Dating by the Book

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 12 Jul 2019

Member Reviews

This was a very sweet story that felt very Hallmark movie to me. Had some fun book references, interesting characters. The story didn’t wow me - but it was fun.
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This book was not really my cup of tea. I didn’t really relate to the main character, Maddie. Months ago she was left at the alter and is now running a bookstore in her small town. She has also written a novel under a pen name that no one knows about. 

When the first review comes in with 3 stars Maddie is first incensed at the criticism of the reviewer known as Silver Fox, their correspondence turns into another kind of relationship and with the anonymity of the internet, Maddie is able to work out some of her fears, testing out fragile thoughts while gaining a few epiphanies. 

Several men are vying for her attention and it seems like she is to caught up in herself to notice. The book had a good foundation but I felt like there was a lot going on and it seemed a little to jumbled to me.
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I received a free copy from netgalley in exchange an honest review. Dating by the book is a retelling of You've Got Mail and  little shop around the corner.  Maddie receives a bad review for her first novel and is told that she needs to get the love life basically because she doesn't know how to write Romance. This inspires her to take a risk and all of a sudden there are potential partners everywhere. I feel like the romance was underdeveloped. It feels like we should have felt something because they were friends first but it's never really presented properly. The story was good but again it felt underdeveloped in the romance Department ironic because that's exactly the issue reviewer had with Maddie's book.  3.5 stars
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I love books about bookish people, so when I discovered that Dating by the Book is about a woman who is an author and owns a quaint little bookshop I was immediately excited to dive in. The fact that she hosts a book club was icing on the cake for me. 

1. This is just a happy book. It’s so light and happy and sweet. It reads like a Hallmark movie, and we all know how much I love those. It also reminds me of the movie, You’ve Got Mail, with the cute bookshop and the mysterious emailer and the big competitor wanting to buy out the little guy. It all felt very familiar in a comfortable way.

2. Maddie is super relatable. She was left at the altar, and is anti-romance right now. She did one of those bad things authors aren’t supposed to do, and read online reviews for one of her books. I don’t know why she got so bent out of shape over a 3-star review, but she did and she let it fester and fester until she wrote to the author of the review and let him have it. A big no-no! But since this is a happy, fluffy, sweet book the two form a bit of a friendship. Luckily he doesn’t go and subtweet about her on Twitter! He claims her book wasn’t good because she doesn’t know real romance, real passion, and she sets out to prove him wrong. She’s human. She makes really dumb mistakes and has a bunch of men after her. I loved her and hated her.

3. I loved the mystery of the Silver Fox, and his emails back and forth with Maddie. Their flirtations and deeper conversations were really fun to read. I was dying to figure out who he was!

4. I found the book club discussions to be rather boring and drawn out, but not enough to detract from the book. Maddie’s book club reads and discusses the classics, and since I’ve read very few of them I kind of felt like one of those kids who sits at the dinner table with their chin in their hand, bored to death by the grown-ups having grown-up conversations that they have nothing to add to. It’s just no fun listening to people talk about something you have no knowledge/interest in, and that’s how I felt skimming through their book chats. Luckily they didn’t last too long!

5. Mary Ann Marlowe is a great writer! Everything flowed nicely, and I was very comfortable while reading. I didn’t get tripped up by details, and I followed everything. I loved the humor and the way she wrote her characters.

All in all, this was a win for me! I loved everything about this book, and would love to go and visit these characters (particularly a few of the minor ones) to get their stories. There’s a bookish professor who I’d love to see get his own love story. Highly recommended!
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D- review at SBTB: 

https://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/reviews/dating-by-the-book-by-mary-ann-marlowe/
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Thank you to Netgalley for the ARC. 

I had hard time with this one. I couldn’t connect neither to the story nor to the characters. There was chemistry lacking. I wish I liked it more because I thought the premise  sounded interesting.
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DNF

I really wanted to love this book as I was a fan of Marlowe's previous titles, but I had a hard time getting into it. The primary reason why I couldn't connect to this book was the heroine. I felt like she was a bit all over the place and the scenario with all the guys frustrated me. I'll read Marlowe's books in the future as I still like her writing enough, but this one did not work for me.
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I received an Advanced Review Copy of Dating by the Book by Mary Ann Marlowe from the publisher Kensington Books in exchange for an honest review. 

