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Review: The Sinful Life of Lucy Burns

sinful-life-of-lucy-burnsTitle: The Sinful Life of Lucy Burns

Author: Elizabeth Leiknes

Genre: Fiction (chick lit)

Pages: 167

One Sentence Summary: Lucy Burns got stuck working for the Devil, but now, despite being gorgeous and able to each as much chocolate as she wants without getting fat, she wants to get out.

One Sentence Review: This book had an interesting concept and was pretty funny, but at it’s core it read like chick lit with a darker sense of humor.

Grade: 78/100

Important Note: I got this book for free as a review copy from Bancroft Press.

Long Summary: When Lucy Burns was 11, her sister Ellen ended up in the hospital in a coma. Using a mailbox stuck in her backyard, Lucy wrote a letter “To Whom It May Concern” asking to save her sister. She got a reply, but in exchange for her sister’s life Lucy had to, in essence, give up her own.

Flash forward about 20 years and we find Lucy, turning 29 yet again, working as a gatekeeper for the Devil ushering people to their demise through a giant door in her living room. She’s gorgeous and can have pretty much anything she wants, but Lucy is also discontent — no boyfriend, no family, and a “job” that really has no future. But once she finds a loophole to her eternal job, she goes on a little quest to get herself out of this mess.

Long Review: I gave this book a 78/100 not because it was, for me anyway, pretty average. I’m not usually inclined to love chick lit, but I decided to accept this copy from Bancroft Press because I thought the concept sounded intriguing. And I was intrigued by the book, but not blown away by any means.

The book is super easy to read — it’s short, the font is pretty big, and the story moves along at a good pace. I never got bored reading it, but it wasn’t the kind of book I finished feeling like I’d learned anything new or felt anything profound. There were some moments where I thought the author was trying to make some larger points about good and evil and society, but they weren’t overly profound.

Despite my lukewarm review, I do think there’s a place for books like this, and I’d recommend it if you want something light and a little sassy, with some pretty funny dark humor. This is Leiknes’s first book, and for that I’m pretty impressed. I hope she gets the chance to write another one because I think her writing will only get better.

I asked for questions on this book for Weekly Geeks #22. Bart (Bart’s Bookshelf) asked: Do you have any thoughts on Lucy Burn’s moral compass?

This is a really interesting question. When Lucy decides she doesn’t want to work for the Devil anymore, she discovers a loophole that will let her off the hook if she can accomplish three tasks. The first is to is the task to help 54 clients meet their fate in a short time. Basically, Lucy has to trick 54 people into heading to hell before their time.

To accomplish this task, Lucy decides to grab, en masse, people she thinks are bad. She goes after a group of KKK members and some people who are part of an insurance scam targeting elderly people, among others.

I guess my main thought is that the choices Lucy makes seem simplistic. I get the urge to get out of her job, but it seems like her choices are a little too black and white because the people she’s choosing don’t seem automatically evil enough for hell. They’re bad people, probably, but the choices seem too simplified to me. I wish Lucy had gone through some more questioning as she tried to make these choices to accomplish her task.

Other Reviews: Ex Libris; Bart’s Bookshelf; A Hoyden’s Look at Literature; books i done read;

If you have reviewed this book, please leave a link to the review in the comments and I will add your review to the main post. All I ask is for you to do the same to mine — thanks!

Final Note: I don’t normally accept review copies which is a personal choice, but I was convinced to accept this one from the folks at Bancroft Press because the e-mail I got asking if I’d like to review the book clearly showed they had looked at my blog, something I truly appreciated. Other authors and publishers could take a cue from Bancroft. Even though I wasn’t over the moon about this book, I hope they’ll consider me for others because they were lovely to work with. Thanks!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • bermudaonion June 26, 2009, 12:04 pm

    The book sounds like a nice, light read, and I think we all need one of those from time to time.

  • booklogged June 26, 2009, 10:44 pm

    You gave this one a little higher rating than I did.

  • Julia Smith June 28, 2009, 10:52 am

    How exciting to be approached by the publisher!

    I like the question you answered about the main character’s moral compass.

    Kim, I’ve finally posted a catch-up post including the BIP’s last four exercises. I really liked this week’s review challenge. Amazing that we’re at the half-way mark.

  • Kim L June 28, 2009, 9:43 pm

    Interesting review! I don’t read much chick lit, but this sounds like a cure for the common chick lit book, which too often seem alike.

    Great points about how the publisher approached you. I always like a personal email although, like you, I don’t accept many books right now. Too little time as it is!

  • Lana July 1, 2009, 10:40 am

    I liked the new twist on chicklit, as well. I probably wouldn’t have picked this up either, but the publicist really showed that he put some effort into choosing whom he approached for review copies – and that was really the clincher!

    I enjoyed your review, so I’ve linked to it here.

  • raychraych July 2, 2009, 10:22 am
  • Text to Speech(TTS)API July 18, 2009, 7:58 am


    I always like a personal email although, like you, I don’t accept many books right now. Too little time as it is!