Cover Image: Bet on It

Bet on It

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Member Reviews

The first time Aja meets Walker, she is having an anxiety attack in the frozen food aisle at the grocery store. She doesn’t expect to see him again, especially at the local bingo. Walker has returned to his hometown to care for his injured grandmother, and he fully intends to hightail it out of there as soon as she is better. He never planned on developing feelings for his grandmother’s young bingo friend. Neither Aja nor Walker are looking for a committed relationship, so they make a bingo-related bet that will ensure they keep things light and fun.

There’s a lot that I liked about this story. The main characters are really well-developed and relatable, and I love that Aja is a pretty plus-sized woman. We need more plus-size representation in literature! And the way Walker talks about Aja’s body and his deep attraction to her is positively swoon-worthy. Oftentimes, there is shame associated with being larger, and this story and these characters show nothing but acceptance, respect, and desire. It’s refreshing.

I also like the anxiety rep in the story. Aja has generalized anxiety disorder, which I totally relate to. I thought her struggles were so on point, and I so understood how Aja felt many times in the story. Her thought process, her physical reactions, and her emotional turmoil are all realistic and relatable. Walker has PTSD, and his struggles are relatable and realistically presented as well. I love that they talk so openly about their mental health, therapy, and more, and I cheered for them as they opened up to each other and stepped out of their comfort zones.

Aja and Walker have a sweet and steamy romance. They become friends first, but their chemistry is intense almost from their first meeting. I love their banter and flirtatious way with each other, and when they get together, it is hot! I so rooted for these two to find their happy ending, and though they make mistakes (Yes, I’m talking to you, Walker!), they both deserve the happiness they find in each other.

The story also highlights some of the struggles that come with living in a small town where everyone knows everyone else. Gossip travels fast, and mean gossip scars. I think there are some good messages here about being more sensitive to other people’s struggles and supporting people instead of adding to their troubles.

Overall, I thought this was a good read. It was a bit heavier than I expected, but the characters, humor, and romance balance the story well. I would recommend this book to readers of contemporary romance but would encourage them to check out the content warnings before reading. Thanks so much to St. Martin’s Press, NetGalley, and the author for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

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Perfect representation of anxiety and PTSD. Examples of healthy relationships. And a super cute romance. I loved spending time with these characters. And hell, it made want to play bingo.

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CW: PTSD, drug addiction, panic attack, anxiety, bullying

3.5*

Aja Owens escapes to a small town for a fresh start while Walker Abbott escapes to a big city where nobody knows his name. Slaughter captures the perfect small town, one with gossip, rumors, and the best cobbler around. I really enjoyed the escapism this book provided. I loved the Aja and Walker both struggled with their mental illness but were so open about it. Aja struggles with panic disorder while Walker struggles with PTSD and both characters develop throughout the novel at a very realistic pace. I also enjoyed the tension and chemistry Slaughter depicted. She has a great way of balancing slow burn and insta-love but I was a bit unsure on the pacing of this novel. It was so close to nailing it. At times, it felt like only days had gone by but then suddenly we learn it's been a few weeks or vice versa. Sadly, it made it harder for me to buy the love story but I ate up their chemistry like a peach cobbler. I wish the pacing was a little more even, there was more development on the characters outside their mental health, and the technicalities of Bingo were more accurate, but other than that, it was a fun way to escape. This was a cute, quick read with substance. I would definitely recommend to someone looking for a quick romance with depth.

Thank you NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ This story was the perfect quick, sexy, leisurely read! My favorite part was that the MC being fat wasn’t fetishized, her weight was not a constant source of insecurity (she actually never mentioned it at all), and it wasn’t a “hot guy falls for fat girl” trope. It was just a regular old steamy romance between two people who look like normal, sexy people. Great storyline, excellent writing, perfect length. 10/10 would recommend!

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Wally’s upbringing was a rough one and reminders of his past trauma are everywhere in his hometown of Greenpoint. He doesn’t expect to return home for a prolonged visit, but after his grandmother suffers a fall, he rushes home to take care of her. He also doesn’t expect to encounter a beautiful woman in the middle of a panic attack in the frozen food aisle of the Piggly Wiggly.

