Operation Delphi Novels

Expect Trouble (An Operation Delphi Novel #1) by JoAnn Smith Ainsworth. New Jersey: BookBaby, 2016.  343 pages. ****

In this first novel in the series, it's 1943 and U. S. WAVES Lieutenant Livvy Delacourt is assigned as a driver to a naval commander who is forming a highly selective, top-secret group of individuals who have unique psychic gifts. Their assignment is to use their powers to hunt and stop Nazi spies. Livvy's supervisor, Barrington Drew, III (Trey to his friends), turns out to be a crush from her teen years and a boyfriend of her wealthy, socialite cousin. On her first driving assignment, Livvy experiences a full-blown psychic episode and a warehouse explosion. Trey quickly assembles a diverse team that includes a crystal ball reader and someone who can see ghosts. Complete with a security team, they set up headquarters and living space at Hamilton House in Germantown, PA. Espionage, mystery, history, romance and murder.

Expect Deception (An Operation Delphi Novel #2) by JoAnn Smith Ainsworth. California:SheWrites Press, 2016. 230 pages. ****

In this second book, the Reich throws in dark magic and recruits a wizard to fight Livvy and her team. The wizard uses his power to attack US facilities and causes personnel to fall ill with a variety of ailments. Only by combining their talents and powers are Livvy and the team at Hamilton House able to repel the evil that threatens them. Tragically, not all of the members of the team survive.

Ainsworth has crafted a fascinating series that drew me right in and kept me enthralled. Having grown up in Philadelphia, the landmarks are familiar and I found myself researching some of the tactics used by the enemy to see if the Third Reich recruited psychics and dark magic. I reached out  to the author for more information and received this background from her publicist: Nazis and the Occult. By using search terms "Nazi and occultism" I am able to find other articles that seem to reference similar information, Nazi Occultism. This series is inventive, creative and a unique glimpse into the home front during World War II. I can't wait to see what comes next!

I received copies of these books to review.

JoAnn Smith Ainsworth experienced food-ration books, victory gardens, and blackout sirens as a child in WWII. Ms. Ainsworth lives in California. She has BA and MAT degrees in English and has completed her MBA studies. She has published five previous novels.

To learn more about this author, visit http://www.joannsmithainsworth.com.

#OperationDelphi #WorldWarII



Appetite: a novel by Sheila Grinell. Berkely: She Writes Press, 2016.  320 pages ****

When Jenn Adler, an only child, returns home from a year in India, she surprises her parents with her engagement to a young guru from Bangalore. Even though her parent's marriage has stalemated, they join forces to dissuade Jenn from marrying Arun. Maggie and Paul for different reasons are convinced that the upcoming marriage is a huge mistake and are having a difficult time getting to know Arun and understanding their daughter's attraction and love for him. Maggie has accepted her second class status to Paul's work and passion and she is worried that Jenn may be following in her footsteps. Paul consumed by the belief that he is on the brink of a breakthrough discovery, feels threatened by the reassignment of an employee and questions about his research. Jenn and Arun's future plans cause both parents to question their commitment to each other, their future and their happiness.

Grinell drew me right in with her opening sentence. "There are two kinds of people in this world, Maggie Adler thought, those who eat when anxious and those who can't." Any mother who has a daughter will be able to relate to Maggie's dilemma, should she support her daughter in her choices or  does she have an obligation to speak when she feels her daughter is making a mistake? Maggie re-examines her life and explores options for change. Grinell does an excellent job of bringing her characters to life, even though Paul isn't very likable. My only hesitation at all with the book (choosing 4 stars versus 5) is that I wanted retribution and some enlightenment for Paul. Definitely a worthwhile read and one that will appeal to baby boomers as well as millennials; the age-old conflict of idealist youth and the quest to better the world versus the disillusionment of justifying choices already lived.

I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this book from BookSparks for a review.

Toward the end of her forty-year career as a creator of science museums, Sheila Grinell began to write fiction. Appetite is her debut novel. Born in a taxi in Manhattan, she studied at the Bronx High School of Science, Harvard University, and the University of California, Berkeley. She lives in Phoenix with her husband and dog. To learn more, visit sheilagrinell.com.

