Friday, December 7, 2018

Dear Abby - Videos Abby Likes: Dachshund Decorates a Christmas Tree

Dear Friends,

I hope you are having a good week and a fun holiday season.  I am behind (as always!) and still need to take my Christmas card photos. 

With that in mind, I'll share a short and silly video with you today.  Doxie Din (one of my favorite famous doxies) has a video where he decorates the Christmas tree.  He's very creative -- carries the tree in on a skateboard!  He does a great job with the tree, but the video ends with a surprise!

I hope you enjoyed this little video as much as I did!  If you put a tree up, what does your dog or kitty think of it?  Do they help decorate (or un-decorate, as the case may be)?

Have a great weekend!


Abby xoxoxo

Review - The Lady Travelers Guide to Deception With an Unlikely Earl by Victoria Alexander

Book Synopsis
Harry Armstrong has spent years in Egypt, recovering relics and disregarding rules. Now he’s back in England with a new title and a new purpose: penning his exploits. But his efforts are overshadowed by London’s favorite writer about Egypt—a woman they call The Queen of the Desert, of all things. Worse, her stories—serialized in newspapers and reprinted in books—are complete rubbish.

Miss Sidney Honeywell didn’t set out to deceive anyone. It’s not her fault readers assumed her Tales of a Lady Adventurer in Egypt were real! Admitting her inadvertent deception now would destroy her reputation and her livelihood. But when the Earl of Brenton challenges her to travel to Egypt to prove her expertise, accompanied by his dashing, arrogant nephew, what choice does she have but to pack her bags?

With the matchmaking founders of the Lady Travelers Society in tow, Harry is determined to expose Sidney’s secret. But the truth might not be as great a revelation as discovering that love can strike even the most stubborn of hearts.


Purchase Links

My Review
The Lady Travelers Guide to Deception With an Unlikely Earl is a historical novel that tells the story of Sidney Honeywell.  Although she is the author of a popular book set in Egypt, her readers do not realize she has never visited Egypt or even traveled outside England.   On the other hand, Harry Armstrong has a wealth of experience in Egyptology, but his writing is dull and dry.   He challenges Sidney to travel to Egypt and prove that she is really who she pretends to be.  This adventure really picks up speed as Harry, Sidney, and her dear elderly lady friends from the Lady Travelers Society all journey to Egypt together.  Adventure ensues and sparks fly!

I absolutely love the Lady Travelers Society series of books.  They are so smart and well written and just so much fun to read.  I always think of them as romps.  (Now how many books can be described that way?!)  Although this book would work as a standalone, I highly recommend reading the entire series.

I loved the interplay between Sidney and Harry, with lots of verbal sparring and a battle of wits ... as well as a slow building attraction.  They are my very favorite couple in the Lady Travelers Society series.

The Egyptian setting was fascinating.  I know very little about this historical setting and really enjoyed the details like the marketplace, and Sidney and Harry's visit to the Great Pyramid.  The descriptions were amazing ... so many little intriguing details, and a real sense of time and place.  

Just one example of the fascinating descriptions in this book:

"Massive stone columns topped with capitals carved to look like palm fronds soared to a ceiling a good two stories overhead.  A grand stairway swept upward to the next level guarded by bronze, life-size statues of dancing girls.  With potted palms in ornate urns, patterned carpets and intricately tiled floors, it was the epitome of the Egypt she had long seen in her mind's eye" (location 1189).

I also enjoyed seeing the older ladies from the Ladies Travelers Society having an adventure in Egypt ... that was another highlight of this delightful book for me.

I recommend The Lady Travelers Guide to Deception With an Unlikely Earl highly to fans of historical fiction, and especially for readers who enjoy a smart, well written, and light hearted read.  Five stars!

Author Bio
New York Times bestselling author Victoria Alexander was an award winning television reporter until she discovered fiction was much more fun than real life. She turned to writing full time and is still shocked it worked out.

Since the publication of her first book in 1995, she has written thirty-one full length novels and six novellas. Find a complete list on her website and chat with her on Facebook.


Connect with Victoria

Website | Facebook | Twitter

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and TLC Book Tours.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Dear Abby - Videos Abby Likes: Dachshund Santa and Reindeer

Dear Friends,

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  I had a great day with lots of love and good food. 

I look forward to sharing some fun holiday posts the next few weeks.  I looked for dachshund videos for the holidays and found one that I love ... I hope you enjoy it too.  It is by famous dachshund Crusoe and his buddy Oakley.   Oakley wears reindeer ears ("wiendeer") and pulls Crusoe, who is dressed as Santa.  There is even a chimney ... and treats for Santa!  I am very impressed at Oakley's ability to act as a reindeer!

Here is the video:

I hope you enjoyed this short video as much as I did.   Have a wonderful weekend!


Abby xoxoxo

Book Review - The Secret Language of Cats by Susanne Schotz

Book Synopsis
Have you ever wondered what your cat is saying?

Cats do not meow randomly, nor do they growl or hiss because they have nothing better to do. Cat sounds have a purpose, and they can carry important messages, whether for us or other cats.

Susanne Schotz is hard at work on breaking the cat code. She is a professor at Lund University in Sweden, where a long-standing research program is proving that cats do actually use vocal communication—with each other and with their human caretakers. Understanding the vocal strategies used in human-cat communication will have profound implications for how we communicate with our pets, and has the potential to improve the relationship between animals and humans within several fields, including animal therapy, veterinary medicine and animal sheltering.