Aja is new to town. Deciding the bustling city life of DC isn’t for her, Aja picks Greenbelt because it seems quaint. She like her small town, but her anxiety keeps her from putting herself out there. Wednesday night Bingo is one of her favorite things about her new town, so imagine her surprise when Wally shows up with his grandmother, the woman she has sat next to for months. Wally, the kind stranger who helped her through her panic attack at the supermarket.

I love when my romances have depth and offer more than sweet, meet cute moments. Bet on It offered a few of those sweet (and spicy) moments between our main characters, but so much more. I loved all of the serious conversations our characters has about their anxiety, PTSD and general state of their mental health. Both characters go to therapy, which is always great to see in books. Growing up with a father who was an addict is still triggering for Wally and figuring out how to have a relationship with him is something Wally struggles with every day. That lingering trauma contributes to problems in his relationships with his grandmother and Aja, and it’s wonderful to see his growth throughout the book.

That being said, this book was lighter on the romance than I expected. I was drawn in by the bingo sex pact premise (which sounded light and super fun), but Bet on It ended up being way heavier than I was expecting. The romantic elements that were there seemed a bit rushed and instalovey. The passion and lust was there, but I don’t know that I necessarily believed the love story. I also wish we got to see more of Aja’s relationship with her new friend group. It was so great to see her put herself out there and make new friends, but we rarely got to see them.

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

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There's so much to like about Bet on It by Jodie Slaughter. A contemporary romance between a curvy female with general anxiety disorder and a country boy with PTSD caused from a traumatic childhood, falling in love over bingo and shared experiences, while living in a small town? It hits all the right spots without feeling like a PSA. The characters and their struggles are relatable without turning into caricatures of what one would think a person with disorders would react. Though these lie at the center of the story, and at times feel a bit overstated and over-explained, it's the growth each goes through in their time together that the story is truly built upon.

Aja finds more of her voice through exploration and the journey pushes Walker to do the same. While I loved the characters, I do feel like more exposition was given to Walker throughout the entirety of the book. You knew exactly where his PTSD and anxiety developed from, how he chose to cope with it, and how far he still had to go before finding forgiveness for the past. I wanted more of that with Aja. I would have liked to have known the first time she realized that something wasn't quite right, but was unsure of what or why? Was their a trigger in her past or none at all? It would have been a great addition to get more of her backstory.

Along with an ending that, while cute, felt slightly rushed and friends who seemed one-dimensional and added more as props than fully developed side characters, I couldn't give this a full five stars of perfection.

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Rating: 3/5
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Warnings: Mental Illness, Panic Attacks, Drug Abuse and Child Endangerment
Steam: 3/5
Tropes: Friends to Lovers, It’s Just A Hookup, Small-Town Romance

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press, SMP Romance and NetGalley for this advanced copy in exchange for my honest opinion. Bet on It will be released on July 12th, 2022

Things I loved: Bingo, makes me want to play with my grandmother again. Anxiety representation in both characters was done really well. We love a therapy moment. Friend groups. Bi-racial couple + plus-size representation that was seamless and didn’t feel forced. Peach cobbler, I love peach cobbler too.

Things I didn’t care for: The love happened really fast…Like, WTF they are already in love? It felt very much in lust. For something that surrounded a sex bet, we really didn’t get much out of that bet. There was so much potential with this book but ultimately if felt flat and I was not invested in the characters or them as a couple.

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A fun romance including the perspectives of characters with anxiety--it's fun to see the characters make their way to each other!

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I enjoyed this book mostly in the beginning. It brought back a lot of great memories of my Grandma, as I also called her Gram and took her to Bingo. But I eventually stopped really caring what happened and was ready for the book to end. It wasn't awful, but definitely wasn't what I was expecting either.
Thank you to Net Galley and the publisher for an ARC of this book.

