First Comes Love by Emily Giffin #SRC2016

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Well after two years waiting anxiously for Emily Giffin’s newest novel, First Comes Love, I can say that I am completely satisfied and blown away.  It’s absolutely one of her best yet.  And now cue book hangover and another two years waiting for her next novel.  I savored this book because I knew once it was over, it was over, but I am so glad that I did.  It was so emotionally packed with deep relationships and at times heavy plot that I needed those extra days to process and think.  I can only say some many things about my love for EG and you can see from my Insta feed that I will support her not matter what but it is up to you readers to discover the magic of Emily on your own.  If you have yet to read any of her back catalog then put those on hold and start with First Comes Love, if this book doesn’t blow you away then I am not sure what will.

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First Comes Love centers around sisters Josie and Meredith.  Both reeling from a tragic accident within their family, they could not be more different.  Josie is the fun, confident sister who is a teacher and single.  She lives with her best friend Gabe, who is straight and single as well ,but she is ready to give up on the dating game.  Meredith is the more reserved, hard headed sister yet picture perfect daughter who is always questioning Josie’s decisions and lifestyle.  She is married to Nolan and together they have a daughter. She is struggling within her marriage to keep it a float.  As the anniversary of their families tragedy comes near, each sister is at a crossroads in their lives.  Josie knows she isn’t getting any younger and wants to pursue having children without getting married or making any commitments.  Meredith is struggling to find out who she is within her marriage and isn’t sure if the man she married is the one for her.  Both connected by their bloodline, they struggle to support one another  yet know they are the ones who know each other best.  Meanwhile a secret holds them together in more ways than they know and when the truth comes out it will test their relationship.

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Emily Giffin year after year puts out a bestseller, that is a fact.  But what is so amazing about her as a writer is that each novel, truly always about relationships, is so different and surprising.  She has a special way of creating characters and plots that are relatable and real.  It’s clear she is an excerpt and it solidifies my belief that she is the true “best friend author”.  I have talked about this before in regards to her but what I mean is, she is the author that you want to call and chat on the phone with.  She is the gal that you want to grab a glass of wine with when “the one” doesn’t call you back.  She is just so real to us readers and proves that if you ever get to meet her on tour.  I am not sure what more you can ask of in an author?!  I am choosing First Comes Love as my poolside pick of the week.  I give you my Bliss Beauty and Books promise that you will absolutely love this book and become an EG fan for life.

Fabulous Book and Beauty Giveaway with The Knockoff by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza

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In celebration of one of my MOST favorite 2015 releases, The Knockoff by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza, I am giving away a  brand new copy of the book and the new Lengthening Mascara by Beautycounter.  Both released this past week!  Almost one year ago I posted my love for the book and its hard cover release.  I am reposting that post for you to see how much I adored Imogen and the world of The Knockoff.  Basically the perfect beach read if there ever was one.  I also am so excited about this new, amazing mascara from Beautycounter that was years in the making!  It truly works and provides lush, long lashes.  Both up for grabs for all my blissful readers.  To see how to enter please head over to my Facebook page here and you can find all the rules!

 

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Originally Posted June 5, 2015

I just finished The Knockoff by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza and I DID. NOT. WANT. IT. TO. END! 😦  It was the exact thing I needed since The Devil Wears Prada!  Please oh please let there be a sequel!  This was another debut novel for me and I was so, completely in love with this book!  The plot, the characters and the fashion will have you flipping the pages at lightening speed.  This book also marks the first in my “Blissful Beach Bag” picks!

The story centers around Imogen who is the head of Glossy magazine, a fabulous high fashion magazine in New york City.  Imogen is returning back to work after leaving on medical leave due to cancer.  Upon her return her former assistant Eve is at the forefront, ready to take Glossy into the digital and tech age.  Imogen, open to the possibility and change for the magazine, is taken aback by Eve and the woman she has become.  Eve who was her perky, fun assistant is now a snarky, condescending, “B-School” grad who is heading up the digital change for the magazine.  A seasoned fashion and magazine professional, Imogen is thrown into the world of Tweets and Facebook posts, something she doesn’t really know much about.  This is exactly the achilles heel Eve is looking for.  Imogen looks like the novice as Eve takes the lead and turns Glossy into a fashion and magazine nightmare.  Luckily for Imogen, her years of the fashion world come to her rescue when she needs them most.

