women's fiction

What's in Liz & Lisa's Beach bag?

July is finally here! As we get ready to head out on vacation this month, we're stuffing our kindles and beach bags with TONS of fab books.  Because nothing makes us crankier than when we have nothing to read!  Here's what we're excited about this month:

freuds_mistress book coverFreud's Mistress by Karen Mack and Jennifer Kaufman

The Scoop: A page-turning novel inspired by the true-life love affair between Sigmund Freud and his sister-in-law.

It is fin-de-siècle Vienna and Minna Bernays, an overeducated lady’s companion with a sharp, wry wit, is abruptly fired, yet again, from her position. She finds herself out on the street and out of options. In 1895, the city may be aswirl with avant-garde artists and revolutionary ideas, yet a woman’s only hope for security is still marriage. But Minna is unwilling to settle. Out of desperation, she turns to her sister, Martha, for help.

Martha has her own problems—six young children and an absent, disinterested husband who happens to be Sigmund Freud. At this time, Freud is a struggling professor, all but shunned by his peers and under attack for his theories, most of which center around sexual impulses. And while Martha is shocked and repulsed by her husband’s “pornographic” work, Minna is fascinated.
Minna is everything Martha is not—intellectually curious, engaging, and passionate. She and Freud embark on what is at first simply an intellectual courtship, yet something deeper is brewing beneath the surface, something Minna cannot escape.
In this sweeping tale of love, loyalty, and betrayal—between a husband and a wife, between sisters—fact and fiction seamlessly blend together, creating a compelling portrait of an unforgettable woman and her struggle to reconcile her love for her sister with her obsessive desire for her sister’s husband, the mythic father of psychoanalysis.
Our thoughts: Looking for something a little different from your usual fare? Then pick up this beautifully written book.

mandatory-release-amazon-coverMandatory Release by Jess Riley

The Scoop: Recently paralyzed in a car accident, thirty-year-old Graham Finch spends his days trying to rehabilitate a caseload of unruly inmates and his nights on one bad date after another, attempting to rehabilitate his heart—

—until his high school crush Drew Daniels walks through the prison gates one hot summer morning. On the run from a painful past that’s nearly crushed her faith in love, Drew is a new teacher at Lakeside Correctional. Graham, smitten all over again, tries to redirect his unrequited feelings. But when your heart keeps looking back, it's not easy to turn it forward.

Amidst escalating violence at work, Drew is forced to confront her secrets, find a way to forgive old sins, and learn how to listen to her heart and her head when it comes to men. Graham must also learn to make peace with his own past. Together they realize that if you’re going to save yourself, sometimes the best way to do it is by saving someone else first. If only finding their way to one another was easier than working with convicted felons.

Our thoughts: We loved this hilarious read!

HusbandsSecret_frontonly.inddThe Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty

The Scoop: Imagine that your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret—something with the potential to destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others as well. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive. . . . Cecilia Fitzpatrick has achieved it all—she’s an incredibly successful businesswoman, a pillar of her small community, and a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything, and not just for her: Rachel and Tess barely know Cecilia—or each other—but they too are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband’s secret.

Acclaimed author Liane Moriarty has written a gripping, thought-provoking novel about how well it is really possible to know our spouses—and, ultimately, ourselves.

Our thoughts: Liane is one of our fave authors, and this one is one of her best--pick it up July 30th!


15810888Down and Out in Bugtussle: The Mad Fat Road to Happiness by Stephanie McAfee

The Scoop: When her dream life in Florida with her now-ex-fiancé goes south, so does Ace — she moves back home to Bugtussle, Mississippi, and into her late Gramma Jones' little house. But even though her best friends, Lilly and Chloe, are thrilled that she's returned home, not everything is smooth sailing. Ace wants her job back as art teacher at the high school, but the beautiful Cameron Becker has no plans to relinquish that position. Although Ace wants to run Miss Becker out of town, she accepts a job as a substitute teacher. On top of her job woes, Ace's friends keep setting her up on blind dates when all she really wants is for people to stop meddling in her love life.

In her quest to find inner peace, Ace takes up gardening and discovers old love letters in her grandmother's well-worn gardening book. With her faithful chiweenie, Buster Loo, by her side, Ace is determined to get to the bottom of her Gramma's secret life, all while hoping her own doesn't implode.

Our thoughts: You'll feel anything but down and out while reading this!


14838452Table For Seven by Whitney Gaskell

The Scoop: On New Year’s Eve, Fran and Will Parrish host a dinner party, serving their friends a gourmet feast. The night is such a success that the group decides to form a monthly dinner party club. But what starts as an excuse to enjoy the company of fellow foodies ends up having lasting repercussions on each member of the Table for Seven Dinner Party Club.

Fran and Will face the possibility that their comfortable marriage may not be as infallible as they once thought. Audrey has to figure out how to move on and start a new life after the untimely death of her young husband. Perfectionist Jaime suspects that her husband, Mark, might be having an affair. Coop, a flirtatious bachelor who never commits to a third date, is blindsided when he falls in love for the first time. Leland, a widower, is a wise counselor and firm believer that bacon makes everything taste better.

Over the course of a year, against a backdrop of mouthwatering meals, relationships are forged, marriages are tested, and the members of the Table for Seven Dinner Party Club find their lives forever changed.

Our thoughts: Delightful!  Pick up a copy for you vacay today!

