...food, quilts, and a murder mystery!

January Block 1: From Tiny Seeds

I pulled the fabrics I had selected to make this quilt and it soon became apparent that my color choices are blah! I love Grunge fabric, so I selected fat quarters in warm and cool colors. 

It looks like the design is acorns and my background is supposed to be a peachy color. Way too boring!

Back to my stash to find a different background. 

The way the pattern is constructed is a different technique for me, however, I will follow the designer's instructions. I use tiny post-it notes to mark the individual cutting pieces, this keeps me organized.

My completed block, much nicer with this Hoffman background!

I read the first installment of the murder mystery and enjoyed it! 

#murdermysteryquilt2017 @whipstitchfabrics #block1fromtinyseeds


The Madwoman Upstairs

The Madwoman Upstairs: a novel of the last Bronte by Catherine Lowell. New York: Touchstone, 2016. 337 pages. Reading Group Guide. *****

Samantha Whipple is the last remaining descendant of the Bronte family and the Bronte estate. The only problem is that her dad died in a house fire when she was 15 and has left her riddles to find the estate if it even exits. When her father's books start to show up in her Oxford tower college room, Samantha doesn't understand how the books survived the fire and who is leaving them for her. With the help of her attractive college professor, Samantha searches for answers about her Bronte relatives and her father.

The complexity of the relationship between Samantha and her mother and father adds to the depth of the story. Fans of the Brontes will relish the personal descriptions of their family, their personalities, and the time in which they lived. Lowell's suggested theories about the relationships between the sisters and Branwell in discussions between Samantha and her professor will make this a great companion to their books. I had the opportunity to walk the moors at Haworth a few years ago and Lowell aptly described the town and brought it all back to me. I thoroughly enjoyed this refreshing plot and appreciate what an ambitious endeavor it is as a first novel. You do not have to have read the Bronte books in order to enjoy the story, but it helps. I have not read Agnes Gray by Anne Bronte (writing under the pen name of Acton Bell) and will add it to my list. I look forward to more from Lowell.

I received a copy for a review.

Catherine Lowell received her BA in English from Stanford University, and currently lives in New York City. The Madwoman Upstairs is her first novel.

 For more information on the Brontes visit https://www.bronte.org.uk/the-brontes-and-haworth/family-history

#FRC2016 @BookSparks #Brontefamily

If you would like to win this copy, (US residents only) please comment on your favorite book of the Brontes or your favorite book of 2016. Winner will be drawn on January 1, 2017, check back to see if you are the winner!


The Marriage Lie

The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle. Mira, 2016. 334 pages.  Questions for Discussion and A Conversation with the Author. **** 

Iris and Will have been married for seven years and have an almost perfect marriage. Will surprises Iris with a gorgeous Cartier ring on the morning of his departure to Florida to attend a business conference. They have decided to try to have a baby and Iris leaves for her job as a psychologist at a private school in a very happy mood. When Iris hears of a plane crashing that is headed to Seattle, Iris is relieved to know that Will is on his way to Florida. Confusion, denial and heartbreak soon follow when her mother calls to tell her that Will is listed as having been on board and killed. Iris soon discovers that Will isn't the man she thought he was and she is determined with the help of her twin brother to unearth the truth. Why was Will going to Seattle and was he on that plane? Even after his wedding ring and briefcase are found, questions remain to be answered.

I am a fan of the suspenseful, romance genre and I enjoyed the many twists and turns in this book. There were enough layers to the story line to have me wondering what is really going on and who the bad guys are. I particularly liked the ending, unexpected, but fitting. (no spoilers here!) Belle is an easy read, I started and finished it in one day, especially because I became engrossed in the drama of Will's past and the determination of heartbroken Iris.

I received a copy for a review.

Kimberly Belle worked in marketing and nonprofit fundraising before turning to writing fiction. A graduate of Agnes Scott College, Kimberly lived for over a decade in the Netherlands and currently divides her time between Atlanta and Amsterdam. She is the author of three novels: The Last Breath, The Ones We Trust, and The Marriage Lie. Visit Kimberly at www.kimberlybellebooks.com.

