Friday, December 16, 2016

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays!

Abby and I are planning to take a blog break until the New Year.  We'll be back with book reviews and giveaways, retro posts and nostalgia, and - of course - Dear Abby on Fridays!

Thank you so much for reading and interacting here.  Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas and a wonderful holiday season!

Dear Abby: Merry Christmas, With Vintage Dog Illustrations

Dear Friends,

Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season to you!  Momma and I are planning to take a blogging break for a couple of weeks, but I wanted to share a few vintage dog photos (all with a festive Christmas theme).

This Calling All Girls magazine cover from 1958 features a very helpful dachshund wrapping gifts with her person.

I love this very looooooooong dachshund on a cute vintage Christmas card.

This dachshund is helping two children shop.  (And he even has a cute sweater!)

This cute little terrier dog is helping Santa Claus make a Christmas list.

This 1940's vintage Christmas card is red, white, and blue -- and three little terriers wave American flags.

A cute little dog delivers Christmas cards in this illustration.

Scotties on parade!  What is not to love about this?  Scotties were big in 1940's illustrations, so this is probably a 1940's era Christmas card.

I hope your holidays are happy and bright!  I've enjoyed visiting with you this year, and look forward to catching up again in 2017!

Merry Christmas!


Abby xoxoxo

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Book Review - Tune In: The Beatles - All These Years (Vol. I)

Book Synopsis
Now in paperback, Tune In is the New York Times bestseller by the world’s leading Beatles authority – the first volume in a groundbreaking trilogy about the band that revolutionized music.

The Beatles have been in our lives for half a century and surely always will be. Still, somehow, their music excites, their influence resonates, their fame sustains. New generations find and love them, and while many other great artists come and go, the Beatles are beyond eclipse.

So . . . who really were these people, and just how did it all happen?

‘The Beatles story’ is everywhere. Told wrong from early on, rehashed in every possible way and routinely robbed of its context, this is a phenomenon in urgent need of a bright new approach. In his series All These Years, Mark Lewisohn – the world-recognized Beatles historian – presses the Refresh button to relate the entire story as it’s never been told or known before. Here is a full and accurate biography at last. It is certain to become the lasting word.
Tune In is book one of three, exploring and explaining a period that is by very definition lesser-known: the formative pre-fame years, the teenage years, the Liverpool and Hamburg years – in many ways the most absorbing and incredible period of them all. The Beatles come together here in all their originality, attitude, style, speed, charisma, appeal, daring and honesty, the tools with which they’re about to reshape the world. It’s the Beatles in their own time, an amazing story of the ultimate rock band, a focused and colorful telling that builds and builds to leave four sharp lads from Liverpool on the very brink of a whole new kind of fame.

Using impeccable research and resources, Tune In is a magisterial work, an independent biography that combines energy, clarity, objectivity, authority and insight. The text is anti-myth, tight and commanding – just like the Beatles themselves.

Here is the Beatles story as it really was. Throw away what you think you know and start afresh.

My Review
I am a lifelong Beatles fan.  One of my first memories is seeing the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show.  As someone who really loves the music of The Beatles, Tune In: The Beatles All These Years is a real treat.

Tune In covers an area of Beatles history that I knew much less about:  the early, pre-fame years.  I really like the format of the book.  There is a section called Old Before Our Birth that talks about Liverpool and the Beatles' earliest years.  Then there are sections on the five years leading up to Beatlemania:  1958: Thinking of Linking;  1959:  Three Cool Cats;  1960: Competence, Confidence & Continuity;  1961:  The Rock Age;  1962: Always Be True.

This is a big, thick book, exhaustively researched and full of details and information that I have never read elsewhere.  Mark Lewisohn went directly to the sources instead of relying on familiar material.  There is an energy and intensity to his writing, and I am certain that Beatles fans will find the early years of the pre-Beatles story fascinating.

There are several sections of black and white photos that include early childhood photos, school pictures, and teen photographs.

I am impressed that this is only the first volume of a three part biography of the Beatles!  I am looking forward to continuing the story with the other books.  

This is truly an engrossing read for Beatles fans, and highly recommended to anyone who wants to live in the early days of the Beatles for a while.