Wendy Wax's 5 Best Evers

9780425263310_p0_v2_s260x420Our guest today: Wendy Wax Why we love her: Ever since The Accidental Bestseller, we've loved Wendy and her fabulous novels!

Her latest: While We Were Watching Downton Abbey (Out April 2nd!)

The Scoop: When the concierge of The Alexander, a historic Atlanta apartment building, invites his fellow residents to join him for weekly screenings of Downton Abbey, four very different people find themselves connecting with the addictive drama, and—even more unexpectedly—with each other…

Samantha Davis married young and for the wrong reason: the security of old Atlanta money—for herself and for her orphaned brother and sister. She never expected her marriage to be complicated by love and compromised by a shattering family betrayal.

Claire Walker is now an empty nester and struggling author who left her home in the suburbs for the old world charm of The Alexander, and for a new and productive life. But she soon wonders if clinging to old dreams can be more destructive than having no dreams at all.

And then there’s Brooke MacKenzie, a woman in constant battle with her faithless ex-husband. She’s just starting to realize that it’s time to take a deep breath and come to terms with the fact that her life is not the fairy tale she thought it would be.

For Samantha, Claire, Brooke—and Edward, who arranges the weekly gatherings—it will be a season of surprises as they forge a bond that will sustain them through some of life’s hardest moments—all of it reflected in the unfolding drama, comedy, and convergent lives of Downton Abbey.

Our thoughts: Even if you don't watch Downton Abbey, You'll fall in love with this book!

Giveaway: FIVE copies! (US only, please) We'll choose the winners on Sunday March 31 after 10am PST.  Good luck!

Fun fact: Wendy used to host a live radio show in the eighties called Desperate and Dateless!

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


WendyPhoto1. Favorite Song: Sorry, but songs are kind of like M&Ms and Lays Potato Chips for me. I’ve never been able to eat just one, and I don’t know how to pick one favorite song. There have been different ones at different times in my life.

“Stairway to Heaven” – I danced my very first slow dance to this song with a boy I had a major crush on, and I flash back to that moment every time I hear it. I also remember it from my days starting out in radio; it was long enough to leave the control room for a potty break!

Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” because it’s all about girl power. Disco may be over, but every time I hear it I want to go find all those guys who ‘done me wrong’ and tell them off.

My current favorite is Alicia Keyes’ “This Girl is on Fire” because it’s so powerful and because it’s exactly what I write. Women finding themselves. Discovering just how strong they are. Taking charge of their lives. It doesn’t hurt that it’s the final song played at my Zumba class, which means it’s time to cool down!

2. Favorite book: I have read and loved a lot of books in my day, but I will still give Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind first place. To be honest I like the first half best—before the war decimates everything and Scarlett throws so much of her life away mooning over Ashley Wilkes who could never make her happy instead of Rhett Butler who totally could. That woman could have eaten Ashley Wilkes for breakfast!

3. Favorite Movie:  Sorry, but I’m going to have to go with Gone with the Wind again. It’s one of the few movies I’ve seen that stayed emotionally true to the book. I used to watch it once a year and still resurrect it on occasion. I fell in love with Clark Gable the first time I saw it and was crushed to discover that he’d already been dead for a really long time (and thus unavailable for dating) by then.

4. Life moment: Hmmm…this is another rough one. Happily there have been a number of them: the birth of both of our sons, the sight of my first published book on a shelf. But I think it would have to be accidentally meeting the stranger who would become my husband on the Carey Bus in New York almost thirty years ago. Partly because when my mother, who was afraid I’d never get married kept asking, “Do you think you’re just going to be walking down the street one day and meet someone you want to marry?” I was finally able to say yes! : )

5. Piece of advice:  I may have said this here before, but I still think it applies. It’s advice I’m trying to follow myself, and that is, ‘Don’t sweat the small stuff!’ So much of what stresses us out and makes us unhappy on a daily basis is really small and unimportant. Unfortunately, we understand this best when the really big stuff happens.

Thanks. Wendy!

Jen Lancaster's 5 BEST EVERS

9780451236722N9780451236722Our guest today: Jen Lancaster! Why we love her: The question should be, how can you NOT love her?! She is SASSY and so are her books.

Her latest: Here I Go Again

The scoop: Twenty years after ruling the halls of her suburban Chicago high school, Lissy Ryder doesn’t understand why her glory days ended. Back then, she was worshipped...beloved...feared. Present day, not so much. She’s been pink-slipped from her high-paying job, dumped by her husband and kicked out of her condo. Now, at thirty-seven, she’s struggling to start a business out of her parents’ garage and sleeping under the hair-band posters in her old bedroom.

Lissy finally realizes karma is the only bitch bigger than she was. Her present is miserable because of her past. But it’s not like she can go back in time and change who she was...or can she?

Our thoughts: This one is our FAVE of Jen's so far.  It's Back To The Future meets Mean Girls and we promise you are going to devour every word. LOVED it!

Giveaway: FIVE copies, yo!  Leave a comment and we'll choose winners after February 4th at 8am.

Fun fact: Want to meet Jen in person?  She might be coming your way on her book tour--check out the dates here.