I'm gonna be brief because I did not enjoy this book and don't want to write a terrible review, this book does definitely stress the pain of receiving a bad review and I think its important to be honest but not super harsh.

Here's the Good: This book is bookish. The lead character is an author who owns a bookstore and the love story is between the character and a mystery book reviewer. So there's that. 

However, this book was just too cheesy for me and I struggled through finishing it though I did. I think if you don't mind cheesy romances this could scratch this itch but it just really wasn't for me.
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I had a hard time with this book. I found it difficult to get a read on Maddie, much less connect with her (which is something I think you want for a romance/women's fiction read). Sometimes I could related, but most of the time, I really couldn't – even though her overall circumstances weren't that far out of the norm that I shouldn't have been able to. Also, when it came down to it, she really treated Max horribly throughout quite a bit of the book and then, voila, they're a happy couple? I never really felt that their relationship grew organically/believably. 

*Advance copy provided by NetGalley. All opinions are my own.*
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Thanks so much to NetGalley and publisher for providing an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

This was a very entertaining book.   It was well written and I found the characters to be very relatable.   I enjoyed the references to classic novels as well.   The one thing that didn't sit well with me was the idea of an author reaching out to a reviewer because of a 3 star review;  that would be very disconcerting to me.   However,  once I got over that point,  I found that plot line interesting and it kept me guessing.    I'm going to keep my eyes open for more books from this author!
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Dating by the book is such a fun and easy summer read. Not only are the references very literary, but the situations the main character finds herself in are truly right out of a book.

Maddie runs a bookstore, and is a secret author. She finds herself in a love quadrangle of sorts in which she must decide between men, as well as her life's work in the bookstore. She also gets a mediocre book review she perceives as somewhat trollish. After responding, she starts an online friendship with this stranger. All the while trying to save her store.

I loved this book so much. I felt like the situation was totally plausible and it really made me root
for one or the other of the guys. If you like fun, modern romance with some nice twists, definitely check this book out.
Also what made me laugh is the "meta" of it all. In this book, the author is writing about an author who receives a review. I am a reader, reading about this and then leaving a review. This...is not a 3 star book (totally 4 stars!!). Just
FYI.

I received this book for review purposes.
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If there were a "whodunit" genre of romance, DATING BY THE BOOK would be in it. I absolutely loved the mysterious elements of this story -- Who will Maddie end up with? Who keeps trying to sabotage the success of her adorable bookstore? And who is Silver Fox, anyway? More than once, my expectations were completely upended, in the best way possible, and I turned the last page with a huge smile on my face. (Also, I *loved* the references to characters in SOME KIND OF MAGIC and A CRAZY KIND OF LOVE! So cool to know this was part of the same world.) Another fabulous story from Mary Ann Marlowe; can't wait for the next one!
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This was a fun one! It reminded me of You've Got Mail with it's sweet vibe, warm hug of character-building, and that perfect simmer of romance. Marlowe is a master at creating settings, and impresses with her handling of a multi-faceted plot.. A great rainy day read. Hits right at the heartstrings and makes this a lovely book to share with a book club.
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Dating by the Book by Mary Ann Marlowe is an enjoyable sweet and fun romance, that kept me reading.  Maddie Hanson is a romance author, but since she was left at the alter, romance is the last thing on her mind.  When an anonymous blogger, Silver Fox, criticizes her for not knowing passion, the online bickering is on.  This book was so fun, and I loved the ending.  So perfect for a summer or beach read.  I highly recommend this book, just read, relax and enjoy.  I am looking to read more books by this author.

I reviewed a digital arc provided by NetGalley and Kensington Publishing. Thank you.
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I really liked this book, from its nerdy references (Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter) to the discussion of the more historical literary works (Jane Eyre, Little Women) as well as the peek behind the scenes of an author’s life, it was fun to read and very well written. There was also a bit of a mystery to solve, which I will not spoil, but it definitely kept me guessing and kept me reading!

