Monday, May 22, 2017

Book Spotlight and Giveaway - Watching The Detectives by Julie Mulhern

Book Synopsis
Ellison Russell wanted a decorator, not a corpse. Too bad she finds Mrs. White in the study killed with a revolver. Things go from bad to worse when she finds Mr. White in the dining room killed with a candlestick. With so many bodies, is it any wonder Detective Anarchy Jones’ new partner considers Ellison a suspect?

With the country club gossips talking a mile a minute, an unexpected cocktail party, a visit from Aunt Sis, and a romantic decision, Ellison hardly has time to think about murder. Unfortunately, the killer has plenty of time to think about her.

Books in the Country Club Murders Humorous Mystery Series:

Author Bio
Julie Mulhern is the USA Today bestselling author of The Country Club Murders. She is a Kansas City native who grew up on a steady diet of Agatha Christie. She spends her spare time whipping up gourmet meals for her family, working out at the gym and finding new ways to keep her house spotlessly clean–and she’s got an active imagination. Truth is–she’s an expert at calling for take-out, she grumbles about walking the dog and the dust bunnies under the bed have grown into dust lions. 

Author Links
Webpage –
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Goodreads – 

Purchase Links
Amazon Paperback  Amazon Kindle  kobo  B&N

(5) E-Copy of The Deep End by Julie Mulhern
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Friday, May 19, 2017

Dear Abby - Animal Related Collection - Beth's Whale Collection

Dear Friends,

Welcome back to my blog!   I am happy to have a visit from my friend Beth today.  She has brought a really fun animal collection to share!   You may remember Beth from her previous visits to tell her cat Scotty's dramatic rescue story and to share the story of her beautiful bunny rabbits, Cadbury and Woodbury.

Abby:  Thank you for visiting, Beth!  I heard you have a wonderful whale collection.  How did you get interested in whales?

Beth:  I fell in love with whales the summer before I turned 15, when my parents took me to Hawaii for our vacation. Whales seemed so beautiful and majestic to me. I'm interested in every kind, but I think my favorite is the humpback whale. 

Abby:  They are really beautiful!   What whale treasures did you bring to share?

Beth:  Here are the whales in my glass front cabinet.

I have some prints of whales (Prince of Wales ha!) up:

These are in our "beach bathroom."

Some of my mugs:

And some of my books:

I cross-stitched this.

Abby: Beth, thank you so much for visiting!  I love your whale collection.  Your cross-stitched picture is especially beautiful! 

I also would love to share photos of Beth's pets.  Here is Sully, his cat, and Scotty: 

Scotty (the princess)



They are all so beautiful!  Beth, thank you again!  I really enjoyed your visit today.

Friends, if you would like to leave a message for Beth, you can do so in the comments below.  If you would like to share pictures of your animal related collection, please let me know (with your email). 

Thank you so much for visiting!


Abby xoxoxo

Book Review and Giveaway - True to You by Becky Wade

Book Synopsis
Do opposites really attract? John and Nora might just be the perfect match. Find out in True to You, book one in Becky Wade's new series! Genealogist and historical village owner Nora Bradford has decided that burying her nose in her work and her books is far safer than romance in the here and now. Former Navy SEAL and Medal of Honor recipient John Lawson is a modern-day man, usually 100 percent focused on the present. But when he's diagnosed with an inherited condition, he's forced to dig into the secrets of his past and his adoption as an infant, enlisting Nora to help him uncover the identity of his birth mother. Finding the answers they're seeking will test the limits of their identity, their faith, and their devotion to one another.

My Review
Nora Bradford is a genealogist who runs a historical village.  She meets John Lawson, a former Navy SEAL who wants to find his mother to find answers about a new health concern.  They seem like opposites, but find much in common through a growing friendship and shared faith.  John already has a girlfriend, and Nora is wary of relationships after a heartbreak three years ago.  Will they find a way to make romance happen?  

I loved this book!  Nora was a character that I truly liked - and related to.  She is the kind, smart middle sister in her family, unlike her creative and beautiful older and younger sisters.  I really liked the family dynamics in this book as well.

John is also such a strong and sympathetic character.  I admired him, and also really was pulling for romance between Nora and John!

I liked Nora's fascination for a Downton Abbey-ish series, and the way it played into the story.  I enjoyed the way the chapters ended with texts and Facebook messages.

I found the genealogy and mystery of John's mother very interesting as well.  I loved seeing Nora and John work together to solve the mystery as their connection deepened.

True to You is the first book in a new series, A Bradford Sisters Romance.  I am already looking forward to the next books in this series.  This was a delightful, well written novel with characters I really cared about.  I can't wait to read more!

Recommended for fans of women's fiction, contemporary romance, and Christian fiction.

Celebrate the launch of Becky Wade's new series by entering to win a fabulous prize pack and $100 cash card!

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of True to You
  • A $100 Visa cash card
  • A prize pack hand-picked by Becky

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on May 30. The winner will be announced May 31 on the Litfuse blog.

I received a copy of this book from Litfuse.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Dear Abby - Pet Related Collections: Barbara's Dachshunds, Guinea Pigs, and Cats

Dear Friends,

I am delighted to introduce you to my friend Barbara.  You may remember her from visits she's made in the past - telling the rescue story of Zeus the cat, remembering her beloved dachshunds Auggie and Billy, and introducing her pet family: Oz the dachshund, Zeus the cat, and guinea pigs Radar and Magenta.

