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Monday, January 6, 2014

Review + $25 Giveaway: Sparks The Matchmaker by Russell Elkins

Sparks The Matchmaker by Russell Elkins, 2013, AF -clean romance, ebook, 244p, Rating=4
Source: provided by author through tour host in exchange for an honest review

Ollie just wants one thing. The girl.

Things haven’t been going so well with Anne lately, though; their relationship has become a perpetual study date, and Ollie’s roommates are starting to worry about him. How to fix things? Why, with a marriage proposal, of course.

Unfortunately for Ollie, his relationship with Anne has run out of gas. Life feels like it’s counting down to one. And that one is the only person in Ollie’s life he really cares about: Ollie. Perhaps, then, he should get over himself. But first he has to deal with Sparks, the irritating little Yankees fan who invades his life in order to “help” him. And while Keith, his best friend, is doing all he can to help, Ollie’s other friend Richie never fails to show up and threaten to ruin everything just by being himself. Never mind all the drama Sparks brings to the party by forcing Ollie to take a job actually helping people in need.

Will Ollie meet the girl? Will it be in history class? On a road trip to Colorado? Can he get over Anne, or should he try to mend the relationship? Should he pursue the new girl Sparks is trying to set him up with? As the strings of the puppeteer tangle with the strings of the heart, only one person can sort out the mess Ollie has made. It seems that the harder he tries, the more Ollie messes things up. Is Sparks a cruel manipulator, or is he really going to help Ollie find his match?

This was an easy and light read with a wholesome feel to it.  I imagine this plot fitting into one of an episode of "Touched by An Angel" ...only, Sparks wasn't an angel giving messages of hope from God as Monica did in the TV series ...or was he?  I suppose we'd learn more in the coming installments.  Anyway, I enjoyed the bunch of characters (especially the supporting characters).  I found a moderate amount of amusing banter.  The dialogue exchange sounded typical of guy talks one might see in a movie (do guys really talk like that in real life, not sure?!).  Also, the female characters brought a good share of suspense and drama to the mix.  Consequently, I was entertained.  I liked Ollie's coming of age road that he had directed himself to go.  Plus, I appreciated the heart factor that came to play, between strangers, friends, and love interests, that eventually brought to this book's good feel ending.  Therefore, I was sated.  So was I surprised to find out that this has a continuation.  That's fine with me!  I like reading books that share the message that you find yourself in the service of others.  I find them comforting and relaxing so it would be a treat to "hang out" with these characters again and see where life takes them from here. 

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The professor began talking about Tiananmen Square. Ollie decided he couldn’t wait any longer. He put the back of his hand to his mouth and whispered out the side of it, “Tell me who.”

“What? I can't hear you.”

A little louder, “Who’s the girl?”

“Huh? Speak up.”

Ollie pretended he was clearing his throat. “AH-Who?!” People heard him that time, and some turned to give him looks. He flushed crimson.

“I was just kidding,” Sparks said. “I heard you the first time.”

“Jerk.” Ollie said it much too loudly. Half the class, including the professor, stopped to look at him. “Sorry,” he said. “Those Chinese army guys were jerks. You know,” he gestured to the slideshow image of the student confronting the tank in Tiananmen Square.

Class went on.

Sparks leaned in. “That's not going to help you catch the girl. She heard you loud and clear with that one.”

Ollie forgot about the history lesson and scanned the room again. She must be sitting somewhere close. He knew she would have to be attractive, or Sparks would never feel confident in what he was doing. In thirty seconds he narrowed his investigation down to two suspects.

He looked at Sparks and then pointed to a beautiful curly- haired brunette one row in front of him and 4 chairs to the right. He raised his eyebrows as if to ask, Is it her?

Sparks nodded, and Ollie felt a jolt of excitement run through him. He wasn’t sure whether or not Sparks would tell him who the girl was, even if he guessed right. He felt like something was going to happen in his favor for once. His future finally had a face. And it’s gorgeous! A smile spread itself luxuriantly across his face.

He spent the rest of his class time studying. But not history.

He carefully observed the way she chewed her bottom lip as she concentrated. He memorized every curl in her long brown hair. He took mental notes on every tiny detail.

Hearing other students start to rustle around, Ollie looked up at the clock and saw that the bell was soon to ring. Ollie didn't move. There was only one person in the class who was still listening to the lecture and she was the only other person who hadn't begun to pack up her books, waiting for the bell to ring. So he sat and studied her some more.

“You're going to need to stall a little,” Sparks said after the bell finally rang. “She's planning on sticking around after class to ask the professor something.”

“I'm going to meet her right now?” He was getting nervous.

Ollie waited just outside the classroom, trying to look nonchalant. He watched as students from other rooms and lecture halls began pouring into the hallway. He was tall enough to be able to monitor the many heads tightly packing in together as the stream of students gradually grew larger and larger, flowing toward the exits. From his vantage point he eventually saw a familiar curly brown head slip into the stream, so he bravely dove into the current that swept toward the doors where it opened up outside into an ocean of college students.

Ollie sat in his history class thinking about his future. His eyes darted from one pretty face to another, wondering which girl Sparks would be setting him up with. Sparks, who sat next to him, was smug. He had expected Sparks to have informed him by the time class started, but that didn’t happen. Of course. He’s maximizing his investment in my misery.

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Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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