Open Book with Randy Susan Meyers

Boston writers are some of the best and Randy Susan Meyers is no exception.  Her latest, Waisted, tackles women’s body image issues and female empowerment when a group of women join a weight loss camp to find out it is not all it seems.  Meyers, who always so brilliantly takes on issues that are at our forefront, is my latest Open Book and of course she is AH-mazing!  From Nora Ephron (my favorite!) to Dead to Me (it’s a must-binge) to an empowering bookish lip color, Randy is a wonderful author and woman (follow her on SOCIAL!) and my guess would probably be a fabulous coffee date ❤

WAISTED_Cover Image

via Amazon ~

In this provocative, wildly entertaining, and compelling novel, seven women enrolled in an extreme weight loss documentary discover self-love and sisterhood as they enact a daring revenge against the exploitative filmmakers.

Alice and Daphne, both successful and accomplished working mothers, harbor the same secret: obsession with their weight overshadows concerns about their children, husbands, work—and everything else of importance in their lives. Scales terrify them.

Daphne, plump in a family of model-thin women, learned only slimness earns admiration at her mother’s knee. Alice, break-up skinny when she met her husband, risks losing her marriage if she keeps gaining weight.

The two women meet at Waisted. Located in a remote Vermont mansion, the program promises fast, dramatic weight loss, and Alice, Daphne, and five other women are desperate enough to leave behind their families for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The catch? They must agree to always be on camera; afterward, the world will see Waisted: The Documentary.

The women soon discover that the filmmakers have trapped them in a cruel experiment. With each pound lost, they edge deeper into obsession and instability…until they decide to take matters into their own hands.

author social media 2018 color Randy Susan Meyers social media sq-1973

1. What three celebrities/authors/figures- living or dead, would you want to have a
bookclub with? Roxane Gay, Nora Ephron, & Whoopi Goldberg.
2. Current binge series? Dead to Me
3. Last favorite book? Save Me the Plums by Ruth Reichl
4. What 3 things do you pack in your bag for your dream vacation? Kindle (I couldn’t
possibly pack enough paper books for a vacation.) Airy cotton caftan. Bathing suit.
Where is it? Santorini islands in Greece.
5. Sunday NYT or US Weekly? Sunday NYT
6. Last person you sent a text message to? My BFF
7. Book you read that you wished you wrote? Homegoing by Yaa Gyassi
8. Do you have a teacher who encouraged you to become a writer? Miss Leanza in 2 nd
grade.
9. Do you listen to music while you write? If so, who? I need total silence when writing.
10. Describe your writing space? I write in my family room where I rotate between a comfy stuffed club chair and perfectly worn couch. There I’m surrounded by many pots oforchids, two overgrown Boston ferns, an aloe plant ready to take over the house, and jadeplants. The oriental rug had many shades of red and best of all is a view of my garden (otherwise known as my therapist.)
11. Coffee or tea? Coffee!
12. Do you have a favorite book that you gift? The Unstoppable Ruth Ginsburg: American
Icon
13. If you could have one song as the theme song of your life what would it be and why?
I Will Survive, because at every worst point in my life I worked to find the strength no
matter how deep I had to dig.
14. What/Who inspires you? Gloria Steinem—because she’s never stopped working for
justice.
15. Bravo reality TV- yes or no? No
16. Favorite Instagram account? @bklynlibrary
17. If you could name just one lipstick after a book, what would you call it and what
shade would it be? I’d name the lipstick Determination after The Women of Brewster
Place by Gloria Naylor. The color would be a clear strong shade of cherry.
18. Current #TBR pile? Fall and Rise: The Story of 9/11 by Mitchell Zukoff, The Floating
Feldmans by Elyssa Friedland, The Secrets Between Us: A Novel by Thrity Umrigar.
19. Best advice you’ve ever received? My grandmother’s advice to be kind.

 

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Open Book with Sally Hepworth

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

MOTHER IN LAW

via Amazon ~

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

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

That was five years ago.

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

But the autopsy finds no cancer.

