Friday, February 28, 2020

Dear Abby - Some Fun Dachshund Memes

Dear Friends,

I hope you are having a good week!  I wanted to pop in with some fun dachshund memes. These are pictures I found and shared on the Doxieposse Pals page on Facebook.  I like to help my Momma there - she says she could not do it without me!  I hope you enjoy these funnies.

A dachshund imitates a meerkat that he sees on television.

I love bedtime, so I am not sure about this one!

These dachshunds don't like to walk in the rain. I am fine in the rain as long as there is NO THUNDER!  I do make rainy day walks super, super quick though!

Not a meme, but a cute picture of a dachshund shopping with his own little shopping cart.

I am grateful I don't live in a snowy climate because I do agree with this math!  I don't like snow.

 This dog definitely means business!

This dachshund has a diet philosophy.

Words to live by!

I hope you enjoyed these little memes and wish you a wonderful weekend!


Abby xoxoxo

Book Review and Giveaway - Wild, Wild Rake by Janna MacGregor

My Review
Wild, Wild Rake is part of the popular Cavendish Heiresses series. This book tells the story of Lady Avalon Warwyck.  She is a widow with a young son  She is happy with her independence, including a charity helping fallen women.  However, when she meets the new vicar, Devan Farris, sparks fly!

I wanted to read Wild, Wild Rake because I read an earlier book in this series and enjoyed it.  I love the Regency period, and this book has a prologue set in 1805 but the rest of the book is set right in the Regency period (1815).

What a fun and sweet-natured historical romance!   Readers are introduced to Lady Avalon when she is still in a very unhappy, abusive marriage.  After her husband passes away, she lives on an estate in England with her young son, Thane.  She has a strong conviction about helping fallen women recreate their lives with work (i.e. seamstresses).  Lady Avalon seems a bit reserved at first, but this is very understandable given the trials of her marriage.

The new vicar in town, Devan, is sent to the estate to check up on Avalon and Thane.  Devan is the brother of Thane's guardian and he feels a family obligation to help as he can.  At first there is some tension between Avalon and Devan, but they slowly become friends (with some real sparks of romance).  Avalon believes that Devan is a rake, looking for an heiress to marry, and she believes he is not really interested in her.  This novel tells the story of their romance.

This was a lively read.  I enjoyed the format, with little epigraphs at the beginning of each chapter.  For instance:

"As you turn the other cheek, just remember that there's no rest for the truly wicked. - Mr. Devan Farris's theme for the Sunday sermon to his pious flock" (p. 67)

"When life throws you a surprise, settle in, grab a bottle of wine, and enjoy. - Devan Farris" (p. 123)

I really liked both the lead characters.  Avalon's dedication working with women in need was very admirable.  She even sets up a workroom with a nursery for the women's children on the grounds of her estate.  This type of social outreach is fairly unique in historical fiction, especially historical romance.

Devan is a really likable character.  He's such a good guy, with kindness and support for Avalon and a genuine interest in helping her young son find his way in life.  I really was pulling for Avalon and Devan to work through their obstacles so they could find happiness together.

Wild, Wild Rake is an enjoyable Regency period historical romance.  I recommend it to fans of the genre who like a lively, engaging read with a bit of a social message as well.

Book Synopsis

Her first marriage was an epic fail.

Lady Avalon Warwyk never did love her husband. Arrogant, selfish, and cruel, it’s a blessing when she’s widowed and left to raise her son all by herself. Finally, Avalon can live freely and do the work she loves: helping fallen women become businesswomen. She’s lived these past ten years with no desire to remarry.  That is, until Mr. Devan Farris comes to town.

Can he convince her to take another chance at happily ever after?

Devan Farris–charming vicar, reputed rake, and the brother of Avalon’s son’s guardian–is reluctantly sent to town to keep tabs on Avalon and her son. Devan wishes he didn’t have to meddle in her affairs; he’s not one to trod on a woman’s independent nature and keen sense of convictions. But she’ll have nothing to do with a vicar with a wild reputation–even though he’s never given his heart and body to another. If only he could find a way to show Avalon who he really is on the inside–a good, true soul looking for its other half. But how can he prove that he wants to love and care for her. . .until death do they part?


Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble


Author Bio
Janna MacGregor was born and raised in the bootheel of Missouri. She is the author of the Cavensham Heiresses series, which begins with The Bad Luck Bride. Janna credits her darling mom for introducing her to the happily-ever-after world of romance novels. Janna writes stories where compelling and powerful heroines meet and fall in love with their equally matched heroes. She is the mother of triplets and lives in Kansas City with her very own dashing rogue, and two smug, but not surprisingly, perfect pugs.


