Open Book with Sarah McCoy

I can remember watching the Anne of Green Gables movies on PBS when I was a kid and falling in love with Anne, Matthew and Marilla- a story that is still one of my favorites.  When I heard best-selling author Sarah McCoy was writing Marilla’s story I was beyond excited!  It’s the perfect fall, coastal read that you will want to cozy up by the fire with a hot cider. I am thrilled Sarah is my latest “Open Book” as she is a gal after my own heart- US Weekly, Andy Cohen and Audrey- Hepburn that is- and after reading her “Open Book” you will see McCoy is just as charming.

Marilla_HC

via Amazon ~

A bold, heartfelt tale of life at Green Gables . . . before Anne: A marvelously entertaining and moving historical novel, set in rural Prince Edward Island in the nineteenth century, that imagines the young life of spinster Marilla Cuthbert, and the choices that will open her life to the possibility of heartbreak—and unimaginable greatness.

Plucky and ambitious, Marilla Cuthbert is thirteen years old when her world is turned upside down. Her beloved mother has dies in childbirth, and Marilla suddenly must bear the responsibilities of a farm wife: cooking, sewing, keeping house, and overseeing the day-to-day life of Green Gables with her brother, Matthew and father, Hugh.

In Avonlea—a small, tight-knit farming town on a remote island—life holds few options for farm girls. Her one connection to the wider world is Aunt Elizabeth “Izzy” Johnson, her mother’s sister, who managed to escape from Avonlea to the bustling city of St. Catharines. An opinionated spinster, Aunt Izzy’s talent as a seamstress has allowed her to build a thriving business and make her own way in the world.

Emboldened by her aunt, Marilla dares to venture beyond the safety of Green Gables and discovers new friends and new opportunities. Joining the Ladies Aid Society, she raises funds for an orphanage run by the Sisters of Charity in nearby Nova Scotia that secretly serves as a way station for runaway slaves from America. Her budding romance with John Blythe, the charming son of a neighbor, offers her a possibility of future happiness—Marilla is in no rush to trade one farm life for another. She soon finds herself caught up in the dangerous work of politics, and abolition—jeopardizing all she cherishes, including her bond with her dearest John Blythe. Now Marilla must face a reckoning between her dreams of making a difference in the wider world and the small-town reality of life at Green Gables.

Sarah McCoy Author Photo_credit Emily Martin.jpg

 

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

 Lucy Maud Montgomery, Ann Patchett, Audrey Hepburn. 

2. Current binge series?

“The Great British Baking Show.” They’re all just so nice to each other! 

 3. Last favorite book?

Meg Wolitzer’s The Female Persuasion. 

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

Hair spray, stevia (for tea), and Burt’s Bees Lip Balm in pomegranate. I’d be on my way to the United Kingdom if I had a jet and bags of money.

5. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

 Oo, I’m a sucker for US Weekly. It’s my guilty pleasure. Sunday NYT makes me feel smugly good about myself—it’s smart reading! But if I just want entertainment, I gobble the gossip rags. 

6. Last person you sent a text message to?

My husband, Doc B. 

7. Book you read that you wished you wrote?

Circe by Madeline Miller. It’s so, so good. Madeline is a dear friend of mine so when I read Circe, I felt her beautiful spirit in every word. It’s luscious and unforgettable and totally her. 

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

My mother, Dr. Eleane McCoy. Before she retired, she was a career elementary school teacher then a principal. To this day, she is always learning something new and sharing that knowledge with others. She encouraged me to read and write from my earliest recollections.  

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

I write in complete silence. No music, TV, phones, or sounds of any kind. Even the doorbell sets me off, so that has to taped over. My postman knows the deal.  

10. Describe your writing space?

Truthfully, I’ve moved so many times that I’ve come to realize my writing space is really a writing bubble. Inside that bubble is the beat-up desk I’ve been writing on since my first book, my wooden office chair, my MacBook, my magic mouse, and my dog Gilly at my feet. Everything around that has changed but those are the constant elements. Oh—and a window! My desk is always at a window so I can look out to nature. It inspires and soothes me.  