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


6cd96de10c080ad8976f57.L._V213787453_SX200_1. BEST SONG I’m mercurial when it comes to music.  I’ll get into a mode and a handful of songs will suddenly become my Best Evers before quickly fading back into oblivion.  (Ahem, Taylor Swift.  Ahem.)  Right now I’m obsessed with 80s metal.  In Here I Go Again, heroine - and I use that term loosely - Lissy Ryder is a closet fan of all things Whitesnake, which is so far removed from the new wave/alternative music I lived for back in the day.  To get into Lissy’s character, I required a YouTube-based rock education.   Often, my husband would walk past my office, incredulous to hear Pantera coming out of my speakers.

Turns out, the more I listened to old metal, the more I came to appreciate the power behind it.  I defy anyone to not be moved watching Metallica doing Enter Sandman live in Moscow in 1991 in front of 100,000  screaming Russians.  So, I feel like I’ve discovered the entirely new universe, particularly the hair metal genre.  Some of my new (old) favorites include Whitesnake, Def Leppard, and Motley Crue.  Plus, I’m so tickled by the reaction I get from hipsters every time I pull up in my sweet convertible, wearing soccer-mom Capris, a ponytail, and pearls, with Rock You Like a Hurricane cranked up to eleven.  They look at their vintage Schwinns and skinny jeans, all, “My life is a lie.”  (Thus, my work here is done.)

2. BEST BOOK Again, mercurial.  Right now I’m obsessed with J. K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy, which is just as brilliant as the Harry Potter novels, in an entirely dissimilar way.  I didn’t realize exactly how different it would be until I got to a part about a miserable teenage boy and I thought to myself, “Wait a minute… wizards don’t wank!”  I have so much additional respect for Rowling after reading this book.  She took everything she learned about creating a magical universe and used it to breathe life into her version of the sleepy little town of Pagford.  I’m bowled over by her prowess in crafting so many distinct, complex characters.  I’m in awe of her bravery for working against the archetype of pure evil and pure good like she did in Harry Potter.  Every character is layered and nuanced and imperfect.  Are any of them likable?  Generally, no, and that’s part of this quiet book’s subtle genius.  And spoiler alert?  She’s not afraid to eschew the happy ending.  The Casual Vacancy isn’t for everyone, especially for those yearning for a grown up version of Hogwarts.  But for me?  It’s my Best Ever for 2012.

3. BEST MOVIE Do I even need to mention that my favorites change depending on my mood?  My perennial must-watch-each-time-they’re-on films score pretty high on the cheese-o-meter, e.g. Day After Tomorrow, The Hot Chick (and really, anything with Rob Schneider), 13 Going on 30, MIB, Independence Day, and The Incredible Mr. Limpet (wherein Don Knotts is a cartoon fish who helps the US win WWII in the Pacific Theater), so I’m probably not the Best Ever person to ask.  I saw Oscar nominated Beasts of the Southern Wild last winter and I left the theater completely confused, thinking to myself, “So, the earth is sick, the little girl eats dog food, the rains come down and they have to sail around a motorized bathtub, and then she visits her mom on Prostitute Island.  I don’t get it.”  I guess I prefer to do my thinking while reading.  In movies, Will Smith + alien invaders + quirky sidekick = Best Ever.

4. BEST LIFE MOMENT The first time I realized that I wouldn’t have to go back to temping while trying to make it as an author.  I had an event at the Chicago Barnes & Noble where I’d also signed my first two books.  Each time, I had twenty to thirty people attend, which was outstanding.  There’s nothing worse than having a book signing where no one comes.  Trust me on this one.  So when I walked in the store, I noticed that there was no one in the area where the event was always held and I was disappointed.  Not surprised, having had it happen before, but bummed nonetheless.  But then the event coordinator spotted me and brought me upstairs to where two hundred and fifty women were waiting.  I was astounded and humbled.  A week later, my memoir Such a Pretty Fat not only hit the New York Times bestseller list, but stayed there for most of the summer, and that’s when I knew I was finally done fetching coffee and making copies.

5. BEST PIECE OF ADVICE The minute you stop being fixated on looking cool is the minute your entire world changes for the better.  Whatever you pursue in life, do it because it makes you happy, and not because you want to post an impressive Facebook status update.  There’s no shame in loving cheesy music or opting for onion rings over escargot, if that’s what you want in the moment.  Generally, people are too self-absorbed to even notice your efforts, so you may as well do what you like.  Ultimately, the only opinion that really matters is your own.

Thanks, Jen! 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

Juliette Fay's 5 BEST EVERS

Our guest today: Juliette Fay Why we love her: We love to curl up by the fire with her books!

Her latest: The Shortest Way Home

The Scoop: Sean has spent twenty years in Third World war zones and natural disaster areas, fully embracing what he’d always felt was his life’s mission. But when burnout sets in, Sean is reluctantly drawn home to Belham, Massachusetts, the setting of Fay’s much-loved Shelter Me. There, he discovers that his steely aunt, overly dramatic sister, and quirky nephew are having a little natural disaster of their own. When he reconnects with a woman from his past, Sean has to wonder if the bonds of love and loyalty might just rewrite his destiny.

Our thoughts: We think you'll fall in love with this one!

Giveaway: FIVE copies!  Leave a comment and you'll be entered to win.  We'll choose the winners on Sunday November 4th after 3pm PST.

Fun Fact: Smarty Pants alert!  Juliette has a master's degree in Public Policy from freakin' HARVARD.

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


First, I have to say that I have many favorites of all of these things -- I'm sure most people do -- so the following is just the first thing that jumped to mind. In that sense I guess it's my subconscious favorite, and as close as I'll ever come to the truth.

