*Guest Blogger Carilyn Platt for Bookworming Tonight*~ Results May Vary by Bethany Chase

As I am still caught up in all things newborn my TBR list is moving at a snail’s pace.  Thankfully I have my book-sister from another mister🙂 Carilyn Platt from Bookworming Tonight who has the same exact taste in books as me and just an all around amazing gal!  I am so LUCKY to have her guest blog for me today as there are some books I want to give some love too before summer comes to a close!  If you have yet to check out her blog then you are missing out!  She frequently posts about the hottest reads and is always on point with her reviews.  She read Results May Vary by the fabulous Bethany Chase and shared her love for the book and thoughts below!  This is Chase’s second novel and once again is getting amazing praise.  Chase was called “a great new voice in fiction” by Emily Giffin.  If Ms. Giffin gives her stamp of approval then you know Chase is in a class of her own😉

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Results May Vary by Bethany Chase 

 

First let me just say how honored I am to be guest-blogging for one of my favorite book bloggers. She is on maternity leave, and naturally still reading, but I know she needs a rest and nothing makes me happier than to help her out as a reading assistant.

I read Bethany Chase’s RESULTS MAY VARY and it was full of twists and turns. And, scandal, in-laws, sisters, not so much parents, romance, and, work, work, work. The novel opens with Caroline, a curator at an art museum, who is at a photographer’s gallery opening, with her husband and as she is admiring one of his pieces, she gasps as she recognizes that one of the subjects in an image is none other than her husband – in a comprising position with another man.

The story follows Caroline as her life unravels, how can she trust her husband, how she leans on her best friend, a guy who she went to college with, sharing the information with her younger sister, colleagues and what next. Where there is one lie, perhaps there are others. Who can she trust.

Does art imitate life? An artist friend’s work seems to mimic what is going on in Caroline’s life and the world around her. Have we all been in a maze at some point, trying to find our way?

Words of wisdom learned on the internet from the character you least expect it: “People can only give you what they have.” I hope this is not a spoiler and you will forget this as soon as you read it and most definitely before you start the book. It will absolutely be a takeaway after you read the book.

I love a novel that is intricately woven and you can’t wait to turn the next page because you are so invested in each character and can’t wait to find out what they are going to do next. While there is heartbreak in RESULTS MAY VARY there is also hope.

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Bethany Chase

 

About Carilyn Platt:

For the Love of Bookworms

By day, I’m a publicist, a mom and a wife. By night, I’m a mom and a wife, and a bookworm too. I look forward to sharing my love of books with you, sweet book lovers. When you find an eye cream or a terrific concealer, please do let me know, because these dark circles are getting harder to cover up. The books just keep getting better and sometimes, this bookworm can’t put her books down to get enough sleep. I know, I know. 

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Thanks so much Carilyn for taking the time to stop by Bliss, Beauty and Books !  Stay tuned readers as Ms. Bookworming Tonight will be guest blogging again and please visit her page and show her some bookish love!

 

 

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware ~ “Beach Bites”

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Another quick post from me about an absolutely creepy thriller that kept me turning the pages even though I am completely sleep deprived🙂  Ruth Ware, author of In a Dark, Dark Wood, took me to sea in The Woman In Cabin 10.  A cruise trip gone wrong for the main character Lo.  She is sent on assignment onto a gorgeous cruise ship.  While aboard she meets a young woman who is in the cabin next door.  She needs a quick beauty rescue and has quite an abrupt interaction with this woman which seemed odd to Lo.  That evening she hears a thud and sees a blood stain on the side of the boat.  When she goes to see if everything is ok with her neighbor she discovers she is gone.  As the book develops Lo is tested as the rest of the ship never recalls seeing this women making Lo as well as everyone else question her sanity.  But she is sure she this woman exists and will stop at nothing to prove it.

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This book, like Ware’s debut, is a phenomenal thriller.  Ware is excellent at what she does and how she captures the essence of a good mystery is on point.  I highly suggest both novels as you will become an instant fan of hers.  What’s even more exciting is In a Dark, Dark Wood is coming to the big screen!  Not only do I love a good thriller but I love a thriller motion picture even more!

*Thanks to Gallery Books for sending a copy for review.

Beach Bites- Karma Brown and Megan Abbott

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Hi readers!  Sorry I have been MIA for the last few days.  I just welcomed my second baby last week so I have been a bit preoccupied🙂  I will be off and on the blog over the next few weeks and then back to my regular review schedule come fall.  Right before I went into the hospital I read the amazing The Choices We Make by Karma Brown.  Then while I was in the hospital I finished up the thriller You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott.  Both fantastic in their own right but completely different.  Read below for a quick “bite” on both!