 11. Coffee or tea?

Tea! Heaps of it. 

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

Anne of Green Gables, naturally. 

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

Anything by Kate Morton. Her novels are all so lush… and British! 

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

U2’s “Walk On.” I’ve been a gypsy my whole life. My father was a career army office and then I married an army surgeon. The song resonates and reminds me that I can take love everywhere I go. It never gets left behind. That’s a beautiful, powerful thing. 

 15. What/Who inspires you?

People who aren’t afraid to be raw and let you see that rawness—for good or for bad, no pretenses. Nature, for similar reasons.  

 16. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

Are we talking Andy Cohen world? Um, yes. I am obsessed. 

17. Favorite Instagram account?

There’s this British Instagrammer named Jade. Her feed is called @thedarlings_. It’s gorgeous like a modern storybook, only it’s her real life. I’m spellbound by it. 

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

1) “Cavendish Caliente” would be mellow red with hints of gold like the dunes of Cavendish Beach at sunset. 

2) “Southern Pepper Gloss” would be a bright red and shiny slick.  

19. Current #TBR pile?

  My editor suggested I read a novel that released awhile back called Through The Glass Darkly by Karleen Koen. So that’s at the top of my pile. Followed by new releases: Kate Morton’s The Clockmaker’s Daughter, Jodi Picoult’s A Spark of Life, and Becoming by First Lady Michelle Obama. 

20. Best advice you’ve ever received?

One of my dearest mentors told me, “You’ve got to sing your own song, Sarah.” Meaning: I have to live my life without worrying that it isn’t acceptable or traditional or perfect. It’s the singing that matters. 

 

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Open Book with Tammy Lynne Stoner

Looking for a good fall read with heart, soul and perseverance?  Then look no further.  Tammy Lynne Stoner’s debut, Sugar Land has all those ingredients and more- the type of novel that is the best companion on a cozy fall day.  I am thrilled she sat down to chat with me and celebrate her debut novel.

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via Amazon ~

Sugar Land is a southern fried novel about love, Lead Belly, and liberation. According to a starred Kirkus Review, Sugar Land “is a postcard of small-town Texas life from Prohibition through civil rights, tracing the treatment and awareness of gay people through these decades. The love child of Fannie Flagg and Rita Mae Brown… [a] ravishing debut.”

It’s 1923 in Midland, Texas, and Miss Dara falls in love with her best friend―who also happens to be a girl. Terrified, Miss Dara takes a job at the Imperial State Prison Farm for men. Once there, she befriends inmate and soon-to-be legendary blues singer Lead Belly, who sings his way out (true story)―but only after he makes her promise to free herself from her own prison. Sugar Land is a triumphant, beautiful novel about the heart’s refusal to be denied what the heart wants.

tammy headshot

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

Frida Kahlo, Oscar Wilde, and Nelly Bly.

2. Current binge series?

 Mind Hunter (for the second time) and The Great British Bake-Off (because my lady won’t watch serial killer shows).

3. Last favorite book?

The Angel of History by Rabih Alameddine.

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

Earplugs, scented candles, and flannel pajamas.

Now that I have three kids, my dream vacation would be on a chartered, luxury boat (amazing chefs, craft cocktails, stand-up comedy, casino, massage) for a month with my friends and family—each with their own space to retreat to—skirting around the Greek isles, spending a week here and a week there, living off the boat and exploring on our own.

 5. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

Oh, Sunday NYT hands down—unless I’m on a plane, then US Weekly.

 6. Last person you sent a text message to?

A funny bitmoji of me juggling bacon and eggs to my five-year-old twins. This is my first time away from them for more than a few days…

 7. Book you read that you wished you wrote?

One!? Geek Love.

