Friday, September 20, 2019

Dear Abby - Videos Abby Likes: Dachshund Plays Pinball

Dear Friends,

I have a short and sweet share for you today.  

I was surfing the Internet, as I sometimes do on a lazy afternoon, and I found a video of a dachshund playing pinball. Her name is Ellie and she gets very excited about the little silver, fast moving ball in the pinball machine.  I am pretty sure she thinks she will capture that ball for her own!   Ellie is a happy little dog with lots and lots of energy.  (I think she may still be a puppy.)   I showed this to my Momma and she liked it ... so I hope you do too.

This video made me happy and I hope it makes you smile too.

I'll be back next week.  Hope your weekend is wonderful!


Abby xoxoxo

Book Review and Giveaway - Buried in the Stacks: A Haunted Library Mystery by Allison Brook

Book Synopsis
Librarian Carrie Singleton is building a haven, but one of her neighbors is misbehavin’. Can resident spirit Evelyn help Carrie catch the culprit who made her a ghost?
In winter, the Haunted Library is a refuge for homeless townspeople. When a group purchases a vacant house to establish a daytime haven for the homeless, Carrie offers the library as a meeting place for the Haven House committee, but quickly learns that it may be used for illegal activities.

As the new Sunshine Delegate, Carrie heads to the hospital to visit her cantankerous colleague, Dorothy, who had fallen outside the local supermarket. She tells Carrie that her husband tried to kill her–and that he murdered her Aunt Evelyn, the library’s resident ghost, six years earlier.

And then Dorothy is murdered–run off the road as soon as she returns to work. Evelyn implores Carrie to find her niece’s killer, but that’s no easy task: Dorothy had made a hobby of blackmailing her neighbors and colleagues. Carrie, Evelyn, and Smoky Joe the cat are on the case, but are the library cards stacked against them?
My Review
Buried in the Stacks is set in small town Connecticut. Carrie Singleton works at a library haunted by a kindly librarian ghost, Evelyn, whom she has befriended.  In this cozy mystery, Carrie faces several issues at once.  The library suddenly has become a daytime refuge for homeless people in the community.  Several library patrons are upset about this and Carrie steps in to find a way to help the homeless people.  In the meantime, her longtime antagonist, Dorothy, the library's reference librarian, dies under mysterious circumstances.  Dorothy was the niece of Carrie's ghostly friend, Evelyn, and Carrie begins to investigate both their deaths -- Dorothy's recent passing and Evelyn's from some years ago.

This book is the third in the Haunted Library Mystery series.  I absolutely love this series of mysteries, and the third volume did not disappoint!

I admire Carrie's sensitivity and compassion as she works to not just solve mysteries but also help others.  Her friendship with the ghostly Evelyn continues to be a strong point in the books.

I also enjoy the small town setting and especially the library locale.  I like Carrie's friends, her boyfriend Dylan, and her cat Smoky Joe.

The mystery was well written and it kept me guessing.  The character development in this series is especially strong, and that makes the mysteries a bit more substantive to me.  The social issue of homelessness was handled with sensitivity in this novel.

I enthusiastically recommend Buried in the Stacks - and the Haunted Library Mystery series - to other cozy fans.  I am already looking forward to reading the next book in the series!

Author Bio
Allison Brook is the pseudonym for Marilyn Levinson, who writes mysteries, romantic suspense, and novels for kids. She lives on Long Island and enjoys traveling, reading, watching foreign films, doing Sudoku and dining out. She especially loves to visit with her grandchildren on FaceTime.

Author Links
My Amazon page:
Purchase Links – AmazonB&NKoboIndieBound

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Thursday, September 19, 2019

Book Review and Giveaway - A Curio Killing (A Keepsake Cove Mystery) by Mary Ellen Hughes

Book Synopsis
Callie finds treble in Keepsake Cove when her ex-boyfriend is framed for murder . . .  

Callie Reed is looking forward to her first Keepsake Cove spring festival. But her excitement dims considerably when she learns that her ex-boyfriend, Hank, will be performing with one of the hired country-western bands. Callie vows to keep her distance, but that changes when the band’s manager, Bobby Linville, is found dead, killed with the music box Hank bought at Callie’s shop.

Hank is soon singing a sad tune in a detention center with Callie his only lifeline. Though thoroughly aware of his many faults, she knows violence and murder aren’t in his blood. But that means one of her fellow Keepsake Cove residents must be hiding a dark secret—something Callie desperately needs to uncover. 

My Review
Callie Reed lives in the small town of Keepsake Cove, where she owns a music box shop and sometimes helps solve mysteries!  When her musician ex-boyfriend Hank comes to town, Callie is not glad to see him reappear.  She is even more upset, though, when he is wrongly accused of killing the band's manager.  She decides to help clear Hank's name, even though doing so puts her in jeopardy.

A Curio Killing is book 3 of the Keepsake Cove mystery series.  I really enjoy this series.  I especially love the setting.  As described in the book:

"But she still had plenty to do just readying her music box shop for the influx of new customers expected to flood the streets of the Cove during the spring festival. But that, of course, was the whole point of it— bringing people to the area, some of whom might not yet have discovered Keepsake Cove and its bevy of specialty shops, each featuring a unique type of collectible item. Delia’s Shake It Up! offered a huge variety of collectible salt and pepper shakers. On the other side of Callie’s shop, Karl Eggers’s Carlectibles carried classic and collectible model cars. Then there were Bill and Laurie Hart’s Kids at Heart vintage toy shop, Orlena Martin’s Treasured Boxes, and many, many more. The Cove was a section of the town of Mapleton, which featured the more routine though essential kind of places, such as grocery stores and banks. But Keepsake Cove was a collector’s dream, and more than one shopper had been hooked after a single visit to the area." (Kindle location 67)

The mystery in this novel was interesting.  I liked the glimpses it gave us into Callie's life before Keepsake Cove, and I appreciated her loyalty to her ex-boyfriend Hank, and her determination to clear his name.  There were a number of plausible suspects and the mystery kept me guessing until the end.

