Confessions of a Shopoholic by Sophie Kinsella

Title:  Confessions of a Shopaholic

Author:  Sophie Kinsella

Paperback:  350 pages

ISBN:  0440241413

On Monday morning I wake early, feeling rather hollow inside.  My gaze flits to the pile of unopened carrier bags in the corner of my room and then quickly flits away again.  I know I spent too much money on Saturday.  I know I shouldn’t have bought two pairs of boots.  I know I shouldn’t have bought that purple dress.  In all, I spent… Actually, I don’t want to think about how much I spent.  Think about something else, quick, I instruct myself.  Something else.  Anything’ll do.

I’m well aware that at the back of my mind, thumping quietly like a drumbeat, are the twin horrors of Guilt and Panic.

Guilt Guilt Guilt Guilt.

Panic Panic Panic Panic.

If I let them, they’d swoop in and take over.  I’d feel completely paralyzed with misery and fear.  So the trick I’ve learned is simply not to listen.  My mind is very well trained like that.

-Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella, page 154

Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella lends a comedic voice to an all-to-real problem plaguing many today.  It’s a story told by the main character, Rebecca Bloomwood, as she struggles to gain control of her shopping addiction.  From the private thoughts and justifications, like the item’s on sale so buying two saves more, to the terror when seeing the credit card bills in the mail.  At times I heard a few of my own thought processes echoed in Bex, lol.

Miss Bloomwood tries to get her spending under control, even going so far as to work through a self help book… unfortunately, though, she ends up spending a lot more money than she did without the book, as well as stinking up the apartment with the smell of defeat and bad curry.  Her father offers the advice that she has two choices:  Cut back or make more money.  Obviously cutting back was a bust, so she tries the MMM approach.  Her short-lived career in retail ends in disaster when she learns the hard way that hiding clothing from the customer will get you fired.  She also finds that she is NOT the craftiest person and the “make money at home” thing isn’t for her.  Nor can she force herself to fall in love with a millionaire, no matter how much her friend might want it.  It would seem that she is destined to retreat to her parents and regress from adulthood, and even there she can’t escape her incompetence.

Can this shopaholic make it?

Just then the post plops through the door, and I go to pick it up.  There’s a handwritten letter for Suze and a postcard from the Maldives.  And for me, there are two ominous-looking window envelopes.  One from VISA, one from Endwich Bank.

For a moment, my heart stands still.  Why another letter from the bank?  And VISA.  What do they want?  Can’t they just leave me alone?

-p. 155

For the most part, I enjoyed this book.  It was funny and truthful.  The scene in the store with the customer wanting the pair of pants Becky had been planning to buy after her first day of work had me rolling.  And the romantic tension between Luke and her is quite delicious.  I did, however, find her mildly annoying after awhile.  Honestly, there were points toward the end where I was yelling at the book, “For goodness sake!  Just tell the truth!”  For shopping is not Rebecca Bloomwood’s only vice, lying seems to be her native tongue.  Sometimes, she even lies for no apparent reason.

All in all Confessions of a Shopaholic is a bit of fluff that can be a quick escape from the more serious books, and I’ve been holding off on watching the movie until I’ve finished the book.  I suspect this will be one of those examples where the movie is better than the book…. then again, after watching a trailer for it, I realized NONE of the movie is what I had remembered the trailers before the book (I thought Amy Adams played Rebecca and Chris Noth Luke Brandon!), nor is it very much at all like the book.  Ah, well!  I give Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella 3 out of 5 stars.

Fruits Basket Volume 3 and 4 by Natsuki Takaya

KYO KYO!!!!Title:  Fruits Basket, Volume 3

Author:  Natsuki Takaya

Paperback:  200 pages

ISBN:  9781591826057

Challenges:  Manga Challenge

The third installment of Sensei Takaya’s delightful manga series that gives the reader a window into the life of the cursed Sohma family and how Tohru Honda, a sweet and naive young orphan they’ve taken in and with whom they’ve shared their secret that some in their family are possessed by the vengeful animal spirits of the Chinese zodiac, features the rebellious cat-posessed Kyo Sohma on the cover.  Kyo is probably one of my favorite characters, he is certainly one of the funniest, and this book introduces another of my favorites:  Hatsuharu, the bull.

The book begins with a school race, which the highly-competitive Kyo sees as an opportunity to beat his ultimate rival and cousin, Yuki Sohma, the rat.  The pictures had Maggie and I laughing out loud in public places, trying to keep ourselves under control but often not able,   class=”hiddenSpellError” pre=””>Kyo with his cat ears, fangs, eyes and tail with electric energy swirling around him as he focuses on thoroughly trouncing “That damn rat Yuki” in the race was hilarious.  It’s during the race that Haru shows up and challenges Kyo to a fight, during which Black Haru comes out and makes sexual innuendos about what he’s going to do with Tohru.

