Friday, September 25, 2020

Dear Abby - Videos Abby Likes: A Self-Feeding Basset Hound

Hi friends!

I hope you're having a great week.  I have had a busy one, but I wanted to stop by briefly to share a video I really liked.

One of my friends sent me this video of a basset hound who is self-feeding.  He carries his own food bowl around, climbs onto the sofa with it, and settles in to eat.  I think he's very smart!  I am a little too short to do this, so I'm very impressed.

I hope you enjoyed this little video!  I'll be back next week with something fun and animal related.

Have a good weekend!


Abby xoxoxo


Book Review - The Christmas Swap by Melody Carlson

My Review

Emma Daley lives in Arizona, where she works as a substitute teacher while trying to make it in the music business. Since her parents are overseas, she joins her best friend Gillian for a house swap over the Christmas holidays. She travels with Gillian's family to Colorado.  There she meets Tyler Prescott.  He is a successful songwriter, but Emma believes he is the caretaker for the beautiful mountain home she is visiting. As she learns to ski, plays music with Tyler, and spends time with him, she finds herself falling in love.  However, a jealous best friend and mistaken identity complicate romance.

I wanted to read The Christmas Swap because I have read several of Melody Carlson's Christmas novels and really enjoyed them.  Her books have a fun, light Hallmark movie feel.

I liked Emma as a protagonist.  She is sweet, kind (and diplomatic when needed!), and working hard to make a success in music.  I also liked Tyler.  They were a perfect match from first meeting, and I enjoyed their story.

However, I was not a fan of Emma's friend Gillian, who is a thoroughly unpleasant, difficult person.  (I can't imagine why Emma would want to be friends with her!)  Gillian's mother is just as bad.  Gillian is a very big part of this novel and she took some of the enjoyment for me.

I also didn't see as much of a Christmas theme as anticipated. The winter ski area sounded beautiful, and I liked the setting, but there was very little actually about the Christmas holidays.

This was a short read and very fast paced.  Readers looking for a light wintry romance will enjoy it.

Book Synopsis

All Emma Daley wants this holiday season is a white Christmas. But the young teacher and struggling musician sure can't find that in sunny Arizona. Luckily, there's someone living in a perfect mountain home in the Colorado Rockies looking to make a vacation trade.

West Prescott is an in-demand songwriter and talented musician who put his own singing career on hold to write songs for celebrity acts to perform. When his mother convinces him to do a vacation trade for Christmas, he never imagined one of the houseguests would be so sweet--or so strikingly pretty. Naturally, he decides to stick around, and to get better acquainted, he poses as the caretaker of his own house. But when Emma's friend Gillian discovers his true identity and sets her sights on him, things get . . . messy.

Author Bio

Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over 200 books with sales of more than 7 million, including many bestselling Christmas novellas, young adult titles, and contemporary romances. She received a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the...

Continue reading about Melody Carlson


Book Spotlight and Giveaway - Remember Me: A Spanish Civil War Novel by Mario Escobar

Book Spotlight

Amid the shadows of war, one family faces an impossible choice that will change their lives forever.

Madrid, 1934. Though the Spanish Civil War has not yet begun, the streets of Madrid have become dangerous for thirteen-year-old Marco Alcalde and his younger sisters, Isabel and Ana. When Marco’s parents align themselves against General Franco and his fascist regime, they have no inkling that their ideals will endanger them and everyone they love—nor do they predict the violence that is to come.

When the Mexican government promises protection to the imperiled children of Spain, the Alcaldes do what they believe is best: send their children, unaccompanied, across the ocean to the city of Morelia—a place they’ve never seen or imagined. Marco promises to look after his sisters in Mexico until their family can be reunited in Spain, but what ensues is a harrowing journey and a series of heartbreaking events. As the growing children work to care for themselves and each other, they feel their sense of home, family, and identity slipping further and further away. And as their memories of Spain fade and the news from abroad grows more grim, they begin to wonder if they will ever see their parents again or the glittering streets of the home they once loved.

Based upon the true stories of the Children of Morelia, Mario Escobar’s Remember Me—now available for the first time in English—explores the agony of war and paints a poignant portrait of one family’s sacrificial love and endurance.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

Author Bio

Mario Escobar Golderos has a degree in History, with an advanced studies diploma in Modern History. He has written numerous books and articles about the Inquisition, the Protestant Reformation, and religious sects. He is the executive director of an NGO and directs the magazine Nueva historia para el debate, in addition to being a contributing columnist in various publications. Passionate about history and its mysteries, Escobar has delved into the depths of church history, the different sectarian groups that have struggled therein, and the discovery and colonization of the Americas. He specializes in the lives of unorthodox Spaniards and Americans.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads



During the Blog Tour, we are giving away 5 copies of Remember Me by Mario Escobar! 


