5 Loves and a Dud

Ovidia Yu's 5 Loves and a Dud

Aunty Lee's Delights book coverToday's guest: Ovidia Yu Why we love her: Love her witty writing!

Her latest: Aunty Lee's Delights (Out September 17th!)

The scoop: This delectable and witty mystery introduces Rosie "Aunty" Lee, feisty widow, amateur sleuth, and proprietor of Singapore's best-loved home-cooking restaurant

After losing her husband, Rosie Lee could have become one of Singapore's "tai tai," an idle rich lady. Instead she is building a culinary empire from her restaurant, Aunty Lee's Delights, where spicy Singaporean meals are graciously served to locals and tourists alike. But when a body is found in one of Singapore's tourist havens and one of her guests fails to show at a dinner party, Aunty Lee knows that the two events are likely connected.

The murder and disappearance throws together Aunty Lee's henpecked stepson, Mark, his social-climbing wife, Selina, a gay couple whose love is still illegal in Singapore, and an elderly Australian tourist couple whose visit may mask a deeper purpose. Investigating the murder are Police Commissioner Raja and Senior Staff Sergeant Salim, who quickly discover that Aunty Lee's sharp nose for intrigue can sniff out clues that elude law enforcers.

Wise, witty, and charming, Aunty Lee's Delights is a spicy mystery about love, friendship, and food in Singapore, where money flows freely and people of many religions and ethnicities coexist peacefully, but where tensions lurk just below the surface, sometimes with deadly consequences.

Our thoughts: We're loving mysteries lately! And Ovidia's latest is fun, funny and intriguing--leaving you guessing until the very end!

Giveaway: ONE copy. Just leave a comment to be entered to win. We'll select the winner on Sunday, September 15th after 3pm PST.

Where you can read more about Ovidia: Her website, TwitterFacebook


Ovidia Yu author photoLoves

1. I love hot dessert soups. Most of them are supposed to be ‘healthy’, bringing the body’s hot and cool levels back in balance, so they come with less food-guilt than cake or ice cream. One of my favourites is barley soup simmered with gingko nuts and bean curd skin. This is the taste of my childhood memories. Little girls were told it would give us beautiful complexions. I don’t know if that’s true but it can’t hurt!

2. I love Durian. If you didn’t grow up with durian culture the smell can initially be off putting. But I really love the bitter sweet taste and the soft golden custard pillows encased in slightly stretchy golden skin. In fact some people here say that a good way to test whether a foreigner really loves you is to see how willing he or she is to taste durian!

3. I love my dogs of course. Princess and Hermione were SPCA rescue dogs. When they first came to me all they wanted to do was huddle together under the table. Now they are loving company, exercise prompts and morale boosters. It’s good to know that no matter how badly the writing is going I can make two doglets blissfully happy with a little walk—and that usually clears up my head too.

4. I love reading children’s and YA books as well as cozy mysteries and chick lit. I think that’s because they are what I encountered when I first fell in love with reading. I do read other stuff too (like I try to eat from all the major food groups I read poetry and I buy Man Booker winners with good intentions and sometimes even enjoy them)

5. And I love iPad Games like Plants vs Zombies and Castle Rush. I realise admitting this probably means I’ve lost all credibility as a mature adult but I find they work as stress therapy for me. When I’m bogged down in middle-of-plot tangles it’s very relaxing to focus on the simple task of killing zombies or yetis. I think of it as Massacre Meditation.


Shoes that look great and fit perfectly in the store but turn into cramping, blister causing monsters on my feet. (I have very broad and flat feet so maybe finding shoes that look and feel great is wishful thinking). Recently a friend who knows me well got me a lovely traditional embroidered ‘nonya kebaya’ top (which I really love) and her instructions for wearing it included, ‘not with Doc Martens’!


Thanks, Ovidia!


Eve Marie Mont's 5 Loves and a Dud

Today's guest: Eve  Marie Mont Why we love her: She mixes it up. She can write women's fiction and YA.

Her latest: A Breath of Eyre her debut YA novel. (Out today! Happy publication day, Eve!)

The scoop: Emma Townsend has always believed in stories—the ones she reads voraciously, and the ones she creates in her head. Perhaps it’s because she feels like an outsider at her exclusive prep school, or because her stepmother doesn’t come close to filling the void left by her mother’s death. And her only romantic prospect—apart from a crush on her English teacher—is Gray Newman, a long-time friend who just adds to Emma’s confusion. But escape soon arrives in an old leather-bound copy of Jane Eyre

Reading of Jane’s isolation sparks a deep sense of kinship. Then fate takes things a leap further when a lightning storm catapults Emma right into Jane’s body and her nineteenth-century world. As governess at Thornfield, Emma has a sense of belonging she’s never known—and an attraction to the brooding Mr. Rochester. Now, moving between her two realities and uncovering secrets in both, Emma must decide whether her destiny lies in the pages of Jane’s story, or in the unwritten chapters of her own…

Our thoughts: We love us some solid YA!

Fun Fact: A Breath of Eyre is the first in a series of three books.

Book trailer: A Breath of Eyre

Giveaway: Three copies! Just leave a comment and you'll be entered to win! We'll randomly select the winners after 6PM PST on Sunday, April 1.


1. Doctor Who I will admit this up front: I am a Doctor Who neophyte. I have not watched the series from its inception, I don’t have strong feelings about whether Tom Baker or David Tennant made the best Doctor, and I don’t really even understand the concept of a time lord. All I know is that last spring, my husband and I discovered Season 5 on Netflix Instant, and we have loved every bizarre and frenetic minute of it. The show is sort of like Blackadder meets Star Trek, with a healthy dose of The X-Files mixed in. Matt Smith’s Doctor is refreshingly naïve, boyish and charming, and best of all, infectiously optimistic. Amy Pond, his fiery redhead sidekick, is tough talking and smart, although I’m annoyed with her penchant for running all over time and space in very short skirts. Nerd that I am, I bought my husband a desktop TARDIS for Christmas last year.

2. Angsty teen television from the 90’s I have recently discovered that when I’m going through a bout of writer’s block or am feeling generally down about life, a few hours spent with the gang from an angsty 90’s TV drama is the perfect antidote. All the conventions of YA storytelling existed even in this pre-Twilight era: absentee parents, love triangles, emo dialogue. My favorites are My So-Called Life (which captures my actual teen years the best), Dawson’s Creek (I’ll never forget the episode when Joey sings ‘On My Own’ for the Miss Windjammer Pageant and Dawson finally sees her as more than ‘the girl next door’), and Felicity (am I the only one who wanted Felicity to end up with Noel instead of Ben???). I realize these shows are a guilty pleasure best consumed in small doses, but for a cynical Generation X-er like me, they’re like hot buttered toffee for the soul.

3. Rhode Island For some reason, I’ve always felt my heart belonged in Rhode Island. I know it may sound strange to love the tiniest state in the nation sandwiched between tony Connecticut and progressive Massachusetts, but there’s something special and timeless about Rhode Island with its down-to-earth fishing towns and rugged coastline. My favorite places aren’t the most bustling or commercial (like Newport or Providence), but the ones off the beaten track (like Tiverton, Jamestown, and Little Compton), the towns with quaint marinas, seafood shacks, and homey pubs where they serve clam strips with Narragansett beer or a Dark and Stormy. Nothing would make me happier than to move to a cottage on the Rhode Island coast and write books at a desk overlooking the sea.

4. Shelter dogs Anyone who read my women’s fiction novel, Free to a Good Home, will know I’m a sucker for shelter dogs. If I had a bigger house and yard, I’d be in trouble because I’d probably adopt one a year and become crazy hoarder dog lady. Maggie, my fifteen-year-old Jack Russell-boxer mix, is probably my best friend in the world. Nothing beats coming home from a long day of work and being greeted by her big soulful eyes and her wagging tail, even though arthritis has made it increasingly difficult for her to stand on her own. I know I will always own dogs, and I will always adopt them from shelters because it saves lives in two ways: 1) by rescuing a dog from being euthanized; and 2) by not supporting the puppy mills, which emphasize profit over animal welfare.

5. Men with manners Call me old-fashioned, but I love me a polite, well-mannered gentleman. That’s not to say he can’t be masculine or rugged or passionate, too. But it’s the guys who are chivalrous and respectful who really get my heart racing. Maybe this is why I love the heroes of Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë, or almost any character played by Jimmy Stewart or Gary Cooper. This is one of the reasons I married my husband, a southern gentleman who became a northern transplant but never lost his gracious manners and gallant charm.


Cell phone etiquette Yes, I know this topic might seem a little outdated, but the increasing lack of cell phone etiquette continues to confound me. As with any new technology, there is always a lag during which people must adapt to the new advance and learn to deal with the ramifications of its use. But here we are about seven years into the cell phone age, and our etiquette seems to be getting worse instead of better. Friends check their phones for incoming texts multiple times while they’re in the middle of a conversation with you. Students communicate during class by texting inside their hoody pockets. People whip out their phones in bathrooms and elevators with the intensity of smokers jonesing for a cigarette. And I will never understand why people at a coffee shop seem to prefer sitting alone looking at a digital screen rather than engaging with the person next to them. I know I may be a bit of a Luddite, but I’m hoping for a massive technological crash that will send us back a few generations to that quaint era when “quality time” meant talking to an actual human being. Boy, do I sound old and crotchety!

To find out more about the fabulous Eve Mont, follow her on Facebook and Twitter and visit her website.

Thanks, Eve! xoxo,

Liz & Lisa

Catherine McKenzie's 5 Loves and a Dud

We don't know about you, but the two or three paragraphs on the back of a book make it or break it for us.  Liz, the ultimate skimmer, makes a decision in about 1.3 seconds whether she wants to commit to 250+pages. So we she read the back cover on Spin by Catherine McKenzie, she knew she was IN!  It sucked her in right away-and she was thrilled to discover that the inside of the book did the same! And that's why we are singing from the rooftops because Catherine has agreed to share her 5 Loves and a Dud on CLIND. Bottom line? SPIN is a fun romp that we think you won't be able to put down.

The scoop on SPIN:When Kate Sandford lands an interview at her favorite music magazine, The Line, it's the chance of a lifetime. So Kate goes out to celebrate—and shows up still drunk to the interview the next morning. It's no surprise that she doesn't get the job, but her performance has convinced the editors that she'd be perfect for an undercover assignment for their gossip rag. All Kate has to do is follow "It Girl" Amber Sheppard into rehab. If she can get the inside scoop—and complete the thirty-day program—they'll reconsider her for the position at The Line. Kate takes the assignment, but when real friendships start to develop, she has to decide if what she has to gain is worth the price she'll have to pay.

Okay, so see what we mean?  Doesn't it sound FAB?  Then leave your comment ladies!  Because we have FIVE copies to give away and will be choosing the winners after 6pm PST on February 12th.  Good luck!



1. Montreal – the city where I grew up and still live holds a special place in my heart. The locals say that we have two seasons: Winter and Construction. While it’s true that we’re famous for our extensive summer-long construction projects (think Boston’s Big Dig, but everywhere), Montreal is lovely at any time of year. Well, except November. Anyway, one of the great things about Montreal is the food: from Chinese to Thai to Italian to Lebanese to just about anything you can think of, Montreal does it well, cheaply and all over the city. Even most New Yorkers I’ve met who’ve been here will admit that it rivals NYC on the restaurant front. And though they might not admit that our bagels are better, they are. Trust me.

