Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Book Spotlight and Giveaway - Etched in Tears (A Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery) by Cheryl Hollon

Book Synopsis
When a famous glass artist is murdered at his own exhibit, deadly secrets are put on display, and it’s up to glass shop owner Savannah Webb to see through a killer’s cover.

Celebrated glass artist Dennis Lansing is returning to St. Petersburg, Florida, for an exhibit at the world-renowned Salvador Dali Museum. His unique style of embedding document images in his art is at the vanguard of contemporary glasswork. But as Savannah’s first boyfriend and a former apprentice to her father, Dennis’s return home has her reflecting on the past—a trip down memory lane that takes a dark turn when Dennis is found murdered at the museum with an old reference letter from her father in his pocket. A search through her father’s records sheds new light on Dennis’s history, but it seems his present life wasn’t so transparent either. Now, with a gallery of suspects to consider, it’s up to Savannah to figure out who fits the mold of a murderer.

Author Bio
Cheryl Hollon now writes full-time after she left an engineering career of designing and building military flight simulators in amazing countries such as England, Wales, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan, and India. Fulfilling the dream of a lifetime, she combines her love of writing with a passion for creating glass art. In the small glass studio behind her house in St. Petersburg, Florida, Cheryl and her husband design, create, and produce fused glass, stained glass, and painted glass artworks. Visit her online at http://cherylhollon.com, on Facebook or on Twitter @CherylHollon. 

Purchase Links
Amazon  B&N Hudson Booksellers BAM IndieBound
This book will also available at Target and WalMart.

(2) Print Copy Etched in Tears (A Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery) by Cheryl Hollon.  Ends 11/29.
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Friday, November 17, 2017

Dear Abby - Vintage Thanksgiving Dog Illustrations

Dear Friends,

I am taking next week off for some family time, but I wanted to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and share a few vintage Thanksgiving illustrations of dogs.

Calling All Girls magazine from 1960.  A young girl shares the wishbone with her dachshund.

Calling All Girls magazine from 1962.  A girl eats Thanksgiving lunch while her dachshund watches from the window.  (I am sure he will get some food too!)

Betsy McCall paper doll page from McCall's magazine.   "Betsy has a wonderful Thanksgiving."  Little illustration of Betsy's dog Nosy.

Saturday Evening Post magazine from 1933.  Three beagles are determined to share the Thanksgiving turkey!

Household magazine from 1952.  A busy Thanksgiving kitchen is pictured, complete with the family's eager dog.

Two beagles in this A.E. Kennedy illustration succeed at pulling the turkey off the table!

Vintage Thanksgiving postcard of a bulldog watching a Turkey.

A happy little dog sits in a chair at Thanksgiving on this postcard.  "For what we are about to receive let us be Thankful."

This World War II vintage illustration is from 1945.  The family dog helps a mother and her son, a sailor, cook dinner.  The illustration is by J.C. Leyendecker.

This illustration, also by J.C. Leyendecker for The American Weekly magazine, shows a little boy carrying a turkey home - although his little terrier dog thinks it is for him.  This is a 1950 illustration.

A maid carries a turkey while the family's dog follows eagerly.  This illustration is dated 1905.

This postcard depicts a man in Pilgrim clothes bringing a pumpkin and basket of apples home, with the help of his dog.

I hope you enjoyed these vintage Thanksgiving dog pictures.  And more importantly, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!   I am grateful for readers and friends here, and look forward to catching up with you again in a couple of weeks.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Abby xoxoxo

Book Review and Giveaway - Christy by Catherine Marshall

Book Synopsis
Some stories are evergreen, their themes and lessons standing the test of time and connecting with readers generation after generation. Reconnect with Catherine Marshall's beloved Christy as it celebrates its 50th anniversary with a new edition! 

As nineteen-year-old teacher Christy struggles to find acceptance in her new home of Cutter Gap, some see her-and her one-room school-as a threat to their way of life. Her faith is challenged and her heart is torn between two strong men with conflicting views about how to care for the families of the Cove. Yearning to make a difference, will Christy's determination and devotion be enough?

