What’s in my Bookish {Beauty} Bag?~ Labor Day ed. ~ Christina Julian, Jo Piazza and Mary Kubica

Back to school is here and I have some wonderful Labor Day picks today!  I was so lucky to have not only ONE but THREE fabulous authors open up their bags.  I have a little something for everyone ~ romance, mystery, non-fiction, humor- this list is endless with these three fabulous authors.  Read on to see for yourself ❤

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via Amazon ~

A hysterical dramedy about a woman unhinged and at a crossroad. “Julian’s debut takes an unabashed look at a failed marriage, divorce, and dating under the scrutiny of a less than supportive family.” –former San Francisco Chronicle columnist, Adair Lara.

Here I am, on my knees in front of the Trevi Fountain, hoping like hell the legend is true. That the fountain gives you solace and love by a mere toss of a coin.

Why am I here, exactly? Let’s see…

It started with my parents telling me to get married. Of course, being the good Catholic girl I am, I did.

Needless to say, that marriage nosedived, and my parents weren’t exactly happy about it.

Newly ditched and shamefully disowned, I decided to follow the advice of Babs, a tart-of-a-mentor, who offered me a job in Colorado.

Her advice? Sex…and lots of it.

The temptation of freedom, to do whatever–whoever–I wanted was too damn strong for me to say no.

And that’s how it all started. The men, the sex, the journey…

The dating bender.

Because everybody deserves a do-over

THE DATING BENDER is a hilarious satire about dysfunctional family relationships, women who love the wrong men, and one epic hunt for happiness.

PurseShot2.JPGWhat is your bag of choice?

This Kate Spade tote is hands down my fav for many reasons. First off because it’s pink. My day instantly brightens with one look. I also like how open and unencumbered it is. You can toss things in and out with ease, which for someone as indecisive as me, is a major score. But perhaps why I love this bag the most is because it’s something I would never buy for myself and was lucky enough to receive as a gift from my sister-in-law—the ultimate designer purse whore. She showed me how the “other” half lives and I have to admit, I like it!

What are your top beauty picks?

As a mother of 3-yr-old twins my beauty regime has gone right out the window, along with my sanity ;0). Cetaphil face cleaner is an essential, it washes away the day and night without drying. When I do wear makeup, which isn’t often, I turn to Estee Lauder BB cream and MAC studio fix, which both smooth out my skin tone and if I’m lucky, mask my sleep deprivation. I absolutely love Philosophy’s Hope in a Jar face cream. It feels like butter and gives my dry skin the lift it needs, especially during the scorching hot summers we get in Calistoga.

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

I’m not so sure this constitutes a beauty product but I’m never without Bath and Body Works hand sanitizer. It feels like someone is always sporting a cold in our house so this is my feeble attempt at damage control. I also love the fab scents. Neutrogena Face & Body Stick w/SPF 70, because when I am not writing I’m outside chasing the wild ones! When I’m mixing with the outside world, I try to slap on some lipstick, which is always MAC, because it has amazing staying power. My go-to shade is “Up the Amp” because this gal needs all the lift she can get. The pinkish/purple tint speaks to the girly-girl in me that never quits. And wipes, lots and lots of baby wipes.

What are you currently reading? 

I’m reading a couple books right now. Allison Winn Scotch’s In 20 Years and Emma Straub’s Modern Lovers. As a 40-something I love the notion of flashing back to my free-bird 20-something self. A time when my biggest quandries of the day amounted to deciding between which bar to hop to and whose lips I hoped to smash into next. The fact that these novels bounce seamlessly between these eras with humor, nostalgia, and more than a hint of sarcasm, have kept me up reading way past my bedtime.

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

A big honking key fob. The twins have taken to pillaging through my purse and stashing my keys in places that not even they can remember, so this helps with the hunt. As a debut author, I always have Dating Bender cards at the ready and never leave home without my iPad mini, just in case inspiration strikes. Or for when belting out the Beatles no longer settles the wee-ones. Then there’s the candy stash. Typically Dove dark chocolate and sour gummy bears. I wish I could say this is how I tame the tots, but the reality is I need the quick energy fix more than they ever could.

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Fitness Junkie

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via Amazon ~

Fitness Junkie

A Good Morning America Summer Must-Read! 

