Open Book with Lea Geller

If you are looking for a laugh-out loud novel with a heroine who you will be cheering for, then Trophy Life is it and I am so thrilled to have Lea Geller on the blog as my latest Open Book!  Her dazzling and hilarious debut novel, out now, is really the most perfect accessory to accompany you on #SpringBreak.  Nora Ephron, Gatsby and Springsteen, yup, enough said.  Read below ❤

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via Amazon ~

A refreshingly honest, laugh-out-loud novel about losing the life you always wanted…and finding the life you were meant to have.

For the last ten years, Agnes Parsons’s biggest challenge has been juggling yoga classes and lunch dates. Her Santa Monica house staff takes care of everything, leaving Agnes to focus on her trophy-wife responsibilities: look perfect, adore her older husband, and wear terribly expensive (if uncomfortable) underwear.

When her husband disappears, leaving Agnes and their infant daughter with no money, no home, and no staff, she is forced to move across the country, where she lands a job teaching at an all-boys boarding school in the Bronx. So long, organic quinoa bowls and sunshine-filled California life. Hello, processed food, pest-infested house, and twelve-year-old-boy humor—all day, every day.

But it’s in this place of second chances (and giant bugs), where Agnes is unexpectedly forced to take care of herself and her daughter, where she finds out the kind of woman she can be. Ultimately, she has to decide if she prefers the woman and mother she has become…or the trophy life she left behind.

Authentic and sharply witty, Trophy Life is proof that granny panties and mom coats might not be the answer to everything; they’re simply comfortable (if slightly unattractive) reminders of what happens when one life ends…and real life begins.

 

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

Nora Ephron, Tina Fey and Bruce Springsteen, just so I could finally meet him.

 

 

Current binge series?

I am currently binging the Israeli show Shtisl on Netflix.

 

 

Last favorite book?

I was blown away by The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai. I loved it so much, I read the final page and started all over again.

 

 

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

Packing: For reasons which will be immediately clear, for any vacation I pack travels packets of Miralax and Metamucil, and I never travel without an eye mask because I am a terrible sleeper anywhere, but especially in a strange bed. I don’t like being landlocked, so any good vacation has to involve a body of water – can be the beach or a big city with a river running through it.

Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

NYT. Each time I read US Weekly, I know fewer and fewer of the celebrities, which just make feels old. Reading the NYT makes me feel like a spring chicken.  

 

 

Last person you sent a text message to?

Probably to my husband, asking him what time he was going to be home. And then one five minutes later asking again.

 

 

Book you read that you wished you wrote?

Pretty much anything by Ian McEwan, but mostly Atonement, which is a book I read yearly. I feel the same way about Life After Life by Kate Atkinson.

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

 

Yes, I had several – most notable was my high school English teacher Judith Beiner who told to write, write, and then write some more.

 

 

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

Yes. It really depends on my mood. Right now I’m listening to a lot of Duke Ellington and the Killers.

Describe your writing space?

 

My home office is completely uninsulated so I can only use it for six months a year, at most. Right now, I’m writing at my dining room table. If I write anywhere near my bed, I end up napping. I have been known to take mid-day catnaps on the couch; but those don’t count.

 

Coffee or tea?

 

Both. Usually black coffee until midday and the black tea with milk.

Do you have a favorite book that you gift?

Depends on the recipient, but The Most of Nora Ephron is a great gift.

 

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

 

Thunder Road by Bruce Springsteen. If I could only listen to one song for the rest of time, that would be it.

What/Who inspires you?

The small details and muddiness of everyday life and the things that happen to all of us that nobody likes to talk about. Those inspire me to write.

 

Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

 

No, which may explain why I don’t know anyone in Us Weekly anymore.

 

Favorite Instagram account?

@LondonIsPink which is pictures of London buildings with pink door, parks with pink trees, or city streets with a random pink car parked. It’s a beautiful collection.

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

 

Probably Gatsby and it would be the color of champagne.

Current #TBR pile?

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi and The Last Romantics by Tara Conklin.

Best advice you’ve ever received?

In John Irving’s The Hotel Hampshire, a father gives his children the advice, “Keep passing the open windows.” I love that advice, that when times are tough, keep putting one foot in front of the other, and move forward.

