Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Review: Perfectly Matched by Heather Webber

I really need to find a way to have my reviews ready for Tuesday morning. With my WEM and Hauling Sunday features on the week-end, I find that Tuesdays are perfect to post reviews... However, I never seem to have them ready, sigh. Any tips?

Today, I procrastinate the whole day instead of writing this review for Perfectly Matched by Heather Webber. Once I came home, I finally sat down and wrote it... It was that or cleaning my room. Guess what I'm procrastinating away now? LOL.


Perfectly Matched by Heather Webber
self-published in May 2012
The heat is on...

When Boston psychic Lucy Valentine finds herself involved in a group of eccentric psychics trying to learn more about their abilities, she is convinced a rare spring heat wave has flushed the crazies out of hiding.

Adding to her theory is her newest client in the Lost Loves division of Valentine, Inc., her family’s lucrative matchmaking firm. He’s an animal communicator who hires Lucy to find his purrfect mate—because his cat told him so.

But craziest of all is The Beantown Burner, a serial arsonist who is targeting private eye Sam Donahue, the brother of Lucy’s boyfriend, Sean. With the help of her kooky psychic group, Lucy must tap into abilities she didn’t know she had to catch the firebug before the fires turn deadly. What she never expected to discover is that the motive behind the flames hits a little too close to home...and her heart.
Genre: Cosy Mystery
Series: Lucy Valentine series, Book #4

The Story: As usual, Lucy Valentine has a lot on her plate. First, she has joined a group of psychics in order to learn more about her abilities and how to use them. Unfortunately, no luck so far which means she's still struggling and it's making her feel less than welcome with the other participants who are not shy to let their impatience show. Her newest client at Valentine, Inc. - the familial matchmaking business - doesn't seem to want to find his soul mate and admits to coming only because he's been prompted (read driven crazy) by Ebbie... his cat. He then vanishes without leaving a forwarding address or filling the questionnaire and dumps Ebbie in Lucy's lap! Then there's her grandmother urging her to move things along with Sean, her boyfriend, so she can get great-grandchildren. Her best friend Emerson is worried because her fianc√© Aidan has been acting weird and distracted. Finally, Paige, Lucy's new friend who is also dating Lucy's new-found brother, seems to have some health issues. Yep, a full plate... But oh wait! Let's not forget The Beantown Burner, the recent serial arsonist scaring Boston, who seems to be targeting Sam Donahue, Sean's brother... but is Sam really the target? One thing is sure, life is never boring with Lucy :)

My Opinion: If you've been following my blog for a while, you know that I've really been enjoying Ms Webber's Lucy Valentine series :) I find the mysteries interesting, like the touch of romance and really, really love the fluffy style. For me, that fluffiness definitively sets the series apart from other cosy mystery series, but also all other books in general :) As you can imagine, I was quite anxious to find out Lucy Valentine's fate as I knew Ms Webber was contracted for three books... I was ecstatic when I found out Ms Webber has written Perfectly Matched and was self-publishing it. It sucks that St. Martin's has not asked for more, but it's awesome that Ms Webber has gone ahead and continued this series for her fans!! And while Perfectly Matched had its flaws and was probably the weakest book in the series so far, I'm still glad I read it and I'm hoping for more!!

As you can read from my synopsis, there's a lot going on in Perfectly Matched. One would perhaps think too much, but Ms Webber makes it work. There are really three mysteries in Perfectly Matched: 1) the missing child the group of psychics are investigating, 2) the Beantown Burner and 3) who is Jeremy Cross, the man who left his cat behind. And to my surprise, not only did they blend well together, but there were also interesting connections. Another interesting aspect was how each case was handled and the investigative work it involved. That being said, I have to say the mystery in Perfectly Matched was the weakest element of the book ^_^; This really comes as a surprise to me because Ms Webber is usually so good with them. And actually, when I think about it, all three mysteries were interesting and I really enjoyed the twists - particularly in the missing child's case, I thought that was brilliant. The problem was in the execution.. I felt Ms Webber did a great job at setting the mystery up, but I felt the resolution was too abrupt and rushed, especially when it came to the Beantown Burner case. I thought the motive of the Beantown Burner was really weak and definitively could have been fleshed out more. And that's really Perfectly Matched's biggest flaw.

The rest of the book was great :) The fluffiness that is unique to this series is still there - yay!! And Ms Webber's writing is as usual - solid and enjoyable. And when it comes to the characters and relationships in Perfectly Matched, I'm a happy duck LOL. I like that they're all growing and evolving and that things are moving along. It's good that Ms Webber is not throwing in obstacles and conflicts just to stall or for drama. I like that Lucy and her two best friends, Marisol and Em, are still best friends and getting along well. I enjoy Lucy's growing friendship with Paige. I am sooo glad that Cutter has a slightly larger role in Perfectly Matched and that Lucy and Cutter's relationship is good - although I'm still waiting to read about it LOL. Lucy and Sean are still taking things slow because Lucy still fears the curse, but they do move in together and that's a good step in the right direction. I'm also glad to see Marisol and Em's love lives being developed, but in no way are they stealing Lucy's spotlights. I'm also curious about the new characters introduced, Jeremy and Dr. Paul, and I can't wait to find out more about them. Really, Ms Webber did a great job with this aspect of the book :) What's even more impressive though is that she did well without suddenly changing someone's personality!

Another thing that Ms Webber did well was the psychic aspect. There was just enough of it to make things interesting which is the way I like it :) I find that's always difficult because too little and the reader is like: "Where's the psychic aspect?", too much and the readers are rolling their eyes. Ms Webber understands that Lucy's gift helps her in her investigations, it does not solve them and that's what we get. I also think that Ms Webber has a good grasp of what she wants Lucy's abilities to be and that helps. Sometimes, I feel authors don't have a clear idea in mind and so, their characters become the Super Psychic with all the abilities you can imagine. Or they are supposed to have this kind of ability, but it blends in with so many others. But it's not the case with Ms Webber, she definitively has a clear idea. I also liked that Lucy is trying to learn more about her abilities and it's not easy :)

Finally, I want to bring up two little issues I had with Perfectly Matched. The first is that it really bothered me that in many instances, Lucy could not reach the people she called. I don't know, it's just a little bit too convenient :( The second has nothing to do with the story, but still has to be brought up and it's about the formatting of Perfectly Matched. I bought the epub version of Perfectly Matched at Kobo and for some reasons, throughout the book, the font alternates between being normal and bold. I don't know if it's only me or not... And I know this is minor, but it's still very annoying while reading ^_^; Also, I'm only now starting to buy more e-books and I'm still not a huge fan of self-publishing work. I admit, a lot of it is prejudices... but when there's a formatting problem like this one, it just doesn't help me overcoming those prejudices.

My Grade: I originally gave Perfectly Matched a B. I enjoyed the book and I loved the continuity with the rest of the series. However, when I started writing this review, I had difficulty remembering the plot ^_^; Unfortunately, not a good sign... and that's why B- it's going to be. The really good news is with the way Perfectly Matched ended, Ms Webber will definitively write another installment and I'll definitively be reading it :) Hopefully, we won't have to wait too long!