Monday, October 24, 2005

Match Me If You Can by SEP

Warning: Gushing ahead! I know I'm going to sound like a giddy teenager but I can't help myself. I got Match Me If You Can on CD from the library, popped it into my car's CD player and fell in love with the characters, the witty dialogue, and wonderful humor. Utterly charming! The dialogue just plain sparkled from beginning to end. It looks like I've found another DIK for 2005 because I loved it!

And let me tell you it was pure torture listening to this book in the car because when I got to my destination (running back and forth to work, errands, etc.) I couldn't shut off the CD player. I don't know how many times I got home and sat in my garage for 10 minutes unable to stop listening, worried my husband would come out and find me sitting there and wonder what in hell his crazy wife was doing - ok, he's probably used to it by now. I finally gave up and brought the last 2 CD's in the house and locked myself in the den with my portable CD player ("Honey, don't disturb me, please, while I'm paying bills and balancing the checkbook." yeah right, I sure fooled him :) .

Annabelle Granger inherits her grandmother's matchmaking business ('Matches by Myrna') that she now calls 'Perfect for You.' She is determined to make her business a success and figures the best way to do that is to land wealthy, gorgeous and successful Heath Champion as a client. Heath, nicknamed 'The Python' (stupid name BTW) is a ruthless sports agent (think 'Jerry Maguire') who is looking for a wife and doesn't have the time to look for one on his own. You know the type. He works 24/7 with a cell phone glued to his ear. So he contracts with Annabelle and rival matchmaker, Portia Powers of 'Power Matches', to introduce him to likely candidates. He is looking for the perfect wife which Annabelle describes as "athletic, domestic, gorgeous, brilliant, socially connected, and pathologically submissive." It takes him a long time but he eventually figures out that none of these candidates are as perfect for him as Annabelle.

Annabelle is a wonderfully charming character; red-haired with a big heart and a snappy sarcastic wit. It took me a little while to warm up to Heath but after the 'Princess Party' I fell in love with him. No sappiness there, just pure delight. The gruff exterior hid a heart of marshmallow but it still takes him a while longer to work through his emotional baggage from his childhood to reach an epiphany about Annabelle and what makes the 'perfect match' for him.

I loved the dialogue between Heath and Annabelle and the scenes where they trade insults were sharp and witty and had me laughing out loud which I rarely do. Heath and Annabelle's final confrontation was very emotional and sizzling. The secondary love story between Portia and Heath's 'bodyguard', Bodie, was hot and intense and was excellently done. Phoebe Calebow (from It Had to Be You) plays a prominent role with appearances by other characters from the 'Chicago Stars' series. The real scene stealer is Molly's (This Heart of Mine) little 3-year old daughter, Pip, and her interactions with Heath were priceless. Normally, I'm not too fond of children in romance books but Pip is not too babyish or too precocious and was a perfect foil for Heath's arrogance and she cuts him down to size. I loved the epilogue too.

This was my favorite contemporary of the year. Unfortunately, I had to return the CDs to the library (after replaying the last CD three times). So I want my own copy of this book but I don't usually buy hardback and I can feel a need to re-read coming on. So I can't figure out whether I should just go out and buy the HB or put it on my Christmas list. I have a feeling that I'm not going to last 'til Christmas so I'll probably be making a stop at Borders. I definitely can't wait for the PB :)

My Grade: A


CindyS said...

I haven't read a SEP in ages and now an A review for a HC! My wallet is going to be way lighter after this weekend.

I went through your past reviews and I have determined that you are the number one blogger for increasing my wishlist! No! No prize! ;)


ReneeW said...

Thanks, I live to serve. No prize? That's harsh. :) Seriously, my wallet is going to suffer on this one too so I'll commiserate with you.

Tara Marie said...

I know so many people aren't huge SEP fans, but I am. This one is going on my Christmas Wish List. Thanks for a great review

La Karibane said...

Loved it too, Heath was a cynic with a heart for the taking, such a sexy combination. And that secondary love story, so hot and dark!!!! Kinda reminded me of the Parents in Heaven, Texas, IIRC.

I love SEP and look forward to the next book, with the rookie gold boy whatshisface...

Karen Scott said...

I don't know anybody who's read this book who hasn't loved it. There's been so much hype round it that I'm tempted to wait till next year to buy it! I would hate to be disappointed due to higher than average expectations. I have been burnt before. Sigh.

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