Books & Brews: Love in a Carry-On Bag / Abita’s Pecan Harvest

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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.

It seems like there were a number of gray, rainy days in Richmond, Virginia this month, which made it a perfect month for curling up inside, under a blanket, with a good book.  Which is exactly what I did. This month I read Sadeqa Johnson’s Love in a Carry-On Bag. The novel tells the story of Erica and Warren, who are about a year into their long-distance relationship. She lives in New York, and is climbing the ladder in the marketing department at a huge publishing company. He lives Washington D.C. and works a lucrative job as an IT contractor by day and plays jazz trumpet by night. The story chronicles the intense ups and downs of their long-distance relationship, while also weaving in their childhood experiences (neither of which were easy).

Heres what I loved about the book: 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

Sky for Miles, Sticky Glasses, & Space

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I just spent a long weekend in Albuquerque, New Mexico for a writer’s retreat. I had never been to New Mexico. Or to a writer’s retreat. I had no idea what to expect from either. Both were amazing. Continue reading

Books & Brews: All the Difference / Troegs’ Nugget Nectar

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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.

Up this month is Leah Ferguson’s debut novel, All the Difference. What struck me most about this book, even just reading the back cover description, was the unique plot structure. The story opens on New Years Eve with the main character Molly being proposed to by her boyfriend Scott. Earlier that day she learned she was pregnant. He doesn’t know about the baby and she’s not entirely sure how to answer his question. From that moment forward, in alternating chapters, we learn what happens if she says yes versus no to his proposal.You read that description and think, so the story moves forward but in two different directions? How does that work? All I can tell you is that is works really, really beautifully. And in the end Ferguson draws out some very poignant thoughts about fate, personal choice and resilience. 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