That being said, this book should be considered less of a romance and more of a fantasy. Maddie, the heroine, had four men vying for her attention. Four! I can barely get one to show any interest, so I just had to chalk that up as a fantastical plot device. However, this was my first book by this author, and I requested it from Netgalley because I liked the summary, so I knew what I was getting into! I just had to suspend my disbelief a little bit. 

I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that Maddie has a bit of an online flirtation going on with a reviewer she knows as Silver Fox, and I loved this aspect of the story! I think the “flirty exchanges with an online stranger” storylines are super sexy and fun. If only real life online dating went as well as what I read in books!

I also love books that make me say, out loud, “oh wow...” and this one did. I’m looking forward to reading this author’s other books and I’d encourage you to give this one a try!
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Dating by the Book is a book written for book lovers.

The story follows 27 year old Maddie Hanson as she returns to her cozy small hometown Orion, to open up her bookstore. In order to keep her store afloat she does everything she can to increase sales, which includes running a weekly book club. In addition, she recently just released her debut book under a pen name. An author running a book store in a small town; doesn’t that sound like a bookworm’s dream? 🙂

It’s not surprising that Maddie was definitely a character that a typical book lover can relate with. Whether it’s subconsciously identifying herself with the heroine of the books she reads, or constantly trying to identify her real-life romantic hero, Maddie’s bookish tendencies are easily sympathized with readers. As well, her indecision and occasional cringe-worthy antics make her an even more likeable character.

It was definitely a nice read with so many literary references. The book is chock-full of book tropes, literary characters, and pays homage to great literature pieces! I got very excited when Maddie referred to characters like Lizzie from Pride and Prejudice, Scarlett from Gone with the Wind, or Jo from Little Women during conversations. Oh and The Little Prince. Did I ever mention that I loved The Little Prince? **Sighs**

Of course there were notable tropes and more guys than I warranted for, but I couldn’t help but be entertained as Maddie and the guys through around witty remarks at each other. I really enjoyed learning about the characters, and was pleasantly surprised when the book got much spicier [read the comment] halfway through. It kind of felt like the first half was there to establish the field for the players (ie. all of Maddie’s possible love interests), while the second half was where each of them took their shots. 

Plot-wise, the book was really fun to read, and I loved rooting for my ship and trying to guess which of these men was the anonymous Silver Fox. While rooting for which guy, I definitely had my biases; I’m a sucker for the boy-next-door trope, like Love Rosie, A Taxonomy of Love, etc etc, so there was no doubt that I was #TeamMadMax all the way.

I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed reading the book. Initially, I wasn’t quite sure about how I felt about books that talked about books, but the novel definitely changed my view. Maddie’s bookstore played a central role in the story, so a lot of the story took place there. I was expecting the book club discussions to be a bit boring to read, but it was so clever how Mary Ann Marlowe strategically chose the books read by the club to work in tandem with the plot. There could not have been a more suitable way to advance the plot of the book.

Some situations were a bit contrived, but then again this was meant to be a pleasant feel-good read. The spot-on humour and satisfying ending ultimately did achieve that.

It was a breeze through the book, and I have to say as a book reviewer, this book was so relateable. It felt like Marlowe wrote it for the book community to read. It was only fitting that Marlowe included a list of discussion questions at the end of the book. 🙂
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Maddie lives her life as if it is a romance novel. And just like in a boom there are ups and downs unfortunately it is way more downs than ups. Will Maddie get her happily ever after?
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I am on a romance reading kick right now due to my reading group studying the genre so I was looking forward to reading this book based on the good reviews and the description: a romance set in a bookstore with literacy references and romance heroes straight from novels.  However, this book really didn’t live up to my expectations despite it having some really good characters and being pretty well written. 

After being left at the alter 6 months ago, Maddie returns home to the small town she grew up in to run the bookstore she spent her childhood reading in.  She is also a first time author and her book is about to be published. While she reflects on what went wrong with her fiancé, she is drawn to three different men in town.  Charlie, a professor who spends his days sitting in her store, Dylan, her high school boyfriend and rising rock star, and Max, her best friend’s brother and onetime reading buddy.   Are any of these the romance hero she has been looking for?  And what about “Silver Fox,” the reviewer who she trades barbs with online over her new book?  Can she find her happily ever after?

