Friday, 13 February 2015

Blog Tour Review: Secrets, Schemes and Sewing Machines by Katy Cannon

Title: Secrets, Schemes and Sewing Machines
Author: Katy Cannon
Series:  Companion to Love, Lies and Lemon Pies
Pages:  368
Publisher: Stripes Publishing
Date of Publication: 2nd February 2015
Source: Publisher for review*
Synopsis from Goodreads: 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:
Secrets, Schemes and Sewing Machines is the sequel to Love, Lies and Lemon Pies. When I read Lemon Pies, although I really loved Lottie and Mac's story, I was eager to know more about all their friends in Bake Club. Grace was probably the character that I knew the least about (and liked the least too) so I apprehensive as to how Sewing Machines would sit with me, since it didn't follow on from Lemon Pies but switched to focus on Grace. However, I quickly became engrossed in Grace's story, and I think I might have even enjoyed this second book in the collection even more than the first.

Grace is dealing with some major changes to her home life, and finding it pretty difficult. This leads her to missing her audition for the lead role in her school play, landing her with the 'lowly' role of costumes and props mistress. While at first she plots and schemes her way through to getting the lead role from Violet, her nemesis, she quickly discovers that there's a lot more to life than being the star of the show.

I think my main reason for enjoying Sewing Machines than Lemon Pies is Grace herself. I felt that where Lottie lacked development in the first book, Grace made up for by the bucketful. I loved seeing her grow into her role as costume mistress, and come to realise that actually she was even more important than she ever could have been in the starring role. The fact that she made mistakes (frequently and really quite spectacularly) only made her more endearing and I really enjoyed getting to know her a lot better than she comes across in Lemon Pies (which I guess is exactly the point!).

I also really liked how although Grace's relationship with Connor is a major plot point, I don't feel like it was the main one. Their relationship is adorable and I really liked Connor, but I think the novel is a lot more focused on Grace's development and maturity growth as a character and finding her own feet in the world, which was really inspiring to read. That't not to say that I didn't enjoy the romantic aspects of the novel though... ;)

The plot was really fun and I enjoyed reading about all the production preparation and Drama Club as well as all of the sewing. I had a sewing phase a couple of years ago so it was really fun to read about all the sewing and I definitely think I'm gonna get back into it later this year when exams are over, hopefully using some of the instructions in the novel. Obviously also the spattering of Bake Club meetings and events were a lot of fun to revisit too and I'm looking forward in future books to read more about all of these clubs and characters that Katy Cannon has created. I want to go to this school!

All in all, Katy Cannon has written a marvellous series with these novels. To put it very simply: They're a joy to read, with likeable characters and fun and interesting storylines. I heartily recommend that you read them!

Don't forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour! Go to @stripesbook or @KatyJoCannon on Twitter for more info.

*Huge thanks to Stripes Publishing for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. In no way has this affected my opinion of the novel. 

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