Seventeen-year-old Chelsea Knowles is surrounded by the privileged. Michael Kors gym bags and designer shoes are part of her daily scene, but the talented cheerleader has a secret: she and her dad can barely pay the bills. Broken by his wife walking out on their family, Chelsea’s father ignores his responsibilities. Between cheer costs, grocery bills, electricity, and other regular financial burdens, it’s no surprise when a cut-off notice arrives in the mail. Chelsea knows it’ll be up to her to keep the lights on.
With the deck stacked against her, Chelsea decides to bet their future on the dubious poker knowledge she learned from her father before he gave up on parenting. Nervous but determined, Chelsea heads to a casino with very little security and wins big. Thrilled by her win, she’s quickly drawn to the casino again and again. She risks it all, especially when the attractive, young pit boss takes an interest in her.
Chelsea’s life, no longer filled with cheerleading, school, and hanging out with her friends, is now consumed by smoky casino floors and the ups and downs of a gambler’s life. True gamblers know when to fold, but Chelsea keeps betting long after her needs are met. The complicated web of lies soon begins to spin out of control, threatening to expose everything. Will someone see through her bluff?
I generously received this ARC from Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review…
Ever since 2010 when I came across Aces Up by Lauren Barnholdt, I’ve been on the search for another book that centered around a female poker play desperately trying to survive her family’s financial troubles. You can imagine my surprise when I came across Bluff by Julie Dill on Xpresso Book Tours! Upon discovering it I quickly signed up for the Blog Tour and am I glad I did. This book gave me some the same feelings that Aces Up did, without being identical (it was a completely different storyline).
I started this book as I was going to bed and finished it in less then two hours because once I started reading I didn’t want to put it down. Although there were a few parts I questioned throughout, I have to say that overall I really enjoyed this book. Chelsea Knowles was a funny and identifiable character that showed the readers that addiction is real and once you’ve started, it’s hard to stop. Gambling is a major addiction that so many people struggle with, so it was good to see how the author chose to approach the subject.
The only problem that I had was the fact that Chelsea was never ID’ed, something I know that all casinos do (trust me, I am 21 almost 22 and I my ID is checked every single time, with the comment that I look 14, yep 14!) and they didn’t ask for it when cashing out her money (something that the majority of casinos do if they are paying out over $500). However, it was enough to deter me from giving this story 4 stars!
ENTER HERE for a chance to win a Bluff-themed box (including an Amazon gift card, a signed book, among other items related to the book)!
About Julie Dill
Julie Dill lives in Oklahoma City where the wind always comes sweeping down the plains—literally.
As a young girl she always wanted to be a teacher, so she went on to receive her Bachelor’s of Science in Education from the University of Central Oklahoma and taught in elementary schools for ten years. Currently, she serves as an adjunct professor and loves helping students achieve success. One of her greatest professional accomplishments is earning her National Board Certification.
She holds a Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Oklahoma City University and continues to work on various writing projects. From hiking in Colorado, to playing poker in Vegas, she’s always up for a new challenge. Julie is a busy mom of two teenage daughters, and any extra time that she may carve out is spent reading, writing, and rooting for the Oklahoma City Thunder.