Friday, October 25, 2019

Dear Abby - Halloween Pictures Featuring Dachshunds

Dear Friends,

Happy Halloween!  I hope you are planning a fun holiday.  Do you dress up for the day?  I have a costume and wear it when Momma asks nicely. 

Last year we didn't have many trick or treaters, which is okay by me.  I am not a fan of lots of knocking and doorbell ringing!

I do love Halloween pictures of dachshunds and dogs.  I found some fun ones at Pinterest, and thought you might enjoy them too.

A dachshund stands with an elaborate carved Jack O' Lantern:

Three pumpkins make a special dachshund picture:

A dachshund says "We are never too old for Halloween."  I agree!

A dachshund poses with pumpkins and fall leaves:

 A beautiful black and tan dachshund wears a string of light up pumpkins:

 A little witch dachshund stands with pumpkins:

Dachshunds pose for Halloween with a log, pumpkins, and fall leaves:

Me! all dressed up in my angel costume:

If you'd like a little more Halloween fun, I have a few previous blog post links to share with you:

Dogs in Halloween costumes - some of my old friends are here!

Calling All Girls Halloween magazine covers (1960's) featuring Dachshunds

Vintage Halloween pictures with dogs

However you celebrate Halloween, I hope you have lots of TREATS!



Book Review - Finding Christmas by Karen Schaler

Book Synopsis
With all the glittering decorations, twinkling lights, snow angels, gingerbread men and mistletoe, Christmas is Emmie’s first love.

This year, she can’t wait to share her favorite Christmas traditions with her boyfriend, Grant. She thinks he’s “the one.” So when Grant’s hectic work schedule has him more “Bah Humbug” than “Ho, Ho, Ho,” Emmie creates a holiday-themed scavenger hunt to help him find his Christmas spirit. At the end of the journey, Grant will arrive at the charming town of Christmas Point where she’s planned a romantic weekend filled with holiday activities.

But Emmie’s plan backfires when a mix-up has the wrong guy following her clues! Sam, a best-selling mystery writer, thinks Emmie’s clever Christmas riddles are from his agent, who is trying to help him get over his epic writer’s block.
When he arrives at Christmas Point and finds the stunned Emmie, he immediately feels she’s someone special, but she can’t see beyond the fact that the wrong guy has shown up. Inspired by the small, charming town, Sam decides to stay and convinces Emmie to join him in a little holiday fun while she waits for Grant.

When Grant finally shows up, Emmie is disappointed to discover he’s not enjoying the activities she planned and can’t help wonder if he’s really the one for her. She also can’t get Sam out of her mind and all the great times they had together. With Christmas coming fast, Emmie will need the magic of the season to help steer her in the direction of true love…


Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

My Review
Emmie loves Christmas more than anything, so naturally she plans to make her first Christmas with boyfriend Grant extra special.  She plans an elaborate holiday scavenger hunt that will take him to a small mountain town called Christmas Point, so they can have a romantic holiday weekend together.  The catch?  The wrong man gets the scavenger hunt clues.  Sam is a mystery novelist with writer's block. He thinks the clues are from his agent, and he arrives at Christmas Point for the weekend.  Emmie's boyfriend is too busy working to join her, so she becomes friends with Sam and sparks start to fly.

I wanted to read this book from first description because I love Christmas! I love Christmas novels and Christmas movies, and knew I would like this book because of the author's background.  Karen Schaler has written a number of Christmas movies for Hallmark, Netflix, and Lifetime.

Finding Christmas reads like the most charming Hallmark Christmas romance imaginable.  Emmie starts out a little grumpy because she is on a big Christmas shopping trip and her perfect wreath purchase is blocked by another customer - Sam (we will see him again later).  At first I thought Emmie was going to be a shopaholic character, but she really isn't.  She works hard managing a nonprofit community center and helping families in need.  Christmas is her one special time that she likes to shop - and often for others.

Sam is such a charming character.  He is a great sport who is up for anything - from decorating cookies to ice skating.  From the start I wanted him to get together with Emmie.  I absolutely loved their scenes together.

I especially loved the Christmas scavenger hunt that Sam (mistakenly) went on.  Every little stop of the hunt was great fun.  The author even has tips on how to plan your own holiday scavenger hunt in the back of the book!