The Choices We Make by Karma Brown

Brown quickly became a favorite author of mine with her debut- Come Away With Me.  In The Choices We Make she tackles on the tough choices between two best friends.  One is struggling with infertility the other a successful mom who wants to give the gift of motherhood to her friend.  As things progress both are put up against the odds and their true friendship will be tested emotionally and ethically.  Get ready for tears with this novel as Brown once again takes a serious situation and pulls at the readers heartstrings.  This book again solidified her as a favorite and from the first two novels, Brown is only getting started.

You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott

This fabulous thriller kept me guessing until the end.  Abbott takes the reader into the cutthroat world of gymnastics where the death of one of their own makes them question everything.  The sport is intense and dark  not made any better by the parents.  Jealousy and competition are everyday emotions for the gymnasts so when they are pushed to their edge the community will do anything to get ahead and hide their secrets.  Abbott is the real deal when it comes to a classic thriller.  She writes dark and twisty, my favorite thriller characteristics.  You do not know where the book is going therefore you are turning the pages until the wee hours of the night.

*Thanks to Mira and Little Brown for a review copies of both.

The Perfect Neighbors by Sarah Pekkanen

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As I am counting down the days until my little arrival I have to cram in as many books as I can!  I am SO glad I picked Sarah Pekkanen’s newest, The Perfect Neighbors.  Reminiscent of Desperate Housewives, one of my favorite shows, the book is the perfect blend of drama, mystery, gossip and friendship.  The best type of summer read that you can’t put down, The Perfect Neighbors is my “Poolside Pick” for this week!

The book takes place in beautiful Newport Cove, a picture perfect neighborhood where the sun is always shining and neighbors are there to help one another.  Kelli is a newly working mom, who stayed at home for years with her kids, and is now in real estate.  Wanting to feel appreciated and beautiful she starts to take to her boss who is handsome and reciprocates this little work crush.  Gigi is a mom of two girls where one is on the outs with her, typical teenage behavior.  She wants to rekindle the relationship they once had but she can’t do it alone as her husband is running for Congress and he is always tied up.  Tessa, the newest neighbor to move to the Cove is friendly enough but always on edge as she is running from something with a secret in her back pocket.  Looking for a fresh start, Tessa isn’t sure how much longer she can fool everyone into thinking she is leading a perfect life.  But who really is?  A picture perfect setting and life behind close doors can be anything you want it to be or can it?

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Pekkanen’s latest is a page-turning, delicious book that kept me guessing each chapter.  The scene she set and the characters she created were intriguing and mysterious.  I love a dishy read with an almost thriller type twist and Pekkanen wrote this perfectly.  I can’t wait to jump into her back catalog and read some of her other novels because if it is anything like this book then it is sure to be fantastic.  Absolutely add this one to to your summer list, you won’t regret it!

 

*Thanks to Atria books for sending Bliss, Beauty and Books a review copy.

 

 

Bliss Chat with Allison Winn Scotch

I was so fortunate enough to be able to ask the fabulous Allison Winn Scotch a few questions about In Twenty Years (see last weeks post).  It was my “Poolside Pick” of the week and a fabulous 2016 read.  See below for what she said about her college years as well as some fun facts about herself!

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Bliss Chat with Allison Winn Scotch

  1. I know your years at Penn played a big part in this book.  Are any of the characters or experiences based on real event or people?

Nope! I promise! I had to swear the same thing to a few of my friends too. None of the characters are at all like any of the people I knew there…for me, personally, it’s much harder to cull from real life than it is to make up new worlds and people entirely, so really, I very rarely write based on people or my own experiences. There are certainly some cultural references – like, yes, we did all dance to Prince on the jukebox at our local bar – and things like that, but nothing else is true.

 

  1. There are so many amazing characters in the book.  Who was your favorite to develop?  What storyline challenged you the most?

My favorite to write was probably Lindy. I know that she’s a polarizing character for some readers but for all the reasons she is complicated, that’s why I loved writing her. I struggle much more with characters who aren’t deeply flawed because working through those flaws are really what interests me as a writer…and as a person! To be honest, I didn’t realize how polarizing she would be, because I have so much love for her, until I heard from a few readers. As far as the storyline that challenged me most, it was probably Catherine’s: without giving too much away, I had to find the right balance between her believing that she was a “fraud,” and her actually being one.   

