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Shopaholic to the Rescue by Sophie Kinsella (audio)

Source: Purchased
Audible, 9+ hours
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Shopaholic to the Rescue by Sophie Kinsella, the 8th book in this series, is narrated admirably by Clare Corbett, and believe it or not, Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) has matured a little. You really have to read Book 7 to get into this book because it picks up right where the previous book left off. (spoilers below)

Becky, her husband, Suze, and her mom are off to find Becky’s father and Suz’s husband, who have vanished. They track them down to Las Vegas, and the adventures they have are hilarious and ridiculous as they leave Los Angeles in search of them. Becky’s mother is at her wit’s end and believes her husband has another woman in his life, while Suze is determined to save her “brainwashed” husband from a gold-digging new-age coach. And it seems that Becky is the only practical and level-headed one in this bunch, at least until Becky feels her friendship with Suze is threatened by her long-time nemesis Alicia, who also happens to be along for this roadtrip.

Becky’s stint at the new age retreat in California has really gotten her thinking about her spending habits, and she’s so blocked by her guilt over the roadtrip and the disappearance of her father, that she can’t even let her friend Suze buy her a pair of cowboy boots or even spend $2.50 on a pencil. Kinsella has finally matured Becky enough to ensure readers will stick with her through this roadtrip adventure into her father’s past, and the antics and machinations of these characters will have readers agog and laughing. Shopaholic to the Rescue by Sophie Kinsella, narrated by Clare Corbett, is pure fun, and is just what the doctor ordered in the current political climate.

RATING: Quatrain

About the Author:

About the Author:

Madeleine Wickham is a bestselling British author under her pseudonym, Sophie Kinsella. Educated at New College, Oxford, she worked as a financial journalist before turning to fiction. She is best known for writing a popular series of chick-lit novels. The Shopaholic novels series focuses on the misadventures of Becky Bloomwood, a financial journalist who cannot manage her own finances. The books follows her life from when her credit card debt first become overwhelming (“The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic”) to the latest book on being married and having a child (“Shopaholic & Baby”). Throughout the entire series, her obsession with shopping and the complications that imparts on her life are central themes.

My (Not So) Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella (audio)

Source: Audible
Audiobook, 9 CDs
I am an Amazon Affiliate

My (Not So) Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella, narrated by Fiona Hardingham, is a feel-good, fun-filled, novel in which a young junior assistant is able to get revenge on that incredibly flighty, inconsiderate, and mean boss who fires her. But there is so much more to Katie Brenner’s story. She’s leading a double-life — her Instagram account is full of happy pictures, events, and wonders from her life in London but her real life is less than stellar. She looks around her at her colleagues and wishes she could have their ultra-cool, happening lives, but the one she truly admires is her boss, Demeter. Her visions of the perfect life are shattered when her boss fires her out of the blue.

When she is forced to return to Somerset to regroup, she falls into a project she never expected to take off — a glamping business at her father’s farm. Katie is that wide-eyed young professional with dreams of hitting it big in the city, or at least meeting new friends and having fun. Like many young professionals, reality hits them head on and they must learn to rebalance their expectations and revise their career plans. Kinsella shines at comedy, and this novel is no exception. From spying on business meetings with a drone to walking around on a rooftop in stilts, Brenner is ready to grab whatever life throws at her in the branding business — especially a cute hunk like Alex.

Fiona Hardingham is the perfect narrator for this novel; her comic timing is spot on. When you need a break from your own reality, don’t hesitate to pick up My (Not So) Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella. It’s sure to have you laughing and secretly cheering on Brenner as she gets revenge on her former boss.

RATING: Cinquain

About the Author:

Madeleine Wickham is a bestselling British author under her pseudonym, Sophie Kinsella. Educated at New College, Oxford, she worked as a financial journalist before turning to fiction. She is best known for writing a popular series of chick-lit novels. The Shopaholic novels series focuses on the misadventures of Becky Bloomwood, a financial journalist who cannot manage her own finances. The books follows her life from when her credit card debt first become overwhelming (“The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic”) to the latest book on being married and having a child (“Shopaholic & Baby”). Throughout the entire series, her obsession with shopping and the complications that imparts on her life are central themes.

Mailbox Monday #418

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links. Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Martha, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

My (Not So) Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella, narrated by Fiona Hardingham, purchased from Audible.

Katie Brenner has the perfect life: a flat in London, a glamorous job, and a super-cool Instagram feed.

Ok, so the real truth is that she rents a tiny room with no space for a wardrobe, has a hideous commute to a lowly admin job, and the life she shares on Instagram isn’t really hers.

