Shipped by Angie Hockman & Make Up Break Up by Lily Menon

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

by Angie Hockman
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Adult
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: January 19th 2020
Source: ARC received for review
Star Quotient: ★★★
Kiss Factor: ✷✷✷

Shipped was a cute travel romance debut that didn't fully explore the potential of the romance. It's pitched as a workplace-rivals-to-more romance, but I personally found the romance to be lacking. That's not to say that I didn't enjoy the story, however. I found the book to be very readable, overall. Perhaps it's because I miss traveling so deeply, although let's be honest, you would never catch me on a cruise ship. The book captures the exciting feelings of travel very well and it really was like taking a fun fictional vacation. The premise of the book is that the heroine, Henley, who works as a marketing manager for a cruise line, is shortlisted for a promotion with Graeme, a remote social media manager. Their boss forces them to go on the company's Galápagos cruise to come up with a proposal that can bring in profits, so he can decide who to give the job to. Though Henley and Graeme have never met in person, she harbors some animosity towards him for several reasons that turn out to be misunderstandings. They find themselves attracted to each other but obviously there's the obstacle of the promotion between them. I liked both characters individually. They are both driven, hardworking, and passionate about their careers. Like I said, however, I was very lukewarm towards the romance because we don't necessarily see them interact all that much and we certainly do not see them connect emotionally, unfortunately. I needed more to believe in their relationship. Exploring the Galápagos, however, was the most fun, and I enjoyed the commentary on ecotourism. We also see Henley's relationship with her sister as she also accompanies her on this cruise and it provides her a good opportunity to work on their somewhat cracked relationship. All in all, Shipped was not a bad read, but it's also not a book I'll be going back to re-read.

CWs: mentions of intimate partner violence (Henley's sister), workplace sexism and abuse

Relationship disclosure: None


by Lily Menon
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Adult
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: February 2nd 2021
Source: ARC received for review
Star Quotient: ★★
Kiss Factor: ✷✷

Well. This is a massive disappointment. Having loved all of Sandhya Menon's YA romances, I was so pumped to read her adult debut. I thought for sure she'd nail it, but here I am even months after I've read this book, completely baffled at how this is a book that came from one of my favorite authors of all-time. I have only myself to blame for having so much hope. There's nothing obviously wrong with Make Up Break Up - it's simply a boring book with irritating characters and a bland romance that didn't work for me. I think the big issue here for me is the storyline with Annika's app. She is clearly a driven woman and I always enjoy reading about characters who are driven and I love even more to actually see what they are passionate about. I feel like in this book, the focus on the app development was too much and it was at the expense of the romantic development. Annika also drove me batty because I didn't completely understand her annoyance towards Hudson, especially after he clarifies her misunderstanding. It made no sense and I felt like she was just looking for an excuse to hate him. I can't believe I'm even saying this because this is a privileged white man but I felt like she was unnecessarily rude to Hudson in her attempt to one-up him (they are both competing for the same investment pitch). Frankly, she was way too stubborn. Her issues with and her handling of money was also a big source of frustration for me, but I don't want to get too much into that. With all the focus on the tech aspects of their careers, I also didn't feel like we got to know Hudson all that much. He was just ... there and I had no real feelings towards him. Menon could not have written a more basic white boy. Ultimately, this romance just felt very awkward to me and there was no real chemistry between the couple. I'm not convinced these two lasted past the HEA. I should have DNFed, but since this is an author I've enjoyed immensely in the past, I pushed through hoping it would get better. Anyways, if you are new to Menon, skip this one and read her YA books instead - they are superior.

Relationship disclosure: Lily Menon and I are mutuals on social media. 

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