Friday, September 17, 2021

Book Review - A Christmas in the Alps by Melody Carlson

My Review

A Christmas in the Alps is the story of Simone Winthrop. Simone's beloved grandmother who raised her has passed away, and while going through her things she finds a mysterious letter from her great-grandmother. The letter suggests that there is treasure hidden in Avre, France, her hometown. Simone travels to France, meeting a handsome clockmaker on the plane trip, and begins the holiday season in France. She gets to know her long lost relatives and searches for the mysterious treasure. Of course, she also has time for a little romance!

I wanted to read A Christmas in the Alps because I always love Melody Carlson's Christmas novels. I have reviewed them for the past few years. I also was intrigued by the French setting (I love novels set in France) and the search for antique treasure.

This was a delightful short novel from start to finish.  Simone is a relatable protagonist who is searching for her place in the world after the loss of her grandmother, leaving her job, and breaking up with her boyfriend. She wants more out of life but isn't sure what that is yet.

I absolutely loved the Avre, France setting, with the charming inn, the home of Simone's great aunt, and the historic old clock factory.  The treasure hunt was especially intriguing.  I was so curious to see what the treasure actually was!

A Christmas in the Alps is a sweet, heartwarming book that would make a great Hallmark movie. I recommend it for anyone looking for a fun, relaxing weekend read.

Book Synopsis

Get ready for a magical mountain holiday

After a time of heartache and loss, Simone Winthrop discovers a tantalizing letter from her French great-grandmother, which seems to suggest that Simone is heir to a family treasure. Ever practical, Simone assumes the claim is baseless, but her best friend encourages her to find out for sure. Despite her deep-rooted fear of flying, she boards a jet to travel to Paris at Christmastime to uncover the truth.

During the long flight, Simone meets the charming Kyle Larsson, who's on his way to France to become an apprentice clockmaker. Though they abruptly part ways, an unexpected rendezvous in the French Alps at Simone's family's clock factory may lead to the discovery of the family treasure . . . and so much more.

Author Bio

Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of more than 200 books with sales of more than 7 million, including many bestselling Christmas novellas, young adult titles, and contemporary romances. She received a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her many books, including Finding Alice, and her novel All Summer Long was made into a Hallmark movie. She and her husband live in central Oregon. Learn more at

Friday, September 10, 2021

Dear Abby - I Return

Dear Friends,

I am so happy to catch up with you all today! I hope you have had a nice summer with lots of time to relax and enjoy the sunshine.

I had plenty of nap time (see picture above!) and even took naps with my Momma when I could get her to take a cuddle break.

Of course, there were several fireworks holidays but I snuggled up in my Thundershirt and got through all the noise safe and sound.

Nicest of all, I had a birthday! I am now 12 years old. 

I had a special birthday goodie after my evening kibble and got several bags of treats as gifts.  I was so excited that this picture is a little blurry (I was moving).

I tried to open one of the treat bags and almost succeeded!

I have missed talking to my friends here and will be blogging as often as I can. Momma helps me blog and we have a lot going on right now. I am going to try to blog at least once a month. (Hopefully more in the future!) 

I would love to hear from you in the comments and catch up on how you, your puppers, and kitties are doing!


Abby xoxoxo

Book Review and Giveaway - Deadly Summer Nights (A Catskill Summer Resort Mystery) by Vicki Delany

My Review

Elizabeth Grady is managing a Catskills resort called Haggerman's in 1953. Her mother, a retired actress, is the owner, but Elizabeth is doing the day to day work. When a guest is murdered, she becomes involved in solving the mystery. There are lots of details about day to day life at the resort, and even a little possible romance for Elizabeth.

I wanted to read this mystery because I love historic mysteries and am fascinated by the Catskills. I never pass up a book, movie, or TV show set in this locale.

Deadly Summer Nights is a delightful read. The author does a wonderful job at establishing a sense of time and place. There are so many fascinating little details, like this description which involved retro food:

"I followed him across the lobby, up the grand staircase, and into the ballroom. The orchestra was having a break, and the lines at the bar and the food table were long. An angel food cake covered with a thick layer of pink icing dotted with maraschino cherries, platters of Rice Krispie squares, and a glistening pineapple upside-down cake were tonight’s offerings. More than a few of our guests took a piece of everything on offer. Some helped themselves to more than one piece of each" (eBook location 708).

