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

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

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via Amazon ~

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

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

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

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

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What is your bag of choice?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are you currently reading? 

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

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

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

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About the Author

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

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*Thanks to Kate and her publicist for the interview!

 

 

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

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

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via Amazon ~

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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What is your bag of choice?

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

What are your top favorite beauty picks?

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

 

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

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

What you are currently reading?

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

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

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

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What’s in my Bookish {Beauty} Bag? ~ Michele Campbell

I have been featuring some great summer thrillers lately on my Insta and Michele Campbell’s, It’s Always the Husband is nothing short of that.  A thrilling and chilling debut that is sure to keep you guessing until the very end.  I was so excited when she shared her STUNNING Louis Vuitton tote filled with fabulous beauty products and fun accessories.  Plus she is another New England gal, near and dear to my heart!

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via Amazon ~

“This book is perfect for fans of Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies.” –Redbook Magazine

“Fans of Ruth Ware and Gillian Flynn meet your next obsession.” ―BuzzFeed

“In the tradition of Big Little Lies comes the excellently titled It’s Always the Husband, a thriller about three friends–frenemies, really–who met as college roommates.” –New York Post

*Named one of “50 Best Books for the Beach” by Coastal Living
*Named one of “7 Books You Won’t Be Able to Put Down This Month” by InStyle
*Named one of “6 Books to Cure Your Little Big Lies Withdrawal” by Elle.com
*Named one of “20 Must-Read Books for Spring 2017” by Redbook
*Named one of “8 Thrillers You Will Devour This Summer” by BuzzFeed

“A page-turning whodunnit that will speak to anyone who’s ever had a frenemy.” –Ruth Ware, bestselling author of The Woman in Cabin Ten

Kate, Aubrey, and Jenny first met as college roommates and soon became inseparable, despite being as different as three women can be. Kate was beautiful, wild, wealthy, and damaged. Aubrey, on financial aid, came from a broken home, and wanted more than anything to distance herself from her past. And Jenny was a striver―brilliant, ambitious, and determined to succeed. As an unlikely friendship formed, the three of them swore they would always be there for each other.

But twenty years later, one of them is standing at the edge of a bridge, and someone is urging her to jump.

How did it come to this?
Kate married the gorgeous party boy, Aubrey married up, and Jenny married the boy next door. But how can these three women love and hate each other? Can feelings this strong lead to murder? When one of them dies under mysterious circumstances, will everyone assume, as is often the case, that it’s always the husband?

A suspenseful, absorbing novel that examines the complexities of friendship, It’s Always the Husband will keep readers guessing right up to its shocking conclusion.

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What is your bag of choice?

I travel a lot, and my go-to carry-on is the Louis Vuitton Neverfull.  I know, everyone and her sister owns this bag!  But for a reason.  It’s stylish and durable and has an incredible ability to shape-shift.  I can fit half my wardrobe in it and still scrunch it up and shove it under the seat in front of me — which means I never have to gate-check it.

What are your top favorite beauty picks?  

I love Dr. Hauschka products, especially the rose-scented hand cream.  I’m also crazy for lipstick, especially MAC, which is now available in lots of airports.  I buy it in two color ranges — nude/pink for day and deep-red for evening — over and over again to the point that I end up with multiples of the same color.  Gotta work on controlling that!

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

I can’t live without Jo Malone’s Vitamin E lip conditioner (so moisturizing, and tastes yummy) and Coola’s Face sunscreen, which goes on like a dream.  Also, for a long plane flight, I love to bring one of those Evian rosewater spritzers — so refreshing!

What are you currently reading?

I never get on an airplane without something thrilling to read.  I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of The Breakdown, by B. A. Paris, which is so suspenseful I can’t put it down.

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

When I travel, I always bring my laptop, because planes are a surprisingly great place to write.  I have a Dell notebook-size one that fits on a tray table.  I always have headphones with me so I can plug into some good tunes.  And I love to tuck the Longchamp Le Pliage backpack into my carry-on so I can do a little sightseeing or go for a long walk wherever I am.  It’s a classic, folds up tiny and weighs nothing.