@BookSparks  #suspense #FRC2016


Quilt Guild Holiday Party

I am fortunate to be a member of two Quilt Guilds: Calico Cutters and Brandywine Valley Quilters. We had our Holiday parties this past week; one in the evening and one during the day. BVQ meets the second Tuesday night of the month in a church hall and this is the sight that greeted me when I entered the room. It was magical!

My co-chair and I planned a fun evening of door prizes, the traditional 12 Days of Christmas sing-along and a game. Thank you Quilty Box and Quilter's Stash Box for the fabulous door prizes!

Calico Cutters meets the second Wednesday of the month during the day at a Fire Company.

Both Guilds had wonderful food, door prizes and games. Calico Cutters played Quilto, a quilter's bingo. I was so excited when I won a 25.00 gift certificate to one of my favorite Quilt Shops, The Quilt Block My gift certificate came in this beautiful holder made by Cheryl Lynch. If you would like to make one too, she has created a tutorial on how to make The Fifteen Minute Gift Card Holder. I am the world's worst when it comes to gift cards, nothing ever seems worthy enough and I hate to spend it. Love the fabric, anyone know what line this is? 

One of the highlights of the party was the contents of the little green bag. Since it is the 30th anniversary of the Guild, Cheryl designed fabric on Spoonflower for the Guild Challenge. Each member received a fat quarter to be included in a challenge quilt. It is amazing!
The quilt is due at the April meeting, so stay tuned! Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!

#quiltguild #quiltersholidayparty #brandywinevalleyquilters #calicocutters 

Lock the Door

Lock the Door by Jane Holland. Thomas & Mercer, 2017. 340 pages. **** Publication date January 10, 2017.

Meghan Smith believes that protecting her son from germs and strangers will keep him alive even with his life threatening condition. What she doesn't anticipate is that she can't protect him in his own bedroom. Meghan and Jon are celebrating their anniversary with a few friends in the garden when Harry goes missing from his bed. Did a stranger enter an unlocked door or did one of their friends conspire to take him? Who can she trust and where is Harry?

A suspenseful tale of love, greed and betrayal. Smith hooked me with Harry's illness and Meghan's anxiety in taking care of him. She is spot on in how a mother with a critically ill child feels and reacts. Lack of sleep and guilt will make any parent crazy! Add a missing child and everyone is under suspicion in this thriller.

I received a copy from NetGalley for a review.

Jane Holland is a Gregory Award-winning poet and novelist who also writes commercial fiction under the pseudonyms Victoria Lamb, Elisabeth Moss, Beth Good and Hannah Coates. Her previous book, Girl Number One, hit #1 in the UK Kindle store December 2015. Jane lives with her husband and young family near the North Cornwall/West Devon border. A homeschooler, her hobbies include photography and growing her own vegetables.

The Trapped Girl

The Trapped Girl (The Tracy Crosswhite Series Book 4) by Robert Dugoni. Thomas & Mercer, 2017. 421 pages. ***** Publication Date January 24, 2017. 

When Kurt Schill sees a hand among the seaweed, starfish and crabs in his illegal Puget Sound crab pot, he had no idea what his four thirty in the morning catch would unleash. Detective Tracy Crosswhite on the Seattle PD’s Violent Crimes Section answers the call and her first task is to identify the body and then the killer. The woman apprears to be someone who disappeared months ago on a hike up Mt. Rainier with her husband and he emerges as the likely suspect. The fact that the dead woman has had plastic surgery to mask her identity adds to the mystery and questions the validity of the story surrounding her disappearance. Tracy flashbacks to her sister's unsolved murder and is determined to find justice for Andrea and arrest the killer.

Full disclosure...I am a huge fan of the Tracy Crosswhite Series and I couldn't wait to read this book. I was not disappointed, every time I thought I had it figured out, there was a new twist and the suspense continued. Dugoni's strength is to weave a complicated tale of greed, lies and betrayal. Tracy is an uncompromising detective, haunted by her past, focused on justice, and the drive to solve this murder. I highly recommend this series and can't wait to see what happens next!

I received a copy from NetGalley for a review.

