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Lessons From The Prairie by Melissa Francis

Description:  Melissa Francis was eight years old when she won the role of a lifetime: playing Cassandra Cooper Ingalls on the world’s most famous prime-time soap opera, Little House on the Prairie. 

Now, in the trade paperback of her wildly popular LESSONS FROM THE PRAIRIE: The Surprising Secrets to Happiness, Success and (Sometimes Just) Survival I Learned on America’s Favorite Show (Hachette Books; paperback on-sale April 3rd, 2018), Melissa shares behind-the-scenes stories from the set, along with inspirational and practical life lessons learned throughout her career. With a refreshing take on being a busy mom, Melissa offers her own mantra on how to balance everything: “Don’t ‘Lean In.’ In fact, sit down and take a load off!”

“I’ve taken more than a few pies to the face,” says Melissa,now a Fox News anchor. “Along the way, I’ve come to realize that many of the tools I needed to clean myself up, I learned in those few precious years on the Prairie. Read along and you’ll get the benefit of the laughs and lessons, without the whipped cream.”

A hilariously candid and brilliantly effective self-help book, Melissa shares her five-step recipe for turning disaster into golden opportunity, the critical upside of staying positive (nice guys/gals finish first!), how she wrangles the demands of motherhood with a full-time career (figure out what you really want), the role of faith (miracles do happen!), and how she’s learned not to care what anyone else thinks (show them your cellulite!)—all while peeling back the curtains on the legendary Little House series.

Melissa keeps readers laughing as she details her less-than-glamorous road into television journalism, revealing her tricks to break into the industry and how she finally got her big break—only to blow it and get fired! That’s when she learned her most powerful lesson: how to turn disaster into a golden opportunity. She shares those brilliant but easy steps in these pages. Building on her own experiences and the life lessons she’s learned over the years, Francis offers readers advice on resiliency, reinvention, and most of all the ability to laugh heartily at your own flaws.

Whether you’re a fan of her television work past or present, you’ll roar at Melissa’s unique brand of self- deprecating humor and walk away from Lessons from the Prairie with the tools to lead a happier and more successful life.  (publisher)

My take: Melissa Francis shares her road to becoming a television journalist in her memoir Lessons From The Prairie – now out in paperback. I missed the Little House on the Prairie series because I was in college and then a young mom during those years. I’ve watched grown-up Melissa Francis on the business channel she currently works for and find her way of explaining economic information to clear and concise. I don’t read many celebrity memoirs but I found hers to be entertaining and informative and appreciated her candor. I thought her easy writing style made her relatable – especially early on when she sought her first post-graduation job. Lessons From The Prairie is a ‘how I did it’ memoir that I can recommend.


About the author:

Broadcast journalist Melissa Francis is the author of the acclaimed memoir, Diary of a Stage Mother’s Daughter. She is an anchor on Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network, and a regular contributor on financial, economic, and political issues on shows such as The Five, Outnumbered, Happening Now, and America’s Newsroom, among others. As an actress, she appeared in numerous motion pictures, television series, and more than a hundred television commercials; she is best known for her role as Michael Landon’s daughter, Cassandra Cooper Ingalls, on Little House on the Prairie. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics degree from Harvard University and lives in Manhattan with her husband and their three children.

LESSONS FROM THE PRAIRIE by Melissa Francis

Hachette Books | Paperback | April 3, 2018 | 272 pages ISBN-13: 978-1602863170


Praise for Lessons from the Prairie

“Melissa Francis’s Lessons from the Prairie is a busy mom’s manifesto—candid and commonsense, insightful, laugh-out-loud funny. A refreshing reality check for working moms who love their jobs as well as their families, and won’t compromise their happiness.” — Mika Brzezinski, bestselling author of Knowing Your Value and co-host of “Morning Joe”

“Touching and brave, heart breaking and inspirational…I simply loved it.” “Melissa Francis’ Lessons from the Prairie delivers one belly laugh after another as she tees up an easy to follow, step-by-step guide to tackling the toughest challenges that dog each of us. She charmingly turns personal disasters into hilarious anecdotes that will seem all too familiar to every reader, then follows with a clever take away to make your life happier. What a fun way to share the wisdom she gained growing up before our eyes on the Prairie.” — Megyn Kelly, NBC News anchor


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How To Walk Away by Katherine Center

Description:

Margaret Jacobsen has a bright future ahead of her: a fiancé she adores, her dream job, and the promise of a picture-perfect life just around the corner. Then, suddenly, on what should have been one of the happiest days of her life, everything she worked for is taken away in one tumultuous moment.

