Open Book with Nicola Moriarty

Happy October!  I am so excited for Fall!  New books, TV shows and crisp air plus HALLOWEEN!  Big Halloween lovers in this house 🙂  Nothing says October like a good thriller, suspense novel.  Nicola Moriarty’s latest, Those Other Women is the perfect accomplice to your hot apple cider.  It’s  little bit of drama, mixed with a whole lot of vengeance as determined mothers go against each other testing their loyalty and relationships with one another. I was thrilled that Nicola joined us all the way from Australia where she picked a few of my favorite things.  Think- Anna Kendrick, Harry Potter beauty and Liana Moriarty (they are sisters ❤ )!!!

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via Amazon ~

“A firecracker of a novel…” -Liane Moriarty, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Big Little Lies

The author of The Fifth Letter takes a laser look at the uneasy relationships between women and the real-world ramifications of online conflicts and social media hostilities in this stunning domestic drama. A story of privilege, unspoken rivalries, and small acts of vengeance with huge repercussions sure to please fans of Sarah Jio and Ruth Ware.

Overwhelmed at the office and reeling from betrayals involving the people she loves, Poppy feels as if her world has tipped sideways. Maybe her colleague, Annalise, is right—Poppy needs to let loose and blow off some steam. What better way to vent than social media?

With Annalise, she creates an invitation-only Facebook group that quickly takes off. Suddenly, Poppy feels like she’s back in control—until someone begins leaking the group’s private posts and stirring up a nasty backlash, shattering her confidence.

Feeling judged by disapproving female colleagues and her own disappointed children, Frankie, too, is careening towards the breaking point. She also knows something shocking about her boss—sensitive knowledge that is tearing her apart.

As things begin to slide disastrously, dangerously out of control, carefully concealed secrets and lies are exposed with devastating consequences—forcing these women to face painful truths about their lives and the things they do to survive.

 

Nicola Moriarty author photo_credit Deasy Photographic.jpg

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

It is SO hard to choose just three, but I’ll have to go with: Charlotte Bronte, Anna Kendrick and Zooey Deschanel.

Current binge series? 

The Originals. (I discovered Vampire Diaries quite late and now that I’ve finished it, I was so excited to discover there was a spin-off series).

Last favorite book? 

I recently read an advance copy of my sister Jaclyn’s new book ‘Gravity is the thing.’ It’s MAGNIFICENT!! Make sure you read it when it comes out, trust me, you’ll love it.

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

Swimmers, sunhat and a good book. Probably the Maldives or really anywhere with crystal clear water, sunshine and sand. 

Sunday NYT or US Weekly? 

Hmm, as I live in Australia this is a hard one to know which one I would read… which one is more fun? Let’s say NYT.

Last person you sent a text message to? 

I was so sure it was going to be my husband but I just checked my phone and it was a group message to all of my sisters organising a get-together for Father’s Day.

Book you read that you wished you wrote? 

The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton. It’s just such a wonderfully magical book that I adored as a child and I’d love to have that entire world inside my head!

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

My Year Five teacher Mrs Walsh read out a children’s story I wrote to my class. It was about a little girl going on an outing with her grandfather and I was so proud and excited. 

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

Absolutely. It helps to put me in the right mood. I listen to The Head and The Heart, The Hilltop Hoods, Weezer, Charles Bradley, Alabama Shakes, The Submarines, Amy Shark, Seeker Lover Keeper, Tash Sultana, Thundamentals, Deathcab for Cutie, The Lumineers, Bliss N Eso, Badly Drawn Boy, 360, Vampie Weekend, The Wombats, Grouplove, Mark Ronson. I should probably stop there, shouldn’t I?

Describe your writing space?

It varies. Sometimes it’s my desk at the office I share with my husband (where he runs his graphic design business), sometimes it’s at home on the couch with a glass of wine, sometimes I sit up at the bar of a café called Youeni and chat to the super friendly hipster staff, sometimes it’s a table at the Mini Espresso Bar, which is next door to my kid’s school where I chat with the super friendly owner named Pete.

Coffee or tea? 

