What’s in my Bookish {Beauty} Bag? ~ Elyssa Friedland

Books are basically the chicest accessory you can have and its even better when the author writing these books is just as chic.  Elyssa Friedland is just that author.  She first graced our TBR’s with her debut novel, Love and Miss Communication and her latest, The Intermission has been getting high praise and making all the “Best of Summer” lists.  The Intermission takes on the subject of how well do we really know the person we are sleeping next to?  Elyssa was so kind to share her fabulous bag and accessories with me as well as introducing me to a beauty line I had never heard of!  Oh be still my books and beauty heart ❤

Intermission cover jpg

via Amazon ~

A HelloGiggles Best New Release
A PopSugar Best Book of July
A BookBub Editor’s Pick
A SheReads Best Book of Summer
A GoodReads Buzzy New Release
A Mind Body Green Best Book of July
A PureWow Best Beach Read of Summer 2018

Have you ever had a secret so gut-wrenching you couldn’t tell anyone, not even the person who shares your bed?

Told from the alternating perspectives of a husband and wife who both have something to hide, this incisive novel pulls back the curtain on a seemingly-happy marriage, posing the question: how much do we really know–and how much should we want to know–about the people we love the most?

After five long years, the unshakable confidence Cass Coyne felt as a bride is gone. Her husband, Jonathan, on the other hand, is still smitten. It’s true that the quirks he once found charming in his wife–her high standards, her refusal to clean the dishes–are beginning to grate. But for him, these are minor challenges in a healthy relationship.

So it comes as a complete shock to Jonathan when Cass suddenly requests a marital “intermission”: a six-month separation during which they’ll decide if the comfortable life they’ve built is still the one they both want.

Aside from a monthly custodial exchange of their beloved dog, contact will be limited. But as the months pass, they begin to see that calculated silences just like these have helped to drive them apart–and that it may finally be time to confront the blistering secrets they’ve been avoiding.

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What is your bag of choice?

The Mansur Gavriel leather bucket bag. I have it in black and tan. It can be worn cross body, on one shoulder and sometimes I tie the strap to make it shorter and wear it in the crook of my elbow. I hate bags with lots of compartments and zippers. I just want one big receptacle for my stuff.

What are your top favorite beauty picks?  

Youngblood is my favorite makeup brand. It’s organic and the color selection is very cool. The lipstick is long-lasting and I swear by the shade Just Pink. I also love Laura Geller black mascara. It thickens and lengthens but doesn’t make me look like a stripper. Giorgio Armani is my brand of choice for foundation. 

 

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

Wallet, phone and sunglasses are typically all I take with me. Sometimes a lipstick if I remember. I’m a relatively no frills person and am totally comfortable going out during the day without makeup. That will probably change as I get older but I’m hoping to ride this au natural thing through my thirties. The sunglasses are an absolute requirement, even in the winter. I think I have light sensitivity (or maybe I just like being able to pretend I don’t see people on the street I don’t feel like talking to!). 

 

What are you currently reading (can be books/magazines)?

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang on my Kindle and I’m listening to The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand. Both are excellent and I’m not just saying that. 

 

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

My ear buds for my iPhone because I am always listening to a book on Audible. If I forget them, I’m one unhappy camper. 

Elyssa.Friedland. credit Lucia Engstrom

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What’s in my Bookish {Beauty} Bag? ~ Amy Mason Doan

I am so thrilled to have Amy Mason Doan share her fabulous tote filled with some of my favorite things!  Her debut novel, The Summer List, is what beach reads are made after.  Friendship, secrets and a scavenger hunt are all perfect ingredients into this must-read for the sun and sand.  Read below for more about the book and Amy’s beauty musts ❤

THE SUMMER LIST.cover

via Amazon ~

In the tradition of Judy Blume’s Summer Sisters, The Summer List is a tender yet tantalizing novel about two friends, the summer night they fell apart, and the scavenger hunt that reunites them decades later—until the clues expose a breathtaking secret that just might shatter them once and for all.

Laura and Casey were once inseparable: as they floated on their backs in the sunlit lake, as they dreamed about the future under starry skies, and as they teamed up for the wild scavenger hunts in their small California lakeside town. Until one summer night, when a shocking betrayal sent Laura running through the pines, down the dock, and into a new life, leaving Casey and a first love in her wake.

