Title: Taking Charge
Author: Mandy Baggot
Is going back Robyn s only way forward? American-born Robyn Matthers is going home. With her dad in hospital, his roadhouse in ruins and the ice hockey team slipping down the league, she needs to take charge. But does she have the strength to do it? Cole Ryan is a hockey player on a personal mission. He s tall, dark, hot and Robyn s noticed But can she trust her feelings - or his? And what will Cole do when he finds out the truth about her? Robyn returns to Michigan and things aren t quite the same. Her best friend has grown up and is thinking about marriage and babies, the ice hockey team is no longer the life blood of the community and her father is engaged When Robyn s twin cousins drag up past events that hold painful memories for her, she and Cole are forced together. But are either of them ready to start something new? With an ill father, a trailer trash almost step-mom and ex-boyfriend Brad desperate for another chance, does Robyn have time to contemplate a relationship? Does she really want one? And is it physically possible for two people to fall in love in just three days?
* I am a member of Reading Addiction Blog Tours and a copy of this book was provided to me by the author. Although payment may have been received by Reading Addiction Blog Tours, no payment was received by me in exchange for this review. There was no obligation to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, publisher, publicist, or readers of this review. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning Use of Endorcements and Testimonials in Advertising*Review:
When I first read the title I found it very intriguing, but when I read the book I realized how perfect and befitting it was. The cover was really pretty, though I think in the case of this book, what had attracted me was the synopsis. So it's three out of three on that front.
The story talks about Robyn, a small town girl who's only come home on account of her father's health problems. She's not going to lie and pretend their relationship is good, but she loved the man, even though sometimes he was insufferable and she'd be damned if he put himself in an early grave. She barges in, taking care of all aspects of his life he's left in disarray, which was not an easy task. First she needs to kick out his dad's girlfriend from the roadhouse she'd turned to a dump and try to return it to its former glory. Then she needs to take control of the Panther's hockey team - which has gotten very very bad. Then comes small issues in her way, like old boyfriends still hooked on her, hot guy she'd met at the airport that she cannot stop thinking about, a hotheaded father who's refusing to eat healthy and two devil minions in the form of her cousins. Things are hard for her, and they only get worse as her sort of lover shows up in town as well as her love interest - Cole's- pregnant ex-girlfriend (who's carrying his brother's child). Then from worse it goes downhill when someone she had never wanted to see again shows up in her life, demanding a case that she'd hoped was to be forgotten be opened and reinvestigated. Clearly the girl can't catch a break.
I love how real the characters felt, both Cole and Robyn to start with. Their issues, and how messed up they both are, how they have weird tendencies and hobbies, how they're misfitted and awkward, and how perfect they are for one another. I liked how deep the characters went, the real life issues, the problems of the past coming back to haunt them. Not only the protagonists though, each character had their own unique qualities that made them stand out and be special - even ones we didn't get to read much about - they all made their presence known at some point.
I enjoyed the shifting of points of view though I would have preferred more from Cole's point of view. They seemed to be way shorter than Robyn's. I liked the added mystery and suspense with the case and Jason's return to town. It gave the story another interesting plot developing in the background and coming out with a splash in the end.
The writing wasn't as fast paced as I'd liked, but it was funny, and smooth and gripping.
He’d given her the best room. She had a panoramic view of West Lake and all its natural Michigan beauty. When she’d woken up the next morning and drawn back the curtains, the scenery had stunned her. The sun was already up and the lake was still and calm. Like a mirror, it reflected every tree standing along the banks. The sky was a cornflower blue and there wasn’t a cloud in sight.
She was still suffering from the time difference, but this morning, opening her eyes to the fantastic garden, the boats moored around the edge of the water and the lake itself, everything seemed a little bit better. Today was a good weather day. The sun was shining and there was little wind, and in Portage, that meant getting intimate with the barbecue.
She was already outside on the deck, a pair of tongs in her hand, and the lid of the grill open, when Cole appeared.
“Morning! Bratwurst?” she greeted, waving a sausage in the air.
Mandy Baggot is a self-confessed Twitter addict who likes to sing on You Tube. She regularly guests on book blogs and is a featured author on the innovative website loveahappyending.com. She is also a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.
Taking Charge is her fifth novel. Mandy lives near Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK with her husband and two daughters.