book blog

Click to win signed books by Sarah Jio, Jane Porter and Anita Hughes!

Helloooooo CLINDers!

We hope 2012 has been treating you well.  We can't begin to tell you how excited we are for 2013-we'll be doing lots of new and exciting things in anticipation of The Toast, as well interviewing a ton of kick-ass authors.  And you know what that means-- a sh*tload of giveaways!

We know many of you come to us through our Facebook page.  However, recently, Facebook has changed some policies and wants pages like ours to PAY them to ensure our posts make it into your FB feed!  This isn't a hoax. (Trust us, we wish it was!)

Wondering why you saw this post come through your feed? We gave in and paid them this one time, and we feel so dirty about it.  *hangs head in shame*

But never fear, there is a way you can make sure you get our notifications in your feed.  And if you're kind enough to do that, we'll make sure not to post a bunch of BS stuff into it, mmmmkay?

To ensure CLIND is in your FB feed:

1. Go to CLIND's Facebook page.

2. Click on the box that says "Liked"

3. Make sure  "Show in news feed" and "Get notifications" have checks next to them.  If they don't, click them.

4. Come back and leave a comment here and let us know you did it. You'll be entered to win a SIGNED copy of either Sarah Jio's Blackberry Winter, Anita Hughes' Monarch Beach or Jane Porter's The Good Woman. We have one copy of each and we will choose winners next Sunday, November 25th after 3pm PST.

Sooo freakin' easy, right?

Thanks so much for helping us out.  We just want to make sure you're in the know, because we have some cool sh*t coming up in 2013, including a COMPLETE website makeover.  Don't miss out, yo!

xoxo, L&L

Marian Vere's 5 BEST EVERS

Our guest today: Marian Vere Why we love her: Her writing is fun AND she's a self-proclaimed carb lover!

Her latest: Once Upon A Second Chance

The scoop: Julia's life seemed to be falling perfectly into place. She had burgeoning job prospects in the finance industry, an exciting life in New York City, and a wonderful fiancé, Nick Kerkley, who she was totally in love with. Nick however, while being completely devoted to Julia, did not have the career potential or financial stability to be worthy of someone like her -- or at least that's what she came to convince herself. Hesitantly, Julia ended the relationship, forcing herself to believe it would all be for the best. Little did she know, that one decision would lead both their lives to spiral away from each other, only to converge again. What happens to your fairytale when you let someone else wave the magic wand? Will your dreams of love and enchantment still come true, or will your 'happily ever after' pass by without you?

Our thoughts: A fun and frothy read!

Giveaway: FIVE copies!  Leave a comment and you'll be entered to win!  We'll choose the winners after 3pm PST on Sunday November 18th.

Fun Fact: Liz gave a blurb for Once Upon A Second Chance. Check it out on the front cover!


1. BEST SONG: This one is going to have to be two-fold. The music degree in me says ‘Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night’ by Elliot Del Borgo, based on the poem by Dylan Thomas of the same name.

The rest of me is going to kick it old school. ‘Your Wildest Dreams’ by The Moody Blues, ‘Uptown Girl’ by Billy Joel, and ‘We Belong’ by Pat Benetar are my three fallbacks that can always lift my spirits. (Scoff if you’d like, but I bet you’re humming one right now, aren’t you?)

2. BEST BOOK: Jane Eyre. What can I say, I’m a sucker for a romance, and this has to be one of the best of all time. It has everything(not the least of which is two average-looking protagonists, something more romantic stories could do with), it will always be relevant, and never fails to make me happy.

3. BEST MOVIE: Oh, that’s hard, as it really depends on the mood I’m in. The Scarlet Pimpernel(1982), Moulin Rouge, and Somewhere in Time are some of my favorites. And while I love a romance, I am also a huge Disney fan and have seen pretty much every animated movie they have ever released. But then who doesn’t like a little Toy Story now and then?

4. BEST LIFE MOMENT: Skipping the obvious (marriage, children, etc.), I have to go with walking with my now husband on his birthday about five years ago. There was really nothing all that special about the evening itself, but we took a walk that evening around a small lake that had both a beach and a boardwalk on it. It was so nice, and for some reason, that evening has always stuck out in my mind.

5. BEST ADVICE: “My goal in life is to live forever. So far, so good.” Okay, I know that’s more of a quote, but it reminds us if we take it one day at a time, nothing is impossible.

Thanks Marian! xoxo, L&L

Roberta Gately's 5 BEST EVERS

Our guest today: Roberta Gately Why we love her: Her debut, Lipstick in Afghanistan, was AWESOME.

Her latest: The Bracelet

The scoop: Newly heartbroken and searching for purpose in her life, Abby Monroe is determined to make her mark as a UN worker in one of the world’s most unstable cities: Peshawar, Pakistan. But after witnessing the brutal murder of a woman thrown from a building, she is haunted by the memory of an intricate and sparkling bracelet that adorned the victim’s wrist.

At a local women’s shelter, Abby meets former sex slaves who have miraculously escaped their captors. As she gains the girls’ trust and documents their horrifying accounts of unspeakable pain and betrayal, she joins forces with a dashing New York Times reporter who believes he can incriminate the shadowy leader of the vicious human trafficking ring. Inspired by the women’s remarkable bravery—and the mysterious reappearance of the bracelet— the duo traces evidence that spreads from remote villages of South Asia to the most powerful corners of the West, risking their lives to offer a voice to the countless innocents in bondage.

Our thoughts: One of our FAVES of 2012.  It's got it all--timely issues, mystery and a little love story.  We promise you'll devour it!

Giveaway: 5 Copies(Sorry, US only!).  Leave a comment and you'll be entered to win!  We'll choose the winners November 11th after 3pm PST.

Fun fact: She knows what she's talking about, yo! A nurse, humanitarian aid worker, and writer, Roberta has served in 3rd world war zones ranging from Africa to Afghanistan.

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


1. BEST SONG:  “Somewhere” from West Side Story – a song about finding your place and your purpose amidst the angst and chaos of life.  I just love the hopefulness it conveys, the sense that we are all one, and that everything will be okay.

2. BEST BOOK: I don’t think I could ever choose just one.  My first favorite was “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett.  As a little girl, I read it over and over, and as an adult, I have a copy on my bookshelf and another always ready to give to another budding young reader.   As an adult – my favorite  - “To Kill A Mockingbird” – the story, the characters, the scenes – are all so deftly drawn, each time I read it, I find something new to love.

3. BEST MOVIE: I love old movies and when I first saw “An Affair To Remember” with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr, I was hooked.  To do this day, it is my feel  good movie, my refuge from a harried world.  I know every line in the movie and I still cry at the end.

4. LIFE MOMENT: Each time, I work with refugees in one remote spot or another, I am humbled and grateful to be allowed into their world, and when I’ve helped to save a life or make things better in a place where some days, it seems there will never be anything better, my heart soars with the pure joy of it.  Though I’ll never be rich, and I will always be counting my pennies, when a refugee child whose days have been filled with hunger and disease and hopelessness, smiles at me, I am the richest person I know.