Connect with Janna

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

One lucky reader will win a copy of Wild, Wild Rake. (U.S. only.) Giveaway ends midnight on March 5, 2020.  Winner will be contacted by email and needs to respond within 48 hours, or a new name will be drawn.  Enter at the Rafflecopter below.

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Friday, February 21, 2020

Dear Abby - Videos Abby Likes: A Dachshund and Porcupine Are Friends

Dear Friends,

I've had a busy week here with my usual work and with helping my Momma more than usual as well. I just have a little short post for you today.

I found a video of a dachshund and porcupine who are friends!  This all happened in England.  Diablo is an orphaned baby porcupine, also known as a porcupette.  He was taken care of by a Cotswold Wildlife Park zookeeper, who took him home with her.  He befriended her dachshund puppy Fig.  The goal is to return Diablo to the zoo with the other porcupines.

There is a cute short video of Diablo and Fig together:

I loved seeing them play!  I hope you do too.  I think I would like to meet a friendly porcupine.

Abby xoxoxo

Book Review - Resistance Women by Jennifer Chiaverini

My Review
Resistance Women is a powerful historical novel about four women in Berlin during the 1930's and 1940's.  As they come together in friendship, they also become involved in the Resistance movement against Hitler and the Nazi party.  The women are professor and scholar Mildred Harnick, who was originally from Wisconsin but moved to Berlin with her German husband, Greta Kuckoff, a German writer with a complicated personal life, Martha Dodd, the daughter of Ambassador William Dodd, and literature student, Sara Weiss, who is a Jewish woman in these dangerous times.

I wanted to read this book because I love historical fiction and have long been fascinated with the World War II era.  I previously read (and enjoyed) the nonfiction book In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson, which was about Martha Dodd's family in Berlin 1933 - 1937, so her presence in this book intrigued me.

This is a dense, history-rich novel.  It begins in 1929 and spans through 1946.  The author does a remarkable job of slowly setting the stage for what happens in Germany in the 1930's.  Early on I found the book a bit slow moving as it traveled through times leading up to the war.  In retrospect, though, I think this background really added so much to the story.  By starting in happier times and seeing life before the Nazi party really took hold and before the war, readers gets a unique look at how this tragic period in history unfolded.

The novel is told in alternating chapters by the four women. I made the mistake of looking up their names before reading the book, so I knew the stories of the real life women. I would not recommend doing this!  Sara is the only one of the Resistance women who was fictional, and I have to say that I was most interested in her story.  It was heartbreaking and often suspenseful reading how her life changed as a Jewish woman in Berlin in the 1930's, from a graduate student and daughter of a wealthy banker to someone forced to wear the Star of David and make due with cramped accomodations and scant food.

The glamorous Ambassador's daughter, Martha Dodd, adds some interesting moments in the story, including a forbidden romance with a Russian man and a horrifying arranged date with Hitler! 

Mildred's story is compelling because we see the events of Germany from the eyes of an American woman living overseas, teaching American literature in Germany.  Although she had many opportunites to return home to America, she was loyal to her husband and committed to the Resistance cause.

Greta was the most enigmatic of the characters to me.  She was a student, a writer, and much of her life was absorbed in a complicated relationship with a married man who had been married over time to two sisters.  She had a strong friendship with Mildred, and was especially brave with risky Resistance jobs.

This is such a powerful, moving book and I found it very engrossing.  I read late into the night several evenings and found time here and there during the day to read a little more, just because I really cared about these characters and their story and I really wanted to know what happened.

I recommend Resistance Women for fans of historical fiction, and especially for anyone interested in World War II.  This is a beautifully written novel that you will think about long after you finish reading.

Book Synopsis
One of BookBub’s best historical novels of the year and Oprah magazine’s buzziest books of the month.

From the New York Times bestselling author of Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker, an enthralling historical saga that recreates the danger, romance, and sacrifice of an era and brings to life one courageous, passionate American—Mildred Fish Harnack—and her circle of women friends who waged a clandestine battle against Hitler in Nazi Berlin.

After Wisconsin graduate student Mildred Fish marries brilliant German economist Arvid Harnack, she accompanies him to his German homeland, where a promising future awaits. In the thriving intellectual culture of 1930s Berlin, the newlyweds create a rich new life filled with love, friendships, and rewarding work—but the rise of a malevolent new political faction inexorably changes their fate.

As Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party wield violence and lies to seize power, Mildred, Arvid, and their friends resolve to resist. Mildred gathers intelligence for her American contacts, including Martha Dodd, the vivacious and very modern daughter of the US ambassador. Her German friends, aspiring author Greta Kuckoff and literature student Sara Weitz, risk their lives to collect information from journalists, military officers, and officials within the highest levels of the Nazi regime.

