Pages

Friday, January 31, 2020

Dear Abby - Dogs in Winter (Vintage Pictures)

Dear Friends,

I hope you are having a good week! I have a few more vintage pictures to share today of dogs in winter. I shared vintage pictures of dachshunds in winter last week. These are pictures of other dog breeds that I like as well!

A woman travels through the snow (perhaps in a sleigh) with her Wirehair Fox Terrier.


A little terrier dog helps a boy make a snowman.  It looks like he is helping a lot by pulling on that scarf!


A dog watches two people make snow angels.  He has the right idea about not joining in!  (Brrr!)


Two little girls walk a little terrier dog in the snow.  They all have on bright 1960's colors -- even the dog!



A little dog is excited inside on a snow day.  In this family scene, a little girl and her mother are watching the father of the family go off to work.  The little boy is putting snow boots on.  The dog (who looks like a  beagle mix) is dancing around.


Photograph of a Jack Russell Terrier being pushed on the ice in a sled by two old fashioned women.


1940's advertisement for spark plugs featuring a Scottish Terrier in the snow
 

I hope you enjoyed these pictures and hope you have a warm and cozy weekend ahead!  Thanks for visiting today.

Love,
Abby xoxoxo


Book Review - A Sister's Courage by Molly Green

My Review
A Sister's Courage is the story of Raine (Lorraine) Linfoot beginning in 1939 England.  Raine dreams of being a pilot and begins flying lessons at the age of 17.  When war is declared, she joins the Air Transport Auxiliary, ferrying airplanes to military pilots. This is also the story of Raine's relationships with her parents and sisters, and her romantic interest in two very different men.

I wanted to read A Sister's Courage because I love World War II settings. I have never read a book about a female pilot during the 1940's and also found that aspect of the novel interesting.

The historical details in this book, the first in a trilogy (The Victory Sisters) were wonderful. The author captured little day to day aspects of home front life, like rationing and women collecting aluminum for the war effort.

I found Raine's courage in pursuing flying inspiring and interesting. She persisted in her dreams despite a lot of family related challenges.

Raine's family added an additional dimension to the story.  Her father was supportive but her mother was very negative and there was a lot of tension between her and Raine.  When hardship hit the family, I liked the way that Raine and her younger sisters came together.  I am assuming the other books in the series will be about her younger sisters Suzy and Ronnie.

Raine is an interesting character. She is rather prickly and impulsively outspoken.  She is self aware of these traits:  

"She'd  always had difficulty making friends.  Too acerbic, Maman told her more than once;  too self important - not an appealing trait.  Was this how others saw her?" (p. 202)

Raine has romantic interest in two men -- Douglas, who is a bit older and who teaches her to fly in 1939, and later Alec, an airman that she has a bantering relationship with.  I thought this storyline was well done, and it kept me up late reading to see what would happen!

I recommend A Sister's Courage to other fans of historical fiction who love books set in the 1940's.  You will enjoy this novel, the start of a new series.


Book Synopsis
It’s 1939 and the threat of war hangs over Britain…

The most ambitious of three sisters, Lorraine ‘Raine’ Linfoot always dreamed of becoming a pilot. As a spirited seventeen-year-old, she persuades her hero Doug Williams to teach her to fly.

When war breaks out in 1939, Raine is determined to put her skills to good use. She enlists in the Air Transport Auxiliary, becoming one of a handful of brave female pilots flying fighter planes to the men on the front line.

Raine embraces the challenges of the job, despite its perils. But when Doug is reported missing after his Spitfire is shot down, she realises the war could tear apart not only her country, but also her heart…

A gripping story of family, friendship and courage, perfect for fans of Natasha Lester, Lizzie Page and Call the Midwife.


 

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Author Bio
Molly Green is a seasoned author of fiction and non-fiction. She has sold lipstick in a Denver store, modelled in Atlanta, assisted the UN Narcotics Director in Geneva, chauffeured a Swiss Gnome in Zurich, assisted a famous film producer in the UK, and cooked in a sanatorium in Germany. She now lives and writes in Tunbridge Wells, Kent.