5. BEST ADVICE: Appreciate everything – the good and the bad.  Every moment makes us who we are and someday, we’ll look back and cherish even the memory of that too tight, too sparkly, sequined dress (what was I thinking?), and the man who loved me in it.

Thanks Roberta! xoxo, L&L

Llucia Ramis's 5 BEST EVERS

Our guest today: Llucia Ramis Why we love her: Barcelona is fabulous, and so is Llucia!

Her latest: Things That Happen To You in Barcelona When You're Thirty

The scoop: On the morning after celebrating her thirtieth birthday in Barcelona, a journalist wakes up to a hangover—and a magician in her bed—and wonders if she’s too old to be living as though she was still twenty years old. Her artist friend, Blai, has already immortalized the rest of their group on canvas. There’s man-eater Cati, drama-queen lesbian Neus, and wild-haired, poet turned teacher Nil. But as she enters a new decade of her life, the narrator remains “an idea for a painting that is yet to be defined.”

When she’s left looking after a stranger’s bag, she looks inside and finds a love letter that fires her imagination. The search for the truth behind the romantic clue leads her on a hunt through the bars of Barcelona. If she doesn’t believe in fate, why should she believe in the letter’s Prince Charming? And what should she do if she finds him? In a precarious era of flat-packed, ready-to-assemble lifestyles and disposable relationships, surprising stories are never too far away.

Our thoughts: Super fun!

Giveaway: Five eCopies! Leave a comment and you'll be entered to win!  We'll choose the winners after Sunday, November 4th at 3pm PST.

Fun fact: Llucia knows Barcelona--she moved there when she was eighteen!

Where you can read more about Llucia: Her author page, or Twitter.


BEST SONG: “Young Adult Friction” by The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, because it puts me in a great mood and makes me feel like dancing and singing: “Don't check me out!” I also like “Almost Crimes” by Broken Social Scene, “I Wanna Fall in Love” by BMX Bandits, because it brings back memories of great happiness, “Beneath the Rose” by Micah P. Hinson, because it reminds me of other, more difficult moments, and “Estupendamente” by The New Raemon, because it’s the perfect soundtrack for Saturday morning hangovers in Barcelona after having failed, on yet another night, in the search for love. But most of all, I love Morrissey.

BEST BOOK: Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You, by Peter Cameron, is a tender, fun, and intelligent portrait of New York after 9/11. I also like Anne Sexton’s poetry, because it’s very visual and intense, and The Journalist and the Murderer, by Janet Malcolm. And Saul Bellow, J. M. Coetzee, Ann Beattie, Alice Munro, Antonio Di Benedetto, Daniel Clowes . . . I’m sorry, I can’t choose just one!

BEST MOVIE: The Usual Suspects, Being John Malkovich, and The Third Man, because they blur the line between reality and fiction, and you can see how they construct the story. And I also like Clerks and Diamond Flash, a very strange, disturbing, and shocking film by the Spanish cartoonist Carlos Vermut. I think he chose the actors through a casting by Skype. All of them are amateurs.

I also like Historias extraordinarias, by the Argentinian Mariano Llinás, a very long and original film that gives me the strange impression that, because of the way in which it’s told, it could have been me who wrote it. Or rather, I would have liked to have written it. In any case, my favorite film of all time is The Goonies. I want to be a goonie.

BEST LIFE MOMENT: Sitting on the balcony of my grandmother’s house, in Portocolom, just in front of the sea, where the boats are moored. And eating pan con tomate (bread slathered with tomato) for dinner there while the sun sets and my grandfather talks and talks, telling old family stories. Portocolom is a very sheltered and peaceful port in Majorca, in the Mediterranean. I have summered there since I was little, and those afternoons never change. All the summers of childhood are always the same.

BEST PIECE OF ADVICE: All problems have a solution. And if they don’t, don’t worry because therefore they’re not problems.

Thanks, Llucia!  xoxo, L&L


Sarah Jio's 5 BEST EVERS

We are so excited to have our friend and incredibly talented author, Sarah Jio, kick off our brand spankin' new feature today! We'll be asking authors about their "Best Evers" and the why behind them.  And don't be afraid to chime in with yours too! Our guest today: Sarah Jio

Why we love her: We fell in love with her debut, The Violets of March, and have been girl crushin' ever since!

Her latest: Blackberry Winter

The scoop: Seattle, 1933. Single mother Vera Ray kisses her three-year-old son, Daniel, goodnight and departs to work the night-shift at a local hotel. She emerges to discover that a May-Day snow has blanketed the city, and that her son has vanished. Outside, she finds his beloved teddy bear lying face-down on an icy street, the snow covering up any trace of his tracks, or the perpetrator's.

Seattle, 2010. Seattle Herald reporter Claire Aldridge, assigned to cover the May 1 "blackberry winter" storm and its twin, learns of the unsolved abduction and vows to unearth the truth. In the process, she finds that she and Vera may be linked in unexpected ways...

Our thoughts: Sarah does a beautiful job of weaving mystery into this thrilling tale. And we loved every page of it.  What are you waiting for-go grab a copy!

Giveaway: FIVE copies!  Leave a comment and you'll be entered to win.  We'll choose the winners after 3pm PST on Tuesday, October 2nd. Good luck! Remember, our giveaways are US/Canada only.  Thanks!

Fun Fact: Sarah rented a houseboat to write her next book.  Check out the pictures here!

Where you can learn more about Sarah: Her website, Facebook and Twitter.


Song: I have so many songs that are meaningful to me because of their significance at various times in my life, but a favorite would have to be something from U2, and it would probably have to be "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For." I love the intro to this song, and I love how it tells a story of always being excited about what's around the corner in life, and the message to keep moving forward to be your best self and to accomplish new things. It's an incredible challenge, actually. (On a side note, if I ever make it into the big time, I want to make a significant contribution to Bono's One foundation--which is especially focused on improving the lives and health of the impoverished in Africa--and I would not be sad if he wanted to thank me by playing a teensy tiny, improvisational acoustic concert in my backyard for my closest family and friends. A girl can dream, right?) On that note, I also love, love, love "Here's to Life" by the great Shirley Horn. She sings, "I've had my share, I've drank my fill, and even though I'm satisfied, I'm hungry still, to see what's down another road, beyond a hill, and do it all again. … I've learned that all you give is all you get, so give it all you've got … So here's to life, and every joy it brings. So here's to life, to dreamers and their dreams…" When I'm 90 years old, I want to feel this way. I want to look back on my life and think, "yes, that was absolutely awesome." And then I want to put on some great shoes, and go out to a great restaurant, have a glass of wine and savor another amazing day.

Book: Maeve Binchy passed away recently, and honestly, the news hit me pretty hard. I began reading her books in high school and they resonated with me then, and now. I always look back on those reading experiences and credit her with teaching me so much about character development, story, plot and heart. She was a one-and-only. And her books "Tara Road" and "Quentins" will always be on my favorite list.

Movie: Absolutely and positively "Sleepless in Seattle." I'm going to tear up here, as Nora Ephron, the amazing woman who wrote the screenplay, also recently passed away. (Which means that I've lost two of my icons this year.) I think I was in junior high when I first saw this movie, and it was spellbinding for me—not only because I grew up in a community right outside of Seattle, but because of the beautiful love story of hope after great loss. I watch it every year, and it always has the same effect on me: wow. In some ways, it inspired the direction of my fifth novel, recently sold to Penguin, which takes place on a houseboat in Seattle. My husband, very generously, offered to rent me a houseboat on Lake Union in Seattle (just across the water from the actual houseboat where 'Sleepless' was filmed) as my writing "office" until New Year's, where I can sneak away and work on the novel. I'm loving it!

Life Moment: Wow, such an important question, and one that has many answers, so I will cheat and give you a mini-movie: The day I met my husband, and the day I married him; the day my first baby was born; the day that my grandfather died; the day I learned that my ovarian cyst was not cancerous; the day my son's blood test for leukemia came back negative; the day I stepped foot in Paris for the first time, all alone; the day I bought my first house; the day I walked into a bookstore and found my first novel on a shelf.

Piece of Advice: There are many mottos and words of wisdom that ring true for me, but in my writing life, I've learned to live by this very important principle (so, aspiring writers, this one's for you!): I'm a big idea person and am always (always!) coming up with a new novel idea (it's a blessing and a curse), but I learned a long time ago to only stick with a works-in-progress that a.) haunt me by day, and b.) keep me up at night. A story can be good, or it can be really, really good. And I've learned to differentiate the two by how much my characters grab me. If they just aren't, then I move on to another project. My reasoning is this: If a story can't hold my interest wholly and completely than I can never expect it to capture my readers in the same way. I truly take this to heart in my daily writing life, and I've given up on many novel starts for this very reason.

Thanks Sarah! xoxo, L&L

Amy Hatvany's 5 Things I'd Tell The Teen Me

Our guest today: Amy Hatvany Why we love her: Her writing grips you from the first page.

Her latest: The Language of Sisters

The scoop: Ten years ago, Nicole Hunter left her troubled home behind her, unable to cope with the demands of a life with her disabled sister, Jenny. Though her search for happiness—both in career and in love—has fallen short of her dreams, Nicole pretends that all is well. Then a shattering event turns her world upside down, and suddenly, she is back in her hometown, caring for her pregnant sister and trying to heal her embattled relationship with her mother.

Reunited with her family and forced to confront the guilt that haunts her, Nicole finally has the chance to be the sister she always wished she’d been. And when she is faced with the most difficult choice of her life, Nicole rediscovers the beauty of sisterhood—and receives a special gift that will change her life forever.

Our thoughts: We loved it-this one will tug at your heartstrings for sure!

Giveaway: FIVE copies!  Just leave a comment here and you'll be entered to win!  We'll choose the winners on Monday, September 3rd after 6pm PST.

Fun Fact: The Language Of Sisters is a re-release, and it's already gone into a second printing.  Congrats Amy!

Where to read more about Amy: Her website, Facebook or Twitter.


1. Be Gentle – With yourself, with others. All those people you think have it perfect? They’re fighting some kind of battle, too.

2. Stop Dieting, NOW! – It’s going to screw your metabolism beyond all recognition. Deprivation does not equal beauty. You know what equals beauty no matter what size you are? Self-acceptance! Compassion! Laughter!

3. Dump Him – That’s right. The one you think is THE one? The one who lies to you and tells you that you’d be really cute if you lost some weight? Yeah, him. Kick his ass to the curb. The one who actually turns out to be the one doesn’t show up until you’re thirty-three and divorced with two toddlers. He’s going to be worth the wait.

4. Give Your Parents a Break – Guess what? They’re doing the best they can. And you’re no picnic. (P.S., Karma is one cranky bitch. P.P. S. Your daughter’s name is Scarlett and she’s just like you.)

5. Express Your Gratitude – To your teachers, your friends, your family, the waitress who brings you your sandwich.  The Universe takes kindly to people who are aware of their blessings. And believe me, you’re going to be blessed with more than you can count.

Thanks Amy!  xoxo, L&L

Megan Abbott's 5 Things I'd Tell The Teen Me

Our guest today: Megan Abbott Why we love her: We love, love, LOVE the way she tells a story!

Her latest: Dare Me

The Scoop: Addy Hanlon has always been Beth Cassidy's best friend and trusted lieutenant. Beth calls the shots and Addy carries them out, a long-established order of things that has brought them to the pinnacle of their high-school careers. Now they're seniors who rule the intensely competitive cheer squad, feared and followed by the other girls -- until the young new coach arrives.

Cool and commanding, an emissary from the adult world just beyond their reach, Coach Colette French draws Addy and the other cheerleaders into her life. Only Beth, unsettled by the new regime, remains outside Coach's golden circle, waging a subtle but vicious campaign to regain her position as "top girl" -- both with the team and with Addy herself.

Then a suicide focuses a police investigation on Coach and her squad. After the first wave of shock and grief, Addy tries to uncover the truth behind the death -- and learns that the boundary between loyalty and love can be dangerous terrain.

The raw passions of girlhood are brought to life in this taut, unflinching exploration of friendship, ambition, and power.

Our thoughts: We loved this one-it's edgy and fun!

Giveaway: FIVE copies! Leave a comment and we'll choose a winner on August 19th after 6pm PST.  Good luck!

Fun Fact: Smarty-pants alert: Megan has a PHD in English!

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


1. Weird is good. It’s not only okay that you get lost in biographies of Zelda Fitzgerald, can recite every line of Double Indemnity, and even kind of think your parents are great—it’s a really good thing. Later, you’ll be glad for all those odd corners of life, history, culture  you burrowed yourself into. They’ll matter to you always.

2. Just because he has a guitar, doesn’t mean he’s Paul Westerberg. Also, just because he appears aloof doesn’t mean he’s tortured. Just because he can’t show up at school doesn’t mean he’s off in some dive bar, composing songs just for you. And most of all, just because he’s charming and smart and loves J.D. Salinger, doesn’t mean he hung the moon, or that he knows what he’s doing any more than you do. That said, all these boys will teach you things too. And you’ll write about them, in on way or another, for the rest of your life.

3. You’ll never remember that disappointing A minus in Physics. Except you will. Which is why you also won’t read book reviews for the rest of your life, even the really good ones. But you should try to let all that matter less.

4. There will be many, many great men out there in the larger world who really, really like smart women. In fact, there will be so many great men out there, you will feel dizzy with opportunities and wonder where these men (boys) were when you were sixteen.

5. The high school cafeteria will prepare you for life. It may feel awful, tenuous, complicated and perilous before you hit sixteen, when you get more comfortable in your skin, but even so, those harrowing experiences in the cafeteria, navigating cliques, dealing with power machinations to rival the Age of Caesar—they will toughen you, smarten you up. Because the rest of life is just like that, except you’ll be the stronger for it. (And you won’t have to eat the chili dogs.)

Thanks Megan! xoxo, L&L

Lit IT Girl: Debut Author Amy Sprenger aka Snarky Mommy

Our latest Lit IT Girl: Amy Sprenger aka Snarky Mommy Why we love her: Um, hello, have you read her blog?  How can you NOT love her?  We have a little crush.  Shhh...Don't tell her!

Her debut: Baby Bumps: The Almost, Barely, Not-Quite-True Story of Pregnancy, Bedrest and One Batshit Crazy Family

The Scoop: Wearing her highest heels and hottest pregnancy jeans, Amy Sprenger marched into her doctor’s office, latte in hand, ready to finally see whether her baby was a boy or a girl. Sure, sure, this appointment was supposed to be about checking the health of the baby, but everyone who’s ever been there knows it’s really about looking for what lays, or doesn’t lay, between the legs.

So when the doctor tells her she has an incompetent cervix, Amy does what any woman would do. She becomes immediately offended. Is that a politically correct way of saying her cervix sucks? Unfortunately, as she’s soon to learn, it’s a lot more than that. The only way to keep that baby from falling out on the sidewalk (probably in front of Starbucks) is for her doctor to stitch her cervix closed and for Amy to stay in bed for the next four months.

Four months that are carefully detailed in this “memoir.” A memoir that while basically true, has been embellished with Amy’s signature brand of humor and hilarity.

With more time off than a castoff contestant on The Bachelor, Amy took pen to paper and settled in for the ride. But instead of sitting around eating bon bons, she’s popping hypertension drugs to stave off preterm labor. And complications? Oh, she’s got your complications. She’s gut-rehabbing her house. Her mother moves in to care for her. Her husband takes a “mancation” while she’s stuck in the hospital. And every time she has a contraction, she’s convinced it’s The Big One.

Living by the adage that laughter is the best medicine, Amy fumbles her way through a series of sometimes serious and usually embarrassing situations. And just to be clear, using a bedpan qualifies as both serious and embarrassing.

Our thoughts: Totally hilarious-we think this one will brighten your day for sure!

Giveaway: FIVE copies!  Leave a comment and you'll be entered to win.  We'll choose the winners after 6pm PST on Monday, August 13th.

Fun fact: Her hubs has a blog called Snarky Daddy. Too freakin' cute!

Where you can read more about Amy: Her website, Facebook and Twitter.


1. How many agents did you query before you found "the one"?  From what I have read, I am very lucky in that I found my agent within the first month of querying. I sent about 30 total queries, received requests from 15 of them and had serious interest from three people. My agent, Jessica Faust, and I clicked from our first conversation and I was thrilled when she offered representation.

2. What's a line from your "favorite" rejection letter? We originally pitched BABY BUMPS as a straight-up memoir, and at that time, an editor said, “The whole time I was reading, I was so worried about the pregnancy. I'm sorry!” It cracked me up that she was too nervous to even read about it, much less get on board with publishing it.

3. What was the hardest part about writing your debut novel?  The hardest part was definitely finding the time. With three little kids, it’s hard to do anything but veg out in front of the TV after the race of dinner, bath and bedtime every night. My husband didn’t understand why I couldn’t just write at night when they were all in bed – dude, have you ever tried to be witty and coherent after spending your day chasing three lunatic children? I eventually wrote the bulk of the book at the Starbucks down the street with a babysitter watching my kids. I considered the sitter payments an investment in my future career. Not to mention the fact I personally kept Starbucks afloat for a few months there.

4.  What is the best/worst advice you received while you were trying to break into the book biz? The best advice was to write the book I wanted to read. It didn’t matter if it was publishable or would sell a gajillion copies or if it featured vampires in a wizard school fighting to the death – what mattered was that it was a project I loved. The worst advice was not to even consider self-publishing because it was the kiss of death for the future of my career. I think even five years ago, this was true, but now? It’s a viable option that is putting great books in the hands of readers who might otherwise have never seen them.

5. How did you celebrate your book deal?  The day my book came out, my husband sent me flowers and said he was making a reservation at Alinea, ranked the No. 1 North American restaurant and conveniently located in our ‘hood. I have yet to eat at this establishment, however, so I am beginning to suspect Josh might have lied and we’re really going to Lou Malnati’s for Chicago-style pizza instead.

6. Who is your writer crush? Definitely Emily Giffin. She writes books I both love to read and wish I wrote myself. I also think she’s hilarious on Twitter and Facebook with her celebrity gossip obsession. Em, text me, we’ll be besties!

7. If you were stranded on a desert island and could have only one book, what would it be?The Poisonwood Bible” by Barbara Kingsolver. It’s haunted me since I put it down. Ironically enough, I actually read it on a (semi)deserted isle when I took it to the Maldives on vacation a few years ago.

8. What's on your iPod right now? Right this minute, it’s “Helplessness Blues” by Fleet Foxes. My kids also love Fleet Foxes, which makes for great road trips because I’m not stuck listening to “Toddler Tunes” on a constant repeat, causing me to drive off the road in an Old MacDonald coma.

9. What's your #1 stress reliever? Bikram yoga. There’s just something about a 104-degree room and sweating out half your body weight while trying to hold eagle pose that causes you to let everything else go. For 90 minutes, my mind actually stops spinning because the only thing I can focus on is how freaking hot I am and how gross it is that sweat is pooling between my boobs.

10. Who/what would you place in the center of the Entertainment Weekly bullseye? Without a doubt, the Bachelorette, Emily Maynard, and her new “fiancée” Jef Holm. How can you agree to marry someone you’ve known for 10 minutes and who doesn’t even know how to correctly spell Jeff?


Thanks, Amy!  xoxo, L&L





Emily Arsenault's 5 Things I'd Tell the Teen Me

Our guest today: Emily Arsenault Why we love her: Her books are captivating-we can't get anything else done once we crack it open!

Her latest: Miss Me When I'm Gone

The scoop: Author Gretchen Waters made a name for herself with her bestseller Tammyland—a memoir about her divorce and her admiration for country music icons Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, and Dolly Parton that was praised as a "honky-tonk Eat, Pray, Love." But her writing career is cut abruptly short when she dies from a fall down a set of stone library steps. It is a tragic accident and no one suspects foul play, certainly not Gretchen's best friend from college, Jamie, who's been named the late author's literary executor.

But there's an unfinished manuscript Gretchen left behind that is much darker than Tammyland: a book ostensibly about male country musicians yet centered on a murder in Gretchen's family that haunted her childhood. In its pages, Gretchen seems to be speaking to Jamie from beyond the grave—suggesting her death was no accident . . . and that Jamie must piece together the story someone would kill to keep untold.

Our thoughts: Beautifully written-we think you'll love this one.  Throw a copy in your suitcase and relax with it by the pool.

Giveaway: FIVE copies!  Leave a comment and we'll choose the winners on Sunday, August 5th after 6pm PST.

Fun fact: Emily and her husband served in the Peace Corps together in South Africa!

Where to read more about Emily: her website, or Facebook.


1. Stop trying to write confessional poetry. You are sixteen years old. You have nothing to confess. Put down the pen, close the notebook, and go read a good book or have a cookie or something. You’re embarrassing yourself.

2. Talk to your grandmother more. Ask her about her life. Your grandmother lives just up the street from you, but you are so focused on personal dramas and grades and getting into a fancy college that you rarely have real conversations with her. During your first semester of college, she’ll pass away and they’ll bury her in Arlington National Cemetery because she was an army nurse in WWII. They’ll mention in the eulogy that the ship she served on was called the Mercy. It’ll dawn on you that you never knew that before. You never asked. Over the next few months and years, you’ll think of about a hundred more questions you wish you’d asked. For this you will feel very sad and very foolish.

3.  You know who your real friends are. Pay more attention to treating them well than obtaining newer, “cooler” ones. Your friends put up with a lot from you. You don’t always deserve it.  Do you remember their birthdays? Do you make a real effort to cheer them up when they feel down or stressed? Bring them chicken soup when they’re sick? Not so often? You might try a little bit harder

4.  Quit obsessing about grades. Yes, doing well in school is important, but grades are relatively meaningless symbols on a piece of paper, not assessments of your worth as a person. To put it in perspective: a few years from now you’ll be helping your mother clean her house and you’ll toss those precious report cards of yours in a Dumpster without even glancing at them.

5. Yes, you’re weird. The sooner you own it, the happier you’ll be. You’re not fooling anyone pretending to like the music, books, and movies you think you’re supposed to like. You’re too much of a nerd for anyone to notice if you’re wearing Gap clothes or not, so why not spend that money instead on a harmonica or The Collected Plays of Edward Albee or a trip to Graceland? And no, not everyone will “get” your sense of humor, but always biting your tongue makes you feel invisible and miserable.

Thanks Emily! xoxo, L&L

Liz & Lisa's 5 Things I'd Tell My Teen Me with SWEET VALLEY HIGH giveaway!

We are LOVING the teen me feature.  Maybe it's because we met in high school. Or maybe it's because there's so much we WISH we had known back then.(Like to just say no to MC Hammer pants...) Liz is feeling especially reminiscent lately, having just moved back to her hometown last week-one mile away from Lisa's dad and a handful of houses away from her own mom!So when got the chance to do a super cool giveaway with one of our teen faves, Sweet Valley High, we figured it was finally time to give our teen selves some serious advice. If you leave a comment, you'll be entered to win one of FIVE copies of the ENTIRE series of Sweet Valley Confidential-a new six part e-series! We'll choose the winners on Sunday, August 5th, after 6pm PST.

Here's the scoop on SVH:From Francine Pascal, creator of the bestselling SWEET VALLEY HIGH series and author of the NY Times bestselling SWEET VALLEY CONFIDENTIAL, comes the continuing adventures of beautiful blonde twins Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield in an exciting new six-part e-serial, THE SWEET LIFE.The first novella-length episode – THE SWEET LIFE #1 – begins three years after the events of Sweet Valley Confidential; Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield are back in Sweet Valley and inseparable once more. Things are looking up for both twins: Elizabeth is a star reporter at the LA Tribune with a popular blog, and Jessica’s PR career is on the fast-track. But while the professional lives of the Wakefield sisters are secure, their personal lives may be in jeopardy. Jessica, now a mother, finds that managing parenthood, marriage, and a job is harder than she expected, while Elizabeth and Bruce must face a scandal that could strengthen their bond…or tear them apart for ever.Meanwhile, life goes on in Sweet Valley. Families are made, hearts are broken, and…Lila Fowler is a reality TV star? Some things never change.Sound good?  Then don't forget to leave a comment for your chance to win!  We'd love to hear what advice you'd give YOUR teen self!




1. Like yourself and others will follow suit. This is a tough one. But something I wish someone had told my shoulder-pad wearing self-it would have saved me YEARS of angst. Admittedly, I still hate myself sometimes(last night I told my husband that my arms looked like those huge slabs of meat that hang at the butcher shop), but at least I'm self-aware of it now, so that's progress, right?

2. Forgive often. Trust me on this one.  Holding onto that anger will only make things worse-there's a freedom in letting go of the past and moving forward that can bring true happiness.  P.S. don't forget to forgive YOURSELF often too-we all make mistakes, girlfrin'.  Time to move on!

3. Be nice to your Mother. Gawd, I was a horrible bitch to my poor mom.  Thankfully, I got the chance to make it right later in life.  But, time is precious and you never know if you'll have that luxury, so tell your Mom TODAY how much you love her, even if she did embarrass the shit out of you last week at the mall.  That woman shoved your big, fat head out of her va-jay-jay, so show some respect!

4. Pluck your eyebrows. Please. Why the HELL did no one mention this to me until I was TWENTY-TWO years old?  I'm ITALIAN for God's sake. It was BAD. (the picture above is photographic evidence.)

5. Stop trying to grow up so fast. Seriously, it's not all that it's cracked up to be.  Take time to be a kid-wear those Mickey Mouse ears at Disneyland and have pillow fights with your girlfriends.  There will be plenty of time to have grown-up issues. Until then, have fun going to the mall, making  s'mores and eating whatever the hell you want without gaining a pound!


1. Journal the hell out of this time in your life. At the very least, it will be good fodder later- especially when you decide you want to write novels. (Yes, it happens!)

2. Don't get that spiral perm. Don't use Sun-In. Don't use a crimping iron. Your hair is beautiful as it is- au natural. Trust me, you'll spend thousands of dollars later trying to get it to look just like it does right now.

3. Don't wear high-waisted shorts or jeans. Ask for help in purchasing a decent bra when your boobs grow from an "A" to a "D" in one summer (Yes, it happens!). Burn all of your boxy t-shirts. If for no other reason, do these things so your husband doesn't get the chance to find the pictures during a move and mercilessly make fun of you for months-years even.

4. Date, date, date. (Did I mention date?) WAIT until you get married to have that long long-term relationship. Before then, have all the fun you can dating different people. Have many relationships. Figure out who you are and what type of man you're most compatible with. Although you're going to fall in love- a lot- which is a good thing if you ask me, you don't want to fall in love and stay with that person for a long time. You won't end up marrying him. Trust me.

5. Learn to spend time alone (to be okay being alone). Somewhere along the way, I figured out that it's nice to be able to see a movie by yourself, have lunch by yourself, hang at home by yourself. Being comfortable being with just you. And this might not make much sense to you now, but  it will serve you well later to not need someone else to fill up that space, but rather to find people to compliment it.

xoxo, L&L


Steena Holmes's 5 Things I'd Tell the Teen Me

Our guest today: Steena Holmes Why we love her: Her passions are chocolate and writing-how can we not love her?!