But the past is impossible to escape, and now, after seventeen years away, Laura is pulled home and into a reunion with Casey she can’t resist—one last scavenger hunt. With a twist: this time, the list of clues leads to the settings of their most cherished summer memories. From glistening Jade Cove to the vintage skating rink, each step they take becomes a bittersweet reminder of the friendship they once shared. But just as the game brings Laura and Casey back together, the clues unravel a stunning secret that threatens to tear them apart…

Mesmerizing and unforgettable, Amy Mason Doan’s The Summer List is about losing and recapturing the person who understands you best—and the unbreakable bonds of girlhood.

Doan bag

What is your bag of choice?- purse/tote/backpack and brand that you have?

 This handmade purse from my favorite Portland designer & retailer, Radish. I’ve had it for at least three years. I love the unique shape, plus it’s comfortable on my shoulder and holds everything. The other side has a little pocket with blue detail that’s the perfect size for my phone.

 

 

What are your top favorite beauty picks?

Urban Decay lipstick in Mosh Pit (a little goes a loooong way so I use a lip brush), Urban Decay tinted eyebrow tamer, L’Oreal Voluminous mascara in Carbon Black, Glycolix 20 percent Glycolic Acid toner, Tarte Double-Duty palettes.

  

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

Solid perfume in coconut or lavender. I use it for stress relief! A little bit on the wrist relaxes me. And I always have a heavy lanolin hand lotion and lip balm.

 

What are you currently reading (can be books/magazines)?

OTHER PEOPLE’S HOUSES by Abbi Waxman. I loved her first book, THE GARDEN OF SMALL BEGINNINGS, and her latest is just as funny & sharp. At a recent book club event in San Diego I was on a summer reading panel with Abbi, and she was as witty as her writing voice.

 

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

Fruit rolls and almonds. I have a 12-year-old daughter who’s growing about an inch a night and is hungry 90 percent of the time, so I carry snacks for her just like I did when she was tiny.

Headshots + Profile Imagery by Sash Photography

 

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*Thank you to Graydon House for a copy for review and Kathleen Carter Communications for facilitating the interview.

Open Book with Amber Brock

Today I am absolutely judging a book by its cover.  I mean, how can I not?  Amber Brock’s latest, Lady Be Good is out and all you will need is a look at this poolside cover and be sold.  This cover screams glamorous summer read.  If you are looking for 1950’s glitz and glamour from Miami to Cuba then this is the book.  I am thrilled to have Amber as my latest “Open Book”!  We are talking all things from books to beauty to the Muppets 🙂  P.S. Her book to lipstick name may go down in history as one of the best ❤

Lady Be Good

via Amazon ~

Set in the 1950s, Lady Be Good marks Amber Brock’s mesmerizing return, sweeping readers into the world of the mischievous, status-obsessed daughter of a hotel magnate and the electric nightlife of three iconic cities: New York, Miami, and Havana.

Kitty Tessler is the winsome and clever only child of self-made hotel and nightclub tycoon Nicolas Tessler. Kitty may not have the same pedigree as the tennis club set she admires, but she still sees herself as every inch the socialite–spending her days perfecting her “look” and her nights charming all the blue-blooded boys who frequent her father’s clubs. It seems like the fun will never end until Kitty’s father issues a terrible ultimatum: she may no longer date the idle rich. Instead, Kitty must marry Andre, her father’s second-in-command, and take her place as the First Lady of his hotel empire. Kitty is forced to come up with a wily and elaborate plan to protect her own lofty ideas for the future, as well as to save her best friend, Henrietta Bancroft, from a doomed engagement; Kitty will steal Henrietta’s fiancé, a fabulously wealthy but terribly unkind man from a powerful family–thereby delivering the one-two punch of securing her now-fragile place on the social ladder and keeping her friend from a miserable marriage.
Then Kitty meets Max, a member of a band visiting New York from her father’s Miami club, and her plans take a turn. Smitten, but still eager to convince her father of her commitment to Andre, Kitty and Hen follow Max, Andre, and the rest of the band back down to Miami–and later to Cuba. As Kitty spends more time with Max, she begins waking up to the beauty–and the injustice–of the world beyond her small, privileged corner of Manhattan. And when her well-intended yet manipulative efforts backfire, Kitty is forced to reconsider her choices and her future before she loses everyone she loves.