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

Book Spotlight and Giveaway - Metropolis by Ellie Midwood

Book Synopsis

Weimar Berlin, 1924

Unemployed actors, profiteers, cabaret girls, and impoverished aristocracy – out of this wild set of characters populating Weimar Berlin, Margarete Gräfin von Steinhoff belongs to the latter category. Having lost everything due to hyper-inflation, she considers jumping into the freezing waters of the Spree rather than facing the humiliating existence shared by millions of her fellow Germans. However, a chance meeting makes her change her mind at the last moment and offers her a chance to rely on the help of the metropolis itself, where anything can be sold and bought for money and where connections are everything. The bustling nightlife of cosmopolitan Berlin, with its casinos and dance halls, brings good income for the ones who don’t burden themselves too heavily with morals.

After a New Year’s Eve party, Margot finally meets her ever-absent and mysterious neighbor, Paul Schneider, who makes a living by producing a certain type of film for his rich clientele. Under his guidance, Margot discovers a new passion of hers – photography and soon, her talents are noticed by the prominent newspaper, Berliner Tageblatt itself. But being an official photographer of the most celebrated events of the La Scala and most famous Berlin theaters no longer satisfies Margot’s ambitions. As soon as the chance presents itself for her to get involved with the cinematography on the set of “Metropolis” – the film with the highest budget ever produced by the UFA – Margot jumps at it, without thinking twice. At the same time, Paul becomes involved with a rival project, “The Holy Mountain,” which stars an as yet unknown actress and an emerging director in, Leni Riefenstahl. As the two women meet, professional rivalry soon turns into a true friendship, fueled by their passion for cinematography. However, due to the economic woes facing Germany, both projects soon run out of money and now, both film crews must go to extreme lengths to save their respective productions.

Set against the backdrop of a decadent, vibrant, and fascinatingly liberal Weimar Berlin, “Metropolis” is a novel of survival, self-discovery, and self-sacrifice, in the name of art, love, and friendship.

 

Available on Amazon

Author Bio
Ellie Midwood is a USA Today bestselling and award-winning historical fiction author. She owes her interest in the history of the Second World War to her grandfather, Junior Sergeant in the 2nd Guards Tank Army of the First Belorussian Front, who began telling her about his experiences on the frontline when she was a young girl. Growing up, her interest in history only deepened and transformed from reading about the war to writing about it. After obtaining her BA in Linguistics, Ellie decided to make writing her full-time career and began working on her first full-length historical novel, “The Girl from Berlin.” Ellie is continuously enriching her library with new research material and feeds her passion for WWII and Holocaust history by collecting rare memorabilia and documents.

In her free time, Ellie is a health-obsessed yoga enthusiast, neat freak, adventurer, Nazi Germany history expert, polyglot, philosopher, a proud Jew, and a doggie mama. Ellie lives in New York with her fiancé and their Chihuahua named Shark Bait.

For more information on Ellie and her novels, please visit her website. You can also find her on Facebook, Amazon, and Goodreads.

Giveaway
During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a paperback copy of Metropolis! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.  

Giveaway Rules 
– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on February 21st. You must be 18 or older to enter. 
– 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.  
Metropolis

 

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Book Review and Giveaway - A Field Guide to Homicide (Cat Latimer Mystery) by Lynn Cahoon

My Review
A Field Guide to Homicide is set at a Colorado B&B. Cat Latimer is a writer who hosts regular writing retreats.  When she is hiking with a group of writers, they discover a body just off the trail. The deceased turns out to be an old military buddy of Cat's boyfriend, Seth.  Concerned about her boyfriend's safety, she works to help solve the crime.

I wanted to read this book because of the writer's retreat setting. I have been to a couple of writing conferences but never a retreat, so I was very curious.

This is my first read in the Cat Latimer Mystery series.  The main characters (Cat, her business partner Shauna, her boyfriend Seth, her Uncle Pete and his girlfriend Shirley) were introduced early on in the book and I had no trouble following along and reading this mystery as a standalone.

