Catherine McKenzie's 5 Things I'd Tell The Teen Me

Our guest today: Catherine McKenzie Why we love her: She writes  about things that are hot in pop culture. We love this book because it was inspired by the phenomenon of reality TV shows like The Bachelor. And y'all know how we feel about The Bachelor.

Her latest: Arranged

The scoop on it: Anne Blythe's life couldn't be better. She's got a book contract, a great job and a fabulous BFF. She also seems to have no problem in the men department. Well, if you don't count the fact that although she can hook any man she sets her sights on, those men don't seem to stay on that hook for very long. Anne blames this on her mother, believing she is cursed because she's named after the title character in Anne of Green Gables.

After another bad break-up with a man more in love with himself than with her (she's realizing this is a pattern — falling for tall, dark, handsome and self-absorbed), Anne finds a business card imprinted with her namesake, Blythe & Company: Arrangements made. She assumes it's for a dating service and decides to hang on to it. When her best friend announces her engagement, Anne feels envious and, on a whim, decides to make an appointment with Blythe & Company. But she's shocked to discover that it's not a dating service at all — it's a company that specializes in exclusive, and pricey, arranged marriages. Anne decides to put her reluctance aside after she learns of the company's 95 percent success rate. Anne thinks, why not get some professional help? Women around the world do it all the time.

Before she knows it, Anne is traveling to a Mexican resort where she meets and marries Jack. But will her arranged marriage work out?

Our thoughts: A smart and honest novel about a woman's desperate search for love and marriage as she ends up in one disastrous relationship after the next, this book hit home for us!

Giveaway: FIVE copies! Leave a comment and be entered to win!  We’ll choose the winners Sunday May 20th after 6pm PST.

Fun fact: On top of being an internationally best selling author, Catherine currently practices law. C'mon!

Where you can read more about Catherine: Twitter, Facebook and her website.


1. You're going to publish a novel! More than one! For reals!

2. Do not date that guy. You know the one I mean.

3. Work a little harder at school. They're trying to teach you interesting stuff, if you let them.

4. Get a guitar. Take some lessons. Spend some time in your room practicing. You'll thank me later.

5. Be nicer to your siblings.They'll thank you later.




Thanks, Catherine! xoxo, Liz & Lisa



Liz & Lisa's Best books for Mom + huge giveaway!

Forget the tired mani-pedi. Or the bazillionth massage gift certificate. Or even the flowers (they'll be gone in a week, maybe sooner). This Mother's Day, we're all about BOOKS. We love 'em and we know you do too. And we've come up with our list of reads that we think will make a perfect addition to any mom's bookshelf. From The Language of Flowers to The B*tch, we've selected a book that will satisfy any mom. So as you're shopping for Mom this year (Mother's Day is just a few days a way) consider giving her a book as a gift.  Or more than one. We'll even help you out with that. Because, today, we're giving away 15 books to one lucky person. Yes, you read that right- 15 (plus a couple of other fun things!) Scroll down for the list of books (and goodies) we're giving away--some from our list of Mother's Day picks and others that we've read and loved along the way...

For the mom with a huge heart...

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Why buy? Elle hailed it as "instantly entrancing" and we couldn't agree more. It's rich with love and emotion as the protagonist fights through her painful past.

The scoop: The Victorian language of flowers was used to convey romantic expressions: honeysuckle for devotion, asters for patience, and red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones, it’s been more useful in communicating mistrust and solitude. After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings. Now eighteen and emancipated from the system with nowhere to go, Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But an unexpected encounter with a mysterious stranger has her questioning what’s been missing in her life. And when she’s forced to confront a painful secret from her past, she must decide whether it’s worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness.


For the mom who loves Shades of Grey...

Great Aunt Sophia's Lessons for Bombshells by Lisa Cach

Why buy? Why not? Shades of Grey is proving every mom has fantasies. Plus, that *special someone* in her life will thank you! *Even though it won't be released until June 19, we couldn't resist putting it on the list. Pre-order it here.

