Dating-ish by Penny Reid
Series: Knitting in the City #6 (can be read as a stand-alone)
Publication Date: May 16, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Add on Goodreads
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?
‘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.
No two Penny Reid characters are the same. They’re distinctive beings. With some authors, I find they write the same protagonists in every book just changing the name, place, and occupation. Not Reid. Each character is a unique individual with different likes, quirks, interests, and beliefs. Marie’s story did not disappoint. How she finds her person is unique, different, and just lovely.
“I think, on some level, we’d all like to believe we’re special. That something – be it tangible or intangible – makes each person unique.”
There was depth in this story. The characters felt real and tangible. I identified with Marie so much. I felt her pain when she talked about dating in this day and age. People always seem to be looking for the next best thing. You have seconds to make a first impression – if it’s not a good one then it is easy for the other person to ignore you, or not call you, or never see you again. No one seems to want to work for anything anymore. They want instant gratification. They want love now, and they don’t want to do the work to get it. It’s disheartening and discouraging, and Marie feels these things acutely during her search for love.
“It’s not just a want. It’s not just envy that causes me to feel so inadequate and alone. It’s not just that I hate going home to an empty apartment. I need a person. My person. It’s why I want to fall in love, and be loved, and love.”
I loved the progression of Marie and Matt’s relationship. It was slow, steady, and natural. A true friends-to-lovers, slow burn love. My favorite kind, and Reid did a freaking FANTASTIC job writing a realistic progression of friends-to-lovers! Marie and Matt didn’t see each other and two seconds later decide OMG I LOVE YOU. Marie even hints that she wasn’t very attracted to Matt at first because of his personality.
“What the flipping fracking fresh hell is this?”
Something mentioned in the book is the fact that a person can become more or less attractive the more you get to know them, and I agree. With Marie, while she found Matt’s physical attributes attractive, her attraction to him kind of snuck up on her. His initial impression personality-wise was not a good one. But the more she got to know him, the closer they got as friends, the more attractive he became to her; personality and all.
“Stealing a look at him, I conducted a quick survey of the good professor. Yep. Still hot.”
“Trying not to laugh was becoming a habit around him.”
Even though Marie and Matt let their fears of being vulnerable interfere with moving their relationship forward, they eventually found a way to be honest with themselves and each other. A big part of the book deals with the idea that perhaps robots would make better companions and friends than actual humans. It was an interesting topic, and really made me think. I love that each of Reid’s novels are multi-dimensional; they make her readers think. Not only are the love stories inspiring, the topics are interesting, intriguing, and smart.
“Everyone is ignorant about something, and everyone is offended by something. If people can’t have a calm, respectful dialogue without being hurt by ignorance, or without offending with insensitivity, then what the hell are we supposed to do? Surround ourselves with robots who don’t challenge our ideas?”
In addition to the love story, the examples of friendship in this book made me wish for a group of friends like these knitting gals. It feels like in real life, everyone is so caught up in their own lives that no one wants to take the time and make the effort to make and nurture meaningful relationships and friendships. But the support and love these ladies give to each other is so heartwarming, touching, and definitely made me tear up!
For loyal Reiders, there are lots of extra special Easter Eggs and sneak peeks in Dating-ish. I loved finding each and every one of these! I’m sure I’ll discover more when I do my reread… or rereads if I’m honest!
I have no doubt you’ll love reading about Matt and Marie. I’m so happy she finally found her person. It encourages me that one day I’ll find my person too.
I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Excerpt from Dating-ish
He was quiet for bit, we both were, and I felt myself relax more and more. His palm took a detour every so often, dutifully skipping my hip and sliding along my side, and then back to my leg. Soon, I was so relaxed I felt drowsy.
I felt fingers in my hair, moving the mass away from my neck with treasuring strokes just before Matt nuzzled the back of my neck, causing goosebumps to scatter over my skin.
“Mmm.” I smiled. “Hey. Jared said no tickling.” My voice sounded sleepy.
“Does this tickle?” Matt asked softly, nuzzling me again. I felt the brush of his lips—not a kiss, a brush—paired with hot breath against the bare skin of my neck and a zing shot straight down my spine, making my toes curl and a sudden hot ache twist in my lower belly.
I knew that ache. I hadn’t felt it because of another person’s touch in quite a long time. Nevertheless, no one ever forgets that ache.
My back arched instinctively, my bottom pressing back against his crotch, and I stiffened. I felt my nipples harden, strain beneath the cotton of my bra. I was now fully awake. No longer drowsy.
Not even a little.
Matt stiffened, too. His movements abruptly ceasing.
“Are you okay? What’s wrong?” he asked, alarm coating his words, and in the next moment his hand was suspended in the air above me. “Did I touch something I shouldn’t?”
I exhaled a short, nervous laugh, gripped by the urge to sit up.
“No. No. You didn’t.” I moved to the edge of the bed, righting myself, away from Matt, needing distance. “I’m good.” I gathered a silent breath and released it slowly because my pulse was racing.
Crap, Marie. Get a grip. It’s Matt Simmons. Professor Matt. The big kid. Why are you reacting this way?
“Did I . . .” These initial words were hesitant, and a moment of silence stretched before he continued, his tone comically teasing as he finished his thought. “Did I arouse you?”
I snorted, shaking my head, laughing at his silly tone. Turning at the waist to peer at him over my shoulder, Matt was grinning at me, twisting a make-believe mustache between his thumb and forefinger.
But then he stopped.
“I did, didn’t I?” he pushed, his hand dropping. He looked pleased, if not a little amazed.
I sighed, feeling a smidge embarrassed, and nodded. “Actually, yes. That’s a sensitive spot for most women.”
“The back of your neck?” He lifted himself to one elbow, his eyes darting to my neck with keen interest.
“My neck in general, actually.”
“Huh.” Matt frowned thoughtfully. “Where else?”
I pressed my lips together and gave him an incredulous look. “I’m not telling you that.”
“What if I needed it for research reasons?”
“What if I told you it was part of our questionnaire?” He tossed his legs over the side of the bed and stood, walking around to my side and offering me his hand. “You should give me a schematic of your body with the erogenous zones circled and rated.”
“Let me guess, you want them rated on a ten-point scale,” I deadpanned as I accepted his hand, stood, and stepped away to gain some distance and straighten my shirt.
He shrugged, crossing his arms, stalking after me. “Or exponential. I was going to say a Likert scale, but a logarithmic scale works, too.”
Chuckling, appreciative of his attempt to diffuse my embarrassment and awkwardness with the joke, I realized Matt Simmons wasn’t a bad guy. He might even be a good guy, just a little . . . peculiar.
And wants to replace romantic relationships with robots. Best not forget that detail.
Yeah, he’d make an interesting friend.
“Thanks.” I gave him a small smile.
“For what?” His eyes moved between mine.
“For the cuddle. Thanks for the cuddle, Matt.”
“Anytime, Marie.” He grinned down at me, his eyes dancing as he leaned forward and whispered, “Anytime.”
Meet the Author: Penny Reid
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.