Author Bio
MARK LEWISOHN is the acknowledged world authority on the Beatles. Before embarking on The Beatles: All These Years his books included the bestselling and influential The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions and The Complete Beatles Chronicle. He was a consultant and researcher on all aspects—TV, DVDs, CDs and book—of the Beatles own Anthology and has been involved in numerous additional projects for them. Married with two children, he lives in England.

I received this book from Blogging for Books.

Book Review - The Wonders of Creation Holy Bible (NIV): Illustrations to Color and Inspire

Book Description

The NIV Wonders of Creation Holy Bible explores the wonders of our created world though detailed black-and-white illustrations—each one ready to be filled with the hues of your imagination. From amazing Eden-esque gardens to the creatures God made, this Bible features over 50 ready-to-color pages alongside the full text of the New International Version (NIV) translation.

My Review

The Wonders of Creation Holy Bible is a beautiful book.  It is a lovely hardcover Bible with the New International Version translation.  I really love the cover art, which features both black and white patterns and bold splashes of color.

What makes this Bible very unique are 50 pages of illustrations to be colored.  Each page features a key Bible verse.  The illustrations are detailed, and anyone who enjoys coloring will find them both relaxing and a good way to meditate on the featured Bible verses.

The book opens flat, for ease of reading and for coloring.   It also has a presentation page, and would make a great gift!   It has a ribbon bookmark.

Highly recommended for anyone who wants to combine Bible reading and creativity!

I received this book from BookLook Bloggers.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Book Spotlight and Giveaway - Fatal Fiction by Kym Roberts

Book Synopsis
When kindergarten teacher Charli Rae Warren hightailed it out of Hazel Rock, Texas, as a teen, she vowed to leave her hometown in the dust. A decade later, she’s braving the frontier of big hair and bigger gossip once again . . . but this time, she’s saddled with murder!

Charli agrees to sell off the family bookstore, housed in a barn, and settle her estranged dad’s debt—if only so she can ride into the sunset and cut ties with Hazel Rock forever. But the trip is extended when Charli finds her realtor dead in the store, strangled by a bedazzled belt. And with daddy suspiciously MIA, father and daughter are topping the most wanted list . . .

Forging an unlikely alliance with the town beauty queen, the old beau who tore her family apart, and one ugly armadillo, Charli’s intent on protecting what’s left of her past . . . and wrangling the lone killer who’s fixin’ to destroy her future . . .

Author Bio
Three career paths resonated for Kym Roberts during her early childhood: detective, investigative reporter, and . . .nun. Being a nun, however, dropped by the wayside when she became aware of boys—they were the spice of life she couldn’t deny. In high school her path was forged when she took her first job at a dry cleaners and met every cop in town, especially the lone female police officer in patrol. From that point on there was no stopping Kym’s pursuit of a career in law enforcement. Kym followed her dream and became a detective who fulfilled her desire to be an investigative reporter, with one extra perk—a badge. Promoted to sergeant, Kym spent the majority of her career in SVU. She retired from the job reluctantly when her husband dragged her kicking and screaming to another state, but writing continued to call her name, at least in her head. Visit her on the web at

Purchase Links
Amazon B&N

(2) E-Copy of FATAL FICTION by Kym Roberts.  Giveaway ends 12/19.

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Friday, December 9, 2016

Dear Abby - Pet Meet and Greet: Neo, Rusty, Skye, Remy and Sonny

Dear Friends,
Welcome from the very chilly south!  It is feeling very wintry here, and putting me in a holiday mood.

This week we have a wonderful family who stopped by the blog to visit.  Our Doxieposse friend, De, brought her dogs Neo, Rusty, Skye, Remy and Sonny.  They are beautiful dogs and have wonderful stories!

Abby:  I'm so glad you all stopped by.  I know my readers would love to hear about your pets.

De:  First, thanks so very much for wanting to include my crew. We all appreciate the invite. The crew consists of 4 Dachshunds and a Golden. Skye, a long hair wild boar, is the oldest, she will be 16 in January of 2017. Rusty is 14 and a chocolate dapple. Neo is 12 and a double dapple, and the puppy is Remy. He's a soft wire and will be 1 year old in February 2017. And last but not least Sonny will be 3 in February 2017. 