Robert Dugoni is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tracy Crosswhite series. His books have been likened to Scott Turow and Nelson DeMile, and he has been hailed as "the undisputed king of the legal thriller" by the Providence Journal. 
Visit his website at www.robertdugoni.com and follow him on Twitter @robertdugoni and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AuthorRobertDugoni.


The Next

The Next: A Novel by Stephanie Gangi. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2016. 312 pages. ****

Forty-seven-year-old Joanna DeAngelis is dying wrong. Forget the touching end of life scenes in the movies, Joanna is angry, bitter and wants revenge. Her daughters want to connect one last time and to find peace in saying good-bye. Instead their mother pines for "Ned" her much younger boyfriend, who has abandoned her without an explanation. When Joanna can talk her daughter into giving her a phone, she spends her remaining time cyberstalking Ned and his young, glamorous, famous, dermatologist girlfriend. Joanna enacts her revenge when she remains connected to this world and is able to torture Ned.

This is a dark tale of karma, betrayal, love and the afterlife. Gangi has created a story that will have the reader looking intently at shadows, jumping at unexplained sounds, and questioning life's choices. A true ghost story that will leave you guessing as to how it is all going to end. I have a love/hate relationship with this book. I am repelled by the darkness of it and yet, fascinated wth the complicated, inventive plot. A great book for discussion about ghosts and what happens to people who die angry.

I received a copy for a review.

Stephanie Gangi is a poet and novelist who lives, works and writes in New York City.
#FRC2016 @BookSparks


Size Matters

Size Matters: A Novel by Cathryn Novak. Berkeley: She Writes Press: 2016. 136 pages. ****

Reclusive John Frederick loves to eat and his day revolves around what his personal chef will prepare for his meals. When Alexandra "Lexie" Haynes is hired, she can't imagine preparing meals for someone she has not met nor will meet in the course of her day. On impulse, Lexie invades John's inner sanctum and is overcome by the sight and scents that linger there. Over time, a mutual respect and friendship develops between Lexie and John until he experiences a life-threatening event and must completely change his food choices.  As often happens, the relationship changes, and Lexie doesn't know what to do to recapture the bond that was once between them.

This is one of those stories that I wanted to continue and savor while reading it. Novak certainly has a way with words and paints a picture of loneliness, need and unexpected friendship. "The bright, shining odor of John Frederick's joy in consuming her cooking" and "her hands and her creativity, have produced the offerings that have nourished and expanded this living, breathing work of art" drew me into a story that is sensitive and emotional. My only complaint is that the book was too short and I hope that I have not seen the last of Lexie and John.

I received a copy for a review.

Cathryn Novak has had a years-long love affair with words that began as soon as she could read. After graduating with a degree in communications and public policy from UC Berkeley. Cathryn did a stint in advertising before devoting the rest of her professional career to public service.
Now retired, Cathryn has returned to her first love; the world of fiction. Size Matters is her first published novel.

#FRC2016 @BookSparks



Found: A Novel by Emily Brett. Tempe: Sparks Press, 2016. 299 pages. ****

When the sixty-four-year-old husband of a colleague crashes and dies, twenty-seven-year-old Natalie questions his death and her life. She informs her supervisor about the suspicious death and starts a chain of events that will endanger her and others who come in contact with her. Estranged from her father and still mourning the death of her mother, Natalie realizes that there is nothing to keep her in her current position.  Wanting to see more of the world, Natalie applies to be a "Traveling Nurse" and accepts a position in Belize. Romance, intrigue and unexpected friendships follow Natalie from Belize, to Arizona and Australia.

This is an enjoyable book, one that once I started, I wanted to continue and finish to see what happens next. The hospital subplots were intriguing and made the story believable. Without giving away anything, there were a few predictable situations, but I can't say that they took away from the story. It was more of an "aha," I thought so moment. I'm sure anyone in the medical profession will be able to relate and patients too who have had that one nurse who really seems to care!

I received a copy from BookSparks for a review.

