Lit Ladies Double Feature: Open Book with Elyssa Friedland and Liz and Lisa

Three of my favorite ladies had book birthdays yesterday and I am thrilled they are on the blog today to celebrate!  Both books are perfect summer reads and their back catalogs are musts as well.  Elyssa Friedland’s latest, The Floating Feldmans is a family comedy/drama on the high seas and is a top pick of summer in multiple outlets.   The fab duo of Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke, their latest, The Two Lila Bennetts is a summer thriller with Sliding Door vibes and a top pick as well.  The amount of fun in all of their Open Book responses is too much and these three are the ones that you want to grab a drink with have as your next BFF ❤

Floating Feldmans

via Amazon ~

A family vacation dredges up a boatload of trouble in the next witty, insightful novel from the acclaimed author of The Intermission.

“An irresistible drama filled with humor and heart-tugging emotion about family and what it means to belong. I absolutely adore Friedland’s warm, witty writing!”—Emily Giffin, #1 New York Times bestselling author of All We Ever Wanted

Sink or swim. Or at least that’s what Annette Feldman tells herself when she books a cruise for her entire family. It’s been over a decade since the Feldman clan has spent more than twenty-four hours under the same roof, but Annette is determined to celebrate her seventieth birthday the right way. Just this once, they are going to behave like an actual family.

Too bad her kids didn’t get the memo.

Between the troublesome family secrets, old sibling rivalries, and her two teenage grandkids, Annette’s birthday vacation is looking more and more like the perfect storm. Adrift together on the open seas, the Feldmans will each face the truths they’ve been ignoring—and learn that the people they once thought most likely to sink them are actually the ones who help them stay afloat.

Elyssa.Friedland.Headshot credit Lucia Engstrom

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

-Ernest Hemingway

-Oprah

-Meryl Streep

 

Current binge series?

Wentworth (fictional series on Netflix about a women’s prison in Australia. SOOOOOOOO good!)

 

Last favorite book?

Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney

 

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

-Bikini

-Many pairs of sunglasses because I always lose them

-Kindle

 

Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

Sunday NYT

 

Last person you sent a text message to?

Ali Winter, one of my best friends.

 

Book you read that you wished you wrote?

The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar

 

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

Mr. Baker! I had him twice. Seventh grade and ninth grade. He really pushed my writing.

 

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

-No. I don’t need total quiet and I often have my children around while I write, but for some reason I find music distracting.

 

Describe your writing space?

It’s anywhere my laptop is. That can mean my bed, my desk, a coffee shop, the library, the chaise lounge by my pool. I’m very flexible.

 

Coffee or tea?

Coffee. A ton of it. With almond milk.

 

Do you have a favorite book that you gift?

I like to give cookbooks and photography books. I think taste in novels is so personal and specific I don’t love to give them out as gifts.

 

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

Cutting for Stone.

 

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

Just Another Manic Monday. I’m always overcommitted and frantic and can be disorganized.

 

What/Who inspires you?

Any female CEO. I’m not entrepreneurial and I truly admire that quality

 

Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

No. It just feels too fake to me.

 

Favorite Instagram account?

I love Gary Janetti, who makes fun of the royal family.

 

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

Fifty Shades of Pink. It’s my favorite color and I really want to move on from the Fifty Shades of Grey obsession. Those books just didn’t do it for me.

 

Current #TBR pile?A NOVEL

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane

Normal People by Sally Rooney

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

 

Best advice you’ve ever received?

You can’t dance at every wedding. My mom told me that and she’s right. I have to say no to some opportunities. I really struggle with that. I want to do everything and be everywhere.

 

Follow Elyssa:

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

 

The Two Lila Bennetts

via Amazon ~

“One fateful decision. Two unexpected endings. A perfect summer read!” —Wendy Walker, bestselling author of The Night Before

Lila Bennett’s bad choices have finally caught up with her. And one of those decisions has split her life in two. Literally.

In one life, she’s taken hostage by someone who appears to be a stranger but knows too much. As she’s trapped in a concrete cell, her kidnapper forces her to face what she’s done or be killed. In an alternate life, she eludes her captor but is hunted by someone who is dismantling her happiness, exposing one secret at a time.

Lila’s decorated career as a criminal defense attorney, her marriage, and her life are on the line. She must make a list of those she’s wronged—both in and out of the courtroom—to determine who is out to get her before it’s too late. But even if she can pinpoint her assailant, will she survive? And if she does, which parts of her life are worth saving, and which parts must die? Because one thing’s for certain—life as Lila Bennett knew it is over.

L&L final headshot

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

 Judy Blume

Elizabeth Gilbert

Cheryl Strayed

Current binge series?

 Liz: I’m re-watching The Office

Lisa: Million Dollar Listing New York

Last favorite book?

 Liz: Dear Wife by Kimberly Belle

Lisa: Recursion by Blake Crouch

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

 Liz: I’m going to Paris! In my bag will be a wonder cloth to keep my face soft and clean, Alastin tinted moisturizer and Violets face serum!