The scoop: Grace Cavanaugh is hell-bent on proving her Women’s Studies dissertation thesis that beauty only leads to misery. And what better research subject than her great-aunt Sophia, a former B-movie star? Now eighty-five and facing surgery, Sophia has asked Grace for company. . . .Grace imagines a helpless, lonely old woman, forced to turn to a great-niece she barely knows. Instead she finds the aging diva holding court in a Pebble Beach mansion, oozing a bombshell-itude—arthritis and wrinkles be damned—that captivates every male in sight. To Grace’s dismay, her greataunt decides a perfect distraction would be transforming the frumpy feminist into a femme fatale who purrs for her suitors . . . or devours them. She ordains classes in everything from carb cutting to lingerie, culminating in a challenging final exam. The newly svelte Grace must test her wiles—on both devilishly handsome and morally corrupt Declan and sensitive but painfully awkward Dr. Andrew. Newly unleashed desires—and the discovery of a closely held family secret— threaten the bookworm-turned-babe’s entire feminist upbringing. Her thesis gone sadly awry, Grace wonders if her great-aunt is right: Will trusting her heart lead her to find beauty in the most unexpected places?

For the mom who loves a good (and true!) love story...

The Pioneer Woman:Black Heels to Tractor Wheels- A Love Story by Ree Drummond

Why buy? One of the best memoirs we've read this year.

The scoop: That’s when I saw him—the cowboy—across the smoky room. I’ll never forget that night. It was like a romance novel, an old Broadway musical, and a John Wayne Western rolled into one. Out for a quick drink with friends, I wasn’t looking to meet anyone, let alone a tall, rugged cowboy who lived on a cattle ranch miles away from my cultured, corporate hometown. But before I knew it, I’d been struck with a lightning bolt . . . and I was completely powerless to stop it. This isn’t just my love story; it’s a universal tale of passion, romance, and all-encompassing love that sweeps us off our feet. It’s the story of a cowboy. And Wranglers. And chaps. And the girl who fell in love with them.


For the mom who loves Chick Lit

Skinnydipping by Bethenny Frankel

Why buy? Whether the mom in your life likes reality TV, Bethenny, Chick Lit or just wants an escape, this book is perfect.

The scoop: Faith Brightstone is an aspiring actress just out of college, who moves to L.A. determined to have it all—a job on the most popular TV show, a beach house in Malibu, and a gorgeous producer boyfriend. But when reality hits, she finds herself with a gig as a glorified servant, a role that has more to do with T&A than acting, and a dead-end relationship. Finally, Faith decides she’s had enough of La La Land and moves back to New York with just a suitcase and her dog, Muffin.

Five years later, Faith has finally found her groove as an entrepreneur and manages to land a spot on a new reality TV show hosted by her idol—the legendary businesswoman and domestic goddess Sybil Hunter. Diving into the bizarre world of reality TV, Faith’s loud mouth and tell-it-like-it-is style immediately get her in trouble with her fellow contestants—the delusional socialite; the boozy lifestyle coach; the moody headband designer; and her closest friend, the ambitious housewife who eventually betrays her. Even Sybil is not what she appears. As the show comes to a dramatic close, Faith discovers that the man of her dreams may have just walked into her life. Will she choose fame or love? Or can she have it all?

For the mom looking for some sass...

The B*tch by Jackie Collins

Why buy? Um, it's a no-brainer. It's Jackie Collins! Plus, she re-wrote and published this e-book herself!

The scoop: Las Vegas. A carousel town set in the middle of the desert. Blazing neon signs promise all the vices known to man, and then some. Devastatingly handsome ladies’ man Nico Constantine hits town to make a killing at the casinos. But instead of tripling what’s left of his dwindled fortune, he ends up losing everything, and owing the mob — big time. Meanwhile, gloriously beautiful Fontaine Khaled has shed her filthy rich husband for the life she really wants: a riotous whirl of champagne, designer clothes, and the hottest, sexiest men. But her never-ending party comes with a price — one even her ex-husband’s outrageous alimony payments can’t afford. When Nico collides with Fontaine, their mutual lust is immediate and intense. Nico will need to use her if he wants to stay alive, and Fontaine fears she’s met her match. Love is the last thing on their minds, but it may be their fate — if their creditors don’t get them first.