Her latest: Finding Emma

The Scoop: A child torn from the arms of loving parents, a relationship torn apart from loss...

Megan sees her daughter Emma everywhere. She's the little girl standing in the supermarket, the child waiting for the swings at the playground, the girl with ice cream dripping down her face. But it's never Emma.

Because Emma's been missing for two years.

Unable to handle the constant heartache of all the false sightings, Megan's husband threatens to walk away unless Megan can agree to accept Emma is gone. Megan's life and marriage is crumbling all around her and she realizes she may have to do the thing she dreads most: move on.

When Megan takes a photo of a little girl with an elderly couple at the town fair, she believes it to be her missing daughter. Unable to let go, she sets in motion a sequence of events that could destroy both families lives.

Our thoughts: A thoughtful summer read we think you'll enjoy!

Giveaway: FIVE Copies-US only.  Leave a comment and you'll be entered to win!  We'll choose the winners on Sunday, August 5th.

Fun Fact: Steena is afraid of heights and can't stand for anyone to touch her nose!


1. Fries with gravy might be the best food you’ve ever tasted- but it’s not the only food. Be adventurous. It’s okay to try new things and like them. And don’t eat those chocolate covered ants - no dare is worth it.

2. Boys make better friends than boyfriends. Trust me. Yes, have fun and enjoy yourself, but not every boy who takes you on a hike is trust worthy. And - if they try to pick you up at your friends funeral and won’t take no for an answer - run the other way. RUN. Don’t walk.

3. Best friends are worth their weight in gold. Don’t ever diss your girlfriends for a boy. Remember walking down the middle of the street at 2am giggling while singing “I’m a little tea pot” and you weren’t drunk just happy? Cherish that memory and that friend. Don’t ever let her go cause you will regret it. Trust me on this. The few girlfriends you have are worth more than any boy that comes your way.

4. Your parents aren’t perfect, but they love you. They do understand what you are going through and no, they aren’t being bullies. They just love you. And no, they don’t love your brother more, it just seems that way, but appearances can be deceiving. Think of it this way -- you’re much stronger than your brother - they trust you to get through life on your own two feet. That doesn’t mean they love you less, it just means they trust you more.

5. It’s okay to love yourself. Really, it is. You are beautiful. You have the most gorgeous blue eyes and a curvaceous body most girls secretly dream of having. Accept it. Your chest is never going to get smaller and your waist will get bigger but some day you’ll realize just how awesome that is.

Thanks Steena! xoxo, L&L

Jessica Park's 5 Things I'd Tell The Teen Me

Our guest today: Jessica Park Why we love her:  She's freakin' fierce-kicking ass and taking names.  Not to mention the fact that she's funny as hell.

Her latest: Flat Out Love

The scoop: Something is seriously off in the Watkins home. And Julie Seagle, college freshman, small-town Ohio transplant, and the newest resident of this Boston house, is determined to get to the bottom of it. When Julie's off-campus housing falls through, her mother's old college roommate, Erin Watkins, invites her to move in. The parents, Erin and Roger, are welcoming, but emotionally distant and academically driven to eccentric extremes. The middle child, Matt, is an MIT tech geek with a sweet side ... and the social skills of a spool of USB cable. The youngest, Celeste, is a frighteningly bright but freakishly fastidious 13-year-old who hauls around a life-sized cardboard cutout of her oldest brother almost everywhere she goes.

And there's that oldest brother, Finn: funny, gorgeous, smart, sensitive, almost emotionally available. Geographically? Definitely unavailable. That's because Finn is traveling the world and surfacing only for random Facebook chats, e-mails, and status updates. Before long, through late-night exchanges of disembodied text, he begins to stir something tender and silly and maybe even a little bit sexy in Julie's suddenly lonesome soul.

To Julie, the emotionally scrambled members of the Watkins family add up to something that ... well ... doesn't quite add up. Not until she forces a buried secret to the surface, eliciting a dramatic confrontation that threatens to tear the fragile Watkins family apart, does she get her answer.

Our thoughts: Another great YA novel that adults will love too!  Pick it up today!

Giveaway: FIVE Smashwords e-copies!  Just leave a comment here and you'll be entered to win-we'll choose the winners after 6pm EST on Sunday July 29th.

Fun fact: Flat out Love hit the NYT ebook bestseller list recently after Jessica was featured on Amazon.  A true inspiration to all self-pubbers!

Where to read more about Jessica: her website, Facebook and Twitter.


1. All those boys who seem so hot and desirable in high school are not the boys you should be crushing on. The super popular, gorgeous, girls-hanging-all-over-them guys who are not paying attention to you? This is their heyday.  Screw ‘em. Don’t waste your time getting caught up in hype. Ignore what the media tells you is boyfriend material because you are probably missing out on some pretty spectacular guys.

2. Along those same lines, stop worrying about what you look like. Enough with the self-loathing because you don’t have a 95 lb. body, huge boobs, and a perfect ass. You are beautiful just as you are. If your classmates don’t see that, brush it off. Wait until you get out of high school and you can create an amazing world for yourself. You have no control over who you are stuck with in math class, but high school is only high school. There are beautiful people who will come into your life.

3. Friendships can last forever. Friendships can also die a horrible death. It happens. You might screw up and get dumped by your bestie. If a friend isn’t willing to work something out with you, you don’t need that friend.

OR, maybe there is someone in your life who is simply exhausting and awful. You have the right to weed people out of your life. We put so much pressure on ourselves to stay loyal to friends no matter what, and there’s no reason for that. Sometimes it’s healthier to let people go.

Friends and relationships come in and out of our lives. It’s okay. That’s just how the world works. When we lose one connection, another takes its place. So mourn and be sad, but don’t drown in it.

4. Don’t be a slave to fashion trends. You will be severely traumatized later in life when you look at photographs of yourself in which you’re wearing a v-neck Gap sweater BACKWARDS with pegged acid-washed jeans and giant socks under your high-top sneakers. Seriously. You knew that you looked stupid and you did it anyway.

Wear what you want, not what you’re told to want. But don’t forget that you’ll have to look at yourself twenty years later.

5. You will fall in love, you will get your heart splintered into hideous little shards. It will hurt like all hell.

Most importantly, you will recover. It doesn’t feel like it in the moment, but there will come a day when you want to do something other than eat vats of ice cream and sob on the floor of the bathtub. I promise you. Don’t let the heartache stop you from falling in love again.

Thanks Jessica! xoxo, L&L


Meg Cabot's 5 Things I'd Tell the Teen Me

Our guest today: Meg Cabot Why we love her: Um, hello, we love The Princess Diaries, not to mention all her fun adult novels too!

Her latest: Size 12 And Ready to Rock

The scoop on it: Summer break . . . and the livin' ain't easy!

