Lightning Review

Ship Wrecked by Olivia Dade


Ship Wrecked

by Olivia Dade

Recently I devoured a book, and when I mentioned it, Shana squeed right back at me. So, enjoy our absolute squee-party about this book!

Sarah: Shana, I just tore through Ship Wrecked by Olivia Dade. Devoured the whole book in less than a day. Oh my gosh, there is so much to love about this book.

  1. The Pining. Top-shelf pine forest full of pining. For six years they live on that island for months and aren’t going to bone town despite wishing to revisit asap. And the “I don’t want to ruin our otherwise excellent professional and personal relationships by going to Bonetown” made complete sense.
  2. The unabashedly fearless and deeply self loving heroine, Maria. She’s Swedish, she’s a newer actress, she’s fat, she knows herself, and she’s not putting up with any bullshit about her appearance from the showrunners.
  3. Also: I have watched .00000006% of Game of Thrones, and that was mostly through gifsets and a really, really terrible joke, and the GoT references in Ship Wrecked were INCREDIBLE. This was a fix it fic of the entire show’s fucked up narratives, both on screen and off. CHEF’S KISS.

I have been in a massive reading rut and reading this book made me so happy.

What were your favorite parts?

Shana: I’ve been dying to talk about this book with someone because I adored it.

I have watched only slightly more GoT than you, and I agree that Ship Wrecked offers a soothing alternative universe where we see the actors and crew doing everything they can to subvert the will of the mediocre dudes in charge. Good guys win, bad guys are not rewarded with a Netflix deal.

Peter was such a sweet cinnamon roll hero who bruises easily but always puts other people above himself. He doesn’t handle it well when Maria is initially disinterested in more than a one-night stand, but I liked seeing him hold himself accountable and learn to let people into his life on their own terms. He’s also ridiculously sexy. That book cover is not lying about his swooniness.

I loved the contrast between Peter and Maria. There’s a lot of nuance in the fat representation and the characters feel complex and real. She’s a badass theater actress who is indifferent to Hollywood expectations about thinness; he’s confident about his attractiveness, but worried about the precariousness of his career, since this show is his big break. She loves salty licorice; he keeps falling for her pranks and accidentally eats some. Watching Maria outmaneuver the show’s fatphobic producers was delightful, but seeing Peter’s protectiveness of Maria push him to stand up to the showrunners totally warmed my crone heart.

Also, I agree that this was pining on an epic scale, and thanks to well-placed time jumps, reading about it was never torturous. We only get the choicest, juiciest bits of Peter and Maria’s relationship as the couple periodically film on the same island together, building a deeper relationship and making me laugh. I often DNF books because I get stuck in a sloggy middle section, but Ship Wrecked neatly avoids this.

Sarah: YES! It’s like the book itself was a supercut of the most intense and affective moments of the six years they spent pining for each other. More than just the highlights, too, because the jumps in time provide a very satisfying experience. Which is extremely meta because there are supercuts of the characters Peter and Maria play referenced in the book, too.

Shana: Honestly it was a relief to read about a couple who committed to a slow burn, chose ethics over immediate lust, and behaved like grown ups. By the time Peter and Maria act on their attraction, I was desperate for them to get together, but also confident that they were in a good place for a relationship to really work.

Their feelings finally boil over in the same hotel room where they’ve spent the day doing press. This scorching scene is an ode to every fan who’s watched their favorite OTP actors flirt during an interview.

Sarah: Yes, they did behave like grown ups! And the book also balances the forced proximity epic pining with the aftermath, the “Well, what happens after you’re done filming and enter the real world” part. They’re forced to figure out their shit and they do so like caring, lovely adults.

Shana: This series has a strong found family vibe, and Ship Wrecked is no exception with its wacky locals, and a crew that keep sleeping together. Because the script has the characters marooned on an island for the entire show, this book carved out a little narrative nook that made it feel special and separate from the rest of the series, while also neatly wrapping up loose ends from the other books. It was such an emotionally satisfying end to the series.