Sykes and Piazza take you into a world of tech and fashion- two things that are always on the rise.  I loved Imogen from the start and was #teamImogen the whole way through.  I love books that have a heroine at the center who you are cheering for at every word.  I also loved the theme of career and family and creating balance, something most woman deal with.  It is not easy but at the end of the day you do what is best for you and your family and right there you are successful.  I am hoping either for a sequel to this book or promise that Sykes and Piazza will team up again.  They are the perfect duo to kick off beach season and my “Blissful Beach Bag” picks!  Happy BEACH reading!

 

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From Beautycounter:

Years in the making, our breakthrough mascara delivers dramatic length and definition, plus the confidence of safer beauty provided by our unparalleled Ingredient Selection Process. Conditions lashes while you wear it, with organic oils and shea butter. The easy-control precision brush ensures clean application without smudging, clumping, or flaking. Color: soft black.

Women aged 26-59 experienced the following:

  • 94% reported defined and lengthened lashes
  • 97% reported mascara was easily buildable
  • 94% reported mascara did not clump on lashes
  • 94% reported mascara gave lashes ultimate definition
  • 91% reported would refer mascara to a friend

*Results based on a self-assessment consumer perception study of 32 women, immediately after first application.

 

*Thanks to Anchor books for providing a copy for giveaway.

Weightless by Sarah Bannan

Weightless US Cover

Happy September 1st!  I hope you all enjoyed the summer and read lots of amazing books!  This was one of my busiest summers with reading and the launch of the book portion of my blog!  I have been lucky enough to read many amazing books and can not wait to see what the fall holds.  I have my sights set on some great books which of course will be reviewed on my blog!  I will be continuing my “Blissful Beach Bag” picks until the first day of fall as you never know, we could have an Indian summer here in Boston.  For my eleventh pick, I chose another debut author Sarah Bannan and her novel Weightless.  This was a raw look at high school and the ruthlessness of teenagers.  Unfortunately this book is the perfect portrayal of the world we live in with all of the social media that is at our disposal.  It was a fantastic debut for Bannan and surely something parents of teens should read.

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Weightless is about a girl, Carolyn, who starts at a new high school in Alabama. Carolyn is the quintessential new girl good looks, great clothes, smart and the interest of many of the boys.  Carolyn is reserved at first in her new school as she is kind and concerned about her grades and sports.  She isn’t sure which group she fits into as all the girls are envious of her.  Shane, the schools most popular boy is taken by her and they start to hang out- problem is he just broke up with Brooke, a popular, not to be messed with cheerleader.  One thing leads to another and they begin dating.  When someone gets a hold of Carolyn and Shane together they film a detrimental video which goes viral.  This video starts a tailspin of gossip and backlash destroying Carolyn.  Carolyn’s good girl image is tarnished yet no one really knows who is to blame.  Is everyone responsible for her downfall including teachers and parents?  Or is this destruction at the hands of a few jealous teenagers?

Like I had mentioned before this book tells a tale of the reality we live in today.  We hear all too many times about social peer pressure and the influence of social media on kids and teens.  Bannan writes so honest and real I felt like I was reading a news article.  Weightless is anything but, containing heavy content and realistic details.  There is an ease to each page which made it a quick read but one that is memorable and thought provoking.

Sarah Bannan

*Weightless was sent to Bliss Beauty and Books for review purposes

A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan

WindowOpens

This is not going to be like all the reviews posted before.  I am not going to sum up the book.  Instead I am going to tell you all the things I loved about this book and why you need to read it.  A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan is a book that will leave you cheering, thinking and you may just possibly reevaluate your life and what is important!  It is a book that fits so perfectly within todays society and what our expectations are from mothers, fathers, sons and daughters.  Point and case there need to be more people in this world like the main character Alice Pearse.  She is the voice that we need today to snap up back to whats important as time is of the essence and life is too short.

Alice Pearse is a mother.  Alice Pearse is a daughter.  Alice Pearse is a wife.  Alice Pearse is a friend.  Alice Pearse is a career woman.  Do any of these titles relate to you?  If so you need to read this book.  Alice deals with what we all struggle with and that is how much of a role should our career play in our lives.  If you work full-time is that too much and how do you find that balance?  If you work part-time is that too little and not rewarding and setting a good example?  As mothers our first job whether you work or not is being a mom.  Our priorities are our children and we will do anything for the better of them.  But in today’s society some mothers are sent out to be the primary breadwinners, basically taking on two full-time jobs.  With this comes a struggle.  A struggle for balance and time.  Alice is more than willing to take on what’s best for her family as most of us are.  The mold is that men go to work and the women are home taking care of the kids.  That was then.  Today more and more woman are taking the reigns and its AMAZING.  We are shattering glass ceilings.  But what does that entail and what do you have to sacrifice?  With or without kids we all have to sacrifice something and struggle to juggle.  This raises that good old question of why can’t we have it all?

