Format read: ebook
Release Date: 17 March 2010
Length: 419 pages
Formats available: paperback, ebook
Purchasing Info: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Book Depository US | Book Depository (UK)
Meet Izzy Santillo. She’s a charming-but-lonely thirty-four year old woman who loves poker and harbors a secret crush on the reigning king of Hold ‘em. Meet Nick Nolan, the reigning king of Hold ‘em. On the tables, he’s fast and loose and almost always wins. But when it comes to women, playboy Nick holds his cards too close and always loses.
When Izzy and Nick meet in embarrassing fashion at a Las Vegas poker tournament, Izzy’s secret dreams turn into a public nightmare. But despite her humiliation, she may have finally sparked Nick’s interest in something other than cards. Before long, Nick takes a gamble on Izzy and raises the stakes when he offers to help her sharpen her game.
But Izzy’s convinced that Nick is bluffing and will fold his hand after he’s had her on the flop. But a string of outrageous proposition bets and steamy trips on the poker tour, from Los Angeles to Miami, make these two fierce competitors realize that it may be time to put all their chips on the table.
Will Izzy and Nick pair up? Or will they lose it all if they go all-in for each other? Sit down, ante up, and hang on, as Nick and Izzy get ready to Shuffle Up and Deal.
Shuffle Up and Deal was an engrossing read from start to finish.
Izzy loves poker. Not only does she love playing it, she loves watching it, and she may even love a few of the people she dreams of playing against someday. Izzy is crushing hard on Nick Nolan a three time champion, but as her on again off again boyfriend frequently points out, she would never have a chance at even catching his eye let alone dating him.
Izzy has talent when it comes to poker though and it’s now taking her to play in a Vegas tournament and her one chance at meeting Nick Nolan, and meet Nick Nolan she does, although he meets the wrong end of her when she trips over and ends up ass over tit in front of him…in a ripped skirt, but it’s enough to make an impression on him, and he takes notice of how she plays.
Izzy was a character I could easily relate to. Although in the beginning I was cringing at some of her clumsy antics – which for some reason disappeared half way through the novel – she was down to earth and extremely likable. She had been put down by her boyfriend, Andy, to the point that she had absolutely no self-esteem left, except when it came to poker and he even tried to take that away from her. She had it from her father’s new wife as well who just couldn’t resist taking a crack at her at every possible turn. Constantly down-trodden but still able to get back up and go for what she wanted.
Nick Nolan didn’t make a huge impact on me, even though half of Shuffle Up and Deal was written from his perspective. He was your typical romance novel guy; rich, successful, dated countless models but wants someone who loves him for himself and not his $150 million lies to Izzy and tells her he’s poor and later regrets it etc.
DiPlacido’s writing was addictive from the get go, from the first chapter I was hooked by her comedic and flowing style. There are no lengthy info dumps, Izzy and Nick’s lives are pieced together in a way that you aren’t overloaded but you don’t forget any details on the way either.
I wasn’t impressed with the sex scenes though. There weren’t that many and when it came to the exhibitionist scenes (hand jobs in bars mainly) they were quite well written because the focus was split between the couple and the exes they were trying to mess with, but when it came to just Izzy and Nick together in a bed, I got bored and lost focus quite a few times. Words like ‘spurt’ and overuse of the word ‘grind’ coupled with some awkward porn dialogue really didn’t do it for me. Quite a few times we were left at the end of a chapter with some closed doors and quite frankly if that had happened throughout the entire novel I wouldn’t have minded.
The only other thing that really irked me was the repetition in the internal monologue. Izzy listing her options and then choosing one – usually the most passive – while she “sucks it up, swallows it down and moves on” and Nick’s constant reference to Andy (Izzy’s ex) as “that [expletive] guy”.
I will admit that I was a little daunted at the thought of a 400+ page romance book but DiPlacido changed perspective at the perfect time to keep it really interesting not to mention her storytelling when it came to the mind-games of the tournaments broke up the romance aspect very nicely.
On the whole I really enjoyed Shuffle Up and Deal, the insight into the world of tournament poker and comedic aspect of the banter between players was a nice addition to what otherwise would have been a typical romance, if DiPlacido puts this kind of spin on all of her novels I will definitely be going back for more.
I give Shuffle Up and Deal 4 Stars
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