The Best Kept Secret

Best Books of 2011 by Liz

We love this time of year!  Warm hats, scarves, sassy boots and a reason to curl up by the fire with a good book and drink hot chocolate.  And it's been a great year here at CLIND-we've had so many fantastic authors on and have enjoyed every single one. (Thank you authors!) We also launched our own e-book, The D Word and relaunched I'll Have Who She's Having this past June-Thanks for all your support-we truly appreciate each and every one of you. We also read a shitload of books in 2011.  And there were so many wonderful ones that making a short list was was VERY difficult.  In fact, Lisa and I had such a hard time deciding that we each decided to come up with our own list.  Look for her's later this week!

And what kind of end-of year post would this be without an AWESOME giveaway?  Leave a comment and you'll be entered to win a BUNDLE O' BOOKS that includes novels from Cecelia Ahern, Josie Brown, Jenny Nelson and Joanne Rendell, among others!  Check out the picture below to see all TEN books the winner will receive. We'll choose the winners on Monday December 26th after 6pm PST.

So without further adieu, here's my list.  And don't forget to tell me what YOUR fave novels of 2011 were!


1. Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close I read this debut while on vacay in Hawaii over the summer and let's just say that I'm pretty thankful neither of my kids drowned while I was engrossed of this witty, refreshing tale of a group of friends after they graduate from college and struggle with heartbreak and career changes, all while attending endless bridal showers. A MUST read if you were a big SATC fan-the narrative really captures the spirit of Carrie & co.  It's not too late to pick this up for your stocking!


2. The Art of Forgetting by Camille Noe Pagan Another great debut!  When Marissa's BFF Julia gets hit by a cab and suffers brain damage, it changes the dynamic of their friendship forever. As Julia struggles to regain her memory, things come up that Marissa would much rather forget and things get a bit complicated.  A engaging story about friendship and forgiveness that I couldn't put down.  I highly recommend you grab a copy for you and your bestie TODAY.  One of my favorite covers of the year too!


3.  Skipping A Beat by Sarah Pekkanen I. Loved. This. Book! As a self-delared emotional robot, I found myself bawling like a freakin' baby during the last few chapters of this delightful novel.  When Julia's husband Michael has a near-death experience, he rewrites the rules of their struggling marriage, forcing her to choose whether to stay and take a leap of faith or leave forever. Insightful but also with with a healthy dose of Pekkanen's trademark humor, you won't be able to put it down- I PROMISE!


4. The First Husband by Laura Dave When Annie's long-time boyfriend suddenly leaves her, she rebounds with a vengeance, marrying a down-to-earth chef after three short months of dating. Soon Annie finds herself in a small Massachusetts town and wondering if she was too quick on the trigger.  When her ex returns and wants her back, things get really complicated...  Laura Dave is one of my fave writers, her narrative on love and life always hits home and The First Husband is no exception.  I devoured this book in four hours flat-a new record for me. The perfect gift to give yourself this season!


5. Best Kept Secret by Amy Hatvany Cadence thought she had it all-good job, successful husband and adorable son-until her marriage went off the rails and the stress of single motherhood drove her to start drinking heavily. It's only when her five-year old son is taken away that she realizes that her best kept secret has been discovered. Will she ever be able to find her way back and earn back the trust she's lost? Honest and thought-provoking, I promise you'll be thinking of Cadence long after you finish this fantastic book.

And one YA bonus pick!

Y'all know I have love for those young adult's my fave of 2011.

Bumped by Megan McCafferty- When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, things get a little bit CRAZY.  Would-be parents pay top dollar for teens to conceive and carry babies, making them the most prized citizens in society-and the most genetically blessed are in the highest demand and considered celebrities. I LOVED this book-very high concept about the business of having babies, and our increasing desire for genetic perfection. I'm anxiously awaiting a sequel!



Thanks for such a great year and here's to a wonderful 2012!  Don't forget to leave a comment to be entered to win a BUNDLE O' BOOKS!  xoxo, Liz

Amy Hatvany's 5 Do's and a Do-over

As much as we love us some light, fluffy reading to escape from the week, we also really appreciate when a book tackles heavier issues with just the right tone.  In fact, it's usually those books that resonate with us for long after we read the last page. That's why we're pleased as punch to feature the lovely  and talented Amy Hatvany and her latest novel, Best Kept Secret today.  It's a story about a mother struggling with alcoholism and trying to put her life back together after her world falls apart-it's a summer must-read!

Cadence's drinking snuck up on her - as a way to sleep, to help her relax after a long day, to relieve some of the stress of the painful divorce that’s left her struggling to make ends meet with her five-year old son, Charlie.

It wasn’t always like this. Just a few years ago, Cadence seemed to have it all—a successful husband, an adorable son, and a promising career as a freelance journalist.  But with the demise of her marriage, her carefully constructed life begins to spiral out of control.  Suddenly she is all alone trying to juggle the demands of work and motherhood.

Logically, Cadence knows that she is drinking too much, and every day begins with renewed promises to herself that she will stop.  But within a few hours, driven by something she doesn’t understand, she is reaching for the bottle - even when it means not playing with her son because she is too tired, or dropping him off at preschool late, again.  And even when one calamitous night it means leaving him alone to pick up more wine at the grocery store.  It’s only when her ex-husband shows up at her door to take Charlie away that Cadence realizes her best kept secret has been discovered….

Sound good?  Well, we have five copies to giveaway-just leave a comment and we'll choose the winners on Sunday June 12th after 6pm PST.  Good luck!


5 DO'S


1.  Do make a gratitude list. I used to snark at this idea, but after practicing it for a while, it has literally become impossible for me to feel grateful and irritated at the same time. In moments of stress, shifting my focus to all the wonderful things in my life lessens the weight of the negative and reminds me how blessed I actually am.

2.  Do wear red. It’s a power color! I always feel so confident and strong when I slip a red piece of clothing on. I even got married (ahem – the second time) in a blood red dress (Go figure: the only person not wearing white in the wedding party was me.) Find the shade that works for you and embrace your inner sassy minx!

3.  Do help someone else out when you’re having a bad day. It can be something as simple as telling a co-worker how great she looks in a particular outfit, or even making surprise dinner for a friend and delivering it to her house. Helping others lifts my spirits so much, and gets my mind off my own “stuff,” even if it’s just for a little while.

4.  Do get to bed early one night a week. Whether you’re single or have a partner, the extra rest or additional “quality” time is a must. In our busy, busy lives, moments filled with wonderful conversation, or just snuggling beneath the covers alone and reading a book in peace and quiet – pure bliss!

5.  Do speak kindly to yourself. Negative self-talk has been so damaging to me in the past. I would NEVER speak to someone I care about with the same judgment and disdain I have used on myself. Several years back, I made a commitment to knock it off, and wow, what a difference! No one deserves your love and compassion more than you.


If I could, I’d convince the little girl I used to be that exercise is pleasurable, not punishing. That way, it wouldn’t feel like I’m being forced to walk the plank on my way to the gym!

Other than that, there is very little I would change about my life. I’ve had a few wishes for “do-betters” for mistakes I’ve made along the way – a few hairstyles come to mind (anyone else have the 1980’s Wall O’Bangs?) - but overall, I believe everything  I’ve done, mistakes included, has led me to the woman I am today. And I’m pretty okay with her.

Thanks Amy!  xoxo, L&L

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