Friday, February 26, 2021

Dear Abby - Videos Abby Likes: Harlso, The Balancing Hound

Dear Friends,

I hope you have had a good week! I have a real treat for you today. My friend, Chantelle (who has two lovely Chihuahuas named Louie and Lola) shared the story of Harlso the Balancing Hound. I find Harlso fascinating (and, ahem, quite handsome too!).

Harlso is a black and tan dachshund who has a special trick - he balances objects on his head. His people found this talent by accident and they have made many videos of Harlso balancing things.

You will see a sampling in this short video. Harlso balances a little globe, pizza, hamburgers, toys, and even a drink glass that is full.  He even dresses as a little Christmas elf and balances presents!  He looks upward with his big brown eyes as he balances so carefully. He only loses concentration once - for a toy. 

I have never tried to balance anything on my head, although I certainly invite the chance to balance pizza or a hamburger.  We could see how that would go!

Harlso has his own Youtube channel, and you can see a little video about him here:

I hope you enjoy watching Harlso as much as I do. I will be checking out his videos in the future too.

Have a great day!


Abby xoxoxo

Book Review - The English Wife by Adrienne Chinn

My Review

The English Wife is the story of two women. In 1940's England, Ellie Burgess falls in love with Thomas, a soldier who hails from Newfoundland.  In 2001, Sophie Parry finds her plane diverted from a trip to New York on 9/11. She lands in Newfoundland, where her Aunt Ellie lives.

I wanted to read this novel because I love historical fiction set in the 1940's. I also was intrigued by the Newfoundland setting, since that is an area I was not familiar with. I love traveling new places in a book!

This is an ambitious dual storyline novel that tells the story of two women, in World War II and in the aftermath of 9/11. The author does an amazing job at skillfully interweaving the  stories of these women's lives. 

The historical details are rich. I especially found the details of England during World War II to be fascinating, like the little cellar where Ellie and her little sister Dottie hide out (with their cat!) during a bombing raid.

I also love the current day descriptions of Newfoundland, which seems like a quirky, vibrant place. For instance:

"Sophie follows Sam and Becca through the screen door. Inside, long white-painted wooden counters stacked with boxes of art cards, homemade jams, rolls of colourful ribbon, plates of fat muffins, tempting cookies and red paper bags of something labelled hard tack flank the narrow walls in front of the sage green shelves displaying handmade glazed pottery and framed art prints. Four lively dachshunds clatter through the doorway from a back room, followed by a sturdily built woman of about fifty, in paint-spattered jeans and a Joni Mitchell T-shirt" (eBook location 851).

Although I initially was more interested in the 1940's story, as the book went on I became invested also in Sophie's storyline (2001 - 2011) and especially life in Newfoundland.

I enthusiastically recommend The English Wife for fans of historical fiction, especially anyone interested in the 1940's, Newfoundland, and dual storyline novels. It is a lovely and engrossing read!

Book Synopsis

Two women, a world apart.

A secret waiting to be discovered…

VE Day 1945: As victory bells ring out across the country, war bride Ellie Burgess’ happiness is overshadowed by grief. Her charismatic Newfoundlander husband Thomas is still missing in action.

Until a letter arrives explaining Thomas is back at home on the other side of the Atlantic recovering from his injuries.

Travelling to a distant country to live with a man she barely knows is the bravest thing Ellie has ever had to do. But nothing can prepare her for the harsh realities of her new home…

September 11th 2001: Sophie Parry is on a plane to New York on the most tragic day in the city’s history. While the world watches the news in horror, Sophie’s flight is rerouted to a tiny town in Newfoundland and she is forced to seek refuge with her estranged aunt Ellie.

Determined to discover what it was that forced her family apart all those years ago, newfound secrets may change her life forever…

This is a timeless story of love, sacrifice and resilience perfect for fans of Lucinda Riley, Lorna Cook and Gill Paul.

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Author Bio

Adrienne Chinn was born in an old paper-making town in Newfoundland, and grew up in rural Quebec and Montreal. She retraced her English father’s footsteps back to England, where she now lives and works as an interior designer.

She travels all over the world to speak at international events, and leads design retreats in her beloved Morocco, which she has been visiting regularly for over ten years.

When not writing or designing, Adrienne can be found puttering in her Sussex garden; trawling flea markets; swimming anywhere she can find a lake, sea or pool; or in the queue at Gatwick heading off somewhere new.

Find out more about Adrienne at her website, and follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Book Review - A Dance in Donegal by Jennifer Deibel

My Review

A Dance in Donegal is a historical novel set in 1920. Moira Doherty leaves Boston after her mother dies to return to her mother's hometown of Donegal, Ireland as a schoolteacher. Upon arriving in Donegal she hears rumors of her mother's scandalous past, deals with small town small mindedness, and finds love.

I wanted to read A Dance in Donegal because both the Irish setting and 1920 time period were intriguing.

The author has lived in Ireland and she did an amazing job at setting the scene and capturing Ireland of many years ago. The characters use Gaelic terms and there is a glossary of terms at the end of the book to help readers. I really enjoyed the old Ireland details in this book and the lovely historical details.

Moira is a very sympathetic protagonist who has faced great loss and taken a real chance to move to another country - only to find obstacles from the small minded town folk. She faces barriers based on her mother's reputation, and when she tries to help a student who has Spanish Influenza, that further separates her from the town.

Moira has two men who are interested in her - Sean, a village thatcher who is strong and kind, and Declan, a barrister recently returned to the village, who is charming and glib.

This is a Christian novel. I read inspirational fiction regularly and enjoy it. I found the message in this book to be much more direct than I am used to and I often wished that there was more "show, don't tell," with the character's faith being shown more subtly through actions and quiet strength.

A Dance in Donegal is a novel for fans of Christian fiction, and especially for anyone who is interested in Ireland.

Book Synopsis

All her life, Boston-born Moira Doherty has relished her mother's descriptions of the Emerald Isle. When her mother dies unexpectedly in the summer of 1920, Moira is compelled to fulfill her dying wish--that she become the teacher in Ballymann, the beloved village in Donegal, Ireland, she's heard so much about.

After an arduous voyage, Moira begins a challenging new job in an unfamiliar and ancient country. Though a few locals offer a warm welcome, others are distanced by superstition and suspicion. Rumors about Moira's mother are unspoken in her presence but threaten to derail everything she's journeyed to Ballymann to do. Moira must rely on the kindness of a handful of friends--and the strength of Sean, an unsettlingly handsome thatcher who keeps popping up unannounced--as she seeks to navigate a life she'd never dreamed of . . . but perhaps was meant to live. 

Author Bio

Jennifer Deibel is a middle school teacher whose work has appeared on (in)courage, on The Better Mom, in Missions Mosaic magazine, and other publications. With firsthand immersive experience abroad, Jennifer writes stories that help redefine home through the lens of culture, history, and family. After nearly a decade of living in Ireland and Austria, she now lives in Arizona with her husband and their three children. You can find her online at