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

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

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

Praise for Sally Hepworth:

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

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

Sally Hepworth Headshot_highest res_credit Mrs. Smart Photography.jpg

 

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

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

Current binge series?

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

Last favorite book?

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

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

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

Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

Neither! I read books!

Last person you sent a text message to?

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

Book you read that you wished you wrote?

Where the Crawdads Sing.

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

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

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

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

Describe your writing space?

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

Coffee or tea?

Coffee.

Do you have a favorite book that you gift?

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

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

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

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

I’ve Done All The Dumb Things by Paul Kelly

What/Who inspires you?

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

Bravo reality TV – yes or no?

I’m not sure what this is?

Favorite Instagram account?

Dr. Pimple Popper.

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

The Other Woman.

Current #TBR pile?

Before She Was Found by Heather Gudenkauf.

Best advice you’ve ever received?

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

 

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Open Book with Katherine Center

How to Walk Away by Katherine Center is an absolute must for your beach bag this summer.  With a Starred review and praise from Emily Giffin and Elinor Lipman, Center has written the perfect companion to your crisp glass of Rose’.  I was thrilled when she sat down to chat and shared her current reads, love for coffee and Tina Fey .gif’s 😉

How to Walk Away_Cover

via Amazon ~

From the author of Happiness for Beginners comes an unforgettable love story about finding joy even in the darkest of circumstances.

Margaret Jacobsen is just about to step into the bright future she’s worked for so hard and so long: a new dream job, a fiancé she adores, and the promise of a picture-perfect life just around the corner. Then, suddenly, on what should have been one of the happiest days of her life, everything she worked for is taken away in a brief, tumultuous moment.

In the hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Maggie must confront the unthinkable. First there is her fiancé, Chip, who wallows in self-pity while simultaneously expecting to be forgiven. Then, there’s her sister Kit, who shows up after pulling a three-year vanishing act. Finally, there’s Ian, her physical therapist, the one the nurses said was too tough for her. Ian, who won’t let her give in to her pity, and who sees her like no one has seen her before. Sometimes the last thing you want is the one thing you need. Sometimes we all need someone to catch us when we fall. And sometimes love can find us in the least likely place we would ever expect.

How to Walk Away is Katherine Center at her very best―a masterpiece of a novel that is both hopeful and hilarious; truthful and wise; tender and brave.

Katherine Center_Author Photo

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

I’ve been bingeing on Carrie Fisher’s audiobooks (all the memoirs: The Princess Diarist, Wishful Drinking, and Shockaholic), and now I feel like now we are best friends, so she’s first on my list. Next, I’d say Meryl Streep, because she’s Meryl Streep—and a Vassar girl, like myself, though I suspect that means more to me than it does to her. And then, of course, for all obvious, fabulous reasons: Oprah.

 

2. Current binge series?

 I just finished a BBC TV series called The Halcyon, which was divine—set in a fancy-as-a-castle hotel in London during WWII and profiling the lives of the aristocratic owners and the staff of the hotel. Totally luxe sets and costumes and yummy romance and intrigue and blitz-related drama. They had storylines planned for every year of the war, but it just got canceled. Actually, they didn’t know they were being canceled when they filmed the last episode, so it ended on a cliffhanger. Unsatisfying, but worth it overall. I’ll just write a fan-fiction ending in my head . . . .

3. Last favorite book?

I read Everything, Everything on my daughter’s recommendation and absolutely loved it. Devoured it in a day.

 

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

Books, notebooks, and a fuzzy robe. And I’d go somewhere chilly and cozy with cobblestone streets and fairy tale architecture. My mom’s family is from Germany and Ireland, and I’ve never been to either. Denmark’s on the list. So’s Iceland. Also, I want to see the Fjords. And the little town of Giethoorn in the Netherlands that they call “the Venice of the North,” where you can only get around in charming little boats.

 

5. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

A little bit of both, I’d say. I’m a hybrid.

 

6. Last person you sent a text message to?

My daughter. With a .gif of Tina Fey doing finger-guns.

