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Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) is now a wife to Luke and mom to two-year-old Minnie but she is still a major shopaholic. However, the thrill of shopping at Harrods has been dampened by Minnie’s wild behavior, and Becky is becoming worried that her daughter’s  spirited behavior is actually due to her being spoiled by Becky, Luke, and Becky’s parents (who Luke and Becky still live with).

In addition, a huge financial crisis has hit the United Kingdom and Luke’s company is in jeopardy. Becky desperately wants to cheer Luke up so she decides to throw a surprise party. Knowing Becky, it should come at no surprise that the costs start to spiral out of control, and now she’s facing having to admit to her husband what she’s been up to.

I was looking forward to reading about Becky as a mom and those parts of the book did not disappoint. Little Minnie is quite comical although I’m sure I would be quite stressed out if I had to babysit her for an hour. (About as sure as I am about how Becky and I could never been friends in real life.)

The most disappointing part of this book was the relationship Becky has with Luke. She’s afraid to correct Minnie’s behavior because she’s convinced Luke will send Minnie far away to a boot camp. But not only has he already told her he wouldn’t do, but she spends a lot of time talking about the relationship he had with his stepmother — a woman he adores for being there for him rather than the mother that walked away from her. Luke is also not there for most of the book. I understand he’s supposed to be a high-powered executive chained to his Blackberry but this was just ridiculous!

Book Mentioned:

  • Kinsella, Sophie. Mini Shopaholic. New York: Dial Press, 2010. Print. 418 pgs. ISBN: 9780385342049. Source: Library.
Book Cover © Dial Press. Retrieved: June 29, 2011.

Lara Lington’s new business is falling apart after her business partner refused to come home from a holiday in India. Her personal life is in shambles after her boyfriend, Josh, broke up with her six weeks ago without warning or explanation. And to top it all off, she’s being haunted by the spirit of her great-aunt Sadie described as “a feisty, demanding girl with firm ideas about fashion, love, and the right way to dance”. Sadie is demanding that Lara find a missing necklace that had been in Sadie’s possession for more than seventy-five years because Sadie cannot rest without it.

I find Kinsella’s novels to be the perfect summer read — light, fun, enjoyable. But I had a hard time getting into this particular read. I found Sadie to be abrasive and hard to like due to her nonstop screaming into Lara’s face whenever she wanted something.

There is also a lot going in with this novel. Lara is trying to reestablish a relationship with her ex-boyfriend, to find a missing necklace, to salvage her business, and to date an American at the request of her deceased great-aunt. Some story lines were more interesting than others; some story lines distracted from the overall plot. The second half of the novel moves much quicker than the first half, but it was enough to salvage my overall opinion of this book.

Others’ Thoughts:

Book Mentioned:

  • Kinsella, Sophie. Twenties Girl. New York: Dial Press, 2010. Originally published 2009. Print. 435 pgs. ISBN: 9780385342032. Source: Purchased.
Book Cover © Dial Press. Retrieved: June 25, 2011.

Sleeping ArrangementsIn desperate need of a holiday, Chloe needs a holiday takes her wealthy friend Gerard up on his offer of the loan of his luxury villa in Spain. Hugh has no time for his children and he’s too busy working to pay for his wife’s new kitchen that he feels there is nothing he can do about it. Until that is his old friend Gerard lends him his luxury villa in Spain. Both families arrive at the villa and realize the awful truth — Gerard has double-booked. What no one else realizes is that Chloe and Hugh have a history; and as tensions rise within the two families, old passions resurface. It seems that Gerard’s ‘accidental’ double booking may not be an accident after all.

Though it sounds odd, Madeleine Wickham is not Sophie Kinsella. They may be the same person, but their writing styles and the quality of their books are not on the same level. Had Sleeping Arrangements been written before the publication of Kinsella’s books I would have understand the need to publish under a pseudonym, but it wasn’t. In fact, Wickham’s novel was published just last year.

That said, I actually kind of liked the beginning of this novel, although it was a bit of a cliche, and the build-up towards the relationship between Chloe and Hugh. I thought the two had potential, and you could feel the sexual tension between them. And then the train derailed — figuratively, not literally. The ending — really the last half of book — was just awful. I don’t know how it could possibly be considered the best conclusion for these two or for their families, and it was borderline unrealistic. The story as a whole is completely dry. Wickham attempts to be serious, but it falls flat. I think I’ll be sticking with the wacky, humorous books Wickham creates under Kinsella. They’re certainly much more fun.

