Monthly Recommendations #1


Dear readers, 

We have gathered on Bookoteca’s Blog for our monthly recommendations. 

Giving way into the winter season, we have thought it might be worth going back in time with a series that has conquered all of our womanly hearts when it was published. 

Have you guessed it?

It is Sophie Kingsela’s tenth book in the realm of adventures she has envisioned for her dear Rebecca Bloomwood.  Even though published last year, Christmas Shopaholic is the perfect winter reading. But before we dive into the last one of the series, we will have to take you through a recap of all the previous books in the list. 


Let’s go…

Confessions of a Shopaholic (2001 – Book 1)

A very impressive book that has been adapted to the big screen, Confessions of a Shopaholic deals with the very interesting rollercoaster of spending the main character brings forward on herself. Becky or Rebecca, a London fashionista, struggles with her credit card credit, as she is always impressed by designer homeware, clothes and beauty products that she cannot stop herself from buying. She works for a newspaper where she ironically covers the finance column, but as you can imagine she really doesn’t like her job. However, on her way to a press conference where she was invited to partake for her job, Becky sees her favourite Denny and George scarf at an incredible price, but she cannot purchase it as she has forgotten her credit card at work. Being engulfed in work errands, Beck manages to borrow 20 quid from Luke, the head of Brandon Communications. She excuses herself for asking for the loan by telling Luke she wants to buy a present for her aunt who is in hospital. The book follows closely her adventures into the dating world with both Tarquin, another magnate whom she soon gives up, and Luke, who seems to be in another relationship. Throughout all her adventures, and as long as the book continues, her bank manager, Derek Smeath, is trying to get hold of Becky, just to find out she never returns his calls nor emails and soon after it is clear to him that Becky cannot pay her overdue debts. As she hides from Derek in her parents house, invoking that he is a stalker, Becky finds out that one of her absent minded writing made some neighbours lose a great amount of money. In her attempt to save the situation, Becky writes an article that is highly valuable and she gets invited to a TV show. On the show she confronts Luke, who gives up their account of the bank which Becky dismantels. After the show, Becky gets a permanent slot on the Morning Coffee and her bank finances are looking better. At the end of the book she meets with Luke at the Ritz, where they have a fabulous dinner and spend the night together at the luxurious hotel. 

Shopaholic Abroad (2001 – Book 2)

Everything seems to be working fine for the main character. Her finances were improving as a result of her TV show, and her relationship with Luke is going great. However, a media storm soon finds a way in Becky’s life. She is soon called a fraud, by an article in Daily World which states her financial situation is meagre and that she cannot give advice to others on how to manage their finances when her own being a total disaster. This situation has a negative impact upon her relationship with Luke and her current job at Morning Coffee. 

As the action unfolds, Becky overhears Alicia and Brandon talking about their plans to embarrass Luke by stealing his most important client, namely, Bank of London. Instead of going to her best friend, she decides to play detective in order to understand better what those two plan. She is rewarded by Michael, with whom she shared the information. As Luke finds out the truth he plans to sue Alicia and Brandon C. for embezzlement. Turns out that Alicia was also behind the Daily World article that destabilised Becky. While trying to salvage her finances, Becky auctioned some of her fashion possessions, including the Denny and George scarf that marked the beginning of her relationship to Luke. At the airport, before she leaves London for New York, where she will become a personal shopper at Barneys, Luke meets her and returns the scarf he has auctioned off. After some time, she is really accomplished with her new job, and she becomes a regular on the TV presenting fashion items. As she was helping one of her clients accessorise an outfit, she realises she misses Luke and they get back together.

Shopaholic Ties the Knot (2002 – Book 3)

As the book opens, Becky is happily living with boyfriend Luke in West Village, Manhattan. She has finally found the career switch which makes her really happy. At her best friend’s wedding she catches Suze’s bouquet where she finds Luke’s marriage proposal. She will soon find herself in a pickle, as boths Luke’s mother and her own plan to give her a lavish wedding, one at home in England and one at the Plaza New York, with a small impediment, as both are on the same day. With the advancement of the wedding plans, Becky is incapable of deciding which of the weddings she needs to cancel. 

