I Liked My Life by Abby Fabiaschi

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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!

 

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

Strong is the New Beautiful by Lindsey Vonn

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Nowadays we are encouraging and seeing so many STRONG WOMEN!  Whether it be politics :), careers, education, the list goes on- we are seeing so many amazing females supporting and praising one another.  One thing that is always in the media is body image.  Raising a daughter of my own, I am always conscious about this topic.  More and more celebrities, sports figures and designers are coming forth embracing all sizes and shapes.  It’s so refreshing to see that a size o or 2 is not the norm and that we are all beautiful in our own way.  I was so excited to receive a copy of Lindsey Vonn‘s new book, Strong is the New Beautiful.  An Olympic athlete, role model for girls and stunning women she writes a part memoir, part food guide and exercise manual that is all about empowering women.  I loved this book so much and will continue to use this as a reference for healthy choices, inspiration and motivation as I come off my maternity leave.  I am always looking for ways to improve my eating and make exercise fun.  What I love about this book most was Vonn shares her favorite recipes, workouts, playlist and go-to everyday routines as well as opening herself up to the personal struggles she endured to get where she is today.

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I am excited to try some of her recipes as well as incorporate her work out favorites into my exercise regime.  If you are looking for an empowering read from a kick-ass women this is it! I also recommend this book as a great gift for teen girls as Vonn shares so many positive messages about body image and self-esteem.  This book is the epitome of a BLISSFUL read.  Enjoy and stay strong and beautiful!

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via Goodreads ~

Lessons in strength, fitness, food, and attitude from the popular world champion skier and beauty icon—Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn.

Olympic Alpine skier Lindsey Vonn wants women to stop thinking about “losing weight fast,” and instead focus on loving their bodies for what they are and what they can do. Lindsey is a small-town Minnesota girl at heart turned world-champion skier, but that didn’t come without hard work. In Strong Is the New Beautiful, Lindsey lays out the never-before-seen training routines and her overall philosophy that have helped her become the best female skier in the world—tailored for women of all shapes and sizes. Lindsey backs up her fitness program with advice on what to eat and how to work out, and kicks readers into high-gear, helping bolster their self-confidence and build a better body image, with the tips and tricks she’s learned as a pro.

This is Lindsey’s regimen, and she encourages people to take from it what will work for them. She bounced back from injury not by doing every single thing a trainer said, but instead, by thinking about the fitness plan that would work for her, and eating the right foods that would make her feel and get healthy. In Strong Is the New Beautiful, she interweaves her training and diet regimen with compelling stories of her life growing up in the heartland, her love of skiing, the challenges she’s faced—including injuries, illness, and depression—and her secrets to wellness, fitness, and recovery.

Supported by cutting-edge science and the latest studies on health and exercise, filled with routines even those hitting the bunny hill of working out can master, and illustrated with dozens of workout shots and photos from Lindsey’s own collection, Strong Is the New Beautiful will inspire and motivate you–whether you’re an aspiring athlete, want to get back into shape, or are eager to up your game—to make your body stronger than ever before, inside and out.
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Thanks to Harper Collins for sending a copy for review.

Bliss Chat with Cristina Alger

You may have seen my recent post about Cristina Alger’s The Was Not The Plan, a fabulous beach read that I can’t rave enoigh about.  I was lucky enough to ask the mom of two a few questions about her writing as well as some fun scoop on her! Read below and again grab the book before your next vacation or trip to the beach but remember sunscreen too as you’ll be so absorbed into the book you’ll surely get a tan 😉


As a mother of two and married, what made you decide to tackle on the subject of a widowed, single father?

 

I wanted to write a book about someone who is grappling with the same issues I’ve been grappling with since becoming a parent three and half years ago: What does it mean to be a good parent? How can anyone be physically and emotionally present for their kids while also providing for them financially? And how does one parent effectively in the face of grief? I am blessed to have an amazing partner with whom I share all responsibilities: my husband and I both work, we both change diapers, we both do midnight feeds and sleep on the floor next to the crib when one of our kids is sick. But Charlie has to do all of these things on his own, and I think that’s what makes his journey so heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time.  

 

I know you were a former financial analyst and attorney. Charlie struggles with life-work balance throughout the book. Did you find it was a struggle for you? If not did you see it happening with co-workers a lot?

 

Every day. New York is such an intense place to live; the cost of living is incredibly high and people here are, on the whole, very career-focused and hardworking. Throughout my twenties and early thirties, I worked all the time. I stood in awe of my co-workers who, like Charlie, were doing the same thing, except with children at home.

 

As an author what do you find gives you balance while writing a novel and simultaneously raising two little ones?

 

Balance? What is this magical balance of which you speak? Honestly, most days I’m just trying to keep my head above water with two little kids. I try to remind myself that this stage of my life is temporary, and eventually they will be in school and I’ll have more time to write, and that helps me just go with the flow and enjoy this time with them. A partner at my law firm once told me that one of the biggest mistakes you can make in life is seeing balance as a daily struggle. If you try to do everything well every day, you will inevitably fail and get frustrated. She thought it was more important to achieve balance over the course of, say, a month or a year, and I think she’s right. I have days when I don’t write a word and days when I’m traveling to a book event and don’t get to see my kids. But overall, I have a decent balance that works for me and that’s the important thing.

