Books & Brews: The Good Neighbor / Anchor Steam

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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 novel I love with a pint to sip while reading it, under the theory that there is a perfect beer to compliment every book.

This month I read The Good Neighbor by Amy Sue Nathan and I could not be more excited to share it with you! Many of you are on a bit of a break from work and/or school right now and if you’re like me, reading is near the top of your winter break “to do” list– just go ahead and add this book to the very top of that list.

Izzy Lane, the main character in The Good Neighbor, is recently divorced and has just moved back to her childhood home with her son, Noah. She’s in transition, learning to navigate sharing custody with her ex and starting over in the neighborhood she grew up in. In the midst of this, she starts an anonymous blog as a place to express her feelings about all the change. She has a regular readers and enjoys connecting with them in the comments. Just as she is starting to find her footing, she runs into her ex-husband and his new girlfriend. Caught off-guard and wanting to seem “fine” about it all, she invents a boyfriend. Just a tiny little lie. No big deal. Until she slips and mentions this fictional beau on her blog, and her best-friend Jade approaches her about writing a dating blog for 40-somethings on her extremely popular website, Pop Philly. Suddenly Izzy’s tiny lie has the potential to cause more harm than she ever imagined.

Here are just a few things I loved about The Good Neighbor: Continue reading

Brown Paper Packages Tied Up with Strings

You know what it is a soon as you pick it up. You can feel the rigid spine under the cheerful holiday paper. It’s dense as you lift it from under the tree. And yet, even though you know without a doubt you’ve been given a book— what lies under that paper is still a complete and total surprise. Continue reading

Books & Brews: Courtship of the Cake / Ballast Point’s Calm Before the Storm

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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 novel I love with a pint to sip while reading it, under the theory that there is a perfect beer to compliment every book.

This month I read Jessica Topper’s Courtship of the Cake. I’ll start with a warning – this book is going to make you want to eat cake. Even if you wouldn’t particularly list cake as your favorite dessert. Hummingbird Cake, loaded with fruit and spices and covered in a pineapple cream cheese frosting, yes please. It’s also going to make you want to get a massage. You’ll find yourself sitting on the stretch-y machine thing at the gym, thinking if only Dani were here with some essential oils to rub that spot between my shoulder blades, that would be so superior to this. That’s how well you get to know the characters in this book – so much so that you want them to hop off the pages and give you massages and bake you things. Continue reading

Books & Brews: The Legacy of Us / Kronenbourg Blanc

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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 women’s fiction novel I love with the perfect pint to sip while reading it, under the theory that there is a perfect beer to compliment every book.

Kristin Contino’s debut, The Legacy of Us, is really three books in one. Seriously, as a writer, I have no idea how she did it. As a reader, it’s the best thing ever, because three stories about love and forgiveness and strength– so much better one. Continue reading

Books & Brews: The Status of All Things / Bittersweet Symphony

Two of my favorite things in the world are craft beer and books. On the last Thursday of every month I pair a women’s fiction novel with the perfect pint to sip while reading it, under the theory that there is a perfect beer to compliment every book.

This month I read The Status of All Things by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke. Liz and Lisa’s book was recommended to me by Dee DeTasrio after she read and blurbed Neverending Beginnings for me this spring. She recommended it because it features elements of magical realism, just like my debut novel.

Magical what? You ask. Magical realism, is just a fancy way to describe a story set in the real world with some tiny little twist that couldn’t actually happen in life as we know it. In Liz and Lisa’s book, the featured element of magical realism is that the main character, Kate, can alter the things happening in her life by changing her Facebook status.

This is especially useful since the book opens with her fiancé canceling their wedding at the rehearsal dinner. Make that their destination wedding– in Hawaii. Oh, and he’s canceling the wedding because he’s in love with her co-worker. Not a particularly bad time to be given the chance to write life altering status updates. Kate decides to use her power to go back in time and keep her wedding on track. Which of course goes nothing at all as planned. Continue reading

Books & Brews: English as a Second Language / Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

Two of my favorite things in the world are craft beer and books. Some time ago I set out to write a monthly post pairing a book with a beer, under the theory that there is a perfect beer to compliment every book. Then I got a bit overwhelmed by all the options (so many amazing books, so little time) and the series fizzled. This month, I’m bringing it back infused with a bit more structure and all the same awesome-ness. On the last Thursday of every month I’ll pair a women’s fiction novel with the perfect pint to sip while reading it. Here goes …

Last week my debut novel was released in paperback for the first time. Holding that first story in my hands as brought on all sorts of nostalgia, so I’m going back in time a bit for this first pairing. The book that started it all for me, the one I related to in such a way that I had that very first nagging thought that perhaps I too could write something was Megan Crane’s, English as a Second Language. Continue reading

Bicycles & Happenstance

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Last Saturday evening my husband and I took the long way home from our nephew’s birthday party. We drove through our old neighborhood and stopped at a favorite coffee shop where they just happened to be showing a world premiere of a movie about biking called, Inspired to Ride. Before the movie they screened several short films featuring all the amazing trails for biking and hiking in Richmond. I’ll be honest — my Paris trip didn’t entirely cure that gray winter disillusionment I wrote about a few weeks ago. These short films were a great reminder of all that is alive and wonderful about where I live. Continue reading

Books & Brews: The Theory of Opposites / Ommegang Three Philosophers

Two of my favorite things in the world are books and craft beer.  Out of this grew the idea that maybe pairings aren’t just for the table anymore; perhaps there is a perfect beer for every book . . .

Allison Winn Scotch is one of my favorite authors and I am always excited for anything new from her, so I was thrilled when The Theory of Opposites came out late last year!

The novel opens with the main character, Willa, losing her job.  Days later, her husband decides he needs a break from their marriage, but not before committing both himself and Willa to a long-term visit from their teenage nephew, Nicky.  As if that isn’t enough, Continue reading

Books & Brews: Jagged Hearts / Starr Hill Double Platinum

Two of my favorite things in the world are books and craft beer.  Out of this grew the idea that maybe pairings aren’t just for the table anymore; perhaps there is a perfect beer for every book . . .

This is an especially exciting installment of Books & Brews because it’s about not only beer and books, but also rock n’ roll.  I recently read the first installment in Lashell Collins’ Jagged Ivory series, Jagged Hearts. Continue reading

Warning: May Cause Cravings

Recently my friend (and awesome romance writer), Alexis Anne, shared with me that reading Neverending Beginnings made her want to make lasagna for dinner.  (My main character in the novel repeats the same week over and over, and therefore makes lasagna over and over.)  This has to be one of the coolest things anyone has told me about my novel and it got us both thinking about the role food plays in fiction.  This week we sat down to chat about my use of food in both Neverending Beginnings and Delayed. Grab a snack and enjoy!

Hungry?  Here are the recipes for Kate’s Lasagna and the Beer Chili I mentioned in the video.  And be sure to check out Alexis’ website for a chance to win a copy of Delayed!