Friday, August 28, 2015

Dear Abby - I Am Six!

Dear Friends,

I hope you have had a good week.  It's been a busy one here, and I have fun news to share:  I am now six!  We celebrate my "Gotcha Day" when I was adopted, August 25.  I was adopted at the age of 1, so I have spent 5 happy years with my Momma.

Today I just wanted to share a few photos from my birthday.  The photo above shows me looking very blonde - I like that!  And yes, it is true:  blondes do have more fun.

I had company in the afternoon and evening, and got treats, a new toy, and lots of attention.  I got a little bit wound up about all the comings and goings.   In the photo below, my Momma had to put a food bowl on her head in order for me to stay still for a picture.

This is my new toy.  It's a little lime green plush puppy.  All my toys are lovies ... I carry them around and cuddle with them.

At the end of the day, I decided I was really tired, and curled up in my cubby hole in the study here.  It is a stack of soft blankets, and a nice place to unwind.

So that was my fun day!  I don't feel any different being six, but I sure did enjoy the extra treats.

How do your pups or kitties enjoy celebrating birthdays or gotcha days?  I would love to hear from you in the comments, below.

Love and xxx's,

Abby (now 6!)

Book Review and Giveaway - The Reinvention of Albert Paugh by Jean Davies Okimoto

About The Reinvention of Albert Paugh

Dr. Albert Paugh is flunking retirement. After selling his Vashon Island veterinary practice, he soon finds himself not only lost without his work, but suddenly single. His efforts to carve out a new life, both as a bachelor and a retiree, only leave him feeling like his golden years are fast becoming years of gloom. His regrets pile up until he moves to Baker’s Beach where he gets to know a very special neighbor, learns that friends are the family you choose, and finds a new sense of purpose. The Reinvention of Albert Paugh is a sweet, funny love story about retirees that will delight readers (and dog lovers) of any age.

My Review

The Reinvention of Albert Paugh is such a lovely read.  I immediately liked Al, a recently retired veterinarian, and Bert, his loyal chocolate Lab.   Al is at loose ends after retirement, and even more so when his wife suddenly and unexpectedly wants a divorce.

This is the story of how Al - and Bert, of course - move on to a new place and a new life.  The story is told with warmth, humor, and a disarmingly realistic tone.

The descriptions of everything in this novel are so detailed and perfect.  Al describes a trip to the beach:  "The early morning showers had left rain-washed sunlight, a lemony light that filled this golden day of autumn.  It was so beautiful and the air was so crisp, the kind of fall day that always made Al think of the first football game."

Then there are wry, unexpected observations like:  "Al experienced all animals as sentient beings and often felt Bert was almost human until he saw the delight Bert took in rolling in rotten dead stuff."

Jean Davies Okimoto has a gift for distinct and creative characters.  This includes some fine dialogue that really builds the story and moves the story along.  I loved the way the story of Al and Bonnie unfolded.  These are characters that I cared about, and enjoyed getting to know in this book.

I did not know what to expect from a novel about a retiree living on Vashon Island, slowly building a new life for himself.  I'm so glad I took a chance on this unique and distinctive novel.  I recommend it highly to dog lovers, readers interested in life in the Pacific Northwest, and anyone who loves warm, compassionate fiction.

About Jean Davies Okimoto

Jean Davies Okimoto is an author and playwright whose books and short stories have been translated into Japanese, Italian, Chinese, German, Danish, Korean and Hebrew. She is the recipient  of numerous awards including Smithsonian Notable Book, the American LibraryAssociation Best Book for Young Adults, the Washington Governor’s Award and the International Reading Association Readers Choice Award. Her picture book, Blumpoe the Grumpoe Meets Arnold the Cat was adapted by Shelly Duvall for the HBO and Showtime television series “Bedtime Stories.” Her debut novel for adults The Love Ceiling was a season’s pick by the King County Library System, named to the ABA Indie Next Reading Group List and ebook Fiction Winner in the 2009 Indie Next Generation Awards. She has appeared on CNN, Oprah, and The Today Show. Jeanie, who is also a retired psychotherapist, began writing for adults when she and her husband Joe retired to Vashon Island in 2004 where they (and their dogs Bert and Willie) are visited by deer families and their six grandchildren.

For more information on Ms. Okimoto, please visit her website at

You can find the book at Amazon


One lucky winner will win a copy of The Reinvention of Albert Paugh.  Contest open to readers in the US and Canada.
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I received this book from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review and Giveaway - Counting on a Cowboy by Debra Clopton

A new tale of romance, family, and taking risks—don't miss Debra Clopton's Counting on a Cowboy! After losing everything she held dear, Abby never wants to love again. But a certain cowboy may just spur her to wonder if love might be worth the risk. As Abby throws herself into helping Bo navigate fatherhood, hope sparks between them, revealing that maybe, just maybe, they can navigate their dark pasts and emerge together into a future as bright as the Texas sun itself.

My Review

Counting on a Cowboy is the story of Abby and Bo.  Abby moves to a small town after tragically losing her husband and baby.  By chance, she meets Bo, a cowboy who lives with his brother and aging grandfather.  Just as they meet and get aquainted, Bo discovers that he has a one year old son -- who arrives unexpectedly on his doorstep.  

This novel explores how two broken people find strength within themselves and through a relationship in order to heal and move forward with their lives.

The love story was so winning.  Abby and Bo are very warm, sympathetic characters, and I found myself rooting for them.  I love the way their relationship unfolded slowly in the book.

I also loved the small town setting with the quirky townspeople and the cozy atmosphere where everyone knew their neighbors.  Bo's family is also wonderful - especially his lovable grandfather, Pops.  There even is a cute Basset Hound!

This is the second novel in the Four of Hearts Ranch trilogy.  I did not read the first book, but this novel worked well as a standalone.  (That said, I would like to go back and catch up!)

I recommend this book for fans of inspirational fiction, contemporary romance, and women's fiction.  Anyone who loves a warm, cozy, small town setting will also enjoy this read.

Saddle up with Debra and her new book and enter to win her Love at the Reins prize pack!

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One grand prize winner will receive:
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Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on September 8th. The winner will be announced September 9th on Debra's blog.

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