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

When I was young, I was awkward with terrible social cueing. My fifth grade my teacher, Mrs. Brinjac, allowed me to do a radio interview of myself instead of a biography speech. She didn’t really encourage my writing—no one did since I didn’t show anyone until I was in college— but she encouraged me to express myself in a way that was comfortable yet unusual. And that probably did more for my writing than anything else. 

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

Only when I edit. I need quiet when I write.

10. Describe your writing space?

Anywhere I can open my computer. I don’t have a dedicated space.

11. Coffee or tea?

100% tea. Coffee makes me insane.

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

Cloud Atlas and Her Body and Other Parties.

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

Mine.

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

“Sweet Surrender” by Bread because my goal is to surrender to everything.

 15. What/Who inspires you? 

The bizarre brilliance of nature—frogs with transparent eyelids, color-blind creatures whose bodies change color to camouflage themselves, how parasites manipulate their hosts—and the bigger ideas of how we are expanding, how we are unified, how we may just be a dream.

 16. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

Only the gay and fashion shows.

 17. Favorite Instagram account?

Oh gads, I’m not on Instagram much… I suppose Buzzfeed.

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

It would be called “Smogless” after the opening line from the novel Middlesex (“I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974”). It would be sky blue.

19. Current #TBR pile?

Demonology by Rick Moody, Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link, The Wonder by Emma Donoghue, Ration by Cody Luff (which won’t be out for two years), Edgewater by Ruth L. Schwartz, The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami, A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James… it goes on.

 20. Best advice you’ve ever received?

While not directed to me personally, it rang out for me when I read this quote from William Carlos Williams: “Submit to your own myths.” 

THANKS! THIS WAS FUN.

 

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Open Book with Amina Akhtar

Can I just say this book had me at THIS cover.  When I read that this book is a cross between, The Devil Wears Prada and Dexter, I was sold.  Amina Akhtar’s debut has received rave reviews and even though this is her first novel, Akhtar is no novice to writing.  She previously has written for Vogue, Elle, Style.com, the list continues.  I was honored she took the time to chat with me to share her love for coffee, all things horror and Bravo TV- #besties 😉

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via Amazon ~

“Darkly satisfying.”—Martha Stewart Living
“A diabolical page-turner . . . impossible to put down.”—Forbes
“Darkly funny.”—Fashionista
“As awesome as it sounds.”—Book Riot

A thrilling take on the fashion world, #FashionVictim is Dexter meets The Devil Wears Prada.

Fashion editor Anya St. Clair is on the verge of greatness. Her wardrobe is to die for. Her social media is killer. And her career path is littered with the bodies of anyone who got in her way. She’s worked hard to get where she is, but she doesn’t have everything.

Not like Sarah Taft. Anya’s obsession sits one desk away. Beautiful, stylish, and rich, she was born to be a fashion world icon. From her beach-wave blonde hair to her on-trend nail art, she’s a walking editorial spread. And Anya wants to be her friend. Her best friend. Her only friend.

But when Sarah becomes her top competition for a promotion, Anya’s plan to win her friendship goes into overdrive. In order to beat Sarah…she’ll have to become her. Friendly competition may turn fatal, but as they say in fashion: One day you’re in, and the next day you’re dead

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

Just three? Some mix of Jordan Peele, Stephen King, Gillian Flynn, Caroline Kepnes, and Edward Gorey. I love all things horror, creepy and macabre.

2. Current binge series?

I don’t think I’ve binged on a series properly in a while. I could use some suggestions!

 

3. Last favorite book?

Providence! It’s so good I couldn’t put it down. Caroline’s characters are incredible and real and I love them.

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

My iPad so I can read books without lugging them around, cute shoes I can walk in, and Nars lip pencils. I’d go to London. I love London and it’s been ages since I was able to go back.

5. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

Sunday Styles for sure.

 

6. Last person you sent a text message to?

My friend Daniel who helped get the FV pilot made. (It’s TBD currently.)