Amber

 

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

Jane Austen, Oscar Wilde, and Stephen Fry. Apparently, I want conversation I can’t keep up with!

2. Current binge series?

Fresh Off the Boat. I’m admittedly late to the game on this one.

3. Last favorite book?

I love the Crazy Rich Asians series by Kevin Kwan, particularly China Rich Girlfriend.

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

Good walking shoes, a guide to historic castles, and my RailPass. I’m going to the UK!

5. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

I read the NYT articles that my beloved coworker sends me, but I definitely pick up US Weekly at the salon.

6. Last person you sent a text message to?

My husband.

7. Book you read that you wished you wrote?

I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb or Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding. Two of my all-time favorites.

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

Mrs. Rutledge, who was my teacher and mentor and is now my friend. I owe her so much, and I’m forever grateful she’s a part of my life.

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

I listen while I’m planning but not while drafting (too distracting). My husband makes me playlists to inspire me—sometimes with era-appropriate music, sometimes to match the tone of whatever I’m working on. The playlists have had everyone from Yo-Yo Ma to Rhianna on them. Like my reading preferences, my tastes in music are eclectic.

10. Describe your writing space?

I have an office with ocean-blue walls and windows that look out on the trees and birds in my backyard.

11. Coffee or tea?

Mostly coffee, but I like a cup of tea on a cold afternoon.

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

I love passing along the Harry Potter series, Sense and Sensibility, and Emma.

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

Until recently, I would have said Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Prachett, but the mini-series is coming soon on Amazon. I got my wish!

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

“Rainbow Connection” (yes, by Kermit the Frog). It’s such a lovely song about the power of dreams and hope, and it’s been a favorite of mine for a long time.

15. What/Who inspires you?

My husband and my mother.

16. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

Not for me. I prefer my drama fictional.

17. Favorite Instagram account?

Chrissy Teigen.

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

I’d call it Sangria and Sensibility, and it would be a deep wine-red. More of a Marianne color than Elinor.

19. Current #TBR pile?

Mostly 10th grade essays. When I finish those, I’m looking forward to getting back to an ARC of Not Our Kind by Kitty Zeldis. I also got myself I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon that’s waiting on my coffee table.

20. Best advice you’ve ever received?

“Wherever you go, there you are.” I take it as a reminder that you bring your baggage with you, so no change of situation will ever be enough to bring joy. Joy has to come from within.

 

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What’s in my Bookish {Beauty} Bag? ~ Randy Susan Meyers

One of my favorite books of 2017 is out TODAY in paperback- The Widow of Wall Street by  Randy Susan Myers and it has a gorgeous new cover for its debut.  This one is an absolute must for your beach reading this summer.  It’s got a little love and a little scandal with sprinkle of hope.  I am thrilled to have Randy on the blog today as we celebrate this glittering read and her chicer than chic bag ❤

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from Amazon ~
“A provocative tale of loyalty and morality, this novel will introduce you to the scandalous side of New York.”–Buzzfeed
Refinery 29 Pick

PopSugar Pick


New York Post “Must Read Book”


A provocative new novel by international bestselling author Randy Susan Meyers about the seemingly blind love of a wife for her husband as he conquers Wall Street, and her extraordinary, perhaps foolish, loyalty during his precipitous fall.

Phoebe recognizes fire in Jake Pierce’s belly from the moment they meet as teenagers. As he creates a financial dynasty, she trusts him without hesitation–unaware his hunger for success hides a dark talent for deception.

From penthouse to prison, with tragic consequences rippling well beyond Wall Street, Randy Susan Meyers’s latest novel exposes a woman struggling to survive and then redefine her life as her world crumbles.

BuzzFeed “Gossip Girl Vibe”

Molly Sims “Best Summer Reads”

Self Magazine “Best Gifts for Bookworms”

New York Subway’s “New York Stories”

Book Riot “Seven Deadly Sins” Fiction

Parent.co “Moms You’ll Fall in Love With”

BookBub “Complicated Love Stories”

 

bag and makeup rsm 1rsm bag 2

What is your bag of choice? 