The mystery is well plotted, with a number of plausible suspects. I figured the killer out about the same time Elizabeth did.  There is a large cast of characters which led to a slightly slower read - but that just gave me a little extra time to enjoy the book!

Elizabeth is a fun amateur detective. She's very smart and enlists the help of her lifelong friend Velvet in solving the mystery.

I highly recommend Deadly Summer Nights to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, and most especially to readers who enjoy Mid-Century settings and retro Catskills. I look forward to upcoming books in this series.

Book Synopsis

A summer of fun at a Catskills resort comes to an abrupt end when a guest is found murdered, in this new 1950s set mystery series. 

It’s the summer of 1953, and Elizabeth Grady is settling into Haggerman’s Catskills Resort. As a vacation getaway, Haggerman’s is ideal, and although Elizabeth’s ostentatious but well-meaning mother is new to running the resort, Elizabeth is eager to help her organize the guests and the entertainment acts. But Elizabeth will have to resort to untested abilities if she wants to save her mother’s business.

When a reclusive guest is found dead in a lake on the grounds, and a copy of The Communist Manifesto is found in his cabin, the local police chief is convinced that the man was a Russian spy. But Elizabeth isn’t so sure, and with the fate of the resort hanging in the balance, she’ll need to dodge red herrings, withstand the Red Scare, and catch a killer red-handed. 

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 forty 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 for Kensington, the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series for Crooked Lane Books, the Catskill Resort mysteries for Penguin Random House, and the Lighthouse Library series (as Eva Gates) for Crooked Lane.  

Vicki is a past president of the Crime Writers of Canada and co-founder and organizer of the Women Killing It Crime Writing Festival. Her work has been nominated for the Derringer, the Bony Blithe, the Ontario Library Association Golden Oak, and the Arthur Ellis Awards. Vicki is the recipient of the 2019 Derrick Murdoch Award for contributions to Canadian crime writing. She lives in Prince Edward County, Ontario.

Author Links

Website –

Facebook –;

Twitter:  @vickidelany and@evagatesauthor

Instagram: vickidelany

Bookbub: Vicki Delany Books – BookBub

Purchase Links – AmazonB&NKoboIndieBound


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Friday, May 28, 2021

Dear Abby - Summer Break! and Vintage Dachshunds From Calling All Girls Magazine


Dear Friends,

It is time for my Summer break again! I love this time of year -- extra time for walks in the sunshine and leisurely naps.  

I wanted to share a few 1950's - 1960's Calling All Girls magazine covers for you. Every one of them features a dachshund having Summer fun!  This dachshund helps her person with gardening.  She even has a little cart to hold the plants.

This picture is also from 1958 and this is my idea of Summer fun - relaxing on a hammock. Ahh!

The dachshund in this 1959 picture helps paint a picture. (That water looks refreshing to drink!)

This picture is from 1961. I'm so glad my Momma doesn't climb trees and leave me on the ground!

This looks like fun -- a dachshund enjoys some Summer fun under a water hose that is working like a sprinkler. (1963)

From 1965, a dachshund enjoys life by a swimming pool.

Do you have big Summer plans, or just a nice, relaxing Summer ahead?  I hope your Summertime is fun. I look forward to catching up with you in September!


Abby xoxoxo

Book Spotlight and Giveaway - Four Cuts Too Many (A Sarah Blair Mystery) by Debra H. Goldstein

Book Synopsis

Sarah Blair gets an education in slicing and dicing when someone in culinary school serves up a main corpse in Wheaton, Alabama . . .  

Between working as a law firm receptionist, reluctantly pitching in as co-owner of her twin sister’s restaurant, and caretaking for her regal Siamese RahRah and rescue dog Fluffy, Sarah has no time to enjoy life’s finer things. Divorced and sort-of dating, she’s considering going back to school. But as a somewhat competent sleuth, Sarah’s more suited for criminal justice than learning how many ways she can burn a meal. 

Although she wouldn’t mind learning some knife skills from her sous chef, Grace Winston. An adjunct instructor who teaches cutlery expertise in cooking college, Grace is considering accepting an executive chef’s position offered by Jane Clark, Sarah’s business rival—and her late ex-husband’s lover.  But Grace’s future lands in hot water when the school’s director is found dead with one of her knives in his back. To clear her friend’s name, Sarah must sharpen her own skills at uncovering an elusive killer . . .  

