Did you get your hands on this hunky fella’ yesterday? If not, be sure to head over to Amazon to get your copy of Taking Charge today. This was a much anticipated book for me, and Mandy together with the teams at loveahappyending.com and Sapphire Star Publishing have done a fantastic job of publicising the book and getting readers involved (more on that later).
In Taking Charge, we meet our heroine sassy Robyn Matthers at the airport, heading back home to Portage, having been living in the UK for the last 9 years. A mishap with her carryon and Bam! she runs into him on the left – the gorgeous Cole Ryan. Within minutes (let’s put it down to nerves) we know she’s headed back home to look after an ailing father, his rundown roadhouse and the town’s ice hockey team. Robyn embraces these challenges with gusto – no questions asked…and along the way maybe falls in love. Personally I think this is one of the feistiest female characters Mandy has written, but don’t be fooled, Robyn may come across as having lots of chutzpah, wanting no needing to take charge, but beneath that bravado is a young woman trying to deal with a difficult past, in the only way she knows how.
I seem to have taken the spotlight off of our hero. What shall I tell you about Cole? Tall, dark and handsome – a bit Freddie Prinze Jr like, hockey player extraodinaire, closet geek (yep this side of him took me by surprise), dealing with his own drama and he cooks and cleans! He might like to sell himself as a hot dog eating, beer guzzling ‘Jack the lad’, but he’s smart, talented and sensitive. Very quickly he becomes ensconced into Portage life, but you probably have little choice when a whirlwind like Robyn careens into your life.
Comedy and quirky characters are a plenty in this book. Look out for the Twilight twins, kind hearted Uncle Bob, bleach blonde Nancy and the forever coughing Max to name a few.
Taking Charge isn’t just a romantic comedy (although it ticks that box too), but deals with far deeper, darker issues, which I think have been tackled both realistically and sensitively. Without giving too much away I found it really hard to read Robyn’s interview with Trudy – it was like the literary equivalent to watching a scary movie through your fingers! Mandy’s writing style has matured in this book and there is far more depth to her characters, most of whom you can’t help but fall in love with. 5 stars for me!
I’ve really enjoyed the marketing of this book; getting to meet Cole Ryan on twitter, reading the interview with The Portage Panthers, Mandy’s singing and the #TCparty yesterday. Well done to all involved and I wish Lady Baggot the very best.
For Mandy Baggot fans, the 3rd May has been marked down in diaries as the date her new book, Taking Charge is released! To tide over the anticipation of this event, I decided to download the last of her books I haven’t read – Breaking the Ice! Dancing on Ice fans, this is definitely one you have to pick up.
Meet our heroine Samantha, London based, almost West End box office assistant, at Civic Hall. Slightly neurotic, uber efficient and overwhelmed by social situations. She’s been working at Civic Hall for the last 5 years, is committed to her job, loves the history behind where she works, the shows and not to forget the regulars.
Meet the hero, Jimmy Lloyd, once a gold medallist ice skater, now on tour with “Skating on Broadway” (playing at the Civic Hall) and a recovering alcoholic.
The dilemma: unbeknownst to the motley crew at the Civic Hall, the local council’s Art budget isn’t big enough to keep 2 entertainment venues open in the same area. Could this be the end of Civic Hall? Can Jimmy help “Sam” to save her second home?
The book opens with Samantha stuck in her work freezer, surrounded by 4000 tubs of Berry Fruits ice cream, courtesy of her incompetent boss, Dave. We quickly learn that despite her title, Samantha has many hats on at work, which leaves her with little time for herself. There is quite a lot of comparison to/history about her older sister Chloe – her opposite; blonde, outgoing and the a bit of a sexual predator. I’m not sure how necessary that was to the story, as we learn more about Chloe as we go on anyway, but once I got past what was an initial hiccup for me, I really got into the story. I loved the subtle introduction of the two main characters to each other, their time on the ice and how they helped each other out. Samantha’s character definitely evolves throughout the book and could it be that Jimmy is much more boy next door than the tabloids would have you believe? As usual Mandy manages to intersperse her writing with humour (how many times have you used a mannequin as a battering ram, sober?) and once again managed to include an unexpected twist to the story. Without giving too much away, as reunions go this wasn’t what I was expecting and I loved how the scene surprised me.
I’m not sure why this was Mandy’s book I left to last. Growing up in the 80s, I love the romance around ice skating, Torvil and Dean and getting my yearly fix of Dancing on Ice. I’ve even donned the skates myself and taken a couple of classes! I’m glad I finally round to it though and for those of you missing DOI, look no further, this book has enough lean bodies, leotards, sequins and blindfolds (!?!) to keep you hot, hot, hot until next season!