 

Like Charlie did with Caleb, what is the best part about raising your family in NYC?

 

There are so many great things about raising kids in New York City! For one thing, literally anything (diapers, Thai food, dry cleaning) can be delivered to you at any time of day here. What I like most, though, is that my kids are growing up in such a diverse place. You walk down the street and hear multiple languages and see people from all walks of life doing all kinds of things: visiting museums, eating dim sum, going to synagogue. Our friends, too, have such varied careers – publishing, the arts, finance, education, media. I like to think that my kids will grow up feeling like anything is possible. My kids are Irish-Cuban-Jewish mutts, so diversity is something we really try to embrace and celebrate in our house.

 

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

 

Somewhere my children aren’t. I mostly go to the library down the street, where small people aren’t asking me for snacks every five minutes and there isn’t a pile of laundry calling my name.

 

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

 

Besides my family? Running, coffee and Central Park.

 

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

 

I get in bed with a glass of wine and a book (not my own). 😉

 

8. What was the last book that you read?

 

Camille Pagan’s LIFE AND OTHER NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCES.

 

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

 

Under-eye concealer! I have one from NARS that almost makes me look well-rested.

 

10. Are you looking forward to any books that are coming out in 2016?
I feel like I say this every year, but what an amazing year for books! I can’t wait to read Marie Semple’s TODAY WILL BE DIFFERENT and Ann Leary’s THE CHILDREN. And anyone who hasn’t read LILY & THE OCTOPUS by Steven Rowley must do so immediately.

 
 

Friday GIVEAWAY

When I started this blog I wasn’t sure the direction it would go.  I started with my favorite beauty tips and musings about life.  I then started to read other blogs and see people write about their favorite books I knew it was a no brainer thus Bliss, Beauty and BOOKS was created and I am so glad that I did.  Being able to connect with authors and other book lovers and bloggers is so fun and rewarding.  I am so lucky to be able to help share the love of books and help support amazing authors.  With that being said I decided share the book love with a lucky reader!  Just comment below or follow me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter to win the THREE titles listed below!  The winner will be picked at random and will be announced next week. Only available to US residents.  Thanks for the support!  Happy Reading 🙂

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Whats included:

 

Every Anxious Wave by Mo Daviau

via Goodreads:

Good guy Karl Bender is a thirty-something bar owner whose life lacks love and meaning. When he stumbles upon a time-travelling worm hole in his closet, Karl and his best friend Wayne develop a side business selling access to people who want to travel back in time to listen to their favorite bands. It’s a pretty ingenious plan, until Karl, intending to send Wayne to 1980, transports him back to 980 instead. Though Wayne sends texts extolling the quality of life in tenth century “Mannahatta,” Karl is distraught that he can’t bring his friend back.

Enter brilliant, prickly, overweight astrophysicist, Lena Geduldig. Karl and Lena’s connection is immediate. While they work on getting Wayne back, Karl and Lena fall in love — with time travel, and each other. Unable to resist meddling with the past, Karl and Lena bounce around time. When Lena ultimately prevents her own long-ago rape, she alters the course of her life and threatens her future with Karl.

A high-spirited and engaging novel, Mo Daviau’s EVERY ANXIOUS WAVE plays ball with the big questions of where we would go and who we would become if we could rewrite our pasts, as well as how to hold on to love across time.

 

Corrupted by Lisa Scottoline

via Goodreads:

Bennie Rosato the founder of the Rosato & DiNunzio law firm hides her big heart beneath her tough-as-nails exterior and she doesn’t like to fail. Now, a case from her past shows her how differently things might have turned out. Thirteen years ago, Bennie Rosato took on Jason Leftavick, a twelve-year-old boy who was sent to a juvenile detention center after fighting a class bully. Bennie couldn’t free Jason, and to this day it’s the case that haunts her. Jason has grown up in and out of juvenile prison, and his adulthood hasn’t been any easier. Bennie no longer represents those accused of murder, but when Jason is indicted for killing the same bully he fought with as a kid, she sees no choice but to represent him. She doesn’t know whether or not to believe his claims of innocence, but she knows she owes him for past failures–of the law, of the juvenile justice system, and of herself. Forced to relive the darkest period of her life, Bennie will do everything in her power to get the truth, and justice.

 

The Restaurant Critic’s Wife by Elizabeth LaBan

via Goodreads:

Lila Soto has a master’s degree that’s gathering dust, a work-obsessed husband, two kids, and lots of questions about how exactly she ended up here.

