Cover Image: The Only Game in Town

The Only Game in Town

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Member Reviews

This book was SO. MUCH. FUN. I love a small town setting, but especially when we really get to see the characters of the town. This delivered on that for sure. Adding in the game was a fun way to get to know everyone and added such an interesting plot. This is a solid feel good book that could be a Hallmark movie.

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I loved this fun story about Redford and its kooky inhabitants. When the town's benefactor dies, his will leaves his fortune to the townspeople--but they must complete a series of challenges to win it.

I liked that we got more than just the POV of the male and female leads. There were chapters from the POVs of Jess's father and nemesis, as well. It gave the book some nice depth beyond the love story. I loved all of the side characters! It would be fun to see more books in the same small town.

While I missed Lacie Waldon's usual exotic locations, I enjoyed what she did with this small-town setting. It's certainly different from her previous novels, but just as entertaining.

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I enjoyed this book. Rat race meets, sweet home alabama? Kind of. Cute and sweet. Lacked a little depth for me but still a decent read. Not my absolute favorite from Lacie but still enjoyed it.

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4.5⭐️ The Only Game in Town by @allaboutthat_lace is such a cute story of a town coming together after one of its members has passed. Nothing like a game where you can win $10 million dollars, even if you are paired up with your sworn enemy! I really enjoyed the narration and it was just a quick, cute listen. You will fall in love with these characters. It's just a feel good, make you smile story.

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I really enjoy Lace Waldon books. I was thrilled to receive and advanced copy of this one too. This book reminded me so much of Gilmore Girls....maybe it was the setting or the characters, but I immediately was drawn in. Told from multiple POV, this story quickly draws you in with its kaleidoscope of characters and wacky premise. Jasper Wilhelm is the town's millionaire, and upon his death, leaves the town 10 million dollars. Of course there is a twist, they townspeople must compete for the money! Carter, Jasper's grandson, is in town to oversee the last of Jasper's personal business. He soon meets Jess, our local heroine. They do have an immediate connection, but are soon paired against each other in the competition. There are a slew of other characters, some charming, some not so much (NiKki!), but this book tells the story in a really fun and entertaining way. I won't give spoilers away of the ending, but it was a quick and run read that will keep you entertained. People aren't always who you think they are and a little friendly competition never hurt anyone!

3.5/5 stars

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Thank you Netgalley, Lacie Waldon, and publishers for gifting me a copy of The Only Game in Town in return for my honest opinion.


This was unfortunately a DNF for me at the 45% mark. I do not enjoy more than two perspectives when reading, my mind can not keep up with it and this one had 4. I know some people love them but they are just not for me and my ADHD brain.

The unfortunate part is that the plot was decent and I can see what I read being a really fantastic plot for a movie, or a tv show. Some of the characters were very over the top which didn't help with the multiple POVs.

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ARC provided by NetGalley.

This was a sweet small town romance. The focus on the games being played by the town kept the plot interesting, and the characters are likable. I do feel like the attempts to make Jess “quirky” were a bit overdone and got close to being “not like other girls.” The chemistry between Jess and Carter was OK, but I wasn’t as immersed in their relationship as I should’ve been considering it’s the entire point of the book.

There is a sick parent trope that I wasn’t a huge fan of. The illness is very vague and apparently terminal, but of course the terminal illness can be reversed with money? I’ve never been a big fan of author’s using cancer as a convenient plot twist, especially when it’s so obviously JUST there to add in a “sad” element.

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DNF at 20%. I went into this book without knowing much and was SO excited when I learned the premise. I LOOOOOOOVE eccentric rich person leaves inheritance in a game stories!!!!!! However, this one really didn’t work for me. I’m finding most of the characters in the town super annoying and our love interests have barely interacted and I’m 20% into the book. Not for me. Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the advance reading copy.