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After moving to Greenbelt, South Carolina, Aja has been playing bingo to help her socialize. She has generalized anxiety disorder and does have a hard time putting herself out there in new situations and meeting new people, but bingo has helped! The story starts with Aja having a panic attack in the grocery store and that’s exactly when she first meets the hero, Walker. He helps her out and then they run into each other again at bingo, Walker is the grandson of one of her bingo pals, Ms. May. Walker was born and raised in the small town but hasn’t been back in 12-years. He moved away to the city/Charleston as fast as he could and is only back to help out his grandmother who got injured and is healing. Walker and Aja quickly bond over their anxiety, they both just get one another from the start. Walker has complex PTSD and both of the characters talk about their experiences with therapy and medications, which I am always here for normalizing mental health discussions.

Aja and Walker start spending time together as she teaches him how to play bingo. Tho was a really quick read, but I do wish we got more relationship-building for the couple. I did enjoy each of their journeys separately but wasn’t as invested with them together.

Moments I enjoyed: the anxiety rep and mental health discussions, bingo-based sex pact (any time one of them wins they let out some of that sexual tension), a parking lot bang, drive-in movie theater fun, seeing Aja make new friends in town, Aja and Walker watching The Bachelor together while he rubs her feet.

Thank you to the publisher (St. Martin’s Press, SMP Romance) for an e-ARC via NetGalley in exchange for my honest thoughts & review. Bet on It has a publish date of July 12, 2022.

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A romance dealing with anxiety, PTSD, therapy sessions, and re-living trauma. This could get to be real heavy but there’s still a bit of levity in Bet On It. Aja and Walker are falling in lust because they are unable to admit the other L word to each other but somehow they do feel comfortable sharing their experiences with anxiety and childhood trauma. Maybe it’s because they first meet when Aja is having an anxiety attack in the frozen food section of their supermarket. I liked the unconventional setting of the bingo hall very interesting place to set a budding love story. The bedroom door is wide open in this romance. Cute and entertaining.

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I went into this figuring on a lighter read, a meet-cute, friends-with-benefits rom-com. But this - it’s decidedly very realistic, and rather grittier than I was expecting, given the super cutesy illustrated cover. This book triggered my own anxiety and at 14% of the way in, I had to stop for two days because it was too heavy, and way too serious for my lighter-hearted Thanksgiving week plans.

The author wrote about the mental health issues the main characters dealt with, beautifully. She put into words quite succinctly what PTSD and anxiety can sometimes look like. The very real issues addressed in this book were too much for me to read straight through, and I found that I had to portion this one out.

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The first time Aja Owens encounters the man of her dreams, she’s having a panic attack in the frozen foods aisle. The second time, he’s being introduced to her as her favorite bingo buddy’s semi-estranged grandson. In Walker Abbott’s mind, there are only two worthwhile things in Greenbelt, South Carolina. The peach cobbler at his old favorite diner and his ailing grandmother. Dragging himself back after more than a decade away, he’s counting down the days until Gram heals and he can get back to his real life. A hastily made bingo-based sex pact between Aja and Walker is supposed to keep things between them from getting out of hand, but of course things aren't that simple.

I loved this book! Having a main character that is Black, plus-size, and has anxiety? That's me! Aja was very relatable and well-written, and her first meeting with Walker was quite fun to read. There were plenty of light and funny moments in this book, balanced with heavier moments and it was the perfect mix. Walker as the love interest was great, although I would have hard a much harder time forgiving him than Aja did. He's a solid book boyfriend, but not my favorite.

I liked that the story was realistic and didn't try to tie up Aja and Walker's issues with a neat bow. It was steamier than expected based on the cover (a huge plus!).

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Oh my goodness! Definitely lovely mixture of sweet friends to lovers theme centered on small town, personal growth, anxiety issues, adorable characters and bingo game where the matchmaking games take place by older women!

This book was emotional, intense with its realistic approach to anxiety issues that two main characters suffer and fight against!

Aja is new in town, having her own insecurities and Walker reluctantly returns back to take care of his grandma, counting his days to get out of the place. His grandma’s bingo partner Aja picks his interest. Actually their bingo based sex pact gets out of control. Both of them start to open up about their issues and the book’s story takes more serious, realistic turn than I expected.

