Open Book ~ Liv Constantine

Happy New Year BB&B readers!  I hope the holidays were fabulous and you received lots of books and beauty baubles.  I am beyond thrilled to kick 2018 with one of the hottest books and author duos- Liv Constantine authors of The Last Mrs’ Parrish.  Not only was their book getting high praise before it’s book birthday but it was chosen by Reese Witherspoon as her December Book Club pick!  Yes.  That Reese Witherspoon. Liv is made up of two sisters- Val and Lynne.  I can tell you I started this book the 1st of the year and it is completely unputdownable.  I am so happy to be able to take a glimpse into a few of their favorite things with our fist “Open Book” of the year!

LastMrsParrish hc final cover

via Amazon ~

THE DECEMBER PICK FOR REESE WITHERSPOON’S HELLO SUNSHINE BOOK CLUB

“Filled with envy, deception, and power, it’s a great reading escape. And there is a thrilling twist at the end!!” —Reese Witherspoon

“Will keep you up. In a ‘can’t put it down’ way. It’s ‘The Talented Mr. Ripley’ with XX chromosomes.”—The Skimm

“Deliciously duplicitous. . . . equally as twisty, spellbinding, and addictive as Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl or Paula Hawkins’s The Girl on the Train.”—Library Journal (starred review)

Some women get everything. Some women get everything they deserve.

Amber Patterson is fed up. She’s tired of being a nobody: a plain, invisible woman who blends into the background. She deserves more—a life of money and power like the one blond-haired, blue-eyed goddess Daphne Parrish takes for granted.

To everyone in the exclusive town of Bishops Harbor, Connecticut, Daphne—a socialite and philanthropist—and her real-estate mogul husband, Jackson, are a couple straight out of a fairy tale.

Amber’s envy could eat her alive . . . if she didn’t have a plan. Amber uses Daphne’s compassion and caring to insinuate herself into the family’s life—the first step in a meticulous scheme to undermine her. Before long, Amber is Daphne’s closest confidante, traveling to Europe with the Parrishes and their lovely young daughters, and growing closer to Jackson. But a skeleton from her past may undermine everything that Amber has worked towards, and if it is discovered, her well-laid plan may fall to pieces.

With shocking turns and dark secrets that will keep you guessing until the very end, The Last Mrs. Parrish is a fresh, juicy, and utterly addictive thriller from a diabolically imaginative talent.

Liv Constantine two together, cr Erika Livingston

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

Lynne ~ Socrates, Ellen DeGeneres, and Princess Diana. That would be a fascinating and fun discussion.

Val ~ Eleanor Roosevelt, Edna Ferber and Jane Austen.

 

Current binge series? 

Lynne ~ Scandal – late to the game but loving it

Val ~ The Crown on Netflix

 

Last favorite book? 

Lynne ~ What Alice Forgot by Lianne Moriarty

Val ~ Nutshell by Ian McEwan

 

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

Lynne ~ E-reader full of books, bathing suit, and iPhone loaded with music for a three-month cruise of the Mediterranean

Val ~ Bathing suit, sunscreen, and good book. Any beach.

 

Sunday NYT or US Weekly

Lynne ~ Sunday NYT

Val ~ Sunday NYT

 

Last person you sent a text message to?  

Lynne ~ My sister

Val ~ My son in the US while I am visiting in the UK

 

Book you read that you wished you wrote? 

Lynne ~ Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

Val ~ Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

 

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

Lynne ~ No, but I had a terrific writing teacher and mentor who helped me to hone my craft and become a better writer.

Val ~ I didn’t. But I had a few who taught me to be a better writer.

 

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

Lynne ~ Yes, Mozart

Val ~ Sometimes. When I do, it’s classical – mostly the big three – Bach, Beethoven and Mozart and lots of Rachmaninoff too.

 

Describe your writing space?

Lynne ~ Over the years, I’ve learned to write wherever I am, I simply put in my earphones, and pull out my laptop. When I’m home, I work in my office which is painted a bright blue and white with bookshelves surrounding my desk.

Val ~ A desk and chair that sits in front of floor to ceiling glass and overlooks a pond and small creek. Directly in front of me is a small garden that has become a gathering place for birds. It’s idyllic.

 

Coffee or tea?  

 Lynne ~  Coffee first thing in the morning, then tea throughout the day.

Val ~ Both

 

Do you have a favorite book that you gift? 