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This book is fun. I loved the small town setting, the drama among the townsfolk, and the ridiculous game to win 10 million dollars left by the eccentric town benefactor. Jess is the main main character and she’s lived in Redford her whole life only being away for a short amount of town in college after winning a scholarship. She loves the town, it’s people and it’s silliness. When Carter, the benefactor’s grandson, comes to town for the funeral and the game he gets swept up in everything and feels like his grandfather was setting him up. It’s just a game but the prize money is real so you know that old saying “alls fair in love and war” and it’s about to get intense especially when the teams are announced.

I loved that it had multiple POVs throughout the story with Jess being the main one. She’s a great character and truly cares about her family, the townsfolk and the community. Carter was a buttoned up character who has a good heart he kept hidden away and Jess and the town definitely brought it out. To me the romance angle was secondary to the whole charades of the game and the townsfolk drama which I throughly enjoyed.

Thank you @putnambooks and @netgalley for this eARC in exchange for my honest feedback.

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3.5 Rounded Up.

I received an advanced copy of The Only Game in Town by Lacie Waldon from the publisher Penguin Putnam through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

What It’s About: Nothing ever happens in Redford, Georgia and Jess Reid loves it. She’s stayed in town when everyone else seemed on there way out to stay with her beloved father who raised her when her mother skipped town. However, when the town’s eccentric benefactor, Jasper Wilhelm dies and a high stakes competition is set up for his remaining funds, the catch? He’s already set them up with the person they like least. Also making things interesting is financial advisor Carter Barclay, Jasper’s grandson, who also must compete. Sparks will fly!

What I Loved: I really loved the vibes of this book and competition. It was zany and fun. I really loved a lot of the elements here, I loved the idea of the competition that pairs people who are feuding together. I loved the story here with Jess and Nikki (who is Jess’s bully) and some of the healing that goes along with that. I loved the relationship that Jess has with her dad and her dad’s wisdom. I loved the challenges and I loved some community building. I also totally bought into the chemistry between Jess and Carter.

What I Didn’t Like: Some of the conflict was annoying. There is a secret that comes to a head and I thought it didn’t need to be kept a secret and that the fallout was over dramatic. This really irked me. I also didn’t like some of the scheming, it made me mad.

Who Should Read It: People who like books centered around games. People who like books centered around small towns. People who like their romance mixed into competition.

Summary: An all out gain leads to surprising alliances and surprising feelings.

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"𝘐𝘴𝘯'𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘨𝘦? 𝘏𝘰𝘸 𝘤𝘢𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘮𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘦𝘴𝘵 𝘵𝘰𝘸𝘯 𝘐'𝘷𝘦 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘣𝘦𝘦𝘯 𝘵𝘰 𝘨𝘪𝘷𝘦 𝘮𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘭𝘢𝘳𝘨𝘦𝘴𝘵 𝘨𝘭𝘪𝘮𝘱𝘴𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘭𝘥 𝘐'𝘷𝘦 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘴𝘦𝘦𝘯?"


I loved everything about this book.

I'm going to try and compile this to make sense without giving too much away! 😂

First, I loved that two of the main characters were named Nikki (of course, we know that's like... the best name) and Jess (my sister's name). It made me chuckle anytime I saw "Nikki and Jess..." LOL

Second, I loved the multiple points of view. While the main focus was on Jess and Carter, I really appreciated the chapters dedicated to Nikki or Ross - it really filled in the holes and provided a thorough story.

Third, I really resonated with book Nikki and the relationship with her mom. Although things have changed for me over the years, my younger years weren't quite as pleasant.

And I love anything involving games and competition!

Mostly... this book is both heartbreaking at times but also like a warm hug most of the time.

Thank you Lacie, @putnambooks and @netgalley for the advanced copy of this book in exchange for this review!
#bookstagram #booksta #books #booksbooksbooks #avidreader #ilovereading #thetwistedlibrarian #professionalbookworm #theonlygameintown #laciewaldon #book25of2023 #whatsnikkireading #smalltownromance #competition #grumpysunshine #oppositesattract #redfordgeorgia #kindleebook #jessandcarter #bonnieandbutch

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When Jasper Wilhelm dies, he includes a fun game in his will, a game that involves the whole town and his nephew Carter, and the winning partners get to take home the prize - Jasper’s fortune. Before his death, Jasper strategically paired the townspeople to include Carter. But when Carter and Jess, a local girl, start to be
come close, they also have to compete against each other and decide what they are willing to risk.