Includes quick and easy recipes!

Author Bio

Judge Debra H. Goldstein writes Kensington’s Sarah Blair mystery series (Three Treats Too Many, Two Bites Too Many, One Taste Too Many). She also authored Should Have Played Poker and IPPY Award-winning Maze in Blue. Her short stories have been named Agatha, Anthony, Derringer finalists. Debra serves on the national boards of Mystery Writers of America and is president of SEMWA. She previously was on Sisters in Crime’s national board and president of SinC’s Guppy Chapter.

Find out more about Debra and sign up for her newsletter at Follow her on Twitter (@DebraHGoldstein), Bookbub (, and Facebook (

Purchase Links: AmazonB&NKoboGoogle PlayIndieBound


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Friday, May 21, 2021

Dear Abby - Videos Abby Likes: Dachshund Puppy Learns to Skateboard

Dear Friends,

I hope you have had a good week!  My post today is short and sweet.  I was on Youtube and found a video of a dachshund named Knox learning to skateboard! He is still a puppy and his person gives him a treat every time she says "skate" and he moves the skateboard along.  He is so smart! He scoots the board along and gets lots of treats.

I have my Momma trained the same way about pet steps. There are some little carpeted steps by my bed. I know how to go up and down them but I only choose to do so when there are treats involved.  Momma puts little kibble bites on the steps and says "good girl" as I step up or down and eat them.

When there are no treats involved it is way too much trouble to use those steps!  I wonder if there are any other dogs out there who have found the same?

Here is Knox skateboarding:

Have a great day!  Talk to you again next week.


Abby xoxoxo


Book Review and Giveaway - Beyond a Reasonable Donut (A Deputy Donut Mystery) by Ginger Bolton

My Review

Beyond a Reasonable Donut is a cozy mystery set in Wisconsin. Emily is a young widow who owns a coffeehouse named Deputy Donut. When she and her assistant are working a donut concession at a traveling carnival, they unexpectedly become involved with a number of seedy characters ... and end up working to solve a murder back in town.

I wanted to read this book because I enjoy foodie cozies, and the carnival setting sounded very appealing. I have not read the previous books in this series. It took me a few chapters to learn the characters and their relationships, but after I did I thoroughly enjoyed this book as a standalone.

Emily is a very likable protagonist. She is tenatively romantically interested in a local detective, Brent, but she plays amateur detective herself to solve a complex murder with lots of suspects. She puts herself in jeopardy a couple of times, but I was cheering for her to solve the mystery.

The author did a good job with setting the small town scene. I felt like I had visited Fallingbrook from all the charming descriptions. I especially enjoyed the latter part of the book set at a resort with old fashioned cabins and lodge.

There is a storyline about a mysterious antique locket with an old photo and a coded message. I found that particularly intriguing and it pleased my inner Nancy Drew.

Beyond a Reasonable Donut was lots of fun to read. I hope to catch up with more books in this series in the future. I recommend this cozy mystery for fans of food mysteries (yes, there are recipes in the back of the book!), small town settings, and lots of cozy charm.

Book Synopsis

Selling her corn fritters at a carnival, Deputy Donut CafĂ© owner Emily Westhill faces off against a murderer who doesn’t play fair . . .  

Emily and her assistant, Nina, are looking forward to manning the Deputy Donut tent at the Faker’s Dozen Carnival in Fallingbrook, Wisconsin—a festival held on Friday the thirteenth to celebrate good and bad luck. But Emily has barely dropped the corn fritters in oil when bad luck boils up. First, their bucket of confectioner’s sugar disappears—and then while a mime creates a distraction, a magician robs their cash register.  

After the carnival, their misfortune continues. Emily discovers that someone has broken into artist Nina’s loft and vandalized a large painting in progress with the bucket of stolen sugar, which is now on the head of the mime, who seems to have been suffocated. Emily would bet Nina was the intended victim, but the cops think Nina silenced the mime. Now Emily must catch the killer white-handed—before someone else kicks the bucket . . .