In The Secret Language of Cats, Schotz offers a crash course in the phonetic study of cat sounds. She introduces us to the full range of feline vocalizations and explains what they can mean in different situations, and she gives practical tips to help us understand our cats better.


Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

My Review
The Secret Language of Cats is a unique book that discusses cat sounds from a phonetic perspective, and gives cat owners new ways to understand what their cats are communicating.

I was intrigued by The Secret Language of Cats from the cover with the adorable kitty, and from the description.  I am a lifelong animal lover and grew up in a cat family.  Although I have a dog now, I also love cats and am interested in reading about them.  I find animal behavior in general fascinating.

Susanne Schotz is a professor of phonetics in Sweden.  She has studied phonetics as they apply to cat sounds and communication, and in this book she discusses these sounds in detail.  She breaks down the sounds into:
  • Sounds produced with an open mouth (purr, trill, etc.)
  • Sounds made while the mouth is first opening and then closing (meow, moan, howl, etc.)
  • Sounds that are produced with an open, tense mouth (growl, hiss, snarl, etc.)
She also discusses other ways cats communicate -- touch, movement, spraying.

The phonetic details were discussed in depth and from a scientific angle.   Many are discussed with both the sound and corresponding body language.

My favorite part of the book was the fond way that Susanne Schotz wrote about her own history with cats and discussed different cats she has loved.  I found it very moving when she discussed older cats who passed on, and how she decided she couldn't go through that again ... but there was always another kitty (or kitties!) waiting for her.

I also liked the practical chapters where she talked about specific cat questions and practical behavioral answers, i.e. Why does my cat not say anything? My cat wakes me up at night.  My cat only comes to other family members, not to me.

I think The Secret Language of Cats will be of great interest to cat people, and especially to anyone who wants to read about cat sounds from a detailed perspective.

I received a copy of this book from TLC Book Tours.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Book Review and Giveaway - A Midwinter’s Tail (Lucky Paws Petsitting Mystery) by Bethany Blake

Book Synopsis
To bark or not to bark . . .

Professional pet sitter Daphne Templeton loves the holidays in Sylvan Creek, Pennsylvania. And nothing gets her into the spirit more than the town’s annual Bark the Halls Ball. The whole community will be there to wag their tails, especially this year’s special guest—Celeste “CeeCee” French, founder of a national chain of pet care franchises, who’s returning home to announce plans for a bright new flagship store.

But not everyone’s celebrating CeeCee’s homecoming. Daphne’s friend Moxie Bloom, owner of Spa and Paw, a unique salon for people and their pets, has plenty to growl about. So when CeeCee is found face down under Sylvan Creek’s town Christmas tree, stabbed with a distinctive pair of professional-grade pet shears, suspicion lands squarely on Moxie. Despite Daphne’s promises to Detective Jonathan Black, she quickly reprises her role as amateur sleuth. Ably assisted by her basset hound sidekick, Socrates, she must hurry to prove her friend’s innocence before a killer barks again . . .

Includes recipes for homemade pet treats!

My Review
A Midwinter's Tail is a cozy mystery set in a small town in Pennsylvania.  Daphne Templeton has a pet sitting business and a reputation for solving mysteries.  When one of her old high school classmates returns and ends up dead, Daphne becomes involved in solving the mystery.

This is my first read in the Lucky Paws Petsitting Mystery series.  I have been missing a really fun series!   I've put the other books on my reading list at Goodreads.  After a chapter or so, I felt caught up with the characters and enjoyed this novel as a standalone read.

There was so much that I particularly enjoyed about A Midwinter's Tail:

The author, Bethany Blake, loves animals and does such a great job writing about them.  A Midwinter's Tail features a basset hound, a spoiled poodle, a cat, a playful chihuahua, a lab, a naughty pug, and a pet rat.  The animals in this book absolutely stole the show for me -- great fun!

There is a wonderful small town setting.  Sylvan Creek, Pennsylvania was depicted in detail and was such a cozy small town.

There was a fun romantic triangle.  Daphne has two single men interested in her -- police detective Jonathan and small town newspaper writer Gabriel.  I enjoyed seeing this triangle play out.

There is an emphasis on friends and even a flashback to their high school years.   Since much of the storyline involves the murder of CeeCee, who returns to Sylvan Creek after many years away, part of Daphne's detection involves researching old high school yearbooks.

A Midwinter's Tail is such an enjoyable cozy holiday mystery.  I recommend it highly to other cozy fans, and especially to anyone who loves pets.

Author Bio
Bethany Blake lives in a small, quaint town in Pennsylvania with her husband and three daughters. When she’s not writing or riding horses, she’s wrangling a menagerie of furry family members that includes a nervous pit bull, a fearsome feline, a blind goldfish, and an attack cardinal named Robert. Like Daphne Templeton, the heroine of her Lucky Paws Mysteries, Bethany holds a Ph.D. and operates a pet sitting business called Barkley’s Premium Pet Care.

Author Links 
Webpage  BookBub    Twitter    Facebook

Purchase Links
Amazon  B&N  Kobo    Google Play   IndieBound   BookBub 

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I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and Great Escapes Book Tours.