Monday, May 2, 2016

Music Monday - "She Makes Me Laugh" by The Monkees (2016)

The Monkees have a new song, and a new album coming out.  One of my friends sent me a link to this song and I have listened to it several times -- I absolutely love it.   "She Makes Me Laugh" was written by Rivers Cuomo from Weezer.  It is such a catchy little tune with a jangly bubblegum pop sound that is so much fun.   I also love the video, which has a unique and clever retro comic book motif.  Just watch and see!

I have always liked the Monkees.  I love all their retro songs, but have a special place in my heart for "Pleasant Valley Sunday" (which I think is a perfect pop song) and "Steppin' Stone."

I'd love to hear from you in the comments. What do you think of this new Monkees tune? Do you have a favorite of their songs?

Upcoming May Book Reviews

Hi all!

I have a lighter month of book reviews ahead.  I do have several spotlights and giveaways scheduled.

I love reviewing books, but am having a hard time juggling blogging, book reviews, work, and the rest of my (always busy!) life.  I am going to be reviewing just for a few publicists and book tour companies that I have worked with many times.  I do have a backlog of books here sent directly from authors and I will work those in as I can.

Scheduled for May:

The Dark Lady's Mask by Mary Sharratt (historical fiction involving Shakespeare)

Alice in Bed by Judith Hooper (historical fiction about Alice Jane, sister to Henry and William James)

June by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore (historical fiction about the granddaughter of an old time movie actress)

I look forward to talking books with you here in May!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Dear Abby - Meet Nuggi (A Rescued Pet Spotlight)

Dear Friends,

I am very excited today.  My rescue visitor, Nuggi, is a special friend.  We came from the same dachshund rescue group and lived in the same foster home!  

Nuggi is 8 years old.  He is a double dapple dachshund and such a handsome and very sweet boy!  I love his coloring.

Abby: What is your background and how did you end up in rescue?

Nuggi:   We don't know anything about my background. We heard that my former owner wanted to breed me, but couldn't because of my double dapple-ness.

As a result of my breeding, I only have one blue eye -- but it's a beautiful and wonderful eye! 

The foster home I came from had 10 doxies in it -- and I often had to defend myself because of my eye. Mommy can't believe this. Trish's Abby was one of my foster-mates -- she was always very sweet to me.

Abby:  How were your first days at your new home?

Nuggi:  From the moment the rescue lady handed me into my mommy's arms, I buried my head in the crook of her neck and knew I was home. 

She said she may as well have just taped me to her body, that's how much of a velcro boy I am. I explored the house & yard completely and tirelessly. And got to sleep in my mommy's arms all night long. Pure bliss!

Oh, by the way, both mommy & I found our "home" the minute my blue eye met her green eyes. It was immediate love.

Abby:  What are a few of your favorite things?  

Nuggi:  Some of my favorite things are squeaky furry toys. My most beloved one is a ladybug squeakee, followed by 2 teddy bear rescue-dog ones, and a birdie.

I also adore going for walks and manage to leave nothing unsniffed! 

And taking naps on the couch with my mom is the very best.

And I love my food and all my special apple and carrot time throughout the day. 

Abby:  Do you have any tips for people who want to adopt a rescue pet?

Nuggi:  I am just so entirely grateful and blessed that my mommy fell in love with me!  We both feel that rescuing a dog is a win-win situation for all concerned. Of course there are exceptions, but more than likely you will find the love of your life !

Abby:  Is there a rescue group you want to send a shout out to?

Nuggi:  The Rescue Group that found me is the one I'd send greetings to: ATDR, All Texas Dachshund Rescue.

My mom calls me her Rock, her Anchor. I don't think I'm much like a rock, but I know she means this in a very special way. We adore each other.

Nuggi, thank you so much for visiting!  It was so much fun catching up with you again here.  Momma and I are always extra happy to hear news of you, since we have a special rescue connection.  I join Nuggi in sending love, and love, and more love to ATDR!

Sigh!  I love Nuggi's happy story.   Dear readers, if you have a rescued pet you would like to spotlight here, please let me know.   You can also leave a message for Nuggi in the comments below, or just say "hi."  I love to hear from you!

Wishing you a great weekend.


