What’s in my Bookish {Beauty} Bag?~ Labor Day ed. ~ Christina Julian, Jo Piazza and Mary Kubica

Back to school is here and I have some wonderful Labor Day picks today!  I was so lucky to have not only ONE but THREE fabulous authors open up their bags.  I have a little something for everyone ~ romance, mystery, non-fiction, humor- this list is endless with these three fabulous authors.  Read on to see for yourself ❤

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via Amazon ~

A hysterical dramedy about a woman unhinged and at a crossroad. “Julian’s debut takes an unabashed look at a failed marriage, divorce, and dating under the scrutiny of a less than supportive family.” –former San Francisco Chronicle columnist, Adair Lara.

Here I am, on my knees in front of the Trevi Fountain, hoping like hell the legend is true. That the fountain gives you solace and love by a mere toss of a coin.

Why am I here, exactly? Let’s see…

It started with my parents telling me to get married. Of course, being the good Catholic girl I am, I did.

Needless to say, that marriage nosedived, and my parents weren’t exactly happy about it.

Newly ditched and shamefully disowned, I decided to follow the advice of Babs, a tart-of-a-mentor, who offered me a job in Colorado.

Her advice? Sex…and lots of it.

The temptation of freedom, to do whatever–whoever–I wanted was too damn strong for me to say no.

And that’s how it all started. The men, the sex, the journey…

The dating bender.

Because everybody deserves a do-over

THE DATING BENDER is a hilarious satire about dysfunctional family relationships, women who love the wrong men, and one epic hunt for happiness.

PurseShot2.JPGWhat is your bag of choice?

This Kate Spade tote is hands down my fav for many reasons. First off because it’s pink. My day instantly brightens with one look. I also like how open and unencumbered it is. You can toss things in and out with ease, which for someone as indecisive as me, is a major score. But perhaps why I love this bag the most is because it’s something I would never buy for myself and was lucky enough to receive as a gift from my sister-in-law—the ultimate designer purse whore. She showed me how the “other” half lives and I have to admit, I like it!

What are your top beauty picks?

As a mother of 3-yr-old twins my beauty regime has gone right out the window, along with my sanity ;0). Cetaphil face cleaner is an essential, it washes away the day and night without drying. When I do wear makeup, which isn’t often, I turn to Estee Lauder BB cream and MAC studio fix, which both smooth out my skin tone and if I’m lucky, mask my sleep deprivation. I absolutely love Philosophy’s Hope in a Jar face cream. It feels like butter and gives my dry skin the lift it needs, especially during the scorching hot summers we get in Calistoga.

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

I’m not so sure this constitutes a beauty product but I’m never without Bath and Body Works hand sanitizer. It feels like someone is always sporting a cold in our house so this is my feeble attempt at damage control. I also love the fab scents. Neutrogena Face & Body Stick w/SPF 70, because when I am not writing I’m outside chasing the wild ones! When I’m mixing with the outside world, I try to slap on some lipstick, which is always MAC, because it has amazing staying power. My go-to shade is “Up the Amp” because this gal needs all the lift she can get. The pinkish/purple tint speaks to the girly-girl in me that never quits. And wipes, lots and lots of baby wipes.

What are you currently reading? 

I’m reading a couple books right now. Allison Winn Scotch’s In 20 Years and Emma Straub’s Modern Lovers. As a 40-something I love the notion of flashing back to my free-bird 20-something self. A time when my biggest quandries of the day amounted to deciding between which bar to hop to and whose lips I hoped to smash into next. The fact that these novels bounce seamlessly between these eras with humor, nostalgia, and more than a hint of sarcasm, have kept me up reading way past my bedtime.

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

A big honking key fob. The twins have taken to pillaging through my purse and stashing my keys in places that not even they can remember, so this helps with the hunt. As a debut author, I always have Dating Bender cards at the ready and never leave home without my iPad mini, just in case inspiration strikes. Or for when belting out the Beatles no longer settles the wee-ones. Then there’s the candy stash. Typically Dove dark chocolate and sour gummy bears. I wish I could say this is how I tame the tots, but the reality is I need the quick energy fix more than they ever could.

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Fitness Junkie

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via Amazon ~

Fitness Junkie

A Good Morning America Summer Must-Read! 

From the bestselling authors of The Knockoff, an outrageously funny novel about one woman’s attempt—through clay diets, naked yoga, green juice, and cultish workout classes—to win back her career, save her best friend, and lose thirty pounds.

When Janey Sweet, CEO of a couture wedding dress company, is photographed in the front row of a fashion show eating a bruffin—the delicious lovechild of a brioche and a muffin—her best friend and business partner, Beau, gives her an ultimatum: Lose thirty pounds or lose your job. Sure, Janey has gained some weight since her divorce, and no, her beautifully cut trousers don’t fit like they used to, so Janey throws herself headlong into the world of the fitness revolution, signing up for a shockingly expensive workout pass, baring it all for Free the Nipple yoga, sweating through boot camp classes run by Sri Lankan militants and spinning to the screams of a Lycra-clad instructor with rage issues. At a juice shop she meets Jacob, a cute young guy who takes her dumpster-diving outside Whole Foods on their first date. At a shaman’s tea ceremony she meets Hugh, a silver fox who holds her hand through an ayahuasca hallucination And at a secret exercise studio Janey meets Sara Strong, the wildly popular workout guru whose special dance routine has starlets and wealthy women flocking to her for results that seem too good to be true. As Janey eschews delicious carbs, pays thousands of dollars to charlatans, and is harassed by her very own fitness bracelet, she can’t help but wonder: Did she really need to lose weight in the first place? A hilarious send-up of the health and wellness industry, Fitness Junkie is a glorious romp through the absurd landscape of our weight-obsessed culture.

via Amazon ~

How to Be Married

Everyone tells you marriage is hard, but no one tells you what to do about it.

At age thirty-four, Jo Piazza got her romantic-comedy ending when she met the man of her dreams on a boat in the Galápagos Islands and was engaged three months later. But before long, Jo found herself riddled with questions. How do you make a marriage work in a world where you no longer need to be married? How does an independent, strong-willed feminist become someone’s partner—all the time?

