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review 2018-01-07 05:33
Piecing Together a Love Story
The Patchwork Bride - Sandra Dallas
The Persian Pickle Club - Sandra Dallas

Ellen is getting older and wondering how long she and her husband, Ben, can stay on their beloved ranch, when her granddaughter, June, gets cold feet and runs from her wedding. Ellen is working on June’s wedding quilt, which contains pieces of the wedding dresses from the women of the family. As the two women sit together, Ellen tells June the stories of one woman, named Nell, and how it took her 3 tries to find the man she would marry. The story of Nell’s first beau, Buddy, is full of cowboy swagger, the second story, about James, is a bit of a shocker, and the story of predictable, solid Wade has a not-so-predictable twist in the end.

The strengths of this book are the depictions of the relationships between the women characters, and the easygoing voice the story is told in. Readers who liked The Persian Pickle Club (which is referred to in this story) are sure to enjoy this latest novel.

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review 2015-09-02 16:14
GONE BUT KNOT FORGOTTEN
Gone But Knot Forgotten (Quilting Mysteries (Mary Marks)) - Mary Marks

Author Mary Marks is back with another delight installment of her Quilting Mystery series.

 

Please be assured, you do not have to know how to quilt to enjoy this series, not do you need to have read the first to books in the series to read this one. But it is always fun to go back to the other installments to see how it all started.

 

In GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN, protagonist Martha Rose suddenly finds herself executor to a friend’s estate. A friend she hasn’t seen in twenty years. Things don’t seem right to Martha, and then another body is discovered. Add to that the theft of items worth millions of dollars, and Martha knows she has to get to the bottom of things.

 

I truly enjoy Ms. Mark’s style of writing. I really liked that she explained some of the rituals of a Jewish funeral. I’m Christian and my grandmother was a minister, so learning more about other religions is fascinating to me.

 

GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN was a wonderfully crafted mystery. Ms. Marks takes us through a sleuthing at a perfect pace.  There were more twists and turns than a quilt has stitches. More suspects than a few, and questions that felt like there could be no answers to. All leading up to an amazing reveal that had me completely surprised.

 

I look forward to what author Marks has in store for us next! 

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review 2015-06-02 01:14
TYING THE KNOT
Tying the Knot: A Southern Quilting Mystery - Elizabeth Craig

This is the first book I’ve read in the Southern Quilting series, but it won’t be my last. I’d also like to add that this is the fifth book in the series and I didn’t feel lost at all. It has just made me want to go back and start with book one so I don’t miss one word of this excellent series.

 

I didn’t plan to read this book in one setting, but once I started, I couldn’t put it down. Author Elizabeth Craig has a smooth, flowing writing style that simply encouraged me to keep reading into the night. This was a wonderfully crafted mystery that really kept me guessing, as well as second guessing myself all the way up to the satisfying conclusion.

 

The setting was delightful, and I enjoyed every moment spent with Beatrice and the rest of the Village Quilters. They made me wish, not for the first time when reading a “crafting” cozy, that I could be a part of a group of ladies like this. And speaking of the characters, I simply adored Miss Sissy! I would truly love to read more about her.

 

Rather you’re a quilter or not (I’m not), you’ll love this southern cozy mystery. Just like a quilt, it’s full of warmth and character stitched together by a skilled and talented hand. Oh, and of course, murder! (That just didn’t blend with my warm quilt comparison) ;-)

 

Be sure to check the back of the book for some yummy recipes and helpful quilting tips!

 

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text 2015-05-25 18:35
Memorial: Widows and Widowers of War
After the War (Homefront) (Volume 2) - Jessica Scott
Somebody Like You - Beth K. Vogt
Secondhand Heart - Kristen Strassel
A Virgin River Christmas - Robyn Carr
A Love to Call Her Own (A Tallgrass Novel) - Marilyn Pappano
Honorable Rancher - Barbara White Daille
I Want to Hold Your Hand - Marie Force
Hometown Girl - Mariah Stewart
Harbor Lights (Chesapeake Shores Novels) - Sherryl Woods
The True Love Quilting Club - Lori Wilde

 In remberance of those who lost thier lives defending our nations, let us also remember those they left behind. 

 

Here is a list of wonderful Romances featuring Widows and Widowers of our recents wars. 