My biggest problem? I love too many bags—but my most-used every go-to is a Kate Spade black patent leather cross-body. The exact one isn’t made available anymore, so when it got scuffed, I hunted until I found a brand-new twin on eBay. The new (unscuffed) one I save for special occasions. It’s a perfect size—large enough for essentials, but not big enough to stuff beyond carrying weight.

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

For casual, I carry a lipstick that’s easy to apply—usually Revlon’s color stay (the Ultimate Suede shade) because the color lasts, and Clinique’s Woppin’ Watermelon Chubby Stick, cause it’s just the perfect shade of summer pink and I can put it on without a mirror. I carry Shiseido blotting papers (that brand because my husband put a refillable case in my Xmas stocking) for summer forehead wetness. Most important, are individually wrapped La Fresh Travel Lite Make-up Remover Wipes—for those horrid raccoon eye moments. Sephora used to carry a store brand, but they disappeared. These I must buy at Amazon. I always throw one or two in my bag. They save me at events!

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When I’m on fancy outing, I carry whatever shade of lipstick I’m wearing for the evening. Of course, this scatters my lipsticks and ultimately drives me. I tuck in a mini eyeliner pencil to freshen the line (my top choices are Stila for staying power and control and Lancôme for glide), and a combo cheek/lips product, such as Bobbi Brown’s Pot Rouge for Lips and Cheek (which is perfect for double duty. As a top layer for lips, this product provides a great finish.

 

What are you currently reading (can be books/magazines) 

I am generally in the middle of two to four books. The audiobook I’m in the middle of is Meredith Goldstein’s totally engaging Can’t Help Myself: Lessons & Confessions from a Modern Advice Columnist. On my Kindle I have the truly terrifying I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara. My paper book this moment is Roxane Gay’s Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture. I just heard Roxane speak and boy, she is incredible. As a bonus, I’m a beta-reader for Catherine McKenzie’s work-in-progress. Readers are in for a treat. (I loved her last one, The Good Liar.) 

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

My only absolute must-have is something to read—whether it be via kindle on my phone, a paperback in my bag, or a magazine—I have a terror of being without something to read.

About the Author 

Randy Susan Meyers is the bestselling author of Accidents of Marriage, The Comfort of Lies, The Murderer’s Daughters, and The Widow of Wall Street. Her books have twice been finalists for the Mass Book Award and named “Must Read Books” by the Massachusetts Center for the Book. Her first novel, The Murderer’s Daughters, was the nationwide Target Book Club pick.

She lives with her husband in Boston, where she teaches writing at the Grub Street Writers’ Center. For more visit randysusanmeyers.com.

About The Widow of Wall Street 

Phoebe sees the fire in Jake Pierce’s belly from the moment they meet as teenagers in Brooklyn. Eventually, he creates a financial dynasty and she trusts him without hesitation—unaware his hunger for success hides a dark talent for deception.

From Brooklyn to Greenwich to Manhattan, from penthouse to prison, with tragic consequences rippling well beyond Wall Street, The Widow of Wall Street exposes a woman struggling to redefine her life and marriage as everything she thought she knew crumbles around her.

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*Thanks to Get Red PR and the publisher for a copy of the book and facilitating this interview.

Open Bag with Anita Hughes

We have a mix up today.  A little bit Open Book and a little bit Bookish {Beauty} Bag with Anita Hughes.  I am a HUGE fan of Anita’s and thrilled to be able to celebrate her latest release, California Summer.  If you are familiar with her works then you know she has a way of transporting her readers to the glamorous locations that her books take place.  These settings often are their own character within the story and her latest is set against the beautiful backdrop of California.  She is the queen of beach reads and I am thrilled she is on the blog today ❤

California Summer_cover image

via Amazon ~

“The perfect beach read!” ―Mary Alice Monroe, New York Times bestselling author of Beach House Reunion.

“Tender and triumphant…California Summer made my heart sing. ―Allison Winn Scotch, New York Times bestselling author of Between Me and You

Anita Hughes’s California Summer is a charming and beautiful love story about a former Hollywood producer who trades her cast list in for cookbooks in the hopes of following her dreams and finding new love.