2. Jackson Hole, Wyoming – one of my other favorite places on earth, I’ve had the great fortune to be in Jackson in both summer and winter. Summer means insanely blue skies, views that will take your breath away, and visits to Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. Bears and bison amble by on the roads just outside of town, and there are some truly excellent restaurants. Winter, of course, means skiing, not only at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (which is awesome), but in the backcountry and on the local hill, Snow King (one of the steepest hills I’ve ever skied). The screensaver on my phone is a shot I took from there last summer. I sent it to my editor. Her response: That’s so beautiful it doesn’t even look real. If you have the chance to get there, go. And if you’re a writer, the Jackson Hole Writers’ Conference that takes place every year at the end of June is an excellent experience.

3. Food – I’m sorry but you know those people who say: I was so busy that I forgot to eat? I don’t understand those people. I never forget to eat. In fact, I’m usually thinking about what I’m going to eat next about two hours after I finish my last meal. A particular favorite of mine is pasta; I could eat it every day and often do. This might make some of you hate me, but I make up for all that eating with number 4.

4. Running – It’s probably no exaggeration to say that if I wasn’t able to run on a regular basis I might be completely crazy by now. Assuming, of course, that I’m not already, actually, crazy. There are two great places to run in Montreal: on Mont Royal, where running uphill gets rewarded with a beautiful view of the city, and on the canal where you can run all the way to the old city or out into the suburbs. Running helps calm my brain, lets me think out plot problems and allows me to eat all that pasta.

5. Reading – Ever since I was a child I’ve always been in search of the perfect book. The perfect book for me is one where I’m so absorbed in what I’m reading that if you talk to me, I don’t hear you. It’s harder to get there as an adult, but some books that have taken me there in the last couple of years include: Andre Agassi’s Open, Jessica Z. by Shawn Klomparens, The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, Innocent by Scott Turow and Moneyball by Michael Lewis. I read eclectically, but good writing is good writing.


People who do not seem to have flown since 9/11 – Admit it, you’ve all been stuck behind this person in the security line. They don’t know that they have to take off their shoes, so they’re wearing the most complicated shoes to take off possible. They are angry and confused when they have to give up their nail clippers, water bottles, shampoo etc. (Dude, these are small $ items. Is all that anger really worth it?) Their clothing is full of metal, or they’re wearing every piece of jewelry that was every given to them. These people should all be sentenced to watch Up in the Air (an excellent movie), and follow George Clooney’s example. Please people, for the rest of us?

Thanks Catherine! xoxo, L&L

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

Amy Hatvany's 5 Loves and a Dud

We have three words for you. Outside. The. Lines. Amy Hatvany's latest novel. To give you an idea of just how good it is--it's already in its second print and was selected by Target as the February book pick! Amy is blowin' up! Outside the Lines is available TODAY and we're thrilled to celebrate the release with Amy.

So what is Outside the Lines about?

When Eden was ten years old she found her father, David, bleeding on the bathroom floor. The suicide attempt led to her parents’ divorce, and David all but vanished from Eden’s life. Twenty years later, Eden runs a successful catering company and dreams of opening a restaurant. Since childhood, she has heard from her father only rarely, just enough to know that he’s been living on the streets and struggling with mental illness. But lately there has been no word at all. After a series of failed romantic relationships and a health scare from her mother, Eden decides it’s time to find her father, to forgive him at last, and move forward with her own life. Her search takes her to a downtown Seattle homeless shelter, and to Jack Baker, its handsome and charming director. Jack convinces Eden to volunteer her skills as a professional chef with the shelter. In return, he helps her in her quest. As the connection between Eden and Jack grows stronger, and their investigation brings them closer to David, Eden must come to terms with her true emotions, the secrets her mother has kept from her, and the painful question of whether her father, after all these years, even wants to be found.


And now, without further adieu, heeeeere's Amy Hatvany sharin' her 5 Loves and a Dud!

LOVES 1. The Body Shop’s Satsuma products: I’m telling you, this is the BEST fragrance - almost as good as the fruit itself! I’m always packin’ in my purse - I have the body butter, body scrub, shower gel, and perfume oil. I cannot get enough of it!

2. The Food Network: Seriously, this channel is like crack for me. My husband is a military channel fanatic and gives me a hard time when I’m watching my Barefoot Contessa and Drive-ins, Diners, and Dives, but I tell him food porn is way better than war porn. Am I right?!?

3. My girlfriends: I have one of the best groups of down-and-dirty, tell-it-like-it-is, don’t-take-no-crap-off-me women. Quite simply, they keep me sane, and I could not live without them.

4. Social Networking: Before BEST KEPT SECRET and OUTSIDE THE LINES, I had two books published almost a decade ago, before the dawn of social media, and I cannot tell you how different the experience has been this time around. What a glorious thing to connect not only with other writers, but the beautiful, funny, supportive, amazing readers out there! It sometimes makes me want to weep with gratitude. (Yep, total sap.)

5. My kids: Maybe that’s an easy one, but honestly, I am so in love with them right now! At 12 and 10 they are full of such funny - sometimes even brilliant - bits of perception and wisdom. I adore seeing shades of the grownups they will be mixed in with the babies I cradled. I’m bracing myself for the teen years (yikes!), but until then, enjoying every moment!

DUD Kardashian-mania: Ugh. I can’t tell you how much this overexposed family gets under my skin. I’m a huge reality TV fan, too! Love my Housewives, Top Chef, and the Bachelor - but these people just make me feel like I need to take a shower.

To get your hot little hands on a copy of Amy's book, click here. To find out more about Amy, head over to her website and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks, Amy! xoxo,


Get Married This Year

With a title like Get Married This Year: 365 Days to "I Do", it's no wonder that Dr. Janet Blair Page's book is a hit. We were more than curious to dive in and see what advice she had for how to find "The One"- easily one of the top questions any single girl has asked herself- a question we DEFINITELY asked ourselves for years before finally walking down the aisle. From designing the ultimate Spouse Shopping List to getting the right guy to commit, she offers a blue print on how to find love in 12 months or less. Here's more about Get Married This Year: Your To-Do List This Year:

Today: Get to know yourself.
 Next Month: Figure out what you really want from your man.
 Month 3: Learn how to get out of your own way. 
Month 6: Take the field and find the right guy.
 Month 10: Make the big decision.
 Month 12: Get married!

Does it work? We'll let you be the judge! We've got 5 copies (US only) to give away. Just leave a comment and be entered to win. We'll randomly select the winners on after 6 P.M. PST on Sunday, January 29.

So what does this author of how to find love, well, love? We asked...


LOVES 1. My fiancé -- my biggest treat is enjoying loving him with the comfortable knowledge that he is imminently capable of staying in love with me forever. Appreciating him and letting him know it is great for our relationship. It's also a really great feel good boost for me that has fantastic spill over into the other areas of my life. My family, friends, and clients benefit from the warmth of my having someone in my life who makes it so wonderfully easy to practice daily appreciation.

2. My daughters and son-in-laws -- spending time with them is a joy and I know I'm very lucky that everyone is so comfortable and anyone can be with anyone else when we're together without any edges. I was conscious of keeping fun in the family when they were growing up as a good lure for the rest of our lives. They choose mates that enhanced our family so all is made easy.

3. My goddaughters, friends, brother, sister-in-law, and mother -- give me fuel whenever I am with them. As a shy pre-teen who forced her way into being expressive and social, I've never gotten over gratitude for the pleasure being with people brings me. I am an extrovert convert. I have tried writing with no people breaks or forcing myself to get all tasks done without playtime but I just get miserable, less creative and start spiraling down into feeling like dull stuff.

4. Working in a fulfilling career -- I can't retire . . . ever. Last year I was hemmed in during a sudden Atlanta snowstorm and it was a shocker because I didn't have a clue about what I did with the three days. It just seemed to evaporate. I think of plenty to do if I am already doing something and I can't imagine any more interesting or satisfying base than my practice, writing, and speaking. 5. Physical activity -- I only excel at consistency in the area of sports and exercise but if it's hiking, biking, walking, tennis, yoga, or weights, I love the feeling of my blood circulating. Whether that's a primal or peculiar high, I don't care: it works for me. Any day with some exercise even if it is walking up multiple flights of stairs is a better day.


My dud is my own attitude -- I'm capable of being bleak and if even though it is for short snatches, it feels too long and completely unnecessary. My goal this year is to eliminate worry. Cautionary tactics are a good thing but my irritating times of thinking things won't work out will be countered with the aim of spending 100% my time believing they will. How's that for a New Year's resolution?

To find out more about Janet Page Blair, PhD, visit her website.

Thanks, Janet!



Kate Rockland's 5 Loves and a Dud

Weight.  We're a country obsessed with it.  We have magazine cover devoted to it.  Some of us (Liz!) talk about it constantly. So when we saw that Kate Rockland's next novel was titled 150 Pounds, well, we knew we had to get our hands on it ASAP! We're thrilled that Kate's returning to the site today(we crowned her as our VERY FIRST Lit IT Girl last year!) to share her 5 Loves a Dud.  We think you'll find them as hilarious and insightful as her novels, even if now we're a bit scared to visit New Jersey. (um, total California girls over here!) Regardless, we think you'll love her latest, 150 Pounds.  It's fabulous and fun-it's a must read for all you weight obsessers (don't deny-we know you do it too!).

Here's the scoopage on 150 Pounds: In the fast paced life of blogging, two women stand out: Alexis Allbright, of Skinny Chick, and Shoshana Weiner, who writes Fat and Fabulous. Both have over five million loyal readers. Both are hungry for success. But the similarities stop there.

With over 100 pounds on the scale separating them, weight isn't their only difference. Alexis is a loner who is so bitchy the only person who can stand her company is her gay best friend Billy. She gives neurotic New Yorkers a run for their money with her strict daily workout routine, and weighing of food. Shoshana is Alexis’s opposite. Living in Jersey with rowdy roommates, she is someone who “collects friends,” as her mother puts it; and treasures a life of expanding circles...and waistlines.

When both appear as panelists on a popular talk show, their lives intersect in ways neither could have imagined. In turns comedic, heartwarming—and familiar to any woman who's ever stepped on a scale—Alexis and Shoshana realize they have far more in common than either could have possibly imagined, and more importantly, something to offer.

Sound fun? Then leave a comment and you'll be entered on of FIVE copies.  We'll choose the winner after 6pm PST on Sunday January 22nd.  Good Luck!


1. Other People’s Weddings I know everyone likes to complain about having to book hotel rooms, buy silver bridesmaid shoes, or stop eating their lobster to stand up when a couple gets announced as husband and wife for the first time. Me? I frickin’ love weddings. From the moment I get the invitation in the mail and affix it to my fridge, to stumbling back to my room buzzed off the free champagne, I have had a ball at every wedding I’ve ever been lucky enough to be invited to. I love noting which traditions the bride and groom included or discarded, love embarrassing speeches by fathers when they tear up, love the surprise of which appetizers and entrees a couple chose when they’re placed before me, and I especially love the moment the bride enters the room, chapel, church, synagogue, or beach to walk down the aisle and everyone sucks in their breath at how beautiful she looks. As you can imagine, I started planning my own wedding the minute I met my husband. My friend Marissa used to joke she was afraid to open my bedroom closet, lest six wedding dresses fall out.

