Friday, March 12, 2021

Dear Abby - Videos Abby Likes: A Dachshund Dog Race

Dear Friends!

I hope you are having a good day! It is feeling more like Spring here every week, and I hope you are getting warmer weather where you live too.

I haven't had a lot of time online this week but I did find a fun, action filled (!) video to share with you. It stars Crusoe, one of the most famous dachshunds. He is in a dachshund dash race with three other dogs: Titan, Rain, and Jellybean. (I really like the name Jellybean!) There is a fun moment at the starting line when Titan stretches out to rest. The race is exciting and fast, though! Crusoe wins a gold medal and he falls asleep during the medal ceremony.

Here is the video for you to enjoy:

There are dachshund races across the country, often at rescue fundraising events. I've never been to one. I wouldn't want to race but might enjoy watching. Have you been to a dachshund race before?

Hope you have a good day! Thanks for coming by.


Abby xoxoxo

Book Review and Giveaway - Rhapsody by Mitchell James Kaplan

My Review

Rhapsody is a historical novel set in the 1920's - 1930's. It tells the story of Kay Swift, a pianist who is married to banker James Warburg when she meets and falls in love with composer George Gershwin.

I wanted to read this novel because I love Gershwin's music and was curious about a book exploring his life. I also find the time period and setting (primarily New York City) intriguing.

This read started slowly for me as it filled in Kay's backstory. It picked up speed when she met Jimmy (James Warburg), and especially when George Gershwin entered the picture. By that point I was thoroughly engrossed in the storytelling and sat and read the rest of the book in an afternoon. I wanted to know what happened next!

The author does a wonderful job at setting the scene with music details, famous friends (like Dorothy Parker and Adele Astaire), and descriptions of the entertainment world and society life in the 1920's. There are vivid scenes like:

"The Century Theatre was closed to the public during the day. But the doorman recognized Jimmy, whose family had financed construction of the building, and the elevator operator whisked them up in his polished-brass cage to the enclosed portion of the Roof Garden Pavilion, where a disk was spinning on the Victrola while maintenance employees swept the floor and set tables. Eddie Cantor, backed by an orchestra, sang— Every lyric writer since the world began Has put in overtime in raves about the moon. And when the animals descended from the Ark They sang a song that rhymed with June And tune and spoon. Apart from the restaurant staff and the invisible singer and his orchestra, Jimmy and Katharine had the spacious glass room to themselves. As they proceeded to a table at the far end of the room, Katharine wondered whether Jimmy had not prearranged the entire scene, including the music. It all seemed too picturesque and dreamlike to be entirely spontaneous" (eBook location 1009).

Kay is a complex character - ambitious in a time when this was not encouraged for women, married to one man but in love/obsessed with another. I especially loved the detail of Kay reading The Great Gatsby and seeing some parallels between her fascination with Gershwin and Jay Gatsby's obsession with Daisy Buchanan.

One of the hallmarks of a good historical novel for me is learning more about historic figures or a different time period. Rhapsody provides a unique glimpse at NYC in the 1920's and Gershwin's life - both personal life and his artistry and work.

I enjoyed Rhapsody and recommend it for fans of historical fiction, especially for anyone interested in music, the 1920's - 1930's, old New York, and the life of George Gershwin.

Book Synopsis

One evening in 1924, Katharine “Kay” Swift—the restless but loyal society wife of wealthy banker James Warburg and a serious pianist who longs for recognition—attends a concert. The piece: Rhapsody in Blue. The composer: a brilliant, elusive young musical genius named George Gershwin.

Kay is transfixed, helpless to resist the magnetic pull of George’s talent, charm, and swagger. Their ten-year love affair, complicated by her conflicted loyalty to her husband and the twists and turns of her own musical career, ends only with George’s death from a brain tumor at the age of thirty-eight.