Half strength Cappuccino in the morning, Green or Peppermint tea before bed night.

Do you have a favorite book that you gift? 

I always gift different books – and I do judge a book by its cover, so I pick a beautiful or interesting looking cover when I’m gifting books.

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

The Colours of Madeleine Trilogy by Jaclyn Moriarty. The imagery in these books is spectacular, so it would be amazing to see how they would translate to the screen.

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

Where is my mind? By Pixies. Because I love that song and also because I’m often wondering where I’ve put my mind.

What/Who inspires you? 

Music, my sisters, my husband, my kids, delicious chocolate, good wine, great books.

Bravo reality TV- yes or no? 

Hmm, I don’t have that channel, but I do like some reality shows here in Australia, my favourites are Masterchef, The Block and The Voice.

Favorite Instagram account?

https://www.instagram.com/zongbim/ – absolutely gorgeous photos!

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

How about ‘Butterbeer’ after the Harry Potter books. It could be a nice creamy, neutral shade!

Current #TBR pile? 

I’m about to read my sister Liane’s book Nine Perfect Strangers, due out later this year. I already know I’m going to adore it because I love everything she writes! 

Best advice you’ve ever received?

That it’s okay to want more. 

Basically, I used to think it was a bad thing that I was always looking ahead to what was coming next instead of being satisfied with what I have now. For instance: landing an agent, landing a publisher, your first great review, your first sale, your next book deal, your first overseas book deal… You always think the next step is going to be the one that makes you feel like you’ve made it… but a little while back, my dad pointed out to me that maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe if I felt completely satisfied, I’d stop trying. So, I’ve embraced this advice and I’m going to keep striving for more!

 

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Open Book with Amina Akhtar

Can I just say this book had me at THIS cover.  When I read that this book is a cross between, The Devil Wears Prada and Dexter, I was sold.  Amina Akhtar’s debut has received rave reviews and even though this is her first novel, Akhtar is no novice to writing.  She previously has written for Vogue, Elle, Style.com, the list continues.  I was honored she took the time to chat with me to share her love for coffee, all things horror and Bravo TV- #besties 😉

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via Amazon ~

“Darkly satisfying.”—Martha Stewart Living
“A diabolical page-turner . . . impossible to put down.”—Forbes
“Darkly funny.”—Fashionista
“As awesome as it sounds.”—Book Riot

A thrilling take on the fashion world, #FashionVictim is Dexter meets The Devil Wears Prada.

Fashion editor Anya St. Clair is on the verge of greatness. Her wardrobe is to die for. Her social media is killer. And her career path is littered with the bodies of anyone who got in her way. She’s worked hard to get where she is, but she doesn’t have everything.

Not like Sarah Taft. Anya’s obsession sits one desk away. Beautiful, stylish, and rich, she was born to be a fashion world icon. From her beach-wave blonde hair to her on-trend nail art, she’s a walking editorial spread. And Anya wants to be her friend. Her best friend. Her only friend.

But when Sarah becomes her top competition for a promotion, Anya’s plan to win her friendship goes into overdrive. In order to beat Sarah…she’ll have to become her. Friendly competition may turn fatal, but as they say in fashion: One day you’re in, and the next day you’re dead

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

Just three? Some mix of Jordan Peele, Stephen King, Gillian Flynn, Caroline Kepnes, and Edward Gorey. I love all things horror, creepy and macabre.

2. Current binge series?

I don’t think I’ve binged on a series properly in a while. I could use some suggestions!

 

3. Last favorite book?

Providence! It’s so good I couldn’t put it down. Caroline’s characters are incredible and real and I love them.

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

My iPad so I can read books without lugging them around, cute shoes I can walk in, and Nars lip pencils. I’d go to London. I love London and it’s been ages since I was able to go back.

5. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

Sunday Styles for sure.

 

6. Last person you sent a text message to?

My friend Daniel who helped get the FV pilot made. (It’s TBD currently.)

 

7. Book you read that you wished you wrote?

Christodora by Tim Murphy. I don’t wish I wrote it but when I read it, I was almost angry at how good it is. Tim is masterful. After every page I had to stop and marvel at the way he wove his stories and characters.