Author Bio

Ginger Bolton writes the Deputy Donut mystery series—coffee, donuts, cops, danger, and one curious cat. The first four books in the series are SURVIVAL OF THE FRITTERS, GOODBYE CRULLER WORLD, JEALOUSY FILLED DONUTS, and the latest, BOSTON SCREAM MURDER. JEALOUSY FILLED DONUTS was chosen as the Woman’s World Best New Cozy Mystery of the week and was named as one of Dollycas’s Best Reads of 2019. BEYOND A REASONABLE DONUT will be on store shelves May 25, 2021. When Ginger isn’t writing or reading, she’s crocheting, knitting, sewing, or generally causing trouble. She’s also fond of donuts and coffee. As Janet Bolin, Ginger wrote the Threadville Mysteries—murder and mayhem in a village of crafty shops.

Author Links

Website –

Facebook –

Twitter –

BookBub –

GoodReads –

Purchase Links:

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Book Spotlight and Giveaway - The Body in the Beaver Pond: A Keri Isles Event Planner Mystery by Cathy Perkins

Book Synopsis

Even an event planner doesn’t plan on murder . . .   

Keri Isles desperately needs to sell the Christmas Tree farm her cheating, rotten ex convinced his buddy, the judge, to saddle her with in the divorce settlement. Stuck in the Cascade Mountains, she’s lost her Seattle-based job and local job prospects are as scarce as internet service. When she finds the arrogant professor in charge of the local archeology dig floating face down in her beaver pond, however, unloading the property becomes secondary to staying out of prison.  

A savvy—and scheming—attorney may be able to keep her head above water, but the personal price of his retainer may be too high. It’s up to Keri to use her mad networking skills and deploy a team of archaeology students, a bad boy photographer, and assorted eccentric neighbors to find the killer and clear her name.

Author Bio

Cathy Perkins’s suspense writing lurks behind a financial day-job, where she learned firsthand the camouflage, hide-in-plain-sight skills employed by her villains. A member of Sisters in Crime and International Thriller Writers, she has coordinated conferences, contests and debut author programs, and is a contributing editor for The Big Thrill. When not writing, she can be found doing battle with the beavers over the pond height or setting off on another travel adventure. Born and raised in South Carolina, she now lives in Washington with her husband, children, several dogs and the resident deer herd.

Author Links

Social Media


Facebook Page      

Twitter            @cperkinswrites

BookBub – follow me!



Amazon Author Page


Purchase Links

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Friday, May 14, 2021

Dear Abby - Videos That Abby Likes: Ollie the Rescued Otter

Dear Friends,

I hope all is well in your corner of the world.  It has been chilly here all over again, which is mostly okay with me, since I like to snuggle into blankets.

I'm dreaming about summer and warm weather, though ... and I have been thinking about otters. My Momma loves otters and I have discovered I like videos of them too. I found one that I recally enjoyed. It tells the story of Ollie the otter. He was orphaned as a baby and rescued by Seal Rescue Ireland. They bottle fed him and introduced him to the water. Eventually he made another young otter friend, too, named Lulu. Ollie's story is told in this short video - and it makes me very happy.

Meet Ollie the otter here:

I hope you have a wonderful day! I will visit here a couple more weeks before summer break, so please come back next week.


Abby xoxoxo 


Book Spotlight and Excerpt - The Stepsisters by Susan Mallery

Book Synopsis

Once upon a time, when her dad married Sage’s mom, Daisy was thrilled to get a bright and shiny new sister. But Sage was beautiful and popular, everything Daisy was not, and she made sure Daisy knew it.

Sage didn’t have Daisy’s smarts—she had to go back a grade to enroll in the fancy rich-kid school. So she used her popularity as a weapon, putting Daisy down to elevate herself. After the divorce, the stepsisters’ rivalry continued until the final, improbable straw:  Daisy married Sage’s first love, and Sage fled California.

Eighteen years, two kids and one troubled marriage later, Daisy never expects—or wants—to see Sage again. But when the little sister they have in common needs them both, they put aside their differences to care for Cassidy. As long-buried truths are revealed, no one is more surprised than they when friendship blossoms.

Their fragile truce is threatened by one careless act that could have devastating consequences. They could turn their backs on each other again…or they could learn to forgive once and for all and finally become true sisters of the heart.

Purchase Links

MIRA | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


After making arrangements to have her car picked up and taken to the service department at the dealership, Daisy checked on Krissa one more time before heading to the op­posite end of the second floor. The master suite was large, en­compassing several rooms, including a study she used as her home office, along with his-and-her bathrooms and closets.

