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!

Purchase Links

National Geographic | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Book Review and Giveaway - Whole Latte Murder (All-Day Breakfast Café Mystery #5) by Lena Gregory

My Review

Whole Latte Murder is a cozy mystery that takes place in Boggy Creek, Florida, near Ocala. Gia Morelli owns an all day breakfast cafe. When her best friend Savannah, a realtor, disappears after showing an old Florida estate, Gia goes looking for her ... and finds herself embroiled in a complex murder with lots of local drama and danger between warring families.

I wanted to read this book because I liked the first book in the series. I have not kept up with the other books but remembered enjoying it.

This was a fairly complex mystery with a large cast of characters. The author, thankfully, included a cast of characters list -- and it was so helpful!

I enjoyed the small town Florida setting, especially the breakfast cafe (owning a similar cafe is one of my dream jobs!). Gia is a smart and resourceful amateur detective - although she and Savannah take some big risks that put them in jeopardy.

There is even a lovable dog (Thor, the Bernese Mountain dog) and kitten (Klondike). Pets always make cozy mysteries even nicer!

The mystery is well written and fast paced. It kept me guessing right up to the denouement!

I recommend Whole Latte Murder (and the series) to fans of cozy mysteries, and especially for anyone who enjoys southern settings, small town mysteries, and foodie fiction.

Book Synopsis

Ex-New Yorker and local diner owner Gia Morelli is still getting used to the sweltering Florida sun. But this summer she’ll have to deal with a more dangerous kind of heat—when she’s hot on the trail of another murderer . . .  

Summer in Boggy Creek has arrived, and Gia’s best friend, successful real estate agent Savannah, is getting hitched. Now she’s enlisted Gia’s sleuthing talents in a desperate search for the perfect wedding dress. But when Savannah mysteriously vanishes after showing a mansion to a bigwig client, Gia investigates the house Savannah was trying to sell. The first clue she finds is Savannah’s car in the driveway. Inside the house, they stumble on Savannah’s potential buyer—dead. Someone had apparently closed the deal—with a two by four full of nails to the client’s head. Soon afterward, a woman’s body is fished from the lake near the same house. The townsfolk are now sweating bullets over the murders, and the heat comes down on poor Gia to find her missing friend, and track down the killer . . .

Author Bio

Lena Gregory is the author of the Bay Island Psychic Mysteries, which take place on a small island between the north and south forks of Long Island, New York, and the All-Day Breakfast Café Mysteries, which are set on the outskirts of Florida’s Ocala National Forest.  

Lena grew up in a small town on the south shore of eastern Long Island, but she recently traded in cold, damp, gray winters for the warmth and sunshine of central Florida, where she now lives with her husband, three kids, son-in-law, and four dogs. Her hobbies include spending time with family, reading, and walking. Her love for writing developed when her youngest son was born and didn’t sleep through the night. She works full time as a writer and a freelance editor and is a member of Sisters in Crime.

To learn more about Lena and her latest writing endeavors, visit her website at and be sure to sign up for her newsletter

Author Links 




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Purchase Links:

Amazon    Barnes & Noble      Kobo    Kensington     Apple    Google Play


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Book Review - Blackberry Beach (Hope Harbor #7) by Irene Hannon

My Review

Blackberry Beach takes place in the small coastal town of Hope Harbor, Oregon. Katherine Parker is an actress who has come to town to escape a messy scandal. She meets coffeehouse owner Zach Garrett and romantic sparks fly as they slowly get to know each other. There is the question about what Kat (Katherine) wants long-term - as well as the question of distance - that they have to resolve if they will have a life together.

I wanted to read this novel because the small town coastal setting sounded appealing. This is book #7 in the Hope Harbor series. I have not read the previous books but was able to jump right in and enjoy this novel as a standalone.

The pace of the book started slowly for me. It took me a while to get to know the reserved Kat; Zach was a more immediately sympathetic character. However, as the book went on, I started to really enjoy their story. I also really loved the sweet story of Zach's aunt, Stephanie, who has a courtship of her own with retired postal worker turned barista, Frank. It was nice reading a story about a 60ish couple as well as the younger pair.

Kat loves making chocolate and I loved the chocolatier/foodie aspects of the novel. (I found myself craving blackberry truffles!)

This is a Christian novel and the faith element was handled skillfully, in a way that never overpowered the characters or book's narrative. 

I enjoyed Blackberry Beach and will probably look for the earlier books in this series at some point. I recommend this novel for fans of cozy small town romances and heartwarming reads.

Book Synopsis

Her lifelong dream is in sight, but does a new--and better--future await in Hope Harbor?

Katherine Parker is on the cusp of having everything she ever wanted--fame, money, and acclaim. So why isn't she happy? In search of answers, she comes incognito to Hope Harbor on the Oregon coast for some R&R. Maybe in her secluded rental house overlooking the serene Pacific she'll be able to calm the storm inside.

Coffee shop owner Zach Garrett has found his niche after a traumatic loss--and he has no plans to change the life he's created. Nor does he want to get involved with his reticent new neighbor, whose past is shrouded in mystery. But when Katherine and Zach are recruited to help rehab a home for foster children, sparks fly. As their lives begin to intersect, might they find more common ground than they expected . . . and discover that, with love, all things are possible?

Come home to Hope Harbor--
where hearts heal . . . and love blooms

Author Bio

Irene Hannon is the bestselling author of more than sixty novels, including the long-running Hope Harbor series, as well as Point of Danger and the Code of Honor, Private Justice, and Men of Valor suspense series, among others. Her books have been honored with three coveted RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America, and she is a member of that organization's elite Hall of Fame. Her many other awards include National Readers' Choice, Daphne du Maurier, Retailers' Choice, Booksellers' Best, Carol, and Reviewers' Choice from RT Book Reviews magazine, which also honored her with a Career Achievement Award for her entire body of work. In addition, she is a two-time Christy Award finalist. Learn more at