 

7. Book you read that you wished you wrote?

Christodora by Tim Murphy. I don’t wish I wrote it but when I read it, I was almost angry at how good it is. Tim is masterful. After every page I had to stop and marvel at the way he wove his stories and characters.

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

None that stick out but my parents have always been really encouraging. But they also wanted me to be able to support myself, so I went into journalism for most of my career.

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

Not really. If I need to drown out noise I’ll put on some classical music. But anything with words is distracting.

10. Describe your writing space?

I’ll write anywhere I can. I think having worked in digital, you learn to not be so precious about it. You have deadlines, and your cubicle is probably the least inspiring place in the world. But you have to get it done! So for now I write on my bed with my dog next to me. She snores.

11. Coffee or tea?

So much coffee.

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

Yes! Big Magic by Liz Gilbert. If you’re feeling stuck—whether in writing or life—read it. It helps me get out of my head.

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

It’s not out yet but PJ Vernon’s When You Find Me is utterly riveting and incredible. It’s a southern gothic thriller that you’re going to love.

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

She’s Lost Control by Joy Division. It’s been my favorite song since my teen years. Because really, aren’t we all losing control a bit?

15. What/Who inspires you?

My friends. I’ve luckily managed to surround myself with really talented, supportive, and bad ass women and men who go after what they want. They have ideas and the next day they make them reality. It’s incredible to witness.

16. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

Of course! We all need guilty pleasures!

17. Favorite Instagram account?

Juniper Foxx! Who doesn’t need photos and videos of animals to brighten their day? Also, the Bloggess’ account is a close second. Fashion wise, Nicolette Mason is someone I am lowkey obsessed with.

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

A Nars pencil in Anya Red. It’d be the perfect shade of blood red.

 

19. Current #TBR pile?

Sister of Mine and The Widow of Malabar Hill are at the top of the pile.

20. Best advice you’ve ever received?

Don’t give up. Writing is full of rejection. If you want to write, write. And if you’re lucky, you’ll get that one yes you need to get published. But even if you don’t, keep writing!

 

 

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What’s in my Bookish “BEACH” Bag? ~ Elizabeth Klehfoth

All These Beautiful Strangers was getting major buzz before it even hit shelves.  Tapped as the potential next Gone Girl and optioned by Bruna Papandrea’s Made Up Stories for development, this debut novel by Elizabeth Klehfoth is a thrilling page-turner that deals with elite boarding schools, missing family members, and a mysterious secret society.  I was thrilled when Elizabeth shared her beach bag with us and let us know her must-haves and current reads.  Keep your eye on her readers, I see many great things from Miss Klehfoth ❤

AllTheseBeautifulStrangers_HC

via Amazon ~

“This is going to be big.” –Entertainment Weekly

“Juicy, clever, and beguiling.”- Cecily von Ziegsar, author of the Gossip Girl novels

A young woman haunted by a family tragedy is caught up in a dangerous web of lies and deception involving a secret society in this highly charged, addictive psychological thriller that combines the dishy gamesmanship of Gossip Girl with the murky atmosphere of The Secret History.

One summer day, Grace Fairchild, the beautiful young wife of real estate mogul Alistair Calloway, vanished from the family’s lake house without a trace, leaving behind her seven-year old daughter, Charlie, and a slew of unanswered questions.

Years later, seventeen-year-old Charlie still struggles with the dark legacy of her family name and the mystery surrounding her mother. Determined to finally let go of the past, she throws herself into life at Knollwood, the prestigious New England school she attends. Charlie quickly becomes friends with Knollwood’s “it” crowd.

Charlie has also been tapped by the A’s—the school’s elite secret society well known for terrorizing the faculty, administration, and their enemies. To become a member of the A’s, Charlie must play The Game, a semester-long, diabolical high-stakes scavenger hunt that will jeopardize her friendships, her reputation, even her place at Knollwood.