But one day her dreams are bound to come true, aren’t they?

Until her not-so perfect life comes crashing down when her mega-successful boss Demeter gives her the sack. All Katie’s hopes are shattered. She has to move home to Somerset, where she helps her dad with his new glamping business.

Then Demeter and her family book in for a holiday, and Katie sees her chance. But should she get revenge on the woman who ruined her dreams? Or try to get her job back? Does Demeter – the woman with everything – have such an idyllic life herself? Maybe they have more in common than it seems.

Shopaholic to the Rescue by Sophie Kinsella, narrated by Clare Corbett, from Audible.

Becky is on a major rescue mission through the American West to Las Vegas! Her father has vanished from Los Angeles on a mysterious quest with the husband of Becky’s best friend, Suze. Becky’s mum is hysterical; Suze is flat-out desperate. Worse, Becky must tolerate an enemy along for the ride, who she’s convinced is up to no good.

Determined to get to the bottom of why her dad has disappeared, help Suze, contain the dreaded Alicia, and reunite her fractured family, Becky knows that she must marshal all her trademark ingenuity. The result: her most outrageous and daring plan yet!

But just when her family needs her more than ever, can Becky pull it off?

Wonder Woman Psychology: Lassoing the Truth by Trina Robbins, Travis Langley, and Mara Wood, an unexpected surprise.

For 75 years, Wonder Woman has served as an inspiration to people everywhere. Wonder Woman Psychology examines this powerful superhero—who was created by famous psychologist William Moulton Marston—through 20 essays. This collection will analyze:

Marston’s important role in the history of forensic psychology
How Diana’s relationship with her mother and Amazonian sisters shapes her to become a leader and the heroine called Wonder Woman
The ways differences in culture and gender can contribute to alienation but also to personal empowerment. What roles emotion, strengths, virtues, and culture shock play in heroic behavior

Animal Ark: Celebrating Our Wild World in Poetry and Pictures photographs by Joel Sartore, poems by Kwame Alexander for review.

A howling wolf, a stalking tiger, a playful panda, a dancing bird – pairing the stunning photography of National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore with the delicate poetry of Newbery award-winning author Kwame Alexander, this lush picture book celebrates the beauty, diversity, and fragility of the animal world.

Featuring more than 40 unique animal portraits, the pages invite kids to explore each creature’s markings, textures, and attributes in stunning detail, while calling on all of us to help protect each and every one. Three picture-packed gatefolds inside showcase even more familiar and exotic species. These images are part of Sartore’s lifelong project to photograph every animal in the world, with special attention given to disappearing and endangered species.

What did you receive?

Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella (audio)

Source: Public Library
Audiobook, 12 discs
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella, narrated by Rosalyn Landor, is a wonderful breath of fresh air in which readers are introduced to Lara Lington and her great aunt Sadie Lancaster.  Part ghost story and party mystery, at its heart this is a story about respect, family tradition, and history.  Unlike Kinsella’s hilarious Shopaholic series, there is a great deal more heart and emotion in this one.  Lara is struggling in her new line of work as a head hunter, after her business partner left her in a lurch, but once she’s accosted during a funeral by a ghost, she has little choice but to look beyond her own plans and go on an adventure she’ll never forget.

Sadie and Lara make a fantastic team as they try to locate her great aunt’s favorite necklace, and in the meantime, Sadie’s whispers are making their way through many lives with some hilarious results.  Lara has spent a lot of time hoping for the best and pining away for her ex-boyfriend, pretending that all is well.  But when Sadie enters her life, she’s forced to really reassess where she’s been and what she’s been doing with her life.  Sadie, who didn’t think she amounted to much in 105 years and lost the one true love of her life, spent a great many years having fun and barely committing to anything or anyone.  They are opposites in many ways, but they teach each other how to truly live.  Rosalyn Landor is a terrific narrator who does excellent voices for male and female characters, as well as a stellar British accent.

Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella, narrated by Rosalyn Landor, is utterly enjoyable from start to finish, and Kinsella’s characters will have readers itching to break out flapper dresses and dance the Charleston.

About the Author:

Madeleine Wickham is a bestselling British author under her pseudonym, Sophie Kinsella. Educated at New College, Oxford, she worked as a financial journalist before turning to fiction. She is best known for writing a popular series of chick-lit novels. The Shopaholic novels series focuses on the misadventures of Becky Bloomwood, a financial journalist who cannot manage her own finances. The books follows her life from when her credit card debt first become overwhelming (“The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic”) to the latest book on being married and having a child (“Shopaholic & Baby”). Throughout the entire series, her obsession with shopping and the complications that imparts on her life are central themes.