Luckily, Becky helps one of her favourite clients to recover some of her stolen jewelry and in return, Lauren offers her to help her with anything as a wedding present, which is the perfect escape for Becky to keep both weddings, the Plaza and the one back home in England, as Laurel offers to book one of her private jets for Becky to get to London. 

Shopaholic on Honeymoon (2004 – Book 4) 

The adventure tells the story of Luke and Becky’s honeymoon in Venice. Under the shopping influence again, Becky buys 12 expensive Murano glasses and when confronted by Luke, she merely explains that she was trying to match the new ones to the old ones they had at home. However, Luke is not impressed and tells Becky they need to keep a close eye on their spendings while in the honeymoon. The action takes us further to Luke and Becky visiting local museums, which Becky enjoys thoroughly as they do not look like Guggenheim she was accustomed to. 

Shopaholic and Sister (2004 – Book 5)

After returning home one month early from their honeymoon, Luke and Becky seem to be looking for trouble. Becky has made numerous purchases during the 10 month honeymoon around the world, and even if at first Luke was bemused, he soon finds himself annoyed at his wife. As she has not started her job on television, he urgents her to use the spare time in order to arrange the truck of souvenirs that she ordered. However, Beck has other plans, and she soon auctions everything, even a gift that Luke’s company purchased for one of their clients, 20K Tiffany’s watches. This leaves the newlyweds not speaking for days. 

Upon their return, even her parents find the need to confess something. Her father has another daughter from a relationship he has had previously. Becky is at first relieved by the news, but she soon discovers that her sister is not the shopaholic that she has envisioned. What’s more, her sister is the complete opposite of her, and she soon finds herself in tears when Luke argues that her sister is better than her. 

After behaving inadequately to Jess, her newly found sister, Becky decides to make a mence with her, but she soon discovers they might not even be related. By this time, her marriage to Luke is in shambles, and she is determined to leave England’s countryside to make things work. However, she decides to pursue her relationship with Jess one last time, when she gets injured as she was not wearing the right clothes or pumps for hiking.

At the hospital, she finally reconciles with Luke, who admits she was right about him meeting Temple, and they decide to work on their marriage together. By the end of the book, Becky found herself a new passion, thrifting but also learned that she is pregnant. 

Shopaholic and Baby (2007 – Book 6)

During the time that she expects her fist baby with Luke, Becky goes through the thrills and joys of her first pregnancy. But things get complicated when Becky wants to change Dr. Braine, her obstetrician with another famous one, who seems to have been Luke’s ex girlfriend from university days. Having had an encounter with Venetia, the famous obstetrician, she is suspecting Luke of having a relationship with her, after what she has actually confessed. When confronting Luke with those rumors, she learns the truth about their university relationship and decides to continue to see Dr. Braine. 

Furthermore, the action of the book revolves around a personal investigator, who uncovers the truth about Suze’s new best friend, Lulu and other information about one of Luke’s clients. Apparently the CEO of Arcodas Group and Venetia were conspiring against Brandon Communications, in Venetia’s attempt to get Luke to leave his wife. When Luke confronts Venetia, he comes out as assertive, and says that he loves his wife for her genuine and intuitive nature, rather than Venetia’s manipulative and lying side. 

Becky and Luke lose the house that they were willing to buy, and thus find themselves homeless. When in an argument, Becky’s water breaks and she soon finds herself a mother of a darling girl, whom they name Minnie. By the end of the book, the three of them move to Surrey, to Becky’s parents while Luke is looking to save his company. 

Mini Shopaholic (2010 – Book 7)

This book deals with the financial recession that hit both Luke and Becky, who still live with her parents. However, more drama is added to the plate, when her now two years old daughter, Minni proves to be ill tempered. Upon a thorough assessment, Becky’s mother said that is Becky’s fault for Minni’s tantrums, which in turn upsets Becky and makes her have a fight with her parents. During this whole time, the main character is trying to organise a surprise party for Luke’s birthday. Things get off the rails when Luke, decides at his own accord to hire Nanny Sue, a nanny with her proprietary TV show in order to deal with his daughter’s bad behaviour. Becky is rather upset when she discovers this, but she soon admits she herself has consulted with Elianor, Luke’s mother, for bettering their daughter. After Becky learns from Nanny Sue that she is the one responsible for her daughter being spoiled, she returns to her parents for a reconciliation. By the end of the book, the entire family is looking forward to three months in Hollywood, as Luke takes on board a Julia Robert type of movie star. 