SB Sarah

After All the Feels and Spoiler Alert, Olivia Dade once again delivers a warm and wonderful romantic comedy about two co-stars who once had an incredible one-night stand—and after years of filming on the same remote island, are finally ready to yield to temptation again…

Maria’s one-night-stand—the thick-thighed, sexy Viking of a man she left without a word or a note—just reappeared. Apparently, Peter’s her surly Gods of the Gates co-star, and they’re about to spend the next six years filming on a desolate Irish island together. She still wants him…but he now wants nothing to do with her.

Peter knows this role could finally transform him from a forgettable character actor into a leading man. He also knows a failed relationship with Maria could poison the set, and he won’t sabotage his career for a woman who’s already walked away from him once. Given time, maybe they can be cooperative colleagues or friends—possibly even best friends—but not lovers again. No matter how much he aches for her.

For years, they don’t touch off-camera. But on their last night of filming, their mutual restraint finally shatters, and all their pent-up desire explodes into renewed passion. Too bad they still don’t have a future together, since Peter’s going back to Hollywood, while Maria’s returning to her native Sweden. She thinks she needs more than he can give her, but he’s determined to change her mind, and he’s spent the last six years waiting. Watching. Wanting.

His shipwrecked Swede doesn’t stand a chance.

Contemporary Romance, Romance
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  1. OuchOuchOuch says:

    This is more of a question than anything else, and it certainly is not a criticism of the book, because I have not read it. The hero as illustrated on the cover looks precisely like a rather gross roommate (odiferous and rude, but not actively evil) I once had, and for that reason I would probably pass this one over if I was, say, browsing for a read. Has anyone else ever noped out of a book because a character reminded you – specifically in illustration, description or name, rather than behaviour – of someone you didn’t want to be reminded of?

  2. Stacey says:

    @OuchOuchOuch absolutely! I had a narcissistic, cheating roommate/boyfriend who I often see reflected in characters (he had very common looks) and it’s an immediate turnoff.

    Sadly I can’t remember how Peter’s looks are described in the book, but my recommendation on this one is to get it on Kindle and ignore that cover art 😉

    @SBSarah and @Shana – thanks for this squee! I loved the heck outta this book for all the reasons you listed above. Maria is one of my all-time favorite heroines.

  3. kkw says:

    I read the first book in the series and absolutely loved it in most ways but the fact that it was very thinly veiled Jamie/Brienne fan fic was a deal breaker for me continuing on With more books. It kept jarring me out of the book world and made me think about GoT instead. Does anyone know which characters the leads in this are meant to be? I can’t imagine the pairing that could suck me back in, as I watched every excruciating hour of that damn show through the bitter bitter end, but I am morbidly curious.

    I did not at least have a gross roommate reminiscent of the cover hero (which would absolutely ruin things) although the cover is off putting to me in multiple ways anyway, that guy screams bad hygiene and I hate illustrated covers and the style of that one specifically so I am still struggling with it. New improved me is doggedly trying to retain her many lessons regarding the proverbial judging of books by their covers, and repeatedly failing.

  4. Jazzlet says:

    kkw, why does that guy scream bad hygiene to you? I admit to being prejudiced as I have an older version upstairs (he’s in his office) with somewhat longer hair, though both hair and beard are distinctly greying now, and his hygiene is probably better than mine.

  5. SB Sarah says:

    @kkw I am gently pushing back on your comment that the illustration of the character screams bad hygiene to you. Why is that the case? Is it because he’s fat? Bearded? Shaggy hair? Illustrated or not, the image represents the character and circumstances of the book setting (filming a show about, well, characters being shipwrecked). To say the illustration of a fat bearded shaggy haired man indicates a lack of cleanliness seems very unkind and biased.

  6. PamG says:

    I loved this book, loved the cover, loved the bigger than life protagonists. I also read it first and then went back and read the earlier two. This was definitely the best in the series. Considering that the continuing backstory with the rest of the cast is a major feature of all three books, it’s kind of amazing that I could read it without anything being spoiled. I adored Dade’s Teach Me, but some of her subsequent novels fell kind of flat, so I’d been putting off starting this series. However, after a string of random DNF’s, I was flipping through my virtual TBR from the top down when I picked this up. I figured, it can’t be any worse than the other dreck I’ve been reading, what’ve I got to lose? Best decision evah!

