Open Book with Mary Kubica

I am a HUGE Mary Kubica fan and whenever she has a new release I am thrilled, no pun intended.  Her addictive and twisty thrillers are a must for every bibliophile.  Her latest, When the Lights Go Out, is nothing short of nail biting, page turning suspense- the perfect cure to the end of summer blues.  This book is exactly what you need on a cozy fall evening but be prepared to lose some sleep 😉  Mary was kind enough to chat all things in my latest Open Book ❤

WTLGO cover - 4.26

via Amazon ~

“A twisty, captivating, edge-of-your-seat read.” —Megan Miranda, bestselling author of All the Missing Girls

“Creepy and oh so clever!” —Alice Feeney, bestselling author of Sometimes I Lie

A woman is forced to question her own identity in this riveting and emotionally charged thriller by the blockbuster bestselling author of The Good Girl, Mary Kubica

Jessie Sloane is on the path to rebuilding her life after years of caring for her ailing mother. She rents a new apartment and applies for college. But when the college informs her that her social security number has raised a red flag, Jessie discovers a shocking detail that causes her to doubt everything she’s ever known.

Finding herself suddenly at the center of a bizarre mystery, Jessie tumbles down a rabbit hole, which is only exacerbated by grief and a relentless lack of sleep. As days pass and the insomnia worsens, it plays with Jessie’s mind. Her judgment is blurred, her thoughts are hampered by fatigue. Jessie begins to see things until she can no longer tell the difference between what’s real and what she’s only imagined.

Meanwhile, twenty years earlier and two hundred and fifty miles away, another woman’s split-second decision may hold the key to Jessie’s secret past. Has Jessie’s whole life been a lie or have her delusions gotten the best of her?

 

Mary Kubica credit Sarah Jastre

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

Natalie Babbitt, Stephen King, Maggie O’Farrell 

 

2. Current binge series?

BIG LITTLE LIES (Amazing!)

 

3. Last favorite book?

SOMETHING IN THE WATER by Catherine Steadman

 

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

Gym shoes, sunglasses, camera – hiking in Acadia National Park 

 

5. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

Sunday NYT

 

6. Last person you sent a text message to?

My husband  

 

7. Book you read that you wished you wrote?

BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP by SJ Watson

 

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

Not one teacher per se, but many teachers who helped ignite that passion for reading and writing that later turned me into a writer 

 

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

Nope, I need things quiet

 

10. Describe your writing space? 

My office is clean and fairly sparse, with gray walls, a desk of my grandmothers that I renovated, bookshelves and a comfy armchair  

 

11. Coffee or tea? 

Coffee

 

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

THE THINGS THEY CARRIED by Tim O’Brien

 

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

THE CHILD FINDER by Rene Denfeld 

 

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

Life in the Fast Lane (I rarely have time to sit still and do nothing!)

 

15. What/Who inspires you? 

Nature

 

16. Bravo reality TV- yes or no? 

No

 

17. Favorite Instagram account? 

@farmsanctuary 

 

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

GIRLS’ NIGHT OUT (Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke), and it would be red

19. Current #TBR pile? 

FORGET YOU KNOW ME by Jessica Strawser, HER SECRET SON by Hannah Mary McKinnon and THE FAVORITE DAUGHTER by Kaira Rouda   

 

20. Best advice you’ve ever received? 

Live in the moment 

 

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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.

AmyBlumenfeldHeadShotWEB

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. 

 

Follow Amy:

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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!

 

Follow Liz and Lisa:

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Open Book with Amber Brock

Today I am absolutely judging a book by its cover.  I mean, how can I not?  Amber Brock’s latest, Lady Be Good is out and all you will need is a look at this poolside cover and be sold.  This cover screams glamorous summer read.  If you are looking for 1950’s glitz and glamour from Miami to Cuba then this is the book.  I am thrilled to have Amber as my latest “Open Book”!  We are talking all things from books to beauty to the Muppets 🙂  P.S. Her book to lipstick name may go down in history as one of the best ❤

Lady Be Good

via Amazon ~

Set in the 1950s, Lady Be Good marks Amber Brock’s mesmerizing return, sweeping readers into the world of the mischievous, status-obsessed daughter of a hotel magnate and the electric nightlife of three iconic cities: New York, Miami, and Havana.

