Member Reviews

Thank you to Penguin Group Putnam and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review!! When I heard eccentric millionaire coupled with games, I was already lured in because of that aspect to help cure my Inheritance Games brainrot. Not that this is anything like it - it's much lighter but the quirky detail immediately captured my attention! I'm gonna be honest, though, I only liked this book. I loved the small town aspect of this book, but I was expecting more of a small town ROMANCE and at times, I felt as though the romance took a backseat while this book is supposed to be a romance first and foremost. The competition aspect was nice at first but again, because it is supposed to be a romance first, felt like it was detracting away from what I really wanted, which was focus between our two leads, especially because I felt there was nowhere they met in the middle and just kept being at polarizing ends. It didn't feel quite natural. I also felt like I was being beaten over the head with life messages at times. Very inspirational and insightful, but it was a lot! Overall, still a cute small town book that would be perfect for all occasions, especially as a quick read.

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It's no secret that I really enjoyed Lacie Waldon's last novel, From the Jump, so I had pretty high expectations going into this one. Unsurprisingly, those expectations were met as I really enjoyed reading this! It was a very light read and felt like the perfect way to kick off my fall reading!

The story follows our two main characters, Jess and Carter, as well as two side characters in Nikki and Ross (Jess’s father), as they navigate the madness revolving around a simple game. Redford, Georgia-native Jasper Wilhelm has recently passed and his last wish was to instigate a zany town-wide competition with the winners receiving his $10 million inheritance. To add to the chaos, Jasper took the liberty of assigning pairs based off tensions and rivalries between members of the town. Jess, a Redford-native and book editor, is paired with Nikki, her high school bully and current arch enemy. Carter, on the other hand, is the grandson of Jasper and isn’t necessarily sure why he was assigned a pair in the game. As one would expect, chaos ensues as each person has their own personal reasons for needing to win the money.

The author took an unusual approach by having the story told from all four POV’s (mostly from Jess and Carter’s, however), and I found it to be rather successful! Both Jess and Carter were extremely lovable and were both very passionate about the reasons they needed to win the game. I loved hearing Nikki and Ross’s perspectives on things and really helped me identify with them. It may be an unpopular opinion, but I found Nikki to be hilarious and bought into her character arc. My one small critique would be the actual romance between Jess and Carter. It was cute, but I wish their relationship was more fleshed out (I almost found myself more invested in Nikki’s love life). I did appreciate how they dealt with conflict like adults, and it made me root for them to work out. The book had all the small-town charm you could want, and I enjoyed seeing the relationships between our characters either blossom or mend.

To me, this book reads more as an adventure with a romantic subplot, and I’m not sure that was the intention, but it ultimately did work for me. I’ve enjoyed each of the three novels Waldon has put out, and I will definitely continue to read her in the future!

Thank you to Putnam and NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for an honest review!

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I liked this book, but didn't love love it.

I really enjoyed the small town setting. I felt like I was in Gilmore Girls or Sweet Home Alabama while I was reading it. The setting was so sweet and wholesome.

While the plot of the story was unique, I wasn't super invested in it. I could have done with more romance and less of the strange competition.

Lastly, I don't like when a book has too many characters. While there were a lot of fun side characters, I found it difficult to keep track of them. I think the story could have had the same effect with 3-5 fewer characters.

Overall, this book was a heart warming book that is perfect to pick up as the weather turns colder. I would recommend the read.

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I have read two of this author's previous books so I was expecting the same from this book and I was not disappointed! When I saw that this was Sweet Home Alabama vibes, I was so excited as that is one of my all-time favorite movies! Also, a small town?? Loved it! An erratic multimillionaire who left a fortune with stipulations?? Loved that too! This was just a fun read and I will definitely pick up a copy to go with my other books from this author.

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I loved this so much! This book was honestly just pure happiness. I don't know how else to describe it. It was a sappy hallmark romance that tugged at your heartstrings and left you with a sweet smile on your face.

I loved all the characters, I absolutely adored the writing and I honestly could not stop reading once I really got into it. The chemistry between each of the characters was amazing, not just with the MCs. Each character was special. I usually don't like so many changes in POV, but Lacie Waldon made it work so well.

Thank you to the publisher for kindly providing me with an ARC via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

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I am a huge fan of Lacie Waldon and this may be her best book yet! This book was Gilmore Girls meets The Inheritance Games and I loved every minute of it!

The whole premise of the novel lured me in (I'm a sucker for books like this) and I was so captivated by the characters, the small town atmosphere, and the humor of it all. I fell in love with Redford just like Carter did and I seriously wanted to move there. I loved how unique the characters were and how you could really see this town functions the way it does because of that. I laughed out loud at so many parts! I mean, how could you not find a scene depicting adults riding on barbie jeeps down a muddy hill hilarious?!

The ending made my heart so happy that I may have teared up a little bit (no shame!). Seriously, if Sweet Home Alabama is your comfort movie, you need to put this one on your TBR list!

