Thursday, December 30, 2010

Review: In The Time of Butterflies--Julia Alvarez

Synopsis: From the author of How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents comes this tale of courage and sisterhood set in the Dominican Republic during the rise of the Trujillo dictatorship. A skillful blend of fact and fiction, In the Time of the Butterflies is inspired by the true story of the three Mirabal sisters who, in 1960, were murdered for their part in an underground plot to overthrow the government. Alvarez breathes life into these historical figures--known as "las mariposas," or "the butterflies," in the underground--as she imagines their teenage years, their gradual involvement with the revolution, and their terror as their dissentience is uncovered.
Alvarez's controlled writing perfectly captures the mounting tension as "the butterflies" near their horrific end. The novel begins with the recollections of Dede, the fourth and surviving sister, who fears abandoning her routines and her husband to join the movement. Alvarez also offers the perspectives of the other sisters: brave and outspoken Minerva, the family's political ringleader; pious Patria, who forsakes her faith to join her sisters after witnessing the atrocities of the tyranny; and the baby sister, sensitive Maria Teresa, who, in a series of diaries, chronicles her allegiance to Minerva and the physical and spiritual anguish of prison life.

Review:  What an incredibly moving story.

As I stated a couple of months ago, I've been having trouble finding the time to complete books these days due to a crazy and chaotic schedule (and I know most of you can relate!). So what a joy it was, when I finally found the time to get back into reading, for my first book to be this one.

Alvarez, through 4 completely distinct perspectives, tells us this fascinating story of four incredibly strong women fighting for a cause they truly believed in; sacrificing their lives for the good of their country and standing against a government that showed no remorse in getting revenge against those who disputed it.

This book, a work of historical fiction, gives insight into the bleak side of Dominican history through the Mirabel sisters, whom (and Alvarez notes this herself) have been praised and revered they've become somewhat of a myth.  (They were real women and I applaud Alvarez for taking these women and giving us the, albeit fictional, human side of these women making them relatable.) Alvarez presents this story in a way that is simple yet fascinating.

I loved this book. I loved the story of these women and it made me wonder if I necessarily had the strength or courage to do something along the lines of the Mirabel sisters. All in all, definitely an entertaining read.

Grade: A

Monday, December 13, 2010

Review — Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John

Synopsis (Goodreads):  The Challenge: Piper has one month to get the rock band Dumb a paying gig.
The Deal: If she does it, Piper will become the band's manager and get her share of the profits.

The Catch: How can Piper possibly manage one egomaniacal pretty boy, one talentless piece of eye candy, one crush, one silent rocker, and one angry girl? And how can she do it when she's deaf?

Piper can't hear Dumb's music, but with growing self-confidence, a budding romance, and a new understanding of the decision her family made to buy a cochlear implant for her deaf baby sister, she discovers her own inner rock star and what it truly means to be a flavor of Dumb.

Review:  I first heard about Five Flavors of Dumb over at Capillya's blog, thatcovergirl.  This was one of those books that I picked up purely for the cover.  It sounded interesting and the cover was pretty badass so I thought I'd give it a try.  However, unlike Her and Me and You, this one delivered with the story as well as the cover.

I skimmed the synopsis so quickly when I was looking into this book that I didn't even realize Piper was deaf until I picked it up and started reading.  You quickly realize Piper's deafness isn't a disability or hinderance, but it's a part of her.  John wove her deafness into Piper's character, without falling back on any kind of cheesiness or cliches.  You never forget that Piper is deaf, but it's not who she is, just another aspect of her personality.

Piper is one of those characters that you just kind of wish were real so you could hang out and become BFFs.  There's something inspiring about watching her evolve from a scared, pseudo-wallflower to the leader of a rock band.  As much as I don't want to admit it, I was surprised when I realized that this book was written my a guy.  I know, I know, a good writer can write any gender, so I should know better.  John created a fantastic, complex, strong female character that rivals, in my mind, Katniss, Buffy, and Jessica Darling.  There were moments when I wanted to shake her (mostly when it came to her utter blindness to the guy who was in love with her), but I couldn't help but love her.  There's a great moment with the band's "mentor," Baz, impersonating her father that had me laughing out loud and solidified Piper's position as favorite female character of the year.

I was impressed how well the other characters were complete, well-rounded characters.  Well, except for Will and Josh, I would have liked to see a little more of who they were outside of the band.  Josh was a bit one-note.  But Piper's parents were particularly well done.  They weren't necessarily perfect, but they weren't terrible parents either.  You could see that they were doing the best they could, and sometimes they made mistakes.  While I seriously hated her father though most of the book, his character had a nice progression.  The cynic in my wonders if he would have such a profound turnaround, but my heart is a black shriveled up husk so I'm going to go with it.  ('s only mildly withered)

There's also real reverence for music throughout the book.  Though Piper can't totally hear their music, she finds inspiration from Kurt Cobain and Jimi Hendrix.  She's inspired by who they were, how they came to be musicians, and how they affected millions of people as much as any of us can be inspired by the music they made.  In these moments of music history, Dumb became much more than a book about a band trying to make it.  It was about the importance of music as, not just an aspect pop culture, but an aspect of history.

Also, I can't end my review without giving some love to Ed Chen.  If I ever complain that fictional nice guys are boring, remind me of Ed Chen.  Adorable, adorable Ed Chen (See also: Piper's brother, Finn).  Score one for the nice guys, Ed Chen.  (I think I just like saying "Ed Chen")

Review: A-

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Review - How to Become a Famous Writer Before You’re Dead by Ariel Gore

Whew! It’s December and NaNoWriMo is over! OVER! If that challenge has taught me anything, it’s that writing a complete novel might be one of the toughest things to accomplish in life All authors whose work I has the chance of reading this year, including the ones I didn’t particularly enjoy (yes, I’m thinking of you, Liz Berry) deserve a hardy pat on the back for their achievement!

Now, should you be an individual who (unlike me) earnestly undertook the NaNoWriMo challenge and are well on your way to completing your first novel, but have never actually published anything before, you might be overwhelmed by the thought of the hurdles to come in transforming that NaNoWriMo baby into a tangible book.