    I adored that Peter was a big guy and that Maria particularly liked his bigness and the way he just kind of wrapped her up. My biggest gripe about romances centering fat characters is that so many of these stories focus on fat or “curvy” heroines and amazingly buff heroes. (And by the way referring to fat girls as curvy rather than fat signals to me that someone is suffering from more than a touch of fat-phobia.)

    Regarding the cover, if anyone’s hygiene seems questionable, wouldn’t it be Maria’s raggedy outfit? I mean, unless the Men in Black suit and the shaggy dark hair have some subliminal meaning for the reader, what’s so grubby about it? He just looks like the inflatable version of John Wick.

  7. kkw says:

    His hair reads as greasy and unkempt to me, and hers also but I was focusing on him, as relating to Ouchouchouch’s former roommate… perhaps I should have said the pair of them?
    Plus the fact that the title is shouting that they’re shipwrecked automatically makes me think, ugh, no showers. I just read a romance wherein the heroes are on the PCT and it made me very aware how much I hate it when there’s no plumbing.
    I don’t particularly like beards it’s true, but that’s not a hygiene issue.
    Their sizes are a feature for me, not a bug, and I am very sorry if my comment stirred up any bed feelings for anyone in anyway particularly because of the way fat people are so often cruelly stereotyped. I didn’t mean to be insensitive, or triggering!

  8. Felis C says:

    No issues with how Peter looks on the cover. This was delightful and I did notthink about GoT except in relation to the producers bad behavior.

  9. Kareni says:

    I quite enjoyed Ship Wrecked; this was my favorite of the books in the series.

  10. Star says:

    For some reason my brain responds very differently to the cover full size rather than thumbnail size. Full size, he looks dashing and suave and has excellent hair, and she’s wearing clothes with complex texture and a few worn spots. But when the image is smaller, suddenly my brain interprets the fallen lock of hair on his cheek as stubble and his hair as greasy, and it also gets really confused by her sweater somehow. Something about the same details that make this an unusually good illustrated cover* just aren’t getting translated quite right in my head when the image is small? or something? After zooming in and out a few times, my brain did finally settle on “dashing gentleman, great hair” for him, but it’s still somehow exploding over the sweater.

    Not sure if this is what @kkw meant, though.

    * I genuinely hate the illustrated cover trend, but I do like this one better, ironically partly because of their hair. Also because the artist did a good job with the chemistry: that’s definitely a good kiss.

  11. Malin says:

    I really enjoyed Ship Wrecked except for one thing that really annoyed me every time it came up, which it sadly does quite a bit. To quote my own review: “Maria’s chosen term of endearment for Peter, sötnos really annoys me. The term literally translates as “sweet nose” and I have never in my 43-year-old life heard anyone refer to their lover consistently as that. The book claims that it is used like “sweetheart”, but it’s more like “sweetie” or “cutie”, and the only time I’ve heard the term used is with small children and maybe pets. See, if Dade had chosen älskling as Maria’s endearment of choice, I wouldn’t be getting persnickety. That pretty much means “love” or “beloved” and I can basically mentally search and replace all uses of sötnos for älskling and the book would be better for it. Obviously, this is not going to be a nitpick that a lot of readers of this romance object to.”

    I know Olivia Dade is married to a Swede. I just really wonder if she picked this up from him? Does he really use such an infantilizing term of endearment when speaking to her?

  12. Liza S says:

    I love this book, allllll the pining. And the ADULTS. I’ve read a few of Dade’s books and the characters behave like mature human beings and I am here for it!

    I love this cover. I also love the bonus dust jacket cover that came with a special preorder! I don’t think I can share an image in this comment, but a little searching should bring it up for anyone who is curious.

  13. Deborah says:

    @PamG – And by the way referring to fat girls as curvy rather than fat signals to me that someone is suffering from more than a touch of fat-phobia.

    YES. I wish we could kill that semantic coyness dead.

  14. Lisa F says:

    Enjoyed this one, but went a little lower with it and put it at a B+.

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