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Summary: (from Amazon) Isabelle Goodrow thought her move to the small mill town of Shirley Falls would be temporary-just until she decided in which direction she wanted her life to head. Now her daughter, Amy, has fallen in love with her high school math teacher, and he takes advantage of the teen’s infatuation. When the relationship is discovered, Isabelle is furious with her daughter but also a little jealous that Amy has found sexual fulfillment while she has not. As mother and daughter try to rebuild the trust and closeness they once shared, the private secrets of many citizens of Shirley Falls are revealed.

Review: Beautifully bleak. That’s how I would describe Elizabeth Strout’s Amy and Isabelle.

“Now an OPRAH WINFREY PRESENTS Movie on ABC”  the cover screams and I quickly think “No good can come from this”. The only Oprah TV movie I’ve actually liked was The Women of Brewster Place and that was over (CRINGE) fifteen years ago.

This book moved me for reasons that I may not be able to articulate. Both mother and daughter, Amy and Isabelle Goodrow, live pretty boring & isolated lives. Isabelle (the mother) goes from work to home. She has no friends, she doesn’t keep in contact with family. She hasn’t managed to quite fit in at her job, a job she’s had for over 15 years. All she has is Amy. Her sole existence is work and Amy.

In the beginning Amy’s existence was the same. She goes from school to home. She has one friend, Stacy, with whom she smokes cigarettes with at lunch. She doesn’t fit in with anyone else. She has no contact with anyone other than her mother. At 16, this is especially hard because this an age where you are curious about everything. You’re on the brink of adulthood, you want to know what life really is…and that’s in any location. So imagine your awakening taking place in a small judgmental town similar to Cheers where everybody knows your name.

It’s rough.

So when Amy’s teacher, Mr. Robertson shows her a bit of attention, when he seems to understand her love for poetry, her need to just talk to someone, Amy feels alive. She’s no longer going through the motions. There’s this older man who listens to what she has to say. Who wants to meet with her everyday after school. Who enjoys her company. Who desires her. That’s a powerful thing. It is this new relationship, discovered with Amy in a compromising position,  that tears mother and daughter apart.

This is not a book dedicated to a LeTourneau-like story. Mr. Robinson is not the focus of this story. He instead is used to reveal the longings of both these women. It is his presence that finally allows us to see their suffering, to learn their secrets, to reveal the cracks in this relationship.

I liked this book a lot. I like that Strout took her time telling this story, that it just naturally evolved. She hasn’t used tricks. There were no twists and turns…it’s a simple yet well told story about the suffering of two women so close, but so far apart.  She peels layer after layer until we see that while these two women love each other, they haven’t developed a close enough relationship to like each other. They’re family but not friends.

The best part of how she does this is her use of the Goodrow women’s community. Their interaction helps define who they are and why for the reader, and helps each character to develop their own sense of self-awareness. Her use of the community , which is so vividly real, and her story of this relationship is a wonderful read.

LitSnit Verdict: B+

Maybe This Time by Jennifer Crusie
St Martin’s Press
Release Date: August 31, 2010

Goodreads: Andie Miller is ready to move on in life. She wants to marry her fiance and leave behind everything in her past, especially her ex-husband, North Archer. But when Andie tries to gain closure with him, he asks one final favor of her before they go their separate ways forever. A very distant cousin of his has died and left North as the guardian of two orphans who have driven out three nannies already, and things are getting worse. He needs a very special person to take care of the situation and he knows Andie can handle anything…
When Andie meets the two children she quickly realizes things are much worse than she feared. The place is a mess, the children, Carter and Alice, aren’t your average delinquents, and the creepy old house where they live is being run by the worst housekeeper since Mrs. Danvers. What’s worse, Andie’s fiance thinks this is all a plan by North to get Andie back, and he may be right. Andie’s dreams have been haunted by North since she arrived at the old house. And that’s not the only haunting…
What follows is a hilarious adventure in exorcism, including a self-doubting parapsychologist, an annoyed medium, her Tarot-card reading mother, an avenging ex-mother-in-law, and, of course, her jealous fiance. And just when she thinks things couldn’t get more complicated, North shows up on the doorstep making her wonder if maybe this time things could be different between them.
If Andie can just get rid of all the guests and ghosts, she’s pretty sure she can save the kids, and herself, from the past. But fate might just have another thing in mind…

Jennifer Crusie is, hands down, my favorite comedic romance writer.  The first Crusie book I read was Bet Me and it was pure magic. I remember reading it back to back & then taking it back to the library only to check it out again a few days later because I needed to read it one more time. Not only did I take that one out, I took out every Crusie book the library had and spent the weekend engrossed.

It has been SIX YEARS since Jennifer Crusie published her last book (those anthologies & books with Bob Mayer don’t count!) and I’m glad I don’t have to wait any longer. At the end of this month I will have in my hand what I hope will be another sweet, hot and funny read. Welcome back, Jennifer Crusie! I’ve missed you!

 *Waiting on Wednesday is an ingenious idea hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine.

Courtesy of Goodreads: Much-heralded and long awaited, Terry McMillan’s tour-de-force novel introduces the Price family-matriarch Viola, her sometimes-husband Cecil, and their four adult kids, each of whom sees life-and one another-through thick and thin, and entirely on their own terms. With her hallmark exuberance and cast of characters so sassy, resilient, and full of life that they breathe, dream, and shout right off the page, the author of the phenomenal best-sellers Waiting to Exhale and How Stella Got Her Groove Back has given us a novel that takes us ever-further into the hearts, minds, and souls of America-and gives us six more friends we never want to leave.

First let me start off by saying that when I opened up this book to find an extended family tree on the first two pages, I immediately became a little nervous.  No one wants to interrupt their reading experience by constantly referring to the legend at the front of the book.

Luckily for me, I didn’t have to.

In A Day Late and A Dollar Short, Terry McMillan paints the picture of a dysfunctional family just trying to make it day by day. There’s Viola, the matriarch, who starts the book off by suffering a nearly fatal asthma attack. There’s Cecil, her (soon to be ex) husband, who has left Viola and is living with another (younger) woman across town. Then there are their children: Paris, Janelle, Lewis and Charlotte, each with their own set of problems.

This story is told from six perspectives, which initially makes it difficult to enjoy. The chapters are not labeled by name so it takes you a minute to realize who is speaking.  Unfortunately, this is consistent throughout the entire book. While each character’s story is engaging, the fact that each one doesn’t have their own distinctive voice makes it a bit bothersome. Added to this is the fact that the chapters are long-winded, trying to cram every detail making certain parts of this story repetitive.

Even with those problems, I still really enjoyed this book. McMillan has created wonderfully complex characters that are constantly challenged, exploring exactly why they have become the way they are.  Not only focusing on problems that affect the black community, the seemingly casual way with which she deals with different traumatic events, such as Lewis’s molestation by family members and Paris’s substance abuse, leaves one caught off guard.  It’s not that she doesn’t delve into the matter…she does. However, she doesn’t allow the character to use it as an excuse. She hasn’t created a book of victims bemoaning and belaboring. She takes this family that has essentially fallen apart and shown how they each are trying to piece it back together again, gifting us with a group of sassy, strong people struggling to find solutions, which makes this an uplifting, positive story.  

 LitSnit Verdict: B

Yay for Friday! What a better way to start off this weekend that a Casting Call Session? 🙂

This week’s choice is Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty. I love, love, love this book. As a matter of fact, Daniela used to make fun of me for how much I love this book (and rightfully so…my gushing over the swoonworthy leading male was a tad bit ridiculous I’ll admit now).Because of the great love I have for this book, I’ve been struggling with my casting choices but I think I may FINALLY have them right. So here we go!

Jessica Darling: Ellen Page

Jessica is a 16-year-old girl who feels ‘like a fish out of     water’. She’s smart, sassy and awkward. I feel like Ellen Page would totally capture that awkward teenage angst with a dash of snark and is pretty but not TOO pretty.

