Open Book with Minnie Darke

Still celebrating all things rom com, I thought only fitting to celebrate one of the best rom com books of the season!  Minnie Darke’s fictional debut, Star Crossed has gotten lovely accolades and high praise from readers and authors alike.  I am thrilled to host Minnie as my latest Open Book, all the way from down under!  Hollywood are you listening, this book is a movie in the making ❤

Star-Crossed by Minnie Darke.jpg

via Amazon ~

A sparkling romantic comedy about one woman’s decision to tinker with the horoscopes of the man of her dreams—with far-reaching consequences

“A bright, brilliant, joyful love story.”—Josie Silver, #1 New York Times bestselling author of One Day in December

When childhood sweethearts Justine (Sagittarius and serious skeptic) and Nick (Aquarius and true believer) bump into each other as adults, a life-changing love affair seems inevitable. To Justine, anyway. Especially when she learns Nick is an astrological devotee, whose decisions are guided by the stars, and more specifically, by the horoscopes in his favorite magazine. The same magazine Justine happens to write for. As Nick continues to not fall headlong in love with her, Justine decides to take Nick’s horoscope, and Fate itself, into her own hands. But, of course, Nick is not the only Aquarius making important life choices according to what is written in the stars.

Charting the ripple effects of Justine’s astrological meddling, Star-Crossed is a delicious, intelligent, and affecting love story about friendship, chance, and how we all navigate the kinds of choices that are hard to face alone.

Advance praise for Star-Crossed

“Swoon-worthy . . . a smart, sweet love story about friendship, destiny, and the power of choice.”Bustle

“[A] juicy romance novel.”Good Housekeeping

“This cleverly structured first outing from the pseudonymous Darke will appeal to fans of romantic comedy, astrology, and chaos. Utterly charming and ripe for development as a film.”Booklist

“Winning . . . Unpretentious, well-drawn characters and the fresh twist on the childhood sweethearts reunited setup make this perfect for fans of romantic comedies.”Publishers Weekly

“Darke creates a world of stargazers whose destinies eventually collide. . . . Funny and enticing.”―Library Journal

Minnie Darke author photo credit Karen Brown

 

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

All dead, I’m afraid: Angela Carter, fairy tale re-teller, Anthony Minghella, one of the creators of Jim Henson’s Storyteller, and Sylvia Plath, poet.

 

  1. Current binge series?

I am one of the world’s most immoderate narrative junkies, which makes binge watching a particular danger for me. I don’t binge when I’m working on a new novel – it’s a recipe for getting derailed, but I’m very much hoping that finishing my book coincides nicely with the release of season three of Stranger Things.I have loved Winona Ryder since I was a teenager.

 

  1. Last favorite book?

The Bitterwood Bible by Australian fairy-tale retailer Angela Slatter.

 

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

A jar of Vegemite (not a tube – it’s different), and a brand new diary and a seriously warm coat. I would go to all the Scandinavian countries, maybe for some of the time on a cruise boat. And, on the way home – because everywhere is on the way home when you’re Australian – I would go everywhere Canada’s Atlantic provinces, including revisiting Prince Edward Island and Cape Breton Island and going to Newfoundland for the first time.

 

  1. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

Ah … Australia’s Radio National?

 

  1. Last person you sent a text message to?

My friend and sometime co-writer Heather Rose – she’s an amazing and award-winning Australian writer and we write children’s novels together as Angelica Banks.

 

  1. Book you read that you wished you wrote?

Uprooted, by Naomi Novik. It’s about a young woman sent to be a companion to a wizard in a tower, only to find she has powers of her own. I love the world Novik creates, and the way she writes about different types of magic – male and female magic, high and low.

 

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

Oh, yes. Yes and yes. My teacher in Grade Five and Six was Peter Jerrim, himself a writer, but also a generous, creative, beautifu person who read to our class every day, and allowed me to fill exercise after exercise book with writing. I was thrilled that Peter was able to launch Star-crossed.

