Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Book Review - Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice Coloring Book By Thomas Nelson Gift Books

Book Synopsis
If you rush to Starbucks at the first hint of cool weather . . . If Pumpkin Spice Latte is your fall drink of choice . . . If you need a way to recover from a busy summer and take a breath before a busy holiday season, this book is for you. Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice Coloring Book includes gorgeous illustrations featuring your favorite images of autumn. This one-of-a-kind adult coloring book has classic fall quotes, fun sayings, and Bible verses featured alongside detailed coloring pages. 

Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice Coloring Book offers hours of enjoyment and reflection and makes the perfect gift for anyone who loves fall. 

So settle in by a crackling fire for an evening of relaxation, rest, and pumpkin spice! 

My Review
I was interested in this adult coloring book from just hearing the title alone.  I love fall, love all things pumpkin spice, and find coloring very relaxing!

Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice surpassed my expectations.  This is a big book (10" x 10").  The pages are thick and suitable for coloring with pencil or markers.  I colored a page with markers and there was no "bleed through" on the other side of the page.

The pages are also perforated so you can remove them to frame or display.  

The illustrations in this book are by Julianne St. Clair and her designs are really lovely.   There are 90 designs to color.  Some are quotes or Bible verses.   There are some very intricate patterns to color and there are also some simple pages to color.  I really like the variety of coloring patterns in this book, as it gives a lot of variety.   The quotes and simpler designs are nice to color when time is short.  

My favorite quote about fall is included:  "I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers"  (Lucy Maud Montgomery).   Designs in this book include:  pumpkins, fall leaves, Thanksgiving dinner, fresh baked pies, harvest corn, mittens, campfire, farm, hayride, fireplace, apples, warm mugs with cocoa (or maybe pumpkin spice latte!), and more.

As always, I find coloring to be very relaxing and pleasant.  I especially enjoy coloring while listening to favorite music.  Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice is an very well made coloring book, and I look forward to enjoying more coloring in this book through this fall!   

I received a copy of this book from Booklook Bloggers.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Dear Abby - Doxieposse Pals

Dear Friends,

I wanted to send you a link to a Facebook page that is near and dear to my heart.  Doxieposse Pals is a gathering of dachshund friends, with fun little daily pictures, cartoons, photos and stories.  You'll find it on Facebook:  Doxieposse Pals.

This group started over the summer as a tribute to our very dear friend, Angela Williams, who maintained the original Doxieposse page.  When Angela passed away suddenly, several of her friends got together to start this tribute page in her honor.  There are several ladies who take turns posting there -- Barbara, Brenda, De, and my momma, Trish.  That is Angela's beloved pup, Gizmo, that you see in the photo for our group, above.  Gizmo and Angela were guests here at my blog several times.  You'll find several of the posts here:  Gizmo visits Dear Abby.

Here are a few glimpses of what you will find at Doxieposse Pals.

These sound like good words to live by:

My buddy Oz enjoying a ray of sunshine:

A little dachshund humor (that pup deserves a trip to PetSmart!):

More dachshund humor, although I don't want to say I definitely agree with this:

My friend Gizmo in his toy basket!

And me cuddling my toys (they are my lovies):

A spoiled dog test.  Hmm, why is this right after the picture of me?!?!

Dachshunds enjoying a sunny day at the pool - ahhh!

My Momma says this may be true:

And, since it is Friday:

 I hope you enjoyed these pictures.  Have a wonderful weekend!


Abby xoxoxo

Book Review and Giveaway - Read and Gone: A Haunted Library Mystery by Allison Brook

Book Synopsis:
Twenty million dollars’ worth of missing gems bring Carrie Singleton’s long-lost and larcenous dad back into her life and it’s up to Carrie to clear his name.

A devoted dad is as precious as diamonds, but Carrie Singleton wouldn’t know since her dad Jim’s been on the lam most of her life. In an unusual family reunion, she finds Jim breaking into her cottage in the middle of the night. The fun really starts when he begs her to help him recover his half of a twenty-million-dollar gem heist he pulled off with the local jeweler, Benton Parr. When she refuses, Jim takes off again.

Carrie finds her father again behind bars for the recent murder of Benton Parr. Who made the connection? Unbeknownst to her, Carrie’s boyfriend Dylan, an insurance investigator, has been searching for the gems. Determined to find the jewels herself, she starts examining every facet of Parr’s life. She turns up a treasure trove of suspects, one of whom bashes her on the head as she’s searching the victim’s country cabin.

Retreating to the quiet confines of the library where she works, Carrie watches as Smokey Joe, the resident cat, paws at a hole in the wall. Is he after the library’s ghost Evelyn, or something shinier?

My Review:
Read and Gone is the second book in the Haunted Library Mystery series.  Carrie Singleton works at a small Connecticut library.  She loves her work, has made friends with several coworkers, and even has a ghost friend -- Evelyn, who worked at the library years ago.  When Carrie's father, a reformed jewel thief, returns unexpectedly, her life is up-ended ... especially since her boyfriend is an insurance investigator who specializes in theft cases.   When there is an unexpected murder, Carrie works to solve the mystery.

This is my second read in this series.  I enjoyed both books, Death Overdue and Read and Gone, and look forward to future reads in this series.  The details of Carrie's life unfold in both books, and I would recommend reading them in order.

There is just so much that I enjoyed about this cozy mystery.  I loved the holiday setting, as Carrie and the library staff prepared for Christmas.  I like the continuing romance between Carrie and Dylan;  they are so well matched and their scenes together are great.  I also loved the glimpses of Carrie's family, especially her dad, Jim.

Evelyn continues to be a delightful character.  I have pictured her a bit like Aunt Clara in the Bewitched TV series, popping in as a very properly dressed older lady.  I found the way that Evelyn sent Carrie to visit her senior citizen friend in a nursing home very touching.