Book Mentioned:

  • Wickham, Madeleine. Sleeping Arrangements. New York: Thomas Dunne/St. Martin’s, 2008. Print. 204 pgs. ISBN: 9780312383428. Source: Library.
Book Cover © Thomas Dunne. Retrieved: June 27, 2010.

Twenties Girl_1Twenties Girl_2Twenties Girl_3

For the most part, I’m a big fan of Sophie Kinsella. Loved the Shopaholic series until the last two books — Shopaholic and Sister and Shopaholic and Baby — but my favorite books of hers have to to be CanYou Keep a Secret? and The Undomestic Goddess. One day I’d like to read some of her boos under her real name, Madeleine Wickham, but for now I’m exicted that she’s releasing another novel on July 21st — Twenties Girl.

Here’s the summary off of Amazon, where you can pre-order the book:

“Lara Lington has always had an overactive imagination, but suddenly that imagination seems to be in overdrive. Normal professional twenty-something young women don’t get visited by ghosts. Or do they?

When the spirit of Lara’s great-aunt Sadie–a feisty, demanding girl with firm ideas about fashion, love, and the right way to dance–mysteriously appears, she has one last request: Lara must find a missing necklace that had been in Sadie’s possession for more than seventy-five years, and Sadie cannot rest without it. Lara, on the other hand, has a number of ongoing distractions. Her best friend and business partner has run off to Goa, her start-up company is floundering, and she’s just been dumped by the “perfect” man.

Sadie, however, could care less.

Lara and Sadie make a hilarious sparring duo, and at first it seems as though they have nothing in common. But as the mission to find Sadie’s necklace leads to intrigue and a new romance for Lara, these very different “twenties” girls learn some surprising truths from each other along the way. Written with all the irrepressible charm and humor that have made Sophie Kinsella’s books beloved by millions, Twenties Girl is also a deeply moving testament to the transcendent bonds of friendship and family.”

Her last one — Remember Me? — was a bit of a disappointment, so I’m hoping to have better luck with Twenties Girl. Although, it’s already had a bad review on GoodReads, I do so love the 1920s.

Book Covers © The Dial Press. Retrieved: June 15, 2009.

confessions-of-a-shopaholicBecky Bloomwood has what most twenty-five-year-olds only dream of: a flat in London’s trendiest neighborhood, a troupe of glamorous socialite friends, and a closet brimming with the season’s must haves. The only trouble is, she can’t actually afford it – not any of it. Her job writing at Successful Savings magazine not only bores her to tears, it doesn’t pay much at all. Still, how can she resist that perfect pair of shoes? Or the divine silk blouse in the window of that ultra-trendy boutique?

But lately Becky’s been chased by dismal letters from Visa and the Endwich Bank – letters with large red sums she can’t bear to read – and they’re getting ever harder to ignore. She tries cutting backs; she even tries making more money. But none of her efforts succeeds. Her only consolation is to buy herself something — just a little something. Finally, a story arises that Becky actually cares about, and her front-page article catalyzes a chain of events that will transform her life — and the lives of those around her — forever.

Leave it to Becky Bloomwood and her hilarious antics to brighten a pretty dismal day. The best of the series, and my second favorite Kinsella book, Confessions of a Shopaholic is a lighthearted and funny read, and it is definitely my “guilty pleasure”. Becky is such an enduring character and I love how often she breaks the “fourth wall,” which makes the story all the more engaging. This is probably one of the best examples of first person witting, as well, and I love how it’s written in the present tense – like you’re right there with Becky – instead of a reflection of her struggles to curb her addiction.

I saw the movie yesterday, and it does not do the book justice. At all. In the book, there are no talking mannequins beckoning Rebecca to shop, Luke isn’t her boss, and her fantastic article isn’t about shoes and investment accounts. Basically, the screenwriters took Becky, her addiction, and Luke and completely butchered the story while incorporating events from the second book in the series, Shopaholic Takes Manhattan. Honestly, as I told my parents, I would have liked the movie if I hadn’t read the series, but I’m so glad I read the series.

Book Mentioned:

  • Kinsella, Sophie. Confessions of a Shopaholic. New York: Dell, 2005. Originally published 2000. Print. 368 pgs. ISBN: 9780440241416. Source: Purchased.
Book Cover © Dell. Retrieved: February 15, 2009.
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