She grabbed jeans, a T-shirt, fresh underwear and a bra be­fore heading into her bathroom. She pinned up her hair and then stepped into the steamy shower.

Alone for the first time all day, she allowed herself to think about Jordan. At some point she was going to have to let him know that now Krissa was sick. He was, after all, their father.

Bitterness welled up inside of her. Yes, he was their father and he was also the man who had walked out on his wife and kids two days ago, with no warning. She’d finished her shift, gone to her locker and had found a text from him saying that he was going to be moving out for a few days. Just like that. No conversation, no explanation, just him gone.

She’d been stunned, hurt, outraged and scared. Fortunately outrage had won, allowing her to hold it all together. Because while he’d been in a hotel somewhere, she was left with everything else, including letting their kids know their father was gone.

She’d told him it was unfair to scare them with what was happening. He’d agreed and they’d decided to tell Ben and Krissa that he was away at a conference. But that excuse would only last for so long, she thought as she stepped out of the shower and grabbed a towel. At some point she and Jordan were going to have to talk about what was happening in their marriage. Easier said than done considering she didn’t know herself.

Oh, sure they fought from time to time and for the past few weeks, he’d seemed quiet. And lately they’d both been busy and hadn’t had much time for each other, but that was normal. Life got in the way, then they worked on fixing the problem. Only Jordan didn’t seem interested in fixing so much as going for the dramatic gesture.

As she dressed, she tried to figure out what he was thinking. Resentment kept clouding her judgment, making her want to grab him by his shirtfront and shake some sense into him. Given that she wasn’t especially strong and that he was a good eight inches taller, the odds of that happening seemed unlikely.

She slipped on flats, then grabbed her phone. She should let the school know she was keeping—

I’m moving into an extended-stay hotel later today so it’s easier for me to have the kids over while we figure out what’s going on with us.

She stared at the text. Fury overtook outrage. “No you didn’t.”

She hit the call button and waited, knowing there was a better than even chance he wouldn’t pick up. The phone rang and rang. She wasn’t sure if he was avoiding her or with a pa­tient. She was about to hang up when he answered.

“You got my text,” Jordan said by way of greeting.

“Yes, I did. Really? Is this how you wanted to tell me what was happening? By text? You couldn’t face me in person or call? Let me answer the damned question. What’s going on with us is you left. You just walked out with no warning, leav­ing me to pick up the pieces. Has it occurred to you that your inability to communicate might be part of the reason we’re having problems in the first place?”

“Why do you always get like this?”

The unfair statement nearly left her speechless. “You moved into a hotel. You didn’t talk to me, you texted me. When I tried calling, you wouldn’t pick up. I still don’t know why you left. It was supposed to be for a few days. Now you tell me, again by text, that you’re checking into a long-term-stay hotel. Not that we’ve talked about anything. You’re just gone. And you want to know why I get like this?”

“I can’t talk to you when you’re unreasonable.”

Anger built up inside of her, accompanied by a big dose of fear. Because somehow that was always what happened—no matter how things started, he found a way to shut her down. If she shrieked back at him, which she wanted to do, she was proving his point. What was the right response?

Author Bio

No.1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery writes heartwarming, humorous novels about the relationships that define our lives – family, friendship, romance. She’s known for putting nuanced characters in emotional situations that surprise readers to laughter. Beloved by millions, her books have been translated into 28 languages. Susan lives in Washington with her husband, two cats, and a small poodle with delusions of grandeur.

Connect with Susan

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Friday, May 7, 2021

Dear Abby - Videos Abby Likes - Dachshunds, Hedgehog, and Parrot

Dear Friends,

I hope you are having a good week! We have had lots of rain here again - which means extra time on Youtube for me. I found a new favorite video there. It's super short but it has a lot going on!

The video features two dachshunds (one is in more of the video than the other) and their hedgehog friend and parrot friend. The dachshunds and parrot watch the hedgehog take a bath in the sink. Then the hedgehog climbs back and forth underneath the piebald dachshund's tummy. I bet that tickles! (By the way, piebald dachshunds are white dachshunds with spots like a beagle.) Then - this is my favorite part! - the parrot gives a treat to the dachshund! They are such good friends. Of course, the parrot then thinks it is okay to walk on the dachshund's face! I don't like that part of the video.

