Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Matchmaker's Playbook (Wingmen Inc. #1) by Rachel Van Dyken

Wingman rule number one: don’t fall for a client.

After a career-ending accident, former NFL recruit Ian Hunter is back on campus—and he’s ready to get his new game on. As one of the masterminds behind Wingmen, Inc., a successful and secretive word-of-mouth dating service, he’s putting his extensive skills with women to work for the lovelorn. But when Blake Olson requests the services of Wingmen, Inc., Ian may have landed his most hopeless client yet.

From her frumpy athletic gear to her unfortunate choice of footwear, Blake is going to need a miracle if she wants to land her crush. At least with a professional matchmaker by her side she has a fighting chance. Ian knows that his advice and a makeover can turn Blake into another successful match. But as Blake begins the transformation from hot mess to smokin’ hot, Ian realizes he’s in danger of breaking his cardinal rule.… 

What happens when a “player” meets his match?  Ian Hunter finds out in the light-hearted romance, The Matchmaker’s Playbook by Rachel Van Dyken.
         Ian is a former football player—but a current stud.  After a good deed derails his football career, Ian parlays his experience with women into an entrepreneurial deal with his friend.  Their venture, Wingmen Inc., is in the business of teaching women how to attract men. To do this, they study the woman’s habits, her prospective date, her social skills, and her ability to interact with the potential suitor.  Wingmen even calculates the probability that the relationship will last.  Ian, who is not at all uncomfortable being the guinea pig for anyone, throws himself into teaching socially awkward girls how to get their man.
         When Blake shows up, Ian has his work cut out for him.  She is a tomboy who is much more comfortable in sweats than in a little black dress.  She lives for her Adidas sandals and would not be caught dead in Manolo Blahniks.  And her attitude?  She takes annoying to a whole new level.
         Despite these factors, Ian finds himself drawn to Blake—even as he is supposed to be helping her attract another man.  As he tries to get her to be more comfortable with men, he finds himself the one who is chasing her.
         I wanted to like this book much more than I did.  I found Ian’s attitude to be a bit over the top.  The snark and sarcasm that he displayed throughout the book was sometimes annoying and a bit hard to follow.  In scenes where he talked to his business partner, it was noticeably worse.  It was as if he considered himself the smartest person in the room (which he did).  It is not that the character had that attitude that was the problem.  It is that it was written in such a way to make Ian more unlikable than alpha-ly arrogant (Alpha-ly should be a word).  So, I decided early on that he did not deserve the girl.  None of his future behavior changed my mind.  And it was a bit sexist that all of the girls needed to change themselves to get their man.
         The story is written from Ian’s point of view.  It is unusual for a romance to be written from a male perspective, and I am not sure that it completely worked.  I found Ian’s thoughts to be quite vapid and shallow, and it would have been better if the chapters alternated his point of view with Blake’s.
         The Matchmaker’s Playbook dragged a bit in the middle and I found myself ready for it to end long before the actual ending.  For a vacation read, it was fast and non-heavy.  But for a compelling romance book, it fell flat.
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Regina

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