ARC Book Review: Shipped by Angie Hockman

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Shipped by Angie Hockman

Adult Fiction // Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance, Women's Fiction
Release Date: January 19, 2021
Publisher: Gallery Books (Simon & Schuster)
Format: eARC • 336 pages
Rating: 4 stars

Henley Evans is finally given the opportunity for a promotion after working many years as SeaQuest Adventures' marketing manager while juggling MBA classes. If only Graeme Crawford-Collins, the social media manager, could get out of her way. Ever since he took credit for the viral video she made, he's been on her hate list. Unfortunately for Henley, they are up for the same promotion, and their boss wants them to prove themselves by going on a cruise together—the one their company advertises—and individually coming up with a marketing proposal to improve bookings. Whoever presents the best one, wins.

Content warning: Some details from an abusive relationship in the past.

Shipped has been pitched as The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren meets The Hating Game by Sally Thorne, and I'd say it's accurate in a very *general* sense, so keep that in mind. I'd say the biggest reasons for this comparison are 1) the island exploring aspect from The Unhoneymooners and 2) the office promotion competition from The Hating Game. And, of course, all three novels feature the "hate-to-love" trope.

Henley's reasons for hating Graeme make sense, and I love that it was believable. I wrote down in my notes, "I, too, am annoyed at Graeme for his behavior. If I fall in love with him by the end of this book, I am a SIMP." Did this book deliver? Yes it did. I am, in fact, a simp.

One thing I didn't like—and this is totally a *personal* preference I have for the trope—was how often Henley thought about wanting to kiss Graeme, even though she didn't like him. You can't soften the hate so early!!! The best thing about "hate-to-love" is witnessing the slow transition from one extreme to the other, and it ruins the experience if the "hating" part is not truly hate to begin with.

I will also say that the ending is not completely satisfying. There is an HEA (happily ever after), as all romances have, but not fully ... like, we only get the chase and then it ends. Now that I think about it, romance isn't the main focus of Shipped. It helped to guide the bigger story, which I'd say was about gender inequality in the workplace. Still, even with all that said, I had a good time! I really flew through it, and I especially loved all the embarrassing moments 🤣

  • There are a couple of fat-shaming thoughts from the main character. Henley thinks, "I like to think that ... he has spindly arms and legs, cottage cheese breath, and a fat, beer-gut middle to match his personality," as if every person who has a "fat, beer-gut middle" is sneaky and entitled like Graeme. This is hurtful, even if it's not spoken out loud, and Hockman should've written something differently to describe Henley's hatred for him.
  • I would like to start a petition to ban authors from using "purr" to describe anything that is not a cat 🤢
  • To be completely honest, I don't think Henley is a very interesting character. But it kinda makes sense because she's so caught up in advancing her career ...

  • We love a wholesome tipsy moment!!!
  • Angie Hockman described their experience on the Galápagos Islands in such great detail. If animals and bodies of water didn't dreadfully scare me, I would be so eager to sign up for a cruise like this. I could really tell Angie Hockman is so passionate about ecotourism—I liked that it showed up here in an inspiring way, instead of preachy and forceful.

Okay, this all sounds like I didn't enjoy the book, but I'm really just being critical because I love romance a lot! The bottom line: I was very much sucked in by the romance!!! The tension was *chef's kiss*. Just be aware that it feels ... 65% romance and 35% women's fiction, and it's not as steamy as your average adult romance. Like a 🔥🔥/5. (I didn't mind this at all though. I go into romance novels for the emotional suffering. We love torture here ✌️)


Okay my friends, how do you feel about the "hate-to-love" trope?
Are you going to pick up Shipped?

Thank you to NetGalley and Gallery Books for accepting my request to read and review Shipped by Angie Hockman!

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