What’s in my Bookish {Beauty} Bag? ~ Taylor Jenkins Reid

To say I love Taylor Jenkins Reid would be an understatement.  After my first book that I read of hers, she was automatically solidified onto my favorite authors list.  I can’t say one books is better than the other, all of her books are fantastic.  Like run out and get now fantastic.  Her writing is the type of writing where you can’t peel yourself away from it.  Her newest book, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was released this week and is getting RAVE reviews.  I was so excited that Taylor opened her bag up to us as I know she is a busy new mama 🙂  Read on below and do yourself a favor and grab ANY of her books now!  You can thank me later ❤

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via Amazon ~

“Riveting, heart-wrenching, and full of Old Hollywood glamour, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is one of the most captivating reads of 2017.” –Buzzfeed

“The epic adventures Evelyn creates over the course of a lifetime will leave every reader mesmerized. This wildly addictive journey of a reclusive Hollywood starlet and her tumultuous Tinseltown journey comes with unexpected twists and the most satisfying of drama.” —PopSugar

In this entrancing novel “that speaks to the Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor in us all” (Kirkus Reviews), a legendary film actress reflects on her relentless rise to the top and the risks she took, the loves she lost, and the long-held secrets the public could never imagine.

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ‘80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

“Heartbreaking, yet beautiful” (Jamie Blynn, Us Weekly), The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is “Tinseltown drama at its finest” (Redbook): a mesmerizing journey through the splendor of old Hollywood into the harsh realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means—and what it costs—to face the truth.

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What is your bag of choice?

I have a Kate Spade black nylon backpack. A friend of mine always used a backpack purse and I thought it was so cool, I stole the look from her. Now, I’m not sure I’ll ever go back to a regular bag for every day use.

 

What are your top favorite beauty picks?  

The very best thing I have in my makeup kit right now is Sephora’s airbrush foundation. I’m obsessed with foundation. I’ve tried them all. Airbrush is hands-down the way to go and Sephora’s is reasonably priced but absolutely fantastic.

 

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

Vaseline. Every day, all the time. Nothing better. It’s lip gloss, it’s moisturizer, and it’s eye make-up remover.

 

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and it is devastating and superb.

 

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

It’s not super fun, I guess, but I take great pride in being the person who always has ibruprofen. No one ever has to suffer through a headache if I’m there! Least of all myself.

 

TJR author photo 2017 (C) Scott Witter

Follow Taylor:

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*Thanks to Taylor for sharing her bag with us!

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.

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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Book. Hangover.  It’s real people.  And once again Taylor Jenkins Reid has blown my mind and solidified herself as one of my favorite authors with One True Loves.  Not only did I love this book for the characters and plot but its set in MASSACHUSETTS, my hometown.  Reid’s love for her hometown Acton, MA shines in this novel as this is the hometown of the main characters. Her references for this amazing state are like a warm hug and reminded me how much I love being from here.  Each book that she writes she creates characters that you do not want to leave.  You want to know where they are going and what they are doing days later and this book is no exception.

One True Loves is about Emma Blair.  Emma is your typical girl who works in her family’s bookshop and dreams beyond the confines of her hometown Acton, MA.  While in high school she meets Jesse.  The star swimmer who she believe is out of her league until a chance meeting at a party in the woods.  They are stuck together when the cops come and they are forced to hide in a bush until they are safe.  From this moment a love affair begins which eventually leads up to years later and a marriage.  Both of them wanting to pursue their passions take their relationship to California.  Married and completely in love a terrible plane crash happens causing Emma to believe Jesse is dead.  Completely devastated and in grief she takes baby steps into healing.  One of which is to move home, back to Acton.  Here is gets the care she needs from her parents and sister.  She does not know how to move forward.  Enter Sam.  Sam also went to high school with Emma and Jesse.  He also worked at Emma’s parents bookstore and was a great friend to Emma.  Not knowing that he was in love with her,  Emma runs into Sam while she is trying to pick up the pieces to her shattered life.  An instant connection happens and they fall in love.  Hesitant, Emma doesn’t know if it is too soon as she is still mourning Jesse.  Then she gets a phone call.  Jesse is still alive.  Engaged to Sam, Emma is at odds.  Does she try to rekindle what she thought was lost and dead with Jesse or stay with Sam, her new love who has been with her through the hardest time in her life.  She really questions who her one true love is?