Bethany Darling: Kate Hudson

Jessica’s older sister and a blonde bridezilla. Based on her previous experience on playing a superficial bridezilla, I’ll go with Kate Hudson. She would irritate the heck out of me if she were my sister.I admit she may be a bit too old, though…

Mrs.Darling: Jean Smart


Jess’s mom is also supposed to be a beautiful blond woman who is super feminine and it appears that Jessica considers her to be the older version of her sister. I’m going with Jean Smart because she’s a fox and I think she’d nail that ultra feminine and motherly character.

Bridget Milhokovich: Leven Rambin

Jessica’s childhood best friend, now a model. She’s described as fair and beautiful but paranoid when it comes to the way she looks. “That’s because born beauties get so much praise that their appearance becomes crucial to their self-worth.” Leven’s character on ABC’s Scoundrels is similar to this so I think she would be perfect.

Paul Parlipiano: Kellan Lutz

OK. She has “hot buttered sex” dreams about Paul Parlipiano. She is “overwhelmed by the urge to lick the sweat off his six-pack. Yum yum.” This guy needs to be HOT. He needs to be athletic as he is on the track team with her. Kellan Lutz is both. I’m sure he could play ‘Columbia University early acceptance smart’ as well.

Scotty Glazer: Corey Monteith

According to Jessica’s mother, Scotty is a catch. He plays baseball, basketball and football. He has a strong jaw and suffers from chronic bed head. He was also Jessica’s first boyfriend. I’m casting Monteith solely because this is the type of character he plays on Glee. He’s not deep. He’s attractive and gets by.

Sara D’Abruzzi: Lacey Chabert

Sara D’Abruzzi is a member of what Jessica and Hope call the “Clueless Crew”. She’s rich and uses “oh my god” and “quote, unquote” a lot. She is upset about looking like a “butchy softball player instead of a ballerina”. Lacey doesn’t fit this last requirement but she could completely capture that spoiled rich girl quality that Sara needs.

Manda Powers: Madeline Zima

Manda “thinks that reading feminist manifestos makes up for her borderline ho-bag behavior”. Another member of the Clueless Crew, she is called the “Kissing Slut” and “Lend-a-Hand-a-Manda” and will only lose her virginity to a hot, six-foot tall blond guy who drives a jeep. Madeline has shown us in her performance as Mia on Californication that she can play a young, smart Lolita in the making .

Hyacinth ‘Hy’ Wallace: Shannon Sossamon

Hy is gorgeous in an edgy way. She comes to Pineville as a supposed transfer but we later learn that she s a socialite who’s only using the group to write a book called Bubblegum Bimbos and Assembly Line Meatballers. Shannon Sossamon is perfect for this. She’s gorgeous, model like and could go from blue jeans to limousines in two minutes flat.

*sigh*

There are a bunch of characters in this book but I just focused on the ones that I thought were important. Which brings me to the most important one to me–

Marcus Flutie: Now, I’m in love with Marcus Flutie. In love. When I first started this series, I decided that any man I was going to get involved with should be just like Marcus Flutie (yes, Daniela…even if he asked to pee in a yogurt container! 🙂 ). My feelings for Flutie are passionate so I’m having a problem finding anyone who can measure up. The person I think comes the closest for me?

Adam Brody.


He’s skinny enough. He’s cute but not hot. I could totally imagine him writing me poetry and being enough of a delinquent that I would have to help him pass a urine test. He can play super smart but has the ability to play somewhat of a bad boy as well. He’s just dreamy enough…

He’s as close as it’s going to get for me and even then, it’s not on the money!

Who would you cast? Did I miss a favorite character? Do you think I should have cast Hope even if she’s not seen? Let me know! (I would especially love to hear who Marcus Flutie would be for YOU!)

Dissatisfied both with writing a “Single Girl on the Edge/ Ledge/Verge” lifestyle column and with her boyfriend (who has a name for his car and compulsively collects plastic bread ties), Ruby Capote sends her best columns and a six-pack of beer to the editor of The New York News and lands herself a new job in a new city.

In New York, Ruby undertakes the venerable tradition of Poker Night—a way (as men have always known) to eat, drink, smoke, analyze, interrupt one another, share stories, and, most of all, raise the stakes. There’s Skorka, model by profession, home wrecker by vocation; Jenn, willing to cross county lines for true love; Danielle, recently divorced, seducer of at least one father/son combo in her quest to make up for perceived “missed opportunities.”