Abby:  Barbara, thank you for visiting.  How did you begin your pet related collection?

Barbara:  Our first dachshund, Auggie, joined our family in February 1995. Shortly after his arrival my passion for collecting "all things dachshund" started. At first it was just the odd thing here and there. Dachshund items seemed more difficult to find at that time.  Over the years my love for our big red long dogs grew, as did my collections. I am always on the hunt for something new. But, now friends and family also contribute dachshund treasures for holidays and special occasions. It might not be the most organized of collections, but we are surrounded by bits and pieces all through our home. No matter where we stand there is a dachshund sharing our space. Whether they bark or just represent our much loved canine family members, they always make me smile and help to brighten the darkest of days!

Abby:  Oh, I like that!  Very well put.  What do you collect?

Barbara:  Everything tastes better when served in a dachshund mug. True confession: I always take my biggest dachshund mug with me when we travel and stay in a hotel. I like to enjoy my morning coffee and afternoon tea this way!

Every dachshund home needs one of these. Enter at your own risk.   😉

Many of these special treasures were given to me by friends and family. They all hold a special place in my heart.

Here is one of our most loved dachshund treasures!  This is Low Rider. He is an all time favourite in our family. When you push a button, he plays the song after which he was named. His body moves up and down, his head nods and his tails wags. No one can watch without smiling and laughing. He might be meant for Christmas, but he stays out in our dining room all year long!

I have seen people on social media who have dachshund ornament themed Christmas trees! So far this is my collection, but I hope to find more. Every year I scour the shops, but this is all I have found so far. They are always placed front and centre on the Christmas tree though.

Books, bags, stuffies and even a cushion! Never too many and I love them all!

Here are a few items that are representative of our other pet family members, guinea pigs Radar & Magenta, and kitty Zeus.  Guinea pig collectibles seem harder to come by. Our kitty collection has just begun!

Abby:  Thank you so much for visiting, Barbara!  I really loved seeing your collection.  You have a great variety of pet treasures.  I have to admit, I especially like the fun Low Rider dachshund!

I can't resist adding photos of Barbara's beautiful fur kids.


Dear friends, you can leave a message for Barbara in the comments below.  If you would like to feature your own pet collection, please let me know in the comments too (with your email - thanks!)

Thanks for visiting!  I hope you have a great weekend.


Abby xoxoxo

Book Review - The Marriage Bureau by Penrose Halson

Book Synopsis
A riveting glimpse of life and love during and after World War II—a heart-warming, touching, and thoroughly absorbing true story of a world gone by.

In the spring of 1939, with the Second World War looming, two determined twenty-four-year-olds, Heather Jenner and Mary Oliver, decided to open a marriage bureau. They found a tiny office on London’s Bond Street and set about the delicate business of matchmaking. Drawing on the bureau’s extensive archives, Penrose Halson—who many years later found herself the proprietor of the bureau—tells their story, and those of their clients.

From shop girls to debutantes; widowers to war veterans, clients came in search of security, social acceptance, or simply love. And thanks to the meticulous organization and astute intuition of the Bureau’s matchmakers, most found what they were looking for.

Penrose Halson draws from newspaper and magazine articles, advertisements, and interviews with the proprietors themselves to bring the romance and heartbreak of matchmaking during wartime to vivid, often hilarious, life in this unforgettable story of a most unusual business.


Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

My Review
The Marriage Bureau is a charming nonfiction book about a matrimonial service started in London, 1939 by two young women, Heather Jenner and Mary Oliver.  The book begins by telling about their lives before they started the Bureau, and then their early adventures in matchmaking.  When they first started they had a small office and clients had to climb a ladder and wait on the roof!   Each chapter tells about another adventure at the Bureau.  

I have to say again how charming this book is.  It evokes a fascinating time, the World War II homefront.  Heather and Mary are likeable people who have a knack for matchmaking and who really want to help others with their efforts.

The experiences recounted in the book vary, but many of the stories are heartwarming and often quite funny.  To give an example of the variety of stories in the book, you will meet a spy, a man who is identified as "The Sheikh," and a young woman who undergoes a makeover to find the life (and love) of her dreams.  The writing, by Penrose Halson, is lively and engaging.  The author took over The Marriage Bureau with her husband, so she has a real insight into the business and life of a matchmaker.

The Marriage Bureau concludes with an interesting section that includes Requirements of Female Clients 1939 - circa 1949, Requirements of Male Clients 1939 - circa 1949, Interviewers Comments (same time period), and Reading Group Questions.

I heartily recommend this delightful book to anyone interested in the 1940's, especially London during wartime.  It would make a wonderful group read, and I think it would generate some lively discussions!   The Marriage Bureau is a treat.

Author Bio
When Penrose was 25 and still unmarried, her mother sent her to the Katharine Allen Marriage & Advice Bureau.  Twenty years later, after a career in teaching, writing and editing, she and her management consultant husband Bill bought the Bureau.  They also acquired The Marriage Bureau, which had been set up in 1939 by two 24-year-olds.  As Bill had predicted, matchmaking suited Penrose down to the ground, and they remain happily in touch with many former clients who visit them in London.

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