Teaser Tuesdays — Beautiful Ruins

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share a few “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser for the week comes from Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter. I started this book yesterday and am just about through with it. I’ve liked it so far. Walter’s fiction reminds me of Steinbeck with Fitzgerald-like quotable lines. [You can check out what I’m currently reading & add me on Goodreads here.] I’m actually going to share two teasers from this book today!

beautiful ruins


“Stories are people. I’m a story, you’re a story…your father is a story. Our stories go in every direction, but sometimes, if we’re lucky, our stories join into one, and for a while, we’re less alone.”

“Some memories remain close; you can shut your eyes and find yourself back in them. These are first-person memories–I memories. But there are second-person memories, too, distant you memories, and these are trickier: you watch yourself in disbelief…”

Here’s the Goodreads synposis:

The story begins in 1962. On a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline, a young innkeeper, chest-deep in daydreams, looks on over the incandescent waters of the Ligurian Sea and spies an apparition: a tall, thin woman, a vision in white, approaching him on a boat. She is an actress, he soon learns, an American starlet, and she is dying.

And the story begins again today, half a world away, when an elderly Italian man shows up on a movie studio’s back lot-searching for the mysterious woman he last saw at his hotel decades earlier.

What unfolds is a dazzling, yet deeply human, roller coaster of a novel, spanning fifty years and nearly as many lives. From the lavish set of Cleopatra to the shabby revelry of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Walter introduces us to the tangled lives of a dozen unforgettable characters: the starstruck Italian innkeeper and his long-lost love; the heroically preserved producer who once brought them together and his idealistic young assistant; the army veteran turned fledgling novelist and the rakish Richard Burton himself, whose appetites set the whole story in motion-along with the husbands and wives, lovers and dreamers, superstars and losers, who populate their world in the decades that follow.

Gloriously inventive, constantly surprising, Beautiful Ruins is a story of flawed yet fascinating people, navigating the rocky shores of their lives while clinging to their improbable dreams.

Please leave a comment with the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your ‘teasers’ in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). I’d love to hear what you’re reading!


Music Mondays

It’s time for Music Mondays!

Today, I’m listening to

 The Irresistible EP by Wakey!Wakey!


This is a 5 song EP that hasn’t actually been released yet. To get it now, go pledge to support Wakey!Wakey! on PledgeMusic in the making of a new album. $10 will get you the new album & this EP! Otherwise, you can wait until the end of the week and pick up this EP on the Wakey!Wakey! website. [For all of you One Tree Hill fans, Wakey!Wakey! is Grubbs!!]

All This Bad Blood by Bastille



All This Bad Blood is a 25-song extended version of Bad Blood. It’s only $12.99 on iTunes.

Hold On, We’re Going Home (feat. Majid Jordan) by Drake [from Nothing Was the Same]



I can’t seem to get enough of this song. #Repeat

Come Away With Me by Norah Jones [on Vinyl]



Classic. I can listen to this album forever, and it sounds even better on vinyl.


What are you listening to this week? Let me know in the comments or leave a link to your own Music Mondays post!


Sunday Social — 1/26/14

Sunday Social


Linking up for today’s Sunday Social!

This week’s questions:

1. How old were you when you started wearing makeup?

I was 12! My mom gave me a purse full of age-appropriate makeup products the next year, which got stolen from my athletic locker. Still, I’ll always remember the beginning: blue eyeshadow and pink lip gloss.

2. What are your top 3 favorite beauty products?

Eye shadow, lipstick, blush

3. What is one makeup product you don’t leave home without?

A lip product of some sort–usually Dermstore Lip Quench or a universal matte pink/red that can double as blush or eye shadow if necessary (Tarte LipSurgence Matte Lip Tint in Lucky, Besame Cosmetics Crimson Cream Rouge)

dermstore lip quenchtarte matte lipsurgence luckyiPhone 8-14 092 iPhone 8-14 095

4. What is your daily beauty routine?

Wash face with gentle foaming cleanser, lather on a thick moisturizer, immediately follow with michael todd true organics knu facial serum. [+Michael Todd True Organics Charcoal Mask once a week]


5. What is your favorite hair/makeup product you’ve discovered in the last year?

Tarte LipSurgence Matte Lip Tints or Besame Cosmetics Lipstick in Exotic Pink

besame exotic pink


Next Weeks Questions:


All about the number 4

1. 4 Favorite bands you loved in high school
2. 4 go to meals you’d love to learn to cook or can cook really well
3. 4 necessities to your daily life
4. 4 makeup necessities you must have if you could only have 4 on
5. 4 favorite apps on your phone or iPad

I’d love to hear your answers! Leave a comment with your replies or a link to your Sunday Social post!