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Small-town girl, Jess, gets teamed up with her arch nemesis to compete in an eccentric millionaire’s posthumous competition to win 10 million dollars. During the course of the competition, Jess meets the city boy, grandson (Carter) of Jasper Wilhelm. This funny, heart warming story takes you through the ins, outs, ups, and downs of trying to win BIG money, while simultaneously finding love.

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I loved the cover of this book, the setting and the feelings that I had for every one of the characters. I would love to read another book by this author.

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An opposites attract, small town, fight for millions? It's chaotic, quirky, and full of wonderful life messages. So many messages as a reader I felt like “and the kitchen sink” in what it was trying to accomplish. Maybe too many good life messages?

Because this is a spoiler-free review, especially because competition is involved I can't say too much. This book has so many great ideas and such real concerns from its main characters that are very relatable. However, because it focuses on multiple community members in this small town there are so many side plots and points throughout the book. The plot and “believability” of the two main love interests' chemistry are lost.

Because of the multiple plots, the romance between Jess and Carter doesn't feel right. She is painted as the BIGGEST sunshine to a fault. The carefree, mismatched, bizarre book editor who gets involved with Carter, a finance “suit” from the city. The two are supposed to fall madly in love in two weeks in a small town? I love what it was trying to do but it felt forced because there wasn't enough focus on making their chemistry work. Each character on top of the romance has a lot of baggage which includes: parental alcohol abuse, abandoning a kid to one parent, family estrangement, parent cancer, toxic self-worth, and bullying. It was SO much to all have been brought up, and with so many heavy topics there came to be a point at which they all felt thrown in. Everyone needs a past but man it was a lot.

In the last 2 chapters, it was tied together WAY better than I thought with HEAVY real-world problems and concerns were brought up in this book and a gloss-over in the epilogue made it feel like the problems just go away which felt disingenuous even for nonfiction.

It’s a silly, unconventional, and uplifting book about repairing old wounds and finding love. As long as it isn't taken too seriously (even with the content) it's a fun read.

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Thank you for letting me read this! This was such a fun read for me! The characters were amazing. I also liked the storyline. This was something I have never read before!

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This was a wonderful, funny and romantic read. It lifted my spirits and made me laugh. The characters in tye small town of Redmond are so vivid and the town jumps off the pages. I was sad to leave it!

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If you love a small town romance with with, this is absolutely the book for you! I found myself so enamored by the characters and the setting, I didn't want to leave.

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Thanks to the publisher (Penguin Group Putnam), author, and NetGalley for an ARC!

Really enjoyed this small town, quirky, romantic read. The team challenges aspect of this story was different than what I've read before. It was so entertaining to see how the teams and town reacted to the setup and the game itself. The premise was what made me look forward to reading this book. Plus, Lacie Waldon's other books have been great reads.

In <i>The Only Game in Town</i>, we not only get the POV of the main couple but also those of Jess's father and Nikki. At first, I was concerned switching to their POV would disrupt the story, but it didn't. It added to the overall plot and picture.

Jess and Carter are great on their own, and even better together. I liked that Jess was her own self and never wavering from it. It was also great to see Carter loosen up. Their scenes together were clearly the stars.

This book was much more than a small town romance. It had family, both the the one that you are born with and the one you choose, comedy, warmth, and a feeling of community. It was entertaining to read and I am looking forward to whatever Lacie Waldon has next!

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Lacie Waldon is an auto buy for me and I love all of her books so much. Her characters and plot come to life and I love her books.

Watch my amazon live with Lacie: https://amazon.com/live/broadcast/d7b2b2ba-93bd-47de-808e-d9d0d4b183a2?ref=social&tag=erinmbransco-20&linkCode=ilv

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*ARC Review*

2.5 Stars

I wanted to love The Only Game in Town but it did not do it for me. The cover is right up my alley, with a canoeing couple...I was expecting an adventure. I got some aspects of an adventure, but I missed on the the love story I really wanted to follow.

I really enjoyed the competition left by a beloved community member. The stakes were high and there were plenty of fun tasks to enjoy. I found the book to be confusing when we would switch POVs beyond just two characters. Multiple voices were leading the story, which made it hard to follow, especially with such a tumultuous plot already.

I feel that this novel is more of a fiction than romance I wanted so much more to come out of the relationship between Jess and Carter. I really enjoyed their meet cute at the beginning, but then it fizzled and was lackluster for the rest of the book. While I liked the competition, I wanted to read the book for the love story... so I wish I got more of it.

I also had some trouble with the ending. I found the finale of the competition to be quite predictable. I was not satisfied with the ending and wished for more.

For people looking for fiction, this is a fun read. If you are sitting down looking for a romance, this probably won't be what you want.

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3.5/5, with some caveats.

Things I liked:
The game plot
Dual POV* (see below)
Small-town setting
Women setting aside their differences to achieve a common goal
Second-chance friendships
Father Daughter storyline

I really did enjoy the characters, Jess was confident in who she was and *where* she was, and I really admired that about her - it made me love her even more. I also loved that this was an “enemies to family” book. It gave me warm fuzzies.

