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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Always satisfied
As always, Jen never ceases to make me laugh and cry, sometimes at the same time. Totally connected with her words, again. Also, TOTALLY was not expecting this storyline, and loved it. A great summer read and I totally recommend!
Published 2 months ago by Sarah

versus
70 of 72 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What happened??
This book made me sad, and not because it was a sad topic. Jen Lancaster launched herself into my heart and my must read list with the release of Bitter Is The New Black. That book was epic. With each new memoir, I was first in line to get a copy, and devoured it. None really reached the heights of Bitter, but the first few were great and would leave me laughing to...
Published 7 months ago by I'm Just a Girl...


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70 of 72 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What happened??, February 17, 2014
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This review is from: Twisted Sisters (Hardcover)
This book made me sad, and not because it was a sad topic. Jen Lancaster launched herself into my heart and my must read list with the release of Bitter Is The New Black. That book was epic. With each new memoir, I was first in line to get a copy, and devoured it. None really reached the heights of Bitter, but the first few were great and would leave me laughing to loud I had to be careful not to read them in public. I have practically forced friends to read her books, especially Bitter. But, with each new memoir, I felt a little less connected, and laughed a little less. Until the most recent “Martha” memoir, where I was like – who IS this person?

Then there were the novels. The first (If You Were Here) was ok – I felt like the fiction writer in her as not as fantastic as the memoir writer, but I am a sucker for all things John Hughes so I forgave a lot. The characters also did not seem to be a far departure from her and her IRL husband. The second novel left me confused – was this really the same person who wrote the very brilliant “Bitter”? Now, this latest novel. Honestly – I doubt it would have ever been published had the author not already had a following, who were willing to buy anything she wrote, hoping to find that old spark, I was one of them. At least a dozen times, I was ready to stop reading “Twisted” – it was just that bad. Characters were flat and wholly unlikeable at the same time. The plot was unbelievable and not at all entertaining. The laugh out loud moments I have always enjoyed from her writing? Not one. The only reason this book as “one star” is because there were no options for less.

Not sure if I would say she should give up novels and stick to memoirs…..or if I think her best writing days are behind her (as the “Martha” book might indicate). I am sad. I used to LOVE reading anything and everything she wrote. Not sure what has happened….but it is bad.
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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars If You Hate The Book at Page 10, Stop Reading. It Does Not Get Better..., February 10, 2014
By 
Elizabeth (Santa Clarita CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Twisted Sisters (Kindle Edition)
Even for a rabid Jen Lancaster fan like myself, this was not a good book. The plot was a retread of her last novel, Here I Go Again, and the main character was laughable. I could actually imagine Lancaster thinking to herself "I need to write a character that is not me. I don't run, so let's make her a runner. I didn't excel academically, so let's make her a PsyD. I do drink, so she'll be a teetotaler. I LOVE MTV's 'The Real World', so she'll be disdainful of reality television.." and on and on. Reagan Bishop is like the bizarro version of Lancaster, except that they are both essentially spoiled and self-centered. Which I liked, in the beginning Bitter is the New Black, because it highlighted how much she had learned about herself and how far she had come by the end of the memoir. In this book, there was no learning or personal growth. There was only magic jewelry and plot devices stolen from 1970's era YA fiction.

I wish Lancaster would revisit what it was about her earlier memoirs that made them so successful, and channel that energy into coming up with engaging characters and an original plot. I know she's capable of that kind of book, and I still hold onto the hope that she will write something worth reading in the future.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars More CHARACTERS and less CARICATURES, February 9, 2014
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This review is from: Twisted Sisters (Kindle Edition)
This was a painful read. There is not an original thought or character in this book. Every character is some exaggerated stereotype or modeled directly from today's celebs (Oprah, LiLo, Amanda Bynes); the gangsta rapper who turns into Thurston Howell when out of the public eye. The reference to "Mayor Tiny Dancer" which is taken directly from the local radio here in Chicago and not a creative moniker created by Ms Lancaster. The blue collar south side family [though if you're Mayor Daley's right hand (wo)man, you'd be living in something bigger than a bungalow, no?]