Michele_Campbell_CREDIT Sigrid Estrada

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❤ Thanks to Michele for sharing her bag and for her fabulous beach read this summer!

What’s in my Bookish {Beauty} Bag? ~ Liz and Lisa Edition

Guys.  If I am telling you about Liz and Lisa and it’s the first time you have heard of this fabulous duo that you can thank me later.  If not, then you know how ridiculously amazing these two besties turned authors are.  I have decided to not only feature their latest book- The Good Widow but showcase their others as well (see at bottom of interview) because I love them that much!  I am currently into The Good Widow and I am literally bringing it in the car, reading during my morning coffee and stay up way too late to just finish one more page.  I had the lucky fortune of meeting them last summer at a signing and they are exactly how you would picture- kind, inspiring and not to mention gorgeous!  I am beyond thrilled to have them today, sharing their bags 🙂

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via Amazon

Bestselling authors Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke make their suspense debut in this twisty, emotional thriller.

Elementary school teacher Jacqueline “Jacks” Morales’s marriage was far from perfect, but even in its ups and downs it was predictable, familiar. Or at least she thought it was…until two police officers showed up at her door with devastating news. Her husband of eight years, the one who should have been on a business trip to Kansas, had suffered a fatal car accident in Hawaii. And he wasn’t alone.

For Jacks, laying her husband to rest was hard. But it was even harder to think that his final moments belonged to another woman—one who had left behind her own grieving and bewildered fiancé. Nick, just as blindsided by the affair, wants answers. So he suggests that he and Jacks search for the truth together, retracing the doomed lovers’ last days in paradise.

Now, following the twisting path of that fateful road, Jacks is learning that nothing is ever as it seems. Not her marriage. Not her husband. And most certainly not his death…

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What is you bag of choice?

Liz: Right now I’m loving my Lululemon “All Day” tote! I always have a million things going on, and this big ol’ bag hold EVERYTHING! It also washes down easily, for when I spill my smoothie all over it. (Which is often!)

Lisa: I’m currently carrying my Kate Spade tote because I was surprised by Liz and my husband with a trip to San Diego and it doubles as a computer bag/purse.

And, this isn’t just to butter you up, BUT, inside my tote, I have my The Good Widow make-up bag you gave us which I use for my on-the –airplane-must-haves such as pens, hand sanitizer, ibuprofen, ear plugs, ear buds and band aids (you never know when a torn cuticle could strike).

 

What are your top favorite beauty picks?  

Liz: I’m a huge fan of the Thelavicos line. The nutrition cream absorbs quickly & doesn’t leave a tacky residue. I have super dry lizard skin and it keeps me hydrated all day, not to mention it’s smoothed out my (gasp!) fine lines and wrinkles! And their Bio Repair wrinkle eye cream is awesome for masking how tired I am! And these products are paraben & gluten free—which is a huge plus!

Lisa: I’m a Burt’s Bees girl. I like their products because they are paraben free and don’t irritate my skin. Plus, they work really well.  Daily, I use the Brightening daily facial cleanser, the brightening tonic, the renewal firming day lotion with SPF 30 and the renewing smoothing eye cream. At night, I slather on the Renewal firming night cream.

 

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

Liz: Lip gloss, lip gloss and more lip gloss! I’m a little obsessed. And also, I never leave the house without my Sun Bum spf lip moisturizer! It has vitamin E and aloe in it, and it protects my lips from the sun! (Not to mention it smells delicious!)

Also—I can’t get enough of Trish McEvoy’s no smudge mascara. For the first time in my life, I can wear mascara on my bottom lashes without looking like I went on a bender the night before. Thanks to author Jane Green for the suggestion!

Lisa: I always have Blistex or some type of moisturizing chap stick. I try to remember to put lip gloss in for those inevitable selfies but often forget! (Thank gawd for filters!)

Another must-have beauty product for me is Laura Mercier concealer #2. I’ve used it for years and, let’s just say it’s as necessary as coffee in the morning!

 

 What are you currently reading? 

Liz: I really love entertainment Weekly and it’s the only magazine I still subscribe to! I’m also currently reading an advanced copy of Taylor Jenkin Reid’s latest: THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO—it’s a must read for the summer!