Ben and Rosie are Hollywood’s newest director/producer dream team. After hitting it big at Sundance, it seems that their ten years of love and hard work are finally paying off. Rosie is happy making independent films, but Ben wants the A-List celebrity package: a house in Beverly Hills, fancy cars in the driveway, and his name on the biggest blockbusters. He’s willing to do anything, even sleep with the most famous producer in town, to get them.

Rosie is devastated by Ben’s affair, and she decides to take a break from show business. She accepts her best friend’s invitation to spend the summer at her parents’ estate in Montecito. It’s far away from L.A., the perfect place to start over.

In Montecito, Rosie meets a colorful cast of characters including Rachel, who owns a chocolate shop, and Josh, a handsome local who splits his time between surfing and classic cars. Suddenly Rosie has new friends and a new purpose. She starts a business in the village, and her luck seems to be turning around. But Rosie knows all too well that success comes with a price, and the price might be losing love…again.

California Summer is a touching and romantic story about following your dreams but not letting them get in the way of love.

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What three celebrities/authors/figures- living or dead, would you want to have a bookclub with? Rona Jaffe, Edith Wharton, and Maeve Binchy – three of my favorite authors of all time.

Current binge series? Reruns of the OC.

Last favorite book? The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

What 3 things to you pack in your bag for your dream vacation?  Lip balm, a sun hat and a book.

Sunday NYT or US Weekly? Sunday NYT’s!

Last person you sent a text message to? My daughter.

Book you read that you wished you wrote? Bridget Jones’ Diary.

Do you have a teacher who encouraged you to become a writer? Not really.

Do you listen to music while you write? If so, who? No, it has to be quiet.

Describe your writing space? The love seat in my bedroom, looking at the bunnies in the garden.

Coffee or tea? Coffee.

Do you have a favorite book that you gift? Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger.

What/Who inspires you? My children.

Bravo reality TV- yes or no? No.

Favorite Instagram account? None.

Current #TBR pile? Another Side of Paradise by Sally Koslow.

What is your bag of choice?- purse/tote/backpack and brand that you have? Anything from Kate Spade.

What are your top favorite beauty picks?  Bare Minerals Bronzer, Chanel lip gloss.

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

What are you currently reading (can be books/magazines) Small Admission by Amy Poeppel.

 

Hughes, Anita_CREDIT Sheri Geoffreys

 

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What’s in my Bookish {Beauty} Bag? ~ Janna King

I am on a role with fabulous books to pack up in that beach bag!  Janna King’s new novel, The Seasonaires is the quintessential book to accompany a spring cocktail.  There is nothing like a read that is stylish, sexy, murderous and greedy- all the ingredients that make up this sparkling debut.  I was thrilled when she opened up her ridiculously amazing bag filled with a bounty of beauty must-haves.

The Seasonaires-AD

via Amazon ~

For a twenty-something, there is no summer job better than being a seasonaire. No responsibilities, college is barely a thought, and you’re surrounded by glamorous, beautiful people.  Intoxicating and seemingly carefree, what could possibly go wrong?

An idyllic Nantucket summer begins like a dream for scrappy Mia from South Boston; Presley, a gorgeous Southern beauty queen; Cole, a handsome introvert; Jade, the sultry daughter of a model and music mogul; J.P., an energetic young designer; and Grant, a playful party-boy.

Tese six are working as seasonaires―influential brand ambassadors―for the clothing line Lyndon Wyld. But like all things that look too good to be true, the darkness lurking underneath slowly rises to the surface.

Lyndon Wyld, the chic tigress who owns the eponymous business, rules their daily life by curating their every move, which the seasonaires are obligated to post on social media for their growing throngs of followers. Corporate greed, professional rivalries, and personal conflicts mix with sex, drugs, and the naiveté of youth, exploding in a murder that sullies their catalog-perfect lives.

The Seasonaires is a fresh and stylish debut that perfectly captures today’s zeitgeist, promising to thrill until the very last page.

JK Bag

JK bag 2

 

What is your bag of choice?- purse/tote/backpack and brand that you have?

My AllSaints bucket bag is the perfect size, though revealing what’s inside, it seems like a bottomless clown bag. When I carry my laptop, which is 90% of the time, my Urban Outfitters faux leather reversible tote will also hold my bag. And since my novel is about seasonaires in summer, I’ll mention my beach tote pick: Mar Y Sol’s Montauk (colorful pom-poms, smushes into my suitcase and is fair trade).