Valentine’s Day happens in this book, as well, which brings Kagura back… much to Kyo’s displeasure.  Hatori, the Sohma family doctor, is introduced and Momiji makes another appearance and invites Tohru, Yuki and Kyo to the Sohma family spa for White Day.  Momiji, the rabbit, is another one of those funny, slightly naughty, characters who likes to look pretty.  The trouble is, though, the dress-wearing, fingernail-polished, blonde is a BOY.  Also, the interactions between Kyo and Momiji is reminiscent of the baby brother tag-a-long and annoyed older brother.  Kyo often noogies, pinches and restrains the over-zealous Momiji, who cries and whines loudly to any who’ll listen that he’s being abused by Kyo.

The final page of the book still makes me laugh, and I’ll often repeat it back to Mags, who will break out in groaning laughter and rolling her eyes.  Shigure shows Haru the little cosplay maid outfit he’s bought for Tohru as his White Day gift saying, “I can’t wait for her to call me Master wearing this.”  To which Haru replies, “Just Make sure you don’t get arrested, okay?”

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ShigureTitle:  Fruits Basket, volume 4

Author:  Natsuki Takya

Paperback:  216 pages

ISBN:  9781591826064

Challenges:  Manga Challenge

Fruits Basket, volume 4 begins with a new year at school and the addition of Haru and Momiji as first years at Yuki, Kyo and Tohru’s high school.  Akito, the abusive, frightening, mercurial head of the Sohma family visits the school, specifically to see Tohru.  He tries to come off as being kind, but it’s even scarier than when he’s his normal evil self.

Tohru is meets another Sohma in a shocking way when Yuki’s older brother, Ayame, crawls into her clothing in his snake form.  Ayame’s visit is an attempt to get closer to his brother, but Yuki seems to dislike and resent him.  Ayame’s visit also brings a reunion  of the Madubachi Trio (The nickname of Shigure, Hatori and Ayame as a group in high school) and stories of their escapades when they were in school.

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As a series, Fruits Basket is fun and light, with a bit of sexual humor and the occasional homosexual undertone.  Ayame owns a dress shop that may be a  “>cosplay store, and may or may not be in love with Hatori.  Haru also makes a comment about Yuki being his first love.  There is also violence, some amount of mysticism and Tohru’s ancestor worship with her mom’s picture… a Japanese thing, I know.  But, all in all, the story, writing and artwork tickles my funny bone and Maggie loves reading it with me, which is one of the best thing about them :-)

Fruits Basket Volume 2 by Natsuki Takaya

Fruits Basket volume 2 by Natsuki TakayaTitle:  Fruits Basket volume 2

Author:  Natsuki Takaya

Softcover:  200 pages

ISBN:  1591826047

Challenges:  Manga Challenge

From the back cover:

A family with an ancient curse…
And the girl who will change their lives forever…

Ever since Tohru Honda discovered the Zodiac secret of the Sohma clan, her eyes have been opened to a world of magic and wonder. But with such a great secret comes great responsibility. When her best friends Hana-chan and Uo-chan come to the Sohma house for a sleepover, Tohru has her work cut out for her keeping the “Cat” in the bag and the “Dog” on a leash.

Mags and I started to read just a chapter or so last night and, before we knew it, there was one lonely chapter left.  The clock read 12:30 am, and we had church to go to, so we saved those last few pages for today.  Okay, the cover has Yuki Sohma on it, aka Prince Charming, Prince Yuki, Rat Boy and Damn Rat (the last one is Kyo’s pet name for him), and Maggie’s lip marks have permanently tarnished Sohma-kun’s face.  She’s eager for us to finish with book three, which has Kyo on the cover, so she can kiss all over him, too, and then make book 2 and book 3 fight over book 1.  What a deal, not only do we get books to read, but they’re dolls and action figures, too.  LOL!

So book 2 picks up after Tohru’s been staying… or shacking up as her aunt and cousins call it… with Shigure, Yuki and Kyo, and in this book her two best friend’s Hanna (she has electrowave powers) and Uo (who used to be a Yankee, which is like a gang girl, I guess) come for a sleep over.  This can prove disastrous if the guys aren’t careful, since an embrace from the opposite sex, accidental or on purpose, can cause them to transform into their zodiac animal.  Also in this book is a cross-dressing Yuki, a half-German boy who likes to wear girls clothes (Yuki was coerced, Momiji dresses that way because he likes to look pretty), New Year’s banquet, and Tohru is summoned to the Sohma estate to meet with Hatori, the one who erases people’s memories when they find out about the Sohma family curse.  Lots of sugar and love from Tohru and lots of animosity and rancor back and forth between Yuki and Kyo, with a smattering of perv-ishness from Shigure.

Oh yeah… and a herd of cats.

If you want to watch the whole vid, it’s cool. The song’s great, Mags and I will randomly sing it without realizing it… occasionally at the same time, weird. But the parts I’m after is from 2:29 to 4:58, OR for an even shorter snippit, 3:29 to 3:46 for just the “Kyo and the herd of cats” part.

Friday Fill-Ins ~ If We Get Dee-vorced, Is We Still Cousins?

Serendipity
Graphic courtesy of Tonya!

And…here we go!

1. She had a great uncle who was married to his half-cousin who was the daughter of her uncle who was the brother of her mother until they were divorced, and now the entrance to the family reunions are guarded by a metal detector.

2. My left hip is by my side, always.

3. I know this: Shellacked moose turds are NOT my idea earring and necklace pendants (They really sell them in Alaska, my sister showed me some).

4. I got up to go to the bathroom, stopped to check if the Friday Fill-Ins were up yet, and I have to pee still.

5. These words apply to me: inca, dinka, doo and nee… but I turn down their application because they make absolutely no sense.

6. The sun was shining on the sea, shining with all his might: He did his very best to make the billows smooth and bright– and this was odd, because it was the middle of the night.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to going to the library and watching Inkheart, Sammi getting leaving to spend July with her dad, me going to Maggie’s VBS program, finishing Water for Elephants and writing the review, tomorrow my plans include taking Mags and Gwen out to lunch and finishing reading Something Beyond Greatness and Sunday, I want to go to church (we missed last week) and vegging out in front of the TV… or doing what our Pastor always says, “Fellowshipin’ with Pastor Pillow and Sister Sheets… can I get an ‘Amen!’ :-D!

Viral Video Wednesday ~ LOST

 

Welcome to Viral Video Wednesday, May 27th :-)  For anyone who noticed, last week’s VVW was skipped because it coincided with my book blog tour stop of They Plotted Revenge Against America, and I wanted to give the book the whole day.  But we’re back this week, and this week’s installment topic is LOST.

I am a Lostie, for sure… though not quite as much of one as some people.  I keep acquiring, but haven’t read any of, the books that are mentioned in the television series LOST.  I guess since the next season won’t start until FEBRUARY OF NEXT YEAR :-( , then I have time to read said books, but my point is that I’m a middle of the road Lostie.  I do my best to watch every episode, I’ll probably be working my way through the whole series to date between now and the next (and final) season, and trying to get caught up on a lot of the theories floating around.  I’m not so much of a fan that I’m going to build a SIM for it on SecondLife (they already have one, btw, been there… not much going on at the time), nor am I going to make a fan site, change my username to FRECKLES629, or start hiding in the bushes whenever I see a puff of black smoke nearby.  But, I do enjoy the show. :-D

So, in honor of the shows recent season finale, I’m dedicating my VVW to some of the fan and funny LOST vid clips.  I’d love for you to share your favorites, too, either leaving a link in your comment or posting a VVW on your blog and linking up :-D  So, on with the vids!

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During the first half of the series, they showed some silly Lost parodies. So I had to go on YouTube and see what other people were doing. The Fine Brothers have quite a few really funny ones, and they remind me of when we were kids playing with an incomplete set of toys. Barbies, He-Man toys, and Star Wars figures would fill in for whatever character we were lacking, and as kids, we never batted an eye. But, as an adult looking back, sometimes they were funny or even bizarre substitutions. The Fine Brothers make that very point:

Star Trek meets Heroes meets Lord of the Rings meets LOST meets Bill and Ted meets Matrix meets Back to the Future (in other words, just like the season finale :-D ):

I loved reading Mad Magazine when I was a kid, and loved it when they made a TV show. Here’s MadTV’s LOST, guest starring Jeff Probst from Survivor

And The Bohemian LOST Rhapsody, with a Weird Al Yankovic touch:

Jimmy Kimmel’s also a Lostie, and he likes to visit Hawaii… so he decided to combine the two and visit the set of LOST:

And I’ll end my VVW with this LOST clip from fellow Hoosier and Lefty, David Letterman (btw, I sat through all ten… you’ll get that if you do to ;-) ):

So, what’s your favorite thing from the show LOST? Who’s your favorite character? What’s your favorite LOST memory?

OR

Do you hate (strongly dislike) LOST and wish people’d just shut up about it already? If so, What’s wrong with you? Why do you dislike the show? :-D

Next week’s VVW topic is: I didn’t make it on American Idol, and look at me now!

Friday Fill-Ins ~ The Jeffersons Sing-Along at the Indy 500!

And…here we go!

