Sep 5 2011
Dear Ms. Geary,
I’ll be really, really honest – the entire reason I read this was simply because of all the reviews you have on Amazon. I picked up Matchmakers 2.0 when it was free several weeks ago, but I haven’t really had any inclination to read it. Then I was browsing Amazon and noticed the sheer quantity of reviews. This book, for example, has 141 reviews, almost all of them positive. My skeptical eyebrow went up. Either this was a really good deal to be found, or someone had a lot of friends who liked to use Amazon.
Your novella is packaged attractively – the Novel Nibbles logo is cute and catchy, and lets the reader know that this is a shorter tale. The formatting is nice, the cover is quirky enough to be eye-catching, and I didn’t notice grammatical errors. We’re heading in the right direction.
Matchmakers 2.0 is the story of Mick, who works at…you guessed it, Matchmakers. She works with a team of matchmakers that pair up hard to match clients, and they work in a big corporate environment, tweaking profiles to ensure the customers are satisfied. There is a competition every six months called Match the Loser, where clients that haven’t been successful in finding a date are offered as a challenge, and a bonus incentive offered to the winning employee. Mick lost the last Match the Loser contest, and a friend dared her to enter her own profile into Matchmakers and see what comes out of it.
I had real problems with this setup. Matchmakers is a company of 100 or so people and there are jabs at corporate America left and right. However, Mick puts her profile up on the Matchmakers website and then everyone in the office knows about it. Once again, my skeptical eyebrow went up that an employee is allowed to use the service for their own means. Further, the Match the Loser contest seemed cruel. People that couldn’t get dates through the agency were referred to as losers? I didn’t care for that, or the attitudes of the match team. In addition, the set up of the agency itself seemed questionable. For example:
“Moved to California from South Carolina last year. I’ll set his ‘bubba’ flag.” Not every guy in the south is a bubba, but enough of them are to give MatchMakers real headaches.
Not enough women in the South want bubbas anymore. In Los Angeles, Bobby Joe’s chances were slim. Someone needed to tell the man to move back home.
Profiling, even as minor as this, strikes me as crass and unfunny. But perhaps I am sensitive to such things. This agency also supposedly has flags for clients that are ‘lothario’ types, ‘kinky’ warnings, and ‘liar’ flags, in addition to who knows what else. This is presented as humorous in the story, except I didn’t find it funny in context. Rather, I questioned the logistics of such flags, and at the employees choosing the designations. This sets itself up for all kinds of abuse.
The writing style in this was intriguing, however. You have an extremely spare writing style, with no fluff and very few adjectives. At first, I found this dry style difficult to follow, but you gentle it with some clever lines. For example:
A couple sat at a table to my left. Definitely their first date. The woman, co-ed cute, flipped her hair a lot and made sure her left side was toward the guy at all times. Guppies do this, too – not the hair thing, but the showing off their best side thing. I know, it’s very weird to watch people on a date and compare them to fish. I can’t help myself. If people wouldn’t behave so much like fish, it would be easier to stop.
Of course, there are some differences. Guppy parents often eat their babies.
My musical tastes run the direction of the Indigo Girls and Dixie Chicks. Chris’s band was most definitely not the Chicks. It had a bit more of the bash-your-head-inside-a-garbage-can type of vibe going on.
I found the heroine, Mick, likeable but not all that believable. A lot of the time she’s very uptight, and her hobbies reminded me more of someone older than her age of 27. I did like that the hero – who she didn’t care for upon first impression – was an erotica writer and was not painted to be a deviant or a freak. He just happened to like writing erotica. This made me happy, as it’s so easy for some people to automatically paint romance authors as rampaging whore-monsters in constant need of cock. That it was a man that was the erotica writer, and a very un-creepy, normal man? Impressed me.
The romance in this story is surface only – it’s more chick lit. Any hints of anything beyond kissing are only coyly referred to.
I’m a little torn at what to give this. I found your voice jarring at first, but it took some getting used to and I enjoyed it at the end. The relationship was cute, but the parts of the story around Matchmakers were straining credulity. I was leaning toward a B- before writing this review, but after recapping some of the things that bothered me, I might move it down to C+. Cute enough, but has some issues. I might give your Witch books a try, however.