Lisa Steinke and Liz Fenton

Megan Caldwell's 5 Best Evers

Today's guest: Megan Caldwell Why we love her: Her writing is smart!

Her latest: Vanity Fare: A novel of lattes, literature and love

The scoop on it: Molly Hagan is overwhelmed. Her husband left her for a younger, blonder woman; her six-year-old son is questioning her authority, and now so is she. In order to pay her Brooklyn rent and keep her son supplied with Pokémon and Legos, not to mention food and clothing, she has to get a job—fast.

So when an old friend offers Molly a freelance position copywriting for a new bakery, finding romance is just about the last thing on her mind. But the sexy British pastry chef who's heading up the bakery has other thoughts. And then so does Molly, when she meets the chef's intimidating business partner—who also happens to have a secret that might prevent Molly from getting her own happily ever after.

Our thoughts: LOVED, loved, loved. Best book to give us a jump start into the New Year.

Giveaway: FIVE copies. Just leave a comment and be entered to win. We'll select the winners after 3pm on Sunday, December 30th

Where to read more about Megan: Her website


1. BEST HAIR PRODUCT You know those quizzes they ask in women’s magazines where they ask what one beauty product you’d take to a desert island with you? (Like there’s someone to impress there, but whatever.) I would not hesitate a moment, I would take Kiehl’s Silk Groom for my hair. I use this every single day, and I seriously panic if I am close to running out. I really hate wispy, fluffy hair (on me, at least) and the Silk Groom calms it down so I am not fluffy in the slightest. Thank goodness.

2. BEST HISTORICAL MINISERIES: There are a surprising amount of entrants to this category, and I think I might have seen every one. But my favorite, the one that makes my heart ache and skip and flutter every single time I watch it, is North and South, starring Richard Armitage and some lady with big eyes. Armitage has the smokiest, deepest, most luscious voice ever, and he’s tall, and plays such a stubborn alpha male who gets completely thunderstruck when he falls in love. SWOON.

3. BEST NOIR FILM: I love noir, which I know is odd given that I love romance novels so much (Spoiler: Noirs do not have happy endings). One of the most brilliant ones of all time is Double Indemnity, based on a book by James M. Cain and starring Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray. It’s a brilliant plot filled with so many double-crosses it’s got hatchmarks, and the performances are excellent.

4. Most HANDSOMEST MAN EVER: It’s not really a controversial choice, given that he is the world’s first male supermodel, but British model David Gandy is by far the most gorgeous man I’ve ever seen. Dark hair, blue eyes, height, that body, a scowl, and I’m gone. I can lose 20 minutes at a stretch falling down the Gandy hole, which is when you google image David Gandy and emerge, blinking and lust-crazed, some time later.

5. BEST BRONTE SISTER BOOK: Jane Eyre. I think Jane Eyre began my love of first-person narrative, a chicklit convention, and I wrote Vanity Fare in first person because any other viewpoint just didn’t work. I strongly identified with the plain, unobtrusive Jane who fell in love—and was loved back with fervor—with Mr. Rochester, one of the first Alpha male heroes I ever met. Their dialogue, their courtship, her rescue of him, her strength in resisting him—again, swoon.

Thanks, Megan!

xoxo, Liz & Lisa

Lisa Genova's 5 BEST EVERS

Today's guest: Lisa Genova Her latest: Love Anthony

Why we love it: She writes about autism beautifully. And her heartwarming novel reminds us of what's important: family.

The scoop on it: I’m always hearing about how my brain doesn’t work right. . . . But it doesn’t feel broken to me.

Olivia Donatelli’s dream of a “normal” life shattered when her son, Anthony, was diagnosed with autism at age three. Understanding the world from his perspective felt bewildering, nearly impossible. He didn’t speak. He hated to be touched. He almost never made eye contact. And just as Olivia was starting to realize that happiness and autism could coexist, Anthony died.Now she’s alone in a cottage on Nantucket, separated from her husband, desperate to understand the meaning of her son’s short life, when a chance encounter with another woman facing her own loss brings Anthony alive again for Olivia in a most unexpected way.Beth Ellis’s entire life changed with a simple note: “I’m sleeping with Jimmy.”
Fourteen years of marriage. Three beautiful daughters. Yet even before her husband’s affair, she had never felt so alone. Heartbroken, she finds the pieces of the vivacious, creative person she used to be packed away in a box in her attic. For the first time in years, she uncaps her pen, takes a deep breath, and begins to write. The young but exuberant voice that emerges onto the page is a balm to the turmoil within her, a new beginning, and an astonishing bridge back to herself.In a piercing story about motherhood, autism, and love, New York Times bestselling author Lisa Genova offers us two unforgettable women on the verge of change and the irrepressible young boy whose unique wisdom helps them both find the courage to move on.

Our thoughts: Lisa Genova is a beautiful writer. You will love this book!

Giveaway: FIVE copies! Just leave a comment and be entered to win. We'll randomly select the winners this Sunday after 3pm PST.

Fun fact: Watch Lisa talk about Love Anthony here.


BEST SONG: There are way too many!  Anything by Paul Simon and Ani DiFranco. My recent favorite song is “Stars and Meteors” by Sarah Swain.

BEST MOVIE: My favorite movie is probably Before Sunset starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, directed by Richard Linklater.  It’s about regret and love and real connection.  The dialogue is incredibly smart, it’s gorgeously shot, and the acting blows me away.  Many of the scenes are done in one long shot (from the perspective of one camera without cutting away) which gives the film an immediacy and intimacy that I love.

BEST BOOK: The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks.  This was the book that initially inspired my passion for neuroscience.  I went on to earn a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Harvard 10 years after I first read this book.  The neurological conditions and diseases presented in this collection of true stories are fascinating, but what hit me the most with Dr. Sack’s writing was the compassion and humanity contained within his descriptions of each patient. He says, “In examining disease, we gain wisdom about anatomy and physiology and biology.  In examining the person with disease, we gain wisdom about life.”  This singular quote has guided every book I’ve written so far.

BEST LIFE MOMENT: The day I met my husband.  I was instantly attracted to him, but what I remember most is a peace that settled over me.  I actually felt these words--he is part of whatever was next for you.  I felt chills—and butterflies.

BEST PIECE OF ADVICE: After my first marriage fell apart, I was a divorced, unemployed single mother (my daughter was 3).  I should’ve gone back to work as a strategy consultant for biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. Or even back to brain research.  I’d loved my job (I quit when my daughter was born to be home with her), I was good at it, it paid well, and it came with health benefits.  It was the responsible, sane decision.  But, along with the heartbreak of the divorce came the idea that this was an opportunity to start over, that I was facing the possibility of something new.  I’d started asking myself questions:  What do I want my life to look like now?  Why do I have to go back to my old job?  If I could do anything I wanted to do, what would that be?

I was sitting in my aunt’s living room with two of my five aunts when I asked this question aloud for the first time:

“Should I go back to work, or should I write a novel instead?”

Without hesitating, they both said, “Write the novel!”

Best advice of my life.  And of course, if we generalize, the advice is this:  Go for your dreams!  Do it now!

Thank you, Aunt Laurie and Aunt Mary!

And thank you, Lisa! xoxo, Liz & Lisa