When Ruby falls for her boss, Michael, all bets are off. He’s a challenge. He’s her editor. And he wants her to stop being quippy and clever and become the writer—and the woman—he knows she can be. Adding to Ruby’s uncertainty is his amazing yet ambiguous kiss in the elevator, and the enjoyably torturous impasse of he-loves-me, he-loves-me-not.

What happens when you realize that Mr. Right has his own unresolved past? Where does that leave the future you envisioned? Ruby knows that happy endings aren’t for cowards, and she hasn’t lost hope that there are risks worth taking. As smart as it is laugh-out-loud funny, Girls’ Poker Night is a twenty-first-century His Girl Friday and a refreshingly upbeat look at friendship, work, and love.

Hmmm.

Based on the title and summary, I thought this would be a book about Ruby’s relationships, both romantic and platonic. I expected something along the lines of Sex and the City, where all of Ruby’s wild and wacky antics would be neatly summarized in Ruby’s version of SATC’s Sunday brunch, which in this case would be girls’ poker night.

Not so much.

We learn that Ruby goes through life playing it safe. By playing it safe, she’s found herself unhappy in her 2 year relationship with Doug but she sees no point in ending it as she doesn’t want to deal with the confrontation.  When Ruby gets the perfect out, new employment requiring her to move from Boston to NYC, she still doesn’t end it because she doesn’t want the confrontation. It’s easier to stay.

I get why the author has titled this book Girls’ Poker Night. I get that she uses this night to demonstrate how much Ruby likes to play it safe. Ruby doesn’t take risks in poker because, as in all aspects of her life, she doesn’t like to lose. I get it. Fine.

Apparently the author doesn’t either.

I feel like Davis spent this entire book playing it safe. The friendships, referenced to in the title, aren’t really explored. Hell, the poker night provides realizations for everyone BUT Ruby. The attraction between Ruby and her editor, Michael, is touched upon but not in-depth.  There is no ‘loves-me, loves-me-not’ because from what I can see, the editor clearly wants to be with her. It’s Ruby being insecure, whiny and afraid of becoming emotionally involved.  Even the small twist that takes place towards the end of the novel isn’t really explained either. None of this makes sense to me because the novel definitely has more than its share of necessary dialogue.

With all of that being said, it’s still an interesting and amusing read. Written in short, journal-like entries, this book has a few laugh out loud moments & some great quotes.  At the very least it’s quick and entertaining read. It’s not the best book I’ve read, nor is it the worst.  It’s just, well…blah,.

LitSnit Verdict: C

After an arranged marriage to Chanu, a man twenty years older, Nazneen is taken to London, leaving her home and heart in the Bangladeshi village where she was born. Her new world is full of mysteries. How can she cross the road without being hit by a car (an operation akin to dodging raindrops in the monsoon)? What is the secret of her bullying neighbor Mrs. Islam? What is a Hell’s Angel? And how must she comfort the naïve and disillusioned Chanu?

As a good Muslim girl, Nazneen struggles to not question why things happen. She submits, as she must, to Fate and devotes herself to her husband and daughters. Yet to her amazement, she begins an affair with a handsome young radical, and her erotic awakening throws her old certainties into chaos.

Monica Ali’s splendid novel is about journeys both external and internal, where the marvellous and the terrifying spiral together.

In Brick Lane, Nazneen is walking through life. She’s not allowed to experience much. I mean, let’s be honest–her future has been decided for her. Her father has married her off to a man significantly older than her. This man, Chanu, staying true to culture, is the breadwinner. He expects Nazneen to remain at home, to be calm (even passive) and content in her position. He doesn’t approve of her socializing too much outside of the home or even her need to adjust to their home by learning the English language.

She doesn’t argue. She agrees. She accepts.  She has been taught from birth not to fight, but to accept fate. She is the good daughter.

Her sister, Hasina, is the ‘bad daughter’. She ran away from home to join in a  ‘love marriage’ and was disowned. She ran away from her husband to escape the beatings and ill-treatment. Due to women being treated as second-class citizens, Hasina spends most of her time running.

