Title: The Matchmaker’s Playbook
Author: Rachel Van Dyken
Series: Wingmen Inc. #1
Release Date: April 5, 2016
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…
Rachel Van Dyken returns to her RomCom roots with The Matchmaker’s Playbook and it is spellbinding! The Matchmaker’s Playbook is fresh, feisty, hilarious and witty – reminiscent of her earlier romantic comedies and just as addictive. An unforgettable cast of characters carries this story, lead by the swoon-worthy Ian and perfectly lovable Blake. I fell in love with this couple instantly, enchanted by their obvious chemistry, natural banter, and surprising emotional connection. Their push and pull was utterly fantastic, creating a palpable tension that practically sparked off the pages. Their shared stubbornness and unexpected feelings for one another led to an endless number of awkward and entertaining moments that had me laughing out loud. The Matchmaker’s Playbook delivered all of the highs and lows that made Ian and Blake’s journey so captivating, but it was the simplicity of the plot that made completely losing myself in this story so easy. This is Rachel Van Dyken’s writing at its best – intelligent, socially relevant, and down-to-earth.
“For the first time in my life, I wanted a girl that wasn’t mine to have. And it sucked.”
Ian is a classic Rachel Van Dyken RomCom hero – almost a mix of Max from The Consequence Series and Travis from The Bet. Ian is smart, cocky, sarcastic, and hilarious but maintains a cool, emotionally closed off façade after losing the life he had always planned for. I absolutely loved watching him unravel with Blake. There is just something about seeing a guy with so much swagger stumble in the presence of the right woman that makes me absolutely giddy. Rachel Van Dyken delivered Ian’s emotional epiphany with humor and plenty of heart, ensuring that he left me indelibly marked. I absolutely loved the dynamic between Ian and Lex. Their easy relationship laid a solid foundation for the rest of the story and revealed a lot about Ian’s true character. I enjoyed discovering the intricacies of their business partnership and the various roles they played within Wingmen Inc. but more importantly, they had a friendship that felt authentic all the way through. It was brutally honest, hilarious, and unwaveringly supportive – they made this story absolutely shine.
“Funny how words that are supposed to make people happy kind of make you want to punch a tree like Chuck Norris.”
Blake is a girl after my own heart and I absolutely adored her! She’s familiar and easy to relate to – someone we’ve all known or been at some point in life. Insecure, shy, and deep in unrequited love, Blake is an adorable and totally oblivious mess. Despite her intelligence, athletic prowess, and kind heart, Blake was vulnerable in a way that felt entirely genuine. It took no time at all for me to connect with her and it would have been impossible not to become invested in her happily ever after. I had so much fun rediscovering some of the forgotten gems of the 1990s through Blake’s outdated style. They were small details but their comfortable familiarity totally brought this character to life for me. Rachel Van Dyken orchestrated some great growth for this character through her relationship with Ian. He challenged her, argued with her, and pushed her out of her comfort zone, bringing out a strength and confidence that made my heart soar. By the end of the book Blake felt like a friend I had known forever and I was left in awe of the sassy, sure, vibrant woman she had grown into.
“For hating someone so much, he really does spend a lot of time… annoying her.”
The concept behind The Matchmaker’s Playbook instantly intrigued me and I couldn’t wait to see where Rachel Van Dyken planned on taking this book. I am thrilled to say she definitely didn’t disappoint. The story flowed effortlessly and the pacing was spot-on, easily allowing me to devour this novel in one sitting. Stepping away from the slapstick comedy that often feels forced and overly ridiculous, The Matchmaker’s Playbook overflows with easy humor and witty dialogue that will have you grinning from start to finish. Carefully placed heartfelt moments exposed Ian and Blake’s true feelings, giving their journey the necessary emotional credibility to balance the comedy, while colorful secondary characters rounded out this fictional world. Lex and Gabi, were definite scene-stealers, proving to be just as enthralling as our main couple. I’m so excited to hear their story in the next book. Rachel Van Dyken serves up a must read novel with The Matchmaker’s Playbook, a refreshing and addictive romantic comedy gem!
Where, oh where, has this book been all my life!? Matchmaker’s Playbook by Rachel Van Dyken is the perfect fun afternoon read. I was so torn between wanting to savor the giggles and butterflies, and absolutely devouring each and every moment. It’s the first book in the new Wingmen, Inc. series and with characters that were feisty and bold, and a storyline that was unique and refreshing, it pretty much moved itself to the top of my favorite novels by this particular author.
“Do you ever think that what you thought you wanted isn’t actually what you want anymore?”
Van Dyken sent it flying out of the park with her characters in this novel. There was tremendous growth within them and witty banter between them that kept the story moving forward. Furthermore, they were just plain fun to read. When we were first introduced to Ian, I wasn’t entirely sure how I was feeling about him. He was conceited and cocky, and he knew it. Though it certainly aided him in what he chose to do with Wingmen, Inc., it left me wanting to slap him at times. However, as the story unfolded and that arrogance worked against him, it made me giddy. Blake challenged him emotionally and physically, and boy was that amusing to watch. She was supposed to be the one taking lessons from him, and without realizing it, she was teaching him a thing or two. Together, Blake and Ian embodied everything I’d want in a relationship; they had clear chemistry that sizzled, with a foundation of friendship, and a romance that blossomed from there. From the moment they met, until the very last page of the Epilogue, their dialogue kept me laughing, swooning, and falling in love.