I liked Cat as a protagonist. She's very smart (former professor turned writer and retreat host) and this translates to being a good detective. She worked deductively, at one point mapping the victim and possible reasons he was killed, and never put herself in dangerous situations the way so many amateur sleuths do.

The mystery was laser focused. The murder took place early in the book, the possible suspects and reasons for the murder were clear, and it progressed at a steady pace.  I figured the mystery out early on but enjoyed reading about Cat's sleuthing.

I enjoyed A Field Guide to Homicide and would like to go back and read the earlier books in this series.  I recommend this novel for fans of cozy mysteries and especially for anyone who is interested in creative writing as well.

Book Synopsis

Cat Latimer and her writer’s retreat group go on a hiking trip—but a murderer has been lurking off the beaten path . . .

Cat’s sweetheart, Seth, is going all out on an outing into the local mountains—for the benefit of the writing group Cat’s hosting at her Colorado B&B. But when they try to identify some plant and animal life, they find death instead. The body belongs to a man with a gold claim a few miles away. Instead of striking it rich, he’s been struck down.

To his surprise, Seth recognizes the victim from his military days—and up to now believed he’d already died during his last tour of duty. Now Cat has to solve this mystery before the killer takes a hike . . .” 

Author Bio
Lynn Cahoon is the award-winning author of several New York Times and USA Today bestselling cozy mystery series.

Lynn Cahoon is the award-winning author of several New York Times and USA Today bestselling cozy mystery series. The Tourist Trap series is set in central coastal California with six-holiday novellas releasing in 2018–2019. She also pens the Cat Latimer series available in mass market paperback. Her newest series, the Farm to Fork mystery series, debuted in 2018. She lives in a small town like the ones she loves to write about with her husband and two fur babies. Sign up for her newsletter at www.lynncahoon.com.

She lives in a small town like the ones she loves to write about with her husband and two fur babies.

Author Links

Purchase Links – Amazon – B&N – Kobo – Google Play

Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway
 

Book Spotlight and Giveaway - Statue of Limitations (A Goddess of Greene St. Mystery) by Kate Collins

Book Synopsis
In this delightful new series by the New York Times bestselling author of the Flower Shop Mysteries, Athena Spencer comes back home to work with her crazy big Greek family at their garden center. But she never expected a return to her roots would mean protecting her family from murder . . .

After her divorce, Athena has returned to coastal Michigan to work in her family’s garden center and raise her son, while also caring for a mischievous wild raccoon and fending off her family’s annoying talent for nagging. Working alone at the garden center one night, Athena is startled by a handsome stranger who claims to be the rightful owner of a valuable statue her grandfather purchased at a recent estate sale.

But she has even bigger problems on her plate. The powerful Talbot family from whom her pappoús bought the statue is threatening to raze the shops on Greene Street’s “Little Greece” to make way for a condo. The recent death of the family’s patriarch already seemed suspicious, but now it’s clear that a murderer is in their midst. Athena will have to live up to her warrior goddess namesake to protect her family from a killer and save their community from ruin . . .

Author Bio
Kate Collins is the New York Times bestselling author of the Flower Shop Mystery series. After publishing numerous historical romances, Kate penned the long-running mystery series, three books of which were made into Hallmark movies starring Brooke Shields. An Indiana native, Kate graduated from Purdue University with a master’s degree in education. When not growing roots at her computer, Kate loves to garden. Other passions include yoga, reading, spending time with family and friends, sampling great wines and fine dark chocolate, and enjoying every moment of life. Kate lives in Northwest Indiana and Key West, Florida. Visit her online at KateCollinsBooks.com

Author Links
Website http://www.katecollinsbooks.com/
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kate-Collins/49648459004

Purchase Links  – KensingtonAmazonB&N   – Kobo

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 

Friday, January 24, 2020

Dear Abby - Vintage Pictures of Dachshunds in Winter

Dear Friends,

I hope you are having a good week and staying warm. It was very cold for us in the south earlier this week, although we have not seen snow this winter. I am glad about that, as I am not a fan of snow!