Set in Jazz Age New York City, this stunning work of fiction, for fans of The Paris Wife and Loving Frank, explores the timeless bond between two brilliant, strong-willed artists. George Gershwin left behind not just a body of work unmatched in popular musical history, but a woman who loved him with all her heart, knowing all the while that he belonged not to her, but to the world.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Indiebound

Author Bio

Mitchell James Kaplan graduated with honors from Yale University, where he won the Paine Memorial Prize for Best Long-Form Senior Essay submitted to the English Department. His first mentor was the author William Styron.

After college, Kaplan lived in Paris, France, where he worked as a translator, then in Southern California, where he worked as a screenwriter and in film production.

He lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia with his family and two cats.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


We have 2 paperback copies of Rhapsody by Mitchell James Kaplan up for grabs!

The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on March 12th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Rhapsody Tour

Book Spotlight and Giveaway - Haunted Hibiscus (A Tea Shop Mystery) by Laura Childs

Book Synopsis

Tea maven Theodosia Browning brews up trouble in the latest Tea Shop Mystery from New York Times bestselling author Laura Childs.  

It is the week before Halloween and Theodosia Browning, proprietor of the Indigo Tea Shop, and her tea sommelier, Drayton, are ghosting through the dusk of a cool Charleston evening on their way to the old Bouchard Mansion. Known as the Gray Ghost, this dilapidated place was recently bequeathed to the Heritage Society, and tonight heralds the grand opening of their literary and historical themed haunted house.

Though Timothy Neville, the patriarch of the Heritage Society, is not thrilled with the fund-raising idea, it is the perfect venue for his grandniece, Willow French, to sign copies of her new book, Carolina Crimes & Creepers.  

But amid a parade of characters dressed as Edgar Allan Poe, Lady Macbeth, and the Headless Horseman, Willow’s body is suddenly tossed from the third-floor tower room and left to dangle at the end of a rope. Police come screaming in and Theodosia’s boyfriend, Detective Pete Riley, is sent to Willow’s apartment to investigate. But minutes later, he is shot and wounded by a shadowy intruder. 

Timothy begs Theodosia to investigate, and shaken by Riley’s assault, she readily agrees. Now, she questions members of the Heritage Society and a man who claims the mansion is rightfully his, as well as Willow’s book publisher and her fiancĂ©, all while hosting a Sherlock Holmes tea and catering several others. 

But the Gray Ghost holds many secrets, as do several other key suspects, while this murder mystery plays out on the eve of Halloween. 


Author Bio

Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop MysteriesScrapbook Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. In her previous life she was CEO/Creative Director of her own marketing firm and authored several screenplays. She is married to a professor of Chinese art history, loves to travel, rides horses, enjoys fundraising for various non-profits, and has two Chinese Shar-Pei dogs. 

Laura specializes in cozy mysteries that have the pace of a thriller (a thrillzy!) Her three series are:  

The Tea Shop Mysteries – set in the historic district of Charleston and featuring Theodosia Browning, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop. Theodosia is a savvy entrepreneur, and pet mom to service dog Earl Grey. She’s also an intelligent, focused amateur sleuth who doesn’t rely on coincidences or inept police work to solve crimes. This charming series is highly atmospheric and rife with the history and mystery that is Charleston.  

The Scrapbooking Mysteries – a slightly edgier series that take place in New Orleans. The main character, Carmela, owns Memory Mine scrapbooking shop in the French Quarter and is forever getting into trouble with her friend, Ava, who owns the Juju Voodoo shop. New Orleans’ spooky above-ground cemeteries, jazz clubs, bayous, and Mardi Gras madness make their presence known here! 

The Cackleberry Club Mysteries – set in Kindred, a fictional town in the Midwest. In a rehabbed Spur station, Suzanne, Toni, and Petra, three semi-desperate, forty-plus women have launched the Cackleberry Club. Eggs are the morning specialty here and this cozy cafe even offers a book nook and yarn shop. Business is good but murder could lead to the cafe’s undoing! This series offers recipes, knitting, cake decorating, and a dash of spirituality.

Laura’s Links:

Website –

Facebook –

Purchase Links

Amazon   B&N   Kobo   Google Play   IndieBound

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