Review: Impulse Control by Amanda Usen

impulse controlReviewed by Janell

This is a romance made for television. Russ Donovan is the star of a show called Wild Man, where he goes out in the wild and does dangerous things. He’s living! And surviving! Susannah Stone is a Martha Stewart-in-the-making, only more relatable, because she’s not always perfect. She’s just gotten through a divorce and has a 14-month-old, and she doesn’t have time for anything.

Enter the network. Their boss tells them to combine their shows for a ratings bump…or else. Neither one is interested; Russ doesn’t want to waste his time on a pink princess, and Susannah has a kid and doesn’t have time, remember? But there’s some subtle bribery going on, and soon enough, Susannah’s preparing to snowshoe up a mountain with Russ.

Susannah is insecure about a lot of things. Her post-baby body, for one, and her bedroom skills, for another. Her ex-husband really did a number on her self esteem. The problem is, Russ looks a lot like her ex. So she’s attracted to him, but figures he’s the worst thing ever, and she keeps her distance.

Russ is driven by the memory of his dead brother. He’s secure in his survival skills, but he’s really, really distracted by the sight of Susannah in her snow pants. He even points out the bulge in his pants to the cameraman. When they share a tent for the night (Russ and Susannah, not Russ and the cameraman), he doesn’t hide his attraction. Susannah doesn’t believe him for a second, of course, but she does let Russ try to convince her that she’s attractive and sexually responsive.

They share a sleeping bag for two nights, and it must be the world’s biggest sleeping bag because, dude. The hardest part about sleeping in a sleeping bag is the size, because you can’t bend your knees and you can barely roll over. (The second-hardest part about sleeping in a sleeping bag is the sound of the nylon fabric rubbing against the sleeping pad as you try to roll over without falling off the pad. The third-hardest part is everything else. Everything is the worst in a sleeping bag.) Somehow Russ and Susannah get up to some kissing and groping without cutting off their circulation or elbowing each other in the face.

The flip side of the show has Russ cooking dinner at Susannah’s house, but, come on. How hard is that? I wish she’d had him fold a fitted sheet. Russ did did get to play with the plot moppet — I mean Susannah’s son — and change a diaper, but he wasn’t nearly as challenged as Susannah was.

This is a romance novel, not an actual tv show. I had to remind myself of that several times, mainly when Russ was hanging out at Susannah’s house. Who films in their actual house? And lets strangers bond with their actual child on camera? And why didn’t anyone tell Susannah to hand Russ a fitted sheet?

Overall, I’d say this was a cute, occasionally spicy book. Russ seemed to choose Susannah because his manly bits were always on alert around her. He had other thoughts about her, but mostly he thought with his other head. Susannah chose Russ because he boosted her self esteem and liked her kid and was good in bed. What’s not to like about that? Their romance was quick, condensed into the filming of a few tv shows, but the ending hit some emotional spots and I actually believed it.

Rating: C+

*ARC provided by Entangled

Click to purchase: Amazon

Impulse Control
by Amanda Usen
Release Date: January 19, 2015
Publisher: Entangled

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