One Book Philadelphia 2018 - Another Brooklyn

Celebrating its 16th year in 2018, One Book, One Philadelphia is an event of the Free Library of Philadelphia that promotes literacy, library usage, and citywide conversation by encouraging the entire greater Philadelphia area to come together through reading and discussing a single book. From January 17 to March 14, nearly 100 events and programs will center around a featured book, the 2016 National Book Award finalist Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson.

For the first time, they have chosen two youth companion books. I purchased Brown Girl Dreaming for my 11-year-old Granddaughter to read. 

My friends and I will be reading and discussing this book, join us and add your comments here!

Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson. New York: Amistad, 2016. 175 pages. ****

August, runs into a long-ago friend, Sylvia, and is transported to 1970s Brooklyn, where friendship is everything. August ignores her mother's advice, "women are not to be trusted."

August, Sylvia, Angela, and Gigi shared confidences as they walk their neighborhood streets, a place where the girls believe that they are amazingly beautiful, brilliantly talented, with a future that belongs to them. They naively believe that they will transcend the drugs, sex, and violence that is so prevalent on those same streets. 

When her father dies, August revisits her past through her shared memories with her younger brother. 

Woodson has captured the angst of growing up and longing to belong and wanting something better. 

Having grown up in a city, I can relate to the smells, sounds, and heartache experienced by the girls and so aptly described by Woodson. 

My friends and I met to discuss this book and everyone liked it. My childhood friend of over 60+ years visited to join in the event. Each one of us remembered and personalized something in the story that spoke directly to us. We discussed our childhood, family and what it was like interacting with girls our own age. My friend told stories from our shared youth that I didn't remember and caused me to wonder, did that really happen? We theorized as to what caused August's mother to distrust other women and August's longing to be accepted by the other girls. As women are we trustworthy, have we evolved enough to have each other's backs? What part did the father play in how August matured and chose her career? Did their father know that his children were searching for their mother on the city streets? 

Some of the ladies in the discussion group are quilters and I found this wonderful video of Jacqueline discussing quilts and the Underground Railroad.

Jacqueline Woodson is the bestselling author of more than two dozen award-winning books for young-adults, middle graders, and children, including the New York Times bestselling memoir Brown Girl Dreaming. She has won numerous other book awards. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York. 

#onebookphiladelphia #anotherbrooklyn #friendshop 


Lost in the Reflecting Pool

Lost in the Reflecting Pool: a memoir by Diane Pomerantz. Berkeley: She Writes Press, 2017. 320 pages. *****

Dr. Pomerantz proves that it doesn't matter how educated a person is, it is easy to get drawn in by a manipulative person. Even though she is a psychologist and her intuition tells her that Charles has issues with his parents he should have worked out by now, she marries him anyway. The book begins by describing how Charles deals with an annoying cat from the previous owner and right away, I wanted to tell her to take the kids and run. Dr. Pomerantz is very adept at denying to herself and others how she and the children are treated especially when she is diagnosed with cancer and her husband becomes annoyed with rather than supportive of her experience. He is jealous that her family and friends rally around her and makes himself unavailable by having an affair with one of his patients, risking his medical license and financial security.

In this psychological memoir/thriller, it is easy to see that while dealing with day-to-day challenges, Dr. Pomerantz feels helpless in her situation. This book will serve as a wake-up call to many who are abused to seek assistance, set boundaries, and to protect themselves by having complete access to joint assets. Her husband is always stressing about finances, however, Dr. Pomerantz seems to have no idea how much money they have and how their income is spent. While some of her recollections seem unbelievable in her retelling, they ring true in the horrifying details and her feelings of rejection and isolation. This is a book that will not easily be forgotten and will hopefully raise awareness of narcissistic, abusive behavior. With the help of her father Dr. Pomerantz is able to escape, but for many others, that is not an option. Book Clubs should consider this as a group read based on the many topics (adoption, spousal abuse, cancer, fertility issues, etc.)  for discussion.

I received a copy for a review. I am reading and reviewing Memoirs for the Magic of Memoir blog tour through BookSparks. The four books (including this one) have been some of the best memoirs I have read in awhile. I recommend all of them even if memoirs are not your usual genre.

Two more to finish, check back for those reviews.

For more than thirty-five years, Dr. Diane Pomerantz has been a practicing psychologist, teacher, supervisor, and speaker in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area. Dr. Pomerantz has published articles on topics of childhood trauma and personality development. This is her first book. She has two grown children and lives in Maryland with Rug, her shaggy dog.

