What’s in my Bookish {Beauty} Bag? ~ Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Guys. OMG.  This book.  I could just leave it at this but I will give you a little more 🙂  The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen is the book you have to read.  It is everything you want in a book.  Suspense, thrills, fabulousness, twists- OH THE  TWISTS- it has it all.  No wonder it was optioned by the folks who brought Girl on the Train to the big screen!  I am over the moon that Greer and Sarah opened their bags and shared their must-have beauty products!

Wife Between Us

via Amazon ~

“A jaw-dropping psychological thriller.” ―Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Fiendishly clever…in the vein of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train. This one will keep you guessing.” –Anita Shreve, New York Times bestselling author of The Stars are Fire

When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous ex-wife.
You will assume she is obsessed with her replacement – a beautiful, younger woman who is about to marry the man they both love.
You will assume you know the anatomy of this tangled love triangle.
Assume nothing.

Twisted and deliciously chilling, Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen’s The Wife Between Us exposes the secret complexities of an enviable marriage – and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love.

Read between the lies.

A 2018 Indie Next Pick

Praise for The Wife Between Us:

“A clever thriller with masterful twists.” – Karin Slaughter, New York Times bestselling author of The Kept Woman

The Wife Between Us delivers a whip smart, twisty plot in a taut, pacy narrative. It’s terrific and troubling. This is one scary love triangle where you won’t know who to trust. I loved it.” –Gilly Macmillan, New York Times bestselling author of What She Knew

“A twisty, mind-bending novel about marriage and betrayal. A gripping plot and fascinating characters; this book will keep you turning the pages and guessing until the very end. A must-read!” –Lauren Weisberger, New York Times bestselling author of The Devil Wears Prada

“This amazing story gallops along at breakneck speed, with an ending that smacks you between the eyes and takes your breath away. These authors are destined to become trail blazers in the field of psychological suspense books that explode in your hands!” ―Nancy Simpson-Brice, Book Vault

“Like a house of mirrors, The Wife Between Us kept me guessing around every corner, delving into the complexities of marriage, friendship, and obsession.” ―Javier Ramirez, The Book Table

Greer’s Bag ~

Greer Bag2

What is your bag of choice?

I have more bags than I can count and each one serves a different purpose. My current favorite is a Linde Gallery St. Barth Bag – it’s large enough to hold my laptop, but it’s also super lightweight.  I especially love it because it’s not the obvious choice. In fact, I’ve never seen anyone else with this brand.

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

I always carry three or four moisturizing lipsticks or glosses. My favorite right now is BeautyCounter Lip Sheer in Petal. I read about the brand on Goop and I really like it. It goes on smoothly and smells like summer.

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

I am currently reading Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward.

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

I always carry my phone because I’m obsessed with podcasts. Some of my favorites are Happier with Gretchen Rubin, Happier in Hollywood, By The Book, It’s Been a Minute and Fresh Air.

Sarah’s Bag ~

Sarah Bag

What is your bag of choice?

I alternate between a few, but I just bought a cute Free People hobo style bag that I can sling across my body or wear over my shoulder. I like the neutral color and the fact that it has a zillion pockets to store everything from my ever-present pen and notebook, to hair bands and earbuds for the gym!

What are your top favorite beauty picks?  

When Greer and I did our author photo shoot, the makeup artist introduced me to Make Up For Ever and I’ve used their water-based foundation ever since. It’s so sheer and light, and it’s nice knowing an expert chose my shade (Y305).

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

Trish McEvoy lip gloss in Berry, Nars Radiant Concealer in Custard, and the same mascara I’ve used since college – Maybelline Great Lash in the signature pink and green tube!

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

Psychology Today magazine for inspiration for the new book Greer and I are writing!

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

A pen and notebook, always. But if I’m caught without, I’ve been known to scribble down book ideas in eyeliner on my hand!

 

Follow Greer and Sarah:

Facebook ~ Greer , Sarah

Twitter ~ Greer , Sarah

Instagram ~ Greer, Sarah

 

*Thanks to St. Martins for the review copy and interview.

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What’s in my Bookish {Beauty} Bag? ~ Barbara Taylor Bradford

She is one of the best selling authors around.  Her latest novel to hit her Cavendon Hall series is out now, Secrets of Cavendon.  Barbara Taylor Bradford is British writing royalty and I am thrilled to have her on the blog today.  Her taste in bags is as regal and stunning as she.  Hello Hermes!  I can promise you if love a sweeping, British saga then you will adore the Cavendon Hall series.

SECRETS OF CAVENDON hi res jacket

via Amazon ~

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Barbara Taylor Bradford, comes a striking, breathtaking saga featuring the aristocratic Inghams and the Swann family, who have loyally served them for generations.

It’s the summer of 1949, and things have run smoothly at Cavendon Hall for years, with very few quarrels, dramas, or upsets between the two families. But since the end of World War II, changes have arrived at Cavendon. A new generation is at the helm, and also at the forefront of new scandal and intrigue. With romance, betrayal, heartbreak, and possible murder threatening to tear them apart, the Inghams and Swanns will have to find a way to come together and protect each other in the face of threats they never could have predicted.

Told with Bradford’s inimitable deftness of prose and a beloved cast of characters, Secrets of Cavendon is a captivating novel that will draw readers in and grip them until the very last page.

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

 

I definitely prefer a handbag although I do carry a tote from time to time when I travel. Currently, I’m carrying an Hermès Kelly bag that’s about 15 years old and is burgundy, green, and navy. I have about 12 Kelly bags. I’ve been carrying a Kelly bag long before anyone paid attention.

 

  • What are your top favorite beauty picks?  

 

For perfumes, I love Fracas by Robert Piguet and 24, Faubourg by Hermès.

 

In terms of skincare, Deborah Mitchell Black Bee Venom Mask is great for small wrinkles. I also like Eucerin’s Hyaluron Filler.

 

I like Clinique’s Take the Day Off Cleanser. I also prefer their eye makeup and eye makeup remover.

 

For lipstick, Guerlain.

 

I used Estée Lauder pressed power.

 

I keep a scarf around the handle of my bag like the French.

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

 

Always dark sunglasses (Gucci) and red lipstick (Guerlain)—my armor against the world. The Guerlain lipstick has a mirror, which is great. My Taurus zodiac compact powder by Estée Lauder, which was given to me as a gift by Hollywood journalist Jeanne Wolf (not pictured as it’s with my other makeup currently).

 

A notecard holder with custom stationary and some pens—one is mini Louis Vuitton pen given to me by Kathie Lee Gifford.

 

A leather heart keychain given to me by my husband Bob Bradfrod.

 

Kleenex.

 

A business card holder.

 

Two pouches—one with credit cards and one with money.

 

Reading glasses.

 

I don’t carry any books with me. I do most of my reading at home.

 

My iPhone (not pictured as it’s being charged!)

 

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

I’m currently reading Jack the Ripper by Gyles Brandreth and How to Be a Victorian: A Dawn-to-Dusk Guide of Victorian Life by Ruth Goodman. This is for research. My new series takes place in Victorian London.

Back to the Workhouse-Barbara Taylor Bradford

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

BARBARA TAYLOR BRADFORD was born and raised in England where she began her writing career as a journalist. She has written thirty international bestsellers. Secrets of Cavendon is her thirty-second novel. In 2007 Queen Elizabeth awarded her the OBE (Order of the British Empire) for her literary achievements. A Woman of Substance, her first book, has sold more than 32 million copies. She lives in New York with her husband of 54 years, TV and film producer Robert Bradford. Visit barbarataylorbradford.com.  

 

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What’s in my Bookish {Beauty} Bag? ~ Kate White

Happy Halloween!  What better to celebrate one of my favorite holidays then with one of my favorite authors, Kate White!  HELLO #fangirling.  Her latest book, in her Bailey Weggins series, Even If It Kills Her is out TODAY!  I discovered Bailey back in 2002 with her first mystery – If Looks Could Kill, and have been obsessed with her since.  Think Nancy Drew but for adults 🙂  She is chic, clever and tough.  Kate was so kind to open her bag for readers today.  I am so happy to chat with her and celebrate her amazing work! I have read all her books and I can’t even name a favorite because that are all that AH-mazing! P.S. What’s Halloween without a treat?  Head over to my Instagram where I have a fabulous giveaway featuring Kate’s new book!

EvenIfItKillsHerFINAL

via Amazon ~

Kate White returns to her New York Times bestselling Bailey Weggins’ Mystery series, with this favorite true-crime journalist turned sleuth’s most chilling case to date.

Bailey Weggins’ great new friend in college, Jillian Lowe, had everything going for her. Pretty, popular, and whip-smart, she lit up any room that she walked into. All of that dramatically changed during her sophomore year, when a neighbor became unhinged and murdered her family. Jillian immediately left school, and ever since, Bailey has felt guilty for not staying in closer contact and being a greater support to her friend.

Now, sixteen years later, Bailey is shocked to see Jillian at her book event, and even more stunned when her still-gorgeous friend approaches her with a case. The man accused of murdering her family is on the brink of being cleared of the crime through new DNA evidence. With the real killer walking free, Jillian is desperate for Bailey’s help to identify him and allow her the closure she yearns for.

As the two women return to Jillian’s childhood town to investigate, it doesn’t take long for their sleuthing to cause shock waves. Someone starts watching their every move. As they uncover deeply-guarded secrets, so shocking that they make Jillian rethink her entire relationship to her family, Bailey and Jillian find themselves in great peril. They must decide just how much they’re willing to risk to finally discover the truth about the Lowe family’s murder.

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What is your bag of choice?

I carry a small black Prada messenger bag. I love handbags, but I tore my bicep and rotator cuff after years of hoisting roller bags into the overhead compartments on planes, so a small bag is my only option now. But I have to admit that not worrying about keeping a bag positioned on my shoulder provides a wonderful sense of freedom. I highly recommend it.
What are your top beauty picks?  

When I ran Cosmo, my beauty editor taught me the importance of exfoliating for keeping skin youthful, so I use a ton of products that do that (like pads with alpha hydroxy or glycolic acid), and I wear a retinol cream every night. In the daytime, I wear StriVectin Intensive Concentrate for Wrinkles & Stretch Marks (hey, I’m no spring chicken!) and some La Mer lotion over it.

In terms of makeup (which I’ve adored wearing since I was thirteen), I use a mix of pricey and cheap. A makeup artist at the Today show turned me on to L’Oréal’s inexpensive True Match foundation, and I also love Maybelline’s Pumped Up! black mascara and their classic Expert Wear brow pencil.

For other products, I’ll pay more to get the quality I want. I love Bobbi Brown’s Pot Rouge for cheeks, which I set with Lancôme’s Cedar Rose blush. Right now I’m wearing a MAC cream lipstick, which I top with this fabulous gloss from L’Oréal: 103 Blushing Harmony.

And I’m never without Elizabeth Arden’s Eight Hour Cream, another product I learned about at Cosmo. The makeup artists we worked with always used it. It’s great for lips, cheeks, cuticles, rough heels, you name it–though I haven’t tried to cook with it yet!.

For hair, I absolutely love Frédéric Fekkai’s PrX Reparatives shampoo and conditioner, both with Argan extract. That ingredient is like some magic potion from the gods and makes my hair feel great. My go-to styling product (for years and years) is Bumble and bumble Thickening Hairspray. My secret weapon? Velcro rollers (though never in public, I swear!). I roll my dry hair with them for an hour after styling and that gives me great volume. Another Today show trick.

Lastly, for scent, I wear patchouli oil. It’s a nice alternative if you are allergic to floral scents like I am.

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

Because my bag is so small, I really have to pare it down. For instance, I carry an extra compact of Lancôme’s Cedar Rose blush, and use it on my eyelids, too, so it serves two purposes. I also rely on a Bobbi Brown foundation stick, which is not only very compact and good for touch-ups, it’s also not a liquid, so there’s no problem with airport security (I travel a lot for business). Wherever possible, I use stuff in tiny packages, like an itty-bitty tube of Kiehl’s hand and body lotion, and the mini jar of Vaseline petroleum jelly. I’ve sometimes felt the urge to adopt that little jar. It’s just so freaking adorable.

And, of course, I have a pad and pen for jotting down notes.

What are you currently reading? 

I generally like to juggle three books at once just to mix it up. 1) A mystery (Help, I’m addicted!) Right now it’s The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dion, which everyone is buzzing about. 2) A literary book or a work of current popular fiction. I’ve just started Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny, which seems really entertaining. 3) Something non-fiction. At the moment, I’m devouring What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton. It’s a fascinating book, and she’s wonderfully blunt in it.

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

I always carry a pen and a little pad in case an idea for one of my mysteries pops into my head. I found this cute little pad on line and couldn’t resist. And I always have the key to my house in Uruguay, where my husband and I live in the winter. I realize it’s a little crazy, but I like knowing that if I ever decide to go there at a moment’s notice, I could get into the house.

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About the Author

Kate White, the former editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine, is the New York Times bestselling author of five standalone psychological thrillers, The Secrets You Keep, The Wrong Man, Eyes on You, The Sixes, and Hush, as well as six previous Bailey Weggins mysteries. White is also the author of several career books for women, including I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This: How to Ask for the Money, Snag the Promotion, and Create the Career You Deserve and The Gutsy Girl’s Handbook (April 2018). She is the editor of The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook. She lives in New York City. Read more about her at www.katewhite.com.

Follow Kate:

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*Thanks to Kate and her publicist for the interview!

 

 

Bliss Pick: The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein

With the highly anticipated release of her upcoming book, Judgement Detox, Gabrielle Bernstein’s books are pure bliss and a game changer in your inspirational reads.  I wanted to showcase her last release, The Universe Has Your Back , because it’s a book I am constantly referencing and revisiting- much like all her books.  She speaks from truth and experience making it that much easier to relate and apply to our own lives.  She is also a friend and soul speaker to Oprah.  So if O loves her, its an automatic YES for me!  Read below for a Q&A with Gabby and make sure to grab Judgement Detox in January 2018!

Final Book Jacket_preview

 

What inspired you to write The Universe Has Your Back?

 

I’m inspired to write about what I feel my readers need. We’re living in divisive times that call us to rely on faith in the midst of uncertainty. Navigating through life without a faithful path can be scary, especially when there’s so much turmoil in the world. This book is designed to help readers reclaim their power when they’re feeling powerless. Each story and lesson in the book guides readers to release the blocks to what they long for most: happiness, security and clear direction. The lessons help readers relinquish the need to control so they can relax into a sense of certainty and freedom. Readers will learn to stop chasing life and truly live.  

 

What can people expect from this book?

 

When you read this book, you can expect to wake up to your connection to faith and joy. When you understand this connection and recognize it, you’ll  be guided to your true purpose: to be love and spread love. These words can no longer be cute buzz phrases that we post on social media and print on tote bags. These words must be our mission. The happiness, safety and security we long for lies in our commitment to our happiness and joy.

 

How does fear hold us back?

 

Fear creates resistance in our energy. When we are stuck in fear, that resistance blocks us from the natural support of love that is available to us all the time. Throughout the book I refer to this loving support as the energy of the Universe. When we block the energy of the Universe we feel stuck, depressed, sick, weak and alone. When you read the book, the lessons within it will help you release that resistance and surrender your fears so that you can reconnect to the ever-present flow of love and support that is within you.

 

What does faith mean to you?

 

Making the shift from fear to faith gives us a sense of power in a world that all too often makes us feel utterly powerless. When the tragedies of the world seem overwhelming, this book helps guide us back to our power. We need faith now more than ever. When you live with faith you’re trusting in the power of your thoughts and energy to support your experiences. In a faithful state you can suspend disbelief and surrender your fear.

 

What will the reader find in this book that will guide them away from fear and into faith?

 

Each story, meditation and lesson in the book guides readers to release the blocks to the things we all long for most — happiness, security and clear direction. The lessons help readers relinquish the need to control so they can relax into a sense of certainty and freedom.

 

When readers follow this path, they’ll begin to feel a swell of energy move through them. They will find strength when they’re down, synchronicity and support when they’re lost, safety in the face of uncertainty and joy when they are otherwise in pain.

 

What are the lessons you hope readers take away from The Universe Has Your Back?

 

There are many universal lessons throughout the book, but the most important is to choose love. When you learn to lean toward thoughts and feelings of love, then you release all the resistance that blocks the flow of the Universe. The practices in the book will help readers weaken the resistance of fear and strengthen their faith in love. I give clear direction on how to heal fear-based beliefs and transcend limitation and doubt. Most importantly they’ll learn to feel supported and certain no matter what.

 

What was the catalyst for your journey from fear to faith?

 

Throughout my life I’ve experienced trauma, addiction and depression. But I was never willing to stay stuck in suffering. I knew at a very young age that there was a spiritual solution to all my problems. I’ve committed my life to seeking those solutions and strengthening my faith in love. My deepest desire is to be free of fear and dwell in joy. Because I’ve been on my own path of personal growth and spiritual recovery, I can speak to the lessons and healing from a very authentic place. I hope readers will recognize their own stories in mine.

 

How is The Universe Has Your Back different from your previous books?

 

This book is different in that it’s more philosophical. I push the spiritual envelope even more than I have in the past and I’m unapologetic about my faith. I believe we’re living in a time when we must have a spiritual path to survive. That’s why I didn’t hold back. I shared openly about how I transformed my fear and suffering through my spiritual faith so that readers can feel empowered and inspired to dive into their own practice.

 

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Biography

Gabrielle Bernstein has been named “a new thought leader” by Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday. She appears regularly as an expert on The Dr. Oz Show, and was named “a new role model” by the New York Times. Gabrielle is the New York Times best-selling author of the books May Cause Miracles and Miracles Now. Her other titles include Add More ~ing to Your Life and Spirit Junkie. In the fall of 2016 she will release her fifth book, The Universe Has Your Back. Gabrielle teamed up with Deepak Chopra to co-host the Guinness Book of World Records largest group meditation.

 

YouTube named Gabrielle one of its 16 YouTube Next Video Bloggers, Mashable named her one of the 11 Must-Follow Twitter Accounts for Inspiration and she’s featured on the Forbes list of 20 Best Branded Women. The Oprah Winfrey Network chose Gabrielle to be part of the “Super Soul 100” list, a dynamic group of 100 trailblazers whose vision and life’s work are bringing a higher level of consciousness to the world. She’s been featured in media outlets such as ELLE, OWN, Kathie Lee & Hoda, The Today Show, Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday, The Queen Latifah Show, Anderson Live, Access Hollywood, Marie Claire, Health, SELF, Women’s Health, Cosmopolitan, New York Times, Glamour, Help Desk, the cover of Experience Life Magazine and more. For more on Gabrielle’s work visit GabbyBernstein.com.

 

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*Thanks to Gabrielle’s publicist and publisher who provided the Q&A and assets.

What’s in my Bookish {Beauty} Bag? ~ October Ed. with Kate Moretti

October is here.  A month filled with suspense, mystery and thrills.  If you are looking for just that, then the newly released novel by Kate Moretti, The Blackbird Season, is just what you need!  Know for her unputdownable reads, Moretti’s list of novels are filled with twists, turns and surprises, an absolute must for any reader.   I was so excited that she opened her bag for us and validate the fact that yes, mascara is always a must in case of a lash emergency 🙂

TBBS Cover

 

via Amazon ~

“Exceptional…a deliciously sinister glimpse into the duplicity of small-town lives and the ease with which people turn on each other when tragedy comes calling. Moretti’s tale of jealousy and obsession is nothing less than dark magic. Witchery indeed.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Known for novels featuring “great pacing and true surprises” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) and “nerve-shattering suspense” (Heather Gudenkauf, New York Time bestselling author), New York Times bestselling author Kate Moretti’s latest is the story of a scandal-torn Pennsylvania town and the aftermath of a troubled girl gone missing.

“Where did they come from? Why did they fall? The question would be asked a thousand times…

Until, of course, more important question arose, at which time everyone promptly forgot that a thousand birds fell on the town of Mount Oanoke at all.”

In a quiet Pennsylvania town, a thousand dead starlings fall onto a high school baseball field, unleashing a horrifying and unexpected chain of events that will rock the close-knit community.

Beloved baseball coach and teacher Nate Winters and his wife, Alecia, are well respected throughout town. That is, until one of the many reporters investigating the bizarre bird phenomenon catches Nate embracing a wayward student, Lucia Hamm, in front of a sleazy motel. Lucia soon buoys the scandal by claiming that she and Nate are engaged in an affair, throwing the town into an uproar…and leaving Alecia to wonder if her husband has a second life.

And when Lucia suddenly disappears, the police only to have one suspect: Nate.

Nate’s coworker and sole supporter, Bridget Harris, Lucia’s creative writing teacher, is determined to prove his innocence. She has Lucia’s class journal, and while some of the entries appear particularly damning to Nate’s case, others just don’t add up. Bridget knows the key to Nate’s exoneration and the truth of Lucia’s disappearance lie within the walls of the school and in the pages of that journal.

Told from the alternating points of view of Alecia, Nate, Lucia, and Bridget, The Blackbird Season is a haunting, psychologically nuanced suspense, filled with Kate Moretti’s signature “chillingly satisfying” (Publishers Weekly) twists and turns.

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What is your bag of choice?

I’m not really a brand person. I tend to pick up whatever I’m in the mood for at the moment, but it always has to be big with a lot of space for things my kids hand me on the go – birthday party favors and currently, fidget spinners. I like function and design. I have no idea what brand my bag is but it has a ton of pockets and the black and white flowers go with absolutely everything. I hate changing purses so I try to make it functional and pretty. I think I got this at a flea market. It’s starting to wear and fray and I refuse to throw it out.

What are your top favorite beauty picks?

I’m a plain jane! I don’t wear make-up every day, only for events and dinners, etc. I love BB cream and I’ve tried a ton of them but my favorite is Cover Girl. I know! I’ve tried MAC and Smashbox and even Tarte, but I keep coming back to the good old Cover Girl. It goes on like lotion and doesn’t cake. I have dry skin and I actually mix it with moisturizer in the morning. I also have a ten year love affair with Bare Minerals. The bronzer is amazing and it makes my skin glow. I’ve recently become addicted to Elf. It’s so cheap but has the consistency of an expensive make-up. I find I can try out different colors and I’ve even started to *slightly* highlight using their cream highlighter. Considering I was thirty-five when I learned how to apply eyeliner, I’ve made great strides!

 

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

EOS chapstick, mostly mint but really any kind. My trusty BB cream. Mascara for lash emergencies.

What you are currently reading?

I just got an ARC of Cathy Lamb’s NO PLACE I’D RATHER BE in the mail. I read twenty pages this morning before I started working and was sorely tempted to call the whole day a wash. Cathy writes the most amazing real life characters.

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

A spare pair of earrings! I am constantly losing earrings and I’ve used my spare set of silver hoops more times than I can count. Headphones with a mic so I can talk hands-free while I walk or drive. I sit in a lot of stand-still Philadelphia traffic and find myself dictating story ideas or even whole scenes while at a dead stop, staring at miles of red breaklights.

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Follow Kate:

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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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Every Last Lie cover

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? ~ Fiona Davis

After I read Fiona Davis‘, The Dollhouse, I knew she would be one of those authors where I would stalk when her next book came out!  And it is here, The Address,  A must for your pre-fall TBR, this book has been getting amazing accolades from reviewers and was named a must read from People and Redbook.  I am thrilled she stopped by to share her boho-chic Tory Burch tote with us!  Clearly Fiona is as fabulous as the gals featured on her book covers.

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via Amazon ~

Fiona Davis, author of The Dollhouse, returns with a compelling novel about the thin lines between love and loss, success and ruin, passion and madness, all hidden behind the walls of The Dakota—New York City’s most famous residence.

After a failed apprenticeship, working her way up to head housekeeper of a posh London hotel is more than Sara Smythe ever thought she’d make of herself. But when a chance encounter with Theodore Camden, one of the architects of the grand New York apartment house The Dakota, leads to a job offer, her world is suddenly awash in possibility—no mean feat for a servant in 1884. The opportunity to move to America, where a person can rise above one’s station. The opportunity to be the female manager of The Dakota, which promises to be the greatest apartment house in the world. And the opportunity to see more of Theo, who understands Sara like no one else…and is living in The Dakota with his wife and three young children.

In 1985, Bailey Camden is desperate for new opportunities. Fresh out of rehab, the former party girl and interior designer is homeless, jobless, and penniless. Two generations ago, Bailey’s grandfather was the ward of famed architect Theodore Camden. But the absence of a genetic connection means Bailey won’t see a dime of the Camden family’s substantial estate. Instead, her “cousin” Melinda—Camden’s biological great-granddaughter—will inherit almost everything. So when Melinda offers to let Bailey oversee the renovation of her lavish Dakota apartment, Bailey jumps at the chance, despite her dislike of Melinda’s vision. The renovation will take away all the character and history of the apartment Theodore Camden himself lived in…and died in, after suffering multiple stab wounds by a madwoman named Sara Smythe, a former Dakota employee who had previously spent seven months in an insane asylum on Blackwell’s Island.

One hundred years apart, Sara and Bailey are both tempted by and struggle against the golden excess of their respective ages—for Sara, the opulence of a world ruled by the Astors and Vanderbilts; for Bailey, the free-flowing drinks and cocaine in the nightclubs of New York City—and take refuge and solace in the Upper West Side’s gilded fortress. But a building with a history as rich—and often tragic—as The Dakota’s can’t hold its secrets forever, and what Bailey discovers in its basement could turn everything she thought she knew about Theodore Camden—and the woman who killed him—on its head.

With rich historical detail, nuanced characters, and gorgeous prose, Fiona Davis once again delivers a compulsively readable novel that peels back the layers of not only a famed institution, but the lives—and lies—of the beating hearts within.

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What is your bag of choice?

I bought a Tory Burch suede fringe messenger bag several years ago and it’s been a perennial fave of mine. It goes from late summer to fall beautifully and is big enough to carry a book for reading on the subway.

 

What are your top favorite beauty picks?  

One of my good friends started a skin care line called Violets Are Blue after having breast cancer, and I love knowing that the products are safe and natural. Her deodorant (with lemongrass and tea tree oil) is terrific. To add some bounce to my super-fine hair, I use drybar’s Mai Tai Spritzer, followed by Chaser Shine Cream.

 

What do you always carry in your bag for beauty products?  

I like to layer Fresh Sugar Petal tinted lip gloss, which has SPF 15, on top of Violets Are Blue lip balm. Never leave home without those two essentials. And I swear by EltaMD sunscreen. It has a light tint, so I don’t need foundation, and is the only product that doesn’t freak out my sensitive skin.

 

What are you currently reading?

I was lucky enough to get my hands on an early copy of The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin, which is about magic, science, and fate. I look forward to the release of Tom Perrotta’s Mrs. Fletcher as I’ll buy anything he writes. As for magazines, I adore Real Simple and The New Yorker – two ends of the spectrum but I look forward to each new issue equally. One read that wowed me this summer was The Wildling Sisters by Eve Chase. It was my favorite genre: a mash-up of historical fiction and mystery.

 

And any other fun items that you always have with you?

Grether’s Pastilles, an evil eye keychain that was passed out as swag after a book club, and a small notebook – I’m old school when it comes to writing lists.

 

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