BEST SONG: Maybe I'm Amazed by Paul McCartney The most honest love song ever written. He wrote it for his wife, Linda, to whom he was utterly devoted, and it's about the panic-laced awe you feel when love truly has you in its clutches.

I remember lying on my bed in the dark, late at night as a preteen, listening to this song on the radio, and praying that someday someone would feel this way about me. (Post-script: someone eventually did, and I married him.)

Current Alternate: Beautiful Soul by Jesse McCartney

I am a complete sucker for this song, which always makes my teenage daughter crack up. Maybe a little part of me is still that preteen girl . . .

BEST MOVIE: The Family Stone My go-to Christmas movie about a quirky family celebrating together -- the love, the friction, the way they know one another so well . . . and yet there are secrets and surprises. It's hilarious and heartbreaking and ultimately hopeful. The acting is fantastic and there's a scene that involves raw eggs and brotherly brawling that always has me gasping with laughter.

BEST BOOK: Gilead by Marilynne Robinson Written from the perspective of a 76-year-old man with a much younger wife and a 6-year-old son. He knows he'll die soon, and the son, whom he loves desperately, will barely remember him, so he's compiling the family history for the boy. It's slow and beautiful and thoughtful. Reading it felt like I was witness to something verging on the miraculous.

I know it sounds weird and overly gushy to say a book is a miracle, but that's how it felt.

BEST LIFE MOMENT: On a bus in Seattle Okay, really? On a bus? Let's start with the obvious choices: the day I married a really  great guy, the births of my four children, the day my first book was published. But after those highlights, what jumps to mind is . . .

I worked as an emergency shelter counselor in Seattle right out of college, and then started a daycare for homeless children. Our Place Daycare was housed in donated space right by the Space Needle. It had been a particularly exhausting day, and I stood at the bus stop, wearing a white shirt (I can still see it -- I loved that shirt!) covered in spit-up and snot and baby drool.

The bus came and I got on. Waiting for it to pull away from the curb, I looked out the window at the springtime-bright green leaves against the perfect cerulean blue of a cloudless sky. And a thought came to me: For all its heartbreak, this world is a beautiful place, and God is watching, and it's going to be okay. It was a moment of utter peace that I'll never forget.

BEST PIECE OF ADVICE: "Just keep swimming." -- Dory, from Finding Nemo It's the last best thing to do when nothing is going right. Some days it's all you can pull off, and on those days, it's enough.

Thanks Juliette! 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


Karen Bergreen's 5 BEST EVERS

Our guest today: Karen Bergreen Why we love her: She is freakin' hilarious, that's why!

Her latest: Perfect is Overrated

The Scoop: Think you want to be the perfect mom? Think again…..

Kate Alger has finally found the cure for her post-partum depression.  After years of suffering, all it takes to bring this mommy back to life were a few gruesome homicides!  When someone starts offing the alpha-moms from Kate’s daughter’s preschool, Kate—who worked as an Assistant District Attorney before she had Molly—realizes it’s time to get out of bed, dust off the skills and find out who is killing all the mommies she loves to hate.

Wickedly funny and slightly twisted, Perfect Is Overrated is a romp through the life of one very needy mom, her cockeyed family, gorgeous ex-husband, and the entire insane, entitled, over-dressed , over-zealous, eternally jealous parent body at The Hawthorne Preschool.

Our thoughts: We LOVED it-this one will totally relieve your Mom stress!

Giveaway: FIVE copies!  Just leave a comment and we'll choose winners on Sunday October 21st after 6pm PST.

Fun Fact: Karen is also a stand up comedian...no wonder we think she's so funny!

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


Best Song:  This is muy hard (I try to use a Spanish word at least once a day to show my worldliness), But I am going to have to go with Looking at You by Cole Porter. I am obsessed with Cole Porter, and in reality, it may not have been his best work, but it was my first dance at my wedding and I’m trying to suck up to my husband as our tenth anniversary approaches. I’m hoping for a pony.

Best Book: Again, a difficult one, but I love Bryce Courtenay’s The Power of One.  I love coming of age stories. I love the theme of the triumphant underdog, in this case the protagonist, Peekay. (PK is a term of endearment for his real name, Pisskop, Pisshead in Afrikaans.). The book is a good old fashioned sage, set in South Africa during the rise of Hitler.  We get to hate Nazi kids and love quirky characters.  The book, I recall, was long, but when it ended, I felt a sense of loss.

Best Movie: Can we have a tie between Tootsie and The Shawshank Redemption? I love Dustin Hoffman so.  When I was in ninth grade, I found his number in the telephone book and called it and hung up.  It was terrifying and exhilarating at the same time.  Tootsie made me realize that my love for him transcended his appearance –I would have dated him as woman.  The movie is hilarious-my favorite moment is when a depressed Tootsie tips over the mime in Central Park.  The song Something’s Telling Me it Might Be You is nice and sappy, the way I like em. I like the Shawshank Redemption because I like revenge. I’m very angry. Could someone hold me?

Best Moment: I wish I could say when my kids were born, but I was nervous and bloated. Maybe when I got engaged, but the happiness was mixed with relief.  I know. It was when I was sitting at a callback interview for a prestigious law job (I used to be a lawyer before becoming a comic). The interviewer was describing what my potential job entailed and I interrupted her and said, “Excuse me, I am so so  sorry to have wasted your time, but I am going to withdraw my application here so that I can be a stand up comic.”