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

None that stick out but my parents have always been really encouraging. But they also wanted me to be able to support myself, so I went into journalism for most of my career.

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

Not really. If I need to drown out noise I’ll put on some classical music. But anything with words is distracting.

10. Describe your writing space?

I’ll write anywhere I can. I think having worked in digital, you learn to not be so precious about it. You have deadlines, and your cubicle is probably the least inspiring place in the world. But you have to get it done! So for now I write on my bed with my dog next to me. She snores.

11. Coffee or tea?

So much coffee.

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

Yes! Big Magic by Liz Gilbert. If you’re feeling stuck—whether in writing or life—read it. It helps me get out of my head.

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

It’s not out yet but PJ Vernon’s When You Find Me is utterly riveting and incredible. It’s a southern gothic thriller that you’re going to love.

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

She’s Lost Control by Joy Division. It’s been my favorite song since my teen years. Because really, aren’t we all losing control a bit?

15. What/Who inspires you?

My friends. I’ve luckily managed to surround myself with really talented, supportive, and bad ass women and men who go after what they want. They have ideas and the next day they make them reality. It’s incredible to witness.

16. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

Of course! We all need guilty pleasures!

17. Favorite Instagram account?

Juniper Foxx! Who doesn’t need photos and videos of animals to brighten their day? Also, the Bloggess’ account is a close second. Fashion wise, Nicolette Mason is someone I am lowkey obsessed with.

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

A Nars pencil in Anya Red. It’d be the perfect shade of blood red.

 

19. Current #TBR pile?

Sister of Mine and The Widow of Malabar Hill are at the top of the pile.

20. Best advice you’ve ever received?

Don’t give up. Writing is full of rejection. If you want to write, write. And if you’re lucky, you’ll get that one yes you need to get published. But even if you don’t, keep writing!

 

 

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What’s in my Bookish {Beauty} Bag? ~ Rosie Nixon

Being royally obsessed I am a huge fan of Hello! Magazine and when I discovered their  editor-in-chief was writing a novel I was sold.  Rosie Nixon is just as fabulous as her characters, Amber and Mona in her debut, The Stylist.  A little Devil Wears Prada with a sprinkle of the red carpet and hollywood glam this book is the perfect read to kick off all the glitz of New York Fashion week!  I was beyond thrilled when Rosie opened her Stella McCartney bag for me and shared her must-have beauty items and no one knows beauty better than her- its Hello! magazine people!!! ❤

Stylist The_PB

via Amazon ~

In the tradition of The Devil Wears Prada comes Rosie Nixon’s debut novel, which follows a young woman who is thrown into the fast-paced world of fashion and glamour as she’s forced to navigate the treacherous Hollywood red carpets…while finding a fairytale love of her own.

“A stylish, fun read, I absolutely loved it!”—Jackie Collins

Amber Green loves working at Smith’s, London’s ultra-exclusive boutique frequented by everyone who’s anyone, including Mona Armstrong, the stylist to the stars. She is fierce, demanding, and can make or break a career with a snap of her manicured nails.

When Mona’s latest assistant walks out and with awards season arriving faster than you can say “Rodeo Drive”, Amber finds herself agreeing to work for one of the most infamous—and volatile—women in Hollywood. And the stars aren’t much better. Amber’s life is turned inside out as she becomes familiar with all Hollywood has to offer, on and off the red carpet.

As she begins to enjoy life in the dressing rooms of the hottest stars, Amber discovers she’s the one in the spotlight when she catches the attention of two very different men. But Mona’s behavior is growing increasingly erratic and unless Amber can out-style everyone in Hollywood, she’s in danger of being Mona’s latest fashion victim.

Bookish Beauty Bag

What is your bag of choice?

Stella McCartney metallic shoulder bag. This has been my go-to day-into-evening bag for months now – I love the slightly rock chick edge and it looks as great with jeans as with an LBD or even a gown. I admire Stella’s standpoint on sustainable fashion and how she has pioneered using new alternative materials to leather and fur.  

What are your top favorite beauty picks?  

