Better Together: Life Is Best with a Friend Like You featuring Warren Photographic

Better Together: Life Is Best with a Friend Like You featuring Warren Photographic
Publisher: Zondervan
Genre: Inspirational, Non-Fiction, Contemporary, Photographic
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Do you need an inspirational coffee table book that everyone will enjoy? Better Together combines adorable photos of unlikely animal pairs alongside poignant quotes about friends of all stripes on subjects such as love, respect, and compassion. This book is great for children and adults.

Quotes from George Washington to Bono focus on friendship, unity, strength, and harmony between people with diverse viewpoints, lifestyles, or beliefs. Inspiring quotes include:

“Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?” – Abraham Lincoln
“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.'” – C. S. Lewis
“I would rather walk with a friend in the dark than walk alone in the light.” – Helen Keller
Better Together is full of reminders of the very best things about friendship and is the perfect way to tell someone you love: “Life is best with a friend like you.” This coffee table book is perfect for:

Anyone who loves animals
Birthdays, just because gift purchases for him or her, and as a housewarming gift
All ages, 0-100

Cute, comforting and quirky.

I wanted a book that would serve well as a graduation present and picked up this book. For those who like animals, especially baby animals, it’s adorable. The quotes are wonderful and inspirational. The variety is great, too. It’s just an all-around nice book.

The photographs are wonderful, illustrating the quotes well. I zipped right through this book and recommend it for anyone who wants to give an animal lover a nice gift or for someone who needs a little inspiration.

Pick up a copy today.

Fuddles by Frans Vischer

Fuddles by Frans Vischer
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Genre: Childrens, Contemporary
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Fuddles is a fat, lazy housecat who’s never experienced the Great Outdoors. One day, his family leaves the door open a crack and Fuddles seizes the chance to slip out, but things aren’t quite as he expected. In a series of hilarious mishaps, including a run-in with the neighborhood dog, Fuddles realizes that life indoors was actually pretty good. Told with deadpan humor and charming art, Fuddles is sure to steal readers’ hearts.

Adorable and fun, but with a lesson.

I picked this book up because it had a chonky cat on the front and his name is Fuddles. How can you go wrong with that? You can’t. The writing is fun, but it teaches a lesson, and the illustrations are great.

The theme of the book is respecting what you already have, and that theme shined right through. Children will love the illustrations of Fuddles trying to figure out where he belongs and will be able to understand sometimes being where you are is the best. I liked Fuddles because he’s like many animals that want the thrill of being outside, until they get it, then they don’t want it any longer.

If you want an adorable book, with a good message, then this book is a must.

The Maid: A Novel by Nita Prose

The Maid: A Novel by Nita Prose
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Supsense/Thriller
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Molly Gray is not like everyone else. She struggles with social skills and misreads the intentions of others. Her gran used to interpret the world for her, codifying it into simple rules that Molly could live by.

Since Gran died a few months ago, twenty-five-year-old Molly has been navigating life’s complexities all by herself. No matter—she throws herself with gusto into her work as a hotel maid. Her unique character, along with her obsessive love of cleaning and proper etiquette, make her an ideal fit for the job. She delights in donning her crisp uniform each morning, stocking her cart with miniature soaps and bottles, and returning guest rooms at the Regency Grand Hotel to a state of perfection.

But Molly’s orderly life is upended the day she enters the suite of the infamous and wealthy Charles Black, only to find it in a state of disarray and Mr. Black himself dead in his bed. Before she knows what’s happening, Molly’s unusual demeanor has the police targeting her as their lead suspect. She quickly finds herself caught in a web of deception, one she has no idea how to untangle. Fortunately for Molly, friends she never knew she had unite with her in a search for clues to what really happened to Mr. Black—but will they be able to find the real killer before it’s too late?

A Clue-like, locked-room mystery and a heartwarming journey of the spirit, The Maid explores what it means to be the same as everyone else and yet entirely different—and reveals that all mysteries can be solved through connection to the human heart.

It’s a whirlwind of a story.

I picked this book up for a book club read and it was highly recommended. There is a mystery here and there is a fascinating character in Molly. I wanted to know what would happen to Molly and how the mystery would unravel, so I kept at it. The writing was good and I kept going to the end.

I have to admit the portrayal of Molly had some issues. I liked that she’s potentially neurodivergent, but this is told through her point of view, so it wasn’t necessarily explained, and I wish it had been, so I could’ve identified with her a bit more. She’s also been through a lot and needed someone. So, it was good that she found the people she did.

The mystery aspect of it was a bit muddy and didn’t hold my interest as much as I’d have liked. I kept finding myself skipping pages or having to reread to get caught back up. Maybe I wasn’t the right reader for this book. Others will no doubt find this book fantastic.

That said, there is a mystery here to unravel, there is a life Molly has that is fascinating and this book had moments it shined. If that’s what you’re looking for, then pick this book up. It just might be for you.

