Cupid.com is supposed to be a wacky paranormal comedy with Cupid himself behind the hijinks. Unfortunately, both Cupid and the plot are out of the picture for most of the book, and the laughs feel incredibly forced.
Chloe Phillips is the head of Creative Investments, a business that markets small inventions. Her father gave her the company upon his death with the understanding that Chloe would have to make it turn a profit within two years or lose her job. As the story begins, Chloe has a handful of junk projects and only three months left to get any of them up and running. When a man named E. Rose (can you guess who this is?) walks into her office and presents his product, e-Cupid, she thinks she might have a winner. This software is supposed to help you find your true love. It seems to have a few glitches, however. Chloe sees a dark handsome stranger in the laptop interface, and all the men she shows it to see Chloe.
AJ Lockhart is the financial consultant called in by Chloe’s brother to help her get organized and put together a working business plan. When Chloe sees him for the first time, she thinks he’s part of a joke or scheme – because AJ is the dark handsome stranger shown to her by e-Cupid. She grabs him and kisses him right on the lips. This makes it rather uncomfortable for her when AJ reveals who exactly he is and why he is there. But soon they are so embroiled in the mess that E. Rose’s product has made that there is little time for embarrassment. They are too busy fending off Chloe’s over-enthusiastic suitors and falling in love.
This book has so many problems that it’s hard to know where to start. But let’s begin with Chloe, shall we? She is completely, absolutely, utterly unsuited to be head of a corporation. She has no aptitude for the business side of the job, and deliberately shies away from “hard” things like spreadsheets and business plans – in other words, anything having to do with business. Her “everyone is special – we just have to find their talent” attitude would be far better suited to a kindergarten teacher, but I don’t know any kindergarten teachers who are as unorganized, dense and weak-willed as Chloe is. It’s telling that she doesn’t realize that’s it’s impossible for software to do what e-Cupid does. And her petulant whining that being head of Creative Investments is all she’s ever wanted to do is incredibly annoying, as is her attitude toward her board of directors. She completely misses the the point that the objective of business is to make a profit.
The silly assortment of secondary characters was lame from the get-go. Chloe’s suitors didn’t need time to become annoying, they were annoying from the moment they entered their scenes. Much of the book, unfortunately, is taken up by the efforts of Chloe’s suitors to woo her – none of these efforts pass muster in Reality World. At one point Ralph, one of Chloe’s newly bewitched inventors, sends her an avian love tribute. He means to send her a couple of doves, but the store fouls up the order, and without double-checking, delivers so many birds that when Chole comes home, her townhouse has been destroyed. Hilarious as this no doubt was meant to be, this episode is a prime example of the lack of effort by the author to link her hijinks to any sort of reality.
The book’s pseudo-humor isn’t its final flaw; it also features the type of juvenile “romance novel” behavior better suited to junior high school. Midway through the book Chloe asks AJ to please pose as her boyfriend to help her out of her troubles. This plot device should always come with a “Warning: hackneyed” label.
AJ isn’t so bad. He’s cute. He’s kind. He has a sort of funny relationship with his car and an infinite amount of patience with Chloe. It’s impossible to understand what he sees in her, but whatever it was certainly brought out the gentleman in him. But his thoughtful gestures and attempts at wooing her are presented in a rambling prose style that’s hard to enjoy. Add to this a great deal of faux head-hopping (there are paragraph breaks all over the place ostensibly to avoid this problem, but the breaks are so frequent, it amounts to the same thing) and you have a book that’s a real chore to read.
It took me a very long time to read Cupid.com because I had to force my way through it. I kept thinking that it might get better, that the book’s cute premise had to mean something good would eventually reveal itself. But this never happened, and I finished the book feeling tired. All the wacky hijinks had plain worn me out.