1.  Well, we’re moving on up!  To the East-side to a dee-luxe apartment in the sky-i-i. come on, sing it with me! 

2.  If a hotel needs to post the following sign:  We guarantee all our rooms are BED BUG free!  I don’t recommend staying there ;-)

3. My best quality is my sense of humor.

4. The devil is in the  details.And he goes to church every Sunday, GUARANTEE he’s in Congress, and I think he works in the kitchen at Wendy’s… which is probably why I get sick every time I eat there.

5. In nearly 10 years, 9 years, 364 days passed.

6. The power to freeze time is what I need right now!  Oh, think of all I could get done and all the books I could read if I could stop time!  I think that’s how S. Krishna gets so many books read ;-)

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to finishing Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman and watching the BBC series on Netflix, tomorrow my plans include finishing The Sandman, volume 1, also by Neil Gaiman,  and watching Stargate: SG1 season 2 and Sunday, I want to listen to (and later watch… sux living within 75 miles of the Speedway!) the greatest spectacle in racing, The INDIANAPOLIS 500 (okay, I’m geeked up now :-D!

Viral Video Wednesday ~ Stalkers!

STALKERS!  We’ve all seen stories on the news about them.  They stalk celebrities, some delusionally believing they have a relationship with the object of their obsessions.  Even Queen Elizabeth had one!

Wikepedia has this to say:

Individuals characterised as stalkers may have a mistaken belief that the other person loves them (erotomania), or have a desire to help the other person. Stalking consists of a series of actions which in themselves can be legal, such as calling on the phone, sending gifts, or sending emails.

And lists the following types of stalkers:

  •  Rejected stalkers pursue their victims in order to reverse, correct, or avenge a rejection (e.g. divorce, separation, termination).
  • Resentful stalkers pursue a vendetta because of a sense of grievance against the victims – motivated mainly by the desire to frighten and distress the victim.
  • Intimacy seekers seek to establish an intimate, loving relationship with their victim. To them, the victim is a long-sought-after soul mate, and they were ‘meant’ to be together.
  • Incompetent suitors, despite poor social or courting skills, have a fixation, or in some cases a sense of entitlement to an intimate relationship with those who have attracted their amorous interest. Their victims are most often already in a dating relationship with someone else.
  • Predatory stalkers spy on the victim in order to prepare and plan an attack – usually sexual – on the victim.

We’ve all felt rejected at one time or another, and “bumped into” the person more than chance would allow.  Or, had a crush on someone and rearranged our schedule just so we could be where they would be… taking the long way to our destination, for instance, so we could drive by their house. 

Come on… Don’t tell me it’s just me…  I saw you in that bush last week, so fess up!

lol…  But do STALKERS have an anthem, a theme song?  And if they did, what would that song be?  Well, this first video is proof I should update my bookmarks more often.  ORIGINALLY… I had Morrissey’s creepy-as-HELL video of The More You Ignore Me, the Closer I Get for this spot, but UNfortunately… some bigwigs somewhere threw a fit about the use of Morrissey’s song and all that, and the vid’s now muted.  So… I had to sub in this 1995 Mickey Mouse Club version.  *sigh

Pay particular attention to the lyrics:

I will be
In the car
With my hand
In the spots
I am now
A central part
Of your mind’s landscape
Whether you care
Or do not
Yeah, I’ve made up your mind 

The more you ignore me
The closer I get
You’re wasting your time
The more you ignore me
The closer I get
You’re wasting your time

Beware !
I bear more grudges
Than lonely high court judges
When you sleep
I will creep
Into your thoughts
Like a bad debt
That you can’t pay
Take the easy way
And give in
Yeah, and let me in

Was that a young Jamie Lynn Spears intro’ing the vid?

Yeah, Morrisey’s is definitely creepier than the teenie-bopper one.  PERHAPS, that’s because we expect, or at least forgive, teens to be obsessive.  Morrissey, on the other hand, is a grown and already-mildly-creepy man and should be able to understand reality and have some amount of self-control.

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Until I saw and heard the Morrissey video, the next song was what I considered the theme song for stalkers everywhere.  Ever since I was a teenager, The Police’s song Every Breath You Take has seemed a bit stalker-ish to me.  AND the following video proves that I’m not the only one to think that! Listen to the lyrics:

 

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And then there is FRED. Poor Fred! He can’t help it that he’s in love with Judy, even though she’s such a BRAT! She won’t IM him back at all, so what could he do? Of course he had to sneak in her house, sniff her perfume, go through her drawers, and such. But he’s NOT a STALKER!

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Paula Abdul’s stalker, Paul Marturano, auditioned on the 7th season of American Idol with his offerings of his obsessive love for the F in the AI mfm party.

So, now it’s your turn. Post a link of your fav stalker video in the comments here, or better yet… Blog your own VVW and leave a link in the comments!

Next week’s VVW topic: Sing it loud! Sing it proud! Sing it WRONG… Misheard Lyrics.

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