Cover Image: The Love Wager

The Love Wager

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

This book was cute. A really good friends to lovers. Only frustrating part is why they just....wouldn't date. The plot was a little confusing (if you went out with someone and had amazing chemistry why would you them decide to set them up with others? makes no sense).
Was this review helpful?
It’s just another manic Monday !! 

Have you ever laughed so hard you leaked some bodily fluids ? No? Me either , never . 

LIES . 

I found a book that made my little squirrel brain jump up and down like an old lady at bingo . 

The Love Wager

The book is everything you never knew you needed . 

I fell in love with Jack and Hallie over and over again . By the time I concluded this book I felt a strong connection and needed more, so I instantly ran over to Amazon to purchase Mr. Wrong Number and Better Than The Movies. I just needed more from the author that caused irreparable bladder damage from laughing so hard.

Lynn Painter is my spirit animal and we are going to become best friends, she just doesn’t know it yet . 

This book is filled with love, laughter, truth and at times a tear or two . 

Teaser : 

Two people make a wager on who can find love first, not realizing what they should be betting on is each other, in this new romantic comedy by Lynn Painter, New York Times bestselling author of Mr. Wrong Number.

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 onto the dating app that she has determined will find her new love, she sees none other than Jack, the guy whose room she snuck out of. 

After agreeing they are absolutely not interested in each other, Jack and Hallie realize they’re each other’s perfect wing-person in their 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 both struggle to remember why the other was a bad idea to begin with.
Was this review helpful?
I loved Mr. Wrong Number and The Love Wager is right up there with rom-com's I'll be recommending. Great premise and utterly lovable characters. Yes, fake dates is an overused trope -- but Painter makes is work her own way. Well done!
Was this review helpful?
I'll admit that I didn't read Mr. Wrong Number. I tried twice (print book & audiobook) but just couldn't get into it. Something about the story just wasn't clicking with me. But when I heard the premise for The Love Wager I was super excited to give Painter another try. 

The Love Wager is sweet, cute and wonderfully executed romcom. 

I had a lot of fun with the characters. They are silly, fun and chaotic which gave the book a lighter feeling and great for escapism. The dates each of the MCs went on were fun to read about and I loved the meet ups Jack and Hallie would have after. Those were so cute! I also liked that we got to see Hallie and Jack become friends. This rarely happens in friends to lovers story lines so I found it to be nice. 

I will say I think the one-night stand happened too quickly (for my liking). I think maybe having it in the middle of the story would've added more drama and angst in the story. It just seemed strange that after their one-night stand and becoming BEST friends that they wouldn't give into their feelings sooner. Plus I wasn't a huge fan of the miscommunication between them either. But those are my only complaints. 

Overall The Love Wager was a quick, fun romcom read that was great to escape into.
Was this review helpful?
Hallie and Jack met when he was buying an engagement ring for the girl he just broke up with. After a crazy night, they end up connecting over a dating app and forge a friendship and a bet. Whoever finds true love first wins. Of course, since this is a romance, we know where it's headed, but the journey is fun and filled with banter, friendship and one of my favorite romance tropes. Lynn Painter has become one of my go to authors when I need a fun read that will grab me from page one and keep me riveted until the end. This was a perfect read for an unexpected day off.
Was this review helpful?
My first book by Lynn Painter and for the most part, I enjoyed it! It was told in alternating POVs and I liked how quickly it shifted between our two MCs, Hallie and Jack. It started off really cute and I liked the premise of the love wager-- it was so fun! Though I enjoyed the first half more, the second half is where I started to lose some of that steam and interest. As the book went on, I became less of a fan of Jack because of his jealousy and his behavior and actions related with this. At times it almost seemed possessive to me? I also wasn't the biggest fan of the ending that much. Overall though, it was still cute and I would be interested in checking out her other books!
Was this review helpful?
Okay I’m starting to think I’m just not a Lynn painter girlie and that’s okay. The book wasn’t bad just not a favorite.
Was this review helpful?
A perfect rom-com to recommend to fans of Emily Henry and Christina Lauren.