What Nora Knew by Linda Yellin [Review]

what nora knew


My Review:

Let me start by saying I love Nora Ephron. I love her books, her movies, her essays…everything. I was sad to hear of her passing away in 2012, and I was also selfishly sad that she wouldn’t be creating anything else for me to enjoy. So when I found out someone [Linda Yellin] wrote a book that largely revolved around Nora’s work, I was both excited and skeptical. I expected to be let down, because really, no one can compare with Nora, but I also had to read the book so I could defend my cynicism if interrogated.

‘What Nora Knew’ was a wonderful surprise! Like Ephron’s typical storylines, the book focuses on a female character who is in a not-so-fulfilling relationship. It’s not terrible, but it’s not terribly exciting. Molly [main character] is a self-admitted cynic, and she’s not apologizing. Without giving much away [because I want you to read this book yourself!], Yellin demonstrates what can happen when you’ve had your heart broken, how one relationship can affect your approach to everything, that breakups hurt even if you’re not in love, that you can become physically attracted to someone over time, and that Nora Ephron knew her stuff. I really liked Yellin’s writing style, and it quite reminded me of Nora’s. At times, the story would seemingly go into an emotional rant, and other times it would simply stop unexpectedly and pick up the next day. I found that to be one of the main parallels between Yellin and Ephron. There are multiple referrals to Ephron’s movies, so I’d suggest you watch You’ve Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle, and When Harry Met Sally before reading ‘What Nora Knew.’ I appreciated it because they’re some of my favorites. While it’s a somewhat predictable book, Yellin is also super clever. It’s a nice balance of ‘I know what’s gonna happen’ and ‘wait, what?’ Overall, I was very happy with this book! I read it in one evening. [In case you care about these things, there are no sex scenes, but there are a few things mentioned in passing. There’s not a terrible amount of bad language, but there are a few instances throughout the book.]

If you are a fan or Nora Ephron or any of her work, I think this book is for you. If you’re not sure who Nora Ephron is but you like romantic comedies and a female lead, give this book a chance. I’m so glad I did! I give it four stars, and I’ll be keeping an eye out for Yellin’s work in the future.

Here’s the Goodreads synopsis:

Molly Hallberg is a thirty-nine-year-old divorced writer living in New York City who wants her own column, a Wikipedia entry, and to never end up in her family’s Long Island upholstery business. For the past four years Molly’s been on staff for an online magazine, covering all the wacky assignments. She’s snuck vibrators through security scanners, speed-dated undercover, danced with the Rockettes, and posed nude for a Soho art studio.

Fearless in everything except love, Molly is now dating a forty-four-year-old chiropractor. He’s comfortable, but safe. When Molly is assigned to write a piece about New York City romance “in the style of Nora Ephron,” she flunks out big-time. She can’t recognize romance. And she can’t recognize the one man who can go one-on-one with her, the one man who gets her. But with wit, charm, whip-smart humor, and Nora Ephron’s romantic comedies, Molly learns to open her heart and suppress her cynicism in this bright, achingly funny novel.

You can read an excerpt from the book on Linda Yellin’s webpage here.

You can purchase the book from Amazon here.

Add me on Goodreads to see what I’m reading next!

Are you a Nora fan? Are you interested in reading this book? Or are you reading something great right now? Let me know in the comments!

Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book free on netgalley in exchange for an honest review.



Reblogged from let birds fly, which has just become one of my favorite blogs! I found let birds fly by way of eat live make, another new favorite of mine. Check them both out!

1. You have to knock on the door of your elderly neighbor to ask if she can open a jar for you.

2. The only liquid you ever drink is water, and you don’t even realize it until someone points it out or asks if you want something from Sonic.

3. You take so many supplements that you call the brand to ask if you can send back your bottles for a refill. Better way to recycle, eh?

4. You have more supplements than all of your grandmother’s and grandfather’s prescriptions combined.

5. If you went back in time, you’d pass your college anatomy and physiology class with flying colors.

6. People that know you well will let you fumble around with your word-finding and sputtering, because if they try to help or correct you, you’ll burst out into tears. (“I wasn’t always this stupid!!!”)

7. You own more granny panties than thongs, bikinis, or any other cute/sexy underwear.

8. You loosen your tennis shoes permanently because your feet are swollen 90% of the time.

9. You’re excited about getting a free t-shirt from somewhere, and even more excited when it’s an extra-large, since they only thing you’re comfortable in is loose-fitting clothing.