Lisa: I read a ton of mags. Everything from Inc. to Cooking Light to People. (I might have a magazine subscription addiction.) As for books, I just finished THE ARRANGMENT by Sarah Dunn which is I now consider one of my favorite books. I’m currently reading THE SIMPLICITY OF CIDER by Amy E. Reichert and THE DRY by Jane harper. (I’m often reading more than one book at once.) These are VERY different novels, but both fabulous.

 

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

 Liz: A hairbrush! I have really thick hair that gets all tangly while I’m running around. My hair has random blonde hair EVERYWHERE. Le sigh.

 

Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke credit Debbie Friedrich Photography.

Liz and Lisa’s Back catalogue

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via Amazon ~

Two childhood best friends wake up the morning after their twentieth high school reunion to discover that they’ve switched bodies in this hilarious and heartwarming debut by two childhood best friends.

With “a delicious, page-turning premise, and sweet and surprising insights” (New York Timesbestselling author Jen Lancaster), Your Perfect Life perfectly illustrates that old adage: Sometimes, you have to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes to see what’s in her heart.

Best friends since childhood, Casey and Rachel couldn’t lead more different lives. While workaholic Casey rubs elbows with celebrities daily as the host of Gossip TV and comes home nightly to an empty apartment, stay-at-home mom Rachel juggles an “oops” baby, two fiery teenagers, and a husband who barely seems the man she fell in love with two decades before. After an argument at their twentieth high school reunion, Casey and Rachel throw back shots to get the night back on track. Instead, they get a life-changing hangover.

Waking up in each other’s bodies the next morning, they must figure out how to navigate their altered realities. Rachel is forced to face the broadcasting dreams she gave up when she got pregnant in college, and Casey finally steps out of the spotlight to face the real reason why she’s alone. And they soon discover that they don’t know themselves—or their best friend—nearly as well as they thought they did.

Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke bring their “witty, winning style” (Sarah Pekkanen, author of The Best of Us) to every page of this novel that is sure to please fans of In Her Shoes and The Opposite of MeYour Perfect Life is a story of humor and heart about two best friends, what they didn’t know about each other, and how, by switching lives, each learns to appreciate her own.

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via Amazon ~

What would you do if you could literally rewrite your fate—on Facebook? This heartwarming and hilarious new novel from the authors of Your Perfect Life follows a woman who discovers she can change her life through online status updates.

Kate is a thirty-five-year-old woman who is obsessed with social media. So when her fiancé, Max, breaks things off at their rehearsal dinner—to be with Kate’s close friend and coworker, no less—she goes straight to Facebook to share it with the world. But something’s changed. Suddenly, Kate’s real life starts to mirror whatever she writes in her Facebook status. With all the power at her fingertips, and heartbroken and confused over why Max left her, Kate goes back in time to rewrite their history.

Kate’s two best friends, Jules and Liam, are the only ones who know the truth. In order to convince them she’s really time traveled, Kate offers to use her Facebook status to help improve their lives. But her attempts to help them don’t go exactly as planned, and every effort to get Max back seems to only backfire, causing Kate to wonder if it’s really possible to change her fate.

In The Status of All Things, Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke combine the humor and heart of Sarah Pekkanen and Jennifer Weiner while exploring the pitfalls of posting your entire life on the Internet. They raise the questions: What if you could create your picture-perfect life? Would you be happy? Would you still be you? For anyone who’s ever attempted—or failed—to be their perfect self online, this is a story of wisdom and wit that will leave you with new appreciation for the true status of your life.

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via Amazon ~

If you could repeat one year of your life, what would you do differently? This heartwarming and hilarious novel from the authors of The Status of All Things and Your Perfect Life features three best friends who get the chance to return to the year they turned forty—the year that altered all of their lives, in ways big and small—and also get the opportunity to change their future.

Jessie loves her son Lucas more than anything, but it tears her up inside that he was conceived in an affair that ended her marriage to a man she still loves, a man who just told her he’s getting remarried. This time around, she’s determined to bury the secret of Lucas’ paternity, and to repair the fissures that sent her wandering the first time.

