Open Book with Randy Susan Meyers

Boston writers are some of the best and Randy Susan Meyers is no exception.  Her latest, Waisted, tackles women’s body image issues and female empowerment when a group of women join a weight loss camp to find out it is not all it seems.  Meyers, who always so brilliantly takes on issues that are at our forefront, is my latest Open Book and of course she is AH-mazing!  From Nora Ephron (my favorite!) to Dead to Me (it’s a must-binge) to an empowering bookish lip color, Randy is a wonderful author and woman (follow her on SOCIAL!) and my guess would probably be a fabulous coffee date ❤

WAISTED_Cover Image

via Amazon ~

In this provocative, wildly entertaining, and compelling novel, seven women enrolled in an extreme weight loss documentary discover self-love and sisterhood as they enact a daring revenge against the exploitative filmmakers.

Alice and Daphne, both successful and accomplished working mothers, harbor the same secret: obsession with their weight overshadows concerns about their children, husbands, work—and everything else of importance in their lives. Scales terrify them.

Daphne, plump in a family of model-thin women, learned only slimness earns admiration at her mother’s knee. Alice, break-up skinny when she met her husband, risks losing her marriage if she keeps gaining weight.

The two women meet at Waisted. Located in a remote Vermont mansion, the program promises fast, dramatic weight loss, and Alice, Daphne, and five other women are desperate enough to leave behind their families for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The catch? They must agree to always be on camera; afterward, the world will see Waisted: The Documentary.

The women soon discover that the filmmakers have trapped them in a cruel experiment. With each pound lost, they edge deeper into obsession and instability…until they decide to take matters into their own hands.

author social media 2018 color Randy Susan Meyers social media sq-1973

1. What three celebrities/authors/figures- living or dead, would you want to have a
bookclub with? Roxane Gay, Nora Ephron, & Whoopi Goldberg.
2. Current binge series? Dead to Me
3. Last favorite book? Save Me the Plums by Ruth Reichl
4. What 3 things do you pack in your bag for your dream vacation? Kindle (I couldn’t
possibly pack enough paper books for a vacation.) Airy cotton caftan. Bathing suit.
Where is it? Santorini islands in Greece.
5. Sunday NYT or US Weekly? Sunday NYT
6. Last person you sent a text message to? My BFF
7. Book you read that you wished you wrote? Homegoing by Yaa Gyassi
8. Do you have a teacher who encouraged you to become a writer? Miss Leanza in 2 nd
grade.
9. Do you listen to music while you write? If so, who? I need total silence when writing.
10. Describe your writing space? I write in my family room where I rotate between a comfy stuffed club chair and perfectly worn couch. There I’m surrounded by many pots oforchids, two overgrown Boston ferns, an aloe plant ready to take over the house, and jadeplants. The oriental rug had many shades of red and best of all is a view of my garden (otherwise known as my therapist.)
11. Coffee or tea? Coffee!
12. Do you have a favorite book that you gift? The Unstoppable Ruth Ginsburg: American
Icon
13. If you could have one song as the theme song of your life what would it be and why?
I Will Survive, because at every worst point in my life I worked to find the strength no
matter how deep I had to dig.
14. What/Who inspires you? Gloria Steinem—because she’s never stopped working for
justice.
15. Bravo reality TV- yes or no? No
16. Favorite Instagram account? @bklynlibrary
17. If you could name just one lipstick after a book, what would you call it and what
shade would it be? I’d name the lipstick Determination after The Women of Brewster
Place by Gloria Naylor. The color would be a clear strong shade of cherry.
18. Current #TBR pile? Fall and Rise: The Story of 9/11 by Mitchell Zukoff, The Floating
Feldmans by Elyssa Friedland, The Secrets Between Us: A Novel by Thrity Umrigar.
19. Best advice you’ve ever received? My grandmother’s advice to be kind.

 

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Open Book with Wendy Walker

Thrilled, pun actually intended to have Wendy Walker on the blog today!  She is a suspense and thriller extraordinaire who always keeps us guessing and looking behind our shoulder 😉  Her latest, The Night Before, is about two sisters and an online date gone bad- literally the best companion for spring break and beach reading!  Coffee, Fleetwood Mac and Gillian Flynn- Wendy is my spirit animal ❤

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via Amazon ~

First dates can be murder.