 

 

About the author

Lea Geller is a recovering lawyer who lives in New York with her husband and children. She began her writing career by blogging about her adventures in the trenches of parenting, and got the idea for Trophy Life when her two sons were in middle school.

When Lea’s not eavesdropping on her children, she can be found running, drinking diner coffee, and occasionally teaching middle-school English. She enjoys embarrassing her family by posting pictures of her vegetable garden on Instagram (#IgrewDinner). You can follow her at https://www.leageller.com/.

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Open Book with Kristin Fields

Today I am so fortunate to have debut author Kristin Fields on the blog!  Her novel, A Lily in the Light, is about Esme, whose sister goes missing and is never found until she gets a call 8 years later that will change her life all while she is living her ballet dreams in San Fransisco.  I am so thrilled to have Kristin on the blog and to celebrate her debut.  She is my latest Open Book and I will give you a hint: Midge Maisel in a book club- YES please!!!

A Lily in the Light_300dpi

via Amazon:

A harrowing debut novel of a tragic disappearance and one sister’s journey through the trauma that has shaped her life.

For eleven-year-old Esme, ballet is everything—until her four-year-old sister, Lily, vanishes without a trace and nothing is certain anymore. People Esme has known her whole life suddenly become suspects, each new one hitting closer to home than the last.

Unable to cope, Esme escapes the nightmare that is her new reality when she receives an invitation to join an elite ballet academy in San Francisco. Desperate to leave behind her chaotic, broken family and the mystery surrounding Lily’s disappearance, Esme accepts.

Eight years later, Esme is up for her big break: her first principal role in Paris. But a call from her older sister shatters the protective world she has built for herself, forcing her to revisit the tragedy she’s run from for so long. Will her family finally have the answers they’ve been waiting for? And can Esme confront the pain that shaped her childhood, or will the darkness follow her into the spotlight?

Kristin Fields_300dpi

 

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

This is hard. Let’s go with Stephen King to add a little suspense/twisted
intentions, Midge Maisel to tell it how it is, and Rachel Carson because
I appreciate her careful study of nature and how she made a book
about pesticides sound like poetry. In fact, I think I’d like to write a
book with all three of them.

2. Current binge series?

We just finished The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Now we’re studying
before Game of Thrones comes back and rewatching lots of episodes.

3. Last favorite book?

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. Amazing.

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

We love to travel. There aren’t too many places I wouldn’t go. At the
moment, my dream vacation would be to live on a ship and sail to
Antarctica. I would bring a really good camera, the warmest boots in
the world, binoculars to see glaciers and polar bears close up.

5. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

The NYT – especially the foodie sections.

6. Last person you sent a text message to?

My sisters. We have a family group text to share pictures of our pets.

7. Book you read that you wished you wrote?

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens and Me Before You By JoJo
Moyes. I alternated between loving every single word on the page and
also feeling like I should never write again..

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

In elementary school, Sister Gregory never smiled. Her nylon stockings
rubbed together when she walked up and down the aisles, and she had
a habit of yelling at people for no reason, but she also gave creative
writing assignments.
My first story filled eight notebook pages about a halloween witch who
abducts three girls and convinces the whole town that they are actually
the witches, not her. I turned it in and the next day, Sister Gregory
made me read it aloud. All eight pages. Standing. In front of the whole
class.
She’d done this once before with someone else and told them it was
terrible. Everything a short story should not be, so needless to say, I was
terrified. Plus, I was already shy to begin with. But at the end, everyone
clapped, including Sister Gregory.
It was the first time I’d ever seen her smile, but better than that, it was
the first time I really felt like I had a voice.
Later, Martha McPhee and Barbara Bengels at Hofstra University would
teach me more about craft, and I’m forever grateful to both of them for
their early belief in my writing.

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

Not usually, but for A Lily in the Light, I listened to classical music
while writing scenes at the studio or Tchaicovsky during the
performances of Serenade. Writing to the music helped capture the
emotion of the piece and what it might bring out for Esme as she
danced.
10. Describe your writing space?

Our apartment is tiny, so I usually write on the couch and surround
myself with blankets and pillows and make sure my cat is snuggled up
there too. The more comfortable I am, the more likely I’ll write myself
into a meditative state and keep going just because I won’t want to get
up.

11. Coffee or tea?

It used to be black tea with milk or a good, spicy chai, but then I got
hooked on espresso in Paris and now I can’t function without that
fantastic caffeine jolt every morning. It makes the rest of the day feel
much more do-able.

