Reading

CLOSE ENOUGH TO TOUCH by COLLEEN OAKLEY

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“Love has no boundaries…

Jubilee Jenkins has a rare condition: she’s allergic to human touch. After a nearly fatal accident, she became reclusive, living in the confines of her home for nine years. But after her mother dies, Jubilee is forced to face the world—and the people in it—that she’s been hiding from.

Jubilee finds safe haven at her local library where she gets a job. It’s there she meets Eric Keegan, a divorced man who recently moved to town with his brilliant, troubled, adopted son. Eric is struggling to figure out how to be the dad—and man—he wants so desperately to be. Jubilee is unlike anyone he has ever met, yet he can’t understand why she keeps him at arm’s length. So Eric sets out to convince Jubilee to open herself and her heart to everything life can offer, setting into motion the most unlikely love story of the year.”

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I know I say this about every book but lately every book I have read has been amazing. Colleen Oakley definitely did her research with this one and while the disease is also fictional she makes it come off to be legit. This year has so many promising great reads, and “CLOSE ENOUGH TO TOUCH” is one of them.

Jubilee, such a fitting name for this character, is someone I can relate with. Jubilee’s life has been no part of simple but her will power to adapt after the death of her mother is inspiring. When she finds herself running into a past friend who helps her get a new job, she has to learn how to leave her house after nine years of staying inside. Anxiety is a powerful problem and one many of us face. I mean, I would totally have anxiety if I could possibly die from a human touching me.

Jubilee finds herself crushing over Eric who she meets at her library job with his adopted son Aja. As their friendship turns into a bit more she finds it harder and harder not to have physical contact with him. Talk about self control.

Eric and Aja like so many others have their set of problems and that pulled at my heart. I loved the bond that Aja eventually takes with Jubilee, one that helps him open up.

Close Enough to Touch is beautifully written and one you are really going to want to read. I loved the struggles and how in the end seemed to work out the way they were meant to be. I hope you will pick up a copy to see what I’m talking about. My review can not do this book justice.

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Hats off to Ms. Oakley!

Reading

Question & Answer with Amy Poeppel

It has been an honor to collaborate with Amy Poeppel. Amy is such a smart sweet person. I have enjoyed talking all about her newest novel, “Small Admissions”. After reading the novel I had several questions that I wanted to ask and Amy so kindly answered them. Continue reading to hear everything Amy had to say.

P.S.
let’s show Amy some love by following her on Instagram @amypoeppel or twitter @amypoeppel also.

Q&A
Q1:

You’ve worked in Admissions in the past, did that position/job inspire you to write this novel?

A1:

My work in an admissions department certainly played a role as I wrote my novel SMALL ADMISSIONS. But the real inspiration came from my experiences as a parent as I interviewed for schools with my husband when we were moving to New York City. My husband and I had no idea how stressful the experience would be! We were unprepared, contradicted each other in front of the admissions counselor, and did a pretty poor job in general. That experience inspired me to start writing a series of comedic scenes of parents interviewing for private schools. I wrote about ten different scenes and eventually turned those into a full-length play. I was attending sessions at the Actors Studio Playwrights/Directors Unit at the time, and they invited me to workshop the play there; that was an amazing experience!!

A few months later, my agent suggested I turn the play into a novel, so I did. I think the scenes I initially wrote work better in prose form than they did as dialogues in a play.

Q2:

What’s your favorite clothing store/brand?

A2:

I am a very casual, jeans-and-t-shirt kind of girl; I’m not a big fan of dressing up. My faves are Paige or Joe’s jeans, Lucky boots, and a good old Gap t-shirt! Or when I have to get a bit dressier … Black jeans, a black Lush “Perfect roll tab” shirt, and black Sam Edelman boots. I tend to wear uniforms!
Q3:

If there ever were an author who you had to read every book this person wrote, who would it be?

A3:

Margaret Drabble. I have read two of her books and loved them both. She writes beautifully! I recently found out that she has written close to twenty novels, so I have a long way to go!
Q4:

If you were taking a vacation, where would you take it to?

