Series: Full Tilt #2
Reeling from her loss, Kacey Dawson is grieving and heartbroken, her addictive demons hauling her back into the alcohol-soaked abyss she worked so hard to crawl out of. Kacey teeters on the edge of oblivion, and must fight her way through the pain, to build a new life for herself with her music, and somehow fulfill the promise she made to Jonah…one she feels is impossible to keep.
Theo Fletcher has a secret burning in his heart, one that he holds close, while he struggles to keep strong for his family that is falling apart. His mother’s health is fragile and his father’s disapproval is breaking him down. Theo is afraid if he follows his heart, he’ll fail, and not just himself, but his brother who believed in him when no one else did.
Drawn together by their pain, Theo and Kacey slowly build a friendship, re-forge old ties, help each other to heal, and give one another the courage to reach for their dreams. Together, from the depths of grief and guilt, they learn to laugh again, to trust again, and quite possibly find something beautiful and lasting amid the shattered pieces of their broken hearts.
Part II of the two-part Full Tilt duet
PLEASE NOTE, this novel is NOT a standalone. It is highly recommended one read Full Tilt first to get the entire arc of the story and to avoid spoilers.
Sometime back in August I read and reviewed Full Tilt by Emma Scott. Without looking back to my review, I can specifically recall mentioning that I didn’t think the author’s intent for the characters was fully reached. I felt that the focal relationship of the story was more one of convenience instead of being fateful. And while some readers might be happy with that, I need something that feels, as cliché as it is, meant to be. And hell yes, I got it in All In.
I need to make sure that I mention this right away because I think it’s an important part of why I enjoyed reading these books so much – character reliability. I absolutely loved the consistency of character sketches from the first book to the second and applaud the author for her obvious commitment to these characters. They had the same motives, the same behaviors, the same presence and candor. I never once said “why is she doing that” or “he would never say that”. As a result, it was easy to become and remain connected to them as there was no learning curve associated with their “reintroductions”.
Now, because I knew them pretty well from the first book that when it came time for Kacey and Theo to bridge their past with Jonah to their present without him, it came as no surprise (read: to my delight) that their friendship would be one that was supportive, encouraging, and emotionally responsive. There was such beauty in the way they were there for one another in their grief and when they finally, finally gave notice to the changes in their relationship, I was anxious and cheering for them. I had been shipping them since Full Tilt, so to see the evolvement of their relationship from friendship to romance come so naturally, I was overjoyed and grinning like a fool.
My only complaint, which is not so much a dissatisfaction, but rather a strong feeling of empathy for the characters – why did they have to hurt SO much. New conflicts occurring within the last 10% of the story felt like unnecessary punishment, even harsher when earlier conflicts still remained unresolved. Doing this also made the ending feel rushed and unsatisfying despite my enjoyment of witnessing Kacey and Theo’s relationship unfold in the previous 90%. However, those epilogues…Theo’s made me cry so hard, so I guess all that torture was just the right amount, because it was so thoughtful and sweet and perfect.
Overall, this is a duet that I am so happy to have experienced. The wonderfully skilled writing and obvious commitment to the story and these characters makes it easy for me to recommend All In.