Gabriela regrets that she wasted her most fertile years in hot pursuit of a publishing career. Yes, she’s one of the biggest authors in the world, but maybe what she really wanted to create was a family. With a chance to do it again, she’s focused on convincing her husband, Colin, to give her the baby she desires.

Claire is the only one who has made peace with her past: her twenty-two year old daughter, Emily, is finally on track after the turmoil of adolescence, and she’s recently gotten engaged, with the two carat diamond on her finger to prove it. But if she’s being honest, Claire still fantasizes about her own missed opportunities: a chance to bond with her mother before it was too late, and the possibility of preventing her daughter from years of anguish. Plus, there’s the man who got away—the man who may have been her one true love.

But it doesn’t take long for all three women to learn that re-living a life and making different decisions only leads to new problems and consequences—and that the mistakes they made may, in fact, have been the best choices of all…

 

❤ Thank you Liz and Lisa for sharing your bags and the gift of your AH-mazing books! xx

The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle

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Wow.  I just finished my first Kimberly Belle novel and let me say it was fabulous!  The Marriage Lie is twisty and deceitful with a superb ending.  I love a thriller and this was just what I was looking for.  Belle writes a novel that grabs you from chapter one and keeps you guessing literally until the last page.  It was fast paced and the perfect appetizer to launch us into our spring reads!

Belle author credit Sherri Innis

The Marriage Lie centers around Iris who is notified that her husband, Will, was involved in a plane crash and is dead.  The plane was heading to Seattle and there were no survivors.  But how could that be?  Iris was under the impression Will was heading to Florida for work?  Why would he lie?  Where was he going?  This tragic event catapults Iris to start piecing together the truth.  What she soon finds out is Will was not the person she thought he was and the people who she thinks she can trust aren’t all they are cracked up to be either.

I am so looking forward to Belle’s next novel after this gem.  The writing was crisp and the story flowed with thrills and chills.  As I said before, we are upon the spring/summer reads releases and as well all know they are the perfect companion to a sunny day or a rosy glass of rose’.  This book is nothing short of that.  Although we may still be in the doldrums of winter, grab a drink and get cozy as this is a wintery “beach-read” that will get you excited for all that is to come!

 

*Thanks to Mira books for sending a copy for review to Bliss, Beauty and Books.

 

The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis

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The cover alone of The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis sold me.  It’s stunning.  But not only was the cover amazing the story was even better!  This was a wonderful debut book by Davis.  It had some glitz and glamour with a dash of mystery and murder.  Hello perfect read.  If you are looking for a cozy read this fall this book is IT!  Read on below for my thoughts as well as my “Bliss Chat” with Fiona.  She was gracious enough to answer a few of my questions about this wonderful book and fabulous setting of the Barbizon Hotel!

The book centers around Darby who is a new NYC resident in the 1950’s wanting to make a life for herself and lives at the Barbizon Hotel.  A women’s only residence, where the girls are trying to make a living and stand on their own two feet.  Starting off on the wrong foot, Darby befriends Esme, a risky maid who is a jazz singer by night.  Engulfed in the beauty and excitement of the city Darby is influenced by Esme to take chances she normally wouldn’t take.  Fast forward to Rose, prest day, who now lives in what was the Barbizon.  Fascinated by a woman whose face is covered and scarred she decides to investigate who she is and what her story is.  The woman is not one to talk so Rose has to piece together the puzzle by talking with other residents of the Barbizon.  The mystery starts to unfold and Davis captures the essence of this magical hotel all the while hooking the reader in a murder-mystery.

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Bliss Chat with Fiona Davis

1.The Barbizon is so glamorous and magical.  What drew you to this location for the book?

For decades, the Barbizon Hotel for Women was the go-to residence for cultured young ladies to live while they worked or studied in New York City. Many ex-guests went on to great fame, including Grace Kelly, Joan Crawford, Sylvia Plath, and Liza Minnelli, as well as writers like Eudora Welty and Joan Didion. When it went condo in 2005, a dozen or so of the long-time residents of the hotel still living there were moved into rent-controlled apartments on the fourth floor. It occurred to me that the building would make a great setting for a novel, with an interesting mix of old-school glamour and modern luxury.

