Friday, September 17, 2021

Book Review - A Christmas in the Alps by Melody Carlson

My Review

A Christmas in the Alps is the story of Simone Winthrop. Simone's beloved grandmother who raised her has passed away, and while going through her things she finds a mysterious letter from her great-grandmother. The letter suggests that there is treasure hidden in Avre, France, her hometown. Simone travels to France, meeting a handsome clockmaker on the plane trip, and begins the holiday season in France. She gets to know her long lost relatives and searches for the mysterious treasure. Of course, she also has time for a little romance!

I wanted to read A Christmas in the Alps because I always love Melody Carlson's Christmas novels. I have reviewed them for the past few years. I also was intrigued by the French setting (I love novels set in France) and the search for antique treasure.

This was a delightful short novel from start to finish.  Simone is a relatable protagonist who is searching for her place in the world after the loss of her grandmother, leaving her job, and breaking up with her boyfriend. She wants more out of life but isn't sure what that is yet.

I absolutely loved the Avre, France setting, with the charming inn, the home of Simone's great aunt, and the historic old clock factory.  The treasure hunt was especially intriguing.  I was so curious to see what the treasure actually was!

A Christmas in the Alps is a sweet, heartwarming book that would make a great Hallmark movie. I recommend it for anyone looking for a fun, relaxing weekend read.

Book Synopsis

Get ready for a magical mountain holiday

After a time of heartache and loss, Simone Winthrop discovers a tantalizing letter from her French great-grandmother, which seems to suggest that Simone is heir to a family treasure. Ever practical, Simone assumes the claim is baseless, but her best friend encourages her to find out for sure. Despite her deep-rooted fear of flying, she boards a jet to travel to Paris at Christmastime to uncover the truth.

During the long flight, Simone meets the charming Kyle Larsson, who's on his way to France to become an apprentice clockmaker. Though they abruptly part ways, an unexpected rendezvous in the French Alps at Simone's family's clock factory may lead to the discovery of the family treasure . . . and so much more.

Author Bio

Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of more than 200 books with sales of more than 7 million, including many bestselling Christmas novellas, young adult titles, and contemporary romances. She received a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her many books, including Finding Alice, and her novel All Summer Long was made into a Hallmark movie. She and her husband live in central Oregon. Learn more at

Friday, September 10, 2021

Dear Abby - I Return

Dear Friends,

I am so happy to catch up with you all today! I hope you have had a nice summer with lots of time to relax and enjoy the sunshine.

I had plenty of nap time (see picture above!) and even took naps with my Momma when I could get her to take a cuddle break.

Of course, there were several fireworks holidays but I snuggled up in my Thundershirt and got through all the noise safe and sound.

Nicest of all, I had a birthday! I am now 12 years old. 

I had a special birthday goodie after my evening kibble and got several bags of treats as gifts.  I was so excited that this picture is a little blurry (I was moving).

I tried to open one of the treat bags and almost succeeded!

I have missed talking to my friends here and will be blogging as often as I can. Momma helps me blog and we have a lot going on right now. I am going to try to blog at least once a month. (Hopefully more in the future!) 

I would love to hear from you in the comments and catch up on how you, your puppers, and kitties are doing!


Abby xoxoxo

Book Review and Giveaway - Deadly Summer Nights (A Catskill Summer Resort Mystery) by Vicki Delany

My Review

Elizabeth Grady is managing a Catskills resort called Haggerman's in 1953. Her mother, a retired actress, is the owner, but Elizabeth is doing the day to day work. When a guest is murdered, she becomes involved in solving the mystery. There are lots of details about day to day life at the resort, and even a little possible romance for Elizabeth.

I wanted to read this mystery because I love historic mysteries and am fascinated by the Catskills. I never pass up a book, movie, or TV show set in this locale.

Deadly Summer Nights is a delightful read. The author does a wonderful job at establishing a sense of time and place. There are so many fascinating little details, like this description which involved retro food:

"I followed him across the lobby, up the grand staircase, and into the ballroom. The orchestra was having a break, and the lines at the bar and the food table were long. An angel food cake covered with a thick layer of pink icing dotted with maraschino cherries, platters of Rice Krispie squares, and a glistening pineapple upside-down cake were tonight’s offerings. More than a few of our guests took a piece of everything on offer. Some helped themselves to more than one piece of each" (eBook location 708).

The mystery is well plotted, with a number of plausible suspects. I figured the killer out about the same time Elizabeth did.  There is a large cast of characters which led to a slightly slower read - but that just gave me a little extra time to enjoy the book!

Elizabeth is a fun amateur detective. She's very smart and enlists the help of her lifelong friend Velvet in solving the mystery.

I highly recommend Deadly Summer Nights to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, and most especially to readers who enjoy Mid-Century settings and retro Catskills. I look forward to upcoming books in this series.