2. Coffee Some people have a morning exercise routine. I have a morning coffee routine. From the minute I wake up, I start looking forward to my medium hazelnut, extra cream, and two sugars. I go to a local café four blocks from my apartment. I know the owner, and we usually chat for a few minutes each day. This gives me hope, that should I ever die and my husband doesn’t notice, this store owner will call the police and not let my cat eat my face off. I don’t mind standing in line, as I usually do a heaping dose of people-watching. I like imagining what profession everyone is in, where they’re running off to. I try and spy on people working on their laptops, to see what they’re typing. I like the sacks of beans that decorate the store, and the funny names of the beans like “Obama blend.” That first sip is heaven.

3. Cranky Northern New Jerseyans and New Yorkers  I lived in Colorado once and didn’t trust anyone I met. They were too earnest, too helpful, too laid-back. After two years I hastily packed my bags and moved home to the East Coast. I’m from Northern New Jersey, right across the river from Manhattan. People here tell it like it is. If you’re acting like an asshole, people will tell you. If you leave your car double-parked too long on the street, someone will smash in your window. That’s just the way it is. I don’t trust friendly people, and when I travel, I miss loud Jersey women who can make you laugh in five minutes. I like it that if someone falls on the sidewalk in Manhattan, no one helps them up. I mean really, get better walking shoes. I keep thinking my husband and I have to move to the suburbs, but I’m terrified of someone breaking into our house. My family thinks I’m crazy; aren’t I scared to live in a city? I’m not. I like that there’s always someone standing outside their building smoking, or walking down the street in front of me. No one’s ever bothered me in the city. I don’t trust the rest of the country. I feel like there’s never been a serial killer from New Jersey.

4. The Smell of My Son After a Bath Because one of my son’s favorite pastimes is smushing avocado into his ears, digging in the dirt with his fingers, or sticking banana up his nose, by the end of the day the kid needs a bath. I don’t so much enjoy the act of giving him a bath, as it’s physically draining to lift him in and out of the tub, fill it with fancy California Baby soap, stick in all his colorful bath toys, undress him, and lay out his bath towel. However, the end result is divine; the day gets washed away, and all the minor stresses I’ve had melt when I kneel down and make sure he has no toe lint between his toes from his socks. I love how his hair gets a tiny curl to it after a bath, and how his skin shines like pearls, the avocado gets removed from his ears, and his skin smells simply divine. I like that even though I don’t always get it right when it comes to mommyhood, I can give my son this small gift of a bath every night, and send him off to sleep clean and happy.

5. Reading a Murder Mystery Some of my favorite mystery writers, P.D. James, Elizabeth George, and Ngaio Marsh my mom got me into from high school on. I love nothing more then settling down into bed and scaring the bejezus out of myself. I know it’s a genre I could never write, and that fascinates me. To be a mystery writer one has to know not only how to solve puzzles, but how to come up with the original puzzle in the first place, one that hasn’t been penned already by another author. Figuring out plot extends to other pop culture loves I have, like watching The Closer or seeing a really good film with a winding plot. I like characters that might not be who they seem. When I was younger, there were times I needed to know who the murderer was so badly I’d cut class and sit on the toilet in the ladies’ room, hastily speed-reading through the pages. My husband teases me because I sometimes will scan the last page of a mystery novel to make sure I’m on the right track as to who the killer is, and then I’m bummed out when I’m right. I’m getting better at resisting this urge.


Couples Buying Homes on HGTV’s “House Hunters” I’m addicted to HGTV’s show “House Hunters.” Mainly, because I can’t afford to buy a house. It’s also why I read fashion magazines, and consider whether the $1200 Marc Jacobs sweater would look good with my skin tone: It’s a fantasy. However, the couples who agree to be filmed as they buy their dream home really piss me off. They seem to have no concept what “small” is, to start. I have been living in a 650 square foot-apartment with two other people and a shy cat for six years. We have closets narrower then my body if I stand with my back to them, which are so jam packed there is one in the living room that no longer opens. Nothing makes me angrier then when I watch a couple stroll into a four-bedroom house in Texas and state that the walk-in closet off the master bedroom is “too small.” Girl, that closet is the size of my entire apartment. How much space do Americans think they need? Someday I’ll move into a house and it’s going to feel like a castle, no matter what size it is. And I won’t complain about the size of my walk-in closet. At least the door will open.

Thanks Kate! xoxo, L&L

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

Cooper Lawrence's 5 Loves and a Dud

Can you guys believe it's 2012 already?  And since this may or may not be the final year of our existence according to that pesky Mayan calendar, we better make it count by reading LOTS of awesome books! We'll be switching things up a bit this year-look for lots of pop culture talk (The Bachelor, anyone?) and more shit-talking posts from us.(And we want to hear from you too!)

And of course, all the VERY best authors and giveaways.  Because that's how we roll in 2012, bitches!

We're kicking off the New Year with the fabulous Cooper Lawrence and her latest, The Yoga Club.  Cooper is our type of multi-tasker-not only does she co-host The Big Show with Scott & Todd in New York, you can also catch her on Fox's Dish Nation.  She's also written several other books.  See?  Serious Multi-tasker! And she does it well-The Yoga Club is a lot of fun-the perfect way for you to kick off 2012!

Here's the skinny on The Yoga Club: Chatting it up with bendy WASPs is the last thing on Coco Guthrie’s mind during her 8:30 a.m. yoga class. Having made her fortune as the world-renowned inventor of Butt-B-Gone derriere cream, Coco still doesn’t feel like she belongs among the upper class— until she attends the swankiest Halloween soiree in Greenwich, Connecticut, where three of her fellow morning yogis shared her brilliant idea to appear as Sarah Palin. Soon it’s clear that a love of stretching isn’t all this accidental sorority—which includes a single mom with echolalia, an entertainment reporter who charms the pants off handsome stars, and a drama-prone producer with a taste for drag— have in common.

When the four mischievous Sarahs wander away from the party to sneak a peek at the mayor’s neighboring estate, they are stunned to find him adorned in leather and latex, and rolling up a woman’s body in a Persian rug. To make matters worse, someone has spotted the spying Palins. Someone who threatens to expose their torrid affairs in business and the bedroom. Now the unlikely foursome must use all their wits and wiles to get to the bottom of the kinky crime. But will their budding friendship be strong enough to protect their deepest secrets?

Sound good?  Well then you'll be stoked to know we have FIVE copies to give away!  You know the drill-just leave a comment and we'll randomly choose the winners after 6pm PST on Monday January 9th.  Good luck!


1. Thick and thin friends.  No, no, not your friends with canckles and food issues, but the ones who go through it with you…and I mean….ALL OF IT! My closest friends are people I have known for twenty years or more who know me better than I know myself, will call me on my “stuff”, and are people I have relied on at various times in my life without question. As Marlene Dietrich said, “It's the friends you can call up at 4 a.m. that matter.”

2. Marconi, the inventor and the puppy. Since I have spent the bulk of my career in radio I would be remiss not to be grateful for Guglielmo Marconi, an Italian inventor, known as the father of long distance radio transmission.  Radio is my second love, the first being my 96lb Italian Spinone puppy aptly named….you guessed it…Marconi (which is only funny if you know I’m in radio). What makes my Marconi special is that he is a pet therapy dog through the Delta Society. We visit at our local hospital on a weekly basis and its great to see him working with the patients.

3. The greatest channel on TV.  Investigation Discovery Hollywood crimes, murder and forensic investigations, oh my! When you’re relaxing on your couch and eating dinner, what’s better than watching a cold case solved by DNA of an assailant’s 30 year old semen? I can't get enough of Deadly Women, Wicked Attraction, and Solved: Extreme Forensics.  In this one episode they had to get the help of a NASA scientist…but I don’t want to ruin for you. If you don’t get the ID: Investigation Discovery channel, call your local cable provider.

4. Living in NYC. I would love to regale you with stories of the hustle and the bustle, or the museums and cocktail soirees on exotic rooftops but my real love for this city is that anything can be delivered to you at any time of the day. Groceries, burritos, laundry, furniture, shoes…you name it they’ll bring it. You don’t have to get out of your sweatpants….ever!

5. Being Single. Read the first four. Is it any shock?


WAR. No disrespect to them but I got their greatest hits for Christmas and I was really underwhelmed. “Spill The Wine” is ok once it gets to the chorus but the whole spoken word thing that leads up to it is so hacky.

Thanks so much Cooper! xoxo, L&L

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

Sarah Jio's 5 Loves and a Dud

Happy Holidays!  We can't believe this is our final author post of 2011.  And just in case you were wondering, we saved the best for last! Loyal visitors of CLIND probably already know that we crush HARD on Sarah Jio.  We loved her debut earlier this year, The Violets of March(Lisa has it on her Best Books of 2011 list!) and we were VERY excited to get our hands on her latest, The Bungalow. (out on Tuesday, December 27th so be sure to pre-order TODAY!)  And to our delight, it was just as wonderful as we'd thought it would be. Romance with a bit of mystery and hot men in uniform equals YUM!

It's been chosen as a Pulpwood Queen book club pick, a Target “Recommended Read” and a Kroger featured title for January. And her third novel is on the way! Blackberry Winter will be published on September 27, 2012.

We think Sarah's pretty easy to crush on. Not only is she a fabulous author and so freakin' adorable, she also writes the popular health and fitness blog Vitamin G  over at Glamour.com.  C'mon, admit it, you're crushing a little bit on her too!  So you understand our excitement when she agreed to share her 5 Loves and a Dud with us. (PS, We TOTALLY agree with her dud!)

So here's the dealio on The Bungalow: In the summer of 1942, twenty-one-year-old Anne Calloway, newly engaged, sets off to serve in the Army Nurse Corps on the Pacific island of Bora-Bora. More exhilarated by the adventure of a lifetime than she ever was by her predictable fiancé, she is drawn to a mysterious soldier named Westry, and their friendship soon blossoms into hues as deep as the hibiscus flowers native to the island. Under the thatched roof of an abandoned beach bungalow, the two share a private world-until they witness a gruesome crime, Westry is suddenly redeployed, and the idyll vanishes into the winds of war.

A timeless story of enduring passion, The Bungalow chronicles Anne's determination to discover the truth about the twin losses-of life, and of love-that have haunted her for seventy years.

Sounds delish, right?  Then you'll be thrilled to discover we have FIVE copies to give away!  Just leave a comment here and be entered to win, we'll choose the winners after Monday, December 26th at 6pm PST.


1. Nespresso. Last Christmas, my husband got me a Nespresso coffee machine, and I have to tell you, honestly, that it has changed my life. Too strong of words? Let me explain: I’m a mom to three little boys (all under the age of 5), and I am chronically sleep-deprived. A double Americano made with perfect shots of espresso is what I think about first thing in the morning when the baby wakes me up at the crack of dawn, and it’s also the thing I reach for in the afternoons when I need to get 10 pages of my next novel during naptime. My secret weapon is definitely Nespresso. And my pod of choice right now is Indriya.

