New Release Spotlight! Sail Away to Nantucket with Pamela Kelley’s Latest Read, Nantucket News

Who doesn’t want another foray into Nantucket Island before fall fully sets in? This reminds me of when I was fresh college grad with big dreams of being a newspaper reporter somewhere. Nantucket would have done just fine…

Book Description

Charleston native, Taylor Abbott, has just relocated to Nantucket for her dream job as a junior news reporter at the local paper. Ten years ago she was Abby Hodges college roommate and is looking forward to living near her best friend again. Until her rental cottage is available, she’s going to stay at the Beach Plum Cove Inn, Abby’s mother’s bed and breakfast.

Abby, meanwhile, is dealing with an issue she thought she’d resolved.

Rhett discovers someone that works for him is a thief and tries to figure out who it is.

Rumor is there’s a celebrity or two on the island and the media (including Taylor’s co-worker, Victoria), is in hot pursuit to track them down.

About the Author

Pamela M. Kelley is a USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of women’s fiction, family sagas, and suspense. Readers often describe her books as feel-good reads with people you’d want as friends. She lives in a historic seaside town near Cape Cod and just south of Boston. She has always been an avid reader of women’s fiction, romance, mysteries, thrillers and cook books. There’s also a good chance you might get hungry when you read her books as she is a foodie, and occasionally shares a recipe or two. Feel free to sign up for her list to hear about new releases as soon as they are available as well as extras like early bird discounts. Just cut and paste into your browser, http://eepurl.com/IZbOH

Great Escapes! Mary Alice Monroe’s The Beach House Has All the Feels of Summer

I came to know the work of Mary Alice Monroe fairly recently and read the last two books in this series first. This summer I decided to start at the beginning and picked up The Beach House, which was republished with a new (gorgeous!) cover. I was immediately whisked away to a Lowcountry summer with characters I quickly fell in love with, and started putting together the backstory of this family saga. And the turtles! Musn’t forget the turtles. What a writer!

Description

Caretta Rutledge thought she’d left her Southern roots and troubled family far behind. But an unusual request from her mother—coming just as her own life is spinning out of control—has Cara heading back to the scenic Lowcountry of her childhood summers. Before long, the rhythms of the island open her heart in wonderful ways as she repairs the family beach house, becomes a bona fide “turtle lady” and renews old acquaintances long thought lost. But it is in reconnecting with her mother that she will learn life’s most precious lessons—true love involves sacrifice, family is forever, and the mistakes of the past can be forgiven.

My Take

When I fall in love with a book I’m delighted to find that it’s one of a series. The more books in the series the better. I can read them one after another until sated, and wait impatiently for the next. I approached this series backwards, reading the last two first before starting on Book One. I absoultely loved The Lowcountry Summer series and whipped through that before finding Ocean Boulevard, and this summer’s Summer of Lost and Found. When I saw the new cover for the first in The Beach House series I knew I had to go back to the beginning of the Rutledge family’s story and picked up The Beach House. This is the kind of summer book that grips you and puts you right into the heart of a family and their different dramas, easily choosing sides and rooting for your favorite characters. The story of Lovie is heartbreaking. Cara’s transformation is inspiring. The beautiful beach scenes put you right on the Carolina coast. The romances between Cara and Brett and Lovie and Russell are swoon worthy. This is a book you can visit again and again. I can’t wait to read the next in the series.

Recommended for readers of gripping women’s fiction and books about environmental issues, and beach lovers.

About the Author

New York Times bestselling author Mary Alice Monroe found her true calling in environmental fiction when she moved to coastal South Carolina. Already a successful author, she was captivated by the beauty and fragility of her new home. Her experiences living in the midst of a habitat that was quickly changing gave her a strong and important focus for her novels.

Monroe is the New York Times bestselling author of 22 novels, published worldwide, and the author of two children’s picture books. She writes richly textured stories that delve into the complexities of interpersonal relationships and the parallels between the land and life. 