It was with this in mind that I decided to read Ariel Gore’s writers’ self-help book entitled How to Become a Famous Writer Before You’re Dead, in which she shares the secrets to publishing superstardom. Gore’s main argument is that the secret to success in the novel-wring world has more to do with one’s conviction than raw literary talent, and that we’re all capable of improving ourselves in both areas with a little discipline. Gathering an assortment of tips she has learned through her own journey as a writer and literary coach, she’s manages to create an excellent argument for writing. If you ever gave up on your dream of becoming a famous novelist because of age, time constraints or lack of ideas, you might find yourself inspired by Gore’s own success story. She made it while being a teenage single mother! And really, what’s tougher than that?

Interspersed in Gore’s narrative are snippets of advice from a few prominent literary figures from a variety of literary niches. Although they all have their own story to tell about what lead them to success, the key terms of discipline and self-confidence permeate throughout everyone’s advice. You might even be surprised by how basic yet profound their writing tips and recommendations are.  

Bottom line, Gore’s voice is filled with so much energy that even if you never dreamed of writing a book, you might get sucked into believing that you could and perhaps even should! I really enjoyed How to Become a Famous Writer Before You’re Dead. Despite having little aspiration of writing a book myself, Gore’s word were compelling enough to make me add “write a novel” as a goal on my list of things-to-do-before-I-die.

LitSnit Verdict: A

Monday, December 6, 2010

Review—Her and Me and You by Lauren Strasnick

Synopsis (via Goodreads): First love, broken friendships, and heartache all play a part in this evocative, voice-driven novel about Alex, a girl whose world is ripped apart when her father’s affair splits her family in two.

Alex moves with her mess of a mother to a new town, where she is befriended by hot, enigmatic Fred—and alternately flirted with and cold-shouldered by Fred’s twin sister, Adina. Others warn Alex to steer clear of the twins, whose sibling relationship is considered abnormal at best, but there’s just something about Fred—and something about Adina—that draws Alex to them and makes her want to be part of their crazy world…no matter the consequences.

Review: I got to read an ARC of this book courtesy of Around the World ARC Tours and was excited.  The cover and synopsis intrigued me.  It sounded like a dark, complex look at love and family.  And it definitely tried to do that, though not very successfully.

It didn't help that Strasnick's writing style seems very curt and rather choppy.  Some chapters literally started with just Alex stating what day it is and where she is.  There isn't a whole lot to really get you to attach yourself to Alex or Fred and Adina.  Maybe Strasnick was going for a more bleak outlook, seeing as Alex is dealing with her mother's emotional breakdown and her father's infidelity, but it just didn't get me all that interested in the story all that much and it made Alex just seem kind of petty and boring.  Thankfully, though the plot seemed to just meander along, because it was so unembellished and stilted, it was pretty short and I flew through it on an hour-long train ride.

What really bothered me most is that we never understand why Adina and Fred are the way they are.  Adina runs hot and cold, clearly playing mental games with Alex, but we never find out why.  Fred alludes to the fact that she "has issues" as is clear with her eating disorder and almost sociopathic ways, but there's no payoff.  I don't need a resolution, but I at least need to understand what's causing her to act the way she is or deal with the fact that she's an anorexic alcoholic. Besides one incident that forces Fred and Alex to deal with her anorexia, it's never really discussed that she's going to get help.  It ends so abruptly and without any warning that I had to check and make sure it wasn't missing pages or something.

Plus, I never really got into Fred and Alex as a couple.  It seemed to me that their "attraction" was more due to the fact that Fred was there and Alex was "different."  Alex seemed to just want a boyfriend because her best friend back home had one so Fred would do even if he had a wacko sister and, at best, has a super weird relationship with her and, at worst, might be in love with her.  

I think this story could have worked as a dark, almost gothic story if it was just fleshed out a bit more.  Adina's craziness was interesting, but ultimately seemed to go nowhere so, when I finished, I just kind of didn't understand the point of it at all.  

The cover is pretty though.  Kudos to the designer.

Lit Snit Verdict: C-

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Movie/Book: 127 Hours/Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Summary: "127 Hours" is the true story of mountain climber Aron Ralston's remarkable adventure to save himself after a fallen boulder crashes on his arm and traps him in an isolate canyon in Utah. Over the next five days, Ralston examines his life and survives the elements to finally discover he has the courage and the wherewithal to extricate himself by any means necessary, scale a 65 foot wall and hike over eight miles before he is finally rescued. Throughout his journey, Ralston recalls friends, lovers, family, and the last two people he ever had the chance to meet? A visceral thrilling story that will take an audience on a never before experienced journey and prove what we can do when we choose life.

I ashamed to say that I haven't read the book...I saw the movie.

Yes,I saw the movie first. Normally, I don't do this...I read the book because, let's face it, the book is always better. In this case, I had never heard of the book (arg. I'm ashamed) but was intrigued by the idea of someone...well, doing what he did to save himself. (I imagine you all know what I'm referring to but I'm attempting to keep this somewhat spoiler free). When I did learn that it was based on the book, I still threw caution to the wind and schlepped to the theater because I'm not necessarily big on reading survival stories. Call me superficial, but I like to keep my rose-colored glasses on when it comes to my books. So, while I decided to go see it first, I didn't think it was going to be that great.

Boy, was I wrong.

It's very hard an actor to be the only focal point of an ENTIRE MOVIE and keep you engaged. Especially with a subject like this, because it's very easy to play it one sad, "I'm going to die", grim note. In this case, James Franco more than succeeds. He's funny, he's charming, he's CRAZY. In the first few minutes of the film, you like him. So when he gets stuck LITERALLY between a rock and a hard place, you panic for him, wondering how he's going to get out (or at least I did...OY). Then you spend an hour of some change watching him try.

This is the first time I've watched a movie & then run out to buy the book (slightly annoyed that everyone has switched to the film cover now...) but it was such a good story via film that I can't imagine disliking the book. Part of this was Franco, finding the humor in this story while still managing to convey the panic/terror. Part of it was Danny Boyle, who directs this visually stunning film. The main part, though? This guy's story is incredible and extremely moving. It's an incredibly inspirational film. (Seriously, when I left the movie I was convinced I needed to learn how to swim, to rock climb, to ride a mountain bike 50 miles...I needed to learn how to be a survivor in case I was ever stuck in a canyon!)

