Second Chance for the Heart Doctor by Susan Carlisle


Second Chance for the Heart Doctor by Susan Carlisle
Atlanta Children’s Hospital
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Will the children’s cardiologist put his heart on the line for the new pediatric nurse? Find out in Susan Carlisle’s latest Harlequin Medical Romance story.

Risking his locked-away heart…

After his ex ran off with his best friend, cardiologist Jenson’s sole focus is his small patients. But the fireworks that erupt when he meets dedicated nurse Bayley are too powerful to ignore… Both are determined to put their jobs ahead of romance, but beautiful Bayley continues to captivate him. Is the guarded doctor ready to embrace a second chance?

Tough circumstances, but tender hearts.

I love the works of Susan Carlisle and will auto-buy her books. This one was no exception. I loved the storytelling, the characters and the developments.

Bayley and Jenson are great together. They’ve been through a lot of tough situations, since both work in the children’s hospital setting. They’ve seen some beautiful things, but also some horrors. How they handle them and navigate love are the true balancing act.

The author writes these characters, who could be jaded and negative, in a very positive way. I rooted for them and wanted to see them get together. I got emotionally involved from page one.

If you’re looking for something tender and sweet, then this might be the book for you. Recommended.

The Duke’s Proposal for the Governess by Eleanor Webster


The Duke’s Proposal for the Governess by Eleanor Webster
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Historical, Romance
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

A wedding to save her from scandal

A bride to save his heart?

After the death of his beloved brother and mother, Randolph, the Duke of Elmsend, feels his life is empty. So, he’s in no mood to entertain the rambunctious Harrington family while they’re in London. Then he meets Abigail, their governess. When her reputation is in jeopardy, he does the unimaginable—propose! But whilst Randolph can offer her a ring, can he ever offer her a real marriage?

Two people who never would’ve found each other realize they’re meant to be.

I loved this story because it showed that love isn’t conventional. Randolph wasn’t looking for Abigail when he met her. Wasn’t expecting to fall in love. But anything is possible.

I loved that this book was well-written and fast-paced. I wanted to know what would happen to the characters and couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. Abigail and Randolph are sweet and perfect for each other. They’re great characters and it was fun following their story.

If you want a happy ever after that’s not run-of-the-mill, then pick this one up. I loved it.

Gratitude: A Way of Life by Louise Hay


Gratitude: A Way of Life by Louise Hay
Publisher: Hay House
Genre: Non-Fiction, Self-Help, Contemporary
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

New York Times bestseller, Louise Hay, has gathered the insights and collected wisdom of some of the most wonderful teachers and writers she knows…people who have demonstrated the power of gratitude in their own lives.

Gratitude is an inspirational book meant to highlight all the wonderful things in your life to be grateful for.

Renowned contributors share their understanding of the practice of gratitude with Louise… and with you. Including:

• Dr Wayne W. Dyer: “Gratitude: One of Life’s Miracles”
• Dan Millman: “Transcendental Gratitude”
• Bernie S. Siegel, M.D.: “Gratitude: A State of Mind”
• Amy E. Dean: “Gratitude Is Awareness”
• Susan Jeffers, Ph.D.: “Noticing the Abundance”…and many more!

If you need a pick-me-up, then this might be the book for you.

Gratitude is the thing you need when you’re down. It sounds odd, but it’s true. Be grateful for all the things you have and even the things you don’t have. Maybe there are terrible things happening in your life. This book helped to open my eyes that sometimes the terrible things are gateways to better things. It’s true. Be grateful for what you have and you’ll see you have a lot.

There are little essays and this ventures into the inspirational at times. It’s good. It works. Give it a try. The dose of positive will help.

If you’re looking for something positive to give you a lift, then give this book a try. You’ll be glad you did.

Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan


Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
Publisher: Ember
Genre: LGBTQ, Contemporary, YA (Ages 14+)
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Based on true events—and narrated by a Greek Chorus of the generation of gay men lost to AIDS—Two Boys Kissing follows Harry and Craig, two seventeen-year-olds who are about to take part in a 32-hour marathon of kissing to set a new Guinness World Record. While the two increasingly dehydrated and sleep-deprived boys are locking lips, they become a focal point in the lives of other teens dealing with universal questions of love, identity, and belonging.

Two boys kissing and so much more.

This book has been singled out as something to be banned, but I disagree. This book was fantastic. Yes, there are two boys kissing in this book, but it’s so much more. I liked the variety in the book, the characters and the tone. This isn’t an easy book to read. The author tackles hard topics–boys kissing, transgender issues, depression and thoughts of suicide. It’s not easy. But it’s worth the read.

