The World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember by Fred Rogers

The World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember by Fred Rogers
Publisher: Hachette
Genre: Non-Fiction, Inspirational
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

A timeless collection of wisdom on love, friendship, respect, individuality, and honesty from the beloved PBS series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

There are few personalities who evoke such universal feelings of warmth as Fred Rogers. An enduring presence in American homes for over 30 years, his plainspoken wisdom continues to guide and comfort many. The World According to Mister Rogers distills the legacy and singular worldview of this beloved American figure. An inspiring collection of stories, anecdotes, and insights–with sections devoted to love, friendship, respect, individuality, and honesty, The World According to Mister Rogers reminds us that there is much more in life that unites us than divides us.
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Culled from Fred Rogers’ speeches, program transcripts, books, letters, and interviews, along with some of his never-before-published writings, The World According to Mister Rogers is a testament to the legacy of a man who served and continues to serve as a role model to millions.

Sometimes a book that’s uplifting is just what the neighbor ordered.

This book is by Fred Rogers, AKA Mister Rogers, and his wife, Joanne. I have to admit that because this book was published after Mr. Rogers passed. His wife helped compile his words into a cute book meant to uplift whoever reads it. It really does.

There are tidbits from how he grew up, how he learned to be kind and how he kept a positive attitude throughout his life. I liked how he reminds everyone that emotions and feelings are valid. Don’t try to stuff your feelings in, but let them out and talk about them. It might seem like platitudes, but in this period of time, it’s nice to read something that makes the heart happy. Plus, reading his words reminded me of being a kid and looking forward to watching the show.

If you’re looking for something that will make you happy and might even get you thinking, then this is the book for you.

True Believer by Nicholas Sparks

True Believer by Nicholas Sparks
Publisher: Hachette Publishing Group
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (322 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Jeremy Marsh is the ultimate New Yorker: handsome, almost always dressed in black, and part of the media elite. An expert on debunking the supernatural with a regular column in “Scientific American,” he’s just made his first appearance on national TV. When he receives a letter from the tiny town of Boone Creek, North Carolina, about ghostly lights that appear in a legend-shrouded cemetery, he can’t resist driving down to investigate. Here, in this tightly knit community, Lexie Darnell runs the town’s library, just as her mother did before the accident that left Lexie an orphan. Disappointed by past relationships, including one that lured her away from home, she is sure of one thing: her future is in Boone Creek, close to her grandmother and all the other people she loves. Jeremy expects to spend a quick week in “the sticks” before speeding back to the city. But from the moment he sets eyes on Lexie, he is intrigued and attracted to this beautiful woman who speaks with a soft drawl and confounding honesty. And Lexie, while hesitating to trust this outsider, finds herself thinking of Jeremy more than she cares to admit. Now, if they are to be together, Jeremy Marsh must make a difficult choice: return to the life he knows, or do something he’s never done before–take a giant leap of faith. A story about taking chances and following your heart, True Believer will make you, too, believe in the miracle of love.

Can opposites really attract? Can a skeptic be persuaded to change his or her mind?
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In True Believer, Nicholas Sparks asks those questions. Lexie and Jeremy are certainly different. She buys into the psychic and be;ieves that one can speak with the dead. He doesn’t believe any of it. Can these two make things work? Can they even get a relationship off of the ground?

The writing is interesting, but the story moved rather slowly. I hate to admit I lost interest a couple of times. It was just a little too easy to walk away from Lexie and Jeremy. They were okay characters, but at times I wasn’t thrilled with them. I didn’t have the connection with them I would have liked. I never really warmed to Lexie. It seemed like she had almost too much to hide. She needed to make up her mind, too. Jeremy was a little different. I liked him. I could even picture him and rooted for him. I mean, he has a plan and knows what he knows… I even kind of liked him pursuing Lexie. However, near the end, I didn’t understand his choices. The ending felt rushed and I see the story is continued in At First Sight. Maybe this would’ve been a better read had I known there was a second story. I’m not sure.

Things between Lexie and Jeremy happen rather fast. While this didn’t bother me, it might be problematic for some readers.

I do have to say this is a light read. It’s breezy and once I decided to keep going, it did flow. I had to keep reading because I wanted to see how this book would end. I liked the idea of people seeing lights in the sky and Jeremy going to Boone Creek to figure the lights out. It was an intriguing part of the storyline. I appreciated how the skepticism didn’t come off as foolishness and the total belief didn’t come off silly, either. There’s nothing wrong with believing or not and I liked that.

If you want a book that will take you away for a few hours, then this might be the book for you.

Dukes are Forever by Anna Harrington

Dukes are Forever by Anna Harrington
Publisher: Forever, imprint of Hachette Book Group
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (267 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum


Battlefields and barrooms hold much more interest for Edward Westover, Duke of Swarthmore, than a little girl’s fondness for dolls and lace. When he takes possession of his enemy’s estate, everything that villain held dear—including his daughter—belongs to Edward. Hire a governess, arrange a dowry, give a few reassurances, and be off on his way—that’s Edward’s plan. But he’s in for the shock of his life. For his new ward is a beautiful, impetuous, and utterly irresistible woman…

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Kate Benton is stunned. Who is this arrogant, infuriating man who’s invited himself into her home and taken over her life? Her vow: to do everything in her power to convince him to leave her—and Brambly House—alone. Yet as chilly days melt into sultry nights, Kate sees glimpses of kindness underneath Edward’s cool façade . . . and a passionate nature that takes her breath away. There’s so much she doesn’t know about this man. But does she dare trust this devilish duke with her heart?