@BookSparks #MagicofMemoir @dianepomernatz #bookmail


You Can't Buy Love Like That

You can't buy love like that: growing up gay in the sixties by Carol E. Anderson. Berkeley: She Writes Press, 215 pages. ****
Coming of age in the '60s was difficult enough without realizing that you are a lesbian in a fundamental Christian home. Fearing the rejection of her parents and societal reproach, Carol hides her feelings for another woman and becomes engaged to a man. Carol is close to her father and regrets not telling him her truth before he dies. Not only is this a story of love and denial, it is a history lesson and reflective look back. The stress and deceit of denying her relationships to those close to her carried a high price. Carol falls in love with a married woman in an open marriage and is honest about the emotional toll when that relationship ends. 
I was fascinated by Carol's story. I was a teen during the '60s and her story brought back many memories for me. It must have been so difficult for a gay person in the Age of Aquarius, which "denoted boundary violation, carefree abandonment, humor, and a venue for imbibing in booze, dope, nudity, sex, and upbeat music, mostly but not exclusively rock." All true except for anyone gay. Calling someone a lesbian on the playground was the worst insult in the 50s and 60s and yet it seemed that anything was acceptable sexually as long as it was between a man and a woman.  Her story made me wonder if friends, colleagues, and how many others suffer needlessly because of who they are. Carol and her mother show us that we are better than that and love is the only answer. This memoir is a compelling read and provides many points of discussion for people of all ages. 
I received a copy for a review. 
For 30 years, Carol has served as an independent consultant and coach, bringing greater meaning and consciousness to individuals, teams, and organizations. In addition to working with a range of individual coaching clients and consulting with large and small organizations, she served as the coach for each cohort of the Executive MBA program at the Ross School of Business – The University of Michigan.
Carol holds a doctorate in Spiritual Studies from Wisdom University (CA) and a Master’s degree in Organizational Development from Pepperdine University (CA). She has earned additional Master’s degrees in Film and Video from the University of Michigan and in Psychology from Eastern Michigan University. In addition, Carol is a certified Integral Coach (New Ventures West, 2009), as well as a trained Quantum Coach (Gay Hendricks’ program, 1999). She has also completed a four-year program in the healing arts at the Barbara Brennan School of Healing, equipping her to bring healing concepts into organizational settings.
Carol served as a school psychologist and teacher in public schools for 8 years before she began consulting.
@BookSparks #MagicofMemoir @caroleanderson #bookmail

But My Brain Had Other Ideas

But My Brain Had Other Ideas: A Memoir of Recovery from Brain Injury by Deb Brandon. Berkeley: She Writes Press, 2017. 299 pages. ****

Deb Brandon shares her story to educate and call attention to Cavernous Angioma. Cavernous angiomas are vascular lesions comprised of clusters of abnormally dilated blood vessels. What that description doesn't tell you, but Deb does, is the impact that condition has on the body and the daily struggle to lead a relatively normal life. After three surgeries, rehab, and battling depression, Deb clearly chronicles her journey and the emotional toll that all of it had on her and her family. The descriptions of the paralyzing effects of her experiences in a crowd situation are absolutely mesmerizing. Her fear is clearly evident and at the same time, her determination to recover and continue teaching as a professor in the Mathematical Sciences Department at Carnegie Mellon University is inspiring.

Prior to reading this book, I had not heard of this condition, so I included two websites to help educate you too. How Deb survived and thrived is beyond comprehension and at times unbelievable. If you like memoirs, you won't be able to put this one down.

I received a copy for a review.

For more information about Cavernous Angioma:

Deborah Brandon, PhD has been a professor in the Mathematical Sciences Department at Carnegie Mellon University since 1991. She has participated nationally and internationally in dragon boating. She is a mother, a writer, and a respected textile artist, as well as a brain injury survivor. Brandon is an active blogger and regularly participates in social media platforms, including Facebook, where she discusses brain injury and its impact, and Twitter, where she posts observations about the sometimes absurd, sometimes bizarre, and always intriguing world of long-term brain injury survivors.

#bookmail @BookSparks #MagicofMemoir @DebBrandon #memoir


The Wake Up

The Wake Up: A Novel by Catherine Ryan Hyde. Seattle: Lake Union Publishing, 2017. 332 pages. Book Club Questions. **** Published December 5, 2017.

Aiden Delacorte is a forty-year-old rancher who has lost his ability to raise cattle for slaughter. His "wake up" comes when he hunts and kills a buck and he feels the buck's pain. Aiden begins to feel the fear and pain from animals around him and he is haunted by his past behavior. When he meets and falls in love with Gwen, his life is further complicated by her son, Milo. Milo has been abused by his father and acts out in his distrust of anyone. Aiden begins to recall his early years with his stepfather and draws on his memories to work with and get close to Milo.

Catharine Ryan Hyde's love for animals comes through clearly in her books. Aiden gives a foal to Milo with the hope that somehow Milo will be more responsible and learn to care for his horse. Aiden's stepfather did the same for him. Hyde's books are heartwarming stories filled with love, hope, and possibility. Realistic in her portrayal of characters who are "broken" and beyond repair, Aiden is investigated when Milo breaks his arm while throwing rocks at some rabbits on the ranch. I have reviewed a few of her other books (Allie and Bea is one of my favorites) and she continues to grow as a writer and I couldn't wait to read this one. I bumped it ahead of the books to be reviewed and I wasn't disappointed!

I received an ecopy for a review.

Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of thirty-two published books. Her bestselling 1999 novel, Pay It Forward, adapted into a major Warner Bros. motion picture starring Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt, 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. As a professional public speaker, she has addressed the National Conference on Education, twice spoken at Cornell University, met with AmeriCorps members at the White House, and shared a dais with Bill Clinton.

