Unlikely Match, by Fiona Riley
Series: Perfect Match, Book 2
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Release Date: June 20, 2017
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Shelly White is a coding genius who has mastered the IT world but hasn’t quite mastered dating. While she searches for Ms. Right with the help of Samantha Monteiro’s matchmaking agency, Shelly embraces her inner nerd, and when one of her newest ideas turns into a creative goldmine, she hires PR exec Claire Moseley to help her professional dreams become reality. But is Claire the girl of her dreams in more ways than one?
Being raised by four brothers has made Claire tenacious. Her assignment to Shelly’s high-profile project focuses her desire to prove her worth, even though she secretly fears she’s out of her depth. And she absolutely, positively isn’t going to let her growing attraction to Shelly White derail her career.
When passions and ambitions overlap, Shelly and Claire must decide whether mixing business and pleasure can result in a perfect match.
I didn’t realize that this was the second book in a series when I picked it up. The fact that it was a sequel became clear pretty quickly, but I didn’t feel like I was losing any really important information by reading this novel first. However, the characters from the first book, Lucinda and Samantha, continue to play an important role in this novel, and even have viewpoint chapters. This was both good and bad, because Lucinda and Samantha were stronger characters and more compelling to me than Claire and Shelly.
Unlikely Match never clicked with me. The beginning was slow, and it seemed like the interesting tensions in Shelly and Claire’s lives and relationship were held back for too long. There’s a lot of story threads introduced early on that are promising, but by about halfway through the book, I felt like I was still waiting for the story to start. I think part of this is because each scene seemed very slow, like a camera panning slowly over the setting, the characters, and every action. With every scene stretched out like this, it felt like there was less and less reason to get to the next part. I started skimming around the half-way point, and when the inevitable other shoe drops in the last half to add conflict between Shelly and Claire, it felt like it had been withheld for so long that a) I didn’t remember that we were waiting for this particular reveal and b) it didn’t seem to be revealed in a way that justified the reaction.
Although I was initially intrigued and a little charmed by Shelly and Claire’s characters, I ended up feeling like I was getting so many competing views of Shelly in particular (from her own perspective, from Claire’s perspective, and from Lucinda and Samantha) that she never really gelled as a character for me. I felt that both Shelly and Claire, as individual characters and as a romantic pairing, were overshadowed by Samantha and Lucinda. In the few viewpoint chapters we have of them, Lucinda and Samantha’s relationship had more spark than Shelly and Claire, and Unlikely Match feels like Samantha and Lucinda’s sequel, rather than Shelly and Claire’s story.
I really think that if I had been in a different mood or mindset, then I would have appreciated the slower pace of this book. As it was, I never felt like there was a very compelling reason to keep turning pages. I was really looking forward to a book about a geeky, successful woman who codes, but this one was ultimately a miss for me.
Fiona Riley was born and raised in New England where she is a medical professional and part-time professor when she isn’t bonding with her laptop over words. She went to college in Boston and never left, starting a small business that takes up all of her free time, much to the dismay of her ever patient and lovely wife. When she pulls herself away from her work, she likes to catch up on the contents of her ever-growing DVR or take a walk with her dog.
Fiona’s love for writing started at a young age and blossomed after she was published in a poetry competition at the ripe old age of twelve. She wrote lots of short stories and poetry for many years until it was time for college and a “real job.” Fiona found herself with a bachelor’s, a doctorate, and a day job, but felt like she had stopped nurturing the one relationship that had always made her feel the most complete: artist, dreamer, writer.
A series of bizarre events afforded her with some unexpected extra time and she found herself reaching for her favorite blue notebook to write, never looking back.
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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.