Lisa: My next dream vacation would be to China! In my bag, I will pack at least three books, Sun Bum sunscreen and my new favorite derby hat.

 

Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

 Liz: US Weekly

 Lisa: US Weekly

Last person you sent a text message to?

  To each other! (of course!)

 

Book you read that you wished you wrote?

 Liz: Everything I Never Told you by Celeste Ng

Lisa: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

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

  Liz: In 7th grade—Mrs. Adams!

Lisa: Not that I can remember! But that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. J

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

  Liz: Always! I love moody music! Sia is my favorite.

  Lisa: Yes. I mix it up. Everyone from Kenny Chesney to Lionel Richie

Describe your writing space?

  Liz: My office is light and airy with soft tones. I have a light fixture adorned with glass stars. I love it!

   Lisa: My office has a port hole style window where the light flows in. I have a midcentury modern desk and a white soft chair with gold accents. I am surrounded by books of course, including all of the ones we’ve written. This is a reminder of what we’ve accomplished and how far we want to go.

Coffee or tea?

    Both of us are COFFEE!!!

 

Do you have a favorite book that you gift?

          Liz: The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

          Lisa: Eat Pray Love by Liz Gilbert

 

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

          Liz: I recently finished The Seven Days of Us and think it would make a great movie!

          Lisa: The Two Lila Bennetts!  (Too self-promotional?)

 

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

          Liz: Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey. I’m generally optimistic and believe the best in people. I don’t ever want to change!

          Lisa: Shake It Off by Taylor Swift. You can’t worry about what people think! You can’t let bad things get you down. Just keep moving forward! Don’t sweat the small stuff. All advice I do my best to live by!

 

What/Who inspires you?

          We inspire each other in so many ways. Being lifelong friends and business partners gives us so many opportunities to be motivated by one another.

 

Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

     Um, YES!

 

Favorite Instagram account?

     There are so many good ones! We love Busy Phillips’ and Reese Witherspoon’s!

 

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

 Red, White & Royal Blue—and it would be a combo of all three colors!

Current #TBR pile?A NOVEL

          Liz: The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren, The Library book by Susan Orlean, Tear Me Apart by J.T. Ellison and The Last Romantics by Tara Conklin.

          Lisa: Whisper Network by Chandler Baker, Evvie Drake Starts over by Linda Holmes, Very Nice by Marcy Dermansky, Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory, Normal People by Sally Rooney, The Last Book Party by Karen Dukess, Happily Ever After by Tif Marcelo and Pretty Guilty Women by Gina Lamanna.

Best advice you’ve ever received?

          Keep writing. No matter what!

 

Follow Liz and Lisa:

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

Advertisements

Open Book with Karen Dukess

Another book, another beach day!  Currently dripping in a heatwave over here in Boston and when then happens you escape to a Cape- Cape Cod or Cape Ann so what better than a Cape Cod beach read.  Karen Dukess’ latest release, The Last Book Party is everything you want in a summer read.  Nostalgia, great escapes at the beach and romance.  I am so happy she is on the blog today talking all things Open Book!  Get this book into your beach bag and I promise you won’t be sorry ❤

Last Book Party jacket

via Amazon ~

*A July 2019 Indie Next List Great Read*
*One of Parade’s Most Anticipated Books of Summer 2019*
*An O Magazine Best Beach Read of 2019*
*A New York Post Best Beach Read of 2019*

The Last Book Party is a delight. Reading this story of a young woman trying to find herself while surrounded by the bohemian literary scene during a summer on the Cape in the late ’80s, I found myself nodding along in so many moments and dreading the last page. Karen Dukess has rendered a wonderful world to spend time in.”
―Taylor Jenkins Reid, New York Times bestselling author of Daisy Jones & The Six

A propulsive tale of ambition and romance, set in the publishing world of 1980’s New York and the timeless beaches of Cape Cod.

In the summer of 1987, 25-year-old Eve Rosen is an aspiring writer languishing in a low-level assistant job, unable to shake the shadow of growing up with her brilliant brother. With her professional ambitions floundering, Eve jumps at the chance to attend an early summer gathering at the Cape Cod home of famed New Yorker writer Henry Grey and his poet wife, Tillie.

Dazzled by the guests and her burgeoning crush on the hosts’ artistic son, Eve lands a new job as Henry Grey’s research assistant and an invitation to Henry and Tillie’s exclusive and famed “Book Party”― where attendees dress as literary characters. But by the night of the party, Eve discovers uncomfortable truths about her summer entanglements and understands that the literary world she so desperately wanted to be a part of is not at all what it seems.

A page-turning, coming-of-age story, written with a lyrical sense of place and a profound appreciation for the sustaining power of books, Karen Dukess’s The Last Book Party shows what happens when youth and experience collide and what it takes to find your own voice.