SPOILERS

And the end? Wow, everything was tied neatly with a bow in the last 10% of the book. We're supposed to just accept the surfer exboyfriend, whom the main character had only one "real time" conversation with in the book, as her prince charming sweeping her off her feet? And as for how that came to be? ooohh, can't say but its all part of the "hocus pocus" theme of the book. Speaking of hocus pocus, we're just supposed to buy that everyone, including her boss, is copacetic with body switching? Everyone's on board and believes this s*** happens? There's suspension of disbelief and there's this drivel.

This is not so much "chick-lit" as its YA. I felt as though I was reading a Sweet Valley High book with Reagan as Elizabeth and Geri as Jessica.

Maybe she should spend less time decorating the home that Bitter bought, and focus more on putting out books that fans actually want to read. I'd say "stick to the memoirs", but even those have become stale lately. She did say in an interview that her memoirs were based on some sort of conflict, and now the conflict doesn't exist which I think is why she moved to fiction. However, Ms Lancaster cannot make up conflict well at all.
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45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The book that made me quit reading Jen Lancaster, February 16, 2014
By 
Betsy S. "begmuffin" (Burnsville, MN United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Twisted Sisters (Hardcover)
Jen Lancaster and I have come to the end of the road. I would have been annoyed enough with the way she puts question marks after every other sentence (or sentence fragment); it's so cloying that I actually began to cringe whenever one showed up, so I was cringing a LOT. I was already on the fence about the book, and then last night I came upon this passage:

"I pretend to be immersed in the awful book I grabbed in the airport bookstore. How do I inevitably wind up with memoirs penned by hacks? I hate when writers try to pass off their clear and present neuroses as humor. The author claims to be 'bitter,' but anyone with credentials would assess her as 'borderline.'
"'Camille said you stole a bag from a homeless guy.'
"Insufferable.
"I could write circles around this moron.
"I snap shut the book because even a conversation with Deva would be less painful than this dreck."

And I snapped shut *this* book, because having my fingernails forcibly removed would be less painful than continuing to read this self-reverential (oh, aren't I clever? I'm bad-mouthing my own book! I'm adorable!) crap.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nonfiction is where the talent lies, not in fiction, February 9, 2014
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This review is from: Twisted Sisters (Kindle Edition)
Reading this reminded me of a quote from an episode of Will & Grace, where Taye Diggs' character says: "If this isn't the theater showing 'Memoirs of a Geisha' then why are all of these people coming out going "eh"?"

Yup, that's all I could think about when I thought about writing this review. Eh. Eh. Eh.

There's no question in my mind that Jen Lancaster is a talented and funny writer when she is writing about her own life, though some of those tomes have gone astray as well. But when she tries to write fiction, it just always feels so forced.

This book follows Reagan Bishop, who is a psychologist on a reality TV show called I Need a Push. Reagan believes that her life is fairly perfect, other than missing out on Mr. Right. She looks down on her family, particularly her two sisters. One of her sisters is a SAHM mom to a passel of children, while her other sister is living in their parents' basement as she flits between beautician jobs.

That's as far as I'm going to go for recap, because it's all going to boil down to this:

1. There is nothing original in this book. Nothing. The TV show's original host is obviously based on Oprah. The celebrities that appear on the show are obviously based on people like Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Bynes, Britney Spears, etc.
2. Reagan, for much of the book, is a deplorable person. If you can't root for the main character, you don't have a hope of enjoyment in the book.
3. There's a very quick wrap-up at the end, which is actually where the book SHOULD have started. Reagan is likable at the end. Had the book started where she is given a reality check and then proceeded through her fixing of her relationships (which is wrapped up in about 2 pages), then it would have been redeemable.