Ali writes simply but effectively, showing the lives of Bengali women. They are second-class citizens. They lack the power to change their fate…or so they believe. It’s terrifying. It’s inspiring.

This book is a true coming of age story from 1967 to October 2001. Ali spins a wonderful story of discovering self-worth while becoming acclimated to an unfamiliar way of life. Nazneen’s awakening, in the midst of 9/11, is a triumph as she has spent her whole life being seen but not heard. It’s more than an ‘erotic awakening’. It’s the lesson that her words matter, her thoughts matter. She matters.

While I enjoyed this book, the ending was a disappointment. It wrapped quickly, leaving nothing to the imagination. I was also annoyed by the letters from Hasina to Nazneen which were written in some weird broken English/Bengali mix, distracting from the actual story.

Lit Snit Verdict: B+

This week’s WoW (courtesy of Jill at Breaking the Spine!):

The Mischief of the Mistletoe: A Pink Carnation Christmas
Dutton Adult
Release Date: October 28, 2010

Goodreads: Arabella Dempsey’s dear friend Jane Austen warned her against teaching. But Miss Climpson’s Select Seminary for Young Ladies seems the perfect place for Arabella to claim her independence while keeping an eye on her younger sisters nearby. Just before Christmas, she accepts a position at the quiet girls’ school in Bath, expecting to face nothing more exciting than conducting the annual Christmas recital. She hardly imagines coming face to face with French aristocrats and international spies…

Reginald “Turnip” Fitzhugh—often mistaken for the elusive spy known as the Pink Carnation—has blundered into danger before. But when he blunders into Miss Arabella Dempsey, it never occurs to him that she might be trouble. When Turnip and Arabella stumble upon a beautifully wrapped Christmas pudding with a cryptic message written in French, “Meet me at Farley Castle”, the unlikely vehicle for intrigue launches the pair on a Yuletide adventure that ranges from the Austens’ modest drawing room to the awe-inspiring estate of the Dukes of Dovedale, where the Dowager Duchess is hosting the most anticipated event of the year: an elaborate 12-day Christmas celebration. Will they find poinsettias or peril, dancing or danger? And is it possible that the fate of the British Empire rests in Arabella and Turnip’s hands, in the form of a festive Christmas pudding?

I believe it was April when Erin introduced me to Lauren Willig’s first book, The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, and I immediately fell in love. I ran out and quickly bought the remaining books in the series (including the 6th one in HARDCOVER) and spent the week embracing/loving all things historical, romantic, and spy-like. For me, these books touch upon everything I love in a book–a clever female protagonist, a charming/handsome love interest, good old-fashioned but slightly spicy romance (well spicy as it can be for the 1800s) and adventure. This is really difficult but Willig does it well.

I was disappointed when I realized, after reading the sixth one, that there were no more but then I stumbled upon news of The Mischief of the Mistletoe and now I’m eagerly anticipating October! Sure, it’ll be a little colder. I won’t be able to wear shorts, go to the beach, drink a margarita on the patio…and yes, this will suck BUT I will be able to snuggle up on my couch and delve into the perfect mix of a Jane Austen+Carolyn Keene (Elizabeth Bennet & Nancy Drew anyone?) novel. Oh, The Mischief of The Mistletoe, you are not coming fast enough!

This week’s WoW (courtesy of Jill at Breaking the Spine!) comes to you from Erin & Janelle!

Janelle

A Secret Kept by Tatiana de Rosnay
St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: September 14, 2010

From Goodreads: This stunning new novel from Tatiana de Rosnay, author of the acclaimed New York Times bestseller Sarah’s Key, plumbs the depths of complex family relationships and the power of a past secret to change everything in the present.

It all began with a simple seaside vacation, a brother and sister recapturing their childhood. Antoine Rey thought he had the perfect surprise for his sister Mélanie’s birthday: a weekend by the sea at Noirmoutier Island, where the pair spent many happy childhood summers playing on the beach. It had been too long, Antoine thought, since they’d returned to the island—over thirty years, since their mother died and the family holidays ceased. But the island’s haunting beauty triggers more than happy memories; it reminds Mélanie of something unexpected and deeply disturbing about their last island summer. When, on the drive home to Paris, she finally summons the courage to reveal what she knows to Antoine, her emotions overcome her and she loses control of the car.

Recovering from the accident in a nearby hospital, Mélanie tries to recall what caused her to crash. Antoine encounters an unexpected ally: sexy, streetwise Angèle, a mortician who will teach him new meanings for the words life, love and death. Suddenly, however, the past comes swinging back at both siblings, burdened with a dark truth about their mother, Clarisse.

Trapped in the wake of a shocking family secret shrouded by taboo, Antoine must confront his past and also his troubled relationships with his own children. How well does he really know his mother, his children, even himself? Suddenly fragile on all fronts as a son, a husband, a brother and a father, Antoine Rey will learn the truth about his family and himself the hard way. By turns thrilling, seductive and destructive, with a lingering effect that is bittersweet and redeeming, A Secret Kept is the story of a modern family, the invisible ties that hold it together, and the impact it has throughout life.

I really enjoyed the author’s previous work Sarah’s Key, in which she delved into the 1942 round-up of over 10,000 Jews in France, so I’m excited to know that she has another book coming out this fall. Her exploration of  the horrific events of Vel d’Hiv using the parallels of Sarah’s life during World War II and an American journalist named Julia kept me capitvated, as their stories began to intersect and we learned more about Sarah and this Parisian tragedy, so I look forward to the story de Rosnay will tell next.

Erin

Blameless (The Parasol Protectorate, #3) by Gail Carriger
Orbit Books
Release date: September 1, 2010

From Goodreads:  (I’m giving you the summary for the first in the Parasol Protectorate series because the summaries for the second and third books contain spoilers)

Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she’s a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire — and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London’s high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

Steampunk Victorian England? Werewolf detectives? Vampire dandies?  When I first heard of this series it seemed almost too good to be true.  This series, besides have awesome covers that I want to blow up, frame and put on my walls, is just delightful.  I can’t believe someone hadn’t combined two of my favorite things (Victorian England and the supernatural) before this.  Alexia is a smart, independent woman and a fabulous protagonist, but I have to admit, it’s Lord Maccon that has me eagerly awaiting this new book.  I was quite put out with the werewolf and the end of book two and hope he redeems himself in this new book.  I can’t wait to see how Carriger delves deeper into the world she’s created.  If you haven’t read Soulless or Changeless I wholeheartedly recommend you pick them up before September 1st!

What if you were to meet the number-one person on your laminated list—you know, that list you joke about with your significant other about which five celebrities you’d be allowed to run off with if ever given the chance? And of course since it’ll never happen it doesn’t matter… Mormon housewife Becky Jack is seven months pregnant with her fourth child when she meets celebrity heartthrob Felix Callahan. Twelve hours, one elevator ride, and one alcohol-free dinner later, something has happened…though nothing has happened. It isn’t sexual. It isn’t even quite love. But a month later Felix shows up in Salt Lake City to visit and before they know what’s hit them, Felix and Becky are best friends. Really. Becky’s husband is pretty cool about it. Her children roll their eyes. Her neighbors gossip endlessly. But Felix and Becky have something special…something unusual, something completely impossible to sustain. Or is it? A magical story, The Actor and the Housewife explores what could happen when your not-so-secret celebrity crush walks right into real life and changes everything.

After settling in for what I thought was going to be a quick, breezy read I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this novel has some depth.

Very rarely can you read a book where the main characters are of the opposite sex and just friends. Nothing more, nothing less.  Heck, I won’t lie…I really don’t ever want to read one of those novels. I enjoy my romance and my women finding their happily ever after.  So I picked this one up because I was intrigued by Becky, a married & Mormon pregnant woman who gets to meet  Felix Callahan, this fictitious world’s version of George Clooney. Their chemistry is immediate & the banter between Becky and Felix is clever, quick and, at times, laugh out loud funny.  She’s not intimidated by his sunny, golden-boy good looks and he’s intrigued by her honesty and her complete lack of awe.  

Hale has created complex, wonderful and lovely characters (both main and surrounding) that make even the unlikeliest events in this book tolerable. I found myself often rooting for them to get together; despite the fact that Becky was married with children (this makes me a creep!). I’m not entirely sure I can blame Hale who, in tackling the question “Can men and women be just friends?”, takes great care to reinforce Becky’s love for her husband and children, to show Felix’s lack of belief in Mormonism & to continually remind us of how different these two really are in life, beliefs and values.  On the other hand, Felix and Becky get to be such good friends that the intimacy between the two makes you feel a little uncomfortable when remembering Becky’s aforementioned family. I was left torn, hoping that Becky would remain true to her family and yet still wanting these two to provide my happy ending.  So while the issue of platonic relationships between men and women is explored, nothing is resolved.  

I will say this book is not for everyone. Some parts of it are so sweet and sappy, it’s ridiculous. Also, I ‘ll admit that I don’t know much about Mormonism, so certain things struck me as odd. Still, it’s a pure, fun story and sometimes that’s all you need.

LitSnit verdict: B

Lucy doesn’t even have a boyfriend. (To be honest, she isn’t that lucky in love.) But Mrs. Nolan-a local psychic-has read her tarot cards and predicted that Lucy will be walking down the aisle within the year.

Lucy’s roommates, Karen and Charlotte, are appalled at the news. If Lucy leaves it could disrupt their wonderful lifestyle of eating take-out, drinking too much wine, bringing men home and never vacuuming. They might even have to-God forbid-clean up the apartment to lure in a new roommate. Lucy reassures them that she’s far too busy arguing with her mother and taking care of her irresponsible father to get married.

And there’s the small matter of no boyfriend. But then Lucy meets Gus, gorgeous, unreliable Gus. And she starts to wonder if he could be the future Mr. Lucy Sullivan. Or could it be handsome Chuck? Or Daniel, the world’s biggest flirt? Or even cute Jed, the new boy at work?

Maybe the idea of Lucy Sullivan getting married isn’t so unlikely, after all.

Review: Delicious. I can’t think of any other word to use other than delicious.

Before this book, I would have declared myself a hardcore chick-lit fan. I can rattle of a list of writers from both the US and the UK. I can take pictures of my shelves showing rows and rows of chick-lit novels. I can preach to you about how I love the way Megan Crane speaks to women my age, the way Jennifer Crusie speaks to women my size, the way Jill Mansell makes me dream of the UK and all it has to offer. I was convinced I knew chick-lit inside and out.

Ha. Silly me. Enter Marian Keyes.

I had just finished Keyes’ Sushi for Beginners and, while it mildly entertained me, it left me…well, for lack of a better word, bored. After sharing this with one of my LitSnit ladies, Erin, she recommended Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married, stating that it was her favorite Keyes’ book. I almost turned it down but at the last-minute snatched it because I needed a book for the train.
THANK GOD.

From the first page Marian Keyes creates a world and cast of characters that you want to hold and never let go. Each character is complete, from the few appearances of a video rental clerk to Ms. Lucy Sullivan herself, with their own particular idiosyncrasies and stories. The author’s commitment to this cast and this world is so great that from page one your eyes are STUCK. There are no pages you want to skip. There is no part you struggle to get through. There’s no desire to put it down.

I will admit…there are chick-lit novels that will skim the surface and focus on a life that seems to consist of nothing but shopping, romance and glamour with no actual problems or conflicts. What Keyes’ creates in this genre, is ART. While many moments of hilarity exist, this book is grounded in reality showing a great deal of emotional depth. Lucy is not your typical heroine. Sure, she is addicted to men who treat her wrong (who hasn’t been at one time? …don’t answer that), has a love for clothes and a desire to party a great deal BUT Lucy also has an alcoholic father, a somewhat broken relationship with her mother and extremely low self-esteem. What I love about this book is that Marian Keyes attacks both sides equally leaving no stone left unturned.

I have read this book three times in the last two weeks. I have sat here for an entire week trying to figure out how to express how much I loved this book. From Lucy’s romances to her roommates and coworkers, I have laughed out loud on the train, at home, at the park. Every time, it has been a wonderful ride.

Am I ridiculously gushing? Maybe.  Am I serious? YES.

LitSnit Verdict: A

Janelle’s next book selection is Michael Chabon’s The Mysteries of Pittsburgh.