Alyssa Goodnight

Alyssa Goodnight's 5 BEST EVERS

Book  Austensibly-Ordinary by Alyssa GoodnightOur guest today: Alyssa Goodnight Why we love her: We adore her Jane Austen AWESOMENESS.

Her latest: Austensibly Ordinary

The scoop: Cate Kendall is no stranger to daydreams of brooding men and fancy parties--after all, she teaches one of her beloved Jane Austen novels in her English classes every year. But as for romance or adventure in her own life, the highlight of most weeks is Scrabble with her cute coworker, Ethan, and he draws the line at witty banter. But Cate is ready for a change. When she finds a mysterious journal that seems to have a link to the soul of the great Jane Austen herself, she knows it's her chance. And she grabs on with both hands...

Before she knows it, Cate has invented an alter ego with an attitude, attended some seriously chic soirees, and gotten tangled up with a delicious mystery man. And she's uncovered enough unexpected secrets about Ethan that her Scrabble partner has taken to brooding looks and unfathomable silences. It's a positively Austenite predicament, and Cate is sure she'll land in hot water and heartbreak--but maybe not with Jane herself to guide her...

Our thoughts: Crawl under the covers and dive into this one-you'll love it!

Giveaway: FIVE copies!  Leave a comment here and you'll be entered.  We'll choose the winners after Sunday January 27th at 3pm PST.

Fun Fact: Check out her best life moment below--but WARNING!  It may make you hate on what your hubs did (or didn't do!) for your birthday last year.

Where to read more about Alyssa: Her website, Facebook and Twitter.


AlyssaGoodnight_cropBEST SONG:  "Right Back Where We Started From" by Maxine Nightingale  This song never fails to put me in a good mood, and I admit to breaking out in a little impromptu boogie every time I hear it.  (The name Maxine Nightingale gives me a little burst of happiness too.)

BEST BOOK: Before last summer, I think I would have said This Rough Magic by Mary Stewart, which is a classic romantic suspense from the 60's and my favorite comfort read.  But this summer, I read Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein and was blown away.  This book is historical and important and intense and heart-wrenching.  My heart was in my throat through at least half of it.  I've never read anything quite like it, and I have every expectation that memories of it will stay with me for a long time to come.

BEST MOVIE: This one is really tough for me, because there are movies that I will watch over and over and over again, but faced with this question, I'm not convinced that I'd really consider them 'Best Movie' material.  I mean, that's a serious accolade.  I think that if pressed, I would have to say The Lord of the Rings trilogy.  Yes, I know it was three movies, but it's one story!  They broke it into three movies as a concession to the limitations of the human bladder.  I'm typically not a big fantasy fan, but there is just something magnificent about that story: the quest, the heroism, the battles, the humor...  It is simply epic.  (It has its share of hotties too.)

BEST PIECE OF ADVICE:  "Don't forget to be awesome!"  I first saw this as a poster/piece of artwork on Pinterest and immediately pinned it, thinking, that about sums it up, doesn't it.  Since then, I've seen it in various other incarnations and decided that it sums up all the other bits of advice quite nicely.  The big thing to remember while you're busy being awesome: It doesn't matter that no one else may be convinced of your awesomeness.  They'll figure it out eventually.  I love this sentiment so much that I recently created a framed reminder for myself to sit on my office desk.  I've (only somewhat jokingly) suggested that my two boys tap the frame everyday from now on.

BEST LIFE MOMENT: The moment it became clear that that my husband had pulled off my crazy 40th birthday wish.  I'd wished for a flash mob--not one I was dancing in, mind you, just one to watch.  And I got one!  I walked into our local Main Event, thinking I was going to play a round or two of birthday laser tag (which I LOVE) with a couple of friends, and instead a really impressive group of friends was lurking, in jeans and black t-shirts, waiting for me to arrive.

Getting over the initial shock, I was pressed into a front-row seat as Thriller was pumped out of the intercom system and everyone slid into rows.  It was an impressive, unbelievable thrill to watch as my friends hunched and twitched to that cult favorite.  And the surprises just kept coming!  As the songs changed and dancers switched in and out, my sons, along with clips from Muppets grumps Statler and Waldorf, commentated, and snapshot photos of my life were displayed on screen.  It was AMAZING.  They even managed to include me for a couple of dances, including, crazily enough, All the Single Ladies.  It was epic, and I will never forget it.  My husband never fails to impress.

Thanks Alyssa!  xoxo, L&L


Alyssa Goodnight's 5 Loves and a Dud

We love a good love story y'all.  Well, make that a sassy love story. And with Valentine's Day around the corner, we'd thought we give you a little sweet treat to sink your teeth into. No, not those truffles, a really great book! We think you'll adore Alyssa Goodnight and her lovely novel, Austentatious.  It's fun, it's sassy.  And it has a MAGICAL journal.  What more do you freakin' need?!  It drops TODAY so run on over to get your copy.