 

Dukess author photo c. Nina Subin

 

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

 

Anthony Horowitz, Anita Loos and Jane Austen. With these three in the same room, I probably wouldn’t get a word in, but the conversation would be very lively and would make me laugh a lot.

 

  1. Current binge series?

 

Younger. The parodies of book publishing are brilliant.

 

  1. Last favorite book?

 

Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin. 

 

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

 

A big novel that sweeps me away and takes days and days to read, my bicycle, and a comfortable bathing suit that looks fabulous. I’d go to Cape Cod, of course, to Truro – where The Last Book Party is set.

 

  1. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

 

Sunday NYT, starting in this order: the magazine (for puzzles), book review, week in review.

 

  1. Last person you sent a text message to?

 

My sister Linda.

 

  1. Book you read that you wished you wrote?

 

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.

 

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

 

The leader of my writing group, the novelist and teacher Steve Lewis, helped me believe that if I kept writing even when I felt lost, I’d discover my story and complete a novel. 

 

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

 

Nope. Silence works best for me.

 

  1. Describe your writing space?

 

I wrote the first draft of The Last Book Party at a lovely café, Patisserie R, in New Rochelle, New York, about a mile from my house. It’s a magical place – it’s tiny, but I always find a table and they don’t care how long I sit there. If I’m not there, I write at home, either in my very cluttered office or at the kitchen table. When I’m in Cape Cod, I write in my mother’s studio, at a desk that looks out on rolling hills and the harbor and bay in the distance.

 

  1. Coffee or tea?

 

Both. Skim latte in the morning and tea anytime thereafter.

 

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

 

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. 

 

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

 

The Plot Against America by Philip Roth.

 

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

 

Have a Little Faith in Me by John Hiatt, because it applies to everything – marriage, friendships, your own doubts and wishes.

 

  1. What/Who inspires you?

 

My husband, for his creativity and can-do attitude. 

 

  1. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

 

No. I have no patience for the way reality shows are edited – too manipulative.

 

  1. Favorite Instagram account?

 

@thewoodenwhaleco, the account of a Cape Cod artist who hand carves incredible wooden whale sculptures. The videos of him at work are mesmerizing.

 

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

 

Marjorie Morningstar – a classic, true red.

 

  1. Current #TBR pile?

 

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett; American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins; The Guest House by Sarah Blake: The Anna Karenina Fix: Life Lessons from Russian Literature by Viv Groskop.

 

  1. Best advice you’ve ever received?

 

“Let the story reveal itself.” It was advice about writing, but it’s good life advice too.

 

Follow Karen:

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

 

Madeleine Henry ~ Double Feature

We have a debut double feature that is the quintessential Bliss, Beauty and Books theme! Bliss- Madeleine Henry, debut author, Yogini.  Beauty- she is my latest Bookish {Beauty} Bag, sharing her love for Bobbi Brown corrector- it’s the bomb.  Books- her debut novel, Breathe in, Cash Out is the latest “it” book of the summer and she also is my latest Open Book so lucky us!  Double feature of the best kind!!! ❤

Breathe In, Cash Out cover

via Amazon ~

In this sizzling debut for fans of The Devil Wears Prada, Wall Street banking analyst Allegra Cobb plans to quit the minute her year-end bonus hits her account, finally pursuing her yoga career full-time. But when she forms an intense relationship with the #InstaFamous guru who may hold the ticket to the life Allegra’s always wanted—she’s not sure if she’ll be able to keep her sanity intact (and her chakras aligned) until bonus day.

Allegra Cobb’s resume: Straight-A Princeton grad, second-year analyst at a top-tier bank, one-time American Yoga National Competition Champion. Allegra Cobb’s reality: Spends twenty-four hours a day changing the colors on bar charts, overusing the word “team,” and daydreaming about quitting the minute her year-end bonus hits her account. She has no interest in the cutthroat banking world—she’s going to launch her very own yoga practice.

But her plan isn’t quite as perfect as the beachfront yoga pictures she double-taps on Instagram. On top of the 100 emails an hour and coworkers already suspicious of her escape plan, Allegra’s hard-driving single father has always expected fiercely high achievement above all else. That his daughter works on Wall Street means everything to him. Still, she marches on, taking it day by extremely caffeinated day.

But after (1) unknowingly sleeping with the man now leading her banking cohort on one of their biggest deals to date and (2) meeting the #blessed yoga guru who might just be her ticket to the life she’s always wanted, it really hits her: her happy-ever-after will be harder to manifest than she thought.

Fast-paced, laugh-out-loud funny, and totally irresistible, this is the story of a fearless young woman determined to center herself in the life she truly wants.

Madeleine Henry Author Photo by Lucy Brown Armstrong

 

What’s in My Bookish {Beauty} Bag?

 

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

I LOVE my Coach crossbody purse. 

What are your top favorite beauty picks?  

