Friday, November 19, 2021

Dear Abby - Thankful for YOU!

 

Dear Friends,

Happy almost-Thanksgiving to you! I hope you have a good day. I wanted to take just a minute and thank you for visiting my blog over the past few years. I especially appreciate the friendly comments left here!  I usually leave comments back.  Thanks, too, for sharing my blog post links - I often see them when my Momma is on social media and it makes me happy.

In short, I am thankful for YOU!

Love,

Abby xoxoxo



Book Review - A Saint a Day: 365 True Stories of Faith and Heroism


My Review

A Saint a Day: 365 True Stories of Faith and Heroism is a devotional book for children. Readers will learn about a different saint each day.

I wanted to read this book because I am interested in church history and found the idea of learning more about saints in a devotional book both interesting and inspiring.

This is a beautifully designed book. The cover art is appealing and the small hardcover book is also sturdy and well made. There is a place inside the book for a gift inscription, and this would be a lovely gift - especially at Christmas, so children could start reading in the New Year.

Each devotional is on one page, with the dates of the saint's life, a Bible verse, and a short biography. The book concludes with a short one line prayer for the day inspired by the reading. 

The writing is engaging and the details about the saints' lives are really interesting!  I think the short, lively entries will engage and inspire children who read this book through the year.

I highly recommend A Saint a Day, especially as a gift - and a source of inspiration and learning through the upcoming year.

Book Synopsis

Teach your child to walk in faith, act justly, and lead with kindness and humility with this 365-day devotional for kids. A Saint a Day includes fascinating historical stories as it introduces young readers to over 300 saints who did extraordinary things for God.

Mother Teresa left her family at age 18 to become a missionary. St. Patrick helped spread Christianity to Ireland. St. Jerome translated the Bible into Latin–and also had a pet lion!

Written for ages 8 to 12, A Saint a Day inspires young readers with remarkable stories of people who made extraordinary choices to love and serve God. Featuring popular saints such as Teresa of Ávila, Francis of Assisi, Juan Diego, and Thomas Aquinas, each of the 365 devotions includes:

A Scripture verse and prayer
A short summary or inspiring story of a saint
A fun fact
Artwork with a fresh, kid-friendly design

This daily devotional for kids is:

An ideal gift for First Communion, Confirmation, or Advent
A unique book for strengthening a child’s faith
A great way to share Catholic church history with kids

A Saint a Day will help your child realize the long history of people of faith. As you journey through this yearlong devotional, your children will grow in their understanding of church history and better understand how they can love and serve God.

Book Review and Giveaway - The Debutante's Code by Erica Vetsch


My Review

In 1816 England, Lady Juliette Thorndike returns to London from school with her best friend, ready to make her society debut. Her parents, however, are mysteriously absent. At every society event she attends, there seems to be a mystery involving a lost or stolen work of art. Juliette becomes involved in the mystery - with the help of handsome police detective Daniel Swann.

I wanted to read this novel because I love the Regency period. I enjoyed the author's Serendipity and Secrets series, and knew what a strong writer she is.

The Debutante's Code is a delightful start to a new series! I enjoy Regency fiction, but rarely see books set during this period that are also engaging mysteries. The mystery aspect of this novel was my favorite part. There are so many fascinating details about the art that is stolen (and all the art was based on real pieces, as detailed in the last section of the book!). I actually felt I learned some interesting details about art history just from reading this book.  (The Shakespeare folio was especially fascinating!)

Juliette is a bold amateur detective, especially when paired with Daniel Swann.  The romantic sparks between them makes the book even more intriguing.

This was an unusually fast paced read for a historical novel - I couldn't put it down and found myself planning the evening around extra reading time.

I highly recommend The Debutante's Code for fans of historical fiction, and especially for anyone who enjoys historical mysteries and the Regency period.

Book Synopsis

Jane Austen meets Sherlock Holmes in this new Regency mystery series

Newly returned from finishing school, Lady Juliette Thorndike is ready to debut in London society. Due to her years away, she hasn't spent much time with her parents, and sees them only as the flighty, dilettante couple the other nobles love. But when they disappear, she discovers she never really knew them at all. They've been living double lives as government spies--and they're only the latest in a long history of espionage that is the family's legacy.

Now Juliette is determined to continue their work. Mentored by her uncle, she plunges into the dangerous world of spies. From the glittering ballrooms of London to the fox hunts, regattas, and soirees of country high society, she must chase down hidden clues, solve the mysterious code her parents left behind, and stay out of danger. All the while, she has to keep her endeavors a secret from her best friend and her suitors--not to mention the nosy, irritatingly handsome Bow Street runner, who suspects her of a daring theft.

Can Juliette outwit her enemies and complete her parents' last mission?

Best-selling author Erica Vetsch is back with a rollicking, exciting new series destined to be a hit with Regency readers who enjoy a touch of mystery in their love stories. Fans of Julie Klassen, Sarah Ladd, and Anne Perry will love the wit, action, and romance. 


Author Bio

Erica Vetsch is a New York Times best-selling author and    ACFW Carol Award winner, and has been a Romantic        Times top pick for her previous books. She loves Jesus,        history, romance, and watching sports. This transplanted    Kansan now makes her home in Rochester, Minnesota.

The Serendipity & Secrets trilogy, her first Regency series, launched in 2020 to rave reader reviews. Her latest           release, The Debutante's Code is the first of the Thorndike & Swann Regency Mysteries.

Learn more about Erica at 
www.ericavetsch.com or find her on Facebook.

Giveaway


Friday, November 12, 2021

Book Review - National Geographic Complete Birds of North America


My Review

National Geographic's Complete Birds of North America is a beautiful, oversized book about birds.  The cover promises "More than 1000 species - the most detailed information in a single volume," and I certainly found this to be true.

