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The Life List

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  20,597 ratings  ·  2,617 reviews
In this utterly charming debut — one woman sets out to complete her old list of childhood goals, and finds that her lifelong dreams lead her down a path she never expects.

1. Go to Paris
2. Perform live, on a super big stage
3. Have a baby, maybe two
4. Fall in love 

Brett Bohlinger has forgotten all about the list of life goals she’d written as a naïve teenager. In fact, at th
Paperback, 354 pages
Published July 2nd 2013 by Bantam (first published 2013)
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Lori Spielman Dear Maria,

How did I not see this earlier? I'm SO sorry I didn't reply immediately, because I am so touched by your words. Thank you from the bottom o…more
Dear Maria,

How did I not see this earlier? I'm SO sorry I didn't reply immediately, because I am so touched by your words. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading The Life List and for your beautiful message. You brought a huge smile to my face...eight months after your wrote to me!

Wishing you all the best and everything on YOUR life list. (Oh, and I love your idea about a book about Austin...hmmm...the wheels are turning!)


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Average rating 4.07  · 
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 ·  20,597 ratings  ·  2,617 reviews

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Lori Spielman
Mar 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Thank you for reading and spreading the word if you liked it!
Jan 13, 2015 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Fans of Nicholas Sparks
Shelves: contemporary
I decided to pick The Life List for Romance month over at The Book Geek Blog. One of my best friends recommended this novel to me, saying she read it in one sitting and absolutely loved it.

I wouldn’t say this is a bad book, but it’s most certainly not my book.

Look at the following quotes:
“Love is the one thing on which you should never compromise.”

“There will be another sky, my love, just you wait.”

Now, if these are the kind of quotes that make you swoon and want to pick up a book immediat
Jun 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5 stars is definitely not enough for this book. I wish I could give it 10!

Most well written books offer enjoyable moments, clever dialogue, and an entertaining adventure for the reader. But a very special few of these books touch a reader's soul in a way that makes them look at life differently, in a way that makes them feel alive, and in a way that that book will be cherished on their bookshelf like an old photograph to be looked at, revisited, and thought of with fond memories – a book that be
Jan 29, 2014 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: not a single soul
Recommended to Relyn by: no idea
Shelves: audiobooks
(insert big sigh) What to write about this book? I wanted to like it. I did. I was curious enough to finish it, but barely. If I had been reading instead of listening, I know I would have turned to the back and read the last chapter when I was about a 1/4 of the way in. What's wrong with this book?

* The idea of a life list is fun, and very current (just search it on Pinterest), but certainly not very original.
* Spielman's similes are pretty good, but are so frequent that they become annoying.
Aug 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Ahh, this book was so adorable!! I was very emotional throughout the book. I cried and laughed. I felt just about every emotion there was to feel with this book. A must read!!
Nov 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
A really cute loveable read if you want a sincere life goal like this women.

No matter how we plan things, you never know what’s around the corner.
Nov 24, 2013 rated it it was ok
I just read a column in the Sunday NYT by Charles McGrath that completely explains why I finished this book despite the fact that the whole time I couldn't believe how bad the writing was.
"That's the problem with fiction - or the charm, if you want. Even mediocre plots have a way of sinking their hooks into you, until you find yourself concerned for the fates of characters who aren't even fully convincing." As a real person Brett Bohlinger made a lot of mistaken assumptions about people and beh
Kylie H
Jun 07, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama, chick-lit
Brett (a woman with a male name she constantly finds herself explaining) is devastated when her mother passes away. However, the real shock comes for her with the reading of her mother's will. She is to complete a list of tasks in order to be eligible for her inheritance.
This book was quite heart warming, while Brett struggles with grief and coming to terms with the conditions in her mother's will. But will the tasks force Brett to actually start to live her own life?
This was heading for 4 stars
Jan 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
**re-post of my review since it went missing for no apparent reason **

“’ Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Do something every day that scares you. “Continue to push yourself to do those things that scare you, darling. Take those risks and see where you land, for they are the very things that make this journey worthwhile.”’

Have you ever written a life list?

