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- Book provided by the publisher
Improper Cross-Stitch by Haley Pierson-Cox
August 7, 2018 – St. Martin’s Griffin
Crafts & Hobbies
Review copy courtesy of the publisher
A fun, witty, nerdy, and irreverent craft book for the modern cross-stitcher.
Sometimes it’s good to be a little…improper. Profane, funny, and smart, Haley Pierson-Cox’s IMPROPER CROSS-STITCH invites the modern crafter to bring personality and humor to their cross stitch projects. From a fully designed “Damn it feels good to be a crafter” to the beautiful Art Deco inspired “f***,” Haley’s patterns are fresh, lively and just what the crafter ordered.
In this book, she’ll introduce readers to the joys of stitching the naughty, the profane, the irreverent, and the just plain awesome. First, she starts with a basic lesson in cross-stitch technique, no previous experience required. Then, once readers know your way around an embroidery hoop and a skein of floss, the books moves on to the designs—35 in total, ranging from hip, to nerdy, to ironically domestic—where Haley encourages crafters to embrace their inner snark with gleeful abandon.
Her easy to follow instructions and colorful designs can make a cross stitcher out of anyone. In all her years of crafting, Haley’s learned many things, but this simple fact remains one of the most important: There is absolutely nothing in this world quite so satisfying as enshrining something deeply inappropriate within the delicate stitches of a cross-stitch sampler. It’s truly one of life’s great delights! (publisher)
My take: This isn’t the type of book I usually feature but I used to do a lot of cross-stitch so I was interested when the publisher offered a copy. Until my eyes changed and needed a stronger prescription along with bifocals I always had a work in progress.
Pierson-Cox gives the reader, beginner stitcher or one who needs a refresher, a clear and easy look at cross-stitch tools, floss, fabric, and general basics. There’s certainly enough info for anyone to head to the craft store and get started on a project.
Pattern themes include:
There’s even instructions on how to create your own pattern. So, although I wouldn’t spend my time stitching the F word, there are several patterns that appealed to me. If you’re a cross-stitcher or someone who wants to try the craft this book would be a fun place to start.
About the author:
Haley Pierson-Cox is a designer and craft writer with a focus on fabric and fiber crafts, including sewing, needlework, knitting, crochet, and geek crafts. Her hobbies include organizing things, speaking to her cat as though he’s a person, and mining the pages of old books for antique expletive. Check out her blog, Red-Handed Scissors!
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Rush: A Novel by Lisa Patton
Pub. date: August 21, 2018
St. Martin’s Press
Review copy courtesy of St. Martin’s Press; Tandem Literary
Description: Cali Watkins possesses all the qualities sororities are looking for in a potential new member. She’s kind and intelligent, makes friends easily, even plans to someday run for governor. But her resume lacks a vital ingredient. Pedigree. Without family money Cali’s chances of sorority membership are already thin, but she has an even bigger problem. If anyone discovers the dark family secrets she’s hiding, she’ll be dropped from Rush in an instant.
When Lilith Whitmore, the well-heeled House Corp President of Alpha Delta Beta, one of the premiere sororities on campus, appoints recent empty-nester Wilda to the Rush Advisory Board, Wilda can hardly believe her luck. What’s more, Lilith suggests their daughters, both incoming freshman, room together. What Wilda doesn’t know is that it’s all part of Lilith’s plan to ensure her own daughter receives an Alpha Delt bid—no matter what.
For twenty-five years, Miss Pearl—as her “babies” like to call her—has been housekeeper and a second mother to the Alpha Delt girls, even though it reminds her of a painful part of her past she’ll never forget. When an opportunity for promotion arises, it seems a natural fit. But Lilith Whitmore slams her Prada heel down fast, crushing Miss Pearl’s hopes of a better future. When Wilda and the girls find out, they devise a plan destined to change Alpha Delta Beta—and maybe the entire Greek system—forever.
Achingly poignant, yet laugh-out-loud funny, RUSH takes a sharp nuanced look at a centuries-old tradition while exploring the complex, intimate relationships between mothers and daughters and female friends. Brimming with heart and hope for a better tomorrow, RUSH is an uplifting novel universal to us all. (publisher)
My take: The publisher’s description will tell you about Rush better than I can. What I can tell you is that I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It reminded me a bit of The Help at times. Although I’ve never been part of the Greek system experience, one of my daughters has and she read the book before I did. It was fun to discuss her take on the book. She really liked it and will recommend it to some of her ‘sisters’. Lisa Patton’s characters were memorable – even the over-the-top Lilith Whitmore – but my favorites were Miss Pearl, Cali and Ellie. Pearl was the shining beacon that signaled goodness and faith to the young women of Alpha Delta Beta. Cali and Ellie are the new generation of students who see things a bit differently than some of those before them – and aren’t afraid to show it. If you’re looking for a good read in the last few weeks of summer this could be the book for you. I’m glad I had the chance to read it.
Praise for RUSH:
“There’s not a better Southern author today than Lisa Patton. Her delightful new book is a modern look at what is perhaps the most sacred of all Southern rituals: sorority rush at ‘Ole Miss.’ Happily for us, Patton captures to absolute perfection the hilarity, hysteria and heartbreak of it all. Funny, touching and full of twists and turns, I couldn’t have loved it more.” – Fannie Flagg, New York Times bestselling author of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe
“You are in for a treat as the astute Lisa Patton takes you on a hayride through sorority life in the American south. Written with humor, reverence and enough treachery to make it read, RUSH is a magnificent story about mothers and daughters, legacy and tradition and the abiding strength of the sisterhood. Grab the punch bowl and the mixed nuts as this animal house goes crackers. You will love it!” – Adriana Trigiani, New York Times bestselling author of Kiss Carlo
“RUSH transports us smack dab into the middle of the secret world of sorority rush. We find ourselves behind the scenes with a provocative peek into the world of sorority sisters and the beloved House staff who work tirelessly on their behalf. Lisa Patton has penned a powerful and relevant story infused with raw emotion and the beating heart of her sassy humor.” – Patti Callahan Henry, New York Times bestselling author of The Bookshop at Water’s End
About the author:
Lisa Patton is the bestselling author of Whistlin’ Dixie in a Nor’easter, Yankee Doodle Dixie, Southern as a Second Language, and Rush. Born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, Lisa spent time as a Vermont innkeeper until three sub-zero winters sent her speeding back down South. A proud graduate of the University of Alabama, Lisa is the mother of two sons, and a furry daughter named Rosie. She and her husband live in the lush, rolling hills of Nashville.
The Summer I Met Jack: A Novel by Michelle Gable
St. Martin’s Press – May 2018
Description: (provided by the publisher)
“[The Summer I Met Jack] offers an alternate Kennedy family history that will leave readers wondering whether America knew the real JFK at all.” —Kirkus Reviews
New York Times bestselling author imagines the affair between John F. Kennedy and Alicia Corning Clark – and the child they may have had.
Based on a real story – in 1950, a young, beautiful Polish refugee arrives in Hyannisport, Massachusetts to work as a maid for one of the wealthiest families in America. Alicia is at once dazzled by the large and charismatic family, in particular the oldest son, a rising politician named Jack.
Alicia and Jack are soon engaged, but his domineering father forbids the marriage. And so, Alicia trades Hyannisport for Hollywood, and eventually Rome. She dates famous actors and athletes and royalty, including Gary Cooper, Kirk Douglas, and Katharine Hepburn, all the while staying close with Jack. A decade after they meet, on the eve of Jack’s inauguration as the thirty-fifth President of the United States, the two must confront what they mean to each other.
The Summer I Met Jack by Michelle Gable is based on the fascinating real life of Alicia Corning Clark, a woman who J. Edgar Hoover insisted was paid by the Kennedys to keep quiet, not only about her romance with Jack Kennedy, but also a baby they may have had together.
About the author:
Michelle Gable is the New York Times Bestselling author of A PARIS APARTMENT, I’LL SEE YOU IN PARIS and THE BOOK OF SUMMER. Her fourth book, THE SUMMER I MET JACK, is based on the real-life romance between Jack Kennedy and Alicia Darr.