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

I try to match books with people, so I can’t say there’s one go-to book.
Stories always find people at just the right moment.

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

Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller. Any opportunity to
watch people surviving alone in nature is fascinating. Same for Where
the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.

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

Maybe the Jeopardy song because I’m always in a state of deep
thought/confusion.

15. What/Who inspires you?

I grew up in New York City and took it for granted for much of my
early life – mostly thinking about where I’d rather be instead. But now
that I’ve lived here my whole life, I have a new appreciation for it and
find that it influences so much of my writing.

The beautiful thing about New York is that there is always something
new to do, see, experience, and watching people do their thing has
given me endless writing material. It’s also shaped my worldview and
me as a person, so I have a new respect and pride for my home city
now that I can’t say I’ve always had.

16. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

No! YouTube is enough of a rabbit hole for me.
 
17. Favorite Instagram account?

Henry and Baloo. When our upstairs neighbor brought home a puppy, I
had big dreams that our cat would ride around on her like Henry and
Baloo, but our cat was less enthused..

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

Gatsby – It would be green like the light at the end of Daisy’s dock, but I
would not be brave enough to wear green lipstick ever.

19. Current #TBR pile?

So many. Too many, but I’m really looking forward to Where the Forest
Meets the Stars by Glendy Vanderah, Trophy Life by Lea Geller, The
Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan, True Places by Sonja
Yoerg, My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh, and
Dopesick by Beth Macy.
 
20. Best advice you’ve ever received?

My mentor, Martha McPhee, told me once that I should worry less
about writing and just go gather life experience. I was a little sore
about it at the time, but it was the best advice anyone has ever given
me. My writing is better because of it and my life is more interesting.

 

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What’s in my Bookish {Beauty} Bag? ~ Ashley and Leslie Saunders

I was thrilled to chat with Ashley and Leslie Saunders, the fantastic sister writing duo whose debut book, The Rule of One is out now!  They opened their bag for us and shared their beauty favorites and current reads.  If you love a futuristic setting and the unbreakable  bond of sisterhood then their book is a must!

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via Amazon ~

n their world, telling the truth has become the most dangerous crime of all.

In the near-future United States, a one-child policy is ruthlessly enforced. Everyone follows the Rule of One. But Ava Goodwin, daughter of the head of the Texas Family Planning Division, has a secret—one her mother died to keep and her father has helped to hide for her entire life.

She has an identical twin sister, Mira.

For eighteen years Ava and Mira have lived as one, trading places day after day, maintaining an interchangeable existence down to the most telling detail. But when their charade is exposed, their worst nightmare begins. Now they must leave behind the father they love and fight for their lives.

Branded as traitors, hunted as fugitives, and pushed to discover just how far they’ll go in order to stay alive, Ava and Mira rush headlong into a terrifying unknown.

 

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

Backpack. We’ve used the same Herschel backpack for years. It’s great for hiking, which we do a lot of, as well as traveling. Perfect for carrying our laptops (a writer’s best friend) and jackets for ice-cold plane cabins (why is it always so cold in planes?!)

2. What are your top favorite beauty picks?  

We love a good moisturizer, Ole Henriksen is our go to. Glam Glow’s mud masks are a favorite of ours. And definitely probiotics for that natural glow and overall skin health.

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

In our carry-on we always have with us chapstick, eyeliner and a light perfecting skin tint from Glossier that we love!

4. What are you currently reading?

Ashley: I’m currently reading a super interesting post-apocalyptic novel called Happy Doomsday by David Sosnowski and Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. I used to be a strictly one-book-at-a-time girl but this year there are just so many books I want to read that I now read multiple at once!

Leslie: I’m currently reading The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt and The Hundredth Queen by Emily R. King. I love walking around Los Angeles with a mix of literary Pulitzers and fantasy adventure sagas swirling around in my head, waiting for me on my nightstand until I wind down for the night.

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

We always, and we mean always, have Burt’s Bees in our back pocket. Peppermint, of course.

Saunders-Photo-ShayanAsgharnia-2017

 

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Open Book with Tammy Lynne Stoner

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

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via Amazon ~

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

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

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

Frida Kahlo, Oscar Wilde, and Nelly Bly.

2. Current binge series?

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

3. Last favorite book?

The Angel of History by Rabih Alameddine.

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

Earplugs, scented candles, and flannel pajamas.

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

 5. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

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

 6. Last person you sent a text message to?

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

 7. Book you read that you wished you wrote?

One!? Geek Love.

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

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

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

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

10. Describe your writing space?

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

11. Coffee or tea?

100% tea. Coffee makes me insane.

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

Cloud Atlas and Her Body and Other Parties.

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

Mine.

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

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

 15. What/Who inspires you? 

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

 16. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

Only the gay and fashion shows.

 17. Favorite Instagram account?

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

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

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

19. Current #TBR pile?

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

 20. Best advice you’ve ever received?

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

THANKS! THIS WAS FUN.

 

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Open Book with Caz Frear

Fall is here!  Cue cozy sweaters, fall scents, pumpkins and THRILLERS!  I love to read thrillers in the fall because they are the perfect companion during this ghoulish month.  I mean I love a good thriller all the time but the change of leaves and Halloween vibes that surround us, make a good suspenseful read perfection.  Cue Caz Frear’s debut novel, Sweet Little Lies.  A murder, secrets and a missing girl are what makes this book a must-read but it might make you keep the light on at night 😉  I was thrilled to chat with Caz in my latest “Open Book” where she talks Stevie Nicks, Gwen Stefani and the necessity for a statement red lip- all things that are a must! ❤SweetLittleLies hc c

via Amazon ~

n this gripping debut procedural, a young London policewoman must probe dark secrets buried deep in her own family’s past to solve a murder and a long-ago disappearance.

Your father is a liar. But is he a killer?
Even liars tell the truth . . . sometimes.

Twenty-six-year-old Cat Kinsella overcame a troubled childhood to become a Detective Constable with the Metropolitan Police Force, but she’s never been able to banish these ghosts. When she’s called to the scene of a murder in Islington, not far from the pub her estranged father still runs, she discovers that Alice Lapaine, a young housewife who didn’t get out much, has been found strangled.

Cat and her team immediately suspect Alice’s husband, until she receives a mysterious phone call that links the victim to Maryanne Doyle, a teenage girl who went missing in Ireland eighteen years earlier. The call raises uneasy memories for Cat—her family met Maryanne while on holiday, right before she vanished. Though she was only a child, Cat knew that her charming but dissolute father wasn’t telling the truth when he denied knowing anything about Maryanne or her disappearance. Did her father do something to the teenage girl all those years ago? Could he have harmed Alice now? And how can you trust a liar even if he might be telling the truth?

Determined to close the two cases, Cat rushes headlong into the investigation, crossing ethical lines and trampling professional codes. But in looking into the past, she might not like what she finds. . . .

Caz Frear cr Rebecca Knowles Photography

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

Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac:  Just because I think she’s the coolest woman alive.  I even named my novel after a Fleetwood Mac song (actually that’s a lie, my editor came up with the title but I like to think it was serendipity)

Daniel Day Lewis:  My favourite actor.  He’s incredibly elusive so it would be amazing to be sat right next to him at a bookclub.  And he’s also extremely well-read.

Marian Keyes:  I’m a huge MK fan.  Rachel’s Holiday is definitely up there in my top 10 favourite books ever.  While she’s also extremely well-read, she’s less ‘intense’ than the other two so she’d help keep the mood light!

2. Current binge series?

Peaky Blinders on Netflix.  I’m on the third of four series and I’ll be bereft when it ends!  Can’t believe how late I am to the party though – it started in 2013. 

3. Last favorite book?

Skin Deep by Liz Nugent.  The characterization is superb.  The central character, Cordelia Russell, is a shameless manipulator and borderline narcissist but you can’t help but be enthralled by her.

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

I spent a long weekend in San Francisco a couple of years ago and I’ve been dreaming of going back there ever since.  I’d pack…

  1. Comfortable walking shoes.  I’m a bit of a shoe freak and usually go for style over comfort but SF has so many steep hills and uneven roads that heels are tricky.  And there’s so much to see on foot that it’s a shame to use public transport unless you really have to.
  2. As the song instructs, I’d be sure to bring flowers for my hair ☺ I’m a hippy at heart and I absolutely loved the Haight-Ashbury area.
  3. A pashmina.  You can be warm one minute, cold the next in SF, so it pays to be prepared (I got caught out last time thinking it would be wall-to-wall heat!)

5. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

Mmmm, being a Brit, I’m not overly familiar with either, but as I think US Weekly is more focused towards celebrity gossip, I’d probably go for Sunday NYT.  I’m not a huge celeb gossip fan (although, you know, I’m not immune to it!)

6. Last person you sent a text message to?

My husband – to ask him to pick up milk and a birthday card for a 6-year-old.  My life is so rock and roll ☺

7. Book you read that you wished you wrote?

In The Woods by Tana French.  It’s a masterclass in everything – plot, prose, suspense and characterization.

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

I was lucky enough to have two – Mrs Spencer (when I was eight) who told me I had ‘something’ and to never give up writing stories, even when I ‘got big’ and Mr Kelly (when I was fourteen).  Mr Kelly used to encourage me to write reviews of everything – books, films, concerts, etc – on top of my standard homework.  He taught me that writing is a muscle and you have to use it every day.
9. Do you listen to music while you write? If so, who?

No, but I really wish I could!  I need complete silence, sadly.  If I’m editing, I might occasionally put classical music on in the background but very, very low (pointlessly low, really). 
10. Describe your writing space?

A grey chesterfield couch with many cushions and a Jo Malone candle burning close by.  I do have an office which I venture into occasionally but I do my best work on the couch.  I used to write in bed until I realized it was terrible for both posture and sleep!

11. Coffee or tea?

Tea.  I don’t mind coffee but I treat it more like medicine – I’ll force a cup down if I need to sharpen up or stay awake.  I drink tea purely for pleasure.

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

The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer.  It’s a novel about mental health and it tells the story of 17-year-old schizophrenic Matt, and the guilt he feels over his younger brother’s death several years ago.  Sounds depressing, right?  It isn’t.  It’s incredibly moving but it’s also funny, sharp and made me laugh out loud (and cry like a baby).  Such clean, unaffected writing too.  I buy it for everyone. 
13. Book that you wished they would make a movie out of?

Mine ☺  Failing that, I’d say Little Deaths by Emma Flint.  It’s the story of a woman accused of murdering her three children in the summer of 1965 and I believe it’s based on a true story.  Not only is it a gripping thriller but it’s also an interesting commentary on how the media portray ‘difficult’ women.  It was only published a couple of years ago so it’s early days, maybe it will be made into a film?

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

‘What You Waiting For?’ – essentially it’s about Gwen Stefani’s fear of making a solo album and the writer’s block she was experiencing at that time.  It is EVERYTHING.  It’s an ode to pushing through self-doubt and fear of other people’s opinions.  It’s a call to arms to every woman who has a fear of standing out, of being who she really is.  I love it and it fires me up every time.  It had a massive impact on me.


15. What/Who inspires you?

Everyone and everything!  Just overhearing a conversation on a bus can inspire a whole new piece of dialogue or sub-plot.  I think ‘inspiration’ is a slightly mystical term as usually there isn’t one single image or one anecdote that quite literally inspires the writing of a 100,000 word novel.  You just start with a character and a dilemma and get writing (or plotting).  I think it’s actually writing, even bad writing, that fuels inspiration, not the other way around.  If you wait for the killer idea or the killer hook to strike, you could be waiting a very long time!
16. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

No. No. No. No. No.  On the rare occasion I stumble across reality TV, I want to throw something at the screen.  Although, it depends what you mean by reality TV?  I am partial to a bit of Judge Judy ☺

17. Favorite Instagram account?

I’m relatively new to Instagram so I’m not sure that I’ve got any clear favorites yet, but @crimebythebook is a great account for honest, constructive reviews (and sneak peeks at upcoming releases).  There’s also a UK comedian @russell_kane who really makes me laugh.  His memes and rants are always spot on.
18. If you could name just one lipstick after a book, what would you call it and what shade would it be?  

Kiss Me First and it would be a statement red, maybe fire-engine or blood red.  I have far too many red lipsticks!
19. Current #TBR pile?

Oh wow, it’s toppling over as we speak.  I’m so lucky to be sent lots of proofs to read so I could fill a whole page with the books I’d love to get stuck into asap, but here’s what’s up next…

The Secrets You Hide – Kate Helm (a British debut)

Red Snow – Will Dean

Pieces of Her – Karin Slaughter

Cross Her Heart – Sarah Pinborough


20. Best advice you’ve ever received?

I’m going to refer back to Gwen Stefani and ‘What You Waiting For?’