Lynne ~The Element by Ken Robinson. It’s about finding your true passion in life. I’m so lucky to have found mine and feel so strongly that a major key to happiness is finding work that you love.

Val ~ This year I gave copies of The Paper Bag Princess to both of my young granddaughters and to two of my nieces. Otherwise, I don’t really have a favorite book to gift. I try to match the book to the person.

 

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

Lynne ~ The Art of Racing in Rain

Val ~ Americana by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

 

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

Lynne ~ Break My Stride, by Matthew Wilder because I try to live my life going after my passion, and I try not to let anything get in my way. I also have crazy dreams! And, it’s a great song to work out to.

Val ~ Climb Every Mountain by Jordan Smith

 

What/Who inspires you? 

Lynne ~ Stories about individuals who persevere against all odds to achieve their dreams.

Val ~ My husband, Colin, inspires me. He is committed, disciplined, curious and a lifelong learner.

 

Bravo reality TV- yes or no? 

Lynne ~ No – well sometimes when I’m on the elliptical at the gym

Val ~ A big NO

 

Favorite Instagram account? 

Lynne ~ Golden-Retriever-Lover

Val ~ My daughter in law’s – with photos of my granddaughter

 

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

Lynne ~ A Color You Can’t Refuse – inspired by The Godfather, blood red

Val ~ Smoldering Red Passion after Portrait Of A Lady, by Henry James. It would be deep purple/red.

 

Best advice you’ve ever received? 

Lynne ~ Happiness is a choice – my wise mother

Val ~ Two things: 1) Forgive yourself and don’t look back. It is not the direction you’re going in. 2) Be kind to everyone you meet, because you never know the battles people are fighting.

 

Current TBR List:

Lynne ~

Magpie Murders, Anthony Horowitz

The Blackbird Season, Kate Moretti

The Ex, Alafair Burke

Bad Feminist, Roxane Gay

The Child Finder, Rene Denfield

The Second Sister, Claire Kendal

House of Spies, Daniel Silva

The Emotional Craft of Fiction, Donald Maass

Val ~

Look Homeward Angel by Thomas Wolfe

Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker

Before We Were Yours, by Lisa Wingate

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

Sleep No More by P.D.James

Self Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself by Kristin Neff

Rosalind: A Biography of Shakespeare’s Immortal Heroine by Angela Thirlwell

The Odyssey, a new translation by Emily Wilson, which I am eyeing with some trepidation.

 

Follow Liv:

Website

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

 

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Opening Belle by Maureen Sherry

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If you follow Reese Witherspoon on Instagram you know she is all about posting amazing books that she is currently reading.  When I saw Opening Belle by Maureen Sherry pop up I knew I had to read.  I mean if Reese recommends it then it has to be good and this was no exception.  I would say this book is a cross between Wall Street, Working Girl and Legally Blonde.  Maureen Sherry, a former Wall Street managing director, writes a funny, poignant take on what it means to be female in the male driven finance world in New York.  At times laugh out loud to moments of frustration and emotion, Opening Belle is a book fit for the big screen.

Opening Belle centers around the career driven Isa”Belle” who has it all- great career, wonderful husband and children and beautiful home within New York City.  Belle works long hours and is the sole breadwinner for her family.  She makes great money and sometime wonders is this all worth it?  Each day she enters into the male dominated finance world, a place that is not easy for a woman to survive in.  She sees the discrimination and derogatory work place they are in but knows nothing will change.  A group of her female co-wrokers also see the terrible circumstances and decide they want to make a difference and start a revolution.  They want Belle to head this “glass ceiling” group.  Together they meet and discuss the issues at hand but know it is going to take something drastic to get the men to listen and heads to turn.  Belle agrees but knows this is risky not just for her career but for her family as well.  At the same time, Belle starts to work with her ex-fiacee, Henry, on a big account which makes her work life even more difficult.  With the pressure of her female co-workers to make a change and the awkwardness of working with Henry, Belle starts to feel the pressure.  At the same time she starts to sense change in the finance world and fears for the crash of the market.  Will she be able to make a change for her fellow ladies or will the downfall of the market cause a crash in her perfect life?

