Favorite Literary/Film Romantic Couples

fav romanctic couples

Romance is in the air- today is Valentine’s Day! Whether you are celebrating romance by reading or watching a good movie- we all have some fav romantic couples from film or literature!

Here’s a few of mine:


gone with wind film

Photo Credit: IMDB

Scarlett and Rhett: Gone With The Wind- I LOVE Scarlett and Rhett- the looks between them, the bantering back and forth!

sound of music

Photo Credit: IMDB

Captain Von Trapp and Maria: The Sound of Music- from when she asks “what his whistle sound to call him is” to the meeting in the garden (oh my stars, I love that scene- basically the movie is over after that scene!).  Continue reading

Gift Ideas for the Book Lover In Your Life

The holidays are fast approaching.  I’ve got visions of a white Christmas dancing in my head (even though that is not santalikely), craving cups of hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and marshmallows while listening to Christmas music and decorating the tree.

Before the stockings are hung by the tree with care, before the cookies are left out for Santa, before the joyous rush of family members hanging out at the house, before I celebrate another successful holiday by enjoying a glass or 2 of wine- presents will have to be purchased. And this is where my list of book-ish delights comes in handy. Have a reader in your life? Perhaps you’ll find a book that you will like to buy!

Mystery and Suspense

The Wrong Girl by Hank Phillipi Ryan

the wrong girl fb

Photo Credit: Goodreads

My first Hank Phillipi Ryan book- and I’m so glad I read it! As a fan of Sue Grafton (and seriously Sue- nothing but love for you- but I NEED you to write faster- yet I dread as we come closer to the end of the alphabet.) That little side topic is my way of saying that Hank helped me in quest for a Sue fix. Jane Ryland won’t knock Kinsey Millhone out of my heart for the #1 spot- but Jane is almost as good. And that’s saying a lot. The Wrong Girl was twisty and turny- with a great mystery and some potential steamy romance. Here is my review of The Wrong Girl by Hank Phillippi Ryan- an excellent consideration for someone looking for mystery and suspense!

Never Tell by Alafair Burke

Never Tell

Photo Credit: Goodreads

This was my first Alafair Burke- and after reading it- I’m all “Alafair-where have you been all my reading life?” Each time I thought I had the story figured out- Alafair zigged. Then she zagged. Then she twisted and turned. And kept me captivated.  Highly recommend Never Tell by Alafair Burke! Here is my review of Never Tell.

W is for Wasted by Sue Grafton

w is for wasted

Photo Credit: Goodreads

As witnessed above, I LOVE Sue Grafton. I LOVE Kinsey (Sue’s Character). If you have enjoyed A-V- then W is another great book.  Seriously. Just go get it. W is for Wasted is worth it.

If You Were Here by Alafair Burke

if you were here

Photo Credit: Amazon

Another Alafair Burke book- and again- twist, turns, zig and zags! While I prefer Alafair’s Ellie Hatcher a bit more to McKenna- that’s just a personal preference. Both mysteries are top-notch and great reads! Put If You Were Here on your wish list! Here is my review of If You Were Here- intriguing and enjoyable.

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

recon amelia

Photo Credit: Amazon

Oh. My. Gosh. I LOVED this book. Edge of my seat. Great storyline. How well do you know your child? Read this and prepare to wonder. This book will lead to a wonderful discussion amongst friends and book clubs. Reconstructing Amelia may very well be this year’s Gone Girl.  Here is my review of Reconstructing Amelia.

Cozy Mystery

I adore Cozy Mysteries. They are quick, fun and easy reads. They make me feel warm and fuzzy. The characters are fun and interesting. The settings are enjoyable- and the mystery is good.