As the dark events of past and present converge, Charlie begins to fear that she may not survive the terrible truth about her family, her school, and her own life.

Beach bag_BlissBeautyBooks

What is your bag of choice for the beach?

I have a simple Nautilux striped canvas tote that fits my beach towel and essentials.

What do you always carry in your beach bag for beauty products?

I keep things pretty simple in terms of beauty products when I head to the beach. I always pack my Burt’s Bees Beeswax Lip Balm–it contains Vitamin E and peppermint oil, so my lips always feel moisturized and fresh, and my GlamGlow Mega Illuminating Moisturizer for my face, which is great for dry skin and also enhances my complexion with a nice glow.  Sunblock is a must.  I use Equate Sport Sunscreen SPF 30, because it gives me good coverage and doesn’t leave my skin feeling oily. I also pack a couple of black elastic hair ties so I can keep my hair up and off my face.  

What are your top favorite beauty picks?

For every day, I use Origins Checks and Balances face wash, Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream (it’s the only body lotion where I can be 100% sure I won’t break out), CoverGirl Outlast Stay Fabulous 3-in-1 foundation, CoverGirl Clean powder, Almay Gel Smooth Liner in black, Almay Intense I-Color Everyday Neutrals eye shadow for blue eyes (I love these palettes!  They really make my eyes pop and I never get creases), and CoverGirl Full Lash Bloom mascara in black.  For nighttime, I’m obsessed with Origins High-Potency Night-a-Mins Mineral-Enriched Renewal Cream.  It smells faintly of oranges and I always wake up with my skin feeling smooth and soft.  

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading The High Season by Judy Blundell.  It’s an engrossing tale that follows three women in the town of Orient, located on the North Fork of Long Island, for one summer.  Ruthie Beamish is a fortysomething woman who lives in Orient year-round, but who must rent out her house during the summer in order to keep it.  Jem is Ruthie’s 15-year old daughter, who’s juggling a falling-out with the popular girls at school and a crush on the handsome and troublesome son of the tenant renting her house for the summer.  And then there’s Doe, a young woman who’s trying to make her way in the world despite a troubled past by rubbing elbows (and snapping Instagram shots) of the well-to-do in the Hamptons.  This poignant story explores the dividing line between the have and the have-nots, is full of laugh-out-loud lines and heartbreak, and is all about second chances, finding yourself, and new beginnings.  It’s a must-read for the beach this summer.

Any other fun item/must-have that you always have in your beach bag?

In addition to my beach read, I always pack my iPhone and headphones so I can listen to music while I veg, a fluffy beach towel, and my crystal rose and calico Raen sunglasses.

Elizabeth Klehfoth Author Photo

 

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Open Book with Susie Orman Schnall

There is no shortage of fierce, female driven beach reads this year.  A the top of this list is the gorgeous Susie Orman Schnall’s latest, The Subway Girls.  A historical read with beauty, ambition and two determined woman is all that is within this gem of a read.  I was thrilled when Susie agreed to be my latest “Open Book”.  She is just as fabulous as her two main characters.  Perfect lipstick selection, stellar dream book club picks and a delectable TBR stack.  She is beyond!

The Subway Girls COVER

via Amazon ~

From the author of The Balance Project comes a dual-timeline narrative featuring a 1949 Miss Subways contestant and a modern-day advertising executive whose careers and lives intersect.

“Schnall has written a book that is smart and timely…Feels perfect for fans of Beatriz Williams and Liza Klaussmann.” —Taylor Jenkins Reid, acclaimed author of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

“A fast-paced, clever novel filled with romantic possibilities, high-stakes decisions, and harsh realities. Perfect for fans of Fiona Davis’s The Dollhouse, this engrossing tale highlights the role that ambition, sexism, and true love will forever play in women’s lives.” —Amy Poeppel, author of Small Admissions

In 1949, dutiful and ambitious Charlotte’s dream of a career in advertising is shattered when her father demands she help out with the family business. Meanwhile, Charlotte is swept into the glamorous world of the Miss Subways beauty contest, which promises irresistible opportunities with its Park Avenue luster and local fame status. But when her new friend—the intriguing and gorgeous fellow-participant Rose—does something unforgivable, Charlotte must make a heart-wrenching decision that will change the lives of those around her forever.

