Friday, August 26, 2022

Angie Hockman - Shipped

Between taking night classes for her MBA and her demanding day job at a cruise line, marketing manager Henley Evans barely has time for herself, let alone family, friends, or dating. But when she’s shortlisted for the promotion of her dreams, all her sacrifices finally seem worth it.
The only problem? Graeme Crawford-Collins, the remote social media manager and the bane of her existence, is also up for the position. Although they’ve never met in person, their epic email battles are the stuff of office legend.
Their boss tasks each of them with drafting a proposal on how to boost bookings in the Galápagos—best proposal wins the promotion. There’s just one catch: they have to go on a company cruise to the Galápagos Islands...together. But when the two meet on the ship, Henley is shocked to discover that the real Graeme is nothing like she imagined. As they explore the Islands together, she soon finds the line between loathing and liking thinner than a postcard.
With her career dreams in her sights and a growing attraction to the competition, Henley begins questioning her life choices. Because what’s the point of working all the time if you never actually live?

Comment: When this book was released and people started to add it to their TBRs, I thought it would be a cute and light novel and I got curious, so on to the list it went. I'm very glad I read it because I ended up liking it quite a lot.

In this story we meet Henley Evans, she works for a cruise line, in the marketing and management department and she is studying at night to her a MBA so she can advance in her career. She has been a good employee and she is told a new management position will be open and she and social media director Graeme are the two being considered for the spot. Henley has a sort of clash with Graeme, for she thinks he isn't very cooperative but when the boss tells them their performance on a cruise to the Galapagos as well as a plan to increase bookings will be key to choose the one to be in management, they both embark on an exotic trip. Henley expected a lot but not that she and Graeme would have sparks nor that they would be such a good match. But can she overlook what she always aimed for to be with someone that wants the same job?

I really had a great time reading this novel. The writing style is easy and fluid and I kept being eager to turn the pages, to see what would happen next. The story seems pretty basic and perhaps in a way it is, but I've felt the author included a lot of information and somehow she made everything work well and in a cohesive manner.

Henley is a good heroine, in the sense that she is dedicated to her job, she wants to do things right and in a way that others would appreciate too. She feels sorry some of her ideas weren't always used but she knows she is a good professional. She is also studying so she can reach a higher position, and she is more or less happy, although she had a heartbreak and she does worry for her younger sister. We get to see these two things dealt with as the plot moves along because Henley is a busy person, quite nonsense and she doesn't give in to silly wanderings, which I found great.

Graeme is a bit more reserved, we only get to know him better while he and Henley interact during their trip, but I ended up thinking he is a good guy and a very good match to Henley, especially because they are both professional, they both want to do well and unlike what the fun and cartoonish cover might indicate, they never go into silly nor childish behavior (as I thought happened in one of the books this one is so easily compared with). I really liked this aspect of their personalities and what it meant for them as a possible couple.

The romance was cute in its own way. It's true they seem to be antagonists at first because of the interactions they had for work, often by phone or email since Graeme doesn't live in the same state, but with perspective and after they meet each other for the first time, I think it's cute to see that they had fun exchanging jibes over emails and such. Their physical attraction seems to be well done too, I was convinced they liked each other that way, but the best feature was how in sync they were over values, ideas, behavior, attitudes and this truly sold me on their romance. Even their ethics over the job and how that goes made me feel they would always be a balanced pair.

As for the plot, this was a very good element of the book because it wasn't there just to wrap up the romance of the presence of the secondary characters. I felt it had a purpose and Henley's proposal for the job seemed a very clever idea, something the author commented on in her notes at the end. I think the final section, when everyone who is important to Henley is helping her and adding something to her idea was really special and made the story feel a lot richer.

This is also a story set on an exotic place - well, most of it. After reading about it, now I wish I could visit the Galapagos too, to see the things described. Again, the author's experience shows because everything has enough detail without being an info dump, but it's special enough to make it obvious she saw what she is including and the picture painted seems to be very special indeed...

I liked this one. I know everyone sees things differently and some readers have stressed out some negative aspects but to me this one worked out pretty well. 
Grade: 9/10

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