2. Running. For years, I couldn’t understand why anyone in their right mind would want to run. Then, shortly after my second baby arrived, desperate for a little peace and quiet, I laced up my running shoes and went for a jog. I sputtered and panted—and I think I actually tripped and fell on my hands and knees on the sidewalk—but a funny thing happened: I kind of loved it. It wasn’t until the sixth or seventh time out that I could actually run a whole mile without stopping. Now, a few years, and one more baby, later, I run every day, usually about three miles (four if I’m feeling it). Running has proven to be the single most effective fitness tool for me (I’ve whittled myself down to, almost, my wedding-day weight) and it’s also done amazing things for my creativity in fiction. I’ve imagined new novel titles, thought up entire plot twists and turns and solved character problems while running. I always take my Blackberry with me (in a black Lululemon fanny pack—don’t judge!) so I can send myself emails when a particularly good idea strikes.

3. Jazz. There’s a little jazz station here in Seattle called 88.5 KPLU FM. This station is always on in my house. They don't play any of that modern, elevator-esqu jazz, just the real stuff—old standards and new classics, from Ella to Diana Krall. In fact, music has been a huge inspiration in my novels. The Violets of March was partially inspired by the song “The Waters of March” by the late Susanna McCorkle (a gorgeous, gorgeous song that haunts me), and my third novel, Blackberry Winter, was inspired by the song—you guessed it--Blackberry Winter by the gorgeous singer Hilary Kole. I can’t wait to tell you more about this novel—coming September 27, 2012!

4. The Ergo Baby Carrier.  I’m sort of an old fashioned mama. I like to keep my kids close, bake a lot of cookies, and be the one to kiss their owies. My boys, who are now 5, 3, and 11 months old have spent the majority of their first years snuggled up next to me in the Ergo baby carrier contraption. After putting my back out wearing the Baby Bjorn with my first baby, the Ergo (which is a lot more, you guessed it, “ergonomic”) saved my life. It’s comfy and snuggly, and I have the fondest memories of going about life with my little guys strapped to my chest in a perma-hug position. I’m getting a little sad thinking about the day (coming soon) when my youngest boy won’t fit in the Ergo anymore (sniffle, sniffle).

5. My garden. We live in Seattle, and our city backyard isn’t huge, but I’ve packed it with all kinds of plants that I love: a Japanese maple that my husband got me one Mother’s Day that turns the most stunning shade of orange; a rose bush that I transplanted from the home I grew up in just before my parents sold the house (I have never smelled a rose so fragrant); an unruly herb garden that gives me more sage, mint, oregano and chives than I can ever use; a row of lavender that attracts the most amazing hummingbirds; a fig tree that, every year without fail, produces exactly one fig (we’re thinking about having a party this summer to celebrate our lonely fig). Any vegetables I try to plant, my rascally golden retriever eats (during plum season, she snacks on two Italian plums every morning, and leaves the pits on the deck right before coming back inside.) Anyway, my garden is a source of joy, peace and inspiration to me (in fact, it’s where I first discovered the little purple wood violets that inspired The Violets of March)!

DUD Married men who don’t wear wedding rings: Sorry, but this really annoys me! If you love her, then put a ring on it!

Thanks so much Sarah! xoxo, L&L

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

Samantha Sotto's 5 Loves and a Dud

Confession:we're total title whores.  That's right-we can never resist a book with a fab title!  And thankfully for us, most of the titles that have grabbed us have also turned out to be great books. And we'll just come out and say it-Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto had us at hello.  Something about that title made us just know that it was going to be GREAT.  It was really different than anything we'd read in a while-so refreshing!  We give it two enthuiastic thumbs up- a little mystery, history and a bit of magic-an awesome combination. So you can imagine that we were super stoked when Samantha agreed to share her 5 Loves and a Dud with us.

Here's the low down on Before Ever After:Three years after her husband Max's death, Shelley feels no more adjusted to being a widow than she did that first terrible day. That is, until the doorbell rings. Standing on her front step is a young man who looks so much like Max–same smile, same eyes, same age, same adorable bump in his nose–he could be Max's long-lost relation. He introduces himself as Paolo, an Italian editor of American coffee table books, and shows Shelley some childhood photos. Paolo tells her that the man in the photos, the bearded man who Paolo says is his grandfather though he never seems to age, is Max. Her Max. And he is alive and well.

As outrageous as Paolo's claims seem–how could her husband be alive? And if he is, why hasn't he looked her up? – Shelley desperately wants to know the truth. She and Paolo jet across the globe to track Max down–if it is really Max– and along the way, Shelley recounts the European package tour where they had met. As she relives Max's stories of bloody Parisian barricades, medieval Austrian kitchens, and buried Roman boathouses, Shelley begins to piece together the story of who her husband was and what these new revelations mean for her "happily ever after." And as she and Paolo get closer to the truth, Shelley discovers that not all stories end where they are supposed to.

Sound great? Then leave a copy and you'll be entered to win one of FIVE copies.  We'll choose the winners on Sunday December 18th after 6pm PST.  Good luck!


1.  Doctor Who - 950 year old Time Lord from the Gallifrey travels through time in an old fashioned blue police box, saving mankind from ultimate destruction using only his wit, charm, and a sonic screwdriver. And did I mention that the 10th incarnation of the Doctor was played by David Tennant? What’s not to like about this campy British tv series?

2. Purple Yam Ice Cream – I know, I know. Stringing these four words together sounds like a crime but believe me, this ice cream flavor tastes better than it sounds. Pinky swear.

3. Bread Pudding – Bread. Cream. Raisins. Butter. Brown Sugar. Brandy. Enough said.

4. Baby Feet – Chubby, kissable, little round toes. God’s reward for mommies. You can nibble on them all day long without getting fat.

5. Angry Birds – This is a judgment-free zone, yes?


Can I name three?

1.)  Hairy backs

2.)  Hairy backs

3.)  Hairy backs

Thanks Samantha!  xoxo, L&L

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

Talli Roland's 5 Loves and a Dud

When we're in the mood for some good ol' Chick Lit, we love nothing more than to dive into a Talli Roland novel. And her latest e-book, Build a Man is nothing short of sassy, fun and funny. Just like she is! (Her 5 Loves and a Dud are also humorous and honest- our favorite combo!) Here's the skinny on Build a Man: Slave to the rich, rude and deluded, cosmetic surgery receptionist Serenity Holland longs for the day she's a high-flying tabloid reporter. Unfortunately, every pitch she sends out disappears like her clients' liposuctioned fat, never to be seen again. Then she meets Jeremy Ritchie -- the hang-dog man determined to be Britain's Most Eligible Bachelor by making himself over from head to toe and everything in between -- giving Serenity a story no editor could resist.

With London's biggest tabloid on board and her very own column tracking Jeremy's progress from dud to dude, Serenity is determined to be a success, even going undercover to gain intimate access to Jeremy's life. But when Jeremy's surgery goes drastically wrong and Serenity is ordered to cover all the car-crash goriness, she must decide how far she really will go for her dream job

Not only is Build a Man fun, but it's also full of deeper emotion. You'll truly enjoy it! Want an e-copy? Just leave a comment and be entered to win one of five e-copies. We'll randomly select the winners after 6pm PST on Sunday, December 11.


1.  Oh wine, how I love you. There’s something about its velvety smoothness at the end of a long writing day that just soothes the soul. I’m not a wine connoisseur by any stretch of the imagination – in fact, I’ve been known to tell waiters ‘whatever is cheapest’ – but if I had to choose, I’d go with Merlot. Or, if it’s a rare hot summer’s day in London, a nice cool rosé. Cheers!

2.  Continuing on the liquid theme, I can’t imagine my life without coffee. Every morning, I toddle bleary-eyed to my espresso machine. Although my coffee is so strong the spoon practically stands up in it, I love the thick black tar-like slurry. The stronger, the better. I need to get geared up for the day ahead! The best coffee I’ve ever had is from a small shop in Borough Market called Monmouth Coffee. If that doesn’t get you going, nothing well.

3.  One of my favourite places in the world is London’s South Bank. It’s right on the River Thames and it’s the cultural centre of London, but it has a much more sentimental importance to me: it’s where I first met my husband on a blind date; where we got engaged; and where we got married. With fabulous views over Waterloo Bridge and on to Saint Paul’s, it sums up everything wonderful about my life in London.

4.  This might sound like a strange thing to love, but my favourite time of the day is snuggling into bed with a fabulous novel before going to sleep. I love pulling my comfy duvet around me and losing myself in a book, bathed in the soft glow of the bedside lamp. It’s a moment of perfect contentedness.

5.  Sticky toffee pudding has got to be on my list for sure! A moist, sponge-like base with melted toffee topping = YUM. Add a scoop of double cream or vanilla ice-cream, and I’m in food heaven. If you haven’t tried this, you really must get yourself some straight away. Once you have a taste, there’s no turning back.


There’s nothing I hate more than taking London’s subway (the Tube) on a warm summer’s day during rush hour. Why? Well, picture a closet-like space rammed with men in polyester business suits . . . men who have yet to discover the joys of deodorant. Now imagine your face just inches from one of those men’s armpits, with no room to move away. Turn the dial to thirty degrees Celsius and you have a hellish scenario even Dante couldn’t dream up!

To find out more about the talented Talli Roland, visit her website and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

And be sure to download a copy of Build a Man currently available for only .99!

Thanks, Talli!

xoxo, L&L

Michele Gorman's 5 Loves and a Dud

Wait...it can't be December already!  This year has flown by and we're thrilled that you've spent your valuable time with us in 2011.  Later this month we'll be revealing our top book picks for the years and giving away some great reads, don't miss it! Today we're happy to have Michele Gorman visiting with us and revealing her 5 Loves and a Dud.  Michelle is the author of Single in the City, a fun, sassy read that we think is the perfect remedy for in-law overload this holiday season (we'll be keeping a copy close by for sure!).

Here's the skinny on Single in the City: Recipe for changing your life: Take one twenty six year old American, add to one two thousand year old city, add a big dose of culture clash and stir. To think Hannah ever believed that Americans differed from Brits mainly in pronunciation, sophistication and dentistry. That’s been the understatement of a lifetime.

She lands upon England’s gentle shores with no job, no friends and no idea how she’s supposed to build the new life she’s dreaming of. How is supposed to make new friends when she has no idea about the rules of engagement? How can she win over her poisonous boss when she’s not even trusted to arrange the paperclips? And could her nationality give her an exotic edge in the dating game over Britain’s home-grown lovelies?

Armed with little more than her enthusiasm, she charges headlong into London, baffling the locals in her pursuit of a new life, new love and sense of herself.

Sound up your alley?  Then leave a comment and you'll be entered to win one of two E-book copies.  We'll choose the winners on Sunday December 11th after 6pm PST.


1. Smells. I was blessed (and cursed) with my Mom’s acute sense of smell and from childhood many of my memories have been evoked by scents. While this olfactory overdrive means that taking out the rubbish is only on my to-do list under extreme duress, it also means that many smells have power. Ground coffee, freshly cut grass or chocolate chip cookies evoke lovely memories of mornings at home, Saturdays in the summertime (when Dad mowed the lawn) and Grandma Gorman (baker extraordinaire). Once, in my twenties, a woman passed me at work wearing my Mom’s signature perfume. I nearly followed her down the corridor, sniffing as I went. Luckily I didn’t, so HR didn’t need to be involved.