Here is the link for you to enjoy:

I hope you liked seeing these unlikely friends together too! Since I only meet dogs and cats on my walks, I am always especially interested in videos of dogs with friends who are different animals.

Have a good day! Thanks for your visit.


Abby xoxoxo

Book Spotlight and Giveway - The Cotillion Brigade by Glen Craney

Book Synopsis

Georgia burns.
Sherman’s Yankees are closing in.
Will the women of LaGrange run or fight?

Based on the true story of the celebrated Nancy Hart Rifles, The Cotillion Brigade is a sweeping epic of the Civil War’s ravages on family and love, the resilient bonds of sisterhood amid devastation, and the miracle of reconciliation between bitter enemies.

“Gone With The Wind meets A League Of Their Own.”

1856. Sixteen-year-old Nannie Colquitt Hill makes her debut in the antebellum society of the Chattahoochee River plantations. A thousand miles to the north, a Wisconsin farm boy, Hugh LaGrange, joins an Abolitionist crusade to ban slavery in Bleeding Kansas.

Five years later, secession and total war against the homefronts of Dixie hurl them toward a confrontation unrivaled in American history.

Nannie defies the traditions of Southern gentility by forming a women’s militia and drilling it four long years to prepare for battle. With their men dead, wounded, or retreating with the Confederate armies, only Captain Nannie and her Fighting Nancies stand between their beloved homes and the Yankee torches.

Hardened into a slashing Union cavalry colonel, Hugh duels Rebel generals Joseph Wheeler and Nathan Bedford Forrest across Tennessee and Alabama. As the war churns to a bloody climax, he is ordered to drive a burning stake deep into the heart of the Confederacy.

Yet one Georgia town—which by mocking coincidence bears Hugh’s last name—stands defiant in his path.

Read the remarkable story of the Southern women who formed America’s most famous female militia and the Union officer whose life they changed forever.

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

Author Bio

A graduate of Indiana University School of Law and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, Glen Craney practiced trial law before joining the Washington, D.C. press corps to write about national politics and the Iran-contra trial for Congressional Quarterly magazine. In 1996, the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences awarded him the Nicholl Fellowship prize for best new screenwriting. His debut historical novel, The Fire and the Light, was named Best New Fiction by the National Indie Excellence Awards. He is a three-time Finalist/Honorable Mention winner of Foreword Magazine’s Book-of-the-Year and a Chaucer Award winner for Historical Fiction. His books have taken readers to Occitania during the Albigensian Crusade, the Scotland of Robert Bruce, Portugal during the Age of Discovery, the trenches of France during World War I, the battlefields of the Civil War, and the American Hoovervilles of the Great Depression. He lives in Malibu, California, and has served as president of the Southern California Chapter of the Historical Novel Society.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads


We have ten eBooks of The Cotillion Brigade by Glen Craney up for grabs!

The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on May 14th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

The Cotillion Brigade


Book Spotlight and Giveaway - Murder in Belgrave Square: A 1920s cozy mystery (A Tommy & Evelyn Christie Mystery) by Catherine Coles

Book Synopsis

Tommy & Evelyn Christie were hoping for a break from solving murders when they agreed to host Aunt Victoria and her daughters, Madeleine and Elise at their London home in Belgrave Square.  

Recently widowed Victoria has returned from France for the London Season and to mend bridges with her estranged family. 

None of them were prepared for the doubly shocking sight of a newborn baby and a dead body on the back doorstep of their imposing London residence.  

Tommy & Evelyn face a race against time to solve the murder and the mystery of the abandoned baby before cousin Madeleine’s London Season is ruined.

Author Bio

About Catherine: I’ve always wanted to be an author…or a songwriter…or a nurse…or a teacher…I never have been able to make up my mind J My working career is a testament to this. Over the years, I’ve worked as a legal secretary, a night carer, in a bar while I completed my law degree, a family law practitioner, a childminder, a foster carer, a home carer, a receptionist, facilitating car deliveries for online customers, and a PA/HR Manager. Now I am living my dream as a full-time author. Well…in truth…one of my dreams—a girl should never have only one dream! Catherine lives in the northeast of England where she shares her home with her children and two spoiled dogs who have no idea they are not human!