Abby xoxoxo

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Book Review and Giveaway - The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder by Rachel McMaillan

Book Synopsis:
In 1910 Toronto, while other bachelor girls perfect their domestic skills and find husbands, two friends perfect their sleuthing skills and find a murderer.

Inspired by their fascination with all things Sherlock Holmes, best friends and flatmates Merinda and Jem launch a consulting detective business. The deaths of young Irish women lead Merinda and Jem deeper into the mire of the city's underbelly, where the high hopes of those dreaming to make a new life in Canada are met with prejudice and squalor.

While searching for answers, donning disguises, and sneaking around where no proper ladies would ever go, they pair with Jasper Forth, a police constable, and Ray DeLuca, a reporter in whom Jem takes a more than professional interest. Merinda could well be Toronto's premiere consulting detective, and Jem may just find a way to put her bachelor girlhood behind her forever---if they can stay alive long enough to do so.

Purchase a copy:
My Review:
The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder is such a fun, unique historical mystery.  Set in 1910 Toronto, this novel tells the story of two young women in their 20's who are so fascinated by Sherlock Holmes that they decide to become detectives.
The tone is light, and the story is a romp with both a mystery and a bit of romance (I loved reporter Ray DeLuca!).
The period piece details of this story are so nicely done, and they are sure to please fans of historical fiction.
Each chapter begins with a lovely cameo illustration and a quote from books that Merinda and Jem are reading.   There are even footnotes used for humorous effect.
I like the quiet way that faith is addressed in this novel, and the feminist overtones -- female detectives in 1910!
I recommend The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder for fans of historical fiction.  You are in for a treat!  I am looking forward to the next book in this series.
Author Bio:
Rachel McMillan is a keen history enthusiast and a lifelong bibliophile. When not writing or reading, she can most often be found drinking tea and watching British miniseries. Rachel lives in bustling Toronto, where she works in educational publishing and pursues her passion for art, literature, music, and theater.

Rachel is celebrating the release of The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder with a Murder Mystery Prize Pack giveaway (details below) and an author chat party on April 28!


One grand prize winner will receive:
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on 4/28. The winner will be announced at The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder Facebook party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Rachel and other readers, as well as for a chance to win other prizes!


RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK, TWITTER, or PINTEREST and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 28th!

I received a copy of this book from Litfuse in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Did You Know Tuesday: Fun Facts About Twister

Twister was a big hit at parties during my childhood.  It is a silly, fast paced game.  You have a vinyl mat on the floor with big colorful spots.  Players use the spinner (as seen below) and then put their hand or foot on the corresponding spot.  This is easy the first spin, and gets more difficult with each additional spin as you reach across the mat for the other colorful spots -- especially with other players on the vinyl mat as well.

Twister was created by Reyn Winsor Guyer, who had a family company that made store displays for Fortune 500 companies.  Guyer envisioned the game as a Back to School display for Johnson's shoe polish.  Johnson's turned the idea down.  He then created "Kings Footsie" and showed it to 3M, who rejected the board game.  Guyer then collaborated with Charles Foley, a salesman, and Chuck Rabens, an artist, to work on the game further. It eventually became Pretzel.

The game evolved and was produced as Twister by Milton Bradley.  It became instantly popular when introduced on The Tonight Show by Johnny Carson and Eva Gabor in 1966. 

There was a controversy because Twister was accused of being "sex in a box," but it was marketed as a fun, family game (as I remember it from childhood).  Over 3 million games sold the first year.  In 1967 Twister was awarded the title of Game of the Year.  There was a lawsuit between the three creators of the game (Foley and Rabens vs. Guyer), but it was settled out of court.

In 1985 Hasbro merged with Milton Bradley, and the game is now produced by Hasbro.   There were a number of Twister variations produced since 2000, including Twister Moves, Twister Dance, Twister Scram, Twister Hopscotch, Twister Hoopla, Twister Dance Rave (promoted by Britney Spears), and Twister Rave Skip-It.

A few fun facts about Twister:

Reyn Winsor Guyer went on to create the Nerf Ball in 1969.

The biggest ever Twister board was 171 ft 1 in x 140 ft 1 in in the Netherlands in 2011.

Twister instructions are available for color blind players.  There is also a version available for blind players.   

65 million people have played Twister over the years.

Here is the original 1966 Twister commercial:

Do you remember Twister?  I'd love to read your memories in the comments section, below.