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#TheTheoryOfHappilyEverAfter is a #FreshPick @RevellBooks @SeymourAgency

July 24, 2018

From Fresh Fiction: The Fresh Pick is chosen by a group of readers and is never a purchased advertisement or promotion. We've picked this book because it appeals to us and we like to share our diverse tastes in reading and hope you'll give it a try

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According to Dr. Maggie Maguire, happiness is serious science, as serious as Maggie takes herself. But science can't always account for life's anomalies--for instance, why her fiancé dumped her for a silk-scarf acrobat and how the breakup sent Maggie spiraling into an extended ice cream-fueled chick flick binge.

Concerned that she might never pull herself out of this nosedive, Maggie's friends book her as a speaker on a "New Year, New You" cruise in the Gulf of Mexico. Maggie wonders if she's qualified to teach others about happiness when she can't muster up any for herself. But when a handsome stranger on board insists that smart women can't ever be happy, Maggie sets out to prove him wrong. Along the way she may discover that happiness has far less to do with the head than with the heart.

Filled with memorable characters, snappy dialogue, and touching romance, Kristin Billerbeck's The Theory of Happily Ever After shows that the search for happiness may be futile--because sometimes happiness is already out there searching for you.

"Billerbeck has the most delightful voice I've ever read. I adore her stories, and she returns with an enchanting new novel, The Theory of Happily Ever After. I laughed, cried, and rejoiced with her wonderful characters and was sad when the story ended. Highly recommended!"--Colleen Coble, USA Today bestselling author

Do you unplug on vacation?

Full disclosure: I'm a wee bit addicted to technology. I rarely go anywhere without my phone. I listen to podcasts when I hike, I listen to music at the gym, I wear an Apple watch that gives me notifications if my kids need get the idea. I'm too connected.

But when I was in Italy, I only used my phone for pictures and to keep in contact with my daughter (who was in Hawaii at the time.) I'd paid all the bills before I left, except for one that I left for my mom to mail and another I paid by phone while there. It was absolute FREEDOM and I loved being disconnected. I realized that no one really cares where I am 24/7 anyway, so why be addicted?

I still don't like being out of touch. Camping, being in the middle of nowhere and road trips, will never be my vacation of choice. But I used to hate to be on a cruise because I felt so trapped. I didn't have connection with the outside world (and with the news today, who wants that connection?)

I put my latest heroine on a cruise so her connection to the outside world (and an ex getting married) would be jeopardized. Cruise connections are notoriously sketchy. But after having my own dream vacation unplugged, I realized that I did my heroine a favor.


Have you ever taken a vacation where you were completely unplugged? Did you find that it made a difference in your joy level?

Viva Italia!

I've been back from Italy for about ten days, but my heart is still there. The Italians keep the same schedule as me. They drink espresso like water -- even after a late dinner approaching midnight. Here in Silicon Valley, I make no sense. I don't seem to have much purpose. But in Italy? I get it. I'm a mom/caretaker and that has value. Like a bus driver has value, like a waiter has value. It's not like Silicon Valley where we judge everyone by what their position is, and which model Tesla they have.

Wake up = espresso

Then, they eat prosciutto and cheese for breakfast. As a hater of breakfast food/cereal, I get this. Just give me the protein and nobody gets hurt.
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There's incredible fresh melon under that Prosciutto -- delicious.

Everything is a social occasion. You don't order espresso to go. That's for savages. You order it from a bar (where you can later buy alcohol) and you stand at the bar and drink it while you talk with people. Like a human. Meals should be social occasions and that seems like a lost art where I live.

Even shopping is a social occasion. You don't walk into someone's shop without greeting them and chatting it up a bit. That would be rude. Oh, and you don't say "ciao" as that is reserved for a friend or someone you know well. You say "Buongiorno."


The people are not friendly on the street. They let you know that you're not one of them. Which is fine with me. I get the whole, "You can't sit with us!" mentality in Italy. If I lived there, I wouldn't want anyone finding out my secret either.

This is a villa where we stayed. The woman who ran it with her husband, was my heroine. Rumor has it she's a countess. She also cooks, takes care of her mother and trains young people in the ways of hospitality.


Her cousin owns a winery. So I got schooled in the great art of wine, and I think I finally get it. That's another thing. Italians have alcohol for every occasion. Good wine flows like sparkling water on the table. I never really appreciated good wine, but I think I got the hang of it. Can I pick out an undertone or note? No, but I can tell you what I like now, which is more than I could do before I got there.

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We took a cooking class in Lucca and this was the result -- not of our cooking, but our teacher, Antoinella. She was married to an Italian cowboy and their place was incredible. A little ranch near town where the cowboy trains his dog to call his horse and our heroine cooks up a meal trading fresh ingredients with neighbors. Not a bad life.


Obviously, I saw all the Italian sites as well, but that isn't what will pull me back to Italy. It's the people. The warmth. The love and most importantly, the quality time they make for what matters in life. It made me long for the days when I was a great hostess and I vow that this time will come again.