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Monday, June 7, 2010

All the Good Men by Cindy Jacks

All the Good Men by Cindy Jacks
Publisher: Moongypsy Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full (161 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Poppy

Dahlia is sure the hackneyed platitude is true: After a certain age, all the good men are married or gay. She feels her thirty-eight years put her well past that 'certain age.' Her best friend and her sisters dare her to put her fate where her mouth is. The terms of the challenge? During the month of October, she has to end her five-year-long man fast and go on dates with men of their choosing. Oh, and she also has to go out with anyone else who asks.

As the date disasters pile up, the vindication almost makes the torturous evenings bearable for Dahlia. But a handsome new neighbor, Jackson Carmichael, moves in, changing the rules of the game. Retired after twenty-six years as a pro firefighter in Boston, he volunteers with the local fire department, coaches a youth hockey team, and appears for all the world to be the perfect man. He just might throw a wrench into Dahlia's plan to die lonely and single...that is if she doesn't scare him away first.

When you’re single and about to hit forty, is it true that all the good men are married or gay? Dahlia is hanging on the edge of thirty-nine, and is certain that’s the fact. Of course, she doesn’t really care about having a social life anyway, because she’s too busy taking care of her deceased mother’s flower shop and try to keep her alcoholic father from doing something crazy. But she can’t say no when her friends dare her to go out on blind dates with men they choose for her.

Then there’s Jackson, her new neighbor who meets Dahlia when her father nearly drowns in Jackson’s koi pond. He’s the hottest thing she’s seen in years, but she's certain he’s perfect and she’s... not. What could he possibly see in her?

I really enjoyed reading about Dahlia and her bumpy road to a happy ever after. With a mixed bag of characters including her sisters (a business professional and a vegan) and her best friend, Fiona, this book has much to recommend it.

It’s being marketed as a romantic comedy, though, and I’m not sure that this is entirely correct. It certainly doesn’t take itself seriously, but it’s not laugh-out-loud funny either. I wish I’d gone into reading this book thinking that it was simply a contemporary romance – I think I would have enjoyed it even more if I had instead of constantly waited to shout with laughter.

That’s not to say this wasn’t a good book. It WAS! I fell in love with Dahlia’s flawed and addicted father, with Fiona and especially with Jackson, who really did seem too good to be true. I moaned along with Dahlia on her first two dates and laughed during the third. Dahlia was far too hard on herself, though, and didn’t realize how much she had to offer to a man. She’s a loving, responsible, funny and loyal woman still in her prime and she apparently has quite a revved up sex drive, something she didn’t even realize herself until the right guy came along to push the “start” button!

True, there was a bit of backstory regarding her ex that I didn’t think was necessary, and a bit more telling the reader about the type of people her friends and family were in the beginning, instead of just letting us see it on our own as the story progressed, that slowed things down a bit, but never made me want to stop reading.

Ms. Jacks is a talented writer. The story was fun, the editing clean, the sex hot and the ending perfect. What more could I ask for in a romance?

If you’re looking for a light-hearted, sexy romp that doesn’t take itself too seriously, then I recommend you grab a copy of All the Good Men and give it a read. I’m glad I did.