Monroe has achieved many lists, including the New York Times, USA Today and SIBA and starred reviews. She has received numerous awards, including several Readers’ Choice Awards, RT Lifetime Achievement Award, the Girls Scouts of America Woman of Distinction Award, the 2008 South Carolina Center for the Book Award for Writing and was featured at the National Festival of the Book, the 2008 International Book Award for Green Fiction for The Butterfly’s Daughter, the 2015 Florida Book Festival Distinguished Author Award, and the ASPCA Henry Bergh award for Children’s Fiction. Monroe’s A Lowcountry Christmas won the 2017 Southern Prize for Fiction. Her novel, The Beach House, was adapted into a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie starring three-time Golden Globe nominee Andie MacDowell, Minka Kelly, and Chad Michael Murray. In 2018 Mary Alice Monroe was inducted into the South Carolina Literary Hall of Fame. 

Mary Alice is an active conservationist and serves on the Board of the South Carolina Aquarium and The Leatherback Trust. She is a frequent speaker at book festivals, conferences, and private events. Monroe is also a frequent contributor to magazines and online blogs.

Mary Alice Monroe is published by Gallery Books and Aladdin Books, Simon & Schuster. Her agent is Faye Bender of The Book Group. 

Monroe lives with her family on Isle of Palms, a barrier island off Charleston, South Carolina. For additional information, go to http://www.maryalicemonroe.com.

Books I Love! Murder on Principle – Drop Everything and Read Eleanor Kuhns Latest Will Reed Mystery

This is the tenth in Eleanor Kuhn’s Will Rees mystery series. I love these books! They’re original and unexpected. This one’s got an interesting plot twist: smallpox. How timely. Read it when you’ve got nothing else to do after you pick it up.

About the Book

Will Rees faces a moral dilemma when a slaveholder is murdered while attempting to recapture a former slave: should he pursue lawful justice or should he let the killer go free?

November 1800, Maine. After helping their long-time friend Tobias escort his wife, along with a liberated slave and her child, from the Great Dismal back to Durham, Will and Lydia Rees’s lives are interrupted when a dead body is found near their home.

The body is that of Mr Gilbert, a slaveholder from the Great Dismal. Was he murdered in pursuit of the former slaves?

When it’s discovered Gilbert was infected with smallpox, and Gilbert’s sister arrives demanding justice and the return of her absconded slaves, Will is torn. Finding the killer could lead to the recapture of the former slaves. Letting them go free could result in a false arrest and endanger the Durham community. Will must make a choice . . .

My Take

It’s easy to get lost in Eleanor Kuhn’s world of 1800’s Maine. The series is painstakingly researched and the characters are written so well. You’ll think you’re in the mystery alongside Will and Lydia, feel the fear of the escaped slaves, and despise the elegant southern plantation mistress who comes to take them back to Virginia. The issue of race is deep in this story as abolitionists and sympathizers with the slave owners do battle. The smallpox outbreak – and the doctor’s ingenious way to offer a vaccination – is taken right out of today’s headlines. I couldn’t stop reading and spent a delightful Saturday afternoon trying to figure out the killer. Kuhns gave us several good options, but the ending came as a surprise. Highly recommended for those who enjoy historical fiction and cozy mysteries.

About the Author

ELEANOR KUHNS is the 2011 winner of the Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel competition. She lives in New York, received her master’s in Library Science from Columbia University, and is currently the Assistant Director at the Goshen Public Library in Orange County, New York.

Connect with Eleanor Kuhns

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New Release Spotlight! If The Shoe Fits is a Fairy Tale Fantasy for Grownups

If the shoe doesn’t fit, maybe it’s time to design your own.

Cindy loves shoes. A well-placed bow or a chic stacked heel is her form of self-expression. As a fashion-obsessed plus-size woman, she can never find designer clothes that work on her body, but a special pair of shoes always fits just right.

With a shiny new design degree but no job in sight, Cindy moves back in with her stepmother, Erica Tremaine, the executive producer of the world’s biggest dating reality show. When a contestant on Before Midnight bows out at the last minute, Cindy is thrust into the spotlight. Showcasing her killer shoe collection on network TV seems like a great way to jump-start her career. And, while she’s at it, why not go on a few lavish dates with an eligible suitor?

But being the first and only fat contestant on Before Midnight turns her into a viral sensation—and a body-positivity icon—overnight. Even harder to believe? She can actually see herself falling for this Prince Charming. To make it to the end, despite the fans, the haters, and a house full of fellow contestants she’s not sure she can trust, Cindy will have to take a leap of faith and hope her heels— and her heart—don’t break in the process.

