The Secret Shopper’s Revenge by Kate Harrison

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Synopsis:

New mum Emily wants revenge on the stick-thin assistants who laugh at her post-baby tummy and post-baby budget. But frumpiness has its advantages when you’re wielding a secret camera – and sending the damning footage straight to head office. Store manager Sandie has a lifelong love of the world of retail – the glitz, the glamour, the stockroom. Then she’s fitted up by an ambitious assistant and secret shopping is the only way to keep her one passion alive. Glamorous widow Grazia can’t leave behind the high life, despite her chronically low bank balance. The more she’s buying – and spying – the less time she has to mourn her husband or her fair-weather friends who’ve dumped her. They’re Charlie’s Shopping Angels, controlled by a mysterious figure who sends them assignments. But when they’re sent to stitch up a doomed shop owned by Will, the angels begin to feel divided loyalties . . .

What a great idea for a book! As someone who has worked in shops, I know all about secret shoppers, so to read a book following three of them was wonderful! The story follows Emily, with her gorgeous baby boy Freddie, who has been left by her husband Duncan, but who still tries to control and manipulate her; Sandie, who loved her job in retail until Marsha set out to destroy everything for her – including the loss of her job, her replacement job and flat; and Grazia, a widow with an artist husband who left no will but a mountain of debt. She faces the choice – how will she survive, sell the house or the paintings? All three embark on secret shopping, as Charlie’s Shopping Angels, where they meet the lovely Will…

Well I really enjoyed this book. All the angels were great, I liked all three of them and wanted the best for all of them. Of course, my favourite character was baby Freddie, he just seemed adorable, especially when he started walking and talking. I loved how friendships were formed and how plans were plotted to help each other. And I loved the ending. Predictible but fantastic 🙂 I even loathed some of the horrid characters, including Duncan and Marsha. I wanted karma to come and get them. For me, a sign of a good book is when I get involved with the characters and develop feelings for them – whether positive or negative, and that happened in this book.

I felt the idea of “Charlie and his Angels” – including how he chose to communicate with them – in disguise through a web-cam was a little cheesy, but that was my only complaint.

We see endless amounts of shopping, strength of character, friendships develop, secrets revealed, revenge taken and people falling into love. An all round great book – especially if you like shopping!

9/10

Shopaholic and Sister by Sophie Kinsella

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Description from Amazon:

Becky Bloomwood is back! Becky thought being married to Luke Brandon would be one big Tiffany box of happiness. But to be honest, it’s not quite as dreamy as she’d hoped. The trouble started on honeymoon, when she told Luke the tiniest little fib, about the teeniest little purchase. Now she’s on a strict budget, she doesn’t have a job – and worst of all her beloved Suze has a new best friend. Then she receives some incredible news. She has a long-lost sister! Becky has never been more excited. Finally, a real sister! They’ll have so much in common! They can go shopping together…choose shoes together…have manicures together…Until she meets her – and gets the shock of her life. It can’t be true. Surely Becky Bloomwood’s long-lost sister can’t…hate shopping? A sister, a soulmate, a skinflint?

This was a quick, easy-to-read chick-lit book. The story follows Becky as she comes back from their honeymoon to discover she has s sister and that her bestfriend has a new bestfriend. The adventure takes her up to Cumbria and even up a mountain.

Many issues are casually looked at in this book – such as family, marriage, materialism and friendship. There was nothing insensitive about how Kinsella writes and it was interesting to see what materialism and shallowness can potentially do to relationships.

I found Becky shallow and materialist, however I was often empathising with her. I did want good things for her and some of her experiences, in regards to friends I think we can all relate too. That and we like to treat ourselves sometimes!

I wasn’t convinced by the storylines, there were a few events that I found incredibly unrealistic, however that did not spoil the story. I related to the characters, I laughed and at times could have cried. I read the majority of the book in one day. The story line took a little while to get going and I did consider putting the book down, but I can honestly say I am glad I didn’t. This is a fun, enjoyable chick-lit book.

7/10