Monday, 27 July 2015

Sarah's Review of Shopaholic to the Stars by Sophie Kinsella

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Wow! When I finally landed my hands on this book I was so excited to start reading it! I have read every other Shopaholic book Kinsella has written and she has never disappointed me so far. And once again she nailed it! In Shopaholic to the Stars, Becky's witty antics and frenzied inner dialogue keep you laughing and crying throughout the whole thing. If you've never read one of Sophie Kinsella's books, especially one in her Shopaholic series, then I suggest you go out and grab one right away. The character, Rebecca Brandon, nee Bloomwood, is one of the most unique, yet relatable characters I have ever met in the pages of books.

In this novel, we find Becky, Luke (her husband), and their daughter Minnie, living in Hollywood of all places! Luke has a client who is a movie star and Becky is what you would call star struck. Everywhere she goes she is hoping to catch a glimpse of somebody famous. And if only she could launch her fashion career as an A-list Hollywood stylist, she would have it made, or so she thinks. Luke's PR work is for the famous actress, Sage Seymour, and so Becky's secret desire is to become Sage's very own personal stylist, but Luke is not too keen on introducing the two of them. According to Becky, he just doesn't understand the whole Hollywood star thing. While waiting for an introduction to Sage, Becky's dream beings to come true when she gets the chance to style Sage's archrival. This makes things quite complicated in Becky's world. She is thrown into what she thought was the life she always dreamed of, red carpet premieres, tons of paparazzi competing for her attention, but after being thrown into this world she starts to wonder if it's all it's made out to be. Will she have to give up what she has in order to be famous? Is this the life she really wants?

Kinsella's writing style is remarkable once again. She has a way with words that keeps things flowing from beginning to end, truly a page turner. Everything is written from Becky's point of view, so along with all of the crazy and funny events happening, you also dive into Becky's inner monologue. To hear the inner workings of her mind, you find yourself connecting with her. Her ramblings and justifications of why she does the things she does is what makes this book a star itself.

We see through Becky's struggles that things aren't always as they seem. What we see on the surface of anyone's life is just that, the surface. We have no idea what is truly going on in their lives and why they do the things they do. No matter how well you think you know somebody, there's always something more to learn.

This book also brings to light how important family and true friends are and these are things we should never take for granted. These are the people who love us unconditionally and allow us to make mistakes, but are there for us through it all. We need to remember that just like they are there for us, we need to be there for them too, because you never know when they may need you. Those of us who have found unconditional love in family or a close friend should consider ourselves lucky and to always remember that even though the love is there, it is a two way street. So if they are there supporting you, you need to be that support right back to them, don't take them for granted.

Shopaholic to the Stars makes you laugh and cry, it shows us darkness and light, and love in a unique way that only Kinsella can do. Definitely worth a read.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Sarah's Review of Rapture by J.R. Ward

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When I first picked up Rapture by J.R. Ward I had no idea what to expect. It is part of the series of books called The Fallen Angels and I hadn't read any of them before, but I was hoping I could pick it up and still know what was going on. Thankfully I could.

The story centres around a female reporter, Mels Carmichael, who writes for the Caldwell Courier Journal and a man named Matthias. Matthias comes into her life outside of the local cemetery. While driving home one night he just happens to limp out in front of her car. Without any time to react she hits the man and then crashes her car. While in the hospital she finds out he has amnesia and so she wants to help him recover his memories, not realizing just how scary those memories could be. While uncovering those memories they also find themselves falling passionately in love with each other, like they never had before. One thing that Matthias does remember from the start is the name of 'Jim Heron' on a gravestone, so their search begins there. Heron is a fallen angel who's job is to rescue souls from the seven deadly sins. Heron is in for a fight between good and evil once again when it comes to Matthias and we find that his soul is on the line. But from the memories he recovers, it's hard to see how one who has done so much wrong in his life could redeem himself enough to save his soul.

Of course, as you could tell from the description, we find the overwhelming theme here to be good versus evil. We have the fallen angel, Jim Heron, fighting against a demon, Devina, for the soul of Matthias. Each one wants his soul for their own reasons, and they are in a game against time to win this round and claim his soul as either good or evil. Matthias must come to a crossroads, which neither Heron nor Devina know what it will be, and will have to choose. This decision will ultimately decide who wins, Heron or Devina, good or evil. And Heron finds that it is his job to steer him to the side of good, but with his past he's not sure that is possible.

The theme of love is very prevalent throughout the whole story. And I would deem this as a paranormal romance due to the amount of description the author goes into during intimate love scenes. We find Mels and Matthias falling in love with each other despite all odds and wonder if true love can save a soul and ultimately change the course of someone's life.

J.R. Ward does a good job in explaining what is going on in each of the character's lives so much that I was able to dive into book #4 without having read the previous three and I still understood what was going on. But I am left wondering if the other novels deal only with Heron and Devina with other challenges, or if Matthias is a character throughout the novels. I also wonder if we will read more about him in the next book. My guess is we will follow the fallen angel and the demon through their game.

This book delivers a lot, from heartbreak and love, to humour and tragedy, romance and sex. I was truly captivated by both the character of Mels and the character of Matthias. As he was the main character in my opinion, I found his story fascinating. His soul was so corrupt one could not even fathom the idea of saving it, but somehow the author makes it so that you are rooting for him to make the right choice. During his amnesia you see a changed man, and even as his memories come flooding back, the decisions he makes are not reminiscent of the past, but of a new person, most likely due to the love he has found in Mels. His story is truly heartbreaking and uplifting.

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