 

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

Not while I write, but immediately and after. Music is the ultimate in medication and mood creation. My tastes swing from 1980s music like The Stone Roses and the Cocteau Twins, to beautiful Australian singers like Sophie Koh and Lucy Wise, and Canadian folk bands like the East Pointers and the Small Glories. Actually, my next book is about music and the impact it has on us.

 

  1. Describe your writing space?

My writing space is a bespoke timber caravan with sloping walls and a curved roof, headlight windows featuring sunflowers, and a cork board that I can use as an inspiration board. It has a tap on the porch so I can fill the kettle and rinse my tea cup. Inside, it had an antique desk with a green leather top, two heaters (this is Tasmania), a selection of slippers and fingerless gloves, framed photos by the fairy tale photographer Lorena Carrington, and a bookshelf filled with a tiny fraction of my TBR pile. On my desk are my guardians. Two of them are rag dolls – one called Patience, and one called Enthusiasm – and the other is a Yoda figurine.

 

  1. Coffee or tea?

Tea. And I quote Colley Cibber: “Tea! Thou soft, thou sober, sage and venerable liquid … to whose glorious insipidity, I owe the happiest moments of my life, let me fall prostrate.”

 

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

I am always buying books for children, and lately I have given several copies of Jessica Townsend’s Nevermoor, which I think is magnificent.

 

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

The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss.

 

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

Defying Gravity, from Wicked

 

  1. What/Who inspires you?

Almost everything inspires me, to be honest. I love wit and whimsy – those are vital cordials for my creativity – but in truth inspiration often comes from the smallest things – something overheard when eavesdropping, something seen in passing, a thought bubble, a line of text.

 

  1. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

Pass on the basis of being Australian.

 

  1. Favorite Instagram account?

I confess to being something of an Instagram avoider. My webmistress (a man, incidentally) and my teenage daughter take care of this for me. They let me know when it’s time for me to provide them with copy, or when I need to send personal replies.

 

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

Infinite Jest, and it would be a multicoloured shade – a mosaic of coral red, aqua blue, pale green, lemon yellow and pink – a bit like a packet of Fruit Tingles.

 

  1. Current #TBR pile?

Infinity x 10

 

  1. Best advice you’ve ever received?

There’s no such thing as biting off more than you can chew. You just take a big bite and chew like hell. (As well as being the best, this is also possibly the worst advice I’ve ever received!)

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What’s in my “Bookish” Beauty Bag? ~ Lisa Barr

Probably the BEST thing about book blogging is being able to support authors.  They are celebrating the birthday of their new novels and all of the hard work and dedication it took to create the gem of the book we as readers are gifted.  The Unbreakables by Lisa Barr is just that, a gem.  I am thrilled she took the time to let us peak at her gorgeous Rebecca Minkoff tote filled to the brim with beauty musts.  I want to come visit Casa Sephora 🙂  Her book is a must for YOUR beach beauty tote this summer and let’s all take a cue from Lisa- always carry beauty musts with you because you never know what beauty situation you may be in ❤

HI-REZ __ Unbreakables

via Amazon ~

A delicious, sharp novel about a woman who jets off to France after her perfect marriage collapses, putting the broken pieces of herself back together while rediscovering her own joie de vivrea lust for life, art, and steamy sex.

“Artful, feminist, and emotionally gripping. The Unbreakables is a remarkable tribute to a woman’s strength in the face of heartbreak and adversity.” — Helen Hoang, author of The Kiss Quotient

The worst birthday ever might just be the gift of a lifetime…

It’s Sophie Bloom’s forty-second birthday, and she’s ready for a night of celebration with Gabe, her longtime, devoted husband, and her two besties and their spouses. Dinner is served with a side of delicious gossip, including which North Grove residents were caught with their pants down on Ashley Madison after the secret on-line dating site for married and committed couples was hacked. Thirty-two million cheaters worldwide have been exposed…including Sophie’s “perfect” husband. To add insult to injury, she learns Gabe is the top cheater in their town.

Humiliated and directionless, Sophie jumps into the unknown and flees to France to meet up with her teenage daughter who is studying abroad and nursing her own heartbreak. After a brief visit to Paris, Sophie heads out to the artist enclave of Saint-Paul-de-Vence. There, for the first time in a long time, Sophie acknowledges her own desires—not her husband’s, not her daughter’s—and rediscovers her essence with painful honesty and humor, reawakening both her sensuality and ambitions as a sculptor.