My Review
All readers have comfort books that they love and return to again and again.  Christy is one of those books for me.  I received a copy of this book from my parents long ago as a gift.  I was a young teen, and I read it over and over during my teen years.  When I heard that Christy was being re-released on its 50th anniversary, I was eager to re-read this favorite book again.

Christy tells the story of a young schoolteacher who leaves her home in Asheville, North Carolina to travel to the small mountain community of Cutter Gap.  There she teaches in a one room school, despite struggles from community members.  She also meets two very different men who interest her.  The book was inspired by Catherine Marshall's mother, Leonora Whitaker.

I love what the Marshall and LeSourd families write in the Forward to this book:

"The story of Christy ultimately presents this challenge:  Do I have the courage, the hope and the faith to step into my future - no matter where in the world that takes me?" (p. 14).  This is a lovely insight to the heart of this novel.

It was a delight to re-read this novel again after many years, and to visit Christy and the people of Cutter Gap.  Catherine Marshall was a gifted writer who especially excelled at creating a strong sense of place and vivid characters.  

This edition is lovely, and I especially liked the list of Characters and the two page map of Cutter Gap, Tennessee.  I think other readers will also find these book tools helpful as they read this long, rewarding novel.

I cannot recommend Christy highly enough for anyone who loves historical fiction, Christian fiction, or novels with strong and inspiring female characters.

Celebrate the new 50th anniversary edition of Christy by entering to win one of TWO $50 Visa cash cards (details below) and by attending a Facebook Live party on December 5!

TWO grand prize winners will receive:
  • One copy of Christy
  • One $50 Visa Cash Card
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on December 5. The winner will be announced at the Christy Facebook Live Party. RSVP for a chance to connect with authors who've been impacted by Christy 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 and Facebook Live party via social media and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 5th!

I received a copy of this book from Litfuse.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Book Spotlight and Giveaway - Death at the Midnight Dragonfly by Susan Boles

Book Synopsis
On the fourth day of Christmas,
In Mercy, Mississippi….
Four suspects lying,
Three sleuths a sleuthing
Two clues a hiding
And a very, very dead body.

It’s the Christmas season in Mercy, Mississippi. But things are far from jolly.

For Vlad Templeton the sleepy little town where he spent his childhood provides the perfect place to conduct his state funded sleep study. But when the local bank manager, who was participating in the study, is found dead on his doorstep, is it a set up…or is Vlad somehow involved?

But, when someone makes an attempt on Lily Gayle’s and Dixie’s life, the two realize they better move fast….or they might end up sleeping forever.

Author Bio
Susan calls McNairy County, TN her home ground even though she has moved away. It was here, at Bethel Springs Junior High School that she began her writing career with two friends. They formed their own little writers group that was so secret they were the only ones who knew it existed. She still has some of the stories they wrote carefully preserved in a loose leaf binder and tucked away for safety.

She has worked in retail management, briefly for the Census Bureau and for many years in the investment/insurance industry in the regulatory compliance arena. All of which are left brain activities. So she exercises her right brain activity with reading and writing…just to keep both sides even.

Reading has been a passion since she was very young. As a toddler, her mother read to her from her ‘baby books’ and her Mother tells a story about her holding one of them upsidedown and ‘reading’ by repeating the story verbatim from memory.

Susan writes mysteries set in the big city of Memphis, TN and the fictional small town of Mercy, Mississippi. 

Author Links:
Webpage – Twitter @SusanBAuthor – Blog – Facebook – Linked In – GoodReads

(1) Tote bag with Death of a Wolfman cover art, Pillow cover with “My Weekend Is All Booked” printed on it; Midnight Dragonfly flour sack kitchen towel, autographed print copies of Death of a Wolfman, Cherry Cake and a Cadaver and Death at the Midnight Dragonfly; $25 Amazon gift card.
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Book Spotlight and Giveaway - Canal Days Calamity (A Dog Days Mystery) by Jamie M. Blair

Book Synopsis
Cameron Cripps-Hayman is taken aback when she stumbles upon another murdered neighbor, this time behind her sister’s shop, Dog Diggity. The timing couldn’t be worse, as there’s only a week left before the store’s grand opening during Canal Days, the biggest festival of the year.