Things I Liked:
The writing was clever and easy to read.  I enjoyed Marlowe’s witty banter between the characters and her vast knowledge of literary characters.  I really enjoyed her comparison of Max, Dylan, Peter, and Charlie to the likes of Rochester and Darcy.  If you like classic novels, you will love the amount of references this book has---they really made the book fun to read. I also discovered that I really like when characters make connections over writing, as Silver Fox and Maddie did through email and Twitter messages.  I think it gives the romance more depth when people fall in love before meeting and it reminded me of all those classic romances that Maddie spends her time reading.  

The male characters were entertaining and given depth I didn’t except, given that there are so many of them.  Even the ones that only had a few pages here and there were interesting.  I especially liked Max and his friendship with Maddie.  I thought it was believable that the two would be friends for so long and bought the evolution of their relationship.  

Things I Didn’t Like:

MADDIE.  I found her to be annoying, naïve, and clearly unaware that her ex-fiancé was emotionally abusive to her.    Even when people in town, who she had known her whole life, and good friends told her about his actions after the break up, she still contemplated getting back together with him. Not only that, she actually tries to figure out what she did wrong to bring about the breakup.  I couldn’t stand it.  I was done with this storyline about 10 pages in. 

The “meh” nature of the romance.  I appreciate that Marlowe tried to trick the readers into the true identity of Silver Fox but once revealed, the romance didn’t wow me.  I had a hard time believing that Maddie’s feelings would change so quickly when she spent so much of the book going back and forth over her feelings for her ex-fiancé.  I just didn’t buy the relationship in the end which was disappointing because I liked so many of the potential partners. 

Conclusion:
I had high hopes for this book but it ultimately fell flat for me.  I really liked the literary references and the characters that inhabited the town but didn’t like the main character which led to my disappointment. I did like the writing however, so I would pick up another title by the author.
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Please note: I received an advance digital copy of this book through NetGalley from Kensington Books in exchanged for an honest review. This does not influence my opinions in any way.

Madeleine Hanson, or Maddie as she’s known to her friends, was left standing at the altar on her wedding day after her then fiancé gave her the ultimatum between himself and her dreams. Now she’s the owner of a struggling bookshop that's under threat of being taken over by her childhood friend Max’s bakery, and a soon to-be published author of a novel (albeit under an alias). Except the advance copy of her novel is severely criticized by an anonymous blogger who goes by Silver Fox online, accusing her of knowing nothing about love and passion. To prove him wrong and to get her love life back on track (or rather into existence again), Maddie decides to pursue various suitors and find her romantic hero. And where better to start looking than her own book club?
I absolutely loved Maddie. I found her very relatable with how she second-guessed her decision to give up her rich, yet unsupportive fiancé to chase after her dreams, how she slipped literary references into real life situations, how she preferred fictional men to nonfictional men due to her raised expectations, how she doubted her writing capabilities. Even her struggles to write a believable, passionate romance between her main characters due to her lack of recent experience was so relatable. And the fact that she loves strawberries and books, was the cherry on the cake. I seriously want her life. The only time she and I weren’t on the same page (see what i did there?) was when she instigates a personal attack on Silver Fox for his 3-star review. I get it, she was drunk, that was so not cool. I did end up loving their interactions after though.  I love reading about people falling in love through letters. And can I just say, the smut they exchanged near the end was just wow! Swoon worthy! Which made their actual intimate scene so much more meaningful. 
There are love triangles in this book since is Maddie considering potential suitors. 
First there’s Charlie, a regular at her bookshop and a university professor. Though they do mildly flirt, he seemed otherwise oblivious to Maddie’s advances. I did enjoy their literary spars and their friendship though. And I liked how Maddie came clean to him once all was said and done.
There’s also Dylan, her ex boyfriend from high school and a popular rockstar who’s back in town. Sparks fly between them from the get-go and though he does care for Maddie and draws musical inspiration from her, I liked how Maddie knew better than to get seriously involved with him, someone who wouldn’t be able to fully commitment to her. Though their relationship was bittersweet, but I wasn't overly invested in them. Like Layla, her best friend, had said, #TeamMadDylan doesn’t sound so great and more like her own name.
And lastly, there is Max, Maddie's childhood friend and first kiss. Can I just say, out of all the suitors, he was my favourite! I’m usually hesitant to delve into a book with a friends-to-lovers trope since I had bad luck with finding books that pull it off well, but here I was shipping these two from their first scene together. I loved his sense of humour, his teasing, his protectiveness of and his desire to help her anyway he could. I liked how he told her things she needed to hear even when she didn’t want to hear them. I looked forwarded to whenever he was on page and honestly worried they weren't endgame, since at the start of the novel, she did look at him as part of a family she never had. But like Layla said, #Team MadMax all the way!
Even Silver Fox turns into a potential suitor as his and Maddie’s digital interactions turn flirtatious. I liked how the narrative kept us guessing at his identity. I didn’t have a clue until about halfway through the novel, when I only had a hunch that I wasn’t even hundred percent sure about. Since Silver Fox was the name of the bus Dylan had boarded to leave town all those years ago. Since every time she messaged Silver Fox, she’d see Charlie sitting in his corner with his laptop open reacting accordingly. Since Silver Fox is also one of Max’s favourite characters from Little Prince as a kid. It could've even belong to her ex finance, Peter, who returned near the end of the novel, since he liked to appear older than he really was to move up the corporate ladder.
  I loved how once Maddie discovered the true identity of Silver Fox, she began seeing Max in a different light, unburdened by baggage of their childhood friendship. She realizes how, in a way, she had also always loved him like he had loved her. I loved how once Max found out Maddie was the author he was writing to, that she also loved him and wanted to be with him, he didn’t jump into a relationship right away. I was so afraid it’d go that way. But the author handled it perfectly, making him doubt her (cause the man has been rejected by the same girl twice!) and wait her out while she tried to convince him of her feelings and prove they wouldn’t change. And gosh that ending! With them in her dream home, was so cute and hot and romantic, I melted! I honestly can go on listing their cute, adorable, romantic, and sometimes heartbreaking scenes, but this review is getting ridiculously long, so I’ll stop here. 
Talking about Peter, he was a manipulative bastard and I’m so glad Maddie saw through him, choosing to chase her dreams than marry him, even if he did force that decision onto her. 
So yes, that’s five guys in total which is yikes! But honestly, each guy brings something new to the table, whether it’s Dylan with his passion, Charlie with his sense of security, Max with his friendship, and Silver Fox with literary criticism and his zest for life. I felt all the relationships are maturely handled, even Maddie’s showdown with Peter didn't feel unnecessarily dramatic.
All the various plot-lines weaved through each other and wrapped up together wonderfully without anything feeling like tacked on . The references to various books I’ve also enjoyed -- like Pride and  Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, even Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda -- was a joy to read and reemphasized how Maddie was a booklover. 
I really loved this book so much, I want a physical copy for my bookshelf. I highly recommend this novel if you’re in the mood for romance and women’s fiction. I know I’ll definitely be checking out other works by this author. Thank you so much Kensington Books and NetGalley for giving me a opportunity to read and review this book.
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*3.5 stars*
This was my first book by the author, and I enjoyed this one. It’s a romantic comedy set in a bookstore. For a reader, this was a dream come true. There were conversations about books they were reading in the book club, which I absolutely loved. Maddie owned the bookstore, and was also a writer. Her first book is coming out, and she reads an early unfavorable review, and that sets the course of the novel on it’s way. It’s a unique setup and there were many male characters, so you can’t easily guess who she’s going to end up with in the end. I struggled a little with Maddie’s character. I didn’t like how indecisive she was. Personally, I found it incredibly frustrating. I thought the writing was good, and the idea was clever. While the main character was not my personal favorite, I still enjoyed this and I will definitely be picking up more of the author’s books in the future. 

* ARC provided by NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
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