I liked the various characters and seeing how they handled different situations. My favorite characters are the ones who came before, the ones telling the story. Their wisdom and wistfulness, along with their frankness, was the best part. They don’t mince words and I loved it. I liked the commentary.

This is a book everyone should read at some point. It’s sweet at times, endearing, sad and heartbreaking, but it’s realness is what really shines through. Recommended.

The Lady Behind the Masquerade by Diane Gaston


The Lady Behind the Masquerade by Diane Gaston
Publisher: HQN
Genre: Historical, Romance
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

The ton’s newest member

Is not all she seems…

Diplomat Marcus Wolfdon can’t forget the alluring woman he met in Paris, the passionate night they shared or that she stole his money and disappeared! A year later, Wolf meets Juliana again in Brighton, seemingly a member of the ton. She begs him to keep their former liaison secret, and the emotion in her eyes compels him to agree. Desire still flares between them, but first Wolf must uncover the lady behind the masquerade…

Two hearts who are meant to be together will find each other…eventually?

I like stories of characters who have false starts. It’s interesting to see them find their way to each other and how it can be so complicated. This book features that and more. The writing is great and carried me along in the story well. I couldn’t get enough. I loved it.

Wolf and Juliana have a future together, but it’s up to them to make it work. There are fits and starts, but that night of passion was never forgotten. I liked that they had such complicated stories. I liked the plot twists for them, too. This one had me guessing all the way up to the end. I closed the book not forgetting the characters and wanting more. I’m glad this is part of a series.

If you’re looking for a solid historical romance, then you can’t go wrong with this one. It’s a winner. Check it out.

Bad Dog by Mike Boldt


Bad Dog by Mike Boldt
Publisher: Scholastic
Genre: Childrens (Ages 5-10), Contemporary
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

The differences between cats and dogs have never been funnier! In this hilarious new story from the illustrator of I Don’t Want to Be a Frog, a little girl really, really wants a dog . . . but gets a cat instead!

“Look what I got for my birthday! A pet dog!” says a little girl holding a . . . cat? Rocky doesn’t listen or obey like all the other dogs. (Because Rocky is a cat.) And Rocky hates her leash and doesn’t seem to like other dogs. (Probably because Rocky is a cat.) And rather than play fetch, Rocky prefers to . . . lick between her toes? Ew. Rocky is a bad “dog”! BUT Rocky doesn’t bark, and is so cute when she sleeps in sunny spots. Maybe Rocky IS a good dog? (Or, you know, maybe Rocky is a cat.)

Cat lovers and dog lovers alike will howl with laughter at this little girl’s willful insistence that her cat is a dog. The hilarious ways in which cats and dogs are different are brilliantly illuminated with each turn of the page and will leave young readers and their grown-ups giggling.

The baddest dog around…who isn’t really a dog.

I liked this short story about a little girl who gets a great present. I liked the writing in this story. It’s fun and goes along at a great clip. The little girl is a great narrator. It’s fun how she deduces that her dog isn’t really a dog. Kids would love the way she figures that out and how sometimes we think we know what we know, and we really don’t.

If you want a book to make you laugh and will be one to read over and over, this one is for you. Give it a try.

Fly Guy Meets Fly Girl by Tedd Arnold


Fly Guy Meets Fly Girl by Tedd Arnold
Publisher: Cartwheel Books
Genre: Childrens, (ages 6-10), Contemporary
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Fly Guy has met his match, and her name is Fly Girl. Fly Guy can do fancy flying. Fly Girl can do fancier flying. Fly Guy can eat gross stuff. Fly Girl can eat grosser stuff. Fly Guy can say his boy’s name–Buzzzzzz! And Fly Girl can say her girl’s name–Lizzzzzzz! Fly Guy is totally impressed, and totally smitten. Will Fly Guy and Fly Girl get married and leave Buzz without his dear pet?

Fly Guy and Fly Girl??? How cool!!

I liked this series from the start and this addition is fantastic. The writing is crisp and fun. It easily kept my attention, and the drawings are great, too. I liked the message of this story—find friends everywhere. Don’t be afraid to make friends. You might have a lot in common!

If you’re looking for a fun book to read with your child, then this might be the one for you. Check it out.

Hound for the Holidays by Kim Levin and John O’Neill


Hound for the Holidays by Kim Levin and John O’Neill
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Genre: Photography, Non-Fiction, Holiday
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

“This holiday season, let’s remember the things that really matter.” So begins Kim Levin and John O’Neill’s Hound for the Holidays a warm reminder from man (and woman’s) best friend to hold loved ones dear at this special time of the year.

The holidays (like dogs) are all about sharing, unconditional love, and enjoying the moment, but sometimes, with the hubbub of shopping, open houses, family gatherings, and parties, it’s easy to lose that holiday spirit.