When the police arrest her handyman, Cameron knows they’ve got the wrong suspect, so the Metamora Action Agency sets their sights on cracking the case. With one solved murder under their belts, how hard could a second be?

With a flood warning and a murderer on the loose threatening the start of Canal Days, can Cameron and her crew save the town’s annual dog and pony show from being canceled?

Author Bio
Jamie Blair (Ohio) is the award-winning author of young adult and romance books, including Leap of Faith (Simon & Schuster, 2013) and Lost to Me. Visit her online at www.JamieBlairAuthor.com and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/JamieMBlair


Purchase Links

Amazon    B&N

(2) Print Copy Canal Days Calamity (A Dog Days Mystery) by Jamie M. Blair (U.S. Only).  Ends 11/22.
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Friday, November 10, 2017

Dear Abby - Famous TV Dogs: Dog the Basset Hound from Columbo

Dear Friends,

Today I'm looking forward to talking about one of my favorite TV dogs, Dog from Columbo.  Not a very original name, but he was a very cute Basset Hound!   Columbo was a mystery series that ran from 1971 - 2003.  Dog helped Detective Columbo solve crimes.  My Momma loves this show, so I have watched with her, and she has a previous post about the retro TV aspects of this series here:  Did You Know Tuesday:  Fun Facts About Columbo.

Dog first appeared in the series in the episode Etude in Black (1972).   Peter Falk, who played Columbo, was originally not a fan of adding a dog to the series.  He thought Columbo already had a rumpled trench coat, a cigar, and a wife who was referred to but never seen.  He did not think he needed a dog too.

As a great fan of rescue, I will add that the character Dog was written as a rescue dog.  Columbo has a running conversation in Etude in Black about what to name Dog.  He considers the names Fido and Beethovan. 

The Basset Hound who played Dog was named Henry.  He also was a rescue dog from a Los Angeles pound, and if he looks familiar, it is because he played Henry the dog in Emergency!

Over the course of the series we learn that Dog enjoys ice cream, swimming, and television. Henry, the original Basset Hound, passed away during the course of the series and was recast with another very mellow dog. 

There is a statue of Dog and Columbo in Budapest.  Peter Falk was related to 19th century Hungarian political figure Miksa Falk, and the statue is at a street named Falk.

Here is a short video of Dog:

Do you remember the TV show Columbo?  Are you a Basset Hound fan?  I'd love to hear from you in the comments, below.


Abby xoxoxo

Monday, November 6, 2017

Book Spotlight and Giveaway - King Harald’s Snow Job by Richard Audry

Book Synopsis
It’s early December and Andy Skyberg is itching to blow town for a weekend of holiday cheer with old friends—including a date with an attractive divorcĂ©e who thinks he’s hot.

But first, Aunt Bev needs a teensy bit of help. She’s managing the Girls’ Weekend Out event at the Beaver Tail Resort and could use some extra muscle. Andy figures he can spare a few hours before hitting the road.

Mother Nature, though, has other plans. A giant blizzard makes an unexpected turn. Andy and his pooch King Harald find themselves snowbound—in a hotel full of hard-partying women, stranded travelers, a hockey team, a man-eating novelist, a belligerent blogger, and one violent, devious jewel thief.

Before you know it, man and mutt are up to their noses in another case. It’s a winter wonderland of fast-paced fun and merry madness, as the sleuthing duo dig out from King Harald’s Snow Job.

Author Bio
Richard Audry is the pen name of D. R. Martin. In addition to his career as a journalist and copywriter, D. R. has written a dozen books, both fiction and non-fiction. His current projects include a fantasy adventure trilogy, a canine cozy mystery series, and historical mysteries set at the turn of the last century.

Author Links
Purchase Links
(1) Set of The Karma of King Harald, King Harald’s Heist and King Harald’s Snow Job - Print (U.S. Only)  Ends November 13.
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Friday, November 3, 2017

Dear Abby - Famous TV Dog: Tiger from The Brady Bunch

Dear Friends,

I have a famous TV dog this week who I think lots of you will remember.  Tiger the dog appeared on the first and second seasons of The Brady Bunch.  He was a friendly looking Sheepdog mix, and in the show's storyline, he belonged to Mike Brady's family before he married Carol.

