Pretzel M&M's

Claire LaZebnik's 5 Loves and a Dud

It's a new month. A new season. And before we know it, it will be a new year (WTF?).  So as much as we (and you!) loved our feature 5 Do's and a Do-Over, we've decided it's time for something else new. So-Beyonce style-let's get up on stage, shake our asses and reveal our newest feature...

5 Loves and a Dud!

Your favorite authors will be dishing about the things they can't live without and the one thing they can do without-- forevuh.

And we couldn't be more thrilled that Claire LaZebnik is the first author to take the plunge and share her list (a must-read. We especially love the bit about sleeping with a dog!). Claire has written several fabulous books including Knitting Under the Influence, If You Lived Here, You'd Be Home Now and the just released Families and Other Nonreturnable Gifts - a hilarious novel about a quirky family...

Keats Sedlak is the sanest member of her nutty nuclear family, but that isn’t saying much. Even though she’s in her twenties, she’s still constantly being summoned back home to help out her brilliant and eccentric parents.  Her two genius siblings are useless: her older sister’s long gone, and her younger brother hasn’t left the house in years.  The one constant in her life is her devoted long-term boyfriend, Tom, who provides a safe port during every familial storm.

Keats always knew that her parents’ marriage wasn’t ideal, but they’d managed to coexist in misery for so long that she assumed they’d stay together forever, so she’s pretty stunned to find out her mother’s filing for divorce and putting their beloved old house on the market.  Even more of a shock is the discovery that her mother has already plunged headfirst into the midlife dating pool, with three different men in her rotation and an unnerving tendency to stay out until the wee hours of the morning.

As her family falls apart, Keats has to reevaluate everything she’s ever assumed about her parents, her siblings, the life she’s made apart from them all, and, most importantly, the kind of love she wants for herself

Sound like a book you'd love? Well, lucky you! Because we have five copies to give away. Just leave a comment and be entered to win. We'll randomly select the 5 winners on Tuesday, September 6th after 6pm EST.  And now on to Claire's loves and a dud...



1. PRETZEL M&Ms.  You've got your salt, you've got your sugar, you've got your chocolate--all of life's essentials in one round, crunchy package.  I buy them in bulk, which is thrifty, and then I eat them in bulk, which is probably a mistake.  But if loving them is wrong, I don't want to be right.

2.  PANDORA: I'm still amazed at how the little people in my computer can read my mind once I load Pandora.  All I give them is one little song--one tiny clue to my taste--and then they play hour after hour of music I like.  The rare clunker only makes me appreciate how often they get it right.

3. THRIFT STORES.  Going to a thrift store is like going on a treasure hunt:  you hunt through racks and racks of stuff and suddenly stumble on something valuable.  Nothing costs more than a few dollars, even the good stuff, and what little money you spend goes to a good cause.  My all-time favorite is the OUT OF THE CLOSET chain.

4.  REREADING A FAVORITE OLD NOVEL.   I can't tell you how often I'll start a new book with high hopes only to give up halfway through.  When I start to wonder whether it's me--whether I just don't like to read anymore--I head to my bookshelves and pluck out an old favorite, something romantic and engrossing and inspiring.  And then I lose myself in it and remember that reading can be a pure joy.

5.  SLEEPING WITH A DOG.  And, no, I'm not talking about my husband.  I have two very sweet pups, a big gentle labrador and an energetic little poodle mix.  The big one's a good companion when my husband's out of town and I need someone of (almost) comparable size to take his place next to me, but the little one sleeps with me every night.  He curls up with his back against mine and that cozy warmth helps me drift off to sleep.


L.A. TRAFFIC.  Such a bummer.  The traffic on the West Side is like this BEAST in our lives.  It's like the troll who lives under the bridge--you know you're going to encounter him and you know that when you do, it's going to go badly for you, but sometimes you have no choice: you just have to cross that freakin' bridge and pay the freakin' toll.

To find out more about the funny and talented Claire LaZebnik, visit her website and follow her on Facebook and Twitter. And if you're a YA fan, definitely check out her debut YA novel, Epic Fail.

Thanks, Claire!

xoxo, Liz & Lisa