A4:

I would love to take a trip that allows me to do my three favorite things: 1. Read on a beach, 2. go site-seeing (museums, cathedrals, etc.), and 3. Eat fabulous meals and drink lots of wine. So… I think the best solution would be to take a trip to Italy!
Q5:

Are there plans of another novel by you?

A5:

I’m working on new novel called Limelight, the story of a woman who stumbles onto the celebrity scene when she encounters a spoiled, entitled popstar who has been cast in a new show on Broadway. I’m thoroughly enjoying talking to theater people, learning about rehearsals and choreography, and trying to understand the mindset of a bratty, unanchored megastar. It’s been a lot of work but so much fun. I am so excited for Limelight to hit the shelves in Summer 2018!
Q6:

If someone were planning a trip to NYC, what restaurant would you HIGHLY recommend to them?

A6:

Good question!! And a tough one! How much are we spending?? (I’ll stick to my neighborhood just to keep things simple!) There’s a little place called Tartine in the West Village that I love – the food is great and you can bring your own wine. The jerk salmon at Miss Lily’s is AMAZING! But I also LOVE splurging on sushi at Lure Fish Bar! My go-to spot is Jane on Houston – Terrific gnocchi with gorgonzola!

Additionally,

Amy Poeppel grew up in Dallas, Texas. She graduated from Wellesley College and worked as an actress in the Boston area, appearing in a corporate industrial for Polaroid, a commercial for Brooks Pharmacy, and a truly terrible episode of America’s Most Wanted, along with other TV spots and several plays. While in Boston, she also got her Masters in Teaching from Simmons College.

She is married to David Poeppel, a neuroscientist at NYU and Director of the Max Planck Institute in Frankfurt. For the past twenty years, they have lived in many cities, including San Francisco, Berlin, and New York City, and had three sons along the way. Amy taught high school English in the Washington, DC suburbs for several years, and after moving to New York, she worked as an Assistant Director of Admissions at Trevor Day School, where she had the fulfilling experience of meeting and getting to know hundreds of applicant families.

She attended sessions at the Actors Studio Playwrights/Directors Unit and wrote the theatrical version of Small Admissions, which was performed there as a staged reading in 2011. Because the admissions world provided so much material, she expanded the play into a novel of the same name.

Amy is currently working on a new novel and is blogging weekly for The Debutante Ball. Her writing has appeared on The Rumpus, Working Mother, Bookish, The Higgs Weldon, In The Powder Room, and Literary Mama.

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Giveaway

Easter/Spring Giveaway!

Hey loves!

Amy Poeppel and I are teaming up to host this Easter Giveaway. If you haven’t read my review yet check it out here!

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One lucky winner will win:

-Signed copy of •Small Admissions• by Amy Poeppel

-Springish coffee mug

-Locally made mints that are so amazing!

To enter follow the link below.

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Good luck to all & a HUGE thank you to Amy Poeppel for the signed copy!!

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Reading

SMALL ADMISSIONS by AMY POEPPEL

“One admission can change your life…forever.

When ambitious grad student Kate Pearson’s handsome French “almost fiancé” ditches her, she definitely does not roll with the punches, despite the best efforts of family and friends. It seems that nothing will get Kate out of pajamas and back into the world.

Miraculously, one cringe-worthy job interview leads to a position in the admissions department at the revered Hudson Day School. Kate’s instantly thrown into a highly competitive and occasionally absurd culture, where she interviews all types of children: suitable, wildly unsuitable, charming, loathsome, ingratiating, or spoiled beyond all measure. And then there are the Park Avenue parents who refuse to take no for an answer.

As Kate begins to learn there’s no room for self-pity or nonsense during the height of admissions season or life itself, her sister and friends find themselves keeping secrets, dropping bombshells, and arguing with each other about how to keep Kate on her feet. Meanwhile, Kate seems to be doing very nicely, thank you, and is even beginning to find out that her broken heart is very much on the mend. Welcome to the world of Small Admissions.”

