Friday, November 20, 2020

Dear Abby - Thankful (With Vintage Pictures)

Dear Friends,

I would like to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving.  This year I am so thankful:

... for my health after having a bit of a hard time with Cushing's.

... for my Momma who is home with me and takes care of me every day.

... for the colorful leaves outside that crunch when I walk outside in fall.

... for good friends like YOU who visit here and who send encouragement and kind words.

Thank you, dear friends!  I will be taking next Friday off but wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving.


Abby xoxoxo

PS - The pictures this week are from Calling All Girls magazine, 1962 and 1960. Those old timey dachshunds knew how to have fun! 


Book Review and Giveaway - Flirtation and Folly by Elizabeth Rashe

My Review

Flirtation and Folly is a historical novel set in the Regency period (London, 1812).  It is the story of Marianne Mowbrey, the responsible but plain sister in a rector's family.  Marianne has the opportunity to visit her wealthy aunt in London and have a season. She is excited about London and determined to find a husband in order to change her life.

I wanted to read Flirtation and Folly because I enjoy historical fiction and love the Regency period.

I must say that this book exceeded my expectations! I thought it would be an old fashioned historical romance, but it also was a novel about Marianne's expectations of London and her changing view of herself and her life.

The writing is engaging and the historical details are finely drawn.  I like the touches of realism, like Marianne's first introduction to London:

"Here at last, here at last! The carriage rolled to a halt, and Marianne Mowbrey climbed out, avoiding a pile of slush that nearly swallowed up her worn half-boots. She turned in a circle, lips parted in wonder as she took in the figures moving past her. The clop of horse hooves and squeaking of carts from the street drowned out other sounds, allowing only the occasional cry of a hawker to rise up in front of the genteel row of houses in a better part of London. The odour of decaying vegetables from a nearby cart mingled with the grit of coal dust in the air , making every breath an unpleasant sensation" (eBook location 48).

Marianne encounters a number of new people in London - some positive and some not as much (i.e. some of the catty women in society). Over the course of the novel she learns to accept her true self ... as she also finds her happy ending.

I recommend Flirtation and Folly for fans of historical romance, and especially for anyone who enjoys the Regency period. 

Book Synopsis

Marianne Mowbrey is a responsible country rector’s daughter who longs for the novelty and excitement she reads about in novels. When her crusty Aunt Harriet agrees to give her a Season in London, Marianne vows to dazzle the world, win a husband, and never go home again. But the Londoners who determine social success are inclined to pass over plain Marianne in favor of her beautiful, reckless younger sister.

In a world of ambition, fashion, flattery, and deceit, how can Marianne stay true to her real self—when she is not even sure what that real self is?

Available on Amazon

Author Bio

After acquiring a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Arkansas, Elizabeth Rasche taught philosophy in the U.S. and co-taught English in Japan. Now she and her husband live in northwest Arkansas, the ‘garden of America.’ (At least, she has only ever heard Arkansas called so.) She dreams of visiting Surrey (if only to look for Mrs. Elton’s Maple Grove), Bath, and of course, London. When she has a Jane Austen novel in one hand, a cup of tea in the other, and a cat on her lap, her day is pretty much perfect.

Elizabeth Rasche is the author of The Birthday Parties of Dragons and her poetry has appeared in Scifaikuest. Flirtation & Folly is her first historical fiction novel.


During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a copy of Flirtation and Folly by Elizabeth Rasche! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on November 24th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Flirtation and Folly


Book Review - Nothing Short of Wondrous by Regina Scott (American Wonders Collection)

My Review

Nothing Short of Wondrous is a historical novel set in 1886.  It tells the story of Kate Tremaine, a widowed single mother who runs a small family-owned hotel in Yellowstone Park.  When Lieutenant William Prescott comes to patrol the Park, he meets Kate and there is an immediate connection.  There are some real dangers, though, that must be overcome before they are safe and able to move forward.

