1) Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella
A cute chick-lit novel about a young, single, entrepreneurial woman who is haunted by her great-aunt after her funeral, it's a story of finding the value in yourself and learning to appreciate your past. The "big twist" (as is standard for most books of this nature) includes a famous painting mysteriously thrown into the book 3/4 of the way through, which acts as the deus ex machina to bring the story to a close.
Here's the official synopsis from the book website:
Lara has always had an overactive imagination. Now she wonders if she is losing her mind. Normal twenty-something girls just don’t get visited by ghosts! But inexplicably, the spirit of Lara’s great aunt Sadie – in the form of a bold, demanding Charleston-dancing girl – has appeared to make one last request: Lara must track down a missing necklace Sadie simply can’t rest without.
Lara’s got enough problems of her own. Her start-up company is floundering, her best friend and business partner has run off to Goa, and she’s just been dumped by the love of her life.
But as Lara spends time with Sadie, life becomes more glamorous and their treasure hunt turns into something intriguing and romantic. Could Sadie’s ghost be the answer to Lara’s problems and can two girls from different times end up learning something special from each other?
I enjoyed it as I do all Sophie Kinsella novels. It was fun, adventurous, charming, and well-written. When you're lounging around the pool this summer (or trapped in your home in this latest winter storm) you should pick it up instead of turning on the TV. It won't change your life, but it'll be a good alternative to the norm.
The second auto-biographical book written by Russell Brand, British comedian, Get Him to the Greek/Forgetting Sarah Marshall movie star, and new hubby to Katy Perry ... it's a pretty brutally honest look at his life around 3 years before meeting Katy Perry to the "present" ("present" being about 1 year ago, to allow for publication time, obviously).
It's definitely not a book for the faint at heart. First of all, if you've ever seen Russell's stand-up (or even his performance in his movies) and ever though "wow, he's kinda difficult to understand!", then you're not in luck. His book is written almost exactly how he speaks, including 3 page tangents about nothing relevant to the main story. That was one of my favorite parts of the book... I really felt like I was sitting down next to Russell and he was telling me his story, instead of "properly" recording it in a book.
Secondly, he writes just like he talks. So, there's sex and cussing intertwined between Helen Mirren's bosoms and Adam Sandler's comedy. It is, after all, a brutally honest account of his life... a life which shocks about 98% of all people (although this second installment of his book is his life after drugs, I'm about to read the 1st book next month).
I loved it. It was like nothing I had ever read before.
Here's an excerpt from a review that I believe sums up the book perfectly:
One can not read Russell Brand without noticing the influence of Oscar Wilde. He writes of "penniless romps" and describes his meeting with Kate Moss as a moment when he could not "afford to do anything so brazen as be myself." Brand's playful mastery of language dominates; only Brand could write, "The existence of Februaries has never been categorically proven."Also, here's another fun review simply title: "10 Section of Russel Brand's 'Booky Wood 2' Katy Perry Will Want to Skip".
(I just want to point out that both authors are British... weird coincidence, but I'm cool with it)