Shopaholic to the Stars by Sophie Kinsella (audio)

Source: Public Library
Audiobook, 12.5 hours
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Shopaholic to the Stars by Sophie Kinsella, narrated by Clare Corbett, is a fun romp with Becky Brandon (nee Bloomwood) in the Hollywood hills as her husband, Luke, takes a temporary marketing position with actress Sage Seymour.  Becky is thrilled with the idea of being in Los Angeles, and she suddenly envisions a life of red carpet affairs, movie premiers, and becoming a stylist to the stars.  Becky, Luke, and Minnie are swept up into all things Hollywood, but Luke, naturally, remains the most level-headed.  Despite Becky’s over-shopping issues, which manifest in pre-purchases for stars she either has barely met or never even had any contact with, she’s managed to make some connections and be set on the path of her dreams.

Things get a bit complicated when there is a very public mix-up that fuels and ongoing feud between Sage and her movie-star rival, Lois Kellerton.  However, any potential character arc with Becky has ceased, at least so it seems in this book, and readers are likely to see her return to her old, selfish ways that often got her into too much trouble and places where her own rationalizations sound feeble even to her.  Although she now realizes, at least some of the time, that her rationalizations for purchases and bad behavior are just that, she continues on a path that while amusing, is devastating to those around her, even without her meaning it to be.  She even finds herself wrapped up so tightly in Hollywood’s machinations that she doesn’t think to herself that she should just walk away.

Becky’s head used to be easily turned by the prettiest bobble or the latest fashion, but in this one, her head is turned by attention, as if her husband and daughter do not dote on her constantly.  Her ego is larger than the series at this point, and while readers may want to see what happens after the end of this really open-ended book, they may not want to read more of the same character.  Shopaholic to the Stars by Sophie Kinsella, narrated by Clare Corbett, was fun to listen to and Kinsella is definitely a talent when it comes to writing quips, comebacks, and witty dialogue, but by the seventh book in the series, we want more depth from Becky Bloomwood.  While an entertaining way to spend the afternoon, the series has become a bit stale.

About the Author:

Madeleine Wickham is a bestselling British author under her pseudonym, Sophie Kinsella. Educated at New College, Oxford, she worked as a financial journalist before turning to fiction. She is best known for writing a popular series of chick-lit novels. The Shopaholic novels series focuses on the misadventures of Becky Bloomwood, a financial journalist who cannot manage her own finances. The books follows her life from when her credit card debt first become overwhelming (“The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic”) to the latest book on being married and having a child (“Shopaholic & Baby”). Throughout the entire series, her obsession with shopping and the complications that imparts on her life are central themes.

Mailbox Monday #295

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links.  Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Vicki, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

1.  Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella from a friend.

Lottie just knows that her boyfriend is going to propose, but then his big question involves a trip abroad—not a trip down the aisle. Completely crushed, Lottie reconnects with an old flame, and they decide to take drastic action. No dates, no moving in together, they’ll just get married . . . right now. Her sister, Fliss, thinks Lottie is making a terrible mistake, and will do anything to stop her. But Lottie is determined to say “I do,” for better, or for worse.

 

2.  Saving Grace by Jane Green, an unexpected surprise from Tandem Literary.

Grace and Ted Chapman are widely regarded as the perfect literary power couple. Ted is a successful novelist and Grace, his wife of twenty years, is beautiful, stylish, carefree, and a wonderful homemaker. But what no one sees, what is churning under the surface, is Ted’s rages. His mood swings. And the precarious house of cards that their lifestyle is built upon. When Ted’s longtime assistant and mainstay leaves, the house of cards begins to crumble and Grace, with dark secrets in her past, is most vulnerable. She finds herself in need of help but with no one to turn to…until the perfect new assistant shows up out of the blue.  To the rescue comes Beth, a competent young woman who can handle Ted and has the calm efficiency to weather the storms that threaten to engulf the Chapman household.

What did you receive?

Mini Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

Sophie Kinsella has become a chicklit icon with her shopaholic series, but after five books what could be left to hold readers’ interest?  Rebecca Brandon (nee Bloomwood) is back in Mini Shopaholic, credit cards in hand, and white lies streaming from her lips.  However, instead of simply facing rising debt, she must learn to deal with her two-year-old daughter Minnie and her penchant for shopping and acting out.  She also bites off more than she can chew as her and her husband, Luke, try to find the perfect home and navigate an economic meltdown.