In the hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Margaret must figure out how to move forward on her own terms while facing long-held family secrets, devastating heartbreak, and the idea that love might find her in the last place she would ever expect. (publisher)

My take:  I’ve enjoyed all of Katherine Center’s novels and her newest, How To Walk Away, was no exception. The story is about a young woman dealing with life after a plane crash in which the pilot, her fiancé, walked away without a scratch and she was left unable to walk. It’s about learning to deal with a new normal, learning to look for hope and joy in places you wouldn’t have expected to find them. I loved all of the characters and how Center brought them through their challenges. Recommended to fans of novels about families who aren’t as perfect as they might seem to the rest of the world. I love those novels.


Advance praise for HOW TO WALK AWAY:

“A heartbreak of a novel that celebrates resilience and strength.” —Jill Santopolo, bestselling author of The Light We Lost

If you just read one book this year, read How to Walk Away.” —Nina George, New York Times bestselling author of The Little Paris Bookshop

“Warm, witty, and wonderfully observed.” —Emily GiffinNew York Times bestselling author of First Comes Love

“Sympathetic and refreshing!” —Elinor Lipman, bestselling author of The Family Man

“I can’t think of a blurb good enough for this novel…poignant, funny, heartbreaking.” —Jenny Lawson, bestselling author of Furiously Happy


Pub. date:  May 15, 2018

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Sunday Post

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The New Neighbors by Simon Lelic

Berkley Trade Paperback Original; April 10, 2018; $16

Description:

The Girl Before meets The Couple Next Door in an utterly satisfying Hitchcockian story about a couple who moves into their dream neighborhood only to discover nothing is as it seems…

The perfect couple. The perfect house. The perfect crime.

Londoners Jack and Syd found their dream home: lots of space, a great location, and a friendly owner who wanted a young couple to have it. 

Everything is exactly what they hoped for when they move in—except Jack makes a disturbing discovery in the attic, and Syd begins to wonder about the girl next door. And they each keep the other in the dark.

A mistake.

Because someone has just been killed outside their back door, and now the police are watching them. 

This is their chance to prove they’re innocent—or to get away with murder. 

Whose story do you believe?  (publisher)

My take: A couple in their late twenties have been saving for a house for a long time and looking for the right house even longer. When their low-ball offer on a house is accepted no one is more surprised than Jack and Syd. They celebrate and move in and begin to make it their own. Soon though things take a strange turn and life spins slowly out of control and their dream house turns into a nightmare.

I don’t want to risk spoilers so I’ll just say if domestic suspense thrillers are your thing you might want to read The New Neighbors. I liked it but have to say I was put off by a couple of characters who did things I abhorred and made me want to put the book down. Still, I read to the end because I needed the resolution.


 

Welcome To Moonlight Harbor by Sheila Roberts

Description:  Once happily married, Jenna Jones is about to turn forty, and this year for her birthday—lucky her—she’s getting a divorce. She’s barely able to support herself and her teenage daughter, but now her deadbeat artist ex is hitting her up for spousal support…and then spending it on his “other” woman.

Still, as her mother always says, every storm brings a rainbow. And when she gets a very unexpected gift from her great-aunt Edie, things seem to be taking a turn for the better. Aging Aunt Edie is finding it difficult to keep up her business running The Driftwood Inn, so she invites Jenna to come live with her and run the place. It looks like Jenna’s financial problems are solved!

Or not. The town is a little more run-down than Jenna remembers, but that’s nothing compared to the ramshackle state of The Driftwood Inn. Aunt Edie is confident they can return it to its former glory, though Jenna feels like she’s jumped from the proverbial frying pan into the beach fire.

But who knows? With the help of her new friends and a couple of handsome citizens, perhaps that rainbow is on the horizon after all. Because, no matter what, life is always good at the beach. (publisher)

My take:  Newly divorced Jenna and her very unhappy fourteen year old daughter move to the shore to live with Jenna’s elderly aunt. Rent is free and they can help get Aunt Edie’s inn back in shape – all while hoping to find the rainbow at the end of the storm aka Jenn’s life.

In her typical style Sheila Roberts brings her characters through easily relatable situations – if not for the reader, surely the reader knows someone who has been through similar life events. It’s a story of new beginnings and being open to possibilities.