2. Laughing till it hurts. My friends, and boyfriend, are among the funniest people on the planet. And Living in London for almost 15 years has given me a whole new vein of humour to tap into. Brits have a way with words that often has me on the floor, and nights in with a group of friends, cooking a meal and talking about everything and nothing, is one of my favourite ways to while away the hours.

3. Hong Kong. A few years ago I took a sabbatical from work and moved to Hong Kong to research my next book. It was a case of life imitating art. Since I write about fish-out-of-water experiences I figured it was unfair to readers to try doing so if I’ve never lived in the city! My love of Hong Kong really surprised me because I hadn’t liked it the first time I visited. I’d stayed in a 5* hotel in Central then and went out to the world-class restaurants. I know I know, it sounds like hell. This Hong Kong felt just like other big modern cities, but when I moved there I saw a completely different place - the steep winding little alleys that lead to small wonders, the wet markets, dried seafood sellers and ancient-looking traditional medicine shops, noodle restaurants where men came every morning to right the wrongs of the world. It was the beginning of a lifelong love affair with the city.

4. Glorious food. I will never be one of those women who passes up cake and ice cream, or stinky cheese or tangy bowls of pasta for the sake of my waistline! I love love love food and a Saturday spent at Borough Market in London searching out that evening’s fresh ingredients is as wonderful as indulging in those treats later.

5. The buzz of talking to book lovers. Every time a reader gets in touch to say she liked Single in the City I have to fight the urge to ask for her home address to put her on my Christmas card list. I love to talk to readers, and get excited every time I get a facebook friend request, twitter follow or email. I thought that writing was its own reward, but talking to those who read my book is even better! So please do get in touch on facebook (www.facebook.com/michele.gorman3) or Twitter or send an email (www.michelegorman.co.uk).


Shovel thumbs. I suspect this is a fairly rare dud, so let me set the scene for you. Let’s say you’re talking to a perfectly nice, funny, intelligent man, marvelling at how handsome he is. Thick, beautiful hair, piercing eyes, full lips and a stubbly jaw, tall, broad-shouldered and fit. You look at his strong hands … and notice that he’s got thumbnails where his fingernails should be. Big, flat nails covering the entire end of his thumbs. This anatomical deformity makes me wretch. No doubt there’s some psychological answer that hypnosis could uncover but that would involve my having to pay someone to visualize shovel thumbs. And I can’t imagine anything worse. So he could be the man of my dreams. Those grotesque thumbnails aren’t coming anywhere near me.

Thanks Michele!  xo, L&L

Marilyn Brant's 5 Loves and a Dud

Ahhh...Europe.  How AWESOME would it be to spend a summer there?  Eating french bread and brie in France and red wine and pasta in Italy.  And calories don't count there, right?  Is that why European women can eat carbs and not gain weight?! Damn them! Today we've got the lovely Marilyn Brant sharing her 5 Loves and a Dud.  Her latest novel, A Summer in Europe makes us want to hop on the next plane there.  (Seriously, let's go!)  It's delightful and fun, we think you'll enjoy.

Here's the scoop on A Summer in Europe: On her thirtieth birthday, Gwendolyn Reese receives an unexpected present from her widowed Aunt Bea: a grand tour of Europe in the company of Bea's Sudoku and Mahjongg Club. The prospect isn't entirely appealing. But when the gift she is expecting--an engagement ring from her boyfriend--doesn't materialize, Gwen decides to go.

At first, Gwen approaches the trip as if it's the math homework she assigns her students, diligently checking monuments off her must-see list. But amid the bougainvillea and stunning vistas of southern Italy, something changes. Gwen begins to live in the moment--skipping down stone staircases in Capri, running her fingers over a glacier in view of the Matterhorn, racing through the Louvre, and taste-testing pastries at a Marseilles cafe. Reveling in every new experience--especially her attraction to a charismatic British physics professor--Gwen discovers that the ancient wonders around her are nothing compared to the renaissance unfolding within. . .

Sound good?  Then leave a comment and you'll be entered to win one of FIVE copies!  We'll choose the winners on Sunday December 4th after 6pm PST.  Good luck!



1. Great Movies I love classic movies like "The Philadelphia Story" and "Roman Holiday" and more recent films that are, in my opinion, just as classic, like "When Harry Met Sally," "Shakespeare in Love," "While You Were Sleeping," "A Room with a View" and just about every cinematic production of "Pride and Prejudice." I love the way I can lose myself in films like these...find myself in the drawing room with Darcy and Elizabeth or hanging out at the deli with Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan or listening in (alongside Jimmy Stewart) while Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant banter by the poolside. I also love movies like "Footloose," "Dirty Dancing" and "La Bamba" that make me want to sing and dance along. And I especially love watching really well-made films of any era -- everything from "It Happened One Night" to "The Princess Bride" to "The King's Speech" -- with family and friends, so we can experience it together and talk about it for hours afterward. Often over dessert.

2. Food  Yeah, real specific, huh? Just so you know, I TRIED to narrow it down to a single edible item like, say, Thai spring rolls, which I really love (especially with plum dipping sauce), or even just one particular cuisine, like Italian, which I also love -- and not only because I grew up with Sicilian friends and married a man whose family comes from the Tuscany/Liguria regions. No. The sticking point was that it just didn't seem fair to talk about my adoration of crisp garden salads with freshly chopped tomatoes, cucumbers and romaine...without also mentioning desserts that I can't imagine my life without, like gelato, baklava, English trifle or brownies. How do I say, "Oh, I love dips like roasted-red-pepper hummus," and callously ignore my deep affection for thin-crust sausage-and-mushroom pizza or garlic mashed potatoes or grilled jumbo shrimp? You see how that's a problem, right? So, really, with very few exceptions (see my Dud below), I love ALL food, and I embrace this.

3. Traveling  I've had a pretty insatiable case of wanderlust since I was a kid and have spent much of my life plotting out where my next trip was going to be and how long I'd have to save my allowance (or my paycheck) to get there. When I was in high school, I was an AFS exchange student in Brisbane, Australia for three months, and it really changed the direction of my career. Up until then, I had my future planned out until I was about 80. After the trip, I didn't know what, exactly, I was going to do with my life...LOL. It made the end of high school and the first couple years of college more confusing, but I think it was important for me to go into those years with an open mind. In college, purely on impulse, I auditioned for a folk dance group and ended up performing with them for 2 years, including going with them on a summer-long European dance tour when I was 19. That, too, was a life changer because I really fell in love with Europe and knew I had to go back. Which I did, a few years later, with this world-history teacher I was crazy about...and he proposed to me there, on London Bridge. That was almost 20 years ago ;). Together, the two of us backpacked abroad quite often before we became parents. Since then, our trips have all been much closer to home and much shorter (!!), but I still really love going on roadtrips, taking long walks through other cities and getting a new perspective simply by being in a different place.

4. Music and Musicals  The first film my parents let me stay up late to watch was "The Sound of Music" when I was in 3rd grade. I was absolutely mesmerized by it. At age 8, I wanted to BE Julie Andrews -- well, once she stopped acting like a nun. (I'm Catholic, so I knew enough about nuns not to overly romanticize...) But that musical fueled my desire to learn how to read music and to play my first instrument. It also hooked me on stage musicals. Going to see live productions of "The Music Man" and "My Fair Lady" and, later, "The Phantom of the Opera" and "Les Miserables" -- plus listening to several hours of pop songs every day, which drove my parents nuts! -- was a huge part of my music education. These days, I can't write a character without knowing what kind of songs they'd listen to and, for my own amusement and for any readers who are music lovers, I always have a soundtrack for each of my books.

5. Math I know, I know. You're wondering if, maybe, Liz & Lisa accidentally switched this Love with my Dud since I know a lot of writers who'd probably prefer facing a cold virus over an algebra equation. But I genuinely love math. (Note: I did not say I always understand it!) One of the big reasons is because math correlates strongly with music (see Love #4) and, when I was a junior in high school, I had an amazingly cool algebra teacher/amateur guitarist who shared my love of both. My senior year, after having just been to a physics class where we'd had a lecture on acoustics, I saw my old algebra teacher in the hall, and he and I got to talking about the number of oscillations per second of major musical notes, like the A above Middle C (which is 440 Hz, in case you were dying to know and, yes, in answer to your silent question, I AM a geek). This led me on a fascinating side project of figuring out -- by using an equation I totally can't remember now -- what the vibrations would be for every note on the piano. Seriously, I calculated all 88 of them one night, charted them out and gave a copy of it to my old teacher. It wasn't for extra credit or anything. I wasn't even in his class anymore! It was Just For Fun. (See? Card-carrying levels of geekdom.) But that's when I knew that absolutely any subject on earth could be thrilling for kids if it could be made relevant to their lives and could tap into a passion. A priceless insight for someone who later became a teacher herself...and the parent of a kid whose favorite subject is -- you guessed it -- math.



Cold viruses As I write this, I'm up to my elbows in crumpled Kleenex tissues which, no doubt about it, influences my choice for this particular Dud. I have had this very bad cold for six days already, and it was one of those types that hit me with the force of an express train -- immediate, unrelenting and painful. I. Hate. It. For what it's worth, I also don't like celery or sardines. I find mean-spirited gossips highly annoying. And I'm not a big fan of driving around in busy parking lots, particularly during the holiday season. But I will deal with all of these (okay, not the gossips) almost cheerfully if I don't get another cold like this one EVER again. Hope all of you are staying healthy ("Wash your hands! Get lots of Vitamin C! Go to sleep at a reasonable hour!" Do I sound like my mother yet? *grin*) and here's wishing everyone reading this a wonderful end of the year.

Thanks, Lisa and Liz!!

Thank YOU Marilyn! xo, L&L

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

Robert Rave's 5 Loves and a Dud

We love us some Robert Rave. And not just because he's cute! (Although he is very cute!) But because he's hilarious, writes sassy books and loves his mother! Awwww....

On that note, his latest memoir Conversations and Cosmopolitans: Awkward Moments, Mixed Drinks and How a Mother and Son Shared Who They Really Are is co-written by mama Rave (Jane). How sweet is that?

Here's the skinny on Conversations and Cosmopolitans:  After moving from the Midwest to New York City at the age of twenty-one, Robert Rave finally found the resolve to mail a letter to his parents informing them that he was gay.  Once Robert was “out,” both he and his mother Jane felt a newfound freedom to be more honest with each other.  From the discrimination Jane experienced as a pregnant teenager in a small town, to Robert’s “manscaping,” almost no topic was off-limits in their conversations.  Soon, Robert was creating a “gay glossary” so that Jane could understand the lexicon and Jane was giving Robert the same dating advice that she used to give Robert’s older sister (“men are jerks”).

Sounds like a must-read memoir, right? Well, it could be yours! And you know the drill! Leave a comment and be entered to win one of FIVE copies! We'll randomly select the winners on Sunday, November 27th after 6PM PST.



