Girls in White Dresses

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'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

Lit IT Girl: Debut Author Jennifer Close

We read a lot of good books.  But every once in a while we read a book we LOVE from page one.  A novel that we want to shout from the rooftops, Read this freakin' book NOW! So that's what we're doing now.  We might not be standing on a rooftop, but imagine us picking up our megaphone and screaming at the top of our lungs to go grab a copy of Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close.  Seriously.  The narrative is so refreshing, so fun, so exactly what we needed!  *picks up megaphone again* We LOVED it!

And we're thrilled that Jennifer is wearing the Lit IT Girl crown.  Because there's nothing we like more than discovering a new author and telling y'all about it!  And how excited were we to discover that she shares our GNO drink of choice!!!

Here's the skinny on Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close: Isabella, Mary, and Lauren feel like everyone they know is getting married. On Sunday after Sunday, at bridal shower after bridal shower, they coo over toasters, collect ribbons and wrapping paper, eat minuscule sandwiches and doll-sized cakes. They wear pastel dresses and drink champagne by the case, but amid the celebration these women have their own lives to contend with: Isabella is working at a mailing-list company, dizzy with the mixed signals of a boss who claims she’s on a diet but has Isabella file all morning if she forgets to bring her a chocolate muffin. Mary thinks she might cry with happiness when she finally meets a nice guy who loves his mother, only to realize he’ll never love Mary quite as much. And Lauren, a waitress at a Midtown bar, swears up and down she won’t fall for the sleazy bartender—a promise that his dirty blond curls and perfect vodka sodas make hard to keep.

These are the years when everyone else seems to have a plan, a great job, and an appropriate boyfriend, while Isabella has a blind date with a gay man, Mary has a crush on her boss, and Lauren has a goldfish named Willard. Through boozy family holidays and disastrous ski vacations, relationships lost to politics and relationships found in pet stores, Girls in White Dresses pulls us deep inside the circle of these friends, perfectly capturing the wild frustrations and soaring joys of modern life.

Sound good?  Then leave a comment, yo!  We have FIVE copies to give away!  We'll choose the winners after 6pm PST on Sunday, September 25th.  Good luck!


1. How many agents did you query before you found "the one"?

I sent out query letters to about seven agents.  My plan was to start with a small group of amazing agents and send out more from there.  One of these agents was Sam Hiyate, who had signed three of my friends from grad school.  I met Sam in person at a book launch party, and we had a great talk about my writing and plans.  I promised to send him the finished manuscript when it was done, and I did just that.  He enjoyed my writing, had a good vision of what kind of a book he thought it would be, and most importantly wanted to sign me.  So I stopped there!

2. What was your rock bottom moment during the process?

There wasn’t really a rock bottom moment during the whole process…which I realize is very lucky!  I think in general, the hardest part was waiting.  After my agent sent out the book to editors, I felt so helpless!  Thankfully, I didn’t have to wait too long (it was less than a week) but that time was so hard!

And then when the book was totally done, and the ARCs were sent out to stores and reporters, and I just had to wait all over again.  There was nothing more that I could do and I just had to sit at home and hope that people read it and enjoyed it.  It’s a really scary feeling to send this thing you’ve been working on out into the world and hope it does well.  Also, I guess I’m not a very patient person!

3. How long did it take to write your book?

It took just under three years before it was sold to Knopf and after that, I did some pretty serious edits with my editor.  It’s really fun to look back at the early versions of the book and see how it’s transformed and come together.  Every step made it a better book.  Sometimes, I just had to walk away from it for a few weeks and then come back to it with fresh eyes.

4. What did you do to celebrate your book deal?

I was so overwhelmed!  It didn’t even seem real at first.  For the first day, I was so excited and shaky that I couldn’t even have a glass of champagne to celebrate…and believe me, I always want a glass of champagne!  But a couple of days later, I went to New York to meet my editor and went out with a group of my girlfriends and we had an amazing time.  It started to sink in that it was really happening then.

It’s become a little bit easier to celebrate the little things along the way: finishing the edits, getting the ARC’s, getting a foreign deal, and then of course the day it came out.  My fiancé and I usually just go to a nice dinner with lots (and lots) of wine.

5. Knowing what you know now about publishing your first novel, what would you have done differently?

I think I would have tried to enjoy the process a little bit more.  But that’s really hard to say, because even though it’s such an amazing experience, it’s also really nerve wracking and it always felt like there was something to be worried about.

6. What's your biggest distraction or vice while writing?

Everything.  Everything is a distraction!  I’d have to say Facebook and Twitter are the two worst.  I try to really stay off of them for long stretches of time and make myself sit at my desk and just think and write.

7. Who is your writer crush?

I have so many.  Lately, I read Blueprints for Building Better Girls by Ellissa Schappel, which was amazing.  Funny and heartbreaking at the same time.  I’m also reading A Good Hard Look by Ann Napolitano, which I can’t put down.  It’s so engrossing and well done.  And Ann Packer has always been one of my favorites…Ann Lamott too.  Lot’s of Anns!  I’m also a fan of Curtis Sittenfeld.  And I think I’ll stop here, before I name 20 more people.

8. GNO drink of choice?

Grey Goose and soda with a splash of grapefruit.  I call it “The Jennifer.”  J

9. Favorite trashy TV show?

Oh lord.  This is embarrassing.  There’s lots.  Lately, I’ve been watching Giuliana and Bill.

10. What celeb would you love to have a Twitter war with?

No one!  Twitter freaks me out a little bit.  I’m just coming around to enjoying it for all of the nice messages that people send back and forth.  As for anything other than that, I’m out!

Thanks Jennifer!  xo, L&L

To read more about Jennifer, head on over to Twitter and Facebook.