It’s hard for me to review a book that I’ve listened to on Audio. But put this one down as fresh, fluffy, and funny, a style that Jennifer Crusie has perfected. Lots of lovable characters and even the bad guys were entertaining. The plot and setting were original. We have a family of art-dealers and artists with a family background involving forgery and fraud, but only in the nicest most blameless way. They join forces with Davy Dempsey of Welcome to Temptation which I read decades ago and don’t remember a thing about. Except I think that is the one that made Jennifer Crusie one of my go-to authors back in the day. Anyway they encounter romance and intrigue on the way to going straight and ending up in happy relationships and financial comfort by the rollicking climax (no pun intended.)
I hope there are lots more Crusie titles I haven’t read or haven’t read for decades and can re-read. she is the mistress of screwball comedy.
“Have you talked to North?” he said. “Yes,” she said. “I asked him to get us cable.” “I wish you weren’t talking to him.” “I’d talk to Satan to get cable,” Andie said.”
Well, that was different! A genuine ghost story from first to last. Some parts reminded me of a light-hearted Turn of the Screw. Andie’s ex-husband needs someone to temporarily take care of two children who have fallen under his care. He calls on Andie who despite their painful divorce, he trusts and respects. Andie needs the money, so she agrees. When she travels to the isolated old mansion and meets the children, she knows she will have her hands full. Do they need love and stability, or exorcism?
Some romance fans may be disappointed in the number of pages devoted to love and hanky-panky but I was fine with it. The right people got together at the end and happy endings were had by all except the villains of course. Jennifer Crusie’s signature snarky repartee and humor were front and center. The hero and heroine were very likable although North’s constant mantra of “I don’t believe in ghosts” got very irritating. The two kids were very interesting characters and I enjoyed their character development. The secondary characters kept things rolling along as well. In fact, Gabe, a character from Fast Women, I believe, makes a cameo. I would have snatched up a sequel to this in a skinny minute.
“Allie put her chin on his shoulder to look into the carton. He had great shoulders and Chinese food. At the moment, he was the perfect man.”
After being demoted, radio producer Allie decides to boost her career by taking a DJ in hand and producing him into a success. Charlie has no interest in being famous, because he is really at the Radio Station to expose a suspected drug dealer. This was a very light well-written funny romance that didn’t make a whole lot of sense. . Why the no sex bet? Why is Charlie even going on with the investigation? Why is he even there for his father to begin with? When he found out the “drug dealing” was not for profit, but a matter of a kind compassionate man giving out free marijuana to elderly chemotherapy patients, it didn’t change his mind to see the “perpetrator” arrested and sent to prison. WTF? “The law is the law” indeed. Maybe so, in the context of the times, but I could have done without the hero’s lectures on the subject. The antagonist was such a wet noodle that I couldn’t even hate him. Allie wanted a connection to Charlie that was more than sex, but it didn’t happen. They’re getting married at the end, but it was all only about great sex. She hated what he did to the old pot grower, but it’s “true love?” Who cares about fundamental worldview differences? This is one of Crusie’s early category (Harlequin) romances re-packaged. So it is what it is, but until the threads did not come together at the end, it was fun.
This light and funny romantic comedy is about a beloved and successful high school coach’s descent into madness and hurting little puppies. Sigh. Jennifer Crusie’s’ great writing skills are very much here: It kept me turning the pages although I had to start skipping a bit because it did get repetitive towards the end. I felt that there was really only enough material for a category romance, but I think she had to stretch it out because the serious nature of the content didn’t fit the usual template of a category. The coach’s character and that of his cohort, the principal of the school, was chilling. They were absolutely hateful. And the puppy was ok at the end.
“You know who you remind me of? The kid cop in Lethal Weapon 3. You know, the one who says, ‘it’s my twenty-first birthday today’, and right away you know he’s dead meat?”
This is a 5 star short category romance, and a 3 star mainstream novel. As many romances, it’s been both. As soon as Lucy divorces her louse of a husband, a cop shows up looking to arrest him for embezzlement. Also, she gets shot at and her car gets blown up. The cop moves in to protect his star witness. Likable H/h, good secondary characters, and nicely done funny banter. Very well written, it is no surprise Crusie went on to write bonafide women’s fiction. Great choice if you want a nice romance you can read in a day with a little mystery and danger thrown in.
“Look, Mother, I am never going to be thin. I’m Norwegian. If you wanted a thin daughter, you should not have married a man whose female ancestors carried cows home from the pasture.”
I Enjoyed this very much. I definitely will be revisiting this talented author again soon. I do remember really liking Jennifer Crusie years ago, especially Welcome to Temptation. I think I got off her when she started writing with another author. I thought I had tried Bet Me before, but on this reading, nothing rang a bell! It was so good, I know I would remember it. I loved her humor and wit. The hero and heroine were both very likable, with a lot of baggage that made them the way they were. It added a lot of depth to the characterizations. I loved their friends. The conflict with their semi-horrible and horrible parents added tension and emotional involvement. I loved the way they stood up for each other and championed each other in the face of their emotional abuse.
“Look, I don’t mind you grilling me about what I do for a living,” Cal said. “Your daughter’s brought me home and that has some significance. And I don’t mind your wife asking about my personal life for the same reason. But Min is an amazing woman, and so far during this meal, you’ve either ignored her or hassled her about some dumb dress. For the record, she is not too big for the dress. The dress is too small for her. She’s perfect.” Cal buttered a roll and passed it over to Min. “Eat.”
And the epilogue was perfection.
The trajectory of the romance got a little stalled in the middle, but there were enough laughs and subplots to keep it interesting and entertaining. Bet Me is on a lot of lists of best Romantic Comedies written, and it fully deserves, 15 years later, to be considered a “classic” in the field. So many of the popular romance authors writing today pale in comparison.