Book Review: Secrets, Schemes and Sewing Machines by Katy Cannon

Secrets, Schemes and Sewing Machines

Secrets, Schemes and Sewing Machines by Katy Cannon
Release Date: 2nd February 2015
Publisher: Stripes Publishing
Buy: Paperback


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?


In Secrets, Schemes and Sewing Machines, lead character Grace decides that this is going to be her year. All set for getting the staring role in the schools production of ‘Much Ado About Nothing’, Grace’s big plan sadly falls at the first hurdle when she ends up missing the auditions. However, she does have a valid reason (despite what Mr Hughes may think…) as family life as she knows it is turned upside down when a girl arrives at Graces front door claiming to be her sister.
A little thing like not making the cast list is not doing to deter Grace, however, as she lands the role of making the costumes. (Temporarily at least…it’s only a matter of time before Mr Hughes realises that she should be playing the lead character, right?) Not being the best at sewing doesn’t deter Grace either as she joins the Sewing Club in a bid to improve her skills with a needle and thread. Much to her surprise Grace actually enjoys sewing and becomes serious about making the play (and its costumes) a success.
However in her job running the wardrobe and props department, Grace is forced to work with new-boy Connor. The pair don’t get off to the best of starts but Grace is determined to prove to Connor that first impressions don’t always count. But with the added family dramas alongside preparing for the play can she prove to Connor, and most importantly, herself, that she can succeed?

Love, Lies and Lemon Pies is a novel that’s been on my To-Be-Read list for ages, so when I heard about Secrets, Schemes and Sewing Machines I was really excited to finally become acquainted with Katy Cannon’s writing. Whilst this novel is described as being a ‘companion’ to its predecessor, there’s nothing wrong with reading it as a standalone novel, which is what I did. However, I think you’d get the maximum enjoyment out of both novels if you read Love, Lies and Lemon Pies first- purely because you’d already be familiar with the characters and know a bit more about their backgrounds and personalities.
This is no way hindered my enjoyment of Secrets, Schemes and Sewing Machines, though. It was an extremely fun, sweet read and full of heart.
Obviously Grace was new to me, so I had no impressions of her from Love, Lies and Lemon Pies. At first I was worried I wouldn’t warm to her, but those fears were quickly dispelled. I really enjoyed seeing her transform before my very eyes as she came across as perhaps a bit selfish and self-centered to begin with but she showed that by working as part of a team and putting in the effort you can turn things around. I also liked how her group of friends accepted these changes in her and on the whole, supported her.
I liked how Katy Cannon included the struggles Grace went through with her family and suddenly discovering she had a sister. It was dealt with realistically and with heart and I liked the mix that it brought to the story. My heart almost broke for Grace when she was worried about disappointing her father. It brought a more serious side to the story which balanced out the humour and romance perfectly.
I loved watching the relationship between Grace and Connor develop, and rather like Grace, I was unsure about him at first but I gradually grew to like him. There were definite sparks between the two and Katy Cannon really brought their love/hate relationship to life for me.

Whilst I am absolutely rubbish at sewing I thoroughly enjoyed the sewing tasks at the start of each chapter. So much so that it’s made me actually want to dig out a needle and thread and have a go! I thought this was a nice touch and if you’re a fan of needlework or watch The Great British Sewing Bee then you’re sure to find this a really enjoyable read.

This is a must-read for any YA fan; it’s true to real life, with realistic yet intriguing characters and revolves around a healthy dose of drama, romance and friendship.

I’m now even more excited about reading Love, Lies and Lemon Pies and I really hope that Katy releases more from this group of characters. Her writing is a joy to read and makes Secrets, Schemes and Sewing Machines a thoroughly enjoyable story…

A huge thank you to Jessie at Stripes Publishing for including me in the blog tour for Secrets, Schemes and Sewing Machines and for kindly sending me a copy of the book to read & review. 


Katy CannonKaty Cannon was born in the United Arab Emirates, grew up in North Wales and now lives in Hertfordshire, which is rather flat and green by comparison. When she was eleven, she had appendicitis and spent the two week recovery period reading constantly. After that, she never really stopped.

Katy loves to bake, but isn’t very good at following recipes. Her cakes and bakes always seem to need just an extra pinch of this, or a little more of that – and they always taste better for it! Her husband and five year old daughter are her very willing taste testers. They particularly recommend Mac’s chocolate brownies from Love, Lies & Lemon Pies.

Katy writes for all ages, from picture books right up to YA. She’s represented by Gemma Cooper at The Bent Agency, and published by Stripes Publishing.

Katy Cannon |  Website  |  Twitter |  Facebook |  Goodreads |


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s