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As I said before my love for Taylor Jenkins Reid and her amazing novels grows  with each book.  Reid has a way of capturing a readers heart and not letting go until that final sentence.  This book did just that for me.  The triangle between Emma, Sam and Jesse kept me so conflicted but Reid knew how to take the reader to that perfect ending.  I can promise you, you will devour this book.  And I can promise you once you finish you will run out and purchase her back catalog ~ I may or may no have done this after reading Maybe in Another Life  😉  Also if you are participating in the BookSparks #SRC2016 this is a June selection and will of course keep making 2016 the #bestsummerever.

*Thanks to Atria Books for sending a review copy.

The House of Bradbury by Nicole Meier #SRC2016

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Continuing with my #BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge I was delightfully surprised by the gem of a book, The House of Bradbury by Nicole Meier.  Meier, a debut author, tells a story of unexpected friendships and mysterious love all against the backdrop of the historic home of Ray Bradbury.  It is a fun, quick read that I could have finished in a day. The story was that seamless and captivating.  Again another summer pick that will be a perfect companion at the beach or the pool.  Can you tell summer reading is my favorite 🙂

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Mia is a young writer who has been unsuccessful with her first novel.  Panned by the critics, she also starts to lose her sense of direction as her fiancee Carson leaves her and she is now living with her sister.  She sees that Ray Bradbury’s, a famous mystery/sci-fi author,  house is for sale and decides that purchasing the house may just be the inspiration and new start that she needs.  Carson being the big Hollywood producer helps her purchase the home but that doesn’t come without some baggage.  Mia agrees to take in a young, drug recovering actress, Zoe, who needs a little sense of direction as well, as a favor to Carson.  Shortly after moving into the home, mysterious notes are appearing her doorstep.  Could it be her handsome neighbor or just some kids playing a prank?  As she she starts to develop a friendship with Zoe she sees how she is struggling and almost becomes a mother figure of sorts to her, something Mia was not prepared for.  As Mia adjusts to living her life at Bradbury she can see all the magic that it once held for Bradbury himself and her creative energy is sparked.  Will she write her next novel, find love and create new friendships?  She soon discovers that this house and the presence that was once there could be exactly what she needed in her life.

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Meier shines in her debut novel.  A sweet story that reaffirms friendships can be made in the most unlikely situations and love always shows up when we are least expecting it.  The house being a character itself played a huge part in the book and Meier so beautifully depicted that.  I loved the relationship between Mia and Zoe.  This relationship really developed each character so beautifully and it made me love Mia even more.  The House of Bradbury is a perfect summer read with a sunny plot and refreshing ending!

*Thanks to BookSparks for sending a copy for review.

The Goodbye Year by Kaira Rouda plus Author Q&A

The Goodbye Year

As most of you have probably seen many publications, websites and blogs have been sharing their perfect summer beach reads!  I am so happy to have found The Goodbye Year by Kaira Rouda because its just what the pre-summer season ordered.  It was my first novel of Rouda’s and most certainly won’t be my last.  Now on a side note I am a “Bravoholic” and am obsessed with all things Real Housewives and Bravo– it’s a guilty pleasure 🙂  So for me this book was like entering into the world of Bravo.  It was drama filled, steamy, dishy and filled with gossiping characters- basically the perfect mix for a fabulous book that I didn’t want to put down.

I am not going into a descriptive summary as there are so many stories and characters, I do not want to give anything away.  What I can tell you is the story is based in California and during the senior year for a group of students and their parents.  The parents are getting ready for them to leave the nest and thinking beyond as to what life will be when they leave.  Each couple along with their kids alternate in telling their perspective within the story.  All the families are going through their own issues but have to be strong for their kids to complete this year.  From affairs to divorce to young love, The Goodbye Year is hard to put down.  The characters are all so different but yet their stories pull together and form this seamless and emotional plot, which Kaira tells so well.  I promise you it is the perfect summer read as well as a great read for all those parents fearing the “empty nest”.  Read on below as I was lucky enough to ask Kaira a few questions about the book as well as about herself.  She gave a fantastic interview!