Here's the scoop on Austentatious: It started innocently enough. While browsing in one of Austin's funky little shops, Nicola James is intrigued by a blank vintage journal she finds hidden among a set of Jane Austen novels. Even though Nic is a straight-laced engineer, she's still a sucker for anything Austen-esque. But her enthusiasm quickly turns to disbelief once she starts writing in the journal—because somehow, it's writing her back. . .

Miss Nicola James will be sensible and indulge in a little romance. Those twelve tiny words hit Nic like a thunderbolt, as if her diary was channeling Austen herself! Itching for a bit of excitement, Nic decides to follow her "Fairy Jane's" advice. The result: a red-hot romance with a sexy Scottish musician who charms his way into Nic's heart in about five seconds flat.

Sean MacInnes is warm, funny, and happens to think Nic is the most desirable woman he's ever met. But a guy like Sean doesn't exactly fit into her Life Plan. With no one but Fairy Jane to guide her, Nic must choose between the life she thought she wanted—and the kind of happy ending she never saw coming...

Sound fab?  Then leave a comment, yo! We have FIVE copies to give away.  We'll choose the winners on Monday February 6th after 6pm PST.  Good luck!



1. SWIMMING.  It's possible my love of swimming can be traced back to my childhood.  But not in the way you would assume.  As a kid I rarely visited the neighborhood pool.  My brother and sister and I used to hole up in our rooms and whisper about the possibility that maybe, just maybe, today was the day our mom would take us to the pool.  It didn't happen often, but when it did, my day was totally made!  I loved the cerulean blue of the pool water lapping in all its tiny waves against the sides.  I loved gulping in deep breaths of air and dipping under the water to peek at another world.  You could disappear underwater, sneak up on people, go exploring, and then float back to the surface to start all over again, and I loved every minute of it.  Every summer it's exactly the same: my first glimpse of the pool, that color, those waves, the mysteries that lie beneath.  I can't wait to dip my head below the surface and just swim.

2. CHIPS & SALSA.  Sheer genius.  Crispy, salty, fried corn tortilla chips and zesty, spicy, fresh-flavored salsa--a match made in heaven!  If the chips weren't so darned high in fat, this would be the perfect snack.  Honestly, I could probably even make a meal out of this delicious combination.  I think the presence of chips and salsa on the table in Mexican restaurants makes a meal more fun, more festive, and way more relaxed.  Once you've shared chips, dribbled salsa, and witnessed each others awkward chip/mouth manuevers, you're friends.

3. DR. PEPPER.  Dr. Pepper feels just a little bit magical.  The can itself is marked with the information that the sofa is an 'Authentic Blend of 23 Flavors.'  23??  I can't even imagine hitting on something delicious after messing around with twenty-three different flavors.  But they did it (way back in 1885), and it's done.  No other soft drink holds the same appeal for me.  I'll drink Coke, and it's fine, refreshing, but it's not special like Dr. Pepper.  I tried giving it up--those 150 empty calories and 40g of carbs (I have a can right in front of me--these stats aren't memorized, although they probably should be), but I couldn't do it.  Dr. Pepper is my writing companion.  Almost every afternoon I sit down with one and escape to another world...

4. JANE AUSTEN.  A love that many of us share.  I read Pride & Prejudice in high school and loved it.  I read it again in college and loved it some more.  But it wasn't until years later that I gobbled down her other five novels (not to mention a good number of spin-offs and retellings) that I came to truly adore her.  I love that her novels elevate everyday life, the focus of which is romance, to literature.  I adore her narrative voice, adding snark and humor and wisdom beyond the stories themselves.  Despite her limited circumstances and experiences, she understood the world so well that modern day retellings remain fresh, and quotes from her novels, journals, and letters are relevant today.  She is inspirational, and given the option to invite anyone in history to dinner, I just might choose her.

5. USA NETWORK.  Much like Greek mythology's Athena, popping fully formed (and armed) from Zeus's brain, the USA Network seems to have done the same (although I'm not sure which brains are responsible).  All of sudden, the USA Network began producing programming that was fun, fresh, and different.  I was totally on board with a pretend psychic detective and his kooky sidekick.  I was intriged by a burned spy and his brand of vigilante justice.  And I admit to having crushes on a certain White Collar criminal and a blind CIA analyst.  I love the USA Network...for creative programming (I regularly watch Psych, Burn Notice, White Collar, Covert Affairs, and In Plain Sight), for embracing the sidekick, for infusing every show with humor, and for loveable characters.  If you're not watching, you're missing out!


Inefficency.  I fight (I think valiantly) against it everyday in my own life, and it irks me to be thrown into situations that positively teem with inefficiency.  I want to step behind the counter at the local movie theater and reorganize their whole strategy.  It shouldn't take 20 minutes to get a popcorn and a soda if the line is only eight or ten people long and everyone in it pretty much wants just wants a popcorn and soda.

Thanks Alyssa!  xoxo, L&L

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