For years, Mildred’s network stealthily fights to bring down the Third Reich from within. But when Nazi radio operatives detect an errant Russian signal, the Harnack resistance cell is exposed, with fatal consequences.

Inspired by actual events, Resistance Women is an enthralling, unforgettable story of ordinary people determined to resist the rise of evil, sacrificing their own lives and liberty to fight injustice and defend the oppressed.

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Author Bio
Jennifer Chiaverini is the New York Times bestselling author of several acclaimed historical novels and the beloved Elm Creek Quilts series. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the University of Chicago, she lives with her husband and two sons in Madison, Wisconsin.

Find out more about Jennifer at her website, and connect with her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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

Friday, February 14, 2020

Dear Abby - 12 Vintage Dachshund Valentines With a Long Theme

Happy Valentine's Day, dear friends!

Today I would love to share a few special vintage Valentines with you.  They all feature dachshunds and the theme of LONG or LONGING.  My Momma says that most of these cards are 1950's to 1960's vintage.  I have 12 cards to share, so without further ado ...

A dachshund in a yellow bow says: "I long for you to be mine."

A solid black dachshund says: "Valentine I Long 4 U."

A black and white dachshund says simply "I long."  (I bet there is a continued message inside the card.)

A dachshund in a jaunty red cap and red and white sweater says: "Dog gone it! I long to see you."

This cute dachshund carries a rose in her mouth and wears a yellow blanket.  "L-O-N-G-I-N-G for a Valentine."

A dachshund in a red sweater with hearts says: "I'm longing for you Valentine."

A pretty dachshund with a blue bow on her tail says: "I've liked you a long time, Valentine!"

This sweet dachshund has a blue bow around her neck.  "Hi! For a long long time."

This dachshund has a white heart balloon and a blue collar.  "I long to be your Valentine."

A dachshund in a yellow sweater gives a bone to a pretty poodle.  "I've got a bone I'm longing to pick with you."

This dachshund wears a green bow.  "I'd go a long way for a Valentine like you!"

A Valentine in a red collar stands by some flocked pink and red hearts.  "I long for you to be mine!"

I hope you enjoyed these sweet, old timey Valentines and I hope YOU have an extra special day with the people and animals that you love.

Abby xoxoxo

Book Review and Giveaway - A Crafter Quilts a Crime: A Handcrafted Mystery by Holly Quinn

My Review
Sammy Kane runs a craft store in a small town in Wisconsin. During the annual Fire and Ice event, she has the fun idea to have crafters pose as live mannequins in her store window. This is a great idea until one of the mannequins dies unexpectedly! When suspicion falls upon her brother-in-law, Sammy works with her cousin Heidi and sister Ellie to solve the crime.

This is the third book in the Handcrafted Mystery series. I have read all the books, and love this series. I really enjoy the craft store setting. I feel like I learn about different crafts in each book.  A Crafter Quilts a Crime focuses on quilting, and there were some interesting details about the quilting group working together.

I also enjoy the amateur detective group of S.H.E. - Sammy, Heidi, and Ellie. They have loved mysteries since they were young girls, and they have a talent for working together to solve real life crimes too! Sammy gets into some real jeopardy in this book and there are even a few scary pages for her dog Bara.

I like Sammy's slow moving relationship with police detective Liam. Her detecting causes some real conflict in the early stages of their relationship in this book. Liam is an interesting character with a complex backstory. Holly Quinn has a real gift for character development.

The mystery was fast paced and the clues were interesting. I solved it early on but enjoyed watching the S.H.E. team work together.

I recommend A Crafter Quilts a Crime (and the Handcrafted Mystery series) for fans of cozy mysteries, and especially for anyone who is interested in crafting and small town settings. You will really enjoy this series!

Book Synopsis

Perfect for fans of Betty Hechtman and Maggie Sefton, Holly Quinn’s third Handcrafted mystery aspires to wrap you in its warmth.

Community Craft proprietor Sammy Kane must piece together a patchwork of clues when a “live” mannequin ends up stone-cold dead.

Snowcapped pines and glittery dusted sidewalks adorn tranquil Heartsford, Wisconsin, while residents cuddle beneath heirloom quilts in front of cozy wood fires. But come the next day, the below-zero temperatures won’t keep the locals away from Heartsford’s annual Fire & Ice event. To boost customer traffic at Community Craft’s one-night-only sale, Samantha “Sammy” Kane persuades a few of the craftspeople who sell their wares at the store to participate in a live mannequin window display contest.

Local quilter Wanda Wadsworth emerges as a favorite to win the contest, as she manages to not move a muscle for an unusual amount of time. Onlookers outside the window try everything to get her to crack–tapping on the glass and making funny faces–but nothing disrupts Wanda’s stillness. When the eagle-eyed spectators realize Wanda isn’t breathing, a blanket of grief and fear descends upon the wintry town.

