Friday, June 7, 2019

Dear Abby - Some Dachshund Memes

Dear Friends,

I hope you are having a good summer and staying cool!   I am staying busy with my summer plan to relax.  I have planned my naps and time in front of the fan strategically.  It's been pretty perfect so far!

I thought you might enjoy a few dachshund memes.  I have been helping my Momma with the Doxieposse Pals page on Facebook and these are a few memes we found and shared there.  (Also, if you love dogs, please come join us!  We have a lot of fun.)

"I ate your keys so you never have to leave me again."  (This sounds like a great idea!)

"Shine bright like a dachshund."

"I'm into fitness - fitness whole stack of pancakes into my mouth."  (Now I LOVE this picture, and those pancakes too!)

On a similar theme - "Did I just hear the fridge open?"

"I thought there would be bacon in here."

"So you're telling me the ball was in your hand the whole time?"  (Now that seems like a trick or something!)

I hope you enjoyed these memes and hope they gave you a smile.  Have a wonderful weekend!   I look forward to talking to you again soon.


Abby xoxoxo

Book Review and Giveaway - The Woman in the White Kimono by Ana Johns

Book Synopsis
Oceans and decades apart, two women are inextricably bound by the secrets between them.

Japan, 1957. Seventeen-year-old Naoko Nakamura’s prearranged marriage to the son of her father’s business associate would secure her family’s status in their traditional Japanese community, but Naoko has fallen for another man—an American sailor, a gaijin—and to marry him would bring great shame upon her entire family. When it’s learned Naoko carries the sailor’s child, she’s cast out in disgrace and forced to make unimaginable choices with consequences that will ripple across generations.

America, present day. Tori Kovac, caring for her dying father, finds a letter containing a shocking revelation—one that calls into question everything she understood about him, her family and herself. Setting out to learn the truth behind the letter, Tori’s journey leads her halfway around the world to a remote seaside village in Japan, where she must confront the demons of the past to pave a way for redemption.

In breathtaking prose and inspired by true stories from a devastating and little-known era in Japanese and American history, The Woman in the White Kimono illuminates a searing portrait of one woman torn between her culture and her heart, and another woman on a journey to discover the true meaning of home.


Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

My Review
The Woman in the White Kimono is the story of two women who are far apart in both time and distance ... yet their connection draws them together.  Tori Kovac is taking care of her dying father when she discovers he had a secret life as a young military man.  In 1957 he was involved with a young Japanese girl named Naoko.  Tori is determined to find Naoko and to solve the mystery of her father's past.

I love dual-storyline novels that give a glimpse of the past and present at one time.  The author, Ana Johns, does an especially fine job with the dual storyline here.  The story is told in alternating chapters -- Tori in the present time and Naoko in 1957 Japan.  The characters are well developed and I was immediately drawn into their stories, wanting to know more.

Tori's father is another character in the novel, especially as he is seen so differently by these two women -- his first sweetheart, Naoko, and his daughter Tori.  Tori describes him:

"I adored him.

A man who drank fruit brandy like his Slovak father, swaggered like John Wayne and spun colorful yarns like no one else.

Although, with most of his stories, it was difficult to discern their truth.  'What is truth but a story we tell ourselves?'  Then he'd wink, tap my nose and leave me to dissect fact from fantasy.  Something I was still doing" (p. 18).

Part of what made this book so intriguing is the element of storytelling and myth, by both Tori's father Jimmy (Hajime) and Naoko.  There is also a strong element of history and tradition in Naoko's telling of life in 1957 Japan.

The descriptions of Japan were so beautiful and evocative -- I could picture the places the author described so vividly.

Naoko faced heartbreaking prejudice and barriers as a young Japanese woman in love with an American military man;  these struggles intensify when it is discovered that she is pregnant.  The chapters that detail her time in the maternity home were heart-rending.

I found The Woman in the White Kimono a compelling read about a rarely discussed moment in history, and a fascinating story of two very different women's lives.  I recommend this novel for fans of historical fiction, and especially for anyone who also has an interest in Japan.  It is a beautifully written book.

Author Bio
ANA JOHNS worked over twenty years in the creative arts field, as both a creative director and business owner, before turning her hand to fiction. Born and raised in metro Detroit, she now resides in Indianapolis with her family. The Woman in the White Kimono is her first novel.

Connect with Ana

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

One lucky reader will win a copy of The Woman in the White Kimono.  To enter, just fill out the Rafflecopter form, below.  Giveaway is open to U.S. entrants only.  The giveaway ends midnight, June 13.  The winner will be contacted by email and will need to respond within 48 hours or another name will be drawn.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Review - Living Lies by Natalie Walters

Book Synopsis

In the little town of Walton, Georgia, everybody knows your name--but no one knows your secret.

At least that's what Lane Kent is counting on when she returns to her hometown with her five-year-old son. Dangerously depressed after the death of her husband, Lane is looking for hope. What she finds instead is a dead body.

Lane must work with Walton's newest deputy, Charlie Lynch, to uncover the truth behind the murder. But when that truth hits too close to home, she'll have to decide if saving the life of another is worth the cost of revealing her darkest secret.

My Review
Living Lies is a mystery set in small town Georgia.  Lane Kent is a young widow;  she returns to her hometown with her young son.  She runs a diner, deals with family politics (literally - her father is running for office), and struggles with depression.  When she finds the dead body of a girl in the woods, she becomes involved in a mystery that brings her into close contact with deputy Charlie Lynch, who is also new to town.  They work together to solve the mystery before more lives are lost.

I wanted to read this novel because I enjoy mysteries, and I was curious about the small town Georgia setting.  I am from Georgia and tried to place the fictional town from clues in the story.  I wonder if the author was inspired by Richmond Hill, Georgia, because of several references in the novel - the Ogeechee River, Ways Station, a little Henry Ford history.

This was a real stay-up-late read for me.  I read it in record time because I really wanted to know what happened in the mystery.  This book has elements of both a traditional mystery and a romantic suspense novel.   I felt the author did an especially good job of blending these two genres.

Lane was a strong protagonist, especially as she is seen moving through her own stuggles with depression and the difficulties of being a young widow.  She pushes through to really try to help others, not just by solving the mystery, but also helping an older veteran friend who is dealing with PTSD.  I really liked the relationship between Lane and Charlie, which began slowly as friendship and evolved into a romance as they worked together.

The small town atmosphere was especially appealing and well done.  I loved the way the author evoked a sense of place with descriptions.   

There was even a cute, sometimes naughty, little terrier dog (Charlie's dog Bane) in the book!

I recommend Living Lies for readers who enjoy traditional mysteries, romantic suspense, and small town settings.  I look forward to reading future mysteries by this author.

Author Bio
Natalie Walters is a military wife who currently resides in Hawaii with her soldier husband and their three kids. She writes full-time and has been published in Proverbs 31 magazine and has blogged for Guideposts online. Natalie comes from a long line of military and law enforcement veterans and is passionate about supporting them through volunteer work, races, and writing stories that affirm no one is defined by their past.