Both of the characters were so genuine, easy to sympathize and care for!

I loved to see the evolving of Aja’s character: she finally learns to exceed her own limits, deciding to leave comfort zone and connect with outside world. Walker made me a little pissed off at the last third of the book. But he was too adorable so I couldn’t stay mad at him!

It started soft and sweet YA romcom but in the middle with that serious turn of events add more realistic, thought provoking tone by emphasizing the anxiety issues which were wholeheartedly and honestly approached.

I’m giving four lovely, bingo game , self improvement, taking chances stars!

Special thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press/ St. Martin’s Griffin for sharing this digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest opinions.

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I loved the mental health rep in this book. It was very nice to see anxiety rep in a way where they weren't trying to "fix" it, it is just a part of who they were. I also loved that Walker and Aja were just able to be themselves around each other.

I received an arc through netgalley.

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2.5 stars

I thought this book had so much potential. Unfortunately, I got to the point where i just didn't care about the characters or the story.
I thought the storylines about Aja's and Walker's struggles with mental health to be a positive. I liked that Aja was described as a larger girl, was also a check in the positive colulmn.

However, there were a number of things I did not care for and that pulled me out of the story:

~The way Walker's dialogue was written. I assume it was to convey his Southern accent, but all the contractions got on my nerves (every word that ended in ing had an apostrophe in lieu of the g).

~Bingo was a central part of the plot. Aja and Walker meet (officially) at a bingo parlor. Yet, the author had no concept of how bingo actually works. For example, there is no B90 in bingo. Seems like the author did zero research and just made stuff up. (If there is some rare variant of bingo that has a B90, then I apologize, but my Google searches have not uncovered any such thing)

~Finally, there was a line toward the end where a character says it's 2020. This story happens during the late spring/ early summer, During the summer of 2020, there would not have been bingo nights or Fourth of July picnics or any of the activities the book is centered on, Hopefully, the timeline will change t0 2021 before publication.

As always, I am thankful to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the opportunity to read a digital ARC in return for an honest review.

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LOVED loved loved this book.

The writing had me captivated from the start to finish, and I found myself reading it almost straight through one sitting. I look forward to reading more by this author.

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In a small town, Aja, she's new to town, and Walker, who left this place but is reluctantly back, have one thing in common. They both struggle with anxiety, and that's how they first meet right off the bat.

It started as a fun, easy read, and it covered a lot of realness of what it is like to deal with anxiety. I noticed I was cheering Aja on as she took baby steps to put herself out there and sympathized with Walker when he was going through a rough patch to decide where he belonged. Learning more about the character struggles made them a little more lovable. Also, the fact that they were so supportive of each other and tried to understand.

The book's only downside was the premise, and it lacked direction, so I felt myself losing interest in different parts of the book. And who knew bingo could be so smutty.

Overall it was an enjoyable quick friends-to-lovers read. I would give it a 3/5 and look forward to what the author writes next!

Huge thank you to #NetGalley for sharing this advanced reading copy of this book with me in exchange for my honest review.

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This was an interesting read. A good mix of romance, humour and personal development for both lead characters. I liked the chemistry and banter between Aja and Walker. They were funny, cute and a lot hot together. Their individual issues with anxiety and their pasts were also an interesting aspect 0f the story. I liked how they understood each other and how that helped the development of their relationship from friendship to something more. Nice mix of supporting characters as well. Well worth a read.

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This novel has a great beginning, and I'm glad to see these characters and their struggles. I was absolutely drawn in by bingo and hope for matchmaking/meddling by older women. The steaminess of the romance was also wonderful. That said, I found myself skimming what seemed like repetitive and slightly too long descriptions of the character's struggles with their mental health and familial relationships. By the end of the novel, I kinda didn't think Walker deserved to be forgiven (so quickly) by Aja. I wondered if their personal struggles were also too parallel, which made it feel extra repetitive when either was spiraling.

Thank you to NetGalley for this advanced reader copy. All opinions in this review are my own.

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