  • Bisque corrector by Bobbi Brown (to hide undereye circles)
  • Flynn lip color by Tom Ford (bright pink lipstick)

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

  • Corrector & Flynn lip color
  • Extended Play Lash mascara by MAC in black
  • Lip gloss by Bobbi Brown

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

Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner

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

  • AirPods 
  • Whole Earth Sweetener packets

 

Open Book

  1. What three celebrities/authors/figures, living or dead, would you want to have a book club with?
  • Sjana Elise Earp (yogi)
  • Ocean Vuong
  • Paulo Coelho 

 

  1. Current binge series?

“Portlandia” on Netflix: “The dream of the 90s is alive in Portland… Portland… Portland…”

 

  1. Last favorite book?

The Alchemist 

 

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

Peony sunsuit from LoveShackFancy

Alexia dress from LoveShackFancy

Espadrilles

To the Bahamas  

 

  1. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

NYT for the crossword!

 

  1. Last person you sent a text message to?

My boyfriend

 

  1. Book you read that you wished you wrote?

The Bridges of Madison County

 

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

All of my English teachers! Especially Professor Alfred Guy at Yale 

 

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

No way! Writing takes all of my focus.

 

  1. Describe your writing space?

Three main spaces:

1 – At the kitchen island in my apartment, on a counter-height chair, on my lap top

2 – Lying down on the sofa in my apartment, on my lap top

3 – On walks outside, or in transit on the subway, on my phone

 

  1. Coffee or tea?

 Coffee in the morning, tea at night 

 

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

The Magic Path of Intuition by Florence Scovel Shinn, Introduction by Louise Hay

 

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

Infinite Jest… So I could find out how it ends  

 

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

“I’m Good” by The Mowgli’s because it’s happy!

 

  1. What/Who inspires you?

Being the best version of myself

 

  1. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

No, sorry :/

 

  1. Favorite Instagram account?

@DylanWernerYoga

 

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

Me Before You – bubblegum pink

 

  1. Current #TBR pile?

 Where the Crawdads Sing

Hotbox: Inside Catering, the Food World’s Riskiest Business by Matt Lee and Ted Lee

32 Yolks: From my Mother’s Table to Working the Line by Eric Ripert

 

  1. Best advice you’ve ever received?

“Never give up.” 

 

Follow Madeline:

Instagram

 

 

Open Book with Sandie Jones

Pack up your beach bag and make sure to include a fabulous book!  Over the next few weeks I will be featuring some perfect reads to accompany you poolside or while you are jet setting the beaches of Capri 😉 First up is the second thriller from Sandie Jones, The First Mistake.  Jones, a Reese Witherspoon Book Club alumni, has a unique way of roping you into an addictive thriller and then taking you on hairpin twists and turns, leaving you speechless.  She is my latest Open Book and from the other side of the pond she has some smashing answers ❤

first mistake

via Amazon ~

From Sandie Jones, the author of the Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine Book Club Pick andNew York Times bestseller The Other Woman, comes an addictively readable new domestic suspense about a wife, her husband, and the woman who is supposedly her best friend.

THE WIFE: For Alice, life has never been better. With her second husband, she has a successful business, two children, and a beautiful house.

HER HUSBAND: Alice knows that life could have been different if her first husband had lived, but Nathan’s arrival into her life gave her back the happiness she craved.

HER BEST FRIEND: Through the ups and downs of life, from celebratory nights out to comforting each other through loss, Alice knows that with her best friend Beth by her side, they can survive anything together. So when Nathan starts acting strangely, Alice turns to Beth for help. But soon, Alice begins to wonder whether her trust has been misplaced . . .

The first mistake could be her last.

Praise for The Other Woman:

“One of the most twisted and entertaining plots.”―Reese Witherspoon
“A perfect beach read.”―Kristin Hannah
“Whiplash-inducing.”―New York Times Book Review
“Such fun you’ll cheer [Emily’s] chutzpah.”―PEOPLE
“This thriller will hit close to home.”―Refinery29

Sandie Jones-10

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

Robin Williams, as I think his mind worked very differently and he would view a book in a way that I couldn’t possibly comprehend. I’d love to have Michelle Obama on board as she seems such a naturally optimistic and positive person, and I’d invite Shakespeare for a little historical context, and I’d be fascinated to know what he would make of fiction writing today!

 

2. Current binge series?

I am obsessed with Killing Eve, not least because of its incredible female leads, Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer, but its writer is Phoebe Waller-Bridge, an amazing British actress/comedian who has taken TV drama to another level. She also stars in Fleabag, which if you’re after quintessential British humour (at its most naughtiest!) is a must-watch.

 

3. Last favorite book?

The Perfect Betrayal by Lauren North. A heart-stopping thriller that reads likes a beautiful love-story of the purest kind.

 

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

Bikini, sunglasses and a good book to read in the Maldives. (I’ll have to buy the suncream there!)

 

5. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

As a Brit, I’m unfortunately unfamiliar with both, but if the Sunday NYT is similar to our Sunday Times, I’d opt for that.

