Friday, June 30, 2017

Dear Abby - Vintage Dogs at the Beach

Hi friends!

It is almost the 4th of July, so I thought I would share some pictures of dogs enjoying the beach!  These are all vintage advertisements.  I like them, and hope you will too.

This is a famous advertisement of a Cocker Spaniel and a little girl (1960's).  It advertises Coppertone suntan lotion.


The next two ads feature a Scottie dog and Westie advertising Black and White Scottish whiskey.



This handsome English bulldog advertises Four Roses Society.  (It looks like he is also having a picnic!)


This Kodak ad features a majestic Great Dane with a baby at the beach.


This 1950's advertisement, for Jantzen swimwear, also features a cute Beagle!



A little Poodle is enjoying the beach in this Pepsi advertisement. 


This is the oldest of the advertisements  A little girl and a Jack Russell Terrier (or JRT mix) are watching a ship.  The ad is for Southern Pacific Steamships.  


I hope you have enjoyed these vintage ads, and I also hope you have a fun 4th of July!  Do you have special plans for the holiday?  And if you have pets, do they enjoy participating in the holiday too?   I enjoy spending time with my Momma, friends, and family.  At night I get lots of cuddling and attention because I don't like fireworks!

Thanks for visiting!  Have a great weekend.


Love,

Abby xoxoxo

Book Review - Kiss Carlo by Adriana Trigiani

Book Synopsis
It’s 1949 and South Philadelphia bursts with opportunity during the post-war boom. The Palazzini Cab Company & Western Union Telegraph Office, owned and operated by Dominic Palazzini and his three sons, is flourishing: business is good, they’re surrounded by sympathetic wives and daughters-in-law, with grandchildren on the way. But a decades-long feud that split Dominic and his brother Mike and their once-close families sets the stage for a re-match.

Amidst the hoopla, the arrival of an urgent telegram from Italy upends the life of Nicky Castone (Dominic and his wife’s orphaned nephew) who lives and works with his Uncle Dom and his family. Nicky decides, at 30, that he wants more—more than just a job driving Car #4 and more than his longtime fiancée Peachy DePino, a bookkeeper, can offer. When he admits to his fiancée that he’s been secretly moonlighting at the local Shakespeare theater company, Nicky finds himself drawn to the stage, its colorful players and to the determined Calla Borelli, who inherited the enterprise from her father, Nicky must choose between the conventional life his family expects of him or chart a new course and risk losing everything he cherishes.

From the dreamy mountaintop village of Roseto Valfortore in Italy, to the vibrant streets of South Philly, to the close-knit enclave of Roseto, Pennsylvania, to New York City during the birth of the golden age of television, Kiss Carlo is a powerful, inter-generational story that celebrates the ties that bind, while staying true to oneself when all hope seems lost.

Told against the backdrop of some of Shakespeare’s greatest comedies, this novel brims with romance as long buried secrets are revealed, mistaken identities are unmasked, scores are settled, broken hearts are mended and true love reigns. Trigiani’s consummate storytelling skill and her trademark wit, along with a dazzling cast of characters will enthrall readers. Once again, the author has returned to her own family garden to create an unforgettable feast. Kiss Carlo is a jubilee, resplendent with hope, love, and the abiding power of la famiglia.

 

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


My Review
Kiss Carlo is a family saga set in an Italian-American family in Philadelphia.  At the heart of the saga is Nicky Castone.  Nicky decides he wants more than the family business and his fiancee of seven years, and for him something more means working with a local theater company ... where he has an interest in a woman named Calla Borelli.  His passion for acting eventually takes him to places he never expected.

I love Adriana Trigiani's novels.  They are so rich with memorable characters and beautiful, vivid descriptions ... and Kiss Carlo is no exception.  She is a true storyteller who spins vivid stories.  I find once I start one of her novels I just can't put it down.

Nicky is a wonderful character and I found his trajectory and search fascinating.  I loved reading about the world he entered as an actor.  I was really interested in theater as a young woman, and performed in some local plays, so this was all fascinating to me.

