||Jan 11, 2011
Liz Gardner is ripe for Mr. Right. She has lived an admittedly reckless and debauched life, all the while questioning, "Why does everything happen to me?" Enlightenment finally kicks in and Liz's forward path leads her directly to her soul mate. Unfortunately, she soon learns that real life doesn't mimic fairy tales or chick flicks. Even though she feels healthy and balanced, her destructive patterns have their teeth deeply embedded into her ankles like a persistent rabid Chihuahua she can't shake off. Fears of old habits, pining ex-lovers, the discovery of an ill-fated dark family secret and even murder threaten to sabotage the happily ever after she's worked so hard for.
How do you handle all the crap after Happily Ever.
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In this sequel to her critically acclaimed first novel WHO GOT LIZ GARDNER, author Elizabeth Allen cleverly takes us back to the moment when Eric Alexander gets Liz. Then she proceeds to take the reader on a courtship ride with more spins, twists, bumps and turns than the Coney Island Cyclone. By story's end, you will be breathless, white-knuckled and lining up to go again!
I Adore Books and Film
If I have said this once, I'll say it again. I love the way Elizabeth Allen writes. It's raw, it's hilarious and she doesn't take any liberties. She tells it like it is, and I can completely appreciate an author who is not afraid to give depth and personality to a character, so much so, that as I stated in my first review; me and Liz are best friends. I didn't just enjoy this book, I consumed it whole heartily.
In the first novel, we meet Liz Gardner. We get a brief understanding of her childhood, her parents and her siblings and all her ups and downs with life goals and pursuits and most importantly, love.
In the second novel, we finally are privy to see the benefits of Liz's struggles. Over the course of the novel, she is able to reap what she has sown. But true to Allen's mantra, not without a few more stumbles and I might add, they are some SHITastic stumbles.
What I loved about Discovering Arugula... EVERYTHING. There is a purpose to every interaction, every tear shed, every heartbreak felt. Liz Gardner has to be one of my favorite characters, in the sense that she felt real to me. Often times Liz would curse or get snarky and I felt so much of my own personality in Liz that I jokingly thought to myself; in real life, Liz and I would totally hang out and there would be pizza and shots involved.
Back to the story. Without giving away spoilers, if you have not read Allen's first book. Stop and take a moment to check it out. It's really just a great story about one woman's journey and not to say that journey ends, but how she got there. Even Liz's dog became a favorite of mine... Damn Allen for her Marley and Me moment.
I found myself laughing at her antics with her significant other, Eric. Gushing over their sex life. Falling in love with Marlena, Liz's dog. Having a love/hate relationship with both her parents. Wanting to murder her brother, David. And finally, wanting to kill the author for making me freak out near the end. There were several curse words yelled, but all is good... This is how much I loved the book.
Can it be any more obvious? Discovering Arugula gets five stars from me. Excellent follow up novel to an already brilliant story.
Easily Deserves 4 out of 5 stars
Falling in love with Eric was like Discovering Arugula…
Liz Gardner, our sexy, one-of-a-kind bombshell from Who Got Liz Gardner, is back. And only she would ever come up with the idea of comparing the great love of her life to a salad component. But Arugula and Eric are tastes that, once experienced, wipe out whatever has come before. They’re sophisticated, seductive and orgasmic! They’re exotic, spicy, raw and organic. These two, Eric and Arugula, are genuine and original—their way or state of being is unlike anything Liz has ever experienced. And there’s no going back.
As in her first book, Elizabeth Allen’s character tells it like it is (or was). Liz Gardner knows that in order to find her true love it’s essential to move away from her somewhat self-destructive and definitely narcissistic ways. And when she finds this man, Liz’s decision is confirmed; the love of her life won’t stand for her old ways. He expects a mature woman, someone he can trust and who will trust him. He wants an adult life partner. And therein lies Liz Gardner’s problem. She’s a basket full of insecurities and wants. While sex is still natural and oh so good, it’s confined to one man. So, we get to see the inner battles she fights when old flames show up—looking good and ready for all the action she can handle. We go crazy as we’re dragged through her own period of uncontrollable jealousy. We live through her encounters with the mother-in-law from hell. Yet there it is again: Liz always falls just so far before hitting the solid interior wall I’ve named “I won’t run away from life.”
A reader might ask himself or herself why do I want to read about the courtship, marriage and birthing of the first child of a loving couple who offer us no “real” problems, that Discovering Arugula is, in fact, nothing more than the coming-to-age story of a Drama Queen? And it would be a fair question to ask.
Here’s the most succinct answer I can give you… Even when Liz is behaving without regard to what unfiltered thought has come to the forefront of her mind, or saying what she thinks without any editing whatsoever, or she’s showing us, frame by frame, how she deals with the wild thoughts which regularly run through her head, to quote myself “she’s charming, larger than life and great fun to read about.” So much so, that many fans of Elizabeth Allen’s first book, Who Got Liz Gardner, were absolutely convinced it wasn’t fiction but, actually, an intimate biography of such detail that you would be hard pressed to find this kind of reading anywhere else, fans who intruded so far into the author’s personal life that she was forced to change the name of one of the leading characters in both books.
When a book can do that, when it can be taken for the truth even though it has been billed as fiction, the author must have shown us such things that we’ve not just suspended our disbelief, we have become actual believers. Give me such an author, and I’ll give her my hard earned money. Give me such an author, and I’ll gladly give her the time it takes for me to read her book. Give me such an author, and I will study—for there is surely something here to be learned. A sequel? Discovering Arugula is already sitting on my shelf beside Who Got Liz Gardner. Go get a copy of your own.
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