Tiger only appeared in ten episodes, but they are memorable appearances on the show.

"The Honeymoon"
"Kitty Karry-All Is Missing"
"Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore"
"54-40 and Fight"
"Every Boy Does It Once"
"Tiger! Tiger!"
"The Tattle-Tale"
"The Impractical Joker"
"What Goes Up..."

There is a sad story about why Tiger disappeared from the show after this short time.  The dog who played Tiger was killed by a delivery driver on the Paramount Studio lot.  He was replaced by another dog who was not a good match for the series, so Tiger was written out of the show.

Here is a short clip of a Tiger episode of The Brady Bunch:

Did you watch The Brady Bunch, and do you remember Tiger?  My Momma grew up watching this show and she says she always liked Tiger.   I would love to hear from you in the comments, below.

Thanks for reading, and wishing you a great weekend!


Book Review - The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay

Book Synopsis
Falling into the past will change their futures forever.

Mary Davies finds safety in her ordered and productive life. Working as an engineer, she genuinely enjoys her job and her colleagues – particularly a certain adorable and intelligent consultant. But something is missing. When Mary’s estranged childhood friend, Isabel Dwyer offers her a two-week stay in a gorgeous manor house in England, she reluctantly agrees in hopes that the holiday will shake up her quiet life in just the right ways.

But Mary gets more than she bargained for when Isabel loses her memory and fully believes she lives in Jane Austen’s Bath. While Isabel rests and delights in the leisure of a Regency lady, attended by the other costume-clad guests, Mary uncovers startling truths about their shared past, who Isabel was, who she seems to be, and the man who now stands between them.

Outings are undertaken, misunderstandings play out, and dancing ensues as this company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation, work out their lives and hearts.

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Purchase Links
Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

My Review
I am a Jane Austen fan, so I was excited to read The Austen Effect.  I have also heard wonderful things about Katherine Reay's books for a while now.  This is my first read by her, but it will not be my last!

The Austen Effect tells the story of Mary Davies, who goes with her childhood friend Isabel Dwyer on a unique Jane Austen theme vacation at an  estate in England.  A lot happens in two weeks' time, as secrets are uncovered and a very Jane fortnight unfolds.

This is such a delightful read!  I liked the character of Mary, a pragmatic engineer suddenly placed in a richly imaginative setting.  

I loved the setting and the details of the Jane Austen vacation and estate.   For instance:

"You'll find your visit here to be steeped in the stories and culture of Jane Austen.  As you read on our website, many guests choose characters from her novels they wish to embody during their stay, but don't feel you must.  Others simply enjoy the costumes, the carriage rides, and the long walks, then sit here and check e-mail, work, or watch television" (p. 56).  Now that sounds like a wonderful adventure to me, and I would love to go on a vacation in England like this!

The historical details are fascinating.  Isabel is a Jane Austen scholar, and has great little tidbits about period detail to share.  And there were little surprising passages in the book that I enjoyed, like a conversation about the real Von Trapp family!

The Austen Effect is a refreshingly unique read.  I recommend it to fans of Jane Austen, women's fiction, and to anyone who is looking for a diverting, engrossing, and fun read.
Author Bio
Katherine Reay has enjoyed a life-long affair with the works of Jane Austen and her contemporaries—who provide constant inspiration both for writing and for life. She is the author of three previous novels, and her debut, Dear Mr. Knightley, was a 2014 Christy Award Finalist, winner of the 2014 INSPY Award for Best Debut, and winner of two Carol Awards for Best Debut and Best Contemporary. Katherine holds a BA and MS from Northwestern University and is a wife, mother, runner, and tae kwon do black belt. After living all across the country and a few stops in Europe, Katherine and her family recently moved back to Chicago. Visit her on line at katherinereay.com. 

Connect with Katherine 
Website | Facebook | Twitter

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