The Vacationers by Emma Straub

The VacationersEmma Straub

As I have mentioned in previous posts we are in “beach-read” season!  I had heard so many amazing things about The Vacationers by Emma Straub and was thrilled to receive a copy from Riverhead Books!  What can I say other than that it met all my expectations and more.  I love books that transport you to an exotic location and this did not disappoint as I felt like I personally took a two-week trip to Mallorca.  Pack your bags blissful readers, this is one perfect, beach, page-turner!

The Post family is about to embark on a two-week trip to Mallorca, Spain, a beautiful beach destination.  Like all families the Post’s are dealing with a few family issues that may interfere with their trip.  Jim Post just left his job at Gallant magazine due to some guilty pleasures with a young co-worker and his wife Franny is fully aware of this.  Franny organized this trip and as the matriarch will not let “that” ruin her trip, she just takes every spare moment to let Jim know he’s not off the hook.  Their younger daughter Sylvia just finished high school and college is on the horizon so she decides she wants to make this trip memorable and hopefully lose her virginity.  Bobby Post and his girlfriend Carmen as well as family friends Charles and Lawrence meet the others in Spain filling up this beautiful vacation home with laughter, drama and love.  A Spanish adonis and former tennis star are added into the mix and show up just at the right time for the Post family.  From finance and commitment issues to young love and parenthood everyone has their share of problems and Straub, so perfectly orchestrates the realities of many families.

I loved this book.  I loved the family dynamic and the complexities that are depicted within each character and the family as a whole.  I was taken back to a few of my family vacations and the stories that we can laugh at now.  The Vacationers is one not to be missed.  It goes way beyond the beach this book has heart and soul.  This is my fifth “Blissful Beach Bag” pick and is perfectly paired with a lovely sangria and sand or sun!

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The Wrong Man by Kate White

The Wrong ManKate White

Happy 4th!  I am starting my July reviews with a fabulous thriller.  I am a huge fan of Kate White’s and count the Bailey Weggin’s series in my top favorite books!  I knew that her newest book, The Wrong Man was going to be just as amazing plus there was something special about this book as there was going to be a character named after my daughter in it.  Yes, there was going to be a Chloe in the book!  Rewind.  We entered a contest last summer where Kate had requested readers to pose with her then novel, Eyes on You.  I sent a picture of Chloe with her detective hat and spectacles and we WON!  I was thrilled.  So reading throughout the book I was awaiting seeing her name pop up and it did, in a clever little way 🙂 Thanks Kate.  Like all of White’s books she leaves the most addictive cliff hangers at the conclusion of each chapter thus making the reader fly through this book.  I was so happy to read and review a mystery again.  It’s been awhile but they are oh so good.

The Wrong Man starts off with its main character Kit traveling for business in Florida.  Wanting a change of pace in this moment of life she decides she is going to do something spontaneous and fun.  She meets Matt Healy, also on business, who is mysterious, charming, the full package.  After a romantic dinner they both go back to the hotel and things develop from there.  They both have the mindset “no strings attached” and decide the next morning it was a great night and let’s leave it at that.  Kit is ok with this although there is a part of her that is drawn to Matt and wishes she could see him again.  She leaves Florida and heads back to New York but not before she gets call from Matt wanting to meet-up in NYC.  They decide the meet for dinner and Matt gives her all the details including where he lives.  Kit heads over there to meet him only to find out the man who lives there is not the man she had a fling with but yet his name is Matt Healy.  Let the mystery begin.

The Wrong Man is a thriller of deceit and murder.  From sunny Florida to gritty NYC, White takes you on ride filled with hairpin twists and turns questioning who can you really trust?  The spiderweb of characters and lies will have you hooked from the first page as in typical White fashion.  Whether this is your first or fifth novel of White’s she does not disappoint!  Without a question this is my fourth “Blissful Beach Bag” pick! Let’s keep our fingers crossed she is working on a Weggin’s mystery, I need a little Bailey in my life.

Miss Chloe in her winning picture as well as the new book.

The winning photo from 20142015 Winner

*The Wrong Man was sent to Bliss Beauty and Books for review purposes.

Those Secrets We Keep by Emily Liebert PLUS Emily’s “Beauty Secrets”

TSWK and IT products

I discovered Emily Liebert when I first read You Knew Me When which had me hooked from the first page. This is something I now find true of all her novels.  When I heard she had a new book coming out I knew I had to review plus I found out she was partnering up with It Cosmetics so it was a win-win, I mean I am blogging all things beauty and books here.  I was lucky enough to have to opportunity to not only receive an advance copy of her book but get the chance to ask Emily herself what her “Beauty Secrets” and “Author Beauty Bag” must-haves are !  I am over celeb make-up tips 🙂  Let’s learn what these stunning authors do to stay gorgeous!

those-secrets-we-keep

In her newest novel, Those Secrets We Keep,  Liebert centers around 3 women- Sloane, Hillary and Georgina.  Each battling their own secrets they all decide to take a girls getaway to Lake George.  Sloane who is struggling in her marriage, decides a little time away from home is just what she needs.  Hillary, a close friend of Sloane, is at a crossroads in her life where she is wondering if she is cut out for motherhood.  And then there is Georgina who is a free spirit and ready to bring the fun to Lake George but yet running from something bigger than herself.  What starts out as a way for all of them to unwind turns into a visit with a past love for Sloane which begins all kinds of problems that began so many visits ago.  What they all thought they could leave behind follows each of them leading them to rely on one another.