I enjoyed the warmth and wit of Kiss Carlo, as well as the themes of love and family and friendship.  The supporting characters are strong in this book.  I especially loved Hortense Mooney, an African American dispatcher who helps look out for Nicky.  She is part surrogate mother and part guardian angel. 

The historical details were rich and fascinating, and readers will get a glimpse at a fascinating time and place.  I recommend Kiss Carlo heartily for fans of historical fiction - and wonderful writing.  This warm-hearted, rewarding novel is a treat.


Author Bio
Adriana Trigiani is the bestselling author of 17 books, which have been published in 36 countries around the world. She is a playwright, television writer/producer and filmmaker. She wrote and directed the film version of her novel Big Stone Gap, which was shot entirely on location in her Virginia hometown. She is co-founder of the Origin Project, an in-school writing program that serves more than a thousand students in Appalachia. She lives in Greenwich Village with her family.

Visit Adriana at her website: www.adrianatrigiani.com, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.


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

Friday, June 23, 2017

Dear Abby - Videos Abby Likes: A Dachshund is Reunited With His Favorite Toy

Dear Friends,

I hope you are having a good week and staying cool!  I have an extra special dachshund video to share with you today.

In this short (1 minute) video you will meet Finn the dachshund.  He had a favorite toy named Piggy when he was a puppy.  He chewed the toy up but his person found another toy just like it -- five years later!  Finn is so excited to meet Piggy again that he makes some of his puppy noises again.   It is a very sweet video.



If you have a pet, does he or she have a favorite toy?   I have several favorites and like to cuddle with them.    One is a Lamb Chop toy in a little Santa hat. 

The other is a little fuzzy tan dog toy that belonged to my late brother Barney Fife.  I love it very much and like to take a nap with it.

I hope you have a good weekend!  Thank you for visiting my blog.

Love,

Abby xoxoxo

Book Review - The Light in Summer by Mary McNear

Book Synopsis

It’s summertime on Butternut Lake, where the heat of noon is soothed by the cool breezes of the evening, where the pace grows slower, and sometimes, just sometimes, the summer light makes everything clearer… 

For the lovely Billy Harper, Butternut Lake is the place she feels most at home, even though lately she feels the only one listening to her is Murphy…her faithful Labrador Retriever. Her teenage son, Luke, has gone from precious to precocious practically overnight. Her friends are wrapped up in their own lives, and Luke’s father, Wesley, disappeared before his son was even born. No wonder she prefers to spend time with a good book, especially ones where everything ends in perfection.

But Billy is about to learn that anything is possible during the heady days of summer. Coming to terms with her past—the death of her father, the arrival of Cal Cooper, a complicated man with a definite interest in Billy, even the return of Wesley, will force her to have a little bit of faith in herself and others…and realize that happiness doesn’t always mean perfection.



 

Purchase Links


HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


My Review
The Light in Summer tells the story of Billy Harper, a small town librarian in Butternut Lake, Minnesota.  She is a single mom dealing with a rebellious 13 year old and the recent loss of her father.  When Cal Cooper comes to town after his recent divorce, the connection between Billy and Cal is immediate.  Will they be able to build a relationship that helps them both heal?

This is a lovely summer beach read about good people trying to make their way in the world.  There is so much I enjoyed about this book.

The small town Butternut Lake setting is delightful.  I read the first couple of books in this series and enjoyed them, and then picked the series back up with The Light in Summer.  This book would work fine as a standalone for anyone new to the series.

I love that Billy is a librarian and she really loves books.  She goes out on her porch at night and reads Jane Austen to relax.  She loves suggesting books for library patrons, and even recommends my favorite series (Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace) to a young girl.

Cal is a strong and likable man, and I really liked his relationship with Billy.  It was based on friendship and mutual respect as well as romantic sparks.  I loved these characters together and was pulling for their happiness.

The story of Billy's son Luke and his attempts to find his place in Butternut Lake as he enters his teen years with friends and with his missing birth father is a touching aspect of the book.

