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review 2015-03-11 23:46
16/100: Love in the Time of Algorithms by Dan Slater
Love in the Time of Algorithms: How Online Dating Shapes Our Relationships - Dan Slater
This book started out a little slow for me, as it spent a lot of time talking about "primitive" computer dating, which started as far back as the 1960s when a program would match up college students in Massachusetts. My interest picked up as it entered the realm of Internet dating as I know it -- and as I experienced. It also goes into the realm of forms of online dating that are still somewhat stigmatized, such as "mail-order brides" (dating sites that focus on matching women in the developing world with American men) and sites specifically to facilitate affairs (yuck).

One of the things I found most interesting was the fact that for many people, Internet dating has given them a sense of "abundance" -- whereas once people might have tried to "work things out" because they were under the impression that finding a new partner would be difficult, now it's supposedly easier for people to get out of lackluster relationships and to get over it more quickly by jumping right back into the market.

Somewhat disheartening was the cynicism of the teams behind most of these dating sites. Many of them do not believe they are facilitating permanent relationships -- they buy in to the idea that it's easier to find a mate and so sustaining a long-term relationship is less likely, and perhaps not even desirable. Because of course, once people pair off permanently, they have no more need for the dating site -- so it's not actually in exec's best interest for the sites to be truly "successful" in matching people up.

Like many books of this nature, this one skirts toward the alarmist at times: online dating makes people too picky, makes it too easy for them to be dishonest, makes it too easy for folks to leave relationships or be unfaithful, etc. This was not really my experience -- it was pretty easy to weed out the folks who were jerks, not serious, or otherwise "undesirable" before a first meeting ever took place, and everyone I ended up dating IRL was more-or-less who they presented themselves to be. And now that I am coupled off, I still have a healthy fear of how "hard" it is to find another worthwhile partner and thus invested in the one I have.

I think online dating, like other social media, exaggerates people's natural tendencies, or makes it easier to act on the less socially acceptable inclinations people have. But I don't think it can "make" someone who would have been a good partner in the past (i.e.: pre-online dating) a lousy partner in the present. Online dating, just like meeting people IRL, requires a certain level of discernment and self-awareness, and those who lack those characteristics are going to have a more difficult time of it.

It was interesting to learn more about OKCupid's demographics, which was the dating site I used. I opted for it for two reasons, both of which were very important to me: 1) it was free and 2) it allowed users to select "bisexual" as an orientation and search both men and women. But it turns out I pretty much matched OKC's demographics in other ways, too, as the book described it as appealing to the "geeky, writer types." No wonder I met the love of my life there! (This book also pretty much convinced me that the folks behind Match are all a bunch of crooks.)

So: I think people without personal experience with online dating would find this book alarming and might wring their hands over what the young folks were doin' these days. I think those with personal experience will recognize their experiences in some places and be shaking their heads in others. All in all though, it's an interesting look at something that has become standard fare in the dating world, and that is definitely here to stay.

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quote 2015-03-05 04:14
When TV talk show host Montel Williams asked Ullman if he was preying on lonely people, Ullman shot back, 'Yes. Just like restaurants prey on the hungry and doctors prey on the sick and talkshow hosts prey on the people who are too bored to read a book.'
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quote 2015-02-24 14:55
'Women who dress slutty or act ditzy do it because they're taught it's what you want. Maybe if you reinforced that you actually want a woman of character, instead of idolizing Playboy sluts, you could change the culture.'
Love in the Time of Algorithms: How Online Dating Shapes Our Relationships - Dan Slater

- Alexis, "What's the Etiquette Here?"

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review 2014-11-22 16:05
The Way Life Should Be
The Way Life Should Be - Christina Baker Kline

I received this book from the publisher via Librarything.com as an Early Reviewer.  I was very interested to read this as I loved Orphan Train also by Christina Baker Kline.


Angela Russo was raised by her dad and Italian nonna in New Jersey and remain close to them. Now single gal in her early thirties living in New York and an event planner for a museum.  She seems to have it all but love and a soul mate.  Taking a chance she gives online dating a try, she sets her sights on a man from Maine and immediately convinces herself this is "the guy".   They meet halfway for a first date which sets Angela off on an all consuming pursuit of love. Losing focus on the job, her current responsibilities literally end in flames. 