I don't know Jen personally, of course, but I almost feel as though the fiction books are something she feels like she HAS to do in order to keep an audience. From reading her other books, it's clear that losing her job before her first memoir and the ensuing struggle was traumatic and left a mark. I get that. I think that she is pushed to write as much as possible now out of fear of going through that again. However, she's not remaining true to her own self, and that shows. You can feel the desperation in the fictional books. They desperately want you to like them and it's a total turn-off.

I do wish her success and I hope that there are more non-fiction entries coming.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This? Right here? Not good!, February 23, 2014
This review is from: Twisted Sisters (Hardcover)
Well, this is my first Jen Lancaster book I could not finish. I made it to the panty throwing scene and could not take anymore. I find it hard to believe this is the same author that wrote Bitter is the New Black. Actually, I find it hard to believe this book was even published. I know she said in one of her previous books that branching out to fiction would allow Fletch to be her manager and allow her to own many iPads, but this is ridiculous. I started getting her books at the library after the last few were so iffy, but I'm sorry to those who ordered this. Really, I love Jen and find her hilarious on many occasions. But when you make fun of yourself in your fiction book, it just doesn't work.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Had to force myself to finish it, February 19, 2014
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This review is from: Twisted Sisters (Hardcover)
Like many other reviewers, I have been a Jen Lancaster fan for years, devouring her books, pre-ordering new titles, following her on Facebook and Twitter, and generally thinking she's the bomb-diggity.
However, like many other reviewers, I am rethinking that stance, and this book is a prime example of why. Ms. Lancaster often posts on her social media pages how she's supposed to be finishing a book but is doing something else instead (usually Ambien-related or shaming companies/people that don't live up to her standards (more than usual recently -- but this is a product review, not a review of an author's moral compass)). This book must have suffered many of these moments because the first 3/4 of it is drivel. Stilted dialogue, one dimensional characters that are impossible to relate to, a plot line that quickly becomes repetitive and boring. BORING. From the women who made bankruptcy a hoot. Ms. Lancaster has lost her touch. I don't think I smiled once while reading this book, let alone laugh.
The remaining 25% of the story sees characters come to life and an actual story emerge. However, by that point, I disliked the main character (whose name I cannot remember) so much that I didn't care that good things were happening to her or that she's somehow changed her shallow, snobby, cruel ways. I was rooting for the other two sisters from page one.
Get this from the library so that you don't feel compelled to get your money's worth and suffer through reading it.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars More disappointing fiction from Jen Lancaster, March 8, 2014
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This review is from: Twisted Sisters (Hardcover)
I love Jen Lancaster. Unabashedly, unapologetically and in a totally clam-up & sweat-whenever-I-see-her-in-person kind of way, I just plain adore her. But this book? It's not good. Admittedly I'm not much of a fan of Jen's fiction. I wish she'd stick with her non-fiction snark, but I get it - she has a quota to meet. However, this was by far the worst of her fictional works. It was tough to read because 1) Regan Bishop and most of her surrounding cast sucked and 2) the premise was over-the-top ridiculous. I read it and stuck with it solely because Jen wrote it. I won't be reading again nor will I be recommending to friends (or enemies for that matter). I'm not even sure it deserves a spot next to all my signed Jen Lancaster books. It was just THAT BAD. Sorry Jen, I still love you, but this was a swing and a miss.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too much voice, not enough plot, February 10, 2014
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This review is from: Twisted Sisters (Kindle Edition)
I enjoyed Lancaster's first realistic fiction novel featuring Deva the magical new-age woman. Here I Go Again was a well-paced, well-plotted chick-lit novel that was not quite as shallow as it originally seemed. Unfortunately, Twisted Sisters has some serious problems that made it a major disappointment.

In a good body-switching book or movie--and there have been many of them, including three Freaky Fridays--there must be some time spent with the characters in their original bodies to get to know them and what their issues are, of course. However, the switch usually comes fairly early on. Not so in this book. Literally the first 75% of the book or so (I have a kindle, so I know % read) is spent leading up to the main story twist. By the time the plot kicks in, the book is almost over.

