I read this 2 years ago and loved it. I read it again over the weekend and still love it. The dialog is wonderful. Even the internal monologing is won...moreI read this 2 years ago and loved it. I read it again over the weekend and still love it. The dialog is wonderful. Even the internal monologing is wonderful. I did find I was much less tolerant of Liza and Min's mother, Nanette. I've gotten to where I hate mean family members and interfering friends in romance novels. It's just not funny to me any more. Liza redeems herself when she decides to stop treating Min like a clueless adolescent, but I never liked the mother.
4/10/12 Listened to the audiobook narrated by Deanna Hurst. Hurst did an excellent job on the narration. Definitely a 4 to 5 star narration. She doesn't try to change her voice much for the male characters, but she manages to distinguish them very well.
*****Spoiler Alert***** This was my third reading of Bet Me. The first and perhaps second time I read it, I was mostly caught up in the sometimes humorous, sometimes poignant story of plus-sized Min and emotionally damaged Cal trying to find their way to love. This time, I was most struck by the way Crusie showcases all the different couples in the book. Min and Cal get their HEA, as do Roger and Bonnie, but in very different ways. Both have the "fairy tale" but their fairy tales take different paths. We also see Tony and Liza, Diane and Greg, Cynthie and David, and to a lesser degree Shanna and the girl of the day, Nannette and George, Cal's parents (can't think of their names) and Reynolds and Bink. Crusie gives the readers sometimes opposing, sometimes complimentary explanations about how love works (Tony's chaos theory, Bonnie's fairy tale, Cynthie's "four levels" and Liza's cynicism). A psychologist (one who is more gifted than Cynthie at least) could have a field day speculating on Crusie's meaning in bumping all these couples (and views of relationships) up against each other and seeing what falls out.
This time around, my reaction to the story became more of pondering why some relationships work and how expectations impact outcome. The many characters in this book who aren't able to actually communicate with each other is also worth contemplating. The book is almost a primer on how many ways there are to NOT talk and NOT hear what others are saying. Through it all, even with their missteps and failings, Min and Cal get it right, seeing past outward appearances (both perfect and not-so-perfect) to see the worth of the person within.
Some characters, like Liza, irritate me, but I like the book even more for it's less than perfect people.(less)
3.5* My impression is about the same after listening to the book as with reading it. In some ways I didn't like the audio as much but not because of t...more3.5* My impression is about the same after listening to the book as with reading it. In some ways I didn't like the audio as much but not because of the narrator, who although I had a few doubts about for the first few minutes, turned out to be very good. No, it was that Nina's obsession with her age was more annoying orally than in print. On the other hand, some of the humor came across even better because of the narrator (Susan Ericksen). Her timing with the dialog is perfect.
All-in-all, a fun, breezy story with characters to enjoy and a dog to fall in love with. (I will say than the narrator's handling of the scenes with Fred the dog were spot-on. Fred's first attempt at going through the window to the fire escape is priceless, and it might be worth listening to the audiobook just for that. And, come to think of it, Ericksen handles the love scenes quite well, too. )(less)
First, I want to say I think Ms. Higgins is better than 90% of the romance writers out there. She writes evenly, creates well-developed characters, he...moreFirst, I want to say I think Ms. Higgins is better than 90% of the romance writers out there. She writes evenly, creates well-developed characters, her descriptive passages add color and interest without being wordy, and she can write a believable dialog. This is the second book of her's I've read, and I like that she weaves pathos as well as humor into her novels.
Possible Spoilers: But.....and there are several "buts" for me...this books was not nearly as enjoyable as it could have been. For one thing, the book is written in first person present, which is awkward in my opinion. Why do that? First person past isn't my favorite, but it beats present tense. Secondly, I don't enjoy reading about embarrassment and humiliation. There is a certain brand of humor that I don't find humorous, and laughing at other people's painful situations is one of them. Maggie is continually subjected to embarrassing situations, either of her own making or due to cruelty of "friends" and "family."
In addition, we are never privy to the emotional inner-workings of the male love-interest (a short-coming of first person narrative, perhaps). Malone remains a mystery, and some of his most dramatic actions (and reactions) are never explained. Which leads to my last complaint, the ending isn't believable for the simple reason that we DON'T know what motivated Malone in the first place, so how do we interpret his change of attitude at the end? This book badly needed an epilogue. For the time and effort I put into the book, I felt like I deserved more insight into Malone.
