Friday, September 6, 2019

Dear Abby - Now I Am 10!

Dear Friends,

It has been about six weeks since I've talked with you.  I've missed being in touch with my pals here!  It was nice having a little extra time to rest and relax though.

The big news is this:  since the last time we talked, I turned 10!  I don't feel any older, but birthdays are fun, with treats and gifts and lots of extra attention.

In this picture I'm wearing my birthday hat.  It's shaped like a cake, but my Momma reminded me several times that it is NOT a chew toy.  (Thanks to my friend Shari who sent this cute hat!  I like it.)

 Sometimes it's nice to take a break, even from celebrating.

 Of course, there is always time to look for a treat later!

During my time off from blogging I did help my Momma with bookstore work.  And I kept cool!  I love to sit in front of the fan.

 I also make sure to have time with my toys.

 And naps!  Naps are an important part of summer relaxation.

I hope YOU had a good summer, with plenty of time to rest and relax!  I look forward to visiting with you more often during fall.  I am still deciding about future posts and themes (or no theme - I am not sure!).

Wishing you a wonderful weekend.  Thanks for visiting my blog today!


Abby xoxoxo

Book Review and Giveaway - Silent Night, Deadly Night (A Year-Round Christmas Mystery) by Vicki Delany

Book Synopsis
Residents of Rudolph keep the spirit of Christmas alive year-round—but their joy is threatened when a group of grinches visits the town, in the charming fourth installment of the Year-Round Christmas series. 

It’s the week before Thanksgiving, and Merry Wilkinson, owner of Mrs. Claus’s Treasures, is preparing for a weekend reunion of her mother’s college friends. But when the group of women comes into Merry’s shop, Merry is met with frosty attitudes and cold hearts. 

The women argue amongst themselves constantly, and the bickering only intensifies after one of the friends is poisoned. With her father’s role as Santa in danger due to his proximity to the crime, Merry will need to use all of her investigative gifts to wrap this mystery up and save Santa and her favorite holiday.

My Review
Silent Night, Deadly Night is a cozy mystery set in the town of Rudolph, where Christmas is celebrated year-round.  Merry Wilkinson owns a Christmas shop, and she grew up in the town.  When her mother has a college reunion with five contentious old friends, one of the women ends up dead.  Merry decides to solve the mystery.

I wanted to read this book because I enjoy cozy mysteries, love holiday theme reads, and have often thought it would be fun to own a small Christmas shop. 

This is my first read in the Year Round Christmas Mystery series.  Despite the fact that there is a large cast of characters in the book, I had no problem jumping right in and enjoying this book as a standalone read.  The author did an especially good job at delineating the characters from the casual college reunion.  They each had very distinct personalities.

I really liked Merry as a protagonist -- as a shop owner, daughter, and amateur detective!  She is smart and plays the detective in a savvy way that does not put herself into unnecessary danger.  She even has a lovable dog (a Saint Bernard), which is a plus in any cozy mystery for me!

I have already marked the other books in this series as "want to read" at Goodreads, and hope to catch up with the other books in the future.  Silent Night, Deadly Night was an enjoyable holiday mystery, and will certainly please other cozy mystery fans.

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, the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series, the Year Round Christmas mysteries and, as Eva Gates, the Lighthouse Library series.  

Author Links
Website –
Facebook –;
Twitter:  @vickidelany and@evagatesauthor
Instagram: vickidelany

Purchase Links – AmazonB&NKoboGoogle PlayIndieBound

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Book Review - The Words Between Us by Erin Bartels

Book Synopsis
Robin Windsor has spent much of her life under an assumed name to avoid association with her infamous parents. She thought she'd finally found sanctuary running her used bookstore in quiet River City, Michigan. But when she receives an eerily familiar book in the mail on the morning of her father's scheduled execution, Robin is thrown back to the summer she met Peter Flynt, the perfect boy who ruined everything. Why would Peter be making contact now? And why does she have a sinking feeling that she's about to be exposed all over again?

With evocative prose that recalls the classic novels we love, Erin Bartels pens a story that shows that words--the ones we say, the ones we read, and the ones we write--have more power than we imagine.

My Review
Robin Dickinson lives owns a small independent bookstore in a little town in Michigan.  She is private and reclusive and lives a quiet life.  Then one day, she starts receiving books in the mail.  The books have poems written inside the cover and they take her back to another time -- another name, and what seems like another life. 

I wanted to read The Words Between Us from the description.  I have a small online bookstore and have worked in local bookstores and love fiction set in the book world.  The Words Between Us is a delight for readers.  The protagonist, Robin, really loves books;  they literally change her life.  There is much discussion of classic books in this novel, and it is a delight to read.

The book flashes back between then (Robin's teen years, when she lived in a small trailer with her grandmother) and now (as a bookstore owner).  There are two overriding themes between the two time periods.  Robin's parents are in jail and her father is on death row.  The reasons are revealed over the course of the book, and there is a mystery - and element of danger - because of the mystery.  As a teenager Robin meets a boy named Peter who loves books;  this forges their connection.  He is still important to her life, although he is not around in the present day.  To say more would be to give spoilers, and I don't want to do that -- the slow unraveling of the mysteries in this book is a delight to read.

This is my first read by Erin Bartels and I am stunned by the beauty of her writing.  For instance:

"When I step out of Sarah's car onto the cracked blacktop parking lot, nostalgia and fear grumble in my stomach like the river in springtime.  The asphalt seems solid enough, but that's probably what the guy with the blue pickup had thought about the ice.  It's a warm morning.  Perhaps the present is only a thin crust that might break apart beneath my feet at any moment, allowing the river beneath to sweep me inescapably into the past.  If I walked to the football field right now, those boys might be there in dirty red practice jerseys, Peter among them.  He would look up and notice me as he did then, and we would start over and I would be fourteen again" (Kindle location 2361).

The Words Between Us is a beautiful and moving book.  It is sure to be on my list of favorite reads for 2019, and I cannot recommend it highly enough for other readers.

Author Bio
Erin Bartels is the author of We Hope for Better Things and The Words between Us. A publishing professional for seventeen years, she is a member of Capital City Writers and the Women's Fiction Writers Association. Her short story "This Elegant Ruin" was a finalist in The Saturday Evening Post 2014 Great American Fiction Contest. She grew up in the Bay City, Michigan, area and has spent much of her life waiting on drawbridges. She now lives in Lansing, Michigan, with her husband, Zachary, and their son. Find her online at