#LettersFromTheHeart | #BookReview | CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC (Confessions #1) by Sophie Kinsella @KinsellaSophie (14th September 2000, Transworld Books @TransworldBooks)

CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC (Confessions #1) by Sophie Kinsella
Published; September 14th 2000, Transworld Books

Becky Bloomwood has a fabulous 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 Saving magazine not only bores her to tears, it doesn’t pay much at all. And lately Becky’s been chased by dismal letters from the bank—letters with large red sums she can’t bear to read. She tries cutting back. 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.

This is a re read for me. I have put some of the later releases in the series on my beat the backlist so thought I would refresh my memory by starting from the beginning. I forgot just how much I loved these books. Rebecca is so refreshingly human and being inside her mind is like reading my own story! Well maybe not the constant spending and the huge amount of debt but she is just so down to earth and so likeable.

Rebecca has a big problem! She cannot resist a sale or shopping even when her cards are maxed to the brim, so she tries to cut back or make more money neither of which seem to work out in her favour. As Rebecca runs to her parents to hide from the disaster that appears to be her life she discovers something that could rock the financial world.

This was such a light hearted, funny read. I actually laughed out loud at some of Rebecca’s antics and it’s so easy to lose yourself in the pages of Rebecca’s crazy world as everything seem to crumble around her.

I read this so fast as I couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen next for Rebecca Bloomwood. Even though I have read the book before I still enjoyed it so much and I am so excited to read the rest of the series. So glad I included these on my beat the backlist so I have an excuse to pick them up again. Cannot wait!

You can buy CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC (Confessions #1) from the following booksellers (and many more!);

Amazon (UK) | Amazon (US) | Amazon (AU)

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#LettersFromTheHeart | #BookReview | THE LOST ART OF KEEPING SECRETS by Eva Rice @EvaRiceAuthor (October 24th 2005, Plume Books @PlumeBooks) #BeatTheBacklist

THE LOST ART OF KEEPING SECRETS by Eva Rice
24th October 2005, Plume Books

Set in 1950s London The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets centers around Penelope the wide- eyed daughter of a legendary beauty Talitha who lost her husband to the war. Penelope with her mother and brother struggles to maintain their vast and crumbling ancestral home while postwar London spins toward the next decade’s cultural revolution.

Penelope wants nothing more than to fall in love and when her new best friend Charlotte a free spirit in the young society set drags Penelope into London with all of its grand parties she sets in motion great change for them all. Charlotte’s mysterious and attractive brother Harry uses Penelope to make his American ex-girlfriend jealous with unforeseen consequences and a dashing wealthy American movie producer arrives with what might be the key to Penelope’s and her family’s future happiness.

Vibrant witty and filled with vivid historical detail The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets is an utterly unique debut novel about a time and place just slipping into history.

Sometimes you buy books that you think look and sound interesting and that you would enjoy, you take them home put them on your shelf and then look at them occasionally before choosing something else to read. This was the case for me with THE LOST ART OF KEEPING SECRETS. I bought it years ago and it has done 7 house moves with me and still I never got around to reading it. Until the Beat the Backlist challenge that we were set for the blog. I finally picked up this book and BOY am I glad I did!

What a wonderful, cute story. Penelope is a shy girl of 18 trying to adapt to life in a big house after the war which caused the family to lose the head of the household and Penelope’s mother’s reason for living. Penelope’s life is pretty boring until Charlotte comes along and picks Penelope out of a line of people at a bus stop. When Penelope and Charlotte take tea with Charlotte’s aunt a friendship is formed and Penelope’s life goes in a direction she never imagined.

We are introduced to lots of different types of characters. There is Charlotte’s cousin, magician Harry, head over heels in love with an American socialite who is just a little out of reach, Penelope’s brother Inigo who is so music obsessed it is all he lives and breathes as well as Penelope’s beautiful mother who is struggling to adapt to life without her husband in a house falling to pieces around her.

As Penelope sets on a path full of adventure, we get to go along for the ride. Penelope discovers lots about herself, love and music as she embarks on a new journey. I loved how Penelope developed from a shy unsure girl into a beautiful confident woman. Watching her grow was like seeing a flower bloom throughout the seasons. Penelope was easy to like and exactly how you would imagine a girl of 18 to start out as a grown up. 

I did keep having to remind myself that the book is set in the 1950s and not earlier as the description of the house and the manners of the people reminded me of what I have read about in the 1930s. I love the way that Elvis Presley is just starting out on his career and that was interesting for me to read about. 

I loved how the story ended with Penelope finally admitting her feelings for a certain boy but left open ended for the reader decide where they go from here. I imagine that Penelope got a happy ending and became a well known writer.

I adored this book, it was such a cute lovable story and I highly recommend for people looking for something to the usual romance type of book. Me enjoying this book so much has reminded me that I need to read more of the books sitting on my shelf, who knows what other gems are hiding there!

