Open Book with Caroline Kepnes

Continuing with my love for the hometown gals today with the one and only Caroline Kepnes!!!!  Dream. Come. True.  Kepnes, born in Cape Cod now living in Cali, latest book Providence is out now!  Currently making like every summer must- read list and best of 2018 books list, continues with her creepy and dark vibe but also intertwines a love story throughout.  You may remember her debut stunner, You, which was praised by none other than thriller master Stephen King.  You was adapted for television and will be premiering in September on Lifetime.  I am so THRILLED, pun intended, that she is my latest Open Book, sharing her love for the New York Housewives, lattes and Judy Blume ❤

Jacket_PROVIDENCE

via Amazon ~

“A dark beauty of a book, Providence kept me up at night with characters that made my heart a little bigger.”—Jessica Knoll, New York Times bestselling author of Luckiest Girl Alive

“Part love story, part supernatural thriller and completely engrossing” (People)—from the acclaimed author of You, whose work Stephen King describes as “hypnotic and totally original”

Best friends in small-town New Hampshire, Jon and Chloe share a bond so intense that it borders on the mystical. But before Jon can declare his love for his soul mate, he is kidnapped, his plans for a normal life permanently dashed.

Four years later, Chloe has finally given up hope of ever seeing Jon again. Then, a few months before graduation, Jon reappears. But he is different now: bigger, stronger, and with no memory of the time he was gone. Jon wants to pick up where he and Chloe left off . . . until the horrifying instant he realizes that he possesses strange powers that pose a grave threat to everyone he cares for. Afraid of hurting Chloe, Jon runs away, embarking on a journey for answers.

Meanwhile, in Providence, Rhode Island, healthy college students and townies with no connection to one another are suddenly, inexplicably dropping dead. A troubled detective prone to unexplainable hunches, Charles “Eggs” DeBenedictus suspects there’s a serial killer at work. But when he starts asking questions, Eggs is plunged into a whodunit worthy of his most outlandish obsessions.

In this dazzling new novel—and with an intense, mesmerizing voice—Caroline Kepnes makes keen and powerful observations about human connection and how love and identity can dangerously blur together.

Praise for Providence

Providence is a novel that doesn’t fit into one box—it’s tender and dark, eerie and cool, heartbreaking but also an affirmation of the power of love. Kepnes perfectly captures each character’s struggle and pain in such a unique, unconventional way that every page—every sentence—is a delightful surprise.”—Sara Shepard, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Pretty Little Liars

“Caroline Kepnes is cool right this minute. . . . [Providence is] terrifically conceived and executed. . . . Kepnes has an exhilarating, poppy, unexpected voice.”The New York Times Book Review

“An addictive horror-tinged romance that’ll keep you guessing.”Entertainment Weekly

Caroline Kepnes_credit Courtney Dowling Pugliese_Ace Photography

 

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

 I’m gonna go with all dead because the impossibility of the lively conversation is bittersweet to me. Joan Rivers, Spalding Grey and Patricia Highsmith.

  1. Current binge series?

 I just started Succession because my friend told me about a violent moment involving a can of Ocean Spray cranberry sauce.

  1. Last favorite book?

 Fashion Victim by Amina Akhtar, what a unique, biting out-there and in-there book.

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

 Bathing suit, sneakers & books, Martha’s Vineyard in summer OR snow suit, sneakers & books, Sweden in winter.

  1. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

 Sunday NYT because more and more I don’t recognize so many people in US Weekly!

  1. Last person you sent a text message to?

 Kristina Valentine, friend from home, we just realized we are both here.

  1. Book you read that you wished you wrote?

 Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret.

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

 Mick Carlon, Kathleen Flaherty and Ed O’Toole at Barnstable High School, Meredith Steinbach, Chuck Mee, Tracy Breton at Brown University.

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

 Sometimes. With Providence it was a lot of covers and originals because I was writing about nostalgia, capturing that period between the time in your life when it’s all ahead, and that time when you’re like oh, ok, this is how it worked out. With the draft I just finished, I blasted “Between the Cheats” by Amy Winehouse after most sessions. That’s a haunting, menacing song.

  1. Describe your writing space?

 My sofa is named Corky and my lower back wishes that I would sit at my desk in the ergonomic chair, but you know, such is life. I also write in coffee shops with headphones on. There’s nothing better than realizing you have lost sense of your surroundings because you’re so in the zone. I can write anywhere when it’s in my head. That’s a wonderful thing about the cell phone, the notepad app.

