"The Secret Ingredient" is a Quarterfinalist in the Publisher's Weekly Booklife Prize for Fiction!

Hot on the heels of an amazing review from Publisher’s Weekly of The Secret Ingredient, I’ve heard great news about the book: it’s been named a Quarterfinalist in the Publisher’s Weekly Booklife Prize! The competition this year was really amazing, with the five titles that made it to the Semifinals scoring 9.5 or above. I am so thrilled to have been honored even though I did not progress to the next round.

Here is the full text of the scoresheet/critical review:

Assessment of The Secret Ingredient by Kilby Blades:

Plot: The idyllic setting and the infusion of Italian culinary flavors, brings a quality of freshness to Blades's wholly charming, well-written romance. The plot delivers enough unexpected developments to keep readers guessing, while never losing its tender core.

Prose/Style: The prose is modern, light, and polished here. The author possesses a way with words that makes every chapter a delight to read.

Kilby Blades Publishers Weekly Booklife Prize Quarterfinalist

Originality: Readers will fall in love with the way the novel subverts problematic tropes of traditional romance by offering fresh and innovative twists. Notably, Blades's heroine doesn’t have to sacrifice her career or her ambitions to find love or build a family.

Character Development: The central characters are individually compelling, while together, they have sizzling chemistry. The story's additional characters that matter most, are lovingly developed and consistently feel as real and genuine as old friends.


  • Plot/Idea: 9

  • Originality: 9

  • Prose: 10

  • Character/Execution: 9

  • Overall: 9.25