Cartoon girl and can standing in front of a Swiss chalet

About the Book

Title: Castle in the Clouds
Published: 2020
Swoonworthy Scale: 7

Cover Story: Cartoon Cutesy
BFF Charm:  Yay!
Talky Talk: Cozy Mystery
Bonus Factors: Europe, Hotels, Christmas
Relationship Status: Holiday Hook-up

Cover Story: Cartoon Cutesy

Hotel in the Swiss Alps: check. Mysterious cat that hangs around the hotel: check. Main character in her ubiquitous maid’s uniform: check. This cover is cute and definitely in line with the current cartoon cover art trend. I love the illustration style, the title treatment, and the Wes Anderson-y vibe of it all, but I wish they’d done something a little more creative than just sticking illustrations at random on the cover. Imagine a similar style but the hotel takes up the whole cover, and you can see little scenes and characters in the windows? When is someone going to hire me to design book covers?

The Deal:

Sophie Spark is interning at Castle in the Clouds, a grand old hotel in the Swiss Alps where Russian oligarchs and snooty Europeans with mischievious children have come to spend their holiday. Sophie is busy babysitting and preparing for the big New Year’s Eve ball, despite catching flack from the cliquish housekeepers and some of the guest’s more precocious children. But something suspicious is afoot at Castle in the Clouds. Whispered arguments are happening behind closed doors, diamond rings are disappearing, and Sophie begins to suspect that some of the guest are not who they claim to be. When she gets caught up in the adventurous capers of a hotel guest’s grandson, Sophie finds herself in real danger she doesn’t know how to escape.

BFF Charm: Yay

Yay BFF Charm

Sophie is cool as hell. First of all, she’s a high school dropout who is interning at an old hotel in the Swiss Alps. Imagine being cool enough to tell your parents, “High school ain’t for me, I’m moving to Switzerland.” This gal is clearly gutsy, but she’s also great with kids, independent, and has a great sense of humor. I want to be her! When things get wild, she’s understandably freaked out while still being mostly level-headed. She doesn’t always keep her cool around the cute boys at the hotel, but I can’t say I totally blame her for that.

Swoonworthy Scale: 7

There’s a whiff of a love triangle here, but not the kind we love to hate. It’s more like there are two cute dudes at the hotel and Sophie (being the sophisticated, independent woman that she is) flirts with both of them when they both flirt with her. Can’t knock a girl for keeping her options open! Ben Montfort, the quiet, handsome son of the hotel’s more furious owner Gordon, is a QT PIE who is nothing like his mean father and finds himself intrigued by the red-headed intern. Tristan Brown, the daredevil, handsome grandson of one of the hotel’s guests, is all kinds of mysterious bad boy, and the more that Sophie finds herself drawn in by his schemes and smiles, the more she finds herself keeping secrets from Ben.

Talky Talk: Cozy Mystery

Gier delivers an atmospheric contemporary novel full of quirky characters and scenic views. The pacing moves right along, with equal doses of mystery and romance, and the heady, holiday magic that only comes from waltzing under a decorated tree. You know that excited feeling you get being in a fancy hotel? Like you’re escaping the real world and existing in a place where anything could happen? That’s how this entire book felt. I’m mad it’s July because this is the book you want to read by a fire with hot toddy in hand and flannel pajamas ON.

Bonus Factor: Europe

Snow covered mountains and a chalet in Switzerland

Books set in Europe are my catnip. I get to enjoy some YA literature while also feeding my insatible wanderlust? In this particular case, the snow mountains of Switzerland are at the top of my travel bucket list. *drool*

Bonus Factor: Hotels

hand ringing bell at hotel front desk

Why are hotels so great??? I love a good hotel. Heck, I love an extremely mediocre hotel. Castle in the Clouds, besides having the all-time best hotel name, was giving me big Grand Budapest energy. It may be struggling to keep up with the times, but that makes it all the dreamier, IMO.

Bonus Factor: Christmas

Candy canes, twinkle lights, bows and wreathes on a table

As if this book wasn’t already extremely my shit being set in a Swiss hotel, it’s also set AT CHRISTMAS. I don’t think this book could get any cozier.

Relationship Status: Holiday Hook-Up

Book, you were exactly what the doctor ordered…for December. I read you in summer, and while I enjoyed our time together, I know I’ll revisit you every holiday season…like an ex I text when I’m back in my hometown at Christmas. *wink*

Literary Matchmaking

Wilfair

 If quirky, hotel-based mysteries are your jam, let me tell you a little story about ONE OF MY ALL TIME FAVORITES, Wilfair by Alysia Gray Painter.

Together at Midnight

For more cozy Christmastime magic, check out Together at Midnight by Jennifer Castle.

The Last of August (Charlotte Holmes #2)

And if you can’t get enough Christmas mysteries set in Europe, then The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro is RIGHT up your alley (but beware, it’s the second in a series).

FTC Full Disclosure: I did not receive money or Girl Scout cookies of any kind (not even the gross cranberry ones) for writing this review. Castle In The Clouds is available now.

Rosemary lives in Little Rock, AR with her husband and cocker spaniel. At 16, she plucked a copy of Sloppy Firsts off the "New Releases" shelf and hasn't stopped reading YA since. She is a brand designer who loves tiki drinks, her mid-century modern house, and obsessive Google mapping.