Title: Wake-up Call
Author: Becky Black
Publisher: JMS Books
Length: 56 Pages
At a Glance: A quick and charming slow-burn romance that just makes you feel good.
Reviewed By: Lindsey
Blurb: When you live beside a cat café, it’s inevitable the fur will start flying eventually. Derek “Dez” Walker, a police officer wounded in a shooting, feels adrift and isolated as he makes a slow recovery. Others call him a hero, but it’s a title he doesn’t think he deserves.
When Dez intervenes in a burglary at the cat café near his apartment, he meets the owner, Francis “Fran” Green. Though he’s a hero to Fran for his intervention in the burglary, it’s Fran who becomes a strong source of support for Dez. Fran offers friendship to his vulnerable neighbour and, as they spend more time together, Dez comes to rely on Fran … and his cats.
He begins to find the way out of his isolation, but does he deserve everything Fran offers?
Review: Surprisingly, for being such a quick little read, Wake-up Call managed to do something most novellas don’t for me—build a connection to the characters and find a balance between the plot and the romance. Coming in at fifty-six pages, it took no time at all for me to whip through this book on a short hour or so flight; it was pretty much the perfect page count.
I’m the first to admit I struggle with shorter stories, though sometimes I just don’t have the time to jump into and devote a significant amount of time to a longer book. But, at the same time, the quicker reads are difficult. Shorter stories can often feel rushed, leaving little time to get to know the protagonists. I am very pleased this book was one of the rarer finds for me in that it didn’t feel rushed at all. In fact, there was a nice slow-burn element to the romance despite the shorter length. I could connect with each character individually and then together as a couple, which is something that is a must for me. Heck, I even got the feels for some of the cats, too!
Dez and Fran were both engaging characters, with little quirks and enough depth to make them realistic. As opposite as you can get (or so it would seem), they also complement each other really well. Dez needed something to yank him out of his funk, and Fran and his cats are exactly the thing to pull it off. I could picture Fran with his little cat ears and cat themed shirts that Dez found so adorable. Dez was a little harder to picture, based on written explanation of looks since the story is told from his perspective, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t able to create my own image of a grumpy Dez based on his personality.
I must admit I really enjoyed reading about the Cat Café, much more than I thought I would. As someone who has never owned cats, is mildly allergic, and most of my immediate family is extremely allergic, my interaction with cats has been limited to exposure via my cat-loving friends and the videos they post, or make me watch. The whole Cat Café was a new concept for me, as I hadn’t ever heard of such a thing before. I’ll be darned if they aren’t a real thing, and I found the whole concept extremely fascinating, to the point I had to go look up some details! Honestly, I found it to be a great backdrop for the blossoming romance, and I’m sure cat lovers will totally be team Riley!
As is the case sometimes, the story was so short that it couldn’t fully explore some details I would have really liked to understand, such as the reason for Dez’s situation. The basics are explained, eventually, but it did feel a little hurried, and because I am nosy and like to know everything about my characters, it’s not a shocker I wanted to know more background as to how everything went down, and why.
I would absolutely recommend this novella to anyone who is looking for a quick, feel-good read with charming characters and a sweet slow-burn romance, especially those who are cat lovers.
You can buy Wake-up Call here: