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Saturday, April 21, 2018

Book Review and Giveaway: Dog Training the American Male by Steve Alten

This romantic comedy has its moments.
Dog Training the American Male
by Steve Alten
Website: here
ISBN: 978-1-943957-00-2
Publication Date: February 14, 2018 (Orig. Release September 2016; under LA Knight)
Pages: 262
Price: $4.99 (Kindle Version)
Publisher: WJM Books, an Imprint of A&M Publishing, LLC.
Genre: Humor, Romantic Comedy
My Rating: 3.75 of 5.0

Meet Dr. Nancy Beach, a relationship counselor who hosts a local radio show called Love's a Beach. One problem: The relationship guru cant seem to make her own relationships work, sending her credibility and ratings into the toilet. Meet Jacob Cope, a walking thesaurus of phobias -- a Lehman Brothers casualty who's lost his job and swagger and now yearns to be a ventriloquist. When Nancy and Jacob are set up on a blind date and hit it off, their siblings, desperate to be rid of them, encourage the young couple to move in together. When the honeymoon stage abruptly ends, Jacob attempts to mend the fence by adopting a dog; a big dog and Nancy flips out . . . until she realizes the dog trainer's techniques can be used to housebreak Jacob and save her radio career.

Dr. Nancy Beach, a relationship counselor, hosts a radio show called Love’s a Beach. She also leads several private counsel groups, most of which are dwindling. Nancy has a major problem because she hasn’t had a successful relationship to serve as example. She has made bad choices in boyfriends who have been unfaithful liars and thieves.

Jacob Cope is a former Lehman Brothers’ financial guru who lost his job, perks and status with the economic crash. He has occasionally lived in an old van but is currently in his brother’s guest house. Jacob hopes to move to comedy work as a ventriloquist with his primary dummy, a George Bush dummy.

Nancy and Jacob are set up by their siblings who are eager to get them out of their living arrangements. The two hit it off and are encouraged by their siblings to move in together. It only takes a few days for Nancy to be unhappy with Jacob’s male behaviors: smelly shoes dropped at the door, toilet seat left up, expectations of being waited on. Jacob gets a dog hoping to appease Nancy and refocus her attention. The dog isn’t a cute, little Bichon but a large, untrained German Shepard.

Nancy arranges training for the dog which turns out to provide material for her show. Ratings really pick up as Nancy describes using the dog training techniques to train her man. Meanwhile there are a couple eccentric women, including one of Nancy’s bosses, who are chasing Jacob and bribing him with work engagements.

The book is promoted as romantic comedy and it is funny. My problem was wading through the first half of the book. Jacob’s brother is a gynecologist and the beginning is full of gutter language and crude, tasteless sexual banter. I came close to stopping at 12%, then 25%. I think I am glad that I pushed through because there was fun as the book progressed. The description of the impact of the job loss on Jacob creates a good picture of a fallen executive. There are also some very good psychological tips that I really like. There were scenes set on a fancy boat in the Boca Raton Inlet that I could relate to. On the other hand there were several sexual scenes that made me want to puke. I find it is interesting this was written by a man but it is doubtful I would try another book by this author. I am sure there are readers who will enjoy the fun of this; just be prepared for the grit and crudeness.

Source: Ralina Shaw PR. This will qualify for a 2018 title on my Alphabet Challenge list.

GIVEAWAY provided by the publisher through Ralina Shaw PR:
Dog Training the American Male
One Hardcopy Print Book (with the older cover) (US Only)

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For 3 Extra Bonus entries
(a) comment on the review or (b) visit the author's website and tell me something you found there.

* This contest is open to US only for the hardback book.
* This contest will close 5 PM (Central) May 5, 2018.
Winners are asked to respond on the winners form linked in the announcement or by email.


  1. As a dog lover, this sounds like it will be such fun. I never thought to train them this way.

  2. interesting about the funny part

  3. Hahaha Imagine telling my boyfriend he can be trained as a dog, which is not as craazy as it sounds
    great review
    Ruty @Reading…Dreaming

  4. It sounds humorous but I think a lot of what you disliked would bother me as well.


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