Emily Brett received her first bachelor's degree from the University of Colorado Boulder in Kinesiology, after which she went on to Arizona State University to receive a bachelor's degree in nursing. While working as an ICU nurse, she earned a master's degree in nursing at Arizona State. She is board-certified as an Adult Nurse Practitioner and has been in the nursing profession for over ten years. Presently she serves on the Adavnced Practice Committee with the Arizona State Board of Nursing and shares a medical practice with her husband, a physician. She has published in a number of medical journals, including The Journal for Nurse Practitioners and the Online Journal of Nursing Scholarship. She is also a member of the Women's Fiction Writers Association.
Website: www.emilybrettbooks.com Twitter: @emilybrettbooks

@BookSparks #FRC2016


London Belongs to Me

London Belongs to Me: A Novel by Jacquelyn Middleton. Kirkwall Books, 2016. 392 pages. ****

Reeling from an ugly breakup, Alex Sinclair, an aspiring playwright moves from sunny Florida to London. Believing that she belongs in the country of her birth, even though she has never lived there, Alex wants to start over and pursue her dreams. When the airline loses her luggage and her room turns out to be a closet in the apartment of a friend, Alex questions whether she should just go home and admit defeat. Meeting her favorite playwright, Alex once again is betrayed and experiences a panic attack much to her embarrassment. Will Alex find success and someone who loves and accepts her or will she be forced to return home when she runs out of money?

Enjoyable, easy to read novel of betrayal, love, and friendship. Middleton has introduced a lineup of likable characters and a believable plot. I love books that are full of drama, but give me hope that everything is going to turn out in the end. This is one of those books that you share with your girlfriends and suggest that they read it too.

I received a copy for a review.

Jacquelyn Middleton is an award-winning freelance writer. She previously worked in television broadcasting, and lives in Toronto. When she's not writing, you can find her hanging out in London, waiting in a comic con line with her husband, or chasing after her very bossy Schipperke. London Belongs to Me is her first novel. Visit her webpage at www.JacquelynMiddleton.com

#FRC2016 @BookSparks @JaxMiddleton #romance


Note to Self: a Seven-Step Path to Gratitude and Growth

Note to Self: A Seven-Step Path to Gratitude and Growth by Laurie Buchanan, PhD. Bekeley: She Writes Press, 2016. 270 pages. ***** Bibliography

Not just another self-help book, Buchanan's message "whatever you are not changing, you are choosing" will resonate with all readers. She introduces us to each of our seven selves and helps us to offload the baggage associated with each of those selves. In this easy to read, easy to understand guide, it is chock full of examples, quotes (from some of my favorite people), activities, and real life examples. This is a book that you will refer to again and again. I am a self-proclaimed, self-help book junkie, and I learned so much from her introduction of the corresponding chakra to the self and the color associated with a healthy self. The affirmations at the beginning of each "self" section are an apt reminder to change negative self-talk.

The book concludes with 365 introspective and thought-provoking "Internal Inventory Questions" for a year's worth of journaling prompts. This list is invaluable for those who want to leave their baggage behind and discover a joy-filled life.

I highly recommend this book and suggest it and a journal as a holiday gift for everyone on your list.

A great companion book to The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron.

I received a copy to review.

Board Certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners, Laurie Buchanan is a holistic health practitioner and transformational life coach. Her areas of interest include energy medicine, inner alchemy, spiritual awareness, writing, and laughter, Definitely laughter!
A minimalist by intent, she lives a beautiful life with fewer things---simple yet full. Visit Laurie's blog, Tuesdays with Laurie, at www.tuesdayswithlaurie.com

@BookSparks #selfhelp #journaling #chakras

Unexpected Love

Unexpected Love by Kristy Kryszczak. Girl Friday Productions, 2016. 209 pages. ****

On the surface, Inez Champlain is living her dream life with no romantic entanglements to get in the way. Then she meets and falls for Jason and life really begins to get messy. Jason seems almost too good to be true and Inez is conflicted when she meets and is attracted to his handsome brother and partner in the family business. Inez tries to resist Jimmy, Jason's brother, but the connection and growing feelings are hard to deny. Will she breakup with Jason and follow her heart or are her feelings for Jimmy an infatuation and fleeting?

