I've never read a Sophie Kinsella book before, and I haven't read any of the Shopaholic series. I do have memories of her books on my mom and aunt's nightstand when I was little and I love the Confessions of a Shopaholic movie -- Rebecca Bloomwood is my spirit animal.

However, when I got the chance to read "Christmas Shopaholic" thanks to Netgalley, I was super excited. I read that you didn't really have to read the entire series to understand this book so I was confident that I would understand everything... and plus, I want to read more Christmas centered books during the holiday season so this was perfect.

What I wasn't expecting was that the book was so different from the movie; Rebecca goes by Becky and the entire thing takes place in England, not New York. Since this wasn't the first novel in the series, I wasn't in tuned to every difference but those are definitely the key ones.

Like I said, I received this e-book before it was published in October, courtesy of Netgalley, and finished it just in time for the Christmas season!

Publisher's Summary

’Tis the season for change and Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) is embracing it, returning from the States to live in the charming village of Letherby and working with her best friend, Suze, in the gift shop of Suze’s stately home. Life is good, especially now that Becky takes time every day for mindfulness—even if that only means listening to a meditation tape while hunting down online bargains.

But Becky still adores the traditions of Christmas: Her parents hosting, carols playing on repeat, her mother pretending she made the Christmas pudding, and the neighbors coming ’round for sherry in their terrible holiday sweaters. Things are looking cheerier than ever, until Becky’s parents announce they’re moving to ultra-trendy Shoreditch—unable to resist the draw of craft beer and smashed avocados—and ask Becky if she’ll host this year. What could possibly go wrong?

Becky’s sister demands a vegan turkey, her husband insists that he just wants aftershave (again), and little Minnie needs a very specific picnic hamper: Surely Becky can manage all this, as well as the surprise appearance of an old boyfriend–turned–rock star and his pushy new girlfriend, whose motives are far from clear. But as the countdown to Christmas begins and her bighearted plans take an unexpected turn toward disaster, Becky wonders if chaos will ensue, or if she’ll manage to bring comfort and joy to Christmas after all.

My Thoughts

When I started this book I was pretty unsure if I was going to like it. It seemed to be a little all over the place, a little difficult to follow and hard to understand. I wasn't sure if that was because of the writing, the nature of Becky Brandon ne Bloomwood or because I hadn't read any of the other books before this one.

However, once the book got moving I was able to keep track of the people (I did have to Wikipedia a few character names and see how they really fit into the story) and the multiple plotlines. I also got into the groove of following Becky's stream of consciousness which seems very hard to write and keep track of, so that is pure talent from Kinsella.

Once I got over that bit of confusion I really loved this book. I thought it was hilarious! The cast of characters was super eclectic, from Jess, the vegan to Becky's ex-boyfriend/rockstar, Craig and his pushy, wacko girlfriend Nadine and Becky's parents trying to become hipsters. 

Then, you have Becky who is outrageously out there but at the core, has an amazing heart and soul which you see throughout this novel. She is a really good friend, a wonderful mother, and a wife and a person who so desperately wants to make everyone happy. She is unlike any other character I've ever read and it's no wonder that they had to make her into a movie character. Her personality and love jumped off the page and you become very invested in her journey to make the perfect Christmas.

I also think that Kinsella captured perfectly what it means to be stressed during the holiday season; it's wanting to make the perfect Christmas dinner, buying the perfect gifts, being conscious of your health and the waste you're putting into the environment, making everyone happy and then everyday life on top of that. However, she also made it a point to call out (numerous times) that Christmas isn't about the stuff, it's about the people and I loved that message woven throughout the text.

It was the perfect touch of realism in a world that doesn't really exist, with so many eccentric personalities in one place, I loved every moment of it. I loved it when Becky invented a new word, thought she was falling in love with her ex-boyfriend, tried everything to find a vegan turkey, and got locked in a pet store. It was so wild, so weird and so perfect. 

You definitely don't need to read the other books in the series to love "Christmas Shopaholic" and I would 100% read again next year around this time to make it a weird tradition. That is how much I loved this book. I'm also pretty sure I need to go back and read the series and will probably continue reading because of the way the book ended you know that there is going to be another one coming down the pipeline. 

If you need a good, romantic and funny book to get you through the Christmas season, or just want to read something funny and festive, you will LOVE "Christmas Shopaholic".

Have you ever read any of the 'Shopaholic' books? What did you think?


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