Best Piece of Advice: This is the easiest one and it relates to Best Moment.  I had been in therapy when I decided to switch from law to comedy and the only thing holding me back was my fear of disapproval.  I remember asking my therapist, “What will people think?” And she said, “Why would you care?” I felt liberated.

Thanks Karen! xoxo, L&L

Amy Hill Hearth's 5 Things I'd Tell The Teen Me

Our guest today: Amy Hill Hearth Why we love her: Her writing is delightful!

Her latest: Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society

The scoop: Eighty-year-old Dora, the narrator of a story that began a half century earlier, is bonding with an unlikely set of friends, including Jackie Hart, a restless middle-aged wife and mother from Boston, who gets into all sorts of trouble when her family moves to a small, sleepy town in Collier County, Florida, circa 1962.

With humor and insight the novel chronicles the awkward North-South cultural divide as Jackie, this hapless but charming “Yankee,” looks for some excitement in her life by accepting an opportunity to host a local radio show where she creates a mysterious, late-night persona, “Miss Dreamsville,” and by launching a reading group—the Collier County Women’s Literary Society—thus sending the conservative and racially segregated town into uproar. The only townspeople who venture to join are regarded as outsiders at best—a young gay man, a divorced woman, a poet, and a young black woman who dreams of going to college.

Inspired by a real person, Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women’s Literary Society will touch the heart of anyone and everyone who has ever felt like an outsider longing to fit in.

Our thoughts: We think you'll love this heartwarming tale.

Giveaway: THREE Copies!  Leave a comment and you'll be entered to win!  We'll choose the winners on Sunday, October 21st after 6pm PST.

Fun fact: Amy has written several very interesting non-fiction books, check them out!

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


1.     Being an outsider or outcast can make you strong.

2.     Ask more questions. Don’t accept lame answers.

3.     Be kind to everyone, but never, ever allow yourself to become a doormat.

4.     Don’t wear your trendiest clothes and wildest hairdo for your class picture.

5.     Seek advice from older people. They really do know more than you do (most of the time).

Thanks Amy! xoxo, L&L

Marisa de los Santos' 5 Things I'd Tell the Teen Me

Our guest today: Marisa de los Santos Why we love her: Very simple: her writing is beautiful!

Her latest: the paperback of Falling Together

The Scoop: It's been six years since Pen Calloway watched Cat and Will, her best friends from college, walk out of her life. Through the birth of her daughter, the death of her father, and the vicissitudes of single motherhood, she has never stopped missing them. When, after years of silence, Cat—the bewitching, charismatic center of their group—urgently requests that the three meet at their college reunion, Pen can't refuse. But instead of a happy reconciliation, what awaits is a collision of past and present that sends Pen and Will on a journey around the world, with Pen's five-year-old daughter and Cat's hostile husband in tow. And as Pen and Will struggle to uncover the truth about Cat, they find more than they bargained for: startling truths about who they were before and who they are now.

Our thoughts: We couldn't put this one down-LOVE it!

Giveaway: FIVE copies! Leave a comment and we'll choose the winners on Sunday October 7th after 6pm PST.

Fun Fact: Marisa has a Ph.D in English and creative writing.

Where you can read more about Marisa: Check her out on Facebook!


1. That thing where you dumb yourself down to be more popular? Forget it.  If it ever worked at all, and high school is just a goofy enough place that it might have, it never works anywhere else.  Ever.  And whether it works or not, every time you keep your burning opinions to yourself or laugh at the cute boy’s really dumb joke or pretend, eyelashes fluttering, that you just don’t get it, a tiny part of your soul goes into hibernation and you’ll have to work way too hard later to wake it up. Don’t get me wrong:  you’re not a genius.  But you are quick, articulate, passionate, full of ideas, some of them good, and you really do know that George Eliot is a woman (a smart one).  The world needs girls like you.  Let your brainy girl flag fly.

2. Enjoy your mother as much as you possibly can. I’m not talking about love.  As a mother myself, I can tell you that even when you are at your most sarcastic, snarliest, eye-rolling worst, she will know that you love her almost more than you can bear.  What I mean is when you’re with her, singing at the top your lungs to records in the basement, talking about a book you’ve both read, dancing, listening to her ringing, ravishing laugh, really be there.  When you are in your twenties, she will be diagnosed with MS and over the years, will lose so much.  The singing voice, the dancing, the ability to stay up with you late into the night.  Drink her up.  Cherish her.

3. Believe this: you are pretty enough.  I’m not just saying that.  Despite the terrible ‘80s hair and the eye shadow, you are lovely.  One day, you’ll have a ten year old daughter who will dance all over the house, so luminous, so at home inside her skin, and you will ache with wanting her to hold onto it, the easy knowledge of her own fabulousness.  So you do it:  stop the dieting; wipe off at least half the makeup; love your legs because they’re strong; lose the dark streaks on the side of your nose that are meant to make it look like Brooke Shields’s. They don’t and your nose is fine.  Trust me.