Author Links


Purchase Link – Amazon


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Friday, April 30, 2021

Dear Abby - Videos That Abby Likes: Rescued Piglets Find a Special Home

Dear Friends,

I hope you are having a good week! It is almost hot here in the deep south now ... not that I am complaining. (I still find time to burrow in my blankets, no matter how warm it is outside!)

I have a special video to share with you today. It is from the Dodo channel on Youtube (one of my favorites and one I very highly recommend if you love animals).  

This is the story of a mother pig who was rescued ... and she gave birth to five little piglets. Two of the piglets traveled together on a cross-country road trip with a llama. The wonderful animal rescuer took them to an animal sanctuary in Oregon that looks like an amazing place! They settled in there and became friends with rescued dogs. One of my favorite things about their story -- the llama who traveled with them befriended the piglets and loves to watch over them.

Without further ado, meet these sweet piglets!

Momma is now saying she would like to adopt a piglet or two. Since we live in the city I do not think this will actually happen!

Have a wonderful day,


Abby xoxoxo


Book Review - National Geographic’s Backyard Guide To The Night Sky

My Review

Backyard Guide to the Night Sky from National Geographic (author Andrew Fazekas) is a unique guide to stargazing for absolute beginners.

I was interested in reading this book because I loved stargazing as a little girl. We had a telescope that we used in the backyard, and my favorite annual school field trips were to the planetarium. I even had a big star map on my bedroom wall! I never studied astronomy in high school or college, so I consider myself a real "newbie" stargazer.

This is a lovely book. It's small enough to carry outside but it's so nicely made, full of beautiful color photos, charts, diagrams, and little sidebar information tidbits.

I love that the book suggests starting by just looking at the sky at night with your eyes - no fancy equipment:

"Exploring that universe requires nothing more than a walk outside and an open sky. The naked eye remains the most important piece of gear, and a focus on easily seen objects is the best way to build a foundation. Your first tasks as a sky-watcher may appear simple, but they will reveal much. Study the phases of the moon, track the motion of the stars and planets over weeks and months, and learn to recognize a handful of the brightest constellations visible in each season. Such observation will show you how the heavens work and allow you to build an appreciation for the fainter, more distant wonders you will discover later" (p. 11).

The book has an interesting focus on following the seasons, since as earth orbits the sun, constellations and our glimpse of the sky changes nightly. There are large sections in the latter half of the book focusing on the different seasons. I found them fascinating! For instance, Spring features Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Leo the Lion, Virgo the Virgin, Cancer the Crab, Canes Venatici: The Hunting Dogs, etc.

I live in a city where there is often smog that obscures the stars. There is a useful chapter on skywatching in the city, with great tips on how to see the stars despite light pollution.

I have always been interested in the phases of the moon and found the chapter on Lunar Movements, with night by night illustrations of the moon from waxing crescent up to full moon and down to waning crescent.

There is a short chapter on exploration of the moon. As someone who grew up as a child watching the space program, I wish this chapter had been longer, with more details about the different landing missions.

There is also a section on annual showers with annual dates of meteor showers. I always want to see these and never knew when to look for them. This is so helpful and interesting!

I stayed up at night enjoying this book and peeking out at the sky. I recommend Backyard Guide to the Night Sky for anyone interested in stargazing. It's a perfect introduction to the wonders of the evening sky!

Book Synopsis

Explore the star-studded cosmos with this fully updated, user-friendly skywatcher’s guide, filled with charts, graphics, photographs, and expert tips for viewing — and understanding — the wonders of space.

Stargazing’s too much fun to leave to astronomers. In these inviting pages, “Night Sky Guy” Andrew Fazekas takes an expert but easygoing approach that will delight would-be astronomers of all levels. Essential information, organized logically, brings the solar system, stars, and planets to life in your own backyard. Start with the easiest constellations and then “star-hop” across the night sky to find others nearby. Learn about the dark side of the moon, how to pick Mars out of a planetary lineup, and which kinds of stars twinkle in your favorite constellations. Hands-on tips and techniques for observing with the naked eye, binoculars, or a telescope help make the most out of sightings and astronomical phenomena such as eclipses and meteor showers. Photographs and graphics present key facts in an easy-to-understand format, explaining heavenly phenomena such as black holes, solar flares, and supernovas. Revised to make skywatching even easier for the whole family, this indispensable guide shines light on the night sky–truly one of the greatest shows on Earth!

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