Category Archives: Chick Lit

The Gift – Cecelia Ahern

*This review contains spoliers*

So it’s been quite a while since I wrote a review for a book I’ve read, but during this Lockdown I’ve re-discovered my love of books and how to make more time for reading.

I’ve read quite a few novels over the last few weeks and I will be writing reviews for those that I’ve felt strongly about.

On that note I’m starting with The Gift, by Cecelia Ahern. 

Where to start? Firstly, I’m just going to come right out and say it: I did not enjoy this Christmas story.

By all means, this opinion does not mean that it’s bad or poorly written. It’s actually very well written and concise in all the right places. But no amount of clever plot twists were able to detract from the fact that I disliked most of the characters and the character arc was just too little, too late (literally).

Ahern clearly had an agenda and a moral story to tell with this Christmas themed novel – but I felt the little references to Christmas that did feature were lack luster. Half the time I had forgotten that it was set at Christmas time, until another faint reference or scene crept in.

I’m not entirely sure if this apathy towards Christmas was meant to be reflective of the main character Lou – if so then it’s definitely fitting of the character and adds to the atmosphere. But as a reader, when I read any novel set at Christmas time I want to feel like it’s Christmas – even if it’s the middle of May (and I’m definitely not driving home for a while). I’m not saying that all novels set at Christmas need to be chocolate box village Christmas or even happy, but I do expect to at least feel like it’s Christmas when I’m reading it, regardless of the plot.

Of course it is testament to a good writer to make their reader feel strongly about their characters. By the time I was half way through reading The Gift I had very strong feelings about most of the characters. Not in a good way.
I had hoped that the developing character arc of the main character Lou would draw me towards him, and I would find some redeemable qualities in him, and maybe even like him a bit by the end. Sadly I felt the complete opposite. I was glad to have reached the end; and maybe others will be able to find those elusive redeemable qualities, but I was so disappointed and frustrated. The lessons he learns too late and tragedy at the end were just too much of dampener.

Why have such a strong moral case to your plot if the lesson is going to be swallowed up by the events, to the point where it has to be spelled out in the final chapter? It may have been for the benefit of a younger minor character, but I couldn’t escape the feeling it needed to spelled out a little bit for me too.

There are some delightfully clever quips and scenes within The Gift. Unfortunately this is one book I won’t be recommending to my friends and family – for the simple reason that this is not want I want from a Christmas story.
Yes I know it might be a cliche, and I said that not all Christmas stories have to be happy – but for me I do want more happiness than sadness or tragedy. I want to feel Christmas running through the entire plot and I want to be excited to be making my present list for those I love.

So there you have it. I do hope you give it go, and make you’re own minds up about what a Christmas story should be for you

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Shopaholic to the Rescue – Sophie Kinsella

Shopaholic to the Rescue is Sophie Kinsella’s latest instalment of the Shopaholic series and details Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood), family and friends and their escapades across the USA.

I’ve been reading Kinsella’s novels, in particular the Shopaholic series for over 10 years! Reading this latest instalment felt like coming home and catching up with an old friend.

shopaholic to the rescueAs I’ve said in previous reviews of Kinsella’s work, her conversational tone does well to draw the reader in. This especially works when writing from the first-person perspective, Becky’s perspective is certainly a force to be reckoned with!

One of the things I enjoyed most about this novel is that even if the current circumstances look bleak, Kinsella writes with a consistent aura of positivity – it makes me as a reader feel hopeful that things will turn out right in the end. I’ve now developed such a bond with Becky that when she feels sad, so do I, but just like Becky I soon bounce back, as does she.


Shopaholic to the Rescue definitely keeps up with earlier novels in the series. There are just as many twists and turns, and intriguing and surprising plot twists. There are some returning favourite characters as well as some returning faces Kinsella fans will just love to hate (no spoilers).

One of the strongest themes in Shopaholic to the Rescue is relationships. There are so many relationships interwoven across the Shopaholic series, but it is in Shopaholic to the Rescue that family relationships really come into the forefront, and take centre stage.

From Becky’s relationship with Luke and Minnie, to her Mum’s relationship with Janice, the list goes on. But Kinsella is very skilled as she crafts each relationship differently, taking care to ensure that the reader is crystal clear as to how each person relates to each other. She doesn’t just rely on the reader having recently read a Shopaholic novel, readers are also confronted with new ways in which some surprising characters relate to each other.

All these relationships along with the fast pace of the plot and the numerous plot twists, adds to the overall pace and excitement that the novel generates. There is also always just enough reflection to give the reader a breather and a bit of a reprieve, so they can digest the previous chapter and assess the situation.

Although readers will have read about Becky, her husband and her daughter’s adventures in America before, this novel follows them as they travel across the country, with their entourage of course, and a story that is both heart-warming and heart-wrenching at the same time.

Kinsella’s descriptions of this all-American road-trip were both fascinating and hilarious. Becky’s encounters with some real-American culture is every bit an enticing as any movie.