1. HGTV.  Yeah, I realize this might not be groundbreaking or even remotely sexy.  However, I love this network.  It’s aspirational, it’s escapism, it’s everything.  From “Income Property” to “Design Star” and yes, the anchor of the channel and my favorite—“House Hunters.”  (It goes without saying that “House Hunters International” falls under that same umbrella.) It pretty much is the only channel that I leave on constantly.  Although, “Extreme Couponing” on TLC is so riveting and truth be told makes me panic when they’re standing in the checkout line. I also don’t find it a coincidence that “Hoarding: Buried Alive” is on the same network.

2. Jenna Lyons—Creative Director for J Crew.  I loved J Crew back in the early nineties, but then when I moved out of the Midwest my love affair with the clothing company ended. When Jenna Lyons came on board (and also Andy Spade) they took the brand to an entirely new level.  I know basically the world at large loves her, particularly the female demographic, but I have to speak up for the guys and also profess my love and loyalty to her. There’s really something for every guy in the J Crew men’s store.

3. Capri Blue Jar Candle.  I have two French Bulldogs and let’s just say they have very sensitive stomachs.  Also, I’m presently single.  Therefore, should I ever want to change my relationship status on Facebook again, I need to keep these candles burning constantly.  They smell that good. I’ve only ever seen these sold at Anthropologie, but you might be able to buy them elsewhere. I don’t know, Google it.

4. Frank Sinatra.  I’m really late to the party on this one, I know.  Maybe it’s because I’m thirty-seven and it took me a minute to wise-up, but now I’m hooked.  He’s really great for every occasion: lazy Sunday afternoon, the holidays, an intimate dinner, or my personal favorite—drinking wine!

5. Pinterest.com.  It’s basically an online pinboard, or inspiration board, and as well as a vision board (what’s up The Secret?).  I love finding new things online and what inspires other people—this website is all of that and more.  I’ve really made some awesome discoveries on there: stores, photos, and interior design ideas to name a few.


People who create Facebook profiles for their pets…And then friend request me.  I’m not lying, this has happened to me on several occasions.  I love my dogs.  In fact, they’re the closest thing that I have to children at the moment.  However, the most social networking they can and should have is humping my neighbor’s dog.

To find out more about Robert Rave, follow him on Twitter.




Anna David's 5 Loves and a Dud

AWESOME MEMOIR ALERT!  So, you already know that we're closet memoir whores.  Something about the way people let us into their lives and write about it so beautifully(or in the case, so funny!) makes us want to read more. Today we're featuring a fabulous author and her fantastic memoir, Falling for MeAnna David is the author of the novels Party Girl and Bought.  She's also written for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Redbook, Details and many other publications.  She's also appeared on national television programs including Today, and CNN's Showbiz Tonight. In short, she's a freakin' STUD!  And we really loved her 5 Loves-especially #4!

Here's the scoop on Falling for me: Like most women, whether they’ve chosen the Fortune 500 career path or have had five kids by 35, Anna David wondered if she’d made the right choices. Then she came upon the book Sex and the Single Girl by Helen Gurley Brown, Cosmopolitan’s fearless leader from the mid-sixties to the late nineties. Immediately connecting with Gurley Brown’s unique message of self-empowerment combined with femininity, Anna vowed to use Sex as a lesson plan, venturing out of her comfort zone in the hope of overcoming the fears and insecurities that had haunted her for years. Embarking on a journey both intensely personal and undeniably universal, she becomes adventurous and spontaneous—reviving her wardrobe and apartment, taking French lessons, dashing off to Seville, and whiling nights away with men she never would have considered before. In the process, she ends up meeting the person really worth changing for: herself.

Sound great?  It is! Leave a comment and you'll be entered to win one of FIVE copies.  We'll choose the winners on Sunday November 20th after 6pm PST.


1.  Going to the Farmer’s Market on Sundays. I prefer going to a smaller one in Larchmont rather than the massive Hollywood one because part of what I love about this ritual is that it feels sort of homey and quaint and hundreds of stalls isn’t my idea of homey and quaint. I usually labor over whether or not to get strawberries since they tend to get soft quickly before snagging heirloom tomatoes and avocados (to later chop up the tomato, mix with onion, and scoop into the avocados). Sometimes I stop at this roasted chicken stall (their garlic topping, which lasts for months, is ridiculous) or get these cheesy crackers that I crumble and use in place of croutons in salads. My last stop is always the flower stall, where I get lilies because I’m addicted to the way they smell. At home, I put them in water mixed with a dash of lemon, bleach and sugar, which helps them to last all week—as in just long enough for me to go get some more the following Sunday.

2. Hiking up Runyon Canyon. Some of my friends hate it because they think it’s too crowded or too Hollywood (it’s impossible to go without seeing someone famous—usually Kathy Griffin in full makeup) but I love it. Right at one of the entrances, there’s a booth set up that contains bottled water and granola bars that works on the honor system. In a big city like Los Angeles! Whoever set it up trusts people to leave a dollar if they take something. I never actually have because I usually walk around the world with a bottle of water all but surgically attached to me but it always makes me feel like I live in a small town or something when I see it.

3. The Bar Method, which is basically, from what I can determine through my very unscientific survey, the hardest workout known to man: you essentially line up at a ballet barre and work your muscles like you never knew they could work. Any class where the teacher trills about how great it is to see legs and arms shaking because that means you’re really working isn’t for the faint of heart or body. The experience is actually somewhat miserable and I think one of the reasons I may love it so much is the sheer relief I feel when it’s over: it’s like the glory of removing the pebble from your shoe that was making your foot hurt but times about a million. Plus, the Bar Method I go to is on Third Street in West Hollywood, one block away from Joan’s On Third—the perfect place to reward yourself for your nearly impossible workout with some of their fried cinnamon sugar sprinkled pita crisps.

4. Discovering new writers I love, or new books by writers I’ve long loved. Right now, it’s all about Jennifer Egan and A Visit From The Goon Squad but before that it was this woman Sacha Scoblic who wrote a memoir about sobriety called Unwasted. The sign of a great book, to me, is that I get excited when I’m brushing my teeth at night because I always read before I fall asleep. The problem is that I’m a pretty all-or-nothing person so if I don’t feel that way, I usually don’t end up finishing the book. I also love taking an entire week to read the Sunday New York Times. I’m someone who has to force herself a little to care about current events; it’s a horrible quality I’m deeply ashamed of but somehow the Sunday New York Times manages to make everything interesting and also allow me numerous opportunities to slip, “As I was reading the other day in the Times” into conversations whenever I can and imagine it makes me sound incredibly sophisticated. While I savor the Book Review and Sunday Styles, I’m often also surprised by the gems I discover in the magazine or the business section—or even, who knows—on the front page!

5. The near seasonlessness of Los Angeles weather. I never knew what a weather person I was until I moved to New York a few years ago on a whim and stayed for over three years. I came back to LA last February and the day I landed, it was 80 degrees. I had just endured, essentially, three months of blizzards. And now that it’s fall, in New York I would be starting to panic, thinking I’d better get out there immediately and enjoy the pretty weather because before I knew it, it was all going to be snatched from me and I’d be forced back into my two coat-mitten-hat-scarf uniform. But in LA, the end of summer doesn’t feel like a great tragedy because it essentially feels like summer all year long.


I hate to say it but e-readers. I have a Kindle—my second one—and though I’d love to love it, I simply can’t let go of my desire to hold a physical book. I like to know what page I’m on, not the percentage of the book that I’ve read, and if I’m slightly bored, I like to skip ahead, read a couple of paragraphs or pages and see if I’m more intrigued by what’s coming next—usually I am. I abandon a lot of books that I know I’d finish and probably like if I had the actual physical books. I was listening to Mark Maron’s podcast (another love!) and he was reading pages of Keith Richards’ Life and I thought it sounded amazing. But on the Kindle, I’d stopped reading almost immediately.

Thanks so much Anna!  xo, L&L

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

Marisa de los Santos' 5 Loves and a Dud

We have mad love for New York Times bestselling author, Marisa de los Santos. And are still pinching ourselves that she accepted our invitation to share her 5 Loves and a Dud. (And when we saw that french fries was on her list of loves, we knew she was definitely our girl!) Her latest novel, FALLING TOGETHER has been called one of the hottest books for fall and we couldn't agree more. Here's the skinny on FALLING TOGETHER: It’s been six years since Pen Calloway watched her best friends walk out of her life. And through the birth of her daughter, the death of her father, and the vicissitudes of single motherhood, she has never stopped missing them.

Pen, Cat, and Will met on their first day of college and formed what seemed like a magical and lifelong bond, only to see their friendship break apart amid the realities of adulthood. When, after years of silence, Cat—the bewitching, charismatic center of their group—e-mails Pen and Will with an urgent request to meet at their college reunion, they can’t refuse. But instead of a happy reconciliation, what awaits is a collision of past and present that sends Pen and Will, with Pen’s five-year-old daughter and Cat’s hostile husband in tow, on a journey across the world.

As Pen and Will struggle to uncover the truth about Cat, they find more than they bargained for: startling truths about who they were before and who they are now. They must confront the reasons their friendship fell apart and discover how—and if—it can ever fall back together.

Sounds fabulous, right? Want to win a copy? There's 5 to be won! Just leave a comment and be entered. We'll randomly select the winners after 6:00 p.m. EST on Sunday, November 6th.



There’s something almost mystically beautiful about a food that, apart from the way it tastes, has not a single redeeming quality.  They are so pure in their badness, like those irresistible boys in high school who were dumb and unfunny and entirely self-absorbed but just so stinkin’ gorgeous.   In order to eat fries, you have to check every bit of wisdom you have ever acquired at the door.  Having said that, I won’t just eat any fry.  I don’t need organic blue potatoes, a French chef, and sea salt (although I never say no to that!), but I do need crispness and just the right amount of greasiness (I’m pretty sure that they serve flabby fries in hell), and then I leave my self-respect in shreds in the dust and just go for it.


As a kid, I abandoned ballet early on for gymnastics, a monumentally bad decision since I am tallish, have zero upper body strength, and way too much fear, but as an adult, I am a ballet addict.  I take adult classes as often as I can, usually three times a week, and every time, I leave class a better, happier person than when I got there.  When I tell people I do ballet, usually they say something like, “Wow, I bet that’s a great workout.”  And I suppose it is, but for me (for once!), the way it makes my body look is not the point.  I love the discipline, mental and physical, the way you start every single class with tendus and plies, the most fundamental movements.  I love the sense that I am participating in the beautiful, even when I am not beautiful (which is often).  And I love (for once!) not having any goal beyond joy and getting better at a hard thing.  I will not be tested.  I will not be taking the world stage by storm.  I will never audition for anything.  Which is just the way I like it.


And when I say Anne of Green Gables, I’m talking about the whole series, people.  Eight books, but especially the first five.  Intellectually, I know they might be sugary and old-fashioned and overwritten and mostly plotless, but the truth is that I don’t experience them this way, ever.  I love them.  I love how almost everyone in them (except Josie Pye) is trying so hard to be good.  I love the endless nature descriptions and how Anne and her friends can go on long rambles through fields and woods and never get bitten by one mosquito.  I love the rampant optimism and romance.  I open one book and, boom, I am right there, inside of my childhood.  When I think of my favorite childhood place, I don’t think of any of the houses I lived in; I think of Anne’s east gable room with the flowering cherry tree outside the window.  A chronic bad sleeper, I read these books before I turn out the light.  I am almost never not reading one of them.  I read them to pieces, literally.  Do I know that this is weird?  Yes.  Do I care?  Nope.


