Wednesday, September 16, 2009

All In by Kate Willoughby

AUTHOR: Kate Willoughby
PUBLISHER: Ellora’s Cave
LENGTH: Novella (roughly 26k)
GENRE: Paranormal erotic romance
COST: $4.45

Mariah Hughes just got a wish granted. Literally. On a weekend cruise with her girlfriends the year before, they bought bracelets from a street vendor, got drunk, and made some outlandish wishes for men. Mariah’s involved the poker player she’d had a one-night stand with six years earlier, a certain I.C. Tucker who has fueled her fantasies ever since. Now she has two days with the man of her dreams…

This short novella – paranormal only in the sense of wishes getting granted, hot contemporary in every other sense – is frothy, frolicking fun, in both the steamy sense and the laughing out loud sense. I think it’s official. My sense of humor seems to mesh perfectly with this author’s, because just like in the first story of hers that I read, I was laughing and smiling throughout the whole thing.

Mariah owns a chocolate shop, making both candies and cakes for special order as well as selling them over the counter. She’s been fantasizing about her one-night stand with Tucker for six years, but when she learns that her wish has been granted, she can’t even remember what it was that she’d wished for until she calls a girlfriend for a reminder. Tucker comes back into her life when she is hired to do the wedding cake for his best friend, and from the second they see each other, sparks fly again. Both Mariah and Tucker are smart, capable adults, who have no problems jumping in where they left off. Their chemistry tingles from the start, and it’s very easy to understand what each sees in the other. Tucker is charming and sweet, without being big-headed about who he is or how much money he earns as a world class poker player, while Mariah offers a sensible balance to the superficial circles he’s forced to travel in.

Therein lies the real charm of this novella. Within the magic that brings these two together is a true grounding in reality. Mariah and Tucker sound like real people, react like real people, and become real people very early on. It’s incredibly easy to fall for their heat and emotions when they seem like a couple I might encounter in real life. That’s due to the naturalism of the dialogue and the ease at which the author puts the reader. I’m so looking forward to reading more from Ms. Willoughby. I expect to see her on my end of year best lists in just a few months.


9/10 – Funny and frothy


8/10 – Sweet, charming, and desirable


8/10 – Wonderfully grounded without losing the fun

Entertainment value

8/10 – It’s always a joy to genuinely laugh out loud during a story

World building

8/10 – Very credible contemporary settings




Kate Willoughby said...

B.U. Mom, thank you so much for your wonderful review. I can't tell you how wonderful it is to a) find out someone adored what you wrote, even laughed out loud and b) find out WHY that person loved it. The details make it so much sweeter. I hope I'm being objective when I say you're among the best e-book reviewers online.

Kate Willoughby said...

Okay, I'm realizing now how kiss-ass that sounded. *snorts* Pretend I didn't say that part about the best reviewer.

Even though I meant it.