I’ve been a big fan of Benefit for years and particularly like their mascaras and bronzers – a quick pop of Sugarbomb on my cheeks and I’m instantly perked up! I recently discovered Dolce & Gabbana make-up and it’s great quality, I also love By Terry make-up.

For skincare, I’m a Murad girl, I wear their entire range – the City Skin Age Defence SPF 50 is my favourite, I have quite fair skin and always wear a high SPF. Shu Uemura beauty products are gorgeous and effective too. As I get older, I pay more attention to the science of skincare – the right products really can make a big difference in slowing the ageing process. I’m lucky that I work in an industry (magazines) where it’s important to keep on top of the latest beauty brands and trends.

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

Always a benefit Bal Gal BANG! mascara in black, Benefit Sugarbomb, Dolce & Gabbana ‘Isabella’ lipstick which is like a cross between a lipbalm and a lipstick, although I often wear Maybelline SuperStay 24 Colour lipstick in Rose Dust because it doesn’t come off when I kiss my children! I generally carry a small purse, and I’m quite low maintenance, so there isn’t room for much else beauty-wise!

What are you currently reading?

I nearly always have my nose in a newspaper or the pages of HELLO! magazine, of which I am editor-in-chief. Reading magazines is part of my job and very much in my blood. I read novels for escapism. I’m currently reading The Image Of You by Adele Parks, who is a friend as well as a brilliant author. And I recently loved The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo. I only wish I had more time to curl up with a book.

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

Always my iPhone X – I will fly into a panic if I’ve left home without it. I love my limited edition HELLO! phone case, which was created by CHAOS as part of a fashion project I spearheaded celebrating HELLO!’s 30th Birthday in May.

I also have sunglasses with me – I have quite an addiction to sunglasses, just like my central character Mona Armstrong  – my current favourites are by Ralph Lauren, but I switch them up depending on my mood and what I’m wearing. I can go from Ray-Bans one day, to mirrored Le Specs or classic Pradas the next. It’s all about the accessories, darling! (Just ask Amber Green…) 

items in bag: Lulu Guinness purse, Barkleys peppermints, Dolce & Gabbana lipstick,  Benefit mascara, Ralph Lauren sunglasses, HELLO! x CHAOS phone case, iPhone X

Rosie Nixon author photo

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Open Book with Rea Frey

We may be saying good bye to summer but it’s not really official until end of September so keep on with the delectable summer reads!  Rea Freys’ debut fiction novel is one for your must-read lists!  Not Her Daughter, already optioned for film, is the perfect read to enjoy by a fire pit on these indian summer nights.  Missing child, unsure mother and successful kidnapper are all the key ingredients in this page-turner.  I was thrilled when Rea answered a few questions for my latest “Open Book”.  She might just be the book BFF I didn’t know I needed 🙂 Very Cavallari, wine and US Weekly and a #tbr pile of some of my favorites- Rea, call me ❤

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via Amazon ~

SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE

PopSugar – The Summer’s Hottest Books * Refinery 29 – Best Summer Thrillers * US Weekly – Summer’s Best Send-Offs * Parade – 20 Chilling Thrillers by Women to Read This Year * Brit + Co – 15 New Thrillers by Women That Will Give You Chills This Summer * The Zoe Report – 20 Books to Read this Summer * She Reads – New Summer Thrillers to Get Your Heart Racing * Working Mother – 15 Hot New Summer Beach Reads * Culturalist – Top Ten Domestic Thrillers That Will Make You Question Everything * Crime Reads – 5 Debut Crime Novels to Read This August

 

“Brings to mind Jodi Picoult…thought-provoking domestic drama.” – Booklist

“Will make you miss your bedtime, guaranteed.” – Bestselling author Kimberly Belle

Gripping, emotional, and wire-taut, Not Her Daughter raises the question of what it means to be a mother—and how far someone will go to keep a child safe.

Emma Townsend. Five years old. Gray eyes, brown hair. Missing since June.

Emma is lonely. Living with her cruel mother and clueless father, Emma retreats into her own world of quiet and solitude.

