WANNA BET? by Talia Hibbert | Review

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Rating: ★★★★☆

Release Date: April 21st, 2018

Trigger Warnings: parental neglect, abandonment, parental death, alcohol dependency, PTSD, anxiety, childhood emotional abuse, description of a knife wound

Publisher: Nixon House

Genre: romance, contemporary 

Goodreads blurb:

Jasmine Allen has many vices. Rahul Khan has just one: her.

For the last seven years, Rahul’s been Jasmine’s closest friend. Sure, he’s strong, sexy, and deliciously stern—but she doesn’t care about that. She certainly isn’t tempted by his wicked smile or his genuine sweetness. She can’t be. Because everything Jas touches turns to dust.

Rahul disagrees. Seven years ago, Jasmine touched him, and he’s still standing—still standing, and still hopelessly in love. When disaster drives Jasmine into his spare bedroom, Rahul prepares for a month of painful proximity to the woman he secretly wants.

But when he realises that Jasmine just might want him, too… all bets are off.

She’s wild. She’s reckless. She doesn’t know how to love, and she doesn’t intend to learn.

But she’s also his. And in this game of desire, Rahul’s playing to win.

Wanna Bet? is a steamy, standalone, BWAM romance. Warning: this book is 75,000 words of extreme pleasure, with NO cliffhangers, NO cheating, and a guaranteed HEA. Enjoy responsibly!

***Please be aware: this story contains themes of parental neglect and abandonment, parental death, and alcohol dependence that could trigger certain audiences.*** 


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R E V I E W

Have I made it clear yet that Talia Hibbert is one of my actual favourite authors? Not yet? Well, have yet another review for one of her books. I was lucky enough to receive this book early because I had signed up for her VIP email list. I am so thankful I did because waiting the extra couple days for this book may have had me crying. In the email, Talia said that word of mouth is the best way to spread publicity for this book so here I am.

WANNA BET? Is a story of best friends to lovers, something that happens over the course of seven years. We get flashbacks to the past to establish the relationship between the two characters, Jasmine and Rahul. There’s an additional bit of ‘its just sex’ and if y’all have ever read any book or watched any movie you know how that one goes down. The characters have banter and familiarity of each other that is slightly comforting. Don’t get me wrong though, like all of Talia’s other books this is not a fluffy book. This book has many layers of depth and many trigger warnings.

I also want to mention WANNA BET? Is definitely not my favourite of Talia Hibbert’s work. I’ll get into this later, but it felt like was missing something for me in some ways. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed this book a lot. Heck, I even gave it four stars – one of my friends even laughed at me when she saw I’d been rating this author’s books highly because my average rating is a three for every book. Anyway, my point is I do have a few dislikes for this book but it doesn’t take away that I read this book in a day and really loved it.

L I K E S

BEST FRIENDS TO LOVERS

I didn’t know whether to put this in likes or dislikes. I don’t mind a good best friend to lovers but I also always get a bit annoyed because I live for platonic f/m friendships. Now, don’t get me wrong, I know Rahul had been in love with Jasmine for the entirety of the seven years so it’s not as if this was some sudden infatuation that had grown. I just feel a bit strange about them, maybe it’s because my best friend is a guy and I truly can’t imagine us doing what Rahul and Jasmine did in this book!

However, I think Talia Hibbert did write this well, so it goes in my likes.

CONTENT WARNINGS AT BEGINNING

Content/trigger warnings are so damn important. I definitely appreciate when authors take them seriously and put them in their own books. Talia Hibbert even puts them in the blurb of her books, I just think it’s important and it’s definitely something I love about these books.

I CRIED I LAUGHED I SMILED

I had so many damn emotions throughout this book it was a wild ride. It was like I couldn’t stop. At some points, I was doing all three and I couldn’t even explain why. The rawness of these books, from the past trauma to the humour of the characters in the present is wholly unique and deserves to get praise. The style of these books is like nothing I’ve ever read and I love it.

SHOWS THE EFFECTS OF NEGLECT

This is a big one for me. Obviously, neglect isn’t great for a person, especially when it involves abandonment and especially when it is done by one’s parent. It is incredibly unfortunate but it does happen to so many people and I feel that the representation of this is so important. Especially since it shows Jasmine actually getting help for this, never be afraid to ask for help if you need it. The fact that the after effects of this neglect are shown many years later is important, it’s not something one is simply able to get over.

INTERACIAL COUPLE

Again, not really a big thing I can talk about or even really speak on because I need to stay in my lane, but Jasmine is a black woman and Rahul is a Muslim.

If you’d like some more rep, Jasmine also has fat rep and is bisexual/pansexual (never clarified but Rahul says something along the lines of ‘she liked to bring men home, but it’s not always men’).

D I S L I K E S

WISH IT DIVED MORE INTO CHARACTERS PAST

This stands for both Rahul and Jasmine. I feel like because so much was going on in the present there was a struggle to naturally insert the characters past. It was a bit like ‘woah’ because I love the backstories of the characters. On top of that, most of the side characters just faded into the background despite saying ominous things that I felt would lead to something important in the plot. This mainly goes for Jasmine’s dad, I feel like there was a perfect set up for him to have a larger part in this book but it just fell flat.

DISLIKE WHEN CONNECTIONS BETWEEN CHARACTERS ARE MADE IN THE PAST

This is my biggest problem with the best friend to lovers plotlines, all the connections are made in the past and you don’t really get that new and exciting feeling of two characters meeting. I mean, flashbacks were included in this book but I kind of feel they took away from the present and made me think certain things were going to happen.

MISCOMMUNICATION

The big, big, big problem. I understand the miscommunication done in WANNA BET? Was done because of past trauma of the characters but I just feel that since they had been best friends for such a large amount of time all the messy miscommunication stuff could have been taken out. Apparently not, and it did frustrate me. Especially at the end of the book when I just wanted my big happy ending. I wasn’t here for any drama!

Overall, definitely not my favourite Talia Hibbert book but it’s also not my least favourite. I still highly recommend it, especially if you love a forced proximity trope (I know I do). I also recommend this if you love soft heroes, because Talia Hibbert is the Queen of writing them, honestly.


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Happy reading everyone!

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