In the tradition of writers such as Nora Ephron and Elizabeth Gilbert, award-winning journalist and nationally bestselling author Jo Piazza writes a provocative memoir of a real first year of marriage that will forever change the way we look at matrimony.

A travel editor constantly on the move, Jo journeys to twenty countries on five continents to figure out what modern marriage means. Throughout this stunning, funny, warm, and wise personal narrative, she gleans wisdom from matrilineal tribeswomen, French ladies who lunch, Orthodox Jewish moms, Swedish stay-at-home dads, polygamous warriors, and Dutch prostitutes.

Written with refreshing candor, elegant prose, astute reporting, and hilarious insight into the human psyche, How to Be Married offers an honest portrait of an utterly charming couple. When life throws more at them than they ever expected—a terrifying health diagnosis, sick parents to care for, unemployment—they ultimately create a fresh understanding of what it means to be equal partners during the good and bad times.

Through their journey, they reveal a framework that will help the rest of us keep our marriages strong, from engagement into the newlywed years and beyond.

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

Mulberry Bayswater and a Mulberry clutch

What are your top favorite beauty picks?  

PurO3 ozonated olive oil moisturizer, Jo Malone Wood Sage and Sea Salt perfume, Fresh Seaberry face oil.

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

I always carry red lipstick, Mac Russian Red (which feels like a strange name for a color right now), because it makes anyone look less tired, Glossier Invisible Shield sunscreen,

What are you currently reading?

Carolyn Murnicks’s The Hot One (comes out in August), J. Courtney Sullivan Saints for All Occasions and Elizabeth Warren’s This Fight is Our Fight

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

Peanut Butter Cups and an @dopper_official water bottle (t’s pretty much the perfect water bottle…they turn into a portable wine glass too)

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Every Last Lie cover

via Amazon~

New York Times bestselling author of THE GOOD GIRL Mary Kubica is back with another exhilarating thriller as a widow’s pursuit of the truth leads her to the darkest corners of the psyche. 

Clara Solberg’s world shatters when her husband and their four-year-old daughter are in a car crash, killing Nick while Maisie is remarkably unharmed. The crash is ruled an accident…until the coming days, when Maisie starts having night terrors that make Clara question what really happened on that fateful afternoon.

Tormented by grief and her obsession that Nick’s death was far more than just an accident, Clara is plunged into a desperate hunt for the truth. Who would have wanted Nick dead? And, more important, why? Clara will stop at nothing to find out—and the truth is only the beginning of this twisted tale of secrets and deceit.

Told in the alternating perspectives of Clara’s investigation and Nick’s last months leading up to the crash, master of suspense Mary Kubica weaves her most chilling thriller to date—one that explores the dark recesses of a mind plagued by grief and shows that some secrets might be better left buried.

 

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What is your bag of choice?- purse/tote/backpack and brand that you have?
Depending on where I’m headed and what I plan to do, I carry either a Vera Bradley crossbody bag (the Hipster) or my Ogio tote bag – especially when I need to bring my laptop with me, which is as it’s been much of this summer, always writing on the go.
 
What are your top favorite beauty picks?  
Murad, Clinique, Bobbi Brown
 
What do you always carry in your bag/purse/carry-on for beauty products?  
The only product that I carry around with me all the time is lip gloss (currently Neutrogena’s MoistureShine, though I’m not married to any brand)
 
What are you currently reading?
I’ve just finished ARCs of two exciting suspense novels set to release this year – Wendy Walker’s EMMA IN THE NIGHT (out August 8th) and Krysten Ritter’s BONFIRE (November 7th).  They’re both phenomenal.  Must-reads for anyone who loves a thrill!
 
And any other fun item/must-have that you always have with you?
Sunglasses are a necessity – I hate to squint – and my phone!

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What’s in my Bookish {Beauty} Bag? ~ Julie Lawson Timmer

It’s feels like fall over here in Boston and there is nothing I love more than crisp air- with sun of course- and a good book!  I was so excited to receive a copy of Julie Lawson Timmer’s latest book, Mrs. Saint and the Detectives and even more thrilled when she opened THE BAG.  When I say THE BAG I mean the bag that I continuously stalk on EBAY.  This Kate Spade bag is everything and since Julie is such an AH-mazing author I wouldn’t expect anything less 🙂  She is sharing her favorites- Bobbi Brown! and her adorable Poppy too!   Read ahead and make sure to add her newest to your must-read list!  Perfect way to end summer ❤

 

Mrs. Saint

via Amazon ~

Critically acclaimed author Julie Lawson Timmer returns with a tale of how community can heal the brokenness in all of us.

Markie, a fortysomething divorcée who has suffered a humiliating and very public fall from marital, financial, and professional grace, moves, along with her teenage son, Jesse, to a new town, hoping to lick her wounds in private. But Markie and Jesse are unable to escape the attention of their new neighbor Mrs. Saint, an irascible, elderly New European woman who takes it upon herself, along with her ragtag group of “defectives,” to identify and fix the flaws in those around her, whether they want her to or not.

What Markie doesn’t realize is that Mrs. Saint has big plans for the divorcée’s broken spirit. Soon, the quirky yet endearing woman recruits Markie to join her eccentric community, a world where both hidden truths and hope unite them. But when Mrs. Saint’s own secrets threaten to unravel their fragile web of healing, it’s up to Markie to mend these wounds and usher in a new era for the “defectives”—one full of second chances and happiness.

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What is your bag of choice?

I switch day-use bags often, but the one that’s most fun is the Kate Spade All Typed Up bag my husband gave me for Valentine’s one year. It’s not only adorable, but it’s also functional, and big enough to hold my laptop. Almost every time I’m out with it, some small child asks if the keyboard actually works. For weekends, I am in love with my Lululemon All-Day Tote, also gifted to me by my husband. It’s so sleek and has a place for everything.

What are your top favorite beauty picks?  

I don’t wear much makeup, but when I do, it’s exclusively Bobbi Brown. I love her Skin Foundation Stick, Creamy Concealer, Corrector, and Pot Rouge. Best wrinkle-hiding makeup I’ve found so far! I also love my Michel Mercier no-tangle hairbrushes–I have several, including one I keep one in the shower. This single product has saved me so much time and grief.