Christmas Point is a charming setting for this story.  It is a little town (population 720) dedicated to all things Christmas.  Emmie stays at an inn there that is owned by a widow named Ruby.  Ruby is a lovely, warm character and her friendship with Emmie adds a lot to the book.  I loved all the details of Christmas celebrations in this little town too.  I have to add that Ruby even has a sweet Border Collie named Dasher!   (I enjoy all books more when they feature a lovable dog or cat.)

I also loved Emmie's passion for all things Christmas.  I could just picture her apartment from the book's description:

"Her entire apartment looked like a scene from a Christmas fairy tale.  There were hundreds of white twinkle lights hanging overhead, attached to the loft's old wooden ceiling beams.  The lights also outlined all the windows.  From top to bottom, Emmie's apartment was filled with all kinds of Christmas decorations from vintage to modern, similar to how her office was decorated.  Emmie didn't discriminate.  She had a snow globe collection, an angel collection, and a snowman collection, as well as several antique nativity sets. ...  It was the perfect balance of old and new, and it felt genuine and real" (p. 57).

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and know that other fans of Christmas novels will like it too.  Finding Christmas is a perfect holiday read -- just settle in with a cup of cocoa and prepare to get in the holiday spirit!
Author Bio
Karen Schaler is a three-time Emmy Award–winning storyteller, author, screenwriter, journalist, and national TV host. She has written original screenplays for Netflix, Hallmark, and Lifetime Christmas movies, including the Netflix sensation A Christmas Prince. Karen wrote the Hallmark movie and novel Christmas Camp, and the sequel novella, Christmas Camp Wedding. Traveling to more than sixty-five countries as the creator and host of Travel Therapy TV, Karen is constantly inspired by the diverse people, places, and cultures she encounters. All of Karen’s stories are uplifting, filled with heart and hope.

Find out more about Karen at her website, and connect with her on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and YouTube.

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

Monday, October 21, 2019

Book Review - A Distance Too Grand (American Wonders Collection, #1) by Regina Scott

Book Synopsis
Meg Pero has been assisting her photographer father since she was big enough to carry his equipment, so when he dies she is determined to take over his profession--starting with fulfilling the contract he signed to serve on an Army survey of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in 1871. What she doesn't realize is that the leader of the expedition is none other than the man she once refused to marry.

Captain Ben Coleridge would like nothing more than to leave without the woman who broke his heart. He can't afford to be distracted during this survey, which is a screen for another, more personal mission, one he cannot share with any member of his team.

As dangers arise from all sides--and even from within--Meg and Ben must work together to stay alive, fulfill their duties, and, just maybe, rekindle a love that neither had completely left behind.

My Review
A Distance Too Grand is a historical novel set in 1871.  It tells the story of Meg Pero, a photographer who has signed on to take photographs for an Army survey of the Grand Canyon.  The officer leading the survey, Captain Ben Coleridge, is her old beau. As they reconnect, they also face danger and a mystery on the trip.

I wanted to read this novel from first description because of the unique character - a woman photographer in the 1870's - and setting - the Grand Canyon.

Meg is such a wonderful, strong female character. She wants a career as a photographer during a time period when women just did not have careers.  She is also very brave when dangers occur as part of the survey.

I loved  Ben and Meg together;  it was great seeing him appreciate her intelligence and creativity and support her dreams. 

The novel is well written, and the descriptions really captured the time and place.  I found the details about 1870's photography especially interesting.  Meg does photos for stereoscopes, and the photographic process for these pictures was fascinating.  The book includes passages like this:

"The view was quaint.  It might make a popular stereograph, particularly if she titled it something romantic, 'Glen in Far-Off Arizona Territory,' perhaps, or 'Forgotten Wilderness.'  People slid her pictures into their stereoscopes and peered through the dual lenses to view exotic places and foreign cultures they'd never visit in person, after all.  The best pictures told a story" (p. 62).

There is a lot of western adventure on the trip, as well as an ongoing mystery.  Although I figured the mystery out early on, I enjoyed reading the resolution in the novel.

