Friday, September 29, 2023

Book Review: The Wake-Up Call

By Allyson Bales

It’s the busiest season of the year, and Forest Manor Hotel is quite literally falling apart. So when Izzy and Lucas are given the same shift on the hotel’s front desk, they have no choice but to put their differences aside and see it through.

The hotel won't stay afloat beyond Christmas without some sort of miracle. But when Izzy returns a guest’s lost wedding ring, the reward convinces management that this might be the way to fix everything. With four rings still sitting in the lost & found, the race is on for Izzy and Lucas to save their beloved hotel—and their jobs.

As their bitter rivalry turns into something much more complicated, Izzy and Lucas begin to wonder if there's more at stake here than the hotel's future. Can the two of them make it through the season with their hearts intact? (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon.)

O’Leary is one of my top auto-buy authors and The Wake-Up Call is her newest and might I say, best read yet! 

Forest Manor Hotel and Spa is in trouble.  Between Covid lockdown and less guests staying in hotels these days, this forty-year hotel might be on its last leg.  Izzy and Lucas need to work together to see if they can save it!  Problem is, they HATE each other!  Will they be able to do it?

The Wake-Up Call is definitely up there as one of my favorite reads of O’Leary’s.  This enemies to lovers rom-com is a bit less serious than some of O’Leary’s other books and I was enamored with the charming hotel and cast of characters from the very beginning.  I also love that it's a holiday romance!

The Forest Manor Hotel and Spa reminded me of a cozy, sweet hotel straight out of a Hallmark movie.  I pictured soft lighting, wood panels and cheer decor.  A huge christmas tree and a long staircase with wood banisters you can slide down.  Antique rooms and candlelight dinners and beautiful artwork hanging on the walls.   I loved that the story centers around saving this hotel!  Well, and also romance and love!

Izzy is sunshine and optimism.  She is original and was a nerdy kid growing up and believes that “putting good stuff out in the universe gets you good stuff back.”  Her enemy Lucas is all brooding and serious and grumpy.  They had a miscommunication last Christmas and have struggled to get along since.  I love that they have to work together to help the hotel and one of their most important jobs is to clean out the lost-and-found bin in hopes of making a little extra money to keep the hotel afloat. Izzy finds some wedding rings and decides she can’t sell them and would rather get them back to their rightful owners.  At first, Lucas thinks this is a waste of time but eventually sees the importance of it and they compete to get as many rings back to their rightful owners.  There is so much funny banter and their chemistry is off the charts!  I love their hard exteriors but over time you get to see softer versions of these two stubborn characters.  They both have suffered losses and they way they learn to take care of one another is my favorite. I also love how other members of the hotel staff and guests get involved!

Forest Manor has had to make major cutbacks and so many of the hotel staff really add to the story.  The owner Mrs SB is so thoughtful and I loved Poor Mandy and the cook Arjun too.  Mr. Townsend is so sweet and so is Barty, Ollie, and the Hedgers family, as well.  It is the perfect found family and I love characters that you root for and fall in love with!

The Wake-Up Call is the perfect blend of humor and more tender heartfelt deep moments.  It's the perfect book to get you into the holiday spirit and even makes some references to the movie Love, Actually, which is a Christmas favorite of mine!

If you haven't read O’Leary’s books, you must and after you read this one I would highly recommend The Flatshare and The No-Show. 

Thanks to Berkley for the book in exchange for an honest review.

More by Beth O'Leary:

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