  1. Coffee or tea?

 Latte

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

 Stewart O’Nan’s Last Night at the Lobster

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

 I think it would be a great time to remake “Smooth Talk”, which is based on “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been” by Joyce Carol Oates. And I would love to see “The Beloveds” by Maureen Lindley brought to life. Kealan Patrick Burke has a graphic short story in John Carpenter’s Tales for a Halloween Night Volume 3 that is crying out to be adapted too, a divorced father spending time with his daughters, oh God, that could be so well done. I mean the storyboards are already there!

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

 “Nothing Compares 2 U” because of the longing, the love, the soul, the yearning, the soaring, the emotional highs and lows that define my life and what writing is for me.

  1. What/Who inspires you?

 Everything. I’m fascinated by the cultural and psychological impact of technology on our lives, so you seey characters grappling with their emotional hardships that are exacerbated by all this communication and connection.

  1. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

 I watched this week’s episode of Real Housewives of New York four times, so that’s my jam. The women on that show fascinate me and it’s been on for so many years, they’re like family you watch from afar.

  1. Favorite Instagram account?

 @PopCultureDiedin2009 THANK YOU FOR ALL THE GIGGLES AND MIND FUCKS

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

Sleeping Beauties, a glowing, incandescent shade reminiscent of the dress worn by Barbie Magic Moves in the 80s

  1. Current #TBR pile?

 Now reading (and savoring) Foe by Iain Reid, then Our Kind of Cruelty by Araminta Hall, How to Get Into Our House and Where We Keep the Money by Panio Gianopolous, Hunting Annabelle by Wendy Heard, The People We Hate at the Wedding by Grant Ginder, The Hunger by Whitley Strieber, The Goddesses by Swan Huntley

  1. Best advice you’ve ever received?

Hold onto your real feelings while you make stuff up

 

 

you-9781982103101_hr

via Amazon ~

*Soon to be a Lifetime drama series*

Hypnotic and scary.” —Stephen King

“I am RIVETED, AGHAST, AROUSED, you name it. The rare instance when prose and plot are equally delicious.” —Lena Dunham

From debut author Caroline Kepnes comes You, one of Suspense Magazine’s Best Books of 2014, and a brilliant and terrifying novel for the social media age.

When a beautiful, aspiring writer strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe Goldberg works, he does what anyone would do: he Googles the name on her credit card.

There is only one Guinevere Beck in New York City. She has a public Facebook account and Tweets incessantly, telling Joe everything he needs to know: she is simply Beck to her friends, she went to Brown University, she lives on Bank Street, and she’ll be at a bar in Brooklyn tonight—the perfect place for a “chance” meeting.

As Joe invisibly and obsessively takes control of Beck’s life, he orchestrates a series of events to ensure Beck finds herself in his waiting arms. Moving from stalker to boyfriend, Joe transforms himself into Beck’s perfect man, all while quietly removing the obstacles that stand in their way—even if it means murder.

A terrifying exploration of how vulnerable we all are to stalking and manipulation, debut author Caroline Kepnes delivers a razor-sharp novel for our hyper-connected digital age. You is a compulsively readable page-turner that’s being compared to Gone Girl, American Psycho, and Stephen King’s Misery.

 

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What’s in my Bookish {Beauty} Bag? ~ Amy Mason Doan

I am so thrilled to have Amy Mason Doan share her fabulous tote filled with some of my favorite things!  Her debut novel, The Summer List, is what beach reads are made after.  Friendship, secrets and a scavenger hunt are all perfect ingredients into this must-read for the sun and sand.  Read below for more about the book and Amy’s beauty musts ❤

THE SUMMER LIST.cover

via Amazon ~

In the tradition of Judy Blume’s Summer Sisters, The Summer List is a tender yet tantalizing novel about two friends, the summer night they fell apart, and the scavenger hunt that reunites them decades later—until the clues expose a breathtaking secret that just might shatter them once and for all.

Laura and Casey were once inseparable: as they floated on their backs in the sunlit lake, as they dreamed about the future under starry skies, and as they teamed up for the wild scavenger hunts in their small California lakeside town. Until one summer night, when a shocking betrayal sent Laura running through the pines, down the dock, and into a new life, leaving Casey and a first love in her wake.

But the past is impossible to escape, and now, after seventeen years away, Laura is pulled home and into a reunion with Casey she can’t resist—one last scavenger hunt. With a twist: this time, the list of clues leads to the settings of their most cherished summer memories. From glistening Jade Cove to the vintage skating rink, each step they take becomes a bittersweet reminder of the friendship they once shared. But just as the game brings Laura and Casey back together, the clues unravel a stunning secret that threatens to tear them apart…

Mesmerizing and unforgettable, Amy Mason Doan’s The Summer List is about losing and recapturing the person who understands you best—and the unbreakable bonds of girlhood.