 

6. Last person you sent a text message to?

My husband, asking him to get some milk on his way home from work!

 

7. Book you read that you wished you wrote?

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh. It was the first book in a long time that left me open-mouthed, feeling every gamult of emotion, and reigniting my love of reading.

 

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

I wasn’t a very good student, though English was my favourite, but my teacher Mrs Wrin failed to see any potential in me! The biggest supporter of my writing was my nan, who gave me all the encouragement I needed.

 

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

I so want to listen to music, as I think it’s such a romantic idea to write a novel whilst listening to Beethoven, but alas, as soon as I try, my brain stops working and I can’t write a single word. If I was able to though, it would definitely be Elvis.

 

10. Describe your writing space?

I’ve got a lovely room, in my house in London, which overlooks the front garden. It’s not long been done and it has floor to ceiling cabinets in a glossy ebony macassar with a splash of turquoise on cushions. I have pictures of Elvis on the wall and a new whiteboard that I’m supposed to be using to plot, but I actually just like pretending to be a teacher with different coloured pens!

 

11. Coffee or tea?

Tea is the first drink of the day. Coffee from 11am onwards.

 

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

No, I always buy books I think the individual would like, rather than enforce my preferences on anyone!

 

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

I normally wish that a movie wasn’t made out of a book! I love movies, but if I’ve read the book first I’m often disappointed that its interpretation isn’t the same as mine.

 

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

(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes. Dirty Dancing came out when I was 17 and the film and the music had a profound effect on me. Now that I’m nearing 50, I feel qualified to be able to look back and say, I really have had the Time of My Life.

 

15. What/Who inspires you?

Nature and music are the two things that get me fired up. They’re both instant mood changers and bring about a whole new mindset.

 

16. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

If that’s like our reality TV, then definitely no! I think we’ve reached saturation point and I worry about the effects on the younger generations.

 

17. Favorite Instagram account?

I love @hotpatooties! Dawn O’Porter makes me laugh out loud wherever I am.

 

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

The Other Woman and it would be a smutty bright red

 

19. Current #TBR pile?

Whisper Networks by Chandler Baker, The Girl Next Door by Phoebe Morgan and Night by Night by Jack Jordan

 

20. Best advice you’ve ever received?

Don’t take anything too personally. No one thinks about you as much you do.

Follow Sandie:

Open Book with Amy Mason Doan

Happy Summer Bliss readers!  Beach reading season is officially here and there is so much to share!  I am kicking off my first post of official summer with Amy Mason Doan’s latest sunny gem!  I mean her books have “Summer” in the title, they were made to be read in the sand with an umbrella drink 🙂  We are talking all things “Open Book” and celebrating her latest release, Summer Hours.  She enjoys a good Bravo show (me too!), has a gorgeous literary lipstick shade and picked REO Speedwagon as a theme song for her life- I mean could we love her even more? ❤

SUMMER HOURS final

 via Amazon ~

Commencement meets The Graduate in this sparkling novel about a secret affair, the summer it all unravels, and the reunion a decade later that will be one woman’s happy ending or her biggest mistake.

Becc was the good girl. A dedicated student. Aspiring reporter. Always where she was supposed to be. Until a secret affair with the charming Cal one summer in college cost her everything she held dear: her journalism dreams; her relationship with her best friend, Eric; and her carefully imagined future.

Now, Becc’s past is back front and center as she travels up the scenic California coast to a wedding—with a man she hasn’t seen in a decade. As each mile flies by, Becc can’t help but feel the thrilling push and pull of memories, from infinite nights at beach bonfires and lavish boat parties to secret movie sessions. But the man beside her is not so eager to re-create history. And as the events of that heartbreaking summer come into view, Becc must decide if those dazzling hours they once shared are worth fighting for or if they’re lost forever.

Set in the mid ’90s and 2008, Amy Mason Doan’s Summer Hours is a warmly told novel about the idealism of youth, the seductive power of nostalgia and what happens when you realize you haven’t become the person you’d always promised to be.

“Engaging and nostalgic. Doan’s writing sweeps you away to the high-speed, sun-soaked backdrop of nineties California.” —Helen Hoang, author of The Kiss Quotient

“A beautifully crafted story of love, ambition, and friendship.” —Jamie Brenner, bestselling author of The Forever Summer and Drawing Home

 

Amy Doan_.jpg

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

Dorothy Parker, Michelle Obama, and Lindy West

 

  1. Current binge series? Catastrophe. It’s hysterical.

 

  1. Last favorite book? Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

 

  1. What 3 things do you pack in your bag for your dream vacation?  My Kindle, a massive floppy hat, and a personal Slurpee machine.

 

Where is it? A remote hut on the island of Rarotonga.  I stopped there for a couple of nights on my way back to California from New Zealand 20 years ago and I’ve always wanted to return.