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If you are looking for a book that’s not complicated but has a bit of girl drama then look no further, Small Admissions is the book for you! I seriously couldn’t get enough of this book but at the same time never wanted it to end. I loved the bit of girl drama slash just enough romance to keep me happy. Alas, let me not forget why the book is a book. These parents are serious about getting their child into the perfect grade school. I can only imagine what true colors one would see from parents when working in an administrative job.

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This book has all the feels, grief, guilt, disgust and happiness. Amy Poeppel has done a FABULOUS job with this book and I look forward to many more novels by her.Lastly, I have to add how much I love the cover. It’s perfect like the book!

Be sure to find Amy on social media and give her a follow, she’s such a kind author!!!

Twitter

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Stay tuned, as Amy & I have more coming for you booklovers soon!

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REVIEW: WHITE SAND, BLUE SEA by ANITA HUGHES

 

“Olivia Miller is standing on the porch of her mother and stepfather’s plantation style villa in St. Barts. They have been coming here every April for years but she is always thrilled to see the horseshoe shaped bay of Gustavia and white sand of Gouverneur’s Beach. This trip should be particularly exciting because she is celebrating her twenty-fifth birthday and hoping that Finn, her boyfriend of four years, will propose.

The only person who won’t be here is her father, Sebastian, whom she hasn’t seen in twenty years. He’s a well-known artist and crisscrosses the globe, painting and living in exotic locations like Kenya and China. When Sebastian unexpectedly walks through the door and floats back into Olivia’s life like a piece of bad driftwood she never knew she wanted, she starts to wonder if her world is too narrow. She questions the dreams and the relationship she’s always thought she wanted. But there seems to be more to the story than an innocent fatherly visit, and Olivia must decide if love is more important than truth.

Set on St. Barts, the jewel of the Caribbean, Anita Hughes’s WHITE SAND, BLUE SEA is a heartwarming story about romance and adventure, and most important, about knowing yourself, and what makes you happy.”

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There are so many things I loved about “WHITE SAND, BLUE SEA”. I will always love the dedication of a mother who makes the best choices for her child. Hadley does just that. As Sebastian enters Hadley and Olivia’s life after twenty years, relationships are tested. Olivia who wanted a relationship with her father for many years connects instantly with her father upon his arrival. Hadley finds it hard to be around Sebastian and until the very end I wanted her to act on feelings she was having for her ex. Hadley is a devoted wife to Felix, who has given both Olivia and her the world since coming into their lives. I wasn’t a huge fan of Finn, Olivia’s boyfriend who to me doesn’t deserve Olivia and was almost childish when Olivia asked to do things with her father, whom she hasn’t seen in 20 years.

I loved reading the back history of Hadley and Sebastian but sadly that history was just that. Sebastian is self centered and can’t breathe without stroking his paint brush. As he waltzed back into the lives of Hadley and Olivia, he thinks both girls aren’t as happy as they should be. Hadley questions her marriage with Felix and Olivia wonders if she is too young to become a bride. But does Sebastian really understand “The Miller Girls” after being away for 20 years?!

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I recommend this book for anyone who loves a juicy story with back history. I love reading books by Anita Hughes, they are always light hearted and wonderful!!!

Releasing April 11th 2017, be sure to grab a copy for that beach vacation.
Xo
BBM

*Thank you St Martin’s for my review copy for my honest review

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THE BEACH HOUSE COOKBOOK by Mary Kay Andrews

MARY KAY ANDREWS is The New York Times bestselling author of The Weekenders, Beach Town, Save the Date, Ladies’ Night, Spring Fever, Summer Rental, The Fixer Upper, Deep Dish, Blue Christmas, Savannah Breeze, Hissy Fit, Little Bitty Lies, and Savannah Blues. A former journalist for The Atlanta Journal Constitution, she lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

“You don’t have to own a beach house to enjoy Mary Kay Andrews’ recipes. All you need is an appetite for delicious, casual dishes, cooked with the best fresh, local ingredients and presented with the breezy flair that make Mary Kay Andrews’ novels a summertime favorite at the beach.