Giveaway deets: Leave a comment and be entered to win ALL of the following books. We'll randomly select ONE lucky winner after 6pm EST on Monday, May 14.

Here's what you can win...

Lucky Stiff by Deborah Coonts, More Like Her by Liza Palmer, Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, The Turning of Anne Merrick by Christine Blevins, Brooklyn Story by Suzanne Corso, I, Iago by Nicole Galland, The Most Dangerous Thing by Laura Lippman, Spin by Catherine McKenzie, The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, The Thirteen by Susie Maloney, The Bond by Wayne Pacelle, All the Flowers in Shanghai by Duncan Jepson, The Pioneer Woman by Ree Drummond, Bond Girl by Erin Duffy...

Plus:  You can also win: 1 Gift Card for $10 to Amazon, Lucky Santangelo mug and a Lovers & Players notebook and a copy of Hollywood Wives.

Good luck!


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.

My So-Called Resolutions by Liz

It's that time of year again. Time for my so-called resolutions.

I found myself, New Years morning, fingers poised on my keyboard as I tried to write an Facebook-worthy resolution status.  The usual suspects came to mind, I'm going to me more positive, I'm going to lose ten pounds, etc...And even though there were tons of things I wanted to improve about myself (hello, self hate!), I had a damn hard time coming up with something Facebook worthy.  The only thing that made me feel better?  I had finally learned how to spell the word resolution without using spell check.  Check that off the 2011 list please!

But after some very deep soul searching, I've come up with my 2012 list. And I want to hear about yours too!  Leave me a comment and I'll enter you to win an ARC of Spin by Catherine McKenzie.  I'll choose the winner on January 15th after 6pm PST.


1. Make more time for the things I love Is there an available fairy godmother out there?  Because I need to make a few more hours in the day. I struggled in 2011 to find time to write-something I'm determined to change in 2012.  One step in the right direction?  The BOSE noise cancelling headphones I got last month.  They're so awesome that the house could be F'ing burning down around me and I wouldn't hear shit.  But, at last I'll finally have that peace and quiet I've been craving to get some writing done.

2. Get my funny back Where the F*CK has it been? I blame a lack of trashy reality TV watching on my part-something I vow to correct ASAP. (You hear that, Dance Moms?)  And anyway, considering this is an election year, I'm going to need all the funny I can get! *cue a million ridiculously annoying campaign ads*

3. Read MORE  Yes, gi-normous TBR pile, I'm talking to you. I'm going to make you my bitch in 2012.  Consider yourself warned.

4. Get in shape    *snorts*  I know, I know.  But if you count carrying three grocery bags on each arm once a week weight training, then at least I'm doing something, right?

5. Skip the fad diets Last month, that freakin' HCG diet made me a horrible, hungry ogre who wanted to gnaw on her husband's arm like a hambone.  And those annoying people who claimed they were NEVER HUNGRY while on it?  LIARS!!!  Instead? I downloaded Net Diary, an AWESOME app that helps you track your calories.  The anal type-A control freak in me is jumping up and down that I can count every single morsel that enters my mouth in 2012.  Except for that BLT with avocado my drunken alter ego devoured at 1am in Vegas last weekend.  But let's just pretend that never happened....

Bonus so-called resolution: 

Finish our next book- This one's easy.  At almost 40,000 words and a writing retreat coming up later this month, we should be ready to shop it by March.  Want a quick peek at the premise?  Hmmm...All I'll say is that it's about two childhood best friends who get themselves in a sticky situation and it's called The Toast. You'll have to wait on the rest!

*raises glass* Here's to a great 2012!  I hope it's your best year EVER!  xoxo, Liz