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

I am never without lip wear, and I have a little zippered bag in every purse containing an assortment: lip balm (my favorites are ones I get from my dentist. Keeps me going back for regular cleanings!); lip gloss (clear – I use a lot of Neutrogena gloss); and lip color (Bobbi Brown again, and sometimes M.A.C.).

What are you currently reading?

I’m always reading several things at once. Right now, it’s Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout, Beartown by Fredrik Backman, Guerilla Factory: The Making of Special Forces Officers by Tony Schwalm (part of a long-distance book club I’m doing with my 20-year-old son), and Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl (another mom/son book).

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

My iPhone of course–not for social media but because my kids have moved away and texting is our main communication mode now. I am forever snapping photos of things I think they’ll laugh about or like to see. It’s boring, but I also always have Goody hair ties so I can toss my hair into a ponytail at the end of a work day, or if it’s too hot to feel hair on my neck, etc. If my family were to answer this question, they’d say my minpin (Miniature Pinscher) Poppy, a sweet little 8-pound dog whose favorite spot is my lap, and who is the subject of at least half my Instagram posts.

Julie Lawson Timmer

 

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Lake Union Double Feature ~ What’s in My Bookish (Beauty) Bag? ~ Kathy Cooperman and Kerry Lonsdale

Lake Union is a treasure chest of books and authors.  The publishing company of Amazon, is always producing literary gems and I am lucky to be able to get my hands on them.  I am so excited that two of their fabulous authors ~ Kathy Cooperman and Kerry Lonsdale decided to share not only their gorgeous bags but celebrate their two latest releases!  Both the prefect anecdote for end-of-summeritis 😉

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via Amazon ~

“Lighthearted…You’ll speed through this read.” —Real Simple

Best friends Annie and Sarah need cash—fast. Sarah, a beautiful, successful lawyer, wants nothing more than to have a baby. But balancing IVF treatments with a grueling eighty-hour workweek is no walk in the park. Meanwhile, Annie, a Harvard-grad chemist recently transplanted to Southern California, is cutting coupons to afford her young autistic son’s expensive therapy.

Desperate, the two friends come up with a brilliant plan: they’ll combine Sarah’s looks and Annie’s brains to sell a “luxury” antiaging face cream to the wealthy, fading beauties in Annie’s La Jolla book club. The scheme seems innocent enough, until Annie decides to add a special—and oh-so-illegal—ingredient that could bring their whole operation crashing to the ground.

Hilarious, intelligent, and warm, Crimes Against a Book Club is a delightful look at the lengths women will go to fend for their families and for one another.

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What is your bag of choice?

My bag of choice is a Simply Vera Wang handbag I got at Kohls last year.  It’s like my brain:  roomy, compartmentalized and full of junk.  I love it because it’s practical, but stylish.  My older kids – I have four of these creatures—are getting to a point where they don’t want their mom to embarrass them with her sheer dowdiness.

 

What are your top favorite beauty picks?

I use a mashup of high-end and bargain basement products – whatever works.  I have very dry skin (think tumbleweed) so I need stuff that moisturizes and protects; otherwise, I look like the Crypt Keeper.  My go-tos these days are: Laura Geller’s Spackle Supercharged Primer (moisturizes like nobody’s business), Tarte primer and concealer (takes ten years off my face – I hope), Lancome liquid eyeliner, and Almay multi-coat mascara (cheap, but works great to prevent me from looking like one of those pin-cushion-eyed babies from The Muppets).   Also, since I have frizzy, super thick hair (a Jewfro), I use CHI Shine Infusion hair spray to moisturize and tame my hair.

 

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

Since I live in sunny San Diego, I always carry weapons-grade sunscreen for me and my kids.  I also would never be caught dead without a hairbrush (see Jewfro referenced above) and lipstick.   I use Maybelline Super Stay 24 Hour Color lipstick.  I love bright, red lipstick, but I am too lazy and disorganized to reapply.

 

What are you currently reading?

YOU’LL GROW OUT OF IT by Jessi Klein.  She’s hilarious (writes for Amy Schumer).  She tells on herself with great honesty.  I also read a ton of Simon Brett murder mysteries.

 

Any other fun item/must-have that you always have with you?

Emergency chocolate.  And life savers for when the emergency chocolate runs out.  I use candy bribes on my children and myself.

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via Amazon ~

From the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Everything We Keep comes the highly anticipated sequel. Told from one man’s two perspectives, Everything We Left Behindeffortlessly blends suspense, mystery, and romance in an exploration of loss, resilience, and the compelling need to protect the ones we love at all cost.

Two months before his wedding, financial executive James Donato chased his trade-laundering brother Phil to Mexico, only to be lost at sea and presumed dead. Six and a half years later, he emerges from a dissociative fugue state to find he’s been living in Oaxaca as artist Carlos Dominguez, widower and father of two sons, with his sister-in-law Natalya Hayes, a retired professional surfer, helping to keep his life afloat. But his fiancée, Aimee Tierney, the love of his life, has moved on. She’s married and has a child of her own.

Devastated, James and his sons return to California. But Phil is scheduled for release from prison, and he’s determined to find James, who witnessed something in Mexico that could land Phil back in confinement. Under mounting family pressure, James flees with his sons to Kauai, seeking refuge with Natalya. As James begins to unravel the mystery of his fractured identity, danger is never far behind, and Natalya may be the only person he can trust.

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

I have three bags I switch around throughout a week: a red Kate Spade shoulder bag, a saddle-brown Michael Kors bag that looks like a piece of luggage, and the black leather Moda Luxe you caught me with today.

 

What are your top favorite beauty picks? 

bareMinerals is my go-to for all beauty products, from facial lotion to lipstick. It’s the only brand I’ve come across that works for me. It doesn’t dry out my skin or feel too heavy.

 

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

Lipstick! My everyday color is the bareMinerals Marvelous Moxie Rise Up. You’ll also find the Mentha Shimmer Tint lip gloss in Bare Mint flavor from Co. Bigelow in that fuzzy leopard print cosmetic bag along with the bareMinerals performance wear powder foundation I use for touchup throughout the day. A new favorite is the invisible glow powder highlighter I received with my last bareMinerals purchase. It was the freebie gift and gives your cheeks and chin that dazzling magazine shimmer you see in ads.

