Best Books of 2011 by Liz

We love this time of year!  Warm hats, scarves, sassy boots and a reason to curl up by the fire with a good book and drink hot chocolate.  And it's been a great year here at CLIND-we've had so many fantastic authors on and have enjoyed every single one. (Thank you authors!) We also launched our own e-book, The D Word and relaunched I'll Have Who She's Having this past June-Thanks for all your support-we truly appreciate each and every one of you. We also read a shitload of books in 2011.  And there were so many wonderful ones that making a short list was was VERY difficult.  In fact, Lisa and I had such a hard time deciding that we each decided to come up with our own list.  Look for her's later this week!

And what kind of end-of year post would this be without an AWESOME giveaway?  Leave a comment and you'll be entered to win a BUNDLE O' BOOKS that includes novels from Cecelia Ahern, Josie Brown, Jenny Nelson and Joanne Rendell, among others!  Check out the picture below to see all TEN books the winner will receive. We'll choose the winners on Monday December 26th after 6pm PST.

So without further adieu, here's my list.  And don't forget to tell me what YOUR fave novels of 2011 were!


1. Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close I read this debut while on vacay in Hawaii over the summer and let's just say that I'm pretty thankful neither of my kids drowned while I was engrossed of this witty, refreshing tale of a group of friends after they graduate from college and struggle with heartbreak and career changes, all while attending endless bridal showers. A MUST read if you were a big SATC fan-the narrative really captures the spirit of Carrie & co.  It's not too late to pick this up for your stocking!


2. The Art of Forgetting by Camille Noe Pagan Another great debut!  When Marissa's BFF Julia gets hit by a cab and suffers brain damage, it changes the dynamic of their friendship forever. As Julia struggles to regain her memory, things come up that Marissa would much rather forget and things get a bit complicated.  A engaging story about friendship and forgiveness that I couldn't put down.  I highly recommend you grab a copy for you and your bestie TODAY.  One of my favorite covers of the year too!


3.  Skipping A Beat by Sarah Pekkanen I. Loved. This. Book! As a self-delared emotional robot, I found myself bawling like a freakin' baby during the last few chapters of this delightful novel.  When Julia's husband Michael has a near-death experience, he rewrites the rules of their struggling marriage, forcing her to choose whether to stay and take a leap of faith or leave forever. Insightful but also with with a healthy dose of Pekkanen's trademark humor, you won't be able to put it down- I PROMISE!


4. The First Husband by Laura Dave When Annie's long-time boyfriend suddenly leaves her, she rebounds with a vengeance, marrying a down-to-earth chef after three short months of dating. Soon Annie finds herself in a small Massachusetts town and wondering if she was too quick on the trigger.  When her ex returns and wants her back, things get really complicated...  Laura Dave is one of my fave writers, her narrative on love and life always hits home and The First Husband is no exception.  I devoured this book in four hours flat-a new record for me. The perfect gift to give yourself this season!


5. Best Kept Secret by Amy Hatvany Cadence thought she had it all-good job, successful husband and adorable son-until her marriage went off the rails and the stress of single motherhood drove her to start drinking heavily. It's only when her five-year old son is taken away that she realizes that her best kept secret has been discovered. Will she ever be able to find her way back and earn back the trust she's lost? Honest and thought-provoking, I promise you'll be thinking of Cadence long after you finish this fantastic book.

And one YA bonus pick!

Y'all know I have love for those young adult novels...here's my fave of 2011.

Bumped by Megan McCafferty- When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, things get a little bit CRAZY.  Would-be parents pay top dollar for teens to conceive and carry babies, making them the most prized citizens in society-and the most genetically blessed are in the highest demand and considered celebrities. I LOVED this book-very high concept about the business of having babies, and our increasing desire for genetic perfection. I'm anxiously awaiting a sequel!