So who better to put the “happy” back in holidays than a cast of dogs celebrating the season? Whether they are two pooches window-shopping, an urbane Jack Russell on a trip to the big city, or a German Shepherd catching snowflakes on his tongue, the dogs in these charming photos all deliver the message “Enjoy!”

Pet portrait artist Kim Levin’s striking and expressive photos pair perfectly with John O’Neill’s warm and upbeat words to make a great holiday treat.

A cute book for the holiday season.

I picked up this book because it was cute and had dogs. I mean, how can you go wrong? The photos are great and make the season bright. The little captions fit the photos perfectly, too. This is a short book, but worth the read. This is a great book as a gift or to share with family over the holidays.

If you want something warm and fuzzy this holiday season, then this is a must read for you!

Embracing Love by Sara Ohlin


Embracing Love by Sara Ohlin
Rescue Me, book 4
Publisher: Totally Entwined
Genre: Romance, Erotic Romance, Contemporary
Rating 4 Stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

When a broken woman risks her heart for the neighborhood hottie, heat rises from the ashes…

Once broken and abused, Sasha Kincaid is slowly rebuilding her life in the quiet town of Corvallis near her brother, his new wife and their group of friends. She’s content to work quietly at the bakery she secretly owns while learning to rebuild her trust in people. But when she starts to have steamy feelings for Connor Duggan, Sasha doesn’t know how to handle her emotions.

Neighborhood hottie and town favorite, general contractor Connor Duggan has only had eyes for Sasha Kincaid ever since she stepped foot in Corvallis a year ago. When she gives him an opening, he jumps at the chance to make her his, no matter how long it takes her to feel comfortable.

Connor’s warmth and patience allow Sasha to fall into a friendship, then an amazing sexual relationship with him—but believing it will be temporary and that’s all she’s worth. As they grow closer, Connor realizes he must win over her heart, not just her body, meaning he must push past his own insecurities of being rejected to battle Sasha’s fears and ghosts.

But the biggest obstacle is Sasha herself. Can she learn to trust again, and believe that she deserves a beautiful life with Connor?

Two people finding love again after some serious strife…this is the right book.

I love Sara Ohlin’s writing style. It’s breezy, quickly paced and keeps my attention. The characters are well-rounded and like reading about real people. I love that. I like the idea of escaping, but I also like reading about people I could know. That’s what this author does best.

The connection between the characters is quick, but it’s not rushed…if that makes sense. I knew they were the ones for each other, but I liked how the story slowly unfolded. It wasn’t forced. They had baggage and got time to sort it out before being thrown into a relationship. It was great to read. Connor is handsome and the stuff of book boyfriend dreams. Sasha is great, too, because she’s relatable.

If you’re looking for a fun book with a solid romance, then this one is the one for you. It’s the fourth book in the series, but don’t let that stop you. Consider it a reminder to pick up the rest in the series. I will be.

Strapped by Lucia Jordan


Strapped by Lucia Jordan
Publisher: Wild Hearts Romance
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Life imitates art unlike anything Madeline has experienced before. Madeline Longo is well known in the world of romantic literature as editor of SwanSong Books – the publishers of best selling romance, whose steamy works are popular with readers. Unfortunately what she is not so talented in is transferring that success to her love life, which is practically nonexistent due to the demands of her career. But when she meets Will Bennet—a sensuous romance writer who is not afraid to act on his powerfully seductive imagination—she finds herself for the first time living out her deepest fantasies. He intrigues and excites her, and not before long she finds herself swept up in his world of dark fantasy that’s addictively mind-blowing. But can Will and Madeline’s careers withstand the force of their attraction? With Will on her mind, Madeline is loosing track of work and her competitive streak is fading. And when she gives Will an ultimatum, will she end up losing him to SwanSong’s biggest rival?

Hot times in and out of the pages.

An editor who wants to be bold and a writer who wants to take here there. This was an intriguing book. Who wouldn’t want to have a sexy man sweep them off their feet and romance them? I love reading that trope. This book does deliver. There’s romance and tension.

There were some quibbles with the story. It’s fast and feels fast. The pacing could slow down just a bit. Also, there were moments I didn’t feel like I was in the story. I was just observing. I like immersive stories and this one wavered a bit. I wasn’t always sure who’s point of view I was in and had some troubles following the story. The characters are fun, though. These quibbles aren’t to say this book isn’t enjoyable. It’s quite enjoyable and the right reader will love it.

I did like the characters. Madeline’s smart, cunning and not afraid to get what she wants. Will is the same way. The combination of them together is fantastic.

If you’re looking for a story that’s tempting, sexy and different, then pick this one up. You’ll be glad you did.