I found some vintage pictures of dachshunds in winter that I like and thought you might enjoy them too.

This is a vintage postcard with a dachshund sitting beside a little girl outside in the snow. The little girl is wearing a coat but the doxie looks chilly!


Another vintage postcard -- children are going ice skating and their dachshund is right there with them on a frozen pond!  (Brrr!)


Vintage postcard of a dachshund pulling a sled through the snow with a puppy and two cats.  (This picture must be wrong, because the dachshund surely deserves to be pulled in a sled as well!)


Vintage postcard of dachshunds skiing on a mountain. It looks like they are having fun!  One of them is standing on skis on all four legs instead of standing upright. I think he has the right idea.


1960's or 1970's vintage children's book illustration of a dachshund helping to make a snowman.


Another vintage children's book illustration of a dachshund meeting some deer in the snow.


I hope you enjoyed these pictures!  Have a good day and a nice cozy weekend indoors, and I'll catch up again next week.

Love,

Abby xoxoxo


Book Review - St. Francis Society for Wayward Pets by Annie England Noblin

My Review
When St. Francis Society for Wayward Pets begins, Maeve Stephens has hit rock bottom. She has broken up with her cheating boyfriend, been laid off from her job, and mugged.  Surprise word comes that her birth mother, whom she has never met, passed away.  At the funeral, Maeve finds that her birth mother, Annabelle, left her house, vintage VW, and all her belongings to her.  Maeve stays in the small Washington state town where Annabelle lived to try to sort things out, and slowly her life changes.  She meets new friends, an intriguing man, a group of ladies who knit sweaters for pets, and a cat and dog who claim her.

I wanted to read this novel because I am a great animal lover and the title and adorable cover art intrigued me.  I also previously read and reviewed the author's book Just Fine With Caroline and liked it very much.

I absolutely adored St. Francis Society for Wayward Pets!  I loved the small town setting that readers get to experience along with Maeve.  It is a quirky little place with a lot of interesting characters.

The book is told both from the viewpoint of Maeve and also of her birth mother Annabelle during her teen years in the 1980's.  I was initially mostly interested in Maeve's story, but over time Annabelle's story really captured my interest too.  The author does a good job at delineating these different (and similar!) characters.

Maeve is a character I really liked.  She is at a place in her late 30's where she is reevaluating her life and trying to decide what comes next.  It was heartwarming to see how she grew as a person in this book.  I enjoyed the friendships she made and especially the tenuous bond she struck with Abel, an author living in the little town and dealing with his own sadness.

I loved the pet rescue storyline in this book and enjoyed all the scenes with Sherbet the cat and Happy the dog.  Maeve observes Happy:

"Still, she didn't seem to hold any of that against people the way I probably would have.  There were clearly some things that scared her - like car rides and storms - but after the offending event was over, she was back to her old self, and I thought that humans could probably learn a lot from dogs" (p. 301).

I will admit that I was curious as I went through the book about what the St. Francis Society was.  It was mentioned often but not really explored until Chapter 20.  I won't say more because of spoilers, but it is pivotal to the plot and there are twists and more twists that reminded me a bit of This Is Us.

I wholeheartedly recommend St. Francis Society for Wayward Pets for fans of women's fiction, small town fiction, knitting, pet rescue, and heartwarming storytelling.

Book Synopsis
If you love Susan Mallery and Jill Shalvis, you won’t want to miss this new novel of second chances, dogs, and knitting, from the author of Pupcakes and Sit! Stay! Speak!