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Bliss Chat with Kaira Rouda

1. Did the senior years of your children inspire The Goodbye year?  Did you feel the empty nest syndrome?

Yes, my youngest just finished his freshman year in college. I wrote this during his high school senior year . . . it is definitely inspired by my real life. And, I’m still adjusting to my empty nest. I think it takes time, at least for me it does!

 
2. There are so many characters and stories within the story.  How do you keep track when you are writing?  Do you have all of them in mind at first and then connect them?

I knew from the start of this story that it would be important to tell it from the voice of the high school seniors, and the parents. I started with families and the story unfolded from there!

 
3. Living in Laguna Beach do you come across juicy secrets and scandals like the ones in the book 🙂  If so were any of them inspiration in the book?  

Laguna Beach actually is a mellow, artistic and beautiful place to live. Juicy secrets are everywhere — usually behind the closed doors of people whose lives you think are perfect.

 
4. What would be one piece of advice to parents who are going through senior year with their kids?

Gosh, enjoy every moment. Give the gift of your presence. Remember it’s so stressful, especially first semester with college applications and the rest. The Goodbye Year speeds by, and the kids are graduating before you know it.

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

My office, with my dogs around me.


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

my family, coffee, yoga – oh and the beach (sorry that’s four)


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

Smile. It’s really a great feeling.


8. What was the last book that you read?

I’m just finishing Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. Before that, Come Away with Me by Karma Brown. Great books.


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

A hair tie. I’m constantly putting my hair in a pony tail, and then taking it down again. It’s a nervous tic, I think!


10. Are you looking forward to any books that are coming out in 2016?

I’m a big reader and the TBR stack next to my bed is eight books deep. There are so many great books out now and coming our way this summer.

Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica and the BookSparks #SRC2016

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Talk about a twist!  I just finished Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica, the queen of twisty mysteries and page turning thrillers.  If you have yet to read any of her work well then you must be hiding under a rock.  Her books fly because you are literally addicted from the first page.  You are taken into these worlds that she creates and given the puzzle pieces to get yourself out.  Don’t You Cry was no exception.  From the first chapter I had no idea where I was going until the very last pages and what a surprise it was!  Plus it’s part of the Booksparks Summer Reading Challenge which is the perfect kickoff for the #bestsummerever and beach reading season!

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Quinn is a young woman living in Chicago, making her way as young adult in the real world.  She lives with Esther who is her ethereal roommate who seems to have it all.  In Quinn’s eyes she is the perfect person who is always there for her even though she knows she isn’t the best roommate herself.  She does not pick up after herself and she doesn’t cook but Esther never reveals any ill will and accepts her for who she is.  One morning Quinn wakes up and Esther is not there.  Not being alarmed at first, Quinn just thinks maybe she stepped out early or went somewhere and will be in touch soon.  As the day progresses she starts to pick up pieces that do not make sense.  Why is Esther’s phone here?  What is this mysterious letter on her desk?  Quinn tries to remain calm but as the day comes to a close she knows something is up.

Alex lives in Michigan.  He is from a broken home no mother and an alcoholic father with whom he lives with.  He works at a diner and one day sees a beautiful girl and he becomes infatuated with her, Pearl.  He starts to see her appear all over town and wonders who she is and what she is doing in town.  Alex also becomes interested in the run down home across the street from his house where rumor has it a young girl was killed, Genevieve, and her ghost still haunts it.  As he develops a relationship  with Pearl he becomes entangled into a web of lies and danger.  He starts to see strange behavior in Pearl and realizes she has more connections to him then he knows.  Told from alternate views Quinn and Alex, although in separate states, are both living in a twisted world of lies and deceit.  Who will make it out alive?

Mary Kubica author photo credit Sarah Jastre

This is not my first Mary Kubica novel and it certainly will not be my last.  She literally is one of the few that can tell a mystery and leave you shocked at the end.  Like literally shocked.  Her twists and turns keep the reader addicted and wanting more.  Do yourself a favor and pick up one of her page turners.  I highly recommend grabbing one and sitting poolside with a beverage that will calm your nerves as you will be chilled to the bone.