“Ferociously smart.” ―AJ Finn
“Riveting.” ―Riley Sager
“Addictive.” ―Liv Constantine
“Wonderfully tense.” ―Aimee Molloy
“Irresistible.” ―Mary Kubica
“Impossible to put down.” ―Megan Miranda

Riveting and compulsive, national bestselling author Wendy Walker’s The Night Before “takes you to deep, dark places few thrillers dare to go” as two sisters uncover long-buried secrets when an internet date spirals out of control.

Laura Lochner has never been lucky in love. She falls too hard and too fast, always choosing the wrong men. Devastated by the end of her last relationship, she fled her Wall Street job and New York City apartment for her sister’s home in the Connecticut suburb where they both grew up. Though still haunted by the tragedy that’s defined her entire life, Laura is determined to take one more chance on love with a man she’s met on an Internet dating site.

Rosie Ferro has spent most of her life worrying about her troubled sister. Fearless but fragile, Laura has always walked an emotional tightrope, and Rosie has always been there to catch her. Laura’s return, under mysterious circumstances, has cast a shadow over Rosie’s peaceful life with her husband and young son – a shadow that grows darker as Laura leaves the house for her blind date.

When Laura does not return home the following morning, Rosie fears the worst. She’s not responding to calls or texts, and she’s left no information about the man she planned to meet. As Rosie begins a desperate search to find her sister, she is not just worried about what this man might have done to Laura. She’s worried about what Laura may have done to him…

Wendy-Walker-Headshot_credit Bill Miles

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

Gillian Flynn, because she has a profound understanding of the connection between family history and the dark side of the human psyche. Jane Austen, because she would find us stories with characters like Mr. Darcy (sigh). And Jonathan Franzen, because he would keep us away from the wine and gossip, and into the deeper literary aspects of the books.

Current binge series?

The Handmaid’s Tale, Season 3. Nothing I have watched before or after the very first episode of Season 1 has captivated and moved me like this series. And I could watch Elisabeth Moss sit in a chair making subtle facial expressions for hours.

Last favorite book?

Where the Crawdads Sing. I rarely get to read outside my genre, so this was a real treat. A great story about perseverance and integrity. I also need to give a shout out to my fellow thriller writers with May books: The Last Time I Saw You by Liv Constantine and The Favorite Daughter by Kaira Rouda. I got a sneak peak and they are both fantastic.

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

Pajamas. Bathing suit. Book. I would say great company but that evokes images of people stuffed in suitcases – maybe I should save that for my next novel! Any destination that is quiet and warm, has a cozy bed, a place to run or hike or do yoga, and coffee and wine would do just fine.

Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

Oh, please don’t make me choose! Yin and yang – I need both.

Last person you sent a text message to?

My kids – when will you be home, what do you want for dinner, etc. etc.

Book you read that you wished you wrote?

Mystic River by Dennis Lehane. The profound moral issues and character development are what I strive for in every book. This one is near perfection on all fronts.

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

I didn’t actually consider writing until my early thirties. However, when I was a senior in high school, I had a teacher named Mrs. Sundquist who encouraged us to write stories with emotional depth, drawn from personal experiences. This is always the first place I start when I begin to plot a new novel.

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

Never. I need dead quiet. Even a ticking clock will do me in.

Describe your writing space?

I write on my laptop so I can be anywhere that is quiet, warm and inspiring. Sometimes I write at the kitchen table with the door to the back yard wide open. Sometimes I sit in a chaise lounge in front of the fire. Sometimes I stay in my bed, under the covers. It’s all about quiet and comfort!

Coffee or tea?

Coffee, all day long!

Do you have a favorite book that you gift?

I love attending book events for my author friends and gifting signed copies. I think a signed book makes a great gift.

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

Uh, one of mine? Seriously, though, I would have to say All The Light We Cannot See. It has everything a movie needs – drama, atmosphere, history, and emotion. Hollywood – let’s do this!  

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

I have to go with Landslide by Fleetwood Mac. First of all, I used to worship Stevie Nicks. Friends from college will attest to this. For me, this song is about the constant changing of life. No matter how far you go in adjusting and overcoming obstacles, there are always more ahead. It is a reminder to enjoy the journey, because that’s all there really is.

What/Who inspires you?