Kitty Tessler is the winsome and clever only child of self-made hotel and nightclub tycoon Nicolas Tessler. Kitty may not have the same pedigree as the tennis club set she admires, but she still sees herself as every inch the socialite–spending her days perfecting her “look” and her nights charming all the blue-blooded boys who frequent her father’s clubs. It seems like the fun will never end until Kitty’s father issues a terrible ultimatum: she may no longer date the idle rich. Instead, Kitty must marry Andre, her father’s second-in-command, and take her place as the First Lady of his hotel empire. Kitty is forced to come up with a wily and elaborate plan to protect her own lofty ideas for the future, as well as to save her best friend, Henrietta Bancroft, from a doomed engagement; Kitty will steal Henrietta’s fiancé, a fabulously wealthy but terribly unkind man from a powerful family–thereby delivering the one-two punch of securing her now-fragile place on the social ladder and keeping her friend from a miserable marriage.
Then Kitty meets Max, a member of a band visiting New York from her father’s Miami club, and her plans take a turn. Smitten, but still eager to convince her father of her commitment to Andre, Kitty and Hen follow Max, Andre, and the rest of the band back down to Miami–and later to Cuba. As Kitty spends more time with Max, she begins waking up to the beauty–and the injustice–of the world beyond her small, privileged corner of Manhattan. And when her well-intended yet manipulative efforts backfire, Kitty is forced to reconsider her choices and her future before she loses everyone she loves.

Amber

 

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

Jane Austen, Oscar Wilde, and Stephen Fry. Apparently, I want conversation I can’t keep up with!

2. Current binge series?

Fresh Off the Boat. I’m admittedly late to the game on this one.

3. Last favorite book?

I love the Crazy Rich Asians series by Kevin Kwan, particularly China Rich Girlfriend.

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

Good walking shoes, a guide to historic castles, and my RailPass. I’m going to the UK!

5. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

I read the NYT articles that my beloved coworker sends me, but I definitely pick up US Weekly at the salon.

6. Last person you sent a text message to?

My husband.

7. Book you read that you wished you wrote?

I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb or Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding. Two of my all-time favorites.

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

Mrs. Rutledge, who was my teacher and mentor and is now my friend. I owe her so much, and I’m forever grateful she’s a part of my life.

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

I listen while I’m planning but not while drafting (too distracting). My husband makes me playlists to inspire me—sometimes with era-appropriate music, sometimes to match the tone of whatever I’m working on. The playlists have had everyone from Yo-Yo Ma to Rhianna on them. Like my reading preferences, my tastes in music are eclectic.

10. Describe your writing space?

I have an office with ocean-blue walls and windows that look out on the trees and birds in my backyard.

11. Coffee or tea?

Mostly coffee, but I like a cup of tea on a cold afternoon.

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

I love passing along the Harry Potter series, Sense and Sensibility, and Emma.

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

Until recently, I would have said Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Prachett, but the mini-series is coming soon on Amazon. I got my wish!

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

“Rainbow Connection” (yes, by Kermit the Frog). It’s such a lovely song about the power of dreams and hope, and it’s been a favorite of mine for a long time.

15. What/Who inspires you?

My husband and my mother.

16. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

Not for me. I prefer my drama fictional.

17. Favorite Instagram account?

Chrissy Teigen.

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

I’d call it Sangria and Sensibility, and it would be a deep wine-red. More of a Marianne color than Elinor.

19. Current #TBR pile?

Mostly 10th grade essays. When I finish those, I’m looking forward to getting back to an ARC of Not Our Kind by Kitty Zeldis. I also got myself I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon that’s waiting on my coffee table.

20. Best advice you’ve ever received?

“Wherever you go, there you are.” I take it as a reminder that you bring your baggage with you, so no change of situation will ever be enough to bring joy. Joy has to come from within.

 

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Open Book with Michelle Gable

I have been a huge an of Michelle Gable’s since I first read, I’ll See You in Paris.  She has a way with her storytelling that transports you.  I was thrilled to hear that she was going to be writing about John F. Kennedy in her latest, The Summer I Met Jack.  I am a Kennedy enthusiast and always love a story that I do not know much about cue this book and the quintessential New England summer read.  I am so excited to have Michelle back on the blog to day in my latest “Open Book” feature and if you like Flashdance then you will LOVE Michelle- see below ❤

SUMMER I MET JACK_FINAL

via Amazon ~

“[The Summer I Met Jack] offers an alternate Kennedy family history that will leave readers wondering whether America knew the real JFK at all.” —Kirkus Reviews

New York Times bestselling author imagines the affair between John F. Kennedy and Alicia Corning Clark – and the child they may have had.