Doan bag

What is your bag of choice?- purse/tote/backpack and brand that you have?

 This handmade purse from my favorite Portland designer & retailer, Radish. I’ve had it for at least three years. I love the unique shape, plus it’s comfortable on my shoulder and holds everything. The other side has a little pocket with blue detail that’s the perfect size for my phone.

 

 

What are your top favorite beauty picks?

Urban Decay lipstick in Mosh Pit (a little goes a loooong way so I use a lip brush), Urban Decay tinted eyebrow tamer, L’Oreal Voluminous mascara in Carbon Black, Glycolix 20 percent Glycolic Acid toner, Tarte Double-Duty palettes.

  

What do you always carry in your bag/purse/carry-on for beauty products?

Solid perfume in coconut or lavender. I use it for stress relief! A little bit on the wrist relaxes me. And I always have a heavy lanolin hand lotion and lip balm.

 

What are you currently reading (can be books/magazines)?

OTHER PEOPLE’S HOUSES by Abbi Waxman. I loved her first book, THE GARDEN OF SMALL BEGINNINGS, and her latest is just as funny & sharp. At a recent book club event in San Diego I was on a summer reading panel with Abbi, and she was as witty as her writing voice.

 

And any other fun item/must-have that you always have with you?

Fruit rolls and almonds. I have a 12-year-old daughter who’s growing about an inch a night and is hungry 90 percent of the time, so I carry snacks for her just like I did when she was tiny.

Headshots + Profile Imagery by Sash Photography

 

Follow Amy:

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*Thank you to Graydon House for a copy for review and Kathleen Carter Communications for facilitating the interview.

Open Book with Amber Brock

Today I am absolutely judging a book by its cover.  I mean, how can I not?  Amber Brock’s latest, Lady Be Good is out and all you will need is a look at this poolside cover and be sold.  This cover screams glamorous summer read.  If you are looking for 1950’s glitz and glamour from Miami to Cuba then this is the book.  I am thrilled to have Amber as my latest “Open Book”!  We are talking all things from books to beauty to the Muppets 🙂  P.S. Her book to lipstick name may go down in history as one of the best ❤

Lady Be Good

via Amazon ~

Set in the 1950s, Lady Be Good marks Amber Brock’s mesmerizing return, sweeping readers into the world of the mischievous, status-obsessed daughter of a hotel magnate and the electric nightlife of three iconic cities: New York, Miami, and Havana.

Kitty Tessler is the winsome and clever only child of self-made hotel and nightclub tycoon Nicolas Tessler. Kitty may not have the same pedigree as the tennis club set she admires, but she still sees herself as every inch the socialite–spending her days perfecting her “look” and her nights charming all the blue-blooded boys who frequent her father’s clubs. It seems like the fun will never end until Kitty’s father issues a terrible ultimatum: she may no longer date the idle rich. Instead, Kitty must marry Andre, her father’s second-in-command, and take her place as the First Lady of his hotel empire. Kitty is forced to come up with a wily and elaborate plan to protect her own lofty ideas for the future, as well as to save her best friend, Henrietta Bancroft, from a doomed engagement; Kitty will steal Henrietta’s fiancé, a fabulously wealthy but terribly unkind man from a powerful family–thereby delivering the one-two punch of securing her now-fragile place on the social ladder and keeping her friend from a miserable marriage.
Then Kitty meets Max, a member of a band visiting New York from her father’s Miami club, and her plans take a turn. Smitten, but still eager to convince her father of her commitment to Andre, Kitty and Hen follow Max, Andre, and the rest of the band back down to Miami–and later to Cuba. As Kitty spends more time with Max, she begins waking up to the beauty–and the injustice–of the world beyond her small, privileged corner of Manhattan. And when her well-intended yet manipulative efforts backfire, Kitty is forced to reconsider her choices and her future before she loses everyone she loves.

Amber

 

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

Jane Austen, Oscar Wilde, and Stephen Fry. Apparently, I want conversation I can’t keep up with!

2. Current binge series?

Fresh Off the Boat. I’m admittedly late to the game on this one.

3. Last favorite book?

I love the Crazy Rich Asians series by Kevin Kwan, particularly China Rich Girlfriend.

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

Good walking shoes, a guide to historic castles, and my RailPass. I’m going to the UK!

5. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

I read the NYT articles that my beloved coworker sends me, but I definitely pick up US Weekly at the salon.

6. Last person you sent a text message to?

My husband.

7. Book you read that you wished you wrote?

I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb or Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding. Two of my all-time favorites.

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

Mrs. Rutledge, who was my teacher and mentor and is now my friend. I owe her so much, and I’m forever grateful she’s a part of my life.

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

I listen while I’m planning but not while drafting (too distracting). My husband makes me playlists to inspire me—sometimes with era-appropriate music, sometimes to match the tone of whatever I’m working on. The playlists have had everyone from Yo-Yo Ma to Rhianna on them. Like my reading preferences, my tastes in music are eclectic.

10. Describe your writing space?

I have an office with ocean-blue walls and windows that look out on the trees and birds in my backyard.

11. Coffee or tea?

Mostly coffee, but I like a cup of tea on a cold afternoon.

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

I love passing along the Harry Potter series, Sense and Sensibility, and Emma.

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

Until recently, I would have said Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Prachett, but the mini-series is coming soon on Amazon. I got my wish!

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

“Rainbow Connection” (yes, by Kermit the Frog). It’s such a lovely song about the power of dreams and hope, and it’s been a favorite of mine for a long time.

15. What/Who inspires you?

My husband and my mother.

16. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

Not for me. I prefer my drama fictional.

17. Favorite Instagram account?

Chrissy Teigen.

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

I’d call it Sangria and Sensibility, and it would be a deep wine-red. More of a Marianne color than Elinor.

19. Current #TBR pile?

Mostly 10th grade essays. When I finish those, I’m looking forward to getting back to an ARC of Not Our Kind by Kitty Zeldis. I also got myself I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon that’s waiting on my coffee table.

20. Best advice you’ve ever received?

“Wherever you go, there you are.” I take it as a reminder that you bring your baggage with you, so no change of situation will ever be enough to bring joy. Joy has to come from within.

 

Follow Amber:

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What’s in my Bookish {Beauty} Bag? ~ Randy Susan Meyers

One of my favorite books of 2017 is out TODAY in paperback- The Widow of Wall Street by  Randy Susan Myers and it has a gorgeous new cover for its debut.  This one is an absolute must for your beach reading this summer.  It’s got a little love and a little scandal with sprinkle of hope.  I am thrilled to have Randy on the blog today as we celebrate this glittering read and her chicer than chic bag ❤

the-widow-of-wall-street-9781501131363_hr

from Amazon ~
“A provocative tale of loyalty and morality, this novel will introduce you to the scandalous side of New York.”–Buzzfeed
Refinery 29 Pick

PopSugar Pick


New York Post “Must Read Book”


A provocative new novel by international bestselling author Randy Susan Meyers about the seemingly blind love of a wife for her husband as he conquers Wall Street, and her extraordinary, perhaps foolish, loyalty during his precipitous fall.

Phoebe recognizes fire in Jake Pierce’s belly from the moment they meet as teenagers. As he creates a financial dynasty, she trusts him without hesitation–unaware his hunger for success hides a dark talent for deception.

From penthouse to prison, with tragic consequences rippling well beyond Wall Street, Randy Susan Meyers’s latest novel exposes a woman struggling to survive and then redefine her life as her world crumbles.

BuzzFeed “Gossip Girl Vibe”

Molly Sims “Best Summer Reads”

Self Magazine “Best Gifts for Bookworms”

New York Subway’s “New York Stories”

Book Riot “Seven Deadly Sins” Fiction

Parent.co “Moms You’ll Fall in Love With”

BookBub “Complicated Love Stories”

 

bag and makeup rsm 1rsm bag 2

What is your bag of choice? 

My biggest problem? I love too many bags—but my most-used every go-to is a Kate Spade black patent leather cross-body. The exact one isn’t made available anymore, so when it got scuffed, I hunted until I found a brand-new twin on eBay. The new (unscuffed) one I save for special occasions. It’s a perfect size—large enough for essentials, but not big enough to stuff beyond carrying weight.

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What do you always carry in your bag/purse/carry-on for beauty products

For casual, I carry a lipstick that’s easy to apply—usually Revlon’s color stay (the Ultimate Suede shade) because the color lasts, and Clinique’s Woppin’ Watermelon Chubby Stick, cause it’s just the perfect shade of summer pink and I can put it on without a mirror. I carry Shiseido blotting papers (that brand because my husband put a refillable case in my Xmas stocking) for summer forehead wetness. Most important, are individually wrapped La Fresh Travel Lite Make-up Remover Wipes—for those horrid raccoon eye moments. Sephora used to carry a store brand, but they disappeared. These I must buy at Amazon. I always throw one or two in my bag. They save me at events!