@catherineryanhyde #thewakeup 



What is #quiltersbookpassport?

This picture showed up on Instagram and intrigued me...a book and fabric????

It had the #quiltersbookpassport and so I searched that hashtag. It seems that there are a lot of books and fabric out there. Started by buttoncounter (Monica Nauert), there are guidelines to the process: 

I have to admit, I was more intrigued by the fabric then getting the book to read...since I review books, I have more than I can read at any given time, but still, BOOKS and FABRIC? Win-win!

I jumped in with the comment that I wanted this one and I was first. It arrived Priority Mail in a few days and the fabric is gorgeous. I love fabric with printed words on it so I will add it to my stash.
I read the book in a few days and it was an easy, fast read. I messaged the next person on the comments and it is "buttoncounter." 

The hardest part of the whole process is selecting the fabrics to send with the book to the next reader/quilter. I went fabric shopping and checked my stash. I hope she likes them because I think they represent the story. I took the package to the post office and it is on its way!

Will I do it again? Absolutely!

#quiltersbookpassport #booksandquilts


Our Grand Finale

Our Grand Finale: A Daughter's Memoir by Laraine Denny Burrell. She Writes Press, 283 pages. Pictures. ****

A totally relatable memoir of a daughter called home because her father is ill and discovers that he is dying. Having lived an adventurous life traveling as a performer, Laraine always thought there would be the time in the future to spend with her parents, but sometimes life has other ideas. Going through his belongings and reminiscing about events in her hometown, the grief-stricken daughter realizes how much she loves her father and misses him. Chronicling her father's life provides a window into his career as a Royal Yachtsman, his stewardship of a pedigree cat owned by Her Majesty, the Queen Mother and the self-absorbed relationship of her parents.

I'm not sure that Laraine realizes what an amazing life she has led so far. She is paying tribute to her father in this book, however, being left alone as a child which led to her independence clearly defines who she has become today. Her accomplishments are impressive, her courage and determination to keep her son while unwed (and against her parent's wishes) is a story in itself.

While sad at times, this book is a tribute to a life well-lived and the rediscovered love for her father. Burrell's message is clear --- "later" doesn't always come. The black and white photographs throughout the book enhance the story. If you like memoirs, this one is worth a read. 

I received a paperback Advanced Reading Copy for a review.

Laraine Denny Burrell was born and raised in England and at sixteen won a full scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dancing in London, England. Burrell spent many years living and working all over the world, performing as a professional dancer, singer, and actress. After retiring as a performer, she went on to obtain three academic degrees, including a law degree. Burrell currently practices as an intellectual property attorney and litigator for a well-established law firm in Washington State. 

#bookmail #MagicofMemoir @BookSparks 


Mini Mosaic Quilts

I love taking classes and learning new techniques in the quilting realm. The Brandywine Valley Quilt Guild held a Mini Mosaic Workshop taught by Cheryl Lynch.

Cheryl has a unique and easy way to create these quilts. My sister, Mary, and I selected a "Heart" pattern. Cheryl mentioned that it is the quickest one to complete.


And yes, we showed up in similar clothes to the Workshop! I found this process so relaxing....the squares are 3/8th of an inch. No worries, Cheryl has designed a cutting ruler that makes cutting those little squares incredibly easy.


Mary was determined to finish her heart by the end of the day and she designed her background.

I waited until the end of the day to purchase additional patterns from Cheryl just to make sure I wanted to do more.

I finished my Heart...

I had to make a Flamingo next.


My next pattern is the cutest cat for my Granddaughter, shhh, don't tell!

If you are interested in making a Mini Mosaic for your self...check out Cheryl's Etsy Shop or her Blog. Cheryl is also available for Guild Presentations and/or a Workshop.

#minimosaicquilts @cheryllynchquilts #flamingoquilt #flamingos


A Cold Day in Hell

A Cold Day in Hell (A Cold Case Investigation #1) by Lissa Marie Redmond. Minnesota: Midnight Ink, 397 pages. Publication Date February 8, 2018. ****

Lauren Riley is a very dedicated detective who with her partner, Shane Reese, works in the Cold Case Homicide Office. Thirty years' worth of unsolved cases are stuffed into three rooms on the second floor of Buffalo police headquarters. She is so good at what she does that defense attorney Frank Violanti wants to hire her as a private investigator in the case of his eighteen-year-old godson, David. Lauren is a thirty-eight-year-old, twice-divorced mother of two college-age daughters and has been feeling lonely and out of sorts which may be why she accepted the ten thousand dollar retainer. Lauren soon realizes that investigating the high-profile murder of Katherine Vine could mean the end of her career. A punch in the mouth by the defense detective on the case and her ex-fiance, Joe Wheeler, does not deter Lauren in her search for the truth. Is David the innocent eighteen-year-old he claims to be and was just in the wrong place? Or will Katherine Vine's husband's alibi hold up in court?