This is the first in a series, and I look forward to reading the next novel, which is about Yellowstone.  I recommend A Distance Too Grand for fans of historical fiction, and especially for anyone interested in the old west or early photography.

Author Bio
Regina Scott is the author of more than 40 works of warm, witty historical romance. Her writing has won praise from Booklist and Library Journal, and she was twice awarded the prestigious RT Book Reviews best book of the year in her category. A devotee of history, she has learned to fence, driven four-in-hand, and sailed on a tall ship, all in the name of research. She and her husband of 30 years live south of Tacoma, Washington, on the way to Mt. Rainier.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Dear Abby - October 22: National Make a Dog's Day

Dear Friends,

There is a new special day coming up next week.  It is October 22, National Make A Dog's Day.  This is a day that focuses on rescuing "underdogs" from shelters.  These are special dogs - very big dogs, old dogs, blind dogs, deaf dogs, dogs who were born were three legs, dogs with underbites - dogs who may not find homes as easily.

I read information about this day and was very sad to read that although more dogs are adopted from shelters than in the past, approximately 35% of all shelter dogs are euthanized.

Subaru is sponsoring Make a Dog's Day.  I am in no way affiliated with Subaru, but go them!  This is a wonderful program that is happening in conjunction with the ASPCA.   There is more information at this site:  Make a Dog's Day.

Here is a very short video about underdogs:

There are a number of things you can do to help shelter dogs:

You can adopt them!

You can volunteer at a local shelter.

You can contribute money or goods to a local shelter.  Many local shelters seek donations of food, blankets, towels, sheets, etc.

You can find your local animal shelter online and look for dogs who may have a harder time finding a home.  You can then share these dogs on social media - Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest.   (I have helped my Momma do this before.)

I think this is a great cause to get behind and hope you will share the word as well.

In the meantime, don't forget to also make your own dog's day special next week - a long walk, a toy, a special treat, some extra play time.

Thank you for visiting me today!


Abby xoxoxo

Book Review - Marilla of Green Gables by Sarah McCoy

Book Synopsis
A bold, heartfelt tale of life at Green Gables . . . before Anne: A marvelously entertaining and moving historical novel, set in rural Prince Edward Island in the nineteenth century, that imagines the young life of spinster Marilla Cuthbert, and the choices that will open her life to the possibility of heartbreak—and unimaginable greatness.

Plucky and ambitious, Marilla Cuthbert is thirteen years old when her world is turned upside down. Her beloved mother dies in childbirth, and Marilla suddenly must bear the responsibilities of a farm wife: cooking, sewing, keeping house, and overseeing the day-to-day life of Green Gables with her brother, Matthew and father, Hugh.

In Avonlea—a small, tight-knit farming town on a remote island—life holds few options for farm girls. Her one connection to the wider world is Aunt Elizabeth “Izzy” Johnson, her mother’s sister, who managed to escape from Avonlea to the bustling city of St. Catharines. An opinionated spinster, Aunt Izzy’s talent as a seamstress has allowed her to build a thriving business and make her own way in the world.

Emboldened by her aunt, Marilla dares to venture beyond the safety of Green Gables and discovers new friends and new opportunities. Joining the Ladies Aid Society, she raises funds for an orphanage run by the Sisters of Charity in nearby Nova Scotia that secretly serves as a way station for runaway slaves from America. Her budding romance with John Blythe, the charming son of a neighbor, offers her a possibility of future happiness—Marilla is in no rush to trade one farm life for another. She soon finds herself caught up in the dangerous work of politics, and abolition—jeopardizing all she cherishes, including her bond with her dearest John Blythe. Now Marilla must face a reckoning between her dreams of making a difference in the wider world and the small-town reality of life at Green Gables.


Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


My Review

Marilla of Green Gables tells the story of Marilla Cuthbert's early life, long before Anne of Green Gables.  When the novel begins, Marilla is 13 years old, living with her parents and brother Matthew on a farm in Canada.  Her mother is experiencing a difficult pregnancy, so her sister Izzy has come to stay with them. After tragedy befalls the family, Marilla ends up taking care of her family, and this changes her whole future.  Later we see Marilla tentatively beginning a romance with a neighbor boy named John Blythe  Their love story is at the heart of this book - and Marilla's story.


