Friday, May 2, 2014

Searching for Perfect by Jennifer Probst

The Basics:
Searching for Perfect by Jennifer Probst
Gallery Books
Book Two in the Kinnections series
Published April 29, 2014
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Why I picked up this book:

I reviewed the first book in the series last November and *loved* it.


The up-and-coming matchmaking agency Kinnections is the hottest thing to hit Verily, New York—just like Kennedy Ashe, social director for the service she owns with her two best girlfriends. A coach, consultant, and cheerleader rolled into one super-sizzling package, Kennedy creates dream dates, encourages singles to shine, and never refuses a challenge—not even her new client, Nate Ellison Raymond Dunkle, rocket scientist and nerd extraordinaire. Kennedy vows to transform this hot mess in a lab coat with a disastrous relationship track record into the most wanted man on the Verily dating scene. If only she could turn the wand on herself. . . . Though she radiates confidence and sex appeal, Kennedy harbors deep-seated insecurities from her tormented past. When she realizes she and Nate are cut from the same cloth and might be perfect together, can Kennedy learn to let her heart lead the way? Or will her fears sentence her to the sidelines as Nate finds love—with someone else?

My thoughts:

**Some minor spoilers in this one because I was so upset by it**

I'm very conflicted. The first 140 pages or so made me cringe and want to toss my ereader against the wall. I ranted and raved at my husband, I debated DNF-ing the book, and then I kept reading.

And the book got better. In fact, if I'd skipped those first pages, and gone to the second half of the book? I really enjoyed it.

So here's the problem - Kennedy makes over Nate (formerly Ned, but Kennedy decides his nickname is too close to nerd and so he needs to revert to his real name) and the whole process was *awful*.  AWFUL.

On the one hand, I can appreciate the idea that to make yourself into someone new, there will be the pain of growth and loss of the old self and all of that. BUT, Nate's makeover is only semi-voluntary. And it's so superficial!  Yes, he needs to make a better first impression - he needs to understand that clean, well-fitting clothes and a decent haircut say that he cares about himself and how he presents himself. BUT a lot of his problems were symptoms of trying too hard and not having any help - he misuses a self-tanner, he overuses cologne. He just needs a little guidance, not torture at the hands of Ming.

The moment that crossed the line for me was roleplaying at the bar *with a dog collar.* Nate does need some help learning about appropriate conversation - though as the speed dating at the beginning of the book suggested, he's keen to adopt whatever information he's given, he just has trouble with mixed messages. His heart is always in the right place, and I really liked him, which might be why I was so upset by the bar scene. Shock therapy - surprise shock therapy - was completely inappropriate.  I was offended by this treatment of Nate. It was degrading, it was painful and it was done by first surprising him with the idea on the spot, and also by manipulating him into agreeing to it. It was an embarrassing misuse of feminine wiles. And on top of all of this, some of the reasons he was shocked were baffling to me.  

Just no.

No, no, no.

Setting that all aside, Nate comes through the process with all of his gorgeousness finally revealed. Then there's Kennedy's issues to address, which I thought were handled in a reasonable way, though she had some serious childhood trauma to work through. Some of this may be a trigger point for readers, so read with caution.

Overall, I was very disappointed. I loved the first book in the series, and this one just pushed the wrong button for me. I'll probably come back for the third - in fact, I'd like to know what's going on with some of the secondary characters that featured in this book (mostly the very sexy Wolfe).

Bottom line:

I was so offended by a specific scene in this book that I cannot recommend it. Which is unfortunate because I did enjoy the last half or so.

1.5 (4) stars
For fans of contemporary romance 


  1. I have the first book in the series on my tbr list for later this month, and I'm glad you liked that one. But, I think I'll plan on skipping right over the second book in the series already. Great review!

    1. Thank you! This was such a frustrating read for me, particularly since I loved the first one!

  2. I actually have read this book as well, and Chelsea/ others I think you're missing out on an amazing story! The dog collar is clearly just intended as humor, if it doesn't do it for you that's fine, but to write off the entire novel because of one scene seems a little much... it's fiction, people! DEFINITELY read this book, it's charming, heartfelt, and super sexy!

    1. I'm sure it was intended as humour, but it fell so flat for me that I found it offensive. As I said, I loved the first the book in this series, and I really enjoyed the second half of this one. The makeover material just wasn't funny for me. To each their own though, I'm glad that you found a lot in it to love! :)