A Detective who dunit at it's best! The murder case has enough subplots to keep me guessing and Lauren's propensity for choosing the wrong lover adds to the intrigue of the story. The ending was a surprise and I look forward to #2.

I received an ecopy for a review.

Lissa Marie Redmond (Buffalo, NY) is a recently retired cold case homicide detective of the Buffalo Police Department. She’s also a member of Sisters in Crime.

#detectivefiction #mystery #thriller #suspense


Aurifil Thread

This afternoon I listened to a lecture at The Old Country Store, Intercourse, PA, from Alex Veronelli on how Aurifil thread is manufactured. He showed us a video capturing the manufacturing process, absolutely fascinating!

Quilters seem to complain about the price of the thread, however, after seeing the process from cotton to packaged spool, it's a bargain!

 Alex shared with us many quilts designed and sewn by well-known quilters. 


Of course, there was fabulous,  colorful thread on sale, all weights! I use 50 weight to piece and quilt. 


Each participant was given an Aurifil Bag with a small spool of thread in each weight available. I am so excited to try the wool and embroidery thread.

I asked about clear monofilament thread and there was none available today. Aurifil does sell a clear and a smokey color, but they do not manufacture it at their Milan plant.

Aurifil is coming out with a three strand of thread in cones for longarm quilters later this fall.  My HQ Sweet Sixteen loves this thread and so do I!

#aurifil #aurifilthread #theoldcountrystore @alexveronelli


The Stolen Marriage

The Stolen Marriage by Diane Chamberlain. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2017. 384 pages. ***** Published October 3, 2017.

It's 1944 and Tess DeMello has her life planned. She is engaged to marry her first and only love when her doctor fiancĂ© volunteers to go to Chicago to help out during an infantile paralysis epidemic. Tess has a one-night stand when Vincent extends his stay in Chicago and she soon realizes she is pregnant. Filled with shame and having nowhere to turn, she agrees to a loveless marriage to the stranger who is the father of her child. When Tess travels from Baltimore, Marland to Hickory, North Carolina, she discovers that her new husband has even more secrets than she does and isn't the man he seems to be. Tess is bored in her new role as a wife and has a difficult time adapting to her mother-in-law's expectations. She yearns to be reunited with her family and to confess all to Vincent. Would he have forgiven her? Will Henry grow to love her and his mother and sister accept her?

Chamberlain is a master at writing historical suspenseful fiction. Her research must be extensive to transport the reader to a time and place so successfully. Fans of Jodi Picoult and Lisa Scottoline will enjoy her stories. I love a book that takes a social issue and presents it in a way that causes me to question my beliefs on that issue. What do I think, what would I do? 73 years later and there are probably still places in the U.S. where someone like Tess or Henry would encounter the same prejudices and societal expectations. I enjoyed and was captivated by this story and recommend it for Book Clubs to consider. There are many discussion points and topics to be debated.

I received and ecopy for a review.

Diane Chamberlain is the New York Times, USA Today and Sunday Times bestselling author of 24 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.

#thestolenmarriage #historicalfiction

Losing Leah Holloway

Losing Leah Holloway (A Claire Fletcher and Detective Parks mystery) by Lisa Regan. Thomas & Mercer, 2017. 381 pages. Published October 17, 2017. *****

This second book in the Claire Fletcher and Detective Parks mystery series is a roller coaster ride from start to finish. Five years ago Claire Fletcher escaped her abductor and is working hard to put the past behind her and to live a normal life. Her quiet life abruptly changes when she and her sister, Brianna, are fishing and see a car careen through a concrete overpass and dive into the river. The car begins to sink, Claire throws her fishing rod down and races into the water to help. When Claire sees children in the car, she attempts to open the door and break the windows. The driver is slumped in her seat and is unresponsive when Claire bangs on the window. When she comes to, she refuses to unlock the door so Claire can get the children out of the car. What would cause a mother to drive recklessly and risk the lives of her children? Leah seems to be a model mother, wife, and employee. Nothing in her life indicates that she is under duress or stressed as a mother. Will Claire and Connor be able to unravel Leah's motivations for her actions and in doing so will Claire finally be able to overcome her fears and build a future with Connor?

I love a story that draws me in and keeps me guessing. There are many twists and turns to this story and the plot is unpredictable. I couldn't put it down. I did not read the first book and it isn't necessary because Regan explains enough of the backstory. However, I wish I had and will certainly do so now. You will not be disappointed in this suspenseful thriller.

I received an ecopy for a review.

Lisa Regan, the author of Finding Claire Fletcher, is a bestselling suspense novelist and a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers. She has a bachelor's degree in English and a master's degree in education from Bloomsburg University, works full-time as a paralegal, and lives with her husband and daughter in Philadelphia, where she writes books while waiting in line at the post office. Readers can learn more about her work at www.lisaregan.com.

#losingleahholloway #suspensefulthriller #mystery


Merry and Bright

Merry and Bright by Debbie Macomber. New York: Ballantine Books, 2017. 140 pages. **** Published October 3, 2017.

