Open Book with Suzanne Nugent

Beach season is here, although looking a littler different this year, but what remains are beach reads and fictional escapes.  Honestly the only thing that allows me to escape the news and all the dark times right now are books.  Books are the friend you need in a time like this.  I am so thankful that Suzanne Nugent took the time to be my latest Open Book because her book, debut that is,  is a great escape!  Brunch and other Obligations is a wonderful read with friendship, a sprinkle of mystery and of course brunch!  Perfect beach read ❤

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via Amazon ~

The only thing reclusive bookworm Nora, high-powered attorney Christina, and supermom-in-training Leanne ever had in common was their best friend, Molly. When Molly dies, she leaves mysterious gifts and cryptic notes for each of her grieving best friends, along with one final request: that these three mismatched frenemies have brunch together every month for a year.

Filled with heartwrenching scenes and witty prose, Brunch and Other Obligations explores the intricate dynamics of girlhood acquaintances who are forced to reconnect as women. This upbeat novel reminds readers that there’s hope for getting through the hard times in life―with a lot of patience, humor, and a standing brunch date.

 

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  1. What three celebrities/authors/figures- living or dead, would you want to have a book club with?

Nora Ephron, Michelle Obama, Carrie Fisher.

 

  1. Current binge series?

    I am re-binging Friends from College. The dynamic in this dysfunctional group of friends makes me cringe and laugh. The writing is honest, clever, and funny. I watched it when it first came out a few years ago and it is worth a second binge.

 

  1. Last favorite book?

    Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman.

 

  1. What 3 things do you pack in your bag for your dream vacation? Where is it?

    I live in a warm climate, so my dream getaways usually involve cozy sweaters. Three things I always pack no matter where I travel: A notebook, a pen, and comfortable shoes.

 

  1. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

    Sunday NYT.

 

  1. Last movie you saw?

    The last movie I saw in the theater before stay-at-home orders was Little Women. At home, I’ve watched a ton of brilliant documentaries and some inspiring and fun movies on Netflix. It might be impressive to list those. But, real talk? The last movie I watched (today) was High School Musical 2. My son just loves it. And I admit: I dig it too.

 

  1. Book you read that you wished you wrote?

    None. If I love a book, I just want to celebrate the author who created this thing that I love.

 

  1. Do you have a teacher who encouraged you to become a writer?

    In high school, one of my friends didn’t like writing but I loved it, so I sometimes ghostwrote her essays. Our English teacher revealed that he recognized my “voice” in her essays, even though we tried to disguise our scheme by changing the font. He always encouraged me to keep using my voice.

 

  1. Do you listen to music while you write? If so, who?

    Yes, and it changes depending on what I’m writing. I like listening to movie scores that evoke the genre I’m writing.

 

  1. Describe your writing space.

    My favorite places to write are at the dining room table or in my favorite coffee shop. It’s been tricky in the last few months because my dining room has been occupied by homeschooling and my favorite coffee shop has been closed. But I write anywhere I can. If I have to, I’ll even write in my (parked) car.

 

  1. Tell me your coffee/tea order.

    At home, I like just a plain black decaf coffee. But if I’m feeling fancy at a coffee place, I order an iced decaf almond milk latte. It’s a lot of words to describe one coffee and I feel very extra when I order it.

 

  1. Do you have a favorite book that you gift?

    I don’t have a go-to. I try to pick something unique every time I get a book as a gift.

 

  1. Book that you wished they would make a movie out of?

    Can I say Brunch and Other Obligations? Well. Now I’ve said it.

 

  1. If you could have one song as the theme song of your life what would it be and why?

    Shining Star by Earth, Wind & Fire. It’s such an optimistic song that just says keep going, you’re being guided. Also… the funky riff at the beginning builds suspense and then there’s this horn blast that’s like “tadaaaaa!” so it would be a great song to play when you enter a room.

                                                                                                                                          

  1. Must have beauty product?

    Sunscreen.

 

  1. Royals- yes or no?  If so, who is your favorite?

    As a writer, I am most interested in the romantic rogue Royals, like Harry and Meghan or Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson. I’m fascinated by people who are born into royalty and opt out. As for a favorite… everything Kate Middleton wears is perfection and I love her for it, but ultimately, my favorite Royal is Dairy Queen.

 

  1. Favorite Instagram account?

    I’m brand new to social media! I just joined Instagram (@suznuge) in February and I’m still finding my favorites.

 

  1. If you could name just one lipstick after a book, what would you call it and what shade would it be?

    Untamed. And it would be just a clear gloss.

 

  1. Current #TBR pile?

    The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett; Fleishmann is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner.

 

  1. Best advice you’ve ever received?

    My Gramma told me: “You should write a book. Just tell it like it is.”

Open Book with Erin Carlson

Three of my favorite people: Nora Ephron, Meryl Streep and Erin Carlson- what do they all have in common aside from Meryl starring in a few of Nora’s films?  They both are the subject of Erin’s two AH-mazing books- I’ll Have What She’s Having: How Nora Ephron’s Three Iconic Films Saved the Romantic Comedy and Queen Meryl: The Iconic Roles, Heroic Deeds, and Legendary Life of Meryl Streep  , two perfect literary escapes during this unknown and scary time.  I have said it once and I will say it again, books are the best remedy while surviving this pandemic and Erin has chosen two women who not only provide fabulous content for her books, but are the cherry on the sundae for cinematic relief.  I promise you any film choice from these two icons will be life changing and picking up these two books, well you can thank me later.  Thanks Erin, for taking the time to be my latest Open Book and answering the questions us Nora and Meryl fans need to know ❤

I’ll Have What She’s Having ~ How Nora Ephron’s Three Iconic Films Saved the Romantic Comedy via Amazon

A backstage look at the making of Nora Ephron’s revered trilogy–When Harry Met Sally, You’ve Got Mail, and Sleepless in Seattle–which brought romantic comedies back to the fore, and an intimate portrait of the beloved writer/director who inspired a generation of Hollywood women, from Mindy Kaling to Lena Dunham.

