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REVIEW: All the Good Men by Cindy Jacks

Dear Ms. Jacks,

It was the excerpt you supplied – authors please note this really helps us to decide if we’re going to take a chance on reading the review requests submitted to us – that swayed my decision to read your novel, “All the Good Men.” The title, while not as cringe worthy as some out there, is kind of bland but the excerpt which shows Dahlia and Jackson interacting and having fun being with each other made me say, “I’ll try this one.”

All the Good MenDahlia Foster, named like her sisters for her mother’s love of flowers, sees her life gently floating by. Almost 40, she lives at home with her widowed father, runs the florist shop her mother used to own and is convinced that all the good men out there are either married or gay. Their new next door neighbor is hot but after he fishes her drunken father out of his koi pond, Dahlia figures that Jackson Carmichael doesn’t want anything to do with her in spite of how kind he is whenever they meet.

When her three younger sisters and best friend conspire to get her out dating again, Dahlia faces a month of blind dates of their choice but must also accept anyone who asks her out. When Jackson turns out to be the last one on the list, will he be able to convince her that she’s the one he wants?

I find I really enjoy your subtle style of humor. Low key and not, thank God, pratfall-ish, it kept me smiling and chuckling the whole time despite the fact that you tackle some serious subjects in the book. Indeed, this isn’t just a series of bad dates from hell that Dahlia must endure before she is rewarded with a Prince Charming. It’s a look at the dating scene facing older women, grief, shelved dreams, addiction and having the strength to reach out for what you want.

Dahlia has a nice, safe life but it’s not what she really wants. She’s fallen into the trap that a lot of us do when we let family obligations and a sense of duty – in her case looking after first her dying mother and then her grieving father – swirl us into the backwaters. The way she breaks loose isn’t so much a dramatic declaration of her freedom as it is realizing that a) she’s partly to blame and b) her growth as a person. If she hadn’t stretched herself, I would have questioned how long her relationship with Jackson would last.

Instead of turning the men Dahlia dates into buffoons or nightmares, you pull back and mainly just let them be not the right ones for her. I like the way she handles them with humor and good grace, well except for the second man who deserves her dressing down, but I do wish that the third man wasn’t turned into the stereotype of the gay best friend.

Two characters have to deal with addiction: one to alcohol and one to pain killers. Though this isn’t the main focus of the story, you treat the issue with dignity and show that even though friends and family may love an addict and try their best, it’s up to the person to deal with their problem and make the change to control it.

But of course the main issue of the book is how Dahlia and Jackson find each other and fall in love. I can see how Dahlia is hesitant to commit herself. Though she’s certainly dated in the past and has had a long term relationship, her family life has taken over her life and is something any man would have to be willing to deal with. Meanwhile Jackson thinks he’s found a nice woman but just has to break through the shell she’s built to protect herself from disappointment. I like that neither person is perfect, that they do have issues but that they can connect through shared laughter, quiet silences and time spent learning the other before finally committing.

Thanks for submitting your book for possible review. It’s a sweet story of two modern people falling in love that I found fast, refreshing and worthwhile. B

~Jayne

Book Link | Kindle | Amazon (trade) | Moongypsy

Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.

24 Comments

  1. Catootes
    Sep 07, 2010 @ 15:15:53

    ooh, this sounds like one to grab. Thanks

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  2. Mary
    Sep 07, 2010 @ 16:22:25

    Wow! sounds intresting-will get a copy for my love

    ReplyReply

  3. Sunita
    Sep 07, 2010 @ 16:31:05

    Oh I love the sound of this! Thanks, Jayne. My TBR is about to fall over and kill us all, but I don’t care.

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  4. orannia
    Sep 07, 2010 @ 16:56:55

    Thank you Jayne! I really like the sound of this, and it’s kind of scary how…relevant (to me) the heroine sounds :)

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  5. Jayne
    Sep 07, 2010 @ 17:00:58

    @orannia: Me too. Not to give my age away but I’ll never see 40 again.

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  6. Jayne
    Sep 07, 2010 @ 17:04:04

    @Catootes: There’s a cute date scene after Dahlia tells Jackson about the odds of being struck by lightning vs a woman of her age getting married.

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  7. Jayne
    Sep 07, 2010 @ 17:04:57

    @Mary: It’s a book I definitely didn’t want to see fall through the cracks.

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  8. Jayne
    Sep 07, 2010 @ 17:05:49

    @Sunita: But see, that’s the beauty of ebooks! No one will get buried alive under them. ;)

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  9. Lynn S.
    Sep 07, 2010 @ 20:47:11

    @Jayne: I’m about to leave 45 behind in a few months and I say double or nothing. Turning 40 was a good experience for me. I’ve been more alive creatively in the past five years than I have since I was in elementary school. Not sure the educational system was my friend.