And there is even a lovable dog -- Murphy the yellow lab, who is so warm and empathetic that Billy has silent conversations with him out on the porch each night.  

The Light in Summer is such a heartwarming, uplifting book, perfect for a leisurely summer read.  I recommend it highly for fans of women's fiction, small town fiction, and contemporary romance.

Author Bio
Mary McNear, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Butternut Lake series, writes in a local doughnut shop, where she sips Diet Pepsi, observes the hubbub of neighborhood life, and tries to resist the constant temptation of freshly made doughnuts. Mary bases her novels on a lifetime of summers spent in a small town on a lake in the northern Midwest.

Connect with Mary on Facebook.
 

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

Friday, June 16, 2017

Dear Abby - Videos Abby Likes: Dachshund Puppy and a Mirror

Dear Friends,

I hope you are having a good week and staying cool.  It is very hot here and I am enjoying extra time on my soft dog bed in front of the big box fan in the study.  Of course, this also gives me extra time to look for dog videos to share with you.

I found this video yesterday and enjoyed it a lot!  This silly dachshund puppy sees herself in a mirror -- with a fun reaction. 



If you have a dog or cat, have they ever seen themself in a mirror?  How did they react?  I have been in front of a mirror but have never been very interested in my reflection.  Go figure!

I hope you have a good weekend!

Love,

Abby xoxoxo

Book Review - Sweet Tea Tuesdays by Ashley Farley

Book Synopsis
Three best friends met every Tuesday for twenty-six years. And then they stopped.

From the author of the bestselling Sweeney Sisters Series comes a novel of friendship, family, and hope.

When new next-door neighbors Georgia, Midge, and Lula first assembled on Georgia’s porch in Charleston for sweet tea, they couldn’t have known their gathering was the beginning of a treasured tradition. For twenty-six years they have met on Tuesdays at four o’clock, watching the seasons change and their children grow up, supporting each other in good times and in bad. With their ambitions as different as their personalities, these best friends anticipate many more years of tea time. And then, one Tuesday, Georgia shares news that brings their long-standing social hour to an abrupt halt. And that’s only the beginning as unraveling secrets threaten to alter their friendship forever.


 

Purchase Link

Amazon

 
My Review
Sweet Tea Tuesdays tells the story of three friends named Lula, Georgia, and Midge who met on Georgia's front porch every Tuesday for 26 years for sweet tea and a visit.  When life changes suddenly one summer, their friendship is tested.  This novel tells the story of their friendship as well as their individual stories.

There is so much that I enjoyed about this book.  It is set in Charleston during the summer, and Ashley Farley captures summer in the south perfectly.  (I will admit that the constant mention of sweet tea made me make crave - and drink - more sweet tea than usual!)

At its heart, this is a book about friendship.  Lula, Georgia, and Midge have been great friends for many years.  They have been together through ups and downs in their marriages, through watching children grow up, and finding their own place in the world with work and life passions.  I really liked these three women.  The author did a beautiful job at delineating the characters and giving them each a unique voice.   The book is told from different viewpoints -- each of these women, as well as Lula's youngest daughter.

There is warm and unexpected kindness and some heartbreak in Sweet Tea Tuesdays.  I would recommend it for fans of books like Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe or movies like Steel Magnolias.  It was a wonderful summer read that found me reaching for the tissue box a few times.  Put this one on your summer reading list!


Author Bio
Ashley Farley writes books about women for women. Her characters are mothers, daughters, sisters, and wives facing real-life issues. Her goal is to keep you turning the pages until the wee hours of the morning. If her story stays with you long after you’ve read the last word, then she’s done her job.

After her brother died in 1999 of an accidental overdose, she turned to writing as a way of releasing her pent-up emotions. She wrote SAVING BEN in honor of Neal, the boy she worshipped, the man she could not save.

Ashley is a wife and mother of two young adult children. While she’s lived in Richmond, Virginia for the past 21 years, part of her heart remains in the salty marshes of the South Carolina Lowcountry where she grew up. Through the eyes of her characters, she’s able to experience the moss-draped trees, delectable cuisine, and kind-hearted folks with lazy drawls that make the area so unique.