In I’ll Have What She’s Having entertainment journalist Erin Carlson tells the story of the real Nora Ephron and how she reinvented the romcom through her trio of instant classics. With a cast of famous faces including Rob Reiner, Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, and Billy Crystal, Carlson takes readers on a rollicking, revelatory trip to Ephron’s New York City, where reality took a backseat to romance and Ephron–who always knew what she wanted and how she wanted it–ruled the set with an attention to detail that made her actors feel safe but sometimes exasperated crew members.

Along the way, Carlson examines how Ephron explored in the cinema answers to the questions that plagued her own romantic life and how she regained faith in love after one broken engagement and two failed marriages. Carlson also explores countless other questions Ephron’s fans have wondered about: What sparked Reiner to snap out of his bachelor blues during the making of When Harry Met Sally? Why was Ryan, a gifted comedian trapped in the body of a fairytale princess, not the first choice for the role? After she and Hanks each separatel balked at playing Mail’s Kathleen Kelly and Sleepless‘ Sam Baldwin, what changed their minds? And perhaps most importantly: What was Dave Chappelle doing … in a turtleneck? An intimate portrait of a one of America’s most iconic filmmakers and a look behind the scenes of her crowning achievements, I’ll Have What She’s Having is a vivid account of the days and nights when Ephron, along with assorted cynical collaborators, learned to show her heart on the screen.

Queen Meryl ~ The Iconic Roles, Heroic Deeds and legendary life of Meryl Streep via Amazon

A captivating and inspiring portrait of legendary actress Meryl Streep and her work, Queen Meryl explores the fearless icon’s trailblazing roles in film, her feminist activism, and the indelible mark she’s left on pop culture.
Meryl Streep is the most celebrated actress of our time. She’s a chameleon who disappears fully into each character she plays. She never tackles the same role twice. Instead, she leverages her rarified platform to channel a range of dynamic, complicated women–Joanna Kramer, Karen Silkwood, Julia Child, Margaret Thatcher, Katharine Graham–rather than limit herself to marginal roles for which other actresses must settle: Supportive Wife. Supportive Mother. Supportive Yet Utterly Disposable Love Interest. Streep will have none of that.
The once-awkward, frizzy-haired suburban teen blossomed into a rising ingénue on the stage at Vassar College and the Yale School of Drama. She came of age during the women’s movement of the ’60s and ’70s, and has worn her activism on her sleeve even when it was unfashionable. When she reached 40, the age when many leading ladies fade away, Streep plunged forward, taking her pick of parts that interested her and winning a pile of awards along the way. Meanwhile, she remained an unlikely box-office draw, her clout even managing to grow with age: The Devil Wears Prada, starring Streep as the Anna Wintour avatar Miranda Priestly, scored $326 million worldwide.
Journalist and author Erin Carlson documents all of Streep’s Oscars, accents, causes, memes, friendships, and feuds; also exploring the “off-brand” forays into action-adventure (The River Wild) and musicals (Mamma Mia!), and how Streep managed to sneak her feminism into each character. In the spirit of nontraditional bestsellers like Notorious RBG and The Tao of Bill Murray, Queen Meryl is illustrated by artist Justin Teodoro and filled with fascinating lists and sidebars, delivering joy in homage to its unique and brilliant subject.

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  1. What three celebrities/authors/figures- living or dead, would you want to have a bookclub with?

Nora Ephron and Meryl Streep, of course! Plus, Oprah — for her good humor and great taste in books that make people think and feel all the feels. 

 

  1. Current binge series?

My husband and I are watching old episodes of “30 Rock,” the critically acclaimed NBC comedy starring Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin. Dave has never seen the show, so I love seeing him belly-laugh at witty lines such as, “Never go with a hippie to a second location.”

 

  1. Last favorite book?

I loved The Herd by Andrea Bartz!

 

  1. What 3 things are a must for your purse?  What type of bag do you carry?

I love my tan Phillip Lim 3.1 bucket bag, circa 2017. I never leave home without Fresh tinted lip balm, my iPhone and a hair tie, in case I want to do a ponytail!

 

  1. Must read magazine or newspaper column?

I love New York Magazine — the best ever.

 

  1. Last movie you saw?

Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker

 

  1. Favorite or film you read/watched while researching Meryl and Nora?

Nora’s You’ve Got Mail is my ultimate, but I’ll always adore The Bridges of Madison County — an enduring love story that never fails to leave me in tears. Who doesn’t love a good cry every once in a while?

 

  1. Funnest fact you found out about Nora Ephron?

When researching the making of You’ve Got Mail, I learned from my interview with Greg Kinnear that director Nora and star Meg Ryan would crack each other up on the set, so deep was their mutual affection for one another. Meg was always dissolving into giggle fits while filming. Nora kept the mood on her movies as lighthearted and fun as her classic romantic comedies. 

 

  1. Top 3 favorite blogs?

I love Cup of Jo, Jezebel and sometimes I still check up on EV Grieve, the blog chronicling life in the East Village, my former neighborhood in New York City. The latter is so esoteric that it will be really confusing to those who haven’t lived there, but I love it! 

 

  1. Describe your writing space?

The desk in my office is fairly clean and uncluttered. I’m very easily distracted, and a minimalistic space helps me focus on writing.

 

  1. White, Red, Rose or no way?

Rose, all the way!

 

  1. Do you have a favorite book that you gift?

I love Ronan Farrow’s Catch and Kill. Perhaps I should rethink my definition of “gift.” The book is dark, but it’s a masterpiece told in Ronan’s engrossing self-deprecating narrative style. 10/10, would recommend.

 

  1. Current book that you wished they would make a movie out of in which Meryl would star and which character would she be?

I would love Meryl to play antihero and historical figure Thomas Cromwell in Hilary Mantel’s The Mirror & The Light. Come on, she can do anything! Play any character! And she loves a challenge.