“‘My darling, we’re not quite that penurious.’  Luke kisses me on the forehead.  ‘The easiest way we could save money, if you ask me, would be if you wore some of your clothes more than once.'” (page 100)

Kinsella takes a real-life situation and makes it wildly funny, but there are times in the novel where Becky seems to have learned absolutely nothing over the course of six books.  She still shops for brands, barely uses or wears the brand items she buys, and lies to her husband about the purchases she makes.  The one main difference in this novel is that Becky is not just shopping for herself.

“Minnie definitely scores top marks for her outfit.  (Dress:  one-off Danny Kovitz; coat:  Rachel Riley; shoes:  Baby Dior.)  And I’ve got her safely strapped into her toddler reins (Bill Amberg, leather, really cool; they were in Vogue).  But instead of smiling angelically like the little girl in the photo shoot, she’s straining against them like a bull waiting to dash into the ring.  Her eyebrows are knitted with fury, her cheeks are bright pink, and she’s drawing breath to shriek again.”  (page 8 )

Readers who love the previous books will enjoy the latest in the series, but some readers may find Becky’s lack of growth disappointing.  Readers looking for the focus to be on Minnie will find that the daughter plays more of a subordinate role, though Becky continuously deals with keeping her under control.  Kinsella does provide a bit more depth to the character in that she clearly loves her daughter, refuses to believe that she needs a boot camp, and would rather run off with her daughter than send her away.  Overall, Mini Shopaholic is a fun read that pokes fun at addiction and the lengths people go to to hide those addictions.  What will happen next in this series is anyone’s guess.

About the Author:

Sophie Kinsella raced into the UK bestseller lists in September 2000 with her first novel in the Shopaholic series – The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic (also published as Confessions of a Shopaholic). The book’s heroine, Becky Bloomwood – a fun and feisty financial journalist who loves shopping but is hopeless with money – captured the hearts of readers worldwide and she has since featured in five further adventures in Shopaholic Abroad (also published as Shopaholic Takes Manhattan), Shopaholic Ties the Knot, Shopaholic & Sister and Shopaholic & Baby. Becky Bloomwood came to the big screen in 2009 with the hit Disney movie Confessions of a Shopaholic.

Other Kinsella Books Reviewed:

Can You Keep a Secret?
The Undomestic Goddess
Remember Me?

Who Would You Trust All Your Secrets To?

Sophie Kinsella’s “Can You Keep a Secret?” blew me away with its wit and humor. There were times when I roared out loud with laughter and there was a time near the end of the book where I wanted to weep. This book surpassed my expectations. After reading the Undomestic Goddess, I was expecting a book that was similarly amusing, but Emma is a much funnier character.

***Spoiler Alert***

When we meet Emma Corrigan she totally messes up a “slam-dunk” business meeting and is headed back to London from Scotland on a flight that gets rather turbulent in more ways than one. In some ways, the turbulent plane ride becomes a metaphor for her life throughout much of the book after meeting a fellow business executive, who turns out to be her firm’s founding owner–Jack Harper.

Emma spills all of her secrets to this stranger on the flight while others on the flight are praying that they will land safely in London. These secrets range from her hatred of crochet to her attempts to kill a co-worker’s plant with orange juice. She thinks nothing much of it at the time because he is a mere stranger on the plane. However, she soon gets back to the office to discover that the man on the plane is none other than Jack Harper, the partial owner of Panther Corporation.

The banter between Emma and Jack sets the stage for the ultimate betrayal. Emma runs the gamut of emotions in this book from pleased with herself that she and the CEO have a secret understanding to head-over-heels in love to disappointment, embarrassment, and betrayal.

***End Spoiler Alert***

This books examines relationships in their many forms: love, romance, friendship, family. Emma learns a lot about her familial relationships and that even the best of friends have secrets from one another. She learns that honesty may be the hardest option in some cases, but it generally is the best road to undertake. Her evolution throughout the novel is fantastic and well-paced. I enjoyed Emma’s struggles, which often reflect many of the struggles other women have in balancing the many relationships we have.

It begs the question, who do you trust you secrets to? I for one spread them around to various people. I have to keep everyone guessing at some point, don’t I? It also makes me wonder, how many of my secrets have been passed along to others in the heat of the moment.

That’s a question for readers…Have you told a secret to one person and not another, and why? And have you ever blurted out someone’s secret accidentally without meaning to harm the person entrusting you with that secret?

Dirty Domesticity

Sophie Kinsella’s The Undomestic Goddess is a quick read for commuting and equally as amusing as her other books. I enjoyed Samantha Sweeting’s character much more than I did Lexi Smart. I also didn’t see as much of Becky Bloomwood in this character as I did in Lexi Smart. Kinsella has a fine talent for getting to the heart of high-powered career women who forget about the finer things in life while they are competing (and winning) in a male dominated profession.