 

  1. Sunday NYT or US Weekly? NYT

 

  1. Last person you sent a text message to? My daughter. It was a Deadline article about her favorite singer, Alec Benjamin. We just saw him live.

 

  1. Book you read that you wished you wrote? The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

 

  1. Do you have a teacher who encouraged you to become a writer? Nope, but my honors English teacher in high school was quite a character. She terrified us. She called herself “a brain farmer” and had us write papers comparing the Bob Geldolf character in Pink Floyd’s The Wall with Pip in Great Expectations. Once she yelled at me in front of the whole class for whispering back to a friend and I was mortified. (I was a pretty shy, well-behaved kid.) So maybe I secretly wanted to prove something to her. Thank you, Mrs. X!

 

  1. Do you listen to music while you write? If so, who? I can’t listen to anything with lyrics but I play a sound machine. For THE SUMMER LIST I used “Lapping Lake” and for SUMMER HOURS it was “Pounding Surf.”

 

  1. Describe your writing space? In warm weather I write in a hammock in the backyard. In winter, or when I’m desperate to tune everything out, I write in my daughter’s walk-in closet. I drag a beanbag chair in there, turn out the light, and shut the door.

 

  1. Coffee or tea? Coffee in the morning. Iced tea on warm afternoons.

 

  1. Do you have a favorite book that you gift? Two. A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote and Let’s Take the Long Way Home by Gail Caldwell.

 

  1. Book that you wished they would make a movie out of? Well, one of mine would be lovely! Also –Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner.

 

  1. If you could have one song as the theme song of your life what would it be and why? Roll With the Changes by REO Speedwagon. It’s sound advice. I’m generally more into soulful acoustic/folk music, but I saw REO Speedwagon live with Styx and Boston once and they shredded.

 

  1. What/Who inspires you? Journalists who risk their lives to get the truth out.

 

  1. Bravo reality TV- yes or no? Yep. I’m obsessed with Below Deck. It’s Upstairs/Downstairs on water. I also watch RHONY (though I miss Carole) and Southern Charm.

 

  1. Favorite Instagram account? @dailyoverview . It shows gorgeous shots of earth from great altitudes. The idea is to give us the sensation of astronauts looking down on earth from space so we think about how beautiful and fragile the planet is.

 

  1. If you could name just one lipstick after a book, what would you call it and what shade would it be? “Catalina Island Crimson.” It’d be the bright red that my SUMMER HOURS main character Becc’s cheeks flush when she has sex for the first time.

 

  1. Current #TBR pile? The Butterfly Girl by Rene Denfeld, The Huntress by Kate Quinn, The Widow of Pale Harbor by Hester Fox, You, Me, and The Sea by Meg Donohue, The Castle on Sunset by Shawn Levy, City of Girlsby Elizabeth Gilbert

 

  1. Best advice you’ve ever received? Worry less about what people think of you and more about what you want. I’m working on it!

 

Follow Amy:

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram 

 

 

Open Book with Minnie Darke

Still celebrating all things rom com, I thought only fitting to celebrate one of the best rom com books of the season!  Minnie Darke’s fictional debut, Star Crossed has gotten lovely accolades and high praise from readers and authors alike.  I am thrilled to host Minnie as my latest Open Book, all the way from down under!  Hollywood are you listening, this book is a movie in the making ❤

Star-Crossed by Minnie Darke.jpg

via Amazon ~

A sparkling romantic comedy about one woman’s decision to tinker with the horoscopes of the man of her dreams—with far-reaching consequences

“A bright, brilliant, joyful love story.”—Josie Silver, #1 New York Times bestselling author of One Day in December

When childhood sweethearts Justine (Sagittarius and serious skeptic) and Nick (Aquarius and true believer) bump into each other as adults, a life-changing love affair seems inevitable. To Justine, anyway. Especially when she learns Nick is an astrological devotee, whose decisions are guided by the stars, and more specifically, by the horoscopes in his favorite magazine. The same magazine Justine happens to write for. As Nick continues to not fall headlong in love with her, Justine decides to take Nick’s horoscope, and Fate itself, into her own hands. But, of course, Nick is not the only Aquarius making important life choices according to what is written in the stars.

Charting the ripple effects of Justine’s astrological meddling, Star-Crossed is a delicious, intelligent, and affecting love story about friendship, chance, and how we all navigate the kinds of choices that are hard to face alone.

Advance praise for Star-Crossed

“Swoon-worthy . . . a smart, sweet love story about friendship, destiny, and the power of choice.”Bustle

“[A] juicy romance novel.”Good Housekeeping

“This cleverly structured first outing from the pseudonymous Darke will appeal to fans of romantic comedy, astrology, and chaos. Utterly charming and ripe for development as a film.”Booklist

“Winning . . . Unpretentious, well-drawn characters and the fresh twist on the childhood sweethearts reunited setup make this perfect for fans of romantic comedies.”Publishers Weekly

“Darke creates a world of stargazers whose destinies eventually collide. . . . Funny and enticing.”―Library Journal

Minnie Darke author photo credit Karen Brown

 

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

All dead, I’m afraid: Angela Carter, fairy tale re-teller, Anthony Minghella, one of the creators of Jim Henson’s Storyteller, and Sylvia Plath, poet.

