Greetings, Faithful Reader! We are gathered here to discuss favorite books – the ones on our Keeper Shelves…the ones we reread when times are hard and the slumpage is real. You know what I’m talking about.
One of my most favoritest books ever is Bet Me (FIGHT ME! (ง’̀-‘́)ง). It may be the only book I own in every possible format except audio (including two different e-versions). I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read it, but I can say I pretty much know the opening scene by heart. If you haven’t read it, let’s just say that after you do? You’ll never look at swizzle sticks the same again. Can I explain why I love it so much?? I don’t know, but I’m gonna try.
Bet Me is the story of Minerva Dobbs and Calvin Morrissey. Min is an actuary – which means she deals with a lot of statistics OF DOOM (shout out to Shannon Stacey’s Kowalski family). She works for the same company as her father and has a complicated relationship with her mother. She also has a younger sister (Diana) who is getting married in about two months.
Min has been dating David (a weasel). Min’s mother loves David. Which says a lot about him as a person. As we begin, Min and David have met for drinks after work and David is trying to break up with her. Min doesn’t dislike the idea of breaking up, but she wants to postpone the breakup until after the wedding (David is her plus-one and her mother loves him!), but he doesn’t like that reasoning. Min’s inner monologue during this scene makes me LOL every time I read it, by the way.
After the breakup is accomplished, Min goes to hang out with her friends, Liza and Bonnie, and David heads for the door. While Min, Liza, and Bonnie are discussing wedding stuff and more, David runs into Cal and his friends (and business partners), Roger and Tony. This is where the plot starts to thicken, Faithful Reader – and it’s all David’s fault. Cal and his friends have a history of making small bets on all sorts of things – and Cal never loses. David makes a bet with Cal, but there is confusion – as we find out later. Cal thinks David bet him ten bucks that he (Cal) couldn’t get Min to go to dinner with him. David thinks he bet Cal ten thousand bucks that he (Cal) couldn’t get Min into bed in a month. I repeat myself – David is a weasel.
After their initial, unfavorable meeting, Min and Cal try very hard to stay away from each other. They really do! Min has heard stories about Cal and Cal just escaped a crazy girlfriend who doesn’t seem to have realized he escaped. Neither one wants a relationship. But fate has other ideas and it’s hard to fight fate…especially when it physically punishes you for not doing what it wants. Besides, it’s the fairy tale – just ask Bonnie!
Even though this story is based on a Big Misunderstanding (NOT a fave trope), I love it. Sure, one good conversation could have headed off a whole lot of trouble. But, because they didn’t have that conversation, they ended up learning a lot about each other and themselves.
Min begins to see herself differently – not just because a beautiful man finds her attractive (although that’s never a bad thing) – she also comes to grips with her crazy family. And Cal deals with some of his own issues – and comes to grips with his crazy family. And the supporting characters have their own stuff happening – they aren’t just wallpaper. If you want to see a good example of female friendship, look no further than Min, Liza and Bonnie (and if you want to see a bad example of female friendship, look no further than Diana, Wet, and Worse).
Another good thing about Bet Me – there are so many fun supporting characters scattered throughout the book – I’ll admit I skim the David and Cynthie parts (they bug me, yo), but the rest of the supporting cast is awesome! Cal’s nephew, Harry, and Emilio, our favorite chef, to name just a couple. Also, this is a food book. As in, when you read this book, it will make you crave foods – Krispy Kreme donuts, fancy ice cream, brats!
This is a story of fairy tales and what comes next, of found families, of mysterious cats, awesome shoes, and pumpkin couches. If a “woman-fearing coward” and a “man-hating bitch” can find their happily ever after, there’s hope for us all.
You know you’re intrigued, Faithful Reader. You want to read this book. And I’ll bet you LOVE it.
PS: What are some of your favoritest books, Faithful Reader? The ones you love beyond all reason? Tell me in the comments!
Minerva Dobbs knows how to work the odds.
Calvin Morrisey always plays to win.
But when they face off, neither one is prepared.
Because when real life meets true love, all bets are off. . . .
Minerva Dobbs knows that happily-ever-after is a fairy tale, especially with a man who asked her to dinner to win a bet, even if he is gorgeous and successful Calvin Morrisey. Cal knows commitment is impossible, especially with a woman as cranky as Min Dobbs, even if she does wear great shoes and keep him on his toes. When they say good-bye at the end of their evening, they cut their losses and agree never to see each other again.
But fate has other plans, and it’s not long before Min and Cal meet again. Soon they’re dealing with a jealous ex-boyfriend, Krispy Kreme doughnuts, a determined psychologist, chaos theory, a freakishly intelligent cat, Chicken Marsala, and more risky propositions than either of them ever dreamed of. Including the biggest gamble of all—true love.
Read an excerpt. (Download a sample from Amazon.)