After having a one night stand, Hallie and Jack reconnect on a dating app. Both insist they aren’t interested in dating each other, but need motivation to stay in the dating scene. A wager is born and these one-time bedmates become sidekicks. They meet up for tacos after bad dates and text each other all the time. Surely they’re just going to remain friends…

Readers who prefer their romance with a heavy dose of banter won’t be disappointed. Hallie and Jack’s snarky conversations are the star of this book. The chemistry and connection that grows between them over their text conversations, taco dinners, and time spent hanging out makes for a delightful slow(ish) burn. A few plot points are left unexplored, but that didn’t detract from my overall enjoyment.
Was this review helpful?
This was absolutely predictable.  There's nothing wrong with that, but there's way more interesting books out there to read than this.
Was this review helpful?
Jack and Hallie meet at Jack’s sister’s wedding. Hallie, having suffered from heartbreak, decides it’s time to start dating again. And Jack, who was going to propose to his girlfriend, decided that he was only after the idea of a relationship and not exactly a relationship with the girl. So their fated meeting turned into a one night stand turned into… friendship? They’ve quickly become each other’s confidant and motivator to find the right match through online dating with a wager of sorts as incentive to find true love. But, how long for Jack and Hallie to realize that maybe, just maybe, they’re meant to be?

FANTASTIC! Absolutely fantastic! The banter, the hilarious scenes, the connection between Jack and Hallie were perfection! I lol’d probably for half the book. The flow and Painter’s writing were easy-going, addictive, and plain fun that I had the hardest of hard times putting the darn thing down. It was also great seeing Colin and Olivia again, but Jack took my cake! Loved him!! I highly recommend to my fellow rom-com fans!
Was this review helpful?
I loved reading Jack and Hallie’s story. Well-written, absolutely adorable, and with the right amount of spice. The chemistry between these two is one we all hope for in our relationships, not to mention the playful, hilarious back and forth banter. It was a joy to read!
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed this. Lynn Painter is a genuinely funny writer, and I always appreciate a rom com that's heavy on the com side. Hallie and Jack meet at Jack's sister's wedding (his sister is a character from Mr. Wrong Number) and have a one-night stand after Jack breaks up with the woman he was planning to propose to (don't worry, she's awful). Soon after, they separately decide to get serious about finding love and end up on the same dating app, where they start chatting and decide to be each others' wing persons out there in the dating world. I really loved their friendship, and while I'm into reading romances for the HEA, I was a little bummed that they couldn't keep their adorable friendship just as it was. A really cute and funny lovers to friends to lovers romance with great chemistry between the main characters, and a big fat cat as a bonus.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to NetGalley/Berkley for this ARC! I have been looking for a fast-paced and addicting romance to get me through the January blues and The Love Wager was the absolute perfect answer. I finished it in one day. I knew from the description that I would love this one because I adore a 'we can just be friends after an electric first encounter' set up. Because they never can be. How ideal.

The best part of the entire book is the banter between the two of them. If Lynn Painter just released Hal & Jack's text thread, I'd read every single word of it. From a one night stand to best friends, Hallie and Jack fall so easily into each other that it is a wonder that it took them so long to realize they were falling for each other. But experiencing the denial from Hallie and the slow realization from Jack is what I love about a book like this. This seems to be what Lynn Painter does best and I can't wait to read her YA books if this is any indication of the friendship that blooms in her characters. 

Not a five star read for me because while it was so easy to get pulled into the back and forth, will they or won't they of Hallie and Jack's friendship, it left a lot of other story lines falling a bit flat and one dimensional: his job and relationship with his uncle, her moving out on her roommate, and her being with Alex in general. Personally, I felt like Hallie should've been annoyed at Alex, not Jack despite his reasoning, because who ends things with someone because it didn't start according to their ideal scenario? I'd have thanked my friend Jack for helping that man on his way, but I digress. 

