Review: The Matchmaker’s Playbook by Rachel Van Dyken

Posted April 6, 2016 by Shannon in Reviews / 0 Comments

Review: The Matchmaker’s Playbook by Rachel Van DykenThe Matchmaker's Playbook by Rachel Van Dyken
Series: Wingmen Inc. #1
five-stars
on April 5, 2016
Genres: College, Romantic Comedy
Pages: 306
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads

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…

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Buy it here: Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon AU


REVIEW

Another Rachel Van Dyken book?! Picture a kid in a candy store, cause that’s what I currently look like. If the synopsis alone doesn’t convince you to read this book, have you seen that cover? Wowza! Buy this, you will not regret it. RVD takes it up a notch every single time, so hold on tight and enjoy the ride!

TMMPB

“I wish,” I grumbled.
Gabi frowned. “Wait, what?”
“Nothing. Hey, Lex is late—I’m going to go call him.” I turned to leave but was tugged back by the loop in my jeans.
“Speak.”
“Lex could be dead.”
“Don’t care.”
“In a very serious accident, and we’re running out of time.”
“Out with it.”
“Five seconds away from his last breath and you want me to gossip with you about my feelings?”
“Ian.”
“Lex is dead. Hope you’re happy.”

Ian was everything you could expect from a stereotypical guy who has tons of money and who has been an athlete his entire life. He’s cocky, he has an attitude, he’s a bit pretentious, but you know what else? He’s loyal and kind, compassionate and smart, funny and has a heart of gold. He will do whatever he can to help those around him. That’s even how the idea for Wingmen Inc. was started; to help others. It may not be the conventional way but it definitely does complete the mission they set out to do.

It was like Fight Club, only better, because it revolved around keeping sad girls from having sex with douchebags.

 

“We save women from themselves. And more importantly, we help them get the men of their dreams. If that’s so wrong, I don’t wanna be right.”

TMMPB

One thing that I really appreciated about Ian’s character was his subtlety. I’m sorry, come again? Yes, I said subtlety. Sure he’s the type of guy that makes his presence known, but there’s so much more to him than what’s on the surface. It’s the little attributes that make appearances which help you fall for him. I enjoyed how stealthy he was about wooing Blake. I mean technically yes his job was to prepare her but it was obvious their relationship was deeper than that. The small actions that showed he cared: his compliments, his confidence in her, how he showed his respect and adoration. I liked Ian a lot more than I thought possible when I started!

I just liked her. Plain and simple. She was beautiful, but something told me that even if she was still wearing the baggy sweatshirts and sporting a scrunchie, it wouldn’t have taken me a long time to discover the treasure that she was underneath.
She was fiercely loyal and hardworking. And she cared, even about someone who she really shouldn’t care about—me.

Blake was a really likeable heroine. She was down to earth, easy to get along with and could hold her own against the guys. She was completely endearing, and the exact kind of girl you want to be friends with. I found that her character is quite similar to myself, so I could connect with her quite easily. Even though this story wasn’t told in Blake’s POV, I understood her thoughts and actions every time.

She reached for the bags, then blocked the door with her hand. “But I can’t let you in unless you managed to get the chocolate Gabi and I begged for.”
Sighing, I reached into one of the bags and pulled out two Hershey’s Krackel bars. “You mean this chocolate?”
Blake swiped it from my hand and inhaled. “So good.”
“Question.” I leaned in. “If it was between me and a Krackel bar—”
“Krackel bar.” She patted my shoulder. “Every time.”

The dynamic of Wingmen Inc. worked quite well because of the relationship that Ian and Alex had, consisting of the give and take. The bromance that they’ve grown together having and that they’re ‘the good vs evil’ as they put it. Lex is the Robin to Ian’s Batman and they go hand in hand.

“Pretend I’m a chick.”
“I’d rather not. Since I hate all women right now, I’m bound to do something stupid, like kiss you in hormonal confusion, then try to slam this bottle over your head in rage.”

These two were a hoot and a half together, and especially when you throw Gabi in? And Blake? Prepare yourself because you never know what this group will say or do. It’s not over the top like some of the humour in the Consequence series. It’s comfortable, recognizable and just plain funny.

“He belong to you?” Blake was pointing at me like I wasn’t part of the conversation. “Unfortunately.” Gabi sighed. “You know how your parents always tell you not to feed the strays?” Her eyes met mine. “He was so cute at first, like all puppies. Then he started biting all my friends.”

I hate male POV when you have no clue what’s going in with the heroine, so it was great that Blake’s actions were clear. If there was ever confusion, she would ask or her actions would show whatever she was unable to say. I think it was quite strategic how The Matchmaker’s Playbook was written solely in the hero’s POV. It was quite literally about the sports hero, the popular guy and the clueless girl who just wants to be seen in a different way. It was refreshing to see the types of thoughts that went on in Ian’s head. It really helps to show too how a guy may process information differently than a woman, and therefore we gain a larger understanding of his character. Generally a woman can interpret the heroine quite well. So this change in point of view being only from Ian was a smart move to enhance this story line. You know those times when a guy says something or does something stupid and as a woman we just shake our head? Yeah, well you’ll get to see the thought process up to those decisions and it was quite intriguing.

It wasn’t just jealousy that got a guy going.
It was the simple fact that another dude had discovered a treasure that had been walking past him for years, and he’d never even given it a second glance.
All guys wanted to be first.

Rachel builds complex characters that you can’t help but love. Their energy and chemistry were off the charts and it was obvious to everyone the attraction and connection these two shared. The tension, both sexual and otherwise, was exceptional.

Sexy couple in underwear

It was fun to follow alone as Ian and Blake first off discovered their attraction to each other. Safe to say it wasn’t love at first sight! From discovering this attraction to then acting upon it, it was great viewing all of this from Ian’s eyes. He always knew Blake was beautiful, it was then finding her confidence that really made her shine.

She kept batting them, her smile growing wider and wider, making her look more adorable than sexy. Which was a hell of a lot worse, because sexy you slept with, adorable you kept.
Forever.

I have a bad habit of trying to guess what will happen in the climax of the book. I could be on page 2, chapter 6, or 50%, I’m going to keep guessing and forming opinions of what I think could happen and all the possible outcomes(I blame my problem solving nature). So of course I kept going back and for with ideas, but could never settle on a solid conclusion of what I thought might happen. Rachel is fantastic at building a story up to its boiling point, and then having it spill over into something that I didn’t expect. I LOVED what happened in the climax of this novel. It was perfectly balanced and executed, then the reactions of every character were completely on point. This defining moment added an extra layer of depth to the story and set the resolution up very nicely. If you ever doubted the hero, heroine, or their feelings, this moment completely changes that. The anguish and emotion that poured out of them both was palpable. My heart constricted as I carried on to figure out how they could come back from this. With everything in me, I wanted these characters together.

For the first time in my life, I wanted a girl that wasn’t mine to have.

Overall the storyline is very fun. It’s mostly light, but there was also the perfect amount of angst thrown in that I wasn’t expecting. The bickering/bantering between the hero and heroine was hilarious, then in their deeper moments it was heart warming.

“Okay, now you’re freaking me out.”
“Good, no sex. Go to a nunnery. Lex and I will sneak in chocolate and wine for you every year on your birthday.” I reached across the table and patted her hand. “Blessings, child.”

While the entire concept of this story is fun and I somewhat plausible, it can be a tad unrealistic.
I understand this wasn’t written to mirror everyday life, but it needed to be addressed before my next point. In turn there were a few scenes that really stood out as being normal, sweet, I-need-this-in-my-life type of stuff that people like me eat up for breakfast. The BBQ, for instance – the competitive edge, the tenderness, the sharing. Or when Ian was sick – this was probably my favourite scene of the entire book. And that date? While that one is yes bordering on ‘Does this even happen in real life?’ Because it was so awesome, it set up really well for the character and relationship development. It was both beautiful and thoughtful; every action that was taken and every word that was spoken held purpose.

The underlying themes in The Matchmaker’s Playbook were well thought out. Not only finding your self confidence, but going for what you deserve in life. Whether that’s a relationship or a career, never settle for what you want. Life is too short and too unpredictable to realize down the road that you’re riddled with what ifs. Do it now. Believe in your self and work for what you want. No one can stand in your way to tell you that you don’t deserve what you want.

What I don’t accept? The insecure type of settling, desperate in nature.
Granted, that’s rarer.
But getting more and more common.
It’s when a girl never reaches her own potential, thus settling for less than what she’s worth. It’s the quiet girl who was never taught how to wear makeup. The chubby girl who eats her feelings but has a hilarious personality, who should by all means be paired with the quarterback.
It’s the matches who never find one another.

It was quite easy to devour this in its entirety in one sitting. I couldn’t turn my pages fast enough and I never wanted it to end. Every time I considered taking a break, I’d think, one more chapter, then I’ll get lunch. One more chapter, then I’ll do the laundry. Guess what? I read and read and read until it was done. I loved these two together and all of the supporting characters. The plot was fresh with some unexpected details and the level of intimacy was great.

I really liked the glimpses of Lex and Gabi and what we can hope to expect from their book. It’s going to be exciting, if they don’t kill each other first! I can’t wait for that one, I’m really excited!!! The love vs. hate and the passion those two embody will be explosive.

As you can probably imagine by this point and my plethora of quotes, I kind of liked this book. Maybe a little, or a maybe lot, but who’s counting? And by plethora of quotes, there’s plenty more where the above came from. After reading I transfer my highlighted quotes to a page document to keep track… There was 3.5 pages of quotes and it was hard to choose which to use! I may have over done it a little but all that really means is read the book. Read the book. Read it. You know you want to.

Rachel, you keep doing what you’re doing. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it, right? I can never find a flaw in the style and love the expanse of your stories. This is engaging, refreshing and satisfying. A perfect romantic comedy. Every RVD book I’ve read has left me just that little more obsessed. Trust me, this is not a book to miss out on!

*An ARC was provided by the author and InkSlinger PR in exchange for an honest review. 

Shannon

 

 

five-stars

About Rachel Van Dyken

Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she’s not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.
She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband, adorable son, and two snoring boxers! She loves to hear from readers!

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