{December Book} “Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares” by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares
Happy Holidays DBC!!  To get in the spirit of the season, we have chosen a book that takes place at Christmastime (sorry in advance to our 2 jewish members, but you’re probably used to it by now anyway! Ha!).  This is the perfect light read to snuggle up next to a fire and get lost in the adventures of Dash and Lily!   Read the description straight from the back of the book below! 
 
“I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”

So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the New York Times bestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

Ooooh! Well, we can’t wait to find out! How about you? Post your comments and reviews below. Happy Holidays and Happy Reading!

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{November Meeting} “One Day” in Paris Theme!

(left to right) Diana, Cynthia, Cara (and Fiona), and Marissa pose partake in a Parisian spread for the 'One Day' meeting of the DBC.

Thursday, November 11th proved to be another VERY entertaining and lively meeting of the DBC! Cara hosted a lovely Paris-themed soiree in her adorable pink poodle apartment. We carefully selected our theme based on Dex and Em’s climatic rendezvous in Paris- this is when their relationship finally made that fateful turn that each of us DBC readers were praying for, from the moment we read the very first words of this book.

 

Tarika and Diana engage in DBC discussion

DISCUSSION:

Our discussion ranged in topic from our perceptions of the characters, and which we related to on a personal level…to the different “forms” of love the characters felt for each other, and at the different points in there lives. Some felt Emma’s love to be more pure, in that she seemed to love him unconditionally, even when she “didn’t like him” anymore, while Dexter’s seemed to be rooted in his need for comfort and security after countless mistakes, and age began to take it’s toll. Others saw Dexter’s love for Emma as being simply, the result of the environment in which he grew up, and that he loved her in the truest way he knew how. Dex began the book with airs of confidence, success and luck, while Emma seemed stuck in a rut, content in meaningless relationships and jobs. We found it interesting the way they were finally able to come together as a couple, just as their lives converged…Emma on her way up, Dex on his way down.  All in all, most of us appreciated the realism of their love story: the fact that it was genuine, passionate, yet full of complications and completely imperfect, made it relatable and compelling to read.  

FOOD and DRINKS: No book club meeting is complete without delicious food and potent drinks. Keeping with our Parisian theme, we selected to bring items with a French flair. The favorites were a toss up between Cara’s succulent shrimp cocktail, and Cynthia’s, mouthwatering cheese fondue. We also enjoyed crème brulée (I was trying out a new agave nectar recipe, which to be honest, was less-than great, so I will be including a different, tried and true recipe below), fresh pastries, crisp veggies, and our signature cocktail- French martinis, of course!

Cynthia’s Mouthwatering Cheese Fondue

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup dry whit wine
  2. ½ lbs shredded Swiss cheese
  3. ½ lbs shredded Gruyere cheese
  4. 2 Tbs all-purpose flour
  5. ¼ tsp salt
  6. ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  7. French bread for dipping

Directions: Simmer wine in fondue pot. Add Swiss cheese, Gruyere cheese, ¼ pound at a time. Stir after each addition of cheese until melted. Stir in flour. When all the cheese has melted, stir in salt and nutmeg. Serve with cut-up French bread.

Crème Brulée (The Food Network)

Ingredients:

  1. 1 quart heavy cream
  2. 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
  3. 1 cup vanilla sugar, divided
  4. 6 large egg yolks
  5. 2 quarts hot water

Directions: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Place the cream, vanilla bean and its pulp into a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean and reserve for another use.

In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup sugar and the egg yolks until well blended and it just starts to lighten in color. Add the cream a little at a time, stirring continually. Pour the liquid into 6 (7 to 8-ounce) ramekins. Place the ramekins into a large cake pan or roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake just until the creme brulee is set, but still trembling in the center, approximately 40 to 45 minutes. Remove the ramekins from the roasting pan and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.

Remove the creme brulee from the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes prior to browning the sugar on top. Divide the remaining 1/2 cup vanilla sugar equally among the 6 dishes and spread evenly on top. Using a torch, melt the sugar and form a crispy top. Allow the creme brulee to sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.

