All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Shipped by Angie Hockman

on April 29, 2021

Shipped
Angie Hockman
Gallery Books
2021, 336p
Read via my local library

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}: 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?

I thought this was a lot of fun and the perfect sort of read for when you just want something engaging and relaxing.

Henley (named after The Eagles member) is very driven in her career. She’s taking night classes and putting everything into her day job and hoping to advance in the company she works in, which runs cruises on smaller ships. When a promotion opens up, Henley is desperate to get it only to realise she’ll be going up against the company social media manager, Graeme Crawford-Collins, whom she doesn’t exactly have the best working relationship with. Graeme works remotely from across the country so they’ve not met but their emails and phone calls are heated (Henley) and brief (Graeme). Their boss comes up with the idea to send them on a cruise to the Galapagos and then pitch the perfect promotion to win bookings.

This was my jam. I love an enemies to lovers, I love an interesting location. I’m not sure I’ve ever read a book set in the Galapagos before, so props for that one! This is pitched as an enemies to lovers but it’s really only Henley that considers them to be enemies and it’s a surprise to her, that Graeme doesn’t see her that way, nor does he know why she’s been so antagonistic towards him and the more she gets to know him in person, the more Henley is forced to realise that Graeme might not be the person she thinks he is, in her mind.

I found this so engaging and really enjoyed the banter between Henley and Graeme. She’s really focused – so much so at times that she misses other things that are going on around her, such as things with her sister, etc. I have never been on a cruise (to be honest I tend to view them as huge floating Petri dishes of germs) but the ones the company have are smaller, capacity of around 150. It seemed like a lot of fun, particularly as they spend huge amounts of time off the boat exploring the various places around the islands. There’s a lot of beautiful description, fun activities and also, a bit of an ecological tourism message as well as the author uses the stop at a research facility to impart a bit of information about some threats that the island faces (both in the book and also, in real life) and it’s done in a way that feels incredibly natural to the plot, not shoehorned in. Henley is in the area learning, she’s also looking for an angle to promote tours and get people to sign up, so it makes sense that she’d be getting information about various different things and how as a tourism promoter, they can even do their part.

Not going to lie, I was a bit put off by the inclusion of Henley’s sister into the story, especially when she also finds her way onto the boat and she just felt like a character I’d read so many times before at first. But as the cruise went on, there was another side to her and I appreciated the way she helped Henley (even if her methods were a bit unusual) and also the way, once back at work, Henley’s friends gathered around her to help her with something. There’s quite a bit in here about women in the workplace – Henley’s boss refers to her as “sweetheart” and basically does everything but pat her on the head and say good girl and when Graeme says she shouldn’t take that, he doesn’t seem to understand that it’s not as easy as telling a male superior not to call you a certain thing, or do something that makes a female worker uncomfortable. Henley sees Graeme, afforded respect as just a voice on the end of a phone and knows she doesn’t get the same and it makes her irate.

What I would’ve liked, was more romance. I thought that Henley and Graeme had pretty good chemistry and I would’ve liked that to be explored more. The romance is written in a way where things almost happen and then they get interrupted or Henley gets cold feet or something else happens and it got a bit frustrating as I just wanted to see them get it together already! Also it’s a bit closed doors, which is fine but I prefer a bit more heat/spice in my stories. But that’s a little quibble and I did really enjoy this and will be certain to keep an eye out for Angie Hockman’s next book!

8/10

Book #66 of 2021


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