Murder of a Stacked Librarian by Denise Swanson

murder of stacked librarian

Photo Credit: Goodreads

Denise Swanson’s latest has Skye getting married- if the groom can get away from the police station long enough to exchange vows! If you’ve read Denise’s other books- you’ll enjoy this one. If not, start with Murder of a Small Town Honey. While each story stands on it’s own- there are some things that build along the series of the books- and to fully enjoy, you might want to be invested in the characters. Murder of a Small Town Librarian is a must have for cozy mystery fans! Here is my review of Murder of a Small Town Librarian.

Topped Chef (Key West Food Critic Mystery #3) by Lucy Burdette

Topped Chef - Cover

Photo Credit: Goodreads

I have fallen in love with Lucy Burdette’s main character, Hayley Snow. Cute, fun, gets her tarot cards read- how adorable she is! She’s a foodie- but not pretentious. Hayley is struggling a bit in the romance department (but aren’t we all?!) Topped Chef is a book to put on your list! Here is my review of Topped Chef.

Women’s Fiction

The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow by Rita Leganski

the silence of bonaventure arrow

Photo Credit: Amazon

Magical- realism. If you were like me- and those words kind of make you feel nervous about a book- put aside your worries. The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow is wonderful. The story, the setting- the amazing Bonaventure Arrow. Forgiveness and love are major themes of this story. Read. You won’t be sorry. The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow is a book that some readers might overlook- don’t do that! Here is my review of The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow.

The Guest House by Erika Marks

the guest house

Photo Credit: Goodreads

Love. Secrets. Family drama. Being true to yourself. The Guest House is a book that you must read. Here is my review of The Guest House.

A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams

a hundred summers

Photo Credit: Amazon

Love. Intrigue. Friendships. Family secrets. And a Aunt Julie that provides a humorous aspect to the story. This story is fantastic. A Hundred Summers is a book to read- no matter the time of the year. Here is my review of A Hundred Summers.

I’ll be posting a few more recommendations next week as well! Hopefully, you, my darling readers of Traveling With T, will find a book to buy for your book-ish friends and loved ones!

Literary Friday ya’ll……

Happy Labor Day weekend!


1.  Deep South Magazine #literaryfriday is filled with mentions of Donna Tart, literary Iphone cases, and news about Southern Festival of Books. Plus many other things!


2. Next week on Traveling With T, I have a pretty awesome giveaway: book and nail polish 🙂 What more could a girl want?! Check back on Monday for more details!


3. THE PERFUME COLLECTOR discussion is still going on strong at She Reads. Come. Discuss. Talk to me about the book.


4. In more She Reads news: I’m soaking up and announcing my 15 minutes of fame to EVERYONE! Guess who is one of the people featured in The Blog Network Recommends? Come on guess! Oh you’ll never guess, so I’ll tell you: It’s ME! I recommended Erika Marks THE GUEST HOUSE (which if you remember I raved about it here first!) Pssst…. Even more good news: Get over to She Reads and comment for a chance to win ALL 3 BOOKS! Naturally, you’ll want to read the 1 I recommended first, right? 😉


5. My #fridayreads While We Watching Downton Abbey by Wendy Wax, The Sassy Belles by Beth Albright, Beautiful Day by Elin Hilderbrand and I’m considering adding another book to the rotation- suggestions? What are your #fridayreads?


6. Today is August 30th which means that #ctbs is almost over. For the unfamiliar, #ctbs is Conquering The Book Stacks. So far, August was not kind in my mission- but I’m hoping to knock another book out before August ends. However, I stood tall and strong and did not buy any books this August. I looked temptation in the eye and walked away. My bookshelves thank me.


7. Book Lovers Unite- Jen @ Booka-licious Mama has announced the September read in Ashtor Place Vintage. Before I hand the reigns over to her, though, I have 1 more surprise cooked up from our August Book Club Selection, The Comfort of Lies by Randy Susan Meyers. Check the blog later today for the surprise! In related news, I’m hard at work for the October pick- and trying to decide if October should be spooky or not in our selection!


Happy Reading!

