Summer at Castle Stone by Lynn Marie Hulsman

"Here's a chance to have your own story: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Give people a chance to love you for it. Or give them a chance to hate you. That could happen, too." 

Title - Summer at Castle Stone
Author - Lynn Marie Hulsman
Publisher - HarperImpulse
Publication Date - July 24th 2014
Format - eBook (Provided by Netgalley)

The blurb

This summer, lose your heart in Ireland...

Shayla Sheridan's a New York native born into big city luxury, but she's never really fitted in with the "it" crowd. Desperate to make it as a writer and to finally step out from her famous father's shadow, Shayla decides to take on a tricky assignment across the pond...

Swapping skyscrapers and heels for wellies and the heart of the Irish countryside, Shayla must go about ghost-writing a book of recipes by the notoriously reclusive and attractive head chef of Castle Stone, Tom O'Grady. 

The only problem? He has no idea that she's writing it. 

Becca's thoughts

Firstly, a great BIG thank you to the publishers for accepting my request to view Summer at Castle Stone by Lynn Marie Hulsman via Netgalley. After one of my lovely bookish friends @reviewedthebook posted that she was reading this on Twitter, I spotted the cover, read the blurb, and just knew that I had to read it too. 

I haven't commented on covers for a while, but I feel like I definitely should when I look at Lynn's cover for Summer at Castle Stone. I don't know what it is, but there is something exciting about a city girl heading off into the countryside and being stranded with no wi-fi. Instantly, I wanted to know how she copes and survives (little bit dramatic on my part). I think the cover depicts the story of Shayla Sheridan perfectly. And of course, Castle Stone can be seen looking magnificent in the background. It's chic, it's feminine, it's girly, and it caught my attention right away. 

The plot itself was brilliant. Shayla was fantastic, a real girl of the city, with her coffees and busy lifestyle, but she's also a writer who's trying to make it big. Her father Hank is famous, and understandably, Shayla is constantly trying to escape from out of his constant shadow. Everywhere she goes, people know who her father is, and I was just as desperate as Shayla for her to make it on her own. So, Shayla takes matters into her own hands and decides that she's going to go undercover to gather a book together, using the very angry and broody Tom O'Grady as her muse. But it's not as simple as it sounds. Tom is refusing to have anything to do with Shayla and her prying New York ways, so Shayla fakes a new name for herself and goes ahead and does it anyway. Ha, girl power! 

Lynn then whisks us away from busy and bustling New York to the lush, rolling green hills of Ireland. The transition between the two settings was like a breath of fresh air. I could almost feel the worries and stresses of Shayla's life slipping away as she stepped off the aeroplane and placed a foot onto the Irish soil. To Shayla, it was as if she was in the middle of nowhere, a completely different atmosphere and way of life to what she's used to. It was just so entertaining, watching Lynn pick up her character and drop her off somewhere new and unknown. Ireland was beautiful and I so wanted to grab a flight and land there myself. 

The plot then remains focused on Shayla and her mission to grab as many recipes and notes from the people of Castle Stone and Chef O'Grady himself, without Tom knowing who she really is, of course. As I was reading, the thought of Shayla being found out really dragged me along, not that I needed to be dragged because it was such an enjoyable read, but that thought just pushed me even further. 

Lynn does a fantastic job of bring Castle Stone and it's many fabulous characters to life. It was like a community within itself. I really didn't know how Shayla managed to stay undercover, because I would have given up right away, but she perseveres and sticks to what she needs to do. The desperation for Shayla to finish and complete the book is highlighted to the reader, and I was cheering her on too. 

Tom' O'Grady was one of those fictional men that you would love to crack down and really get inside of. He kept himself quite hidden away from Shayla, which was a bit of nuisance when she needed to do research, but due to a nasty past of invasion of privacy, Tom really isn't taking any chances, and that's understandable. He doesn't joke, laugh or smile for that matter. He's stone-cold, and ladies, why is that so DAMN attractive?! Moody and broody is Tom O'Grady's style and he was completely swoon-worthy. 

The plot was smooth and I loved it. The characters, the gorgeous setting of Ireland, the determination to succeed behind Shayla Sheridan. It was a fabulous read and Castle Stone was just magical. Lynn did a brilliant job of creating this story, and I really, really enjoyed it! 



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