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What did you like best about All Bets Are Off? What did you like least?
The backdrop of gambling addiction was interesting.
My least favorite part was use of the 'type' when it comes to matching people up.
Would you be willing to try another book from Sandra K. Marshall? Why or why not?
Yes. It started off strong, had an interesting backstory for the main female character, and her sex scenes have good potential.
What about Terran McGahae’s performance did you like?
Terran McGahae did a good job narrating. Her character voices were distinct and she had a good male voice for Jason. She wasn’t shy or hesitant during the sex scenes.
What would have made this romance irresistible?
If there had been a scifi, fantasy, or historical fiction element, I would have enjoyed it more. Also, using correct female anatomy in the sex scenes would make it more believable. Though if you did go scifi/fantasy you might not have to be so correct. ;)
Any additional comments?
The book starts with a slap and a couple separating. Ana Torres has a gambling addiction and it has ruined her friendships, her marriage, and potentially her husband’s business. The book then rockets forward 2 years and Ana has her addiction under control, she has paid off her credit cards, moved out of her parents’ house, and now has her own business where she provides guidance to others trying to rein in their gambling addiction. Formally separated from her husband, Jason Gibbs, they have had little interaction since he tossed her out. Then an unexpected encounter at a party brings them face to face. Apparently, there are still sparks between them.
The book started off pretty serious with Jason giving Ana a slap, and then he immediately felt angry and ashamed at himself. Of course, this put me on Ana’s side right from the beginning and even once I learned she was the cause of financial ruin for the couple, I still felt some sympathy for her. If it had started with her gambling their lives away, I wouldn’t have been sympathetic to her character, so this was a clever intro by the author to get the reader invested in Ana from the beginning. When we jumped ahead 2 years, I was a little sad because I wanted to see Ana struggle with her addiction. We do get to see some of that in flashback thoughts as we move through the story, so that inner battle isn’t completely ignored. And this is a romance and about love, etc., not about addiction and the inner battle of the human soul.
The set up was good, the story OK. Contemporary romance isn’t my favorite genre, but because of the addiction angle I wanted to give it a try. Then there is the sex. I enjoy sex scenes in my stories and this book has 2 such scenes. The first is the better of the two. I was thoroughly getting into it but then the man stuck his tongue in her uterus. Yep. Uterus. Briefly, I hoped the story was going to take on some mutant scifi elements, but alas, it did not. To get to the uterus, you have to travel the entire vaginal canal and then get past the cervix. The cervix doesn’t let just any old object enter the uterus, being perhaps 1/8 inch opening nearly all the time (common exception is when a baby is headed out). So either the man had a very long and narrow tongue, or the woman had some mutant uterus that sat in the vaginal canal with the wide open cervix. Anyway, here is the Wikipedia article - and yes, it is safe for work. So I was totally into this sex scene – there was heat between the characters, great descriptors, etc. and then he sticks his tongue in her uterus. I giggled, totally taken out of the moment. At best, this is a big typo. At worst, the author is not well informed on the female genitals/reproductive organs. But, other than this one typo (I will be generous in my thoughts), the story flowed smoothly and was fun.
Jason has a type of woman he likes. This type is totally based on looks (petite, short, brown haired women). I have always found that having a type, romantically, really limits a person and I tend to avoid people who rely on measuring people against some type standard they have in their heads. So, I wasn’t really into Jason (even though, or maybe because, I am his type). The ending was a sweet ending to a sweet romance. While I felt that some issues were wrapped up a little too quickly, this is a short story. I left the story wishing the best for both Ana and Jason.