I Purr, Therefore I Am by Merrit Malloy

I Purr, Therefore I Am by Merrit Malloy
Publisher: Price Stern Sloan
Genre: Non-Fiction
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

The ultimate gift for cat lovers offers a whimsical collection of quips, quotes, and humorous thoughts from contemporary comedians, writers, and celebrities, charmingly illustrated to capture, once and for all, the true essence of cat.

Perfect for anyone who loves cats.

I was given this book and I’m glad. It’s a great little book full of quotes about cats, being owned by cats and what it’s like to live with cats. The illustrations are great, too. In one, the cat covers up the words and anyone who has ever been owned by a cat can recall how the cat will inevitably climb onto whatever book is opened and be right in the way. I smiled my way through this short book and gladly encourage everyone to read it.

It’s not long and the quotes are quick, but that doesn’t take away from the overall story.

If you’re looking for a gift for a cat lover, then you can’t go wrong with this book.

Unabashed Women: The Fascinating Biographies of Bad Girls, Seductresses, Rebels and One-of-a-Kind Women by Marlene Wagman-Geller

Unabashed Women: The Fascinating Biographies of Bad Girls, Seductresses, Rebels and One-of-a-Kind Women by Marlene Wagman-Geller
Publisher: Mango
Genre: Non-Fiction, Contemporary, Historical, Biography
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Well Behaved Women Seldom Make History
#1 New Release in Historical Study Essays

A thrilling journey into the badass women whose non-conventional lives left their DNA on history. Discover words of wisdom from the women who found their voices, inspiring you to do the same.

Amazing women with a story to tell. Join Mae West as she shakes up the entertainment industry with her wit and wisdom or create colorful art pieces with Yayoi Kusama that are larger than life itself. These women in history defied the expectations of conventional society to live the lives they chose, regardless of what others thought.

Words of Wisdom. Society may have labeled these fierce femmes as rebels, bad-ass, wild, or uppity. But, these amazing women still dared to be different. With an out-of-the-box perspective, you’ll find inspiration from an array of fabulous females who will give you a lesson in being one-of-a-kind.

Unabashed Women offers you:

Lessons on how to break the glass ceiling
Biographies of trailblazing women from all walks of life
Empowerment through famous females who dared to go against the grain

Women don’t have to be one thing and they don’t have to be good all the time.

I picked up this book because I wanted to read the various biographies of the unabashed women and see who made the cut, but also see how the author handled the topic. I need not have worried. This book is quite multicultural, which was great, shows women throughout the most recent times, but went back over 100 years, which showed women have been trying to break the glass ceiling for a long time. I liked the variety of women, too.

These are the most influential women of our time and it’s nice to see such good biographies. They aren’t the most in-depth, but honestly, the book would be gigantic if that was the case. These are nice snapshots and I liked learning about the various people. Mae West, Nellie Bly, Jane Goodall are all among those chronicled.

If you want a book that doesn’t read like a textbook, but could be used as such, then grab this book. If you want to learn about women who are doing it for themselves, then this is the book for you. Pick it up!

April Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ Little White Lies by Margaret Fenton

Little White Lies by Margaret Fenton
Publisher: Aakenbaaken & Kent
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

Claire Conover is drawn into another mystery when the office of black mayoral candidate Dr. Marcus Freedman is bombed. Marcus is found safe, but his campaign manager Jason O’Dell is found dead in the rubble. Claire’s office gets a call about Jason’s daughter who was left at her daycare, and she becomes Claire’s latest charge. Further investigation reveals that Jason was living under an assumed name, and is really Jason Alsbrook, son of prominent local mine owner James Alsbrook. James holds many records in Alabama, including the most accidents and deaths in his mines. Any number of people would wish harm to he or his family. Claire works to keep little Maddie safe as she faces new challenges in her relationship with computer programmer Grant Summerville. She investigates Jason’s death with the help of her friend and reporter Kirk Mahoney, and they become closer, The addition of a foster child further complicates everything as she must make some decisions about her future with Grant.


Volume 1: The Limo Driver: The Pothos Chronicles by Skye Turner

Volume 1: The Limo Driver: The Pothos Chronicles by Skye Turner
Publisher: Self-Published (Skye Turner Books)
Genre: Erotic Romance, Contemporary
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

On what was supposed to be a dream night, Nora graduates from college but her life is falling apart.

The life she’s always envisioned is nothing like her reality.

Unwilling to tell her family what a sham her “accomplishments” are, she climbs into her present from her father, an elegant limo, for the night with a fake smile and a wave and indulges on the champagne intended to “celebrate” her big night.

At Nora’s drunken request, the limo driver takes her on a ride she’ll never forget. Sex abounds, fantasies are fulfilled, and her night takes a decidedly upwards turn as the limo driver becomes more than she ever imagined.

Hot, hot, hot.

I knew this would be a short story. That’s what I wanted. What I didn’t expect was there to be so much jam packed in this short story. It’s hot and that’s no understatement. The writing is good, and I had to finish the story. I wanted to know what would happen next.

I realize this is a short story, so there isn’t much detail, but really, it wasn’t needed. There was just enough to get the point across and keep the story heated. I can say it did singe the page.