I wanted to read Nothing Short of Wondrous because I loved the first book in this series. I am fascinated by the history of the National Parks and enjoy the old fashioned storytelling of these books.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel!  Kate Tremaine is a heroine to pull for -- strong, determined, a wonderful mother, someone who has compassion for protecting animals (endangered bisons) and the environment.  Will is someone who has a mystery in his past, but he proves time and again that he is a caring, strong person.  I really enjoyed their love story.

As a lifelong animal lover, I really appreciate the animal protection theme in this book as well.

Regina Scott has a real gift for combining lively storytelling, engaging characters, and descriptions rich with period detail.  There are place descriptions like:

The Geyser Gateway salon had high ceilings with massive wood beams holding an oil lamp chandelier. She’d recently lowered, cleaned, and refilled the lamps herself, so they glowed with a golden light. The fireplace was of stones gathered from the Firehole River, the grays, rusts, and tans complementing the wood of the walls. The burgundy upholstery on the two curved-back sofas flanking the hearth had been brushed, the blue-and-burgundy-patterned rug on the floor beaten. Through a wide archway directly ahead, the six tables— four big enough to seat eight guests apiece— were draped in smooth white linen Pansy had ironed only yesterday, and most of the ladderback chairs stood ready to receive their guests for dinner" (eBook location 224).

I highly recommend Nothing Short of Wondrous for fans of historical fiction, inspirational fiction, and the National Parks. Do yourself a favor and read the first book in the series as well. You are in for a treat!

Book Synopsis

It is 1886, and the government has given the US Cavalry control of Yellowstone. For widowed hotelier Kate Tremaine, the change is a welcome one. She knows every inch of her wilderness home like the back of her hand and wants to see it protected from poachers and vandals.

Refused a guide by Congress, Lieutenant William Prescott must enlist Kate's aid to help him navigate the sprawling park and track down the troublemakers. But a secret from his past makes him wary of the tender feelings the capable and comely widow raises in him. As they work together to protect the park and stand firm through injustice and tragedy, they may just find that two wounded hearts can share one powerful love when God is in control.

Author Bio

Regina Scott is the author of fifty works of warm, witty historical romance, including A Distance Too Grand. She was twice awarded the prestigious RT Book Reviews best book of the year in her category. A devotee of history, she has learned to fence, driven four-in-hand, and sailed on a tall ship, all in the name of research. She and her husband of thirty years live south of Tacoma, Washington, on the way to Mt. Rainier.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Dear Abby - Videos Abby Likes: Bulldog Who Loves Metal Bowls

Dear Friends,

Happy almost-weekend to you! I hope you had a good week. All is well here - it has been warmer than usual and I sure have enjoyed extra walks all week.

I have a fun little video for you today. It is about Theo the English Bulldog. Theo loves metal food bowls. They are his favorite thing in the whole world!  He loves to carry them around like a security blanket.  His dad knows how much Theo loves the bowls so he has about 50 bowls in the house for Theo to find and enjoy!  This story really makes me happy, and Theo is very cute.

Here is Theo with some of his favorite bowls:

Does your dog have a special toy or security blanket? I have a fuzzy puppy toy that belonged to my brother Barney.  I like to sleep with it.

Thanks for stopping by today! I look forward to visiting again here next week.


Abby xoxoxo

Book Review - The Love Note by Joanna Davidson Politano

My Review

The Love Note is a historical novel set in Victorian England. Willa Duvall is a doctor's daughter who longs to become a doctor herself. When she finds a mysterious love note in an old writing desk, she goes to Crestwicke Manor as a nurse in order to look for the story behind the letter. This move leads her back to her childhood sweetheart, Gabe Gresham, and his family. Willa misplaces the note and everyone who finds it imagines that it is for them, with many unexpected consequences. As Willa balances her affection for Gabe and her desire to become a doctor, she comes closer and closer to solving the mystery.

I wanted to read this novel because I have enjoyed earlier books by the author Joanna Davidson Politano. I love Victorian settings and found the idea of an old note found particularly appealing.

The Love Note started a bit slowly for me but once Willa found her way to Crestwicke it became impossible for me to put the book down! The setting of the old, almost gothic, manor was dramatically evoked and there is a large cast of characters who are touched by this letter and the mystery.