French Martini

2 oz Vodka
½ oz Chambord
2 ½ oz Pineapple Juice

Back a shaker full of ice and add all ingredients. Shake and Stain into a martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

And in conclusion, some additional photos from the November meeting of the DBC:

Our hostess with the mostesst and her mini me

Cynthia and Dirty D

Miss Marissa, deep in tought, lol!

Cynthia's Mad Housewife wine! What a find!!!

The Fab Housewife with the Mad Housewife

Hawlie's fav part of Cara's Beverly Hills apartment...all the bookshelves are filled with shoes! A busy girl's gotta prioritize 🙂

Caught you D!

Pretty Tarika!

With her co-hosts, Cara couldn't have done it without them!

Even Belle needs a girls' night out sometimes 🙂

Fiona LOVES her French Martini!

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One Day Book Review by Dirty D

I’m going to start with a dry “I really loved this book.”  🙂  So original I know!

But truly, I loved the book as soon as I finished the second “day”.  I especially loved Em’s character; her “voice” and sarcasm.  On every page, that dry English humor that you hear about all the time is dripping from the pages.

Most notably, the way the story is written is the first I’ve ever experienced.  The story is written during one day in the lives of Dex and Em over the course of their 20 year relationship.  From the very first day they met as college students, then to struggling young adults trying to figure out who they want to be then as they round the corner in becoming the person that was always hiding beneath.  I really appreciated the way you could see how these two individuals grew in their lives.

It’s very similar to looking through a round peep hole.  Seeing only a small glimpse of the whole picture with small clues/indications of what the rest of the picture looks like.  The author does a wonderful job giving you just enough information to gleam what has happened in these two lives since you left them exactly one year earlier.

The writing is humorous, the characters are vivacious and alive. (So alive at times, I saw Carrie Mulligan playing Em…sometimes I saw my best friend Debbie in Em’s dry sense of humor) and the story is phenomenal.

I can’t give any more without ruining some small part of the book because it is, in 448 pages, one of the coolest books I’ve read in a long time.

Shout out to Tarika for the recommendation!

~d

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Can Boys and Girls Really Ever Be JUST FRIENDS???

Hi Dirty Bookclubers! I am about half way into reading, “One Day”, and am absolutely loving this book! I just want Emma and Dexter to admit they passionately love each other already and live happily ever after! And I must say, if this book ends without an incredibly romantic climax I am going to cry myself to sleep with disappointment. Okay, so maybe I get a little too invested into the characters of the books I’m reading, but I just really really want those two crazy kids to end up together!

The relationship between Emma and Dexter has really got me thinking about that age-old question, “Can boys and girls really ever be JUST FRIENDS??” After much deliberation, delving into my past relationships and friendships with boys, and discussing with friends the answer is simply not black or white. Relationships obviously differ from person to person. But I, in my personal experience, can say that in the majority of inter gender friendships at least one of the parties has feelings for the other. Usually, at least one person is having to downplay or outright deny their feelings for the other, in order to maintain a friendship. And can that be healthy? And girls, if you do have a best friend that’s a guy and your thinking that there would never be a chance in hell you would be attracted to them, well they are probably ugly! Haha, just kidding! But, just because you don’t feel an attraction to them, doesn’t quite mean they aren’t picturing you naked every time you guys hang out!

My freshman year in college, I lived down the hall to this adorable boy (we can call Fred). Fred and I became the best of buddies. He would help me cram all night for tests, make me mixed CD’s, and even listen to me talk endlessly about the highs and lows with my current boyfriend. I thought Fred and I would be best friends forever; my little brother even. Yet when my silly boyfriend decided to dump me for that heinous girl down the hall, Fred took this as an opportunity to make his move. He left me a love note confessing how he had truly felt about me the entire time. It broke my heart to have to hurt Fred’s feelings and I wanted more than anything for our friendship to remain the same. When I was off the market, Fred understood that we could only be friends. But now that I was single, and still not interested in him, Fred couldn’t handle being around me anymore. He stopped coming around my dorm room and eventually we lost touch forever. This tragic story of friendship gone wrong happens often I’m afraid.