“Life is short.  You’re capable.”

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What’s in my Bookish {Beauty} Bag? ~ Rosie Nixon

Being royally obsessed I am a huge fan of Hello! Magazine and when I discovered their  editor-in-chief was writing a novel I was sold.  Rosie Nixon is just as fabulous as her characters, Amber and Mona in her debut, The Stylist.  A little Devil Wears Prada with a sprinkle of the red carpet and hollywood glam this book is the perfect read to kick off all the glitz of New York Fashion week!  I was beyond thrilled when Rosie opened her Stella McCartney bag for me and shared her must-have beauty items and no one knows beauty better than her- its Hello! magazine people!!! ❤

Stylist The_PB

via Amazon ~

In the tradition of The Devil Wears Prada comes Rosie Nixon’s debut novel, which follows a young woman who is thrown into the fast-paced world of fashion and glamour as she’s forced to navigate the treacherous Hollywood red carpets…while finding a fairytale love of her own.

“A stylish, fun read, I absolutely loved it!”—Jackie Collins

Amber Green loves working at Smith’s, London’s ultra-exclusive boutique frequented by everyone who’s anyone, including Mona Armstrong, the stylist to the stars. She is fierce, demanding, and can make or break a career with a snap of her manicured nails.

When Mona’s latest assistant walks out and with awards season arriving faster than you can say “Rodeo Drive”, Amber finds herself agreeing to work for one of the most infamous—and volatile—women in Hollywood. And the stars aren’t much better. Amber’s life is turned inside out as she becomes familiar with all Hollywood has to offer, on and off the red carpet.

As she begins to enjoy life in the dressing rooms of the hottest stars, Amber discovers she’s the one in the spotlight when she catches the attention of two very different men. But Mona’s behavior is growing increasingly erratic and unless Amber can out-style everyone in Hollywood, she’s in danger of being Mona’s latest fashion victim.

Bookish Beauty Bag

What is your bag of choice?

Stella McCartney metallic shoulder bag. This has been my go-to day-into-evening bag for months now – I love the slightly rock chick edge and it looks as great with jeans as with an LBD or even a gown. I admire Stella’s standpoint on sustainable fashion and how she has pioneered using new alternative materials to leather and fur.  

What are your top favorite beauty picks?  

I’ve been a big fan of Benefit for years and particularly like their mascaras and bronzers – a quick pop of Sugarbomb on my cheeks and I’m instantly perked up! I recently discovered Dolce & Gabbana make-up and it’s great quality, I also love By Terry make-up.

For skincare, I’m a Murad girl, I wear their entire range – the City Skin Age Defence SPF 50 is my favourite, I have quite fair skin and always wear a high SPF. Shu Uemura beauty products are gorgeous and effective too. As I get older, I pay more attention to the science of skincare – the right products really can make a big difference in slowing the ageing process. I’m lucky that I work in an industry (magazines) where it’s important to keep on top of the latest beauty brands and trends.

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

Always a benefit Bal Gal BANG! mascara in black, Benefit Sugarbomb, Dolce & Gabbana ‘Isabella’ lipstick which is like a cross between a lipbalm and a lipstick, although I often wear Maybelline SuperStay 24 Colour lipstick in Rose Dust because it doesn’t come off when I kiss my children! I generally carry a small purse, and I’m quite low maintenance, so there isn’t room for much else beauty-wise!

What are you currently reading?

I nearly always have my nose in a newspaper or the pages of HELLO! magazine, of which I am editor-in-chief. Reading magazines is part of my job and very much in my blood. I read novels for escapism. I’m currently reading The Image Of You by Adele Parks, who is a friend as well as a brilliant author. And I recently loved The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo. I only wish I had more time to curl up with a book.

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

Always my iPhone X – I will fly into a panic if I’ve left home without it. I love my limited edition HELLO! phone case, which was created by CHAOS as part of a fashion project I spearheaded celebrating HELLO!’s 30th Birthday in May.

I also have sunglasses with me – I have quite an addiction to sunglasses, just like my central character Mona Armstrong  – my current favourites are by Ralph Lauren, but I switch them up depending on my mood and what I’m wearing. I can go from Ray-Bans one day, to mirrored Le Specs or classic Pradas the next. It’s all about the accessories, darling! (Just ask Amber Green…) 

items in bag: Lulu Guinness purse, Barkleys peppermints, Dolce & Gabbana lipstick,  Benefit mascara, Ralph Lauren sunglasses, HELLO! x CHAOS phone case, iPhone X

Rosie Nixon author photo

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Open Book with Amy Blumenfeld

As we wind down these final days of summer there is still PLENTY of beach reading time!  Amy Blumenfeld’s debut novel, The Cast is the perfect choice to beat the end of summer scaries- P.S. that is a real thing 😉  It has got friendship, drama, heart and a complex cast of unforgettable characters. I was thrilled to ask her a few questions for my latest Open Book.  I have to say- her vacation spot is on my bucket list, her lipstick choice needs to be a reality and her life advice is something I always forget but is so true!  Thanks for sharing Amy ❤

THECASTfor Amazon

via Amazon ~

Twenty-five years ago, a group of ninth graders produced a Saturday Night Live–style videotape to cheer up their ailing friend. The show’s running time was only ninety minutes, but it had a lasting impact: Becca laughed her way through recovery, and the group—Jordana, Seth, Holly, and Lex—became her supporting cast for life.

On the silver anniversary of Becca Night Live, the friends reunite over the Fourth of July to celebrate Becca’s good health—but nothing goes as planned. The happy holiday card facades everyone’s been hiding behind quickly crumble and give way to an unforgettable three days filled with complex moral dilemmas and life-altering choices. Through humor, drama, and the alternating perspectives of five characters, The Cast explores the power of forgiveness, the importance of authenticity, and the immeasurable value of deep, enduring friendships to buoy us when life plays out differently than expected.

AmyBlumenfeldHeadShotWEB

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

Lin-Manuel Miranda, Robin Williams, Oprah

Current binge series? 

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee and 

My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman

Last favorite book?

The Book of Separation by Tova Mirvis and Limelight by Amy Poeppel. Very different books, but equally engrossing. 

What 3 things to you pack in your bag for your dream vacation?  Where is it? London. A good book, tickets to a West End show, and the key to the Kensington townhouse I’ll be renting so that I can pretend I’m a local.

Sunday NYT or US Weekly? 

Sunday NYT

Last person you sent a text message to? 

My husband

Book you read that you wished you wrote? 

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

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

I did not have a teacher who encouraged me to become a writer but I did have a professor in graduate school who suggested I turn my master’s project into a book. Although it was a very circuitous route, The Cast is what eventually blossomed from the seed he planted all those years ago.

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

No. The characters in my head make enough noise!

Describe your writing space? 

As soon as my daughter is off to school I make a mug of tea and sit down at the dining room table with my computer. By the time she gets home, my laptop and I have usually relocated to a sofa, an area rug on the floor, my bed, or if the weather is nice, a spot outdoors. 

Coffee or tea? 

Though I love the aroma of a coffee shop, I’m definitely a tea person.

Do you have a favorite book that you gift? 

For kids, I like to give My Book About Me by Dr. Seuss. For adults, it’s all based on the recipient. I match the book to the person.

If you could have one song as the theme song of your life what would it be and why? Just the Way You Are by Billy Joel. First, because I am a huge Billy Joel fan – my first big concert as a kid was seeing him play at Yankee Stadium. Second, I believe in the importance of authenticity and gravitate to people who stay true to themselves. 

What/Who inspires you? My parents, husband, brother, and daughter. 

Bravo reality TV- yes or no? No

Favorite Instagram account? It’s a tie between Jennifer Garner and my 20-something-year-old nieces living in Chicago. 

If you could name just one lipstick after a book, what would you call it and what shade would it be? Great Expectations. It would be a nude shade with a little shimmer.

Current #TBR pile? Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult, The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer, The Subway Girls by Susie Orman Schnall, Beauty in the Broken Places by Alison Pataki, The Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir, When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Best advice you’ve ever received? One step at a time. No matter how great or small the goal, I find this to be the most practical piece of advice I’ve ever received. I apply this to nearly everything I do – from packing a lunchbox to hosting a party to writing a book. This is what I keep in the back of my mind and it tends to get me to the finish line. 

 

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