⭐️⭐️ REVIEW: Once Upon an Island by Sarah Ready

Unfortunately, this was not a successful reading experience for me, which is really disappointing because I’ve enjoyed Ready’s work in the past. There are a million romance novels inspired by Pride and Prejudice, and I’ve read some pretty great ones. Getting the hero’s personality just right is one of the major requirements, and this hero is a straight up jerk. Like… not a sexy jerk, just a jerk. Some of the things he says are SO very off-putting, and there are honestly not enough moments with them together to counteract those mean remarks. They spend much of the book apart, and I needed more from the hero during their time together. Granted, that’s true of P&P too, but those interactions could’ve made a much stronger impact. It’s a faithful enough retelling that there were not a lot of surprises, though it’s executed in such a way that there were plenty of cringey moments. Maybe P&P fans will find some positives here, but it’s not very successful on its own.

The story is told exclusively from Isla’s point of view, a woman who lives on a beautiful island. When her friends discover that a single billionaire is in town, they are excited to sink their claws into a wealthy target. Isla isn’t interested in the sexy stranger though; their first interaction does not go well at all, and the cold, aloof man doesn’t make a great second or third impression either. There is something about him that has Isla intrigued, but she’s never able to see past her initial assumptions.

I’d call this more of a retelling than a book that’s inspired by P&P, because the location may be different, but the story has a LOT of familiar moments. It’s quick, cute, and easy, with an exceptionally slow-burning romance (that is somehow also instalove) and no steam at all. Though it has rom com vibes, I didn’t find anything funny – but maybe that’s just me. It lost me early on, and I likely would’ve DNF’d if the book had been longer. I do love a sexy grump, but I only found Declan appealing in a few brief moments. There’s a lot more that could’ve been done there. I don’t want to completely bash the book – there are certainly readers who are going to love this, but I’m clearly not one of them.

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3k0EoTs


Blurb:

Pride, Prejudice, and Flip-flops. A beachy take on a classic romance from romcom author Sarah Ready.

Fun-loving Isla Waterstone loves her laid-back life on Mariposa Island. She has everything she could ever want…a great job as a journalist for the local paper, amazing friends, and pink sand beaches with stunning tropical sunsets.
The only problem with tiny tropical islands? There are more sea turtles than single men.
So when British billionaire Declan Fox and his aristocratic friend arrive, Isla’s friends know this can mean only one thing.
Marriage.
After all, it’s a truth universally acknowledged, when a single billionaire travels to a tropical island, he must be in want of a wife.
But Isla isn’t convinced. Especially because Declan is the most rude, arrogant, prideful man she’s ever met.
Or is he?

From tropical Mariposa to England and back again, this playful summer romcom, finds that first impressions don’t always tell the whole story.

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3k0EoTs

Excerpt:

Jimmy starts the propeller and the noise fills the cabin. Percy and Arya lean closer together to continue their conversation. When Jimmy starts moving the plane forward I close my eyes, but unfortunately, my head spins so much that I have to open them again.

When I do, I notice Declan staring at me.

“Yes?” I ask.

He scowls. “You made a noise.”

I probably did. In fact, I imagine it was a noise like “please, oh please, please fly okay.”

“I’m fine,” I say.

Declan looks down at my hands and makes a disbelieving noise. I look down too. I’m gripping the seats and my knuckles have turned white.

The plane bumps down the runway and my stomach flips with each little bump.

“Are you afraid to fly?” asks Declan. He has a judgy look on his face. “How can you live on an island and be afraid of flying? Don’t you have to fly to go anywhere else in the world?”

I glare at him. His people skills are terrible. “I’m not afraid of flying.”

He makes another disbelieving noise.

“I’m not,” I say.

“Just like you don’t eat balls very often,” he says. Then he smirks at me.

I gasp and my back goes poker straight. I wasn’t one hundred percent sure he remembered me, or recognized me from the Valentine’s Day Brunch, but I am now.

“It’s none of your business how often I eat balls,” I hiss at him. Then I flush. “And I’m talking about chocolate, you…you…man.” My insult falls flat. It’s hard to be eloquent when you’re drugged up and terrified of flying.

“I know what you’re up to,” he says, and his lip curls in a villain-ish sort of way.

What’s he talking about?

“You don’t know anything,” I say. Because…comebacks.

He shakes his head and looks at me like I’m the larva of a slug. “I heard your friends talking in the terminal. ‘Land the white whale. Nab a billionaire. Blah blah blah.’ Trust me, La-La. I’ve had enough gold diggers after me to recognize one from a mile away. I’m not interested.”

My mouth drops open and I try to formulate a comeback. Instead, all I manage are little choking noises of outrage. Finally, I say, “I’m not a dold gigger…” I shake my head. That wasn’t right. Darn prescription. “Gold digger,” I correct.

Declan snorts and turns back to his phone, effectively dismissing me.

However, I’m a person, not a dog he can dismiss or beckon at his convenience. So I lean over and forcefully poke his arm with my pointer finger. 

He glances up and gives me an affronted look. “Yes?”

“I’m not a gold digger,” I say again.

“Methinks thou protesteth too much.”

I shake my fuddled head. “I just want to set the record straight. I wouldn’t chase you, lust after you, date you, or marry you, even if you and I were stranded on a deserted island together, or if you were the last man on earth. Billionaire or bankrupt, I don’t care. Because I don’t like you. Got it? I don’t like you.”

Declan gives me a tight-lipped smile. “The feeling’s mutual,” he says. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have important things to do.”

Implying that I’m not important.

Well.

“So do I,” I say.

I resist the urge to stick out my tongue.

What a jerk.

I turn away from him, my head spinning. When I look out the little oval window next to my seat, I see with surprise that we’re high in the sky, soaring over the azure-colored sea. I was so distracted by Declan that I forgot about my terror over take-off, and my fear of flying.

I look down and make out the white sail of a sailboat, the dark greenish-black smudges of a reef, and a tiny uninhabited island.

I glance over at Declan. It’s amazing. It seems that my complete and utter loathing and fear of flying was finally wiped out. I don’t need anti-anxiety medication, therapy, or any other tricks. I just need to replace it with an even greater loathing – that of Declan Fox.

I grin gleefully. At that moment he looks up, sees my expression and scowls at me.

Amazing. Wonderful.

“It’s not going to work. You’re not pretty enough to tempt me. Nor are you eloquent or smart enough. Or friendly enough for that matter. Even when you smile. You can stop trying,” he says grumpily.

This makes me smile even more.

He’s awful, and that’s wonderful.

“You’re the worst person I’ve ever met,” I say with the biggest grin on my face.

“And you’re the most vulgar, greediest, average-looking gold digger I’ve ever met.”

“Perfect,” I say with a smile.

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3k0EoTs


About the Author:

Author Sarah Ready writes contemporary romance and romantic comedy. Her books have been described as “euphoric”, “heartwarming” and “laugh out loud”. Her debut novel The Fall in Love Checklist was hailed as “the unicorn read of 2020”. She loves to write fast-paced, emotionally compelling romances about quirky, smart women and the men who love them. 

Before writing romance full-time Sarah had lots of fun teaching at an Ivy League. Then she realized she could have even more fun writing romance. Her favorite things after writing are adventuring and travel. You’ll frequently find her using her degree at a dino dig site, crawling into a cave, snorkeling, or on horseback riding through the jungle – all fodder for her next book. She’s lived in Scotland, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland and NYC. She currently lives in the Caribbean with her water-obsessed pup and her awesome family. 

You can visit her online at www.sarahready.com 

Connect with Sarah:
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2PVEe4j
Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3wt7D6B
BookBub: https://bit.ly/3wtATKA
Website: http://sarahready.com/

Stay up to date with all the things and subscribe to Sarah’s mailing list: https://bit.ly/3sWxUbe


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