Friday, April 24, 2020

Dear Friends - Videos Abby Likes: Tiptoeing Dogs

Dear Friends,

Thanks for stopping by this week! My share today starts with a rainy morning.  Yesterday it was raining pretty hard when I went out to walk.  I don't like rain.  I'm a good girl and I walk in it, but I don't have to enjoy it.  I walk on leash and I was moving slow.  Momma looked down at me and I was tiptoeing through the wet grass.  I figured I could keep my paws dry better that way!

I felt sure other dogs must tiptoe too, so I looked up dogs who tiptoe on the computer.  I found two videos with other dogs who tiptoe around!  The first is a puppy who tiptoes up on his toy before he snatches it up.

The other is a dog named Milton who likes to tiptoe all around the house like a doggy spy.  I think the tiptoeing makes him look mysterious!

I hope you enjoyed these little videos and I hope you are not having too much rain in your corner of the world!

Till next week --


Abby xoxoxo 

Book Review - Simon the Fiddler by Paulette Jiles

My Review
Simon the Fiddler begins in Texas in 1865.  Simon Boudlin is a fiddler who ends up being conscripted in the Civil War just before it ends.  He plays in a regimental band, and at one of the performances he glimpses an Irish governess who works for one of the military officers.  He falls in love with Doris Mary Dillon at first sight and determines to marry her.  When the war ends Simon makes a band with other musicians, and they travel through Texas.  He never loses sight of his dream though, and this novel is about his journey.

I wanted to read this book because I found the idea of a traveling musician post-Civil War fascinating.  Although I live in the deep south, I have read surprisingly few novels set during the Civil War and this sparked my curiosity.

The book starts at a leisurely pace with an introduction to Simon and his life as a young man and as a musician.  I found it picked up pace after he first saw Doris.  Their courtship - through letters, and at a stop and start pace  because of her status as an indentured servant for a wealthy family - is what makes the book come to life for me.

I also loved the details about music, the descriptions of songs Simon and the musicians played, with old fashioned lyrics and accounts of their performances.  The little ragtag band has adventures as they travel and play - some humorous and some heartbreaking. 

This is such a beautifully written book with passages that read like poetry.  For instance:

"Simon had seen many mezzotints of shipwrecked soldiers on rafts amid the mighty billows being tossed upon the stormy main, and he had imagined ocean waves as perpetually cone-shaped.  It seemed to him the waves would then arrive at a given shore as a collection of triangles.  Then they would fall flat on their faces, dissolve, and their place would be taken by yet another rush of water, et cetera.  Spiky.  He had imagined waves as spiky water.  But what he saw were long rolling terraces of blue water that rose and fell into sparkling foam in hushing sounds, over and over.  They had no end.  He could have watched forever" (pp. 49 - 50).

The story becomes an adventure the latter third of the book as Simon tries to set his plans in motion despite the danger this puts both he and Doris in.  After the sometimes languorous earlier storytelling, I found I couldn't put the book down because I wanted to know what happened with Simon and Doris.

I found Simon the Fiddler to be an unusual book because of the poetic language and the storytelling that was almost like an American fairy tale.  Once I got used to the pacing, it was very appealing and engrossing -- and a journey I would recommend to other readers who enjoy historical fiction (and especially a Civil War setting).

Book Synopsis
The critically acclaimed, bestselling author of News of the World and Enemy Women returns to Texas in this atmospheric story, set at the end of the Civil War, about an itinerant fiddle player, a ragtag band of musicians with whom he travels trying to make a living, and the charming young Irish lass who steals his heart.

In March 1865, the long and bitter War between the States is winding down. Till now, twenty-three-year-old Simon Boudlin has evaded military duty thanks to his slight stature, youthful appearance, and utter lack of compunction about bending the truth. But following a barroom brawl in Victoria, Texas, Simon finds himself conscripted, however belatedly, into the Confederate Army. Luckily his talent with a fiddle gets him a comparatively easy position in a regimental band.

Weeks later, on the eve of the Confederate surrender, Simon and his bandmates are called to play for officers and their families from both sides of the conflict. There the quick-thinking, audacious fiddler can’t help but notice the lovely Doris Mary Dillon, an indentured girl from Ireland, who is governess to a Union colonel’s daughter.

After the surrender, Simon and Doris go their separate ways. He will travel around Texas seeking fame and fortune as a musician. She must accompany the colonel’s family to finish her three years of service. But Simon cannot forget the fair Irish maiden, and vows that someday he will find her again.

Incandescent in its beauty, told in Paulette Jiles’s trademark spare yet lilting style, Simon the Fiddler is a captivating, bittersweet tale of the chances a devoted man will take, and the lengths he will go to fulfill his heart’s yearning.

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Author Bio
Paulette Jiles is a novelist, poet, and memoirist. She is the author of Cousins, a memoir, and the novels Enemy Women, Stormy Weather, The Color of Lightning, Lighthouse Island, and News of the World, which was a finalist for the 2016 National Book Award. She lives on a ranch near San Antonio, Texas.

Find out more about Paulette at her website.

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

Book Spotlight and Giveaway - Old Friends and New, Another Murder (Sheridan Hendley Mystery) by Christa Nardi

Book Synopsis
A touch of nostalgia, a murder, and good friends.

When a former colleague is implicated in his neighbor’s demise, Sheridan Hendley returns to Cold Creek to prove his innocence. Annoying as Max can be, she can’t imagine the quirky professor is capable of murder. Unfortunately, not everyone shares her opinion. Of course, it doesn’t help that Max threatened his neighbor in a public place soon before the man was murdered. Or that the victim’s drug shipments had a habit of turning up on Max’s doorstep.

Author Bio
Christa Nardi is an accomplished writer and an avid reader. Her favorite authors have shifted from Carolyn Keene and Earl Stanley Gardner to more contemporary mystery crime authors over time, but she still loves a good mystery. Christa has authored the Cold Creek Cozy Mystery Series, the spinoff Sheridan Hendley Mystery Series, and the Stacie Maroni Mystery Series.  She co-authors the Hannah and Tamar Mystery Series. When not reading or writing, Christa enjoys travel with her husband and playing with three dogs and three grand-daughters.

Author Links:
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Purchase Link – Amazon

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