Sarah Walker. Successful entrepreneur. Broken-hearted. Kidnapper.

Sarah has never seen a girl so precious as the gray-eyed child in a crowded airport terminal. When a second-chance encounter with Emma presents itself, Sarah takes her—far away from home. But if it’s to rescue a little girl from her damaging mother, is kidnapping wrong?

Amy Townsend. Unhappy wife. Unfit mother. Unsure whether she wants her daughter back.

Amy’s life is a string of disappointments, but her biggest issue is her inability to connect with her daughter. And now Emma is gone without a trace.

As Sarah and Emma avoid the nationwide hunt, they form an unshakeable bond. But what about Emma’s real mother, back at home?

Praise for Not Her Daughter

“The plot twists here are brave, the themes are both poignant and unsettling, and the resolution is deeply resonant. A page-turner with heart!”New York Times bestselling author Kate Moretti

“A cleverly constructed novel that will have you questioning everything you believe about right or wrong.” – New York Times bestselling author Chevy Stevens

“Engrossing and suspenseful, Frey writes her characters with depth and compassion, challenging readers to question their own code of ethics.” Zoje Stage, author of Baby Teeth

“An emotional ride where the line between right and wrong begins to fade…pulls you in from the very first page, and unlike most in its genre, you won’t know how you want it to end until it does.Wendy Walker, author of Emma in the Night

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

Maya Angelou, James Joyce, and Sylvia Plath. Can’t you just imagine that conversation? 

2. Current binge series?

Very Cavallari. It follows Kristin Cavallari on her journey to open her accessory store, Uncommon James. It takes place in Nashville (where I live), and I CAN’T STOP WATCHING IT. 

3. Last favorite book?

Three Days Missing by Kimberly Belle

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

Book, workout clothes, journal. My dream vacation is in the mountains, near water, where I can hike, write, and eat my face off. 

5. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

I should say NYT, right? Smart people say NYT. But I’m an US WEEKLY gal all the way. It’s my unwind go-to read with a glass of wine and a big old bubble bath. 

6. Last person you sent a text message to?

My husband

7. Book you read that you wished you wrote?

To Kill a Mockingbird

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

Yes! My father, for starters. He is a magnificent writer, and from the time I was young, he taught me the love of reading (through TV Guides, of all things), writing poetry, and storytelling. My third grade teacher, Mrs. Seard, was instrumental in helping me craft stories. I also had a wonderful AP English teacher in high school, Mrs. Johnson, who let me write to my heart’s content and helped me craft my writing portfolio to submit to college writing programs. I went to Columbia for fiction writing, so, you know, all the teachers there were beyond helpful. 

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

Not always, but if I do, it’s actually Billie Holiday, classical, Son Lux, or a mellow playlist on Spotify. 

10. Describe your writing space?

I actually share a desk with my husband, but he made the desk, so I suppose he can use it too. It’s an eight-foot long slab of wood. I have the left side, he has the right. (He’s a designer, so we are often sketching and writing together, which is nice.) I like a minimalistic space, so I have flowers, my laptop, a stack of advance reader copies, and oh so many pens. 

11. Coffee or tea?

Coffee. I don’t trust tea drinkers…

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

I absolutely love Pam Grout’s books. E2 and E3 are life changers. In terms of writing, Story Genius by Lisa Cron. I have recommended this book more times than I can count! 

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

The Secret History by Donna Tartt 

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

Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley. I love this song. I’ve made love to this song. I’ve cried to this song. I’ve broken up to this song. I got married to this song. It showcases the struggles we all face. It’s romantic, and tragic, and hopeful at the same time, much like life. 

15. What/Who inspires you?

My daughter inspires me every single day. She’s only six years old, but she has it all figured out. (Seriously, children are the best teachers, aren’t they?) She reminds me to step away from my computer, to put the damn phone down, to play, to laugh, and to not take everything so seriously. She literally insists I go jump on the trampoline if I’ve been sitting too long. She’s my hero. 

16. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

Nope

17. Favorite Instagram account?

I love Instagram so much, and though I’ve only been on it for a little over a year, I find the “audience” there to be so supportive and authentic. Ironically, my favorite account is a brand new one: @manifesting.through.the.mess, which is all about navigating the mess of motherhood and reclaiming yourself along the way. Elizabeth Pearson is going to do big things, y’all. You should follow her. 

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

You are a Badass: hot pink

19. Current #TBR pile?

Holy shit, my list is like a mile high. (No, really, I can show you.) In no particular order: 

The Darkest Time of Night by Jeremy Finley

Ghosted by Rosie Walsh

The Bucket List by Georgia Clark

The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

It’s Always the Husband by Michele Campbell

Other People’s Houses by Abbi Waxman

When Katie Met Cassidy by Camille Perri

And the list continues…

20. Best advice you’ve ever received?

There is no right time. Now is the right time. 

We live in such an if/then society. We’re scared to take risks, to burst out of the norm, to do what we want when we want. We think there’s a perfect time to do the things we really want. When you get enough money. When you have the steady job. When the kids go to school. When all the shit gets done. When you’re not so tired. But there isn’t any magical time to follow your own path. LIFE is the time, and it’s right now. I think waiting is one of the biggest detriments to being happy and living a more fulfilled life. 

 

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Open Book with Amy Blumenfeld

As we wind down these final days of summer there is still PLENTY of beach reading time!  Amy Blumenfeld’s debut novel, The Cast is the perfect choice to beat the end of summer scaries- P.S. that is a real thing 😉  It has got friendship, drama, heart and a complex cast of unforgettable characters. I was thrilled to ask her a few questions for my latest Open Book.  I have to say- her vacation spot is on my bucket list, her lipstick choice needs to be a reality and her life advice is something I always forget but is so true!  Thanks for sharing Amy ❤

THECASTfor Amazon

via Amazon ~

Twenty-five years ago, a group of ninth graders produced a Saturday Night Live–style videotape to cheer up their ailing friend. The show’s running time was only ninety minutes, but it had a lasting impact: Becca laughed her way through recovery, and the group—Jordana, Seth, Holly, and Lex—became her supporting cast for life.

On the silver anniversary of Becca Night Live, the friends reunite over the Fourth of July to celebrate Becca’s good health—but nothing goes as planned. The happy holiday card facades everyone’s been hiding behind quickly crumble and give way to an unforgettable three days filled with complex moral dilemmas and life-altering choices. Through humor, drama, and the alternating perspectives of five characters, The Cast explores the power of forgiveness, the importance of authenticity, and the immeasurable value of deep, enduring friendships to buoy us when life plays out differently than expected.

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

Lin-Manuel Miranda, Robin Williams, Oprah

Current binge series? 

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee and 

My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman

Last favorite book?

The Book of Separation by Tova Mirvis and Limelight by Amy Poeppel. Very different books, but equally engrossing. 

What 3 things to you pack in your bag for your dream vacation?  Where is it? London. A good book, tickets to a West End show, and the key to the Kensington townhouse I’ll be renting so that I can pretend I’m a local.

Sunday NYT or US Weekly? 

Sunday NYT

Last person you sent a text message to? 

My husband

Book you read that you wished you wrote? 

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

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

I did not have a teacher who encouraged me to become a writer but I did have a professor in graduate school who suggested I turn my master’s project into a book. Although it was a very circuitous route, The Cast is what eventually blossomed from the seed he planted all those years ago.

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

No. The characters in my head make enough noise!

Describe your writing space? 

As soon as my daughter is off to school I make a mug of tea and sit down at the dining room table with my computer. By the time she gets home, my laptop and I have usually relocated to a sofa, an area rug on the floor, my bed, or if the weather is nice, a spot outdoors. 

Coffee or tea? 

Though I love the aroma of a coffee shop, I’m definitely a tea person.

Do you have a favorite book that you gift? 

For kids, I like to give My Book About Me by Dr. Seuss. For adults, it’s all based on the recipient. I match the book to the person.

If you could have one song as the theme song of your life what would it be and why? Just the Way You Are by Billy Joel. First, because I am a huge Billy Joel fan – my first big concert as a kid was seeing him play at Yankee Stadium. Second, I believe in the importance of authenticity and gravitate to people who stay true to themselves. 