 

7. Book you read that you wished you wrote?

Liane Moriarty’s The Husband’s Secret. I don’t get that feeling too often, but I had it in a big way with that one. It was the first book of hers I’d read, and I just admired so much the way she got inside—and dramatized—her character’s thoughts. They felt utterly real, totally 3D, and I felt for those people so much. It was like I became them, all of them at once, in this magical feat of empathy and imagination. So many articulated moments of insight about the human condition. Just a rich, satisfying, heart-expanding read.

 

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

Many! I was lucky. Almost every english teacher I ever had encouraged me in some way. My sixth grade english teacher, Mrs. Paulus, sent me a note in the summer saying she knew I was going to grow up to be a writer. My 11th grade history teacher, Dr. Zammito, predicted my future career with total confidence. And my beloved Vassar professor Beverly Coyle once told me, “I can count on one finger the students I’ve had who can write like you.” 

 

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

I never listen to music when I write, and it’s mostly because I feel like the words have their own rhythm, and I don’t want anything pushing against that. The writing process is very auditory for me. I hear a voice talking in my head—the narrator. Then I write down what the voice is saying and shape it as I go. I have to hear it all, both as the words are coming and after they reach the page. 

 

10. Describe your writing space?

The bathtub! And the bed. Actually, I’ll write anywhere in my house. Any soft place I can curl up with a fuzzy blanket and my laptop or manuscript (no laptop in the tub, of course). I don’t have an office, though I tried it once. We set up a little area in our attic as my office, but I never went up there. It felt too far away from everything. Writing’s lonely enough as it is.  

 

11. Coffee or tea?

Oh, God, coffee! I brew cups of it constantly when I’mwriting, and I don’t even drink them all. I justlike the idea of them. The sound of the percolator, the buttery brown color, the warmth, the aroma—even just the scent of dry grounds in the bag.  

 

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

I’m most likely to match books to people, so I’m eclectic with book gifting—but I have definitely given Tina Fey’s Bossypants to many people.

 

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

I’d like to see them turn more romance novels into movies. The world is sadly devoid of romance these days. Every now and then, the BBC remakes a Jane Austen, but there are lots of great love stories out there that would make delicious, swoon-worthy movies. I’d love to see Lisa Kleypas’s Wallflowers series as movies.

 

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

Sheesh. This is tough. I could name fifty right now, and tomorrow I’d pick something different. But today, right now, I pick the Beatles’ “I Will,” which is both sad and catchy, both mournful and hopeful, and full of both love and loss. All that rich bittersweetness wrapped up in the chocolate-y smoothness of Paul McCartney’s divine voice. With harmonies.  

 

15. What/Who inspires you?

I am genuinely, viscerally inspired when I get to see the best in people.  Kindness, courage, nurturing, self-sacrifice. I love stories about how we overcome hardship and how we take care of each other. I love people who do the right thing, even when it would be easier to do the opposite. I love people who laugh a lot, and find ways to stay hopeful, and savor any joy that comes along.

 

16. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

Can I answer “sometimes”? I’ve definitely gotten hooked on various shows in the past—Top Chef, Project Runway, Queer Eye—But I’m probably more of an HGTV person at this point. I like shows about people making things, renovating things, and improving things. I love to watch the creative process in action. I recently got hooked on a show called Stone House Revival about a carpenter who renovates revolutionary-war era farmhouses in Pennsylvania—exposing beams, and stone walls, and giant old cooking hearths. So fun to see those farmhouses come back to life! Delicious.

 

17. Favorite Instagram account?

There’s a great one called Words of Women that features great quotes and snippets of wisdom.

 

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

Pride & Prejudice.

And it would be the color you’d get if you crushed a raspberry into a chocolate bar.

19. Current #TBR pile?

I always have a big stack of books eyeballing me from the bedside table.  I’m a glacially slow reader—I have to hear the words in my head like talking—so it’s a very slow rotation. Here’s the current stack.

