Thursday, 20 September 2012

Welcome To My Stop On The Blog Tour For 'Taking Charge' by Mandy Baggot!

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Author: Mandy Baggot
Publication Date: May 3rd 2012
Source: e-copy provided by RABT 

"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?

With an ill father, a trailer trash step-mom and ex-boyfriend Brad desperate for another chance, does Robyn have time to contemplate a relationship? Can she start again? Does she really want to? And can two people really fall in love in three days?"



Excerpt:

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.


Cole opened the door and Robyn pushed him inside. She grabbed hold of his hands and put them on her hips. She kissed him, pushing him down onto the floor of the hallway. She wanted to get as close to him as she could. She pulled his t-shirt over his head and looked appreciatively at the firm, muscular chest underneath. She ran her fingers down, across his sternum to the waistband of his jeans.
Cole stopped her, taking hold of her hand and squeezing it in his.
She looked into his eyes, those deep, dark eyes. She kissed his lips again, closing her eyes and savoring every second of how it felt to lose herself in someone, without any questions or recriminations. Without anyone having to get up and go home.
Cole brought her fingers to his mouth and softly kissed each knuckle in turn. His gentleness was too much to bear, and she drew herself away, let him go and got to her feet, sweeping her hair back out of her face.

            The pink neon sign of Taboo throbbed in front of them. Mickey and the rest of the team had been at another bar before arriving at the club, and they were already well lubricated.
“Now, listen up. Bob has the kitty—strictly beer, no ridiculously, expensive, potent cocktails, no shots, and absolutely no tequila. I want you all to enjoy yourselves, but we do have an important game tomorrow, so let’s remember that,” Robyn said.
Henrik repositioned a bright yellow cowboy hat on his head and loosely strung a red feather boa around Mickey’s neck. Robyn had no idea where he had got them from.
“What about the kitty for the girls? You get special treatment if you throw money at them,” Art piped up.
“If you want to throw money at them, Art, you knock yourself out, but you won’t be throwing my money at them,” Robyn informed him.

*I Hereby Award This Book 5 Wings!*
My Review:

*Puts 'Lonestar - Amazed' on YouTube*

I was sent an email asking if I wanted to be on the blog tour for this book. I looked it up and knew that it was something I would love to read. I just didn't bank on how many times it would make me cry. 
Now, I won't be telling you the reasons I cried, but if you stick with reading my review, you'll see how much I truly loved this book and why Mandy Baggot has shot right to the top of my new 'Favourite Authors' list!

Robyn Matthers is a strictly 'no dating' kind of girl. Not only that but she is a strictly 'no nonsense' kind of girl too. 
Robyn lives in England and has a job as a secretary for a car sales firm, though she'd much rather be found tinkering under the hood of a car. Her family live in Portage, Chicago. There's her Auntie Pam, Uncle Bob and their twins Sierra and Sienna. Then there's her dad Eddie and his wife-to-be, Nancy. 
Eddie is poorly so it's time for Robyn to head home to Portage to help him out. He's the owner of the local ice-hockey team, the Portage Panthers and the local eatery, Eddie's Roadhouse and they are going fast downhill without Eddie at the helm. 

When Robyn gets to the airport, she's nearly at the terminal when the strap of her backpack breaks. Enter Mr 'Tall Dark and Handsome' aka Cole to the rescue. He takes hold of her bag and tells her he'll carry it to the terminal for her. He says he's headed for the same one anyway so it's not a problem. 
Robyn can't help but look at the stranger and give him the once over. He's absolutely delicious (my words not hers). 

After sharing the flight, they part ways at the airport in Portage, only for Robyn to run back up to him, throw her arms around him and kiss him. That's gratitude. Or so she says. Really she just wanted to know what it would be like for those soft, full lips to meld against hers.What a kiss! Those lips really were as soft and sumptuous as they looked.

Upon arriving, Robyn realises just what it's going to take to get Eddie's businesses into shape. But she's ever the optimist and says that she will get things done.
The roadhouse is in a terrible state, the wallpaper is peeling, the air smells like marijuana, there's a biker gang in the corner and there's a trashy looking woman behind the bar. Robyn is in for a shock because that trashy looking blonde is her soon-to-be stepmom. Could life get any better? Seeing the ice hockey team, the answer to that is no. There's only a few players, they don't have much team spirit and it looks like they wouldn't win a game against themselves let alone anyone else. 
What's a girl to do? Walk away while the going's good? No! She said she would take charge and she meant it!

Robyn closes the roadhouse for renovations. No-one would want to eat in there even if they did serve food anymore. She tells the ice hockey team that they better get their act together because she wants them out there and playing to win. The question is, is she taking too much on? 

At first it seems as though Robyn is here to take care of her dad and to take charge of his failing businesses out of loyalty to her family and wanting more from her old hometown than they're giving at the moment. But if you look beneath the surface, you'll see that Robyn also needs things to take her mind off life back in England. Back there she's not got quite the life she had imagined for herself when she left Portage with her mom all those years ago.
For a start, she no longer speaks to her mother. That's only the bottom thing in a long list of woes that Robyn won't get sorted by being here in Portage. But at least her mind can concentrate on other things now. Like Cole... *Swoons* 

Cole works for Gen-All, a pharmaceutical company. He's researching a cure for Cancer. So he's not only hot with a capital HOT, he's also smart, really smart.
He isn't looking for a relationship. The last one left him with a hole in his heart. He's since had meaningless flings but they really aren't his thing. So he's putting his all into work and not looking for anything else.

So both Robyn and Cole are set on not dating anyone. But fate won't let that be the case. 

Due to the twins unruly behaviour, Robyn can no longer stay with Aunt Pam and Uncle Bob. She can't stay with her best friend Sarah and her boyfriend Mickey. She can't stay with Brad. He's her ex and is Hell bent on getting her back. 
There's only one place in town she can go right now and that's to Cole's. She turns up on his doorstep and of course, being the gentleman he is, he lets her stay. But it's not a relationship. As Robyn always says to him "This is not a date". 

Robyn really pulls herself up by the bootstraps to get her dad's businesses back into running order. 
She totally refurbishes the roadhouse, she kicks the ice hockey teams butts into a higher gear. There's just her dad's operation to worry about. But that's not in her hands so she concentrates on business. Nothing else. No dating. 
Except for the fact that Cole is so gorgeous and he keeps taking his top off and showing his hard, beautiful abs. But she has no time for men. Does she? They keep sharing all these kisses but she always says there's nothing more to it. In a way, she means what she says. She's so hurt by the things from her past that dating isn't what she wants. But then she kisses Cole to forget about the bad stuff and those kisses are so all-consuming, she can't help but wonder what it would be like if she were with someone like Cole. He's smart, funny, hot and a really great kisser.

Cole doesn't date, but Robyn keeps kissing him and he can't help but wonder what it would be like to be with her. He knows the things she's told him about her past but he sees past all that to who Robyn really is. He enjoys kissing her, he wouldn't mind if she went back on her no-dating rule. 

So will Robyn really turn things around for the roadhouse and the Panthers? Will she go back on her no dating rule? And will going back home to Portage highlight all that's wrong with her own life and make her call things into question? You'll have to read it for yourself to find out and of course, to find out if she goes back on her word about no-dating. 

I really loved this book. From the moment I opened the first page, I was hooked. Robyn's attitude is so kick-A that you really have to keep up the pace with her, there's no room for slackers. 
I completely and utterly empathise with her for what she went through back when she was a kid. Being home in Portage really brings it back to mind for her and I really felt myself aching for this poor girl. Under the tough girl exterior, there's a soft centre. I am not saying what event it is that traumatised her, you need to experience that for yourself along with Robyn.

There's so much more to this story than first meets the eye. At first I thought the title Taking Charge referred to the way she has to get in there and take charge of things for her dad. But whilst it does mean that, it also means so much more.
Robyn has to pull herself up by the bootstraps for her own reasons too. There's more to Cole's story too and I empathise with him to. I have actually experienced and done a couple of the same things as the two of them in my lower, darker days of depression. That's possibly what made me fall in love so hard with Robyn, Cole and the story, the fact that I could so easily relate to them.

Mandy Baggot is a great author. I got halfway through the book and decided to look her up on Twitter. It was only then that I realised she is from the UK. Having already read the first half of the book, I couldn't have told you that. It was as though she was writing about her own home town, her own ice-hockey team and roadhouse. The words she wrote actually made me feel like I was right there with them. 
If I could award this book more than the 5 wings I did, I would!

To find out why I put Lonestar's Amazed on at the beginning of this review, you really need to read the book!


*Disclosure of Material Connection: 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 Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising*




Author Bio:
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.



Twitter: @mandybaggot

Purchase Links:


And finally, if you want to hear for yourself what a great voice Mandy really has, here's a video of her singing a really great song; Someone Like You by Adele. 



Thank you all for coming by and I hope you will continue to follow along with the tour!




6 comments:

  1. WOW Keren! Thank you so much for this fantastic review! I know how much you felt for the characters and I'm glad I wrote it right!

    If anyone visiting wants to ask any questions about the book I will be popping back in later and will do my best to answer them!

    Thank you again for having me and for taking part in the blog tour and all the lovely, lovely things you said about Taking Charge!

    Mandy x

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  2. Great review! I love Mandy's writing too, I always get so absorbed in her books. This really is a great read and I would definitely recommend it :)

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  3. What a fantastic review: HUGE and deserved congrats to Mandy, you totally rock. Thanks, Keren, for sharing your thoughts in such lovely detail, it's wonderful to hear how you've connected with the book--and Mandy!! x

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  4. Brilliant review! Enjoyed this a lot, thanks, Mandy

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  5. Yay! FABulous review! Well done Mandy and Keren! Lady B is definitely on a roll! :) xx

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  6. I too loved Taking Charge and agree with this fabulous review! The characters are strong and I love a feisty woman lead.

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