Thursday Mashup

#giveaways, reviews, another place to buy books, and interviews.  Plus news for Book Lovers Unite Online Book Club.


My blog (Traveling With T) is giving away The Guest House by Erika Marks. Ends Thursday night 11:59PMEST.

Book-alicious Mama is giving away A Hundred Summers.

Great New Books is giving away Sarah Jio’s latest The Last Camellia and Sarah Jio talks about Where’d You Go, Bernadette?

Joshilyn Jackson is giving away Susan Rebecca White’s latest, A Place at the Table.

Bermudaonion is giving away an autographed copy of Mary Kay Andrews Ladies’ Night.

Anita Loves Books is giving away THE YONAHLOSEE RIDING CAMP FOR GIRLS by Anton DiScalafani.

Read Alongs

Can’t find anyone to read and discuss A Hundred Summer by Beatriz Williams with? Let Literate Housewife save you. During month of July she’s leading a discussion. Check her blog out (all the details you need to know are there!)

Have you been reading with Book Lovers Unite Online Book Club? Our inaugural pick, Reconstructing Amelia, has been a blast. It’s not too late to join in- we still have 2 weeks left & I have a super-duper surprise lined up! So grab those copies of Reconstructing Amelia and join in!

Jen, my co-host, at Book-alicious Mama has picked the July book for Book Lovers United- The Painted Girls! Reading schedule and other info to be announced later.

Other Places To Buy Books

Crossroads Press! – You can purchase e-books (for multiple devices) and paperback books have a discount automatically applied. Right now, there are several e-books for 99 cents. Consider giving them a look- you might find something you like at a good price.


Interview with Marybeth Whalen

Interview with Beth Albright


Island Girls by Nancy Thayer

The Widow Waltz by Sally Koslow



Erika Marks: Author Spotlight

Today, I’m pleased to announce that Erika Marks is back with an Author Spotlight. In this, she confesses her #literaryconfessions and  #literarycrush! Come see what else she revealed today!

Author Spotlight:

Erika, when you are not writing- what are some of your favorite things to do?

Being outside, for one! My husband is a biologist so we are big hikers and campers and gardeners. We are also a family of cooks and bakers, and are always looking to try new recipes.

Could you tell us some of your favorite authors?

There are so many! I would definitely include Alice Hoffman, Annie Proulx, Louise Erdrich, Karen White, Andre Dubus, Wendy Wax, Jo-Ann Mapson, Ann Hite, Stephen King, Elizabeth Berg, Anne Rivers Siddons.

What book (or books!) will you always make room for on your shelf?


Do you have any #literaryconfessions? (Mine is: Last summer I confessed that I’d never read Pride and Prejudice (although now I have!)

I’ve never read PRIDE AND PREJUDICE either! In fact, I’ve been slowing chipping away at a list of classics that I always wanted to read but never did, so my #literaryconfessions could take a while!

Do you have a #literarycrush?

Oh, I absolutely do! I remember all of my earliest literary crushes. Ben Mears from Stephen King’s ‘SALEM’S LOT, I always loved him for the way he swoops in and takes matters into his hands and ultimately saves young Mark, becoming like a father to him. Atticus Finch, definitely. Finny, from A SEPARATE PEACE.  Pretty much all the Curtis boys in THE OUTSIDERS. And of course, Gilbert Blythe!

What are some of the books that will be in your beach bag for 2013?

There are so many I’m excited about! For starters, Susan Tekulve’s IN THE GARDEN OF STONE, Karen White’s THE TIME BETWEEN, Louise Erdrich’s THE ROUND HOUSE, Beth Hoffman’s LOOKING FOR ME.

What was your favorite childhood book?

I loved John Christopher’s Tripods trilogy (Will was definitely one of my early #literarycrushes!)

Was there a person or a book series that helped start your love of reading?

My sixth grade English teacher, Mr. McKee. He gathered a group of us—outside of class—and we read the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy with his guidance and support. It was extraordinary. There’s no question his encouragement and passion for books and story made a huge impact on me.