 

  1. Top 5 favorite Meryl movies? Number 1 favorite Nora movie?

My No. 1 Nora movie is You’ve Got Mail, hands down. As for Meryl, here are my top five: The Devil Wear Prada, The Bridges of Madison County, Julie & Julia, Doubt and Silkwood.

 

  1. Current must have beauty product?

I love Goop’s Enriching Face Oil. It smells like a summer meadow in Tuscany, and leaves your skin soft and glowing.

 

  1. Royals- yes or no?  If so, who is your favorite?

YES. I’m partial to Queen Elizabeth, but I love Meghan Markle, too.

 

  1. Favorite Instagram influencer?

Laura Brown, the editor of InStyle, is a great follow on Instagram. She’s funny, charming and doesn’t take herself too seriously.

 

  1. If you could name just one lipstick after a Meryl Streep movie, what would you call it and what shade would it be? 

Using “The Devil Wears Prada” as inspiration, I would name a lipstick after Miranda Priestly’s withering insult, “Florals? For Spring? Groundbreaking.” The lipstick color would be rose pink.

 

  1. Current #TBR pile?

Rebecca Serle’s “In Five Years,” Andre Aciman’s “Find Me” and Delia Owens’ “Where the Crawdads Sing.” (I know, I know. I’m the last person to read this book!)

 

  1. Best advice for aspiring writers?

Keep writing! The most important thing is persistence; if you’re working on a novel, carve aside time each day to write. It can be 500 words a day, or 200! Every little bit counts. If you write every day, in a year or less, you’ll have a manuscript. And that’s something to look forward to as you’re following an outline or making it up as you go along. If you need help with plotting, there’s no better guide than Save the Cat! Writes a Novel, which has proved invaluable as I write my debut novel, a romantic comedy.

 

 

Bonus trio:

  1. Favorite Nora Ephron book? 

Heartburn is a classic. Delicious and vicious!

  1. Favorite Meryl Streep red carpet moment?

Meryl looked luminous in a vintage-style Chris March gown at the 2010 Oscars, proving that starlets come and go, but she will always be the true queen of the red carpet.

  1. Tell us about your “WHY” for both of these icons to be the center of your books?

Nora and Meryl are legends who prove women can have it all: an adoring husband and family, and a fantastic career. I wanted to learn the secret to their success, and offer fans of both a manual for how to achieve it. 

 

Follow Erin:

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Open Book with Kathryn Budig founder of Inky Phoenix

I found Kathryn Budig when I was on my journey of getting certified in yoga at Back Bay Yoga.  She was one of the best instructors I had taken class from and seemed genuinely like a bad ass lady.  I would take her classes online, learn from her book and follow her amazingness on Instagram.  Fast forward to now, queue The Inky Phoenix, an online bookclub founded by the yoga queen herself.  Just when I think she couldn’t get any better, she launches a virtual BOOKCLUB!  Hello, if you know the back story of Bliss, Beauty and Books then you know it was created at first for my love of yoga hence “BLISS” and then the books and beauty came along with it.  So you may say, Kathryn has launched a bookclub of my dreams!

This book club is all virtual and Kathryn will hand select books each month and share on her Free Cookies podcast, started with her equally bad ass wife, Kate Fagan.  This month, she picked Glennon Doyle‘s Untamed, a spiritual container of glitter and wisdom, southing of which we could ALL use right about now ❤

Kathryn is my latest Open Book and after you read her answers, you will realize she is the bookish, blissful BFF that you all need!  Thank you to Kathryn and Kate for gifting us all with The Inky Phoenix which is uniting us all through books!

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1. What three celebrities/authors/figures- living or dead, would you want to have a bookclub with?

Neil Gaiman, Oscar Wilde and Barack Obama.

 

2. Current binge series?

Vikings! We are so late the the party and have been loving the blend of history and Norse mythology.

 

3. Last favorite book?

The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz

 

4. What 3 things are a must for your purse?  What type of bag do you carry?

My purse actually resembles a fancy lunchbox. I always have way too many lip products, bobby-pins and a bandaid.

 

5. Must read magazine or newspaper column?

We’re glued to CNN these days, and I love Alison Roman’s column for New York Times Cooking.

 

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6. Last movie you saw?

Knives Out. Love a good ‘whodunnit’ movie.

 

7. Why the Inky Phoenix?

Aside from being an author and writer, literature is in my blood. One of my degrees is in English Literature and I’ve always noted I’m at my happiest when I have a good book waiting for me at home. I started The Inky Phoenix in hopes of building an international community, a place to gather and tickle our minds and share our stories.

 

8. Funnest fact about you?

I am the queen of butchering idioms. Seriously. Every last one.

 

9. Top 3 favorite blogs?

I honestly don’t frequent many blogs.

 

10. Describe your dream book club space?

A restored Victorian mansion with a library full of rolling ladders and secret passageways.

 

11. White, Red, Rose or no way?

All of the above, please.

 

12. Do you have a favorite book that you gift?

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Luiz.

 

13. Current book that you wished they would make a movie out of?

Melissa Albert’s The Hazelwood and Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere.

 

14. Top 5 favorite movies?

Clue, The Princess Bride, Goonies (you can probably guess my age by now), Love Actually and Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

 

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15. Current must have beauty product?

Anything from Maya Chia.

 

16. Royals- yes or no?  If so, who is your favorite?

Currently, not so much. Diana forever and Prince William when we were young.

 

17. Favorite Instagram influencer?

Not an “influencer” but Kate Beckinsale cracks me up.

 

18. If you could name just one lipstick after a book, what would you call it and what shade would it be? 

The Night Circus and it would be the color of a grape popsicle.

 

19. Current #TBR pile?

A Little Life, All Boys Aren’t Blue, Magpie Murders, Hunting Party and Salem’s Lot (Yes, I’ve never read King. Wild, I know.)