Tell Me Three Things—Julie Buxbaum

The Year of Yes—Shonda Rhimes

The Inn at Lake Divine—Elinor Lipman

The Light We Lost—Jill Santopolo

Cinder—Marissa Meyer

The Morning Gift—Eva Ibbotson

and The DaVinci Code, because I’ve never read it.

 

20. Best advice you’ve ever received?

From my dad, for writing: “Write it. Then go back and take out half the words.” And from my mom, for life: “You just have to assume everything is okay until you have evidence to the contrary.”

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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 ❤

DiMaio-TheWayOfBeauty-24653-CV-FT (3)

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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What’s in my Bookish {Beauty} Bag? DOUBLE feature ~ Lynda Cohen Loigman and Gina Sorell

 

Happy May 1st!  I am so excited for the new month and the fact that I have hit over 900 followers in Instagram.  I wanted to celebrate with not one but two bag features!  I am so thrilled to have reached this milestone and am hoping for over 1000 by the end of summer.  Today I have the wonderful Lynda Cohen Loigman, whose highly popular debut, The Two Family House recently came out in paperback and Gina Sorrell, also a debut author and her book, Mothers and Other Strangers.  I was so excited to be able to have both fabulous ladies on the blog.  I have been a huge fan of Lynda’s and she actually introduced me to my favorite nail polish color- Well Read.  I was also thrilled to be able to support Gina and her beautiful book baby 🙂

Lynda Cohen Loigman

Two Family House_COVER

via Amazon

“An emotional but dreamy novel that…will transport you far, far away from your next dreary Monday morning. You may do a lot of sobbing, but don’t worry, you’ll be smiling by the end.” ―Bustle, “12 Spring Break Reads To Help You Escape Normal Life”

**Buzzfeed, “14 Of The Most Buzzed-About Books”

**Popsugar, “6 Books You Should Read”

“A novel you won’t be able to put down.” ―Diane Chamberlain, New York Times bestselling author

Brooklyn, 1947: In the midst of a blizzard, in a two-family brownstone, two babies are born, minutes apart. The mothers are sisters by marriage: dutiful, quiet Rose, who wants nothing more than to please her difficult husband; and warm, generous Helen, the exhausted mother of four rambunctious boys who seem to need her less and less each day. Raising their families side by side, supporting one another, Rose and Helen share an impenetrable bond forged before and during that dramatic winter night.

When the storm passes, life seems to return to normal; but as the years progress, small cracks start to appear and the once deep friendship between the two women begins to unravel. No one knows why, and no one can stop it. One misguided choice; one moment of tragedy. Heartbreak wars with happiness and almost, but not quite, wins. Moving and evocative, Lynda Cohen Loigman’s debut novel The Two-Family House is a heart-wrenching, gripping multigenerational story, woven around the deepest of secrets.

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Bag of choice

This is going to make me sound really old, but ever since I hurt my back a few years ago, my favorite bags are lightweight totes. My friend Gabrielle had a great one that I kept raving about, and last year my husband got a similar one for me for Mother’s Day. It’s made by a company called Monserat De Luca, and it weighs almost nothing. The fabric is beige suede, but it has a little bit of sparkle to it, so it’s fun.

Favorite beauty picks 

I’m a Laura Mercier fan. I love the primer, the tinted moisturizer and something called “secret finish.” I don’t exactly know what it does (it’s a secret I guess), but I like the way it makes my skin feel.

Always carry in my bag

Wallet and keys

Lipstick and lip gloss

Advil

Hand lotion – usually Eucerin.

Giant individually wrapped wintergreen lifesavers

I keep a notebook and pens in my car so that if I think of a story idea I can write it down. If I’m traveling for a book event, I’ll bring a second tote to carry my computer, books and extra makeup. My mascara always has to be waterproof because I will cry at the drop of a hat!

Currently reading

I’m having a GREAT month for books! I just finished The Orphan’s Tale, by Pam Jenoff and Girl in Disguise by Greer Macallister. Now I’m reading All Grown Up by Jamie Attenberg. I’m almost finished with that one, so next up is The Idiot by Elif Batuman.

