Friday, April 21, 2017

Dear Abby - Pet Related Collections: Rebecca's Dachshund Collection

Dear Friends,

I hope you are having a wonderful week!  I'm excited to begin a series of posts about pet related collections today.  

Rebecca has stopped by to share her dogs and pictures of her dachshund collection here.

Abby:  Rebecca, I'm so glad you visited today!  Could you please tell my readers about your dogs?

Rebecca:  I have a dachshund named Freckles, now 11 years old, and a rescue (half dachshund and half Labrador Retriever) named Nadia, now 4 years old.

Freckles
Nadia
This is how I started. I never thought I'd like or get a dachshund but I wanted a short haired dog. So 11 years ago my husband brought Freckles to my work.  That's a baby picture of her.
Freckles as a puppy
Three and a half years ago we rescued a dog Nadia, now 4 years old.  She is a dachshund and Labrador mix.

Abby:  I loved hearing about Freckles and Nadia!  They are both so cute.  That baby picture of Freckles is adorable.  What do you collect?

Rebecca:  My collection started (see figurines on top shelf) maybe 3 or 4 years ago.  I started getting a catalogue from the Bradford Collection and that's how my collection started. I found the figurines on the bottom shelf about 4 or 5 months ago. 


The top shelf has figurines from the Bradford Collection and the figurines on the bottom shelf are from online.





Abby:  Thanks, Rebecca, for visiting!  I really enjoyed hearing about Freckles and Nadia, and seeing all your wonderful dachshund collectibles.

Friends, if you would like to leave a question for Rebecca, you can do so in the comments below.  If you would like to feature YOUR collection, please let me know that too (with your email).

Thanks, and have a wonderful weekend!

Love,
Abby xoxoxo

Book Review and Giveaway - The Hideaway by Lauren K. Denton

Book Synopsis
When her grandmother’s will wrenches Sara back home from New Orleans, she learns more about Margaret Van Buren in the wake of her death than she ever did in life.

After her last remaining family member dies, Sara Jenkins goes home to The Hideaway, her grandmother Mags’s ramshackle B&B in Sweet Bay, Alabama. She intends to quickly tie up loose ends then return to her busy life and thriving antique shop in New Orleans. Instead, she learns Mags has willed her The Hideaway and charged her with renovating it—no small task considering Mags’s best friends, a motley crew of senior citizens, still live there.

Rather than hurrying back to New Orleans, Sara stays in Sweet Bay and begins the biggest house-rehabbing project of her career. Amid Sheetrock dust, old memories, and a charming contractor, she discovers that slipping back into life at The Hideaway is easier than she expected.

Then she discovers a box Mags left in the attic with clues to a life Sara never imagined for her grandmother. With help from Mags’s friends, Sara begins to piece together the mysterious life of bravery, passion, and choices that changed Mags’s destiny in both marvelous and devastating ways.

When an opportunistic land developer threatens to seize The Hideaway, Sara is forced to make a choice—stay in Sweet Bay and fight for the house and the people she’s grown to love or leave again and return to her successful but solitary life in New Orleans.

Add to Goodreads badge

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

 

My Review

The Hideaway is a wonderful debut novel by Lauren K. Denton.  It tells the story of Sara, a single woman who owns a successful antique store in New Orleans.  When her grandmother Mags passes away suddenly, she discovers she has inherited her old Victorian bed and breakfast in Sweet Bay, Alabama.  


Mags discovered the bed and breakfast in 1960 when she was fleeing her unfaithful husband and an unhappy marriage.  Spending time there changes her life.  Sara also finds her life changed by the time she spends in Sweet Bay.


I really loved everything about this novel.  Sara and Mags are so likeable and sympathetic;  I found a hard time putting the book down at night because I wanted to know what would happen next with their stories.


This is a dual storyline book, set in the 1960's - 1970's (Mags) and the present (Sara).  The dual storylines are so well done.  I really enjoyed the way the author captured the different times and characters.

I loved the southern setting and the warm, nostalgic tone of this story.  This is a book about love, about family, about second chances, and finding yourself in unexpected ways.


I would love to read a sequel to The Hideaway because I want to know what happened next with these wonderful characters.  I recommend this book highly for fans of women's fiction, southern fiction, and uplifting summer reads.

Author Bio

Born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, Lauren K. Denton now lives with her husband and two daughters in Homewood, just outside Birmingham. In addition to her fiction, she writes a monthly newspaper column about life, faith, and how funny (and hard) it is to be a parent. On any given day, she’d rather be at the beach with her family and a stack of books. The Hideaway is her first novel.