My children, always. I am meticulous about preserving the memories of their lives – videos, photos, artwork from 1st Grade. I am constantly curating and editing, and so I have frequent reminders of the various stages of their lives and how miraculous they are. It is so easy to stagnate when we settle into adult life, and to accept this stagnation. My children inspire me to keep dreaming and striving and changing.

Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

Not really, BUT I have to admit to being pulled back into The Bachelorette/Bachelor series with some of my friends. It’s a total guilty pleasure and a much-needed respite from the dark dramas I am typically drawn to. And, let’s be honest – they seem somewhat scripted to me, which makes it even more fun as a writer to guess where the producers will take things.

Favorite Instagram account?

Binchcity. It’s the account of a young college woman, and the daughter of a very old friend. She is hilarious and honest and keeps me in touch with my younger reader base.

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

Eat, Pray, Love – vermilion red, and the kind that won’t wear off with continued use 🙂

Current #TBR pile?

A Stranger on the Beach by Michele Campbell

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda

Best advice you’ve ever received?

One of the therapists who helped me with a book gave me the best advice I have ever received. She said that almost every reaction we have is influenced by events which occurred in childhood when our brains were still developing. I am not a fan of self-help one-liners, but change your thoughts, change your life is all about understanding this connection between past experiences and current perceptions. Being able to wrangle our emotions is not an easy task, but it has very powerful results!

 

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Open Book with Janna King

The follow-up to Janna King’s The Seasonaires, Malibu Bluff,  takes readers back to the fashionable and scandalous world of Lyndon Wyld’s clothing line with a new group of seasonaires.  If you love Gossip Girl or The OC, then you will fall in love with this world that King has created.  I am thrilled she joins me again to talk all things Open Book.  I have to say her dream book club is one of my all time favorites and her bookish lipstick should be a reality in a perfect world 🙂  Malibu Buff is the perfect segue into sunny weather and beachy reads.

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via Amazon ~

A fresh crew of seasonaires hit the California coast and make Malibu their playground in the sizzling and suspenseful follow-up to last summer’s must-read debut.

Every summer is designed as a dream for six twenty-something seasonaires chosen by Lyndon Wyld, the founder of her namesake clothing line. This summer takes these influential brand ambassadors to the West Coast, led by last season’s Mia, who has been roped back in after her mother’s death by a sweeter deal and the hope to leave her grief behind for the California sun.

Mia is thankful that she won’t have to live with another former seasonaire, Presley, who is now handling Lyndon Wyld’s public relations in Los Angeles. In Malibu, Mia will share a stunning modern manse with Eve, an outspoken activist; Alex, a gorgeous boundary pusher; Chase, a professional surfer; Oliver, a preppy charmer; and Brandon, the son of Lyndon’s business partner, and the young producer of the brand’s new digital channel, which will up the seasonaires’ social media game.

Lyndon still pays well for her flock to loll on Malibu’s beaches, hobnob at Hollywood parties, and live the “planned casual” SoCal lifestyle. Their antics are juicy entertainment for their throngs of fans and followers. But detractors from Mia’s past come back to haunt her. And when the line between what’s real and what’s staged gets blurred, the results could be deadly.

 

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

Jonathan Van Ness, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Frida Kahlo

 

  1. Current binge series?

I recently binged “Russian Doll” on Netflix. It’s an intriguing and compelling series on so many levels, and it really resonated with me. I also got through all four seasons of “Outlander” in record time. I’ve never had to catch up like that on a series, but it was worth it!

 

  1. Last favorite book?

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh – a unique and fearless work that mesmerized me from Page One.

 

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

My iPhone with earbuds so I can listen to music, my Kindle so I can read my growing TBR pile, and my laptop so I can write. Ugh – I’m hopelessly plugged in. I would return to Scotland, because I traveled there with my son last year and it was magical.

 

  1. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

Sunday NYT online.

 

  1. Last person you sent a text message to?

My daughter, and it was “I just took a sip of coffee and burped at the same time. Not a good combo.” To which I got a facepalm emoji.

 

  1. Book you read that you wished you wrote?

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. Really, anything by Joan Didion.

 

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

I had two teachers in high school who motivated me to become a writer. Miss O’Brien was kind of scary and very strict, but instilled a work ethic that I still follow today. She told us to always get dressed and sit at a desk when we write. I can count the times on one hand that I’ve worked in bed in my pajamas. Rose Gilbert, (aka “Mama G” to all who knew and loved her) was the most enthusiastic English teacher ever. She was so passionate about literature and had a very memorable way of discussing themes and characters. Crazy props were often used. Plus, she rewarded us with Mother’s Circus Animal Cookies – still my favorites.

 

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

No. I can’t. I love it too much and I concentrate on the lyrics. If a song is happy or angry, I sing, bounce around and throw my arms in the air (which makes it difficult to type). If it’s sad, I cry.

 

  1. Describe your writing space?

Right now, I write at a hutch desk in my den that I’m supposed to close when I’m not working. However, I’m always writing so it’s never closed. I have been toying with the idea of turning my daughter’s bedroom into an office since she’s now out of the house. That way, I can create a healthy separation between my work space and my “relax” space, but I can’t bring myself to commandeer her room yet (or relax).

 

  1. Coffee or tea?

Coffee. I want to love tea, but I’m stuck on my two latte a day habit. Almond milk, lots of sugar.

 

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

I like to gift blank books and journals so that the recipients can write their own stories.

 

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

Harley and Me: Embracing Risk on the Road to a More Authentic Life by Bernadette Murphy. It’s a spirited memoir about transformation after challenges. Bernadette is badass.

 

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

“Dream On” by Aerosmith. Even though it’s a rock song, it’s about the fragility of life and how we need to make the most out of every day.

 

  1. What/Who inspires you?

My two kids are my inspiration. My 22-year-old daughter is a strong, opinionated, self-assured young woman. My 19-year-old son is a warm-hearted, funny, good guy. Both are thoughtful and creative. I’m in awe of them.

 

  1. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

I’ve been watching “Project Runway” since the first season (including its shift to Lifetime for a bit). I can’t believe the looks that these talented designers create in such little time.

 

  1. Favorite Instagram account?

I love any account with cute dogs – boopmynose is a favorite.

 

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

Malibu Blush. It would be a rosy lip balm with SPF, worn with zero other makeup – just a natural summer glow.

 

  1. Current #TBR pile?

A Matter of Chance by Julie Maloney, The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray, Shrill by Lindy West (I also binged the Hulu series starring Aidy Bryant, who is amazing). I’m looking forward to The Two Lila Bennetts by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke.

 

  1. Best advice you’ve ever received?

“Don’t sweat the small stuff.” I have been absolutely unable to follow that advice, but it’s still the best.

 

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Open Book with Rachel Felder

It can be scary to wear but always chic ~ a red lip.  Rachel Felder has paid homage to the iconic beauty in her latest book, Red Lipstick An Ode to a Beauty Icon.  There are so many famous people who have made the red lip a staple in our beauty bags ~ Marilyn, Audrey, Grace, the list goes on.  I personally love a red lip and think the shades that are red go beyond just a classic red.  You can have pink red, orange red, brownish red, the list goes on but the fact is there is a red for all of us and you just have to find the perfect one to rock!  Rachel is my latest Open Book and I love her advice and her dream book club- Chanel, ok?!

Red Lipstick Final Cover.jpg

via Amazon ~

A unique, full-color compendium that celebrates and explores the enduring power and allure of the world’s most iconic lip shade, jam-packed with entertaining stories, anecdotes, little-known facts, quotes, and more than 100 gorgeous images culled from fine art, photography, and beauty and fashion editorial and advertising.

“Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick, and pull yourself together.” — Elizabeth Taylor

Lipstick is the one makeup item most women can’t live without—and the most iconic shade is red. Exuding power, sensuality, allure, and mystery, red lips have been a constant of fashion for more than 5,000 years, beginning with Mesopotamian women around 3500 B.C. Throughout the ages, red lipstick has been a signature look worn by royalty, celebrities, and real women across cultures and geography. In fact, nearly all women own a tube of red lipstick, whether it’s the favorite shade they’ve been wearing devotedly for years, or as beauty boost they use for special occasions.

Filled with a show-stopping selection of images and distinctively packaged—the size of a clutch, with a jacket printed with a matte, velvet, red finish—Red Lipstick is the only cultural history of this makeup essential available. Granted unprecedented access to experts and the archives of revered brands like Chanel and Elizabeth Arden, beauty writer Rachel Felder explores the origins and allure of red lipstick and illuminates its association with aristocracy, sex appeal, illicit sexuality, rebellion, power, glamour, fame, and beauty. She also spotlights the fascinating array of women who have worn it through the ages, including monarchs, suffragettes, flappers, working women in World War II, first ladies, political leaders, geishas, Hollywood sirens, rock and rollers, fashionistas, and more.

