Sarah Pekkanen's 5 Do's and a Do-Over

We. Love. Sarah. Pekkanen. There-it's out in the open now.  We've been huge fans since her off-the-charts debut, The Opposite of Me. (Fun fact: she was our first author interview EVEH on CLIND!) Since then, we've been eagerly anticipating her follow-up, Skipping a Beat. And it did not disappoint!  We couldn't put it down and someone (Liz!) may have even bawled her eyes out for the last three chapters.  But even though Skipping a Beat can reach even the most emotionally unavailable robot with it's pitch-perfect insights on love and marriage, it's also a funny and heartwarming story that will have you thinking about it long after you finish.  Check out the book trailer for it here!

What would you do if your husband wanted to rewrite the rules of your relationship?

Julia Dunhill, a thirty-something party planner, seems to have it all: Married to her high school sweetheart and living in a gorgeous home in Washington D.C., she imagines her future unfolding very much as it has for the past few years, since she and her husband Michael successfully launched their companies.  But in her darker moments, she worries that her marriage has dissolved from a true partnership into a façade, but she convinces herself it’s due to the intensity of their careers and fast-paced lifestyle.

So as she arranges the molten chocolate cupcakes for the annual Opera benefit, how can she know that her carefully-constructed world is about to fall apart? That her husband will stand up from the head of the table in his company’s boardroom, open his mouth to speak, and crash to the carpeted floor… all in the amount of time it will take her to walk across a ballroom floor just a few miles away. Four minutes and eight seconds after his cardiac arrest, a portable defibrillator jump-starts Michael’s heart. But in those lost minutes he becomes a different man, with an altered perspective on the rarified life they’ve been living and a determination to regain the true intimacy they once shared.  Now it is up to Julia to decide — is it worth upending her comfortable world to try to find her way back to the husband she once adored, or should she walk away from this new Michael, who truthfully became a stranger to her long before his change of heart?

We LOVED Skipping a Beat-do yourself a favor and pre-order it RIGHT NOW (or pick it up at your favorite bookstore tomorrow, Tuesday February 22nd).  And check out her Do's and a Do-Over and you'll understand why Sarah had us at hello.

We also have FIVE copies to give away to lucky readers!  Just leave a comment and you'll be entered to win-how damn easy is that? We'll pick the winners on Thursday night after 6pm PST.


5 Do's

1. Backpack through Europe After college, I threw some clothes and a Eurorail pass into a backpack and set off alone for three months. I was too young to be nervous; I was certain I'd have an amazing adventure, and I did! I slept on a sidewalk in Portugal with a group of Canadian travelers (we woke up to find stray dogs nuzzling up with us); arrived in Switzerland at a deserted train station late at night only to realize I had no money, had taken in the last train, and had no idea how to get to the hostel; and watched sunsets in Greece with a handsome rugby player from New Zealand. Sigh.

2.  Ask a girl out I'm not getting all Katy Perry on you - I mean it in a platonic way. There was a Mom at my kids' preschool who seemed like so much fun. She was always smiling and I loved chatting with her in the hallways, but I never took it to the next level. One day my husband said, "I think Rachel likes you. You guys should go out!" So I invited her out for drinks, and we spent the whole night laughing. Now she's one of the closest friends I've ever had.

3. Get a two-hour massage Pure decadence. It seems counter-intuitive, but there's nothing quite as relaxing as having a complete stranger rub your naked body with hot oil. After I sold my first book, I lay down on a table and experienced a hundred and twenty minutes of bliss. I felt like I was floating for days afterwards!

4.  Rescue a dog Stop counting calories - adopt a dog instead and keep eating cupcakes! You'll get an hour or more a day of brisk walking and you'll love doing it. My lab Bella is the sweetest creature alive, and even on cold winter mornings, I look forward to taking her out. I've gotten to know my neighbors and I notice little things in nature that I'd otherwise never see.

5.  Sing with a rock band I went to see the Rock Bottom Remainders - a surprisingly good band made up of authors Dave Barry, Scott Turow, Amy Tan, Mitch Albom, and guest singer Jennifer Weiner - in Philadelphia last year. It was a charity concert, and one of the auction items was a chance to sing back up on "Wild Thing." I won it and even though I can't carry a tune, I got up there and sang my heart out, then threw my kazoo into the crowd. (Surprising trivia: Amy Tan wore a Lady Gaga-style wig and at one point, began spanking the male members of the band. Had not expected to see that side of her!) One of the best nights of my life!

1 Do-over

I'd appreciate college so much more if I could do it again! I'd pay attention in classes instead of staring at cute boys, get to know more people, and learn more about myself. I went to college at 17 and was pretty young emotionally, and only now do I realize how much more I could have gotten out of the experience.

Thanks Sarah!  xo, L&L

To read more about Sarah, head on over to her website or find her on Twitter and Facebook.