#SRC2016 @BookSparks #BestSummerEver


Don't You Cry

Don't You Cry: a novel by Mary Kubica. New York: Mira, 2016. 320 pages. *****

Told in alternating voices, this psychlogical thriller will draw you in and have you wondering who the the villain is in this story. Quinn's roommate disappears one night and the only clues left behind are letters written by EV. Did her roommate, Esther Vaughan, write the letters or were they written to her? Eighteen-year-old Alex, lives with his father, the town drunk, and washes dishes for a living. A mysterious young woman enters the cafe where he works and he discovers that she is squatting in the abandoned house across the street from his house. While Quinn is trying to find out what happened to her best friend and roommate, Alex follows and befriends the mysterious girl with horrifying consquences. Both worlds collide in a shocking story of grief, abandonment and murder.

Kubica's strength in telling a story is her ability to ease into an evocative plot with strong, fallible, likable characters. Quinn is so insecure she begins to believe that Esther has disappeared instead of asking her to move out. Alex is so kind hearted that even after delivering her groceries, Alex stays to play board games with Ingrid who suffers from agoraphobia. Kubica entices me in with the hint that all is not what it seems, however, I did not guess the ending. You won't want to put it down until you figure out where Esther is and who is the disturbed "Pearl?" You won't be disappointed in Kubica's newest must-read.

I received a copy of this book from BookSparks for a review.

Mary Kubica is the New York Times bestselling author of The Good Girl and Pretty Baby. She holds a bachelor of arts degree in history and American literature from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She lives outside Chicago with her husband and two children. Follow Mary on Twitter, @MaryKubica. Website: Mary Kubica

#SRC2016 @BookSparks #BestSummerEver


Wooden Bridge Dry Goods

I often visit Quilt Shops when looking for inspiration or a particular fabric. Over the next few months, I will introduce them to you and tell about my journeys and experiences. Today's Shop is the Wooden Bridge Drygoods in Kutztown and I am looking for thread, flannel and fabric for a Pat Slaon class I will be taking in July.

Upon entering the parking lot, you are greeted by the beautiful farms and countryside. It's worth the drive to enjoy the views surrounding this store!

Inside the store, there are thousands of bolts of fabrics...cotton, flannel, etc., organized by color and design. 


There is a huge section of pre-cuts, I am in fabric heaven! The colors and variety are amazing.

Aurifl Thread at a reasonable price!

A visit here is well worth the trip...Here is their website with hours: http://www.woodenbridgedrygoods.com

#quiltshopsPA #PAquiltshops


Summer Reading List

Suggested Summer Reading List 2016

While I was working in a High School Library, teachers looked forward to my suggested book list for summer reading. I have reviewed many books lately and decided to write about my top favorites  and suggest you add them to your "To Read" pile. I will include title, author and the link to my review. They are not in any special order on the list. Enjoy!

Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave.

The Longest Mile by Christine Meyer, MD.

Most Wanted by Lisa Scottoline.

The Obsession by Nora Roberts.

A Girl Like You by Michelle Cox.

Glass Shatters by Michelle Meyers.

Ink and Bone by Lisa Unger.

From Here to Home by Marie Bostwick.

Expect Trouble and Expect Deception (Books 1 &2) by JoAnn Smith Ainsworth.

The books I will be reading this summer as part of a Summer Reading Challenge and I will be reviewing each one of them on my blog. Penny for my thoughts.

Everybody Rise by Stephanie Clifford.

25 Sense by Lia Henthorn.

The Sweetheart Deal by Polly Dugan.

Saving Abby by Steena Holmes.

The Gridley Girls by Meredith First. 

The House of Bradbury: a novel by Nicole Meier.

The A$$i$tant$: a novel by Camille Perri

First Comes Love: a novel by Emily Giffin.

Don't You Cry by Mary Kubica.

One True Loves: a novel  by Taylor Jenkins Reid.

Appetite: a novel by Sheila Grinell.