 

20. Best advice for aspiring writers/readers/yogis?

Stop waiting for perfect moments. If you want to be inspired, read. If you want to learn, practice. If you want to see your story in the world, sit down and write 500 words. Today.

 

Follow Kathryn, Kate and The Inky Phoenix:

Facebook ~

Kathryn

Twitter ~

Kathryn @kahtrynbudig

Kate @katefagan3

Instagram~

Kathryn

Kate

Inky Phoenix

 

Practice with Kathryn:

Glo

Youtube

 

Free Cookies Podcast

 

Grace Kelly Open Book with Brenda Janowitz

I do not need to tell you how much I love Brenda Janowitz.  It is evident every time she writes a column for Pop Sugar or new book- she is the godmother of all bookish things if there ever was one plus her love for pop culture is unparalleled.  Her latest book, The Grace Kelly Dress, out now, is the one of her best yet!  It is the most lovely story about a dress, three lives and the interwoven secrets and love that tie them together.  I can’t tell you how much you need to read this book and you need to get to know Brenda.  She is literally the best “book” friend we need in all of our lives ❤tmp_EEivlg_1f359bc8d9c301f1_cover_The-Grace-Kelly-Dress_Brenda-Janowitz_web-1

via Amazon ~

“Exactly the type of book I love: charming, smart, and brimming with heart.”—EMILY GIFFIN, #1 New York Times bestselling author of All We Ever Wanted

“Fast paced and entertaining from beginning to end.”—KRISTIN HANNAH, #1 New York Timesbestselling author of The Nightingale

Two years after Grace Kelly’s royal wedding, her iconic dress is still all the rage in Paris—and one replica, and the secrets it carries, will inspire three generations of women to forge their own paths in life and in love.

Paris, 1958: Rose, a seamstress at a fashionable atelier, has been entrusted with sewing a Grace Kelly—look-alike gown for a wealthy bride-to-be. But when, against better judgment, she finds herself falling in love with the bride’s handsome brother, Rose must make an impossible choice, one that could put all she’s worked for at risk: love, security and of course, the dress.

Sixty years later, tech CEO Rachel, who goes by the childhood nickname “Rocky,” has inherited the dress for her upcoming wedding in New York City. But there’s just one problem: Rocky doesn’t want to wear it. A family heirloom dating back to the 1950s, the dress just isn’t her. Rocky knows this admission will break her mother Joan’s heart. But what she doesn’t know is why Joan insists on the dress—or the heartbreaking secret that changed her mother’s life decades before, as she herself prepared to wear it.

As the lives of these three women come together in surprising ways, the revelation of the dress’s history collides with long-buried family heartaches. And in the lead-up to Rocky’s wedding, they’ll have to confront the past before they can embrace the beautiful possibilities of the future.

Brenda+Janowitz

  1. What three celebrities/authors/figures- living or dead, would you want to have a bookclub with?

 

Well, Grace Kelly, of course! And we‘d be reading The Great Gatsby, so I’d love for F. Scott Fitzgerald to join us. Finally, I’d include Michelle Obama. I recently read her memoir, and I instantly fell in love!

 

  1. Current binge series?

 

At the recommendation of Elin Hilderbrand, I binged both seasons of Succession on HBO. I love a good family drama, and Succession is all about the drama!

 

  1. Last favorite book?

 

I loved Little Fires Everywhere and cannot wait for the new Reese Witherspoon adaptation coming soon!

 

  1. What 3 things are a must for your purse?  What type of bag do you carry?

 

I carry a cross-body hobo bag. For a busy mom with kids, cross-body is a must! It’s big enough to carry my trusty iPad, for when I need to get work done on the go. My must haves are lip balm, my phone, and a book!

 

  1. Must read magazine or newspaper column?

 

I”m completely obsessed with the New York Times Modern Love column. I recently had my own essay published there, and it was such an honor. (https://nyti.ms/2NQxDEO)

 

  1. Last movie you saw?

 

My husband and I saw Knives Out in the theater. (And yes, as a busy working mom, I am bragging about seeing a movie in the movie theater.)

 

  1. Favorite or film you read/watched while researching Grace Kelly?

 

I’m a sucker for all of Grace Kelly’s films, but my favorite one is To Catch a Thief. I mean, Cary Grant looking dreamy, come on!

 

  1. Funnest fact you found out about Grace?

 

I was shocked to discover that Grace’s wedding dress was actually comprised of four separate parts, each of which were put on separately as she dressed for her big day.

 

  1. Top 3 favorite blogs?

 

Beauty, Bliss, and Books, of course! I also love Great Thoughts, Great Readers, and Good Book Fairy.

 

  1. Describe your writing space?

 

I usually write in my office, which has a large double desk that my husband and I share. It’s lined with bookcases, and thus, very inspiring. That said, I write wherever and whenever I can, so I have an iPad with an attached keyboard that I love. In fact, I’m writing this to you from my iPad right now!

 

  1. White, Red, Rose or no way?

 

Rose!

 

  1. Do you have a favorite book that you gift?

 

I always give books as gifts! I try really hard to match the book with the recipient and make it personal.

 

  1. Current book that you wished they would make a movie out of?

 

The Grace Kelly Dress!!

 

  1. Top 5 favorite movies?

 

To Catch a Thief

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Clueless

Mean Girls

Casablanca

 

  1. Current must have beauty product?

 

I cannot live without SPF everyday. I love Skinceuticals and SuperGoop!

 

  1. Royals- yes or no?  If so, who is your favorite?

 

Yes! There are so many to choose from, but I especially loved watching Grace Kelly’s grandchildren get married this summer.

 

  1. Favorite Instagram influencer?

 

Besides you? I love Ashley Spivey’s feed.

 

  1. If you could name just one lipstick after a The Grace Kelly Dress, what would you call it and what shade would it be? 

 

It would be a pale pink, and we’d have to call it— what else?— Princess Grace.