I really think the Shopaholic series should be made into a tv series – I know I’d definitely be tuning in. Until that happens, Shopaholic fans should make sure they’ve got a copy to dive into. If you’ve never read any of the Shopaholic series before, make sure you start at the beginning because this one is worth the wait to get the full impact.

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Shopaholic to the Stars- Sophie Kinsella

Well what can be said of the latest instalment of Becky Bloomwood’s life? I’ve been following Becky’s story for many years now and I always enjoy following her crazy adventurous spirit.

Shopaholic to the Stars is well written, well-paced and is consistent, as I’ve said before these are three things all good books should be. Kinsella’s depiction of Becky Bloomwood truly makes her character and spirit come alive off the page. It’s the kind of world you wouldn’t mind being a fly on the wall of.

By chapter 3 I was totally imbedded into Becky’s story. I had become emotionally invested in Becky’s family, friends and life in general, any reader paying attention will find the same- I wanted Becky to prosper and have every positive outcome possible. Kinsella, in my opinion, just has that knack of revealing just enough detail; at just the right time. The surprises are constantly flowing but you never get distracted from the main plot. The minor characters Kinsella interjects throughout add detail and flavour to the story. Shopaholic to the Stars is anything other than predictable.

shopaholic to the stars

The strongest emotion I felt whilst reading Shopaholic to the Stars was frustration. This was a consistent feeling I had- not towards the author, but rather Becky herself. This novel and the subsequent instalment to follow, I expect will prove to be the steepest learning curve for Becky Bloomwood since the very first novel in the series, Confessions of a Shopaholic. There were times I simply wanted to jump into the pages and scream at Becky, maybe shake her round the shoulders a bit! But it certainly says something of the skill of the author when then written word can fuel such a charged emotion for an extended period of time.

The last two chapters are the most dynamic and explosive regarding the plot, but as usual Kinsella delivers a stylish adventure with pizazz and panache. This novel is full of lively characters old and new and compelling plot twists. Stylistically I find most of Kinsella’s novels follow a pattern common to many other novels categorised as ‘chick-lit’; but that doesn’t mean that their not worth reading- far from it! Kinsella’s style is easy to read, almost conversational, if you haven’t got a lot of time to read, or like to read in short bursts Kinsella is a writer you should definitely try.

I wouldn’t say this is the ideal novel to read as a stand-alone. It would definitely provide a better experience for the reader if you were to start from the beginning of the series; which is something I sincerely recommend you do (don’t just watch the terrible movie and then think you can pick up the story from Shopaholic to the Stars)!

Overall Shopaholic to the Stars is an enjoyable read, but admittedly I’m not a fan of the cliff-hanger ending Kinsella leaves you with. Now don’t panic Kinsella is already promoting the next instalment so I’ll be reviewing that as soon as possible, but for now we’ll all just have to wait!

© Gemma Feltham 17 July 2015


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Wedding Night- Sophie Kinsella

Recently I’ve had a break from reading, throwing myself into other enjoyable creative outlets. But I’ve found my way back to the wonder of the written word and am thoroughly enjoying it.

I chose the novel Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella simply because, it’s written by one of my favourite authors. It’s a method of choosing a book which has been tried and tested and I’m rarely disappointed.

wedding night

I found Wedding Night a refreshing take on the romantic ‘chick lit’ novel. Without giving too much of the premise of the book away, I enjoyed the sisterly dynamic between the two female protagonists. It’s more common for ‘chick-lit’ to feature best-friends in this dynamic rather than sisters. Being an elder sister to two siblings, it’s a relationship I can easily identify with which made the novel even more engrossing. I found myself wondering ‘Would I have said that?’, or getting excited when I thought ‘I would definitely have done that’!

After a somewhat slow start, by chapter 10 the events have spiralled and the pace becomes much more frantic and exciting. In some places I felt the novel focused too much on the sexual element, but it does undeniably have its place in the plot of the novel. With a fast paced the plot thickens rapidly. There is a wide variety of characters, a good mix of antagonists and protagonists and in general there’s an interesting mix of encounters; that many readers will find lively and will easily identify with.

Despite the pace of events, character development in Wedding Night is steady. Some may feel it’s a little slow but I find that it’s a common trait in novels which shift perspectives regularly throughout. Kinsella skilfully builds relationships, bridges the two perspectives where events require it and reveals character traits through interesting and often amusing events and circumstances. The result is believable characters, you know who you like and who you don’t. As a reader I quickly discovered characters who infuriated me and those who brought out the romantic side of me. It is a testament to the author who can induce such an emotional response.

Wedding Night is a whirlwind of emotion, the pace once it gets going it doesn’t let up- I couldn’t put it down. Whilst some of the events I imagine will only ever happen in novels and films, there was enough real character, real emotion and realistic dialogue to carry those more theatrical plot twists. The flow of the novel is steady, it keeps up with the pace of events and there were enough plot twists to make every chapter interesting.

Whether you are familiar with Kinsella’s work or not I strongly recommend you give Wedding Night a go. It’s the perfect novel for fans of romance and ‘chick-lit’ fiction but it would also suit readers who generally prefer more light-hearted reading and happy endings.

© Gemma Feltham 22 April 2015


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