From the bestselling authors of The Knockoff, an outrageously funny novel about one woman’s attempt—through clay diets, naked yoga, green juice, and cultish workout classes—to win back her career, save her best friend, and lose thirty pounds.

When Janey Sweet, CEO of a couture wedding dress company, is photographed in the front row of a fashion show eating a bruffin—the delicious lovechild of a brioche and a muffin—her best friend and business partner, Beau, gives her an ultimatum: Lose thirty pounds or lose your job. Sure, Janey has gained some weight since her divorce, and no, her beautifully cut trousers don’t fit like they used to, so Janey throws herself headlong into the world of the fitness revolution, signing up for a shockingly expensive workout pass, baring it all for Free the Nipple yoga, sweating through boot camp classes run by Sri Lankan militants and spinning to the screams of a Lycra-clad instructor with rage issues. At a juice shop she meets Jacob, a cute young guy who takes her dumpster-diving outside Whole Foods on their first date. At a shaman’s tea ceremony she meets Hugh, a silver fox who holds her hand through an ayahuasca hallucination And at a secret exercise studio Janey meets Sara Strong, the wildly popular workout guru whose special dance routine has starlets and wealthy women flocking to her for results that seem too good to be true. As Janey eschews delicious carbs, pays thousands of dollars to charlatans, and is harassed by her very own fitness bracelet, she can’t help but wonder: Did she really need to lose weight in the first place? A hilarious send-up of the health and wellness industry, Fitness Junkie is a glorious romp through the absurd landscape of our weight-obsessed culture.

via Amazon ~

How to Be Married

Everyone tells you marriage is hard, but no one tells you what to do about it.

At age thirty-four, Jo Piazza got her romantic-comedy ending when she met the man of her dreams on a boat in the Galápagos Islands and was engaged three months later. But before long, Jo found herself riddled with questions. How do you make a marriage work in a world where you no longer need to be married? How does an independent, strong-willed feminist become someone’s partner—all the time?

In the tradition of writers such as Nora Ephron and Elizabeth Gilbert, award-winning journalist and nationally bestselling author Jo Piazza writes a provocative memoir of a real first year of marriage that will forever change the way we look at matrimony.

A travel editor constantly on the move, Jo journeys to twenty countries on five continents to figure out what modern marriage means. Throughout this stunning, funny, warm, and wise personal narrative, she gleans wisdom from matrilineal tribeswomen, French ladies who lunch, Orthodox Jewish moms, Swedish stay-at-home dads, polygamous warriors, and Dutch prostitutes.

Written with refreshing candor, elegant prose, astute reporting, and hilarious insight into the human psyche, How to Be Married offers an honest portrait of an utterly charming couple. When life throws more at them than they ever expected—a terrifying health diagnosis, sick parents to care for, unemployment—they ultimately create a fresh understanding of what it means to be equal partners during the good and bad times.

Through their journey, they reveal a framework that will help the rest of us keep our marriages strong, from engagement into the newlywed years and beyond.

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

Mulberry Bayswater and a Mulberry clutch

What are your top favorite beauty picks?  

PurO3 ozonated olive oil moisturizer, Jo Malone Wood Sage and Sea Salt perfume, Fresh Seaberry face oil.

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

I always carry red lipstick, Mac Russian Red (which feels like a strange name for a color right now), because it makes anyone look less tired, Glossier Invisible Shield sunscreen,

What are you currently reading?

Carolyn Murnicks’s The Hot One (comes out in August), J. Courtney Sullivan Saints for All Occasions and Elizabeth Warren’s This Fight is Our Fight

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

Peanut Butter Cups and an @dopper_official water bottle (t’s pretty much the perfect water bottle…they turn into a portable wine glass too)

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via Amazon~

New York Times bestselling author of THE GOOD GIRL Mary Kubica is back with another exhilarating thriller as a widow’s pursuit of the truth leads her to the darkest corners of the psyche. 

Clara Solberg’s world shatters when her husband and their four-year-old daughter are in a car crash, killing Nick while Maisie is remarkably unharmed. The crash is ruled an accident…until the coming days, when Maisie starts having night terrors that make Clara question what really happened on that fateful afternoon.

Tormented by grief and her obsession that Nick’s death was far more than just an accident, Clara is plunged into a desperate hunt for the truth. Who would have wanted Nick dead? And, more important, why? Clara will stop at nothing to find out—and the truth is only the beginning of this twisted tale of secrets and deceit.

Told in the alternating perspectives of Clara’s investigation and Nick’s last months leading up to the crash, master of suspense Mary Kubica weaves her most chilling thriller to date—one that explores the dark recesses of a mind plagued by grief and shows that some secrets might be better left buried.

 

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What is your bag of choice?- purse/tote/backpack and brand that you have?
Depending on where I’m headed and what I plan to do, I carry either a Vera Bradley crossbody bag (the Hipster) or my Ogio tote bag – especially when I need to bring my laptop with me, which is as it’s been much of this summer, always writing on the go.
 
What are your top favorite beauty picks?  
Murad, Clinique, Bobbi Brown
 
What do you always carry in your bag/purse/carry-on for beauty products?  
The only product that I carry around with me all the time is lip gloss (currently Neutrogena’s MoistureShine, though I’m not married to any brand)
 
What are you currently reading?
I’ve just finished ARCs of two exciting suspense novels set to release this year – Wendy Walker’s EMMA IN THE NIGHT (out August 8th) and Krysten Ritter’s BONFIRE (November 7th).  They’re both phenomenal.  Must-reads for anyone who loves a thrill!
 
And any other fun item/must-have that you always have with you?
Sunglasses are a necessity – I hate to squint – and my phone!

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What’s in my Bookish {Beauty} Bag? ~ Jeanne McWilliams Blasberg

You all know I love a fabulous female author and when that fabulous female author is a New England gal, well then we were meant to be fairy book sisters.  I was so thrilled to receive a wonderful package from Jeanne early on in her book promotions and then to have her be part of the Booksparks Summer Reading Challenge, well that was icing on the cake!!!  Eden is the perfect end of summer or beginning of fall read.  You will be able to escape back to the beach with this family drama or snuggle in a cozy sweater and endure this rich saga.  This is Jeanne’s debut novel and for sure the start of more wonderful books to come.  Lucky us ❤

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via Amazon~

Becca Meister Fitzpatrick―wife, mother, grandmother, and pillar of the community―is the dutiful steward of her family’s iconic summer tradition . . . until she discovers her recently deceased husband squandered their nest egg. As she struggles to accept that this is likely her last season in Long Harbor, Becca is inspired by her granddaughter’s boldness in the face of impending single-motherhood, and summons the courage to reveal a secret she was forced to bury long ago: the existence of a daughter she gave up fifty years ago. The question now is how her other daughter, Rachel―with whom Becca has always had a strained relationship―will react.

Eden is the account of the days leading up to the Fourth of July weekend, as Becca prepares to disclose her secret and her son and brothers conspire to put the estate on the market, interwoven with the century-old history of Becca’s family―her parents’ beginnings and ascent into affluence, and her mother’s own secret struggles in the grand home her father named “Eden.”

 

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What is your bag of choice?

I really like classic handbags, not floppy ones, but those with a little bit of structure.  I can carry papers and books as easily as the must haves without things getting creased or crumpled.  I’ve been using a Miu Miu bag this spring.

I like my bag to be deep so that I can stash some leggings and work out top at the bottom.  These days I’ve been having to squeeze in short work outs at the gym.

What are your top favorite beauty picks?  

I started using Rodan & Fields beauty products last December when a friend of mine became a distributor. They are fantastic.  The multi-function eye cream has decreased the puffiness around my eyes.  Their most amazing product, however, is the Lash Boost.  I put it on my eyelids before bed and now my eye lashes are so full and lush, I barely need to wear mascara.

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

I always carry hand cream – living in a cold environment, my hands dry out easily.  I like to have moisturizer on nearby at all times, especially scented with lavender or grapefruit.  It not only brings my skin back to life, but the scent can sort of wake me up.  I also like to have lip-gloss on hand as well as a hairbrush and a big clip.  I never know when my hair is going to feel like a windswept mess and I might need to put it up on top of my head.

What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading Rabbit Cake by Annie Hartnett.  Annie is an instructor at Grub Street in Boston where I have found an inspiring community of writers.  This debut novel is heartbreaking and funny at the same time.  The protagonist is a quirky, young girl named Elvis.  The language is sparse and poignant.  I highly recommend it for lovers of contemporary fiction.

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

Haha… when my kids were young, I’d always be able to find some sort of snack in my purse.  But there’s a poem I like by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers that begins “Keep a poem in your pocket and a picture in your head, and you’ll never feel lonely….” I’ve taken that to heart and carry a book, a paperback for those times when I’m waiting for an appointment (I’ve been going to the dentist quite often in the last year!)  I also carry a small moleskin journal I use to write down interesting observations or snippets of conversation.  Sometimes I’ll hear a word and want to write it down for future use. But lately, I’ve been jotting down notes on my phone and carrying ear buds in order to listen to audiobooks.  This evolution of my life condensing onto my phone feels efficient, however, I can’t help but feel that I’m losing something at the same time.

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What’s in my Bookish {Beauty} Bag? ~ Taylor Jenkins Reid

To say I love Taylor Jenkins Reid would be an understatement.  After my first book that I read of hers, she was automatically solidified onto my favorite authors list.  I can’t say one books is better than the other, all of her books are fantastic.  Like run out and get now fantastic.  Her writing is the type of writing where you can’t peel yourself away from it.  Her newest book, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was released this week and is getting RAVE reviews.  I was so excited that Taylor opened her bag up to us as I know she is a busy new mama 🙂  Read on below and do yourself a favor and grab ANY of her books now!  You can thank me later ❤

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via Amazon ~

“Riveting, heart-wrenching, and full of Old Hollywood glamour, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is one of the most captivating reads of 2017.” –Buzzfeed

“The epic adventures Evelyn creates over the course of a lifetime will leave every reader mesmerized. This wildly addictive journey of a reclusive Hollywood starlet and her tumultuous Tinseltown journey comes with unexpected twists and the most satisfying of drama.” —PopSugar

In this entrancing novel “that speaks to the Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor in us all” (Kirkus Reviews), a legendary film actress reflects on her relentless rise to the top and the risks she took, the loves she lost, and the long-held secrets the public could never imagine.

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ‘80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

“Heartbreaking, yet beautiful” (Jamie Blynn, Us Weekly), The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is “Tinseltown drama at its finest” (Redbook): a mesmerizing journey through the splendor of old Hollywood into the harsh realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means—and what it costs—to face the truth.

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What is your bag of choice?

I have a Kate Spade black nylon backpack. A friend of mine always used a backpack purse and I thought it was so cool, I stole the look from her. Now, I’m not sure I’ll ever go back to a regular bag for every day use.

 

What are your top favorite beauty picks?  

The very best thing I have in my makeup kit right now is Sephora’s airbrush foundation. I’m obsessed with foundation. I’ve tried them all. Airbrush is hands-down the way to go and Sephora’s is reasonably priced but absolutely fantastic.

 

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

Vaseline. Every day, all the time. Nothing better. It’s lip gloss, it’s moisturizer, and it’s eye make-up remover.

 

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and it is devastating and superb.

 

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

It’s not super fun, I guess, but I take great pride in being the person who always has ibruprofen. No one ever has to suffer through a headache if I’m there! Least of all myself.

 

TJR author photo 2017 (C) Scott Witter

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*Thanks to Taylor for sharing her bag with us!

First Comes Love by Emily Giffin #SRC2016

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Well after two years waiting anxiously for Emily Giffin’s newest novel, First Comes Love, I can say that I am completely satisfied and blown away.  It’s absolutely one of her best yet.  And now cue book hangover and another two years waiting for her next novel.  I savored this book because I knew once it was over, it was over, but I am so glad that I did.  It was so emotionally packed with deep relationships and at times heavy plot that I needed those extra days to process and think.  I can only say some many things about my love for EG and you can see from my Insta feed that I will support her not matter what but it is up to you readers to discover the magic of Emily on your own.  If you have yet to read any of her back catalog then put those on hold and start with First Comes Love, if this book doesn’t blow you away then I am not sure what will.

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First Comes Love centers around sisters Josie and Meredith.  Both reeling from a tragic accident within their family, they could not be more different.  Josie is the fun, confident sister who is a teacher and single.  She lives with her best friend Gabe, who is straight and single as well ,but she is ready to give up on the dating game.  Meredith is the more reserved, hard headed sister yet picture perfect daughter who is always questioning Josie’s decisions and lifestyle.  She is married to Nolan and together they have a daughter. She is struggling within her marriage to keep it a float.  As the anniversary of their families tragedy comes near, each sister is at a crossroads in their lives.  Josie knows she isn’t getting any younger and wants to pursue having children without getting married or making any commitments.  Meredith is struggling to find out who she is within her marriage and isn’t sure if the man she married is the one for her.  Both connected by their bloodline, they struggle to support one another  yet know they are the ones who know each other best.  Meanwhile a secret holds them together in more ways than they know and when the truth comes out it will test their relationship.

