Monday, July 3, 2017

The Bet by Elizabeth Hayley

Jace "the Jet" Benning is a legend on the football field. And off. He has the arm, the charm, and the reputation of being the hottest player in the league.

Too bad Dr. Alessandra Mastrazacoma is not impressed.

With a busy schedule and a bruised heart, Alessandra doesn't have time to date, but when she is lured into making a friendly bet with her best friend, she finds herself agreeing to go out with the next guy that asks...and to give him three shots, three dates, before pulling the plug.

Jace also has a friendly wager with his friends going, and it involves making sure the slightly klutzy, but very pretty, doctor will be his date to the biggest night in sports. With two wagers and two hearts on the line, will Aly and Jace win or are they betting to lose?

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Book 1
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Mary Jo☆☆☆☆
Jace loves working the kids in the cancer ward, which is where he meets Alessandra aka "Dr. Coma." She's a bit different, a little blunt in a cute, nerdy sort of way. Alessandra doesn't have a clue who Jace is, other than a professional athlete that visits the sick kids on the cancer ward where she works.

Alessandra and Jace both have interfering friends, so when Alessandra's bestie, Lane, makes a bet with her that she has to go on three dates with the next guy who asks her, she agrees. Jace and his friends have a bet that their date to an awards ceremony will be the most beautiful, but Jace agrees to let his friends pick his date. When they pick Alessandra, Jace is both intrigued and dismayed.

Both Aly and Jace have issues with self-confidence and feelings of not being good enough. Jace's family pushed him away as he began to shine on the football field and Aly feels bad her for younger sister, who is always compared to her as the "perfect" sister.

Unable to resist each other, Aly and Jace slowly begin to navigate the waters of a new romance where Jace feels out his league by dating someone so smart and successful, while Aly is amazed that someone as athletic and popular as Jace would date a nerd like her.

I really enjoyed this book and can't wait for the next book in the series.

Avid Reader☆☆☆☆
M/F Romance

This was a super sweet story about opposites attracting and findings that what's on the outside, sometimes doesn't match.

Jace is a football player who is in his prime, but he holds a special place of guilt for his family. When he started to do really well, his family kind of pushed him away – they didn't want to hold him back, but then resented the fact that he was doing well.

Alessandra is an oncologist who is trying to finish her fellowship in one piece. She has an attending that not only belittles her but is, at times, jealous of her. She has a good friend who wants nothing but good things for her friend and bets Alessandra to go out with the next person who asks her, for at least three dates.

Jace's friends are also meddlesome and they come up with a bet about their next large awards program: who can attend with the most beautiful woman? So, the terms are set and the games begin.

Jace and Alessandra find kindred spirits in each other and then have to decide if their happiness is truly tied to each other or just the thought of a happy relationship. I think this was a fairly successful story without an insta-love connection, even though there was an insta-physical connection. I hope Jace's friends and Alessandra's friend get their own stories.

This is a fun romance between a football star and a socially awkward doctor. And while Jace is a relatively predictable hero, Aly is an unlikely heroine who makes this story memorable.

At the start of this book, Aly has some definite Asperger’s tendencies. She is incredibly intelligent, but she takes things a little too literally and she doesn’t manage social situations terribly well. I loved the way she was shy and uncertain one moment and uncomfortably blunt the next. I was sad that Aly’s quirks aren’t sustained through the second half of the novel as she seems to lose some of her individuality by the end of the book. I wanted to see Jace appreciate Aly for who she was and it was slightly disappointing to instead see her becoming more ordinary as the story progressed.

Jace is too good to be true. He is a household name who takes time to build personal relationships with sick kids. He visits Aly’s patients without cameras or publicity machines. He is honourable and clean living. His relationship with his family is strained, but otherwise he’s a perfect male romantic lead.

Together, Jace and Aly make a sexy couple. The chemistry between them is instant and I thoroughly enjoyed the banter and teasing. But while the sex was hot, I’m not sure the sex scenes always fit the characters or fit the sequencing of the story. I struggled with the miscommunication between Jace and Aly near the end. It is a tired, formulaic trope and readers will see it coming from the outset. I expected better from logical, analytical Aly.

Beyond Jace and Aly’s relationship, there are several other plot threads woven into this book. We get little vignettes about Aly’s work, her patients and her relationships, and Jace’s family and teammates. None of these seem to conclude and I couldn’t help but feel they cluttered the book some.

I enjoyed this. I liked reading about a female lead who felt real and didn’t conform to most chick lit standards. Aly’s story is a breath of fresh air in a genre becoming increasingly formulaic.

This is an easy read, although rather too full of plot lines for me. It wasn't exactly that there was too much detail, but that there were so many potentially interesting avenues that it was difficult to concentrate on what was key and what wasn't. Maybe future installments will use what has been built here, but it just seemed too much information.

I found the bet being on both sides to be amusing, but Aly is such a particular character that it always made me feel she was the vulnerable one – that said, you will have to read it to see how it works out! It did amuse me how she managed to throw Jace for six, as he could never fathom just where her awkwardness would lead next. Whilst she was happy to experiment, her literal brain made some of the sexy less passionate than it could have been. I will be thinking about her for a while.

Sweet, fun summer read.

3.5 Stars

I seriously loved the beginning and end of this book, but the middle was almost boring. Aly is a doctor in a cancer ward and painfully socially awkward. Opposite end of the spectrum you have Jace, who is a sweet, outgoing football player who visits sick kids when he’s not playing ball. The two are instantly attracted while also irritate with the other, and then Jace and his friends make a bet that has Jace asking Aly on a date and Aly and a friend have a deal that she will accept any date requests, so she accepts!

This is definitely a quick read, though the middle of the story had some drag, it picks up at the end and goes out with a bang. I was disappointed with the “bet” though – I felt like it had a lot of potential for drama that just wasn’t there. I enjoyed the humor in the book, Jace and Aly’s banter was probably my favorite part of the story. All in all, a good, quick, light read that I enjoyed!

Elizabeth Hayley is actually "Elizabeth" and "Hayley," two friends who love reading romance novels to obsessive levels. This mutual love prompted them to put their English degrees to good use by penning their own. The product is Pieces of Perfect, their debut novel. They learned a ton about one another through the process, like how they clearly share a brain and have a persistent need to text each other constantly (much to their husbands' chagrin).

They live with their husbands and kids in a Philadelphia suburb. Thankfully, their children are still too young to read.

Elizabeth Hayley's writing motto is best captured by the words of Patrick Dennis: "I always start with a clean piece of paper and a dirty mind."

Connect with Elizabeth

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of The Bet (Players #1) by Elizabeth Hayley to read and review.

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