Callie took a couple of big risks that had me saying "no!!!" to the book, but I think it is part of her character to leap before thinking at times.

I liked Callie's relationship with Brian (would actually like to read more about their romance) and her friendships with Delia and Lyssa and the other shop owners.

This novel has a leisurely pace that suits the charming small town setting.  It was not a fast read but it is one that I really enjoyed.  I look forward to reading the next book in this series and recommend A Curio Killing (and this entire series) to cozy mystery readers, and especially to anyone who enjoys picturesque small town settings.

Author Bio
Mary Ellen Hughes is the bestselling author of the Pickled and Preserved Mysteries, the Craft Corner Mysteries, and the Maggie Olenski Mysteries, along with several short stories. The Keepsake Cove series begins with A Fatal Collection and continues with A VINTAGE DEATH and A CURIO KILLING.  

Author Links
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Twitter –
GoodReads –
Purchase Links – Amazon    B&N  Midnight Ink     Mystery Love Company Booksellers    BAM    IndieBound

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Friday, September 13, 2019

Dear Abby - 15 Dachshund Memes

Dear Friends,

I hope you are having a good week in your corner of the world.  It is hot, hot, HOT in my corner of the world!  It has been up into the mid- to upper- 90's this week, and I don't like it a bit.  It certainly shortens outside walk times.  I have been enjoying air conditioning and time indoors.  I also have been going through some of my dachshund memes, and wanted to share with you.  Some of these have been posted in Doxieposse Pals, the Facebook page where I help.  (And yes, you should certainly join us there!)

This dachshund is waiting for an unplanned treat:

And this one is thirsty:

Yes, this is true:

Fritos!  I have heard this before.

 Little happy pills:

This is a nice message:

 The Bounty hunter!  I like that!

 Who could resist:

 As it should be:

 This is a fun one!

 This would be a good motto!

 I am suddenly craving donuts -- not sure why!

 I don't do this but I have heard that it is done.

 I hope this dachshund gets to go to PetSmart after all:

 This is by far my favorite of all.  (My Momma loves it too!)

I hope you enjoyed these!  Wishing you a good weekend and hoping you are already having some cool almost-fall weather.


Abby xoxoxo

Book Review - State of Lies by Siri Mitchell

Book Synopsis
The secrets of those closest to us can be the most dangerous of all.
Months after her husband, Sean, is killed by a hit-and-run driver, physicist Georgie Brennan discovers he lied to her about where he had been going that day. A cryptic notebook, a missing computer, and strange noises under her house soon have her questioning everything she thought she knew.
With her job hanging by a thread, her son struggling to cope with his father’s death, and her four-star general father up for confirmation as the next Secretary of Defense, Georgie quickly finds herself tangled in a political intrigue that has no clear agenda and dozens of likely villains. Only one thing is clear: someone wants her dead too.

The more she digs for the truth, the fewer people she can trust.

Not her friends.

Not her parents.

Maybe not even herself.

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble | Thomas Nelson

My Review
Georgie Brennan is a physicist living in the D.C. area with her husband Sean and young son Sam.  When Sean dies in a tragic accident, her life is turned upside down.  Her father is being considered for Secretary of Defense, but she finds herself in danger that she doesn't understand.  She works to solve the mystery before it is too late.

State of Lies is a fast paced thriller.  The jeopardy that Georgie faces is intense and changeable.  I found it an exciting read and stayed up late two nights in a row reading because I couldn't put the book down!

Georgie is an interesting character.  She is a brilliant physicist and uses her deductive skills to solve the mystery she faces.  I know very little about physics, but the analogies and descriptions with physics terms are beautifully worded, and I think readers with a science background will especially appreciate them.  I loved reading passages like:

"I was missing a piece of the puzzle. ... It was like the gap between quantum physics and general relativity.  The first described the smallest particles in the universe while the second explained its vastness.  The problem was, neither could describe the other.  When you tried to join them together, the theories fell apart.  We all kept hoping that someone, somewhere could figure out a way to bridge the two and reconcile both branches of physics.  There had to be a solution.  We just didn't know what it was" (p. 293).

I found the story of Georgie and Sean, as it unfolds after his accident, particularly interesting.  Without giving spoilers, she realized that she didn't know some basic things about the man she married.  For instance,

"So that was the challenge.  How could I unknow the Sean I'd married?  How could I re-see the man I'd once known?  I needed to look, not for clues, but for something obvious.  Something, perhaps, that had been there the whole time" (p. 42). 

There is a political aspect to the mystery in this book, and the political pieces of the puzzle were intriguing;  they brought another level to the story and added extra twists and turns.

I highly recommend State of Lies for fans of well written mysteries and thrillers.  Just set aside some extra time -- this is a book that will keep you up late reading!
Author Bio
Siri Mitchell is the author of 14 novels. She has also written 2 novels under the pseudonym of Iris Anthony. She graduated from the University of Washington with a business degree and has worked in various levels of government. As a military spouse, she lived all over the world, including Paris and Tokyo. Siri is a big fan of the semi-colon but thinks the Oxford comma is irritatingly redundant.

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