 

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I loved Belle and all she stood for.  Although I am not in the finance world I respected the fact that she stood for what she believed in and united this group of women to make a difference for themselves and all future women to come.  I will say that not being a finance person I was lost a little in the jargon but Sherry wrote such a fabulous character within a great story that, that was easy to move through (my husband is in finance so I had lots of questions for him).  I do not think you have to be in finance to read this “shero” story.  If you are strong and like to fight for what you believe in then you will love this story.  If you are lost within the inner struggle of work-family-life balance then you will love this story.  It truly has something for everyone and it had an great ending to leave me satisfied.  There is no doubt this will be a great film as Reese Witherspoon is adapting into a film.  It’s a laugh out loud and cheer for the underdog tale that will leave you wanting to conquer your biggest mountain.

 

*Thanks to Simon and Schuster for sending a copy for review.

 

 

Happy All Hallows’ Eve!

in a dark, dark woodruth ware

Happy Halloween fellow bliss seekers and book worms!  Quick post today for book readers who dare.  I finished up in a dark, dark wood by Ruth Ware this week for my inaugural book club meeting with my fellow Simmons College gals.  What a spooky, suspenseful, thriller worthy of all its current accolades.  The story takes place on a hen, which is a british version of a bachelorette party, where a group of people do not know the weekend that lay ahead.  Murder, mystery and a house picturesque for a horror movie, are the perfect blend of macabre for this fantastic read.  Luckily for us readers, Reese Witherspoon bought the rights and will be making this thriller into a movie!  Once you read it, you will see its the perfect book to keep you on the edge of your seat in a theater!  Enjoy your evening ~ trick or treat?!

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

Jess Knoll

Wow.  I just finished Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll, another debut novel, and I am speechless.  This. Book. Was. AMAZING.  Now I can talk all the amazingness of this book in my review but until you get your hands on it, nothing will do it justice.  Not only that but you know if Reese Witherspoon is raving about it AND got producing rights then it’s obviously a must-read.  Knoll a former Senior editor at Cosmopolitan and articles editor at Self, tells a story that is so twisting and addictive you better set a day aside, preferably at the beach with a glass of rose’, to fully immerse yourself in Luckiest Girl Alive.

LGA tells the story of TifAni “Ani” FaNelli.  Ani works at Women’s Magazine while living in New York City.  She is just around the corner from her wedding to Luke, a wall street guy who comes from a good, wealthy family.  It’s a picture perfect setting, two career-driven individuals, living the city life and in love.  But Ani has a dark past with many sharp turns going all the way back to her adolescence in Pennsylvania.  The backdrop of her school, Bradley, plays a major role as things aren’t what they seem in upper class schools as status is everything when you are a teenager.  Knoll ties in the glossy and shiny present day of Ani’s life with her unfortunate dark past at Bradley.  Issues such as low self-esteem, rape, family troubles and peer pressure are what keep the pages turning in this story.  The ebb and flow of the plot will have you guessing and flipping pages at a rapid pace and just when you think you have it, Knoll takes a hairpin turn.

I do not want to give too much away as to fully experience this book is to read it.  I received a copy for review and was surprised to see a letter from the author sent out to reviewers about Ani.  Knoll basically gave a disclaimer regarding the integrity and personality of Ani and to stick with her throughout the book.  I read the letter, peaking my curiosity more, and could not agree more.  I was questioning Ani’s character at the beginning and then was finding myself rooting for her in the end.  She is complex.  She is ruthless.  She is also real and raw.  She reminds me of the idea of never judging anyone at first glance as you do not know where they have been or what they have gone through.  Fantastic read that will stick with me for awhile- Jess Knoll can not wait to see what you have for us next!

Reese Witherspoon’s Instagram post about LGA!

 Page Liked · May 12 · 
Have any of y’all read #LUCKIESTGIRLALIVE?! My description? It was the most non-stop nail-biting crazy train of a book with one of the most intriguing characters I have read in a long time! (So it makes sense I feel pretty LUCKY that @pacificstandardfilms is going to produce it!!) #BookClub #StayTuned#LuckiestGirlAlive
Reese Witherspoon Instagram
What would Ani carry in her beauty bag?
Beautycounter Nourishing Cleansing Balm– a facelift in a jar, this part cleanser/part overnight mask would keep Ani looking youthful and glowing without all the trips to her dermatologist.
Beautycounter Matte Bronzer– a beautiful, natural bronzer that would give her a hint of sun and keep her bronzed and beautiful.
Beautycounter Lip Sheer in Scarlet– a true red lip sheer that says “I am strictly business”.
*Luckiest Girl Alive was sent to Bliss, Beauty and Books for review purposes.