Friday, February 1, 2019

Dear Abby - Dog Songs - "Hound Dog" by Elvis Presley (1956)

Dear Friends,

Welcome back!  My dog song today is "Hound Dog" by Elvis Presley.  I know this song because it is one my Momma likes ... and of course I like it because it is about a dog.  (A hound dog, no less!)

"Hound Dog" was written by the great songwriting duo of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.  This song was originally recorded by Big Mama Thornton in 1952.  Elvis Presley first heard the song when he was working in Las Vegas in 1956.  A group called Freddie Bell and the Bellboys did the song onstage, and Elvis thought it was fun.  

When Elvis was asked to appear on The Steve Allen Show, he was talked into singing the song directly to a Basset Hound.  In the video Elvis wears a tuxedo and the hound dog wears a top hat.  Elvis thought this was pretty embarrassing, but to his surprise, the song was a huge hit! 

This is a video of Elvis singing to the Basset Hound.

This song was released as the B-side on the 45 record "Don't Be Cruel."  It went platinum, and was #1 on both R&B and country hit charts.

Here is a video of Elvis singing the song in his own rock and roll style.

What do you think of this song?  I would love to hear from you in the comments.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Abby xoxoxo

Book Review and Giveaway - How the Light Gets In by Jolina Petersheim

Book Synopsis
From the highly acclaimed author of The Outcast and The Alliance comes an engrossing novel about marriage and motherhood, loss and moving on.

When Ruth Neufeld’s husband and father-in-law are killed working for a relief organization overseas, she travels to Wisconsin with her young daughters and mother-in-law Mabel to bury her husband. She hopes the Mennonite community will be a quiet place to grieve and piece together next steps.

Ruth and her family are welcomed by Elam, her husband’s cousin, who invites them to stay at his cranberry farm through the harvest. Sifting through fields of berries and memories of a marriage that was broken long before her husband died, Ruth finds solace in the beauty of the land and healing through hard work and budding friendship. She also encounters the possibility of new love with Elam, whose gentle encouragement awakens hopes and dreams she thought she’d lost forever.

But an unexpected twist threatens to unseat the happy ending Ruth is about to write for herself. On the precipice of a fresh start and a new marriage, Ruth must make an impossible decision: which path to choose if her husband isn’t dead after all.


Purchase Links

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My Review
When Ruth Neufeld's husband is killed on a humanitarian mission overseas, she and her young daughters go to stay with her husband's cousin, Elam, in Wisconsin.  Her mother-in-law, Mabel, whose husband was lost during the same mission, stays there as well.  Ruth is surprised when she develops feelings for Elam.  When she learns her husband may not be lost after all, everything changes.

This is my first read by Jolina Petersheim, and I love her writing style.  She writes the most beautiful descriptions, and is wonderful at capturing atmosphere.   This novel is set in a small Mennonite community on a cranberry farm in Wisconsin.  I found everything about this setting new and fascinating, and I loved the details. For instance:

"Elam awoke before the sun and walked out of his house into the fields.  The smell of peat from the cranberry bog rose around him  He thought about all the leaves that had fallen off the ring of silver birches and sifted down through the bog's layers of sand. . . .  The fog rolled in across the land like an opaque carpet.  This subtle transition was Elam's favorite part of morning, when everything was quiet and there was nothing to say or do" (p. 9).

There are some wonderful characterizations in this novel, including Ruth and Mabel, and the way their relationship in many ways mirrors the Bible story of Ruth and Naomi.  Elam was my favorite character.  He is seen as strong but quiet, gentle, and kind.  From his physical description I pictured the Alexander Godunov character in the movie Witness.  There is a triangle of sorts between Elam, Ruth, and Chandler (her husband who was presumed lost for much of the story) and I was firmly on team Elam.  

There are several BIG twists in this storyline.  I won't say more because I don't want to give spoilers.  I was extremely surprised with the final twist, and reread the last chapter of the book for details and nuance.   I am not sure what I think about the twists and the denouement.  I thought the story was going one place (a retelling of Ruth and Naomi, and Ruth and Boaz) and then it went somewhere totally different.   I think this novel would be a very good discussion group book for this reason.  I believe it is a book that will generate many opinions.   I know would love to talk about it in a group setting!

I believe that fans of Christian women's fiction, especially anyone interested in Mennonite life, will enjoy How the Light Gets In.   I especially recommend this book as a group read for a discussion group.

Author Bio
Jolina Petersheim and her husband share the same unique Amish and Mennonite heritage that originated in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, but they now live in the mountains of Tennessee with their three young daughters. Jolina’s fifth novel, How the Light Gets In, a modern retelling of Ruth set in a cranberry bog in Wisconsin, releases March 2019.


Connect with Jolina

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

Book Spotlight and Giveaway - Not a Creature Was Stirring (Merry & Bright Handcrafted Mystery) by Christina Freeburn

Book Synopsis
Empty nester Merry Winters loves three things: Christmas, crafting and her family. To regain purpose and joy, Merry hits the road to a Christmas vendor event with her furry sidekick Ebenezer in her new mobile crafting sleigh, aka an RV.

But it soon turns into the nightmare before Christmas when Merry unwraps her Scrooge of an ex-husband’s body in one of the RV’s compartments. Add to that his missing winning lottery ticket believed to be stashed somewhere in the RV, leading the homicide detective and Merry’s stepdaughter to believe Merry is the one whodunit.

With visions of prison dancing in her head, will Merry be able to solve this Christmas calamity before she’s locked away?

Author Bio

Christina Freeburn has always loved books. There was nothing better than picking up a story and being transported to another place. The love of reading evolved into the love of writing and she’s been writing since her teenage years. Her first novel was a 2003 Library of Virginia Literary Award nominee. Her mysteries series, Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery and Merry & Bright Handcrafted Mysteries, are a mix of crafty and crime and feature heroines whose crafting time is interrupted by crime solving.

Christina served in the US Army and has also worked as a paralegal, librarian, church secretary, and golf shop pro. She lives in West Virginia with her husband, dog, and a rarely seen cat except by those who are afraid and allergic to felines.

Author Links


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Cover Reveal - A Modest Independence by Mimi Matthews

Book Synopsis
He Needed Peace…

Attorney Tom Finchley has spent his life using his devious intellect to solve the problems of others. As for his own problems, they’re nothing that a bit of calculated vengeance can’t remedy. But that’s all over now. He’s finally ready to put the past behind him and settle down to a quiet, uncomplicated life. If only he could find an equally uncomplicated woman.

She Wanted Adventure…

Former lady’s companion Jenny Holloway has just been given a modest independence. Now, all she wants is a bit of adventure. A chance to see the world and experience life far outside the restrictive limits of Victorian England. If she can discover the fate of the missing Earl of Castleton while she’s at it, so much the better.

From the gaslit streets of London to the lush tea gardens of colonial India, Jenny and Tom embark on an epic quest—and an equally epic romance. But even at the farthest edges of the British Empire, the past has a way of catching up with you…


Available for Pre-Order

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Author Bio
Mimi Matthews (A Victorian Lady’s Guide to Fashion and Beauty, The Lost Letter) writes both historical non-fiction and traditional historical romances set in Victorian England. Her articles on nineteenth century history have been published on various academic and history sites, including the Victorian Web and the Journal of Victorian Culture, and are also syndicated weekly at BUST Magazine. In her other life, Mimi is an attorney. She resides in California with her family, which includes an Andalusian dressage horse, two Shelties, and two Siamese cats.

For more information, please visit Mimi Matthews’ website and blog. You can also connect with her on FacebookTwitterBookBubPinterestGoogle+, and Goodreads.