I really liked meeting Kate and Edward. The start of their relationship was highly unconventional and unique and because of that the book was hard to put down. How can the actions of revenge turn into the catalyst for romance and a happy ever after? Dukes are Forever answers that by telling a tale that ends with a wonderful resolution. This is pure romance.

This is the first book in what appears to be a trilogy. It’s about three men who served in war together and their friendship was born and solidified on the battlefield. Their war is over and they are back in polite society where Edward, the hero in this book, and Grey and Thomas need to find their place in the ton.

Edward is now the Duke of Strathmore but he’s not happy about it. His life isn’t turning out to be the way he wanted so this story is about finding the one thing he was missing in his life and he hopes to embrace it. Not in his wildest dreams could he imagine how it would come about. The conflict comes from bringing a doll to his new ward only to find out that his ward is a lot older than he was led to believe. Kate is her name and healing is her calling. She’s feisty, opinionated, and independent and as far from a typical society miss as one can get. It’s Kate’s unusualness that sparks life into Edward’s cold heart and makes him engage in life again. The sparks fly, passions are stirred and there are plenty of reasons for a reader to not want to put the book down. The storytelling is strong and the dialogue is brisk and peppery, but it’s funny at times too.

What isn’t funny is the darkness that focuses on Kate. What she doesn’t know is that the person she should be able to trust most in her life ends up being quite the opposite. I had no idea it would go so far so I felt really bad for the heroine. For so long she had hope, she strived to be what expected of her and demanded little, all in the vain hope that someday things would be better. Edward is the only light in her life and a reader will be able to see that all too clearly.

When Kate and Edward to explore the physical side of their growing love and attachment, it’s sensual, sexy and sometimes fun. The scenes were written effectively and I enjoyed their banter and how well they played off of each other. It took Edward a while to come to terms with his feelings but once he does, like his military career, he’s focused on an objective, and in Dukes are Forever Kate is the prize.

I also liked the secondary characters, Edward’s brothers in arms, Thomas and Grey. Since they are going to have their own stories eventually, the author did a wonderful job of fleshing them out, making them interesting and creating an effective hook for readers to want more. I know I certainly do. I really enjoyed Ms. Harrington’s Dukes are Forever. This was a great romance and I can’t wait for Grey’s story!

The Ex Wife by Candice Dow

The Ex Wife by Candice Dow
Publisher: Hachette
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (292 pages)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Sunflower

She’s the hottest relationship expert around. Her get-real advice and tough-world experience have earned Ayana Blue money, fame, and a successful life she never imagined. And handsome Realtor Cameron Small is the sexy, steady Mr. Right she wasn’t looking for yet always hoped she’d find. But Cam’s unstable, in-denial ex-wife, Yasmin, isn’t about to let him go-or allow anyone else take “her place.” And if that means wrecking everything Ayana has worked so hard to build, then so be it.

Now with her peace of mind shattered, her private business in the hole, and her reputation on the line, Ayana needs to figure out fast which dreams she can save, and what she’ll have to let go. When it comes down to the ex-wife v. the next-wife, the only thing guaranteed is a scorched-earth battle-and it’s winner takes all . .

When you get into a new relationship, the one you really have to watch out for is the ex wife; they can be on the crazy side at times…

Ayana Blue is a successful career woman. People come to her, as a relationship expert, for advice all the time. But what happens when the expert needs a little advice of her own? Ayana is whip smart, doesn’t take crap from anyone, and is one sassy lady. She’s fallen for Cam, but his ex-wife threatens to take everything away in slow, unstable moves…
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I’ll be honest, I don’t always like Cam. I think he could have found better ways of handling things, especially with Yasmin, his ex. But to give him credit, he does try. It’s not easy having an unstable ex that doesn’t know how to let go.

The story is told in two points-of-view,  Ayana’s and Yasmin’s. Yasmin certainly does not give me the best impression. She can be selfish, rude, and hurtful. She uses her child to get back at Cam, and she’s plenty on the spiteful side. She acts like she has a claim to everything, including Cam. She’s not a character that grows on me at all, other than maybe a little bit at the end.

The Ex Wife is emotional, suspenseful, and engaging. I could relate to Ayana easily, and I’ve got to hand it to her, she dealt with this situation better than most people I know. Her life is starting ti spiral out of control, but she holds on tight to what she wants, what she believes in, and isn’t going to let some woman get in the way of her future, even if it’s the ex of the man Ayana loves.

The book is full of suspense, and the ending completely caught me off guard! Let’s just say I wasn’t expecting what happened, at all. If you’re looking for a great contemporary fiction novel to read, I suggest checking out The Ex Wife. Pull up a seat and stay for awhile, because this book had the power to hold me down for awhile.