Nearly 70 years later, outspoken advertising executive Olivia is pitching the NYC subways account in a last ditch effort to save her job at an advertising agency. When the charismatic boss she’s secretly in love with pits her against her misogynistic nemesis, Olivia’s urgent search for the winning strategy leads her to the historic Miss Subways campaign. As the pitch date closes in on her, Olivia finds herself dealing with a broken heart, an unlikely new love interest, and an unexpected personal connection to Miss Subways that could save her job—and her future.

The Subway Girls is the charming story of two strong women, a generation apart, who find themselves up against the same eternal struggle to find an impossible balance between love, happiness, and ambition.

SusieOrmanSchnall

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

Oprah, Reese Witherspoon, and Barack Obama.

2. Current binge series?

 Just finished binging Good Girls Revolt. I’m so sad there won’t be a season 2. And I can’t wait until the next seasons of The Handmaid’s Tale and Big Little Lies are released.

3. Last favorite book?

My favorite three I’ve read recently are Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult, and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid.

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

1. A bag full of good books (that just counts as one thing!) 2. Cozy sweats. 3. Dark chocolate and English breakfast tea. Then I’ll gather all of those things on a beautiful porch of a beautiful house overlooking a beautiful sea.

5. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

 Sunday NYT. (And the crossword.)

6. Last person you sent a text message to?

 My middle son. About the geometry compass he needs for school 😉

7. Book you read that you wished you wrote?

 The Help by Kathryn Stockett.

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

 Not particularly. But I have an English professor from college, Al Filreis, who once read an essay I wrote out loud in class. I had taken a lot of risks with it and I almost didn’t turn it in. When he read it aloud, I felt an unbelievable sense of pride and it made me feel so validated. We still keep in touch.

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

 No. Has to be really quiet. I get distracted easily.

10. Describe your writing space?

 I have an office off my bedroom. It’s got this gorgeous crazy floral wallpaper, a big desk with lots of room to spread out all my notes, cozy chairs, and lots of book shelf space. And a big window to look out of when I can’t figure out what to write next. I love having my own space.

11. Coffee or tea?

 Rishi English breakfast tea.

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

 Not one in particular but I do love sending books to people unexpectedly if one has come up in conversation or if I think they’ll like it.

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

 Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult.

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

 My favorite song is If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out by Cat Stevens. It’s just so uplifting and has so much potential! “You can do what you want 

The opportunity’s on

And if you can find a new way

You can do it today”

15. What/Who inspires you?

Women today! My goodness, women are killing it. I love the ambition, and bravery, and outspokenness that is all over the place today. It makes me want to spread my wings and soar.

16. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

 Of course! In doses.

17. Favorite Instagram account?

 Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx. She can go from posting something inspiring and motivational and then the next day it will be something hilarious. She’s incredibly authentic. You should definitely follow her. @sarablakely

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

Eat Pray Love. A flattering glowy pink that you can use when you eat, pray, love, and everything in between. I need the items in my life to multitask!

19. Current #TBR pile?

 Humongous! Highlights: The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine, Americanah by Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie, A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett, Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue, Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward, and Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. It just keeps growing…

20. Best advice you’ve ever received?

Done is better than perfect – Sheryl Sandberg says that in Lean In.

 

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*Thanks to BookSparks for facilitating this interview.