What/Who inspires you? My parents, husband, brother, and daughter. 

Bravo reality TV- yes or no? No

Favorite Instagram account? It’s a tie between Jennifer Garner and my 20-something-year-old nieces living in Chicago. 

If you could name just one lipstick after a book, what would you call it and what shade would it be? Great Expectations. It would be a nude shade with a little shimmer.

Current #TBR pile? Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult, The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer, The Subway Girls by Susie Orman Schnall, Beauty in the Broken Places by Alison Pataki, The Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir, When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Best advice you’ve ever received? One step at a time. No matter how great or small the goal, I find this to be the most practical piece of advice I’ve ever received. I apply this to nearly everything I do – from packing a lunchbox to hosting a party to writing a book. This is what I keep in the back of my mind and it tends to get me to the finish line. 

 

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Open Book with Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke

Two summers ago, fully pregnant, I had the good fortune of meeting Liz and Lisa while they were on tour.  They are exactly how you would picture them- fun, bubbly, sparkly, gorgeous and vivacious- basically the gals you want in your squad.  I am always thrilled to support them and read their literary gems.  I love having them on the blog and am excited to share their “Open Book” answers.  They have picked the perfect book to lipstick shade, shared their current reads and really live by the best motto- read below and see why they truly are the book besties dreams are made of ❤

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via Amazon ~

From the bestselling authors of The Good Widow comes a chilling novel of psychological suspense that will make you think twice about what your best friend may be hiding…

For estranged friends Ashley, Natalie, and Lauren, it’s time to heal the old wounds between them. Where better to repair those severed ties than on a girls’ getaway to the beautiful paradise of Tulum, Mexico? But even after they’re reunited, no one is being completely honest about the past or the secrets they’re hiding. When Ashley disappears on their girls’ night out, Natalie and Lauren have to try to piece together their hazy memories to figure out what could have happened to her, while also reconciling their feelings of guilt over their last moments together.

Was Ashley with the man she’d met only days before? Did she pack up and leave? Was she kidnapped? Or worse—could Natalie or Lauren have snapped under the weight of her own lies?

As the clock ticks, hour by hour, Natalie and Lauren’s search rushes headlong into growing suspicion and dread. Maybe their secrets run deeper and more dangerous than one of them is willing—or too afraid—to admit.

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

Elizabeth Gilbert, Judy Blume and Barack Obama

  1. Current binge series?

Lisa is binging Seven Seconds on Netflix and Liz is binging Dietland on AMC. 

  1. Last favorite book?

Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier and Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone 

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

Books (Does that count as one? Lol), bathing suit and birkenstocks.

Grand Cayman! Together! 

  1. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

US Weekly! 

  1. Last person you sent a text message to?

Lisa–my husband

Liz–Lisa!

  1. Book you read that you wished you wrote?

You by Caroline Kepnes 

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

Lisa didn’t have a teacher. It was her mom who encouraged her. Liz had so many teachers that encouraged her—it would be impossible to choose just one! 

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

YES! Lisa listens to Kenny Chesney and various other country artists. Liz loves Sia and plays her on repeat! 

  1. Describe your writing space?

Lisa has a loft, hidden away from the rest of the house with sweeping views of the treelined streets below. Liz has a tranquil office that relaxes her. 

  1. Coffee or tea?

Coffee for both of us! 

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

Lisa enjoys gifting Eat Pray Love. Liz loves to gift The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. 

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

Ours! The Good Widow or Girls’ Night Out! 

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

Don’t Worry, Be Happy for Lisa. So much easier said than done! For Liz: Girls Just Want to Have Fun! 

  1. What/Who inspires you?

Hard workers—people that hustle to get to the top. 

  1. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

Yes! We love Million Dollar Listing–any city!

  1. Favorite Instagram account?

We love @vilmairisblog and also @thesatoproject, a really cool organization that saved dogs in Puerto Rico. 