From an early spring dinner of cherry balsamic-glazed lamb chops and bacon-kissed green beans, to Fourth of July buttermilk-brined fried chicken, yuppie potato salad, and Coca-Cola cake, to her New Year’s Day Open House menu of charcoal-grilled oysters, home-cured gravlax, grits n’ greens casserole, and Meyer lemon bar trifle, this cookbook will supply ideas for menus and recipes designed to put you in a permanently carefree coastal state of mind all year long.”

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As many of you already know, I am a huge fan of Mary Kay Andrews. MKA has a writing style like none other. She always captures me and I become the main character. When I heard about her “Beach House Cookbook” coming out I knew it was going to be on my shelves soon. My friends at St Martin’s sent me a review copy and this weekend I picked out Scalloped Potatoes recipe & took it to the kitchen to test.

First you must know, it felt like I was cooking Mary Kay Andrew style. Knowing she cooks these same dishes at home is pretty neat! Most of the ingredients for Scalloped Potatoes are already in your kitchen. The recipe is super easy with step by step directions. I would say the longest part of the cooking the dish was peeling and slicing the potatoes (I don’t like skin on mine). Once you have salt watered the potatoes  & patted them dry (if they aren’t patted dry, it will create a soggy casserole), its game on. Making the cheese sauce is super easy! I did use shredded cheddar cheese instead of Gruyere which was just a personal preference. MKA also says to sprinkle thyme over each layer and I did it for this dish. However, next time I’ll use chives instead of thyme as it was too strong for our likings. The changes I made didn’t change the way I felt about the book or recipe though. Alas, the hour of cooking made the potatoes tender and perfect to my tasting.

 

If you love the beach and everything MKA, then you must buy this cookbook!

Releasing May 2nd 2017!!!

 

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My rating was a given by the two empty plates.

 

*Thank you St. Martin’s for my review copy for my honest review!

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Almost Missed You by Jessica Strawser

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“Violet and Finn were “meant to be,” said everyone, always. They ended up together by the hands of fate aligning things just so. Three years into their marriage, they have a wonderful little boy, and as the three of them embark on their first vacation as a family, Violet can’t help thinking that she can’t believe her luck. Life is good.

So no one is more surprised than she when Finn leaves her at the beach―just packs up the hotel room and disappears. And takes their son with him. Violet is suddenly in her own worst nightmare, and faced with the knowledge that the man she’s shared her life with, she never really knew at all.

Caitlin and Finn have been best friends since way back when, but when Finn shows up on Caitlin’s doorstep with the son he’s wanted for kidnapping, demands that she hide them from the authorities, and threatens to reveal a secret that could destroy her own family if she doesn’t, Caitlin faces an impossible choice.

Told through alternating viewpoints of Violet, Finn and Caitlin, Jessica Strawser’s Almost Missed You is a powerful story of a mother’s love, a husband’s betrayal, connections that maybe should have been missed, secrets that perhaps shouldn’t have been kept, and spaces between what’s meant to be and what might have been.”

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Almost Missed You is such a wonderful book. The storyline is great and has many twists along the way. Anyone who hears Finn and Violets story say its fate. It sure wasn’t fate that Finn took their child Bear and ran away from problems Violet knew nothing about. Throughout the book I felt so many emotions, being a mother myself, wondering what I would do in Violet’s situation. And let me tell you, I wouldn’t be as calm or nice as Violet. Caitlin has her own problem when Finn threatens her with information her husband can’t find out about. Finn was just desperate; I mean Caitlin is a friend since college and the one who has always been there for him. Friendship and relationships are tested, can things work themselves out? Will Violet ever see her son again? It’s a must read to get those answers!

“Almost Missed You” has a great story line and it pulled at my heart as everything unraveled. It’s one you are going to want in your hands.

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Thanks Katie at St Martins for sending me a review copy for my honest review.