Author Photo

Gina Sorrell

Mothers and Other Strangers Final

via Amazon

“My father proposed to my mother at gunpoint when she was nineteen, and knowing that she was already pregnant with a dead man’s child, she accepted.”

Thus begins this riveting story of a woman’s quest to understand her recently deceased mother, a glamorous, cruel narcissist who left her only child, Elsie, an inheritance of debts and mysteries. While coping with threats that she suspects are coming from the cult-like spiritual program her mother belonged to, Elsie works to unravel the message her dying mother left for her, a quest that ultimately takes her to the South African family homestead she never knew existed.

bliss beauty beyond

What is your bag of choice?

I’m obsessed with bags. Every year someone in my family gives me some sort of tote bag, purse, pouch or foldable bag for my birthday. I always carry a reusable bag and these Loqi ones are so pretty. I love Baggu too. I tend to carry too much stuff, so it’s important to me to have something lightweight, and something that I can wear cross-body. My bright blue Longchamps was a birthday present and I take it everywhere. I also cannot resist a good tote bag. This year my husband got me a bag from Litograph with the entire Strunk & White Elements of Style printed on it. They’ll print novels too!

What are your top favorite beauty picks?  

Right now I’m going through a phase of trying new face creams, but might just have to come to terms with the fact that unless I sleep more, I will always look tired! I use Thayers rosewater toner, the cream of the month, (currently it’s this terrific light moisturizer from Luzern), Maybelline mascara, Mac brow tamer, a little powder and Fresh tinted lip balms. I have one in just about every color. For evening I’ll wear a Chanel lip gloss. And I always have lip balm, rosebud salve is a staple.

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

I don’t carry much make-up but I like to always have a foundation powder compact such as Clarins, or Benefit, rosebud lip balm, and lip gloss.

What are you currently reading?

Right now I’m reading Caroline Leavitt’s Cruel Beautiful World. Caroline is a wonderful writer and a terrific champion of novelists. I love her books, they really sweep me up and carry me away, and her latest Cruel Beautiful World, set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War, is a stunning page turner about seduction, love, loyalty, and power. I also read magazines, literary, fashion, city guides, design and food magazines. Vanity Fair, Toronto Life, New York Magazine, LA Weekly, Dwell, Good Housekeeping and more. My parents had a beauty salon when I was growing up and bought everything, so I never had to. Now that I’m paying for them, I’m a little more selective, or else I get subscriptions, Poets & Writers is a must.

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

I’m a mom and a snacker, so I always have hand sanitizer, kleenex, healthy snacks for Little Man, fruit leather, granola bars, crackers, and some sweets like fruit juice gummies. I love the Vegan ones that Surf Sweets makes. And all natural raspberry licorice. I have a sweet tooth! And I always have reading glasses, a notebook and pen.

Gina Sorell credit Ian Brown

Follow Lynda and Gina:

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Lynda

Gina

Twitter ~

@lyndacloigman

@ginasorell

Instagram ~

@lloigman

@ginasorell

*Thanks ladies for the wonderful interview!  Congrats on two AMAZING debuts 🙂

BONUS: What’s in my Bookish {Beauty} Bag? ~ Cristina Alger

 

I figured we would all be struggling after a long weekend so hoping a BONUS post for the week will help brighten things up!  Who else than none other than one of my favorites, Cristina Alger, to show us her ridiculously beautiful bag and add some chic to our Tuesday.  Her latest book, which just came out in paperback, This Was Not the Plan was one of my favorites of 2016.  It is the perfect book buddy to accompany a glass of rose or tuck into a beach bag.  Cristina was so kind to let us peak into her Hermes (insert heart eyes) bag filled with gorgeous accessories and go-to mom must haves.

This Was Not the Plan paperback_High

via Amazon

From the acclaimed author of The Darlings comes a “funny, bittersweet, and ultimately uplifting look” (Sarah Pekkanen) at fatherhood, love, and family life.