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

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Book Review - Under a Summer Sky by Melody Carlson

Book Synopsis
High school art teacher Nicole Anderson is looking forward to a relaxing summer in Savannah, house-sitting and managing an art gallery for a family friend. The house is luxurious in a way that only old money could make it, and the gallery promises interesting days in a gorgeous setting. Yet it isn't long before her ideal summer turns into more than she bargained for: a snooty gallery employee who's determined to force her out, a displaced adolescent roosting in the attic, and two of her childhood friends--who also happen to be brothers--vying for her attention.

With the backdrop of a gorgeous historical city, incredible architecture, and even an alleged ghost or two, combined with the opportunity for romance . . . anything can happen!

Bestselling and award-winning author Melody Carlson invites you to spend the summer surrounded by splendor . . . and tantalizing possibilities.


My Review
Nicole Anderson is teaching art in Seattle when she gets an opportunity to spend a summer in Savannah.  A family friend offers her the chance to housesit for the summer and mind her art gallery while she is on vacation.  Nicole's summer turns out to be very exciting - with interesting work in a beautiful, historic city and with romantic possibilities involving two old friends, who happen to be brothers.

I grew up in a family that was originally from Savannah, and I lived there as a little girl.  I always say that part of my heart will always be in Savannah, and this book made me long to spend time there!  Melody Carlson did a wonderful job capturing the unique charm of this city, with old stories (including a couple of ghost tours), historic houses and architecture, and some of my favorite places like Forsyth Park and The Pirates House restaurant.

Nicole is a very likeable character.  She is a kind person who wants to help others, including a struggling teenage girl who is part of the family she is housesitting for, and a decidedly difficult gallery coworker.  I really liked her relationship with Ryan, which started as an old friendship.

Under a Summer Sky is a sweet, heartwarming novel, and it makes a wonderful summer read.  I recommend it for fans of women's fiction and contemporary romance ... especially in a unique, picturesque setting.  I have not read the previous books in this series, but Under a Summer Sky worked well as a standalone novel.

Author Bio
Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books with sales of more than five million. She is the author of several Christmas books from Revell, including the bestselling The Christmas Bus, The Christmas Dog, and Christmas at Harrington's, which is being considered for a TV movie. She is also the author of many teen books, including Just Another Girl, Anything but Normal, Double Take, the Life at Kingston High series, and the Diary of a Teenage Girl series. She is the winner of a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her many books, including the Diary of a Teenage Girl series and Finding Alice. Melody and her husband live in Oregon.

For more information about Melody visit her website at www.melodycarlson.com


I received a copy of this book from Revell Reads.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Dear Abby - Videos Abby Likes: A Gardening Dachshund

Dear Friends,

I have a fun video to share with you today!  Are you familiar with Crusoe the Dachshund?  He is a celebrity dachshund who has his own Facebook page and lots of fun videos on his Youtube channel.  

This is a video of Crusoe gardening!  He is very clever and good at digging.  (Dachshunds are exceptionally talented at digging and burrowing -- they were bred to get badgers out of underground holes.)  I enjoyed watching him help garden, and thought you might like this too.



If you have a garden, what do your pets think of it?  Do they ignore the plants or do they try to help (or find fruit or vegetables in the garden)?  I do not have a garden, but I am sure I would be helpful with both digging and gathering some of my favorite foods, like carrots and green beans.

Thank you for visiting my blog today!   I hope you have a great weekend.

Love,

Abby xoxoxo


Book Review - The Lady Travelers Guide to Scoundrels & Other Gentlemen by Victoria Alexander

Book Synopsis
Really, it’s too much to expect any normal man to behave like a staid accountant in order to inherit the fortune he deserves to support the lifestyle of an earl. So when Derek Saunders’s favorite elderly aunt and her ill-conceived—and possibly fraudulent—Lady Travelers Society loses one of their members, what’s a man to do but step up to the challenge? Now he’s escorting the world’s most maddening woman to the world’s most romantic city to find her missing relative.