Give me a well-written, character-driven mystery and I am happy as a clam.  Kate Atkinson, Tana French, Alexander McCall Smith, Dorothy Sayers, Jacqueline Winspear, Raymond Chandler, Alan Bradley, Cornelia Read, Agatha Christie.  I try hard not to be envious of other writers, and mostly I succeed, but I am dead jealous of mystery writers.  I want to learn to plot like that, to end every chapter with a cliffhanger.  I want to write people into dark, dark places and to ruthlessly examine the ugly side of humanity.  I want to create detectives that are complicated, vulnerable, and wicked smart.  So far, no dice, but I am not giving up hope!


I don’t just mean the actual driving, although I do love that.  There is a certain kind of closeness and a certain kind of conversation that only happens in minivans (and I do have one) on the way to swim practice or ballet class.  But I mean the whole shebang.  It’s one of the chief complaints of the modern parent:  the time-suck of their kids’ sports and activities schedules.  But mostly, I don’t buy it.  Mostly, I think we all secretly love to not only drive there but to be there.  My kids swim year-round, and, yes, indoor pool facilities (or natatoria, cool word) are kind of miserable:  hot, humid, loud.  But I am never miserable in them.  I look forward to swim meets, to getting up and getting the kids up while it’s still dark outside, driving through the cool dawn with the sun coming up and my travel mug of coffee in the cup holder and the kids eating breakfast in the back.  We listen to inspiring kid music:  Katie Perry’s “Firework”, The Black-Eyed Peas’s “I Gotta Feeling” and we get inspired.  Then, my husband and I sit (or time or officiate) with the other swim parents and watch our children spend their hearts on the thing they love.  I could be writing books.  I could be doing a lot of things.  But here’s what I know:  it is the great privilege of my life to be there, and at the end of my life, I’ll be glad I was.



I know that as soon as I say “I hate reality shows,” my fun factor takes a nosedive, but oh my gosh, I detest them.  Actually, in saying that, I’m breaking my rule about not panning anything that I don’t finish because I can’t get through more than seven minutes of any reality show, but, rule be damned, I loathe them.  They bring out my inner cranky grandma (“That girl has no business wearing that skirt!”), my inner snob (“I have been studiously avoiding these people my entire life; why would I want to watch them now?”), and my inner high-horse-sitter (“Making fun of the mentally ill is just cruel.”).  Those housewives with their terrible lips!  The abusive dance moms!  Those wretchedly unhappy hoarders!  Those rich, famous, insufferable no-talent families!  And what about the writers?  What about the actors?  They’re talented!  They have gifts they’ve spent years and energy cultivating!  Employ them!  Give your time to something that’s worth it!  (See?  High horse!).

Thanks, Marisa!


Liz & Lisa

To find out more about the lovely and talented Marisa de los Santos, follow her on Facebook!

Pamela Morsi's 5 Loves and a Dud

The seasons are changing once again.  But no matter what the season, you can always count on great authors and books at Chick Lit is Not Dead.  And today is no exception! We've got the lovely and talented Pamela Morsi sharing her 5 Loves and a Dud. We discovered Pamela a few years ago when we read and loved The Social Climber of Davenport Heights.  So we're thrilled that she has a new release, The Bentley's Buy a Buick and is sharing her 5 Loves and a Dud!

HERE'S THE SCOOP ON THE BENTLEY'S BUY A BUICK: Think you can trust your husband? Think again! That's what the gossipy types at Erica Bentley's new job say. Even her (multi-divorced) mom agrees. But Erica's sure she knows her husband, Tom, better than that. He says he loves her, and shows it in a million ways. Except…he has been working extra-late these days. And he's been kinda quiet. Even secretive.

Happily married Tom Bentley never thought his head could be turned—until he saw Clara. Her sleek body has him longing, and he can't get her 127" wheelbase out of his mind. That's right. Erica's "competition" is…a car.

The beautiful Buick has Tom completely car-crazy. And Erica's sleuthing is making her just plain crazy. One of them needs to come clean with their newest obsessions, before Clara drives their happy marriage into a ditch!

Sound good?  Then leave a comment and you'll be entered to win one of FIVE copies!  We'll choose the winners on Sunday October 3oth after 6pm PST.  Good luck!


1.  Coffee in bed.  Well, not “in bed” literally.  (Although I have spilled it on myself.  Definition of rude awakening.)  Preferred on the bedside table, brought by my husband.  There is no way better to start the day.  When I can just roll over, push the wild hair out of my face and get my caffeine fix, life is beautiful.

2.  GIANT HOLIDAY MEALS.    I love doing big family occasions, Thanksgiving, Christmas, the Fourth of July.  I have great memories of these from childhood.  I want our kids to have that same experience.  So, if the weather’s good, we set up outside.  If not, we rearrange the house into something resembling a restaurant. We’ve had as many as 29 for a sit-down dinner.  And, of course, there was the Christmas that we rented the blow-up jumpy for the front yard.  (No children were harmed in the production of this memory)  With minimal oversight, the kids manage somehow to look out for each other, allowing the parents to celebrate with some grown-up conversation.  Now that’s what I call a holiday.

3.  Live Music.   I am an old folky, bluegrass and jazz kind of gal.  But I’ll listen to anything live.  I just love the up close and personal of an in-your-face performance.  Whether it’s a strings recital, a gospel choir or the International Accordion Festival, if you will play, I will listen.  I don’t go to big-star concerts anymore.  Not since I had great seats at Jimmy Buffett and the drunken stranger next to me knew all the words to every song and sang them all evening.  (Is it really wrong to use pepper spray in a crowd?)  These days I find a lot of talent in smaller, more intimate venues.  Good sounds, good friends and a nice, cold glass of Sauvignon Blanc.

4.  Tuesday Breakfast Club.  I have been meeting the same group of women every Tuesday for the last seven or eight years.  There are six of us, all moms of Special Needs kids.  We were so lucky to have found each other.  There is something really freeing in being able to brag, complain or cry about your not-off-the-rack kid among women who know where you’re coming from.  They neither feel sorry for you for the hand you’ve been dealt or admire you as a heroine for doing what you’ve simply gotta do.

5.  British Drama.  After my daughter goes to bed at night, I try to catch about an hour of TV to sort of wind down.  What really does it for me is British drama.  Yes, I am totally one of those women who can spout whole segments of dialog from Jane Austen productions.  But I also love BBC mysteries like Foyle’s War, The Last Detective or Midsomer Murders.  The downside of this, of course, is that I can never retire to the south of England.  The crime rate there must be astronomical.


For me it’s shopping.  I am one of those weird women who hates to spend money, doesn’t like to try on clothes and considers wandering through shops looking at things I won’t buy as a waste of time.  Naturally, it is impossible to live a completely mall-free life.  So I plan my ventures into the retail economy like search and destroy missions.  I get in there, get what I have to have, and get out.  Let’s think of it as if I’m doing a favor.  I’m leaving all that stuff to be found by someone who can really appreciate it, maybe Liz.

Lol, Thanks so much Pamela! xo, L&L

To read more about Pamela, head on over to her website.

Valerie Frankel's 5 Loves and a Dud

Valerie Frankel. She's funny as all hell. She's the author of, like, a gazillion books (including the critically acclaimed weight-loss memoir, THIN IS THE NEW HAPPY & A SHORE THING- her "collaboration" with Snooki!). And, well, we're pretty much in love with her. So we're over the moon that she's here to celebrate  IT'S HARD NOT TO HATE YOU her latest must-read memoir about embracing your Inner Hater (we so love that!) and to reveal her 5 Loves and a Dud. Her dud will having you LOL'ing your ass off- Sorry, Kim Kardashian, but it's sooo true. More on that in a minute.

But first...

Here's the skinny on IT'S HARD NOT TO HATE YOU: In the midst of a health and career crisis, Valerie uncorks years of pent up rage, and discovers you don't have to be happy to be happy. You don’t have to love everyone else to like yourself. And that your Bitchy Twin might just be your funniest, most valuable and honest ally.

“The hate in you has got to come out.” After being advised to reduce stress by her doctor, humorist Valerie Frankel realized the biggest source of pressure in her life was maintaining an unflappable easing-going persona. After years of glossing over the negative, Frankel goes on a mission of emotional honesty, vowing to let herself feel and express all the toxic emotions she’d long suppressed or denied: jealousy, rage, greed, envy, impatience, regret. Frankel reveals her personal History of Hate, from mean girls in junior high, selfish boyfriends in her twenties and old professional rivals. Hate stomps through her current life, too, with snobby neighbors, rude cell phone talkers, scary doctors and helicopter moms. Regarding her husband, she asks, “How Do I Hate You? Let Me Count the Ways.” (FYI: There are three.) By the end of her authentic emotional experience, Frankel concludes that toxic emotions are actually good for you. The positive thinkers, aka, The Secret crowd, have it backwards. Trying to ward off negativity was what’d been causing Frankel’s career stagnation, as well as her health and personal problems. With the guidance of celebrity friends like Joan Rivers and psychic Mary T. Browne, Frankel now uses anger, jealousy and impatience as tools to be a better, balanced and deeper person. IT'S HARD NOT TO HATE YOU sends the message that there are no wrong emotions, only wrong ways of dealing with them.

Sounds fabulous, right? We think so! Just leave a comment and be entered to win one of five copies of IT'S HARD NOT TO HATE YOU. We'll randomly select the winners on Sunday, October 23rd after 6PM EST.



I’m a big fan of little loves, the tiny day-to-day detail that lifts my mood. Five of them:

1. Using maple syrup to sweeten coffee. I was shocked and horrified to learn that Splenda is as bad for the body as white sugar. I’d been using packets a day for years. My Whole Foods friend Nancy suggested I use honey in my coffee instead. I tried it. Feh. Then my mom gave me a gallon of maple syrup that her neighbors in Vermont made from trees in my parents’ yard. A gallon. There aren’t enough pancakes in the world. I started adding it to coffee, and am now addicted. It’s an organic, natural sweetener I can feel enthusiastic about using, and it tastes great.

2. The cardigan coat trend. This is my daily look: jeans, a tank top, booties, and a big cozy nubby cardigan. This silhouette is the definition of casual chic. It’s flattering on just about anyone, comfortable, mindlessly easy and current.

3. The floss stick. Any brand will do, but I like these. A simple piece of plastic turns a gross boring chore into a fun quest, like searching for bats in a mysterious cave. Greatest personal care invention since the vibrator! Okay, that might be overstating it.

4. Hanco’s Vietnames sandwiches. Nine days out of ten, I don’t eat meat. On that tenth day, I go full pork, and have a Hanco’s classic sandwich. The bright, tangy carrots and radish combined with rich ground pork, packed into crispy crunchy bread. Hmmmm.

5. Fleece electric blanket. It’s about that time of year. The kind I have has a separate dial for each side of the bed. That’s crucial. My husband is always too hot (not to brag), and I’m always freezing cold. I switch on my side an hour before bedtime, and slip into coziness.