 

  1. What was your most favorite part of your college experience?  Least favorite?

I think, looking back, it was just that moment in time when everything felt possible, if that makes sense. Obviously the freedoms that come with no longer living at home and for me, at least, getting my crap together…in high school, I was a pretty good student but I didn’t work as hard as I should have. In college, I learned what it meant to self-motivate and take ownership not just of my work but of my relationships and friendships and all of that. I felt, as these characters did, invincible. My least favorite? Hmmm, I had a lot of romantic ups and downs, and I remember by my senior year, really feeling a bit claustrophobic and being ready to move on to something new. Though, looking back, I really do idealize those four years and mostly remember them with nothing but fondness.

 

  1. What would be your advice or thoughts to your own children about their college experience when the time comes?

Gosh, I just want them to find the school and place that makes them happy, that allows them to explore all aspects of themselves so that they can become fully-formed individuals. I really believe in giving my kids freedom and independence, so I hope that by the time they hit college, they’ll be able to truly take flight, whether it’s by studying abroad or pursuing an unexpected major or…just whatever seems to light their fire.

 

  1. As a writer, where is your favorite place to write?

Boring answer, but it’s my home office. I am SUCH a creature of habit, and I really struggle to write anywhere else. My office has these beautiful high ceilings and huge bay windows and my dogs like to come in and snuggle at my feet. It’s just the right fit to motivate me.

 

  1. Name 3 blissful things that you can’t live without?

My children (obviously!), my bed (splurge on nice sheets, it makes all the difference!!), my coffeemaker (nothing fancy but it’s still my favorite way to start the morning).

 

  1. What is the first thing you do when you complete a book?

Probably tweet about it! LOL. That or immediately email it to my agent. I like to just get it off my desk and send it out into the world so it’s someone else’s thing to deal with. I am very much an “out of sight, out of mind,” person, so I like to put it out of mind for a while and just be relieved that it’s complete.

 

  1. What was the last book that you read?

I have about 30 pages left of Before the Fall: I’ve very much enjoyed it, and as soon as I’m done with this interview, I’m gonna go sink into my couch and finish it.

 

  1. While on tour what is a must-have beauty product in your make-up bag?

A make-up artist friend just turned me on to La Bella Donna products. Their undereye concealer is really fantastic – weightless but completely great coverage. They also have a mineral blush which brings me back from looking half-dead.

 

  1. Are you looking forward to any books that are coming out in 2016?

Well, I think everyone is looking forward to Liane Moriarty’s newest, Truly, Madly, Guilty. That will be up next for me!

 

In Twenty Years by Allison Winn Scotch

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The summer books just keep getting better and the weather keeps getting hotter!  I was so excited to receive a copy of Allison Winn Scotch’sAllison Winn Scotch’s newest book, In Twenty Years.  Think the movie The Big Chill.  A wonderful, complex novel of a group of friends who reunite after their college graduation, twenty years later.  There is nothing I love more than a novel centered around a group of friends, especially an eclectic group and this was nothing short of that.  Winn, who is one of my favorite authors and really people because if you love Tim Riggins you are a friend of mine (you must follow her on Facebook to see her amazing posts about Felicity, Friday Night Lights and all things pop culture🙂 ), knocks it out of the park with a book that is funny, emotional and real.  The characters, all completely different, are the outcome of what we all feel when we reunite with old friends- joy, envy, compassion and love.  Take my word for it, In Twenty Years will keep you turning the pages.

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In Twenty Years is a densely woven story, which I do not want to give too much away, and multi layered due to its rich characters and thorough plot.  A group of college friends reunite at the calling of their recently deceased friend thanks to a request in her will.  All at different points in their lives they gather together at their college house bringing baggage, secrets and confessions.  Told through alternating chapters for each character, the story is hard to resist as every page captures the essence of this group of friends and has revelations that will keep you guessing.  Winn Scotch, again tells a story that is unique yet captivating for the reader, something she does again and again with her books.  Get this book, grab a cocktail and settle into the sand.  In Twenty Years is my “Poolside Pick”of the week!  This book will bring you lots of BLISS🙂

 

*Thanks to Lake Union for sending Bliss, Beauty and Books a review copy.

 

The One That Got Away by Leigh Himes & Bliss Chat

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Are you looking for a fun, quirky story that has you guessing and rooting for the main character?  Well, The One That Got Away by Leigh Himes is the perfect pick.  I absolutely loved it and am hoping, fingers crossed, maybe for a sequel🙂  I loved the main character that much and the plot was so fantastic.  This is a wonderful debut for Himes and I can tell she is going to have many fabulous books in her future.