So the book is now sitting on my shelf, ready to be devoured. In the meantime, I highly recommend watching this movie!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Review - Bloodsucking Fiends by Christopher Moore

Review: Bloodsucking Fiends introduces us to the love affair between two very different beings: Jody, a newly created vampire, and Tommy, a writer wannabe who moves to San Francisco in search of adventure. The two are drawn together by their individual need for somebody else. Jody needs a man who can take care of business during vampire off-hours: while the sun is out and she is out-cold in her dark hiding hole. Meanwhile, Tommy, who has never had a girlfriend, can’t resist the promise of excitement that someone like Jody can provide. Soon enough they both get more than either had expected as the ancient vampire who transformed Jody starts committing sinister crimes all over San Francisco and leaves clues pinning Jody and Tommy to his doings. Running out of options, it becomes Tommy and Jody’s goal to stop the fiend, a complicated task for a newbie vampire and her mortal boyfriend. 

Overall, I was impressed by this book. Vampires (as conventionally sinister as they might be) are make-belief. And so, while writing about them in a serious tone can work, mixing them into a comically predispositioned plot definitely works better! Christopher Moore used this to his advantage in Bloodsucking Fiends. Jody and Tommy are light-hearted characters thrown in unbelievably above-average circumstances, which in the hands of someone like Moore produces some very funny results.

My favorite part of the story were the characters themselves: Tommy and Jody. They are very different individuals. Tommy is steady and responsible but very naive about women. Jody on the other hand has a lot of experience with men, but has an unhealthy self-image. Over time, as they experience their relationship and explore Jody’s abilities, they manage to change and grow, becoming better individually and as a couple. Their love is never unrequited or based on struggles. Instead, its about exploration and compromises, which is refreshing knowing some of the other vampire love triangles floating around out there. 

The once mysterious vampires have quickly lost their literary appeal due to recent over-usage by many authors. And while some writers should have never gone down the vampirism path, I’m really glad Christopher Moore did. This is a vampire series worth reading.

LitSnit Verdict: A

Monday, November 29, 2010

Review — American Vampire Volume 1 by Scott Snyder, Stephen King, Rafael Albuquereque

Summary (via Goodreads): This volume follows two stories: one written by Snyder and one written by King. Snyder's story is set in 1920's LA, we follow Pearl, a young woman who is turned into a vampire and sets out on a path of righteous revenge against the European Vampires who tortured and abused her. This story is paired with King's story, a western about Skinner Sweet, the original American Vampire— a stronger, faster creature than any vampire ever seen before with rattlesnake fangs and powered by the sun.

Review:  I thought I'd review something different this week and talk about a graphic novel I just finished.  Even if I wasn't intrigued by Stephen King's involvement, the cover alone had me waiting impatiently for the first volume of this series.  It combines two genres you would think wouldn't mix: the Western and the Roaring 20s.  Two eras that marked a dramatic change in American culture, moments of growth and change for the country.  As we follow two stories, one charting the origin of  Deadwood-esque vampire, Skinner Sweet, and the other a rising 20s starlet, Pearl.  Both characters are intriguing representations of the American spirit.

The two stories are told simultaneously, and sometimes it does get a little confusing, but ultimately it works, allowing us to see how both Pearl and Skinner deal with their fate.  Snyder, the creator of American Vampire, has done something I wouldn't have thought possible: made a vampire story that isn't just fresh, but is a whole new look at the genre.  His vampires aren't sparkly or swoon-worthy (er...okay, 1920s Skinner was kind of hot), but brutal and violent and, yes, scary.  There's nothing nice or pretty about these vampires, yet they're entirely compelling.  

My only gripe is the sudden romance toward the end involving former Pinkerton, Agent Book.  It felt a bit forced and something that was there to appease some sort of male fantasy.  Though his character was a little boring to me next to the badass Skinner Sweet who you can't help but kind of root for (or maybe that's just me).  And, like I said, there were some structural issues, but I was so wrapped up in the story I didn't mind much.

I loved Albuquereque's art, which perfectly captured the spirit of the West and the vivacious Twenties.  He depicted Pearl's attack and transformation with the brutality it needed, but never went overly gratuitous.  His rendering of the vampire's "face" was something new and savage, and pretty awesome to see in contrast to the vein-y, dark-eyed vampires out there today.

The best thing?  It's about vampires.  It's not about a girl in love with a vampire or inspiring some sad-sack vampire to lead a better life.  It's actually about creatures that were created to elicit fear and horror.  There's no whitewashing the fact they kill, and they don't try to.  Watching them survive in a world that's not ready for them is far more interesting to me than any love story or redemption tale.

I can't wait to see more of Pearl and her boyfriend Henry, who are like an even more savage version of Bonnie and Clyde, and how their paths cross with Skinner Sweet, the most disturbing, yet enigmatic vampire I've seen in years.  Whether your a fan of the vampire genre or not, a King fan or not, hell, if you just like a good story, give American Vampire a chance.  It'll make you forget that there are even other vampire stories out there. 

Lit Snit Verdict: A-

Monday, November 22, 2010

NaNoWriMo—Day 22

Well, we're over halfway through NaNoWriMo and I'm...really behind.  I don't know how it happened.  I took a writing retreat with a friend (which I feel was more an eating and drinking retreat than an actual writing retreat.  I got work done...just not as much as I hoped.  I blame the man in our Inn that kept me up all night with his snoring and completely ruined me for an entire day), I downloaded this awesome writing software Scrivener (which is half off if you win NaNoWriMo), but somehow I missed one day, then another and suddenly it was the 22nd and I only had 22,000 words.  Granted, that's nothing to sneeze at, but it's definitely a far cry from where I should be.  And I've heard some people have already finished! (Jerks)

I'm just looking forward to this four day weekend so I can get my butt into gear and get some writing done.  Right now it's 50,000 words or bust.

What about you guys?  How are you doing?  Anyone (gasp) finished?

If you're in need of some inspiration, GalleyCat has been having some great NaNo daily tips for those of us struggling through this month of writing.

Every year this is what I think my NaNoWriMo experience will be like

This is the reality (only, you know, I'm female...and the wine glass is bigger)

In other news, I recently read Not That Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian, which I really enjoyed.  (Plus, the guy on the cover looks like Nicholas Hoult to me and I couldn't resist) It was a great look at the complexity of female sexuality, particularly in teens, and was just generally an engrossing read.  I think I finished it within two hours.  The main character, Natalie, reminded me more than a little of myself.

Here are some actual reviews since I'm in NaNo panic mode and have a little voice screaming at me that I should be writing, not blogging!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


I'm ashamed to say that I haven't actually sat down to read a book in WEEKS...
Me. Clearly, I'm not at my finest...