I loathe so many things and rude behaviors, I wrote an entire book about it. What really bugs the crap out of me lately, is the simpering baby voice way Kim Kardashian drawls, “Thank you.” Sounds like, “Thenquewwwww.” It oozes out like toxic sludge. It’s like she was taught to pretend to be gracious, or to go through the courtesy motions, but she doesn’t really give a crap what anyone else does or says for her. If I ever met her, and she drooled, “thenkewwwww,” to me, I’d slap that mush right out of her mouth. God, I hate the sound of false sincerity. I teach my daughters to declare gratitude, loud and proud. “Thanks!” Appreciation isn’t some gas that leaks out of silicone tire lips. It’s a punctuation mark. A point! THANK YOU for reading this.

To find out more about the hilarious Valerie Frankel, follow her on Twitter and Facebook and check out her website. And don't forget to buy her book!

Thanks, Valerie!


Liz & Lisa

Janet Elder's 5 Loves and a Dud

We're suckers for a cute dog almost as much as we're suckers for a good book. Combine the two and you've got Huck:The Remarkable True Story of How One Lost Puppy Taught a Family--and a Whole Town--About Hope and Happy Endings, the fantastic New York Times bestseller by Janet Elder. We couldn't be more thrilled to have Janet as our guest today sharing her 5 Loves and a Dud and celebrating the paperback release of Huck (out today). But before we get into all that, can we just stop for a second and talk about this picture of Huck ?  


Could he be any freakin' cuter? Just wook at that wittle face. Aww...

We know. We know. We're a little crazy for Huck over here. But you'll get it as soon as you read this amazing story that's about so much more than a dog that runs away. It's about love, hope and the kindness of strangers. Be prepared. This book will make you laugh, cry and want a dog just like Huck! (Who even has his own Twitter account. Follow him here.)

Here's the skinny on Huck:  Huck is the true story of a family’s desperate search for their eight month old, nine pound puppy lost in the wild. It is a harrowing adventure story. It is a love story. Michael was four when his relentless campaign for a dog began. At seven he made a PowerPoint presentation, “My Dog,” with headings like “A Childhood Without a Dog is a Sad Thing.” His parents, Janet and Rich, were steadfast; bringing a dog into their fast-paced New York City lives was utterly impractical.

On a trip to Italy, however, a chance happening leads Janet to reconsider, a decision then hastened by a diagnosis of breast cancer. Janet decides the excitement of a new puppy will be the perfect antidote to the strain on the family of months of arduous treatments for her illness. The prospect of a new puppy will be an affirmation of life, a powerful talisman for them all. On Thanksgiving weekend, soon after the grueling months of treatments are over, Huck, a sweet, mischievous, red-haired, toy poodle joins the family and wins everyone’s heart.

A few months later the family ventures to baseball’s spring training, leaving Huck with Janet’s sister in Ramsey, New Jersey. Barely twenty-four hours into the trip, Janet receives the dreaded phone call: Huck has slipped through the backyard fence and run away.

Brokenhearted and frantic, the family catches the first plane to New Jersey to begin a search for their lost puppy. It is a race against time, for little Huck is now lost in an area entirely unfamiliar to him, facing the threat of bears and coyotes, swamps and freezing temperatures, rain and fast cars.

Moved by the family’s plight, strangers – from school children to townspeople to the police lieutenant – join the search, one that proves to be an unyielding test of determination and faith...

Sound like your kind of story? If you leave a comment, you can win one of five copies of Huck. We'll randomly select the winners on Sunday, October 8th after 6PM EST.



1. I love to ride my bike in Central Park. The loop around the park is roughly 6 miles. It’s a modest workout unless you go around the loop two or three times which I often do. Pedaling through the rolling hills and gentle valleys of the park I am able to escape the confines of life lived in an apartment in the concrete canyons of the city.  A good ride frees both body and soul.

2. I love to read on the subway. When I first moved to New York and started taking the subway every day, I was struck by how many people were reading. Step onto any subway car at any time of the day or night and you are likely to see people reading newspapers in many different languages, you’ll see kids reading comics and adults glued to the latest thriller. I often catch up on my periodical reading, The New Yorker, The New Republic, The Economist as well as the guilty pleasures of Vogue, In Style and People.

3. I love Spring flowers -- all of them — tulips, daffodils, cherry blossoms, lilacs, azaleas. If I had a yard, I’d plant them. The winters are too long and too dark. The first crocus always feels like a gift, a reminder that light is on its way.

 4. I love to watch The Office with my son. We’ve been watching it together for years and years. All through his high school years it was a chance to do something together that had no relevance to what either of us was doing the rest of the day or the rest of the week. It was a time out for something silly which often is just what is needed.

5. I love chocolate chip cookies. Who doesn’t? Best warm with milk. I don’t like them too loaded up with chips or butter though. It has to be the right balance. I know I sound pretty finicky, but they have to be home made or why waste the calories?


I can’t stand waiting of any kind. I always stand on the wrong line in the supermarket. I hate waiting for a table in a restaurant, or the bus or an elevator.

Thanks, Janet! (And Huck!)


Liz & Lisa

To find out more about the lovely and talented Janet Elder (who also happens to be a senior editor at the New York Times!) check out her website and follow her on Facebook.


Jackie Collins' 5 Loves and a Dud

Jackie Collins is an author who needs no introduction. She's Jackie. Freakin'. Collins. 400 million copies selling, New York Times bestselling (twenty-eight times over), play writing, movie directing, talk show hosting, Collins.  Ok, so maybe that was an introduction. But, c'mon, she's Jackie. Freakin'. Collins. *Drum roll please*

Calling all Jackie Collins lovers (and if you're not yet in love, you will be...) Lucky Santangelo is back!

In Goddess of Vengeance, Lucky (easily the most iconic heroine in many of Collins' novels) returns in a ferocious new novel that not only shows off the explosive, sexy glitter of the Las Vegas highlife but also introduces readers to a new generation of Santangelos ready to step into the limelight: Lucky’s sexy son, Bobby, and 17-year-old daughter, Max, whose youthful escapades will excite both longtime fans and those who have yet to discover the irresistible Santangelo Family appeal.

One word: Juicy.

Want your own copy? We bet you do! Put your name in the hat to win one of five copies by leaving a comment. We'll randomly select the winners on Sunday, September 18th after 6pm EST. In the meantime, read a chapter from Goddess of Vengeance here. And be sure to check out her campaign, Girls Can Do Anything, where Jackie asks fans to post to her Facebook page videos, stories and photos of extraordinary women in their lives. Love it!

And now we couldn't be more thrilled that Jackie is sharing her loves and a dud!



I freaking love chocolate.  It has to be milk chocolate and Reese's peanut butter cups rule!

I love driving my sports Jaguar while listening to Drake and Amy Winehouse at full volume.

I love my Twitter followers and Facebook fans!  Smart, fun and full of wisdom and wit.

I love writing.  It is my passion, and there is nothing better than creating interesting, sexy and diverse characters.


And my dud for the day would be married CHEATERS - men and women.  The smart way is to be faithful - make marriage count or get a divorce.  Role playing can be much more satisfying!

We couldn't agree more!

Thanks, Jackie!

xoxo, L&L

To find out more about the fabulous Jackie Collins, visit her website.


Kate White's 5 Loves and a Dud

We love a good mystery.  Although most days our biggest mystery is where the hell did we set our keys down the night before or why we've gained two pounds after cutting carbs all week.  But today we have a GREAT mystery author for you.  And we think you're going to love her as much as we do! We're thrilled that the ultra-fab Kate White agreed to share her 5 Loves and a Dud with us.  If her name sounds familiar, that might be because she's the editor-in-chief at Cosmopolitan Magazine.  Or maybe it's because her first novel, If Looks Could Kill, was Kelly and Regis's first book club pick.  Or maybe you've already read her latest, The Sixes, and loved it as much as we did!  We hadn't read a thriller like this in quite a while, and it was seriously refreshing.  We highly recommend that you grab a copy today!

Here's the deal on The Sixes: Phoebe Hall’s Manhattan life has suddenly begun to unravel. Right after her long-term boyfriend breaks off their relationship, she’s falsely accused of plagiarizing her latest bestselling celebrity biography. Looking for a quiet place to put her life back together, Phoebe jumps at the offer to teach in a sleepy Pennsylvania town at a small private college run by her former boarding school roommate and close friend, Glenda Johns.

But behind the campus’s quiet cafes and leafy maple trees lie evil happenings. The body of a female student washes up on the banks of a nearby river, and disturbing revelations begin to surface: accusations from coeds about abuses wrought by a secret society of girls on campus known as The Sixes.. To help Glenda, Phoebe embarks on a search for clues—a quest that soon raises painful memories of her own boarding school days years ago.

As the investigation heats up, Phoebe unexpectedly finds herself falling for the school’s handsome psychology professor, Duncan Shaw. But when nasty pranks turn into deadly threats, Phoebe realizes she’s in the middle of a real-life nightmare, not knowing whom she can trust and if she will even survive.

Plunging deeper into danger with every step, Phoebe knows she’s close to unmasking a killer. But with truth comes a terrifying revelation: your darkest secrets can still be uncovered . . . and starting over may be a crime punishable by death.

Sound fab?  Then leave a comment and you'll be entered to win one of FIVE copies!  We'll choose the winners on Sunday September 18th after 6pm PST.  Good Luck y'all!


1. My delicious new freedom on weekends. My kids are 21 and 24 and I have all this glorious time to myself now. Oh, I adore my kids and I never minded the endless games of War and Candyland and the snake hunts through the woods on Saturdays and Sundays. And it's sad in many respects to have them mostly off on their own. But it's so very sweet to have time to myself again. Sitting on my porch with a book is even more blissful, perhaps, because I somehow thought it would never happen again.

2. Basil. I've always loved this herb but started growing pots of it a few years ago, and I can't get enough of it. I make tons of pesto in the summer and use basil in all sorts of dishes. But one of my favorite things is a basil salad. I had one in Provence last year and though I know it sounds surprising, it's really good as a little side dish. Just leaves of basil with olive oil and vinegar.

3. Reading plays. I love SEEING plays, especially off and off off Broadway in small theaters. But a few years ago I discovered how nice it was to read them. I carry one in my purse. Great for when you are stuck in a long line.

4. Hot weather. I not only love to just BE in hot weather, but I also find it's easier for me to write my mysteries when it's over 80. I have no clue why. Sometimes I think I must have lived in a very warm climate in another life. It's helped my writing to understand this. I've come to see that part of getting yourself to write is knowing all the factors that make you want to do it--the right type of desk, the right time of day, etc. I call it the writer's cocktail.

5. The crazy thing I just did in my 25-year marriage. I know from my day job (editor in chief of Cosmo) that novelty is great for long-term relationships because it releases dopamine, which mimics a feeling of infatuation. Well, I followed my own advice. My husband and I bought a house in Uruguay. Very affordable, not a big risk at all financially. But still kooky and wild to do, and it's been exhilarating.

DUD The Real Housewives series. They make women seem so vile and horrible. I've met a ton of fabulous women in my life and career, and no one even remotely as disgusting as any of those women.

Thanks Kate! xoxo, L&L

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