4 March 2010

Book Review: Celebrity Shopper by Carmen Reid

Annie Valentine has hit the big time, and she's thrilled! Years of hard graft as a Personal Shopper at The Store have paid off, and now Annie fronts her own show about how to dress and it's a massive success. She loves doing working in fashion, but didn't bank on being quite so busy. Annie's boyfriend Ed is feeling slightly left out because Annie's left him at home holding the babies - literally - as well as Annie's older 2 children Lana and Owen. He's not keen on the house renovations Annie's planning either, never mind the fact she never seems to want to marry him. Will Annie's career continue to get in the way of her personal life, or is the fame and glory everything Annie has ever wanted?!

Carmen Reid's 'Personal Shopper' series have been a very popular set of books, and this is the 4th title in the list so far! The Personal Shopper, Late Night Shopping and How Not To Shop have all featured the fabulous character of Annie Valentine, and luckily for fans of her, Carmen has brought her back for another adventure! I've enjoyed each of the books so far with them getting better as they go alone so I had high hopes for this book. I was excited to get the gorgeous green hardback through my door the other day and quickly set about reading it!

Being that this is the 4th book of a set, I would definitely recommend you read the previous books first because they set the scene for this book, and lots of references to past books are in this one and they might not make sense if you just dive into this book. However, back story is explained enough for you to get the jist of it but I feel it'd be better if you'd read at least one Annie Valentine book previously.

Annie is as fabulous as ever, but I did actually find her a tad annoying at the beginning of the book. She seemed to be putting her friends and family last which is quite a contrast to Annie in previous books, but as the story progresses, I felt like the "proper" Annie was back and I was able to settle into the book fairly easily. Carmen Reid seems to write Annie with such ease, you can slip back into the whole story very well and Annie is like a friend who has never been away, and this is because Reid really brings her to life. She's a great heroine, especially for those who love their fashion and its not different in this book!

As with each of the Annie V books, there is a bit of drama in the middle and this book is no different. One of my favourite characters, Svetlana makes a comeback in a big storyline that I loved reading. The book travels to Paris for a while, and I was completely lost in the fashion capital of the world for a good chunk of the book and I loved it... I bet Reid had such fun doing the research for this book! Svetlana and Elena are great characters, totally bonkers and larger than life, but they are comic relief for the book and make me laugh a lot which is great.

The relationship between Annie and Ed is somewhat pushed to the back burner in parts in this book because of the story and their busy lives, but you can still sense the love story throughout. I loved the glimpses into life at home for Ed and his kids, and I think Reid captures Ed's hectic life perfectly - Ed is such a perfect man, you can't help but love him! All of the relationships in the book develop really well and are believable, and the last few scenes in the book were so well written and incredibly touching, I actually had a tear in my eye because it was very emotive and well done by Reid.

As I mentioned the book does travel to Paris for a while, and it made for great reading. You can imagine the big fashion shows, the not-so-nice side of France and everything that comes with it here, and seeing it through Annie's eyes was fab. I also loved the scenes on the set of Annie's television show, Reid describes it really well and its clear she's done her research on the subject. I love how comfortable she makes Annie - clearly this is a character who has found her niche and its brilliant because you can just sit back and enjoy the read!

If you've loved the previous books in the "Annie Valentines" series, then you'll definitely want to pick up the latest installment of the saga! Annie is a character that hasn't changed at all but one that you love even more than before. The pace of the book is really good, it keeps you interested all the way and there's always something happening to hold your attention. There's a great cast of familiar faces, and a few more love interests to hotten it all up and make it a bit fresh. It's very well written, highly enjoyable and just really fun to read, recommended by me!

Rating: 4/5

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