Shopaholic to the Stars (2015 – Book 8)

In her attempt to get a job with Sage Seymour, the Julia Robers movie star alike, Becky is upset with Luke for keeping her at a distance under the pretext that the holiday will soon be over. Luke’s idea of Becky overseeing the preschool efforts for their daughter, makes Becky resee her arch enemy, Alicia, who is trying to get into Becky’s good graces by helping Minnie get into a prestigious school. Becky succeeds to get a job for Sage’s rival, Lois, who starts picking up on Becky and her reckless appearance, suggesting she should get plastic surgery. On top, Alicia seems to be thinking the same as Lois, and this gives Becky a hard time with her priorities between marriage, family and friends.  

In a different plan, Tarquin joins a wellness center, and Suze does not want him to go. Being torn between her friends and family, Becky advises Tarquin against the wellness center, and much to his later regret he doesn’t listen to her. 

The story ends with a cliffhanger, but more to follow in Book 9.

Shopaholic to the Rescue (2016 – Book 9)

While her father disappeared, Becky seems to have the urge to find him and return him to his mother. With her friends in town, she goes on a look for clues. When Alicia wants to join, Luke and Suze convince Becky she is up for good. 

The story unfolds in a different direction, as Becky and Jess reunite and discover their father was never kidnapped, but rather was away to another daughter they knew nothing about. 

Apparently his adventurous past has made him father multiple children, of whom he knows nothing, but whom he is trying to find without Jane’s knowledge. Becky and Jess decide to help him in his endeavours. 

Christmas Shopaholic (2019 – Book 10)

We finally have arrived at the latest addition to the shopaholic series, namely the Christmas book released last year. 

The book finds Becky’s parents moving to the new upbeat Shoreditch shire in London, while Becky is trying to host Christmas. With all the online temptations she is faced with, in terms of shopping, will manage not to crack under the pressure of the holiday season?

The book is delightfully constructed on her entanglement with her extended family and her past addiction, shopping. 

Hopefully you have enjoyed reading this extensive piece on the Shopaholic series!

We are happy to find similar selections if you decide to write in the comment section of this article your next interest. 

5 Easy Readings for Winter Holiday Season

5 english books to read in winter

November comes to a close, and December awaits patiently around the corner. After all the madness with preparations, one wants to unwind and relax in a very cosy environment, full of candles and Christmas scents. We have prepared for you a short list of easy reads for this year’s Holiday Season, especially as the 2020 world seems a bit more limited than our normal seasonal endeavours. 

Are you ready? Let’s proceed!

  1. You Are What You Eat – Gillian McKeith 
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Even though it was published in 2004, You Are What You Eat is more relevant today than ever before. Paying attention to our diet is an even more growing trend nowadays than it was at the time of publishing this book, especially as it has been proved that fast food and other fast processed meals might have a daunting effect upon our physical health and also on our mental health. Gillian McKeith has seen some controversy from this book that has been later transformed into a TV series by channel4, and most of that controversy stemmed from critique about how Gillian chose to market herself as a “doctor”. Even though she is a nutritionist, not a doctor per se, the advice within the pages of this book, might seem even more relevant to be pursued during winter’s holidays as sometimes we forget about diets around this time of the year. 

  1. The masterworks of Monet – Douglas Mannering 

This is a masterpiece in terms of illustration books that reveals the hidden nature of Monet’s life. As impressive as it is, you might find out some awe-inspiring marketing techniques that the painter himself employed for the likes of poets, novelists, politicians, sponsors and even fellow branch artists. Entangled between reality and fiction, Monet has previously had a wondrous interaction with the named fellows and the book depicts his human nature like no other book, while also preserving a great patrimony of his original paintings, and a couple of forges. Most of the Monet forges were not included into this publication as more than 2000 pieces are hidden within secret vaults in Russia. The Masterworks of Monet proves to be ideal for a wintery day coupled with mulled wine, for a refreshing escape from the global pandemics, and into the world of the 1800s impressionist movement. 