#SRC2016 @BookSparks #Bestsummerever


Monthly Subscription Boxes

Monthly Subscription Boxes

One of the latest trends in Quilting/Sewing is subscribing to a Monthly Subscription Service. You receive monthly boxes filled with quality items selected for you and delivered to your door. Usually, the items are worth more than the monthly fee. Shipping can be added or included in the monthly cost conveniently charged to your credit card.

Have you subscribed to any of these services, pros or cons? I am planning to share my analysis in a presentation to my Quilt Guild and blog here. The list of websites offering them seems to be growing, what are your favorites?

Weigh in and let me know what you think!


Ink and Bone

Ink and Bone: a novel by Lisa Unger.  New York: Touchstone, 2016. 302 pages *****

Twenty-year-old Finley Montgomery has moved to the Hollows to live with her Grandmother and to decide what to do with her life. Plagued with visions of dead people and haunted by sounds that others can't hear, Finley is trying to understand the purpose of her gift. She and her Grandmother, a renowned psychic, are drawn into helping in the search for a missing girl who was taken from the woods when her father and brother were shot. Merri, the girl's mother, will not give up and hires a private detective to assist in finding her daughter. When a real estate developer disappears, it appears that they may be looking for a Hollows resident.

A psychological thriller that you will not be able to put down once started! People and situations in the Hollows are not what they seem and Unger will keep you guessing until the very end. Unger is a masterful storyteller and does not disappoint. Fans of Karin Slaughter and Lisa Garnder will love this one too! Highly recommend for a thrilling summer read.

I received an ecopy from NetGalley for a review.

Lisa Unger is an award-winning New York Times and internationally bestselling author. Her novels have sold more than two million copies and have been translated into twenty-six languages. She lives in Florida. Visit Lisa Unger


From Here to Home

From Here to Home by Marie Bostwick. New York: Kensington Books, 2016. 360 pages. Reader Group Guide/Discussion Questions. *****

Mary Dell Tempelton returns to her home at Too Much to continue taping her quilting cable TV show  Quintessential Quilting. Instead of her son Howard, she is partnered with Holly, a young, smart, ambitious co-host.  Howard, who happens to have Down syndrome,  elects to stay in Dallas to attend school and launch his own business. Mary Dell makes the best of the situation until she discovers that the network has sabotaged her show by hiring an obnoxious, publicity seeking editor. With a mother who is having episodes of confusion; her nephew who appears to be suffering from PTSD and guilt over the death of his brother-in-law; a friend who expresses his love for her and a niece who is overwhelmed by the family issues and running the Quilt shop in town, Mary Dell has her work cut out for her upon returning home.

This sequel to Between Heaven and Texas, may be read as a standalone, but why would you want to?  You will want to get to know Mary Dell and Howard from the very beginning. A heartwarming story of courage, love, and family, Bostwick will make you laugh and cry. Her characters come to life and remind us of the goodness in the world. She has a loyal following in the quilting world with the Cobbled Court Quilt series of books and never disappoints. There is a Facebook Page for fans of that series to discuss the books and quilts. I heard Bostwick speak at a Guild meeting and a local bookstore, she is very entertaining as a presenter. You don't need to be a quilter to enjoy her books, just be in the mood for a story that will inspire and entertain you. I can't wait to see what adventures await her characters in future books.



#Block19 #Block21 #Block22 #DerbyDay

Block #19 Measure Twice, Cut Once... Designed by Jane Davidson (quiltjane)

Block #21 Sweet Candy designed by Kris Thurgood

Block #22 Goose on the Loose designed by Amy Udall Smart

Bonus Block - Derby Day designed by Pat Sloan

I wanted to add the name of the fabric line to the front of the quilt, so I added the selvage to the hat band. Salt Water by Tula Pink.


The House that Made Me

The house that made me: writers reflect on the places and people that defined them. Edited by Grant Jarrett. Tempe, Spark Press, 2016. 141 pages. *****

Have you typed the address of your childhood home or a place where you lived into Google Earth? 19 essayists have written about a childhood home, neighborhood or a place that helped shaped them. The locations are as diverse as the authors themselves.  Some of the homes are no longer standing, however, the memories remain. Some of the writers discovered that looking from Google Earth gave a different perspective to the place that they remembered and allowed a view and feeling different than seen on the ground. Recalling anecdotes about family members and friends from the neighborhood are bittersweet and inspirational.