While India Prendergast only suspects his organization defrauds gullible travelers, she’s certain a man with as scandalous a reputation as Derek Saunders cannot be trusted any farther than the distance around his very broad shoulders. As she struggles not to be distracted by his wicked smile and the allure of Paris, instead of finding a lost lady traveler, India just may lose her head, her luggage and her heart.

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Purchase Links


Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble


My Review 
The Lady Travelers Guide to Scoundrels and Other Gentlemen is a historical romance set in Victorian England and Paris.  It tells the story of India Prendergast, a fiercely independent woman who works for a living and values propriety.  When her beloved cousin, who is like a mother to her, goes missing after joining a Lady Travelers society, the nephew of one of the group's founders steps in.  Derek Saunders is handsome and charming, and India assumes he is a scoundrel.  But as they travel to Paris to search for her cousin (accompanied by a charming older couple who chaperone), a slow friendship - and romantic interest - develops between India and Derek.

This was such a fun read! I would call it a romp.  There is a lot of humor and lively dialogue.  I enjoyed the setting, especially the Paris scenes.  Their visit takes place during the Paris Exhibition of 1889, which featured the Eiffel Tower.

I really liked India and Derek and found their scenes together enjoyable.  I liked the way they became friends first and then romantic sparks flew.

The element of mystery -- the whereabouts of India's cousin -- was also well done and added extra interest to the plot.

The little quotes from The Lady Travelers Society Guide added some extra interest as epigraphs for some of the chapters.

This is my first read by Victoria Alexander, but I really enjoyed The Lady Travelers Guide to Scoundrels and Other Gentlemen and would love to read future books in this series.  I recommend this highly as a lively, engrossing summer read.

Author Bio
New York Times bestselling author Victoria Alexander was an award winning television reporter until she discovered fiction was much more fun than real life. She turned to writing full time and is still shocked it worked out.

Since the publication of her first book in 1995, she has written thirty-one full length novels and six novellas.

Connect with Victoria


Website | Facebook | Twitter

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

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Book Spotlight and Giveaway - Treble at the Jam Fest by Leslie Budewitz

Book Synopsis
Erin Murphy, manager of Murphy’s Mercantile (aka the Merc), is tuning up for Jewel Bay’s annual Jazz Festival. Between keeping the Merc’s shelves stocked with Montana’s tastiest local fare and hosting the festival’s kick-off concert, Erin has her hands full.

Discord erupts when jazz guitarist Gerry Martin is found dead on the rocks above the Jewel River. The one-time international sensation had fallen out of sync with festival organizers, students, and performers. Was his death an accident—or did someone even the score?

Despite the warning signs to not get involved, Erin investigates. And when the killer attacks, she orchestrates her efforts into one last crescendo, hoping to avoid a deadly finale.

Author Bio
Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. She lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat Ruff, a cover model and avid bird-watcher.

Connect with her on her website, http://www.LeslieBudewitz.com, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

Purchase Links
Amazon B&N  kobo

Giveaway
(2) Print Copy Treble at the Jam Fest by Leslie Budewitz
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Friday, June 2, 2017

Dear Abby - Videos Abby Likes: A Very Determined Dachshund

Dear Friends,

It has been a very busy week here, but I wanted to say "hi" and send a fun video for you to enjoy.

I have a sweet little video for you today.  Meet Arvo, a longhair dachshund who wants to take a nap -- along with a teddy bear.  Arvo works hard to get the teddy bear to fit into the kennel.  I love this video!   I think Arvo was very smart and determined.

I am determined like that when it is time for bed.  I go to bed most nights at 10:00 PM and wait for Momma.  Occasionally I will go look for Momma if she is in the study and remind her that it is bedtime.  (She rarely goes to bed that early - but I do try!)



I would love to hear from you in the comments.  If you have pets, have they ever done something surprising because they were very determined?  