Connect with Lauren


Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Giveaway

One lucky reader will win a copy of The Hideaway.  This giveaway is open to the U.S. and Canada, and it will end at midnight on April 28.  The winner will be notified by email and needs to respond within 48 hours.  The author or her publicist will mail the book directly to the winner. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

Monday, April 17, 2017

Book Review and Giveaway - NKJV The Woman's Study Bible

You're invited to receive God's truth for balance, hope, and transformation in the fully revised and redesigned The NKJV Woman's Study Bible. The new edition features a beautiful, full-color redesign and poignantly reveals the Word of God with Scripture insights and the contributions of more than eighty women from a wide variety of ethnic, denominational, educational, and occupational backgrounds. Special features designed to speak to a woman's heart appear throughout the Bible text, revealing Scripture-based insights about how godly womanhood grows from a woman's identity as a Christ-follower and a child of the Kingdom.

My Review
When I first saw The Woman's Study Bible, I knew it was a very special Bible.  It is big and beautifully designed, with a lovely cloth floral cover.  The floral motif continues on the first few presentation pages, and at the top of each book of the Bible.

There are several special pages at the beginning of the Bible, including a Ketubah Marriage contract (traditional Jewish marriage contract), Family History to fill out, Special Family Memories, and page to list My Spiritual Mothers.

There are several articles about women and the Bible after the preface.  The contributors are women from diverse backgrounds.

This is truly a study Bible.  There is fascinating information to study at the beginning of each book of the Bible:  title, author, date, background, themes, outline.  Pages have footnotes with more information.  There are also short sections within each book of the Bible for more detailed reading.  For instance, in Genesis there are sections on Sarah, Hagar, Rebekah, Dinah, and more.

Between the Old and New Testaments there is a section with fascinating information like Flowers of the Bible, Vegetables of the Bible, Bitter Herbs of the Bible, etc.

The New Testament is red letter, with the words of Christ in red.  This is the NKJV (New King James Version) translation, which is very readable and also preserves a lot of the poetic language of the traditional KJV translation.  The font is 11 point, which I find easy to read.  The Bible lays flat as you open it, so you can set it on a desk or table and read it easily.

There is a substantial appendix including Money and Measurements of the Bible, Index, Concordance, and Maps.  I particularly like the Index, where you can look up people, places, or topics (i.e. Peter's Mother-in-Law, Pentecost, Prayer, Praise).

The Woman's Study Bible would be a perfect Bible for daily studies, and it also would be a really special gift.  I am very impressed with the beautiful quality of this book and the loving scholarship that is included for study.

This spring, cultivate your heart's spiritual roots and enter to win the Grow in the Word Giveaway!


One grand prize winner will receive:
Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on April 27. The winner will be announced April 28 on the Litfuse blog.


I received a copy of this book from Litfuse.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Dear Abby - Vintage Easter Cards with Dogs

Dear Friends,

I hope you are having a good week!  It is beautiful Spring weather here and I am looking forward to Easter weekend.  I thought you might enjoy sharing some vintage Easter cards today.  They all include dogs!

A little dachshund helps a girl with the ribbon on a giant Easter egg on this vintage postcard.


A little yellow chick sits on an Easter egg and watches a dachshund on this vintage postcard.


A dachshund and a Jack Russell Terrier chase a bunny rabbit up a giant egg. (Vintage postcard)


Two cute dachshunds find some flowers.  (Vintage postard)


This is a RPPC (real photo postcard) featuring a little girl with a dog and an Easter basket.


Vintage postcard -- a dog surprises a chick!


Vintage postcard -- a dog is surprised by a chick who has just hatched.


Vintage Easter postcard - did this dog hatch from the giant Easter egg?


On this vintage postcard a dog climbs on top of two big Easter eggs.


A bulldog makes friends with a chick on this vintage postcard.


This vintage Easter card is for "daughter and her husband."  A cocker spaniel lounges in a big straw hat.


A Scottish Terrier pulls an Easter egg carriage on this vintage card.


A hound dog has a gift for the Easter Parade on this Mid-Century vintage card.


This is one of my favorites!  A sweet puppy sits outside of a cute storybook cottage on this vintage Easter card.


I hope you enjoyed these vintage Easter cards, and I wish you a wonderful holiday weekend!