Laid off, cheated on, mugged: what else can go wrong in Maeve Stephens’ life? So when she learns her birth mother has left her a house, a vintage VW Beetle, and a marauding cat, in the small town of Timber Creek, Washington, she packs up to discover the truth about her past.
She arrives to the sight of a cheerful bulldog abandoned on her front porch, a reclusive but tempting author living next door, and a set of ready-made friends at the St. Francis Society for Wayward Pets, where women knit colorful sweaters for the dogs and cats in their care. But there’s also an undercurrent of something that doesn’t sit right with Maeve. What’s the secret (besides her!) that her mother had hidden?
If Maeve is going to make Timber Creek her home, she must figure out where she fits in and unravel the truth about her past. But is she ready to be adopted again—this time, by an entire town…?


 

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

 

Author Bio
Annie England Noblin lives with her son, husband, and three dogs in the Missouri Ozarks. She graduated with an M.A. in creative writing from Missouri State University and currently teaches English and communications for Arkansas State University in Mountain Home, Arkansas. She spends her free time playing make-believe, feeding stray cats, and working with animal shelters across the country to save homeless dogs.
Find out more about Annie at her website, and follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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


Friday, January 17, 2020

Dear Abby - Eleanor Powell and Buttons the Dog Dance Together

Dear Friends,

I have something fun to share with you today!  My friend Dave shared this video with me and I enjoyed it so much that I have to share with you as well.

It is a short 3 minute dance number from a classic MGM musical called Lady Be Good.  This was a movie about a man and woman, a composer and lyricist, working on their relationship as they also work on a Broadway show.  One of the stars of that show is Eleanor Powell.  She does a great dance number to the Gershwin song "Lady Be Good."  

As she tap dances along, she gets her little dog Buttons in on the act.  Buttons is a terrier mix -- I would guess Jack Russell Terrier mix based on his ears and tail.  (A reminder that I am a Dachshund - Jack Russell mix, so I am partial to Jack Russells.)   

Buttons was owned by a 14 year old child and a prop boy named Jackie Ackerman discovered his talent.  He is the person who trained Buttons for this charming routine. 

A review in The Pittsburgh Press described Buttons in this routine: “better than Fred Astaire, nimbler than George Murphy, and can look more woebegone than Buddy Ebsen."  The dance number is pretty amazing, and you'll find it here:



I hope you enjoy this little dance interlude as much as I did.

Have a great day!

Love,
Abby xoxoxo


Book Review and Giveaway - Bound for Murder: A Blue Ridge Library Mystery by Victoria Gilbert

Book Synopsis
Blue Ridge library director Amy Webber learns it wasn’t all peace and love among the “flower children” when a corpse is unearthed on the grounds of a 1960s commune.
 
Taylorsford Public Library director Amy Webber’s friend “Sunny” Fields is running for mayor. But nothing puts a damper on a campaign like an actual skeleton in a candidate’s closet. Sunny’s grandparents ran a commune back in the 1960s on their organic farm. But these former hippies face criminal charges when human remains are found in their fields–and a forensic examination reveals that the death was neither natural nor accidental.

With Sunny’s mayoral hopes fading, Amy sets her wedding plans aside, says “not yet” to the dress, and uses her research skills to clear her best friend’s family. Any of the now-elderly commune members could have been the culprit. As former hippies perish one by one, Amy and her friends Richard, Aunt Lydia, and Hugh Chen pursue every lead. But if Amy can’t find whoever killed these “flower children,” someone may soon be placing flowers on her grave. 

My Review
In Bound for Murder, Blue Ridge library director Amy Webber becomes involved in some amateur detective work when a skeleton is found at the farm that belongs to her best friend's grandparents. In the 1960's the farm was a commune, and a promising young musician went missing.  As Amy investigates what happened, more murders occur, and she herself is in jeopardy.

This is the fourth book in the Blue Ridge Library Mystery series. There are continuing characters from earlier books, including Amy, of course, her fiance Richard, her Aunt Lydia, and her best friend Sunny.  I enjoy this series.  I love the Blue Ridge background and the library setting.

The author has a gift for setting the scene with descriptions like:

"Saturday was one of those lovely September days where everything appeared to be rimmed in crystal. The sky was blue as a fine piece of Wedgwood, and the leaves, still green, were outlined with gold by the bright sunlight. I paused for a moment at Kurt Kendrick’s forest-green front door and inhaled a deep breath, enjoying the scent of the late-season roses that filled his cottage garden" (Kindle location 2502).