Detective Liam Nash can’t seem to piece the clues together. Fortunately, Sammy’s cousin, Heidi, and her sister, Ellie, are on hand to reconvene their detective team, S.H.E. They set out to solve Wanda’s untimely death before the case grows as icy as a sub-zero Wisconsin winter. But they are all too aware that the killer is too close for comfort.

Author Bio
Holly Quinn has published two stand-alone fiction novels in another persona. She graduated from Carroll University in Wisconsin with a Bachelor of Science in business and a minor in marketing. This is her second Handcrafted mystery. Visit her @

Author Links
Website –
Facebook –
GoodReads –

Purchase Links – Amazon – B&N – BAM – IndieBound – Powell’s Books – Walmart 


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Friday, February 7, 2020

Dear Abby - Videos That Abby Likes: Dachshund Riding on a Skateboard Animation

Dear Friends,

I am on the run this week so I'll be short and sweet!  (That joke never grows old for me.) 

I found the most fun animated video - super short! - on Youtube.  I love it and think you will like it too. It is an animation of a dachshund riding a skateboard, and there is even a song about a wiener dog.  The animation is by Evan Spiridellis with music by Parry Gripp, and the video page links back to a dachshund rescue group my Momma likes: Dachshund Rescue of North America (DRNA).

I hope you enjoy this little animation as much as I do:

Have a great weekend!

Abby xoxoxo

Book Review and Giveaway - Bonbon with the Wind (Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery) by Dorothy St. James

My Review
Bonbon With the Wind is the latest book in Dorothy St. James' Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery series.  Chocolate shop owner Penn (Charity Penn) is at the center of this story. After evacuating for a hurricane with her boyfriend, surfing lawyer Harley, and her friends Althea and Bertie, she returns home.  Penn and her Papillon dog Stella discover a body while walking on the beach.  It turns out the man who was killed is Joe Davies, a local who was interested in treasure hunting, and who believed in some local folklore about a mysterious figure called the Grey Lady.  Penn gets involved in helping to solve the case.

I wanted to read this book because I really enjoyed the previous mystery I read in this series.  I love southern settings, love cozy mysteries featuring dogs, and enjoyed the chocolate shop setting.

Bonbon with the Wind is a delightful mystery.  It is set at Camellia Beach near Charleston just before and in the aftermath of an early October hurricane.  Camellia Beach is a quaint little town.  I loved the details of the chocolate shop and candy making, and also liked the glimpses of other shops.

I really like Penn, her work, her relationship with Harley, and her friendships and sense of community.  She makes a good amateur detective, too, and it was fun watching her solve this mystery.

The Grey Lady folklore at the heart of this novel added an extra element of southern folklore that was particularly intriguing.

I find this series has more substance than many other cozy mysteries.  It works well on several levels, and the story is a bit more complex.  I like Dorothy St. James' writing style and her gift of description and sense of place.

I highly recommend Bonbon With the Wind and the Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery series to fans of cozy mysteries, and especially to anyone who loves southern settings, dog mysteries, and elements of food (candy) and folklore.  This is a very enjoyable read!

Book Synopsis

Join Penn and Stella on their latest adventure!

There’s a legend in the Sea Islands that before a hurricane hits the Gray Lady can be seen walking down the beach warning of doom. Penn doesn’t believe in such silly stories, but she does believe weather forecasters. A powerful hurricane is heading their way. Everyone on the island of Camellia Beach is busy boarding up windows and securing valuables to upper levels of buildings. Joe Davies, a local treasure hunter with an unquenchable sweet tooth, claims to have seen the Gray Lady walking toward him just that morning and is terrified for his life.

After the storm passes everyone returns to survey the damage. As Penn walks her little dog Stella on the beach, she finds Joe Davies’ body washed up onshore. Not only that, it looks as if an exploding transformer caused Joe’s seaside shack to burn to the ground. Did the Gray Lady claim another victim? Many on the island believe that is exactly what happened.

Penn is sure there’s another explanation. She follows the clues and hints of lost gold to discover that the truth behind the treasure hunter’s death is as much of a maze as the boating channels winding their way through the local marshes.

Author Bio
Dorothy St. James is the author of the White House Gardener mysteries. For the past twenty years she made her home on Folly Beach, an artsy island community in South Carolina with her sculptor husband. Dorothy is a member of Mystery Writers of America (MWA), Sisters in Crime (SiNC), and the International Thriller Writers (ITW). This is her fourth Southern Chocolate Shop mystery.

Author Links
Website –
Facebook –
Twitter –
BookBub –

Purchase Link – Amazon 

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