So, I like the quality of Ms. Higgins' writing, and I like her ability to plot believable stories. I loved her first book, "Fools Rush In" and based on that, and her writing, I will definitely read more of her books. But "Catch of the Day" was a missed opportunity for a really, really first-rate novel.(less)
I'm always unsure how many stars to give a Kristan Higgins book. She writes well, handles dialog better than most, and has good characters. However, s...moreI'm always unsure how many stars to give a Kristan Higgins book. She writes well, handles dialog better than most, and has good characters. However, she writes in first-person present, which I find distracting, and she seems to be reusing the same basic plot line for the last three books. I'm tired cringe-worthy embarrassing moments for the heroine. And in all three of the books I've read, the heroine, and usually the hero, too, are involved with other people (or want to be) for most of the book.
So, 4 stars for writing, and 2 stars for recycled plots, first-person present narrative, and too many embarrassing moments.(less)
This might be my favorite Kristan Higgins book so far. I liked Fools Rush In, but was disappointed in Catch of the Day and Just One of the Guys. T...more3.5*
This might be my favorite Kristan Higgins book so far. I liked Fools Rush In, but was disappointed in Catch of the Day and Just One of the Guys. Too Good To Be True is written in first person, but not the annoying present tense like the last two books. Also, though the main character got herself into hot water by her own stupid choices, it was not quite as painful as some of the previous books. The background is still filled with quirky family, something so common in contemporary romances these days that its cliche, but I didn't mind that, either. I didn't mind it because Grace and Callahan were two of the best characters Higgins has ever written. They weren't perfect, or even always nice, but they seemed real. I like them, I cared about them, and I believed them.
I've given all of Higgins' books three stars because she's a good writer and some of what bothers me, like first-person present, is probably a personal quirk. I enjoyed Too Good To Be True, along with Fools Rush In, because the books were more enjoyable, with fewer cringe-worthy scenes and more believable main characters.(less)
Read about 1/3 then skimmed the rest. Didn't care for the heroine, really hated the "hero" and thought the story was stupid. Both the hero and heroine...moreRead about 1/3 then skimmed the rest. Didn't care for the heroine, really hated the "hero" and thought the story was stupid. Both the hero and heroine are determined to "protect" themselves from love (due to past hurts), hero doesn't believe heroine but lusts for her, so he basically blackmails her into sleeping with him and posing as his fiancee. The author threw a few more cliches in there, but you get the picture. I enjoyed the other book of hers I've read (Wish You Were Here) but this one misses the mark.(less)
2.5* Light and frothy. I personally don't care for the "engaged person falls for someone else" storyline, and I especially don't like "left at the alt...more2.5* Light and frothy. I personally don't care for the "engaged person falls for someone else" storyline, and I especially don't like "left at the altar" stories, so this book was swimming upstream from the beginning for me. The two friends encouraging Candace to have an affair two weeks before her wedding put me off, too. Overall, the writing was good, the jokes a little old, and the premise not my favorite. Still, I may try another in this series because it had potential and with a different plot device I might really like this author.(less)
2.5* This book is difficult to rate because I both liked it and didn't. It was an okay story overall, and I liked the characters, although I did get t...more2.5* This book is difficult to rate because I both liked it and didn't. It was an okay story overall, and I liked the characters, although I did get tired of Laurel at times. Mostly, though, I got stuck on the "snappy dialog" that made everyone sound like characters out of a TV sit com or Rom Com movie. Not only did everyone in the book respond with one or two word phrases, but everyone sounded identical. Even the older Mrs. Grady spoke mainly in predicates. Some of the dialog was funny and clever, but it all sounded completely scripted, like the actors on a Disney channel tween show. So no matter how cute the story was, I was always completely distracted by dialog and the fact that no one talks that way in real life. (I know we don't talk in complete sentences all the time, but take a look at the book. Everyone answers in weird sentence fragments.) And, after 3 books, I'm over the "heart-warming groups of loyal best girlfriends." I started to feel a little gaggy at times. Everyone is so perfect and makes all these perfectly wonderful decisions.
I also got tired of the repeated descriptions of the characters workouts. I can maybe see describing the cakes, or flowers, but Parker's exercise routine? (and Laurel's, and Mac's, and Mal's, for goodness sakes!) (less)