This is where I've been a good 50 hours a week (I'm actually here now!), so when I get home I'm just drained from playing Office all day. My natural inclination is to go asleep, so I do. I see my friends on Saturday nights only (unless they come over to watch football on Sunday). This is okay. But...

I miss my books.

I MISS them. I tried picking one up a couple of weeks ago, The Bell Jar...this was not a great idea because I was already blah and this book took that blah, rolled it around in dirt and then kicked it. Don't get me wrong, it's a beautifully written book but I felt like my life was OVER when I finally finished it.

So here's my question, fellow bloggers--when do you find the time to read? With you being full-time college students, mothers, etc. I imagine it's just as hard for you to find the do you sneak that precious reading time in?? Help a girl in need!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday - Daniela

From Notting Hill with Love...Actually
by: Ali McNamara
release date: November 25, 2010

Summary: (via Goodreads) Scarlett O'Brien is in love . . . with the movies. Utterly hooked on Hugh Grant, crazy about Richard Curtis, dying with lust for Johnny Depp, Scarlett spends her days with her head in the clouds and her nights with her hand in a huge tub of popcorn. Which is not exactly what her sensible, DIY-obsessed fiance David has in mind for their future. So when Scarlett has the chance to house-sit an impossibly grand mansion in Notting Hill, the setting of one of her all-time favorite movies, she jumps at the chance to live out her film fantasies one last time. It's just a shame that her new neighbor Sean is so irritating and so irritatingly handsome, too. As a chaotic comedy of her very own erupts around Scarlett, she begins to realize there's more to life than seating plans and putting up shelves. What sort of happy ending does she really want? Will it be a case of Runaway Bride or Happily Ever After? The big white wedding looms, and Scarlett is running out of time to decide.

This book has one catchy (or maybe cheesy?) title and I’m intrigued. I feel like I haven’t seen very many of those really enjoyable sappy romantic comedies like Notting Hill and Love...Actually lately and I miss them a that it’s getting progressively colder outside and staying indoors on the weekend watching something light-hearted is becoming more and more appealing. Hopefully,  Ali McNamara has something good in store for me (for all of us) with “From Notting Hill with Love...Actually.” It comes out on November 25.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Review - Slacker Girl by Alexandra Koslow

Summary: (via Goodreads) Jane Cooper's lifestyle is unfamiliar to most of her fellow workaholic New Yorkers. When she is not putting in the absolute minimal time at her job as a relationship manager for an investment firm, she's most likely to be found at her favorite cafe, staring into space, obsessively creating embroidery art, hanging out with friends, listening to music, and/or drinking coffee. In truth, Jane believes that corporate life was unfairly glamorized by "propaganda" films of the 1980s such as Working Girl or Secret to My Success. She dodges the effects of these programs by working as little as possible.

Review: I can say one thing for sure, this book is not for everyone. Although it is a heck of a fun read, it does lack a bit of sophistication, even for the chick-lit novel. The main character, Jane, is drawn up as the ultimate slacker: she wants to work as little as possible and enjoy a leisurely life type of lifestyle as much as possible. But how does that work in NYC without the risk of homelessness? Well, Jane has a good (if not entirely plausible) answer, and she meticulously walks you through the process of acquiring what she’s got. In brief, this involves a lot of good budgeting and some very intricate work-time/play-time maneuvers.
Her narrative has it charms; her reasons for striving to be a twenty-something slacker girl are not entirely unfounded (and I’m saying this as a New Yorker who has some first hand experience at the competitive professional nature of the people that inhibit this city.) But somewhere between trying to create a really fun, really light story about a girl who’s chasing personal gratification over professional success, Koslow doesn’t strike gold. When we first encounter Jane, she seems like an intelligent character with philosophically sound leisurely pursuits that might make you envy her bold decisions in life. But as the story proceeds and the circumstance of her life become naturally more complicated, Jane, in conjunction with her leisure lifestyle motto, starts to make a lot of careless and silly decisions that just make you question her mental capacity for handling life. So, before you decide to read this book, you should ask yourself if you’re interested in reading about a woman who tries very hard to make the mentality of a college party animal work for her at age 28. The story is a journey nonetheless, and Jane does mature a bit before the story comes to an end.
    What I absolutely adored about Slacker Girl was the leading male interest. Jane is a slacker and a bit of an airhead in many departments including romance. However, Ray, the guy who eventually becomes Jane’s The One is so great, it was worth reading through all the not-so-enjoyable sections of the book. I don’t know what I look forward to in my perfect fictional leading man, but this guy gets pretty close. I’m not typically interested in the macho, brooding tough guys or bad boys with a chip on their shoulder. I like those other rarer ones, who are quiet, and awkward and stumble over theirs words every once in a while. Ray is definitely my second favorite leading male character in all books I’ve read this year (the number one spot is currently occupied by Get Lucky’s Everett Thompson.)

LitSnit Verdict: B (C for overall story + A for romance)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Review — Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist

Synopsis (via Goodreads): It all starts when Nick asks Norah to be his girlfriend for five minutes. He only needs five minutes to avoid his ex-girlfriend, who's just walked in to his band's show. With a new guy. And then, with one kiss, Nick and Norah are off on an adventure set against the backdrop of New York City and smack in the middle of all the joy, anxiety, confusion, and excitement of a first date.

This he said/she said romance told by YA stars Rachel Cohn and David Levithan is a sexy, funny roller coaster of a story about one date over one very long night, with two teenagers, both recovering from broken hearts, who are just trying to figure out who they want to be and where the next great band is playing.

Told in alternating chapters, teeming with music references, humor, angst, and endearing side characters, this is a love story you'll wish were your very own. Working together for the first time, Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have combined forces to create a book that is sure to grab readers of all ages and never let them go.

Review:  The book is always better than the movie.  (Okay, maybe not always but usually.)  I don’t know why it took me so long to read Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist.  I really loved the movie so I think I didn't want to taint my love of the film version if the book was really fantastic or kind of sucked.  The movie is a great homage to New York and the music scene.  Kat Dennings and Michael Cera were adorable (though after reading the book, Michael Cera is an acceptable Nick, but nowhere near as complex and awesome), and Ari Graynor might be the funniest drunk girl ever.

So I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered the book had everything I loved about the movie and more.  Sure, Nick was insanely emo and made outlandish statements about the state of his broken heart that made me want to smack him and Norah was so incredibly neurotic and paranoid that I…well, actually I saw a lot of myself in Norah so that’s probably why I loved her so much.  She was a little more angry that I think I am, but her insecurities and crazy self-defense tactics were a little familiar.  The dual points of view was a fun way to see how words and actions can be misinterpreted despite the best of intentions.

What I loved most about the book compared to the movie (sorry, I can’t separate the two, though I know I should.  I think it'd be the other way around if I read the book first): Tris.  In the movie she’s a throwaway one-dimensional character.  She’s a bitch.  Yet, in the book there’s so much more to her and you see why she does certain things.  It’s a great peek at the dynamics of female relationships and what we’ll do to “fit in.” 

Sure, the plot of kind of meanders at times, but I found myself not really interested in finding “Where’s Fluffy” (though that isn't as central to the plot in the book) but watching two broken people fall in love.  It might happen fast, but that’s the thing about New York.  One night can feel like a month and that’s all it takes to really connect with someone. 

If you’ve seen the movie, definitely read the book.  If you’ve read the book, give the movie a try.  They’re similar in spirit and both are infused a frenetic energy full of pop culture and New York tidbits, but each will surprise you in the turns they take with the same story.

Lit Snit Verdict: A-

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday -- Janelle

Vixen (Flappers #1) by Jillian Larkin
Delacorte Books
Publish Date: December 14, 2010

Summary: Every girl wants what she can’t have. Seventeen-year-old Gloria Carmody wants the flapper lifestyle—and the bobbed hair, cigarettes, and music-filled nights that go with it. Now that she’s engaged to Sebastian Grey, scion of one of Chicago’s most powerful families, Gloria’s party days are over before they’ve even begun . . . or are they?

Clara Knowles, Gloria’s goody-two-shoes cousin, has arrived to make sure the high-society wedding comes off without a hitch—but Clara isn’t as lily-white as she appears. Seems she has some dirty little secrets of her own that she’ll do anything to keep hidden. . . . Lorraine Dyer, Gloria’s social-climbing best friend, is tired of living in Gloria’s shadow. When Lorraine’s envy spills over into desperate spite, no one is safe. And someone’s going to be very sorry. . . .

From debut author Jillian Larkin, VIXEN is the first novel in the sexy, dangerous, and ridiculously romantic new series set in the Roaring Twenties . . . when anything goes

I love books set in Chicago and I love books set in the Roaring Twenties, so I was sold immediately. 

I'm not familiar with Jillian Larkin but I look forward to checking this out as it has been compared to the Luxe series by Anna Godbersen, which I've enjoyed. Here's crossing my fingers to what I hope will be a great series!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Review - Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich

Summary: (via goodreads) Seven Stones of Power. No one knows when they were created or by whom, each said to represent one of the Seven Deadly Sins.
For centuries, treasure hunters have been eager to possess the stones, undeterred by their corrupting nature. The list is long -- Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great, Napoleon, to name a few. Now the Stones have found their way to Salem, Massachusetts, and so has Gerwulf Grimoire, adding himself to this rogues' gallery of power seekers. He's an uncommonly dangerous man, with a hunger for the forbidden, and a set of abilities that are way beyond ordinary. Abilities that he feels entitle him to possess anything he might desire.
That would include Elizabeth Tucker, the woman he needs to find the Stones. She's freshly transplanted from New York City to Boston's North Shore. With a new job as pastry chef at Dazzle's bakery and an old house inherited from her Aunt Ophelia, her life is pretty much on track …until it's suddenly derailed by a guy named Diesel, a rude monkey, and a ninja cat.
Lizzy can handle the monkey and the cat. She's not sure about Diesel. He's offering up his own set of unusual talents, promising to protect her from Grimoire. The kind of protection that Lizzy suspects might involve guarding her body day and night.
The Seven Deadly Sins are pride, greed, lust, envy wrath, sloth and gluttony. That pretty much covers everything that is wicked. Diesel thinks it also pretty much covers everything that's fun. And Lizzy thinks Diesel and the Seven Deadly Sins cover everything her mother warned her about.

Review: It is no big secret that Janet Evanonich’s Stephanie Plum series was one of the reasons Janelle, Erin and I started this blog. And even though the three of us could never really agree on whether Stephanie was better off with Ranger or Morelli, their twisted love triangle was a heated topic of conversation many a time in our pre-LitSnit days. And so, when word got out that Evanovich had decided to start a brand new series, I knew I had to pay some sort of homage to Evanovich’s LitSnit contribution, and give her newest work a try.

Evanovich’s new series (I think it’s officially known as the Unmentionables Series) has a really simple premise. Our main heroine, Elizabeth, is a pastry chef living right outside of Salem Massachusetts. Her life is pretty dull and normal until she discovers that she has the supernatural ability to sense empowered objects. This ability, as it turns out, is of pivotal importance to two men: Diesel and Wulf, who are in the hunt for seven special stones (one for each of the seven deadly sins) that if combined have the ability to ravage the world. In Wicked Appetite, Lizzy’s mission is to discover stone #1, the one representing gluttony.

All in all, this Diesel series is Stephanie Plum all over again, except with an interesting supernatural twist, a new set of love interests, crazier mysteries to solve, and a monkey (instead of a hamster) as a pet. I don’t quite know whether these alternations are for the better, but they work. For the most part, as I was reading this book I got the sense that Evanovich had decided that solving mysteries with Stephanie as we knew her had gotten a little stale, and had tried to find a way to change as much as possible without loosing that same fun, funky and addictive core momentum she had going with the Plum books. Lizzy might be a little weaker as a character compared to Stephanie (I definitely missed some of that Jersey flare), but Evanovich manages to balance this out by giving greater focus on the male leading character, Diesel, who is just as charming as Morelli, if not more. Even the subtle supernatural additions, which I felt uncertain about in the beginning, worked out well and allowed for more playfulness in the story. 

Wicked Appetite is enjoyable because it’s entreating, and easy to read. A definite must for anyone who loved One for the Money, or anyone who has never tried reading something by Janet Evenovich but is up for a fun leisurely weekend read.

Lit Snit Verdict: B

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Review - The Psycho Ex Game: A Novel by Merrill Markoe & Andy Prieboy

Summary (via Goodreads)--Lisa Roberty is a successful screenwriter with an impoverished social life who’s enduring a demoralizing job at the mind-numbing sitcom You Go, Girl. Grant Repka is an obscure indie rock musician who, in his forties, finds his career surprisingly resurrected with the success of his comic operetta about the doomed romance of Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson. When Grant and Lisa meet after one of his shows, sparks don’t immediately fly—but e-mail addresses are exchanged. A my-book-for-your-CD trade and a couple of e-mails later, Lisa tells Grant that she enjoys his song “My Psycho Ex,” but warns him that where psycho-exes are concerned, she’s pretty sure she “could drink him under the table.”