Better developed than others with a similar plot and enough twists and turns to keep me interested. The fact that Inez is enjoying her life without looking for her one true love is refreshing and the story enjoyable. Fans of Taylor Jenkins Reid will relish Kryszczak's writing.

I received a copy for review.

A former actor and beauty publicist in New York City, Kristy relocated to Naples Florida, to enjoy all that the Gulf Coast has to offer. When she isn't creating captivating fictional love triangles, Kristy is busy working as a director of special events and communications. She also blogs about her adventures living on Florida's Paradise Coast, the writing life, marathon training, ansaspiring to live with gumption.

#FRC2016 @BookSparks #romance

We Are Unprepared

We Are Unprepared: a novel by Meg Little Reilly. MIRA, 2016. Reader's Guide: Questions for Discussion. 353 pages. *****

Millenials Ash and Pia move from Brooklyn to a remote town in Vermont and are trying to get pregnant with their first child. Months after moving in they find out that their chances of having a child are slim and a superstorm is forecast in the near future. Uncertainty builds as to the extent of the predicted storm and the appropriate ways to prepare. Ash becomes friends with a neighboring child and wants to save him from his dysfunctional family, Pia is uninterested and not ready to be responsible for another person when the world they know may be ending. Both Ash and Pia react differently to impending disaster and what could have brought them together seems to be tearing them apart.

I really enjoyed this book and it made me soul search as to what my reaction would be if I were faced with the same choices. Ash and Pia are both good people dealing as best they can but find themselves on opposite sides of a very serious issue. Having experienced the Air Raid drills of the 1950s and 1960s, I can see how a town can get caught up in disaster preparedness and become victims of religious zeal when faced with the need to survive. Reilly masterfully tells many sides of the issue without preaching or weighing in on who is right. Very thought provoking plot!

I received a copy for review.

Meg Little Reilly is a former treasury spokesperson under President Obama, deputy communications director for the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), communicator for the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and producer for Vermont Public Radio. A native of Vermont, she is a UVM graduate with deep ties around the state. She currently lives in Boston with her husband, Daniel, and two daughters.

#FRC2016 @BookSparks


The Witch House of Persimmon Point

The Witch House at Persimmon Point: a novel by Suzanne Palmieri. New York: St. Martin's Griffin, 2016. Discussion Questions. 380 pages. ****

This story begins with a note from the author cautioning the reader that she wrote the book to exorcise her demons and it may trigger emotions and "cut right at your soul." The story also includes gardens, magic, ghosts, and secrets.

Family secrets are the heart of the story and they unfold in the most haunting way. Byrd Whalen returns to her family's ancestral home and discovers that her legacy is a dark and violent one. Multi generations of Amore women have left their mark on the "Witch House" and Byrd is determined to unearth their story before a local journalist airs a program exposing whether the house is haunted or if the rumors surrounding it are true. Bryn reads the journals of her Great-Grandmother crazy Anne Amore and discovers unbelievable horrors in Anne's past.

I am a fan of gothic, dark, novels and especially like family stories with strong, resilient women as the main characters. This novel does not disappoint and held my attention from the beginning to the end. Excellent suspense, horror and surprises. I have not read all of Palmieri's other novels, but will do so after this one.

I received a copy for a review.

Suzanne Palmieri is the author of The Witch of Little Italy, The Witch of Belladonna Bay, and The Witch of Bourbon Street. She also writes as Suzanne Hayes and lives in a haunted farmhouse in North Branford, Connecticut, with her family.

#FRC2016 @BookSparks #familysecrets

Miracle at Midlife

Miracle at Midlife: A Transatlantic Romance (A Memoir) by Roni Beth Tower. Berkely:She Writes Press, 2016. 281 pages. ****

It's March 1996 and Roni Beth sells her inherited jewelry to finance a trip to Paris, never dreaming that calling David, a contact recommended by a friend, would change her life forever. David, a divorced American attorney, is living on a converted barge in the center of Paris. Miracle at Midlife chronicles their two-year courtship, the complications and rewards of a middle age couple, and a long distance romance between Connecticut and Paris.