 

What are your top favorite beauty picks?  

Neutrogena Healthy Defense Moisturizer (with SPF, of course), Cetaphil liquid face soap, Benefit Benetint Cheek and Lip Stain, and Clinique High Impact Extreme Volume Mascara in Extreme Black. It’s the only mascara that doesn’t irritate my eyes. More importantly, it won’t run when I cry because I cry about pretty much everything⎯happy, sad and in between⎯yet it comes off with just soap and water. I’m learning to use liquid eyeliner and the results are very entertaining, like a 4-year-old drew on my face. For my hair, Moroccan Oil Hair Treatment and DevaCurl Super Creme. I was an 80’s perm girl until a stylist showed me I have naturally wavy hair. I’m not sure if I should be embarrassed or proud of the fact that I don’t own a brush or comb. As a sucker for anything with an amazing scent, I love Trader Joe’s Coconut Body Butter and Philosophy Fresh Cream perfume (okay, so I smell a little bit like a bakery). I could live in a Lush store.

 

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

Clinique Black Honey Almost Lipstick (I’ve used this since I was in college), CO Bigelow Vanillamint Supreme 2x Lip Shine & Breath Freshener (I’m a multi-tasker), Systane Ultra Eyedrops for my dry writer eyes, Eurcerin Moisturizing Creme for my dry writer hands, a snag-free hairband for messy, high buns (the higher the better), and Saje Peppermint Halo Headache Relief, because there’s nothing beautiful about a painful mind-splitter.

 

What are you currently reading (can be books/magazines)?

Vanity Fair, In Style, Vulture, The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F#*ck by Mark Manson (though I still give far too many), and From Cradle to Stage by Virginia Hanlon Grohl, mother of Foo Fighters Dave Grohl (because my daughter is in a band and #lifegoals: rock-mom).

 

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

My iPhone (I’m always one text/goofy Bitmoji away from my two kids who have been away at college), my dreaded progressive glasses and sunglasses (I finally treated myself to fancies by Dita and Oliver Goldsmith), Purell, Band-Aids, a pen I can never find, Orbit gum, my keys (with myriad keys and fobs⎯my kids always said they could hear me coming), my dad’s handkerchief (he passed away a year ago), a mini pack of Kleenex (I don’t actually use the handkerchief), my “trust” ceramic rock, chewed gum (see above) wrapped in a receipt I will discover I need later, and two notes from my kids from when they were little. Do I sound obsessed with my kids? Guilty as charged.

Janna King

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*Thanks to Kathleen Carter for coordinating the interview and a review copy of the book.*

 

Open Book with Amy Poeppel

From the stunning, fabulous cover to the addictive title, Amy Poeppel’s Limelight is the one of the hottest reads of spring and must for any beach-read addict.  I was thrilled when she said she would answer Bliss, Beauty and Books “Open Book” questions.  She talked US Weekly, Real Housewives,  bookish beauty and her current TBR pile.  Read on to learn more about Amy and her latest book ❤

LIMELIGHT

via Amazon ~

“Outstanding…A tribute to Broadway, teen celebrity life, and a mother who has now seen it all, this work is tough love at its finest and a great read for those wanting a ride on the wild side.”—Booklist (starred review)

Best New Books You Should Read This Spring—PopSugar

In a smart and funny new novel by the author of the critically acclaimed, “big-hearted, charming” (The Washington Post) Small Admissions, a family’s move to New York City brings surprises and humor as their lives merge with the captivating world of Broadway.

Allison Brinkley—wife, mother, and former unflappable optimist—discovers that a carefully weighed decision to pack up and move her family from suburban Dallas to the glittery chaos of Manhattan may have been more complicated than she and her husband initially thought.

Allison learns that New York is unruly and bewildering, defying the notions she developed from romantic movies and a memorable childhood visit. After a humiliating call from the principal’s office and the loss of the job she was counting on, Allison begins to accept that New York may not suit her after all.

When Allison has a fender-bender, witnessed by a flock of mothers at her son’s new school, she is led to the penthouse apartment of a luxurious Central Park West building and encounters a spoiled, hungover, unsupervised teenager who looks familiar. It doesn’t take long to recognize him as Carter Reid—a famous pop star who has been cast in a new Broadway musical. Through this brush with stardom, Allison embraces a unique and unexpected opportunity that helps her find her way in the heart of Manhattan.