Little does she know that this will become the opening salvo in an epic e-mail battle dubbed the Psycho Ex Game, a storytelling competition in which horrific tales of dysfunctional love and living with lunatics are volleyed with glee. The rules are simple; the point system, unique: the experiences that would normally leave someone running for the therapist’s office (humiliation, degradation, and complicity in psychotic behavior) just might win match point in the Psycho Ex Game. Now it’s Grant vs. Lisa as the wretched tales of his ex, the Junkie Queen of Darkness, vie with the woe inflicted by her ex, a tantrum-throwing actor/director widely known as Mr. Summer Box Office Record-Holder.

As the correspondence evolves, it surprises Lisa by offering her the kind of intimacy she has never shared with a man in the same room. Before long, what started as a friendly competition becomes a road map to an unlikely couple’s growing involvement, leaving both Grant and Lisa secretly wondering, “If we were to get involved, which one of us is potentially the next Psycho Ex?”

Review: I came across this book by accident. It called my name while I walked around the Strand. "Janelle", it said, "Pick me up. I'm bitter. I'm cynical. You're bitter. You're cynical. We are a MATCH." 

I walked away from it. Who wants to admit they're bitter and cynical? Not me. So I walked around the bookstore trying to find happy, uplifting, fairy tale novels. Books that spoke of true loves and happily ever afters. Nothing caught my eye so I turned to leave and, as I did, the stupid book caught my eye and laughed at me from the shelf. 

*sigh* FINE. So I picked it up.

This story about two victims of 'psycho exes' could easily have turned into a whiny novel about who was wronged more. There's nothing worse than reading about reading sob story after sob story. Instead, however, this a cool, snarky tale about past experience and how you learn from it (or try to). Lisa and Grant's exes are SCARY. They're the type that make you grateful for your own ex. We're talking about narcissistic, emotionally abusive junkies. Each story boggles the mind and makes you wonder "Are there people like this out there FOR REAL??". 

Markoe and Prieboy don't make Lisa and Grant victims, though, and that's what makes this story. They're just as dysfunctional as their exes, in some form or fashion. Why they are the way they are is only hinted at, which I appreciated because sometimes you don't need all of the exposition...sometimes people just are. It's as simple as that. 

The story starts off slow (about 20 pages slow. Oy.) but once it gets moving, you're hooked. Each installment of the game is like a train HAVE to pay attention. It's the fodder in between each installment that drags it down somewhat. There are unnecessary characters, side stories, blah, blah, blah. I wish the writers had focused on the game and the thoughts of Grant and Lisa alone. The rest became slightly annoying. 

Would I recommend this book? Not necessarily. Still, I got something from it. I can now say, "Well, so-and-so will never be as crazy as THAT."

LitSnit Grade: C

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday — Erin

SynopsisFollowing his bestselling 2006 debut, Before I Wake, Wiersema returns to his exquisitely plotted blend of supernatural thriller and domestic drama.

Novelist Christopher Knox began his writing career with a bang. The echo of that success still rings in his ears as he sets to work every morning on his second novel, ten years later. His wife feels like a single parent, and with Chris living in exile in a studio above their garage, it won't be long before she is.

Chris discovers a fantasy novel by an obscure author he loved as a child and gives it to his son, David. Father reads to son nightly, and To the Four Directions soon enthralls him. Until one night, when young David is reading alone, an inexplicable seizure leaves him in a mysterious state of unconsciousness. As his seizure recurs every night, his father learns that only one thing will calm it, a bedtime story from his strange new book.

Convinced that the secret of David's collapse is within its pages, Chris traverses the continent in search of the truth. Meanwhile, David wakes up within the story he has been reading, and as his father struggles to free him David struggles to survive, facing perils unimaginable in a world created to capture the hearts and souls of children like him. Both father and son are headed toward a fateful collision of worlds, and a showdown with ancient evils, both fictional and very real. 

This apparently just came out yesterday (I think.  All they show on Amazon is the Canadian version that was published in October, but  Robert Wiersema's website says it is on sale 11/2), but I wanted to mention Bedtime Story this week because it's been a while since reading a synopsis has hooked me like this one did.  It reminded me a bit of The Book of Lost Things, only perhaps from the father's perspective.  I really love that idea of getting literally sucked into a book.  It sounds like both a dream and nightmare to most book lovers.

I can't wait to get my hands on this one!  What are you guys looking forward to reading?

**Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine

Monday, November 1, 2010

NaNoWriMo—Day 1

No time to review today.  It's the first day of NaNoWriMo

That first day sets the bar for the entire month.  With a monthly word count of 50,000 words, you're striving for your goal of 1,667 words a day, but it's tricky.  You don't want to start out too strong, overshooting the goal by an insane number, thus burning yourself out early.  On the other hand, you don't want to fall short, ensuring you'll be playing catch up for all 30 days, only to be a blithering mess on November 30th and completely useless for the holiday season, or that you'll fall so far behind you'll just give up and just say "eh, I'll finish next year."  (Not that I've done that...four years in a row...)

I've found myself in a precarious situation of working on an idea I've been playing around with for a long time.  I've recently re-tooled it and think I know what I'm doing and where I'm going with the story, but as I sat down this weekend to outline I realized I'm already behind because I can't really "see" the entire big picture and I don't know what the hell I'm doing anymore.  The characters I thought I knew so well now seem like strangers and every word I write leaves me more and more unsure I really know anything at all. 

And this is day one!

This process always makes me fairly in awe of anyone that can actually finish a book, let alone get it published.  That's the thing they don't tell you: writing is HARD.  (Actually they say that a lot, but I always think they're lying somehow and there's some kind of video game cheat for writing a book...the same can be said for my views on my career, love life, and losing weight.  I'm still waiting on those cheats as well)

But my motto this year is "you can always revise later."  Now just remind me of that on day 15.

How about you guys?  Anyone else having day one jitters? 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Favorite Places to Read: JujoMukti, NYC

I think this place is so cool:

JujoMukti, NYC
I discovered Jujomukti last Friday on my way to a friend's party and fell in love. Head over in heels in love. Why, you ask?

1) It's a tea lounge. A TEA LOUNGE which means a gazillion options of tea!...which means I get to curl up with a cup of tea and read...