Because this mystery takes place in present day with many references to the 1960's, there is an unusually large cast of characters that is at times a bit hard to keep up with.  I found this also made the first few chapters move a  bit slowly, but once I got into the story I was thoroughly engrossed.

I figured the murderer early on but enjoyed reading Amy's detection process.  I liked the sweep of the mystery from the library to points around town, including the farm (old commune) and the county fair.

This is an enjoyable series and I recommend Bound for Murder and the entire series to other readers who also like cozy mysteries with small town venues and library settings.


Author Bio
Victoria Gilbert, raised in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains, turned her early obsession with reading into a dual career as an author and librarian. Victoria has worked as a reference librarian, research librarian, and library director. When not writing or reading, she likes to spend her time watching films, gardening, or traveling. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and International Thriller Writers and lives in North Carolina. This is her fourth Blue Ridge Library mystery.

Author Links:
Website/blog: http://victoriagilbertmysteries.com/
Facebook author page:  https://www.facebook.com/VictoriaGilbertMysteryAuthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/VGilbertauthor
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/VictoriaGilbert
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/victoriagilbertauthor/
YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4J0jvZ-D0NVF9Qv7H2ua8Q

Purchase Links:
Amazon     B&N    Kobo    Indie Bound   

BUY LINKS: 
A MURDER FOR THE BOOKS: http://www.crookedlanebooks.com/titles/a-murder-for-the-books/
SHELVED UNDER MURDER: http://www.crookedlanebooks.com/titles/shelved-under-murder/
PAST DUE FOR MURDER: http://www.crookedlanebooks.com/titles/past-due-for-murder/
BOUND FOR MURDER (preorder): https://www.amazon.com/Bound-Murder-Ridge-Library-Mystery-ebook/dp/B07QGNNNXP/
BOOKED FOR DEATH (preorder): https://www.amazon.com/Booked-Death-Book-Lovers-Mystery/dp/1643853074/

Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway
 

Book Spotlight and Giveaway - Josephine: Singer Soldier Dancer Spy by Eilidh McGinness

Book Synopsis
Josephine Baker is born into poverty in racially segregated America. Desperate to escape she flees to France where she embraces the hedonistic lifestyle on offer for those who dare, in the Paris of the Roaring Twenties.

Hitler’s rise to power in Germany forces her to face her true self. Determined to protect the Liberty Equality and Fraternity she has found in France, she becomes an ‘honorable correspondent’ for the French Secret Service. So, beginning a journey which will take her from the Red Cross Shelters in Paris to the cruel deserts of North Africa. She will find love and enduring friendship but she must also face dangers which will threaten not only her life but all she holds dear…..Can she find the courage to fight for what she believes in….no matter what the cost?

Available on Amazon

Author Bio
Eilidh was born and brought up in the Highlands of Scotland. She studied law at Aberdeen University. She practiced as a lawyer for twelve years, latterly specializing in criminal defense. Eilidh then moved to South West France with her then husband and four children. She established an independent estate agency business which she ran for twelve years before concentrating on writing- a long held dream. Eilidh has always been fascinated by history and ordinary people who achieve extraordinary things.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads


Giveaway
During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a paperback copy of Josephine: Singer Soldier Dancer Spy! To enter, please use the Gleam form below. 

Giveaway Rules 
 – Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on January 20th. 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. 


 

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Book Review and Giveaway - Hems and Homicide (Apron Shop #1) by Elizabeth Penney

Book Synopsis
Welcome to the first in the Apron Shop mystery series by Elizabeth Penney, set in the quaint village of Blueberry Cove, Maine where an expert seamstress turned amateur sleuth is getting measured for murder. . . 