I enjoyed Welcome to Moonlight Harbor. It’s a great start to a new series. Recommended to fans of the author, contemporary romance and beach town settings.


 

The Family Gathering by Robyn Carr

Description:

#1 New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Robyn Carr returns with THE FAMILY GATHERING, the latest installment in her fan-favorite Sullivan’s Crossing series. Carr takes readers back to small-town Colorado to tell the story of Dakota Jones, a perpetual wanderer recently discharged from the Army.

Dakota isn’t the type to stay in one place for long. A lifelong lone wolf, he also doesn’t consider himself much of a family man—especially after growing up with reckless parents who didn’t provide much stability for Dakota and his siblings, all of whom scattered in various directions after leaving home. But after the abrupt end of his Army career, Dakota finds himself drawn to the tranquil mountains of Sullivan’s Crossing, where his brother and sister have both recently settled down. Relocating to this small, neighborly gives Dakota the opportunity to reconnect with his siblings, Cal and Sierra, and establish a closeness they’ve never had before.

As Cal juggles life as a new father and Sierra finds herself caring for an abandoned child, Dakota finds that he has the opportunity to be a part of his siblings’ lives after years of physical and emotional distance—and the more time he spends with them, the more he begins to envy the stability and warmth of their family lives. So when he meets Sidney, a brilliant and beautiful local bartender with past secrets of her own, Dakota finds himself opening up for the first time in years. Has he finally found a woman worth putting down roots for?

A master of storytelling and family sagas, Robyn Carr weaves a moving tale about the power of love, familial bonds, and finding a place — and people — to call home. (publisher)

My take:  The Family Gathering is book three in the Sullivan’s Crossing series. The Jones siblings are all brought together for their sister Sierra’s wedding. They shared an unusual upbringing by free-spirit parents (some would call them hippies) and have all managed to become high-achieving adults but not without their own issues. The primary focus of this novel is Dakota, fresh out of the army and looking for some time to clear his head and decide what he wants to do. Someone who will figure into his plans is Sidney. She’s had her own difficulties and has worked through a lot of them – so she can relate on a few levels with Dakota. I loved seeing how all the siblings from the previous books were doing and how they figured into Dakota’s story. Along with the family dynamics the novel addresses mental illness and how it affects a family. I also liked seeing some minor characters whose story began in the first book and continued through the next two. Robyn Carr’s books have a great sense of community and family and always leave me with a content feeling – and looking forward to the next book. Recommended to fans of the author and contemporary romance with a small town setting.


Praise for Robyn Carr:

“Capturing the best of small-town romance.” — The Washington Post

“Appealing characters and a fresh and heart-tugging twist to a familiar conflict, coupled with what-did-she-just-say? dialogue and a cozy sense of community, all help make this latest installment in the Virgin River series a true romantic getaway.” — USA TODAY

“Robyn Carr delivers yet another fictional win that will speak to the soul of every feminist reader.” — Coastal Living

“Carr sets the bar for contemporary romance.” — Booklist Starred Review

“Carr continues her brilliant community-building as a number of storytelling threads come together in a rich narrative tapestry.” — Kirkus Reviews


 About the author:

Robyn Carr was a young mother of two in the mid- 1970s when she started writing fiction, an Air Force wife, educated as a nurse, whose husband’s frequent assignment changes made it difficult for her to work in her profession. Little did the aspiring novelist know then, as she wrote with babies on her lap, she would become one of the world’s most popular authors of romance and women’s fiction, and 11 of her novels would earn the #1 spot on the New York Times bestseller list.

In the years since Robyn’s A Virgin River Christmas scored her first New York Times success in 2008, her novels have spent over 231 weeks on that prestigious list. Her 20-book Virgin River series alone has netted more than 13 million copies.

Over the past 17 years, 41 Robyn Carr titles, with collectively 27 million copies in print, have been translated into 19 languages in 30 countries.

As a sign of the significant contributions Robyn has made to the genre, the Romance Writers of America, the trade association representing 10,200 members who write romance and live in 35 countries, named Robyn as the winner of the 2016 Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award.

Robyn and her now-retired husband enjoy traveling, often taking research trips together. Their children are grown—her son is an Army surgeon; her daughter, a police detective/hostage negotiator. Robyn says that, in addition to reading her novels and making snide remarks about how she’s used family scenarios to her advantage, they have made her a happy grandmother.