Review by Kayleigh

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“Breathless, they stared at each other with wild, shocked eyes. It was probably only a few seconds, but the kiss shafted the trajectory of them, immediately. She wanted more, and she could see in his eyes that he did, too. Jess didn’t question for a single second that the physical attraction was mutual.”

If you don’t want a book hangover, then you should stay away from Christina Lauren’s The Soulmate Equation. If you’re ok with that feeling of longing to return to a story, if you spend days after you’ve finished a book wondering what the main characters are doing now, and if you find yourself looking for that OTP out in the grocery store when all you need are some onions and a loaf of bread, then you should dive in. 

Single mom Jess Davis is numbers girl who works hard to provide for her tiny family, and is really lonely. But making time for unfulfilling dates sounds so unappealing. Until she hears about GeneticAlly, a new DNA-based matchmaking company that’s predicted to change dating forever. Finding a soulmate through DNA? Jess is intrigued. Until her test shows an unheard-of 98% compatibility with another subject in the database: GeneticAlly’s founder, Dr. River Pena. A man who irritates her to no end. When GeneticAlly proposes that she spend time with him, in exchange for payment, Jess can’t say no. As they fall into a relationship though, Jess wonders if maybe science has the right idea and just maybe her first impressions were wrong. 

I love Christina Lauren’s writing. The dynamic writing duo of Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings write romances with heart and soul. I tend to both laugh and cry while reading one of their books, and The Soulmate Equation delivered. Jess and River are a delightful couple who are supported by an exceptional cast of characters that bring warmth and wit into the storyline. But here’s the thing-I often forget that I’m not reading about real characters. River and Jess feel like the kind of couple I’d pass in my favourite coffee shop, whose adventure towards love was a sweet and slippery slide from mutual disinterest to passionate lovers.

River and Jess are a standout couple for me. River is sensitive and broody, truly a Mr. Darcy type brought into the 21st century. His intelligence is balanced by his dry sense of humour and caring focus. Seriously, if anyone has a friend like River, set a girl up! Jess is a strong main character who, through the story, not only falls in love and learns how to let someone in to her life, but she learns how to take time for herself. She’s a single mom who runs her own company and puts herself last every day. Even when they are thrust together thanks to River’s ingenious DNA match-making startup, Jess is still not tempted to take a risk until circumstances have her accepting a monthly payment to spend time with him as the company prepares to go public. Their slow and steady fall into love is perfectly paced. I enjoyed watching River expand his comfort zones and learn how to prioritize his life over his work because it added a depth of vulnerability that so many mid 30s single people struggle with. How do you make room for a person when you are so used to being a lone wolf?

For me, this book has the perfect amount of steam for the storyline. It didn’t distract from the plot, but man did I enjoy those intimate scenes. (Again, if anyone knows of a River, send him my way) In a Christina Lauren book you are always treated to dynamic secondary characters, and for me Jess’s best friend Fizzy, a romance author and the ying to her yang was a stand out character who added an amazing amount of joy to the storyline.

All in all this book was a five heart read for me. It’s a romantic comedy that delivers on the swoon and the laugh out loud moments, but has enough gravitas to it that it feels realistic rather than ridiculous. If you haven’t read a Christina Lauren book yet, what are you waiting for?