Cover The Right Swipe: Bright pink background, a cartoon man and woman look at their phones

About the Book

Title: The Right Swipe (Modern Love #1)
Published: 2019

First Impressions: Playful
What’s Your Type?
Former hookup gone wrong, working through emotional trauma, afraid to be hurt, business rivals, misunderstandings
The Lean:
Sparks
We Need to Talk:
Emotionally Raw
Was It Good For You? 
Oooh Yeah

First Impressions: Playful

Some people are disliking the cartoon cover trend for raunchier romance novels (they feel it’s infantilizing them or misleading people who think it’s a fluffy chick lit novel), but…I really have no opinions. It’s bright and playful and I like the cute little cartoon people. I wouldn’t mind if they had similarly hot covers like Rai’s Forbidden Hearts series (which this one is a kind of spin-off of), but this is fine too.

What’s Your Type?

  • Former hookup gone wrong
  • Working through emotional trauma
  • Afraid to be hurt
  • Business rivals
  • Misunderstandings

Dating Profile

Rhiannon Hunter is the CEO and founder of Crush, an online dating app that’s more female-friendly than her main competition, Swype (AKA real-life Tinder). She left her former job at Swype under a cloud of controversy and whispers, so she feels she needs to be extra in all things business. She guards her heart closely after a bad relationship left her confidence in her judgment shaken.

Samson Lima is a former professional football player, ten years retired, who also left his job amid some controversy. He spent his last few years caring for his uncle Joe, another famous pro football player, who was suffering from multiple illnesses and recently passed away. Being a caretaker doesn’t leave much time for romance, and he’s afraid to get close to anyone after his past familial tragedies.

Meet Cute

A few months before the book begins, Rhiannon is determined to buy out Matchmaker, the oldest online dating site that’s unfortunately floundering a bit in a modern, app-only, ten-second-attention-span age. She can’t get close to one of the reclusive co-founders, Annabelle Kostas, so in a desperate move she rents a beach house nearby and does some light stalking. To fill her time and scratch an itch, Rhi uses her own app under a fake name to look for a one-time hook-up—and ends up having an amazing night with Samson. Breaking her own rules because the sex was so fantastic, she agrees to meet up again…but Samson never shows or gives her an explanation.

Fast-forward a few months to a big techy conference, and Matchmaker is debuting a new look and a new spokesperson to drum up more users. Standing in the crowd, still eager to meet Annabelle, Rhiannon is horrified to learn Matchmaker’s new spokesperson is her beach ghoster. And in another turn of events, Samson is ALSO Annabelle’s nephew (her partner was his uncle Joe), so as annoyed as Rhiannon is with him…could this be the in she’s been looking for?

The Lean: Sparks

From While You Were Sleeping, Bill Pullman explains attraction to Sandra Bullock

I could totally believe these two had a swift phyiscal chemistry and later bonded emotionally. Big beefy football players don’t usually do it for me, but for Samson, I could make an exception. He’s a sweet (but, as Rhiannon tells us, filthy in bed) guy with a sad story, and he’s a gentleman to boot (I am always here for books normalizing asking for consent!). Rhiannon is alternately confident and insecure in very relatable ways, but she knows what she likes and is a super successful CEO, so I’m kinda attract to her too.

Dirty Talk

Rai can get pretty dirty, but I’ll let you discover those details and where they take place *eyebrow waggles* on your own. Here’s a sampling of a moment when the two enjoy watching their reflections:

“She turned her head and almost came right there and then. The full-length mirror on the wall gave her a perfect view of the two of them in profile, his much bigger body tight against hers, penetrating her. No one had ever called her a woman of small stature, but right now she looked tiny, caught up in his grip.”

Ms. Perky’s Prize for Purplest Prose

Teacher types on laptop while talking to student
Typing a romance novel on a computer screen

And another tidbit of a purpley moment from that same scene:

“The biological function of sex became a cinematic masterpiece, each muscle contraction in the side of his ass and his thighs hypnotic and amazing.”

We Need To Talk: Emotionally Raw

I’m sort of conflicted about this book, y’all! First off I do want to let it be known: I liked it. It was well-written and covered many serious topics that made it feel realistic and layered. Samson’s father and uncle were both pro football players, but what made their family also destroyed it, because he believes they both suffered extensive brain injuries and personality changes due to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). (CTE is caused by repeated head injuries/concussions, AKA something football players get all the time but then get pressured to keep playing with without getting treatment for.) He believes the NFL was negligent in protecting their players, and I completely agree with him. It’s one of the reasons I detest pro football, and I loved that Samson’s former career choice wasn’t completely glorified and the reprecussions had real stakes to his story. For Rhiannon’s part, she is a Black woman in a position of power in a male-dominated tech field, and her struggles to be taken seriously, coupled with having to maintain the balance of being seen as “powerful” but not “aggressive” were compelling. The secondary characters were charming and not without their own struggles, and I’d love to get to know them more.

On the flip side, the romance was good, just not great. I enjoy when a romance novel has more going on than just the romance, but we could’ve benefitted from more interactions between Samson and Rhiannon seeing as it was their story. They also smoothed over their initial issues relatively early, and while new issues arose organically through their interactions, everything was relatively…easy. And I can’t completely knock that, because there doesn’t ALWAYS need to be life-or-death stakes. So if you’re in the mood for a low-key, low-drama romance then this could be perfect for you. Coming off Rai’s Forbidden Hearts series (in which Rhiannon does make a small cameo as she’s the third book protagonist’s sister), which had ALL the drama, it may just take a slight expectation adjustment before diving in!

Was It Good For You? Oooh Yeah

Christian Bale nods and says "oooh yeah!"

Overall I did have fun during my time with the book, so I will give it a Bale head-nod! I look forward to continuing the series, the next of which will feature Rhiannon’s reclusive and rich (but lonely!) friend, Katrina.

FTC Full Disclosure: I purchased my own copy of this book. I received neither money nor peanut butter cups in exchange for this review. The Right Swipe is available now.

Stephanie (she/her) is an avid reader who moonlights at a college and calls Orlando home. Stephanie loves watching television, reading DIY blogs, planning awesome parties, Halloween decorating, and playing live-action escape games.