In a book that delivers laughs, warmth, and delightful wish fulfillment, Poeppel dives into celebrity culture and modern motherhood with her trademark “quick-witted and razor-sharp” (Taylor Jenkins Reid, author of Maybe in Another Life) style.

Amy Poeppel

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

 I would love to be in a book club with Michelle Obama and Sarah Silverman, and I’d revive Noel Coward and invite him to join. I’m convinced the four of us would have great chemistry! (Lots of wit to go around!) We would drink cocktails, talk, and have a lot of laughs together, and we would choose terrific books to read.

2. Current binge series?

Barry on HBO! I love it in large part because I’m crazy about Bill Hader. I don’t know how this particular show works so well: it combines the humor of amateur acting classes with the horror of gruesome assassinations. Imagine if Waiting for Guffman and Pulp Fiction had a film baby… Weird, right? But for many reasons (the acting, the writing, the premise), the result is perfection.

 

3. Recent favorite book?

I adored Elinor Lipman’s On Turpentine Lane — it’s fantastically funny, original, and smart.

 

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

Books, sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat. You’ll find me on the beach or pool-side.

 

5. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

Please don’t make me choose!!

 

6. Last person you sent a text message to?

I sent a chicken emoji to one of my kids for no particular reason, other than as a way of saying hello.

 

7. Book you read that you wished you wrote?

Julie Schumacher’s Dear Committee Members. It’s so funny and clever, and I love epistolary novels.

 

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

I had so many fabulous teachers when I was in school, and I feel really grateful about that. From kindergarten through high school, I had English teachers who inspired me, encouraged me, and taught me to think and write. Bob Scanlan, a theater teacher/director I had in college, taught me how to write fast-paced dialogue.

 

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

 Unfortunately, I get way too distracted when I listen to music, especially music with lyrics. I need silence to get any work done.

 

10. Describe your writing space?

My desk is supposed to be my writing space, but it’s always too messy to be used. Instead, I sit on my bed, hunched over my laptop. Not great for the spine but terrific for productivity.

 

11. Coffee or tea?

Coffee!

 

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

 I have given Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons to many of my friends. I first read this lovely book when I was in my early twenties and have always found it has such broad appeal. Ellen is one of the most memorable female characters in fiction.

 

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

 May I name a few? Salvage The Bones by Jesmyn Ward, The Secret History by Donna Tartt, and The Bucket List by Georgia Clark.

 

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

I don’t know what it is about the song And She Was by The Talking Heads, but it feels like my theme song. I’m not an out-of-body experience kind of person, but something about this woman floating above her house and her neighborhood, checking out the world from this awesome perspective, and “moving out in all directions,” strikes me as fun and bizarre. Plus it’s just a great song.

 

15. What/Who inspires you?

Morning people inspire me. I am so impressed by anyone who wakes up and either writes (I’m talking to you, 5am Writers’ Club) or exercises. I am useless for about an hour after the alarm goes off and dysfunctional until I’ve had coffee. Mid-afternoon is a really good time for me.

 

16. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

 In phases, that’s a definite yes. I always get hooked on a Real Housewives of Absolutely Anywhere for a whole season, but then I’ll forget to watch it when it comes back on again. So I’ve seen the first season of every Real Housewives show.

 

17. Favorite Instagram account?

 @thecontext for art and style, @bookbaristas for books and the reader’s life, and @henrythecoloradodog for the cutest dog/cat pictures ever.

 

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

I would wear “No Regret Rose” every day, named after Andrea Dunlop’s She Regrets Nothing. It would be a lovely shade of pink, like the cover of the book, and a little sparkly to go well with champagne.

 

19. Current #TBR pile?

Heads Of The Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires

Another Side of Paradise by Sally Koslow

The Late Bloomers’ Club by Louise Miller

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

Eagle & Crane by Suzanne Rindell

 

20. Best advice you’ve ever received?

The best writing advice I’ve received is from Anne Lamott’s book Bird By Bird: “Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere. Start by getting something — anything — down on paper.”

 

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*Thanks to Kathleen Carter Communications for setting up this interview and a review copy of the book!*