    Your review makes the book sound intriquing. Older heroine, fantasy of the great guy living right next door, good use of comedy, what’s not to like. Is MoonGypsy DRM free? DRM is taking on Big Brotherish proportions lately and I’m trying to steer clear of ebooks with it.

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  10. Jayne
    Sep 08, 2010 @ 06:26:06

    @Lynn S.: If I could magically go back in age, I think I’d pick around 30. I had some maturity and commen sense going for me and my body hadn’t started betraying me yet. :) But honestly, I don’t have much to complain about so I’ll shut up.

    About the DRM…I have no idea. Ms. Jacks supplied us with a pdf file for a possible review. I went over to the Moongypsy site and after poking around it for 10 minutes or so, I couldn’t find anything about what format their ebook files are sold in. After clicking on “buy” for one of the books, it took me straight to the paypal site – again with no hint on what format the book would be in.

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  11. mdegraffen
    Sep 08, 2010 @ 07:04:47

    An older heroine is almost 40? Is there nothing between 40 and death?

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  12. Lynn S.
    Sep 08, 2010 @ 08:52:31

    @Jayne: I poked around on their site too and couldn’t find an answer. Suppose I’ll have to send them an email to find out. I’ll let you know if they give me a response on the DRM issue.

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  13. Jo
    Sep 08, 2010 @ 12:18:40

    You know, I really liked the title of this book. It told me something about the story right away. That hardly ever happens any more.

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  14. Sweeney
    Sep 08, 2010 @ 13:11:58

    Thank you. This is exactly the kind of book that I love. Downloading it now!!

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  15. Jayne
    Sep 08, 2010 @ 14:24:52

    @mdegraffen: It doesn’t seem like. At least not for the main characters. About the only romances for older characters seem to be the secondary – or tertiary – ones. Ah look, your Gramps and my Nana are falling in love. Isn’t that cute. Now back to the mid 20 year olds for the real romance story.

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  16. Jayne
    Sep 08, 2010 @ 14:27:25

    I’m excited about the number of people excited about this book! I hope it lives up to expectations.

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  17. Kim
    Sep 08, 2010 @ 14:29:49

    Jayne – Your review encouraged me to buy All the Good Men as an eBook from http://www.moongypsypress.com. It wasn’t a difficult site to navigate (they didn’t make you “join”). The book came to me via E-mail as a PDF download about 2 hours after I placed my order through Pay Pal. I’m off to start reading it.
    BTW, I read Maya Banks’ new book yesterday and really enjoyed it.

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  18. Sunita
    Sep 08, 2010 @ 14:48:09

    I also looked at a few sites and it was a pdf at All Romance ebooks (pdf only). So I think it’s either pdf or Kindle format, nothing else.

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  19. Statch
    Sep 08, 2010 @ 19:38:29

    I feel so mean….but I don’t want to pay $7.99 for a book by a new-to-me author, even though this sounds really good. I would have bought it immediately at $5.99. It’s going on my wish list instead.

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  20. Lynn S.
    Sep 08, 2010 @ 20:27:47

    @Jayne: Jayne, you can add MoonGypsy to the DRM free publishers. I emailed Foery MacDonell with Moon Gypsy about the DRM issue and she was quick to reply.

    I’m still grinning and shaking my head at her first reply to my query. She didn’t know what DRM was. I replied back with my little bit of knowledge on the subject and steered her to Dear Author for the in depth information.

    I can see what Statch means about the $7.99 price tag but Foery was so cheerful and adorably clueless and your review tempted me so I bought it.

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  21. Jayne
    Sep 09, 2010 @ 05:28:19

    @Statch: I don’t think you’re mean at all. We all have our limit as to what we think something is worth.

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  22. Jayne
    Sep 09, 2010 @ 05:30:32

    @Lynn S.: Thanks for doing the DRM legwork for us about Moon Gypsy. You can add me to the list of those who hate DRM.

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  23. Randi
    Sep 16, 2010 @ 15:42:01

    Oh, I wish this was in hard copy. *pout*

    Excellent review. Sounds so sweet. As I’m nearing smack dab in my late 30′s and single, I’m all about the older heroines. I find it so unrealistic that some 19 year chit would find her perfect guy (hello historicals!); though that doesn’t keep me from enjoying many of them. But I do, most certainly, wish there were more older heriones in romance.

    My mother said her 40′s was (were?) a renaissance for her, so I’m crossing my fingers, as my 30′s, so far, have been absolutely parched, love wise. Career wise, however, absolutely outstanding.

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  24. Jayne
    Sep 16, 2010 @ 15:47:13

    @Randi: Randi I’ll cross my fingers for you. But in the meantime, the link at the end of the review for Amazon is for a trade paperback edition of the book.

    ReplyReply

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