This book had the cutest small town vibes complete with a hilarious and quirky cast of characters. I thought the game was such a unique premise. The way the characters were paired led to a lot of individual character development as well as a sweet story of different people coming together in unexpected ways. The many different characters were a lot to keep track of in the beginning, and I would have liked more from the romance, but overall, I enjoyed this story.

Thanks to NetGalley and Putnam Books for the advance copy.

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The small town of Redford, GA is more than just a town, it's a family. The residents love each other like family, argue like family, tease each other like family, and at the end of the day, they always support each other like family. When the town's beneficiary dies, he leaves his inheritance of 10 million dollars to the town....kind of... They have to compete against each other in teams of two for the prize. The kicker is, their partners are assigned to them and happen to be the person they get along with least in the town.

Add a mysterious out of towner that is participating the games who just so happens to be the beneficiary's nephew as a potential love interest for the main character and I'm in!

I thought this book was refreshing and great! Completely unrealistic, but who cares! It was a very easy and quick fun read. Think perfect beach or lakeside read and you won't be disappointed. I loved the small town feel and how everyone supported each other, think Stars Hollow. I enjoyed the multiple POV (like 5 or 6 different POVs). It was definitely not what I was expecting as the book was marketed as romance, which like there was a little bit of that (zero spice but still cute), but it worked!

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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In this story, the residents of Redford, Georgia are like a big family. They love each other, argue and feud like family. Jasper, the town's eccentric rich benefactor, realized this and devised a way to make the residents find a way to get along. On his death, he signed up the entire town to play a game for a grand prize of $10 million. The conditions were the rules were only known to his executor, his grandson was included in the game even though he was not a resident of the town, and they had to work in pairs that he had chosen. Jasper's grandson, Carter, finds it hard to believe that this is how he chose to spend his money but respects his grandfather's wishes. Jess, on the other hand, is annoyed that she is paired with Nikki, who has tortured her since high school. Along the way, many misunderstandings are cleared, and Jasper's wish for the town's residents to get along with each other is achieved. They continued to build a loving community. It was a great read, and beautiful to see the love Jess has for the town despite everything she has been going through. I enjoyed every second of this book.

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Lacie Waldon is an outstanding romance and contemporary writer; The Only Game in Town features a small town, wonderful characters, and is a refreshing look at a beach read romance.

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3.5 stars
I enjoyed the competition storyline and the small town setting. I liked all the characters, even the nemesis, and the multiple POVs. It was sweet, uplifting and emotional.

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When I saw that this book advertised itself as a romance book meeting The Westing Games, I knew I had to check it out. The Westing Games is one of my favorite books from my childhood and one that I will even reread today.

While this book had some elements that were similar to The Westing Games, it lacked its charm and warmth and made me kind of slug through this book a bit. As always Lacie Waldon was able to craft an interesting story but, like with the previous two books I read by her, the plot lacked on the romance portion and felt more like a cookie-cutter women's fiction book than a true romance.

The challenges and overall game in this book were fun but it suffered from the lack-luster romance that was supposed to be at the center of it.

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I just love a book that takes things readers expect to happen and does the opposite. Third act break up? Not this time! Loved it. Great and fun story.

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I'm loving reading Lacie Waldon's books! They are always entertaining, heartfelt, and fun! Great story, great cast of characters, predictable but not always!

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This was the sweetest small town romance and honestly, the romance was sweet but it's not even my favorite part of this book. The whole town, the eccentric millionaire, and the side characters make this book what it is. There is growth between the MC and the side characters. There is forgiveness, understanding, and new bonds formed. All of that takes place in conjunction with the romance.

I love the added perspectives as well. Hearing from some of the side characters is rare in a romance novel and I love the community feel it added to this book. Honestly, it's just a really fun lighthearted read. A great way to put a smile on your face. The whole thing is small town feel good romance at its best.

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