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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’m a fan of contemporary romances and rom-coms, but I don’t tend to love them. I requested Shipped as part of my Debut Author Challenge, mostly to promote a debut author rather than thinking I was going to find a favourite book of the year. But…
I loved Shipped so, so much. I was a little hesitant about it at first, not because of the rom-com thing but because Henley is a very abrupt and stoic character who is very focused on her job and not so much on her relationships with her family and friends. But as the novel progressed, I started to understand where Henley was coming from. Her past was revealed, we got to understand why she is the way she is, and I was cheering her on.
I loved the romance in this book because it’s not your typical enemies-to-lovers relationship. Henley dislikes Graeme because he once took credit for her own work and he seems to be a bit of a slacker, and then they’re put up against each other for an important promotion. All good reasons to dislike someone at work, right? Some more than others… So I was expecting Graeme to be a right twit, but it turns out it was all possibly a big misunderstanding and he’s lovely.
Seriously, he’s the loveliest. He’s an absolute sweetheart who has some trauma, but he’s not all broody and passive aggressive. He calls Henley out on her nonsense too, which is great. I shipped this so hard, and Graeme’s character made such a nice change from the usual romantic love interest.
I also loved the side characters in this, particularly Henley’s sister Walsh. Trigger warning: She’s dealing with an abusive ex. She was loyal to Henley and really cute and just such a good sister. I’d read a book about her, if Hockman ever wanted to do a companion novel… Just saying.
Another thing I loved about this book was it included travel. The main characters go to the Galapagos Islands and it’s warm and sunny, and there are beaches and tortoises and flamingoes. I haven’t been on holiday in AGES, especially a beach holiday, so I was loving this. Not only that, but Hockman brings up conservation and ecotourism, which I didn’t expect but that’s really what made me give this book five stars because they’re both things I am PASSIONATE about. The author’s note about the topic made me cry.
Pick this book up, please. You will not regret it if you’re looking for a book with a great romance, real laugh out loud moments, sweet siblings, conservation, girl power, and so much more.