I love the juxtaposition between Willa's scientist's mind and her longing for Gabe, like this passage:

"Huddled over John Snow’s Infectious Diseases and Germ Theory in the dimming light that evening, I marked passages about microscopic pathogens on medical instruments and forced myself to concentrate. I glanced up at my patient, who silently stabbed at her cross-stitch project in an ornate striped chair by the hearth. When Gabe appeared in the yard below striding toward the stables, all concentration disintegrated. Moments later, his stallion burst from the doors and galloped toward the hill. I felt a tug on my heart. Meet me at the ruins." (Kindle location 770).

The Love Note was a wonderful read and will surely be on a list of my favorites for this year. I enjoyed Willa as a character and admired her intelligence and determination.  I loved Willa and Gabe as a romantic pairing.  (Gabe is one of my favorite recent book boyfriends!)  The setting is gothic perfection.  The Love Note is a must read for fans of historical fiction, gothic settings, inspirational fiction (handled with a light, deft touch), and historical romance.

Book Synopsis

A forgotten letter. A secret love. A vast estate.
Can one determined woman put the pieces together?

Focused on a career in medicine and not on romance, Willa Duvall is thrown slightly off course during the summer of 1865 when she discovers a never-opened love letter in a crack of her old writing desk. Compelled to find the passionate soul who penned it and the person who never received it, she takes a job as a nurse at the seaside estate of Crestwicke Manor.

Everyone at Crestwicke has feelings--mostly negative ones--about the man who wrote the letter, but he seems to have disappeared. With plenty of enticing clues but few answers, Willa's search becomes even more complicated when she misplaces the letter and it passes from person to person in the house, each finding a thrilling or disheartening message in its words. 

Laced with mysteries large and small, this romantic Victorian-era tale of love lost, love deferred, and love found is sure to delight.

Author Bio

Joanna Davidson Politano is the award-winning author of Lady Jayne Disappears, A Rumored Fortune, and Finding Lady Enderly. When she's not homeschooling her small children, she spends much of her time spinning tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives. She is always on the hunt for random acts of kindness, people willing to share their deepest secrets with a stranger, and hidden stashes of sweets. She lives with her husband and their two children in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan and shares stories that move her at

Book Review and Giveaway - The Tobacconist's Wife by AnneMarie Brear

My Review

The Tobacconist's Wife is a historical novel set in 1855 Yorkshire. Thea Goodson marries in haste after her father's passing. She thought that Ernie Goodson was a kind man but after their marriage she discovers that he is an abusive brute who is also involved in thievery.  She struggles to keep their tobacco shop running when Ernie suddenly goes away.  During this time she also discovers an unexpected connection with Adam Fitzwilliam, who sets up a custom furniture shop next door.  Thea longs to find peace and happiness in her life and a way forward.

I wanted to read The Tobacconist's Wife because I was intrigued by the Victorian setting and was particularly interested in the lives of shop owners during this time.

The period details in this book are fascinating! I especially found the tobacco shop and small Victorian town details interesting.  The author does a wonderful job at setting the scene with descriptions like:

"A large window looked out onto Coney Street, one of the busiest shopping streets in York, but it was the interior that easily drew her attention. On both sides of the shop were floor to ceiling shelves of glass and timber, showcasing boxes of imported cigars, snuff boxes and pipes. Leather chairs were placed in the corners of the shop, for customers to sit and ponder the selections. A highly polished timber floor and matching countertop gave a warm welcome to the discerning customer. Shelving ran the length of the back wall, behind Thea, and beneath the counter was a large glass display area full of everything a man might need to enjoy his tobacco: pipe cleaners, pipe stands, engraved silver cigar cutters, matches and flints, cigar cases, leather pipe cases, crystal ashtrays" (Kindle location 137).

The descriptions of Thea's abusive marriage were at times difficult to read. Ernie was a thoroughly horrible person;  I kept reading, pulling for Thea to find a way out to safety.

There were a number of twists and turns in this novel, and they kept me up reading long after my bedtime. I really liked Adam, who was seeking his dream to become a cabinetmaker in the midst of his own family issues. The scenes with Thea and Adam were my favorite in the book.