I love children's literature but did not grow up with Anne of Green Gables.  I first read the novel as an adult.  Reading with adult eyes, and as a single woman, I was curious about Marilla and Matthew, two independent adult siblings who never married but lived independently at Green Gables.  I wondered what their backstory was.  It is a delight to me that Sarah McCoy wrote Marilla's story.


I love the way this novel travels in time -- beginning with a Prologue in 1876 that hints at an orphan coming to Green Gables (Anne Shirley of Anne of Green Gables).  The book then has a section focusing on Marilla's 13th year, the year that changed her life.  This is followed by a section about Marilla's settling in to her new life and being courted by a young John Blythe.  Later the book flashes forward to 1860, when Marilla, through a trip to Nova Scotia and her closeness with her Aunt Izzy, has become interested in helping in some way with runaway slaves seeking safety in Canada.


I loved the old fashioned storytelling of this novel.  The chapter titles alone were a delight -- Marilla Entertains a Caller, Two to Study, John Blythe Suggests a Walk, etc.


The descriptions in this book were breathtaking and really helped set the time and place.  The novel begins:


"The sun and moon shine during snowstorms.  They cast similar shadows, soft-edged, like dandelion clocks in the breeze.  Marilla noticed that when she saw the silhouette of her father's sleigh coming down their snowy lane.  The Farmer's Almanac had forecast a mild winter.  But it was late February, and the snowbanks continued to grow, leaving thirteen-year-old Marilla to wonder if spring would ever return.  It was hard to imagine the apple orchard alive and green under this blanket of white and shadows" (p. 7).


Marilla, as written in this novel, is such a wonderful character.  She loves her home, family, and community so much.  There is a scene where she sits with her father Hugh and brother Matthew and they name their farm Green Gables.  "The three of them stayed sitting there as the purple haze of night fell over all and the crickets began their bittersweet song.  Marilla was exactly where she wanted to be - where she was meant to be.  Home at Green Gables" (p. 124). 


This love of Green Gables is both Marilla's strength and a stumbling block to moving on to another separate life.  I really felt for her as she worked through this as a young adult, and later as a middle aged woman in the novel.


I finished reading Marilla of Green Gables last night and have been thinking about it today.  It is a novel that stays with you, one that will make a special impression on fans of Anne of Green Gables.  I cannot recommend it highly enough!

Author Bio

Sarah McCoy is the New York TimesUSA Today, and internationally bestselling author of the novels The Mapmaker’s Children; The Baker’s Daughter, a 2012 Goodreads Choice Award nominee; and The Time It Snowed in Puerto Rico. She has taught English and writing at Old Dominion University and at the University of Texas at El Paso. She lives with her husband, an orthopedic sports surgeon, and their dog, Gilbert, in North Carolina.

Sarah enjoys connecting with her readers on Twitter at @SarahMMcCoy, on her Facebook Fan Page, on Instagram at @sarahmmccoy, or via her website,
I received a copy of this book from HarperCollins and TLC Book Tours.


Friday, October 11, 2019

Dear Abby - Videos Abby Likes: Dachshund Puppy Climbs Slide

Dear Friends,

I have a short little video to share with you today.  It features a 17 week old dachshund puppy named Genji.  He lives in Australia and was determined to climb a playground slide.  I am impressed at how quickly he learned and how fast he scrabbled up that slide!

I have never been to a playground so I am not sure what I would think about it.  I certainly would not like the swings, and I don't think I would care to slide either.  The sandbox might be fun though - that could involve digging!

With no further ado, here is Genji on the slide!

Now that is some real determination! He wanted to climb the slide and he did.

I'll be back next week -- maybe with a video or some pictures or something else fun.

Hope you have a good weekend!


Abby xoxoxo

Book Review and Giveaway - The First Lady and the Rebel by Susan Higginbotham

Book Synopsis
From the celebrated author Susan Higginbotham comes the incredible story of Lincoln’s First Lady

A Union’s First Lady
As the Civil War cracks the country in two, Mary Lincoln stands beside her husband praying for a swift Northern victory. But as the body count rises, Mary can’t help but fear each bloody gain. Because her beloved sister Emily is across party lines, fighting for the South, and Mary is at risk of losing both her country and her family in the tides of a brutal war.