 

  1. Current #TBR pile?

 

Right now, I’m reading tons of ARCs for my PopSugar Summer list.

 

  1. Best advice for aspiring writers?

 

Writing is re-writing. Don’t be afraid to cut ruthlessly!

 

Bonus trio:

 

  1. Favorite outfit Grace wore during her heyday?

There’s something so classic about the dress Grace wore when she won her Oscar in 1955. But I also love it when Grace let her hair down in Jamaica— that white two piece? To die for!

 

  1. Favorite celebrity wedding dress?

I think this one is pretty obvious!

 

  1. Tell us about selecting your wedding dress?

When selecting my wedding dress, there were so many details that I was drawn to, and it was only in hindsight that I realized that I was actually shopping for my own version of a Grace Kelly Dress. From the delicate bows that trailed down the back of my dress to the silk ribbon that tied around the waist— a nod to the cummerbund— I was channeling this iconic gown.

 

Follow Brenda:

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Open Book with Rochelle B. Weinstein

I am back in 2020 with new ideas and new books!  To kick off the UPDATED and FRESH “Open Book” we have Rochelle B. Weinstein.  Her latest, out now, This is Not How is Ends is the perfect love story to being your 2020 reading!  This is a must read for your TBR pile or Goodreads challenge.  I am thrilled Rochelle is my first of the year!

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via Amazon~

From USA Today bestselling author Rochelle B. Weinstein comes a moving novel of hearts lost and found, and of one woman torn between two love stories.

When Charlotte and Philip meet, the pair form a deep and instant connection. Soon they’re settled in the Florida Keys with plans to marry. But just as they should be getting closer, Charlotte feels Philip slipping away.

Second-guessing their love is something Charlotte never imagined, but with Philip’s excessive absences, she finds herself yearning for more. When she meets Ben, she ignores the pull, but the supportive single dad is there for her in ways she never knew she desired. Soon Charlotte finds herself torn between the love she thought she wanted and the one she knows she needs.

As a hurricane passes through Islamorada, stunning revelations challenge Charlotte’s loyalties and upend her life. Forced to reexamine the choices she’s made, and has yet to make, Charlotte embarks on an emotional journey of friendship, love, and sacrifice—knowing that forgiveness is a gift, and the best-laid plans can change in a heartbeat.

This Is Not How It Ends is a tender, moving story of heartbreak and healing that asks the question: Which takes more courage—holding on or letting go?

 

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What three celebrities/authors/figures- living or dead, would you want to have a bookclub with? 

Judy Blume

Kevin Costner

Anderson Cooper

 

Current binge series?

Mrs. Fletcher

 

Last favorite book?

The Storyteller’s Secret by Sejal Badani

 

What 3 things to you pack in your bag for your dream vacation?  Where is it?

Tahiti/Bora Bora

Books!

Sunscreen

My family

 

Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

Sunday NYT

 

Last movie you saw?

Art Of Racing In The Rain

 

Book you read that you wished you wrote?

The Heart’s Invisible Furies. Reading right now and WOW!

 

Do you have a teacher who encouraged you to become a writer?

YES, my mother, Ruth Berger.

 

Do you listen to music while you write? If so, who?

Rarely. 

 

Describe your writing space?

While I have a home office complete with a standing desk, I tend to write in my kitchen or family room surrounded by my dogs. One on each side of me.

 

Tell me your coffee/tea order?

I have never had either. 

 

Do you have a favorite book that you gift?

The Alchemist

 

Book that you wished they would make a movie out of?

Daisy Jones & The Six! And they are!

What a visual book. It should translate to screen beautifully.

 

If you could have one song as the theme song of your life what would it be and why?

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

For every curve ball I’ve been thrown, for every challenge, I just keep on keeping on.  There’s no other option.

 

Must have beauty product?

CE Ferulic by Skinceuticals

But I can’t leave the house without Estee Lauder black eyeliner and Dr. Hauschka Lip Balm

 

Royals- yes or no?  If so, who is your favorite? 

No🙈

 

Favorite Instagram account?

@ElyssaFriedland

She ALWAYS makes me laugh. Not at her, of course. 

 

If you could name just one lipstick after a book, what would you call it and what shade would it be? 

The Kiss Quotient

SIZZLING HOT PINK

 

Current #TBR pile?

Camille Di Maio -The First Emma

Samantha Bailey – Woman On The Edge

M.J. Rose – Cartier’s Hope

Mary Beth Keane – Ask Again, Yes

Kaira Rouda – The Favorite Daughter

Therese Anne Fowler – A Good Neighborhood

To name a few…..my stack is high!

 

 Best advice you’ve ever received?

Listen when others are talking. Really listen. Trust your instincts. Be patient. Give back. Always support others. Choose kind. And never give up. 

 

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2019 Bliss List

I can’t believe I am back, curating the list of a few of my favorite things!  The year has flew.  This year we have beauty, books, glam and a sprinkle of pop culture.  Ask away if you have questions and hopefully this list will bring you a little BLISS ❤

 

Bobbi Brown The Breakfast Club Extra Skincare Set ~ Cleansing oil, creams and a scrubber!  All I need for a winter glow.

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J. Crew Minaudière Bag in Leopard Sequin – Leopard and sequin, enough said.

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Kristin Ess 1 Inch Beachwave Culring Iron~  The best iron on the market for tousled waves!

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Emi Jay Smoosh Sweatshirt ~ This most soft, smooshiest sweatshirt.  I can’t explain except that you need it and you will thank me later.

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Beautycounter Pout Perfecter Lip Care Set ~ Always a favorite brand and this limited edition lip kit will give you the perfect pout for the holidays!

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Modern Love on Amazon Prime ~ Based on the NYT column, this show will warm your heart.  A must for any pop culture gal!

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Dear Girls by Ali Wong ~ If you know Ali Wong then you know.  

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Kristin Ess Crystal Quartz Signature Gloss ~ The only way to keep your hair shiny throughout the holidays and in between appointments!