2) Here:

I love exposed brick walls. I love armchairs. I love windows. So if I get to read in an armchair against an exposed brick wall while looking out the window, then I'm a happy camper. Seriously happy camper.

3) It's quiet which, to be honest, is hard to find in NYC. It's quiet on a Monday night but it's also quiet on a Friday night. It's also quiet on Saturday. Part of this may be because it's relatively new, having just opened in August.

It's a perfect rainy day spot but it's a perfect fall spot as well. I've only been able to get here once since my discovery but I have the feeling I'm going to be a regular at this hidden gem...

NaNoWriMo and Morning Glory

Apologies for having been remiss in announcing the giveaway result!  It’s been a crazy couple of weeks. Joli @ Actin' Up with books is the winner of a copy of Diana Peterfreund’s Morning Glory (I’ve seen posters up around the city for the movie and am getting way excited.)  So congratulations, Joli! 

In other news, Casting Call Friday is going on hiatus for the month due to NaNoWriMo (that’s National Novel Writing Month), which I am again attempting (for the fourth year in a row) and this year hope to actually produce a full novel.  Most years end in the past have ended in tears around the third week so fingers crossed this year isn't more of the same.

I believe Janelle is going to take a stab at the writing marathon as well, so while we might not be mentally capable of writing reviews every week of November, we’ll be keeping you updated and talking about books from the view of the writer, not just reader and posting more fun stuff like Janelle's post about her favorite place to read.

Is anyone else participating in NaNoWriMo this year?  Have you participated in the past?  Does the idea of writing an entire novel in a month scare the hell out of you? (Because it scares me!)

Oh and add me as a writing buddy over at NaNo!  I love to see what people are working on and commiserate/wallow in the sheer absurdity of this folly together!  My screen name is filmphi.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Review - Playing with Matches by Brian Katcher

Summary: (via Goodreads)Some guys are born handsome, but seventeen-year-old Leon Sanders has a mug that looks like it should be hanging in a post office with the caption “wanted for shoplifting and credit card fraud”. Thanks to his twisted sense of humor, he’s managed to go from nerdy to unknown. Leon’s new locker neighbor is Melody Hennon, an unfortunate girl whose face was horribly disfigured from a childhood accident. When Leon takes a chance and makes her laugh, he discovers that underneath the scarred skin, Melody is a funny, smart, and interesting person. Leon never predicted that he and Melody would become good friends…and maybe more.

This book has a really interesting storyline. A boy outcast meets a girl outcast; they become friends, and eventually start dating. But, aside from all the regular issues faced by the average teenage couple, Leon and Melody have to deal with something else, something that’s practically impossible to ignore no matter how hard either of them tries. They have to deal with the issue of her face, which is unattractively covered with scar tissue from a freak fire accident she suffered as a child.
I don’t know what I was really expecting from the story when I first read the back-flap. I half thought that Melody’s disfigurement wouldn’t be that terrible, or that even if it was, Leon would be this really wonderful, big-hearted guy whose sole purpose in the story would be to provide unconditional love, allowing Melody to finally face those inner demons she harbors over her appearance. And that maybe later, she would even get the chance to undergo some miraculous skin-grafting surgery that would restore her physical beauty (quite fairy tale-ish of me, I know.)
Well, Brian Katcher had a whole host of different (and better) ideas about where the plotline Playing with Matches ought to go. Instead of the non-superficial teenage hero I was expecting, Leon’s character is created true to any hormonal seventeen year old high school junior. He is superficial, he cares about beauty, and Melody’s disfigurement bothers him. Despite the strong feelings of attraction he feels toward Melody’s personality, the repulsive feelings he has about her appearance are stronger still, turning him into a flighty and noncommittal boyfriend.
Meanwhile, Melody issues about her disfigurement aren’t that different from Leon’s. Appearance means a lot in most situation, and Melody has had to learn that the hardest way possible. At age seventeen, she has never had a friend, let alone a boyfriend, until Leon comes into her life. This fact alone makes her cling to him as hard as she can for as long as she can. Melody’s desperation becomes so strong that she’s willing to forgive a lot of Leon’s transgressions to keep their relationship going.
Unexpectedly, I found myself charmed by this book. I loved the harshness in Leon’s inability to accept Melody scarred face. Heck, if I had to be completely honest, I would have to admit that I wasn’t quite able to swallow Melody’s appearance either (yes, it’s truly shameful how I assume that beautiful people are going to jump out of the pages of the books I read) and so I never truly blamed Leon for the selfish actions he took in the given circumstances. I also loved the lopsided statuses Leon and Melody occupied in their relationship. Even though Leon was a nobody, Melody was less than that and therefore dependent of Leon for some sort of high school social strata elevation.
Overall, this is a truly great book. There are no negatives that I can think of. Katcher has placed his characters is less than average circumstances and manages to resolve their issues very successfully. He captured the varying emotions of Melody and Leon perfectly, and I can’t wait to get started on his second novel, Almost Perfect, which promises to be yet another interesting ride through a rather conventional teenage relationship.

Lit Snit Verdict: B

Monday, October 25, 2010

Review—Crossing Washington Square by Joanne Rendell

Synopsis (via Goodreads): Some women follow their hearts; others follow their minds. In this “charming, witty, and cerebral” second novel from the acclaimed author of The Professors’ Wives’ Club, we return to Manhattan University, where two strong-willed women are compelled to unite their senses and sensibilities.

Professor Diana Monroe is a highly respected scholar of Sylvia Plath. Serious and aloof, she steadfastly keeps her mind on track. Professor Rachel Grey is young and impulsive, with a penchant for teaching popular women’s fiction like
Bridget Jones’ Diary and The Devil Wears Prada, and for wearing her heart on her sleeve.

The two conflicting personalities meet head to heart when Carson McEvoy, a handsome and brilliant professor visiting from Harvard, sets his eyes on both women and creates even more tension between them. Now Diana and Rachel are slated to accompany an undergraduate trip to London, where an almost life-threatening experience with a student celebrity will force them to change their minds and heal their hearts…together.

Review:  I heard about this book during Book Blogger Appreciation Week and it sounded right up my alley.  I’ve always been discouraged by the dismissal of chick lit as “real literature” and think it has certain merit in the world of fiction. 