Most of my romantic relationships have grown from friendships. I was friends with one of my exes for over a year, even fixing him up with my friends, before we realized we had feelings for each other. This leads me toward the idea that most boy/girl close friends have an underlying attraction to each other, even if they don’t quite realize this right away. And the closer your friendship grows the more of a chance there is for it to take a romantic turn. However this isn’t ALWAYS the case and there are exceptions. My best guy friend in high school and I still remain close friends to this day without ever having dated each other….except that one accidental kiss after he rescued me from my dreadful homecoming date! ….which actually makes it not an exception to this theory after all!

Lets not forget, Emma and Dexter’s “friendship” started with them waking up half-naked in bed together. Is it really possible to slam the brakes on what started as purely sexual and shift gears into a strictly platonic relationship? Or even more complex, what about being best friends with an Ex? I believe that anything is possible if you care about that person enough. But this takes a lot, and I mean A LOT of work. Jealousy and bitterness are two of many factors I can think of in hindering friendship with an ex. It just isn’t easy to let go of the past! And usually, at least one party is hoping that by maintaining a friendship with their ex, it will lead to them getting back together. I do believe that time is almost always the answer, or at least what you do with that time. I am proud to say that I have positive relationships with most of my ex boyfriends and think back on them fondly (for the most part) . But honestly, our “friendship” doesn’t go beyond the occasional face book wall post.

So far while reading “One Day“, I have felt incredibly sorry for Emma in her efforts to remain a constant friend and confidant to Dexter. She so obviously has intense feelings for him, yet is forced to sit back while he dates endless amounts of beautiful women, dangling them in her face like trophies. And there are points in the book when Dexter is about to finally let Emma know that he too has feelings for her, but he never quite gets there. The timing has just not been right yet. However, I am confident that eventually they will be in the same place in their lives and get together!

Bottom Line: Emma and Dexter, you aren’t fooling me with this best friends only act! I know you two are going to end up together! I just KNOW IT!

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Snapped on Set!

As I continue to read One Day, I am getting more and more excited to see the movie, which is currently in post-production, according to imdb.com. That’s also why I was SOOOOOOOOOO thrilled when I found these photos online!

I’m not sure if it’s because I knew Hathaway was filming the movie before I began to read, but I think she is just perfect! Spectacles and all, she is the quintessential Emma, and as I continue to read, the film-version is already playing in my head. Hathaway got to travel the globe during production. Here, she is shooting a scene in Edinburg, Scotland back in August.

And check out this DARLING little pixie cut! Here Hathaway and her leading man, Jim Sturgess are snapped in several lip-locks while filming a romantic scene in Paris on September 1st. I vaguely remember Sturgess from The Other Boleyn Girl (2008). He looks just darling, so I am excited to see him take on this leading role. Did I mention, I CANNOT WAIT for this movie??!

 


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{October Book} “One Day” by David Nicholls

   With the promise of an unforgettable love story, the decision to select One Day, by David Nicholls, was a unanimous decision at the DBC. Twenty years, two people, one day…when I first read the premise, I was instantly reminded of when Harry Met Sally, or even a modern-day Affair to Remember. It seems we all needed a good laugh, and good cry too, so this one was just the ticket. Here’s what others have to say about One Day: 

From Publishers Weekly:

The Hollywood-ready latest from Nicholls (The Understudy) makes a brief pit stop in book form before its inevitable film adaptation. (It’s already in development.) The episodic story takes place during a single day each year for two decades in the lives of Dex and Em. Dexter, the louche public school boy, and Emma, the brainy Yorkshire lass, meet the day they graduate from university in 1988 and run circles around one another for the next 20 years. Dex becomes a TV presenter whose life of sex, booze, and drugs spins out of control, while Em dully slogs her way through awful jobs before becoming the author of young adult books. They each take other lovers and spouses, but they cannot really live without each other. Nicholls is a glib, clever writer, and while the formulaic feel and maudlin ending aren’t ideal for a book, they’ll play in the multiplex. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
 

