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Posted July 30, 2014
“Witty, funny, thought-provoking & utterly addictive!”
From the get go this book captured my imagination and my heart. Hulsman’s voice is sharp, witty, sassy and fresh. There were many laugh at loud moments for me, but Summer At Castle Stone is much more than just a romantic comedy - Hulsman is not afraid to let the reader breathe so that they can take in the quieter moments within the book - in particular Shayla’s fraught relationship with her father and her blossoming mother/daughter relationship with Mrs O’Grady, was proper lump in throat territory at times.
The characters are all extremely believable & loveable in equal measures. Shayla/Sheila was a joy to read and I was totally on her side all the way through, wishing a happy ever after for her. I loved how Hulsman gave us the reader, an insight into the sometimes harsh world of publishing. Shayla’s journey was at all times authentic, honest, poignant with a large helping of funny on the side. She makes mistakes, as we all do, but they felt realistic, not staged, as often is the way in this genre.
It was obvious that the author has huge affection for Ireland, the setting of Summer At Castle Stone & she did an excellent job with her cast of colourful Irish characters. My absolute favourite was Des, he made me smile with his cheeky charm and shenanigans.
There is a beautiful love story weaved throughout the narrative, with enough complexity, spirit & heat to keep me turning pages, praying for that happy ever after.
Highly recommend for all fans of contemporary women’s fiction & romantic comedies.
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Posted August 24, 2014
Shayla’s tale begins at a dead-end and a crossroads. The writer/author can’t get ahead in her field no matter how hard she tries. Her cruddy day job as an assistant editor features daily humiliation at the hands of her snotty office-mate Matty, and derision from her Devil-Wears-Prada-style boss.
Shayla’s literary agent, Brenda, flat-out says no a proposal possible groundbreaker of a book, and won’t even give her a chance to co-write bigger, better books for public personalities. Instead, she’s relegated to writing Dumbass Guides as a ghost writer.
She tries to smile while her best friend enjoys success after success. Hard as she tries, the bitterness wells up from time to time and she has to figure out what to do in order not to be a sad sack and a jealous jerk.
The job situation goes from bad to worse, and she’s left with nothing but desperate measures at hand. She steals confidential information from her agent, and kicks into a plan in which her last-ditch chance is to persuade reclusive and bristly chef Tom O’Grady to let her co-write his cookbook.
When Shayla boards a plane to go to Ireland, a whole new world opens up, challenging our heroine to move beyond her comfort zone and to take desperate measures. Once she lands, it’s like I as a reader could inhale and breathe in the vastness that is the landscape and the possibilities that open up to Shayla.
The players at Castle Stone, the resort/castle/country house at which Shayla gets a job, are so much fun to hang out with. There are above- and below-stairs types, nice people and baddies. Hulsman does a good job with the Irish accents and word choices. One of my biggest pet peeves is reading a novel in which the characters sound more like the author than like inhabitants of the country in which the novel is set.
If you are a fan of chick-lit, I’d recommend this, but to me, this book is chick-lit plus. There’s more to Shayla’s backstory and the complication of her journey than the usual cotton-candy fare of the spate of pink-covered reads emblazoned with high heeled shoes and cupcakes.
Posted August 21, 2014
I'm part of Lynn Marie Hulsman's obviously growing following. I loved her first book "Christmas at Thornton Hall" so I was excited when her second book came out. "Summer" has all the wit and humour I've come to expect from Ms. Hulsman. I laughed out loud so many times my little girl came over to find out what was going on. But Shayla's adventure has pathos and struggle too. She's an endearingly flawed heroine who flounders -- hilariously but also touchingly -- on the way to true love and professional fulfillment. The Irish setting is perfect for this New York city girl to get a new perspective. Plus meet up with a couple of Irish hotties before she ends up with The One.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 16, 2014
As I embark on the journey to Summer At Castlestone I am impressed by its Cover. Several chapters into it I am impressed by the fresh approach
the author takes on the dating scene in New York.. Healthy reading for young women of today…I look forward to reading how this plays out. Come join me in Ireland!
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