Wanna Bet? — Talia Hibbert

Wanna Bet? by Talia Hibbert

 

TITLE: Wanna Bet?

AUTHOR: Talia Hibbert

RELEASED: April 21st, 2018

GENRE: Contemporary

AGE RANGE: Adult

SYNOPSIS: 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.

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As I’ve mentioned in reviews before, I’m pretty new to the adult contemporary genre. It’s one that I never thought I would get into, but reading Talia’s A Girl Like Her a few weeks ago sold me on this author, and now I want to read everything she’s ever written (or ever will write). I can’t believe how addicting this story was, or how hard I was rooting for these characters, or how much the angst of the situation broke my heart.

wannabetsm

She was like a river, forging its path through earth and stone; so soft, so fluid and seeming gentle, but powerful enough to mold the world to her will.

I think most of us have read books where a girl pined after her untouchable, promiscuous male best friend, but I’d never read a story that reversed the roles, and I loved it. The book starts off strong with a description of how they met in college, and how after a few weeks, Jasmine took Rahul home, slept with him, and then promptly forced him to choose: sex or friendship. Shockingly (to Jas), he chose friendship, and spent the next seven years trying desperately (and failing) to fall out of love with her.

Sometimes, she didn’t want to tease and laugh and flirt with anything that moved; sometimes she wanted to lash out. He understood that. He didn’t mind that.

It’s not always easy to read their interactions, because Jasmine can be so brutal in her attempts to block off any semblance of feelings or attachment to anyone—especially Rahul, the only person besides her father who she truly loves—but you can’t help but root for her anyways, especially knowing the trauma that has led her to this point.

He thought, Kiss me. Give me something, give me a reason, give me permission, and I’ll give you everything I have.

It’s also downright agonizing to watch Rahul pine after her, because he’s such a lovable character—truly one of the best “book boyfriends” I’ve ever seen in any contemporary novel, regardless of age range. He cares so much for her and wants nothing more than to keep her safe and happy, no matter how much it costs him. This book highlighted something that I love about Talia’s writing, too, which is that she writes the most fantastically feminist male leads, with not a hint of toxic masculinity or disrespect to be found. (Heads up, though—Rahul does get pretty bossy in the bedroom, but it’s very much in a lighthearted dom/sub way, not in an overly aggressive manner at all.)

Those were all the categories she had. He’d exhausted her options. But sometimes she thought that, if he asked, she’d build a whole new one, just for him.

This is a very angst-filled story for sure, with some heavy back stories for each character, but the sweet moments are frequent and totally precious. There’s probably more sex in this story than anything I’ve ever read, but I personally feel that Talia writes her sex scenes superbly, with the passion and emotions so tangible that sometimes I found myself tearing up during the sex scenes, and if that doesn’t tell you how sold I was on this couple, what would?

In the silence and the shadows, the brush of their lips felt like something holy. Like prayers whispered into the earth, like purifying flames.

The last thing I want to gush about is how gorgeously diverse Talia’s characters are! Jasmine is a plus-sized black woman, and she’s also queer—it’s not specified if she’s bisexual or pansexual, but there are numerous references to her taste in women and her experiences with them. Rahul comes from a Muslim father and a Hindu mother, and each character’s perspectives go to great lengths to describe how much they adore the other’s respective physical traits, whether it’s Rahul’s features and skin, or Jasmine’s weight and natural hair. I just love how much Talia’s writing celebrates characters who aren’t shoved into the boxes of “white, thin, cis-gendered, and straight” that so much of adult contemporary fixates on! On a side note, there’s also a super cute lesbian side couple who we spend a bit of time with.

She was everything. She was a hurricane.

Finally, on a darker note, I want to express that this book deals with some very heavy topics, such as alcohol dependency, parental neglect, death of a parent, and severe anxiety, so if any of these things trigger you, please proceed with caution! That said, if you’re looking for a fantastic, diverse adult contemporary, you really can’t go wrong with Talia Hibbert, and I strongly recommend giving Wanna Bet? a try!

5flowers

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Just a 25-year-old trying to juggle motherhood, grad school, blogging, gaming, and everyday life.

5 thoughts on “Wanna Bet? — Talia Hibbert

  1. This.. sounds like an awesome read for Summer? Like.. Yes! And tearing up during sex scenes makes me even MORE curious about this book. Also plus-sized female, doh.
    [Seriously, darn you book buying ban. My Goodreads-TBR is going to explode..]

    Like

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