This well-written memoir reinforces the concept that it's never too late to find love and love does conquer all! Against all odds, Roni Beth and David are able to weave their individual families, careers, and locations into one inspiring relationship. An excellent choice for a book club selection; many discussion points and real life conflicts to appeal to a variety of readers.

I received a copy for a review.

Roni Beth Tower grew up in Akron, Ohio, majored in religion at Barnard College, and earned her doctoral degree in clinical psychology from Yale University. She and David, her husband, live in Tarrytown, New York, within easy visiting distance of their six grandchildren. They return to Paris as often as possible. In addition to David, their family, and their friends, Roni Beth loves yoga, dance, quilting, and bringing comfort and joy to people. For more information, visit her and her blog, Love is  Real, at www.miracleatmidlife.com.

@BookSparks #MagicofMemoir #memoir


In The Game

In The Game: The Highs and Lows of a Trailblazing Trial Lawyer by Peggy Garrity. Berkeley: She Writes Press, 2016. 238 pages. ****

In her Prologue, Garrity sums up her philosophy of life, "Women who play by the rules are doomed. What an injustice. I vow then not to let men, marriage, or motherhood take over my life." It will be the convent for her, that is until she becomes pregnant and gets married her senior year in college. Garrity faces an insurmountable challenge in her chosen career--fewer than 3 percent of lawyers were women and certainly not single mothers. This compelling memoir records Garrity's life as a mother and game player in the legal system, defending high-profile clients by day and mothering her four children at night. Being brilliant in the courtroom does not equate to being smart in her personal life,  Garrity acknowledges her poor choices, failed marriages and affairs. Her many and varied experiences make for an entertaining and engrossing story that drew me in and kept me captivated. I will definitely read her next book, Justice Delayed.

I received a copy for a review from BookSparks.

Peggy Garrity grew up in the Mississippi River hamlet of Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, population 6,000--a town with two Catholic churches, four Catholic schools, and fifty bars and pubs. After attending night school for five years and having three babies, she was admitted to the California State Bar in December 1975, and soon went on to launch a solo practice. She retired from the full-time practice of law in December 2004, but remains committed to the law through her writing, consulting, legal commentary, and handling a few select civil rights cases. Garrity also teaches yoga and meditation privately. The LA Times published her op-ed about the Halliburton rape cases, "About that Day In Court," in 2008, and she is currently at work on her next book---a legal thriller, Justice Delayed. Garrity is a doting grandmother of six.

@BookSparks #MagicofMemoir

Everything We Keep

Everything We Keep: A novel by Kerry Lonsdale. Seattle: Lake Union, 2016. 329 pages. Book Club Discussion Questions. ****

Aimee Tierney has crafted an ideal life for herself: work in her parent's restaurant, marry her childhood best friend and sweetheart and buy her parent's restaurant when the time comes. What Aimee doesn't count on is the apparent death of her fiancĂ©e and attending his funeral on her wedding day. Accosted by a psychic and told that James is still alive, Aimee begins to question everything about her life. Is James still alive and if so, why hasn't he contacted her? Have her parents sold their restaurant to someone else? 

I really enjoyed the many twists and turns in this story... well crafted and convoluted. There were just enough surprises to keep the story moving quickly. I like a story that keeps me guessing and yet is not contrived; I look forward to more from Lonsdale.

I received a copy for a review.

Kerry Lonsdale believes life is more exciting with twists and turns, which may be why she enjoys dropping her characters into unexpected scenarios and foreign settings. She graduated from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and is a founder of the Women's Fiction Writer's Fiction Writers Association, and an online community of authors located across the globe. She resides in Northern California with her husband, two children, and an aging golden retriever who's convinced she's still a puppy. Everything We Keep is Kerry's first novel. Connect with her at www.kerrylonsdalecom.

@BookSparks #FRC2016


Quilter's Stash Box

Quilter's Stash Box from Quilter's Bug is a monthly surprise box filled with lots of quilting related goodies (patterns, thread, etc.)  and fabric. The box is 12 inches square by 2 inches deep, the perfect size for storing 12-inch quilt blocks and works in progress. The boxes are easily stacked on a shelf and a label pocket is included to keep you organized.