 

1.  After the War by Jessica Scott

 

Captain Sarah Anders lost her husband to the Iraq war and has nearly lost the career she loves. Sent to Fort Hood, she only wants to do her job and take care of the daughter she’s raising on her own. She never counted on running straight into a memory she’d tried to forget. A love he never forgot... Captain Sean Nichols never got over Sarah. He simply tried to forget her amidst the war and the chaos of combat. But when she’s assigned to investigate his unit, he comes face to face with the woman no war or any amount of time could make him forget. A dark secret… As Sarah gets closer to the truth, Sean must accept that actions he took during the war may end the tentative love building between them. And even if Sarah can forgive him, Sean may never be able to forgive himself.

 

2. Somebody Like You by Beth K. Vogt

 

Haley’s three-year marriage to Sam, an army medic, ends tragically when he’s killed in Afghanistan. Her attempts to create a new life for herself are ambushed when she arrives home one evening—and finds her husband waiting for her. Did the military make an unimaginable mistake when they told her Sam was killed? 

Too late to make things right with his estranged twin brother, Stephen discovers Sam never told Haley about him. As Haley and Stephen navigate their fragile relation­ship, they are inexorably drawn to each other. How can they honor the memory of a man whose death brought them together—and whose ghost could drive them apart? 

 

3. Secondhand Heart by Kristen Strassel

 

Daisy Mangold thought she had her life figured out until a roadside bomb in Afghanistan changed everything. Now a twenty-one-year-old military widow, Daisy moves back home to start over. 

Cam Hunter won the reality show The Spotlight, and thought he was on his way to becoming the next big country star. But when whispers of how he won begin to surface, Nashville is less than welcoming. After he loses his record deal, Cam heads back home to open a country bar. 

When Daisy meets Cam, she isn’t sure she’s ready to let go of the ghosts from her past. Cam’s ex-wife isn’t ready to move on either, and the tragedy she causes will expose Cam’s secrets and shatter Daisy’s family. 

Will Daisy be able to follow her heart into a future with Cam, or will her grief keep her trapped in a past that no longer exists?

 

4. A Virgin River Christmas by Robyn Carr

 

Last Christmas Marcie Sullivan said a final goodbye to her husband, Bobby. This Christmas she wants to find the man who saved his life and gave her three more years to love him.

 

Fellow marine Ian Buchanan dragged Bobby's shattered body onto a medical transport four years ago, then disappeared once their unit arrived stateside. Since then, Marcie's letters to Ian have gone unanswered.

 

Marcie tracks Ian to the tiny mountain town of Virgin River and finds a man as wounded emotionally as Bobby was physically. As Marcie pushes her way into his reclusive life, she discovers a sweet soul beneath a rough exterior.

 

Ian doesn't know what to make of the determined young widow who forces him to look into his painful past and the uncertain future. But it is a season of miracles and maybe, just maybe, it's time to banish the ghosts and open his heart.

 

5. A Love to Call Her Own by Marilyn Pappano

 

It's been two years since Jessy Lawrence lost her husband in Afghanistan, and she's never fully recovered. Drowning her sorrows didn't help, and neither did the job she'd hoped would give her a sense of purpose. Now trying to rebuild her life, she finds solace in her best friends, fellow military wives who understand what it's like to love-and lose-a man in uniform . . . and the memory of one stolen night that makes her dream of a second chance at love. 

Dalton Smith has known more than his fair share of grief. Since his wife's death, he revels in the solitude of his cattle ranch. But try as he might, he can't stop thinking about the stunning redhead and the reckless, passionate night they shared. He wasn't ready before, but Dalton sees now that Jessy is the only woman who can mend his broken heart. So how will he convince her to take a chance on him?

 

6. Honorable Rancher by Barbara White Daille

 

The hero of Flagman's Folly has been gone more than a year. But he still stands between Ben Sawyer and what he desires most—Dana Wright, the love of Ben's life.

When soldier Paul Wright left for the last time, he made his best friend promise to look after his wife and kids. Ben—good, steady Ben—is honoring that promise. And it's burning him up inside.

Because Dana is shutting Ben out. She wants him—so much—but she can't afford to give in. If she does, she'll spill her secret, and the betrayal will hurt everyone she cares about—her children, who loved their daddy; her town, which loves its hero; and Ben, who loved his friend. She'll do anything to protect her secret—even give up her second chance at happiness

 

7. I Want to Hold Your Hand by Marie Force

 

Almost seven years after losing her husband in Iraq, Hannah Abbott Guthrie isn’t sure she’s ready—or able—to move on, but the attentions of a lifelong friend are making her think about it for the first time. The memory of the sweet kiss she shared with Nolan Roberts hasn’t strayed far from her thoughts, but she also fears that pursuing something with him would mean betraying her husband’s memory.