4. And while we’re on the subject, stop wanting to be blond.  Yes, your friend Allison is beautiful, but your dark hair, brown skin, and black eyes are their own brand of awesome.  Not because of the men who will call you “exotic” (and there will be plenty, most of them creepy), but because they’re yours and they come from someplace.  Right after you stop being a teenager (and I promise it will end), you’ll go to the Philippines where your dad was born, and you’ll fall in love with the place and with his family—your family.  And you’ll realize that to want to be blond is to deny those beautiful people and to want to look like you is to embrace them.  Plus, blond means a lifetime of maintenance, and when it comes to crap like that, you will be forever and hopelessly lazy.

5. Learn how to do stuff.  Seriously.  Wit and a way with words will get you pretty far, but at some point, you’ll need to cook something or fix something or put a coat of paint on something or read an instruction manual and make something run, and the older you get, the harder it will be to learn.  So start now:  program your VCR, fry an egg.  I know you can do it.

Thanks Marisa!  xoxo, L&L

BIG book deal news & BIG giveaway

Are y'all sitting down? We've got news.  BIG news. Our manuscript, The Toast, sold to Greer Hendricks at Atria Books! *jumps up and down and pees pants a little bit*

We signed with the fabulous Elisabeth Weed of Weed Literary last week (she reps a ton of our fave authors!) and received the a-mazing news that our book sold just days later.  In fact, our heads are still spinning as we write this because we've been girl crushin' like crazy on both Greer and Elisabeth for years!  Needless to say, we are excited, thankful and scared shitless all the same time. (To put it in perspective, all we can manage to say to each other all day is some combination of OMG, holy sh*t and WTF?)

The Toast will hit bookshelves in early 2014.  It's about two childhood best friends who wake up the morning after their 20th high school reunion to discover they've switched bodies and ultimately realize that sometimes it takes living someone else's life to appreciate your own. (And just in case you were wondering, it's NOT autobiographical!)

Ok, so get prepared y'all because we're about to get our sap on.

Thank you.  Yes, you. Each and every one of you who are reading this post.  It's because of your sassy comments, your kind words and your support-- not only of us but of Chick Lit Is Not Dead--that we are here today.  Whenever we got really down, all we had to do was pop over here and see how much y'all still LOVED reading good books written by women.  And it was that love that helped us keep our chins up all this time.

So, to show you how much we appreciate your awesomeness, (and because we are complete giveaway WHORES), we are giving away not one, but two HUGEASS STACKS OF BOOKS.  See for yourself. They're not just big, they're HUGEASS.  You know the drill: leave a comment and we'll enter you to win. We'll choose the winners on Sunday, October 7th after 6pm PST.

Now we're off to do the only thing you can do when you sell your first book: GO TO LAS VEGAS! We'll be the ones drinking champagne at the blackjack tables and, well, everywhere, sucking in our stomachs at the pool cabana and hanging out with Carrot Top. (Long Story!)

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

Back to School eBook LOVE!

Where did summer go?  Damn, we still have SO many fantastic beach reads sitting in our bag! We had a feeling you might have the back-to-school blues, so we thought we'd cheer y'all up with a little eBook love.  Because, who doesn't love a good eBook, right?  *yells into megaphone* RIGHT?

We've got four that we think you'll love, and are giving away a few of each to get your school year started off right.  Leave a comment and you'll be entered to win.  Have a preference?  Let us know that too!


Bleak: A Novel by Lynn Messina A smart, funny take on the Charles Dickens classic BLEAK HOUSE—for anyone who’s ever held on to a dream just a little too long.

New York writer Ricki Carstone knows the odds of Hollywood actually turning her debut novel, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, into a movie are slim. But Moxie Bernard, the most famous teen on the planet, has signed on to star in the option. Plus, the producer is throwing her a super fabulous party in Hollywood (with Moxie!) to celebrate the relaunch of her book with a younger, sexier cover. Maybe it will happen after all.

Quitting her dead-end paralegal job to move out to Los Angeles and keep an eye on the project, Ricki meets a handsome out-of-work actor who encourages her to try her hand at screenwriting, and an experienced screenwriter who is willing to help her for a fee, which only starts out small. And then there's her cute neighbor Simon, who thinks her new friends are just taking advantage of her. Will Ricki ever see her name in lights and make it big in Hollywood?

You can read more about Lynn at her website.

Giveaway: TWO copies!  Leave a comment to be entered to win.  Winners will be chosen Monday, September 3rd after 6pm PST.

Breaking The Rules by Cat Lavoie When twenty-seven year old Roxy Rule’s best friend and roommate accepts a glamorous new job overseas, she expects their relationship to continue as it’s always been—carefree and easy—until they share a heart-stopping kiss moments before his departure. Overcome with mixed emotions, she fights the urge to over analyze the situation and resumes back to her normal life in New York City, working for an intolerable boss at a dead end job, creeping further and further away from her own dreams of becoming a professional chef.

While things become more complicated between her and Ollie, Roxy is sure that nothing can come between two lifelong best friends—not even mild jealousy over a thriving career or a silly little kiss that meant nothing. In fact, it was such a meaningless and forgettable kiss that she convinces herself that it’s not even worth mentioning to her fiancé, although it is all she can think about.

Roxy’s already topsy-turvy life only gets more complicated when her sisters Steffi and Izzie suddenly become her roommates. Steffi is six months into a pregnancy she refuses to discuss and Izzie is in the throes of a premature midlife crisis. Roxy tries to take control of her career, her love life and her sisters – but can she really handle it all? And can the Rule family keep it together – or break under the pressure?

To read more about Cat, head on her to her website.

