Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez’s Dirty Girls on Top


Dirty Girls on Top by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez | LibraryThing

Valdes, A. (2008). Dirty girls on top. New York: St. Martin’s Press. 9780312349677

Reasons for Reading : Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez got me hooked on the sucias with The Dirty Girls Social Club. So, I checked out the sequel, Dirty Girls on Top from HCPL.

Summary: (Must Read The Dirty Girls Social Club before starting this book) Las sucias return five years after the end of The Dirty Girls Social Club. Columnist Lauren Fernandez still writes at a Boston paper but can’t choose her men nor hold her liquor well. Ghetto-fabulous Usnavys has a great man and little tomboy at home but also a roving eye. Rebecca found her soulmate in Andre but has yet to realize her dream of parenthood. Sara may appear to have it all together but with her own decorating show on cable but can she resist the charms of her abusive ex-husband Roberto. Chameleon-like rockstar Cuicatl (formerly known as Amber) wakes up to the fact that it’s hard to stay on top. Despite coming out of the closet and living with her partner, Elizabeth is a lonely single parent. All of this begs the question – Can las sucias reunite and withstand all the lemons life has given them?

What I Liked: The first book tied up some loose ends but I wondered about what was happening with las sucias. I think Valdes-Rodriguez answered a number of my questions. Her descriptions render these women quite real and they deal with their issues in realistic ways. I could see these people as though they were in the room with me! While their distinctive voices stand on their own, I appreciated that the author headed each section with the name of the heroine narrating it.

What I Disliked: I mentioned before that I think six were too many. Three or four characters would’ve been great. Perhaps I’m a purest but I didn’t like reading Roberto’s section. This book belongs to las sucias alone! Lastly, I got a little too much detail in some passages. As I’ve noted, Valdes-Rodriguez leaves little to the imagination with her nearly photographic descriptions.

Three Out of Five Pearls

Song: Lana Del Rey – National Anthem – YouTube

Setting : Boston, Los Angeles, New Mexico, Puerto Rico

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Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez’s The Dirty Girls Social Club


The Dirty Girls Social Club: A Novel by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez | LibraryThing

Valdes, A. (2003). The Dirty Girls Social Club. New York: St. Martin’s Press. 9780312313814

 Reasons for Reading : In April, I enjoyed Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez’s Haters. Also, I have been reading more chick  lit lately.  So, I checked out The Dirty Girls Social Club.

 Summary: Six women meet at Boston University. While completely different in looks and personality, they are the only women of Latin descent in the Communications Department. Thus, the six form a strong bond and call their group the Buena Vista Sucia Club also known as The Dirty Girls Social Club. At the beginning of the book, the sucias have been out of college for a few years. They meet each other every six months, rain or shine. These ladies have their ups and downs but always support their sucias. The Dirty Girls Social Club is narrated in the first person, each shedding light on her own life. The sucias are:

 –Lauren, the “caliente” columnist for the local Boston paper whose love live has recently led her to her boyfriend’s closet…to catch him in the act with someone else
–Sara, the perfect wife and mother who’s got it all but who is paying a high price
–Amber, raised a Valley girl without a word of Spanish but who is becoming a huge rock en Español star
–Elizabeth, the stunning black Latina whose TV anchor job conflicts with her intensely private personal life
–Rebecca, hyper-in-command in the world of her glossy magazine, Ella, but totally at sea when it comes to men
–Usnavys, fabulous and larger than life, whose agenda to land the kind of man who can keep her in Manolos almost prevents her finding true love

– From the flap

What I Liked : While brought together by the narrow-mindedness of others, the sucias rise above and show such a devotion to one another that some can only dream of. They’re far from perfect and do ill-advised things but these women are definitely compelling and believable. I felt I could see Lauren, Sara, Amber, Rebecca, Elizabeth, and even Usnavys on the street and in my life. I even visualized some of their faces as those of my friends. I also liked how these women were diverse – Lauren (part-Cuban, part-white  trash), Sara (Cuban Jew), Amber (Valley Girl of Mexican descent), Rebecca (New Mexican Spanish), Elizabeth (Colombian), and Usnavys (Puerto Rican). I also liked how each section was prefaced by passages from Lauren’s column in a Boston newspaper.