Next week I will begin my new series about pet collectibles.  If you collect any pet themed items, I would love to include your pictures at the blog!  Just let me know (with your email) in the comments.  Thanks!

Love,

Abby xoxoxo

Book Review - The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

Book Synopsis
Set at the end of World War II, in a crumbling Bavarian castle that once played host to all of German high society, a powerful and propulsive story of three widows whose lives and fates become intertwined—an affecting, shocking, and ultimately redemptive novel from the author of the New York Times Notable Book The Hazards of Good Breeding. 

Amid the ashes of Nazi Germany’s defeat, Marianne von Lingenfels returns to the once-grand castle of her husband’s ancestors, an imposing stone fortress now fallen into ruin following years of war. The widow of a resister murdered in the failed July 20, 1944, plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, Marianne plans to uphold the promise she made to her husband’s brave conspirators: to find and protect their wives, her fellow resistance widows.

First Marianne rescues six-year-old Martin, the son of her dearest childhood friend, from a Nazi reeducation home. Together, they make their way across the smoldering wreckage of their homeland to Berlin, where Martin’s mother, the beautiful and naive Benita, has fallen into the hands of occupying Red Army soldiers. Then she locates Ania, another resister’s wife, and her two boys, now refugees languishing in one of the many camps that house the millions displaced by the war.

As Marianne assembles this makeshift family from the ruins of her husband’s resistance movement, she is certain their shared pain and circumstances will hold them together. But she quickly discovers that the black-and-white, highly principled world of her privileged past has become infinitely more complicated, filled with secrets and dark passions that threaten to tear them apart. Eventually, all three women must come to terms with the choices that have defined their lives before, during, and after the war—each with their own unique share of challenges.

Written with the devastating emotional power of The Nightingale, Sarah’s Key, and The Light Between Oceans, Jessica Shattuck’s evocative and utterly enthralling novel offers a fresh perspective on one of the most tumultuous periods in history. Combining piercing social insight and vivid historical atmosphere, The Women in the Castle is a dramatic yet nuanced portrait of war and its repercussions that explores what it means to survive, love, and, ultimately, to forgive in the wake of unimaginable hardship.

 

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

 

My Review

The Women in the Castle tells the story of three women, all German widows after World War II.  Marianne is the wife of a resistance fighter.  She promised her husband she would help the wives of other resisters.  Benita was married to Marianne's best friend from childhood.  She is beautiful and naive.  Ania was liberated from a camp at the end of the war.  All of these women have children.  They come together to share their lives in an old castle. 

 

The stories of these women intertwine.  The book moves back and forth in time - before the war, during the war, and after the war.  It has an intriguing manner of storytelling where little bits of the women's individual stories are told in different narratives.  As you read on, the details are filled in.

 

Jessica Shattuck does a masterful job at delineating these characters.  They are well developed and very different from each other.  She also does a fine job at the transitions of time in this novel.

 

I am fascinated by the World War II time period and enjoy fiction set during the 1940's.  This novel, set in Germany, deals with very dark times and the details are often disturbing.  (As an animal lover and vegetarian there was a scene involving a horse that was very hard to read.)

 

There are also moments of beauty, like the gifts that the German children in these families receive from American Quakers.  I found this so moving: 

 

"They were full of fabulous items:  oranges, toothbrushes, andy bars, a tin of something called Kraft cheese, and chewing gum.  These were accompanied by handwritten cards from Amerian hildren - pictures drawn in bright wax crayons.  Martin's card had a drawing of a fat brown-and-white cat with a red-and-white striped bow.  It read As a token of our country's goodwill and it was signed by Amy (age eight) and Roger (age six).  Martin tried to imagine Amy and Roger and the box of colors they used to create this card.  He pictured them wearing crisp store-bought clothing and new shoes with thick soles and no worn-out places.  He was sure they each owned their own bicycle and left food uneaten on their plates.  Martin pictured this not so much with envy as with wonder -- what an amazing thing to be an American!" (p. 141).

 

The Women in the Castle offers a unique look at history, powerfully told.  It is unique, moving, often heartbreaking, and unforgettable.

Author Bio
 
Jessica Shattuck is the award-winning author of The Hazards of Good Breeding, which was a New York Times Notable Book and finalist for the PEN/Winship Award, and Perfect Life. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, New Yorker, Glamour, Mother Jones, Wired, and The Believer, among other publications. A graduate of Harvard University, she received her MFA from Columbia University. She lives with her husband and three children in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Find out more about Jessica at her website and connect with her on Facebook.

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