At the end of the day, the banter, the friendship, and the A++ writing from Lynn Painter made me side step all of that and find myself swooning for an afternoon, unable to put this down. Immediately adding every single one of her books to my TBR.

A shining 4 stars.
Was this review helpful?
I have FEELINGS. But unlike these two GOONS I’m not afraid to SAY IT. Arguably, that was the most rewarding bit of this whole narrative, anxiously awaiting these two clowns to buck up and admit that they LOVE EACH OTHER. I was ready to COMBUST the TENSION was IMPECCABLE. 

Honestly there were just so many moments that had me in my feelings so goddamn deep a lifeguard should have been on duty. I be DROWNING over here. The banter??? The humor??? The longing??? Jack falling hard & first??? Blow the GODDAMN WHISTLE ALREADY and GET THE LIFE PRESERVER because SHE NEEDS SAVING. 

& even put aside the visceral electrical jolt to my HEART (and other bits, I am but a simple woman), this whole story was FLAWLESS. The writing was intoxicating, the characters were so tender and guttural, the plot movement was swift and captivating. And the cat analogy??? Yo that shit got me HARD.

Anywho. I’m a mess. Get a bucket and a mop or whatever cardi said. 

5⭐️ a sick day binge is exactly what the doctor ordered and yet I am still UNWELL. 

**all of my thanks to NetGalley and those angels over at Berkley and my queen Lynn for this eARC**
Was this review helpful?
I had high hopes for this one after reading great reviews from fellow readers. This is the first book by Lynn Painter I've read, so I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. 

While there were things I enjoyed about it, overall I felt like there was a lot missing. I loved the interactions, bantering, etc. between Jack and Hallie. Painter really excels with that. But what lost me was all the other writing and story-building. Things would be brought up without any prelude, and I was legitimately confused I missed entire pages while reading. Important plotlines were dropped randomly, like her sister getting married, Hallie's new job, etc. There were so many loose ends that I was confused half the time about what was going on.

There was a lot of self-realization and inner thoughts from the characters that were too on the nose. Like they shouldn't have been making those statements as early as they did in the story, it hindered the character development in my opinion.

I ended up skimming the last 20% or so of the book. It just felt like it dragged and I did not understand the characters' actions. Hallie and Jack finally getting together sort of felt anticlimactic.

So, sadly, not my cup of tea, but might try this author again in the future.
Was this review helpful?
Fake dating, yes.
Sharing a bed trope, yes.
Friends to lovers, hell yes!

The Love Wager is sexy, fun and flirty. With fantastic banter between characters, a galore of tropes that just make you giggle and a romantic getaway in the hills in a gorgeous hotel room, with a single bed and a very inviting shower, what more could you want from your latest romance obsession? 

Are we even surprised that The Love Wager is the first book I’ve actually finished reading in 2023? It seems that all the books that are able to capture my attention these days are romances. And, that’s not a bad thing. Starting off on such a sweet note seems to signal a good year for me. I picked it up just before heading to bed, thinking that I’d do a couple of chapters and then head to sleep. Gentlereaders, this is clearly not what happened. I finished it in a single sitting with my eyes burning from wanting to fall asleep while my heart races to find out what happens next.

Did I think there were a few flaws? Yeah. But did I also cling to my phone with desperation for a happily ever after I know will happen anyway? Also, yes. 

To preface, The Love Wager is a part of the Mr. Wrong Number universe which I sadly, have not read. But it did not affect my reading experience at all. It begins at a wedding where Hallie is a bartender getting a drink thrown in her face and Jack, the best man, is the boyfriend of the woman throwing said drink, after accusing Jack of cheating on her with Hallie. It’s all a misunderstanding but jokes on her, Hallie and Jack do end up in a one night stand (it’s all legal, I promise, no cheating plot here!) that ends in a comical walk of shame and involving, a missing bra. 