A Confederate Rebel’s Wife
Emily Todd Helm has married the love of her life. But when her husband’s southern ties pull them into a war neither want to join, she must make a choice. Abandon the family she has built in the South or fight against the sister she has always loved best.

With a country’s legacy at stake, how will two sisters shape history?

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Chapters | IndieBound

My Review
The First Lady and the Rebel tells the story of two sisters during the years of the Civil War.  Mary Todd Lincoln was the wife of Abraham Lincoln.  Her sister Emily Todd Helm and her husband strongly backed the Confederacy.  The book begins as Mary Todd meets Abraham Lincoln and moves through time until the end of Lincoln's life, with a glimpse of Mary's life afterwards.

I wanted to read this book from first glimpse of the cover - it is beautiful!  Although I am from Georgia, I have not read a lot of Civil War fiction, so I was curious about this story because of the time period.

The story is told in alternating chapters by Mary and her sister Emily.  The author did a fine job delineating these characters and the differences in their lives and beliefs.

I particularly liked the early part of the book when Mary Todd first met Lincoln and they had a quirky, off and on courtship.  Their courtship told a lot about their personalities.  There were details like:

"... Mr. Lincoln appeared at the Edwards house every few days, taking the same place beside Mary.  Sometimes they would talk politics;  other times they would take a book from Ninian Edwards's well-stocked (if not exactly well-thumbed) library and have one read it to the other" (p. 12).

I found this book very interesting, and liked the insights of the two sisters on the Civil War -- they were good observers of their time.

The novel moves at a leisurely, rather slow, pace.  I think it would move a bit quicker if the book had been broken up into shorter chapters.

I enjoyed The First Lady and the Rebel and the unique glimpse it gave of America during the Civil War years.  I recommend it to anyone interested in that time period, and to fans of historical fiction.

Author Bio
Susan Higginbotham is the author of seven historical novels, including Hanging Mary, The Stolen Crown, and The Queen of Last Hopes. The Traitor’s Wife, her first novel, was the winner of ForeWord Magazine’s 2005 Silver Award for historical fiction and was a Gold Medalist, Historical/Military Fiction, 2008 Independent Publisher Book wards. She writes her own historical fiction blog, History Refreshed. Higginbotham has worked as an editor and an attorney, and lives in Maryland with her family.

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a paperback copy of The First Lady and the Rebel! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on October 15th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

The First Lady and the Rebel

Book Review and Giveaway - Read and Buried: A Lighthouse Library Mystery by Eva Gates

Book Synopsis
Librarian Lucy Richardson unearths a mysterious map dating back to the Civil War. But if she can’t crack its code, she may end up read and buried.

The Bodie Island Lighthouse Library Classic Novel Book Club is reading Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne while workers dig into the earth to repair the Lighthouse Library’s foundations. The digging halts when Lucy pulls a battered tin box containing a Civil War-era diary from the pit. Tucked inside is a hand-drawn map of the Outer Banks accompanied by a page written in an indecipherable code. 

The library is overrun by people clamoring to see the artifact. Later that night, Lucy and Connor McNeil find the body of historical society member Jeremy Hughes inside the library. Clearly Jeremy was not the only one who broke into the library–the map and the coded page are missing. 

Lucy’s nemesis, Louise Jane McKaughnan, confesses to entering the library after closing to sneak a peek but denies seeing Jeremy–or his killer. When Lucy discovers that fellow-librarian Charlene had a past with Jeremy, she’s forced to do what she vowed not to do–get involved in the case. Meanwhile, the entire library staff and community become obsessed with trying to decode the page. But when the library has a second break in, it becomes clear that someone is determined to solve that code.

My Review
Read and Buried is a cozy mystery set in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  Lucy Richardson works at a library in the old lighthouse on Bodie Island, and lives in the upper level of the lighthouse as well.  While a crew is digging for some renovations at the lighthouse, they find an old diary, a page written in code, and a map of the area with numbers marking locations.  In the small beach community, this mystery attracts a great deal of attention -- leading to a death at the lighthouse.  Lucy decides to investigate and try to solve the mystery.

