“Cape May” is Here!

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Valentine’s Day hasn’t even started yet, and I’m over the moon with the e-arrival of Cape May, by Chip Cheek, sent to me by NetGalley for review. You know how you’re not looking for the perfect book, but you wander into a honeypot of an online book club and completely lose your mind with all of the fabulous book suggestions? That happened. Ashley Spivey DM’d me an invitation to her Facebook book club, and I have been on a book-getting spree for the past week. Buying ’em, buying ’em on sale, so very gratefully getting some from NetGalley.

My love of reading is back. You might now that my mom passed away a few years ago, and after so much time selling her house, settling her estate and THEN blooming back into life (as much as you can with such a huge, huge loss,) I wasn’t able to stay with a book…until now. I tried. Couldn’t get hooked in, and now I’m a happily bookish girl. I’m happily STOPPING reading, for those books that just don’t bubble my bubbly. Don’t like it, don’t have to finish it.

Mom would love that the book I just received is Cape May. She loved going there, loved the quiet morning walks on the beach, all of our favorite restaurants, looking for dolphins. It kind of feels like she’s in on this book showing up today.

Now, I’ve read the description, and I know this is NOT a story about a mom who loves walking on the beach when it’s quiet. I hear this is a sexy story, with pulse-quickening passion, and I’m here for it.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all, and may this day bring you book scores of your dreams, a TBR pile for the gods, and some really great people with whom to book-chat. Thank you Ashley and NetGalley and thank you Celadon Books for this day’s joy.

Something New! Ayesha Curry’s “The Seasoned Life” for Your Registry

Bridal shower guests LOVE giving cookbooks as gifts! You simply can’t lose with a buzzy, beautiful cookbook that captures a celebrity chef’s sparkle and skill and whichever kind of recipes you’re hungry for now — keto, GF, quick, comforting, southern, and so on.

Here’s my pick:

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How lovely is Ayesha Curry? She’s got that fun-girl energy, excellence in the kitchen, family-friendly dishes, and always a mix of inspiration. I set her TV show to record even if it’s going to be all reruns all day. Don’t care. Love it that much. Recipes to die for, intros to kitchen gear, family visits, al fresco dining, and those cutie kids. All of this great energy, sparkle and great taste comes through in “The Seasoned Life,” and here are my picks for some of the best dishes in this cookbook: Smoked Salmon Scramble. Seriously. Made easy, and finished with a mastery of garnishing that creates a wish to get better at the garnish. Delish, and a fab pick for any bridal brunch or the wedding morning breakfast. Love this one.

Her Making Dinner Happen is one of the warming chapter openings, inviting you into Ayesha’s kitchen with her family, and you just have a seat at the table, or giving her in-progress recipe a taste. “Dinner is also the meal that draws in the most memories” gets you in a reminiscing mood with Ayesha, and this is a great time to look back with gratitude on all of the family dinner memories you have with your inner circle. And White Chocolate Bread Pudding at the end of this book with the desserts (many of them impressively low in sweet stature) completes the equivalent of a great meal. Fabulous finds happen everywhere in this cookbook, on so many levels and in so many categories, with helpful charts and lists like the mix-ins salad chart that’s going to send you right to the crisper. This is a good one, sure to get lots of ooohs and ahhhs if you’re among the brides who open their bridal shower gifts in front of the shower guests. (Not everyone does. We didn’t. People lived. Cake was had.)

I’m excited to open the doors of my book reccs starting with Ayesha’s gorgeous book, for your wedding registry or for a self-bought treat to stave off wedding stress. Books can always rescue you, so I’ll share more of my favorite registry books coming up here!

Hey, as always, thanks for following me here on the blog, and on my social media spots. Many of you know that I’ve been dancing with grief the past few years, and no one tells you that it’s going to take a long time to not just get back to normalcy but to see some slivers of color in the clouds where new joys are coming through. I haven’t really enjoyed a book club novel for years, understandably. I’ve started a few, then put them down, picked them up, then put them down and fired up Netflix. I just couldn’t connect, just couldn’t be there. Then I chanced upon Ashley Spivey’s Book Club and a DM from Ashley led me to her bubbly, energetic, kind, and generous circle of readers. It was exactly what I needed. Exactly exactly. So I am re-reading those sputter-stop novels (Tea Girl?! Really?! I couldn’t get into Tea Girl?!) and jumping into the big names of now (Where the Crawdads Sing, etc.) with my love of reading — and reviewing and recommending — all shined up with a vibrance even my husband has noticed. I’m sure there’s some kind of article out there somewhere on how reading fulfills the soul, in part helping to add extra light to a relationship. Don’t need an article on that. It’s just true.

So if you’re hurting in your wedding planning season, or any other kind of straining season, grab a great novel, crack open a cookbook and some farm-fresh eggs, and just breathe in all that new energy. That’s what I’m going to be doing here on the blog for a while. I published by 38th wedding planning book, I’m turning 50 in about 3 months (!!!) and I’m navigating a post-grief life. Book titles are popping up in my mind, and I’m editing my next novel, so this is a coasting with sea air blowing my hair around after a loooong pedal up that hill.

Happy reading, and hugs to you and yours!

Book Expo Report 2012: Fab Books You Have to Add to Your Registry!

Waking up on Book Expo day is like waking up on Christmas morning, knowing I’m about to enter a wonderland filled with amazing newly-released books (putting the panic about books going ‘under’ to bed) meeting celeb authors, the spectacle, the excitement, the mingling with my top editors at all the big houses…how the majors set up their massive booths like living rooms. PR genius create bigtime shows for their authors, and I find amazing picks for you to add to your bridal registry.

The first from the 2012 show has to be Rachael Ray’s new cookbook Burgers, which created a line around the room, and Jane Seymour looked gorgeous signing a paper clock item for her new book. No book, but the chance to meet Ms. Seymour, who did have the Open Hearts necklace on.

The cookbook Queens of publishing, like Chronicle and Shadow Mountain, had gorgeous cookbooks that have to hit your registry list to create a packed kitchen library of books, and I spotted terrific travel guides and cultural titles.

Book Expo can be a bit of scrum, with publishers piling up giveaway books in pre-edited bound form (called galleys) that librarians and book editors like myself are invited to take, and when those freebie piles are spotted, there’s a lot of diving and pushing to get a copy. I only take the ones I know I can review for my bridal audience, and understand the publisher’s frustration when attendees grab everything in sight, like Willy Wonka’s chocolate garden room at the factory. I’ve found some great stuff at Expo and included fab find books in my Bridal Guide roundups, featured authors in my Creators Syndicate columns and more, but most of all just like being in the book mecca to hang out with my editors and pore over the new releases, beam at the sight of buyers sitting down with the special teams groups to place mega-orders of books.

Here is one of my own books, which I was invited to sign at Book Expo two years ago! And I noted a bunch of the fitness and wellness books new from my publisher GPP to feature on my many bridal blogs.

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bride tide badgeMy book reviews went up on so many of the top bridal blogs, as well as on my Aisle Files column at New Jersey Bride, and you can look forward to my next report from the 2013 Book Expo at the Javits, where I’ll find the best books on cooking, home, travel, floral design, fashion, DIY brilliance, and especially awesome novels and novel series that will transport you out of wedding world, relax you and get you totally into a new series or author. That’s a terrific wedding present!