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When I’m on fancy outing, I carry whatever shade of lipstick I’m wearing for the evening. Of course, this scatters my lipsticks and ultimately drives me. I tuck in a mini eyeliner pencil to freshen the line (my top choices are Stila for staying power and control and Lancôme for glide), and a combo cheek/lips product, such as Bobbi Brown’s Pot Rouge for Lips and Cheek (which is perfect for double duty. As a top layer for lips, this product provides a great finish.

 

What are you currently reading (can be books/magazines) 

I am generally in the middle of two to four books. The audiobook I’m in the middle of is Meredith Goldstein’s totally engaging Can’t Help Myself: Lessons & Confessions from a Modern Advice Columnist. On my Kindle I have the truly terrifying I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara. My paper book this moment is Roxane Gay’s Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture. I just heard Roxane speak and boy, she is incredible. As a bonus, I’m a beta-reader for Catherine McKenzie’s work-in-progress. Readers are in for a treat. (I loved her last one, The Good Liar.) 

Any other fun item/must-have that you always have with you 

My only absolute must-have is something to read—whether it be via kindle on my phone, a paperback in my bag, or a magazine—I have a terror of being without something to read.

About the Author 

Randy Susan Meyers is the bestselling author of Accidents of Marriage, The Comfort of Lies, The Murderer’s Daughters, and The Widow of Wall Street. Her books have twice been finalists for the Mass Book Award and named “Must Read Books” by the Massachusetts Center for the Book. Her first novel, The Murderer’s Daughters, was the nationwide Target Book Club pick.

She lives with her husband in Boston, where she teaches writing at the Grub Street Writers’ Center. For more visit randysusanmeyers.com.

About The Widow of Wall Street 

Phoebe sees the fire in Jake Pierce’s belly from the moment they meet as teenagers in Brooklyn. Eventually, he creates a financial dynasty and she trusts him without hesitation—unaware his hunger for success hides a dark talent for deception.

From Brooklyn to Greenwich to Manhattan, from penthouse to prison, with tragic consequences rippling well beyond Wall Street, The Widow of Wall Street exposes a woman struggling to redefine her life and marriage as everything she thought she knew crumbles around her.

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Follow Randy:

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*Thanks to Get Red PR and the publisher for a copy of the book and facilitating this interview.

Open Bag with Anita Hughes

We have a mix up today.  A little bit Open Book and a little bit Bookish {Beauty} Bag with Anita Hughes.  I am a HUGE fan of Anita’s and thrilled to be able to celebrate her latest release, California Summer.  If you are familiar with her works then you know she has a way of transporting her readers to the glamorous locations that her books take place.  These settings often are their own character within the story and her latest is set against the beautiful backdrop of California.  She is the queen of beach reads and I am thrilled she is on the blog today ❤

California Summer_cover image

via Amazon ~

“The perfect beach read!” ―Mary Alice Monroe, New York Times bestselling author of Beach House Reunion.

“Tender and triumphant…California Summer made my heart sing. ―Allison Winn Scotch, New York Times bestselling author of Between Me and You

Anita Hughes’s California Summer is a charming and beautiful love story about a former Hollywood producer who trades her cast list in for cookbooks in the hopes of following her dreams and finding new love.

Ben and Rosie are Hollywood’s newest director/producer dream team. After hitting it big at Sundance, it seems that their ten years of love and hard work are finally paying off. Rosie is happy making independent films, but Ben wants the A-List celebrity package: a house in Beverly Hills, fancy cars in the driveway, and his name on the biggest blockbusters. He’s willing to do anything, even sleep with the most famous producer in town, to get them.

Rosie is devastated by Ben’s affair, and she decides to take a break from show business. She accepts her best friend’s invitation to spend the summer at her parents’ estate in Montecito. It’s far away from L.A., the perfect place to start over.

In Montecito, Rosie meets a colorful cast of characters including Rachel, who owns a chocolate shop, and Josh, a handsome local who splits his time between surfing and classic cars. Suddenly Rosie has new friends and a new purpose. She starts a business in the village, and her luck seems to be turning around. But Rosie knows all too well that success comes with a price, and the price might be losing love…again.

California Summer is a touching and romantic story about following your dreams but not letting them get in the way of love.

