Thursday, May 24, 2018

Summer Break

Hi all,

As Abby mentioned in her "Dear Abby" post last Friday, we are both planning to take a Summer-long break, but will return after Labor Day.

I have taken August off the past few years, but this is the longest break I have taken since I started blogging.  I want some down time to just relax for the Summer, but I also want to rethink some blog goals.

I am looking forward to a long stretch of reading.   When I was in my teens and 20's, I adored the Jalna series by Mazo de la Roche.  This is a family saga told in 16 books.  It is set in Canada between 1854 - 1954.  It is a big sweeping historical fiction series and reminds me a bit of Upstairs-Downstairs and Downton Abbey.   I have been waiting until I had a long, uninterrupted reading period to start this re-read.  I'm very excited to read these books again.

My best friend and I are also planning to rewatch the entire Mad Men series.   We both have the book Mad Men Carousel: The Complete Critical Companion, and plan to read that episode-by-episode as we go along.

Otherwise, I am sure there will be time for trying some new recipes, playing the guitar, and enjoying some time in the sunshine.  (I will still be working in my shops this Summer, and you can keep up with my work and vintage life on Facebook at my Birdhouse Books page.)   Of course, Abby will be helping with everything!

I look forward to catching up with you again in September!


Book Review - The Weaver’s Daughter by Sarah E. Ladd

Book Synopsis
Kate’s loyalties bind her to the past. Henry’s loyalties compel him to strive for a better future. In a landscape torn between tradition and vision, can two souls find the strength to overcome their preconceptions? 

Loyalty has been at the heart of the Dearborne family for as long as Kate can remember, but a war is brewing in their small village, one that has the power to rip families asunder — including her own. As misguided actions are brought to light, she learns how deep her father’s pride and bitterness run, and she begins to wonder if her loyalty is well-placed.

Henry Stockton, heir to the Stockton fortune, returns home from three years at war hoping to find a refuge from his haunting memories. Determined to bury the past, he embraces his grandfather’s goals to modernize his family’s wool mill, regardless of the grumblings from the local weavers. When tragedy strikes shortly after his arrival, Henry must sort out the truth from suspicion if he is to protect his family’s livelihood and legacy.

Henry has been warned about the Dearborne family. Kate, too, has been advised to stay far away from the Stocktons, but chance meetings continue to bring her to Henry’s side, blurring the jagged lines between loyalty, justice, and truth. Kate ultimately finds herself with the powerful decision that will forever affect her village’s future. As unlikely adversaries, Henry and Kate must come together to find a way to create peace for their families, and their village, and their souls – even if it means risking their hearts in the process.


Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

My Review
The Weaver's Daughter is set in 1801 Yorkshire, England, in the small village of Amberdale.  This novel tells the story of Kate Dearborne, a weaver's daughter, and Henry Stockton, whose family owns a large wool mill.  Although their families are at odds, Kate and Henry feel drawn to each other.  This sets a series of major events in motion.

I found the time period and setting for this book very intriguing.  I knew very little about everyday life during the early 1800's, and nothing at all about weavers or wool mills.  The historical setting was beautifully rendered and I felt I learned about early mills through the pages of this book.  Learning interesting tidbits about history is one of the things that attracts me to historical fiction.

The book explores both the characters of Kate, a small town girl whose father is a weaver, and wealthy Henry, whose family owns the town wool mill.  They have an immediate attraction and a Romeo and Juliet type story sets in motion, as their families are very much at odds.

This novel features well developed characters (especially Kate and Henry), and the author's descriptions are wonderful.  This is my first read by Sarah E. Ladd, but I have already downloaded two more of her books onto my Kindle.  I am eager to read more!

The Weaver's Daughter begins at a leisurely pace but the pacing picks up as the action for the story does as well.   There is a suspenseful storyline involving a murder and the fate of the Stockton mill.

This book shines light on the lives of women in the early 1800's.  Kate wants to be recognized as a weaver and a business person, but her father sees her only as a helper and the potential wife of a man who can help his business.   Henry's sister deals with the scandal of a pregnancy without marriage.   There is also a storyline about children working in the mills, and the need to protect them and insure their safety.

I recommend The Weaver's Daughter for fans of historical fiction.  This is a setting that is not featured in many novels and I think other historical fiction readers will enjoy this unique aspect of the book.

Author Bio
Sarah E. Ladd received the 2011 Genesis Award in historical romance for The Heiress of Winterwood. She is a graduate of Ball State University and has more than ten years of marketing experience. Sarah lives in Indiana with her amazing family and spunky Golden Retriever.


Connect with Sarah

Website | Facebook | Twitter

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

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Book Spotlight and Giveaway - Hightail It to Kinsey Falls by Gayle Leeson

Book Synopsis
All work and no play make Jade a dull girl.

Jade Burt can do without her grandmother’s meddling in her love life. But when Millie finds an abandoned baby possum, it leads her to Caleb Young. Caleb would be perfect for Jade! When Jade meets Caleb, it’s hard to argue with her grandmother’s choice. Still, Jade is determined to push Caleb away, but his friendship with Millie concerns her. What if he’s a slick con man trying to take advantage of a sweet old lady? Jade needs to figure Caleb out before he breaks her grandmother’s heart…and Jade’s too!
Author Bio
Gayle Leeson is a pseudonym for Gayle Trent. I also write as Amanda Lee. As Gayle Trent, I write the Daphne Martin Cake Mystery series and the Myrtle Crumb Mystery series. As Amanda Lee, I write the Embroidery Mystery series.