“It wasn’t that it had been too long without a girl. It was that it’d been a lifetime without the right one.”
If you’re a fan of the movie Failure to Launch, this is the perfect read for you! With a similar type of theme, unforgettable characters, and dialogue to keep you laughing, you’ll never want to leave The Matchmaker’s Playbook behind. I do have to say that I appreciated the scaled back humor from some of the previous novels Van Dyken has produced. It was low on angst, low on drama, and high on the feel good romance. I thoroughly enjoyed this read and definitely am craving more. I can’t wait to see what I’m sure will be the explosive moments coming in book two of the series!
Blake let out another pitiful groan. “I don’t think it fits.”
“They measured you. It fits. Just, tell me if it looks okay so we can go.” I checked my watch. “Gabi said dinner was at six, and it’s already a quarter till.”
“This is too much pressure.” Her voice was frantic. “I can’t do this. I mean, how do I know if it looks good? They’re boobs.”
I groaned. “Boobs always look good. Believe me.”
“Boobs are gross!”
Said no man ever. Even the gay ones.
One of the salesladies eyed me up and down. “Are you two okay?”
“Great,” I chirped. “Just having a very heated discussion about the beauty of breasts.” I dipped my chin to Blake’s chest. “What are you? A double D?”
Scowling, she marched off.
“Blake,” I hissed.
I’d never had such a difficult client. If anything, they jumped when I told them to, asked how high, and then kept jumping until I was satisfied. Blake fought me at every turn.
“Open the door before I crawl underneath it. I’ll pick the bras, you can close your eyes if you want so you don’t have to watch me look at you, alright? My stomach literally just ate my liver. I need protein. Open. The. Door.”
The door slowly creaked open. Taking advantage of the small crack of air, I pushed it farther, then clicked it shut behind me and turned around.
Blake was facing me, hands on hips, face beet-red, body . . . freaking perfect. My tongue almost lolled out, like a dog.
Most girls starve themselves to have abs like that, which was disgusting. But her abs? They had muscle, actual muscle, but still appeared feminine.
She also had a nice tan, just enough to show that she spent time outside or maybe just had naturally darker skin.
My throat went completely dry as I continued to stare.
“Well?” Her voice was weak. “How awful do I look? On a scale of one to ten?”
I’d convinced her to buy some new workout clothes to replace her old ones. I knew I’d never get her to actually completely change her style. She liked workout clothes? Fine, at least buy the kind that fit and actually point to the correct gender. I tried to steer her away from the boyfriend sweats and sweatshirts, but she eventually wore me down, so I told her if she bought at least five new Pink outfits that had spandex in them, I’d let her get one pair of ugly slouchy sweats. You’d think I’d just given her a million dollars, from her reaction.
Currently, she was sporting a short pair of bright-blue yoga shorts.
And a black push-up sports bra that did wonders for her boobs.
And the world just in general.
I gulped as I became more and more irritated with the fact that my body was reacting as if it had never seen a girl without her shirt on before. “Blake, it’s great.”
“You sound bored!”
I had to, damn it! What did she want me to do? Sound interested? Turned-on? Intrigued? Curious? I was all those things. I just tried to ignorethe insanity bouncing around in my head and blurted, “Your boobs look really good. Perky, happy, just . . . awesome.”
Did I just call her boobs “happy”?
“You think?” She stared down at her breasts, then grabbed them.
Holy shit, was she seriously feeling herself up? I braced my hand against the door and sucked in a breath.
“They still feel comfortable,” she said.
“Do they?” I managed to choke out while she continued bouncing them a bit in her hands. Dear Lord, did she know what she was doing? Waving a flag in front of a bull. My jeans suddenly tight in all the wrong areas, I tried to envision Lex naked, anything to get my dick to clue in to the word “client,” meaning I was in a no-play zone.
It was because I was hungry.
And Marissa? Melissa? Hadn’t satisfied me. I’d gotten off, and made sure she did too, but the entire experience left me feeling empty, bored, and—if I was being completely honest? A bit depressed. Besides, her tits paled in comparison. I had to wonder what the hell I’d been doing all my life if this was the first time I was having such a strong reaction to boobs.
Something about Blake had me wondering if I’d been satisfied at all up until this point. And I had no idea what the hell was so confusing about her, and about the situation. I was unable to put my finger on it, and the more I thought about it the more my head hurt.
Hunger does weird things to guys.
“Yeah.” More bouncing, then turning and staring in the mirror. I wasn’t sure what was worse. Her staring at her own boobs or touching them. “I’m just no good at this stuff. I didn’t grow up with a mom, and I hit puberty really early. The girls made fun of me, and the boys pointed.” Her shoulders slumped inward again.
Could we please go back to the bouncing? I was a fan of that Blake. The one that rolled up like an awkward armadillo? Not so much.
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Don’t miss the next Wingmen Inc. novel:
The Matchmaker’s Replacement (Wingmen Inc. #2)
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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