You can buy THE LOST ART OF KEEPING SECRETS from the following booksellers (and obviously many more! Support your local booksellers where you can!)

Amazon (UK) | Amazon (US) | Amazon (AU)

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#ReadingChallenge2019 | BEAT THE BACKLIST #BeatTheBacklist

We all get into that position as a bookworm where our TBR piles are higher than we are and no matter how fast we seem to read, we can never get through the mountain that still awaits us!!

Welcome to Beat the Backlist (the 2019 edition) bought to life by NovelKnight.

This reading challenge is all about knocking off those older books from your to-read list. 

Any genre, any format, any length.

As stated on NovelKnights – the guidelines for this challenge are simple;

The book must have been published in 2018 or earlier to count. It can be in any format (including an ARC/eARC) as long as the release date is earlier than 2019.

You have to start and finish the book in 2019 to count it. Any books started in 2018 and finished in 2019 do not count. Any books started in 2019 and finish in 2020 also do not count.

The challenge runs from January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019
(your local time)

Each of the P.Turners has a lengthy TBR and we have each pledged to knock off the below books…

S. Back List

  1. DEEP DIRTY TRUTH by Steph Broadribb
  2. FADE TO GREY by John Lincoln
  3. LETHAL WHITE (Cormoran Strike #4) by Robert Galbraith
  4. DOWN TO THE WOODS (Helen Grace #8) by M.J. Arlidge
  5. THE DISTANT ECHO (Inspector Karen Pirie #1) by Val McDermid
  6. SUGAR DADDIES by Jade West
  7. RAGDOLL by Daniel Cole
  8. UNDER THE DOME by Stephen King
  9. AGENT 6 (Leo Demidov #3) by Tom Rob Smith
  10. SLEEPING BEAUTIES by Stephen King & Owen King
  11. JURASSIC PARK (Jurassic Park #1) by Michael Crichton
  12. THE LOST WORLD (Jurassic Park #2) by Michael Crichton
  13. WHAT HAPPENED by Hillary Rodham Clinton
  14. THE OUTSIDER by Stephen King
  15. THE PRESIDENT IS MISSING by Bill Clinton & James Patterson
  16. ANIMAL FARM by George Orwell
  17. THE DA VINCI CODE (Robert Langdon #2) by Dan Brown
  18. COURT OF THORN & ROSES by Sarah J. Maas
  19. ANGELS & DEMONS (Robert Langdon #1) by Dan Brown
  20. CINDER (The Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer
  21. HEARTLESS by Marissa Meyer
  22. WUTHERING HEIGHTS by Emily Bronte
  23. GIRLS NIGHT OUT by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke
  24. A LITTLE LIFE by Hanya Yanagihara
  25. WHO’S THAT GIRL? by Mhairi McFarlane
  26. THE GOOD DAUGHTER by Karin Slaughter
  27. DEFENDER (The Voices #1) by G.X. Todd
  28. A DARK SO DEADLY by Stuart Macbride
  29. SIRENS (Aidan Waits #1) by Joseph Knox
  30. MACBETH by Jo Nesbo
  31. GUILTY PLEASURES (Anita Blake #1) by Laurell K. Hamilton
  32. NINETEEN EIGHTY FOUR by George Orwell
  33. GET EVEN by Martina Cole
  34. CHILD 44 (Leo Demidov #1) by Tom Rob Smith
  35. SECRET SPEECH (Leo Demidov #2) by Tom Rob Smith
  36. THE PASSAGE by Justin Cronin
  37. THE STAND by Stephen King
  38. AFTER (After #1) by Anna Todd
  39. TAINTED LOVE (The Butlers #4) by Kimberley Chambers
  40. THE LADYKILLER (DI Kate Burrows #1) by Martina Cole
  41. NAKED IN DEATH (In Death #1) by J.D. Robb
  42. THE JUMP by Martina Cole
  43. DANGEROUS LADY (Maura Ryan #1) by Martina Cole
  44. PAYBACK (The Butlers #2) by Kimberley Chambers
  45. THE WRONGED (The Butlers #3) by Kimberley Chambers