I would recommend The Tobacconist's Wife for fans of historical fiction, especially anyone who enjoys Victorian settings and stories of women overcoming - with some historical romance as well.

Book Synopsis

Having lost her father, Thea Goodson is alone in the world.

It is true she has a husband, but Ernie is a brutal man, more inclined to use his fists to keep Thea in line than to build on their marriage. And besides, Ernie Goodson has secrets – secrets that even his wife cannot share.

But in Victorian Yorkshire, appearances must be kept up, so Thea goes on powdering her bruises and forcing a smile as she toils in Ernie’s home and tobacco shop. There seems to be no other option.

That is, until a handsome and well-bred stranger arrives to set up shop next door…

Can Thea escape her misery and break from the conventions of society? Or will the clutches of her abusive husband confine her forever?

The Tobacconist’s Wife is the latest book from AnneMarie Brear, the highly acclaimed author of bestselling The Slum Angel. Perfect for fans of Catherine Cookson, Dilly Court and Rosie Goodwin.

Available on Amazon

Author Bio

Amazon UK bestseller and award-winning Australian author, AnneMarie Brear has been a life-long reader and started writing in 1997 when her children were small. She has a love of history, of grand old English houses and a fascination of what might have happened beyond their walls. Her interests include reading, historical research for her novels, watching movies, spending time with family and eating chocolate – not always in that order!

For more information please visit AnneMarie Brear’s website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Goodreads.


During the Blog Tour, we are giving away 2 eBooks of The Tobacconist's Wife! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on November 19th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

The Tobacconist's Wife

Book Spotlight and Giveaway - Murder in the Piazza: A Maggie White Mystery by Jen Collins Moore

Book Synopsis

Maggie White, a downsized American executive stuck in Rome on her husband’s expat assignment, is finding the dolce vita isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. She’s taken a job offering painting instruction to well-heeled travelers and her boss-a rather unpleasant English lord-has turned up dead in his penthouse. Maggie’s left with a palazzo full of suspicious guests, a valuable painting her boss might have stolen, and a policeman who’s decided she’s the prime suspect. Now Maggie must keep the tour up and running while she tracks the killer and works to clear her name.

Author Bio

Jen Collins Moore is the author of the Maggie White Mysteries. Her short fiction has appeared in Mystery Weekly, and she is the editor of the Mystery Writers of America Midwest newsletter. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America, as well an established marketer and entrepreneur. A transplanted New Englander, she lives in Chicago with her husband and two boys.

Author Link:

Purchase Links – AmazonB&NKobo


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Friday, November 6, 2020

Dear Abby - Videos Abby Likes: A Wiener Dog Cake

Dear Friends,

How are you and how is your week going? I am having a good week. It has been cool here but we are going to get warmer weather for the next week, which means extra walking time outside. Hooray!

I have a really fun video to share with you today. (Thanks, Shari, for sending this link to me.) It is a Wiener Dog cake. Yes, you read that right. It was created by a baker from Sideserf Cake Studio.  She was inspired by a real dachshund named Oskar. She created a cake based on a picture of Oskar lying in bed with a blanket. She molded Oskar's head out of molding chocolate. By the time she was finished the cake really looks JUST LIKE a dachshund! I especially like his little paws sticking out of the edge of the blanket.  He looks so cozy!  Momma says the cake is way too cute to eat.  I am not sure that I agree with her.  (My philosophy:  all food is good!)

Without further ado, here is the dachshund cake video:

What do you think?  Would you eat the cake or just admire it?

Thanks so much for visiting me today. I hope you have a great day!


Abby xoxoxo

Book Spotlight and Giveaway - Fair Trade (Barks & Beans Cafe Cozy Mystery) by Heather Day Gilbert

Book Synopsis

Welcome to the Barks & Beans Cafe, a quaint place where folks pet shelter dogs while enjoying a cup of java…and where murder sometimes pays a visit.  