Just because the students at New York College have flown the coop doesn't mean assistant residence hall director Heather Wells can relax. Fischer Hall is busier than ever, filled with squealing thirteen- and fourteen-year-old girls attending the first ever Tania Trace Teen Rock Camp, hosted by pop sensation Tania Trace herself—who just happens to be newly married to Heather's ex-boyfriend, heartthrob Jordan Cartwright. But the real headache begins when the producer of a reality TV show starring Tania winds up dead . . . and it's clear that the star was the intended victim.

Grant Cartwright, head of Cartwright Records, wants to keep his daughter-in-law (and his highest-earning performer) alive. So he hires his oldest son, black sheep of the family and private investigator Cooper Cartwright—who just happens to be Heather's new fiancÉ. Heather should leave the detecting to Cooper. But with a dorm full of hysterical mini-divas-in-training, she can't help but get involved. And after Tania shares a really shocking secret with her, this reality suddenly becomes more dangerously real than anyone ever anticipated.

Our thoughts: We love the Heather Wells series-it's fun with a bit of mystery thrown in-we think you'll love it!

Giveaway: FIVE copies! Leave a comment and you'll be entered to win-we'll choose the winners after 6pm PST on Monday, July 23rd.

Fun Fact: Meg shared some fun pics of herself last time she was a guest here-check it out!

Where you can read more about Meg: Her website, Facebook or Twitter.


1. Perm: DON'T DO IT

2. That guy who seems like he's so great? He's not.

3. That guy who seems like he's so awful? He's not.

4. You're not fat.  You're not fat.  You're not fat.  YOU ARE NOT FAT.

5. It really doesn't matter what college you go to. What matters is how much effort you make while you're there.  Stop stressing.

Thanks Meg! xoxo, L&L


Shannon Greenland's 5 Things I'd Tell The Teen Me

Our guest today: Shannon Greenland Why we love her: Her writing is fun and stress-free, just the way we like our summer reading!

Her latest: The Summer My Life Began

The scoop on it: When seventeen-year-old Em gets to spend a month at her aunt's island resort, it's a dream come true—and exactly the break Em needed from her strict family and their high expectations of her.

But when Em uncovers a long-buried secret about her family, everything changes. And suddenly, Em finds herself making some big choices about her future—choices she never dreamed she'd have the chance to make . . .

Our thoughts: We had a great time reading this one- and since it's YA, you can share it with your teen too!

Giveaway: FIVE copies! Leave a comment and we'll choose a winner after Sunday July 15th after 3pm PST.  Good luck!

Fun Fact: Shannon has also written a fun YA series called The Specialists.

Where you can read more about Shannon:  her website, Facebook, or Twitter.


1. Travel! I spent two years between high school and college seeing the world. I helped bathe orphans in Mexico, saw the wall come down in Germany, rode a bike in snowy Denmark, slept in too many airports to count, sang on a stage in Poland… and so much more. Since then I’ve sailed to the Bahamas, climbed a light house in Bermuda, hiked the Na Pali coast in Hawaii, canoed in Venezuela, zip lined a forest… and so much more. Travel! It’ll open your mind and soul to this incredible earth we live on.

2. Be open to change. When your heart and gut tell you to take a less comforting choice, consider listening. 9 times out of 10 your heart and gut are right.

3. Learn a language. Be it Spanish, French, Farsi, or whatever, dig in and learn it. Be willing to travel to a country that speaks your chosen 2nd language and do total immersion. Be willing to take more classes than are required for a high school diploma. Knowing a second language is an irreplaceable skill.

4. It’s okay to break up with a boyfriend. What it’s not okay to do is choose boys over friends. Boys will come and go, but friendship is the foundation to a solid life full of laughter, love, longevity, and surprises.

5. Choose independence. You will be so proud of yourself for working hard, making your own money, and achieving your own success. It’s okay to rely on someone but be ready to stand on your own feet. You will be a better, more fulfilled person because of it.

Thanks Shannon! xoxo, L&L

Bianca Zander's 5 Things I'd Tell the Teen Me

Our guest today: Bianca Zander Why we love her: Not only does her debut novel rock, but the 5 things she'd tell her teen self are spot on!

Her latest: The Girl Below

The scoop on it: After ten years in New Zealand, Suki returns to London, to a city that won't let her in. However, a chance visit with Peggy—an old family friend who still lives in the building where she grew up—convinces Suki that there is a way to reconnect with the life she left behind a decade earlier. But the more involved she becomes with Peggy's dysfunctional family, including Peggy's wayward sixteen-year-old grandson, the more Suki finds herself mysteriously slipping back in time—to the night of a party her parents threw in their garden more than twenty years ago, when something happened in an old, long-unused air-raid shelter. . . .

Our thoughts: Want to dive into something a bit deeper at the pool this summer?  Then pick up Bianca's engrossing novel.

Giveaway: FIVE copies!  Leave a comment and we'll choose a winner on Sunday June 24th after 6pm PST.

Fun Fact: Bianca is a Brit but has spent the last two decades in New Zealand!


1. Go easy on the war paint, especially foundation. Later on in life, you will spend a small fortune trying to get your skin to look half as good as it does now, and you will look at photos of yourself in badly applied orange gunk and wince. Instead wear sunscreen, drink water and don’t smoke. Sticking to this theme: the single most beautiful thing in the world is youth. At this point, it’s impossible to comprehend just how beautiful you are simply by virtue of being young, but one day you’ll wish that for even one second you had appreciated what you had, while you still had it.

2. In social situations, don’t waste time feeling embarrassed or self-conscious. Ninety nine percent of the time, people are too absorbed in their own dramas to pay even the slightest bit of attention to yours. Even if your dress is falling off, chances are no one has noticed, and if they have noticed, within seconds their attention will have switched back to its default focus: their own dress.

3. Don’t bother crushing on guys who aren’t interested in you. They will never be interested in you—and no amount of witty puns, sidelong glances or white-girl dance moves will change their minds. The same applies in reverse: if a guy IS interested in you, don’t dismiss him as a psycho until you know that he really is one.

4. What your mother says about guys being only interested in one thing is truer than you can imagine. This is confusing in relation to the last point because occasionally a guy who isn’t interested in you will go to great lengths to have sex with you, and if he does: run a mile. You won’t run a mile, you’ll be pathetically, cringingly grateful but after you have slept with him, he will get dressed in the blink of an eye and the fact that he’s not that into you will hit you like a freight train. Which brings me to point 4b: always use a condom.

5. Despite falling into all the above pitfalls, you will also eventually fall in love, and even though it seems utterly inconceivable, your first love will not be your last. Try to remember this when your first love cheats on you and then dumps you for a trashy-looking slut.

Thanks Bianca!  xoxo, L&L

To read more about Bianca, head on over to Facebook and Twitter!

Emma and Nicola's 5 Things I'd Tell The Teen Me

Our guests today: Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

Why we love them:  Um , maybe because they are our co-authoring IDOLS!  That's all.

