Book Review: Bet Me

Rating: 4 out of 5

I'm done with my 8th book, out of the 20 I pledged to read this year! I must admit that I'm on a roll to complete my quota!

After reading an article on Jezebel, titled, "So you want to get into romance novels. Start here!", one of my 2015 goals as Book Club Babe was to read more of the 'classics' in the romance genre.

There were so many great books to choose from in this article, with hundreds of internet commenters adding their own suggestions as well. A top contender was Bet Me, by Jennifer Crusie. Here's the summary Jezebel wrote to convince me to add it to my TBR list:

Basically anyone who reads a lot of romance will sooner or later hurl some Jennifer Crusie book at your head while screeching I TOLD YOU TO READ IT ALREADY, GODDAMMIT.

Welcome to Temptation, about a woman who falls for a small-town mayor while accidentally (?) making some soft porn, is probably more universally beloved. But my fave will always be Bet Me, about charming Cal and cranky Min. She's plump without being a pathetic sad-sack; their happily-ever-after is childfree by choice.

Childfree by choice? Sign me up! I'm so sick of female leads gushing about their love interests and how cute their future kids will look. Enough with the biological clocks already! Not all women have them!

One of those women in Minerva "Min" Dobbs, an actuary who overhears Calvin Morrissey make a bet with her sleazy ex that he could bed her in a month. Convinced that Cal is a beast, she only accepts his dinner invitation to give him grief. This plan backfires as they quickly fall head over heels for one another.

This romance novel is so different from any that I have read before. First, it stars an unconventional couple, given that Cal has a supermodel body and Min is very curvy. Min is constantly abused verbally and emotionally by her harpy mother for eating carbs and not sticking to a diet for Min's sister Diana's upcoming wedding. Fortunately, Cal couldn't give a damn about her size, because he falls in love with her just as she is.

That being said, much of the foreplay in this book (and there was a LOT of it, since they didn't actually hook up until the last couple chapters) revolved around food, which just isn't my cup of tea. I can't be the only one who thinks that fetishizing plus-size women by feeding them donuts isn't the best seduction tactic.

Despite the weird scenes with chocolate icing, I thought Bet Me was hilarious and fun. Crusie created excellent secondary characters, including Cal's nephew Harry and Min's adopted cat Elvis. The tone was sweet and playful, encouraging readers to believe in happily-ever-afters without being overly sappy.

I highly recommend Bet Me to romance novel lovers, whether they're new to the genre or very familiar. And, of course, I will definitely read more of Jennifer Crusie's work in the future!