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!

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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!

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The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle

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Wow.  I just finished my first Kimberly Belle novel and let me say it was fabulous!  The Marriage Lie is twisty and deceitful with a superb ending.  I love a thriller and this was just what I was looking for.  Belle writes a novel that grabs you from chapter one and keeps you guessing literally until the last page.  It was fast paced and the perfect appetizer to launch us into our spring reads!

Belle author credit Sherri Innis

The Marriage Lie centers around Iris who is notified that her husband, Will, was involved in a plane crash and is dead.  The plane was heading to Seattle and there were no survivors.  But how could that be?  Iris was under the impression Will was heading to Florida for work?  Why would he lie?  Where was he going?  This tragic event catapults Iris to start piecing together the truth.  What she soon finds out is Will was not the person she thought he was and the people who she thinks she can trust aren’t all they are cracked up to be either.

I am so looking forward to Belle’s next novel after this gem.  The writing was crisp and the story flowed with thrills and chills.  As I said before, we are upon the spring/summer reads releases and as well all know they are the perfect companion to a sunny day or a rosy glass of rose’.  This book is nothing short of that.  Although we may still be in the doldrums of winter, grab a drink and get cozy as this is a wintery “beach-read” that will get you excited for all that is to come!

 

*Thanks to Mira books for sending a copy for review to Bliss, Beauty and Books.

 

Haunting Halloween Reads- Bliss, Beauty and Books Edition

Halloween is upon us and there is nothing better than a thrilling, page-turner to get you into the Halloween spirit!  Listed below are a few Bliss, Beauty and Books picks to send a chill up your spine and  make you want to keep the light on 😉

 

The New Neighbor by Leah Stewart

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via Amazon ~

In the tradition of Zoe Heller’s What Was She Thinking? Notes on a ScandalThe New Neighbor is “a chilling page-turner” (People) with “simple, elegant language” (The New York Times Book Review) about an old woman’s curiosity turned into a dangerous obsession as she becomes involved in her mysterious new neighbor’s complicated life.

How much can you really know about the woman next door?

Ninety-year-old Margaret Riley is content hiding from the world. Stoic and independent, she rarely leaves the Tennessee mountaintop where she lives, finding comfort in the mystery novels that keep her company—until she spots a woman who’s moved into the long-empty house across the pond.

Her neighbor, Jennifer Young, is also looking to hide. On the run from her old life, she and her four-year-old son, Milo, have moved to a quiet town where no one from her past can find her.

In Jennifer, Margaret sees both a potential companion for her loneliness and a mystery to be solved. She thinks if she says the right thing, tells the right story, Jennifer will open up, but Jennifer refuses to talk about herself, her son, his missing father, or her past. Frustrated, Margaret crosses more and more boundaries in pursuit of the truth, threatening to unravel the new life Jennifer has so painstakingly created—and reveal some secrets of her own…

From the critically acclaimed author of The History of Us and The Myth of You and Me, The New Neighbor is “a promising exploration of the secrets we all carry and our refusal to forgive ourselves” (Publishers Weekly).

 

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

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via Amazon ~

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

“The twists come as fast [as] you can turn the pages.” —People

“Provocative and shocking.” –Lisa Gardner, New York Times  bestselling author of Find Her

“I read this novel at one sitting, absolutely riveted by the storyline.  The suspense was beautifully rendered and unrelenting!” —Sue Grafton, New York Times bestselling author of X

It all started at a dinner party. . . 

A domestic suspense debut about a young couple and their apparently friendly neighbors—a twisty, rollercoaster ride of lies, betrayal, and the secrets between husbands and wives. . . 

Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all—a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately focuses on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story.

Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco  soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they’ve kept for years.

What follows is the nerve-racking unraveling of a family—a chilling tale of  deception, duplicity, and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final shocking twist.

The Kept Woman by Karin Slaughter

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via Amazon~

The Skimm Reads calls it “a thriller that’s part True Detective, part The Girl On the Train. All parts gripping.”

Husbands and wives. Mothers and daughters. The past and the future. 

Secrets bind them. And secrets can destroy them. 

The author of Pretty Girls returns with an electrifying, emotionally complex thriller that plunges its fascinating protagonist into the darkest depths of a mystery that just might destroy him. 

With the discovery of a murder at an abandoned construction site, Will Trent of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is brought in on a case that becomes much more dangerous when the dead man is identified as an ex-cop.

Studying the body, Sara Linton—the GBI’s newest medical examiner and Will’s lover—realizes that the extensive blood loss didn’t belong to the corpse. Sure enough, bloody footprints leading away from the scene indicate there is another victim—a woman—who has vanished . . . and who will die soon if she isn’t found.

Will is already compromised, because the site belongs to the city’s most popular citizen: a wealthy, powerful, and politically connected athlete protected by the world’s most expensive lawyers—a man who’s already gotten away with rape, despite Will’s exhaustive efforts to put him away.

But the worst is yet to come. Evidence soon links Will’s troubled past to the case . . . and the consequences will tear through his life with the force of a tornado, wreaking havoc for Will and everyone around him, including his colleagues, family, friends—and even the suspects he pursues.

Relentlessly suspenseful and furiously paced, peopled with conflicted, fallible characters who leap from the page, The Kept Woman is a seamless blend of twisty police procedural and ingenious psychological thriller — a searing, unforgettable novel of love, loss, and redemption.

 

 

 

The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis

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The cover alone of The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis sold me.  It’s stunning.  But not only was the cover amazing the story was even better!  This was a wonderful debut book by Davis.  It had some glitz and glamour with a dash of mystery and murder.  Hello perfect read.  If you are looking for a cozy read this fall this book is IT!  Read on below for my thoughts as well as my “Bliss Chat” with Fiona.  She was gracious enough to answer a few of my questions about this wonderful book and fabulous setting of the Barbizon Hotel!

The book centers around Darby who is a new NYC resident in the 1950’s wanting to make a life for herself and lives at the Barbizon Hotel.  A women’s only residence, where the girls are trying to make a living and stand on their own two feet.  Starting off on the wrong foot, Darby befriends Esme, a risky maid who is a jazz singer by night.  Engulfed in the beauty and excitement of the city Darby is influenced by Esme to take chances she normally wouldn’t take.  Fast forward to Rose, prest day, who now lives in what was the Barbizon.  Fascinated by a woman whose face is covered and scarred she decides to investigate who she is and what her story is.  The woman is not one to talk so Rose has to piece together the puzzle by talking with other residents of the Barbizon.  The mystery starts to unfold and Davis captures the essence of this magical hotel all the while hooking the reader in a murder-mystery.

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Bliss Chat with Fiona Davis

1.The Barbizon is so glamorous and magical.  What drew you to this location for the book?

For decades, the Barbizon Hotel for Women was the go-to residence for cultured young ladies to live while they worked or studied in New York City. Many ex-guests went on to great fame, including Grace Kelly, Joan Crawford, Sylvia Plath, and Liza Minnelli, as well as writers like Eudora Welty and Joan Didion. When it went condo in 2005, a dozen or so of the long-time residents of the hotel still living there were moved into rent-controlled apartments on the fourth floor. It occurred to me that the building would make a great setting for a novel, with an interesting mix of old-school glamour and modern luxury.

 2. What did you do in terms of research for the book?  Did you talk with anyone that resided there or worked there?

I read through old issues of women’s magazines from the early 1950s to get an idea of what life was like back then, and was drawn into the fashions, the expectations, and the political climate. I also interviewed a number of women who’d live in the hotel in the 50s and 60s to find out what it was like. I learned all kinds of gems, including the fact that although men weren’t allowed beyond the public areas (even the elevator operators were female), the guests snuck them up all the time.

3. I love that it was a murder mystery mixed with fabulous female characters.  What drew you to this idea?

I adore a great mystery – Agatha Christie hooked me as a kid and today I’m drawn to the suspenseful plots of authors like Clare Mackintosh and Tana French. So I made the modern-day heroine a journalist, who starts digging into a tragedy that involved one of the fourth-floor residents back in 1952. The interweaving of the clues and red herrings made my head spin at times, but I enjoyed every minute.

 4. I know you were an actress which is so fabulous!  Can you tell us a little more about that and did that life have a little inspiration in your book as so many actresses frequented The Barbizon?

I had a wonderful time in my twenties acting in New York City, as I was lucky enough to get involved with a theater company that put on masterful shows by playwrights like Jean Genet and Shakespeare. For the book, I wanted to describe what it’s like to step out on a stage in front of an audience. Instead of acting, I used the setting of a downtown jazz club and made my 1952 heroine, Darby, get up and sing. I think that was one of my favorite scenes to write and edit.

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

I have a great home office, but when I need to avoid distractions, I head to the New York Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center. There’s something about the long walk across the plaza, past the Henry Moore sculpture, that settles my head and puts me in the right frame of mind to crank out a scene or two.

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

A massage once a month, a glass of Chardonnay after a long day of writing, and a morning run in the park with my best friend.

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

Road trip! I’m wrapping up the first draft of my next book, and plan on heading to Cape Cod for a fall weekend with friends. Can’t wait.

 8. What was the last book that you read?

I mentor a sixth-grader who introduced me to Newbery Medal-winner The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963, by Christopher Paul Curtis. It describes a fictional family in 1963, when a bomb in the Sixteenth Avenue Baptist Church killed four girls, and is an uncanny depiction of family dynamics, as well as heartbreaking.

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

Violets are Blue Facial Serum, which is great for transitioning from summer to fall; Fresh Sugar lip gloss in petal; and Kerastase V.I.P. Volume in Powder, which makes my baby-fine hair look way thicker than it actually is.

 10. Are you looking forward to any books that are coming out in 2016/17?

You bet: Zadie Smith’s Swing Time (out in November), Small Admissions by Amy Poeppel (December) Jamie Brenner’s The Forever Summer (April 2017)

 

 

The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson

I was and am still on a thriller kick!  Maybe it’s Halloween season that brings it on but there is nothing more to love than a gripping read, cozy blanket and warm drink.  I had heard so many amazing things about Peter Swanson‘s The Kind Worth Killing that I had to read.  Plus I loved that he was a Massachusetts writer!  The book did not disappoint and I am excited to say he has another novel coming out January 2017!

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Without giving anything away the book centers around Ted and Lily who meet on a flight.  Ted spills to Lily that he caught his wife cheating on him but she has yet to find out.  He jokingly states that he could kill his wife over this.  Lily, lending a supportive ear, instantly says she would like to help with that.  The story develops from there, fast.  What becomes a murderous chase, almost a game if you will, is a chilling page turner and one that I will not forget.  Swanson is reminiscent of Hitchcock and definitely kept me up at night.  Do yourself a favor this Halloween and give yourself a scare with this book.

 

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Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

Another great thriller to end the summer 😦  So sad but excited for the fall ~ cozy sweaters, warm drinks and of course fantastic reads.  I am hoping to get back in the swing of things in the next few weeks!  I am not getting the reading I did before Finn but I am still carving time out each day if I can.  I know this will help to keep me on track once I have a little more free time or at least be able to keep my eyelids open “time”.  I finished a few weeks back, Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris, which I had to read as I kept reading it was creepy, thrilling and unputdownable.  It was ALL of the above.  A must read for all thrill seekers.

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The story centers around a couple, Jack and Grace, who at first seem to be the perfect couple in love.  Good looks, money and pure bliss.  As the story develops the reader starts to see a darker side of Jack, a side that is completely unexpected.  I do not want to give a lot away but few things come to mind- controlling, prisoner, threats, mind games and murder.  Sound good?  This story had twists and turns that kept a chill in my spine and the pages turning.  I promise once you start you can’t stop.  Perfect book for the upcoming Halloween season!

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware ~ “Beach Bites”

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Another quick post from me about an absolutely creepy thriller that kept me turning the pages even though I am completely sleep deprived 🙂  Ruth Ware, author of In a Dark, Dark Wood, took me to sea in The Woman In Cabin 10.  A cruise trip gone wrong for the main character Lo.  She is sent on assignment onto a gorgeous cruise ship.  While aboard she meets a young woman who is in the cabin next door.  She needs a quick beauty rescue and has quite an abrupt interaction with this woman which seemed odd to Lo.  That evening she hears a thud and sees a blood stain on the side of the boat.  When she goes to see if everything is ok with her neighbor she discovers she is gone.  As the book develops Lo is tested as the rest of the ship never recalls seeing this women making Lo as well as everyone else question her sanity.  But she is sure she this woman exists and will stop at nothing to prove it.

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This book, like Ware’s debut, is a phenomenal thriller.  Ware is excellent at what she does and how she captures the essence of a good mystery is on point.  I highly suggest both novels as you will become an instant fan of hers.  What’s even more exciting is In a Dark, Dark Wood is coming to the big screen!  Not only do I love a good thriller but I love a thriller motion picture even more!

*Thanks to Gallery Books for sending a copy for review.