To enter, please use the Gleam form below. The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on September 29th. You must be 18 or older to enter.  

Remember Me


Friday, September 18, 2020

Dear Abby - Videos Abby Likes: Dog Gives His Brother a Hug

Dear Friends,

I hope you are having a good week!  We had a big rain event here this week.  Although we live inland, nowhere near the coast, we got some leftover rain from Hurricane Sally.  It kept me up one night but it moved out quickly!

I have a cute video to share with you this week.  It features two Golden Retriever brothers.  One of them steals the other one's chewy and he gives him a big hug to say he is sorry.  I love that moment!  

You'll find this super short video here:

I hope you enjoyed this little video smile.  I look forward to visiting with you again next week.


Abby xoxoxo


Book Review and Giveaway - Murder in the Bayou Boneyard: A Cajun Country Mystery by Ellen Byron

My Review

Maggie Crozat manages her family's historic bed and breakfast in Pelican, Louisiana.  Some distant relatives visit from Canada, coinciding with Halloween and a spooky local theater production.  When there is a mysterious death in the midst of all this activity, Maggie finds herself a suspect ... and is determined to clear her name.

I wanted to read Murder in the Bayou Boneyard because I have enjoyed the other books in this series. I like the Cajun setting and Maggie's life at the B&B.

This book starts with a list of characters, which I bookmarked and referred to several times while reading. Because there are several storylines that run through this novel, there are a lot of characters!  The cast of characters helped a lot.  (I wish more cozy authors would do this!)

I found a lot to enjoy in this mystery. I like Maggie and her relationship with Bo, her family (especially Gran's wedding planning!), the B&B setting, and the Halloween activities. I also liked learning a bit of Louisana folkore about the rougarou, a cross between a werewolf and vampire.

There was a lot going on in Murder in the Bayou Boneyard, and the story was a more leisurely read than usual for me as a result. I enjoyed all the storylines and wanted to keep them all straight!

The mystery was well written with several strong suspects. I guessed part but not all of the denouement, and enjoyed solving the mystery along with Maggie.

Murder on the Bayou Boneyard is a fun cozy mystery read (perfect for Halloween and fall!). I recommend it for fans of cozy mysteries, southern settings, and atmospheric mysteries. Readers will do best to start with the first book in the series and read through, as the story builds from book to book.

Book Synopsis

Maggie Crozat has the Halloween heebie-jeebies in USA Today bestselling and Agatha Award-winning author Ellen Byron’s howlingly funny sixth Cajun Country mystery. 

Maggie Crozat, proprietor of a historic Cajun Country B&B, prefers to let the good times roll. But hard times rock her hostelry when a new cell phone app makes it easy for locals to rent their spare rooms to tourists. With October–and Halloween–approaching, she conjures up a witch-crafty marketing scheme to draw visitors to Pelican, Louisiana. 

Five local plantation B&Bs host “Pelican’s Spooky Past” packages, featuring regional crafts, unique menus, and a pet costume parade. Topping it off, the derelict Dupois cemetery is the suitably sepulchral setting for the spine-chilling play Resurrection of a Spirit. But all the witchcraft has inevitably conjured something: her B&B guests are being terrified out of town by sightings of the legendary rougarou, a cross between a werewolf and vampire.

When, in the Dupois cemetery, someone costumed as a rougarou stumbles onstage during the play–and promptly gives up the ghost, the rougarou mask having been poisoned with strychnine, Maggie is on the case. But as more murders stack up, Maggie fears that Pelican’s spooky past has nothing on its bloodcurdling present. 

Author Bio

Ellen Byron’s Cajun Country Mysteries have won the Agatha award for Best Contemporary Novel and multiple Lefty awards for Best Humorous Mystery. Her Catering Hall Mystery series, written as Maria DiRico, launched with Here Comes the Body and was inspired by her real life. She’s an award-winning playwright and non-award-winning TV writer of comedies like WINGS, JUST SHOOT ME, and FAIRLY ODD PARENTS, but she considers her most impressive credit working as a cater-waiter for Martha Stewart. A native New Yorker who attended New Orleans’ Tulane University, she lives in Los Angeles with her husband, daughter, and rescue furbaby. Sign up for her newsletter at

Author Links






Purchase Links – Penguin Random HouseAmazonB&NKoboIndieBound


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