RECEIVED FROM: Net Galley for Review
***NOTE MY REVIEWS OFTEN CONTAIN SPOILERS***
Ellie Sullivan is a gifted trauma surgeon with a haunted past that she’s tried for years to put behind her. When she observes a crime and becomes a hunted witness in a high profile FBI case her life becomes more dangerous than ever before. Max Daniels is an FBI agent who has been hunting the same criminals for a long time, every time they come close to catching them the witnesses have accidents before the arms dealers can be convicted. When Elle saves another agent’s life after the event he resolves that she will not be like the other witnesses. However in the process of protecting her sparks start to fly, and it becomes about more than protecting her. But will their attraction get in the way of her safety and can he keep her safe when danger seems to follow her at every turn?
There were actually only a couple things I didn’t like about this book. The first was that while I enjoyed the plot I thought there was a little too much going on. Not only do we have a female lead who’s been stalked since age eleven by a psychopath who is again on the loose, but the same woman is a witness in a high profile FBI case and now has a hit out on her. While I think it was well written and both plot lines were compelling, the idea that this woman attracts that much trouble into her life is a little hard to believe. My second issue is also with believability. Though none of the character’s lives are perfect they’re all very high profile, not many of the characters are quite average. Ellie is a child prodigy, she graduated high school at age twelve went on to college to become a brilliant trauma surgeon who is the best in her hospital and is award a highly prestigious award during the course of the novel. Max also appears to be somewhat of a prodigy because not only is he an FBI agent he’s also a lawyer who graduated from a very prestigious law school before going into FBI training. On top of this Max’s adopted brother is a high profile NFL football player. While the characters are by no means perfect I personally feel it’s too much high profile for the cast. Maybe one of the characters being something surprising I could buy, but three such impressive people makes it harder to believe the characters are real and could exist. It’s clear the Garwood loved her characters for this book so much that she stopped just short of making them perfect which actually detracts from the believability of the novel.
As I mention above the book is extremely well written. While I maintain it was a little too busy, Garwood manages to provide three intricately woven storylines surrounding these characters and maintain them beautifully and without confusion. The book is written in a close third person with a fairly fast pace. There are slower portions meant to help with character development, such as the scene surrounding her sister’s wedding, but most of it was fairly fast paced. It is a suspenseful contemporary romance and as I have mentioned in previous reviews not really the genre I most prefer, but this book does include an interesting and fast paced plot outside of just the characters falling in love. The action in this book is edge of your seat intense; however it’s mingled with drama in the form of Ellie’s sister marrying the man who used to be her fiancée, and littered with laugh out loud humor. I have to say my favorite scene in this novel is the first date Ellie and Max go on. During the date he begins talking about dumb criminals, and I don’t just mean that as an insult to criminals, I mean those idiots committing crimes that make it on the crime comedy shows. When Max began to talk about a man robbing a bank with a paper bag over his head that had eye holes cut out in the forehead section who since he couldn't see pointed his gun at a potted plant, I laughed so hard I had tears in my eyes. My summary of the story doesn’t even come close to how it was told in the book. Another thing I really liked about this book is that she didn’t leave any loose ends at the end of the novel. Garwood may have opened multiple cans of worms throughout the course of this book, however when it was finished every issue mentioned in the book was neatly cleaned up. It’s fulfilling to read a story where you don’t have to wonder; oh I wonder what happened to this character or that one. She even neatly ties up secondary character plot lines before ending the story.
Like most best selling romance novelists Garwood knows her genre when it comes to characters. In many genres you might be able to pass off a flat character and write a plot driven novel. While critics may notice and complain, if the plot is good enough readers are unlikely to be upset by it. In romance however books are character driven. One dimensional character will not cut it for a reader of romance. If they’re to believe they’re sharing a moment when this character falls in love, the characters have to be written so they pop from the page. They have to be the type of characters you believe you could meet on the street or have as a part of your life. In the Ideal Man Garwood has multiple well developed characters we can root for and relate to. While the villains are more abstract and less developed she obviously fleshed out the leads of the story as well as their close friends and Ellie’s family. Each member of those groups had attributes and flaws and really came to life for the reader.
Despite having this unbelievable life Ellie remains easy to relate to and root for during the novel. The reader is brought right inside her thoughts, her fears and her memories. While we only receive hints of Max’s past, he’s still got the brooding alpha male hero going on that is a popular and well loved theme for the male leads in romance. Max takes alpha male to such an extreme it’s funny. He doesn’t ask Ellie on a date, he tells her she’s going. And that’s not the only thing that should be a question which instead he makes an order but I’ll let you read to find out the many other humorous things he says. He’s not trying to be funny, he’s just all about being in charge, he doesn’t think twice about giving orders. While in real life the guy would probably come across as a jerk, on the page he’s so overbearing it’s hilarious. Plus it’s clear he’s not possessive in a creepy stalker way but rather in a protective, mine sort of way. There are characters you’ll take with you after finishing the book. They are the kind of characters who will cross your mind and make you smile about something they said or did during this adventure.
Overall as you can see I loved this book. As this isn’t the type of genre I’m really into I’m unlikely to read it twice, but the couple hours I spent reading it the first time were well worth the time spent. I really enjoyed the journey with these characters and would highly recommend this to fans to contemporary and suspenseful romance....Continua