Out of work she sets off on a new path - to Maine and the man of her dreams.  While she knows she is taking a huge risk leaving everything behind, she ignores the sensible advice of her best friend and family and goes anyway.  When things don't go as expected with her chosen "soul mate" she must re-evaluate why she is there and what she wants to do with her life.


This was a quick light read and while somewhat predictable I did enjoy it.  Kline's description of life in Maine is heavenly and indeed "the way life should be".  Highly recommended for a vacation/beach read.


How I acquired this book:  HarperCollins via LibraryThing.com Early Reviewers

Shelf life:  Two weeks


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text 2014-08-13 16:39
Dating Services and Online Dating in Romance Novels
Infatuation - Alison Kent
Meant to Be (RightMatch.com Book 3) - Kathryn Shay
Dead End Dating - Kimberly Raye
Beauty Dates the Beast - Jessica Sims,Jill Myles
Match Me If You Can - Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Love at Stake - Victoria Davies
Troll-y Yours - Sheri Fredricks
Sex, Lies, and Online Dating - Rachel Gibson
Big Boy - Ruthie Knox
Matchmakers 2.0 - Debora Geary

It turns out that 1/3 of Americans are meeting the loves of their lives on line and the data shows these romances are good for the long haul. 


Romance Novels often feature dating agency of some kinds but I would love to see more Romances where the couple met through the online dating site or the agency.


One of the reasons that relationships that begin on line tend to be successful is that each person is looking for commitment. The goal of dating is clear. 


I like that in my Romance Novels as well--the hero and the heroine want a relationship. Refreshing!.


Here are some fun Romances featuring Dating Agencies. 



1. Infatuation by Alison Kent 


"Hell on wheels...in bed" someone had written on Rennie Bergen's business card. Now Rennie's card rested with many other men's in the glass "booty"--all up for grabs by the female dating pool in Milla Page's office building.

Three dates! That's all Milla needed to write a sexy, juicy story on San Francisco hot spots for her online column. Was it fate she drew Rennie's card?

The two of them had a history. Infatuation, wild sex, sneaking around--followed by a painful explosive breakup. But Milla was still hot for him six years later.... And it was clear Rennie felt the same. Could they have a shot at rewriting history?


2. Meant to Be  by Kathryn Shay 


In MEANT TO BE, thirty-four year old Cole Matheson gets himself entangled with Beth Montgomery, forty-five, while he’s lying to her about his age. When he finally tells her the truth, she reluctantly forgives him. But he’s unable to be completely honest with her and, eventually, Beth cannot deal with his consistent deceit. Now, sexy, adorable Cole must convince her he can be the kind of man she deserves. 


3. Dead End Dating by Kimberly Raye


A vivacious vampire with a flair for accessorizing, Lil Marchette is unlike most of her kind. She prefers lively shades of pink to dismal black (soo not her color), plus she’s a hopeless romantic. In need of a steady paycheck to support a compulsive cosmetics habit, Lil starts Dead End Dating (DED), a Manhattan-based matchmaking service that helps smart, sophisticated singles like herself find eternity mates–and may even help her stake a claim to her very own Count Right!

When Lil meets geeky vampire Francis Deville, she knows he’s the perfect first client. If she can hook up Francis–after a little revamping, of course–she will prove her skills to the vampire community and turn DED into the hottest dating service in the Big Apple. But just as her business takes off, Lil meets the (literally) drop-dead gorgeous bounty hunter Ty Bonner, who is hot on the chase of a serial killer. Instantly drawn to the luscious vamp stud, Lil really wants a taste. But as a made vampire, Ty can’t procreate–and Lil will settle for nothing less. Luckily, between “vampifying” Francis and helping Ty solve his murder mystery, Lil has no time for silly romantic entanglements . . . even if Ty is all that and a Bloody Mary chaser!


4. Beauty Dates the Beast by Jessica Sims 



Single human female to join charming, wealthy, single male were-cougar for a night of romantic fun—and maybe more.


Me: The tall, sensuous, open-minded leader of my clan.


You: A deliciously curvy virgin who’s intimately familiar with what goes bump in the night. Must not be afraid of a little tail. Prefer a woman who’s open to exploring her animal nature. Interest in nighttime walks through the woods a plus.


My turn-ons include protecting you from the worst the supernatural world has to offer. Ready for an adventure? Give me a call.


Vampires and doppelgangers need not apply.


5. Match Me If You Can  by Susan Elizabeth Phillips 


Annabelle's endured dead-end jobs, a broken engagement . . . even her hair's a mess! But that's going to change now that she's taken over her late grandmother's matchmaking business. All Annabelle has to do is land the Windy City's hottest bachelor as her client, and she'll be the most sought-after matchmaker in town.


Why does the wealthy, driven, and gorgeous sports agent Heath Champion need a matchmaker, especially a red-haired screw-up like Annabelle Granger? True, she's entertaining, and she does have a certain quirky appeal. But Heath is searching for the ultimate symbol of success -- the perfect wife. And to make an extraordinary match, he needs an extraordinary matchmaker, right?


Soon everyone in Chicago has a stake in the outcome, and a very big question: When the determined matchmaker promised she'd do anything to keep her star client happy . . . did she mean anything? If Annabelle isn't careful, she just might find herself going heart-to-heart with the toughest negotiator in town.


6. Love at Stake  by Victoria Davies


Abbey is the lone human working for Fated Match, a company that pairs members of the supernatural community with their eternal mates. To snag a young vampire socialite as her next client, Abbey journeys to the home of Lucian Redgrave, the most respected vampire on the East Coast. But he's not willing to recommend the agency to the vampire world... unless Abbey can first find his perfect match in a month.


 As Abbey coaches Lucian through his dates, she can't deny the chemistry between them. But humans are toys for vampires, and risking her heart isn't a part of the plan.


7. Troll-y Yours by Sheri Fredricks



Determined to forge a better life, Ella launches her new business with high hopes—until a sexy Centaur bumps into her and throws her life off course forever. Voted “Most Eligible Bachelor in Boronda”, Aleksander shakes up her world and tilts her in more ways than one. 


Years of warfare and countless bedroom encounters have stolen Kempor Aleksander’s luster for life. He never expects to rediscover his zeal in the small, redheaded form of Ella the Troll, who fires his blood hotter than the deepest caverns in the forest. 


But as trouble lingers in their midst—and edges ever closer—Alek and Ella spiral into troubled terrain. Turning to each other, the pair face down dangers that run impenetrably deep in their mythological world. But will the two lovers discover a passion that runs even deeper?


8. Sex, Lies, and Online Dating by Rachel Gibson 


Sex . . .

What is it about men anyway? Bad cars, bad jobs, even bad teeth—nothing convinces them that they can't snare a Size Two Babe with a D-cup chest. And after way too many internet dates with men named "luvstick" and "bigdaddy182," Lucy Rothschild should know.


Lies . . .

But sitting across from her now is "hardluvnman," and he seems different—sensitive, honest, and hot! He says he's a plumber, while Lucy claims she's a nurse! She's really a mystery writer, dating online while researching her next book. Hey, everyone lies a little, don't they?


And Online Dating . . .

But Quinn's really an undercover cop hunting down a serial killer, and he sees Lucy as his top suspect. And while he could really go for this smart, sexy woman with the killer bod—if that's the only thing "killer" about her—he knows he needs to wine and dine her and discover the truth. Hey, he realizes the dating scene can be deadly—but this is ridiculous!


9. Big Boy  by Ruthie Knox 


When Mandy joins an online dating service, she keeps her expectations low. All she wants is a distraction from the drudgery of single parenthood and full-time work. But the invitation she receives from a handsome man who won't share his real name promises an adventure--and a chance to pretend she's someone else for a few hours. 
She doesn't want romance to complicate her life, but Mandy's monthly role-playing dates with her stranger on a train--each to a different time period--become the erotic escape she desperately needs. And a soul connection she never expected. 
Yet when she tries to draw her lover out of the shadows, Mandy has a fight on her hands...to convince him there's a place for their fantasy love in the light of day. 

Mick - guppy scientist and victim of her self-inflicted dating adventures.
Miri - astrology whiz and promoter of steamy sex for the greater good.
Derrick - data genius and life idiot.

Meet the match team at MatchMakers.com, the web 2.0 online-dating service with a personal touch.

Can Mick lead her team, find a guy, and finally win Match the Loser? Enjoy a little humor, a little romance, and occasional trivia about guppies.



I would love your recommendations! 


If you would like to vote for the best of the best of Dating Agency Romances, check out this Goodreads list: Dating Service: Romance Novel Style. 


For more recommendations and to see great examples of couples who meet through an  Agency, go to my Pinterest Board: Dating Services in Romance Novels. 

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