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Bumble and Bumble Pret a Powder ~ Hands down best dry shampoo.  The powder is so fine it instantly absorbs and adds volume and texture!

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The Girl in the White Gloves by Kerri Maher ~ Grace Kelly, old Hollywood and a local author who is fabulous!  This will be the must read for early winter!

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Benefit Rollerlash Mascara ~ Great brush, no clumps and MEGA volume!  New favorite, new daily staple.

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Modern Monarchy by Chris Jackson ~ My love for the royals and a coffee table book run deep and this is one of my favorites.

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Jennifer Vallez of Sophie and Lilli, Kate and Meghan Thermal Tumblers ~ Coffee and my royal besties, yes please!  Also if you do not follow Jen, YOU MUST!  So many whimsical sketches with some of my royal and pop culture favorites!

 

Open Book with Milly Johnson

 Back from across the pond, I am completely inspired and in love with London! The city, the people and oh the royals! I am thrilled my first Open Book back, is to support Milly Johnson, British fiction author queen! Her latest, The Magnificent Mrs. Mayhew is out now and completely perfect for a cozy fall read ❤ See below for her fabulous responses and make sure to take a look at her back catalog 😉

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via Amazon ~

Milly Johnson, the Queen of Feel-Good Fiction and The Sunday Times bestselling author, is back with a “glorious, heartfelt novel” (Rowan Coleman, New York Times bestselling author) about a woman trying to find her own place in the world, who through love, loss, and the kindness of strangers, discovers everything she needs in a village by the sea.

Behind every successful man is a woman.
Behind the fall of every successful man is usually another woman.

Sophie Mayhew seems to have the perfect life. The glamourous wife of a rising political star who is one step away from the highest position in the government, she matches her husband in looks, pedigree, and money. But he has made some stupid mistakes on his way to the top, and some of those mistakes are just now threatening to emerge. Still, this can all be swept under the rug so long as Sophie the Trophy plays her part in front of the cameras. But the words that tumble out of Sophie’s mouth one morning on the doorstep of their country house are not the words the spin doctors drilled into her head.

Bursting out of the restrictive mold that has been tightening around her since birth, Sophie flees to a small village on the coast, a safe haven from her childhood days, where she intends to be alone. But once there, she finds a community that warms her soul and makes her feel as if she is breathing properly for the first time in her life. Sophie knows she won’t be left in peace for long, though, so she must decide: where does her real future lie?

 

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 What three celebrities/authors/figures- living or dead, would you want to have a bookclub with?

Stephen King, Catherine Cookson and Henry Viii.  There’s a mixed bunch for you.  I think we’d all have a hoot and some really interesting discussions

Current binge series?

The Staircase.

 Last favorite book?

Exquisite by Sarah Stovell.  I couldn’t put it down.  It’s the story of obsessive lust.

 What 3 things to you pack in your bag for your dream vacation?  Where is it?

I love cruising in the Mediterranean so much.  That way I get to see a lot of places in two weeks and not just one destination.  I’m particularly fond of the Greek Islands so… a book to read in the sunshine. A red lipstick that doesn’t wear off so I can look glamorous at all times and a dress that is loose fitting – you can’t have anything tight fitting when you’re on a cruise – the food is too hard to resist. 

 Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

US Weekly!

 Last person you sent a text message to?

My son, who is on holiday with his friends.  Just to check in that he’s okay. 

 Book you read that you wished you wrote?

Bridget Jones’ diary. 

 Do you have a teacher who encouraged you to become a writer?

I had an amazing English teacher at college who made me love writers I hadn’t really understood that much like Jane Austen.  I didn’t really tell anyone that I wanted to write books then, I didn’t  have the confidence I’d be able to do it, but I wish I had told her because she would have encouraged me, I absolutely know it.  She was fantastic.

 Do you listen to music while you write? If so, who?

I need complete silence when I write.  I even wear noise cancelling headphones when there is no one else in the house. 

 Describe your writing space?

It’s a large office with a very old massive desk with lots of drawers in it.  I have wooden shelves full of books all around the room and a rocking chair where one of my cats likes to sleep.  The other one sits on top of the printer. I have things that look like books but aren’t books everywhere – like a coffee table and storage boxes, old tins – my partner, who is an antiques dealer, finds them for me.

 Coffee or tea?

Coffee.  Strong with a dash of milk.

 Do you have a favorite book that you gift?

Yes it’s called ‘The Tent, the Bucket and Me’ by Emma Kennedy.  It’s one of the funniest books I’ve ever read.

 Book that you wished they would make a movie out of?

Mine – Here Come the Girls – it’s about a group of friends who go on a cruise together.

 If you could have one song as the theme song of your life what would it be and why?

Here Comes the Sun by the Beatles.  It was written on a sunny day and fills me with the feeling that however bad life is, the sunshine is still there behind the clouds.  That’s me – hopeful!

 What/Who inspires you?

Barbara Taylor-Bradford, a woman from Yorkshire who set the world alight with her stories.  I met her a couple of years ago and she was so wise and glamorous and funny.  She made her dream of becoming an author reality – and how!

 Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

Not for me

 Favorite Instagram account?

@auntyacidofficial 

If you could name just one lipstick after a book, what would you call it and what shade would it be?   

Deep, beautiful red and I’d call it ‘Rebecca’

Current #TBR pile?

Saving lots of books for my holidays.  I love crime and psychological thrillers:  I have Mark Billingham’s ‘Their Little Secret’ at the top and an advance copy of Nicci French’s ‘The Lying Room’ – I’m lucky because as authors we get a lot of free books.

 Best advice you’ve ever received?

‘There is no pot of gold in a comfort zone.’  Sometimes you just need to be brave, feel the fear and go for it.