Best-selling author Julie Murphy’s reimagining of a beloved fairy tale is an enchanting story of self-love and believing in the happy ending each and every one of us deserves.

About the Author

Julie Murphy lives in North Texas with her husband who loves her, her dog who adores her, and her cats who tolerate her. After several wonderful years in the library world, Julie now writes full-time. When she’s not writing or reliving her reference desk glory days, she can be found watching made-for-TV movies, hunting for the perfect slice of cheese pizza, and planning her next great travel adventure. She is also the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the young adult novels Dumplin’ (now a film on Netflix), Puddin’, Ramona Blue,
and Side Effects May Vary. Dear Sweet Pea is her debut middle grade novel. If the Shoe Fits is her adult debut.

Connect with Julie Murphy

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New Release Spotlight! Dolly Alderton’s Ghosts Offers a Sad Glimpse Into Online Dating

About the Book

Nina Dean is not especially bothered that she’s single. She owns her own apartment, she’s about to publish her second book, she has a great relationship with her ex-boyfriend, and enough friends to keep her social calendar full and her hangovers plentiful. And when she downloads a dating app, she does the seemingly impossible: She meets a great guy on her first date. Max is handsome and built like a lumberjack; he has floppy blond hair and a stable job. But more surprising than anything else, Nina and Max have chemistry. Their conversations are witty and ironic, they both hate sports, they dance together like fools, they happily dig deep into the nuances of crappy music, and they create an entire universe of private jokes and chemical bliss.

But when Max ghosts her, Nina is forced to deal with everything she’s been trying so hard to ignore: her father’s Alzheimer’s is getting worse, and so is her mother’s denial of it; her editor hates her new book idea; and her best friend from childhood is icing her out. Funny, tender, and eminently, movingly relatable, Ghosts is a whip-smart tale of relationships and modern life.

My Take

Entirely enjoyable. I loved the characters, the scenes, the banter, just about everything. This is a sad story about dating in the 2020’s. Nina’s relationship with Max seemed so real, a happily ever after, and I felt her angst when he “ghosted” her.

A huge negative for me was the theme surrounding Nina’s father. He obviously has dementia, but that word is never mentioned in the story (although it is mentioned in the book description.) I get why Nina and her mom might not want to speak of it – like many grappling with this diagnosis, they are deep in denial – but it leaves the reader in limbo, especially the reader who is not familiar with the disease and doesn’t understand why Dad is the way he is. The writing surrounding this is exquisite and spot on. The author did a terrific job. But as an advocate for those living with dementia I felt she missed an opportunity here to do some real education on a poorly understood illness.

I also did not like the cover (upside down bouquet). That needs an improvement.

Still, a good read recommended for those who like women’s fiction with strong heroines, lots of drama, and well-placed laughs.

About the Author

Dolly Alderton is an award-winning author and journalist. She is a columnist for The Sunday Times Style and has also written for GQ, Red, Marie Claire and Grazia. From 2017 to 2020, she co-hosted the weekly pop-culture and current affairs podcast The High Low alongside journalist Pandora Sykes.

Her first book Everything I Know About Love became a top five Sunday Times bestseller in its first week of publication and won a National Book Award for Autobiography of the Year. Her first novel Ghosts was published in October 2020 and was also a top five Sunday Times Bestseller.l

Connect with Dolly Alderton

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New Release Spotlight! Susan Cushman’s John and Mary Margaret Tackles Interracial Relationships from the 60’s On

About the Book

We first meet Susan Cushman’s characters, John and Mary Margaret, in her short story collection, Friends of the Library. In her second novel and seventh book, Cushman fleshes out their stories, covering over fifty years of their lives in Mississippi and Memphis against the backdrop of the civil rights movement and continuing through current-day events.

John and Mary Margaret is an insider’s look into the White-privilege bubble of a young girl growing up in Jackson, Mississippi, and participating in sorority life on the Ole Miss campus in the late 1960s. But it’s also a candid portrayal of a young Black boy from Memphis who follows his dream to study law at the predominately White university. What happens when their shared love for literature blossoms into an ill-fated romance? Set squarely in the center of decades of historical events in Mississippi and Memphis, here their story brings those events to life.