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What three celebrities/authors/figures- living or dead, would you want to have a bookclub with? Rona Jaffe, Edith Wharton, and Maeve Binchy – three of my favorite authors of all time.

Current binge series? Reruns of the OC.

Last favorite book? The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

What 3 things to you pack in your bag for your dream vacation?  Lip balm, a sun hat and a book.

Sunday NYT or US Weekly? Sunday NYT’s!

Last person you sent a text message to? My daughter.

Book you read that you wished you wrote? Bridget Jones’ Diary.

Do you have a teacher who encouraged you to become a writer? Not really.

Do you listen to music while you write? If so, who? No, it has to be quiet.

Describe your writing space? The love seat in my bedroom, looking at the bunnies in the garden.

Coffee or tea? Coffee.

Do you have a favorite book that you gift? Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger.

What/Who inspires you? My children.

Bravo reality TV- yes or no? No.

Favorite Instagram account? None.

Current #TBR pile? Another Side of Paradise by Sally Koslow.

What is your bag of choice?- purse/tote/backpack and brand that you have? Anything from Kate Spade.

What are your top favorite beauty picks?  Bare Minerals Bronzer, Chanel lip gloss.

What do you always carry in your bag/purse/carry-on for beauty products?  Lip balm.

What are you currently reading (can be books/magazines) Small Admission by Amy Poeppel.

 

Hughes, Anita_CREDIT Sheri Geoffreys

 

Follow Anita:

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Open Book with Michelle Gable

I have been a huge an of Michelle Gable’s since I first read, I’ll See You in Paris.  She has a way with her storytelling that transports you.  I was thrilled to hear that she was going to be writing about John F. Kennedy in her latest, The Summer I Met Jack.  I am a Kennedy enthusiast and always love a story that I do not know much about cue this book and the quintessential New England summer read.  I am so excited to have Michelle back on the blog to day in my latest “Open Book” feature and if you like Flashdance then you will LOVE Michelle- see below ❤

SUMMER I MET JACK_FINAL

via Amazon ~

“[The Summer I Met Jack] offers an alternate Kennedy family history that will leave readers wondering whether America knew the real JFK at all.” —Kirkus Reviews

New York Times bestselling author imagines the affair between John F. Kennedy and Alicia Corning Clark – and the child they may have had.

Based on a real story – in 1950, a young, beautiful Polish refugee arrives in Hyannisport, Massachusetts to work as a maid for one of the wealthiest families in America. Alicia is at once dazzled by the large and charismatic family, in particular the oldest son, a rising politician named Jack.

Alicia and Jack are soon engaged, but his domineering father forbids the marriage. And so, Alicia trades Hyannisport for Hollywood, and eventually Rome. She dates famous actors and athletes and royalty, including Gary Cooper, Kirk Douglas, and Katharine Hepburn, all the while staying close with Jack. A decade after they meet, on the eve of Jack’s inauguration as the thirty-fifth President of the United States, the two must confront what they mean to each other.

The Summer I Met Jack by Michelle Gable is based on the fascinating real life of Alicia Corning Clark, a woman who J. Edgar Hoover insisted was paid by the Kennedys to keep quiet, not only about her romance with Jack Kennedy, but also a baby they may have had together.

 

Michelle 278_credit Joanna DeGeneres

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

JFK, Tim Ferriss, and Oprah. A dream book club could never be complete without her!

2. Current binge series?

I’m not really a binger, but the most recent series I watched was the One Day at a Time reboot.

3. Last favorite book?

Love and Ruin by Paula McLain

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

Bikini, linen dress, and a book. Two places I’ve been dying to see are Portugal and Isla Holbox in Mexico.  

5. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

Neither. People Magazine and/or Entertainment Weekly. 

6. Last person you sent a text message to?

My good friend and doubles partner, Erin.  

7. Book you read that you wished you wrote?

Gloria by Keith Maillard

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

I was an accounting major (you know, like most aspiring authors), but took creative writing classes as electives. One professor said I was “selling out” by going into finance. I was like, “if by ‘selling out’ you mean, ‘pay my rent,’ then you are correct.” Maybe that’s not encouragement, exactly? When I was younger, the support definitely came from my dad.

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

Never.   

10. Describe your writing space?

We recently turned our daughters’ former playroom into my office and it’s a great space. It’s at the top of the stairs, with a sliding barn door and windows that open onto the stairwell. It is gray with pops of blue and has white built-in cabinets and dark walnut floors lied diagonally. The desk is huge and there are three distinct work spaces, so my girls can do their homework with me, if they want.

11. Coffee or tea?

Coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon.