Abby:  Is there a story behind any of your pets' names?
De:  There's not really any stories about the crews' names except for Sonny. My first golden was named Sunny. He was a stray that was found & we got him from an ad on a grocery store wall . He lived 16 1/2 years , passing in 2000.  He was a very special pup. I knew that I wanted another golden but was a bit hesitant with the doxies. Once I found him I knew that I would end up calling him Sunny because that's what the old brain would do. So to avoid confusion, (his & mine) we named him Sonny. 

Abby: You have a wonderful family of pups!  I would love to hear more about them.
De:  Skye & Sonny are registered therapy dogs. Skye has been since she was 4 years old & Sonny just finished his first year. And can he work a room! Skye is also a certified Crisis Response Dog. She has responded to several disaster sites. But at 16 years of age I don't ask that much of her now. It's Sonny's turn to pay it forward.


Rusty and Neo are rescues. Rusty is happiest walking his yard to keep the elephants away. And I must say he's been very successful. Not one elephant sighting in his 12-year watch. Neo is deaf. He was going to be put to sleep because the breeders couldn't " use" him anymore. He is the happiest little guy around. Just throw his ball and give him a lap and he's golden!

Remy is the puppy. And what a hoot! He's a bundle of happiness. He also thinks Sonny is his personal play toy. Remy will run from one end of the house & jump on Sonny at full speed. They run & play and wear each other out. Which is extremely funny to watch as Remy weighs about 17 pounds & Sonny tips the scales at 90 lbs. But Sonny was brought up to respect the little ones, and he thinks he's a dachshund anyway.

Abby:  Thank you so much for visiting!  I really enjoyed learning more about your wonderful fur-kids.  I can just picture Rusty on elephant watch, and Remy and Sonny happily playing!  Readers, you can leave comments or questions for De or her pups in the comments section, below.

Thank you all so much for stopping by!  I hope you have a great weekend, and stay warm!


Abby xoxoxo

Book Review and Giveaway - Wallflower Blooming by Amy Rivers

Book Synopsis
Val Shakely is a list-maker. Daily routine. Check. Calm, quiet (but successful) business. Check. No drama. No excitement. Some might call it boring, but it’s precisely the way Val likes it. She loves her hometown of Cambria, nestled in the mountains of Colorado, and runs a fruitful PR firm. And that’s more than enough for Val. So what if she doesn’t have a social life?

Then, her cousin Gwen decides to take on the local political bully, the Mayor, in head-to-head combat for the Mayoral seat and Val takes her company reluctantly, and against her better judgment, into the fray. The minute Val takes on Gwen’s campaign, the safe world that she has carefully constructed begins to unravel. She feels the pressure of the campaign and the personal attacks by Gwen’s opponent.

And as if that wasn’t complicated enough, Val finds herself falling in love. Val’s desire to stay on the sidelines is put to the test and she’s forced to reexamine the life she’s built as she trudges toward a new and more exciting future.

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

My Review

Wallflower Blooming is a charming novel set in a small town in Colorado.  Val Shakely runs a PR business.  Her work leads her to help her cousin Gwen with PR for her Mayoral bid.  

Val is a quiet homebody who loves to read and enjoys calm and peacefulness.  She is surprised to be part of the political scene, and even more surprised to meet an intriguing man.

John Hatfield is also independent and a bit of a recluse, so his romantic interest in Val takes him by surprise.

When Val and John deal with a political bully, and she uncovers some secrets from her family, they find some things they need to work through ... while continuing to get to know each other.

I loved the small town setting of this book, and enjoyed the characters of both Val and John.  They were very likeable and sympathetic, and I found myself rooting for their relationship to succeed.  I especially loved the way both the characters bloomed as they moved out of their comfort zone in their budding relationship and life in general.

Wallflower Blooming is well written.  Amy Rivers does a particularly nice job balancing descriptions and dialogue.  The characters are well-drawn and believable.  I look forward to more reads by this author in the future.

This is a very pleasant, upbeat story, and it would make a relaxing weekend read.  Recommended!    