Put down your wishes and dreams, from silly ones that seem crucial at that point, to the ones you think are far fetched but somehow stil
Sherri Thacker
Jun 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I truly loved this book. From the first page to the last page. It was like a breath of fresh air. Didn't want it to end and I kept reading and reading not wanting to put it down. Hard to believe this is the authors debut book. I will definitely be waiting patiently for her next book. Highly recommend!! Loved it!!!! ...more
Dec 18, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I feel like a cynical, cold hearted rake for not liking this one (see, getting into Bridgerton mode already) -I know, I know, the book has nothing to do with "rakes" or historical reading ...

Most of my friends who have read this loved it and shed a tear ... I found it boring and I had to force myself to finish it. I thought ending was stupid - yeah, yeah, "it was cute" (not really). Maybe lockdown has addled my brain as my reading has definitely been "off" this year. I will barely make my readin
Susan Phillips
Oct 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recent-reads
Fiction: This book doesn’t come out until summer 2013 but I was lucky enough to get an early copy. Chick Lit at it’s best! I devoured this one. A great heroine, a strange will, a seemingly impossible quest. The book has real heart.
Jun 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
I should have known from the purplish cover and the flower, that this book was a chick lit book. I dove in bravely, ready for shallowness, and then I was somewhat surprised. THe plot is about a woman who loses her mother, who is her best friend to cancer. The mother leaves her other two children with their inheritances, but for the unfortunately named Brett, she must go through a list of things she wanted to accomplish in her life that she wrote as a child and do them all to get it. The story re ...more
Olga Godim
Aug 06, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: mainstream
Without a doubt, this book is a powerful work of fiction, stirring a bittersweet brew of emotions in its reader. Beautifully written, it tells a poignant story of a mother-daughter love transcending death. At least on the surface, it does, but when you dig deeper, you realize that something doesn’t jibe. Although at first glance, the book’s vibrations seem authentic, beneath the cosmetic layer, falsehood resides.
The novel starts, when Brett’s beloved mother, Elizabeth, dies from cancer. Stricke
Nov 27, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audio, chick-lit


1 1/2 stars

Such a disappointment because with all the high rating I expected so much more.
I just wanted it to be over.

There are so many reasons I didn't like the book.

*I felt absolutely no emotion for or connection with any of the characters.
I thought it was overly dramatic and contrived. In fact, I didn't really like any of them except for maybe the attorney. This possibly had to do with the reader of the audio book.

*I got very tired of a dead mother controlling a 34 year old daughter's l
Feb 17, 2014 rated it it was ok
I really need to remember that if the phrase “chick lit” comes anywhere near a book I think I want to read, I must resist. It’s just not the genre for me. I may get sucked in, but I’m almost always very disappointed.

And so it was for “The Life List,” Lori Nelson Spielman’s debut novel. An intriguing if totally unbelievable premise: a 34-year-old woman, Brett, learns upon her adored mother’s death that her huge inheritance is contingent upon Brett’s completing a life list she wrote at age 14. A l
May 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I received this book from GoodReads First Reads

To obtain her inheritance, Brett must complete the remaining ten items on her list of life goals that she wrote as a teenager - within a year!
1. Have a baby, maybe two
2. Get a dog
3. Stay friends with Carrie Newsome forever!
4. Help poor people
5. Have a really cool house
6. Buy a horse
7. Fall in love
8. Perform live, on a super big stage
9. Have a good relationship with my dad
10. Be an awesome teacher!
The Life List is a must-read for every woma
Scott Southard
Jul 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
I reviewed this book for WKAR's radio show Current State. You can listen to the review here ( or read below

I never liked the book description “Women’s Fiction.”

It is the literary equivalent of the pink aisle in toy stores, no boys allowed. The funny thing is I have yet to see a book described as Men’s Fiction, but I am assuming it would involve fast cars, loose women, and a lot of laser guns.

I can’t help but think that this idea of women’s fiction is base
Feb 07, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourite, 2013
Actually, I don't know what I should say about this book to do it a justice, because in my opinion it was a wonderful book. I read a lot, really, but it is only from time to time that I find a book that I love so much from the very beginning to the very end and which captures my attention and has me so hooked. I have actually stayed almost the whole night yesterday to finish it, I couldn't put it down.
It is a beautiful story. It has beautiful characters, it has beautiful plot. It's funny - I lau
Julia Ce
I seem to be in the minority in that I thought this book was just ok.

After her mother passes away, protagonist 34 yr old Brett, must complete a "life list" she created as a 12yr old before she can collect her inheritance.
I loved the premise of the story, but I think the fact that Brett blamed everything on her mother, and did not stand up for herself kept me from really enjoying the book. She seemed to go back & forth from a strong confident woman to a whiny no-backbone wimp.

