Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Searching for Perfect by Jennifer Probst - Releasing April 29, 2014

Searching for Perfect
by Jennifer Probst

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Published by: Gallery Books on April 29, 2014
Genres: Dating & Sex, Social Issues, New Adult
Pages: 384
Source: ARC from Publisher
Rating: 4 1/2 Stars

NOTICE: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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 Nate Ellison Raymond Dunkle, rocket scientist, nerd extraordinaire, and Kennedy’s newest client.

Kennedy vows to work her magic and 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 a tormented past and lifelong struggle with weight issues. 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?

After reading the synopsis, this book sounded like the classic story of "Nerdy, unpopular character gets makeover, becomes hot and gets the girl/guy." Who doesn't love seeing someone transform from a shadow of themselves into their best form and find happiness at the end of the story? And that's exactly what I expected to find in Jennifer Probst's second installment of her series featuring Kinnections, an up-and-coming matchmaking agency in New York. Fortunately for me, I was only half-right in regards.

Searching for Perfect is a book about an ugly duckling turning into a visual swan, but it's also about being true to your inner self and not changing that for anyone or anything. It's a story of friendship, unconditional love, and trust. It's a story about finding yourself when you already think you've got things figured out. It's a story worth reading.

Kennedy Ashe is a modern day Henry Higgins at Kinnections. Her goal? Turn Nate Dunkle into the best version of himself so that he can find a wife.

As Kennedy and Nate spend time together, shopping for new clothes, working out, getting his hairstyle updated and practicing the art of conversation - something Nate sorely needs - something begins to happen. Nate's honesty and forthrightness about his childhood - mother leaving, school bullying and all - make Kennedy feel at ease with a man for the first time in her life. After being sexually bullied in her teenage years for being overweight and well-endowed, her fear of men only leaves time for quick one-night-stands. She never thought it was possible for her to have a real, long-term relationship with a man, but after hanging out with Nate, she begins to feel more than just a sexual attraction for him. Kennedy starts to feel something akin to love.

Despite their growing feelings for one another, Kennedy continues to push a reluctant Nate at other women from the matchmaking agency, assuring him that they can give him what she can't - a future. Things get intense after Nate lays every part of himself on the line for her. Will she be able to get past her own insecurities to go for what she wants, or will her damaged self-esteem hold her back and keep her from her true destiny?

I liked many of the themes in the book. As a woman who suffered with an eating disorder for many years in my twenties following a sexual assault, I identified with Kennedy's character. I understood her body shame and feelings of inadequacy. It's hard to get those old messages of hate out of your head long enough to allow yourself to feel the good in someone who deserves your trust. Jennifer Probst did a great job of making Kennedy into a real person with real feelings.

Did I mention that there were some hot love scenes? Hot. I don't want to spoil anything, but the scene in front of the mirror was the most intense scene I've ever read. Loved it.

Overall, I give Searching for Perfect 4 1/2 stars and am looking forward to going back and reading the first installment in the series about Kinnections.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jennifer Probst is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of contemporary romance fiction, both sexy and erotic.

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