Iris Buckley is sew ready for a change. After the death of her beloved grandfather, Iris decides to stay in her Maine hometown to help out her widowed grandmother, Anne—and bring her online hand-made apron designs to real-time retail life. Her and Anne’s shop, Ruffles & Bows, is set to include all the latest and vintage linen fashions, a studio for sewing groups and classes, and a friendly orange cat. The only thing that they were not planning to have on the property? A skeleton in the basement 

Anne recognizes the remains of an old friend, and when a second body shows up in the apron shop—this time their corrupt landlord, whom Anne had been feuding with for decades—she becomes a prime suspect. Now, it’s up to Iris to help clear her name. Enlisting the help of her old high-school crush Ian Stewart who, like certain fabrics, has only gotten better-looking with age and her plucky BFF Madison Morris, Iris must piece together an investigation to find out who the real killer is. . .and find a way to keep her brand-new business from being scrapped in the process.

My Review
Hems and Homicide is a cozy mystery featuring Iris Buckley.  Iris has returned to her hometown in Maine to open a handmade and vintage apron shop with her grandmother Anne.  When they are getting the shop ready, Iris discovers a skeleton in the basement.  After her grandmother is investigated as a suspect, she becomes involved searching for the killer.

I wanted to read this mystery from the very first mention because it involves aprons.  I love them and have even blogged about my vintage apron collection before!  I really loved the details in this book dealing with aprons, vintage linens (something else I enjoy), and sewing.

Although this mystery takes place in the present day, there is a lot of the victim's personal history in the early 1970's.  I enjoyed the flashback details to the 1970's (which included Iris's grandmother and her past) and felt they added a lot to the book.  As a result of the flashbacks, there is a very large cast of characters in this book.  I wish there had been a list of characters as it would have made it easier to sort them out the first few chapters.
 
The mystery aspect of the story was so well written and paced and kept me guessing until a chapter or so before the killer was revealed.  Iris makes a great amateur sleuth and I enjoyed her detection process.  I thought it was neat that she even included historical research at the library as part of her personal investigation.

I liked Iris as a protagonist and enjoyed her relationship with her grandmother, her friends, and her cat Quincy.  I also liked the beginnings of a possible relationship with her old crush, Ian, who is doing some work on the shop.

I read a lot of cozy mysteries and felt that Hems and Homicide is really a stand out as a first mystery in a series.  It definitely made me want to read more!  As soon as I finished I went to Goodreads to see when a second book will be available.  I recommend this book for fans of cozy mysteries, small town settings, cats, and vintage/handmade linens.  I know you will enjoy the read as much as I did!

Author Bio
Elizabeth Penney is an author, entrepreneur, and local food advocate living in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. In addition to writing full-time, she operates a small farm. Elements that often appear in her novels include vintage summer cottages, past/present mysteries, and the arts. She is represented by the fabulous Elizabeth Bewley at Sterling Lord Literistic.

Elizabeth’s writing credits include over twenty mysteries, short stories, and hundreds of business articles. A former consultant and nonprofit executive, she holds a BS and an MBA. She’s also written screenplays with her musician husband.

She loves walking in the woods, kayaking on quiet ponds, trying new recipes, and feeding family and friends.

Author Links
Webpage: www.elizabethpenneyauthor.com
Twitter: @liz2penney
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7877413.Elizabeth_Penney

Purchase Links  – Amazon  Barnes & Noble   IndieBound


Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway
 

Friday, January 10, 2020

Dear Abby - Return from Holiday Break

Dear Friends,

I'm back after a few weeks off for Christmas, New Year's, and my Momma's birthday.  I have enjoyed treats and attention and company -- and lots of snuggling with my Momma too.

I'll share a few pictures of my Christmas day.  I had a really fun time!

Wrapped packages are very interesting!


... but I love to unwrap them, too!


At night I spent time playing with my new toys. (This mostly means snuggling with them and carrying them around a bit, but that is fun too!)


It was a long and fun day! I was ready for bed before my Momma was.
 

I hope your holidays were happy and full of fun surprises and your favorite people and pets!

I look forward to chatting with you regularly in 2020.  Oh -- and Happy New Year!

Love,
Abby xoxoxo