 

  1. Current binge series?

I am one of the world’s most immoderate narrative junkies, which makes binge watching a particular danger for me. I don’t binge when I’m working on a new novel – it’s a recipe for getting derailed, but I’m very much hoping that finishing my book coincides nicely with the release of season three of Stranger Things.I have loved Winona Ryder since I was a teenager.

 

  1. Last favorite book?

The Bitterwood Bible by Australian fairy-tale retailer Angela Slatter.

 

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

A jar of Vegemite (not a tube – it’s different), and a brand new diary and a seriously warm coat. I would go to all the Scandinavian countries, maybe for some of the time on a cruise boat. And, on the way home – because everywhere is on the way home when you’re Australian – I would go everywhere Canada’s Atlantic provinces, including revisiting Prince Edward Island and Cape Breton Island and going to Newfoundland for the first time.

 

  1. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

Ah … Australia’s Radio National?

 

  1. Last person you sent a text message to?

My friend and sometime co-writer Heather Rose – she’s an amazing and award-winning Australian writer and we write children’s novels together as Angelica Banks.

 

  1. Book you read that you wished you wrote?

Uprooted, by Naomi Novik. It’s about a young woman sent to be a companion to a wizard in a tower, only to find she has powers of her own. I love the world Novik creates, and the way she writes about different types of magic – male and female magic, high and low.

 

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

Oh, yes. Yes and yes. My teacher in Grade Five and Six was Peter Jerrim, himself a writer, but also a generous, creative, beautifu person who read to our class every day, and allowed me to fill exercise after exercise book with writing. I was thrilled that Peter was able to launch Star-crossed.

 

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

Not while I write, but immediately and after. Music is the ultimate in medication and mood creation. My tastes swing from 1980s music like The Stone Roses and the Cocteau Twins, to beautiful Australian singers like Sophie Koh and Lucy Wise, and Canadian folk bands like the East Pointers and the Small Glories. Actually, my next book is about music and the impact it has on us.

 

  1. Describe your writing space?

My writing space is a bespoke timber caravan with sloping walls and a curved roof, headlight windows featuring sunflowers, and a cork board that I can use as an inspiration board. It has a tap on the porch so I can fill the kettle and rinse my tea cup. Inside, it had an antique desk with a green leather top, two heaters (this is Tasmania), a selection of slippers and fingerless gloves, framed photos by the fairy tale photographer Lorena Carrington, and a bookshelf filled with a tiny fraction of my TBR pile. On my desk are my guardians. Two of them are rag dolls – one called Patience, and one called Enthusiasm – and the other is a Yoda figurine.

 

  1. Coffee or tea?

Tea. And I quote Colley Cibber: “Tea! Thou soft, thou sober, sage and venerable liquid … to whose glorious insipidity, I owe the happiest moments of my life, let me fall prostrate.”

 

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

I am always buying books for children, and lately I have given several copies of Jessica Townsend’s Nevermoor, which I think is magnificent.

 

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

The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss.

 

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

Defying Gravity, from Wicked

 

  1. What/Who inspires you?

Almost everything inspires me, to be honest. I love wit and whimsy – those are vital cordials for my creativity – but in truth inspiration often comes from the smallest things – something overheard when eavesdropping, something seen in passing, a thought bubble, a line of text.

 

  1. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

Pass on the basis of being Australian.

 

  1. Favorite Instagram account?

I confess to being something of an Instagram avoider. My webmistress (a man, incidentally) and my teenage daughter take care of this for me. They let me know when it’s time for me to provide them with copy, or when I need to send personal replies.

 

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

Infinite Jest, and it would be a multicoloured shade – a mosaic of coral red, aqua blue, pale green, lemon yellow and pink – a bit like a packet of Fruit Tingles.

 

  1. Current #TBR pile?

Infinity x 10

 

  1. Best advice you’ve ever received?

There’s no such thing as biting off more than you can chew. You just take a big bite and chew like hell. (As well as being the best, this is also possibly the worst advice I’ve ever received!)

Follow Minnie:

Facebook

Instagram

 

 

Open Book with Kristy Woodson Harvey

The sun is out and beach reads are here!  One of my all time-favorite poolside writing queens, Kristy Harvey Woodson, has a new book out and her back catalog always should be mandatory summer reading.  Her latest is the third installment in her Peachtree Bluff Series and at its core is the continuation of Ansley and her three daughters with that deeply woven thread of southern charm that makes it so magical.  I am thrilled to have Kristy on the blog today talking ALL of my favorite things- Bravo, Reese, Oprah, Mindy, the beach and Daisy Jones!  If she wasn’t my spirit friend then I don’t know who is?! ❤

image001-6.jpg

via Amazon ~

From internationally bestselling author and “rising star of Southern fiction” (Mary Alice Monroe, New York Times bestselling author) Kristy Woodson Harvey comes the third novel in her Peachtree Bluff series, in which a secret threatens the tight-knit bond between a trio of sisters and their mother.