 2. What did you do in terms of research for the book?  Did you talk with anyone that resided there or worked there?

I read through old issues of women’s magazines from the early 1950s to get an idea of what life was like back then, and was drawn into the fashions, the expectations, and the political climate. I also interviewed a number of women who’d live in the hotel in the 50s and 60s to find out what it was like. I learned all kinds of gems, including the fact that although men weren’t allowed beyond the public areas (even the elevator operators were female), the guests snuck them up all the time.

3. I love that it was a murder mystery mixed with fabulous female characters.  What drew you to this idea?

I adore a great mystery – Agatha Christie hooked me as a kid and today I’m drawn to the suspenseful plots of authors like Clare Mackintosh and Tana French. So I made the modern-day heroine a journalist, who starts digging into a tragedy that involved one of the fourth-floor residents back in 1952. The interweaving of the clues and red herrings made my head spin at times, but I enjoyed every minute.

 4. I know you were an actress which is so fabulous!  Can you tell us a little more about that and did that life have a little inspiration in your book as so many actresses frequented The Barbizon?

I had a wonderful time in my twenties acting in New York City, as I was lucky enough to get involved with a theater company that put on masterful shows by playwrights like Jean Genet and Shakespeare. For the book, I wanted to describe what it’s like to step out on a stage in front of an audience. Instead of acting, I used the setting of a downtown jazz club and made my 1952 heroine, Darby, get up and sing. I think that was one of my favorite scenes to write and edit.

 5. As a writer, where is your favorite place to write?

I have a great home office, but when I need to avoid distractions, I head to the New York Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center. There’s something about the long walk across the plaza, past the Henry Moore sculpture, that settles my head and puts me in the right frame of mind to crank out a scene or two.

 6. Name 3 blissful things that you can’t live without.

A massage once a month, a glass of Chardonnay after a long day of writing, and a morning run in the park with my best friend.

 7. What is the first thing you do when you complete a book?

Road trip! I’m wrapping up the first draft of my next book, and plan on heading to Cape Cod for a fall weekend with friends. Can’t wait.

 8. What was the last book that you read?

I mentor a sixth-grader who introduced me to Newbery Medal-winner The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963, by Christopher Paul Curtis. It describes a fictional family in 1963, when a bomb in the Sixteenth Avenue Baptist Church killed four girls, and is an uncanny depiction of family dynamics, as well as heartbreaking.

 9. While on tour what is a must-have beauty product in your make-up bag?

Violets are Blue Facial Serum, which is great for transitioning from summer to fall; Fresh Sugar lip gloss in petal; and Kerastase V.I.P. Volume in Powder, which makes my baby-fine hair look way thicker than it actually is.

 10. Are you looking forward to any books that are coming out in 2016/17?

You bet: Zadie Smith’s Swing Time (out in November), Small Admissions by Amy Poeppel (December) Jamie Brenner’s The Forever Summer (April 2017)

 

 

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

Another great thriller to end the summer 😦  So sad but excited for the fall ~ cozy sweaters, warm drinks and of course fantastic reads.  I am hoping to get back in the swing of things in the next few weeks!  I am not getting the reading I did before Finn but I am still carving time out each day if I can.  I know this will help to keep me on track once I have a little more free time or at least be able to keep my eyelids open “time”.  I finished a few weeks back, Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris, which I had to read as I kept reading it was creepy, thrilling and unputdownable.  It was ALL of the above.  A must read for all thrill seekers.

9781250121004-1

The story centers around a couple, Jack and Grace, who at first seem to be the perfect couple in love.  Good looks, money and pure bliss.  As the story develops the reader starts to see a darker side of Jack, a side that is completely unexpected.  I do not want to give a lot away but few things come to mind- controlling, prisoner, threats, mind games and murder.  Sound good?  This story had twists and turns that kept a chill in my spine and the pages turning.  I promise once you start you can’t stop.  Perfect book for the upcoming Halloween season!