The One That Got Away centers around Abbey Lahey who is married to Jesse.  She lives a typical mom and family life where she feels under appreciated and overworked.  She starts to daydream at work one day about a former coworker who she had a crush on, Alex Van Holt, who also had a crush on her.  Alex, who is drop dead gorgeous and super successful, always lingered in the back of her mind as the one who got away.  While at Nordstroms one day, where she was returning a bag that she couldn’t afford or justify, she slips and falls.  As she comes to, she realizes she is living the life of Abbey Van Holt.   Married to Alex with a family, she is living the upper class, rich life while supporting Alex who is running for election.  She is super confused and wondering how to get out of this but not before she enjoys the finer things in life with Alex.  The bags, the clothes, the shows, OH MY! (think Carrie Bradshaw😉  Soon she starts to realize that this road not taken was not taken for a reason and that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

 

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This book was an instant favorite for me and would absolutely make a perfect movie.  Himes is so charming with her words and storyline and the characters are developed so perfectly.  This is a must read debut for any reader who loves a light hearted, fun read.  I have chose it as my Poolside Pick for this week and was so honored to be able to “Bliss Chat” with Leigh about the book and a few of her favorite things!

 

Bliss Chat with Leigh Himes

1. I loved this book so much!  What made you decide to write about the road not taken?

Thank you, Courtney! Like my character Abbey, I saw a photograph in a magazine of a man I almost dated years before. After my husband and I had a good laugh about how I sure didn’t choose wisely, I remember thinking it would be a good set-up for a novel. Weeks later, I couldn’t get the idea out of my head so I sat down and started writing, and then couldn’t stop.

 2. Who did you enjoy more in developing Jimmy or Alex?  Abbey Lahey or Abbey Van Holt?  

Great question. At first, I’d say Alex because in many ways he’s my dream guy. He’s handsome, charming and ambitious, but also self-deprecating and funny. But Jimmy has my heart, too, because he’s so real. I’ll be standing on the sidelines of my son’s soccer game or in the school pick-up line and think “lots of Jimmy’s here today” and I mean it as the ultimate compliment. As for Abbey, it has to be Abbey van Holt… I’d love to live her life for a few days.

3. In your life is there a road you wished you traveled or do you ever think about that in any situations that may have been from your past?

I used to have so many regrets and would analyze my decisions constantly. Why didn’t I move to NYC when I was twenty-two? Why did I buy this old house? But writing this book, and getting older, has been cathartic. Now I don’t believe in roads not taken… all our experiences are just steps on the path we were meant for.

 

4. What has been your most favorite thing about the process of this book and going on book tour?

The best thing about writing is falling in love with your characters. On tour, it’s meeting fellow book lovers. I’ve met school librarians, veterinarians, reporters, artists, emergency room nurses, fellow novelists, etc., and I love hearing about their lives and how they make things work.

 

5.  As a writer, where is your favorite place to write?

In my bed! We don’t have air conditioning anywhere but our bedrooms so in the summer I’ll sneak back upstairs in the afternoon with my laptop. I have to bring coffee, though, to prevent nappage.

 

6. Name 3 blissful things that you can’t live without?

Besides husband/kids/dog, I’d say avocados (in any form), super-hot baths, and my NinoBrand sweatpants, which are so cool they make me proud to be a “sweatpant mom.”

 

7. What is the first thing you do when you complete a book?

I’ve only completed one, and if memory serves, my husband and I went out to our secret place: a little strip mall beer shop in Ardmore, Pa. that serves drafts and hot dogs in the back. So maybe that will be my new end-of-book tradition.

8. What was the last book that you read?

The excellent “The Expatriates” by Janice Y.K. Lee.

 

9. While on tour what is a must-have beauty product in your make-up bag?

A friend turned me on to Beauty Counter products and I am obsessed, so I always travel with my BC Cream Cleanser and Night Cream. My other current obsession is eyebrow pencils… right now I am using one from Hourglass.

 

10. Are you looking forward to any books that are coming out in 2016?

 

Yes! On my list are “June” by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, “If I Forget You” by Thomas Greene, and “The Underground Railroad” by Colson Whitehead. But before that, I’m checking out two paperbacks: “A Window Opens” by Elisabeth Egan and “Everybody Rise” by Stephanie Clifford. I’ve heard great things and I like to support debut authors!😉

 

*Thanks to Hachette for sending a copy for review to Bliss, Beauty and Books!