There are many levels of subscription available as well as occasional speciality boxes, more information at https://quilters-bug.myshopify.com/collections/subscribe-to-quilters-stash-box.

Quilter's Stash was kind enough to send me a box to review and use as a door prize at my Quilt Guild.

Included in this monthly box... a really cute sewing machine bracelet....sew sassy buttons...invaluable clover clips...the Creative Grids Non-Slip Half Square 4-in-1 Triangle Ruler...a charm pack of gorgeous Lecien fabric...two spools of luscious Aurifil thread...all quality products!

One of the best aspects of this box is the 'Cut Loose Press tab divider system" CLP patterns are printed on 8-1/2 x 11 card stock, hole punched so you can keep them in a binder. The tabs at the right of the page indicate "Project Time" "Fabric Type" and "Project Type" and the featured pattern seems to be "beginner" friendly with clear directions and supply list. Two patterns were included in this box which uses the Triangle Ruler. 

I did a Google search on the items in the box and the total value is over 60.00!

A lucky quilter will win this box at Tuesday night's meeting!

Christine Rushton is the winner!


Quilt Show 2016

Brandywine Valley Quilters has a Quilt Show every other year and this is the year. The theme is "Quilting, what a novel idea!" The amount of planning is phenomenal from the theme to the program to the many members who make quilts, it is a class act.

This show I worked the first day in Receiving...the quilts are brought to the venue, checked in, looked over (threads clipped, animal hair removed with a lint brush, and checked for stains) and placed on a table in preparation for judging. The quilter receives a receipt to collect their quilt on Sunday. A new twist this year was to record a 30-second video of the quilter and the quilt to be used in a QR code. The code will be on display with the quilt.

The quilts are sorted by technique, type of quilting, etc.

On the second day of preparation, the quilts are judged by professional quilters against a pre-determined criteria. The judges will select the quilts to be awarded ribbons. This is the first time I have entered quilts to be judged. I entered four quilts in various categories and it is nerve wracking to think that someone will judge my work.

Because the theme is "novel" related, the decorations and signage were designed to reflect a library.

There was a line outside on the first morning of the Show.

Members outdid themselves in making items to be sold in the Boutique!

A new innovative idea is to add a "QR Code" to each quilt description, this allows the viewer to scan it and to hear the quilter talk about the quilt.  The name tag I wore was cleverly made by the Quilt Show Chair.

My Granddaughter and I were very surprised to win a ribbon for our "Wizard Wonderland" quilt! I pieced the panels with her supervision and she machine quilted it on the HQ Sweet Sixteen. 

The quilt received a "Harry's Choice" and a "Youth" participation ribbon. Harry is the maintenance man at the venue where the Quilt Show is held and he chooses one quilt to receive his ribbon.

Her reaction is priceless!

Harry, Shae and me!

Receiving the judge's comments after the show was enlightening, I am sharing them in the hopes of educating you as to what the judges are looking at in each quilt.

 This quilt is a "Round Robin" Quilt, "Promise." I created the center block and quilt guild members added rows to it. I added the last row to make it bigger.

Judge's Comments:
Interesting color choices
Straight lines need to be straight
Try to maintain traingle points
Quilting fills spaces well
Outside edge needs to be straight
Binding corners on the back need to be consistent with the front

"Connections" designed by my husband, Bob.  

Judge's Comments:
Very good use of complementary colors
Color and shape placement works well on this art quilt
Piecing generally well done
Quilting is appropriate
Quilt stitches vary in size and tension problems
Starts and stops visible
Binding well done

"David" This was created to represent Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne in Steampunk style. The Guild Challenge was to create a quilt to depict a "book" "author" "genre" etc. to fit the theme of the quilt show. 

Judge's Comments:
Gradation of background fabric was well chosen and adds depth
Embellishment well chosen for theme
Applique needs to be secure 
Machine quilting fills space well, tension problems noted
Nice choice of backing fabric

The Quilt Show was a wonderful and educational experience. The next BVQ Show will be in October 2018. Will I do it again? You betcha! 

#quiltshow #quiltshowribbon #judgedquilts