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  1. Visible Thought 
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Whether we know it or not, our body is an endless stream of signals for any given human interaction. Dwelling on psychological research, mainstream media and modern advertising, Beattie’s account in the Visible Though reflects his proficient opinion in regards to human gestures. In this book the author takes us even on a historical journey, as far as Cicero’s days towards the more modern times of Chomsky’s. His argument is different from the popular thought where body language is a side effect of communication, but instead it primes us with the addition or constriction of gestures as a way to reveal our inner thoughts. The book is intended as an easy and provocative read for all humans who want to understand when they are being lied to or when things are not as the narrator wants to portray. On this account, this Christmas you can look forward to becoming a body language detective, after reading this volume which you can in turn put to use on all your known relatives and their seasonal stories. 

  1. Magnificent Horses of the World Andalusian Horses – picture book 

Another great addition to your library is this amazing illustrated book about spanish horses. Filled with visual accounts with the free spirited animals in the wild, this volume sparks a dear for all equestrian lovers. Even though you don’t have a passion for horses, this book will prove to be nice and relaxing and will make you discover new and intriguing facts about some of the wild breeds. This holiday season you can unwind on the beautiful places and animals of Andalusian shores, taking away with you most interesting facts about wild horses. 

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  1. Life – Martha Holmes

When it comes to the winter holiday readings, fast and sweet will cut it, given the limited time for ourselves. Martha Holmes succeeds by this brilliantly written account to shed light on animal behaviour and on all their major subgroups. Taking us on a journey of animals and their survival strategies, Martha looks into reptilian killers to insects, long distance migratory birds to hunter mammals and even into the homo sapiens breed. On this particular occasion, Mrs Holmes has provided extensive details about all categories mentioned earlier and surprises us with incredible story accounts of those animal’s survival mechanisms. As we have mentioned numerous times how wonderful this book is, we can convince you of our statements when you check the narrated film version, picked up by sir David Attenborough and recognised as the best documentary on numerous movie awards lists. 

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Hope you will enjoy this holiday season next to our recommended books.

Check our main website for other interesting titles you might enjoy during this winter!

How can reading English Classics improve our cognition?

English Classics Books - Original Cover

If you have ever wondered about the above question, and did not find the answer, we are hoping that this blog post will shed light on things for you.

In our modern day,  when distractions are not short at hand, with mobile phones and apps being more and more competitive for our attention spans, reading might seem as a daunting activity all in all, let alone English Classics with their odd and outdated language, and complex twists in the plot narrative. But how can those complex books help us boost our brain capacity and change the way we see life?

Understanding Human Behaviour

For a start, English Classics are the building blocks that form the foundation of all literary works that succeeded them. Needless to say the way that they are constructed, with their complex story plots and vast character descriptions, English classics capture the essence of human behaviour and are also timeless, even though they have backdated story lines, mainly due to the fact that the author’s detailed account of events, the plot twists and the figures involved deem to be rather nuanced and refined to the very last detail. Once more, English classics prove to be the go to place for understanding complex human behaviour and emotions. 

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Recent studies have shown that English Classics could prove to be better than self-help books as they are exciting, empowering and enlightening. Their complex narratives, with slow introductions into the plots and with loads of spins in the story lines proved to be the most beneficial nourishment that we can feed our brain if we want to change our modus operandi and develop new abilities. 

Sparking New Connections

Remember that daunting vocabulary we mentioned earlier? Apparently, this is served best to our brain with a dose of complexity. When we research new words, and when we understand them, the brain sparks new connections between existing neurones and thus activates more zones into cognition.The ability to read in a different language from your mother tongue, also increases the natural thought process and expands it towards a better and more empowering one. This has proved a wondrous technique, even for mental health patients, and has helped improve their overall well being. Besides, learning new words can help us nuance our own emotions and feelings, shedding the proper light upon things we might have not had a descriptive word for. 

