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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

Overall rating

3.9 out of 5
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  • Not what I was looking for

    The Summer Island Swap tells the story of Sarah, a hardworking and ambitious hospitality worker who gets lucky when her sister Amy wins a small amount of money in the lottery. Having big ideas for how she can enter the world of first class hospitality, Sarah is thrilled when Amy decides to spend the money on a luxurious vacation for the two of them. Sarah and Amy head on their surprise trip and Sarah can't wait to enjoy the amazing benefits of the island vacation, including doing some on site research of fancy accommodations, until they arrive at their destination and Sarah realizes that Amy switched the trips as a surprise without her knowing. Sarah is now on a conservation trip on a island that was devastated by a hurricane. Her duties (yes, duties), include cleaning out toilets, hacking away plants with a machete to create paths, and sleeping in a non air conditioned hut, with bugs and creepy crawlies all around. Sarah is devastated, and ready to leave, but her support for Amy is unwavering, she doesn't want to disappoint her. She decides to stick it out for Amy, and maybe to see what kind of romance blossoms with the director of the conservation, Rick. Sarah undergoes a journey or perseverance and self-discovery, realizing her talents and that sometimes things are better than they first seem. I really wanted to love this book. I should start by saying I clearly did not read the entire description close enough when I requested it. I honestly expected a book about two sisters going to a luxurious island and finding love on an amazing trip! That's what I was expecting, so when Sarah found out her dream trip had been ruined-so did I. At that point, I stopped reading. I left the book for awhile and then realized that the publication date was coming up and I wanted to finish it to review, so I continued. I made my way through but by hand way through I still wasn't into the story. I found it predictable from page 35, I knew how it was going to end. I ended up skimming my way to the end. Honestly, I loved the beginning, until they got to the island. I just wasn't interested in reading about conservation and everything that went along with living on the island. I wanted a story about luxury and romance-but that was my fault, I should've been more careful when reading the description. The book is well written and the characters are likeable and relatable. I thought Sarah was a pretty good character. She did come off and immature, way too hung up on her past, it was mentioned way too much throughout the entire story. The romance aspect was okay, nothing great. Rick was also just okay, a pretty bland character, and I didn't enjoy a lot of his reactions in the story. I thought the story had the body of a good story, the side stories were developed, the characters were developed and so on. As much as I wanted to love it, it just wasn't for me. I'm happy so many others enjoyed it!

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  • Change from usual holiday tale

    This is a quirky summer read set in the British Virgin Islands and offers a real change from a traditional holiday story. It has some very strong female characters especially the main character Sarah who built a life for herself and her younger sister away from their difficult father. This is a very relaxing read but with some thought provoking messages which really add to the overall emotion.

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  • A great summery read

    Sarah has been dreaming of going on holiday for years but with work, looking after her younger sister Amy and no spare cash that dream has never come true, that is until Amy wins some money on the lottery and declares she is taking them both on a five-star luxury break. Sarah didn’t want her sister to spend all her money on a holiday but was looking forward to being pampered for two weeks, especially as she has just been sacked from her hospitality job. Amy though has a secret, she decided to swap their holiday at the last minute. They are going to spend their time abroad on an island that was hit by a Hurricane and needs a lot of work doing to it. No five-star hotel rooms, more wooden shacks without aircon. Sarah is livid but she doesn’t want to let Amy down, so she is going to have to muck in and clean toilets, rescue turtle eggs, and make pathways in her fancy clothes and manicured nails. There is one ray of hope though, the gorgeous man who loves on the island, now he is worth staying for, isn’t he? Can you imagine getting all excited about your first holiday in years and after pampering other guests in your joy you can’t wait for someone to be pampering you? You have your hair cut, nails manicured, pack your fancy clothes, and your heels and then turn up in a place with no running water, a compost toilet, no shops, or even proper roads. The place feels like hell on earth to you but you have to put a brave face so as not to destroy your little sister’s happiness who is all excited about a working holiday. Sarah is a very likeable woman who has always tried to do her best for her younger sister after what happened in their past with their father. She is hardworking and although the situation isn’t ideal and at first wants to leave right away, she realises she has to knuckle down and get on with things and maybe that the place isn’t that bad, nor are the other guests or the grandson of the owner. The book moved at a nice pace and kept me entertained throughout. As well as the human characters there were some animals too, including a blind monkey that had been rescued from being forced to perform on the streets. The plot is so full-on that it felt like the guests never stopped trying to fix up the island. The romance aspect was nicely handled, though, I do feel that the book would have even worked as a great read without a romance within it. Overall, The Summer Island Swap is a wonderful summery read that is pure escapism. It is enjoyable and realistic too. I’m not sure I would have stuck around, I think I might have been on the first boat out of there!

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  • Superbly Entertaining!

    A gorgeous read from an author who never fails to entertain! Sarah and her sister Amy live together; it's nine years since Sara had a holiday as she was too busy working to keep a roof over their heads. Now, Amy's lotto numbers come good and she wants to treat them both to a holiday. Spotting a luxury resort with all the trappings on her sister's laptop, Sarah begins to dream of relaxing by the pool sipping cocktails, enjoying spa treatments and sinking into a sumptuous bed at the end of the day .. so it's a shock to find out that Amy swapped islands at the last moment . . . With both romance and adventure, Samantha Tonge has excelled herself with this one; she must have done extensive research into the habitat and conservation issues facing the Virgin Islands and other places like them - but this is a very amusing tale as well! With a great cast of varied personalities there is plenty going on in this one. Lots of laugh out loud moments as well as the 'aaww' ones, especially every time Chatty makes an appearance! It's a fun read whilst being very in keeping with the current eco-climate issues. There is an abundance of information on the damage caused by environmental issues in the world as well as a wonderful insight into the wild life and all cleverly incorporated into the story. It's a superb read and earns every one of the five sparkling stars I'm happy to give it.

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  • Great read

    Really well written makes for a great read. It made me laugh but sometimes I almost shed a tear. Strong characters, loved it.

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