Even though I thoug
Joan Nelson
Feb 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Definitely
Lori has made her parents very proud. It is hard not to boast about her accomplishments. I have read many books, and this one rates right up there with the best. Right from the beginning, it caught my interest and held it all the way through until the very end. I can't say enough about "The Life List". I know everyone will enjoy this book, and highly recommend as a good read. ...more
I so enjoyed this book! The Life List captures the spirit of remembering what was once important to you and not letting fear stand in the way of completing one's goals. Thirty-four-year-old Brett Bohlinger has received this very gift from her late mother. According to her mother's will, in order for Brett to receive any inheritance she must complete a life list she made and discarded at age fourteen. Her mother apparently found the list long ago and has been marking off the items as Brett inadve ...more
May 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads-won
Won through Goodreads first reads giveaway.

I would give the book a 4.5 rating if I could.

This book is about about Brett, a woman who just lost her mother. At the reading of the will, she learns that she will not inherit her Mother's company but must instead complete a life list she wrote when she was a teenager. The description does not do this book justice. This is such a beautiful story. This book is simply a delight to read. The characters and plot are well written. It makes you think, it ma
Sep 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed The Life List by Lori Spielman. It was captivating, heart-breaking at times and totally engrossing.

We see how Brett deals with the death of her mother and the subsequent changes and challenges presented to her in the aftermath of this terrible loss. The conflicting issues that result from her decisions and how they shape her life afterwards.

Brett Bohlinger also has a life list (that she wrote when she was 14) of things she wanted to accomplish in her life, which her mother chall
Sep 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Rounding up to 4 stars because this story was just washed with cozy feelings and charming characters. (Although the sheer amount of what the main character accomplishes in a single year makes me feel slightly slothful!)
Apr 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was sitting on my shelf for so long. I sort of bought it on impulse after a friend's recommendation months ago when I was looking for a "feel good" book, and for some reason I just never could tackle it as it just seemed way too cheesy for my tastes as I try to stay away from chick-lit. But, I figured this would be a good pick for these times of lockdown to read something a little lighter.

Well, I really, truly enjoyed this, to my own surprise. Sure, some parts are corny and sometimes
Kara Hansen
Apr 27, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. The Life List is a story that will have one pondering- "what if I had such a list?" Brett Bohlinger has a very exciting and dynamic life- a great job, fabulous Chicago loft, handsome boyfriend. Really, what was not to like about her life. At the beginning of this novel, we meet Brett at her mother's funeral luncheon. She is beyond devastated and just can't bear being around those trying to comfort her. We know from this scene just how close Brett was to her mother. Fast forward to a f ...more
May 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Wonderful debut novel for my former high school counselor that I couldn't put down. Fully satisfying in a comfort food kinda way. All loose ends of Brett's story trying to fulfill her 14-year-old self's life list are tied up at the end following some very predictable conclusions, but also a few unexpected twists along the way. I'm looking forward to many more novels from Lori to enjoy! ...more
Apr 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a beautiful and entertaining read. Finished in 2 days and enjoyed Brett's journey so much. I have a smile on my face and I can say I'm thinking of warm family times and my own life list.
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Change description 2 21 Jan 21, 2016 11:02PM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: #63 - The Life List 1 3 Apr 06, 2015 12:23PM  
Chick Lit Book Club: 3/2014: The Life List: Chit Chat 25 98 Jul 04, 2014 01:26PM  
Chick Lit Book Club: 3/2014: The Life List Chapter 1 - 7 14 66 Jun 22, 2014 06:10PM  
Ch 1-8 Brett deals with death and starts living 6 23 Jun 03, 2014 02:26PM  
Chick Lit Book Club: 3/2014: The Life List Chapter 22 - 30 8 31 Mar 26, 2014 10:52AM  
Chick Lit Book Club: 3/2014: The Life List Chapters 8 - 14 8 24 Mar 25, 2014 10:42AM  

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Lori Nelson Spielman is a former speech pathologist, guidance counselor, and teacher of homebound students. She enjoys fitness running, traveling, and reading, though writing is her true passion. Her first novel, The Life List, has been published in over thirty countries and optioned by Fox 2000. Her second novel, Sweet Forgiveness, was also an international bestseller. Her third book, The Star-Cr ...more

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