Michelle grew up in San Diego and attended The College of William & Mary, where she majored in accounting, as most aspiring writers do. After a twenty-year career in finance, Michelle now writes full-time. She lives in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California, with her husband, two daughters, and what is quickly becoming a menagerie: one cat, one bunny, and a lab/jindo mix recently rescued from the dog meat trade in Thailand.
Michelle can be reached at www.michellegable.com or on Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest at @MGableWriter.
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Thanks to NetGalley and Berkley for granting my request to read Good Luck With That.
I’ve dealt with weight issues most of my life. More like body image issues when I come to think of it. Having grown up in the sixties and seventies I wished I could look like the girls on tv sitcoms (Brady Bunch, Partridge Family, etc). Those girls were slim and had long straight center-parted hair and I was average shape with dark naturally curly hair that had a mind of its own. I remember the day the female freshman PE teacher weighed us and measured our height. I was 5’6 and weighed 120 lbs. I felt huge – so much taller and bigger than my classmates. Talk about poor self-image, huh? So that’s what I brought with me when I read Good Luck With That.
Kristan Higgins is on my trusted favorite authors list – meaning I’ll read whatever she writes. But this one was a tough read for me. It hit so close to home on a few levels. Not exactly though – because my mother wasn’t as purposely (cluelessly?) hurtful as Georgia’s. No, my mom was well-meaning and thought she offered positive encouragement. Sigh.
So this novel is about three friends who met at a camp for overweight teenage girls. They formed a bond that carried over into adulthood. As often happens after college they met less often and kind of lost track of one friend, Emerson, because she lived hours away. Sadly, their last time to meet is when she’s dying.
After Emerson’s funeral Marley and Georgia open an envelope containing the list they compiled at camp when they were seventeen. It’s a list of things they’ll do when they are skinny. Emerson has requested they do the things on the list and that leads them to examining their relationship with food, men, family, etc.
Good Luck With That is written in Higgins’ usual warm, emotional style. Her characters’ families drew laughs and winces from me. I loved seeing Georgia and Marley take more control of their issues and discover how empowering that control can be. Filled with (mostly) delightful and endearing secondary characters I have to say this novel grew on me. What started as a book I had to put down a few times in the beginning due to certain scenes and topics, I finished the second half in a few hours. I’m glad I had the chance to read it. I think it would be a good selection for book groups – there’s a reader’s guide at the end.
Our House by Louise Candlish
Berkley Hardcover; August 7, 2018
Review copy courtesy of Berkley
Description: (content provided by the publisher)
From an internationally acclaimed author, a disturbing and addictive novel of domestic suspense where secrets kept hidden from spouses cause shocking surprises that hit home…
There’s nothing unusual about a new family moving in at 91 Trinity Avenue. Except it’s her house. And she didn’t sell it.
When Fiona Lawson comes home to find strangers moving into her house, she’s sure there’s been a mistake. She and her estranged husband, Bram, have a modern coparenting arrangement: bird’s nest custody, where each parent spends a few nights a week with their two sons at the prized family home to maintain stability for their children. But the system built to protect their family ends up putting them in terrible jeopardy. In a domino effect of crimes and misdemeanors, the nest comes tumbling down.
Now Bram has disappeared and so have Fiona’s children. As events spiral well beyond her control, Fiona will discover just how many lies her husband was weaving and how little they truly knew each other. But Bram’s not the only one with things to hide, and some secrets are best kept to oneself, safe as houses.
My take: Oh the tangled web that results when Bram and other key figures act out of selfish, nefarious concerns. This domestic suspense novel was a bit of an addictive read. Author Louise Candlish swept me along with the tony suburban setting and having one character reveal a part of the story via a crime podcast and another tell a part via a pdf. I alternated being appalled by their behavior and feeling some sympathy. Little by little, details were revealed and didn’t stop until the last page when I was left to wonder if there could be a sequel. In the end, I was a bit frustrated but also entertained.
Advance praise for Our House:
“An artfully plotted, affecting page-turner…Candlish manages to stash a couple of trump cards, setting up a truly killer climax. American fans of domestic suspense will want to see more from this talented author.” —Publishers Weekly, STARRED review
“The last line will make you literally shout with shock.” —Good Housekeeping