With the man of her dreams back in her life and all three of her daughters happy, Ansley Murphy should be content. But she can’t help but feel like it’s all a little too good to be true.

Meanwhile, youngest daughter and actress Emerson, who is recently engaged and has just landed the role of a lifetime, seemingly has the world by the tail. Only, something she can’t quite put her finger on is worrying her—and it has nothing to do with her recent health scare.

When two new women arrive in Peachtree Bluff—one who has the potential to wreck Ansley’s happiness and one who could tear Emerson’s world apart—everything is put in perspective. And after secrets that were never meant to be told come to light, the powerful bond between the Murphy sisters and their mother comes crumbling down, testing their devotion to each other and forcing them to evaluate the meaning of family.

With Kristy Woodson Harvey’s signature charm, wit, and heart, The Southern Side of Paradise is another masterful Peachtree Bluff novel that proves she is a “Southern writer with staying power” (Booklist).

 

Kristy Woodson Harvey (c) Jay Ackerman

1. What three celebrities/authors/figures- living or dead, would you want to have a bookclub with? Reese Witherspoon, Oprah and Jennifer Weiner

 

2. Current binge series? The Mindy Project

 

3. Last favorite book? I’m Fine and Neither are You, Camille Pagán

 

4. What 3 things to you pack in your bag for your dream vacation?  Where is it? Bikini, sunscreen, book! The British Virgin Islands. It is my most favorite vacation spot and I am so hoping it has recovered from all the hurricane devastation by next winter. 

 

5. Sunday NYT or US Weekly? Both!

 

6. Last person you sent a text message to? Group text about a friend’s birthday party!

 

7. Book you read that you wished you wrote? DAISY JONES AND THE SIX, Taylor Jenkins Reid. 

 

8. Do you have a teacher who encouraged you to become a writer? Yes! Two. Michelle Reinhardt-Cline and Chris Myers, my high school English and history teachers. They both influenced my writing but, really, they were the kind of teachers that encouraged students to go for their dreams. And that is huge!

 

9. Do you listen to music while you write? If so, who? Not usually but if I do I listen to either James Taylor or Jason Mraz because I know all their songs so well they don’t distract me!

 

10. Describe your writing space? I am building a new one right now and am SO EXCITED. As for right now, I write in the corner of my bedroom on this gorgeous mirrored desk I was pining for that my husband surprised me with. It has the most beautiful water view and is all-around relaxing and lovely.

 

11. Coffee or tea? Tea. 

 

12. Do you have a favorite book that you gift? A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN. It is my all-time favorite book.

 

13. Book that you wished they would make a movie out of? Can I say mine? Just kidding! I just finished COURTING MR. LINCOLN and I loved it so much. I’m kind of a history nerd, and I would love to see the tension in Lincoln’s relationships with Mary Todd and Joshua Speed play out on the big screen. 

 

14. If you could have one song as the theme song of your life what would it be and why? Carolina in my Mind by James Taylor. I am, ironically, a huge homebody. I am leaving tomorrow for a five-week book tour as I type this, but I love being at home, on the Carolina coast, more than most anyone I know! Don’t get me wrong, I love being out meeting readers. It fulfills me big time. But I travel a ton now, all year long, which is not something I ever would have imagined. 

 

15. What/Who inspires you? The water. My son. Free time, which is perhaps the largest luxury in my life right now! (As in, it is scarce!)

 

16. Bravo reality TV- yes or no? Obviously. Real Housewives of New York is my favorite! And I know it isn’t Bravo, but I have watched The Bachelor since its first season. I am a huge reader, of course, but sometimes I need that totally mindless time.

 

17. Favorite Instagram account? @jeannemckayhartmann  Jeanne is an artist and illustrator who has painted several of my book covers and other pretty illustrations. Her art is gorgeous and she paints something new almost every day. It’s super inspiring.

 

18. If you could name just one lipstick after a book, what would you call it and what shade would it be? I’d name it “Slightly South” and it would be a very avant-garde haint blue. People could wear it to UNC games and have Carolina blue lips. (This is why no one has asked me to create a make-up line…)

19. Current #TBR pile? THE TWO LILA BENNETTS, Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke, HOW COULD SHE, Lauren Mechling, UNDER CURRENTS, Nora Roberts, TIDELANDS, Philippa Gregory 

 

20. Best advice you’ve ever received? It has to be someone. It might as well be you. My husband used to say that to me all the time when I was too scared to go for getting an agent, getting published etc. I think about that all the time now, instead of that it couldn’t be me, why not me? I mean, really. Why not you, too?

 

Follow Kristy:

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram