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A peek at my fantasy office. No, really! There's a delightful misconception in the literary world, a near-legendary tale that authors are fueled purely by coffee—cup after cup of that intoxicating brew, our muse for every page turned and every tale spun. But here's a little secret from my corner of the fantasy realm: while most authors are downing espressos and lattes, I'm sipping on apple cider. Yes, you read that right. Sparkling apple juice is my potion of choice, the golden elixir that fuels my tales of enchanting worlds and passionate shifters.

The Ideal Man Book Review

Romantic Suspense, Handsome male poses with a badge and gun

Julie Garwood steps away from a long line of successful historical romance stories to step into the competitive realm of romantic suspense. Does she deliver a home-run or is this foray into a new genre of complete boo-hissing miss? That depends on how much 'suspense' you truly want in a story. Read on to find out more...

The Ideal Man - Romantic Suspense or Family Drama

Medical Staff standing in a surgery area wearing blue scrubs
Photo by Piron Guillaume on Unsplash

Meet Dr. Ellie Sulivan. Prodigy trauma surgeon by night or family pushover by day. She's perfect, a beautiful woman that has both the looks and the smarts rolled into a sensually curvy but lean body. So beautiful that when she was merely 11 yrs old she gained the unwanted attention of a pervert stalker.

Fast forward to the future. She's now an extremely adept surgeon that is the best of the best. When Ellie decides to go running during a late night shift, she unwillingly becomes a solid witness a terrible crime before her eyes. She's gains the attention from both the FBI and the crime perpetrators. Her already troubled life is now suddenly in danger.

Enter Agent Max Daniels. Gruff, hot, and extremely dominating. Handsome as sin, he finds himself drawn to Ellie and the urge to protect her from harm clashes with his sensibilities. This Alpha male is all about one-night stands but there's something about the sweet surgeon that makes him want to stick around for a bit longer.

Head scratching bits and pieces

The trouble with this romantic suspense story is that there barely is any suspense at all. Julie Garwood is known for writing historical romance with loads of humor and detail. Mucking about crime scenes is something she's not really strong in as it shows with the incredible lack of eye to detail. This is especially apparent when Garwood has Max gallivanting around in public with his weapon in plain sight upon the hip when he's not on-duty. He's a hotshot FBI agent, it doesn't make sense to have him invite possible trouble by being reckless.

Blonde female peers into the distance against a blue sky
Photo by Pete Bellis on Unsplash

A second problem with the Ideal Man is the story shifts from the relationship between Ellie and Max to an incredibly irritating family drama. Mind you, it's not the family aspect that drove me to irritability but the sudden flip-flop of Ellie's 'I'm strong and vocal about my opinions' persona to 'I'm a meek pushover' attitude.

Ellie's family is really something else. Honestly, I'm not sure what to make of the subplots within this novel. You see, Ellie has two sisters(Annie the good and Ava the bad) who happen to be twins and her parents are the type to look the other way when a scandal occurs between Ellie and Ava. I'm not going to give spoilers here but if my sister did to me what Ava did to Ellie---you can bet I wouldn't stand for it nor allow my parents to treat it the way they had done.

Third problem, and I apologize if it seems I'm nit-picking but these various baffling bits detracted from the story. There were several instances I either glazed over the text or rolled my eyes in complete disbelief. One of which is how Ellie carries herself without feeling any repercussions of the experience(her stalker is grade A psycho) other then feeling anxious and cautious but not too much so because she does a lot of mindless things in her life.

Red Rose hangs upside down beneath water
Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

One of the biggest cons about this story is that Garwood doesn't deliver on the romance aspect. This is something she is known for doing in her sleep and I can't shake my head enough at how far she's fallen from her usual delivery of page-turning love stories. Max and Ellie have an instant attraction to one another but not once did it seem as if it was more then basic physical attraction.

This is illustrated when Ellie decides to toss away her motto of 'long-lasting, meaningful relationships' to 'Yeah, let's do him!' within one night of meeting Max. There's too many misses on this one for me to recommend it. Julie Garwood has written good stories but this is not one of them.If it were to be given a rating I'd say it's a meager three stars.

The Ideal Man Book Details:

Originally published: January 1st, 2011
Author: Amy Lukavics

The Ideal Man Book blurb: 

Dr. Ellie Sullivan has just completed her residency at a large urban hospital. While jogging in a park nearby, she witnesses the shooting of an FBI agent in pursuit of wanted criminals, a couple identified as the Landrys. The only person to see the shooter's face, Ellie is suddenly at the center of a criminal investigation.

Agent Max Daniels takes over the Landry case. A no-nonsense lawman, he's definitely not the ideal man that Ellie has always imagined, yet she's attracted to him in a way she can't explain.

Ellie heads home to Winston Falls, South Carolina, to attend her sister's wedding. Shortly after she arrives, though, she receives a surprise visitor: Max Daniels. The Landrys have been captured, and she'll be called to testify. But they've been captured before, and each time the witnesses are scared into silence-or disappear before they can take the stand. Max vows to be Ellie's shadow until the trial, and it isn't long before sparks fly.

Next Book Review: Ryan Lockwood Below

Horror Thriller story about squids and racists

My next book review(shortest one ever) will be Ryan Lockwood's Below - a horror thriller. Until then, happy reading!


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