I love both lighthouses and libraries, so was eager to read this mystery. I especially enjoyed the lighthouse descriptions and setting.

This is #6 in the Lighthouse Library Mystery series, but I had no problem picking up with the characters and reading the book as a standalone.  (Although I now really do want to read the rest of the series!)

The mystery aspect of the story was interesting -- I especially liked the secret code in the story.  It was really interesting to see how the code was finally solved.  I also liked the Civil War history involved in the mystery.  There were a number of possible murderers, and I solved the mystery about the same time that Lucy did.

There is even a mischievous lighthouse cat named Charles.  I always love cozies that include pets!

I really like Lucy as a character.  She is bright and resourceful and smart enough not to take a lot of dangerous chances that amateur detectives often do.  I also liked reading about her friends and coworkers, and her budding romance with the town's mayor, Connor.

I would recommend Read and Buried for fans of cozy mysteries, especially for anyone who enjoys southern mysteries, library mysteries, lighthouses, or mysteries involving some American history. I look forward to also reading more books in this series!

Author Bio
Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers and a national bestseller in the U.S. She has written more than thirty books:  clever cozies to Gothic thrillers to gritty police procedurals, to historical fiction and novellas for adult literacy. She is currently writing four cozy mystery series: the Tea By The Sea mysteries for Kensington, the Year Round Christmas mysteries for Penguin Random House, the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series and, as Eva Gates, the Lighthouse Library books for Crooked Lane. 

Vicki is a past president of the Crime Writers of Canada and co-founder and organizer of the Women Killing It crime writing festival. She lives in Prince Edward County, Ontario.

Author Links

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Monday, October 7, 2019

Book Review - Christmas in Winter Hill by Melody Carlson

Book Synopsis
Krista Galloway is not a fan of Christmas. After her rough childhood in multiple foster homes, the holiday season just brings too many bad memories to the surface. But when she accepts a job as a city manager in the mountain town of Winter Hill, Washington, Christmas is part of the deal. The small town is famous for its Christmasville celebration, something that the city manager . . . well, manages.

As she tries to make her tiny new apartment feel like home for her and her eight-year-old daughter, Emily, Krista begins to wonder if this move was a mistake. She doesn't always feel welcomed in the close-knit town, and Emily continually wonders, "Where's the snow?"

Can a friendly stranger and his family help restore Krista's Christmas spirit before the big day?

My Review
Krista Galloway is newly divorced with an eight year old daughter named Emily.  She leaves her home in Phoenix to move to a small town called Winter Hill, Washington.  She has accepted a job as city manager for the town, and upon arrival realizes that a big part of the job involves planning the annual Christmasville celebration.  The problem? Krista hates Christmas.

I enjoy all things Christmas, including, of course, Christmas books.  I like Melody Carlson's Christmas books, so was eager to read her latest holiday story.

Christmas in Winter Hill is a very sweet story.  Krista is a bit of a grump, but understandably so, after a rough life (years in foster care as a child, a Christmas Eve birthday that was always forgotten, a cheating husband, a contentious divorce).  With all she had been through, I really pulled for her in this book.

The story of this book involves Krista and Emily's settling into a new town just before the holidays and Krista managing the Christmasville celebration.  There is a charming and mysterious little cottage called the Christmas House that is up for a community giveaway, and there is the possibility of romance with a young widower who has a daughter a bit older than Emily.

This is a light, quick read.  It is only 168 pages.  It is still October now, but the story put me in the Christmas mood.  I think it would be an especially nice afternoon or evening read over the holidays.  It is a sweet story that would make a good Hallmark movie!

Recommended for fans of Christmas fiction -- just make cocoa, coffee, or tea and settle in to enjoy!

Author Bio
Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of more than two hundred books with combined sales of more than seven million. She is the author of many Christmas books, including the bestselling The Christmas Bus, The Christmas Dog, Christmas at Harrington's, The Christmas Cat, The Christmas Joy Ride, The Christmas Angel Project, The Christmas Blessing, and A Christmas by the Sea. She received 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. She and her husband live in central Oregon. Learn more at

Friday, October 4, 2019

Dear Abby - Videos Abby Likes: Parker the Talking Dachshund

Dear Friends,

I have a very sweet video to share with you today.  My friend Debbie (a great dachshund person) sent this link to my Momma so I could watch it.