And of course I loved that kitty, Smoky Joe.  He even played a part in solving the mystery!

The mystery itself was well plotted and had enough possible suspects to make this a very enjoyable read.  

I highly recommend Read and Gone to fans of cozy mysteries, especially for readers who enjoy holiday mysteries and library settings.

Author Bio:
Allison Brook is the pseudonym for Marilyn Levinson, who writes mysteries, romantic suspense, and novels for kids. She lives on Long Island and enjoys traveling, reading, watching foreign films, doing Sudoku and dining out. She especially loves to visit with her grandchildren on FaceTime. 

Author Links
My Amazon page:

Purchase Links
Amazon   B&N  BookBub

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I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and Great Escapes Book Tours.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Book Review - Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joane Bischof

Book Synopsis
After the tragic death of her husband, Aven Norgaard is beckoned to give up her life in Norway to become a housekeeper in the rugged hills of Nineteenth-Century Appalachia. Upon arrival, she finds herself in the home of her late husband’s cousins—three brothers who make a living by brewing hard cider on their three-hundred acre farm. Yet even as a stranger in a foreign land, Aven has hope to build a new life in this tight-knit family.

But her unassuming beauty disrupts the bond between the brothers. The youngest two both desire her hand, and Aven is caught in the middle, unsure where—and whether—to offer her affection. While Haakon is bold and passionate, it is Thor who casts the greatest spell upon her. Though Deaf, mute, and dependent on hard drink to cope with his silent pain, Thor possesses a sobering strength.

As autumn ushers in the apple harvest, the rift between Thor and Haakon deepens and Aven faces a choice that risks hearts. Will two brothers’ longing for her quiet spirit tear apart a family? Can she find a tender belonging in this remote, rugged, and unfamiliar world?

A haunting tale of struggle and redemption, Sons of Blackbird Mountain is a portrait of grace in a world where the broken may find new life through the healing mercy of love.

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

My Review
In 1890, young widow Aven Norgaard travels from Norway to the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia to live with her late husband's relatives.  Life on Blackbird Mountain is very different from anything she has experienced.   The household consists of three brothers.  The two youngest brothers - very different men - both develop a romantic interest in Aven.  As she settles into life in Appalachia, she also sorts through her feelings about Thor and Haakon.

Sons of Blackbird Mountain is a unique historical novel set in a small Appalachian community.  The setting is so beautifully described and the book is so immersive.  I found myself thinking about Blackbird Mountain and the people who lived there in between reading times.  

Aven is a wonderfully sympathetic protagonist -- strong, brave, and kind.  It took tremendous courage for her to travel from Norway to an unknown home in Virginia, and to settle in smoothly there.  She is courted by two men in the family.  Haakon is young and impetuous, handsome and charming.  Thor is brooding and strong, with an unfortunate weakness for the hard cider that the Norgaard family produces on their farm.  

Thor is also deaf and mute.  The details of his life and how he communicates (and struggles to communicate at times) were both fascinating and moving.  I especially found his memories of life at a school for the deaf as a young man so sad.  The early school he went to was overseen by Alexander Graham Bell.  Bell did not believe that deaf children should sign at all, and they even had to wear mitts so they would be forced to lip read and speak.

I loved the daily details of life on the mountain -- like the first time Aven tried to swim in the pond on the mountain, the way Aven sewed clothes from fabric found in the farm outbuildings, and cooking on the farm.  

I especially loved the slow courtship between Aven and Thor.  I will admit to a bit of a book crush on Thor.  I loved the way so much of their courtship was written and passed back and forth in notes.  The scenes of Thor learning to dance, despite not hearing music, were amazing.

One of my favorite novels is Christy by Catherine Marshall (set in the Appalachian Mountains of Tennessee, 1910's) and I felt a real kinship between that book and Sons of Blackbird Mountain.  The plots and characters were very different, but there was a similar beauty in the simplicity of mountain life, and a quiet strength from faith.

Sons of Blackbird Mountain is my favorite review read of 2018.  It is such a lovely book, and I am delighted to learn that there will be a sequel.   I cannot recommend this novel highly enough for fans of historical fiction.  It is a joy to live in the world of Blackbird Mountain as you read this book.

Author Bio
A Christy and Carol Award winner, Joanne Bischof writes deeply layered fiction that tugs at the reader’s heartstrings. She lives in the mountains of Southern California with her three children.


Connect with Joanne

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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

Friday, September 7, 2018

Dear Abby: Back from Summer Break

Dear Friends,

I wanted to pop in and say "hi" and catch up.  I've missed being in touch with you!   I took the entire Summer off with my Momma, but I am back with regular posts again.  I will share a few pics today and catch up with you.

More than anything, I enjoyed lots of time with Momma this summer.  Here I am relaxing on the bed!

And here I am cuddling with some of my lovies.

My friend Elsie came to stay a couple of times.  This is a picture of the two of us in nap mode.  We often sit and lie in the same position!

Summertime means holidays with lots of fireworks.  I don't like loud noises, so I wear my comforting Thundershirt.   (Fans and happy music also helps!)

August 25 was a special day -- my birthday!   I turned 9 this year.   I don't feel a day over 2 though.

Birthdays mean treats!

My buddy Oz and his family sent me this cute card.  I love it!

So you've heard a bit about my summer.  How was YOUR summer?  If you have pets, what do they enjoy about the summer months?

I'm really glad to be back chatting with you and look forward to being in touch this Fall.  I'm looking for some fun posting themes ... I have a few ideas but if you have any dog themes you would like to read about, please let me know in the comments.

Have a wonderful weekend!


Abby (now 9 years old!) xoxoxo