Giveaway: TWO copies!  Leave a comment to be entered to win.  Winners will be chosen Monday, September 3rd after 6pm PST.

Haole Wood by Dee DeTarsio  When San Diego weathercaster, Jaswinder Park, is mysteriously summoned to the island of Maui in Hawaii to help her grandmother, she ends up losing her job. This fair-haired, light-skinned foreigner, called haole by the natives, decides to stay in Maui for a couple of days until she can figure out what to do with her life. She realizes that her quick trip to Maui may not be all she’s hoping for when:

-She has to bail her Hawaiian/Korean grandmother out of jail for possession of pakalolo.

-The only thing she can understand her grandmother say is: “Not that.”

-She can’t decide which hurts worse, her sunburn, hangover, or memories of the night before.

-She’s labeled the “Liquor Licker” on the front page of the Maui News in a photo that shows her doing a shot of tequila with a hunky Hawaiian who’s been found dead.

-It seems she’s had orgasms that have lasted longer than her career.

-She scrapes the bottom of the barrel to find her guardian angel.

Beautiful fabric found in her grandmother’s closet unfolds a future for Jaswinder as she designs sensuous silky wraps called sunshminas that provide sun protection. She tries for a Hollywood connection, but her company, Haole Wood, has some growing pains. From trying to find a killer, to selling her sunshminas, to lusting after Dr. Jac, the island dermatologist, to trying to ignore her so-called guardian angel, can Jaswinder learn to embrace the island way of life? Aloha!

Great news!  Haole Wood is FREE on Amazon for the next FIVE days starting today! So EVERYONE can get a free copy!  Woo hoo! You can read more about Dee at her website.

Picture Perfect by Lucie Simone For Lauren Tate, a high-powered TV producer, sex, lies, and scandal make for a great movie-of-the-week, but when she becomes the target of a smear campaign, even the most salacious of Hollywood’s tales can’t compare to her real life drama. With her soon-to-be-ex-husband leading the effort to sully her reputation, and her former assistant threatening to snatch her hard-earned position at Timeless Television out of her hands, Lauren’s perfectly planned life quickly begins to unravel at the seams.

Clawing her way back to the top of the TV food chain is no easy task, especially in an industry where backstabbing is a sport and gossip is a fulltime business. But Lauren learns just how cutthroat showbiz can truly be when the hottest scandal in Tinsel Town turns deadly and the Hollywood hunk who’s stolen her heart is missing in action. Can she salvage her career, her reputation, and her love life? Or will Hollywood be the death of her?

You can read more about Lucie at her website.

Giveaway: TWO copies!  Leave a comment to be entered to win.  Winners will be chosen Monday, September 3rd after 6pm PST.

Thanks! 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

How to Be a Woman's Caitlin Moran: Giveaway and excerpt

Today's guest: Caitlin Moran Why we love her: She's been called the UK version of Tina Fey and we couldn't agree more. So, what's not to love?

Her latest: How to Be a Woman

The scoop on it:  Though they have the vote and the Pill and haven't been burned as witches since 1727, life isn't exactly a stroll down the catwalk for modern women. They are beset by uncertainties and questions: Why are they supposed to get Brazilians? Why do bras hurt? Why the incessant talk about babies? And do men secretly hate them?

Caitlin Moran interweaves provocative observations on women's lives with laugh-out-loud funny scenes from her own, from the riot of adolescence to her development as a writer, wife, and mother. With rapier wit, Moran slices right to the truth—whether it's about the workplace, strip clubs, love, fat, abortion, popular entertainment, or children—to jump-start a new conversation about feminism.

With humor, insight, and verve, How To Be a Woman lays bare the reasons why female rights and empowerment are essential issues not only for women today but also for society itself.

Our thoughts: Witty and funny, it's a book for every woman!

Giveaway: FIVE copies! Leave a comment and be entered to win. We'll select the winners after 3pm on Monday, August 27, 2012.

Fun Fact: She's the oldest of eight children!

Where you can read more about Caitlin: Twitter and her website.


I have no idea what to wear to a strip club. It’s one of the biggest wardrobe crises of my life.

“What are you wearing?” I ask Vicky on the phone.

“Skirt. Cardigan,” Vicky says, lighting a fag.

“What shoes?”

“Boots. Low heel.”

“Oh, I was going to wear boots, low heel, too,” I say. “We can both wear boots, low heel. That’s good. We’ll be matchy.” Then a bad thought occurs to me. “Actually, maybe we shouldn’t both wear boots, low heel,” I say. “If we look too matchy, people might think we’re an act. You know. Like a lesbian act. And try and touch us.”

“No one would believe you’re a lesbian,” Vicky sighs. “You’d make a terrible lesbian.”

“I wouldn’t!” I say indignantly. This offends my can-do nature.

“If I wanted, I could be a great lesbian!”

“No, you couldn’t,” Vicky says. “You’re offensively heterosexual. You fancy Father Christmas. By no stretch of the imagination could Father Christmas be construed to have Sapphic androgyny. He wears Wellington boots indoors.”

I can’t believe Vicky is doubting my ability to be a lesbian, if I really wanted to be. She’s seen how versatile I can be on a night out. Once, when we went to Bournemouth, we blagged our way backstage of a theater and convinced the star of the show—a legendary sitcom actor—that we were prostitutes, just to see his reaction. He said, “Blimey!” in a very edifying manner. My capabilities are endless. She doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

“Maybe I’ll wear sneakers, instead,” I say.