 

Open Book and a Beauty Bonus Round ~ with Jenna Blum

We have an extra special, extra fabulous guest today who is a sparkly Boston gal whose latest gem of a read is out now!!!!  Drumroll and marquis lights please….Jenna Blum is in the house and we have a special “Open Book” today!  The Lost Family is a non-negotiable for your summer reading list.  It is set over 3 decades, told from multiple perspectives and filled with love, loss and hope.  I am so thrilled to have Jenna on the blog and to support such a wonderful local author ❤

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via Amazon ~

The Lost Family is an extraordinary read, the kind of book that makes you sob and smile, the kind that gives you hope…. It is compassionate, masterful and disturbingly contemporary.”—Tatiana de Rosnay, bestselling author of Sarah’s Key

The New York Times bestselling author of Those Who Save Us creates a vivid portrait of marriage, family, and the haunting grief of World War II in this emotionally charged, beautifully rendered story that spans a generation, from the 1960s to the 1980s.

In 1965 Manhattan, patrons flock to Masha’s to savor its brisket bourguignon and impeccable service and to admire its dashing owner and head chef Peter Rashkin. With his movie-star good looks and tragic past, Peter, a survivor of Auschwitz, is the most eligible bachelor in town. But Peter does not care for the parade of eligible women who come to the restaurant hoping to catch his eye. He has resigned himself to a solitary life. Running Masha’s consumes him, as does his terrible guilt over surviving the horrors of the Nazi death camp while his wife, Masha—the restaurant’s namesake—and two young daughters perished.

Then exquisitely beautiful June Bouquet, an up-and-coming young model, appears at the restaurant, piercing Peter’s guard. Though she is twenty years his junior, the two begin a passionate, whirlwind courtship. When June unexpectedly becomes pregnant, Peter proposes, believing that beginning a new family with the woman he loves will allow him to let go of the horror of the past. But over the next twenty years, the indelible sadness of those memories will overshadow Peter, June, and their daughter Elsbeth, transforming them in shocking, heartbreaking, and unexpected ways.

Jenna Blum artfully brings to the page a husband devastated by a grief he cannot name, a frustrated wife struggling to compete with a ghost she cannot banish, and a daughter sensitive to the pain of both her own family and another lost before she was born. Spanning three cinematic decades, The Lost Family is a charming, funny, and elegantly bittersweet study of the repercussions of loss and love.

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

Hemingway, Frederick Douglass, Obama.

 

2. Current binge series?

The Handmaid’s Tale. I wish Season 3 would begin way before April 2019–we may be living in Gilead by then.

 

3. Last favorite book?

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.

 

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

Book, iPad, snacks. A beach anywhere!

 

5. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

NYT always.

 

6. Last person you sent a text message to?

My dear friend Stephanie Ebbert at the Boston Globe, who writes on gender issues.

 

7. Book you read that you wished you wrote?

The Stand by Stephen King.

 

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

Yes! Mr. Laskowich at Watchung School in Montclair, NJ, who read to us each day for 1/2 hour before lunch. Mr. Phillip Stern at Glenfield Middle School in Montclair, who didn’t mind when I wrote a whole novel about him in 7th grade (I had a major crush).

 

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

Never. Music to me is a language and it competes with the language in my head.

 

10. Describe your writing space?

It’s usually covered with images from the book I’m working on. Black Lab Woodrow snoring on bed because he finds writing very boring.

 

11. Coffee or tea?

COFFEE

 

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

I generally give newly published books by friends to help them get out into the world.

 

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

Mine! 🙂 (Those Who Save Us, my first book, is under option. I’d love The Lost Family to become a movie as well—or a series on HBO, SHOWTIME, Hulu, Amazon Prime….)

 

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

Free To Be You & Me, because I believe in the sanctity of personal choice and respect.

 

15. What/Who inspires you?

Injustice inspires me to try & do something about it. Also the Obamas.

 

16. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

Nope!

 

17. Favorite Instagram account?

My dear friend writer/ yoga guru Sara DiVello. Selma Blair. Reese Witherspoon’s book club.

 

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

Those Who Save Us and it’d be blood red.