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Emily Giffin year after year puts out a bestseller, that is a fact.  But what is so amazing about her as a writer is that each novel, truly always about relationships, is so different and surprising.  She has a special way of creating characters and plots that are relatable and real.  It’s clear she is an excerpt and it solidifies my belief that she is the true “best friend author”.  I have talked about this before in regards to her but what I mean is, she is the author that you want to call and chat on the phone with.  She is the gal that you want to grab a glass of wine with when “the one” doesn’t call you back.  She is just so real to us readers and proves that if you ever get to meet her on tour.  I am not sure what more you can ask of in an author?!  I am choosing First Comes Love as my poolside pick of the week.  I give you my Bliss Beauty and Books promise that you will absolutely love this book and become an EG fan for life.

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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Book. Hangover.  It’s real people.  And once again Taylor Jenkins Reid has blown my mind and solidified herself as one of my favorite authors with One True Loves.  Not only did I love this book for the characters and plot but its set in MASSACHUSETTS, my hometown.  Reid’s love for her hometown Acton, MA shines in this novel as this is the hometown of the main characters. Her references for this amazing state are like a warm hug and reminded me how much I love being from here.  Each book that she writes she creates characters that you do not want to leave.  You want to know where they are going and what they are doing days later and this book is no exception.

One True Loves is about Emma Blair.  Emma is your typical girl who works in her family’s bookshop and dreams beyond the confines of her hometown Acton, MA.  While in high school she meets Jesse.  The star swimmer who she believe is out of her league until a chance meeting at a party in the woods.  They are stuck together when the cops come and they are forced to hide in a bush until they are safe.  From this moment a love affair begins which eventually leads up to years later and a marriage.  Both of them wanting to pursue their passions take their relationship to California.  Married and completely in love a terrible plane crash happens causing Emma to believe Jesse is dead.  Completely devastated and in grief she takes baby steps into healing.  One of which is to move home, back to Acton.  Here is gets the care she needs from her parents and sister.  She does not know how to move forward.  Enter Sam.  Sam also went to high school with Emma and Jesse.  He also worked at Emma’s parents bookstore and was a great friend to Emma.  Not knowing that he was in love with her,  Emma runs into Sam while she is trying to pick up the pieces to her shattered life.  An instant connection happens and they fall in love.  Hesitant, Emma doesn’t know if it is too soon as she is still mourning Jesse.  Then she gets a phone call.  Jesse is still alive.  Engaged to Sam, Emma is at odds.  Does she try to rekindle what she thought was lost and dead with Jesse or stay with Sam, her new love who has been with her through the hardest time in her life.  She really questions who her one true love is?

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As I said before my love for Taylor Jenkins Reid and her amazing novels grows  with each book.  Reid has a way of capturing a readers heart and not letting go until that final sentence.  This book did just that for me.  The triangle between Emma, Sam and Jesse kept me so conflicted but Reid knew how to take the reader to that perfect ending.  I can promise you, you will devour this book.  And I can promise you once you finish you will run out and purchase her back catalog ~ I may or may no have done this after reading Maybe in Another Life  😉  Also if you are participating in the BookSparks #SRC2016 this is a June selection and will of course keep making 2016 the #bestsummerever.

*Thanks to Atria Books for sending a review copy.

The House of Bradbury by Nicole Meier #SRC2016

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Continuing with my #BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge I was delightfully surprised by the gem of a book, The House of Bradbury by Nicole Meier.  Meier, a debut author, tells a story of unexpected friendships and mysterious love all against the backdrop of the historic home of Ray Bradbury.  It is a fun, quick read that I could have finished in a day. The story was that seamless and captivating.  Again another summer pick that will be a perfect companion at the beach or the pool.  Can you tell summer reading is my favorite 🙂