What I Disliked : Maybe Valdes-Rodriguez had too many main characters. I think she may have fared better with just four women. Since the narrators alternated from sucia to sucia, I felt some of the stories became cold. Sometimes, I wanted to know about what was happening with one sucia but would be delivered to another. Also, I didn’t care for the very detailed “love scenes.” I like a few things left to the imagination.

Four Out of Five Pearls

Song: El sol de la noche. Salsa céltica. – YouTube

Setting : Boston, Los Angeles, Puerto Rico, Colombia

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Jennifer Close’s Girls in White Dresses


Close, J., & Card, E. J. (2011). Girls in white dresses. New York, NY: Books on Tape/Random House Audio. 9780307939340

Girls In White Dresses by Jennifer Close | LibraryThing

Girls In White Dresses by Jennifer Close | LibraryThing

Reasons for Reading : I desperately sought out another audiobook for my work commute. I spot this on one of the shelving carts.

Summary: Broken into short story-like chapters, author Jennifer Close relays various vignettes about twenty-something single women. The main characters – Isabella, Mary, and Lauren – have much experience as bridesmaids. Throughout Girls in White Dresses, these three and others have the chance to share snippets of their lives.

What I Liked : These stories were pretty humorous. The chapter entitled “Hope” had me laughing my head off when I wasn’t nodding in agreement.

I felt I knew these characters pretty well before the end of the first chapter. I don’t completely identify with these women but I’ve met people similar to these characters.

What I Disliked : This pertains only to the audiobook version – the sole narrator did something weird with her voice when she read Lauren’s parts.

Additionally, it wasn’t always simple to keep track of the who was who in each chapter. Maybe that’s why the narrator gave Lauren an odd voice.

Three Out of Five Pearls

Song: Glee – My Favorite Things (Official Video) – YouTube

Setting : New York City, Chicago, Boston

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For more on Jennifer Close’s Girls in White Dresses, check out the following sites:
 

Elin Hilderbrand’s Silver Girl


Silver Girl by Elin Hilderbrand | LibraryThing

Hilderbrand, E. (2011). Silver girl: A novel. New York: Little, Brown and Co. 9780316099660

While in England, my roommate gave me a book she just finished. It was Silver Girl. This was the first book I’ve ready by Elin Hilderbrand.

Hilderbrand relates a story of two estranged friends in addition to a tale of a Ponzi schemer. The author gives us two perspectives – that one of Meredith Martin Delinn, the wife of the “Bernie Madoff” character – Freddy Delinn, and her childhood friend Constance “Connie” O’Brien Flute. Forty-nine year old Meredith has lost it all thanks to Freddy cheating rich people out of loads of money. Nobody wants to associate with Meredith and she can’t talk to her grown sons because they’re also implicated in her husband’s crime. Connie’s got problems of her own in addition to the rift between her and Meredith. Then, Connie calls Meredith and the two head out to Nantucket for the summer. Here, Meredith and Connie make way for reconciliation as well as ghosts from the past. Meredith also has to face her old boyfriend, Toby O’Brien, Connie’s brother. 

I found Silver Girl easy to read and the characters realistic. I liked that Hilderbrand offered a point of view such as Meredith’s. Also, I liked that the title was a reference to a song by one of my all-time favorite music acts. I wanted to know more about Connie, though. Also, I was annoyed by how the author stated the characters’ full names. For example:

“The ring had been inherited from her grandmother, Annabeth Martin, and not bought with dirty money.”

“And the way that Meredith knew that Veronica O’Brien drank was because her own parents talked about it. . .

Three Out of Five Pearls

Song: ‪Simon and Garfunkel – Bridge Over Troubled Water Original Version‬‏ – YouTube

Setting :  New York City, Nantucket

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June 14: Top Ten “Awww” Moments In Books (those cute lines, charming actions, kisses, or any other sentimental moment that made you say “AWWW!”


Top Ten Tuesday | The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists! Each week we will post a new Top Ten list  that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists.

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June 14: Top Ten “Awww” Moments In Books (those cute lines, charming actions, kisses, or any other sentimental moment that made you say “AWWW!”

I’ve listed titles only since I don’t want to reveal endings of books – the “Awww!” moments in these books. I welcome comments. 🙂

1. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

2. Eat, pray, love: [one woman’s search for everything across Italy, India and Indonesia] by Elizabeth Gilbert

3. Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton

4. Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

5. Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason by Helen Fielding

6. The Graduate by Charles Webb

7. Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

8. A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks

9. Miss Pettigrew Lives for the Day by Winifred Watson

10. No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith