About the book: Single mom Jess Davis is a data and statistics wizard, but no amount of number crunching can convince her to step back into the dating world. Raised by her grandparents—who now help raise her seven-year-old daughter, Juno—Jess has been left behind too often to feel comfortable letting anyone in. After all, her father’s never been around, her hard-partying mother disappeared when she was six, and her ex decided he wasn’t “father material” before Juno was even born. Jess holds her loved ones close, but working constantly to stay afloat is hard...and lonely. But then Jess hears about GeneticAlly, a buzzy new DNA-based matchmaking company that’s predicted to change dating forever. Finding a soulmate through DNA? The reliability of numbers: This Jess understands. At least she thought she did, until her test shows an unheard-of 98% compatibility with another subject in the database: GeneticAlly’s founder, Dr. River Peña. This is one number she can’t wrap her head around, because she already knows Dr. Peña. The stuck-up, stubborn man is without a doubt not her soulmate. But GeneticAlly has a proposition: Get to know him and we’ll pay you. Jess—who is barely making ends meet—is in no position to turn it down, despite her skepticism about the project and her dislike for River. As the pair are dragged from one event to the next as the “Diamond” pairing that could make GeneticAlly a mint in stock prices, Jess begins to realize that there might be more to the scientist—and the science behind a soulmate—than she thought. Funny, warm, and full of heart, The Soulmate Equation proves that the delicate balance between fate and choice can never be calculated.
Review by Christina Boyd:
When single mom and data statistician Jess Davis takes the new DNA-based matchmaking test to find her soulmate, no one could be more skeptical when she learns she matched at an almost perfect score with GeneticAlly CEO River Peña. He can’t believe it either but as it’s his company, he wants to believe in his science.
Anyone who knows me knows I am an unabashed fan of all things Austen and Austenesque fiction. So when Jess overhears Dr. Peña disparage her looks, declaring her “entirely average”...well, my Mr. Darcy-senses were activated. But, of course, this puts Jess against the brooding, tall, handsome, and aloof scientist at once... No way Peña could be her soul mate! She even describes him to her grandparents:
“Think Mr. Darcy, but without the lovely proclamations. He called me average, didn’t hold the elevator, speaks with less emotional fluency than the Alexa in your kitchen, and doesn’t know a thing about parking lot etiquette.” —Chapter 9.
Boom! I was hooked. (The two other mentions of Austen made me like these characters all the more.)
When GeneticAlly offers her a generous stipend—simply to get to know the handsome Dr. River Pena, see if there is something to the numbers after all—she agrees. However, after only a couple dates, their surprising, natural compatibility and their undeniable attraction shrouded in sexual tension makes her start to believe the science too.
“I don’t know about soulmate, but I’d admit to lust.” She turned her face to the side. His mouth was so close to hers.
River stilled, glanced down at her lips. “Is that right?” —Chapter 12.
She discovers his quiet charm, his thoughtful actions to her and her quirky author friend, Fizzy, and his amazingly generous way with her young daughter, Juno, make her reevaluate her first (and second impressions) of him. Then she learns he wants her too:
“I want to be here to bring you coffee. I want to take you out to dinner and order the same food and hear you recite the odds that we would have met. ... I want to feel like I can kiss you again by your car at the end of the night.” He swallowed. “I want you in my bed.” —Chapter 17.
Warning: Despite all the steam and smart dialogue, Fizzy, Jess’s best friend and bestselling romance author, steals the scene every time she’s on the page. Every time.
“...if you think I haven’t written down every word of this, you’re both high.” —Chapter 25.
Trust me. She’s the ideal best friend.
The writing team of Christina Lauren’s prose is tight, quick-witted, and sprinkled with comic deadpan dialogue yet always with an honest connection. The characters feel alive and the story so unbelievably believable, you can’t help but want it to be real. The passion between River and Jess is white hot even before their pants come off. Christina Lauren give their characters words that we wish we had said as well as the all too human ones we regret. The Soulmate Equation will make you laugh out loud and, in the next breath, weep.
My favorite romcom of the year! Surely Hollywood will option The Soulmate Equation for film ASAP. Let me know if you are interested in my Dreamcast. I have a shortlist.
ARC via NetGalley . Pub. Date: May 18, 2021