With the one-year anniversary of the now-successful Barks & Beans Cafe approaching, siblings Macy and Bo Hatfield set up an iced coffee booth at the state fair. Taking a break from brewing, Macy bumps into Carolina, a long-lost childhood friend who’s now sitting pretty as a country superstar. Macy tries not to fangirl too hard when her old friend extends an invitation to meet the rest of the Carolina Crush band before their opening show.  

But when Carolina falls victim to not one, but two near-death experiences, Macy takes it upon herself to find out who has it in for her old friend. Fortified with plenty of roasted corn, cinnamon rolls, and her brother’s signature iced maple latte, Macy takes to the Ferris wheel to get the lay of the land from the air. She discovers too late that this year’s fair isn’t all fun and games…but she’s already locked in for the ride. Join siblings Macy and Bo Hatfield as they sniff out crimes in their hometown…with plenty of dogs along for the ride! 

The Barks & Beans Cafe cozy mystery series features a small town, an amateur sleuth, and no swearing or graphic scenes.

The Barks & Beans Cafe cozy mystery series in order:
Book 1: No Filter
Book 2: Iced Over
Book 3: Fair Trade

Author Bio

HEATHER DAY GILBERT, an ECPA Christy award finalist and Grace award winner, enjoys writing contemporary mysteries set in her home state of West Virginia. Her novels feature small towns, family relationships, and women who aren’t afraid to protect what they love.

You can find all her books at

Author Links 








Purchase Link – Amazon


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Thursday, November 5, 2020

Book Review and Giveaway - Broadcast 4 Murder (Sophie Kimball Mystery) by J.C. Eaton

My Review

Broadcast 4 Murder is a cozy mystery set in Arizona. Phee Kimball works for a detective agency along with her boyfriend.  She becomes involved in solving a crime when her mother stumbles upon a dead body. Phee's mother Harriet has just started a cozy mystery show on a local radio station.  Unfortunately, murders begin happening at the station on her first day of work.

I wanted to read this novel because I have enjoyed the previous Sophie Kimball mysteries that I've read.  I am a dachshund person and love Harriet's dog, Streetman, a Chiweenie (dachshund-chihuahua mix) with lots of personality!

I really enjoy this series. It has a refreshing blend of mystery with some little wry humorous asides. This book has the same lively tone, and it was fun to read!

There is also a bit of a mystery from the past, since the scissors that stabbed the first victim previously belonged to a local teacher who died 20 years ago.  I found that aspect of the mystery particularly intriguing.

This is a well paced mystery with several viable suspects.  I enjoyed Phee's detective work, and already am looking forward to the next book in the series!

I recommend Broadcast 4 Murder - and the Sophie Kimball mystery series - for other fans of cozy mysteries.

Book Synopsis

All of Arizona’s Sun City West heard Sophie “Phee” Kimball’s mom scream bloody murder, but it’s up to the reluctant sleuth to find the killer . . .  

Phee’s mother Harriet is going to be a star! At least, that’s how the Sun City West retiree describes her chance to host a live radio program of her book club’s Booked 4 Murder Mystery Hour on Arizona’s KSCW. But instead of chatting about charming cozies, Harriet ends up screaming bloody murder over the airwaves after discovering the body of Howard Buell, the station’s programming director, in a closet—with a pair of sewing shears shoved into his chest.  

The number one suspect is Howard’s ex-girlfriend Sylvia Strattlemeyer who believed she was going to host a sewing talk show before Harriet was offered the spot. But not only do the fingerprints found on the scissors not match Sylvia’s, they belong to a woman who passed away twenty years ago at the age of ninety-seven. Now, with the whole town on pins and needles, it’s up to Phee to stitch together enough clues from the past to uncover the identity of a killer in the present . . .

Author Bio

J.C. Eaton is the wife and husband team of Ann I. Goldfarb and James E. Clapp, authors of the Sophie Kimball Mystery Series and the Wine Trail Mysteries. A New York native and former middle school principal, Ann has published eight award-winning and highly acclaimed YA time travel mysteries. James is a U.S. Navy veteran and retired tasting room manager for a large upscale New York winery. Visit their Website at –This text refers to the mass_market edition.

Author Links



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