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

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed

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

Amazon made a pilot for The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer and I loved it. I kept waiting for the rest of the series, but it never came. I wish they’d finish!

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

This is embarrassing but the first song that popped into my head was What a Feeling by Irene Cara from the movie Flashdance. It reminds me so much of my childhood and I sing it to the girls all the time. I love the lines “Take your passion, and make it happen…” I was trying to convince my youngest daughter to use it for her “walk up” song this summer at the national playoffs for softball, but she was unmoved by my pleas.

 15. What/Who inspires you?

Other writers inspire me for sure—whether they write novels, or scripts, or something else. If I’m stuck, reading something always helps.

 16. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

No—although I do like Bethenny Frankel.  

17. Favorite Instagram account?

That’s a tough one! Probably @celestebarber or @travelandleisure

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

I recently read and loved Rust & Stardust by T. Greenwood. It comes out in August and is about the true story that inspired Nabokov’s Lolita. I’m sure there are many shades of “Lolita” out there already, so I’d call it “Sally” after Sally Horner, the real girl behind the book. It’d either have to be very light pink, to reflect her innocence, or a garish, glittery fuchsia, something a young girl would think was pretty just because it was so loud.

19. Current #TBR pile?

The House of Impossible Beauties by Joseph Cassara

A Theory of Love by Margaret Bradham Thornton

I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon

The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian

 20. Best advice you’ve ever received?

“If it’s not a ‘hell yes,’ then it’s a ‘no.’” This helps me prioritize and reminds me not to say yes to things out of obligation, especially when I’m on deadline, or about to go on tour!

 

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Open Book with Katherine Center

How to Walk Away by Katherine Center is an absolute must for your beach bag this summer.  With a Starred review and praise from Emily Giffin and Elinor Lipman, Center has written the perfect companion to your crisp glass of Rose’.  I was thrilled when she sat down to chat and shared her current reads, love for coffee and Tina Fey .gif’s 😉

How to Walk Away_Cover

via Amazon ~

From the author of Happiness for Beginners comes an unforgettable love story about finding joy even in the darkest of circumstances.

Margaret Jacobsen is just about to step into the bright future she’s worked for so hard and so long: a new dream job, a fiancé she adores, 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 a brief, tumultuous moment.

In the hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Maggie must confront the unthinkable. First there is her fiancé, Chip, who wallows in self-pity while simultaneously expecting to be forgiven. Then, there’s her sister Kit, who shows up after pulling a three-year vanishing act. Finally, there’s Ian, her physical therapist, the one the nurses said was too tough for her. Ian, who won’t let her give in to her pity, and who sees her like no one has seen her before. Sometimes the last thing you want is the one thing you need. Sometimes we all need someone to catch us when we fall. And sometimes love can find us in the least likely place we would ever expect.

How to Walk Away is Katherine Center at her very best―a masterpiece of a novel that is both hopeful and hilarious; truthful and wise; tender and brave.

Katherine Center_Author Photo

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

I’ve been bingeing on Carrie Fisher’s audiobooks (all the memoirs: The Princess Diarist, Wishful Drinking, and Shockaholic), and now I feel like now we are best friends, so she’s first on my list. Next, I’d say Meryl Streep, because she’s Meryl Streep—and a Vassar girl, like myself, though I suspect that means more to me than it does to her. And then, of course, for all obvious, fabulous reasons: Oprah.

 

2. Current binge series?

 I just finished a BBC TV series called The Halcyon, which was divine—set in a fancy-as-a-castle hotel in London during WWII and profiling the lives of the aristocratic owners and the staff of the hotel. Totally luxe sets and costumes and yummy romance and intrigue and blitz-related drama. They had storylines planned for every year of the war, but it just got canceled. Actually, they didn’t know they were being canceled when they filmed the last episode, so it ended on a cliffhanger. Unsatisfying, but worth it overall. I’ll just write a fan-fiction ending in my head . . . .

3. Last favorite book?

I read Everything, Everything on my daughter’s recommendation and absolutely loved it. Devoured it in a day.

 

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

Books, notebooks, and a fuzzy robe. And I’d go somewhere chilly and cozy with cobblestone streets and fairy tale architecture. My mom’s family is from Germany and Ireland, and I’ve never been to either. Denmark’s on the list. So’s Iceland. Also, I want to see the Fjords. And the little town of Giethoorn in the Netherlands that they call “the Venice of the North,” where you can only get around in charming little boats.

 

5. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

A little bit of both, I’d say. I’m a hybrid.