If you’re looking for a hot short story for a lunch break read, then this is the one for you.

Frankie Manning: Ambassador of Lindy Hop by Frankie Manning and Cynthia Millman

Frankie Manning: Ambassador of Lindy Hop by Frankie Manning and Cynthia Millman
Publisher: Temple University Press
Genre: Historical, Contemporary, Non-Fiction, Biography, Memoir
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

In the early days of swing dancing, Frankie Manning stood out for his moves and innovative routines; he introduced the ‘air step’ in the Lindy Hop, a dance that took the U.S. and then the world by storm. In this fascinating autobiography, choreographer and Tony Award winner (Black and Blue) Manning recalls how his first years of dancing as a teenager at Harlem’s Savoy Ballroom led to his becoming chief choreographer and a lead dancer for ‘Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers,’ a group that appeared on Broadway, in Hollywood musicals and on stages around the globe. Manning brings the Swing Era vividly back to life with his recollections of the crowded ballrooms and of Lindy Hoppers trying to outdo each other in spectacular performances.

Frankie Manning might not have been a total pioneer in the world of dance, but he’s right up there with the greats.

Now you might be wondering why I’d say he’s not a total pioneer. You might wonder who Frankie Manning is. Valid questions. Unless you’ve done any studying of jazz dance, you might not know this dancer, but you should.

Frankie Manning came of age in the swing era. He talks about going from ballroom to ballroom, club to club, learning how to dance. I liked this book because there are parts where he discusses dance and how he got as skilled at swing dancing, but also his simple love of dance. He’s done other things, but he sincerely loves dance, and it shows. I also liked that the book had other sections that discussed what the various dances were/are and how they evolved. That was so neat because I had no idea what some of them even looked like. Now I know.

Manning isn’t a perfect guy, but he loves dance and that shines through every page of the book. He not only talks about the heady swing days, but also his life after and how he came to teach.

It’s a fascinating look at swing dancing, the Lindy Hoppers and more. Grab a copy today!

Miracles From the Heart by J Paulette Forshey

Miracles From the Heart by J Paulette Forshey
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Holiday, Romance, Contemporary, Light Paranormal
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Two heartwarming stories for the price of one!

A little girl’s Christmas wish brings more than joyful holiday music to her family in ‘Magic of the Christmas Flute’.

It’ll take ‘The Christmas Gift’ to help a couple who married for convenience find love, happiness and the family they’ve always wanted.

Cute and fulfilling for the holidays.

I’m a sucker for holiday romances. Doesn’t have to be Christmas time. I’ll read them all year ’round. This one really fit the bill for me. These are two short stories, so there isn’t a lot there, but there didn’t have to be. The story was fleshed out just fine in both cases.

Magic of the Christmas Flute showed just what a little love, faith and belief can do. I liked that the little girl wasn’t just a prop in the story. She had a purpose, and it was cute. I enjoyed this story a lot.

The Christmas Gift is the shorter of the two stories, but again, there’s plenty there in such a small amount of pages. I knew what was going on and felt for both characters. I felt the pain and yearning, but also the healing.

If you’re looking for something sweet, cute and wonderful for the holidays or any day, then this is the story set for you.

Triple Intent by Kristian Parker

Triple Intent by Kristian Parker
Village Affairs series, book 3
Publisher: Pride Publishing, Totally Entwined
Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQ, Erotic Romance
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

When a billionaire and his assistant bring change to the village, Michael has to adapt…

The future’s uncertain for Michael Fleming. He came to the sleepy Yorkshire village of Napthwaite a year ago as Thorpe Hall’s gardener, but now the Hall’s been sold…to billionaire hotelier Darryl Burlington.

When self-made Darryl and his handsome French assistant, François Vernier, come to set up the new property acquisition, they plan to find a willing third party to share their bed. Darryl and François aren’t together, but they like to celebrate success. But instead of indulging themselves in a treat after their hard work, they trigger events which no one could have foreseen.

This chain reaction Darryl, François and Michael leads to big changes in Napthwaite—and in all three men’s lives…

Three men, one relationship and one big…love?

I love books with thruples in them. This one didn’t disappoint. I also love the books of Kristan Parker and again, not disappointed. The writing moved along at a great clip and kept me reading to know what would happen next. I’ve read the others in this series and loved them, so seeing Michael in this one made me happy. I’m glad I picked this one up.

Michael, the gardener, has kept the property’s gardens in tiptop shape. I loved his dedication to his plants. He’s concerned he might not have a place when the new owners show up. Darryl is a billionaire and loves to have a third in his relationship. He’s been sharing his bed with his assistant Francois for years and knows there is a third out there for him. There is love in this story, but also complication and misunderstanding, which makes sense and made the characters more human.

It took me a bit to warm up to Francois, but once I did, I liked him more. He’s hurting because he’s been in love with Darryl for years and is fine with sharing him, but he’s unsure of how Darryl truly feels for him. When he thinks he’s been edged out, he lashes out. It’s mean at times, but understandable.

If you’re looking for something hot, with a thruple and packed with great writing, then try this series. I highly recommend.