Thanks for such a great year and here's to a wonderful 2012!  Don't forget to leave a comment to be entered to win a BUNDLE O' BOOKS!  xoxo, Liz

Megan McCafferty's 5 Do's and a Do-Over

Although we're alike in so many ways(Love Barry Manilow!  Hate tequila!) we're also complete opposites in so many others.  Like reading.  Lisa likes to take her time and savor each books she's reading while Liz likes to devour the book like's she a contestant on Survivor who hasn't eaten in four days.  For Liz, the faster she reads the book, the more she likes it.  Some of her faves have been read in mere hours!  Sure, she may be speed-reading just a tad, but when she finds uninterrupted time to dive into the incredibly growing TBR list, she doesn't have time to F around and stop and smell the roses! So you'll be happy to know that she finished NYT bestselling YA author Megan McCafferty's latest,Bumped(out on April 26th) in less than a day.  Intriguing and thought-provoking, this YA novel proves that it's not just for teenagers. We highly recommend it!

When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society. Girls sport fake baby bumps and the school cafeteria stocks folic-acid-infused food.

Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and have never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Up to now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. While they are searching for the perfect partner for Melody to bump with, she is fighting her attraction to her best friend, Zen, who is way too short for the job.

Harmony has spent her whole life in Goodside, a religious community, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to convince Melody that pregging for profit is a sin. But Harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from.

When Melody is finally matched with the world-famous, genetically flawless Jondoe, both girls’ lives are changed forever. A case of mistaken identity takes them on a journey neither could have ever imagined, one that makes Melody and Harmony realize they have so much more than just DNA in common.

Sound good?  IT IS!!!  And you have FIVE chances to win a copy!  Just leave a comment here and you'll be entered.  We'll chosse the winner on Sunday April 24th after 6pm PST.



5 DO'S

1. Transfer colleges. I knew before the end of first-year orientation week (I believe I had my epiphany at BYOB--Bring Your Own Banana--Ice Cream Sunday Social) that the small college in Virginia was NOT for me. But I was afraid that if I left, I'd look like a loser to everyone back home. I stuck it out for two tumultuous years before realizing I had so much more to lose by settling. (LIFE LESSON ALERT: That's also true of colleges, jobs, boyfriends...) So I applied--and got into--a bigger, more liberal university in New York City where I didn't know anyone. It was the most transformative decision of my young adult life. Which brings me to #2...

2. Move somewhere no one knows you. True, it's harder to reinvent yourself in the Facebook era. But I found it incredibly liberating to start over in a city where I could be anyone...maybe even myself. And this leads to #3...

3. Embrace your inner dork. Recently I blogged about My Top 40 Songs of All Time. This is not a list carefully crafted to impress music snobs with its coolness. At all. But a close friend pointed out it may the only list of its kind that includes both Captain and Tennille and The Smiths. It's uniquely *me* in its uncoolness, which sort of makes it cool. This seques into #4...

4. Like what you like without guilt. I've worn the same scent (Colors de Benetton) since I was 13. DVF wrap dresses always flatter my figure. I re-watch the entire run of Freaks and Geeks every other year. I order the same spicy chicken in lettuce leaves when we get Chinese take-out. I research vacations all over the world and inevitably end up booking a trip somewhere in the Caribbean. These are things I like and I'm going to keep liking them because they make me happy. I've been cultivating these tastes for 38 years and with so much of life that's out of my control, there's a certain comfort to be found in what's familiar. Then again...

5. Embrace what's new too. It's so easy to get stuck in a life rut. But a negative attitude about newness would have stopped me from transferring to a different college seventeen years ago or dancing my ass off with college students half my age at the LCD Soundsystem show a few weeks ago (a transcendent not-to-be-missed experience). I never want to be one of those cranks who gets stubbornly stuck in a certain mindset and goes around complaining about how much everything else sucks. Because you know what? It's just not true. And it's no way to enjoy the richness of life either.

DO-OVER I don't dwell on regrets. Learning from my mistakes has made me who I am today. That said, I shouldn't have gotten that home perm in eighth grade. No one should get a home perm. Under any circumstances. I mean, have you ever heard a *positive* home perm story? I rest my case.

Thanks Megan!  xoxo, L&L

To read more about Megan, head on over to her website or find her on Facebook and Twitter.