Wednesday, March 7, 2018

BOOK REVIEW: Ticket to Love by R.C. Matthews


After only one year on the police force, I’m already eyeing my first promotion. Chasing my dreams is hard when my family is disappointed that I chose not to run our family B&B. Not to mention writing tickets, keeping the peace, and arresting criminals is hard on your love life. 

That’s why I went for Don: he’s smoking hot and just passing through town. Our evening between the sheets was perfect … until it wasn’t. Turns out my one-night stand is actually my best friend’s wedding planner. He’s hanging out in our small town for the next three months, meeting with my friends, negotiating deals, looking at houses, and oh—he’s also the main suspect in my first police investigation. The case I must solve to become a detective. And the crux of it all? I’m falling head over heels for the guy.

I’ve dreamed my whole life of this promotion. I thought I’d never find love. Now I’m afraid I might lose both.

~Book Review~
2.5 Stars

Kristy Stone, 23, is a police officer living in a town of judgmental busybodies. Don Cooper, 28, is the newbie in town.

I had to keep checking the copyright to make sure this was really written in 2018 because honestly it felt like a bad ‘80’s romance. The attitudes and behaviors of probably half the characters are that “retro.”

While Don’s an easy going guy with more tolerance and patience than could be expected, there’s no shortage of other jackass males in this small town.

The top prize for pompous douchery goes to one of Kristy’s brothers. This is how he talks to his little sister:
“‘Have you forgotten I’m the mayor of this town? People talk. The last thing I need is my younger sister spreading her legs for every tourist because she can’t snag a steady boyfriend.’”
Does our heroine take offense? Does she tell him to mind his own business? Does she remind him that he’s an elected official spouting sexist and slut-shaming rhetoric in public? NOPE, none of the above. Instead she insinuates that the hero is gay because he has a gay best friend. Now mind you, this is the second time Kristy has inferred that Don might be gay simply because he has gay friends.

It’s freaking 2018—gay and straight people should be able to hang out together without backwards thinking people implying that there’s something more to the friendship, as if they can’t associate with each other without something sexual happening. 
“I took the coward’s way out,” Kristy monologues as an excuse.
No, you took the bigoted way out! And then she absolves herself of any guilt over the whole situation by reconciling that he’ll be leaving town soon.

Next, Don’s career as a wedding planner spawns more outdated thinking.  
“‘…no self respecting guy plans weddings for a living unless he’s gay.’”
*checks copyright again*

Call me enlightened, call me progressive, but I found nothing odd about a man being a wedding planner. Why the characters in this story obsessed so much about it utterly baffled me.

Enter misogynist jerk #2, a male police officer. ‘What self-respecting man does a woman’s job?’” he asserts. Then jerks #3-6, also another male officer and three no names, make kissing noises after knocking Don’s profession and the fellow officer makes what even Kristy characterizes as “thinly veiled comments about Don’s sexual orientation.” Does Kristy report this to their superior? Nope. And in fact, the chief of police, along with this fellow officer, engage in what is tantamount to sexual harassment as well as makes derogatory statements about gay men.

Jerk #7 comes in the form of Kristy’s neighbor who grabs his junk and proclaims, “Anyone with these doesn’t take offense to dumbass wisecracks.” Translation: women should just suck it up and laugh off sexual harassment in the workplace.

By now you can probably guess that I’ve lost any respect I had for Kristy in the beginning when she appeared to simply be a perky and friendly officer just doing her job. Not only does she not stand up to these men who devalue, degrade, and harass her, but she continually obsesses over what people might think about her while repeatedly letting them influence her opinions.
“But I’m keeping my mouth shut. I never confront my brother so directly on our issues.”
In addition, her handling of the detective case raised my eyebrows on more than one occasion when she shared information that could have compromised the case.

All in all, while the premise of the story hints at defying gender roles, what the narrative perpetuates is tired fallacies and misinformed beliefs. Kristy too often partakes in dated ways of thinking.
“Turns out I’m not much different than the people who won’t give me a fair chance.”
If the story really wanted to make a positive message, then Kristy would have had a backbone; her brother’s obnoxious comments to her would have gone viral, causing him to lose re-election; and Kristy’s co-workers and boss would have been suspended pending an internal investigation.

Come on Kristy, say it loudly: #METOO

Told via Kristy’s sole first person POV, this is a light-hearted romantic suspense. The mystery was meh, and the love scenes were meh, but it’s safe. So it’s got that going for it.


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