Their latest: Between You and Me

The scoop: What happens when you are followed by millions . . . and loved by none?

Twenty-seven-year-old Logan Wade is trying to build a life for herself far from her unhappy childhood in Oklahoma. Until she gets the call that her famous cousin needs a new assistant— an offer she can’t refuse.

Logan hasn’t seen Kelsey in person since their parents separated them as kids; in the meantime, Kelsey Wade has grown into Fortune Magazine’s most powerful celebrity. But their reunion is quickly overshadowed by the toxic dynamic between Kelsey and her parents as Logan discovers that, beneath the glossy façade, the wounds that caused them to be wrenched apart so many years ago have insidiously warped into a show-stopping family business.

As Kelsey tries desperately to break away and grasp at a “real” life, beyond the influence of her parents and managers, she makes one catastrophic misstep after another, and Logan must question if their childhood has left them both too broken to succeed. Logan risks everything to hold on, but when Kelsey unravels in the most horribly public way, Logan finds that she will ultimately have to choose between rescuing the girl she has always protected . . . and saving herself.

Our thoughts: LOVED it with a capital L! Totally delightful. Seriously, grab it for your beach bag RIGHT NOW.

Giveaway: FIVE copies, yo!!!  Leave a comment and we'll choose the winners on Sunday June 17th after 6pm PST.

Fun Fact: Emma and Nicola have a YA novel coming out this summer too (Liz is drooling, she loves her some YA!).   Over You comes out on August 21st, 2012!


First and foremost, thank you so much to Liz and Lisa for having us back.  We’re so excited to be asked this question! 

The idea of giving our teen selves retroactive support is particularly poignant right now because we’ve spent the last year writing two books exploring the light and dark side of getting advice in those critical formative years.  In our novel, Between You & Me, out June 12th, we look at two 20-something cousins, Logan and Kelsey Wade, whose parents were always more focused on making one of the girls famous than guiding them into adulthood—with dire and very public consequences. 

Our second book out August 21st, Over You, is about Max Scott, a seventeen year-old break-up coach, who can get anyone over anyone in four weeks—or less.  She is full of spectacular advice (but can’t seem to take her own.)

So, for what it’s worth, here’s what we’d tell our teen selves:

1. Don’t sweat the sex.  Hard to believe but someday but you’ll be married to the same person for years and years and years and it will be impossible to remember when you once had more hormones than a dairy farm.  Don’t let anyone make you feel bad about yourself.   Remember that birthday party Alex Cobb pressed you up against the fish tank and unbuttoned your Betsey Johnson dress all the way down to your waist?  You’re creating memories that will make long afternoons singing Itsy Bitsy Spider to a toddler go faster.

2. The cliché is true.   The hot guys go bald.  They get paunchy.  And the mean girls are sad.  The sad girls get happy.  Because it never came easy so they had to work at it, work on themselves.  Willy Wonka could not right the balance better himself.

3. File these away.  Wear your retainer.  Your credit score is real.  Start a bridesmaid fund NOW—that shit will bankrupt you.  Never sign anything without a lawyer.  When a guy says he isn’t looking for a commitment, that’s what that means.

4. Be kind to yourself.  No one is ever going to be as hard on you as you are.  You can accomplish just as much without a running inner monologue saying, you suck.  You are not too fat.  Your butt is perfect.  You will actually marry a man who wishes it was larger.  You know how much you love the kids you nanny for?  Treat yourself with the same compassion and patience and you’ll be much, much happier.

5. Thank you.  You are doing everything right.  You are transitioning from babysitting into full-time nannying, much to your family’s horror.  You have applied to a horrible college you will hate.  Leading you to transfer to NYU, where you will meet the creative love of your life.  You are embarking on a miserable career path that will suck your will to live until the best idea seems like writing a book with your old friend from college.  Keep it up, girl.  Have faith.  You are failing upwards.

Thanks Girls! xoxo, L&L

To read more about Emma and Nicola, head on over to their website or find them on Facebook and Twitter.

Beth Kendrick's 5 Things I'd Tell The Teen Me

Our guest today: Beth Kendrick Why we love her: Her fiction is fun and frothy!

Her latest book: The Lucky Dog Matchmaking Service

The dealio on it: Lara Madigan has a gift. She can help you find your soulmate—your canine soulmate, that is. As a dog trainer with a soft spot for strays, she’s found perfect homes for sulky Shih Tzus,  broken-down Border collies, and diabolical Dalmatians. But while she’ll always make room for one more rescue mutt, she’s not sure she’s ready to commit to another human being. Especially after her live-in boyfriend drops the bomb: He’s not a dog person.

Horrified and temporarily homeless, Lara and her furry pack move in with her mother, a wealthy fashionista who forbids even a single drop of drool. As word gets around the exclusive gated community, Lara is overwhelmed with demands for her services. A model wants personal training for her overweight “flabrador”; an aging socialite preps her pedigreed puppy for dog show domination... If Lara can survive the breakup, the outrageous requests of her high-maintenance clientele, and her dogs’ systematically destruction of her mother’s McMansion, she might finally find the rescue dog who rescues her in return-- leading her straight to the guy who could be her perfect match.

Our thoughts: We're complete suckers for books that include dogs.  Count us IN!

Fun fact: Liz met Beth a few years ago for coffee when she was visiting the Los Angeles area, and discovered she was just as delightful as her writing.

Giveaway: TWO copies!  Leave a comment and we'll choose a winner this Monday, May 7th, after 6pm PST.


1. If he’s into you, you’ll know it; if he’s not, you’ll be confused. Boys are really not that hard to figure out.  And there are too many great ones out there to waste your time with emotionally unavailable libertines. You deserve to be with someone who adores you and whom you adore. UPDATE: I just talked to a male friend who informed me that the rule for teenage boys is: “If you like her, ignore her.”

So…maybe we’re all just destined to be confused forever?

2. Never wrestle with a pig--you both get dirty and the pig enjoys it. Some people are just not worth the time, energy and drama.  Don’t engage; walk away.

3. “Have more than thou showest / Speak less than thou knowest.” -Shakespeare You don’t need a lot of visible designer labels to validate your existence.  Joy and confidence come from within.  Discretion—both social and financial—is a powerful asset.

4. Leap and the net will appear. I know you think this whole writing thing will never pan out, and you’d be better off with a more “practical” career, but honey, here’s the thing: You’re not practical. And you never will be. Yes, you’ll have to work really hard and yes, you’ll have to do your research and pay your dues, but at the end of the day, you need to take a leap of faith and do what you love. (Oh, and your future co-workers will be canine, so you might want to start stockpiling lint brushes and Swiffers now.)

5. Travel whenever you get the chance. Globetrotting is so much easier now than it will be in 15 years, when you’ll have book deadlines, a mortgage, and a small child. Oh, and P.S.: Air travel is going to turn into a hassle and a half in the next millennium. Get out there and see the world while the getting’s good!

Thanks Beth! xoxo, L&L

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