*L* Back List

  1. SHOPAHOLIC TO THE STARS (Shopaholic #7) by Sophie Kinsella
  2. SHOPAHOLIC TO THE RESCUE (Shopaholic #8) by Sophie Kinsella
  3. MY NOT SO PERFECT LIFE by Sophie Kinsella
  4. SURPRISE ME by Sophie Kinsella
  5. CAPTIVATED BY YOU (Crossfire #4) by Sylvia Day
  6. ONE WITH YOU (Crossfire #5) by Sylvia Day
  7. MY BEST FRIEND’S GIRL by Dorothy Koomson
  8. BEARTOWN (Beartown #1) by Fredrik Backman
  9. US AGAINST YOU (Beartown #2) by Fredrik Backman
  10. THE LOST ART OF KEEPING SECRETS by Eva Rice
  11. THIS MAN (This Man #1) by Jodi Ellen Malpas
  12. LEAVING TIME by Jodi Picoult
  13. BLACK RABBIT HALL by Eve Chase
  14. RACHEL’S HOLIDAY (Walsh Family #2) by Marian Keyes
  15. ANGELS (Walsh Family #3) by Marian Keyes
  16. LAST CHANCE SALOON by Marian Keyes
  17. SUSHI FOR BEGINNERS by Marian Keyes
  18. SEE ME by Nicholas Sparks
  19. FRIENDS, LOVERS, CHOCOLATE (Isabel Dalhousie #2) by Alexander McCall Smith
  20. EMMA (The Austen Project #3) by Alexander McCall Smith
  21. WORKING WONDERS by Jenny Coolgan
  22. TALKING TO ADDISON by Jenny Coolgan
  23. FAKING IT (Dempseys #2) by Jennifer Crusie
  24. GLAMOUR by Louise Bagshawe
  25. SINGING BIRD by Roisin McAuley
  26. THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US by Maggie O’Farrell
  27. TRIALS OF TIFFANY TROTT by Isabel Wolff
  28. WILD OATS by Veronica Henry
  29. LIFE SKILLS by Katie Fforde
  30. CIRCLING THE SUN by Paula McLain

*M* Back List

  1. CROW (Boston Underworld #1) by A.Zavarelli
  2. HIS TRUE QUEEN (The Smoke & Mirrors Duology #2) by Jodi Ellen Malpas
  3. FROM LUKOV WITH LOVE by Mariana Zapata
  4. PRINCE LESTAT (The Vampire Chronicles #11) by Anne Rice
  5. THE WOLF GIFT (The Wolf Gift Chronicles #1) by Anne Rice
  6. THE C WORD (Just A Word #1) by Kerry Heavens
  7. SUNBURN by Laura Lippman
  8. TRUTH OR BEARD (Winston Brothers #1) by Penny Reid
  9. ANNO DRACULA (Anno Dracula #1) by Kim Newman
  10. BAG OF BONES by Stephen King
  11. RIDE OR DIE #1 (A Devil’s Highwayman MC Novel) by Cee Cee Riley
  12. THE MAN IN THE BLACK SUIT by Sylvain Reynard
  13. THIRTEEN (Women of the Otherworld #13) by Kelley Armstrong
  14. IT ENDS WITH US by Colleen Hoover
  15. READY FOR FLYNN #2 by K.L.Shandwick
  16. THE BONE KEEPER by Luca Veste
  17. FEAR ME (Broken Love #1) by B.B.Reid
  18. BREAKING THE LIMITS (Reckless #2) by C.C.Gibbs
  19. HEART & SOUL (Heartland Series #1) by Nicola C.Priest
  20. THE VINCENT BOYS (The Vincent Boys #1) by Abbi Glines
  21. LACE by Shirley Conran
  22. THREE DARK CROWNS (Three Dark Crowns #1) by Kendare Blake
  23. LADY MIDNIGHT (The Dark Artifices #1) by Cassandra Clare
  24. AMERICAN GODS by Neil Gaiman
  25. ROSS POLDARK (The Poldark Saga #1) by Winston Graham
  26. THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN by Paula Hawkins
  27. AMERICAN PSYCHO by Bret Easton Ellis
  28. CHANCES (Lucky Santangelo #1) by Jackie Collins 
  29. THE FIREMAN by Joe Hill
  30. A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES (All Souls Trilogy #1) by Deborah Harkness

[K] Back List

  1. THE ADAMANTINE PALACE (The Memory of Flames #1) by Stephen Deas
  2. ROSE by Martin Cruz Smith
  3. THE JUDGING EYE (Aspect-Emperor #1) by R.Scott Bakker
  4. BRICK LANE by Monica Ali
  5. SOMME MUD by E.P.F. Lynch
  6. FALLING FOR YOU by Jill Mansell
  7. THE UNITED STATE (Tweed & Co. #16) by Colin Forbes
  8. THANKSGIVING by Michael Dibdin
  9. KNIGHT’S DAWN (Red Pavillions #1) by Kim Hunter
  10. ONE CHILD by Torey Hayden
  11. ESCAPE TO LOVE by Penny Preston
  12. SEEKING ROBINSON CRUSOE by Tim Severin
  13. THE JUNGLE BOOK by Rudyard Kipling

Be sure to check back in with us at the end of each month to see how we are getting on! 

Are there are books on our TBR lists that you have read?

Let us know if you are taking part in any reading challenges in 2019!