BET ME

Jennifer Crusie, Author . St. Martin's $22.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-312-30346-4

Minerva Dobbs's mother named her daughter after the Greek goddess. Yet Min, who's grown up to be a curvy woman who adores carbs, isn't quite a knockout beauty and, at 33, she shows no signs of getting married anytime soon. So when the dashingly handsome (god-like, in fact) Calvin Morrissey enters Min's life and starts pouring on the charm, she's skeptical. As well she should be—it appears Cal has a $10,000 bet with some of his drinking buddies that he can get Min into bed within a month. Statistics-loving Min knows about the bet and figures she can play Cal for a month, use him as a date for her sister's upcoming wedding and then dump him right before the month is up. Alas, destiny has different plans. As Min and Cal fall for each other, Crusie pulls out the pranks, repeatedly pushing the two together and then tearing them apart. A bubbly cast of characters alternately helps and hinders romance, including Cal's ex-girlfriend, a psychologist who studies relationships for a living; a matchmaking Italian chef; and Min's friend Liza, who'll stop at nothing to make sure Min doesn't wind up with the conniving Cal. It's all cutesy, corny, romantic fun, and Crusie (Fast Women ; Faking It ; etc.) has created a loveable character in Min. Although some readers will be sucked into Crusie's deliberate plot, others may cringe at its predictability. With multiple references to Chicken Marsala, Krispy Kreme donuts and Midwestern brats (a fine contrast to Min's compulsively thin-thinking mother), Crusie's latest should delight romance readers with a penchant for sinful foods. (On sale Feb. 10)

Forecast: With ads running on television and in the New York Times and Glamour, a Book Sense mailing, advance reading excerpts distributed at regional trade shows and at RWA, plus a national author tour, Crusie's latest has a good shot at landing on bestseller lists.

Reviewed on: 12/01/2003
Release date: 02/01/2004
Mass Market Paperbound - 432 pages
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Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-60640-909-1
Mass Market Paperbound - 432 pages - 978-0-312-35708-5
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