Nolan has loved Hannah for years, but he’d been giving her the space she needed to heal from her devastating loss. Now, when an opportunity arises to show her how he feels, Nolan can’t resist, but he knows earning her love will take more than a kiss. Somehow he has to prove to Hannah that finding love twice in a lifetime is possible—and well worth risking her heart.

 

8. The True Love Quilting Club by Lori Wilde

 

Emma Parks is almost ready to give up her search for stardom when she's offered the lead role in a small theater production in Twilight, Texas. Twilight is the place where she had her first kiss -- with Sam Creek. Sam is now a veterinarian and the single father of a 6-year-old boy who has not spoken since his mother was killed in Iraq. 

When Sam and Emma meet again, the attraction they felt as 14-year-olds easily morphs into adult desire. They soon realize that they can't deny their feelings, but Sam can't see ever leaving Twilight and would never allow Emma to give up her dreams for him. 

 

9. Harbor Lights by Sherryl Woods

 

Struggling in his role as a newly single father, former army medic Kevin O'Brien moves home to Chesapeake Shores. He wants a haven for himself and his toddler son, surrounded by the family he knows he can count on, and a future that's nothing like his past. But Kevin is suddenly facing a risk he hadn't anticipated, in the form of Main Street bookseller Shanna Carlyle. 

 

Shanna immediately recognizes Kevin as a wounded soul—she's had way too much experience with the type. Still, this charming O'Brien man and his son are almost impossible to resist.

 

Then, just when the barriers are toppling, someone from Shanna's past appears. Confronted with a threat to their hard-won serenity, Kevin and Shanna face their toughest challenge—learning to trust again.

 

10. Hometown Girl by Mariah Stewart

 

Life was always just about perfect for Brooke Madison Bowers. She was the prettiest, most popular girl in small-town St. Dennis, Maryland, a prom queen, local pageant star, and the pride and joy of her loving parents. She even married the man of her dreams. But the promise of happily ever after fell to pieces when her husband was killed while serving in Iraq. Brokenhearted and longing for the solace of better days, she returns to the idyllic world of St. Dennis, and the familiar comfort of the family farm. Surrounded by her loving family and friends, she’s determined to build a new life, complete with her own cupcake bakery. She’s equally determined never to fall in love again.

For Jesse Enright, life has been a challenge. A fourth-generation attorney, he’s spent his life fighting to escape the shadow of his irresponsible father. Now he’s moved to St. Dennis to run the family law practice, and he’s ready to find the right girl, get married, and settle down. But his carefully laid plans go out the window when he meets Brooke and finds himself caught between the unbreakable law of attraction and Brooke’s resolve to go her way alone—despite the undeniable feelings Jesse stirs in her. But just like catching lightning in a bottle, is it possible to fall head-over-heels, heart-and-soul in love all over again?

 

 

Do you have a recommendation? I would love to hear!

 

Vote for the best of the best on my Goodreads list: Memorial: Widows and Widowers of War.

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review 2014-11-29 15:40
Inspired By The Beatles: An Art Quilt Challenge
Inspired by the Beatles: An Art Quilt Challenge - Donna DeSoto

by Donna Marcinkowski DeSoto

 

This is a book of textile art, filled with beautiful pictures of quilts that were inspired by over 100 Beatles songs.

 

The quilts show an incredible about of originality and artistic skill in both ideas and execution. The full color photographs are accompanied by explanations of the artists and what inspired them to make the quilts that they did, and what The Beatles' songs mean to them. They range from the literal to the abstract, from whimsical designs like one of my favorites made for the song And Your Bird Can Sing to some that use mental symbols like the one for Come Together.

 

Each of them is unique and they show a wide variety of styles and interpretations by the individual artists. Some of them, like the one for Day Tripper, have the most amazing use of color and detail work.

 

I have to admit that the songs were going through my head as I looked through the pictures and by the time I got to I Am The Walrus, the combination of music and colorful, abstract art was bringing me into a sort of natural high!

 

Some of them, like Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds were hand painted (presumably with fabric paints) and the result of the mixed mediums of painting and stitchery was pretty spectacular. Octopus's Garden was definitely a favorite along with Yellow Submarine. Any of these quilts would be worth a fortune and a real conversation piece for the home.

 

This is an art book with a difference, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys art as well as those who specifically enjoy the infinite possibilities of textile art.

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