The video is short, and it is by Parker, a talking dachshund.  Parker actually types his words instead of speaking, but he is lots of fun.  He visits in his backyard, talks about lizards, and appreciates the value of good snacks!  

I really liked this video with the bouncy music and the nice backyard that Parker enjoys.  I especially like Parker, and how happy and friendly he looks with his wagging tail.

I hope you like Parker's video too!  I look forward to visiting with you again next week. 


Abby xoxoxo

Book Review - No Judgments by Meg Cabot

Book Synopsis
The storm of the century is about to hit Little Bridge Island, Florida—and it’s sending waves crashing through Sabrina “Bree” Beckham’s love life…

When a massive hurricane severs all power and cell service to Little Bridge Island—as well as its connection to the mainland—twenty-five-year-old Bree Beckham isn’t worried . . . at first. She’s already escaped one storm—her emotionally abusive ex—so a hurricane seems like it will be a piece of cake.

But animal-loving Bree does become alarmed when she realizes how many islanders have been cut off from their beloved pets. Now it’s up to her to save as many of Little Bridge’s cats and dogs as she can . . . but to do so, she’s going to need help—help she has no choice but to accept from her boss’s sexy nephew, Drew Hartwell, the Mermaid CafĂ©’s most notorious heartbreaker.

But when Bree starts falling for Drew, just as Little Bridge’s power is restored and her penitent ex shows up, she has to ask herself if her island fling was only a result of the stormy weather, or if it could last during clear skies too.


Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

My Review
Sabrina Beckham has left her home in New York City to move to Little Bridge Island in the Florida Keys.  She has left law school and her famous mother and is working as a waitress, spending time painting, and enjoying her sweet rescue cat, Gary.  When a hurricane is on the way she decides to stay on the island in order to take care of Gary.  This decision is the first domino that sets everything in motion -- a fresh look at her future, a possible romance with her boss's nephew, Drew, and hard work rescuing pets that were left behind during the hurricane.

I wanted to read No Judgments from first mention.  First, it's by Meg Cabot.  I love her writing!  Second, it's set in Florida, one of my favorite places.  Third, it involves animals and pet rescue.

I really loved this book and am already thinking of friends who need to read it!   It is written in Meg Cabot's fun, breezy style, although it also deals with some serious issues.  The chapters are short and fast-moving.  They begin with short details about the hurricane, like current weather conditions, Emergency Disaster Survival Kit Basics - Pets, updates on the storm, curfew details, more.

Bree (Sabrina) is a great character.  She is smart, funny, creative, and stronger than she realizes.  She has escaped to Little Bridge Island to heal herself, but she finds real purpose on the island as she explores what she really wants to do, and as she reaches out to help others.

I loved the slow moving romance between Bree and Drew.  They start unsure of each other, and then slowly become friends, bonding over their shared love of animals and desire to rescue pets in need after the storm.  

The only detail I didn't like about Drew was the fact that he named all his dogs Bob, instead of giving them distinctive individual names.  That was just odd to me, but he was otherwise such a lovable character that I am assuming the naming was an unusual quirk on his part!

The pet rescues were wonderful, and are sure to please readers who love animals.  A wide array of animals are featured, including a mistreated dog who finds the perfect home, little guinea pigs named R-2D2 and C-3PO, an attic full of cockatiels, cats, dogs, and more! 

I also loved the details of island life -- the eccentric beach dwellers, the Mermaid Cafe, and the descriptions of nature on the island, from frangipani plants to the Milky Way on a dark beach night.

I look forward to reading future Little Bridge Island books, and recommend No Judgments for fans of women's fiction, contemporary romance, animals, pet rescue, and island life.  This would be a perfect weekend or beach read.

Author Bio
Meg Cabot was born in Bloomington, Indiana. In addition to her adult contemporary fiction, she is the author of the bestselling young adult fiction series, The Princess Diaries. Over 25 million copies of her novels for children and adults have sold worldwide. Meg lives in Key West, FL, with her husband.

Find out more about Meg at her website, follow her blog, and connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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