Lose a bet, lose your heart...
What is it about a junior-high crush that can send an otherwise intelligent woman into a tailspin? TV reporter Char Lynn wishes she knew. Jake Titus is too rich, too handsome, too arrogant: a trifecta that once lured Char into the best night-and worst morning-after-of her life. Now they've been thrown together in a wedding party. It's awkward, but survivable . . . until Jake stops acting like a jerk, and starts acting like the man she'd always hoped he could be.
If watching your brother marry your best friend is weird, being attracted to your best friend's other best friend is downright bizarre. Unfortunately for Jake, Char hasn't forgotten how he once tossed her aside. Worse still, Jake's already-nutty grandma is even crazier about Char. Cue meet-cute shenanigans and all manner of meddling, and somehow, Jake's falling. For Char. Now all he has to do is make her believe it . . .
I'm a little ambivalent about this one. For the most part, I really enjoyed it and zipped right through it. The characters were fun and engaging, the story was interesting, but sometimes, it just went a little over the top. Some of the things "Grandma" did and put her grandsons through were extreme, to say the least, and made me think this woman should have been committed a long time ago. Sure, she had their best interests at heart, but that really doesn't justify some of the things she did. She tortured poor Jake and he, like a wimp, just took it - even when she told him she wanted to ruin him! I thought that was really over the top and I couldn't understand why he didn't fight harder to stop her - oh, wait, he didn't fight at all. He just took it. Whatever the woman dished out, he ate it and didn't seem to mind it all that much. This just didn't ring true to me. Also, the way the lead characters acted didn't ring true, either. Sometimes, they acted much older than they actually were, so it was kind of a shock to realize they were in their early twenties. At first, I didn't like Char at all. I thought she was kind of mean the way she acted toward Jake. But then she kind of grew on me a little bit, so I forgave her. And Jake's transformation from a player to a committed man was a little fast and hard to believe.
There were also some missed opportunities to ramp up some tension in the story. For instance, the way his grandmother sets about to "ruin" Jake makes him start to look at himself in a different light. It serves to make him see how others see him - as the family joke - and it doesn't sit well with him. But what does he do about it? Not much. He mulls it over, grumbles about it in contemplation, but doesn't really do anything to change their perception of him. He just tucks that new-found knowledge away and doesn't confront anyone about how they perceive him.This would have been a great opportunity to really ramp up the tension by having him confront his family members about this and then to go about making some changes to better himself, but it appeared that the author was trying to keep this light-hearted and so just let it slide. There was also the dropped thread about his employment that was just kind of dropped - why didn't he fight to get his position back?
These things aside, it was an enjoyable book, for the most part, with engaging characters and wedding planning/mayhem taken to the extreme. If you're looking for a light, sweet book about second chances, frenemies to lovers, wacky relatives, then this is the book for you.