Monday, August 2, 2010

The ‘IT’ Factor – Debut Author Gabi Stevens

The Wish List
Tor Books, May 2010

Book Blurb:
Kristin Montgomery is more than a little shocked when her aunts inform her they’re fairy godmothers. Worse, after dropping that bombshell they hand her a wand and head off on a world cruise. Now Kristin’s uncomplicated life as a CPA in San Diego has disappeared like magic and she not only has to deal with her burgeoning magical powers, but also a reluctant—and distractingly sexy—magical arbiter.

Tennyson Ritter is a historian. A scholar by choice, he is yanked from his studies to act as arbiter for the newly chosen fairy godmother. He doesn’t want to waste his time with a woman who doesn’t know anything about magic or the magical world, but soon the beguiling Kristin draws him away from his books and into her life.

But before Kristin can hone her skills and pass the tests necessary to fully claim her powers, she and Tennyson must work together to defend the world – both magical and human – against those that would claim her powers for their own.

A Brief Note:
I was excited to read this book, but not for the reasons you might think. For years, I was under the impression that TOR’s paranormal romances were more plot than hot, meaning the fantasy/paranormal elements were the driving factor of the book while the romance part took a backseat or was sometimes stuffed completely in the trunk and out of sight. I had always heard they leaned toward 75% story/25% romance. But I knew as soon as I started reading THE WISH LIST that it could have just as easily been published by Kensington or Avon or any of the other NY romance powerhouses. I’m thrilled, because I never thought what I write was TOR material – that my books are too romance-heavy. Now I’m thinking otherwise and that’s a good thing since I have two fulls currently sitting on the TOR editor’s desk!

Now, on with our story…

The Pluses:
The author has a pleasant humorous voice. Writing humor is an art and I can always tell when it comes naturally and when it’s forced. Ms. Stevens has a natural talent for it without going over into slapstick territory.

The story isn’t a heavy read so it’s easy to breeze right through it. It’s one of those books you can easily read in one day or one you can put down and pick back up later and dive right back into without missing a beat.

The author has come up with a creative history for how and why fairy godmothers came into existence and live among us.

The Minuses:
The instigator for nearly all the love scenes is a love/hate fight reminiscent of (I’m really going to date myself here) Sam and Diane from Cheers:
Diane: “You disgust me. I hate you.”
Sam: “Are you turned on as I am?”
Diane: “More.”
We could easily substitute Kristin and Tennyson’s names in there and you have the precursor to each love scene in this book. Yes, anger and attraction often get mixed up in the heat of passion and it’s a standard plot device authors use to get two people who act like they hate each other together. It was cute the first time but I would have liked to see a little more variety for the second and third rounds in the mattress matches.

The author tries to throw in some red herrings but most were fairly obvious right away (for example, who the villain was).

The author sometimes slipped into telling vs. showing. For instance, I wanted to witness Tennyson defending Kristin to the Arcani Council, not be told what happened after the fact.

The ‘IT’ Factor:
I’m not one to buy my books by publisher so I can’t honestly say how many TOR romances I’ve read, but I’m thinking this one is stepping out of the usual mold for them. THE WISH LIST is definitely a departure from the dark urban fantasies and sci-fi futuristics with their kick ass heroines I’ve come to associate with this publisher. While this book does not re-invent the wheel as far as paranormal romance goes, I think TOR took a chance on a humorous voice and a fresh twist on the standard fairy godmother story and it paid off.


  1. I read part of this one. It was cute! I think Tor does do some lighter stuff sometimes, which I totally appreciate. I seek it out.

  2. I love your series. I learn something with each book you discuss. Thanks.