If you were not an author, what would you want to be?

If I weren’t such a lightweight when it comes to blood, I would want to be a doctor or a vet.

If you could be a character in a book, who would you be? Why?

Oh wow—what a great question! I’d have to say Claudia from FROM THE MIXED-UP FILES OF MRS. BASIL E. FRANKWEILER. I mean, spend the night in the Met?! What could be cooler?

Now that you’ve read through the author spotlight- I have more to announce! Today begins the #giveaway for a copy of The Guest House, Erika’s latest book. It’s a lovely story- and one that should be read with a glass of sweet tea.

To enter the giveaway (sorry US only!) please comment on this post. Include your email (you may use the (AT) and (DOT)).   The giveaway ends Thursday, June 20th at 11:59pmEST. While liking Traveling With T’s Facebook page or following the blog will not earn extra entries- it’s always appreciated. 🙂

ICYMI: Interview with Erika Marks

Traveling With T’s Review of The Guest House

Tuesday Mashup

LOTS to announce!

Rebecca @ Love at First Book is featured in Bloggers who WIN, a feature created by BookStore-BookBlogger Connection. She talks all about the magic of a book store in this feature!

Want to get to chat with Beatriz Williams- author of A HUNDRED SUMMERS? Yes, yes, you do! So join in Thursday night with Literary New England from 8-9pmEST and chat! You might even get lucky and win a book 🙂 Use #LNEchat to join in!

She Reads revealed their The Books of Summer list last week. 6 books that you need to read this summer! As part of their The Books of Summer, they will also be having author interviews and others fun news- here is a catch-up of what has been posted:

Grab It While You Can (Marybeth Whalen’s new book, The Wishing Tree, $3.99 in e-book!)

The Wishing Tree Soundtrack

Tell Me Something True: A Visit with Beatriz Williams

Tell Me Something True: A Visit with Amy Sue Nathan

Today I interviewed Erika Marks, author of The Guest House, on my blog. Here’s the interview- and Thursday- check back to see  Erika’s #literaryconfessions and #literarycrush  (PLUS a GIVEAWAY!)

ICYMI: My review of A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams!

Deep South Mag has posted their Twitter Chat Schedule, Summer Reading List 2013, and Summer Book Signing Calendar 2013 ( when you look at the summer book signing- you *may* see a familiar face 😉

Happy Reading 🙂




Interview with Erika Marks

Erika Marks, author of Little Gale Gumbo, The Mermaid Collector, and her newest novel- The Guest House, found time in her busy writing and book touring schedule to answer a few questions for me at Traveling With T.

I’ve had such a “fan girl” feeling about Erika since I read Little Gale Gumbo around 2 years ago. Then last October, my IRL book club picked Little Gale Gumbo for their read- and I was able to talk to Erika on the phone- I don’t think I quit grinning about that for some time!

So, my readers, knowing that backstory- you can understand exactly why I’m so excited to have Erika here for an interview!


Interview with Erika Marks:

What was the inspiration for THE GUEST HOUSE?  

Tamara, let me first say thank you so much for hosting me and all these wonderful questions! Most of my novels come out of an idea for a character or a relationship, but in the case of THE GUEST HOUSE the inspiration was place. At eighteen, I was fortunate to spend a summer on the property of a massive shingle-style cottage like the one in the book and the experience never left me. It was a deeply romantic place and I always imagined fantastic stories in its walls, all the summers it had been filled with guests and parties and, of course, all the drama that must have gone on.

The characters in each of your books (LITTLE GALE GUMBO, THE MERMAID COLLECTOR, and THE GUEST HOUSE) are beautifully written, yet flawed and very human. How long does it to take you to create the characters?