Alice Pearse is a woman who we all know or actually just might be.  She has that inner conflict of I need to be wife, mom, daughter and friend all the while working full-time and commuting.  Where is the time for anything?  This story depicts that conflict as well as real-life scenarios that men and women alike experience.  This story made me laugh and cry, a breath of fresh air.  I know as a new mom I see how you can beat yourself up over things and I am always taking into consideration how can this better me as a mom.  Alice Pearse is one of the best characters I have met in a long time.  She is absolutely someone I would love to have coffee with and get sage advice.  She is organized chaos and genuine kindness all in one.  I wanted to commend her and then yell at her all at once 🙂  Moral is read this book.  It may just make you think about your life in a different way.  End Summer or start off school season right with my tenth “Blissful Beach Bag” pick!

Visit Elisabeth on her social media sites to keep up to date on her amazing works: Facebook, Twitter and Website

*This book was sent to Bliss Beauty and Books for review purposes.

Author Elisabeth EganAuthor Elisabeth Egan

Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica and a BOOK GIVEAWAY

Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica

i just finished Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica which has been on all the best books of the summer lists and now I know why.  I have not read her other novel, I know, The Good Girl but it is sitting in my TBR pile and I am excited to start it.  Mary is a phenomenal writer and this book was nothing short of fantastic.  I love a good summer thriller and this one was especially sweet because I haven’t read one in a while.  From the fast-paced, twist and turns to the complex web of a storyline it is without a doubt my ninth “Blissful Beach Bag” pick.

Heidi is married to Chris and they have a daughter Zoe.  They live a pretty normal life.  Everyday when Heidi goes to work she sees this young girl and her baby.  The baby is always in distress and the young girl, presumably the mother, is always disheveled and absent looking.  Heidi knows they need food and shelter.  She decides that she will offer her home to them and provide some warmth and care to the baby.  Meanwhile her husband is struggling to stay faithful and their daughter is in the tumultuous teen years.  The young mother, Willow, and her baby Ruby, accept Heidi’s offer of food and a roof over their head.  Chris, skeptical, is determined to find out who Willow is and why she is without a home.  He wonders what secrets she may be hiding.  Zoe wants nothing to do with them and thinks her mother is crazy to take them in.  But Heidi shelves her fear that Willow is someone harmful and takes comfort in this precious little baby.  Heidi is battling her own demons from past pregnancy issues so this baby is just what she needs.  Heidi eventually starts to question Willow and what her back story is.  Heidi becomes obsessed with Ruby and old wounds began to open.  Lines start to blur and the reader starts to wonder who is putting who at jeopardy Heidi or Willow?

This book is everything you would want in a nail-biting summer read.  Just when the reader thinks they have figured it out Kubica throws in another twist.  The content was deep but the writing was so fluid that the pages just flew.  I loved each character the complexities they brought to the story.  This being Kubica’s second novel she is just getting started and I am excited to see what other stories she has to tell!  absolutely run out and grab this book.  You will not be disappointed.

Mary Kubica, author "The Good Girl"

Mary Kubica

*Pretty Baby was sent to Bliss, Beauty and Books for review purposes.

**INSTAGRAM AND GIVEAWAY**

I am at 99 for my Instagram Followers!  Once I hit 100 followers I will be starting a running book GIVEAWAY!  Please head over to my Instagram page and “Follow” me!  More details on the contest will be posted this week!  Happy Reading 🙂

The Summer of Good Intentions by Wendy Francis

The Summer of Good Intentions

Happy Weekend readers!  I always find myself finishing up books on Thursdays and ready for a new read by Friday.  This week I read the amazing Wendy Francis’, The Summer of Good Intentions.  Not only did I love this book but I had a personal connection to it as well.  In this book one of the characters gets diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, something I have had for the last 8 years.  I am super healthy, something I attribute to a positive attitude and lifestyle, and one wouldn’t even know that I had it.  I like to think that I have MS but yet MS does not have me.  I loved that this story focused on the importance of relying on family and friends for strength when we are dealt a bad hand, as this has always been the case for me.

