What's on Melissa Senate's bucket list?

Do y'all have an author that you can always count on?  You know, someone whose books always deliver on the goods?  The kind of author that has you waiting in anticipation for their next novel as soon as you finish their last?  Well, we have quite a few-and we're thrilled to have one of them sharing their bucket list today. The fabulous Melissa Senate! We first discovered Melissa when we read the best seller See Jane Date and have loved all her books since. (She's written TEN!) Liz chose The Secret of Joy as a hot summer beach read over at Sheknows.com a few months ago.  So when Melissa's latest, The Love Goddess' Cooking School arrived on our doorstep, we couldn't wait to dive into it! It comes out TOMORROW-click here to pre-order!

The Love Goddess' Cooking School is a charming story about love, family and discovery.  When thirty-year-old Holly Maguire inherits her Nonna's Camilla's Cucinotta, an Italian cooking school, twelve of the sixteen students immediately drop out. And who could blame them? Holly's grandmother was a seventy-five-old love goddess whose secret sauces had aphrodisiac properties and whose kitchen table fortune telling often came true.  Holly couldn't tell fortunes and wasn't much of a cook, but her determination to keep her grandmother's legacy alive motivates her to teach the class anyway.  Armed with Camilla's hand-scrawled recipe book, Holly and her students create their own recipes for happiness.

Melissa's delicious writing will have you craving the delectable dishes served up each chapter and keep you hungry for more of her heartfelt narrative.  Touching and a bit nostalgic, The Love Goddess' Cooking School is perfect way to reflect on why you loved your grandparents so much. (Liz *might* have shed a few tears about her own Italian nonna while reading...)

And guess what?  We have FIVE copies to give away!  Just leave a comment and we'll randomly choose the winners on Wednesday night!

And it's no surprise that we adored Melissa's bucket list too.  Read on to find out why!


1.  A year in Italy—from the cities to the countryside, learning the beautiful language, taking regional cooking classes, staring in wonder at the frescoes in the Vatican museums, eating outrageously good pasta, sipping cappuccino at a tiny café table and writing.

2.  A tour of the American west. I want to see the red rocks of Utah. The Grand Canyon. A real cowboy. I want to taste some serious chili.

3.  A visit to my childhood homes. I moved often as a kid, and I’d like to go back to those old neighborhoods and see what I remember, what it evokes. I lived in the Bronx, New York till I was 8 and vividly remember the courtyard of my apartment building, where some mean old lady used to pour pots of cold water on the loud kids (I was very loud) from her fourth floor window. I’d like to visit my elementary school in Flushing, Queens, where my love of writing was sparked and nurtured. I’d like to find the spot in that little park in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, where I had my first kiss in junior high school.

4.  Tom Petty in concert. Yes, Tom Petty! I dare anyone to look at my beloved Tom on the cover of Damn the Torpedoes and tell me he’s not beautiful. I want to hear/watch him sing American Girl and Refugee and Don’t Do Me Like That and my favorite Here Comes My Girl from my front row seat.

5.  A world tour. I’m dying to see Spain and Latvia (I’m half Latvian and only time I’ve ever heard anyone else say they were Latvian was on the TV show Seinfeld, so it’s time to see/meet some others) and Australia and everything in between.

Thanks Melissa!  xo, L&L

To read more about Melissa, head on over to her website or click here to follow her on Twitter.