My Take

I was introduced to Susan Cushman when she became an AlzAuthor, adding her memoir Tangles & Plaques to the AlzAuthors.com collection of books about Alzheimer’s and dementia written from personal experience. I recently interviewed her for our podcast, Untangling Alzheimer’s and Dementia. She recently published a novel, John and Mary Margaret, also with a dementia theme, but a story about interracial relationships from the 1960’s on to the present.

The main characters in this story are students at Ole Miss who fall for each other freshman year but face prejudice and violence when they openly display their affection. They choose to end their relationship, but over the course of five decades, new loves, marriages, and dementia they reunite in a world that has changed.

This is an ambitious, well researched book. The author brings her own personal experience as a southern woman confronting racial disparities to the storyline. It is sensitive and well written. The dementia themes are realistic and add an interesting dimension to the love story.

Recommended for readers who enjoy women’s fiction with serious social themes.

About the Author

Susan Cushman is author of four books: JOHN AND MARY MARGARET (novel), FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY (short stories), CHERRY BOMB (a novel) and TANGLES AND PLAQUES: A MOTHER AND DAUGHTER FACE ALZHEIMER’s (a memoir). She is editor of three anthologies: SOUTHERN WRITERS ON WRITING, A SECOND BLOOMING: BECOMING THE WOMEN WE ARE MEANT TO BE, and THE PULPWOOD QUEENS CELEBRATE 20 YEARS!

Susan was co-director of the 2013 and 2010 Oxford (Mississippi) Creative Nonfiction Conferences. She was director of the 2011 Memphis Creative Nonfiction Workshop. She was a panelist at the 2017 and 2018 Mississippi Book Festival, the 2017 Decatur Book Festival, the 2012, 2017 and 2018 Southern Festival of Books, the 2013, 2018, and 2019 Louisiana Book Festival, a speaker at the 2018 Mississippi Writers Guild Conference, the 2018 Alabama Writers Conclave Conference, the 2019 Southern Literary Festival, the 2019 Middle Tennessee State University Writers Conference, and the 2020 AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Professionals) Conference.

A native of Jackson, Mississippi, Susan lives in Memphis.

Her website is http://www.susancushman.com.

New Release Spotlight! Kate Carlisle’s Little Black Book Revisits the Gothic Classic Rebecca

These book covers always intrigue me, especially the cats. I’m intrigued by this one because it’s about the classic gothic novel Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, which I enjoyed as an audiobook read by Anna Massey.

About the Book

San Francisco book-restoration expert Brooklyn Wainwright is on the case when a rare edition of Rebecca leads to murder in this latest installment of the New York Times bestselling Bibliophile Mystery series.

Brooklyn and her hunky husband, security expert Derek Stone, have just returned from a delightful trip to Dharma, where the construction of their new home away from home is well underway, when a little black book arrives in the mail from Scotland. The book is a rare British first edition of Rebecca, and there’s no return address on the package. The day after the book arrives, Claire Quinn shows up at Brooklyn and Derek’s home. Brooklyn met Claire when the two women worked as expert appraisers on the television show This Old Attic. Brooklyn appraised books on the show and Claire’s expertise was in antique British weaponry, but they bonded over their shared love of gothic novels.

Claire reveals that during a recent trip to Scotland she discovered her beloved aunt was missing and that her home had been ransacked. Among her aunt’s belongings, Claire found the receipt for the package that wound up with Brooklyn and Derek. Claire believes both her own life and her aunt’s are in danger and worries that some complications from her past are coming back to haunt her.

But just as Brooklyn and Derek begin to investigate, a man who Claire thinks was following her is found murdered, stabbed with a priceless jeweled dagger. With a death on their doorstep, Brooklyn and Derek page through the little black book where they discover clues that will take them to the shadows of a medieval Scottish castle on the shores of Loch Ness. Under the watchful gaze of a mysterious laird and the irascible villagers who are suspicious of the strangers in their midst, Brooklyn and Derek must decode the secrets in Rebecca to keep their friend’s past from destroying their future….

Recipes included!