Debbie Macomber has once again written a heart-warming Christmas story. Merry is a temporary employee at Matterson Consulting and with mandatory overtime has little time for anything else in her life. She lives with her mother who has mobility issues due to complications with multiple sclerosis, her father, and her eighteen-year-old Down syndrome brother. Merry is working as a temp to save money for college and tries to help at home as much as she can. Her job on the Boeing project is winding down and after the Christmas holidays her job will end. Merry has made many friends at Matterson and tries to make the workplace better by decorating for the holidays until reprimanded by her inflexible, curmudgeon boss, Jayson Bright. Merry's mother and brother worry that she will never find someone to date, so they surprise her with a subscription to "Mix and Mingle" for an early birthday present. Merry is not amused when she finds out that they used a photo of Bogie, the dog, on her profile. 

Merry meets and talks to a guy on the Internet, but is reluctant to meet him in person. When they agree to meet for coffee, Merry panics and leaves him waiting and wondering what happened. Has Merry met the man of her dreams or is he a fraud?

There is a certain predictability in Macomber's books and it is for this reason that her followers read her books. They are heart-warming, sincere, and full of hope in this unpredictable, crazy, world. Merry and Bright should be on your Holiday list and books to be read this season. 

I received an electronic copy for a review. 

Debbie Macomber is a leading voice in women's fiction, with more than 200 million copies of her books in print worldwide. Twelve of her novels have hit #1 on the New York Times bestseller list, with three debuting at #1 on the New York Times, USA Today and Publishers Weekly lists.  Follow her at debbiemacomber.com and Facebook.com/debbiemacomberworld, Twitter:@debbiemacomber
Instagram: @debbiemacomber,  Pinterest.com/macomberbooks.


I'm the one who got away

I'm the one who got away: a memoir by Andrea Jarrell. Berkeley: She Writes Press, 2017. 153pp. Book Club Discussion Guide. ****

Reading like a mystery novel, Andrea relates her experiences as the daughter and wife of an alcoholic who is determined to find the life that is right for her. When a woman she knows is murdered, Andrea must face her past and question her motives for avoiding the woman and her family. Estranged from her abusive father and escaping his charm, Andrea and her mother form a bond that helps them to survive. Andrea doesn't understand the choices her mother makes when it comes to men; however, she is determined not to make the same mistakes. Andrea takes us on her journey of marriage, motherhood, and the search for love and self. It's not an easy journey, however, it is a relatable one and a compelling read! 

Complete with a Discussion Guide, this memoir will appeal to Book Clubs. 

I received a copy for a review.

Andrea Jarrell's work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and many other popular and literary publications. She earned her BA in literature at Scripps College and her MFA in creative writing and literature at Bennington College. A Los Angeles native, she currently lives in suburban Washington, D.C.



Obie's Country Store

My sister and I were out fabric shopping and stopped in Obie's Country Store at 1585 Main Street, East Earl, PA  17519. It is definitely not for the faint of heart, the fabric is floor to ceiling!


My sister asked about a particular fabric and the woman working there plucked it out of a huge pile! The prices are reasonable and there are many character fabrics...Betty Boop, The Muppets, etc. There are also College fabrics, I ordered University of Pitt fabric from an online vendor two years ago and she had some of that fabric as well as sports teams.

We couldn't believe it!

 Here we are standing in the aisles!


#obies #fabricgalore #pennsylvaniafabricstore


I sewed a quilted heart

My Granddaughter and I have always believed in "paying it forward" and have done a few projects which promote that philosophy. We are truly blessed to have each other and many common interests. We love to sew and quilt. When I saw the "I Found A Quilted Heart" movement, I knew it was for us.
All of the information, rules, etc. can be found here.

Our process is simple:

  • Quilt together two fat quarters. We used fusible batting and it was so easy.
  • Trace a heart shape on the quilted fabric and cut out the hearts using pinking shears.
  • We sewed a straight stitch close to the edge, so it doesn't fray or come apart. 
  • We printed out the sample tags found on the website. and glued them to the back of paper hearts. We made the paper hearts out of card stock and hole punched them to facilitate hanging.

My Granddaughter hand wrote "Take Me Home" to the front side of the heart tags.

We added rick rack, buttons, lace, etc. to the hearts.

We added ribbon or rick rack as a hanger and stitched it on with the sewing machine to make it strong.

We made 11 hearts the first day!

We sowed 2 hearts that first day in Pennsylvania and it was really hard to walk away and not to hang around and see if anyone noticed the heart or claimed it. It rained so hard that night that I woke up and wondered if the hearts were in the rain.

I am taking two hearts with me this weekend to Maryland and my Granddaughter is taking two with her to South Carolina. I wonder if everyone else who makes these hearts checks the FB page to see if anyone has claimed/recorded their heart as often as I do? Just think, you may be lucky enough to find one. We'll be making more hearts next week!


Don't Let Go

Don't Let Go by Harlan Coben. New York: Dutton, 2017. 291 pages. ***** to be Published September 26, 2017.