Vicky has asked me if I want to join her for a night out at Spearmint Rhino, on Tottenham Court Road. It’s the year 2000, and strip clubs—for so long regarded as the holding pen for the last few sad, sweaty fucks on earth—have become acceptable again.

In Britain, the mid-nineties have been all about the rediscovery of the British working class’s monochrome tropes—pubs, greyhound racing, anoraks, football in the park, bacon sandwiches, “birds”—and strip clubs come under this heading. “Ladettes” now enjoy a night out in the classier strip clubs of the metropolis. Various Spice Girls have been pictured in strip clubs, smoking cigars and cheering the acts on. Titty-bars are being marketed as an exciting, marginally loucher version of the Groucho Club—just somewhere for anyone who liked to start a night out at 1 a.m.

Partly out of journalistic hunger to cover the phenomenon, and partly because newspaper editors are invariably excited by pictures of female hacks in a strip club, the Evening Standard has asked Vicky to go spend an evening in the Rhino in order to see what all the fuss is about.

“It’s against every single one of my feminist principles. These are arenas of abuse,” I said when she called.

“The manager is giving us complimentary champagne all night,” Vicky said.

“I will meet you there at 9 p.m.,” I said, with all the dignity I could muster.

Thanks, Caitlin!


Liz & Lisa


Lit IT Girl: Debut Author Tracey Garvis Graves

Our latest Lit IT girl: Tracey Garvis-Graves Why we love her: She is an inspiration to all self-pubbers! (And she's a great writer too!)

Her debut: On The Island

The Scoop: Anna Emerson is a thirty-year-old English teacher desperately in need of adventure. Worn down by the cold Chicago winters and a relationship that’s going nowhere, she jumps at the chance to spend the summer on a tropical island tutoring sixteen-year-old T.J.

T.J. Callahan has no desire to go anywhere. His cancer is in remission and he wants to get back to his normal life. But his parents are insisting he spend the summer in the Maldives catching up on all the school he missed last year.

Anna and T.J. board a private plane headed to the Callahan’s summer home, and as they fly over the Maldives’ twelve hundred islands, the unthinkable happens. Their plane crashes in shark-infested waters. They make it to shore, but soon discover that they’re stranded on an uninhabited island.

At first, their only thought is survival. But as the days turn to weeks, and then months, the castaways encounter plenty of other obstacles, including violent tropical storms, the many dangers lurking in the sea, and the possibility that T.J.’s cancer could return. As T.J. celebrates yet another birthday on the island, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man.

Our thoughts: The ultimate beach read! Love it!

Giveaway: FIVE copies!  Leave a comment and you'll be entered to win.  We'll choose the winners after 6pm PST on Sunday, August 19th.

Fun fact: Tracey broke all the so-called "rules" when she self-pubbed On The Island and it paid off in spades!

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


1. How many agents did you query before you found "the one"? I queried fourteen agents but unfortunately, I never found the one. I received only form rejection letters. After On the Island hit the top 10 on Amazon an agent reached out to me and I signed with her. She's done wonderful things for me, including selling foreign rights in seventeen countries, a feature film option to MGM, and a two-book deal with Penguin.

2. What's a line from your "favorite" rejection letter? Well, since they were all form letters I never received a personalized rejection. I did win a first chapter critique on Twitter and after the agent read it she said that it was just very "scene setting" and that nothing really happened. I was a bit surprised by the feedback since I crashed a plane in that chapter.

3. What was the hardest part about writing your debut novel? Since I'd never written a novel the structure and pacing were the trickiest parts, especially since On the Island is written in a dual narrative. There were many times when I had to cut, paste, and reorganize. I also needed to make sure that each character had their own distinctive voice. The research needed to write a desert island book set in the Maldives was overwhelming at times. I'm not sure I ever want to tackle that again.

4. What is the best/worst advice you received while you were trying to break into the book biz? The best advice was to get a thick skin. Most of the time I'm bulletproof, but catch me on a bad day and I'm just as vulnerable and heartbroken as the next girl. The worst advice was all the rules I read on agent's blogs. Don't include a prologue (I didn't, but only because the story didn't warrant one), don't attempt a dual narrative (I did and it was very effective for the type of book I'd written), don't write in present tense (On the Island is written in past tense, but the epilogue is written in present). Bottom line: do whatever you want but try your best to do it well. Know what the rules are but break them if you need to. The literature police aren't going to come after you and chances are your readers won't care (or even notice) what you do as long as you hold their attention and tell a good story.

5. How did you celebrate your book deal? The way I celebrate most things -with wine, friends, and family.

6. Who is your writer crush? Stephen King. I'd love to sit down with him for an hour and pick his brain. I think he's brilliant.

7. If you were stranded on a desert island and could have only one book, what would it be? Stephen King's The Stand.

8. What's on your iPod right now? I've compiled a playlist for Covet, the book I'm currently writing. It is on constant repeat in my car and features songs from Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20 (off the Cradlesong album), Sheryl Crow, John Mayer, and The Police. My kids are so tired of it.

9. What's your #1 stress reliever? Reading and getting a good night's sleep. I feel so much better and more energetic if I get to bed on time.

10. Who/what would you place in the center of the Entertainment Weekly bullseye? The wonderful olympic athletes who worked so hard and gave their all in London.

Thanks Tracey! 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