The Summer of Good Intention takes place on Cape Cod.  It’s summer and Maggie, Jess and Virgie are more than ready for some vacation time with their families as each sister is facing their own problems.  Maggie, is happily married with great kids but is at a point in her life where she can’t let go of the fact that she will not have any more children.  She gathers information on adoption and decides that this vacation will be a great time to bring it up with her husband.  Jess is at a crossroads in her marriage and feels as though the love is gone.  She goes on this vacation with an affair on her mind.  With two great kids she knows she has done wrong but isn’t sure her marriage can survive.  And then there is Virgie who left her amazing boyfriend home and knows this vacation is exactly what she needs.  She is taking a break from a stressful career that she thinks is having a strain on her health.  Aside from all the sisters and their issues, there are their parents, Gloria and Arthur.  Gloria decides this trip would be the perfect time to introduce a new man to her family while Arthur just wants to keep the traditions going from the vacations past, if only he can remember them.

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This story has all the main ingredients for a perfect summer read.  You will laugh and cry while Francis weaves together family, love, tragedy and triumph all together for a memorable story.  The characters will last with me not just for the personal connection but because they are people who you know in your every day life, people you can relate to.  I am so happy that Francis brought some awareness to the MS community as well.  This is a disease that affects thousands of people everyday and the more awareness we can bring to it the closer we will be to a cure.  I am so happy to say this is my eighth “Blissful Beach Bag” pick.  Happy reading and soak up these last dog days of summer!

Tiny Little Thing by Beatriz Williams

Tiny Little Thing by Beatriz Williams

Happy August fellow readers and book lovers!  Summer is flying by and I am finding the books are only getting better.  Tiny Little Thing by Beatriz Williams ended my July with a bang!  Set in Boston, as am I, this is on the top of my list for one of the best books this season!  It was also my first read by Beatriz Williams…I know where have I been?  She is absolutely amazing and I can not wait to get my hands on another one of her novels.

Tiny Little Thing takes us back to 60’s, set in Boston, revolving around politics, a little mystery and love.  Christina “Tiny” Hardcastle is married to Frank who is running for political office.  Together Tiny and Frank are the epitome of the perfect political couple.  They are brought to Cape Cod for the summer where Tiny receives a photograph in the mail bringing back a part of her past.  Frank’s cousin Caspian is the Vietnam vet who helps Frank complete his impeccable political front but also has ties to Tiny.  Does he have anything to do with Tiny’s mystery mail?  Struggling to figure out who is out to get her as well as maintain her trophy wife status, Tiny confides in her sister Pepper.   Pepper is as spicy as her name and is hiding her own secrets as well, naturally being the perfect partner in crime.  They need one another as the Hardcastle family is not one to hide secrets from.  Everyone is watching.

A little bit mystery and a whole lot of love story, Tiny Little Thing is literally the perfect summer read and my seventh “Blissful Beach Bag” pick.  Tiny Hardcastle is one of the best characters I have met in a book in a long time.  She is strong, elegant and persistent.  Williams’s story and characters challenge the times and makes the reader think.  I loved the sister dynamic between Pepper and Tiny and hope there is a story for Pepper somewhere down the road.  Williams certainly left that door open.  For all the lastest updates follow Beatriz on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Beatriz Williams

*Tiny Little Thing was sent to Bliss Beauty and Books for review purposes.

Summer Secrets by Jane Green

Summer Secrets

Well we are in the height of summer and the books are at their best!  I was so excited to received a copy of Summer Secrets by Jane Green as I have been a fan of hers for years.  Typically with her books I am captured within the first chapter and this book did not disappoint.  Summer Secrets is a mix of love, family and the drama it entails.  It’s the perfect choice for my sixth “Blissful Beach Bag” pick!

Cat lives a fabulous life with great friends and amazing job.  Through her glamorous nights and fabulous social life she is struggling to realize she is an alcoholic.  She knows she needs help and decides to meet with her mother, who was the most prominent figure in her upbringing, as her dad was controlling and cold.  During this lunch her mother uncovers a life changing secret that she has kept from Cat her whole life.  This secret brings Cat to Nantucket to meet family she never knew she had and her alcoholism starts to spiral.  The story goes between London and Nantucket and you share in Cat’s struggles and heartbreak.  Cat’s alcoholism and behavior causes some damage and harm to the people she loves and its her mission to heal all open wounds.