 

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

I prefer to travel light, even around town, so I don’t carry paperbacks. I’ve been a die-hard e-reader since Amazon first launched the Kindle. (I used to own the flagship white brick version.) Right now I’m reading several books on  my Kindle Oasis, a couple of early reads for books publishing in 2018 along with Camille Pagan’s FOREVER IS THE WORST LONG TIME.

 

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

I wouldn’t necessarily call them fun, but I ALWAYS must have my Tory Burch (prescription) Sunglasses and Coach bifocals. (Gah! My poor eyes.) You don’t see it in the photo (because I ate it), but I always carry an RxBar. My favorite is the cocoa and date bar. And thanks to my fair English-Scottish complexion, you’ll always find Supergoop lip balm in SPF 30 and CeraVe Sunscreen face lotion in SFP 50 in my bag.

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Thanks to Kathy and Kerry!

What’s in my Bookish (Beauty) Bag? ~ Maria Murnane

One thing I love about book blogging is discovering new, fabulous authors like Maria Murnane.  We connected via email and she sent her AH-mazing books my way.  Her latest, Bridges, is out now and is the quintessential female fiction as well as her already popular Waverly Bryson Series.  (Psst, if you have Prime and the Kindle App, the first book is free- you’re welcome.)  Read below to see Maria’s funky tote filled with a fave beauty product of mine- MAC lipstick!

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via Amazon~

From the bestselling author of the Waverly Bryson series.

It’s a piece of news Daphne never expected to hear: Her globe-trotting friend Skylar, who vowed never to get married, is engaged! Time to celebrate in Manhattan—Skylar’s treat, of course. After years scaling the corporate ladder, she can more than afford it.

Daphne arrives in NYC with news of her own—the novel she’s finally finished appears to be going nowhere but the trash bin of every publishing house around. She’s devastated but plans to keep her disappointment under wraps, something that becomes trickier when she sees Skylar’s spectacular apartment. Could her life have been like this if she’d chosen a different path?

What Daphne doesn’t know is she’s not the only one with a secret. Skylar and their friend KC are also holding something back, but what? As the trip unfolds, the truth about each woman emerges, along with tears.

And laughter. And love.

The fun-loving trio readers fell for in Wait for the Rain is together once more. Here’s to the power of friendship!

My purse

What is your bag of choice?
I love tote bags because they are so easy. I don’t care about brands– I bought the one in this photo at a street fair in Vietnam for $7!
 
What are your top favorite beauty picks?  
I love Mac lipstick– my favorite color is Midimauve
 
What do you always carry in your bag/purse/carry-on for beauty products?  
The two products I have with me at all times are lipstick and hand lotion. I have the dryest hands– it is so annoying!
 
What are you currently reading (can be books/magazines)
I’m currently reading a novella called Broken Bay. My friend Andrea Dunlop wrote it!
 
And any other fun item/must-have that you always have with you 🙂
This photo shows my staples: my Kindle, my lipstick, my hand lotion, my sunglasses, my business cards, my Altoids, and my mini-purse for money, etc. The only thing missing is my phone, which I needed to take the picture. 🙂

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*Thanks Maria for sharing your bag and the gift of your books!

What’s in my Bookish (Beauty) Bag? ~ Stacey Lender

Stacey Lender‘s debut novel City Mouse is nothing short of fantastic.  Compared to The Real Housewives, Lender takes on suburbia, friendship and motherhood- all ingredients for a perfect beach read and page-turner.  I am delighted she shared her bag with us today and HIGHLY recommend City Mouse for your beach bag paired with a crisp glass of wine because that’s what all suburban wives and mom’s do…right?  Also I immediately fell in love with Stacey when she shared her vintage Gucci make-up bag, gasp!

CITY MOUSE

via Amazon ~

“A hilarious book about the city vs. suburb divide.”
New York Post, a Must-Read Book

“City Mouse is a sharp and sophisticated novel of suburban life with a narrative voice that is equal parts witty, observant, and vulnerable. A wonderful debut!
Susan Isaacs, New York Times best-selling author

“For every city mom who fears death by suburbia–and for every suburban mom who wonders if it’s just her–this insightful, funny trip into the secrets behind those picket fences is required reading.”
Maureen Sherry, author of Opening Belle

“City Mouse reminds mothers of that priceless lesson: the grass is always greener…and maybe even alcohol-soaked Astroturf. I tore through this book like a bored, competitive housewife tears through her Xanax.”
Faith Salie, author of Approval Junkie

“Lender sharply portrays the corrupt privilege of upper-middle-class suburbanites, and with a twist of her pen, the Stepford Wives take the upper hand over their husbands…the climactic explosion takes everyone by surprise. A bracingly tart portrait of suburban hell.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Lender’s enlightening, beautifully plotted novel dives deep into the notion of having it all while playing with the shallow notions of the American dream.”
Publishers Weekly

“This defines a beach read for me! So relatable to our own lives as it is all about mom trying to find out exactly where she fits in the in the scheme of suburbia–all that goes along with it. Plus, when a book is described as The Stepford Wives meets Bad Moms, how can you go wrong?”
Mom of the Year (blog), included in 20 Best Summer Books

“It’s not long before neighborhood secrets give away to scandal, proving the grass–and the Astroturf–isn’t always greener on the other side of the white-picket fence.”
Star Magazine

“With real estate prices on the rise, Jessica, Aaron, and their kids are forced to ditch their chichi Manhattan digs for the suburbs. Though she had her worries, Jessica settles into her new normal with ease–but when she embarks on a moms-only trip with her new galpals, she ends up learning a few eye-opening lessons that spur her to reevaluate her life.”
OK! Magazine

“Lender’s debut novel is positively irresistible. It’s hilarious and insightful and just the type of book any city girl needs to tote to her vacation rental this summer…even with three kids in tow.”
Daytime Confidential

Priced out of their Manhattan neighborhood, Jessica and Aaron move with their young daughters to the one place Jessica swore she’d never go: the suburbs. But to Jessica’s surprise, life in the commuter belt makes a great first impression. She quickly falls in with a clique of helpful mom friends who welcome her with pitchers of margaritas, neighborhood secrets, and a pair of hot jeans that actually fit.

