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The Secret Keeper – Book Review

imagesDuring a summer party at the family farm in the English countryside, sixteen-year-old Laurel Nicolson has escaped to her childhood tree house and is happily dreaming of the future. She spies a stranger coming up the long road to the farm and watches as her mother speaks to him. Before the afternoon is over, Laurel will witness a shocking crime. A crime that challenges everything she knows about her family and especially her mother, Dorothy—her vivacious, loving, nearly perfect mother.

Now, fifty years later, Laurel is a successful and well-regarded actress living in London. The family is gathering at Greenacres farm for Dorothy’s ninetieth birthday. Realizing that this may be her last chance, Laurel searches for answers to the questions that still haunt her from that long-ago day, answers that can only be found in Dorothy’s past.

Dorothy’s story takes the reader from pre–WWII England through the blitz, to the ’60s and beyond. It is the secret history of three strangers from vastly different worlds—Dorothy, Vivien, and Jimmy—who meet by chance in wartime London and whose lives are forever entwined. The Secret Keeper explores longings and dreams and the unexpected consequences they sometimes bring. It is an unforgettable story of lovers and friends, deception and passion that is told—in Morton’s signature style—against a backdrop of events that changed the world.

My thoughts on The Secret Keeper – What can I say? What can I say? This was my first Kate Morton novel and I am in like. Here is a time weaving tale of mystery and intrigue. I didn’t see the massive plot twist coming. Well done! Well done!! SPELLBOUND.

I love to read a good historic novel that paints a realistic picture of the past and Morton does not disappoint. I felt like I was in wartime London. I remember thinking here is all this devastation going on around all these people and all the while there they are trying to maintain a semblance of everyday life. Going to work and clubs and restaurants, not knowing if they would make it through the next air raid at night. CAN YOU IMAGINE??

Her characters are so realistic and reflective of many of people’s personality’s. Her first person accounts for each character in turn make you identify with their feelings and ambitions and you easily fall in and out of like with some of them.

Take Dolly for instance. A day-dreaming and over-imaginative person who only thinks of how to get ahead. At a time like that! It’s funny and awesome that you can start out really liking her and then realize chapter after chapter that she’s actually a spoiled asshole.

I loved the mystery surrounding Vivien. Even though you know there is more to her than meets the eye (or page) until her story starts to come through she is a bit of an inigma. I enjoyed the bitter sweet ending too. Not all those who love win in the end.

What I didn’t like –  This was my second attempt at a Kate Morton novel. I have to admit if I didn’t start the book on CD in my car on my commute to work I might not have kept at it. Her writing doesn’t grab you right off the bat. I find that you have to read for a long time before the stories start to come together. I’m reading The Forgotten Garden now and having the same struggle but I hope it will be worth the wait.

Why I Recommend It – If you like historical drama and mystery you will like Kate Morton. There’s no fluff.

Check out this cool video with Kate Morton discussing The Secret Keeper and her inspirations for the book!

About the Author – https://katemorton.com

 

Glass Sword – Book Review

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If there’s one thing Mare Barrow knows, it’s that she’s different.

Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known—and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul.

My Thoughts on Glass Sword – No just no.

This book was so disappointing and if I hadn’t been stuck in the woods in the rain for three days I probably would have returned it to the library post-haste. But I needed something to read and this is the only book I took with me. I honestly enjoyed reading the ingredient list on a package of hotdogs more than this.

After being slightly disappointed with the first book Red Queen I was really hoping that Aveyard was going to get better with her writing and telling this story. But the premise is just too unoriginal. It got worse.

The characters are bland and forgettable. It’s a jumbled up mess trying to mimic Divergent, Hunger Games and X-men. She even mentions factions and throws in a Walking Dead comment. Does that entice readers?

It was a boring and predictable read and it was hard to follow. There are lengthy descriptions of places and directions that are just too confusing. It’s repetitive enough that it puts you into a coma. The main character has no depth. It’s just her whining about being special and confused all time. Who does she love? Cal? Maven? Kilorn? Her mother? I don’t know. And why is she 17-years-old calling 15 to 17-year-olds children? It’s just weird.

I won’t read the third instalment of this series. It also scares me that she’s come out with spin off novellas.

About the Author – Victoria Aveyard is an young adult and fantasy writer from United States. She is known for her fantasy work Red Queen, which is going to be adapted into a movie. Aveyard wrote the novel a year after graduating from University of Southern California‘s screenwriting program in 2012. Sony Pictures teamed up with her to write spec Eternal
She tries her best to combine her love of history, explosions, and butt-kicking heroines in her writing. Her hobbies include the impossible task of predicting what happens next in A Song of Ice and Fire, road trips, and burning through Netflix.

http://victoriaaveyard.blogspot.in/

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Denim Shirt Dress

I’ve been loving the denim look I’ve been seeing everywhere lately. Last summer I grabbed a few metres of this lightweight and slightly stretchy denim from the remnant bin at Fabricland and held on to it like a small child clings to a blanket. Just kidding! But I did mull it over for awhile. What was I going to make this pretty heathered fabric into? And voila! Denim shirt dress!

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I added a front patch pocket to give it a little detail. There is white top-stitching around the sleeve hem and pocket too. For the hem of the dress I added a little extra weight by doubling up a separate piece of fabric and binding it onto the hem. And then the white top-stitching again.

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I love the simplicity of this dress and I think it can be accessorized in so many different ways! A great belt some days? and maybe some big jewelry?! Yes please.

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I like the versatility of this dress for being wearable in different seasons. It will layer up nicely in the fall with some tights and a cardi.

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Trapunto – a Punchy Little Sewing Technique

 

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Oh Trapunto! You little devil making a clothing comeback! I’m seeing trapunto stitching on some ready to wear these days and I like it!

I call it a punchy stitch technique because I just love saying the word. It packs a little punch don’t you think? It makes me want to say it with a deep voice, a hard pun and elongated ooooooo. You know? TraPUNtoooooo!

Trapunto is actually a dowdy little quilting technique. I can’t stand it there. I don’t get quilting to be honest with you. A quilting project takes hours and hours of time and the effect is beautiful but you can’t wear it.

You can however wear a trapunto stitched garment. This technique I love. It’s very simple but adds a nice touch to an otherwise plain garment. Most of the trapunto stitching I’ve seen on garments are just straight rows of evenly spaced straight stitch.

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I recently made a copy of a Vera Wang bridesmaids dress for a pregnant gal. It’s this dress below only made in blush pink and designed with a little more room for the baby bump! Pictured above is the belt from that dress.

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Gorgeous dress. And the belt? Trapunto style stitching! It just adds that extra bit of flair to an otherwise simple silhouette.

 

Trapunto

 

Trapunto, from the Italian for “to quilt,” is a method of quilting that is also called “stuffed technique.” A puffy, decorative feature, trapunto utilizes at least two layers, the underside of which is slit and padded, producing a raised surface on the quilt.

 

I didn’t stuff the belt or pad it. I simply folded the satin 4 times and stitched 10 even lines through the fabric. The thickness of the layered fabric gave it the little bit of puffiness it needed. Vera Wang may have padded theirs with a thin batting or something which is another option.

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Here’s a Joe Fresh dress I bought last year that has the same sort of stitching around the neck opening.

Two more good examples of trapunto stitching on denim.

Do you have any great examples of trapunto stitching on garments?? I’d love to see them!