Karin Radish sums it up best, " I often tell people that you can never go back home if you don't leave. What I need to tell them is that if you grew up in a town like I did---with loving parents, across the street from a corn field, thirty minutes from a place that is called a city...then home is right there in the center of your lovely heart and you can take it wherever you go."

A poignant read that will be one that is passed around and will be an evocative Book Club choice. For the right student, this book will be a great Graduation present.

I received a copy from BookSparks for a review.

#truthordare @BookSparks


Start With the Backbeat

Start with the Backbeat by Garine B. Isassi. Berkeley: She Writes Press, 2016. 273 pages. ****

It's the spring of 1989 in New York City when Jill Dodge is finally getting a big promotion at Mega Big Records. Looking for fresh, new talent is always challenging especially when charged with finding a "Gangsta" urban rapper before the trend passes them by. Jill and her colleagues go to the "Drop Zone Lounge" to hear MC Doggie T and DJ Fizz, but something seems off in the performance.  The lyrics and music have promise, but what doesn't ring true? Jill is determined to get to sign the next great artist, but has she made a mistake? At the same time, computers are installed in their offices and Jill finds herself drawn to the trainer, Alejandro Alvarez. Will Jill find true love and success in her chosen career?

Many musical, cultural references and 80s stereotypes scattered throughout the story with humorous anecdotes. Isassi has captured the music world and nuances of the 80s in this entertaining story. Music fans and those who grew up in the 80s will be drawn to Jill's story and the inside look into the music industry politics.

I received a copy from BookSparks for a review. 

Garine B. Isassi is a former singer/songwriter who grew up with one foot in Texas and the other in New Jersey. A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, she is a lover of music, chocolate, and altruistic sarcasm; a writer of post-punk humor; and the illustrious founder of Helicopter Moms Anonymous. She is proud of her Armenian-American heritage, but tired of explaining it. She currently lives in Maryland, where she works full time in marketing communications, sings in a gospel choir, is the Workshops Chair for the Gaithersburg Book Festival, over-volunteers for a variety of community organizations, writes when everyone else is asleep, and lives with her husband, three kids, a cat, a dog and a gecko. It's the gecko that sent her over the edge. You can read her blog, "Hi!" from the 'burbs, at her website, garineTHEwriter.com.

#itsrainingbooks @Booksparks

The Shelf Life of Ashes

The Shelf Life of Ashes: a memoir  by Hollis Giammatteo. Berkeley:She Writes Press, 2016. 255 pages. ***

Hollis Giammatteo is on a mission to find The Map of Aging Well and what better way than to work and assist the aged. The results aren't exactly what she expected, each person has their own way of coping and living their life. Complicating Hollis' life is her mother who is convinced she is dying and constantly calling Hollis home for one last visit. Never quite feeling like she belongs, Hollis looks for her biological mother to understand why she was given up for adoption. All of these situations and feelings compel her to look for a way to grow older in a way different than her role models.

This memoir is an honest, perceptive and realistic look at the aging process and how end-of-life plans can go awry. Is there a Map or Plan that works? Hollis does her best to try and find one. A poignant portrayal of a mother-daughter relationship whether it is a biological or an adopted one. Adoption insecurities plague her job choices and relationships. A thought provoking read and provides many discussion points for a woman's reading group.

I received an Advance Reader Copy from BookSparks for a review.

Following her conventional education (a BA in Fine Arts with a minor in theater; an MA in English), Hollis Giammatteo moved to Philadelphia where, with a college chum, she founded, managed, and wrote plays for The Wilma Theater.  It is thriving, still. She moved west in '79, hungry in that conventional way for all it promised---big nature: mountains, sea, and sky ---and has called Seattle home since then. This is her first published memoir.

@BookSparks #truthordare #adoption