About the Author

New York Times bestselling author Kate Carlisle is a native Californian who worked in television production for many years before turning to writing. It was a lifelong fascination with the art and craft of bookbinding that led her to write the Bibliophile Mysteries, featuring Brooklyn Wainwright, whose bookbinding and restoration skills invariably uncover old secrets, treachery and murder. Her first book, Homicide in Hardcover, debuted in February 2010, followed by If Books Could Kill, The Lies That Bind, Murder Under Cover, One Book in the Grave.

With the publication of A High-End Finish in November 2014, Kate launched the Fixer-Upper Mysteries featuring building contractor Shannon Hammer, who specializes in Victorian home renovation and repair. The series is set in Lighthouse Cove, a seemingly idyllic town with many dark secrets hiding under its floorboards. Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel is bringing the Fixer-Upper Mysteries to TV in a series of movies starring Jewel and Colin Ferguson. The first movie premiered in January 2017, the second less than three months later, with plans to film several more.

Kate’s television credits include numerous game shows, music videos, concerts, and variety shows, including The Midnight Special, Solid Gold and The Gong Show. She traveled the world as a Dating Game chaperone and performed strange acts of silliness on The Gong Show, most notably as a member of the girl group, The Whispers. They didn’t sing, exactly, but spit water on the host of the show.

Kate also studied acting and singing, toiled in vineyards, collected books, joined a commune, sold fried chicken, modeled spring fashions and worked for a cruise ship line, but it was the year she spent in law school that finally drove her to begin writing fiction. It seemed the safest way to kill off her professors. Those professors are breathing easier now that Kate spends most of her time writing near the beach in Southern California where she lives with her perfect hero husband.

Kate is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers and Romance Writers of America. She is the proud recipient of the Golden Heart and Daphne du Maurier awards, and her first Bibliophile Mystery received a Best First Mystery nomination from RT Book Reviews. Kate loves to travel and read and drink good wine and watch other people cook.

Visit Kate online at http://www.KateCarlisle.com, where you’ll find a Secret Room filled with lots of bonus content, such as maps and character lists!)

Books I Love! TJ Newman’s Falling is a Wild Ride in the Sky

I first learned of this book and author on NPR’s Fresh Air podcast (July 6). The combination of debut author, flight attendant, hijacking, kidnapping, New York Times bestseller, and a Universal deal on the film rights intrigued me and I just had to read it. Wow, what a ride! Both the book and the author’s story.

About the Book

You just boarded a flight to New York.

There are one hundred and forty-three other passengers onboard.

What you don’t know is that thirty minutes before the flight your pilot’s family was kidnapped.

For his family to live, everyone on your plane must die.

The only way the family will survive is if the pilot follows his orders and crashes the plane.

Enjoy the flight.

My Take

A pilot is preparing for a flight, but his wife is angry with him. He’d promised he’d be home for their son’s Little League opener but he was called in at the last minute, and, duty bound, could not say no to his boss. So there’s tension immediately. Then the cable man arrives, or so they think, which sets off the chain of events. The reader is with all of these characters throughout the book, on land and in the sky, and we meet a number of other key players throughout the story, including the three flight attendants on board who are charged with keeping the passengers safe and calm for what will be a dangerous and unpredictable flight. These characters are all likable and easy to identify and empathize with, very real and human. The character development was great. You can even empathize with the terrorists, who are, after all, humans too with a horrifying backstory that motivates their dastardly act.

There is some political drama which makes a point but does not veer away from the story.

The chapters are short and move quickly; the pace is excellent. I could not stop reading, needing to know what would happen next. And Newman did not disappoint. You want to read this.

This is an author with a brilliant future.

About the Author

T. J. Newman,a former bookseller turned flight attendant, worked for Virgin America and Alaska Airlines from 2011 to 2021. She wrote much of Falling on cross-country red-eye flights while her passengers were asleep. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona. Falling is her first novel.

Connect with TJ Newman

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New Release Spotlight! Emily’s House By Amy Belding Brown

I can’t wait to read this one! I just discovered this author and her backlist looks terrific. Lots to mine here. Looks like biographical historical fiction and women’s fiction.

About the Book

When Maggie accepts a temporary position at the illustrious Dickinson family home in Amherst, it’s only to save money for her upcoming trip West to join her brothers in California. Maggie never imagines she will form a life-altering friendship with the eccentric, brilliant Miss Emily or that she’ll stay at the Homestead for the next thirty years.

In this richly drawn novel, Amy Belding Brown explores what it is to be an outsider looking in, and she sheds light on one of Dickinson’s closest confidantes—perhaps the person who knew the mysterious poet best—whose quiet act changed history and continues to influence literature to this very day.

She was Emily Dickinson’s maid, her confidante, her betrayer… and the savior of her legacy. 

An evocative new novel about Emily Dickinson’s longtime maid, Irish immigrant Margaret Maher, whose bond with the poet ensured Dickinson’s work would live on, from the USA Today bestselling author of Flight of the Sparrow, Amy Belding Brown.

Massachusetts, 1869. Margaret Maher has never been one to settle down. At twenty-seven, she’s never met a man who has tempted her enough to relinquish her independence to a matrimonial fate, and she hasn’t stayed in one place for long since her family fled the potato famine a decade ago. 

About the Author

Amy Belding Brown grew up in Vermont and graduated from Bates College in Maine. She received her MFA in Writing degree from Vermont College in 2002 and is the author of the historical novels FLIGHT OF THE SPARROW and MR. EMERSON’S WIFE as well as two light romances. For many years she taught writing at universities and colleges in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. She currently lives and writes in Vermont, where she enjoys nature photography in her spare time.

New Release Spotlight! Jennifer Weiner’s That Summer Was Not the Beach Read I Expected

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Big Summer comes another timely and deliciously twisty novel of intrigue, secrets, and the transformative power of female friendship.

Daisy Shoemaker can’t sleep. With a thriving cooking business, full schedule of volunteer work, and a beautiful home in the Philadelphia suburbs, she should be content. But her teenage daughter can be a handful, her husband can be distant, her work can feel trivial, and she has lots of acquaintances, but no real friends. Still, Daisy knows she’s got it good. So why is she up all night?

While Daisy tries to identify the root of her dissatisfaction, she’s also receiving misdirected emails meant for a woman named Diana Starling, whose email address is just one punctuation mark away from her own. While Daisy’s driving carpools, Diana is chairing meetings. While Daisy’s making dinner, Diana’s making plans to reorganize corporations. Diana’s glamorous, sophisticated, single-lady life is miles away from Daisy’s simpler existence. When an apology leads to an invitation, the two women meet and become friends. But, as they get closer, we learn that their connection was not completely accidental. Who IS this other woman, and what does she want with Daisy?

From the manicured Main Line of Philadelphia to the wild landscape of the Outer Cape, written with Jennifer Weiner’s signature wit and sharp observations, That Summer is a story about surviving our pasts, confronting our futures, and the sustaining bonds of friendship.

My Take

I really wanted to like this book more than I did. My expectations were high when I picked it up. There’s a lot of hype surrounding this title and I like this author and enjoyed other books she’s written.

Maybe it’s me but I found myself confused about who was who and how the characters lives intertwined. I’ve been reading a lot lately – sometimes two or three books at the same time – which could have caused my confusion, or maybe it was the similarities in the characters names – Diana and Diana aka Daisy – that mixed me up. It also could have used a tighter editing as there were many grammatical errors, adding to my confusion. I almost brought the book back to the library unfinished. I also found the Diana character a bit unbelievable, taking on the persona of a sophisticated, sought after business consultant after living on the beach in Truro for years, hiding from the world and happy to do so. The other Diana – Daisy – was a lot more likeable and I found myself rooting for her.

The men were despicable characters, a bit cliche as privileged white men preying on young girls they considered beneath them (literally and figuratively.)

I can see where this book can be triggering for rape survivors and should have come with a warning. Definitely not a beach read.

Not what I expected, but I finished it.

Hopefully Weiner’s next book will be better.

About the Author

Jennifer Weiner is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of sixteen books, including Good in Bed, The Littlest Bigfoot, and her memoir Hungry Heart: Adventures in Life, Love, and Writing. A graduate of Princeton University and contributor to the New York Times Opinion section, Jennifer lives with her family in Philadelphia. Visit her online at JenniferWeiner.com