Those Secrets We Keep is my second pick for my “Blissful Beach Bag” picks!  It is the perfect summer read and a must for your beach bag.  Liebert once again depicts the bonds between woman and the value of true friends.  Her voice is so distinct throughout all of her novels which makes her feel like an old friend herself.  It is clear she knows the ingredients to create a sold sisterhood.  This book had twists to keep the reader guessing page by page, I did not want to put it down.  Besides the ebbs and flow of friendships, Liebert brings marriage and the importance of communication between one another.  She shows you that once these lines are blocked we all are susceptible to keeping secrets.  Liebert is a strong female author and her books are not to be missed.  I can’t wait for her next novel and hope to meet her on her next tour if she stops in Boston!

* Bonus:  Emily is sending her readers an amazing gift once you purchase the book.  As mentioned before she has partnered up with It Cosmetics. If you order “Those Secrets We Keep”, Facebook message her your receipt and she will mail you a fabulous make-up bag with a few amazing eye products!  Visit and ‘LIKE’ her page here!

Emily Liebert

Emily’s Top 5 Beauty “Secrets”

 

  • At least eight hours of sleep. I swear by it. My husband makes fun of me for going to bed so early, but I never have dark circles under my eyes!
  • Pure Barre. It’s a mixture of yoga, Pilates, and ballet. I was hooked after my first class. About a year later I became a teacher! It makes me physically toned and strong, which helps me feel beautiful.
  • Tinted moisturizer. My makeup artist Emily Rosnick introduced me to it. She said to never leave home without applying a thin layer. It evens out your complexion and affords you a hint color.
  • Tan Towels. One of my closest friends recommended these to me. They’re easy-application towelettes that produce a streak-free, sunless tan within hours. The result is glowing skin that looks natural.
  • Tweezerman’s Point Tweezer. This is my go-to instrument. I kid you not, I’ve performed small “surgeries” with these. (They’re amazing for extracting splinters) I’m also a bit eyebrow obsessed. I like to get every last microscopic hair. But do use them at your own risk. They’re sharp!

Author on Tour: Make-up Bag Musts

 

When I’m on book tour and can’t always stick to my exercise routine or get at least eight hours of sleep, it’s important to have my beauty arsenal close at hand. In order to ensure that I’m event and camera ready, these are my must-haves in the way of skincare and makeup:

Skincare

 

  • SkinMedica Facial Cleanser
  • SkinMedica TNS Essential Serum
  • SkinMedica TNS Eye Repair
  • SkinMedica Ultimate Daily Moisturizer (for daytime, with SPF 20!)
  • SkinMedica TNS Ceramide Treatment Cream (for nighttime)

Makeup

 

  • Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer
  • Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer
  • Chantecaille Future Skin Foundation
  • Chanel Correcteur Perfection Concealer
  • Smashbox Hydrating Perfecting Powder
  • Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess Bronzer
  • Nars blush and eye shadow
  • Laura Mercier eyeliner
  • Great Lash “Blackest Black” Mascara

*Those Secrets We Keep was sent to Bliss, Beauty and Books for review purposes.

The Knockoff by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza #teamImogen

The Knockoff

I just finished The Knockoff by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza and I DID. NOT. WANT. IT. TO. END! 😦  It was the exact thing I needed since The Devil Wears Prada!  Please oh please let there be a sequel!  This was another debut novel for me and I was so, completely in love with this book!  The plot, the characters and the fashion will have you flipping the pages at lightening speed.  This book also marks the first in my “Blissful Beach Bag” picks!

The story centers around Imogen who is the head of Glossy magazine, a fabulous high fashion magazine in New york City.  Imogen is returning back to work after leaving on medical leave due to cancer.  Upon her return her former assistant Eve is at the forefront, ready to take Glossy into the digital and tech age.  Imogen, open to the possibility and change for the magazine, is taken aback by Eve and the woman she has become.  Eve who was her perky, fun assistant is now a snarky, condescending, “B-School” grad who is heading up the digital change for the magazine.  A seasoned fashion and magazine professional, Imogen is thrown into the world of Tweets and Facebook posts, something she doesn’t really know much about.  This is exactly the achilles heel Eve is looking for.  Imogen looks like the novice as Eve takes the lead and turns Glossy into a fashion and magazine nightmare.  Luckily for Imogen, her years of the fashion world come to her rescue when she needs them most.

Sykes and Piazza take you into a world of tech and fashion- two things that are always on the rise.  I loved Imogen from the start and was #teamImogen the whole way through.  I love books that have a heroine at the center who you are cheering for at every word.  I also loved the theme of career and family and creating balance, something most woman deal with.  It is not easy but at the end of the day you do what is best for you and your family and right there you are successful.  I am hoping either for a sequel to this book or promise that Sykes and Piazza will team up again.  They are the perfect duo to kick off beach season and my “Blissful Beach Bag” picks!  Happy BEACH reading!

Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza

*The Knockoff was sent to Bliss, Beauty and Books for review purposes.