Thank you for saying so! It really depends. Some characters come to me fully-realized right away. Camille Bergeron and Ben Haskell from LITTLE GALE GUMBO were like that. Writing them was like recalling friends I had known for a long, long time. Others, such as Tess from THE MERMAID COLLECTOR, eluded me for a while as I wrote, hiding themselves from me. I think I know how I want them to be, but often their personalities evolve through contact with other characters—and they surprise me.

Each of the past books have been set in the New England area- does that area’s rich history enable a better creative experience for you as a writer? Do you have plans to change your setting one day?

New England is where I grew up and certainly a setting I feel so comfortable writing about and one that is so much a part of me. That said, now that I live in North Carolina and am getting to experience and fall in love with the Carolina coast, I look forward to setting future stories along these beaches.

As a writer, do you ever hope that any of your books will be made into a movie? And if so, do you have any idea about actors and actresses you would like to see play the characters in your books?

Oh, of course! I am such a movie buff and frankly, I usually “cast” my novels as I am writing them—I can’t help it! I think of all my novels, THE MERMAID COLLECTOR seems the most naturally suited to be made into a movie, but I would certainly be thrilled to have any of my novels made into a film!

How long does it take to complete a novel from beginning to end?

That depends. Usually I write a first draft in a few months, and then the revisions go pretty quickly after that. With my debut, LITTLE GALE GUMBO, the revision period was longer simply because my agent and I weren’t really under a deadline—but then once it sold, my editor and I worked on revisions within a time frame, of course, to meet established deadlines. I like to believe, too, that the more I write, the more efficient my writing gets—that I can troubleshoot issues along the way, see area that will need work, plotting concerns, etc. As writers, I think we are all working to strengthen our craft with every book, always. There is always a way to make my writing stronger, and I value that tremendously.

Erika, do you have a writing routine? Or a writing space?

While my children are in school, I keep to a fixed writing work day. Mornings start with checking in with social media and then I get right to it. But of course, when deadlines get fast and furious—and summer schedules change our routines—I may write at odd hours, and much more at night. When my girls were little, I would soak up any available moments to write so I’m very much a believer in being flexible too. If you have ten minutes free, write for ten minutes. Don’t wait for “the perfect” block. It rarely comes—and I also think it sets up an expectation for performance that can be daunting and ultimately unproductive. That said, I can’t write in a coffee shop or any kind of public place, and I have to have music on—but always instrumental.

Are there plans for a 4th novel?

Yes, I’m writing it now—and I’m really excited about it. Not to give too much away—since I’m terribly superstitious—but it’s set in Folly Beach, South Carolina, and centers around a woman who revisits her past as a champion surfer—and the life and loves she left behind when heartbreak caused her to give it all up.


Liked the interview? Want to know more about Erika Marks? Check back Thursday at Traveling With T for an Author Spotlight with Erika Marks- find out her favorite books, #literayconfessions and #literarycrush. Plus- a GIVEAWAY- one lucky commenter on Thursday’s Author Spotlight will win a copy of The Guest House! Want to read a review of The Guest House? Here is my review of The Guest House by Erika Marks.


erika marksTo find out more about Erika Marks– her past books, book events, and more- please visit Erika’s website. It’s filled with tons of good information! Also, The Guest House, Erika’s latest book made not 1, but 2 Summer Reading Lists this year- so yay for Erika! Here’s the links for She Reads The Books of Summer and Deep South Magazine’s Summer Reading List.


** Special thanks to Erika Marks for taking time to answer questions. Thank you, thank you, thank you.


Literary Friday ya’ll….

It’s Friday- and I’m so ready for a weekend of fun. Spending time with my family and some reading. YAY!


1. Deep South Mag and their #literaryfriday has been posted! Susan Rebecca White’s  A Place at the Table event, Zoey Deschanel as Amelia Bedelia, and more!

Deep South Mag also revealed their complete Summer Reading List! 21 books just waiting to read!