 

19. Current #TBR pile?

So much! I actually have a TBR ottoman. I’m traveling on book tour for The Lost Family right now so I’ll have to do this from memory. Many chef memoirs, continuing research for my next book. Anthony Bourdain. Curtis Sittenfeld short stories. Julian Barnes.

 

20. Best advice you’ve ever received?

“Jen, do your best.” My dad.

 
 
BONUS SECTION*
 
1. Favorite place to shop in Boston? Anthropologie!
2. Biggest fashion splurge? Anthropologie! 
3. Beauty must-haves? Anthropologie! Also concealer, waterproof mascara & eyeliner. I wear cat-eyes to the gym because I’m from Jersey originally and that’s what we do.
4. What do you carry in your purse for beauty products? Matte lipstick from Revlon that would stay on during a nuclear winter.
5. What type of purse/bag do you carry? Normally, I don’t—I have a Coach wristlet but I like to travel light. When traveling for book events, a Coach tote bag. 
FOLLOW Jenna:

What’s in my Bookish {Beauty} Bag? ~ Sally Hepworth

I have been a huge fan of Sally Hepworth’s for a while now.  She has a way of writing and storytelling that instantly grabs you and its hard to put down her books.  I mean thats exactly what you want in an author, right?  Then I promise you, Sally is your girl.  Her newest novel, The Family Next Door, out NOW, is being compared to Big Little Lies and has a domestic suspense flavor to it.  I am thrilled to be able to celebrate her and this book today on the blog!  I mean from her author photo she can rock a red lip like no other so of course we already know she is super fabulous 😉

 

Cover Image- Family Next Door

via Amazon ~

America’s next favorite Australian author!

“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

Small, perfect towns often hold the deepest secrets.

From the outside, Essie’s life looks idyllic: a loving husband, a beautiful house in a good neighborhood, and a nearby mother who dotes on her grandchildren. But few of Essie’s friends know her secret shame: that in a moment of maternal despair, she once walked away from her newborn, asleep in her carriage in a park. Disaster was avoided and Essie got better, but she still fears what lurks inside her, even as her daughter gets older and she has a second baby.

When a new woman named Isabelle moves in next door to Essie, she is an immediate object of curiosity in the neighborhood. Why single, when everyone else is married with children? Why renting, when everyone else owns? What mysterious job does she have? And why is she so fascinated with Essie? As the two women grow closer and Essie’s friends voice their disapproval, it starts to become clear that Isabelle’s choice of neighborhood was no accident. And that her presence threatens to bring shocking secrets to light.

The Family Next Door is Sally Hepworth at her very best: at once a deeply moving portrait of family drama and a compelling suburban mystery that will keep you hooked until the very last page.

Bag

What is your bag of choice?

A tote! Currently I’m carrying a tote made of white neoprene (wetsuit material), that I love because it is machine washable, and fits all my stuff–currently my laptop, my planner, my wallet, a pencil case, phone, a novel, sunglasses, sunscreen, a set of headphones and about 27 pens. The tote is a brand called Punch, and I was gifted it for Christmas. I will use it every day until it falls apart and then immediately order another.

What are your top favorite beauty picks?  

Red lipstick, red lipstick and more red lipstick. Did I mention red lipstick? I have no beauty picks because there is nothing else one actually needs.

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

I’ve always thought of sunscreen as the best possible beauty product and I always carry that. But that’s it! I put on my long-last red lippy in the morning, but I don’t re-apply it, or any other make up during the day, or carry anything with me.

What are you currently reading?

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F#*k. It’s really, really good. I recently finished The Stolen Marriage by Diane Chamberlain (which I adored) and highly recommend.

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

I live in Australia and would look like my purse (if it were leather), if I didn’t carry sunscreen with me and constantly reapply it. And a hat! You will usually find both in my bag!

Sally Hepworth Headshot_highest res_credit Mrs. Smart Photography

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