Follow Milly:

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Open Book with Nicole Meier

Fall is here and new books are one of my most favorite things of this cozy season!  Nothing better than curling up with a good book, hot coffee and fuzzy socks!  I am thrilled to be able to chat with Nicole Meier and celebrate her latest novel, The Second Chance Supper Club.  The perfect fall read, this story is the tale of two sisters, at a crossroads in their lives where they need to rely on one another even if it means risking their already rocky relationship.

Grilled cheese and tomato soup

via Amazon ~

Two estranged sisters reunite in an emotional novel of family, forgiveness, lost hope, and new beginnings.

They had a forever bond, until a sudden tragedy thrust them apart. Now, each at a crossroad in her own life, two sisters’ paths are about to intersect.

Broadcast journalist Julia Frank has it all: a career, an ambitious fiancé, and the hard-won respect of her peers. Until a ruinous decision destroys her reputation, puts her job at risk, and sends her reeling toward the only soul left to turn to: her estranged sister, Ginny.

The owner of a clandestine supper club hidden in the Arizona desert, Ginny Frank has a lot on her plate. The last thing she wants is more drama—or the burden of nursing her younger sister’s wounded ego. But family is family. Besides, Ginny can use the help in more ways than one, and she’s going to make sure Julia pulls her weight.

As a tenuous reunion reopens old wounds, Julia and Ginny have no choice but to confront the pain and betrayals of the past. Will working to keep the secret supper club running be just what they need to find common ground and a path toward forgiveness, or will the increasing stress push them even further apart?

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  1. What three celebrities/authors/figures- living or dead, would you want to have a bookclub with?  

I love this question! For sure my favorite author, Sue Monk Kidd. Then I would add Oprah and Maria Shriver.

  1. Current binge series? 

Just finished Dead to Me. I’m obsessed.

  1. Last favorite book? 

Where the Crawdads Sing.

  1. What 3 things do you pack in your bag for your dream vacation?

Bathing suit, Kindle, and sun hat.

  1. Where is it? 

Anywhere there’s a tropical beach and a piña colada.

  1. Sunday NYT or US Weekly? 

LA Times! (I’m a West Coast girl).

  1. Last person you sent a text message to? 

My friend, Catherine.

  1. Book you read that you wished you wrote? 

Anything by Kristin Hannah. I loved The Great Alone.

  1. Do you have a teacher who encouraged you to become a writer? 

Not specifically. But I did get A’s in my college creative writing courses.

  1. 10.Do you listen to music while you write? If so, who? 

Yes, but only acoustic. I can’t do lyrics.

  1. Describe your writing space? 

A pretty, white Pottery Barn desk with bookshelves. It’s tucked into a corner of my bedroom. There’s always a lit candle and sometimes a scattering of chocolate. 

  1. 12.Coffee or tea? 

Coffee in a.m. Tea at bed.

  1. Do you have a favorite book that you gift? 

I recently bought copies of Cheryl Strayed’s “Brave Enough” for my sisters and close friends. I bookmarked specific quotes for each woman.

  1. 14.If you could have one song as the theme song of your life what would it be and why?

“Don’t Stop” by Fleetwood Mac.

 

  1. What/Who inspires you? 

Right now, I love everything Maria Shriver is doing. She’s brave, spiritual, and not afraid to chase her dreams while lifting others up at the same time.

  1. 16.Bravo reality TV- yes or no? 

Since I’m from So Cal, I do watch The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. 

  1. Favorite Instagram account? 

Ellen Jewett! Oh my gosh, her art is stunning. 

  1. 18.If you could name just one lipstick after a book, what would you call it and what shade would it be? 

A good lipstick for The Second Chance Supper Club would be a sorbet color. I’d call it Arizona Sunset.

  1. 19.Current #TBR pile?

I’m currently reading an ARC from my Lake Union sister, Jennifer Gold (it’s good!). Next up is the newest by Jennifer Weiner.

  1. Best advice you’ve ever received? 

Don’t write as if someone is looking over your shoulder. The reader will notice.

 

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Open Book with Louisa Treger

Indian summer anyone? While some temps are dipping we are still seeing that glorious sunshine and with that we can still bask in end of summer releases like Louisa Treger’s latest, The Dragon Lady.  A fictional account of the rebellious and glamorous Lady Virginia Courtauld, this is a must read for historical fiction buffs and readers who love a gal who has gumption!  Lady Virginia would be an inspiration to all women around the world today.  I am thrilled Louisa is my latest Open Book and we can celebrate this fantastic book!

The Dragon Lady Cover Image

via Amazon ~

‘A daring blend of romance, crime and history, and an intelligent exposé of the inherent injustice and consequences of all forms of oppression’ Tsitsi Dangarembga, Nervous Conditions

Opening with the shooting of Lady Virginia ‘Ginie’ Courtauld in her tranquil garden in 1950s Rhodesia, The Dragon Lady tells Ginie’s extraordinary story, so called for the exotic tattoo snaking up her leg. From the glamorous Italian Riviera before the Great War to the Art Deco glory of Eltham Palace in the thirties, and from the secluded Scottish Highlands to segregated Rhodesia in the fifties, the narrative spans enormous cultural and social change. Lady Virginia Courtauld was a boundary-breaking, colourful and unconventional person who rejected the submissive role women were expected to play.

Ostracised by society for being a foreign divorcée at the time of Edward VIII and Mrs Simpson, Ginie and her second husband ,Stephen Courtauld, leave the confines of post-war Britain to forge a new life in Rhodesia, only to find that being progressive liberals during segregation proves mortally dangerous. Many people had reason to dislike Ginie, but who had reason enough to pull the trigger?

Deeply evocative of time and place, The Dragon Lady subtly blends fact and fiction to paint the portrait of an extraordinary woman in an era of great social and cultural change.

Louisa Treger credit Nick Harvey

1.What three celebrities/authors/figures- living or dead, would you want to have a bookclub with?

Margaret Atwood, Virginia Woolf, Oscar Wilde.

 

2.Current binge series?

Killing Eve.