 

6. Last person you sent a text message to?

My daughter. With a .gif of Tina Fey doing finger-guns.

 

7. Book you read that you wished you wrote?

Liane Moriarty’s The Husband’s Secret. I don’t get that feeling too often, but I had it in a big way with that one. It was the first book of hers I’d read, and I just admired so much the way she got inside—and dramatized—her character’s thoughts. They felt utterly real, totally 3D, and I felt for those people so much. It was like I became them, all of them at once, in this magical feat of empathy and imagination. So many articulated moments of insight about the human condition. Just a rich, satisfying, heart-expanding read.

 

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

Many! I was lucky. Almost every english teacher I ever had encouraged me in some way. My sixth grade english teacher, Mrs. Paulus, sent me a note in the summer saying she knew I was going to grow up to be a writer. My 11th grade history teacher, Dr. Zammito, predicted my future career with total confidence. And my beloved Vassar professor Beverly Coyle once told me, “I can count on one finger the students I’ve had who can write like you.” 

 

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

I never listen to music when I write, and it’s mostly because I feel like the words have their own rhythm, and I don’t want anything pushing against that. The writing process is very auditory for me. I hear a voice talking in my head—the narrator. Then I write down what the voice is saying and shape it as I go. I have to hear it all, both as the words are coming and after they reach the page. 

 

10. Describe your writing space?

The bathtub! And the bed. Actually, I’ll write anywhere in my house. Any soft place I can curl up with a fuzzy blanket and my laptop or manuscript (no laptop in the tub, of course). I don’t have an office, though I tried it once. We set up a little area in our attic as my office, but I never went up there. It felt too far away from everything. Writing’s lonely enough as it is.  

 

11. Coffee or tea?

Oh, God, coffee! I brew cups of it constantly when I’mwriting, and I don’t even drink them all. I justlike the idea of them. The sound of the percolator, the buttery brown color, the warmth, the aroma—even just the scent of dry grounds in the bag.  

 

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

I’m most likely to match books to people, so I’m eclectic with book gifting—but I have definitely given Tina Fey’s Bossypants to many people.

 

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

I’d like to see them turn more romance novels into movies. The world is sadly devoid of romance these days. Every now and then, the BBC remakes a Jane Austen, but there are lots of great love stories out there that would make delicious, swoon-worthy movies. I’d love to see Lisa Kleypas’s Wallflowers series as movies.

 

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

Sheesh. This is tough. I could name fifty right now, and tomorrow I’d pick something different. But today, right now, I pick the Beatles’ “I Will,” which is both sad and catchy, both mournful and hopeful, and full of both love and loss. All that rich bittersweetness wrapped up in the chocolate-y smoothness of Paul McCartney’s divine voice. With harmonies.  

 

15. What/Who inspires you?

I am genuinely, viscerally inspired when I get to see the best in people.  Kindness, courage, nurturing, self-sacrifice. I love stories about how we overcome hardship and how we take care of each other. I love people who do the right thing, even when it would be easier to do the opposite. I love people who laugh a lot, and find ways to stay hopeful, and savor any joy that comes along.

 

16. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

Can I answer “sometimes”? I’ve definitely gotten hooked on various shows in the past—Top Chef, Project Runway, Queer Eye—But I’m probably more of an HGTV person at this point. I like shows about people making things, renovating things, and improving things. I love to watch the creative process in action. I recently got hooked on a show called Stone House Revival about a carpenter who renovates revolutionary-war era farmhouses in Pennsylvania—exposing beams, and stone walls, and giant old cooking hearths. So fun to see those farmhouses come back to life! Delicious.

 

17. Favorite Instagram account?

There’s a great one called Words of Women that features great quotes and snippets of wisdom.

 

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

Pride & Prejudice.

And it would be the color you’d get if you crushed a raspberry into a chocolate bar.

19. Current #TBR pile?

I always have a big stack of books eyeballing me from the bedside table.  I’m a glacially slow reader—I have to hear the words in my head like talking—so it’s a very slow rotation. Here’s the current stack.

Tell Me Three Things—Julie Buxbaum

The Year of Yes—Shonda Rhimes

The Inn at Lake Divine—Elinor Lipman

The Light We Lost—Jill Santopolo

Cinder—Marissa Meyer

The Morning Gift—Eva Ibbotson

and The DaVinci Code, because I’ve never read it.

 

20. Best advice you’ve ever received?

From my dad, for writing: “Write it. Then go back and take out half the words.” And from my mom, for life: “You just have to assume everything is okay until you have evidence to the contrary.”

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