I'll tell you this, Dating-ish is a guaranteed book hangover. A standalone novel that will surprise you with its depth and intensity. One that'll have you laughing and crying, swooning and wanting, needing all good things for these characters. You'll ache, feel devastated at times, but it will leave you so happy and fulfilled. It's deep. Heartfelt. Very, very heartfelt. In fact, this is the most HEARTFELT novel I have read this year. Memorable. Profound. Well written. Heart tugging. Man, do I LOVE IT!
OK! So... Here are some of the things I am thinking! (Sorry, I have to structure my thoughts because they're a mess of a million and one things when it comes to this book!)
1. I read Dating-ish in a day. ONE. SINGLE. DAY! That's crazy for me. Because...
a) I'm a super slow reader.
And b) Penny's books aren't short.
So the fact that I sat down, did not get distracted, and finished this novel in less than 12 hours tells you just how fantastic it is.
2. These characters are quirky and charming, funny and sweet and also, REALLY SEXY! Yes, sexy as in "whoa, baby!" I was WOWED by the sexy times. I mean, hey, hey, heyyyyyyyy, hottie Matt! ::waggles brows:: My jaw dropped. The man has MOVES. And Penny Reid had her couple getting down and dirty for her readers. Maybe I've been living under a rock. I certainly haven't read all of Penny's books, only several in this series, but I don't remember them being this crazy hot. Matt had my heart pounding! Delicious. And ooohhhh, did it make me feel ALL THE FEELS. ::giggles:: Goodness!
3. THIS BOOK HURT. A lot. There's no other way to say it. It hurt in way that I felt pain everywhere. A way that will make me remember every moment of this novel. It felt profound. It touched on human connection. It explained things so eloquently. I felt like Penny didn't just write a standard romance (not that I was expecting that), she dug DEEP and wrote a romance that was layered, smart, well thought out, and authentic. It felt genuine. And again, heartfelt. This book had so much soul.
4. Matt and Marie's romance is a decadent slow burn. A sizzling, heart stopping, chest aching, belly tingling, goose-bump inducing, soul searing, slow burn. They start off disliking each other and then it shimmies into this sweet friendship that developes into so much more. It's WELL PACED. Everything in this novel has a purpose, a reason. Every chapter moves the plot forward. There's no filler. It's not contrived or over the top. These characters are developed and shaped, given life one word at a time in the most exemplary way.
5. Matt and Marie's connection, their chemistry, their dynamic steals the air right out of your lungs. Matt's a complex, broken man and he RUINS YOU. He makes you want to wrap your arms around him and snuggle him forever. He's had a childhood that's been devoid of love. It shows in who he is. And the way Marie responds to that brokenness will set your pulse racing. These two have a connection that felt intrinsic. It's certainly tangible. I felt it, and I fell in love with them! With my nose buried in the pages, my lungs breathing the words as if they were my air, I was memorized, hypnotized, intoxicated by their need for one another. It felt like everything to me.
6. The writing is smart. WHIP SMART. Though I'll admit, I struggled with the first 30-ish%. The robot topic wasn't my thing. I was a tad bored. I wanted more Matt and Marie times. I'm selfish like that. Kind of an "instant gratification" kind of reader. I'll admit that. LOL. ::hangs head in shame:: And you know what? Penny taught me a lesson. She taught me to be patient. To NEVER give up on characters because I'm not getting what I want, when I want it. I mean, oh my God, could you imagine? If I had stopped reading because I was a little bored, I would have missed out on the most beautiful romance ever. A romance that's buried itself inside me and made me feel so alive and happy and full of good things. So yes, pay attention. Keep reading. Everything in this book is there for a reason!
And 7. The story line is endearing. Marie and Matt start off badly. SUPER badly. It's hilarious and I wasn't sure how these two were going to handle each other from that first impression. I felt like the story was unique and had everything in it to kept you on your toes. Charming, sweet, and so moving! Such an incredible romance.
Overall, I'm in love with these characters and with their journey from start to finish. They are such good people. They made me want what they wanted. They made me feel what they felt. They made me understand them, where they were coming from, what made them tick, and who they were. I connected to them on a deep level, and I loved seeing their growth and progression throughout the book. Everything about Dating-ish felt RIGHT, AND FULL OF LIFE, AND PERFECT. I'm so impressed with Penny Reid. This is a story to be proud of. A sexy, smart, heartfelt romance that's so fantastic. Obviously, five stars from me!