It took a while but spring really and truly arrived! And now we're pretty much launched into summer but I can't mind the heat too much when it's accompanied by flowers and green leafy trees. On a personal note, I'm sensing more change ahead and I'm ready for it. June marks 3 years since I moved from Nashville to San Francisco. A year ago I was visiting Dublin. This June I'll release my first novel. Who knows where next June will find me?
Read and Reading
When Dimple Met Rishi (Menon) was as wonderful as everyone said. Why didn’t I get to it sooner?! Dimple and Rishi captured my heart from the start and I could not get enough of the evolution of their relationship. This was a heart-warming, happy read...although it made me cry too because of how strongly I empathized with the characters. It was also refreshing to read a book that got the San Francisco setting right! I can't wait to read From Twinkle, With Love.
Who can resist a story set in a town cursed by witches for two centuries? Not me! I thoroughly enjoyed The Wicked Deep (Ernshaw). It was atmospheric and the right amount of creepy. I could not stop reading and it kept surprising me! Gorgeous writing and I loved how layered the characters were.
The Beauty That Remains (Woodfolk) was a lovely, emotionally resonant book, all the more impressive in that it's Woodfolk's debut. The writing was pitch perfect and I could not get over the beauty in some of her sentences. I could not put the book down. I wanted to see how Shay, Autumn, and Logan's stories would intertwine and to learn more about their loved ones who had died. I liked that it explored different kinds of loss: a best friend, twin sister, and ex-boyfriend. Shay, Autumn, and Logan all cope differently, in ways both positive and negative. They need different kinds of support to help them work through their grief. At the same time, while there are certainly sad moments, this story is filled with a lot of life. All three characters have to figure out a new normal and life carries on. There are people with whom to fall in love and parties to attend and songs to write. There's the current of music which links the characters and which speaks to them in different ways. And there are the other people who are left behind: siblings, parents, friends.
The Dragon And The Pearl (Lin) was my first time reading Jeannie Lin and I cannot handle how good it was. I need more historical romance like this! Her writing is so atmospheric and her characters really come alive. This is set in China in 759 AD during the Tang Dynasty and I learned so much about palace life and the complicated politics of that time. There were such high stakes between Ling Suyin and Li Tao and I didn't know how they would overcome them. My heart really went out to Ling Suyin and how she's been used as a pawn by everyone in her life. She was so close to being able to live out the rest of her life on her own terms, only to be taken by Li Tao. And yes, this may have saved her life but she's still beholden to someone she doesn't believe she can trust. Li Tao carries a heavy burden himself and the political machinations were fascinating, albeit worrisome. I loved watching these two face off against one another and then giving into their attraction. The way their relationship evolved was fantastic and I'm really looking forward to catching up on the first book and then reading the rest of this series.
Smitten Kitchen Every Day is another winner from Smitten Kitchen! I enjoy reading SK because Deb's recipes are part attainable and part aspirational. Deb's pure love and enjoyment of food bursts off the page and you can't help but catch her enthusiasm. I'm probably never going to grill squid or make my own flatbread but I love reading about her process. I read cookbooks for inspiration and to get me out of cooking my usual recipes. To that end, I'm especially looking forward to making the red lentil soup, kale Caesar with broken eggs, and street cart chicken soon. Oh, and just about every dessert. Deb's recipes never steer me wrong.
I was thrilled when Joy The Baker announced her next cookbook was dedicated to brunch and I have to say Over Easy exceeded my expectations. I've been a big fan of her recipes for several years and there are so many great options in Over Easy I can now add to my arsenal. So far I've made the Grapefruit Rosemary Mimosa, Mini Apricot and Cardamom Scones, and Baked Ratatouille Hash with fried eggs- all winners in my book! On deck soon: Sweet Bacon Pancakes, Breakfast BLTs, and Spinach and Artichoke Strata. YUM. Joy Wilson just gets me.
My reading goal for 2018 is to read a good chunk of my unread books so every month I'm designating several books to read. These were my picks for May and I loved them all!
Currently reading: This Is Where You Belong (Warnick), Hot Mess (Belden), The Library: A Catalogue Of Wonders (Kells), A Hunger Like No Other (Cole), Cocktales Anthology (Various), What Should Be Wild (Fine), The Rose Garden (Kearsley)
I have one episode left of the Queer Eye reboot and I'm not ready to be done. Bring on season 2!
Listen to the What I'm Into playlist.
I really enjoyed publicist Erin Galloway's episode on The Wicked Wallflowers Club. Soaking up all the PR advice and insights I can get!
I've become a major Talia Hibbert fan so I was over the moon when she appeared on Smart Podcast Trashy Books! So great to learn more about her and how she started writing romance. #298: Being Brave: An Interview with Talia Hibbert. I also really enjoyed #297: Song of Blood And Stone: An Interview with Leslye Penelope. I've been looking forward to reading Song Of Blood And Stone and had no idea about its interesting road to publication.
What's Black And Gray And Inked All Over? on Code Switch made for fascinating listening. I had no idea about the origin story for black-and-gray tattoos!
- The print copy of my novel arrived!!! I swear I'm still giddy. It's a real book!
- One of my dearest friends read an advance copy of A Storied Life and her response was everything I'd hoped it would be. I've been carrying her praise around with me ever since.
- The chicken salsa chili at Cafe Latte - it had been so long since my last dining experience and I've really missed the chili.
- Marijke and I went to the Fierce Reads tour at Red Balloon Bookshop, which is the cutest place! We got to see Maureen Goo, Tricia Levenseller, Taran Matharu, and Mary E. Pearson. Such a fun night!
- I heard Dominique Gilliard, author of Rethinking Incarceration, speak at The Table. Very important conversation!
- ThriftBooks is a new site I love! Great deals for book lovers. My affiliate link gets you 15% off your first purchase.
- THE ROYAL WEDDING. I'm still not over it and I'm ever ready to talk about how magical it was.
- I'm catsitting for my friend who has a reading nook so basically I'm living the dream.
- Recording podcasts with two dear friends! It's always fun to go on someone's show.
- I got a NARS lipstick sampler and it's been fun to test out the different colors. The darker shades turned out so much better than I would have guessed!
- Have I mentioned my novel comes out June 12?!?!?! I can't wait for everyone to read it.
One guess as to how I spent yesterday morning. Waking up early has never been so worth it! I loved every part of the #royalwedding!
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What have you been into this month?
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