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!


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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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 d├ębut”).  A graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, Julia lives in Brooklyn and Los Angeles.  

Connect with Julia

Website | Facebook | Twitter



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.