Guest Review: All Bags Go to Cleveland by C. S. Hale

Hello everybody! I have recently been considering adding guest reviews to the blog. I thought this would be a fun way to add some new opinions as well as a way to share books that I myself may not pick up myself, whether it is because it is a book that doesn’t sound like it is for me or because there simply isn’t enough time to read everything I want to read – a common problem for many readers. This particular book is one that I saw around a while ago and decided that it definitely was not what I wanted to read anytime soon . . . until I read this review! It really gives me a The House in the Cerulean Sea vibe and now I’m trying to figure out how to squeeze it into my own TBR because I really need more feel good and fun stories just like that! I hope you enjoy this review as much as I did. There is even a little excerpt here as well!

— The Shaggy Shepherd

All Bags Go to Cleveland // by C. S. Hale

Pub Day: August 21, 2020

Genre: Paranormal Romantic Comedy

Length: 338

Add it to your Goodreads TBR!

Synopsis:

Angela Grimalke appears more blonde bombshell than the gremlin she is. But there is no denying her supernatural truth after her clumsiness gets her fired from her modeling career. Forced to work for her family’s upscale airline, she spends her days slinging luggage and wishing her parents would get off her back about finding a nice gremlin guy to settle down with.

Relationships were the last thing on her mind, not that her family would accept that.

For Dave Ford his frequent business travel made it next to impossible for him to find a woman who could tolerate his chaotic schedule. Which is why he appreciates Angela. Neither of them are looking for love, but Dave feeds Angela’s addiction for chocolate while she provides him with the chaos to keep him on his toes.

However, as Angela’s parents bombard her with a parade of “eligible” gremlin men at their weekly family dinners, she finds herself torn between who she longs to be and her family’s expectations. Will she give in and live the life of magic they want for her? Or risk it all by to confessing to Dave that she isn’t human?

Excerpt:

Focusing on the sparks of energy skittering along her fingers, she sent her magic into the printer. Angela might look like the cover model she’d once been but no one would guess that Windsor’s check-in counter was currently staffed by a pair of gremlins. Dave’s day—or rather night and morning—were about to become a little more exciting than he’d imagined. Dave would have a nice, relaxing flight to London while his garment bag went to Cleveland.

She tamped down the tendrils of guilt rising in her gut. It needed to be done. It was this bag or some mishap not of her choosing. Besides, who in their right mind would check a Louis Vuitton garment bag? First class contained specially built closets in which to hang them. She searched Dave’s thoughts again.

Where have I seen her before?

Angela snapped right back out and jerked her head down. She attached the claim sticker to his boarding pass and handed it to Dave, keeping her focus on the counter. Hopefully, her smile hid the panic now whirring in her chest like the engines that would take Dave across the Atlantic. “Enjoy your flight, Mr. Ford.”

“Always do.” With a small salute, Dave headed toward the security queue. What were the chances he’d be so cheerful in the morning?

Review:

I was granted complimentary access to a copy of All Bags Go to Cleveland by C. S. Hale in exchange for an honest review through Goddess Fish Promotions as part of my participation in a blog tour for this title. Thank you to both C. S. Hale and Goddess Fish Promotions for this opportunity! This has not swayed my opinion. My thoughts are my own and my review is honest.

All Bags Go to Cleveland is the story of Angela Grimalke, a gremlin hiding in plain sight as a check-in clerk for Windsor Airlines. In fact, the company is owned and run by gremlins! And if you’re deserving of a little bad luck when you check-in? Your bag’s going to Cleveland. All bags go to Cleveland. When one charming businessman is not only not at all upset that his bag went to Cleveland but asks the check-in agent on the other end to tag it for Cleveland this time betting it’ll actually get to his destination instead, and this tidbit gets back to Angela, her interest is piqued. Then he asks her out, as friends. Neither is looking for anything more, right?

This book is an adorable slow-burn romance of the sort where the reader knows where this is all going long before the characters do, but that doesn’t make it any less impossible to put the book down. I’m normally not a romance reader, but when I do read the genre, this is what I like to see. Lots of genuine emotion, a slow build, a strong female lead & POV, and not a lot of bedroom details. The fact that this is also an urban fantasy is the cherry on top of a decadent chocolate cake (you’ll understand the flavour choice if you read it.)

Angela is an utter mess of a young woman who isn’t happy with her place in the world and doesn’t feel like she has a purpose, and her pain and frustration rang so true. I love the detail that whenever she doesn’t use the magic that demands to be used (she hates using magic because of all the tricksters she grew up with) something happens anyway. She has a reputation of being a klutz or a jinx everywhere she goes, and her friends Kate and Belle absolutely love it. They find it amusing. As Angela spends more and more time with Dave, his management training skills brush off on her and her sense of self-worth grows. I loved watching her grow into a confident woman and the fact that all she needed was a few choice words to make her realize what her friends see in her.

Speaking of her friends, Kate and Belle are great! I appreciate the fact that we have not one but two strong supporting female characters, and that we get a generous number of scenes of varying length that involve no men at all, in presence or in conversation. Romance may be a strong element in this book, but this book also has time for everything else in our heroine’s life.

I also wanted to note that I loved the throw-away detail that one of the passengers who gets a bag redirected to Cleveland is lamenting the fact that family obligations are keeping her from the trips she’d intended to take with her boyfriend… to St. John’s. Newfoundland, represent! I had to Google just to be sure, but I doubt there’s any other destination she’d have planned to fly to called St. John’s with the abbreviated St. and the apostrophe left in John’s other than my very own stomping ground. It was a fun little surprise to read from a book that takes place mostly in New York.

Similarly, I have one very inconsequential “complaint” and that’s the fact that Angela’s cousin in Ireland doesn’t have to ask who Kokopelli is when he comes up in conversation. I had to look him up, and I live next door to the American action here. (Is Kokopelli a different nation’s version of Coyote? The trickster god thing has me thinking of Coyote.) Irish cousin knows about Native American deities? Granted Irish cousin is also a Gremlin. Maybe there are magical being conventions, who knows.

I’m being completely sincere when I say this is the newest addition to my “favourites” shelf on Goodreads, and I can’t stop thinking about it! This book was equal parts funny and tear-jerking, warm fuzzy romantic and devastatingly real and tragic. I will absolutely be looking into reading more from this author.

About the Author:

Catherine “C.S.” Hale has been writing fantasy since she could hold a pencil. When not holed up in a comfortable corner writing all her books out by longhand, she can be found somewhere by the sea, enjoying tea and pastries.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon

Hello there! My name is Jenna Rideout, and I am the author-illustrator behind Westveil Publishing. I was born and raised in Langley, British Columbia, Canada where I rode horses as often as possible, played softball, taught myself programming, and fostered a lifelong love of reading and creative writing. I studied history with a minor in psychology at Kwantlen Polytechnic University before moving to Newfoundland, Canada to study Electric Engineering and later Computer Science at Memorial University of Newfoundland. These days I’m a freelance artist/illustrator, book reviewer and editor, as well as stay-at-home Mom to my beautiful daughter Dorothy. I live in Conception Bay South, Newfoundland with my husband, our daughter, and our two feline overlords.

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