Readers do not forget to participate in the Book Sparks Summer Reading Challenge!  It is going to be the #bestsummerever and the book selections are HOT!  Tag yourself reading any of the selections and make sure to use the hashtags #SRC2016 and #bestsummerever.

*Thanks to Harlequin and Book Sparks for sending a copy for review.

*All things ATRIA Books*

Today I wanted share a few of my favorite upcoming releases which happen to all be from the AMAZING Atria books!  Atria books launched in 2002 and is an imprint of Simon and Schuster.  Created with the purpose to “let their authors flourish”, Atria books is the home to many talented and fabulous authors such as Jennifer Weiner, Fredrick Backman, Sarah Pekkanen , Taylor Jenkins Reid, Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke, the list goes on.  If you have yet to check out any of these authors or are wondering all that Atria has to offer, visit their site to see more about all the great titles to come!  Here are a few that I can’t wait for! I have included the pre-order links.  Hello summer reading 🙂

 

 

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Mystic Summer by Hannah McKinnon 

via Amazon

A chance run-in with a college boyfriend puts a young woman’s picture-perfect life in perspective in this warm-hearted and lyrical novel—from the author of The Lake Season.

Since finishing graduate school, Maggie Griffin has worked hard to build an enviable life in Boston. She’s an elementary school teacher in a tony Boston suburb, a devoted sister, and a loving aunt. With her childhood best friend’s wedding quickly approaching and her own relationship blossoming, this is the summer she has been waiting for.

But when Maggie’s career is suddenly in jeopardy, her life begins to unravel. Stricken, Maggie returns home to seaside Mystic, Connecticut, where she expects to find comfort in family and familiarity. Instead, she runs into Cameron Wilder, a young man from her past who has also returned home, and whose life has taken a turn that puts Maggie’s city struggles in harsh perspective. When tragedy strikes for Cameron, Maggie is faced with big decisions as she weighs what matters most and strives to stay true to the person she’s become.

Set against the gorgeous backdrop of a New England summer when past and present collide, Mystic Summer is a gorgeous novel about looking back, moving forward, and the beauty that blooms when fate intervenes.

 

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The Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell

via Amazon

Imagine that you live on a picturesque communal garden square, an oasis in urban London where your children run free, in and out of other people’s houses. You’ve known your neighbors for years and you trust them. Implicitly. You think your children are safe. But are they really?

On a midsummer night, as a festive neighborhood party is taking place, preteen Pip discovers her thirteen-year-old sister Grace lying unconscious and bloody in a hidden corner of a lush rose garden. What really happened to her? And who is responsible?

Dark secrets, a devastating mystery, and the games both children and adults play all swirl together in this gripping novel, packed with utterly believable characters and page-turning suspense. Fans of Liane Moriarty and Jojo Moyes will be captivated by The Girls in the Garden, the next unforgettable novel by New York Times bestselling author Lisa Jewell.

 

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The Perfect Neighbors by Sarah Pekkanen

via Amazon

Bucolic Newport Cove, where spontaneous block parties occur on balmy nights and all of the streets are named for flowers, is proud of its distinction of being named one the top twenty safest neighborhoods in the US. It’s also one of the most secret-filled.

Kellie Scott has just returned to work after a decade of being a stay-at-home mom. She’s adjusting to high heels, scrambling to cook dinner for her family after a day at the office—and soaking in the dangerous attention of a very handsome, very married male colleague. Kellie’s neighbor Susan Barrett begins every day with fresh resolutions: she won’t eat any carbs, she’ll go to bed at a reasonable hour, and she’ll stop stalking her ex-husband and his new girlfriend. Gigi Kennedy seems to have it all together—except her teenage daughter has turned into a hostile stranger and her husband is running for Congress, which means her old skeletons are in danger of being brought into the light.

Then a new family moves to this quiet, tree-lined cul-de-sac. Tessa Campbell seems friendly enough to the other mothers, if a bit reserved. Then the neighbors notice that no one is ever invited to Tessa’s house. And soon, it becomes clear that Tessa is hiding the biggest secret of all.

 

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One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

via Amazon

In her twenties, Emma Blair marries her high school sweetheart, Jesse. They build a life for themselves, far away from the expectations of their parents and the people of their hometown in Massachusetts. They travel the world together, living life to the fullest and seizing every opportunity for adventure.

On their first wedding anniversary, Jesse is on a helicopter over the Pacific when it goes missing. Just like that, Jesse is gone forever.

Emma quits her job and moves home in an effort to put her life back together. Years later, now in her thirties, Emma runs into an old friend, Sam, and finds herself falling in love again. When Emma and Sam get engaged, it feels like Emma’s second chance at happiness.

That is, until Jesse is found. He’s alive, and he’s been trying all these years to come home to her. With a husband and a fiancé, Emma has to now figure out who she is and what she wants, while trying to protect the ones she loves.

Who is her one true love? What does it mean to love truly?

Emma knows she has to listen to her heart. She’s just not sure what it’s saying.

 

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The Regulars by Georgia Clark

via Amazon

Best friends Evie, Krista, and Willow are just trying to make it through their mid-twenties in New York. They’re regular girls, with average looks and typical quarter-life crises: making it up the corporate ladder, making sense of online dating, and making rent.

Until they come across Pretty, a magic tincture that makes them, well…gorgeous. Like, supermodel gorgeous. And it’s certainly not their fault if the sudden gift of beauty causes unexpected doors to open for them.

But there’s a dark side to Pretty, too, and as the gloss fades for these modern-day Cinderellas, there’s just one question left:

What would you sacrifice to be Pretty?

 

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Swear On This Life by Renee Carlino

via Amazon

When a bestselling debut novel from mysterious author J. Colby becomes the literary event of the year, Emiline reads it reluctantly. As an adjunct writing instructor at UC San Diego with her own stalled literary career and a bumpy long-term relationship, Emiline isn’t thrilled to celebrate the accomplishments of a young and gifted writer.

Yet from the very first page, Emiline is entranced by the story of Emerson and Jackson, two childhood best friends who fall in love and dream of a better life beyond the long dirt road that winds through their impoverished town in rural Ohio.

That’s because the novel is patterned on Emiline’s own dark and desperate childhood, which means that “J. Colby” must be Jase: the best friend and first love she hasn’t seen in over a decade. Far from being flattered that he wrote the novel from her perspective, Emiline is furious that he co-opted her painful past and took some dramatic creative liberties with the ending.

The only way she can put her mind at ease is to find and confront “J. Colby,” but is she prepared to learn the truth behind the fiction?

 

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The Year We Turned Forty by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke

via Amazon

If you could repeat one year of your life, what would you do differently? This heartwarming and hilarious novel from the authors of The Status of All Things and Your Perfect Life features three best friends who get the chance to return to the year they turned forty—the year that altered all of their lives, in ways big and small—and also get the opportunity to change their future.

Jessie loves her son Lucas more than anything, but it tears her up inside that he was conceived in an affair that ended her marriage to a man she still loves, a man who just told her he’s getting remarried. This time around, she’s determined to bury the secret of Lucas’ paternity, and to repair the fissures that sent her wandering the first time.

Gabriela regrets that she wasted her most fertile years in hot pursuit of a publishing career. Yes, she’s one of the biggest authors in the world, but maybe what she really wanted to create was a family. With a chance to do it again, she’s focused on convincing her husband, Colin, to give her the baby she desires.

Claire is the only one who has made peace with her past: her twenty-two year old daughter, Emily, is finally on track after the turmoil of adolescence, and she’s recently gotten engaged, with the two carat diamond on her finger to prove it. But if she’s being honest, Claire still fantasizes about her own missed opportunities: a chance to bond with her mother before it was too late, and the possibility of preventing her daughter from years of anguish. Plus, there’s the man who got away—the man who may have been her one true love.

But it doesn’t take long for all three women to learn that re-living a life and making different decisions only leads to new problems and consequences—and that the mistakes they made may, in fact, have been the best choices of all…