Based on a real story – in 1950, a young, beautiful Polish refugee arrives in Hyannisport, Massachusetts to work as a maid for one of the wealthiest families in America. Alicia is at once dazzled by the large and charismatic family, in particular the oldest son, a rising politician named Jack.

Alicia and Jack are soon engaged, but his domineering father forbids the marriage. And so, Alicia trades Hyannisport for Hollywood, and eventually Rome. She dates famous actors and athletes and royalty, including Gary Cooper, Kirk Douglas, and Katharine Hepburn, all the while staying close with Jack. A decade after they meet, on the eve of Jack’s inauguration as the thirty-fifth President of the United States, the two must confront what they mean to each other.

The Summer I Met Jack by Michelle Gable is based on the fascinating real life of Alicia Corning Clark, a woman who J. Edgar Hoover insisted was paid by the Kennedys to keep quiet, not only about her romance with Jack Kennedy, but also a baby they may have had together.

 

Michelle 278_credit Joanna DeGeneres

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

JFK, Tim Ferriss, and Oprah. A dream book club could never be complete without her!

2. Current binge series?

I’m not really a binger, but the most recent series I watched was the One Day at a Time reboot.

3. Last favorite book?

Love and Ruin by Paula McLain

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

Bikini, linen dress, and a book. Two places I’ve been dying to see are Portugal and Isla Holbox in Mexico.  

5. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

Neither. People Magazine and/or Entertainment Weekly. 

6. Last person you sent a text message to?

My good friend and doubles partner, Erin.  

7. Book you read that you wished you wrote?

Gloria by Keith Maillard

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

I was an accounting major (you know, like most aspiring authors), but took creative writing classes as electives. One professor said I was “selling out” by going into finance. I was like, “if by ‘selling out’ you mean, ‘pay my rent,’ then you are correct.” Maybe that’s not encouragement, exactly? When I was younger, the support definitely came from my dad.

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

Never.   

10. Describe your writing space?

We recently turned our daughters’ former playroom into my office and it’s a great space. It’s at the top of the stairs, with a sliding barn door and windows that open onto the stairwell. It is gray with pops of blue and has white built-in cabinets and dark walnut floors lied diagonally. The desk is huge and there are three distinct work spaces, so my girls can do their homework with me, if they want.

11. Coffee or tea?

Coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon.

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

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed

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

Amazon made a pilot for The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer and I loved it. I kept waiting for the rest of the series, but it never came. I wish they’d finish!

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

This is embarrassing but the first song that popped into my head was What a Feeling by Irene Cara from the movie Flashdance. It reminds me so much of my childhood and I sing it to the girls all the time. I love the lines “Take your passion, and make it happen…” I was trying to convince my youngest daughter to use it for her “walk up” song this summer at the national playoffs for softball, but she was unmoved by my pleas.

 15. What/Who inspires you?

Other writers inspire me for sure—whether they write novels, or scripts, or something else. If I’m stuck, reading something always helps.

 16. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

No—although I do like Bethenny Frankel.  

17. Favorite Instagram account?

That’s a tough one! Probably @celestebarber or @travelandleisure

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

I recently read and loved Rust & Stardust by T. Greenwood. It comes out in August and is about the true story that inspired Nabokov’s Lolita. I’m sure there are many shades of “Lolita” out there already, so I’d call it “Sally” after Sally Horner, the real girl behind the book. It’d either have to be very light pink, to reflect her innocence, or a garish, glittery fuchsia, something a young girl would think was pretty just because it was so loud.

19. Current #TBR pile?

The House of Impossible Beauties by Joseph Cassara

A Theory of Love by Margaret Bradham Thornton

I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon

The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian

 20. Best advice you’ve ever received?

“If it’s not a ‘hell yes,’ then it’s a ‘no.’” This helps me prioritize and reminds me not to say yes to things out of obligation, especially when I’m on deadline, or about to go on tour!

 

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Open Book with Camille Di Maio

Any time Camille Di Maio writes one of her historical fiction gems they are a must for your reading wish list.  Her latest, The Way of Beauty is out now and is the story of two unlikely friends who are connected by a past and present love.  I was thrilled to chat with Camille again, she was featured last year in “What’s in my Bookish {Beauty} Bag”,   and today she is talking Reese Witherspoon, coffee and Beatriz Williams, three of my favorite things ❤

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Hearts and dreams evolve in the shadow of the once-magnificent Penn Station.

