Books & Brews: The Hating Game / Dogfish Head’s Beer for Breakfast

Two of my favorite things in the world are craft beer and books. On the last Thursday of every month I pair a book I love with a pint to sip while reading it.

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At some point a few months ago, my friend Julia gushed about how much she enjoyed Sally Thorne’s The Hating Game. Then at my local writers conference in September, Sarah MacLean told me she loved it. Then my friend Lindsay read it, and sent around a message saying we had to discuss it. Clearly, with all this prodding I moved it to the top of my to-be-read list. And while we’re talking lists– it’s worth nothing that the novel was in the top ten of Goodread’s Choice Awards for romance and named one of NPR’s best books of 2016. A good book to round out my 2016 Books & Brews series, I suppose!

The premise of the story is classic, bitter work rivals who can’t stand each other, until eventually they start to piece together that maybe they very much can. An enemies-to-lovers story, if you will. Main characters Lucy Hutton and Josh Templeman are executive assistants for co-CEOs of a large publishing house who have a daily routine of disdain for each other. Things get complicated when they are forced to compete for a promotion. And even more complicated when the facade of hate starts to crumble.

Here what I loved about the book: Continue reading

Bookends

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My October weekends have been filled with all sorts of writer-ly, bookish goodness! Two weekends ago I did a reading at the Slover Library in Norfolk, this past weekend I moderated two panels at the James River Writers Conference, and tomorrow I’m headed to Philadelphia to attend the Women’s Fiction Writers Association’s regional conference. It’s odd how things lump together like this, isn’t it? How you’ll go months without any weddings, and then have three friends getting married in the course of five weeks. Or you’ll go six months without seeing your extended family and then seem them repeatedly in the one month span between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Seems like fall is the season for book events, at least in my little section of the east coast. Therefore, I’m officially renaming October weekends: “bookends.” (Get it, like books and weekends …)

Anyway, bad wordplay aside– in celebration of this bookish season, I thought I’d share img_2674some pictures and the excerpt of How to be Alive that I read at Slover, just for fun.

Setup: The scene takes place not long after the death of the main character’s fiancé. She’s trying to reach a panini press on the top shelf of a closet to make herself a grilled cheese sandwich (comfort food): Continue reading

Books & Brews: From the Sideline / New Belgium Brewing’s Shift Pale Lager

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Two of my favorite things in the world are craft beer and books. On the last Thursday of every month I pair a story I love with a pint to sip while reading it. 

This month I read Amy Avanzino’s second novel, FROM THE SIDELINE. Technically it’s the second book in her Wake-up Series, but I had no problem reading it as a stand-alone without reading the first book (though I really want to, now). In FROM THE SIDELINE, the main character, Autumn Kovac, reluctantly allows her only son to try out for the local youth football team. She’s terrified about sending her ten-year-old onto the field to be tackled by faster, larger, and far more coordinated children. She’s convinced he’ll sustain a head-injury, at worst, or be ridiculed by his peers, at other worst. Even though she can’t see any positive outcome, trying out for the team is only thing has made him happy since his father left– so she gives him the green light, certain he won’t make the cut. When he does, she finds herself thrown into a world she knows nothing about and finds out she has as much learning and growing to do as her son, if not more.

Here’s what I loved about the book: Continue reading

Books & Brews: The Life Intended / Bell’s Oberon

The Life Intended by Kristin Harmel

Two of my favorite things in the world are craft beer and books. On the last Thursday of every month I pair a story I love with a pint to sip while reading it. 

I didn’t intentionally choose to read Kristin Harmel’s THE LIFE INTENDED during the same month I turned 39, but I did. Have you ever had that experience where the exact right thing (a story, a song, a photograph) finds you at the exact right moment and you feel just a little more understood? That’s what this was like. Here’s why I loved the book: Continue reading

What’s On …

Just a few little notes about what’s on my playlist, my nightstand, and my stove these days.

On my playlist: It came up in a conversation at work recently that I participated in competitive public speaking in high school (and no, I have zero memory of how we got on that subject). Anyway, immediately my colleague mentioned this podcast from Radio Lab about debate that she had listened to recently. It’s a really fascinating piece. I especially like the ending, which captures a certain truth about life and its big events and just how consequential… or not, they sometimes feel.  Continue reading