Still, it’s hard to keep up in a crowd where everyone competes for the most perfectly manicured home and latest backyard gadgets. And what’s worse, as the only working mom in her circle, Jessica sometimes feels disconnected and alone. So she’s thrilled when she’s invited to a moms-only weekend at the beach, which she assumes will mean new opportunities for real talk and bonding. Instead, the trip turns into a series of eye-opening lessons, and Jessica must decide if she’s strong enough to be honest with herself about the sort of life she really wants.

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What is your bag of choice?

I recently discovered this great brand Verloop Knits, and am in love with my new summer tote. It’s so happy and bright and has such a beautiful texture – plus it can go straight from the beach to a lunch meeting. It’s a perfect match for my W.H. Petronela Python iPad sleeve.

What are your top favorite beauty picks?  

When it comes to beauty products and makeup, I’m all about speed and a natural everyday look. For skincare, Tatcha Brightening Serum is incredibly sheer and lightweight and gives my skin an amazing glow. Kevyn Aucoin has so many terrific products, especially the eyeshadow and long-lasting Precision Eye Definer (bonus: it never needs a sharpener). For lips, I like NARS lip gloss because it isn’t sticky, and when I step it up at night and wear lipstick, this sparkly tube of Lipstick Queen’s All that Jazz says, ‘it wouldn’t kill you to put on a pair of heels.’

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

Elta MD SPF 46 sunscreen is seriously the best product out there for sensitive skin and one of my everyday musts. I always throw a pair of sunglasses in my bag (and have quite a collection of $5 street fair specials), but when I splurge, my go-to shades are Lafont Paris.

What are you currently reading?

Summer is my favorite time to chill with a good book, and I like to mix it up with juicy novels, memoirs, biographies, and short story collections. Colum McCann is one of my favorite authors, and I’ve been catching up on some of his works including Thirteen Ways of Looking. Last month I was at an event where author and comedienne Cynthia Kaplan read one of her hilarious essays about sex after childbirth, and I can’t wait to dig into Leave the Building Quickly. Also on my must-reads for summer: Abby Fabiaschi’s debut I Liked My Life and Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke’s The Good Widow.

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

In high school I saved up for this Gucci makeup bag, and while I’ve upgraded its contents since those Bonnie Bell Lip Smacker days, to say that this little bag has stood the test of time is an understatement. It’s been with me on my roadie travels across the country, at my wedding, and a million everyday stops in between. Oh the stories this bag could tell…

 

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*Many thanks to stacey for sharing her gorgeous, summery tote and blessing us with a wonderful beach read ❤

 

What’s in my Bookish {Beauty} Bag? ~ Michele Campbell

I have been featuring some great summer thrillers lately on my Insta and Michele Campbell’s, It’s Always the Husband is nothing short of that.  A thrilling and chilling debut that is sure to keep you guessing until the very end.  I was so excited when she shared her STUNNING Louis Vuitton tote filled with fabulous beauty products and fun accessories.  Plus she is another New England gal, near and dear to my heart!

It's Always the Husband_COVER.jpg

via Amazon ~

“This book is perfect for fans of Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies.” –Redbook Magazine

“Fans of Ruth Ware and Gillian Flynn meet your next obsession.” ―BuzzFeed

“In the tradition of Big Little Lies comes the excellently titled It’s Always the Husband, a thriller about three friends–frenemies, really–who met as college roommates.” –New York Post

*Named one of “50 Best Books for the Beach” by Coastal Living
*Named one of “7 Books You Won’t Be Able to Put Down This Month” by InStyle
*Named one of “6 Books to Cure Your Little Big Lies Withdrawal” by Elle.com
*Named one of “20 Must-Read Books for Spring 2017” by Redbook
*Named one of “8 Thrillers You Will Devour This Summer” by BuzzFeed

“A page-turning whodunnit that will speak to anyone who’s ever had a frenemy.” –Ruth Ware, bestselling author of The Woman in Cabin Ten

Kate, Aubrey, and Jenny first met as college roommates and soon became inseparable, despite being as different as three women can be. Kate was beautiful, wild, wealthy, and damaged. Aubrey, on financial aid, came from a broken home, and wanted more than anything to distance herself from her past. And Jenny was a striver―brilliant, ambitious, and determined to succeed. As an unlikely friendship formed, the three of them swore they would always be there for each other.

But twenty years later, one of them is standing at the edge of a bridge, and someone is urging her to jump.

How did it come to this?
Kate married the gorgeous party boy, Aubrey married up, and Jenny married the boy next door. But how can these three women love and hate each other? Can feelings this strong lead to murder? When one of them dies under mysterious circumstances, will everyone assume, as is often the case, that it’s always the husband?

A suspenseful, absorbing novel that examines the complexities of friendship, It’s Always the Husband will keep readers guessing right up to its shocking conclusion.

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What is your bag of choice?

I travel a lot, and my go-to carry-on is the Louis Vuitton Neverfull.  I know, everyone and her sister owns this bag!  But for a reason.  It’s stylish and durable and has an incredible ability to shape-shift.  I can fit half my wardrobe in it and still scrunch it up and shove it under the seat in front of me — which means I never have to gate-check it.

What are your top favorite beauty picks?  

I love Dr. Hauschka products, especially the rose-scented hand cream.  I’m also crazy for lipstick, especially MAC, which is now available in lots of airports.  I buy it in two color ranges — nude/pink for day and deep-red for evening — over and over again to the point that I end up with multiples of the same color.  Gotta work on controlling that!

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

I can’t live without Jo Malone’s Vitamin E lip conditioner (so moisturizing, and tastes yummy) and Coola’s Face sunscreen, which goes on like a dream.  Also, for a long plane flight, I love to bring one of those Evian rosewater spritzers — so refreshing!

What are you currently reading?

I never get on an airplane without something thrilling to read.  I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of The Breakdown, by B. A. Paris, which is so suspenseful I can’t put it down.

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

When I travel, I always bring my laptop, because planes are a surprisingly great place to write.  I have a Dell notebook-size one that fits on a tray table.  I always have headphones with me so I can plug into some good tunes.  And I love to tuck the Longchamp Le Pliage backpack into my carry-on so I can do a little sightseeing or go for a long walk wherever I am.  It’s a classic, folds up tiny and weighs nothing.

Michele_Campbell_CREDIT Sigrid Estrada

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❤ Thanks to Michele for sharing her bag and for her fabulous beach read this summer!

What’s in my Bookish {Beauty} Bag? 4th of July edition ~ Lisa Duffy

Happy 4th of July!  Time to celebrate and read a good book 🙂  I am so happy to have another local author and gal, Lisa Duffy on the blog sharing her debut book, The Salt House.  This is the perfect beach read or getaway book.  With rave reviews since its June release, The Salt House is a dramatic and emotional story that will hook you from the beginning, a must-read of 2017.

The Salt House cover

via Amazon ~

*Real Simple “Best Books of June”
*Refinery29 “Best Beach Reads of 2017”

In the tradition of Jodi Picoult and Lisa Genova, this gorgeously written, heartbreaking, yet hopeful debut set during a Maine summer traces the lives of a young family in the aftermath of tragedy.

In the coastal town of Alden, Maine, Hope and Jack Kelly have settled down to a life of wedded bliss. They have a beautiful family, a growing lobster business, and the Salt House—the dilapidated oceanfront cottage they’re renovating into their dream home. But tragedy strikes when their young daughter doesn’t wake up from her afternoon nap, taking her last breath without making a sound.

A year later, each member of the Kelly family navigates the world on their own private island of grief. Hope spends hours staring at her daughter’s ashes, unable to let go. Jack works to the point of exhaustion in an attempt to avoid his crumbling marriage. Their daughters, Jess and Kat, struggle to come to terms with the loss of their younger sister while watching their parents fall apart.

When Jack’s old rival, Ryland Finn, threatens his fishing territory, he ignites emotions that propel the Kelly family toward circumstances that will either tear them apart—or be the path to their family’s future.

Told in alternating voices, The Salt House is a layered, emotional portrait of marriage, family, friendship, and the complex intersections of love, grief, and hope

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  • What is your bag of choice?

I have a thing for hobo bags. I’m not picky about the designer–it’s all about the color anddesign, sort of a love at first sight type of thing.

 

  • What are your top favorite beauty picks?

My go to perfume is Lush’s Lust. They call it “Unabashedly carnal jasmine”. I’m stocking up on it just in case they ever decide to discontinue the scent. I’m also a hand cream junkie. The prettier the tube, the better. My sister-in-law introduced me to L’Occitaine’s Shea Butter and I’m loving.

 

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

I always have a tube/container of lip balm (or ten) at the bottom of my bag. I don’t wear lipstick, and I love clear (not sticky!) lip moisturizers. Lush’s Ultrabalm is my go-to because it comes in this cool tin, and it’s all purpose…feels great on lips and hands.

 

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

I just finished an ARC of Elise Hooper’s The Other Alcott. An excellent debut out this September about the untold story of May Alcott.

 

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

I try to always throw my Kindle in my bag. It comforts me to travel with it so if I’m stuck waiting somewhere, I can always just use the time to relax and read.

Lisa Duffy credit © Tom Wheble

Thanks to Lisa for sharing her bag and make sure to pick up a copy of The Salt House!

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What’s in my Bookish {Beauty} Bag? ~ Hannah McKinnon

Who is getting ready for the 4th of July?!?!  I am excited to have the next week off and plan on finishing up some books and jumping into some fabulous beach reads.  I am thrilled to be able to feature Hannah McKinnon’s latest, The Summer House and have her share her BEACH BAG!  Hello.  Quintessential beach read and fabulous author’s beach bag?  Can we say perfect 4th weekend kick off 🙂

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via Amazon ~

When Flossy Merrill summons her children to the beloved family beach house to celebrate their father’s eightieth birthday, both cherished memories and long-kept secrets come to light in this charming and lyrical novel from the author of The Lake Season and Mystic Summer. 

Flossy Merrill has managed to—somewhat begrudgingly—gather her three ungrateful grown children from their dysfunctional lives for a summer reunion at the family’s Rhode Island beach house. Clementine, her youngest child and a young mother of two small children, has caused Flossy the most worry after enduring a tragically life-altering year. But Samuel and his partner Evan are not far behind in their ability to alarm: their prospective adoption search has just taken a heart-wrenching turn. Only Paige, the eldest of the headstrong Merrill clan, is her usual self: arriving precisely on time with her well-adapted teens. Little does her family know that she, too, is facing personal struggles of her own.

No matter. With her family finally congregated under one seaside roof, Flossy is determined to steer her family back on course even as she prepares to reveal the fate of the summer house that everyone has thus far taken for granted: she’s selling it. The Merrill children are both shocked and outraged and each returns to memories of their childhoods at their once beloved summer house—the house where they have not only grown up, but from which they have grown away. With each lost in their respective heartaches, Clementine, Samuel, and Paige will be forced to reconsider what really matters before they all say goodbye to a house that not only defined their summers, but, ultimately, the ways in which they define themselves. Featuring McKinnon’s “sharp and evocative” (Kirkus Reviews) voice, this warm-hearted novel is perfect for fans of Elin Hilderbrand and Mary Alice Monroe.

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What is your bag of choice?

With summer upon us and beach reads on the brain, my go-to beach bag is my Mar Y Sol valencia beach tote. I love the raffia, I love the fact that I can fit everything in it from sunscreen and snacks to books and a beach towel. And for a girl who trends toward earth tones and neutrals, the Madagascar orange color is such a fun pop!

What are your top favorite beauty picks?  

Cruelty-free and paraben-free products are important to me. I love to shop Sephora, but as a working mom of two little girls, the local drugstore often has to do. Moisturizer is my number one beauty pick: its amazing what a good one can do. I love Alba Botanica moisturizers with sunscreen. A beauty favorite that I discovered on Cape Cod one summer is Kiss Me in the Garden. I adore their No 04 Lemongrass & Verbena shea butter balm. Locally made, and all natural, it feels indulgent and it smells divine; I use it all over! You can find them online, and they offer a custom blending bar, too.

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

As a fair-haired and sensitive skinned-girl, little blemishes or tired eyes stand out. I love Bobbi Brown Corrector in Porcelain Bisque. A swipe of sheer e.l.f. lipgloss and I’m good to go.

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading Wally Lamb’s ‘I’ll Take You There’. I’ve always been a big Wally fan. For summer, nothing beats an Elin Hilderbrand book.

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

My RayBan’s go everywhere with me! Polarized protection for blue eyes and a quick fix to pull your look together. As a mom, my two other must-haves are sunscreen and snacks. Babyganics is a great mineral-based sunscreen for sports and outdoor play. I also keep my bag flush with food- my girls love Annie’s and Honest Kids. We make a solid organic effort, but you’ll find Doritos in there, too! Well, at least the crumbs.

Much as I’m loathe to admit it, the first day of summer is probably the ONLY time my beach bag actually looks this put together! By day two- with kids, pets, and beaches- it’s full of sticky juice containers, sandy granola bar wrappers, and who knows what else. My younger daughter has been known to pop one of our pet chickens in there to carry around. Even she knows the value of a good sized tote!

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What’s in my Bookish {Beauty} Bag? ~ Sonja Yoerg

Sonja Yoerg and I have something in common, we are both east coast born girls, so of course I instantly loved that about her.  Her latest release, All the Best People, is sure to be a favorite read of the summer with fabulous reviews.  I was so happy she wanted to share her bag and celebrate her latest release.  I love that she is faithful to her beauty products.  When you find a good lipstick shade you stick to it.  A beauty 101 rule 🙂

 

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via Amazon ~

An intricately crafted story of madness, magic and misfortune across three generations from the author of The Middle of Somewhere and House Broken

Vermont, 1972. Carole LaPorte has a satisfying, ordinary life. She cares for her children, balances the books for the family’s auto shop and laughs when her husband slow dances her across the kitchen floor. Her tragic childhood might have happened to someone else.

But now her mind is playing tricks on her. The accounts won’t reconcile and the murmuring she hears isn’t the television. She ought to seek help, but she’s terrified of being locked away in a mental hospital like her mother, Solange. So Carole hides her symptoms, withdraws from her family and unwittingly sets her eleven-year-old daughter Alison on a desperate search for meaning and power: in Tarot cards, in omens from a nearby river and in a mysterious blue glass box belonging to her grandmother.

An exploration of the power of courage and love to overcome a damning legacy, All the Best People celebrates the search for identity and grace in the most ordinary lives.

Bag Photo

What is your bag of choice?

My current favorite is a Michael Kors hobo I picked up on resale. As soon as I slung it over my shoulder, I knew we’d be friends. When I travel, I carry my Sherpani laptop bag and pack a small red cross-body bag in my roll-on. It packs flat and holds my wallet, Kindle, phone, lipstick, and nothing more.

What are your top favorite beauty picks?

My fine curls droop if you look at them sideways but Beauty Protector Protect and Detangle gives them some oomph without leaving them crunchy. On the rare occasion I need to look my best all day, I use a proper foundation (Make Up For Ever) but otherwise I rely on Miracle Skin Transformer Face Spotlight by Sarah McNamara. It’s light, mousse-like, and contains sunscreen—what more can you ask? I’m also a fan of Benefit’s Gimme Brow gel. Even a make-up klutz like me can manage to apply it correctly. I call that a miracle product.

 

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

I always have Clinique lipstick in Bamboo Pink or Very Berry. I started using the brand twenty years ago and can’t think of a reason to change. When I was in San Francisco on my last book tour, I picked up 80 Acres Blood Orange hand cream made with olive oil. It’s exactly the right weight and smells delicious.

What are you currently reading?

One More Day by Kelly Simmons and Girl in Disguise by Greer Macallister. I also have started Jessica’s Strawser’s Almost Missed You on my Kindle and am listening to A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles on my phone. I’m normally a terrible multitasker; I’m easily distracted and must write in silence but somehow have no problem keeping track of four books at once.

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

A tiny portable shopping bag. This red one is from Envirobags and has travelled around the world with me for years, holding everything from extra clothes to gifts to impromptu picnic fare. While traveling in the Pyrenees, I used it to collect wild blackberries!

Sonja Yoerg Author Photo credit to Sandy Payne Photography

 

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What’s in my Bookish {Beauty} Bag? ~ Deb Caletti Edition

Deb Caletti is a writer for all readers.  Her back catalog of books has a little something for everyone: drama, suspense, love and friendship.  I am so happy to be able to feature her today and have her share her bag with us.  Her latest novel, out now, What’s Become of Her is a little bit love mixed with a whole lot of suspense.  It’s a must for your beach bag this summer and if you haven’t read her before I have included some of her others sure to be the best accomplice on vacation or in the sun and sand 😉

What's Become of Her

via Amazon ~

From National Book Award finalist Deb Caletti comes an emotionally riveting story of a woman falling for a man who may be hiding a dangerous secret—perfect for readers of Jodi Picoult and Kristin Hannah.

“Guilty people keep secrets.”

Isabelle Austen returns to her hometown on a small, isolated Pacific Northwest island to take over the family tourism business after the death of her mother, a disapproving parent and a hard woman to love. Feeling lost, Isabelle is also struggling with a recent divorce and wondering if she’ll ever come into her own. Then her life takes a surprising turn: The mysterious Henry North arrives on Parrish Island, steps off a seaplane, and changes Isabelle’s world forever. From the beginning, their relationship is heady and intense—then Isabelle learns of Henry’s disturbing past, involving the death of a fiancée and the disappearance of a wife. Suddenly Isabelle is caught between love and suspicion, paranoia and passion, as she searches for the truth she may not want to find—and is swept into a dangerous game she may not survive.

