Review copy was received from NetGalley, Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The Love Wager by Lynn Painter
Narrator: Kristen DiMercurio, Zachary Webber
Series: Mr. Wrong Number #2
Published by Berkley, Penguin Audio on March 14, 2023
Genres: Romantic Comedy
Length: 7 hours, 1 minute
Format: Audiobook, eARC
Source: NetGalley, Publisher
Amazon, Audible, Audiobook, Barnes & Noble, Apple
Hallie Piper is turning over a new leaf. After belly-crawling out of a hotel room (hello, rock bottom), she decides it’s time to become a full-on adult. She gets a new apartment, a new haircut, and a new wardrobe, but when she logs into the dating app that she has determined will find her new love, she sees none other than Jack, the guy whose room she’d snuck out of.
Through the app, and after the joint agreement that they are absolutely not interested in each other, Jack and Hallie become partners in their respective searches for The One. They text each other about their dates, often scheduling them at the same restaurant so that if things don’t go well, the two of them can get tacos afterward.
Spoiler: they get a lot of tacos together.
Discouraged by the lack of prospects, Jack and Hallie make a wager to see who can find true love first, but when they agree to be fake dates for a weekend wedding, all bets are off. As they pretend to be a couple, lines become blurred and they each struggle to remember why the other was a bad idea to begin with.
The Love Wager starts with a wedding. I didn’t realize it until much later in the book, but it’s the couple from the first book Mr. Wrong Number, Olivia and Colin. They are barely mentioned as this book is about Olivia’s brother Jack.
I really enjoyed the humor in Mr. Wrong Number so I was excited to read The Love Wager. It doesn’t disappoint. There are many, many hilarious moments. Other than the beginning, there are so many great times as Jack and Hallie get to know each other. Since as friends they are discussing, and sometimes commiserating, about their dates from the app, they are in a supportive friendship rather than truly adversarial. They do make a bet about who will find true love first. Neither seems truly competitive about it and it comes up in teasing ways.
Jack is a really good guy who has never really been in love. He hadn’t even considered its importance until he goes to his uncle’s funeral. He really enjoyed his uncle, who always seemed to have lots of friends, ladies and love. But there is hardly anyone at the funeral besides a few family members. So the footloose and fancy free with lots of ladies is no longer as appealing. Jack tries to find someone but is just going through the motions.
Then he meets Hallie twice in one week. She’s smart and sassy and fun. Her self esteem took a bit of a hit when she was dumped by a long time live-in boyfriend. She’s suffering over the upcoming wedding of her perfect sister where the ex will be a groomsmen.
So after some time, Jack has figured out he has feelings for Hallie so he agrees to go with her to the wedding and be her fake boyfriend. They enjoy this time so much but they don’t want to loses their friendship by admitting they want more. Grrr I hurt for both of them in this. Hallie realizes her feelings for Jack too. I loved how the ex saw her in a new light.
So I felt bad for Jack struggling to understand and express his feelings. I imagine it was easy for him to find women to date and he hurt a few, but I don’t see him as being dishonest with them. But he’s clearly out of his depth when he has fallen for Hallie. I thought she was a little hard on him though they got there in the end. I loved them together and the humor was amazing.
I was comfortable with the narration. I don’t believe I have heard these narrators previously. I enjoyed Webber’s deep voice for Jack and the sassy wit portrayed by DiMercurio for Hallie. Each of them does the chapters of that character’s point of view. DiMercurio seems to have more chapters and she does a great job with both voices. I like Webber’s tones for Jack but his Hallie is just not the same as DiMercurio and her Hallie is awesome. Overall, I appreciated the great emotional expression in the performances. I listened at my usual 1.5x speed.
Listen to a clip: HERE
- Series on Saturday: Audio series @Rachel_Aaron @vikasadam @AndreaPenrose @KevinHearne @luckylukeekul @KelleyArmstrong #KateHandford @veschwab @booknarrator @HoJay92 @BaileyCarrVOICE #LoveAudiobooks #JIAM - June 10, 2023
- Demons of Good and Evil by Kim Harrison @BurningBunnies @AceRocBooks @BerkleyPub - June 8, 2023
- 🎧 All The Sinners Bleed by SA Crosby @blacklionking73 @alazarrewhite @MacmillanAudio #LoveAudiobooks #JIAM - June 6, 2023
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
I’m so looking forward to starting this series! Glad both were winners for you, Anne💜
I really liked them a lot. They were just fun and humorous.
This is the second good review I’ve read. I do enjoy a fake romance story…
Fake dating is my favorite. This is much more and really fun.
I’m so excited to read this one. (And so glad it doesn’t disappoint.)
I thought it was awesome. I also bought the first book on audio since it was on sale this week.
I like that there doesn’t seem to be that big drama of ‘enemies’ at first and they are allies and then fake dates and then real ones.
The whole thing is more congenial and fun than that typical setup. They do suffer a bit worrying they will hurt the friendship if they try for something more and either the person doesn’t want more or they try it and it doesn’t work. So they stressed and I stressed over that for a bit.
I loved this book too! It was my first by Lynn Painter and I’m a fan now.
Wendy you need to go back and read Mr. Wrong Number! It’ fab and it’s about Olivia and Colin whose wedding is at the start of this one.
Glad you loved this book! My first Lynn Painter was The Do-Over, which I read earlier this month. I’m now have the audiobook for Mr. Wrong Number, and am looking forward to this latest one.
YES! I loved Mr. Wrong Number last year so I had to get The Love Wager. I did just buy the audiobook for Mr. Wrong Number on sale this week.
Glad you liked it. I have it on hold at the library. Looking forward to reading it.
I loved it. There is a connection with the first book Mr. Wrong Number which I also loved. If you haven’t read that one, you may want to read them together.
It took me a bit to remember it was the first couple too when I read it. I agree with a lot of your thoughts on this one. Glad you and I both enjoyed it!
I really enjoy the humor. It makes it all more fun.
This sounds like it would be a good Hallmark movie!
I have watched very few Hallmark movies but I think this is both smarter and sexier than Hallmark usually does.