And the banter! Not just the banter between the romantic interests, but between everyone! I loved it.


Things that weren’t working for me:
Inconsistent multiple POV - The primary POV we receive are between Jess and Carter. But sometimes we get Nikki (and even a Ross) thrown in. I’m torn on if I would have enjoyed this book more if we only had Jess and Carter’s POV, or if Nikki had more chapters. The thing is, I really liked Nikki once I got to know her! But, would I like her more if I was shown Nikki’s “true self” through the eyes of Jess and Carter as opposed to being told directly by Nikki in her chapters? I’m not sure, but her chapters were pretty inconsistent, so she started to feel like an afterthought. Ross had one chapter in the book and then he was the focus of the epilogue. I didn’t love that - it felt like we needed *more* of Ross’s POV or *none* of Ross’s POV.

Romance wasn’t really centered -
The primary plot of this book is essentially a scavenger hunt/game set up by a deceased member of the town where the winning team gets 10 million dollars. The primary love story in the book is the love Jess has for her town, and the love the residents of the town ultimately have for each other. The side plot of this book is the romance between Jess and Carter, and that’s *fine* but I wouldn’t recommend it as a romance recommendation!

The skipping of a happy ending -
One of my largest pet-peeves as a reader is when a BIG MOMENT is skipped over and then mentioned in the epilogue. Some people love it, but I guess I’m not one of them? I feel like I *deserve* to see the big moments for these characters I’ve grown to love. If there’s an engagement, I want to see it. If there’s a wedding, I want to see it. If there’s a baby born, I want to see it! And by see it, I mean that I want to read about it. But in this epilogue, BIG THINGS had clearly happened, and I was kind of hurt that I wasn’t part of *any* of it!

Overall, I would recommend this book to my friends. Like I mentioned, I wouldn’t recommend it as a a romance, but maybe more of a beach read or a feel-good read. It certainly made me feel good!

Thank you to Putnam and NetGalley for the ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. It was an honor and a privilege!

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I was provided by an ARC of The Only Game in Town by Lacie Waldon courtesy of Putnam books, in exchange for an honest review.

Book hangover for days!! Truly one of my favorites I have read for the year. This was everything a romance book should be with an amazing, engaging and unique plot.

Jess is a unique young woman moving through life to the beat of her own drum. She was raised by a single father who she has an amazing relationship with.

Carter is a man struggling to move on from the expectations of his well-off family. When he moves on from their immoral company he reconnects with his eccentric grandfather. When his grandfather passes, he leaves Carter the greatest gift of all: an engaging game set in Redford, Georgia. The players: the residents of Redford (including Jess) and Carter. The prize: $10 million to be split between 2 players.

This book had me engaged the whole time. I savored every page of it and didn’t want it to end. Lacie Waldon is on my list of must reads.

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This book was a great light-hearted read. The author was really able to pull me in and keep me intrigued the entire time. I was thrown off at the multiple perspectives at first. But once I got use to every chapter switching people, I found myself craving wanting to read different scenes from different people perspective. The entire time I was reading I kept picturing Stars Hollow and that small town feel. I loved who everyone got paired up with for the contest and how we got to learn so much about every in the town. I definitely thought the book would have more romance in it. But overall the book was still great!
Thanks NetGalley and Penguin Group Putnam for the ARC!

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I wanted to love The Only Game in Town. I am a big fan of Lacie Waldon and her other books but this was a miss for me. The great parts were the small town and unique idea for the book. The grandfather and his playful spirit and love of Redford came alive through the pages even though he was deceased. The big gap was the cast of characters. They came off as a little one dimensional and immature at times. It’s hard to believe people would be making 6 sandwiches, taking shots and getting bangs when 10 million dollars were on the line. I didn’t buy that people would be so angry about the article and the connection between the scholarship and cheating seemed like a stretch. The ending wrapped up way too quickly and the speech to declare the winner seemed far fetched. I think sharing what kind of cancer Ross had would have added depth. Even though I didn’t love this book, I will definitely give this author another try in the future.

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The Only Game in Town by Lacie Waldon

This was such a sweet, small town, feel good comfort read. Jess lives in the small town of Redford where nothing much changes. When the town benefactor dies, he leaves 10 million dollars to the town. The only catch, you have to compete for it. Before he dies he created a series of challenges. Not only is Jess having to compete for the money, but she is paired with her high school nemesis. Everyone in town seems to be partnered with the one person they can’t stand.

Carter, a financial advisor and the benefactor’s grandson from Atlanta, is in town for the summer for the competition. When he meets Jess, sparks fly. Will he stick around once the competition ends?

I loved the premise of this story! The small town quirky characters were so fun and entertaining with their antics. I also loved that you got 4 different POV’s (One being Jess’ nemesis and partner, Nikki) Overall, such a fun and sweet read of a town coming together.

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