Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Review: Dating-ish by Penny Reid

'Dating-ish' can be read as a standalone, is a full length 100k word novel, and is book #6 in the Knitting in the City Series.

There are three things you need to know about Marie Harris: 1) She's fed up with online dating, 2) She's so fed up, she's willing to forego the annoyance and consider more creative alternatives, and 3) She knows how to knit.

After the most bizarre and irritating first date in the history of humankind, Marie is looking for an alternative to men. With the help of her friends, she quickly identifies a few possibilities:

Need a cuddle? Use a professional cuddler. Need affirmation? Get yourself a life coach. Need an orgasm? Try orgasm meditation! Why does she need the hassle of a romantic partner when she can meet all her needs with paid services?

But then her irritating date resurfaces. And he's not at all the person she thought he was. And he suggests a different--and crazier--solution to her dilemma . . .

As everyone knows (or will soon come to realize), traditional relations between humans are a thing of the past. Robots are our future. And if robots are our future, then why do we need other people at all?

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Penny Reid is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the Winston Brothers and Knitting in the City series. When she’s not immersed in penning smart romances, Penny works in the biotech industry as a researcher. She’s also a full time mom to three diminutive adults, wife, daughter, knitter, crocheter, sewer, general crafter, and thought ninja.


Twitter: @ReidRomance
Penny Reid gives good romance. She takes risks, and thinks outside the narrow minded so-called ideal of what we as romance readers should be looking for. Her stories are always something fresh, innovative, and thought-provoking. Once again, she followed through with that expectation because a big central theme of this book is robots. That's right, you heard me correctly. When I first heard that she was integrating this into the plot, I admit that I was a little bit uncertain how she could pull this off. Romantic/sexy/passionate/ love + the future of Artificial Intelligence? As unusual as it sounds, she made it happen as only she can do.

Another topic Penny explores (with great hilarity) is the many varied ways that modern dating can suck the life force right out of you.

I mean, if you’re going to send a woman a dick pic, at least send something worth seeing. Not a gherkin dwarfed by hairy potatoes.

Our heroine Marie has tried online dating for years, and has nothing to show for her efforts. Besides frustration and entertaining stories for her friends in the knitting group, that is. She's finally at her wit's end, but decides to go on one last date before throwing in the towel. The disaster that ensues from Matt and Marie's first meet was one for the record books, and it certainly didn't convince her to give love another chance. She was officially D.O.N.E. Stick a fork in her, she's burnt out on dating worse than a slab of charred beef. She has her fabulous knitting girls, and is now actively seeking other alternatives to the ever elusive romantic relationship.

Unfortunately, the solace of her knitting circle is invaded by none other than Matt shortly after. And his friendship with Fiona and Greg means that she won't be seeing the back of him any time soon. His first impression was bad enough, but somehow he manages to sink to even further depths the more she interacts with him. Matt is a brilliant computer science professor, but when it comes to people skills, he is sorely lacking.

“Just because I’m a reporter doesn’t mean I don’t get to have an opinion about people.”
“And your opinion of me is?”
“Very low.”
His eyes narrowed infinitesimally. “Is it my hair?”

He had a child-like bluntness about him, that like a child was completely innocent. Often times examining things from an analytical perspective, and questioning subjects in a way that was unintentionally insensitive. But he was also quick witted, warmhearted, and a loyal friend.

The good professor also has something very valuable that Marie would love to get her hands on. So she makes a deal with the to speak.

A truce is called, and a bargain is made: she will agree to take part in his research aiding in creating a Compassion AI (Artificial Intelligence Companion). And he will share his research data with her in return. Her recent decision to find other methods of personal fulfillment other than dating has inspired her to do her own research, and write an article about its viability. They move from enemies, to reluctant partners, to friends. But the attraction that flares between them quietly smolders. They're both dead set against relationships. Right? Why risk rejection or failure and possibly lose that person for good?

Sure, he hadn’t said anything, but he was just so . . . so . . . big sigh. Brilliant and affectionate, and hilarious—so hilarious—and handsome—so handsome—and just wonderful. I felt like maybe our friendship was on the precipice of becoming something more.

The different dating alternatives tested by them were creative, unique, and loaded with humor. I really enjoyed seeing these two dance around their feelings for one another. The angst built to an extraordinary level just waiting for them to work through their fears.

My only reason for not giving this a full five was because admittedly, the first half I had difficulty in engaging with the main characters like I should have. My guess would be that it was due in part to the fact that there had to be substantial foundation built around the AI topic and how it could theoretically replace relationships. While it was all very fascinating and aimed towards the overall message, I was struggling to feel the romance. Or maybe it was just the pace of the slow burn? Whatever the case may be, the second half had me swooning and rooting for their hard-earned HEA.

This book was sweet, sexy, and the bonus time with the previous couples was like a cherished reunion with best friends. But even if you're new to the series, this is a complete standalone so you're ready to read whenever you choose. Dating-ish is sure to provide hours of entertainment and an original story that will educate you on the varied roles of robotics. It's everything you've come to expect from Penny Reid in an unexpected package.


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