In their new city of Philadelphia, Lila’s husband, Sam, takes his job as a restaurant critic a little too seriously. To protect his professional credibility, he’s determined to remain anonymous. Soon his preoccupation with anonymity takes over their lives as he tries to limit the family’s contact with anyone who might have ties to the foodie world. Meanwhile, Lila craves adult conversation and some relief from the constraints of her homemaker role. With her patience wearing thin, she begins to question everything: her decision to get pregnant again, her break from her career, her marriage—even if leaving her ex-boyfriend was the right thing to do. As Sam becomes more and more fixated on keeping his identity secret, Lila begins to wonder if her own identity has completely disappeared—and what it will take to get it back.

 

Good luck readers and thanks for the support! 

 

 

 

 

2016 Historical Fiction GIVEAWAY!

While I am working on my next review, for an amazing book that I can’t wait to share, I thought I would share my first giveaway for the year!  If you are a lover of historical fiction then you will love this giveaway.  I am giving away three titles that are the perfect compliment to a winter’s day.  All you have to do is head over to my Instagram and Facebook and “Like” either page OR leave a comment below.  I will select the winner at random.  This giveaway is only available for residents of the U.S.  Good luck and happy reading. (See below for Goodreads synopses)

 

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The Violinist of Venice by Alyssa Palumbo ~ via Goodreads

A sweeping historical novel of composer and priest Antonio Vivaldi, a secret wealthy mistress, and their passion for music and each other

Like most 18th century Venetians, Adriana d’Amato adores music-except her strict merchant father has forbidden her to cultivate her gift for the violin. But she refuses to let that stop her from living her dreams and begins sneaking out of her family’s palazzo under the cover of night to take violin lessons from virtuoso violinist and composer Antonio Vivaldi. However, what begins as secret lessons swiftly evolves into a passionate, consuming love affair.

Adriana’s father is intent on seeing her married to a wealthy, prominent member of Venice’s patrician class-and a handsome, charming suitor, whom she knows she could love, only complicates matters-but Vivaldi is a priest, making their relationship forbidden in the eyes of the Church and of society. They both know their affair will end upon Adriana’s marriage, but she cannot anticipate the events that will force Vivaldi to choose between her and his music. The repercussions of his choice-and of Adriana’s own choices-will haunt both of their lives in ways they never imagined.

Spanning more than 30 years of Adriana’s life, Alyssa Palombo’s The Violinist of Venice is a story of passion, music, ambition, and finding the strength to both fall in love and to carry on when it ends.

 

Medicis Daughter by Sophie Peridot ~via Goodreads

Winter, 1564. Beautiful young Princess Margot is summoned to the court of France, where nothing is what it seems and a wrong word can lead to ruin. Known across Europe as Madame la Serpente, Margot’s intimidating mother, Queen Catherine de Médicis, is a powerful force in a country devastated by religious war. Among the crafty nobility of the royal court, Margot learns the intriguing and unspoken rules she must live by to please her poisonous family.

Eager to be an obedient daughter, Margot accepts her role as a marriage pawn, even as she is charmed by the powerful, charismatic Duc de Guise. Though Margot’s heart belongs to Guise, her hand will be offered to Henri of Navarre, a Huguenot leader and a notorious heretic looking to seal a tenuous truce. But the promised peace is a mirage: her mother’s schemes are endless, and her brothers plot vengeance in the streets of Paris. When Margot’s wedding devolves into the bloodshed of the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, she will be forced to choose between her family and her soul.

Médicis Daughter is historical fiction at its finest, weaving a unique coming-of-age story and a forbidden love with one of the most dramatic and violent events in French history.

 

A Taste for Nightshade by Martine Bailey ~via Goodreads

Manchester 1787. When budding young criminal Mary Jebb swindles Michael Croxon’s brother with a blank pound note, he chases her into the night and sets in motion a train of sinister events. Condemned to seven years of transportation to Australia, Mary sends him a ‘Penny Heart’-a token of her vow of revenge.
Two years later, Michael marries naïve young Grace Moore. Although initially overjoyed at the union, Grace quickly realizes that her husband is more interested in her fortune than her company. Lonely and desperate for companionship, she turns to her new cook to help mend her ailing marriage. But Mary Jebb, shipwrecked, maltreated, and recently hired, has different plans for the unsuspecting owners of Delafosse Hall.
A Taste for Nightshade is a thrilling historical novel that combines recipes, mystery and a dark struggle between two desperate women, sure to appeal to fans of Sarah Waters and Carolly Erickson.

 

*Thanks to St.Martin’s Press and Thomas Dunne Books for providing copies for this giveaway.

2015 Recap

 

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2015 was an amazing year for books and for my blog.  I took the Goodreads challenge last January 1st and decided to make an intention to read 30 books.  With this challenge I discovered so many amazing books and the need to write about them and share my love for reading thus the birth of Bliss, Beauty and Books!  I had my blog for years but had yet to share my love and passion for reading.  This last year has been so fun for me receiving so many amazing books and connecting with authors and book bloggers.  I even had the opportunity to attend #BookCon which solidified my love for the book world.  With 2016 hours away I am excited to plan for the upcoming year!  I have lots of ideas for BBB and will be holding more giveaways and featuring more books and authors over the next year.  Please share what you love as well.  I love to hear what others are reading and are must-reads for me!  Happy New Year and Happy Reading!