Vera Keller, the daughter of German immigrants in turn-of-the-century New York City, finds her life upended when the man she loves becomes engaged to another woman. But Angelo Bellavia has also inadvertently opened up Vera’s life to unexpected possibilities. Angelo’s new wife, Pearl, the wealthy daughter of a clothing manufacturer, has defied her family’s expectations by devoting herself to the suffrage movement. In Pearl, Vera finds an unexpected dear friend…and a stirring new cause of her own. But when Pearl’s selfless work pulls her farther from Angelo and their son, the life Vera craved is suddenly within her reach—if her conscience will allow her to take it.

Her choice will define not only her future but also that of her daughter, Alice.

Vera and Alice—a generation and a world apart—are bound by the same passionate drive to fulfill their dreams. As first mother and then daughter come of age in a city that is changing as rapidly as its skyline, they’ll each discover that love is the only constant.

 

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  1. What three celebrities/authors/figures – living or dead – would you want to have a book club with? I would love to meet with Agatha Christie and ask her how she writes her amazing stories. I have read every single Poirot book and have never – ever – figured it out. Reese Witherspoon, so we could talk about all my favorite subjects – books, movies, parenting, clothes, and living in the south. And Rebecca Ryman, because she wrote my favorite book of all time – Olivia and Jai.
  2. Current binge series? I can’t wait to start Season 2 of Victoria. I’m waiting for my daughter to come home for spring break so that we can binge it to our hearts’ content!
  3. Last favorite book? I just finished reading an early copy of Three Days Missing by Kimberly Belle, and it’s the kind that had me putting things off so that I could read “just one more chapter.” Ha – I ended up finishing it in one day.
  4. What three things to you pack in your bag for your dream vacation? 1. Always a book (or ten). 2. A sarong, because of course, there will be a beach. 3. Postcard stamps, because I LOVE sending snail mail.
  5. Sunday NYT or US Weekly? Us Weekly. Magazines are escapism for me.
  6. Last person you sent a text message to? My daughter in college. We keep in touch every day.
  7. Book you read that you wished you wrote? Olivia and Jai. It almost kept me from writing. It was a debut book and it was so so good. It intimidated me for a very long time.
  8. Do you have a teacher who encouraged you to become a writer? My mom was my greatest encourager when I was growing up. She drilled me in vocabulary and believed I could do it even when I doubted.
  9. Do you listen to music while you write? If so, who? If I listen to music, it is classical. I get focused on lyrics otherwise and it distracts me.
  10. Describe your writing space. With four kids and a husband who works from home, I do my best work out of the house. I love going to the library or my local Barnes and Noble, breathing in the literary air.
  11. Coffee or tea? Coffee. Cappuccinos to be precise!
  12. Do you have a favorite book that you gift? I have favorite authors that I gift frequently – Kate Morton and Beatriz Williams.
  13. If you could have one song as the theme song of your life what would it be and why? “Another Day in Paradise” by Phil Vassar. It is about being grateful for all the distractions – the laundry, the bills to pay, the phone ringing, the kids needing you. Because that is really paradise, even if we don’t realize it in the moment.
  14. What/who inspires you? People who have an ethereal quality to them inspire me. They seem to have a peace that transcends the challenges of the day.
  15. Bravo reality tv – yes or no? No. I always wonder how much is scripted or manipulated and I prefer just a well-written story instead. This isn’t Bravo, but as far as reality tv goes, I love Shark Tank.
  16. Favorite Instagram account? Book Barista has such lovely posts about books and libraries and all things literary.
  17. If you could name just one lipstick after a book, what would you call it and what shade would it be? Best Day Ever, named after a book by Kaira Rouda. The cover is a deep red. It would make a great, daring lipstick.
  18. Current #TBR pile? Are you kidding me? I have a whole TBR house. If I live to be a thousand years old, I will never finish them all, and I will certainly bring more in than.
  19. Best advice you’ve ever received? It’s more of a quote: “Let no one come to you without leaving better or happier.” Saint (Mother) Teresa of Calcutta. I try to live this every day.

 

About Camille 

Camille Di Maio always dreamed of being a writer, and those dreams came to fruition with her bestselling debut novel, The Memory of Us, and her second novel, Before the Rain Falls. In addition to writing women’s fiction, she buys too many baked goods at farmers’ markets, unashamedly belts out Broadway tunes when the mood strikes, and regularly faces her fear of flying to indulge in her passion for travel.

She and her husband homeschool their four children and lead an award-winning real estate team in San Antonio, Texas. They split their time between Texas and Virginia. Connect with Camille at camilledimaio.com.

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