Set against a beautiful summer setting, Summer Secrets is another one for the sand and sun.  Green creates and develops  characters and relationships that you can feel through the pages.  Even though Cat is flawed and makes poor decisions I found myself rooting for her in the end.  We all make mistakes but its the actions we take to fix them that make us who we are and I saw that in Cat.    Once again Green shines with a story that will hook you from the first line.  Visit Jane on her site here: www.janegreen.com

Jane Green

The Vacationers by Emma Straub

The VacationersEmma Straub

As I have mentioned in previous posts we are in “beach-read” season!  I had heard so many amazing things about The Vacationers by Emma Straub and was thrilled to receive a copy from Riverhead Books!  What can I say other than that it met all my expectations and more.  I love books that transport you to an exotic location and this did not disappoint as I felt like I personally took a two-week trip to Mallorca.  Pack your bags blissful readers, this is one perfect, beach, page-turner!

The Post family is about to embark on a two-week trip to Mallorca, Spain, a beautiful beach destination.  Like all families the Post’s are dealing with a few family issues that may interfere with their trip.  Jim Post just left his job at Gallant magazine due to some guilty pleasures with a young co-worker and his wife Franny is fully aware of this.  Franny organized this trip and as the matriarch will not let “that” ruin her trip, she just takes every spare moment to let Jim know he’s not off the hook.  Their younger daughter Sylvia just finished high school and college is on the horizon so she decides she wants to make this trip memorable and hopefully lose her virginity.  Bobby Post and his girlfriend Carmen as well as family friends Charles and Lawrence meet the others in Spain filling up this beautiful vacation home with laughter, drama and love.  A Spanish adonis and former tennis star are added into the mix and show up just at the right time for the Post family.  From finance and commitment issues to young love and parenthood everyone has their share of problems and Straub, so perfectly orchestrates the realities of many families.

I loved this book.  I loved the family dynamic and the complexities that are depicted within each character and the family as a whole.  I was taken back to a few of my family vacations and the stories that we can laugh at now.  The Vacationers is one not to be missed.  It goes way beyond the beach this book has heart and soul.  This is my fifth “Blissful Beach Bag” pick and is perfectly paired with a lovely sangria and sand or sun!

The Wrong Man by Kate White

The Wrong ManKate White

Happy 4th!  I am starting my July reviews with a fabulous thriller.  I am a huge fan of Kate White’s and count the Bailey Weggin’s series in my top favorite books!  I knew that her newest book, The Wrong Man was going to be just as amazing plus there was something special about this book as there was going to be a character named after my daughter in it.  Yes, there was going to be a Chloe in the book!  Rewind.  We entered a contest last summer where Kate had requested readers to pose with her then novel, Eyes on You.  I sent a picture of Chloe with her detective hat and spectacles and we WON!  I was thrilled.  So reading throughout the book I was awaiting seeing her name pop up and it did, in a clever little way 🙂 Thanks Kate.  Like all of White’s books she leaves the most addictive cliff hangers at the conclusion of each chapter thus making the reader fly through this book.  I was so happy to read and review a mystery again.  It’s been awhile but they are oh so good.

The Wrong Man starts off with its main character Kit traveling for business in Florida.  Wanting a change of pace in this moment of life she decides she is going to do something spontaneous and fun.  She meets Matt Healy, also on business, who is mysterious, charming, the full package.  After a romantic dinner they both go back to the hotel and things develop from there.  They both have the mindset “no strings attached” and decide the next morning it was a great night and let’s leave it at that.  Kit is ok with this although there is a part of her that is drawn to Matt and wishes she could see him again.  She leaves Florida and heads back to New York but not before she gets call from Matt wanting to meet-up in NYC.  They decide the meet for dinner and Matt gives her all the details including where he lives.  Kit heads over there to meet him only to find out the man who lives there is not the man she had a fling with but yet his name is Matt Healy.  Let the mystery begin.

The Wrong Man is a thriller of deceit and murder.  From sunny Florida to gritty NYC, White takes you on ride filled with hairpin twists and turns questioning who can you really trust?  The spiderweb of characters and lies will have you hooked from the first page as in typical White fashion.  Whether this is your first or fifth novel of White’s she does not disappoint!  Without a question this is my fourth “Blissful Beach Bag” pick! Let’s keep our fingers crossed she is working on a Weggin’s mystery, I need a little Bailey in my life.

Miss Chloe in her winning picture as well as the new book.

The winning photo from 20142015 Winner

*The Wrong Man was sent to Bliss Beauty and Books for review purposes.