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

Double Life. It would be that perfect shade of red and would go with The Good Widow

  1. Current #TBR pile?

Lisa has The Subway Girls by Susie Schnall, An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen, Our House by Louise Candish. Liz is reading The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang and Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier. 

  1. Best advice you’ve ever received?

Never give up. And we won’t!

 

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What’s in my Bookish {Beauty} Bag? ~ M.J. Rose

Tiffany’s, romance, the Jazz Age and a historical mystery are all the ingredients to M.J. Rose’s latest, Tiffany Blues which of course makes it the perfect beach read.  It’s the magical escape to a time that was enchanting and lively.  I was lucky enough to have M.J. share her vintage Gucci and Louis Vuitton with me which were equally as enchanting.  This is a woman who appreciates a beautiful, vintage bags and knows the history about them too 🙂

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via Amazon~

Everything looked more beautiful through the stained glass… except her past.

“A lush, romantic historical mystery…a heroine to root for.” –Kristin Hannah, NYTbestselling author of The Nightingale

NYT bestselling author, M. J. Rose crafts a dazzling Jazz Age jewel–a novel of ambition, betrayal, and passion.

New York, 1924. Twenty‑four‑year‑old Jenny Bell has escaped her past… her hard-hearted stepfather, murder, and the dank hallways of Canada’s notorious Andrew Mercer Reformatory for Women where she spent 2 years.

Now as one of a dozen burgeoning artists invited to Louis Comfort Tiffany’s prestigious artists’ colony. Gifted and determined, Jenny vows to avoid distractions and romantic entanglements and take full advantage of the many wonders to be found at Laurelton Hall.

But Jenny’s can’t help but be inextricably drawn to Oliver, Tiffany’s charismatic grandson.

As the summer shimmers on, and the competition between the artists grows fierce as they vie for a spot at Tiffany’s New York gallery, a series of suspicious and disturbing occurrences suggest someone knows enough about Jenny’s childhood trauma to expose her.

Supported by her closest friend Minx Deering, a seemingly carefree socialite yet dedicated sculptor, and Oliver, Jenny pushes her demons aside. Between stolen kisses and stolen jewels, the champagne flows and the jazz plays on until one moonless night when Jenny’s past and present are thrown together in a desperate moment, that will threaten her promising future, her love, her friendships, and her very life.

“Fascinating…an enchanting glimpse of Jazz Age New York.” –Christina Baker Kline, #1 NYT bestselling author of Orphan Train and A Piece of the World

 

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What is your bag of choice?

I’m obsessed with bags. Vintage bags. New bags. My great grandmother’s bags. Bags I buy that are impractical but that I can just look at in my closet and be happy about.

But my favorite everyday bag is this Gucci Jackie O that I bought to celebrate a book contract I signed in 2009. I have had it repaired 3 times.

The Jackie was originally called the ‘Constance’ but was re-named in honor of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis after she was photographed several times wearing the bag while working as a consulting editor at publishing firm Doubleday. I had loved the bag for years but Gucci had stopped making it and then in 2009 they started to reissue it.

 

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

Too many. I carry around enough product so that if I got stranded in a blizzard in a New York hotel room without any luggage I could completely be dinner party ready. From Caudalie Beauty Elixir- a really refreshing spray to my Chanel light blue eye pencil to use on the inside bottom lid. And perfume. Always a small spray bottle of my go to perfume. Une Rose by Fredrick Malle. Given my name probably it won’t surprise you that I am addicted to rose perfumes. And this is my favorite. It’s the only perfume that when I’m wearing it – everyone from cab drivers to bank tellers – ask me what I’m wearing.

 

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

The Glass Ocean. A wonderful novel by Lauren Willig, Beatriz Williams and Karen White. I’ve read all their individual books as well as the last novel they wrote together, The Forgotten Room and was enchanted.

 

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

My notebook (bought in Paris 15 years ago in my favorite green color and a pen from the same trip). Even if don’t open it. It’s like a talisman for me.

And the dog tags from all my beloved dogs are on my keychain.

And my wallet – it’s my mom’s Louis Vuitton wallet. She died 21 years ago and I’ve been using it ever since.

 
MJRB&W

 

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