Sleeping with the best man: what a cliche! Coupled with other misfortunes, Hallie realises she has hit rock bottom and decides to change her life around. One of these changes: making an effort to get back into dating. Hallie then finds herself on a dating app and who does she see as she swipes aimlessly? That’s right, her one night stand best man. After sending him a flirty message, this kickstarts an unlikely friendship and a wager that will no doubt end in disaster, promising to be each other’s wing man and escape plans for lousy dates.

But in the game of love, the universe will always find a way to trip you up and make you fall on your face. Hallie’s sister’s wedding is approaching and she finds herself without a date. Except, for one very available Jack who readily volunteers to be her fake boyfriend: cue fake dating trope! And we all know how that goes. 

I’ll leave the imagining of the rest of The Love Wager, up to you! 

It is a perfectly sweet read that leaves no room for surprises; what you see is what you get. It doesn’t quite change the game of romance nor offer anything new. But the banter, oh my gosh, does Lynn Painter just absolutely excel at it. It made the characters so relatable, so charming and so endearing. I also loved how although The Love Wager relies heavily on the chat/text format to tell the story, it is so well done that I feel like I’m reading someone’s actual text messages. There is no unnecessary jargon, no unnecessary use of emojis or text speak. It feels very normal and very real. Perfect storytelling right there.

But, I did feel like the plot was doing a bit too much with too many things happening at once. It jumps from event to event at lightning speed, never staying long enough to truly explore any depth to the characters, their personalities and their situations. There isn’t much introspection or character growth. Also, The Love Wager introduces a couple of supporting characters such as Hallie’s best friend, Chuck as well as her housemate, Ruthie but neither of these characters served any real purpose. They were there one moment, gone the next. So, if you’re expecting anything more than a light-hearted romance, this is not for you.

I also absolutely loved Hallie’s absolute spirit and her positivity, especially as she comes at a point in my own life where I am close to hitting my personal rock bottom. I love her tenacity and I love her skepticism. I love how she takes every hit that life throws at her and makes it work. I love that she’s so honest with herself and that she’s a huge softie at heart. She makes you want to root for her so hard!

Jack, on the other hand, tends to give me a bit of an ick. I’m not a huge fan of how quickly he falls in love. He has only dated his ex-girlfriend for a few months before wanting to propose to her and although he explains it in a way that makes sense, it just seemed too ick-y for me. And, I was also not a fan of his jealous streak which was necessary plot-wise but also felt very mean-spirited and childish. He also comes off a little misogynistic at times but that may just be me because he already gave me the ick. I think even The Love Wager struggled a little to prove that Jack was not an ick because I noted multiple instances where we had to be told that yes, he’s a good guy. Yes, Jack is a feminist. No, he’s not being a man just because he says that Hallie looked hot. Like, it felt like it was trying very hard to convince me that Jack was the perfect guy.

But I really loved how well-written their chemistry was and just how perfectly the tension was created. It truly kept me awake way past my bedtime and I felt an absolute sense of relief when things finally fell into place. I also loved how well the tropes were used that although they were glaringly obvious, it didn’t feel forced. I also really love the tongue-in-cheek in-character references to the tropes.

In conclusion, The Love Wager is the perfect book to cuddle up with on a cooling rainy day with a nice cup of coffee. It is a light-hearted read that doesn’t take itself too seriously and plays on a lot of popular tropes in a way that feels fresh and exciting. The banter is top-tier and I would read it just to witness Hallie and Jack’s banter over and over again.
Was this review helpful?
I was really charmed by this book. The characters were both really well defined and likable. The premise of the story is one of my favorite romance tropes and it was really well done. The cover is attractive.If you're looking for a fun, fast-read, laugh-out-loud, romantic comedy, I recommend this book. 

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC of this book in exchange for a honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I enjoyed this one so much. It's the first book I've read by Lynn Painter but I've already requested the first book in this series from the library so I can read it. With that being said, I didn't feel like I missed anything by not having read it before this one. It's definitely enjoyable as its own story.
I just loved watching these two become friends and then fall in love. They have so much fun together and complemented each other so well. I always struggle when one character relies on info from an outsider rather than discussing their issues together but it didn't ruin the story for me. It's such a typical thing in stories like this. I also found it a little weird that we don't get a ton of backstory about about Jack, but maybe that's in the other one? It just seems weird that Hallie never really asks him about his past much. But oh well.
Overall, this was so much fun. It moved quickly, it had great banter, the characters were full of chemistry, and their friends made great supporting characters. I definitely recommend checking it out if you like fun romances. There's even some fake dating and the one bed trope stuck in here. All good stuff.
Was this review helpful?
Well if this wasn't the cutest book ever, I don't know what is. Lynn Painter can do no wrong in my eyes and this was another no-brainer 5-star read for me.

After reconnecting on a dating app after a one-night stand, Hallie and Jack agree they are better off as friends. But to make things fun, they place a wager on who can find love on the app first. They constantly update each other on their love lives and often share tacos after bad dates. (Let's just say, there is lots of taco eating.) But when Jack offers to be Hallie's fake date for an out-of-town wedding, feelings get blurred, but neither is willing to risk their friendship.

This is one of those books where I was literally smiling from cover to cover. I LOVE JACK -- He's protective, charming, sarcastic, and such a damn romantic at heart. But I also love Hallie! Their banter was top tier and my favorite part? Their friendship. They seriously had the sweetest relationship and I'm such a sucker for a good friends-to-lovers.

So if you're looking for a feel-good, swoon-worthy, rom-com with some hints of spice (nothing crazy!), this is a MUST-READ. I can't wait to tab the sh*t out of my physical copy.
Was this review helpful?
I adored Mr. Wrong Number. I never stopped laughing and I thought the characters were absolutely the best kind of chaotic.

The Love Wager didn't hit those notes for me, unfortunately. Three things - I found both MCs to be self-absorbed and emotionally immature; the book felt like a bunch of tropes stacked in a haphazard pile; and, while the banter entertained me, their chemistry just wasn't electric and alive for most of the book which took away from my investment in them.

Let's start with the MCs. They're fun - Hal is quirky, but cool, and Jack is seemingly the hottest man alive. They're fun, they become friends, and it's all good. Except Hal proved herself to be a terrible friend by avoiding telling her roommate she's moving out, MOVES OUT, and then says her roommate won't notice for a bit since the roommate owns all the communal furniture. Like???? And then the roommate is used as a plot device. Meh.

Then there's Jack, who does something cruel and impulsive because he's jealous and can't figure out his own feelings and then spends the majority of book grousing about his feelings that he refuses to admit to Hal for some reason?? Blah.

This book, as a whole, felt formulated to hit those popular tropes. You could actively feel yourself passing each checkpoint like it was a Super Mario game and I hated it. It didn't get me invested in the characters and it didn't make me want to care about them more. It just frustrated me that two adults were just bopping through these tropey concepts that felt rote and forced.

Additionally, characters popped in and out to achieve plot points - there was a cousin/friend who popped in at the beginning and was never mentioned again until there was suddenly a family event and I'd forgotten all about him. The secondary characters were not fleshed out at all and they had zero personality except for what they could do to shove the MCs together.

Lastly, while the banter had it's fun moments, I really didn't feel that buzz between Jack and Hallie, especially on Hallie's side. Yes, there was the physical tension, that was fantastic, but Hal's feelings almost felt forced into love. I don't know. It just didn't feel right. There wasn't that zing for me.

All in all, it's a solid romance book, the pieces are all there, but I don't think they were put together well enough to paint me the full picture. This could also just be that I'm tiring of books that rely too heavily on the tropes they hit (I feel like social media has contributed to this new wave of tropey books), but this just wasn't for me.

TW: sexual content (a couple very open door scenes in the second half), alcohol consumption, countered misogynistic comments

Plot: 2/5
Characters: 2/5
World Building: 2.5/5
Writing: 4/5
Pacing: 1/5
Overall: 2/5

eARC gifted via NetGalley by Berkley Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?