As she sheds her past and travels the obstacle-filled off beaten path, Sophie Bloom is determined to blossom. Allowing her true self to emerge in the postcard beauty of Provence, Sophie must decide what is broken forever…and what it means to be truly unbreakable.

 

 

 

What is your bag of choice?

I’m obsessed with my Rebecca Minkoff tote, and here’s why: it fits my extra-large laptop (with its versatile expander … yes, it’s a thing), and all my beauty must-haves.

What are your top favorite beauty picks?

I have three daughters, so we are basically Casa Sephora. We try every new item out there, and one of my daughters does make-up for all her friends (just picture the amount of Neutrogena makeup wipes and multiply by 10). We live in the Chicago area, which ranges from humid in the summer to dry/freezing/chapped in winter. So creams, creams, AND more creams. We have an entire shelf dedicated to face/body/hand creams. But I can’t live without my Skin Medica serum and my GOOP exfoliator. I’m a big fan of Benefit’s “Gimme Brow” eyebrow filler, L’Oreal Infallible black eye pencil, Younique Moodstruck Epic 4 D Mascara, and Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic & Retinol eye cream. I love lipstick and gloss (back in the day, all my allowance went to Bonne Bell flavored lip gloss). I usually wear natural shades or the rose family. My lipstick du jour is YSL #66 topped with Younique’s Moodstruck’s “Hottie” lip plumper. And before I dash out the door, I always spritz on a little Jo Malone.

What do you always carry on for beauty products for travel?

I bring a little bag inside my big bag filled with mini goodies: Beauty Counter Plumping & Peony facial mist, Lancome Genifique serum for my eyes, Kiehl’s facial cream with hyaluronic acid. Also, I have really curly, frizzy hair that I tame. If I land in humidity — look out! So a black scrunchie is my hot-ticket item.

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading my friend Jamie Brenner’s fab new novel, DRAWING HOME. She’s so talented, and we are part of a small Literary Mama group called #BocaBookBitches. I admit it: We hash-tagged ourselves.

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

I always carry a picture of my kids (the real deal not just the cell-phone garden variety), and I don’t leave anywhere without a small journal. I always carry a black sharpie and a copy of my book. Whenever my husband and I travel together, we give one signed book to someone special on our journey. It’s become our little tradition – the key is we both have to agree on the person, and state our case … (shhh, don’t tell anyone – but I usually win on this one).

 

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Open Book with Kristy Woodson Harvey

The sun is out and beach reads are here!  One of my all time-favorite poolside writing queens, Kristy Harvey Woodson, has a new book out and her back catalog always should be mandatory summer reading.  Her latest is the third installment in her Peachtree Bluff Series and at its core is the continuation of Ansley and her three daughters with that deeply woven thread of southern charm that makes it so magical.  I am thrilled to have Kristy on the blog today talking ALL of my favorite things- Bravo, Reese, Oprah, Mindy, the beach and Daisy Jones!  If she wasn’t my spirit friend then I don’t know who is?! ❤

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via Amazon ~

From internationally bestselling author and “rising star of Southern fiction” (Mary Alice Monroe, New York Times bestselling author) Kristy Woodson Harvey comes the third novel in her Peachtree Bluff series, in which a secret threatens the tight-knit bond between a trio of sisters and their mother.

With the man of her dreams back in her life and all three of her daughters happy, Ansley Murphy should be content. But she can’t help but feel like it’s all a little too good to be true.

Meanwhile, youngest daughter and actress Emerson, who is recently engaged and has just landed the role of a lifetime, seemingly has the world by the tail. Only, something she can’t quite put her finger on is worrying her—and it has nothing to do with her recent health scare.

When two new women arrive in Peachtree Bluff—one who has the potential to wreck Ansley’s happiness and one who could tear Emerson’s world apart—everything is put in perspective. And after secrets that were never meant to be told come to light, the powerful bond between the Murphy sisters and their mother comes crumbling down, testing their devotion to each other and forcing them to evaluate the meaning of family.