10. You only shave your legs when it finally becomes uncomfortable and itchy, even in the summer.

11. You run out of dry shampoo 5 times before running out of normal shampoo.

12. Those pill organizers don’t have enough times of the day or room in each container to fit all of your supplements and vitamins. Also, half of your supplements are in liquid form.

13. You know what sub-lingual means, and why it’s important.

14. A doctor is diagnosing you with something new, seeming hesitant or scared to tell you because of how you might react, but instead you react with, “Meh.”

15. Your medicine cabinet is filled with supplements, tinctures, drops, essential oils, epsom salts, apple cider vinegar, herbs, and coconut oil.

16. Your nutritionist/chiropractor/acupuncturist/massage therapist knows you better than your best friends.

17. The only holiday decorations you put up are cards that friends and family have sent you.

18. You can’t find a movie to watch on Netflix because you’ve already watched them all.

19. You cry at the new Google commercial about a sick dog because your hormones are effed up.

20. You ALSO cry because that building over there with the two windows and archway looks like a sad face and you wonder why it is so sad.

21. You run out of tissues beside your bed, so you blow your nose in your shirt sleeve since you’re too fatigued to get up.

22. Your significant other is going to be out of town for the weekend, so he cooks 3 meals for you, and you don’t even heat them up before eating them.

23. In fact, you just grab a banana, because getting out your meal from the tupperware, transferring it onto a plate, and getting a fork and a napkin just sounds like too much to bear.

24. You find a huge bruise on your body and you have no idea what you did to get it.

25. A student you know asks to interview you for a project in their health class.

26. Your friends on Facebook have no idea what you look like because they haven’t seen a photo of you in months and all you post are articles about health and awareness.

27. Your chronically ill friends you’ve connected with online become your best friends.

28. Your Pinterest boards start changing drastically from boards like “Living Room Decor” and “Gardening” to “Detoxes”, “Lyme-Fighting Foods”, and “Inspirational Health Quotes”.

29. You’re afraid of being invited to someone’s place for dinner. (Cuz, um, I can’t have any of that.)

30. You start crying and your husband doesn’t even look up or ask what’s wrong. And you’re okay with that.

31. Your Christmas wish list consists of a heating pad, an air purifier, and Whole Foods gift cards.

32. Your DIY project of the month is making castor oil packs for pain management.

33. An elderly woman asks if you need help loading your groceries into your car.

34. You can’t remember how you functioned in life before your Vitamix or your juicer.

And, last but not least, you know you have a chronic illness when…

35. Upon telling someone of your illness and they say things like, “But you don’t look sick,” or “But you never complain about anything!” or “Are you sure?” or “What’s the prognosis?” or “Get well soon,” you just sigh and smile even though you want to duct tape their mouth shut before they say anything else that might make you go step onto your soapbox and give a lecture about what not to say to someone with an invisible illness. Because smiling is what we do. Even though we feel like big piles of poop being trampled on by a herd of rhinoceros in 100 degree heat after a three year drought.


Teaser Tuesday (Late!)– Where’d You Go Bernadette

Teaser Tuesday: Reunion by Lauraine Snelling

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share a few “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser for the week comes from Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple (tv writer on Arrested Development and Mad About You!). I actually started and finished this book in the same day. I really enjoyed it! You can check out what I’m currently reading & add me on Goodreads here.


“Just because it’s complicated, just because you think you can’t ever know everything about another person, it doesn’t mean you can’t try. It doesn’t mean I can’t try.”

Here’s the Goodreads synposis:

Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.

Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette’s intensifying allergy to Seattle—and people in general—has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.

To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence—creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter’s role in an absurd world.

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your ‘teasers’ in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog).

Music Mondays

I’d like to start having Music Mondays here on Amber Writes! Basically I’ll be sharing what songs or albums I’m listening to, and I’d love to hear what music you’re loving as well.

Today, I’m listening to

Neighbor (Live Acoustic) by Band of Horses from the upcoming album Acoustic at the Ryman


Difference Maker by NEEDTOBREATHE from the upcoming album Rivers in the Wasteland

difference maker

The Man by Aloe Blacc from the upcoming album Lift Your Spirit

aloe blacc

Started From the Bottom (Clean Version) by Drake from Nothing Was the Same


To Build a Home by The Cinematic Orchestra from To Build a Home (also from Step Up Revolution–the dance in the video is amazing)

Story of My Life by One Direction from Midnight Memories

Flaws by Bastille from Bad Blood


Patient Love by Passenger from All the Little Lights

patient love

High Hopes – Bruce Springsteen’s new album!

high hopes

The 20/20 Experience Part 1 by Justin Timberlake [on vinyl]

jt vinyl


What are you listening to this week? Let me know in the comments or leave a link to your own Music Mondays post!