****Spoiler Alert***
Samantha Sweeting is a powerful attorney in London, who much like her mother strives to be the best at her job. To accomplish her goal of becoming a partner at Carter Spink, Samantha works more hours than the other attorneys and barely has a social life. When she finally manages to get time off to have dinner with her mom and brother, she ends up having dinner with two cell phones, an assistant, and singing group of waiters. Suffice to say, her personal life can’t get much worse. That’s what you would think, but then the senior partner from the firm, the one she does not have a cordial relationship with, moves into her building, two floors up.

Early on, something goes terribly wrong at the firm and she panics. Heads out of town to the countryside where she is mistakenly hired as a housekeeper. At first she takes the job because she is still in a state of shock, but as she learns of the fallout from her “mistake,” she decides that being a housekeeper could be a fine change of pace. After many dirty domestic mishaps, Samantha realizes she needs some cooking and cleaning lessons. Nathaniel, the gardener, offers his mother’s services after laughing at her expense when she fails to start the washing machine and can barely make toast and coffee. Iris, his mother, sets about helping Samantha become domestic. She teaches her how to make food, bread, pastry, and other items, but most importantly, Iris helps her slowdown and relax…take in the little things about life and cooking. The scenes with Iris and Nathaniel on the weekends are fantastic.

***End Spoiler Alert***

I won’t go into all the details of the book, but there is a great scene in the garden between Samantha and Nathaniel that just made me swoon. Yes, I said swoon. I wish that romance of that caliber were real. Don’t get me wrong, love is still here in my life, it’s just different. The puppy love of this scene made me reminisce. The resolution of the book is exactly what you would expect; well, maybe not exactly as you picture it. But you get your just desserts.

Also reviewed at:
A Girl Walks Into a Bookstore
Book Escape

I Wouldn’t Want to Remember Her Either…

Sophie Kinsella‘s Remember Me? reveals how changes to one’s life can be bad, as well as good. The novel centers on a young businesswoman, Lexi Smart, who wakes up in a hospital after a car accident and cannot remember the last three years of her life. The last thing she remembers is that it is 2004 and she was out with friends at a local bar the night before her father’s funeral, having fun before she fell down a set of stairs.

***Spoiler Alert***
Lexi wakes up and her mom is the same she ever was, but her sister has grown up into a teenager. Lexi cannot believe her eyes; her little sister has grown up and is a sarcastic, budding criminal. She also finds out that she is married to a hot stud, who happens to be a millionaire and knows how to drive a speedboat. This part of the description cracked me up. Why would it matter if he can drive a speedboat, but I guess it does to Lexi who is obsessed with all things material. She also discovers that she is now the director of her department and is a total B**ch boss who has lost all of her friends, including those she remembers from the night at the bar in 2004.

She struggles to remember any part of the last three years, including her time on a reality television show, much like the Apprentice. But she cannot remember a thing. To help Lexi out, her hot husband, Eric, gives her a “marriage manual.” The manual spells out how often they have sex, how they have sex, how she greets him, how they say goodbye in the mornings, how they initiate foreplay, etc. It is a step-by-step process to their relationship and marriage. A bit overwhelming for a woman with amnesia, but beyond that the manual makes their marriage seem more like a business transaction.

Throughout her re-acclimation to her “new” life, Lexi learns that she also was having an affair with Eric’s business partner and architect, Jon. Jon, who claims that they are in love and were on the verge of telling Eric, cannot believe that she does not remember him. Moreover, Lexi must return to a job that she does not feel comfortable performing and cannot imagine ever being capable of performing. Worse yet, her subordinate, Byron, is after her job and wastes no time putting her down when she returns from the hospital.

Despite her best efforts to save her job and her marriage, Lexi fails to save her department, but in the process finds her inner businesswoman and learns how to be independent and self-sufficient without injuring her friends. The part that is the most accurate in the book is that she fails to fully regain her memory by the end of the book, though there is a glimmer of hope.

***End Spoiler Alert***

I thoroughly enjoyed this journey with Lexi Smart. She may have changed her life in the three years she cannot remember, but she changes the most in those months following her car accident more profoundly than she did after her father’s death.

I’m not sure I would want to remember myself if I had changed so utterly in those three missing years. There is a significant disconnect between the woman she was in 2004 and the woman she became into 2007.

Those interested in the contest, please either post an original poem or your favorite poem in the comments by May 2, and I will post the winner on May 3.

For other Reviews of this book:

A Girl Walks Into a Bookstore
Lous_Pages