Review

“[An] instant classic. . . . One of the most hilarious and emotionally riveting love stories you’ll ever encounter.” —People

“Big, absorbing, smart, fantastically readable.” —Nick Hornby, from his blog
 
“[Nicholls] has a gift for zeitgeist description and emotional empathy that’s wholly his own. . . . [A] light but surprisingly deep romance so thoroughly satisfying.” —Entertainment Weekly

“Nicholls offers sharp dialogue and wry insight that sounds like Nick Hornby at his best.” —The Daily Beast (A Best Book of the Summer)

“Fluid, expertly paced, highly observed, and at times, both funny and moving.” —Boston Globe

“Those of us susceptible to nostalgic reveries of youthful heartache and self-invention (which is to say, all of us) longed to get our hands on Nicholls’s new novel. . . . And if you do, you may want to take care where you lay this book down. You may not be the only one who wants in on the answers.” –New York Times Book Review“A great, funny, and heart-breaking read.” —The Early Show [CBS]

“Funny, sweet and completely engrossing . . . The friendship at the heart of this novel is best expressed within the pitch-perfect dialogue/banter between the two.” —Very Short List

“A wonderful, wonderful book: wise, funny, perceptive, compassionate and often unbearably sad . . . the best British social novel since Jonathan Coe’s What a Carve Up!. . . . Nicholls’s witty prose has a transparency that brings Nick Hornby to mind: it melts as you read it so that you don’t notice all the hard work that it’s doing.” —The Times (London)
 
“Just as Nicholls has made full use of his central concept, so he has drawn on all his comic and literary gifts to produce a novel that is not only roaringly funny but also memorable, moving and, in its own unassuming, unpretentious way, rather profound.” —The Guardian (London)

Read the New York Times review HERE. But beware, there are some major spoilers, so if you prefer to be surprised with each turn of the page, check back after you’ve finished the read.

“Who doesn’t relish a love story with the right amount of heart-melting romance, disappointment, regret, and huge doses of disenchantment about growing up and growing old between quarreling meant-to-be lovers?” —Elle, Top 10 Summer Books for 2010
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{September Book} “Love the One You’re With” by Emily Giffin

Our first book is a great starting off point for our fabulous new website. Love the One You’re With, by Emily Giffin, is an easy read, and once you get started, you simply can’t put it down.  Here is a brief synopsis, straight from Giffin’s official website:

Ellen and Andy’s first year of marriage doesn’t just seem perfect, it is perfect. There is no question how deep their devotion is, and how naturally they bring out the best in each other. But one fateful afternoon, Ellen runs into Leo for the first time in eight years. Leo, the one who brought out the worst in her. Leo, the one who left her heartbroken with no explanation. Leo, the one she could never quite forget. When his reappearance ignites long-dormant emotions, Ellen begins to question whether the life she’s living is the one she’s meant to live. Love the One You’re With is a powerful story about one woman at the crossroads of true love and real life.

Reviews

“Giffin’s fluid storytelling and appealing characters give her novels a warm, inviting air, and her fourth is no exception . . . Giffin’s snappy prose makes (her heroine) Ellen’s dilemma compelling, once again proving she’s at the top of the chick-lit pack.” —Booklist

“Giffin delivers another relatable and multifaceted heroine who may behave unexpectedly but will ultimately find her true path. Sure to be a hit with the New York Times bestselling author’s many fans . . .” —Library Journal

“Giffin’s talent lies in taking relatable situations and injecting with enough wit and suspense to make them feel fresh. The cat-and-mouse game between Ellen and Leo lights up these pages, their flirtation as dangerously addictive as a high-speed car chase. The ending isn’t explosive, but what Ellen learns is quietly thrilling: Sometimes, you have to do whatever it taks to be with the one you love.” —People

“Though it’s easy to resent [Ellen] for taking [her] ideal life for granted, Giffin’s vivid depictions of Ellen’s steamy past with Leo help you commiserate with this realistically insecure woman.” —Entertainment Weekly

If you’re reading the book along with us, please feel free to comment and join in any of the subsequent discussions. We’d all love to hear from you!
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