Author Bio
Amy Rivers was born and raised in southern New Mexico and currently resides in Colorado. She had an idyllic childhood despite a severe visual impairment and, perhaps because of her disability, she learned a lot about compassion and empathy from a young age. Her keen interest in social issues and violence prevention led to a Master’s degree with concentrations in Psychology and Politics. She was the director of a sexual assault response program and remains an advocate for social justice. Amy has been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for NursesNovelty Bride and Splice Today. Wallflower Blooming is her first novel.


 Connect with Amy
Facebook |  Twitter  | Goodreads | Amazon

One lucky reader will win a copy of Wallflower Blooming.  Giveaway is open to readers in the U.S. and Canada.  The giveaway will end 12/15 at midnight.  Winner will be contacted by email and needs to respond within 48 hours.  The book will be mailed to winner by the author or her publicist.
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I received a copy of this book from TLC Book Tours.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Book Review - Scripture Doodle and Scripture Doodle: God's Promises by April Knight

About the books:

ScriptureDoodle: A Six-Week Devotional Experience (David C. Cook, October 2016)

With inspiring exercises and prompts, this unique interactive guide introduces readers to a creative connection between Bible study, artistic expression, and worship.

Often, in the busyness of life, Christians forget that God created them to enjoy creativity. With guided instruction and completed examples, this beautiful book invites readers to draw closer to God through their own art.

More than a coloring book, ScriptureDoodle is a combination of Bible study, creative expression, and artistic community with artwork shared online at #scripturedoodle.

Exploring topics such as being generous, finding rest, and facing grief, ScriptureDoodle gives the heart the creative space it needs. This book stimulates the reader's imagination and helps integrate God's Word into everyday life. 

Purchase a copy: 

ScriptureDoodle God's Promises: A Six-Week Devotional Experience (David C. Cook, December 2016)

Some of the most incredible stories in the Bible are of God's promises and faithfulness to His children. 

ScriptureDoodle God's Promises refreshes believers who are feeling burned out or stuck in a rut in their relationship with God. Each of the creative worship prompts in this interactive guide includes biblical encouragement and ideas for worship through art. Artist April Knight includes creative lettering tips, color ideas, and completed examples to inspire readers to respond to promises in Scripture related to trust, faith, and the power of God's Word in all circumstances.

This unique blend of Bible study and creative expression provides the opportunity to connect with God as Creator in a new, life-changing way.
Purchase a copy: 

My Review: 

The Scripture Doodle books by April Knight are so unique!  They combine a devotional book with creativity - drawing and coloring.  

Scripture Doodle: A Six-Week Devotional Experience begins with  helpful information on how to use the book.  It also contains information on basic materials and coloring tips.   There are lettering tips as well.  I found all this material very helpful.  I love to color and do simple sketching, but I sometimes find a new creativity book or project initially a bit intimidating.  The tips and supportive tone of this section was really great.

The book starts with easy doodles and then moves into thematic pages, like Rest, Gentle Words, Move Out Doubt, Beautiful Things, and much more.  There is a devotional page with an uplifting message and Bible verse(s) and then a page to color or doodle.  I really like the format!

The book is beautifully designed on good quality paper.  I recommend it highly to anyone who wants to combine their devotional journal and creativity.

Scripture Doodle:  God's Promises - A Six Week Devotional Experience is another wonderful book by April Knight.  It begins with helpful information on how to use the book, including tips on material and coloring, as well as information on lettering.

The book begins with a Color the World in prayer creativity exercise, as well as some Easy Doodles.

Then the book moves into the devotional format.  There is a page with an uplifting message, along with Bible verses, followed by a page to color, draw, or fill out.  Some of the themes include: Recipe for Blessing, Crown of Life, Abide, Faithful to Forgive, and More.

This book is beautifully designed and a real pleasure to use.  I love the unique way it combines devotional messages and creativity.   It is printed on good quality paper.  I recommend it highly to anyone who wants to grow their devotional life along with their creativity!      

Author Bio:
April Knight is a worship artist based in Asheville, North Carolina. Knight's work includes live worship painting and leading ScriptureDoodle workshops online and at conferences and retreats around the country and internationally. Her family of four is her greatest joy, along with serving alongside her husband at their local church.

I received a copy of these books from Litfuse.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Book Spotlight and Two Giveaways - Crime and Catnip by by T. C. LoTempio

Book Synopsis
Nick and Nora aren’t just pussyfooting around this time as they deal with a missing person’s case and murder.

While catering a gala for the Cruz Museum, Nora Charles agrees to look into the disappearance of director Violet Crenshaw’s niece, a case previously undertaken by her frisky feline friend Nick’s former owner, a private eye whose whereabouts are also currently unknown.

As Nora and her curious cat Nick pull at the string of clues, they begin to unravel a twisted tale of coded messages, theft, false identities, murder, and international espionage. Nora dares to hope that the labyrinth of leads will not only help them locate the missing young woman, but also solve the disappearance of the detective. That’s if Nora can stay alive long enough to find him…


Author Spotlight
While Toni Lotempio does not commit – or solve – murders in real life, she has no trouble doing it on paper. Her lifelong love of mysteries began early on when she was introduced to her first Nancy Drew mystery at age 10 – The Secret in the Old Attic. She (and ROCCO, albeit he’s uncredited) pen the Nick and Nora mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime – and in Spring 2017, the new CAT RESCUE mysteries from Crooked Lane! She, Rocco and company make their home in Clifton, New Jersey, just twenty minutes from the Big Apple – New York. Catch up with them at and

Author Links

ROCCO’s blog:





Purchase Links
Amazon        B&N

Giveaway #1

Print copy of the book.  Open to the U.S., no P.O. boxes, please.  Winner will be drawn on December 12 and notified by email.  Winner will need to respond within 48 hours.  The book will be mailed by the author or her publicist.

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Giveaway #2

(1) $25 Amazon Gift Card

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Friday, December 2, 2016

Dear Abby: Pet Meet and Greet - Rex

Dear Friends,

I have special visitors at the blog from Australia to introduce you to today.  Vania has stopped by with her handsome dog Rex.  I know you will enjoy meeting them here!

Abby:  Who is your pet?
Vania:  My dog is a labrador/golden retriever cross called Rex.

Abby:  Is there a story behind your pet's name?
Vania:  Yes. My late Mom named him. She loved a tv program called Inspector Rex which featured a police officer with his German Shepherd police dog. It was her favourite show, so when we got the little pup she named him after her favourite tv dog.
Abby:  What is the funniest thing your pet has done?
Vania:  Rex loves water and mud patches so I have to make sure to keep him away from them. The other day he was running and playing in the park and I didn’t see a little mud patch and in a flash his was in there, rolling around and having a great time. His golden coat was all black and muddy.
Abby:  Has your pet had any adventures?

Vania:  Rex loves adventures. He loves riding with me at the back of the car. He’s a celebrity down at the drive-through McDonald's. When I drive in all the staff come to the window to greet him and take pictures. Together we’ve discovered many parklands that we didn’t know existed, he loves exploring and loves water.

Abby:  What do you and your pet do for fun?
Vania:  We go for walks and runs in the park and play tug of war.  Oh and did I mention food, he loves to eat and loves bananas and mangoes. He also loves to play with his doggie friends in the park.
Abby:  Does your pet have any favorite, special toys?
Vania:  He loves his soccer ball and his rope tug toy. He did have a squeaky duck that we called “Mr Quacker” but poor Mr Quacker had his head bitten offSmile.
Abby:  What are some special things your pet can do?
Vania: Did I mention eatingSmile?  As soon as I mention a walk or a ride , he is running around in circles and goes and grabs his leash.
Abby:  What are your pet's most lovable qualities?
Vania:  Rex is a very social boy and loves to play with every dog. He is a gentle giant and plays with kids. He is also a Mommy’s boy and he sleeps on my bed. In winter he loves to be covered in a nice warm blanket. 
Vania, thank you so much for visiting my blog!  I loved learning more about Rex.  He is such a sweet boy!  It is wonderful that he is so good with children.  It sounds like he also loves his trips to the park!   Friends, if you have questions or comments for Vania, you can leave them in the comments below.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!  It is beautiful here after one very stormy day this past week.


Abby xoxoxo