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When our reading mode is enabled, automatically, we get to improve our English natural abilities. By this I mean: syntax, grammar and idioms. This will translate into improved writing skills as reading English Classics gets us acclimated with multiple forms of expressing various sentences within the language’s parameters. What’s more, if we get to read and write, our speaking will suffer improvements. Pretty cool stuff, just from picking up English Classics! 

Modelling Creative Thinking

Another benefit of reading English classics is the fact that we can generate new ideas from old situations. Especially if reading them at an early age, this could help us navigate the complex life situations by benefiting from comportamental models from our beloved characters within the classic oeuvres. What’s more, reading English Classics at an old age can bring substantial improvement in the quality of life, as it tends to make the eldery feel “more alive” as professor Phillip Davis mentioned in his research. Other benefits of reading classics could be alienating illness symptoms, modeling creative thinking about human existence and freeing imagination and emotions according to the emeritus fellow of Liverpool university. 

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In a world where technology might possess a real threat to the way we communicate, reading Shakespeare, Jane Austin, Charles Dickens and William Blake might seem a cool thing to do, both in terms of improving cognitive process, but also from an emotional healing standpoint. 

The Best Fiction Novels for Book Lovers

english books - english modern fiction

We have gathered here a cool selection of fiction books for all those who love reading.

Let’s start!

On our first recommendation we have „Reflected in You” by Sylvia Day. The book follows the narrative of Gideon Cross, who as beautiful and flawless on the outside is as damaged and tormented on the inside. According to the narrator, Gideon was her addiction that encompassed her every desire. She simply called him hers. The resemblance between his and her past were striking. Both came from a broken family and never hold a stable job.

The relationship between them was rather painful, except for when it was magnificent. But their love was based on the lust they hold for each other and their desperate love. The need for each other was consuming, and their passion took them beyond their personal limits to the sharpest ego obsession.

The book is delightful in the way it portrays this toxic relationship, and the climax and resolution keep us hungry for more and more information about the two.

Our second selection, This is Not a Love Story, by Karen David, portrays the beautiful life Kitty envisions for herself. However, her dreams don’t match the grim reality of suburban London, where she and her family are haunted by the unexpected death of her father. After this tragic event, Kitty’s mom suggest a relocation to Amsterdam, to which Kitty has not much to argue against. But how will this opportunity transform her life in her desired one?

While in Amsterdam, Kitty meets Ethan and Theo. Both of the boys are enigmatic and harbour their own secrets. In this wonderous city Kitty finds herself in love for the very first time. The questions that arise as a consequence of her feelings can make the reader anxious to understand if everything will run smoothly with Kitty.

A great modern adventure that is filled with interesting conversations that have a lot of wit and grit.

For our third book, we have chosen the final book from the hit series L.A. Candy, by Lauren Conrad, which bares the name Sugar and Spice. The already acclaimed celebrity, Jane Roberts, enjoys the very best from life: haute couture clothes, VIP rooms and celebrity boyfriends. Despite her acclaimed success, Jane has to face tabloid scandals, some fake friends and the nasty paparazzi. She is trying all the time to surround herself with true and genuine people, that love her for who she is, while also taking a break from dating. However, the no boy rules seem harder to apply since her school sweetheart and L.A. crush appear in town, acting nicer than ever. The main character stumbles upon a discovery, where the reality of others is being changed.

Lauren Conrad, evokes through this book the real drama behind the Hollywood scenes, and captivates us with a thrilling novel which has been acclaimed by critics from all over the world.

Lastly, we are closing our fiction selection with Martina Cole’s Good Life. This is a thrilling novel that exposes the harsh truth of suicide. When presented with the divorce papers from Cain Moran, Caroline takes ‘til death do us part’ to a new length. Being accused of manslaughter, Cain is now faced with a life in prison. His other lover, Jenny Riley does not care about Cain’s reputation and only hopes for a good life for her and her man. But trouble comes with all the trials set for Cain, and other spin offs in the situation at hand. Both have an unquestionable belief that if their love manages to survive all this, they might have a shot at their desire life together.