With Kristy Woodson Harvey’s signature charm, wit, and heart, The Southern Side of Paradise is another masterful Peachtree Bluff novel that proves she is a “Southern writer with staying power” (Booklist).

 

Kristy Woodson Harvey (c) Jay Ackerman

1. What three celebrities/authors/figures- living or dead, would you want to have a bookclub with? Reese Witherspoon, Oprah and Jennifer Weiner

 

2. Current binge series? The Mindy Project

 

3. Last favorite book? I’m Fine and Neither are You, Camille Pagán

 

4. What 3 things to you pack in your bag for your dream vacation?  Where is it? Bikini, sunscreen, book! The British Virgin Islands. It is my most favorite vacation spot and I am so hoping it has recovered from all the hurricane devastation by next winter. 

 

5. Sunday NYT or US Weekly? Both!

 

6. Last person you sent a text message to? Group text about a friend’s birthday party!

 

7. Book you read that you wished you wrote? DAISY JONES AND THE SIX, Taylor Jenkins Reid. 

 

8. Do you have a teacher who encouraged you to become a writer? Yes! Two. Michelle Reinhardt-Cline and Chris Myers, my high school English and history teachers. They both influenced my writing but, really, they were the kind of teachers that encouraged students to go for their dreams. And that is huge!

 

9. Do you listen to music while you write? If so, who? Not usually but if I do I listen to either James Taylor or Jason Mraz because I know all their songs so well they don’t distract me!

 

10. Describe your writing space? I am building a new one right now and am SO EXCITED. As for right now, I write in the corner of my bedroom on this gorgeous mirrored desk I was pining for that my husband surprised me with. It has the most beautiful water view and is all-around relaxing and lovely.

 

11. Coffee or tea? Tea. 

 

12. Do you have a favorite book that you gift? A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN. It is my all-time favorite book.

 

13. Book that you wished they would make a movie out of? Can I say mine? Just kidding! I just finished COURTING MR. LINCOLN and I loved it so much. I’m kind of a history nerd, and I would love to see the tension in Lincoln’s relationships with Mary Todd and Joshua Speed play out on the big screen. 

 

14. If you could have one song as the theme song of your life what would it be and why? Carolina in my Mind by James Taylor. I am, ironically, a huge homebody. I am leaving tomorrow for a five-week book tour as I type this, but I love being at home, on the Carolina coast, more than most anyone I know! Don’t get me wrong, I love being out meeting readers. It fulfills me big time. But I travel a ton now, all year long, which is not something I ever would have imagined. 

 

15. What/Who inspires you? The water. My son. Free time, which is perhaps the largest luxury in my life right now! (As in, it is scarce!)

 

16. Bravo reality TV- yes or no? Obviously. Real Housewives of New York is my favorite! And I know it isn’t Bravo, but I have watched The Bachelor since its first season. I am a huge reader, of course, but sometimes I need that totally mindless time.

 

17. Favorite Instagram account? @jeannemckayhartmann  Jeanne is an artist and illustrator who has painted several of my book covers and other pretty illustrations. Her art is gorgeous and she paints something new almost every day. It’s super inspiring.

 

18. If you could name just one lipstick after a book, what would you call it and what shade would it be? I’d name it “Slightly South” and it would be a very avant-garde haint blue. People could wear it to UNC games and have Carolina blue lips. (This is why no one has asked me to create a make-up line…)

19. Current #TBR pile? THE TWO LILA BENNETTS, Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke, HOW COULD SHE, Lauren Mechling, UNDER CURRENTS, Nora Roberts, TIDELANDS, Philippa Gregory 

 

20. Best advice you’ve ever received? It has to be someone. It might as well be you. My husband used to say that to me all the time when I was too scared to go for getting an agent, getting published etc. I think about that all the time now, instead of that it couldn’t be me, why not me? I mean, really. Why not you, too?

 

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Open Book with Sally Hepworth

Thrilled to have the legendary and most fabulous Sally Hepworth on the blog today!  I adore her and her books (she has been a past Bookish Beauty gal) and am honored to be celebrating the book birthday of her latest novel, The Mother-In-Law.  Read below about this domestic thriller that is perfect for your spring break as well as Sally’s dream book club (its AMAZE), latest reads and favorite Insta account 🙂

MOTHER IN LAW

via Amazon ~

A twisty, compelling new novel about one woman’s complicated relationship with her mother-in-law that ends in death…

From the moment Lucy met her husband’s mother, she knew she wasn’t the wife Diana had envisioned for her perfect son. Exquisitely polite, friendly, and always generous, Diana nonetheless kept Lucy at arm’s length despite her desperate attempts to win her over. And as a pillar in the community, an advocate for female refugees, and a woman happily married for decades, no one had a bad word to say about Diana…except Lucy.

That was five years ago.

Now, Diana is dead, a suicide note found near her body claiming that she longer wanted to live because of the cancer wreaking havoc inside her body.

But the autopsy finds no cancer.

It does find traces of poison, and evidence of suffocation.

Who could possibly want Diana dead? Why was her will changed at the eleventh hour to disinherit both of her children, and their spouses? And what does it mean that Lucy isn’t exactly sad she’s gone?

Fractured relationships and deep family secrets grow more compelling with every page in this twisty, captivating new novel from Sally Hepworth.

Praise for Sally Hepworth:

“With jaw-dropping discoveries, and realistic consequences, this novel is not to be missed. Perfect for lovers of Big Little Lies.” ―Library Journal, starred review

“Hepworth deftly keeps the reader turning pages and looking for clues, all the while building multilayered characters and carefully doling out bits of their motivations.” ―Booklist

Sally Hepworth Headshot_highest res_credit Mrs. Smart Photography.jpg

 

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

Oprah, Ellen Degeneres, Reese Witherspoon – can you even imagine this book club?

Current binge series?

I have been bingeing on books! (The Silent Patient, Daisy Jones and the Six, An Anonymous Girl)

Last favorite book?

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. And The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer.

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

I am a homebody. My dream vacation would be a week at home alone, so no packing required!

Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

Neither! I read books!

Last person you sent a text message to?

My friend, Ange, who reminded me that it was school photos today (thank goodness as my daughter’s hair looked like a bird’s nest).

Book you read that you wished you wrote?

Where the Crawdads Sing.

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

Yes. My third and seventh grade English teachers were both incredibly encouraging.

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

No. I work at the library so I listen to the quiet chatter of people in the aisles, or people asking librarians for recommendations. Best music in the world.

Describe your writing space?

I write at the library, so I have a little desk that faces a window that looks out onto a parking lot. Not especially inspiring, but it stops me from getting distracted.

Coffee or tea?

Coffee.

Do you have a favorite book that you gift?

I tend to choose specific books that I think certain people would like, so it’s different for everyone. Though I will say, I’ve bought Where the Crawdads Sing for several people lately.

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

Where the Crawdads Sing. And Reese Witherspoon IS making a movie out of it. YAY!

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

I’ve Done All The Dumb Things by Paul Kelly

What/Who inspires you?

Women. Especially young women. My daughters inspire me. It is such a wonderful time to be a woman right now, and I’m excited about what the next generation will achieve for feminism.

Bravo reality TV – yes or no?

I’m not sure what this is?

Favorite Instagram account?

Dr. Pimple Popper.

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

The Other Woman.

Current #TBR pile?

Before She Was Found by Heather Gudenkauf.

Best advice you’ve ever received?

Do yoga, read books, and have as many children as you can afford (from my Mum).

 

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Open Book with Lea Geller

If you are looking for a laugh-out loud novel with a heroine who you will be cheering for, then Trophy Life is it and I am so thrilled to have Lea Geller on the blog as my latest Open Book!  Her dazzling and hilarious debut novel, out now, is really the most perfect accessory to accompany you on #SpringBreak.  Nora Ephron, Gatsby and Springsteen, yup, enough said.  Read below ❤

Geller_TrophyLife_FT

via Amazon ~

A refreshingly honest, laugh-out-loud novel about losing the life you always wanted…and finding the life you were meant to have.

For the last ten years, Agnes Parsons’s biggest challenge has been juggling yoga classes and lunch dates. Her Santa Monica house staff takes care of everything, leaving Agnes to focus on her trophy-wife responsibilities: look perfect, adore her older husband, and wear terribly expensive (if uncomfortable) underwear.

When her husband disappears, leaving Agnes and their infant daughter with no money, no home, and no staff, she is forced to move across the country, where she lands a job teaching at an all-boys boarding school in the Bronx. So long, organic quinoa bowls and sunshine-filled California life. Hello, processed food, pest-infested house, and twelve-year-old-boy humor—all day, every day.

But it’s in this place of second chances (and giant bugs), where Agnes is unexpectedly forced to take care of herself and her daughter, where she finds out the kind of woman she can be. Ultimately, she has to decide if she prefers the woman and mother she has become…or the trophy life she left behind.

Authentic and sharply witty, Trophy Life is proof that granny panties and mom coats might not be the answer to everything; they’re simply comfortable (if slightly unattractive) reminders of what happens when one life ends…and real life begins.

 

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

Nora Ephron, Tina Fey and Bruce Springsteen, just so I could finally meet him.

 

 

Current binge series?

I am currently binging the Israeli show Shtisl on Netflix.

 

 

Last favorite book?

I was blown away by The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai. I loved it so much, I read the final page and started all over again.

 

 

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

Packing: For reasons which will be immediately clear, for any vacation I pack travels packets of Miralax and Metamucil, and I never travel without an eye mask because I am a terrible sleeper anywhere, but especially in a strange bed. I don’t like being landlocked, so any good vacation has to involve a body of water – can be the beach or a big city with a river running through it.

Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

NYT. Each time I read US Weekly, I know fewer and fewer of the celebrities, which just make feels old. Reading the NYT makes me feel like a spring chicken.  

 

 

Last person you sent a text message to?

Probably to my husband, asking him what time he was going to be home. And then one five minutes later asking again.

 

 

Book you read that you wished you wrote?

Pretty much anything by Ian McEwan, but mostly Atonement, which is a book I read yearly. I feel the same way about Life After Life by Kate Atkinson.

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

 

Yes, I had several – most notable was my high school English teacher Judith Beiner who told to write, write, and then write some more.

 

 

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

Yes. It really depends on my mood. Right now I’m listening to a lot of Duke Ellington and the Killers.

Describe your writing space?

 

My home office is completely uninsulated so I can only use it for six months a year, at most. Right now, I’m writing at my dining room table. If I write anywhere near my bed, I end up napping. I have been known to take mid-day catnaps on the couch; but those don’t count.

 

Coffee or tea?

 

Both. Usually black coffee until midday and the black tea with milk.

Do you have a favorite book that you gift?

Depends on the recipient, but The Most of Nora Ephron is a great gift.

 

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

 

Thunder Road by Bruce Springsteen. If I could only listen to one song for the rest of time, that would be it.

What/Who inspires you?

The small details and muddiness of everyday life and the things that happen to all of us that nobody likes to talk about. Those inspire me to write.

 

Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

 

No, which may explain why I don’t know anyone in Us Weekly anymore.

 

Favorite Instagram account?

@LondonIsPink which is pictures of London buildings with pink door, parks with pink trees, or city streets with a random pink car parked. It’s a beautiful collection.

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

 

Probably Gatsby and it would be the color of champagne.

Current #TBR pile?

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi and The Last Romantics by Tara Conklin.

Best advice you’ve ever received?

In John Irving’s The Hotel Hampshire, a father gives his children the advice, “Keep passing the open windows.” I love that advice, that when times are tough, keep putting one foot in front of the other, and move forward.

 

 

About the author

Lea Geller is a recovering lawyer who lives in New York with her husband and children. She began her writing career by blogging about her adventures in the trenches of parenting, and got the idea for Trophy Life when her two sons were in middle school.

When Lea’s not eavesdropping on her children, she can be found running, drinking diner coffee, and occasionally teaching middle-school English. She enjoys embarrassing her family by posting pictures of her vegetable garden on Instagram (#IgrewDinner). You can follow her at https://www.leageller.com/.

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Happy St. Paddy’s Day! Open Book with Eithne Shortall

Happiest of St. Paddy’s Day to you!  Much luck and love, all year long!  What better than an Irish love story to make this day complete ❤  Grace After Henry by Eithne Shortall, is a heartbreaking love story that has echos of JoJo Moyes sprinkled throughout.  Eithne is my latest Open Book and she gives some great advice, also loves Busy Phillips Instagram and has a fabulous TBR pile!  Plus Eithne other novel, Love in Row 27, has been optioned for a TV show, love a good page to screen 😉

 

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via Amazon ~

A quirky love story set in Dublin that’s perfect for fans of PS, I Love You and Jojo Moyes, Grace After Henry is a funny, heartfelt debut novel about one woman learning what it means to move on and to let go.

When the love of her life, Henry, is killed in a freak biking accident, Grace feels like she’s lost her own shadow. In his absence, she must put her world back together: she moves into the Dublin dream house they bought together, she returns to work as a chef, she watches TV with her nosy elderly neighbor. But, through it all, she’s ever aware of the growing Henry-shaped hole in her life.

Until his long-lost twin brother knocks on her door.

Newly arrived in Ireland on his own search for answers, Andy is Henry, and yet not quite. Soon Grace isn’t sure if she’s learning to let go or becoming desperate to hold on. Grace After Henry is a funny, tender, and bittersweet story about love, loss, and second chances.

 

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

Nora Ephron, Margaret Atwood and someone with an excellent wine
cellar.

2. Current binge series?

Do you mean books? If so, I’m currently making a start on PD James’s
back catalogue. I spent last year devouring everything Liane Moriarty
wrote, and I think 2019 will be the year of PD James.
If you mean TV, I don’t watch a lot of TV but I am currently wrapped
up in Sex Education on Netflix. I love anything set in the world of teen
angst, although I do wish the show would make up its mind about
where, if not when, it is set.

3. Last favorite book?

I loved Sally Rooney’s Normal People and Sarah Winman’s Tin Man.

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

1. Books, at least three.
2. SPF, I worshipped the sun in my late teens/early twenties and
am now trying to make amends.
3. A swimsuit that can withstand waves.
If it’s a sun holiday – which my packing list suggests that it is – then it
has to be the Greek Islands.

5. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

Even though I’m based in Ireland, I do have a New York Times
subscription. So it’s a no-brainer.
6. Last person you sent a text message to?

My boyfriend. Asking him to pick up a Cornetto Classico ice-cream on
his way home. He obliged.

7. Book you read that you wished you wrote?

There are so many. But the last one was Liane Moriarty’s Big Little
Lies.

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

Not specifically, but I had amazing primary school teachers who
encouraged my confidence and generally taught me to believe in
myself and my abilities. To that end, I would namecheck Maire
McHugh.

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

I almost always write in complete silence. I might listen to music
before writing, to put me in the mood. With Grace After Henry, I never
did that. I did, however, lie on the floor of my writing room and try to
imagine how it would feel to have the love of my life die. When I found
myself on the verge of tears, I knew I was ready to write.

10. Describe your writing space?

It has changed. I wrote most of Grace After Henry in a small bungalow
in the middle of nowhere in the west of Ireland. There were always
multiple birds hopping around outside my window, but some days that
was all the living interaction I had. I went there to try to imagine my
way into Grace’s head – to make myself feel what it would be to be all
alone. My next book, however, was written in a writing room at my
home in Dublin. That room is wall-to-wall books, with a view from my
desk into the back garden.
11. Coffee or tea?

Tea, and lots of it.

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

I have bought several copies of several books as gifts. Among them
are Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, Tana French’s The Secret
Place, John Banville’s Book of Evidence and Marian Keyes’ Rachel’s
Holiday.

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

I’m very much looking forward to seeing how Sally Rooney’s Normal
People is adapted for the small screen.

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

This is too hard. I can’t pick one. Although if Joni Mitchell’s Blue album
was just played on a loop, I’d be pretty happy with that.

15. What/Who inspires you?

A little piece of my grandmother has made it into all my book thus far.
She’s a no-nonsense woman who is very funny in her refusal to
indulge anyone about anything. She was the inspiration for Grace’s
neighbor Betty in Grace After Henry.

16. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

For the little TV I do watch, reality shows don’t make the cut.

17. Favorite Instagram account?

Currently enjoying Busy Philipps and Dawn O’Porter.

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

Well I’m always in search of a good nude, so that’s the shade. And
then I guess I’d call it…. Naked Lunch?

19. Current #TBR pile?

I can’t actually look my TBR pile in the eye or I’ll start to
hyperventilate. But as I recall, Jo Spain’s Dirty Little Secrets and
Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Daisy Jones and the Six are sitting at the top of it.

20. Best advice you’ve ever received?

“You’ll be dead soon.” I find it very uplifting. Don’t waste your time
worrying, you never know when you’re going to run out of it.

 

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What’s in my Bookish {Beauty} Bag? ~ Jane Healey

I love a fabulous local author and love even more when they write about the Ah-mazing city of Boston!  The Beantown Girls, by Jane Healey, is about three best friends who volunteer for the Red Cross during WWll.  Out now, this historical fiction gem is a must for your reading list!  Read below to see what is on Jane’s Must-Have beauty list with a sneak peek into her timeless Rebecca Minkoff bag 🙂

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via Amazon ~

A novel of love, courage, and danger unfolds as World War II’s brightest heroines—the best of friends—take on the front lines.

1944: Fiona Denning has her entire future planned out. She’ll work in city hall, marry her fiancé when he returns from the war, and settle down in the Boston suburbs. But when her fiancé is reported missing after being shot down in Germany, Fiona’s long-held plans are shattered.

Determined to learn her fiancé’s fate, Fiona leaves Boston to volunteer overseas as a Red Cross Clubmobile girl, recruiting her two best friends to come along. There’s the outspoken Viviana, who is more than happy to quit her secretarial job for a taste of adventure. Then there’s Dottie, a shy music teacher whose melodious talents are sure to bring heart and hope to the boys on the front lines.

Chosen for their inner strength and outer charm, the trio isn’t prepared for the daunting challenges of war. But through it all come new friendships and romances, unforeseen dangers, and unexpected dreams. As the three friends begin to understand the real reasons they all came to the front, their courage and camaraderie will see them through some of the best and worst times of their lives.

 

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What is your bag of choice?

I love my Rebecca Minkoff Mini Julian Backpack. It’s really versatile and has a bunch
of pockets.

What are your top favorite beauty picks?

I live in New England and in the winter my face needs all the moisture it can get. I
can’t live without Olehenriksen’s Truth Serum and Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream. And I
love Bareminerals Complexion Rescue tinted moisturizer with SPF and use that year
round.  I’m not a big lipstick person but I love a good lip gloss and my favorite Buxom Full-On Plumping Lip Polish Gloss. I have it in multiple shades.  My eyes are really sensitive and I have to be careful what I use. I’ve found the eyeliner and mascara combo that works best for me is Clinique’s Quickliner for Eyes Intense in Chocolate, and LOC Love of Color One and Done Shadow Stick in Champagne Problems.

What do you always carry on for beauty products for travel?

I always carry a good eye cream and concealer, especially for long flights. My
favorite eye cream is Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream and my tried and true
concealer is MAC’s Mineralize Concealer. I also bring an exfoliator, Olehenriksen
Transforming Walnut Scrub, because air travel can do such a number on your skin.

What are you currently reading?

My 12yo daughter is a total introvert, so I’m currently reading Quiet Power: The
Secret Strengths of Introverts. It’s a guide for kids and teens from Susan Cain, the
author who wrote of the worldwide bestselling book Quiet: The Power of Introverts
in a World that Can’t Stop Talking. It’s really fascinating and it’s given me such a
great perspective on my daughter’s personality.

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

I have a small vintage compact mirror that I bought in London with a picture of a
cartoon cat on the front. I also always have an ultrafine black Sharpie pen and sticky
notes – sometimes I write story ideas that come to me when I’m driving, etc. but
often it’s just reminders to pick up the dry cleaning or something!

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