Out of the 21, I’ve read 5- A Place at the Table, Looking for Me, Topped Chef, The Guest House, And Then I Found You

2. Book Lovers Unite Online Book Club is in Week 2 of discussion of Reconstructing Amelia. Plenty of time to join in!

3. Looking for #giveaways? My Thursday Mashup is filled with the best info!

4. I reviewed The Roots of the Olive Tree by Courtney Santo.

5. A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams is divine. And totally 5 star worthy. My review to be posted next week.

6. My #fridayreads Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight and The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan.

7. Look next week for my interview with Erika Marks and a giveaway of The Guest House. Come find out what her #literaryconfessions are!

Happy Reading!

Thursday Mashup


Book-alicious Mama is giving away all 3 of Erika Marks books (Little Gale Gumbo, The Mermaid Collector and The Guest House).

The Book Wheel is giving away The Rebellion of Miss Lucy Lobdell ( a SIGNED copy!)

Hallie Sawyer wants to make amends to us followers of her blog since she’s been slacking about posting 🙂 She’s giving away a signed copy of Erika Marks latest book, The Guest House.

More Summer Reading Lists:

Chicago Tribune has posted their summer reading list- The Lake House by Marci Nault,  The Wednesday Daughters by Meg Waite Clayton, The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan, The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton DiSclafani–  are the ones that I’m most looking forward to reading 🙂

Great Thoughts has posted their Summer Reads Week 1: A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams, The Widow Waltz by Sally Koslow, and Revenge Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger- all sound great!

Working Mother posted 8 Summer Books for Working Moms- Time Flies by Claire Cook, The Last Camellia by Sarah Jio, Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman are 3 of the 8 books (but the other 5 sound just as great!)

Good Housekeeping has posted their list for Best Beach Reads- A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams, Finding Colin Firth by Mia March, The Engagements by J.Courtney Sullivan are just a few of the books that made the list!

She Reads reveals The Books of Summer- instead of focusing on 1 book for June- they want to share with the readers several books! It’s a great list that should be checked out!

If you can’t find a book to read this summer, look over some of these lists for inspiration!

Random Mashup:

Want to know more about Erika Robuck and Call Me Zelda? Leah’s Thoughts has the scoop!

Jen Doll writes about The Quiet Shame of the Half-Book Reader- it’s an interesting article that needs to be read.



The Guest House by Erika Marks

the guest houseSometimes the greatest secrets are those we keep from ourselves.


The Guest House by Erika Marks

The folks of Harrisport know that when summer arrives- the influx of summer visitors will bring in a different ambience to Harrisport. Traffic, more people; but yet townsfolk do not mind much because while summer visitors turn the sleepy town to a busy area- they also being cash to help line the wallets of Harrisport residents. Summer brings some inconveniences, but it can be overlooked. For 2 women of Harrisport, though, summer is a reminder of the heartbreak they suffered at the hands of Moss men.

Lexi, returning home to Harrisport after 2 years in London, is connecting with friends and reliving summer traditions when she gets a random phone call. Cooper Moss, younger brother of Hudson, is looking for an experienced photographer for the Moss home. Lexi agrees to take the job- knowing it’ll be good for her photography portfolio. Even though hearing from Cooper reminds Lexi of her last night with Hudson, she is determined to be professional. Being professional with Cooper Moss may be tougher than Lexi anticipated, though.

Edie, Lexi’s mother, is looking for work for her all-women construction crew. With the Moss’s guest house needing renovations- it seems Edie’s crew has found a great job. However it may be more than Edie can handle- between the ongoing feud between her family and the Moss family and the uncovering of heartfelt sentiment.

Told in alternating tales, current time and the summer of 1966, The Guest House has themes of love, family secrets, growing up, letting go and finding that happiness can and should be embraced whenever possible.


Traveling With T’s Thoughts:

The Guest House is a beautiful story. Wonderful characters. The reader will want to know more about Lexi, Edie, and others. Be warned: After reading The Guest House, two things may happen: a longing to be at the beach and finding a new #literarycrush.