So what happens in the first 3/4 of the book? There are a couple of funny scenes that are merely vignettes, but mostly it is a monologue of a very bitter person. I'm not sure if Lancaster is parodying a certain "type" or if these are her own opinions ( I believe it is the former, but it's hard to tell), but it just goes on and on. We never meet any of the people she carps about until well into the book, including her sister Geri or either of her ex-boyfriends. Their characters aren't developed at all, simply from not having enough scenes.

There was a lot of potential here for a funny, entertaining book, but it seems to have fallen victim to poor editing. It almost seems like it was either much longer at one point and was chopped up or it's two books that were melded into one. Lancaster's sarcastic voice can be funny, but books need plots, too.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sadly, Jen Does NOT Rock Fiction, February 8, 2014
By 
This review is from: Twisted Sisters (Hardcover)
*NOTE: If you take a drink every time Jen uses the word "perpetually" or "perpetual," you'll be perpetually drunk in no time!

Let me say this first - from the very first sentence of Bitter is the New Black, I have been a rabid Jen Lancaster fan. I found her acerbic wit and self-deprecating candor incredibly easy to relate to and wildly entertaining. While I haven't found her recent memoirs to be as awesome, I still enjoy Jen's sense of humor. I will probably continue to buy everything she writes because she's got a house full of animals to feed and needs our help to pay her mortgage.

But... Argh. If I could give this a 2.5 stars, I totally would. This book isn't awful. It's just okay. I guess I just expect more than just "okay" from Jen, so I'm a little disappointed. This book follows the extremely unlikable Dr. Reagan, who (with the help from Diva, a fun shout-out to "Here I Go Again") as she swaps bodies with various people to stay relevant in her job, and then with her much-hated sister to learn more about herself. It's a far-fetched concept, and kind of steals from all those body-swapping comedies that were so popular in the 80's (like "Like Father, Like Son," "Vice Versa," and "18 Again" - not to mention the original body-swapping movie, "Freaky Friday") and then gets all sappy.

It all goes back back to why Jen's writing hasn't been so good lately -- it's TOO analytic, TOO politically correct, and TOO reliant on the funny phrases she's overusing in her memoirs. Her neurosis used to read as more fun, and less OCD bats*** crazy (to steal a line from Jen). What used to come off as charming and quirky, now as me rolling me eyes and wishing she would come up with some new lines (Note to Jen: Getting a pap smear from Pirate Hook is HILARIOUS and unforgettable the first time, ergo when you use it AGAIN it falls flat).

Also, while Jen DOES have a flair for descriptive detail with her characterization, it's almost TOO much. Like you can tell that because her protagonist isn't exactly like her (a first, even for Jen's past forays into fiction), she did a lot of research. And she is going to tell us readers EVERY LAST DETAIL of that research. The ones that she DIDN'T research (like everyone except Reagan, and maybe Diva) are extremely two-dimensional. It's hard to care about any of them. Additionally, Jen has no clue on how to write dialogue that isn't based on real life conversations. She knows how to write in her own voice, Fletch's voice, and that's about it. The way her characters just spew forth massive amounts of expository details is just so unrealistic that it makes the whole thing feel stilted and fake.

The pacing of this is odd, too. It's seriously like a million chapters of watching Reagan act like an ass, and then a few chapters of body-swapping with her younger (and fabulous in every cliche way possible) sister, and then a VERY VERY brief resolution that is highly implausible and very unsatisfying.

I think if you liked "Here I Go Again" (which I did and kind of enjoyed) - this book's worth reading (or listening to on audiobook the way I did), but don't expect the genius fiction of Douglas Coupland, C.D. Payne, or even Judy Blume. It's light, it's frothy, and it doesn't completely suck. But, I think the majority of her hardcore fan base (of which I'm totally a part of) really wishes she would stop trying to rock fiction, and go back to doing interesting things to write memoirs about.
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Twisted Sisters
Twisted Sisters by Jen Lancaster (Hardcover - February 4, 2014)
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