Inside this enthralling book, you’ll discover why red lipstick makes women more attractive to others (and the science behind it); tips on choosing the most perfect shade of crimson; and a wealth of anecdotes, quotations, select literary excerpts, and trivia, such as the shade Carolyn Bessette Kennedy wore on her wedding day. Red Lipstick is packed with a museum’s worth of fine art, including both Man Ray’s photograph “Red Badge of Courage” and infamous painting “Les Amoreaux;” lush, rarely seen vintage magazine advertisements from stalwart brands like Guerlain and Dior; illustrations by renowned fashion illustrators such as René Gruau, Daisy Villeneuve, and Bil Donovan; artists Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Edgar Degas, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Wayne Thiebaud, and Walt Kuhn; and images of famous red lipstick wearers including Cleopatra, Queen Elizabeth II, Coco Chanel, Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Madonna, Diana Vreeland, Rihanna, Paloma Picasso, and many others.

With its captivating, chic design, beautiful selection of visuals, and engaging, entertaining text, Red Lipstick is a classic, like the perfect red lip shade itself.

 

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

David Bowie, Coco Chanel and Man Ray.

 

Current binge series?

I’m not a binge watcher, but I do watch the news, especially international news online, several times every day.

 Last favorite book?

 I loved Jonathan Coe’s “Middle English”. Coe captures the nuances of modern British life in a way that’s always compelling. This one is extremely timely, since it focused on Brexit.

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

Does red lipstick count as one of the items? I never, ever travel without a capsule wardrobe of red lipstick, with some options of shade and finish.  (And—here’s my travel tip!—I put the clear plastic bag of lipsticks inside a chic leather clutch that becomes my evening purse on arrival.). The other three items I would bring are a pair of oversized vintage sunglasses; a tablet filled with music, books, and magazines; and a fountain pen with which to write on hotel stationery, napkins, and pretty notebooks purchased on the trip.  I’m a city-lover, so it would a visit to a cultural capital.

 Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

Since I’ve written many articles for The Sunday New York Times, I definitely pick that!  

 Last person you sent a text message to?

My dear friend, the astrologer Susan Miller. It was red lip emojis.

Book you read that you wished you wrote?

 There are so many! Everything by James Joyce. Every book of poetry by Philip Larkin. Every compilation of scripts by Harold Pinter.  

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

One of the many excellent teachers I had at Barnard College really set me on my way: Joan Snitzer.  She truly empowered me to have confidence in my world view and feel that writing, my great love and creative outlet, could be a career.

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

Yes! Always.  Music is my air.  In the background is a mix of all sorts of established artists—from Nick Drake to The Clash to The Smiths to X—with plenty of newer ones, like Fontaines DC.

Describe your writing space?

First of all, it smells good! There’s always a scented candle burning on my desk, with the aroma chosen to accommodate the mood and season.  There’s usually a cup of tea too. There’s happy clutter—lots of pens, a stack of notebooks, boxes of stationery—and the weathered thesaurus I’ve had for decades.

Coffee or tea?

Tea, tea, and more tea. I gave up coffee nearly a decade ago—it will be ten years in August.  In its place, I’ve learned to truly savor the nuanced deliciousness of tea. Each morning begins with a pot of tea—properly brewed, of course, with loose leaves—and the newspaper. That, to me, is pure bliss.

Do you have a favorite book that you gift?

I usually give beautiful leather-bound notebooks to friends: I love to encourage them to write—and do so on paper, with a pen. But I do sometimes give beautiful coffee table books, like monographs of the work of fashion designers and artists.

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

 Alain de Botton’s “On Love” I’m a huge fan of de Botton’s books—this one lends itself to film scenes from the first pull-you-in sentence

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

“Lipstick” by Buzzcocks, of course!

What/Who inspires you?

I’m inspired by so much! I’m obsessed with art and music, and love the theater too—those media, along with great literature, are fuel that I can’t live without. My biggest inspiration is my daughter, and the goal to show her the beauty and importance of doing something you love, working hard at it, and giving back to others.

 Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

I watch reality on tv news programs instead of “reality” tv.

Favorite Instagram account?