Praise for What’s Become of Her

“A darkly enchanting romance sinks into a thrilling cat-and-mouse game.”Kirkus Reviews

“Caletti elevates reader discomfort to the maximum in this nuanced suspense novel. . . . The plot builds to a surprising and well-developed conclusion.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“As Caletti combines literary fiction with suspense, she keeps readers guessing until the last page.”Booklist

“This is a lush, suspenseful read set in a sleepy seaside town, with both main characters using the locale (and each other) as a means to escape. Caletti’s strengths are all on display: the novel is carefully paced, the prose excellent, and the characters (and their ghosts and demons) are realistic and strikingly drawn. Each person’s motivations and reliability as a narrator are weighed and considered over the course of the novel, with expectations upended and reevaluated constantly. The build to the climax is relentless, tense and satisfying.”RT Book Reviews

“This is a fast-paced read, with exceptional moments of suspense.”—The Book Review

Praise for the novels of Deb Caletti

“Striking . . . well-written, strongly characterized and emotionally complex fiction.”Kirkus Reviews (starred review), on He’s Gone

“Caletti once again combines interesting characters, pitch-perfect dialogue, and an intriguing plot to tell a deeply memorable story. Her latest is a thoughtful exploration of love and marriage and the power of family and friendship to help along the way.”Booklist, on The Secrets She Keeps

Deb Caletti - What's In My Bag photo

What is your bag of choice?

This bag is The Sak’s Indio Leather Hobo.  I love any bag or satchel with leather that looks like a saddle, a baseball mitt, or an old library reading chair.  Leather with a history.  This bag has a cheerful, fun fabric inside, too.

What are your top favorite beauty picks?

*Güd’s Blood Orange Flower lotion – My favorite fragrance.  Refreshing, and delicious-smelling.

*Eos’s Vanilla Mint lip balm – Yum!

*E.l.f. Lip Exfoliator – A terrific find (and a super bargain), it’s like a sugar scrub for your lips.

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

I’m a Clinique woman all the way, so I carry one of their little compacts, their Nearly Violet lipstick, and their awesome Airbrush Concealer.  Also, a sample size of my favorite perfume, Clinique’s Happy.  I believe in finding happiness everywhere you can, even in a sweet little bottle with an orange cap.

 

What are you currently reading?

I’m catching up with a short-story collection, “There’s Something I Want You To Do,” from one of my favorite writers, Charles Baxter.  My husband and I are also on a Jo Nesbø kick.  I have to read ahead of him, because he’s really bad at Reader Rule Number One: Don’t Get Excited And Tell Stuff You Shouldn’t.

 

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

*My library card!

*The super-handy Anker iPhone charger case.  It’s a bit heavy for me for everyday use, but I pop my phone into it when I anticipate taking lots of photos, using Google Maps, or heading anywhere battery draining, like on a mountain hike.

*Promo postcards of my books.

*Scünci hair bands.  First order of business after an event: put the hair up in a ponytail.

*A notepad and my favorite pens. This is an adorable fabric-covered one from World Market.  Pens: Uni-ball Roller.  If a good idea comes and I’m not able to type it in somewhere, these save me from drastic measures like writing on grocery receipts with a lipstick.

Caletti - Author Photo - credit Susan Doupé

via Amazon:

The Secrets She Keeps ~

From bestselling author Deb Caletti comes a beautiful and profound novel of three women coming to terms with love and marriage—sure to move and delight fans of Kristin Hannah, Liane Moriarty, and Anna Quindlen.
 
“You don’t grow up on a divorce ranch and not learn to take a vow seriously.”

When Callie McBride finds a woman’s phone number written on a scrap of paper her husband has thrown away, she thinks that her marriage is over. Callie flees to Nevada and her Aunt Nash’s Tamarosa Ranch, where she’s shocked to see that the place of so many happy childhood memories is in disrepair. Worse, Aunt Nash is acting bizarrely—hoarding stacks of old photographs, burying a book in the yard, and railing against Kit Covey, a handsome government park ranger who piques Callie’s interest.

But Aunt Nash may prove to be saner than she seems once Callie pulls back the curtain on Tamarosa’s heyday—the 1940s and ’50s, when high-society and Hollywood women ventured to the ranch for quickie divorces and found a unique sisterhood—and uncovers a secret promise Nash made to her true love. Callie will come to see is that no life is ever ordinary. No story of love is, either.

 

Essential Maps for the Lost ~

From beloved author and National Book Award finalist Deb Caletti comes a fresh and luminous novel about the grief that can tear us apart and the people who can make us whole again.

There are many ways to be lost.

Sometimes people want to be lost. Madison—Mads to everyone who knows her—is trying her best to escape herself during one last summer away from a mother who needs more from her than she can give, and from a future that has been decided by everyone but her.

Sometimes the lost do the unimaginable, like the woman, the body, Mads collides with in the middle of the water on a traumatic morning that changes everything.

And sometimes the lost are the ones left behind, like the son of the woman in the water, Billy Youngwolf Floyd. Billy is struggling to find his way through each day in the shadow of grief. His one comfort is the map he carries in his pocket, out of his favorite book The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.

When three lives (and one special, shared book) collide, strange things happen. Things like questions and coincidences and secrets, lots of secrets. Things like falling in love. But can two lost people telling so many lies find their way through tragedy to each other…and to solid ground?

 

He’s Gone ~ 

“What do you think happened to your husband, Mrs. Keller?”
 
The Sunday morning starts like any other, aside from the slight hangover. Dani Keller wakes up on her Seattle houseboat, a headache building behind her eyes from the wine she drank at a party the night before. But on this particular Sunday morning, she’s surprised to see that her husband, Ian, is not home. As the hours pass, Dani fills her day with small things. But still, Ian does not return. Irritation shifts to worry, worry slides almost imperceptibly into panic. And then, like a relentless blackness, the terrible realization hits Dani: He’s gone.

As the police work methodically through all the logical explanations—he’s hurt, he’s run off, he’s been killed—Dani searches frantically for a clue as to whether Ian is in fact dead or alive. And, slowly, she unpacks their relationship, holding each moment up to the light: from its intense, adulterous beginning, to the grandeur of their new love, to the difficulties of forever. She examines all the sins she can—and cannot—remember. As the days pass, Dani will plumb the depths of her conscience, turning over and revealing the darkest of her secrets in order to discover the hard truth—about herself, her husband, and their lives together.

*Thanks Deb for sharing your bag!  Find Deb here: www.debcaletti.com