Napoleon Dumas has spent the last fifteen years talking to his dead brother, looking for his missing girlfriend, and playing vigilante. When the fingerprints of his missing high school girlfriend surface during a murder investigation, Dumas begins to question the facts that surrounded his brother's death along with Diana, his brother's girlfriend, on the train tracks. Is anything true that he was told at the time or have all of his friends lied to him? If Maura is alive and complicit in this latest murder, why did she run away 15 years ago and why has she not contacted him? Were Leo, Diana, and Maura, all members of the Conspiracy Club, a secret society, along with Hank, Rex, and Beth? Rex has now been murdered, Hank is missing and Beth is unavailable. It's up to Nap to connect the recent murders with what happened 15 years ago and to find Maura.

In true Coben fashion, the plot twists and turns, confusing the reader (in a good way) as to who is the good guy and who is the killer. Nap tries to right wrongs and questions whether he is being played for a fool. The endings in his books are usually a surprise and this one was no exception. Great escapism reading.

I received an ecopy for a review.

This is a story of friendship, love, loyalty, and secrets.

With more than seventy million books in print worldwide, Harlan Coben is the internationally bestselling author of thirty novels, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers Home, Fool Me Once, The Stranger, Missing You, Six Years, Stay Close, Live Wire, Caught, Long Lost, and Hold Tight, as well as the Myron Bolitar series and a series aimed at young adults featuring Myron's nephew, Mickey Bolitar. His books are published in forty-three languages around the globe and have been number one bestsellers in more than a dozen countries. The winner of the Edgar, Shamus, and Anthony Awards, he lives in New Jersey.



Beartown by Fredrik Backman. Translated by Neil Smith. New York: Atria Books, 2016. 418 pages. ****

The story opens with "a teenager picked up a double-barreled shotgun, walked into the forest, put the gun to someone else's forehead, and pulled the trigger." Beartown is a town that has lost most of its economic base, closed some schools, and is getting swallowed up by its desolateness. The town's hope for a bright future is hockey. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semifinals and the town is counting on their star player, Kevin. A win will change the lives of the team members and justify the choices that the general manager and coach have made for the boys and their families. The actions of the players at an unsupervised party the night before the game challenges the beliefs of the parents, townspeople and the players themselves. When the police remove one of their own from the bus on the day of the big game, the players and townspeople rally to support him even though his innocence is questioned by his best friend. 

Backman has tackled a difficult subject and this book is unlike his others. Initially, I was disappointed because if you have read my previous posts, I love his writings and was hoping for similar characters and plot. This is one of those books that starts out slow and I knew something tragic was unfolding based on the first few lines. Yes, it is a book about hockey, but it could be any town and any sport. When players are idolized and are seen to be above the rules of society and the adults turn a blind eye, anything can and does happen. There are no easy answers and even the players who stand up for what is right and just are beaten for their stance. It is through Backman's characters, that hope, love, and courage win over ego and violence. 

 I am not a sports fan and maybe some of the situations are predictable and cliched, however, Backman's unique character development gives this story an edge. Difficult to read at times because of the anticipated outcome, I couldn't "look away" and had to keep reading.

Recommended for Book Clubs, there are many cultural and societal issues addressed and are ripe for discussion.

Reviews of his other books, click here.

Fredrik Backman's stories have been published in more than forty countries. He lives in Stockholm, Sweden, with his wife and two children. Visit him online at his blog: FredrikBackman.com, on twitter @backmanland, or on Instagram @backmansk.

#beartown #fredrikbackman 


You Were There Before My Eyes

You Were There Before My Eyes by Maria Riva. New York: Pegasus Books, 467 pages. ***** Publication Date - October 7, 2017.

The story begins, "The morning her mother died, Giovanna gave up on God." An only child, raised by a remote father and disciplined by the nuns in a quiet turn-of-the-century Italian village, Giovanna is determined to escape the inevitable future planned for her. When the brother of a friend returns to the village to choose a wife with certain qualities for a perfect marriage. When his chosen fiance turns him down, Giovanna volunteers to marry Giovanni and travel with him to America to start a new life as his wife.
Nothing prepares Giovanna for Ellis Island and the train journey to Detroit where her new husband works in the Ford factories. Renaming themselves, Jane and John, they are determined to fit into life in their new neighborhood and the culture surrounding employment in the Ford factory. Henry Ford has strong opinions about how his employees should behave and rewards those who are married. It is 1913 and the factory is installing the first assembly line to produce the Model T. John, a leader among his immigrant friends at the factory, is optimistic about the many opportunities available by working at the plant. Jane is determined to be a good wife to John and to make him proud of her, even if the many norms and customs in America are strange to her. With the advent of World War I, their world becomes one of suspicion, loss, and betrayal.

I knew nothing about this time period and the workings of the Ford factory, but I was absolutely captivated by this love story. Riva introduces us to everyday life for the poor working class at the turn of the century. The factory workers who revere the owners and those who covertly meet to push the "union" agenda. Immigrants who come to America believe that if one works hard enough, a better life and prosperity will be theirs. Being a family historian and ggggrandaughter of Irish immigrants, I am fascinated by the hardships, friendships, and relationships that they formed when they arrived in America. Riva gives us a glimpse into how it really does take a village to survive as an immigrant. Hannah, the landlady, takes Jane under her wing, befriends, and counsels her. The best historical fiction transports me to a time and place and I become lost in that other world, Jane and John's story does that for me.