 

3. Last favorite book?

Your Duck is my Duck by Deborah Eisenberg

 

4. What 3 things to you pack in your bag for your dream vacation?  Where is it?

Sunglasses, sun cream, a good book. South Africa, my mother’s homeland.

 

5. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

I live in London, so neither of the above. The Sunday Times.

 

6. Last person you sent a text message to?

My daughter

 

7. Book you read that you wished you wrote?

Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels

 

8. Do you have a teacher who encouraged you to become a writer?

Yes, my second year tutor at university, a wonderful man called David Daniell. His words kept me going through years of rejection of my early work.

 

9. Do you listen to music while you write? If so, who?

No, because music is too powerful. It’s like a magnet, drawing all   my attention to it.

 

10. Describe your writing space?

It’s an octagonal room with big windows and shelves filled with books. My desk always has piles of papers, my laptop and a large mug of coffee on it. My dog sleeps at my feet while I write.

 

11. Coffee or tea?

Strong coffee

 

12. Do you have a favorite book that you gift?

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

 

13. Book that you wished they would make a movie out of?

Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels

 

14. If you could have one song as the theme song of your life what would it be and why?

I will survive by Gloria Gaynor

 

15. What/Who inspires you?

Nature. Great art, be it literature, music or visual art. My children.

 

16. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

No

 

17. Favorite Instagram account?

@puppy_unity

 

18. If you could name just one lipstick after a book, what would you call it and what shade would it be? 

I would call a lipstick Wild Rose after Cathy in Wuthering Heights and it would be dusky pink.

 

19. Current #TBR pile?

Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro

Clock Dance by Anne Tyler

Shadowplay by Joseph O’Connor

Three Women by Lisa Taddeo

 

20. Best advice you’ve ever received?

Your failures teach you more than your successes. It’s how you pick yourself up and carry on after failing that counts.

 

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Open Book with Fiona Davis

First of all, THIS. COVER.  Second, Fiona Davis is a queen of chic historical fiction and Chelsea Girls is no exception.  The stunning Chelsea Hotel and two fierce females looking for stardom during a scary time is all you need to know that Davis can craft a novel like the best of them.  This has hit multiple “Best of Summer” lists and I am thrilled Fiona joined us for Open Book.  When an author lists Nora Ephron for any answers in the Q&A, I know we will hit it off!

Chelsea Girls

via Amazon ~

The bright lights of the theater district, the glamour and danger of 1950s New York, and the wild scene at the iconic Chelsea Hotel come together in a dazzling new novel about a twenty-year friendship that will irrevocably change two women’s lives—from the national bestselling author of The Dollhouse and The Address.

From the dramatic redbrick facade to the sweeping staircase dripping with art, the Chelsea Hotel has long been New York City’s creative oasis for the many artists, writers, musicians, actors, filmmakers, and poets who have called it home—a scene playwright Hazel Riley and actress Maxine Mead are determined to use to their advantage. Yet they soon discover that the greatest obstacle to putting up a show on Broadway has nothing to do with their art, and everything to do with politics. A Red scare is sweeping across America, and Senator Joseph McCarthy has started a witch hunt for Communists, with those in the entertainment industry in the crosshairs. As the pressure builds to name names, it is more than Hazel and Maxine’s Broadway dreams that may suffer as they grapple with the terrible consequences, but also their livelihood, their friendship, and even their freedom.

Spanning from the 1940s to the 1960s, The Chelsea Girls deftly pulls back the curtain on the desperate political pressures of McCarthyism, the complicated bonds of female friendship, and the siren call of the uninhibited Chelsea Hotel

FionaDavis_Credit Deborah Feingold

  1. What three celebrities/authors/figures- living or dead, would you want to have a bookclub with?

Nora Ephron, Alva Vanderbilt, and Jon Stewart.

 

  1. Current binge series?

 Euphoria. I can’t look away, it’s so haunting.

 

  1. Last favorite book?

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert. Fun, frothy, but with an emotional punch.

 

  1. What 3 things to you pack in your bag for your dream vacation?  Where is it?

Off to a mountain resort to read and hike. I’d include a novel, a swishy dress for a fancy dinner, and a moleskin notebook.

 

  1. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

Sunday NYT, with the crossword puzzle.

 

  1. Last person you sent a text message to?

Cynthia – one of my best friends – as we’re coordinating a girls’ weekend in the country.

 

  1. Book you read that you wished you wrote?

Longbourn by Jo Baker

 

  1. Do you have a teacher who encouraged you to become a writer?

My AP English teacher in high school taught me to love literature and read books with a critical eye.

 

  1. Do you listen to music while you write? If so, who?

No – pure silence, other than the street noises of New York City.

 

  1. Describe your writing space?

It’s a room in my apartment with a sideways view of the Hudson River. When I’m stuck, I stare out at the water until inspiration strikes.

 

  1. Coffee or tea?

Coffee in the morning (two cups) and tea at four (my parents are English, and that stuck).

 

  1. Do you have a favorite book that you gift?

A favorite book that I was given as a gift and like to buy for others is How Green Was My Valley, about Wales. It’s gorgeous.

 

  1. Book that you wished they would make a movie out of?

People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks.

 

  1. If you could have one song as the theme song of your life what would it be and why?

Dancing Barefoot by Patti Smith. There’s such a sense of freedom in the music and the lyrics.

 

  1. What/Who inspires you?

Lillian Hellman, who fought against the blacklist and the House U-American Activities committee during the McCarthy era, and won.

 

  1. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

Yes – for one show, RHONY. Can’t look away.

 

  1. Favorite Instagram account?

Accidental Icon – she’s a woman with flair who’s unafraid.

 

  1. If you could name just one lipstick after a book, what would you call it and what shade would it be? 

I’d create Daisy Nude from Daisy Jones & the Six.

 

  1. Current #TBR pile?

 The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali

Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

The Floating Feldmans by Elyssa Friedland

 

  1. Best advice you’ve ever received?

Don’t worry too much about striving for perfection – good enough is good enough.

 

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