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Mia is a young writer who has been unsuccessful with her first novel.  Panned by the critics, she also starts to lose her sense of direction as her fiancee Carson leaves her and she is now living with her sister.  She sees that Ray Bradbury’s, a famous mystery/sci-fi author,  house is for sale and decides that purchasing the house may just be the inspiration and new start that she needs.  Carson being the big Hollywood producer helps her purchase the home but that doesn’t come without some baggage.  Mia agrees to take in a young, drug recovering actress, Zoe, who needs a little sense of direction as well, as a favor to Carson.  Shortly after moving into the home, mysterious notes are appearing her doorstep.  Could it be her handsome neighbor or just some kids playing a prank?  As she she starts to develop a friendship with Zoe she sees how she is struggling and almost becomes a mother figure of sorts to her, something Mia was not prepared for.  As Mia adjusts to living her life at Bradbury she can see all the magic that it once held for Bradbury himself and her creative energy is sparked.  Will she write her next novel, find love and create new friendships?  She soon discovers that this house and the presence that was once there could be exactly what she needed in her life.

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Meier shines in her debut novel.  A sweet story that reaffirms friendships can be made in the most unlikely situations and love always shows up when we are least expecting it.  The house being a character itself played a huge part in the book and Meier so beautifully depicted that.  I loved the relationship between Mia and Zoe.  This relationship really developed each character so beautifully and it made me love Mia even more.  The House of Bradbury is a perfect summer read with a sunny plot and refreshing ending!

*Thanks to BookSparks for sending a copy for review.

The Goodbye Year by Kaira Rouda plus Author Q&A

The Goodbye Year

As most of you have probably seen many publications, websites and blogs have been sharing their perfect summer beach reads!  I am so happy to have found The Goodbye Year by Kaira Rouda because its just what the pre-summer season ordered.  It was my first novel of Rouda’s and most certainly won’t be my last.  Now on a side note I am a “Bravoholic” and am obsessed with all things Real Housewives and Bravo– it’s a guilty pleasure 🙂  So for me this book was like entering into the world of Bravo.  It was drama filled, steamy, dishy and filled with gossiping characters- basically the perfect mix for a fabulous book that I didn’t want to put down.

I am not going into a descriptive summary as there are so many stories and characters, I do not want to give anything away.  What I can tell you is the story is based in California and during the senior year for a group of students and their parents.  The parents are getting ready for them to leave the nest and thinking beyond as to what life will be when they leave.  Each couple along with their kids alternate in telling their perspective within the story.  All the families are going through their own issues but have to be strong for their kids to complete this year.  From affairs to divorce to young love, The Goodbye Year is hard to put down.  The characters are all so different but yet their stories pull together and form this seamless and emotional plot, which Kaira tells so well.  I promise you it is the perfect summer read as well as a great read for all those parents fearing the “empty nest”.  Read on below as I was lucky enough to ask Kaira a few questions about the book as well as about herself.  She gave a fantastic interview!

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Bliss Chat with Kaira Rouda

1. Did the senior years of your children inspire The Goodbye year?  Did you feel the empty nest syndrome?

Yes, my youngest just finished his freshman year in college. I wrote this during his high school senior year . . . it is definitely inspired by my real life. And, I’m still adjusting to my empty nest. I think it takes time, at least for me it does!

 
2. There are so many characters and stories within the story.  How do you keep track when you are writing?  Do you have all of them in mind at first and then connect them?

I knew from the start of this story that it would be important to tell it from the voice of the high school seniors, and the parents. I started with families and the story unfolded from there!

 
3. Living in Laguna Beach do you come across juicy secrets and scandals like the ones in the book 🙂  If so were any of them inspiration in the book?  

Laguna Beach actually is a mellow, artistic and beautiful place to live. Juicy secrets are everywhere — usually behind the closed doors of people whose lives you think are perfect.

 
4. What would be one piece of advice to parents who are going through senior year with their kids?

Gosh, enjoy every moment. Give the gift of your presence. Remember it’s so stressful, especially first semester with college applications and the rest. The Goodbye Year speeds by, and the kids are graduating before you know it.

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

My office, with my dogs around me.


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

my family, coffee, yoga – oh and the beach (sorry that’s four)


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

Smile. It’s really a great feeling.


8. What was the last book that you read?

I’m just finishing Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. Before that, Come Away with Me by Karma Brown. Great books.


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

A hair tie. I’m constantly putting my hair in a pony tail, and then taking it down again. It’s a nervous tic, I think!


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

I’m a big reader and the TBR stack next to my bed is eight books deep. There are so many great books out now and coming our way this summer.