Book Synopsis

A summer of fun at a Catskills resort comes to an abrupt end when a guest is found murdered, in this new 1950s set mystery series. 

It’s the summer of 1953, and Elizabeth Grady is settling into Haggerman’s Catskills Resort. As a vacation getaway, Haggerman’s is ideal, and although Elizabeth’s ostentatious but well-meaning mother is new to running the resort, Elizabeth is eager to help her organize the guests and the entertainment acts. But Elizabeth will have to resort to untested abilities if she wants to save her mother’s business.

When a reclusive guest is found dead in a lake on the grounds, and a copy of The Communist Manifesto is found in his cabin, the local police chief is convinced that the man was a Russian spy. But Elizabeth isn’t so sure, and with the fate of the resort hanging in the balance, she’ll need to dodge red herrings, withstand the Red Scare, and catch a killer red-handed. 

Author Bio

Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers and a national bestseller in the U.S. She has written more than forty books: clever cozies to Gothic thrillers to gritty police procedurals, to historical fiction and novellas for adult literacy. She is currently writing four cozy mystery series: the Tea by the Sea mysteries for Kensington, the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series for Crooked Lane Books, the Catskill Resort mysteries for Penguin Random House, and the Lighthouse Library series (as Eva Gates) for Crooked Lane.  

Vicki is a past president of the Crime Writers of Canada and co-founder and organizer of the Women Killing It Crime Writing Festival. Her work has been nominated for the Derringer, the Bony Blithe, the Ontario Library Association Golden Oak, and the Arthur Ellis Awards. Vicki is the recipient of the 2019 Derrick Murdoch Award for contributions to Canadian crime writing. She lives in Prince Edward County, Ontario.

Author Links

Website –

Facebook –;

Twitter:  @vickidelany and@evagatesauthor

Instagram: vickidelany

Bookbub: Vicki Delany Books – BookBub

Purchase Links – AmazonB&NKoboIndieBound


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Friday, May 28, 2021

Dear Abby - Summer Break! and Vintage Dachshunds From Calling All Girls Magazine


Dear Friends,

It is time for my Summer break again! I love this time of year -- extra time for walks in the sunshine and leisurely naps.  

I wanted to share a few 1950's - 1960's Calling All Girls magazine covers for you. Every one of them features a dachshund having Summer fun!  This dachshund helps her person with gardening.  She even has a little cart to hold the plants.

This picture is also from 1958 and this is my idea of Summer fun - relaxing on a hammock. Ahh!

The dachshund in this 1959 picture helps paint a picture. (That water looks refreshing to drink!)

This picture is from 1961. I'm so glad my Momma doesn't climb trees and leave me on the ground!

This looks like fun -- a dachshund enjoys some Summer fun under a water hose that is working like a sprinkler. (1963)

From 1965, a dachshund enjoys life by a swimming pool.

Do you have big Summer plans, or just a nice, relaxing Summer ahead?  I hope your Summertime is fun. I look forward to catching up with you in September!


Abby xoxoxo

Book Spotlight and Giveaway - Four Cuts Too Many (A Sarah Blair Mystery) by Debra H. Goldstein

Book Synopsis

Sarah Blair gets an education in slicing and dicing when someone in culinary school serves up a main corpse in Wheaton, Alabama . . .  

Between working as a law firm receptionist, reluctantly pitching in as co-owner of her twin sister’s restaurant, and caretaking for her regal Siamese RahRah and rescue dog Fluffy, Sarah has no time to enjoy life’s finer things. Divorced and sort-of dating, she’s considering going back to school. But as a somewhat competent sleuth, Sarah’s more suited for criminal justice than learning how many ways she can burn a meal. 

Although she wouldn’t mind learning some knife skills from her sous chef, Grace Winston. An adjunct instructor who teaches cutlery expertise in cooking college, Grace is considering accepting an executive chef’s position offered by Jane Clark, Sarah’s business rival—and her late ex-husband’s lover.  But Grace’s future lands in hot water when the school’s director is found dead with one of her knives in his back. To clear her friend’s name, Sarah must sharpen her own skills at uncovering an elusive killer . . .  

Includes quick and easy recipes!

Author Bio

Judge Debra H. Goldstein writes Kensington’s Sarah Blair mystery series (Three Treats Too Many, Two Bites Too Many, One Taste Too Many). She also authored Should Have Played Poker and IPPY Award-winning Maze in Blue. Her short stories have been named Agatha, Anthony, Derringer finalists. Debra serves on the national boards of Mystery Writers of America and is president of SEMWA. She previously was on Sisters in Crime’s national board and president of SinC’s Guppy Chapter.

Find out more about Debra and sign up for her newsletter at Follow her on Twitter (@DebraHGoldstein), Bookbub (, and Facebook (

Purchase Links: AmazonB&NKoboGoogle PlayIndieBound


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