I received an ecopy for a review.

Maria Riva was born in Berlin in 1924 and is the only child of Marlene Dietrich.  Maria performed in Germany and Italy as part of a USO troupe during World War II and taught acting at Fordham University upon her return to the United States.  She has performed on Broadway, radio, television, and film and has been nominated for an Emmy. Maria continues an active life in California and spends time visiting her sons and grandchildren. 


Enigma by Catherine Coulter. New York: Gallery Books, 2017. 311 pages. ***** Published September 12, 2017.

In this latest FBI novel, Agents Savich and Sherlock race against time to free a pregnant woman held hostage by an armed stranger. When Savich saves Kara Moody from the crazy man who claims to be protecting her, Savich discovers a convoluted plot by a scientist to enable his father and others to live forever. At the same time, Wittier and Cabot track a violent criminal who has escaped during a well-planned rescue. Throw in the murder of the girlfriend of the President's Chief of Staff's only son and all bets are off.

Coulter once again delivers a heart-thumping, roller coaster of a ride. Her plots are involved and believable with likeable characters. This is her 21st FBI novel and I hope there will be many more from her. It's not easy to develop two plots simultaneously with strong alpha characters and create believable scenes and romantic situations. Make sure you have the time to finish this one once started because you are not going to want to put it down.

I received an ecopy for review.

Catherine Coulter is the New York Times bestselling author of 75 books. She lives in Sausalito, California. To learn more...http://www.catherinecoulter.com


A Dangerous Woman From Nowhere

A Dangerous Woman From Nowhere by Kris Radish. Tempe: Booksparks, 2017. 272 pages. ****
(Paperback- September 12th 2017.)

Briar Logan has finally found the love of her life only to see him kidnapped by lawless gold miners. Having survived a horrific childhood and life on the western frontier in the 1860s, Briar is determined to save her husband and return to the solace of their ranch. The harsh realities of the elements -- cold, snow, and gold thieves, whiskey runners, etc. force Briar to allow Jack and Percy to accompany her to the mines to save Logan. Jack, a damaged young man, and Percy, a notorious female horse trainer, prove their worth when Briar is injured and suffers a concussion. This unlikely trio forms a bond of love, courage, and resilience in an unforgiving world, however, is it enough to save Logan and bring him home?

Kris Radish's work always incorporates strong female characters. Pushed to their limits, they prove their worth in the face of extreme adversity. Every woman in the story has an important role in the survival of each other and Briar and Percy are no exceptions to this premise. I have liked her writing since the first book I read, The Elegant Gathering of White Snows. It's hard to believe that Kris is terrified of horses since Briar has a special relationship with her horse, Willow. This is a story of survival and love. Escapism at its best.

A received an ecopy for a review.

Kris Radish is the author of eleven novels and three works of nonfiction. A former journalist, nationally syndicated columnist, and university instructor, Radish is terrified of horses but has wanted to be a cowgirl her entire life. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, but readily admits her heart is in the mountains and the spirit of Mika is lurking her west. When she's not polishing her boots, Radish is working on a nonfiction book, a compilation of her poetry, her next two novels, and some really great stories to share around the campfire in Montana.

#historicalfiction #westernfrontierfiction


Fredrik Backman


Every once in awhile, I read an author by happenstance and then want to read everything published by that author. Sometimes, it doesn't even matter if I read the books in the order in which they were published, I just want to read them.

Reluctantly, I read A Man Called Ove and fell in love with Fredrik Backman. I say reluctantly because usually if a book is a best seller or everyone is raving about it, I can't relate to it or don't like it. Which is really embarrassing when I read a lot and review all of the time. Being out of sync in my thoughts with others usually ends in their disappointment in my opinion or somehow I fall short in their idea of what a good book should be. The book, The Shack, falls into that category. It is equally frustrating when I love an author or book and friends are "meh" about it. 

However, I totally relate to Backman's characters, his stories, his portrayal of people who exhibit OCD characteristics and his sense of humor. Maybe because I am of a certain age and can understand how Britt-Marie wants to be remembered. Britt-Marie sees everything as black and white. Everything and everyone has a place and there is an order to her universe. Some of her conversations with the unemployment office made me laugh out loud. She once read about someone who died and wasn't found right away, this story and her sister's death has a profound impact on her. I love the ending of Britt-Marie it is extremely satisfying and just right. 

I read Britt-Marie Was Here before my grandmother asked me to tell you she's sorry and was informed by a friend that I should have read Britt-Marie second. Yes, that probably would have been helpful, but they can be read out of order and still make sense. 

my grandmother asked me to tell you she's sorry is a Narnia like story of a special bond between a grandmother and her eleven-year-old granddaughter. Out of all of his books, this one was a slow starter for me, maybe because of the Narnia feel and how much I love those books. The fact that it is a story of hope, love, and the cycle of life told in Backman's style elevated it to mythological proportions with the Land-of-Almost-Awake and the Kingdom of Miamas. 