I live in Virginia with my family, which includes my own “Angus” who is not an Irish wolfhound but a Great Pyrenees who provides plenty of inspiration for the character of Mr. O’Ruff. I’m having a blast writing this new series! But, never fear, I’m also working on a new cozy mystery series as well. 

Website: Facebook:

Purchase Links:
Amazon Kobo Apple

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, May 21, 2018

Book Spotlight and Cover Reveal - The Blue by Nancy Bilyeau

What would you do to possess the most coveted color in the world? The year is 1758, and a headstrong woman artist, 24-year-old Genevieve Planche, is caught up in a high-stakes race to discover the ultimate color, one that threatens to become as deadly as it is lucrative. When Genevieve's mission is complicated by her falling in love with the chemist behind the formula, she discovers the world of blue is filled with ruthless men and women and how high the stakes really are. The story sweeps readers from the worlds of the silk-weaving refugees of London’s Spitalfields and the luxury-obsessed drawing rooms of Grosvenor Square to the porcelain factory of Derby and, finally, magnificent Sevres Porcelain in the shadow of Versailles. And running through it all: the dangerous allure of the color blue.

"Bilyeau’s sumptuous tale of mystery and intrigue transports the reader into the heart of the 18th century porcelain trade—where the price of beauty was death"’ E.M. Powell, author of the Stanton & Barling medieval mystery series.

Praise for Nancy Bilyeau's Fiction

"Bilyeau deftly weaves extensive historical detail throughout, but the real draw of this suspenseful novel is its juicy blend of lust, murder, conspiracy, and betrayal." —Review of The Crown published in Oprah, which made the book a pick of the month.

 "English history buffs and mystery fans alike will revel in Nancy Bilyeau's richly detailed sequel to The Crown." —Parade magazine review of The Chalice

 "The story in The Tapestry is fiction, but it is a sheer joy to have Henry’s court recreated with an eye to the reality of its venality, rather than the trendy Wolf Hall airbrushing of its violence and rapacity. The tone is always modern and light, but with none of the clumsy thigh-slapping faux period language. Bilyeau’s writing is effortless, vivid, gripping and poignant, bringing Tudor England to life with sparkling zest. If you want to see the Reformation from the side of the English people rather than the self-serving court, it is tough to do better than this trilogy." —Review of The Tapestry by Dominic Selwood, published in The Catholic Herald

 "As always, Bilyeau has done her historical homework, bringing the drama, and details of Henry VIII’s court to life. You’re basically watching the rise and fall of Catherine Howard, Thomas Cromwell, Walter Hungerford and Thomas Culpepper through Joanna’s eyes. Her private moments with the king were among my favorites in this book. This a true historical thriller. It’s a Tudor novel full of suspense, intrigue, brutality, and death. It’s a well researched page turner. If you’re looking for an exciting historical read, this will be on your list." —Review of The Tapestry by Sandra Alvarez for

 “Nancy Bilyeau's passion for history infuses her books and transports us back to the dangerous world of Tudor England. Vivid characters and gripping plots are at the heart of this wonderful trilogy. Warmly recommended!” —Alison Weir, author of The Marriage Game: A Novel of Queen Elizabeth I and many bestsellers

 "Nancy Bilyeau's polished, inventive debut has all the ingredients of the best historical fiction: a broad cast of characters, well-imagined settings, and vivid story-telling... In Joanna Stafford, Bilyeau has given us a memorable character who is prepared to risk her life to save what she most values, while Stafford's desperate search for a lost religious relic will satisfy even the most ardent mystery fans." —Deborah Harkness, author of A Discovery of Witches

Author Bio
Nancy Bilyeau has worked on the staffs of InStyle, DuJour, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, and Good Housekeeping. She is currently a regular contributor to Town & Country and the editor of the digital magazine The Big Thrill. Her screenplays have placed in several prominent industry competitions. Two scripts reached the semi-finalist round of the Nicholl Fellowships of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

A native of the Midwest, she earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan. THE CROWN, her first novel and an Oprah pick, was published in 2012; the sequel, THE CHALICE, followed in 2013. The third in the trilogy, THE TAPESTRY, was published by Touchstone in 2015. The books have also been published by Orion in the UK and seven other countries.

Nancy lives in New York City with her husband and two children.

For more information, please visit Nancy Bilyeau's website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.


Friday, May 18, 2018

Dear Abby - Linky and Summer Break

Dear Friends,

I am planning to take a Summer break from blogging!   My Momma will post a note here next week, and then we are off for the Summer.  I am hoping for a fun Summer, with lots of sunshine and time to relax.

I wanted to share a few of my favorite links from this year's blog posts with you.

I enjoyed looking at favorite dog movies.  A few of my favorites:
The Ugly Dachshund
Lady and the Tramp
One Hundred and One Dalmatians
The Wizard of Oz

Here is a glimpse of an exciting new Dachshund museum in Germany!

If you enjoy vintage dog imagery, you'll find some here:
Vintage Easter cards featuring dogs
Vintage dachshund Valentines

Close up from the Dairy Queen picture above -- that Dachshund is ready for her ice cream (and so am I!).

I hope you enjoy these links, and I hope you have a wonderful Summer!  I look forward to catching up with you again after Labor Day!


Abby xoxoxo