3 bumper beach reads!

January 13, 2010

“Hollywood is like High School with Money” By Zoey Dean

Twenty-four-year old Taylor Henning has just landed her dream job as an assistant at a major movie studio. But when her catty co-workers trick her into almost getting fired, she realizes that the old saying “Hollywood is like school with money” just may be true. The thing is, Taylor wasn’t exactly a social butterfly in high school-how is she supposed to do any better the second time around?

That’s when she meets her boss’s popular sixteen-year-old daughter Quinn, and has an epiphany: maybe this teenager can teach her how to use her queen bee tactics to succeed in the Hollywood popularity contest. Quinn comes up with a plan to teach Taylor one lesson a week-everything from “Fake it ’til you make it” to “It’s *never* your fault”–and soon Taylor finds herself winning the war against rival assistant Kylie. Until, that is, she’s directed to steal Kylie’s boyfriend, and something happens that’s not in the game plan: Taylor falls for the guy. Now she must do the impossible– harness her inner mean girl while staying true to herself.

SheSaid Says: In the same genre as “Gossip Girl” and “Mean Girls” this is a fun, fluffy read. It does what it aims to do, which is entertain, and Dean has enough inside knowledge of the film industry to make it almost believable. Quirky, entertaining and easy to read – perfect for the summer holidays.

“Kickstart My Heart” By Lana Penrose

Lana Penrose thought her stint in hell was over. She’d fled Greece after the break-up of her marriage and arrived in London to open-armed friends and a great job in the music industry. But being suddenly single in your flirty thirties proves to be a bigger challenge than she’d ever imagined. Strung out and messed up, she begins her quest to kickstart her heart in bars around London, and comes face-to-face with Russell Brand, a crack gigolo, Slash, a would-be Elvis impersonator, a death metal-maniac and a vampire. After a string of inappropriate encounters, playing air guitar to the beat of her biological clock, Lana discovers just she needs to tackle and bag that slippery little thing she wants more than anything else in this world: love.

“Kickstart My Heart” explores Lana’s attempts to rebuild her self-esteem and self-image after crawling from the remains of a broken relationship, and is a fresh and comical look at romance for the single woman in her thirties. Lana Penrose was born, bred and raised in western Sydney, Australia. Her various incarnations include record company promotions manager, music journalist, television producer and personal assistant to the pop elite. At the time of writing, Lana alternates between Athens and Sydney and doesn’t really know where she belongs in the world anymore. But she is still known to arrive home late at night and dance wildly to KISS in front of the mirror.

SheSaid Says: Well written and very personal, this books makes you feel like you are friends with Lana. Swearing, daggy dancing, double-finger clicking and lots of tears and laughter are scattered through this book as you are taken on a very personal journey with Lana as she tries to rebuild her life and mend her very broken heart in some of the most unusual ways. The kinda chick we would want to be friends with! Check out her talking about her book: here

“The Lacuna” By Barbara Kingsolver

In her most accomplished novel, Barbara Kingsolver takes us on an epic journey from the Mexico City of artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo to the America of Pearl Harbor, FDR, and J. Edgar Hoover. The Lacuna is a poignant story of a man pulled between two nations as they invent their modern identities. Born in the United States, reared in a series of provisional households in Mexico—from a coastal island jungle to 1930s Mexico City—Harrison Shepherd finds precarious shelter but no sense of home on his thrilling odyssey. Life is whatever he learns from housekeepers who put him to work in the kitchen, errands he runs in the streets, and one fateful day, by mixing plaster for famed Mexican muralist Diego Rivera. He discovers a passion for Aztec history and meets the exotic, imperious artist Frida Kahlo, who will become his lifelong friend. When he goes to work for Lev Trotsky, an exiled political leader fighting for his life, Shepherd inadvertently casts his lot with art and revolution, newspaper headlines and howling gossip, and a risk of terrible violence.

Meanwhile, to the north, the United States will soon be caught up in the internationalist goodwill of World War II. There in the land of his birth, Shepherd believes he might remake himself in America’s hopeful image and claim a voice of his own. He finds support from an unlikely kindred soul, his stenographer, Mrs. Brown, who will be far more valuable to her employer than he could ever know. Through darkening years, political winds continue to toss him between north and south in a plot that turns many times on the unspeakable breach—the lacuna—between truth and public presumption.

With deeply compelling characters, a vivid sense of place, and a clear grasp of how history and public opinion can shape a life, Barbara Kingsolver has created an unforgettable portrait of the artist—and of art itself. The Lacuna is a rich and daring work of literature, establishing its author as one of the most provocative and important of her time.

SheSaid Says: Spanning three decades, the story comes to us as a collection of diary entries punctuated by archivist’s notes, newspaper articles, letters, book reviews and congressional transcripts involving some of the 20th century’s most radical figures. The novel takes a while to get going, but once it does, it achieves a rare dramatic power that reaches its emotional peak when Harrison wittily and eloquently defends himself before the House Un-American Activities Committee (on the panel is a young Dick Nixon). Might be a good book club for those series readers amongst us!

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