Crossing Washington Square makes a lot of really great points about the misconceptions about chick lit and the prejudices people have when they see you reading it.  However, by about halfway through I was just like “I get it.  Enough already!”  The “moral” is dragged out way too long and both Diana and Rachel lack any self-awareness so it takes forever for them to make any ground as characters. 

I really wanted to like this book more than I did.  The set-up for the book was great.  I thought it was fun in the beginning to compare them to Elinor and Marianne Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility, but the comparisons, though started out strong, went nowhere.  Both claimed the superficial aspects of each woman, which made them rather bland.  Diana was stuck-up and frigid, Rachel was emotional and flighty and each stayed like this practically until the last chapter when we're just supposed to suddenly buy them as friends.  We're told they've grown, but I just didn't see it so the ending felt a bit jarring. 

Both characters just didn’t do anything for me.  Just when I thought I was beginning to connect with one, they fell back on some stereotype.  Seriously, if Rachel said she was going to “catch me a Carson” one more time I think I was going to scream.  It was a ridiculous statement for a grown woman to say once, let alone five times.  I was really interested in each of the women for the first couple chapters, but the story just went nowhere and I found myself just getting irritated with both women for their lack of action, or, when they did act, it was just so stupid and flighty it made me roll my eyes.  The middle of the book just felt muddled and meandering.  Though it pulled itself together in the end for a somewhat plausible ending, each character still felt vaguely superficial and forced to me.  

I do commend Rendell for bringing to light the way chick lit has been dismissed as “fluff” (on another note: what’s wrong with fluff?  I would argue that anyone who doesn’t want some “fluff” in their life is pretty boring.) and definitely isn’t to be looked at with any kind of literary or critial gaze.  As Rendell says pop culture influences everything we are: how we think, how we act, and what’s going to happen in our lives.  If we’re seriously studying current television and film in Ivy league schools, why is chick lit still regulated to a “guilty pleasure.”

Anyway, Crossing Washington Square highlights a really interesting argument about the current state of literature, I only wish the story that surrounded this argument was a little more compelling. It's got some great academic thoughts but lacks that spark that makes "women's fiction" great.

Lit Snit Verdict: C

Friday, October 22, 2010

Casting Call Friday — Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married by Marian Keyes

I've had a crazy week traveling all over for weddings and work trips, so I didn't know what my Casting Call pick was going to be until I thought back to my review of Bachelor Boys and realized none of us had cast Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married despite Janelle's glowing review a few months ago.  So, I've decided to remedy that.  I'll admit this is a hard one to cast.  I'm not entirely happy with my picks so I'm looking forward to seeing who you think should play Lucy and Daniel.

First, a synopsis (via Goodreads): What happens when a psychic tells Lucy that she'll be getting married within the year? Her roommates panic! What is going to happen to their blissful existence of eating take-out, drinking too much wine, bringing men home, and never vacuuming? Lucy reassures her friends that she's far too busy arguing with her mother and taking care of her irresponsible father to get married. And then there's the small matter of not even having a boyfriend.
But then Lucy meets gorgeous, unreliable Gus. Could he 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 guy at work?
Maybe her friends have something to worry about after all....

Now onto the cast...

Lucy Sullivan — Lucy is 26 and hopeless in love.  She's self-deprecating and funny, but slides into "funks" now and then and is known for her moodiness.  She sees what she wants to see in her love life and family, often missing what's right in front of her...

Cast: Carey Mulligan 
Carey Mulligan is a bit young, but I think she's got the right look and "cheekiness" for Lucy.  Plus she can handle the more serious turns the character takes throughout the book.  Having her as Lucy will keep the story from going too "zany rom com" and keep some of the gravitas that makes this story great.

Daniel Watson — Daniel is Lucy's best friend and a notoroious womanizer.  He's not necessarily the most handsome man, but he's got oodles of charisma and charm.  He's always been there for Lucy and is often the voice of reason to Lucy's overactive imagination.

Cast: James McAvoy 
I'll admit, I love James McAvoy, but I'm not completely convinced he's the right fit for Daniel.  I think he's got the right charm and sweetness, but there's just something missing.  If I could combine him and Chris Pine into one human being, not only would I have created the perfect leading man, I think I'd have exactly what I'd envisioned Daniel as.

Karen — Karen is Lucy's bossy flatmate who never shies away from putting Lucy down and telling her the ugly truth saying it's "for her own good."  She's incredibly competitive and arrogant, but can be a good friend to Lucy (when it's convenient for her). 

Cast: Abbie Cornish 
This was another tough one.  Marian Keyes described both Karen and Charlotte as blonds so I wanted to keep Karen blond, even though I think Emily Blunt might make a good Karen (she's a lot like her character from The Devil Wears Prada), but I think Abbie Cornish might do a good job too.  She's got a lot of range and I'd be interested to see her do a more rom com type movie even if she's not the leading lady.

Charlotte —Charlotte is Lucy's other roommate.  She's a sweet, but spacey girl from outside London who's still trying to find her way in the city.  She's even more hapless in love than Lucy, but always tries to look on the bright side of things.

Cast: Rosamund Pike 
Rosamund Pike has the perfect mix of innocence and sultriness that epitomizes Charlotte.  She'd be a great pair to Abbie Cornish without getting lost in big personalities.  She was great as a wide-eyed waif in Pride and Prejudice and I think she could take that type of character up a notch here.

Gus—Gus is Lucy's Irish boyfriend who's great at mooching off other people and drinking.  He's fun and loves a good time, but isn't reliable and still acts like he's 18.

Cast: Chris O'Dowd
I love Chris O'Dowd from The IT Crowd.  He might be a bit goofy for the role, but be a great lovable overgrown child and you would understand why Lucy gets taken in by him.  He's got the right charm and affability for Gus.  Oh, and he's really Irish so points for that.


There are a lot of characters in Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married and, to be totally honest, I'm way too tired to cast them all, but I did want to mention my picks for Lucy's parents: Miranda Richardson and Jim Broadbent.  Though it might be because of Bridget Jones' Diary, Jim Broadbent has always been in my head as Mr. Sullivan when I read (and re-read) this book.  After much thought, Miranda Richardson would be good as the put-upon Mrs. Sullivan.

So What do you think?  I feel like I'm pretty wishy-washy about my picks so I'm eager to hear who you would cast in Marian Keyes awesome book!

Oh, and did you know this book has already been a TV show!?  I still have not dared to watch this entire thing with sound because I feel like it might destroy the book for me, but check it out.  It ran for a whole season and, yes, that is Gerard Butler as Gus!