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

Love,

Abby xoxoxo 

Book Review and Giveaway - The Gypsy Moth Summer by Julia Fierro

Book Synopsis
It is the summer of 1992 and a gypsy moth invasion blankets Avalon Island. Ravenous caterpillars disrupt early summer serenity on Avalon, an islet off the coast of Long Island–dropping onto novels left open on picnic blankets, crawling across the T-shirts of children playing games of tag and capture the flag in the island’s leafy woods. The caterpillars become a relentless topic of island conversation and the inescapable soundtrack of the season.

It is also the summer Leslie Day Marshall–only daughter of Avalon’s most prominent family–returns with her husband, a botanist, and their children to live in “The Castle,” the island’s grandest estate. Leslie’s husband Jules is African-American, and their children bi-racial, and islanders from both sides of the tracks form fast and dangerous opinions about the new arrivals.

Maddie Pencott LaRosa straddles those tracks: a teen queen with roots in the tony precincts of East Avalon and the crowded working class corner of West Avalon, home to Grudder Aviation factory, the island’s bread-and-butter and birthplace of generations of bombers and war machines. Maddie falls in love with Brooks, Leslie’s and Jules’ son, and that love feels as urgent to Maddie as the questions about the new and deadly cancers showing up across the island. Could Grudder Aviation, the pride of the island–and its patriarch, the Colonel–be to blame?

As the gypsy moths burst from cocoons in flocks that seem to eclipse the sun, Maddie’s and Brooks’ passion for each other grows and she begins planning a life for them off Avalon Island.

Vivid with young lovers, gangs of anxious outsiders; a plotting aged matriarch and her husband, a demented military patriarch; and a troubled young boy, each seeking his or her own refuge, escape and revenge, The Gypsy Moth Summer is about love, gaps in understanding, and the struggle to connect: within families; among friends; between neighbors and entire generations.


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Purchase Links


Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble


My Review
The Gypsy Moth Summer takes place during the summer of 1992, as gypsy moths descend on Avalon Island.   Leslie Day Marshall, who grew up in a prominent family on the island, has just returned with her husband Jules and their children.  Their bi-racial family immediately attracts attention on the island.

Maddie is a teenage girl who has family in both affluent East Avalon and working class West Avalon.  She falls in love with Leslie and Jules' son, Brooks.

Over the summer tensions build between different groups on the island.  Social issues and family frictions are exacerbated by the heat and the stress of the gypsy moths everywhere.

Julia Fierro does a good job at evoking the feeling of summer in this book.  The novel begins at a fair that Maddie is attending with a little group of high school mean girls.   That is where she first sees Brooks and encounters the Marshall family.

The story is told from different viewpoints.  This was very well done, with well developed characters.

The writing is evocative and hints at what is to come:  "Before that summer of '92, people left their front doors unlocked when they turned in for the night, and children, even those who still believed in the witches and wolves of fairy tales, fled to the woods each evening.  Be careful, their mothers called as the children threw open screen doors and ran barelegged into the birch turned blue in the otherworldly light that blanketed the island each night" (p. 3). 

The Gypsy Moth Summer is a novel about serious social issues, including racism, spousal abuse, class tensions.  (I write about pets and animal rescue at my blog, so I have to add that there is some animal cruelty in this novel as well.)  It is a thought provoking read, and will appeal to readers of contemporary literary fiction who appreciate the combination of lyrical writing, strong characters, and serious social themes.


Author Bio
JULIA FIERRO is the founder of The Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop, a creative home to more than 4,000 writers in New York City, Los Angeles and online. Her first novel CUTTING TEETH, was praised by The Boston Globe (“at once modern and timeless”) and The New Yorker (“a comically energetic début”).  A graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, Julia lives in Brooklyn and Los Angeles.  

Connect with Julia


Website | Facebook | Twitter

 

Giveaway

One reader (U.S./Canada) will win a copy of The Gypsy Moth Summer.  The winner will be drawn 6/10 and notified by email.  Winner must respond to the email within 48 hours.   The book will be sent directly from the author or her publicist.

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