Tuesday, February 17, 2015

[Blog Tour: Secrets, Schemes And Sewing Machines by Katy Cannon / Review and Interview]

"Secrets, Schemes & Sewing Machines"
Author: Katy Cannon
Series: Companion to Love, Lies & Lemon Pies
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Date Published: February 2015
Publisher: Stripes Publishing
Format Read: Finished copy provided by publisher for honest review


Grace: This was supposed to be Grace’s starring year, until she opened the door to a family secret that changed everything. Now she’s stuck making costumes in Sewing Club and watching someone else play the lead role – unless she can find a way to win it back.

Connor: Far from home and exiled to a new school, all Connor wants is to keep a low profile and get through the year. But agreeing to help his step-dad out with the school play means he’s soon caught up in Grace’s schemes.

Grace had a plan for this year – and it didn’t involve learning to sew. But being out of the spotlight isn’t the disaster she imagined, even if Connor is convinced she’s still a diva extraordinaire. Can Grace prove she’s really changed and save the play from the sidelines, even though her family is coming apart at the seams?

My Thoughts:

An Open Letter To Secrets, Schemes & Sewing Machines,

You've made me realize that I love British Contemporaries more than most Contemporaries out there. I laughed my guts out, and I got all the feels, and I even got a dose of drama. Seriously, I loved that you were full of drama off and on the stage. As a has been, theater kid, I found you very relatable and I adored the fact that theater had such a huge role in your story. Thanks for being amazing!

-The White Unicorn

I'll let you know right now that I haven't yet read Love, Lies & Lemon Pies yet, but I loved that Secrets, Schemes & Sewing Machines was a companion novel that you can read on its own. I didn't feel lost, or out of place jumping into the dynamics that Cannon has created between this darling group of friends. I found this fact refreshing. 

Speaking of darling, that's just what this book is. Cannon has managed to write a book that's full everything adorable. But she also doesn't forget to add some real life drama into the mix. Grace and Connor are both dealing with some rather huge changes in their families and I like how it's all been dealt with within the novel. The fact that family plays the role that it does in the book is great. It's not the forerunner, but it's there and it's awesome!

At it's heart this book is a love story, and not just any kind of love story, but one of my favorite kinds. Connor and Grace can't stand each other in the beginning and it's great to see their relationship change over the course of the book. They go from enemies, to friends, to something more and I couldn't have been more pleased with the transition of it all.

Along with sewing, drama and theater bare their delightful heads. As a kid who grew up in theater I'm always excited to read books that deal with the subject. Cannon knows her stuff and it shows! I also enjoyed all the sewing projects that are part of the novel.

If you're looking for a cute, romantic, contemporary novel, then this is it! Throw in some great friendships and some awesome families and you've got a great little read that will make you smile!

4 Unicorns = Close to perfect!

An Interview with Katy Cannon!

I had the honor to virtually sit down with Katy Cannon and ask her a few questions about her novel. If you care to have a gander, you find our conversation below!


One of my favorite parts about "Secrets, Schemes &Sewing Machines" was the fact that Grace and Connor don't instantly fall for each other. What was it like, writing an extreme dislike headed towards love, love story?

Katy Cannon: "Oh, it was so much fun! I love romances that require the characters to rethink all their initial impressions of a person, and get to know them all over again. It was tricky in parts though, not least because we’re always in Grace’s head during the story, so we can’t see what Connor is thinking and feeling except through what Grace sees. And she’s not always the most impartial judge!"

The book is also takes place around a theatrical production of Much Ado About Nothing, so I have to ask, have you seen the Joss Whedon film version? Or did any other film versions of Shakespeare's plays play a role in the direction that you took things?

Katy Cannon: "Much Ado About Nothing is my long time absolute favourite Shakespeare, and I’ve seen so many different versions of it! As a huge Joss Whedon fan, I was thrilled when I saw he was making a film version so yes, I have the dvd. And the script book with pictures. And I might need to go and watch it again now…

I think the idea of using Much Ado and the idea of the hate-to-love romance between Grace and Connor evolved very naturally. I knew from writing Love, Lies and Lemon Pies that Grace wasn’t going to be an easy person to find a love interest for. She needed a very specific sort of guy – one who challenged her and questioned her – and she wasn’t going to like that at all.

Once I realized the sort of romance this was going to be, there was only ever one play I could pick for them to put on!"

What came into play first when you were writing this story, the sewing or the theatre?

Katy Cannon: "The sewing. Having already written a baking book, I wanted to do something a little different, but with the same feel. I learned to sew as a child, but hadn’t touched a sewing machine in years, so I was excited to learn all over again with Grace.

The only problem was, I needed a logical reason for Grace to take up sewing. Since I already knew (again, from Love, Lies & Lemon Pies) that she was very active in the drama club, but that I didn’t want to write a book about her being the star of the show, having her take over the costume department solved both my problems!"

What part did you enjoy writing about more, the drama that took place on stage or off?

Katy Cannon: "Oh, off stage, definitely. It’s always more interesting! One of the things that fascinates me about the theatre, and that I’ve seen again and again in every play I’ve been involved in, from school to local theatres to the West End, is that what you see on the stage is only a tiny part of what actually goes on. Quite aside from the rehearsals, the costumes, the tech crew, the publicity, the admin and all of that, just putting a group of people together day after day in a confined space, under great pressure to perform, ALWAYS gives you great story material. It’s a real melting pot of characters!"

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