Book Review: Rachel Van Dyken’s The Wager

January 21, 2015 1 out of 5, review 1

Book Review: Rachel Van Dyken’s The WagerTitle: The Wager
Author: Rachel Van Dyken
Genre: Contemporary Romance
My Rating: one-star
My Copy: ARC via LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers Program
Add to: Goodreads
Synopsis: Lose a bet, lose your heart...

What is it about a junior-high crush that can send an otherwise intelligent woman into a tailspin? TV reporter Char Lynn wishes she knew. Jake Titus is too rich, too handsome, too arrogant: a trifecta that once lured Char into the best night-and worst morning-after-of her life. Now they've been thrown together in a wedding party. It's awkward, but survivable . . . until Jake stops acting like a jerk, and starts acting like the man she'd always hoped he could be.

If watching your brother marry your best friend is weird, being attracted to your best friend's other best friend is downright bizarre. Unfortunately for Jake, Char hasn't forgotten how he once tossed her aside. Worse still, Jake's already-nutty grandma is even crazier about Char. Cue meet-cute shenanigans and all manner of meddling, and somehow, Jake's falling. For Char. Now all he has to do is make her believe it . . .

I’ve had my eye on Rachel Van Dyken for a while and when the opportunity came to review The Wager, I couldn’t pass up the chance. Unfortunately, it’s a forgettable book and definitely left me with no desire to read anymore of her books. Ultimately it comes down to her writing and unbelievable characters and situations.

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1. The characters are put into some ridiculous situations. For example, Jake and Char are on the same flight and to teach Jake a lesson (after breaking her heart), she initiates a fight that requires the intervention of an air marshal who uses peanuts to subdue Jake. But here’s the kicker-turns out Jake’s allergic to peanuts and you can very well imagine what happens next.

2. In order for Jake and Char to realize they have feelings for each other, they are forced together. I normally don’t mind such situations because it’s a romance and in romances, the hero and heroine have to spend certain amount of time together in order to fall in love. But these two just don’t want to be in each other’s company.

3. While I tend to enjoy over the top characters on occasion, the grandmother in The Wager was just too over the top and became annoying. At one point she name calls one of Jake’s dates and even implies she’s his date. This of course means Jake’s original date is disgusted that Jake is into older women.

4. And of course, Char has to have horrible parents and in order to make for it Jake puts together a last minute birthday party for her to show off to her family that he “cares.” The whole horrible family situation was a bit clichéd.

5. Overall, the writing is clichéd and the situations predictable. I would have enjoyed it more if this didn’t read as a farce. Characters are described as “Thor” but we aren’t told how and in one format, whether it be Chris Hemsworth’s Thor or the comic book version.

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