 There’s not one that’s my absolute favorite, but I do follow the accounts of many top makeup artists and beauty entrepreneurs.

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

I’m hoping it’s ok to name if after one of my books instead of someone else’s!  I would create Manic Pop Thrill, inspired by my first book; it would be an intense, deeply pigmented, shocking-pink-tinged red.

 Current #TBR pile?

I’m about to do some book tour dates and have earmarked a stack of books about some of my favorite artists, like Egon Schiele, for the journeys.

Best advice you’ve ever received?

Never leave the house without red lipstick.

 

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Open Book with Sally Hepworth

Thrilled to have the legendary and most fabulous Sally Hepworth on the blog today!  I adore her and her books (she has been a past Bookish Beauty gal) and am honored to be celebrating the book birthday of her latest novel, The Mother-In-Law.  Read below about this domestic thriller that is perfect for your spring break as well as Sally’s dream book club (its AMAZE), latest reads and favorite Insta account 🙂

MOTHER IN LAW

via Amazon ~

A twisty, compelling new novel about one woman’s complicated relationship with her mother-in-law that ends in death…

From the moment Lucy met her husband’s mother, she knew she wasn’t the wife Diana had envisioned for her perfect son. Exquisitely polite, friendly, and always generous, Diana nonetheless kept Lucy at arm’s length despite her desperate attempts to win her over. And as a pillar in the community, an advocate for female refugees, and a woman happily married for decades, no one had a bad word to say about Diana…except Lucy.

That was five years ago.

Now, Diana is dead, a suicide note found near her body claiming that she longer wanted to live because of the cancer wreaking havoc inside her body.

But the autopsy finds no cancer.

It does find traces of poison, and evidence of suffocation.

Who could possibly want Diana dead? Why was her will changed at the eleventh hour to disinherit both of her children, and their spouses? And what does it mean that Lucy isn’t exactly sad she’s gone?

Fractured relationships and deep family secrets grow more compelling with every page in this twisty, captivating new novel from Sally Hepworth.

Praise for Sally Hepworth:

“With jaw-dropping discoveries, and realistic consequences, this novel is not to be missed. Perfect for lovers of Big Little Lies.” ―Library Journal, starred review

“Hepworth deftly keeps the reader turning pages and looking for clues, all the while building multilayered characters and carefully doling out bits of their motivations.” ―Booklist

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

Oprah, Ellen Degeneres, Reese Witherspoon – can you even imagine this book club?

Current binge series?

I have been bingeing on books! (The Silent Patient, Daisy Jones and the Six, An Anonymous Girl)

Last favorite book?

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. And The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer.

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

I am a homebody. My dream vacation would be a week at home alone, so no packing required!

Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

Neither! I read books!

Last person you sent a text message to?

My friend, Ange, who reminded me that it was school photos today (thank goodness as my daughter’s hair looked like a bird’s nest).

Book you read that you wished you wrote?

Where the Crawdads Sing.

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

Yes. My third and seventh grade English teachers were both incredibly encouraging.

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

No. I work at the library so I listen to the quiet chatter of people in the aisles, or people asking librarians for recommendations. Best music in the world.

Describe your writing space?

I write at the library, so I have a little desk that faces a window that looks out onto a parking lot. Not especially inspiring, but it stops me from getting distracted.

Coffee or tea?

Coffee.

Do you have a favorite book that you gift?

I tend to choose specific books that I think certain people would like, so it’s different for everyone. Though I will say, I’ve bought Where the Crawdads Sing for several people lately.

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

Where the Crawdads Sing. And Reese Witherspoon IS making a movie out of it. YAY!

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

I’ve Done All The Dumb Things by Paul Kelly

What/Who inspires you?

Women. Especially young women. My daughters inspire me. It is such a wonderful time to be a woman right now, and I’m excited about what the next generation will achieve for feminism.

Bravo reality TV – yes or no?

I’m not sure what this is?

Favorite Instagram account?

Dr. Pimple Popper.

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

The Other Woman.

Current #TBR pile?

Before She Was Found by Heather Gudenkauf.

Best advice you’ve ever received?

Do yoga, read books, and have as many children as you can afford (from my Mum).

 

Follow Sally:

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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 ❤

Geller_TrophyLife_FT

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/.

Follow Lea:

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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?

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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.

 

Follow Kristin :

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