Charlie Goldwyn’s life hasn’t exactly gone according to plan. Widowerhood at thirty-three and twelve-hour workdays have left a gap in his relationship with his quirky five-year-old son, Caleb, whose obsession with natural disasters and penchant for girls’ clothing have made him something of a loner at his preschool. The only thing Charlie has going for him is his job at a prestigious law firm, where he is finally close to becoming a partner.

But when a slight lapse in judgment at an office party leaves him humiliatingly unemployed, stuck at home with Caleb for the summer, and forced to face his own estranged father, Charlie starts to realize that there’s more to fatherhood than financially providing for his son, and more to being a son than overtaking his father’s successes.

At turns heartbreaking and hilarious, This Was Not the Plan is a “sparkling and heartfelt” (Bookpage) story about loss and love, parenthood, and friendship, and what true work-life balance means.

mybag

 

What is your bag of choice?

My bag of choice is my Hermes Evelyn bag. It was a big splurge and I still feel vaguely guilty about how much it cost, but I wear it every single day. It’s incredibly chic, goes with everything, and is, in my opinion, the perfect size. It’s also a cross body bag, which is great for a mom on the go.

 

What are your top favorite beauty picks?  

I am (and I mean this literally) a dry person. My hair, my skin, my sense of humor. As a result, I am a devoted user of Carmex, SkinCeuticals Overnight Dry Moisturizer, Frederic Fekkai Shea Body Butter, and Neutrogena Hand Cream. All my makeup is NARS. I love their sheer glow foundation and their matte lip pencil, which I like to wear layered under their lip gloss. Also, I have very fine blondish hair so I have to pencil in my eyebrows every morning or else it looks like I don’t have any. The best eyebrow pencil I’ve ever used is the mechanical one from Sania’s Brow Bar. It’s a magical product.

 

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

Carmex. Hand Cream. My Mason Pearson hairbrush (for both my daughter and for me – she’s very precious about her hair). I don’t wear a lot of makeup during the day, but at night I usually bring my NARS lip pencil and gloss with me. I don’t carry a wallet – too bulky! – just a metro card, some cash and a credit card, which I usually tuck in my back pocket.

 

What are you currently reading?

The early stories of Truman Capote. I can never get enough Truman Capote. IN COLD BLOOD is one of my favorite books of all time.

 

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

My daughter calls me “the snack lady” – I always have snacks! I also carry a strip of photo booth photos that my husband and I took at the Santa Monica Pier before we were married. Seeing my husband’s face always makes me smile. And a good scarf can jazz up any outfit. Except in summer, I’m never without one.

 

Cristina Alger_Photo Credit Deborah Feingold

 

Twitter: @cristinaalger

Facebook: Cristina Alger

Instagram: cristina.alger

 

*Thank you Cristina for opening your bag to readers!  It’s just as chic and fabulous as you are 🙂

 

I Liked My Life by Abby Fabiaschi

9781250084880

It’s a new year and I have started my reading list for 2017!  With that, I have also revived my blog which has been “sleeping” for the last few months as being a mom of two is quite the challenge.  I wish I had been sleeping too, buuuuuut  I know sleep and I will meet again some day, lol!  To start off the reading year I just finished up Abby Fabiaschi’s I Liked My Life.  Set in a town just right next door to where I live, Wellesley, MA, it’s a beautiful story about a mother, Maddy, who commits suicide and leaves her daughter and husband to pick up the pieces and start their life over with out her.  Each chapter is narrated by each character experiencing life without her including Maddy herself.  What I can say is not only do you get a heartbreaking story about a family who is suffering without a mother and wife but a shocking twist as well which is one of the best ingredients you can add to a story.  I loved it.  I thought the writing was thoughtful and the story was unique.  If this is the type of stories stored in Fabiashi’s mind we are all in for a treat as she will have lots to share in the literary world!  This is a phenomenal debut and Abby should be on your favorite authors list after this gem. It is definitely one to add to your 2017 list!

 

fabiaschi-abby

 

*Thanks to St.Martin’s Press for sending a copy for review to Bliss, Beauty and Books.