I wanted to read this book because I have a lifelong love of birds -- my small business is even called Birdhouse Books! Every day when I am out walking on my own or with my dog, I look for birds and love to identify them. This big book of birds held a natural fascination for me.

This is truly an exceptional book for a bird lover. The book is divided into types of birds - for instance - Pigeons and Doves, Loons, Swallows, Larks, Mockingbirds and Thrashers, etc. Then if you look up a bird there is much more specific information, including illustrations of the bird, a map where the bird is found in North America, and: Identification (adult male, adult female, and juvenile), Status and Distribution, Breeding, and Population.  The common name of the bird is given along with the proper name - for instance Rock Pigeon, Columba livia.

I thought this book would be a field guide but am delighted to find it is the most fabulous encyclopedia of birds.  I have truly enjoyed looking up favorite birds, reading about them, and am sure I will consult with this book again and again as I see new birds on walks that I want to learn about.

National Geographic's Complete Birds of North America is a beautifully made book - big, oversized, with gorgeous illustrations. It would be an exceptional gift book for a bird lover.

Book Synopsis

More an encyclopedia than a field guide, National Geographic’s Complete Birds is a browsable treasure trove of facts. This comprehensive volume profiles every bird observable in the continental United States and Canada, featuring species accounts with details that include calls and songs, breeding behaviors, molting patterns, and the vast extent of their polar and neotropical migrations. The precision maps, illuminating photographs, and more than 4,000 exquisite pieces of annotated art make this the biggest and best bird book ever.

This third edition, thoroughly updated, includes:

Information on more than 1,000 species and subspecies
Overviews of every family
Organization reflecting current taxonomy
850 range maps, more than half updated since the last edition
Sidebars on identification challenges such as distinguishing between Bay-breasted and Blackpoll Warblers in fall or separating the various species of white egrets

These 752 pages add up to a lifetime of learning for all devoted birders, from those just beginning birders to those who have been building their life lists for decades.


 

Book Review and Giveaway - Death on the Shelf: A Haunted Library Mystery by Allison Brook


My Review

Death on the Shelf is the 5th book in the Haunted Library mystery series. Carrie Singleton, librarian and amateur sleuth, witnesses a murder at her best friend's wedding when the bride's cousin falls into a chocolate fountain. Carrie becomes involved in solving the mystery ... and also finding her ghostly librarian friend Evelyn's long lost brother.

I wanted to read this book because I have enjoyed every single book in the Haunted Library series. This is one of my favorite cozy series and it is one I have enthusiastically recommended to friends. The series has all the ingredients of a perfect cozy: a charming small town setting, a library, some romance, and a lovable pet (in this case, Smoky Joe, Carrie's cat).

This was a fun read. There were a wealth of solid suspects and I enjoyed solving the case right along with Carrie. The wedding was a strong setting for a murder because there were so many people there, including many plausible suspects.

I especially enjoyed Carrie and Dylan's romance in this book, as they moved closer.  Dylan, who also is an investigator (of high end items that are lost or stolen) is a great book boyfriend, supporting Carrie but also helping to keep her safe.  

Since part of the wedding involves Carrie's best friend, Angela, she is in the book a lot, and so is Carrie's charming reformed thief dad, Jim.  And Smoky Joe the cat is his lovable self as well!

I recommend Death on the Shelf - and the entire Haunted Library series - very highly.  It is such a fun, fast moving read, and unique thanks to Carrie's ghostly friend Evelyn. 


Book Synopsis

Librarian Carrie Singleton sleuths a murder at her best friend’s wedding in Agatha Award nominee Allison Brook’s fifth Haunted Library mystery.  

Clover Ridge librarian Carrie Singleton is thrilled to attend her best friend Angela’s wedding, but Angela’s family can be a bit…much. Angela’s wealthy cousin Donna hosts an extravagant bridal shower at her resplendent home, but the celebrations turn to gossip as the guests notice Donna’s surgeon husband, Aiden, spending a bit too much time with Donna’s cousin Roxy. At the wedding reception, the sweet occasion turns darkly bitter when Aiden topples into the chocolate fountain–dead. 

The suspect list is as long as the guest list, and as difficult to sort out as the seating chart. A few of the top contenders on Carrie’s suspect list are the flirtatious Roxy, emotionally unstable since her recent divorce; Angela’s grouchy brother, who feels Aiden betrayed him; and Roxy’s scorned ex-husband. Even Donna may have had reason to want her husband dead. And Aiden’s gossipy office manager has plenty to say about them all.  

Then another member of Angela’s family is murdered, making Carrie more determined than ever to find the killer. Can library ghost Evelyn and library cat Smoky Joe help Carrie solve the murders before she becomes the next of Angela’s wedding guests to head to the grave?


Author Bio

Library series. DEATH OVERDUE, the first in the series, was an Agatha nominee for Best Contemporary Novel in 2018. Other mysteries include the Golden Age of Mystery Book Club series and the Twin Lakes series.

Her juvenile novel, Rufus and Magic Run Amok, was an International Reading Association-Children’s Book Council Children’s Choice. And Don’t Bring Jeremy was a nominee for six state awards.

Marilyn lives on Long Island, where many of her books take place. She loves traveling, reading, doing crossword puzzles and Sudoku, and chatting on FaceTime with her grandkids.

Author Links

Website: http://www.marilynlevinson.com
Amazon page: http://amzn.to/K6Md1O
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marilyn.levinson.10?ref=ts&fref=ts
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/161602.Marilyn_Levinson
Twitter: @MarilynLevinson; @AllisonBrookML
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/marilev/

Purchase Links – AmazonB&NKoboIndieBound

Giveaway

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