I thoroughly enjoyed both of these books and was sorry when they ended. However, I have Beartown on reserve at the  Public Library and look forward to reading it as soon as it becomes available. 

Fredrik Backman's stories have been published in more than forty countries. He lives in Stockholm, Sweden, with his wife and two children. His most recent novel is Beartown.

#fredrikbackman #brittmariewashere #mygrandmotheraskedmetotellyoushessorry 


My daughter introduced me to Ibotta while we were on vacation. She is one savy shopper and has racked up savings/rebates of 400.00. I've decided to try it out for 6 months and see if I actually accumulate any savings.

She sent me a link with a special code...I get a 10.00 bonus for signing up and she gets 5.00 when I sign up.

My first day shopping...with the addition of the 10.00, I accumulated 12.00 in savings.

  • 1.50 rebate on Clorox wipes at Walmart
  • .50 just for scanning my cash register receipt at Walmart
The second day, I received notification that I will get an .88 credit for buying an item through Amazon.

I also found a blog that has strategies for saving even more. Click here to learn how. I hadn't realized that I could purchase the same item more than once to take advantage of an offer by paying separately. 

I can with draw my earnings through a PayPal Account once my balance reaches 20.00. 

I will continue to blog about this experience for the next six months, if you are using this App also, please share your experience. I f you would like to sign up...use my referral code and we both get rewarded...xcxsqbd If you do decide to sign up, let me know because there is a "teamwork" feature and we can get additional bonuses.



Down A Dark Road

Down A Dark Road (A Kate Burkholder Novel) by Linda Castillo. New York: Minotaur Books, 2017. 253 pages. *****

In this latest addition to the Kate Burkholder series, Chief of Police Kate is ambushed by an escaped killer who holds her hostage with his young children. Complicating the situation is the convicted killer is her childhood friend and first crush who claims that he is innocent and he has been framed. Caught between her previous Amish life and her search for justice, Kate doesn't know who or what to believe. If Joseph is innocent, Naomi's killer is still out there and may have been seen by 3-year-old Sadie. It doesn't help that during the hostage negotiations, a compromising picture is taken of Kate and Joseph and Kate is placed on restrictive duty. This does not stop her from uncovering corruption, drugs, and the abuse of power before the murderer is finally identified.

I received an ecopy for a review.

I read this book in one day at the beach and thoroughly enjoyed it. Fast, moving plot, that had some unexpected turns, Kate is at her best ignoring protocol and seeking justice for Joseph and Naomi King. Castillo through this series adds a small insight into the world and thoughts of the Amish. The emotional involvement of Kate takes the story to a new level of complexity and interferes with Kate's judgment. Sometimes when an author writes a series revolving around the main character, it can become stale and redundant...not so with this series. Each book can be read as a standalone, but I suggest you start with book one, Sworn to Silence. 

To learn more about Linda Castillo, click http://www.lindacastillo.com. To read the books in order, http://www.bookseriesinorder.com/kate-burkholder/

#kateburkholderseries  #downadarkroad



Exposed (A Rosato & DiNunzio Novel) by Lisa Scottoline. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2017. 351 page. ****

In this latest Rosato & DiNunzio novel, Mary and Bennie are at a crossroads. Mary agrees to represent a childhood friend who has been let go from his job for poor performance. Simon, Mary's client, has a daughter in Children's Hospital, Philadelphia, who is in need of a bone marrow transplant. Her partner, Bennie, is on retainer with the parent company and sees Mary's client as being a conflict of interest for their partnership. They agree to disagree until it becomes apparent to both of them that Mary must leave the practice in order to adequately defend her client from a countersuit. The story takes an unexpected turn when one of the accuser's of Mary's client turns up dead and time is running out for Mary to prove that her friend is not a murderer.

Lisa loves to take a social issue, in this case, a father is supposedly fired from his job because of the high cost of his daughter's health costs. The affordability and availability of health care is a current hot button for many and Lisa captures the emotions of the frustrated parent who cannot cure his daughter. The book is dedicated "to the physicians, nurses, and staff of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia." My son was a patient there when he was a baby and Lisa has recreated the feelings of helplessness and hope that exists amid the chaos and pain. The scenes with Mary's father and his friends are always funny and representative of neighborhood Philly. This story is a compelling summer read.

I received an electronic and a hardcover copy 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.

#exposed #rosatoanddinunzio


Friendship Bracelet - Row by Row Junior

The hardest part of sewing the Friendship Bracelet is choosing the fabrics!

 This is an easy block to sew, all straight seams. Thankfully, she remembers everything she learned at Christmas! 10 is a great age for sewing; better attention span and willingness to do it right!

The instructions are clear and the blocks go together quickly.

Choosing the decorative elements from Nona's stash is another huge undertaking...

Another layout choice...

Ta dah! Friendship Bracelets and High Tops are done...3 more rows to go!

#campnona #friendshipbracelets #rowbyrow2017 #rowbyrowjunior2017 #rowbyrowexperience