Bland and Plotless: Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy


Ramona was only five years old when Hurricane Katrina changed her life forever.

Since then, it’s been Ramona and her family against the world. Standing over six feet tall with unmistakable blue hair, Ramona is sure of three things: she likes girls, she’s fiercely devoted to her family, and she knows she’s destined for something bigger than the trailer she calls home in Eulogy, Mississippi. But juggling multiple jobs, her flaky mom, and her well-meaning but ineffectual dad forces her to be the adult of the family. Now, with her sister, Hattie, pregnant, responsibility weighs more heavily than ever.

The return of her childhood friend Freddie brings a welcome distraction. Ramona’s friendship with the former competitive swimmer picks up exactly where it left off, and soon he’s talked her into joining him for laps at the pool. But as Ramona falls in love with swimming, her feelings for Freddie begin to shift too, which is the last thing she expected. With her growing affection for Freddie making her question her sexual identity, Ramona begins to wonder if perhaps she likes girls and guys or if this new attraction is just a fluke. Either way, Ramona will discover that, for her, life and love are more fluid than they seem.

Source: GoodReads

I had Ramona Blue on my shelf since like Memorial Day.  I wanted to make sure I got it off my list by the end of 2017, so after reading a really bad Christmas themed story I was like okay going to read something totally different.

So I read Ramona Blue, I got to say I really don’t think I’m a fan of Julie Murphy’s.  I know a lot of people like her books, but they just don’t do it for me.  It doesn’t make sense really.  She has prickly heroines and I’m usually a fan of the prickly heroine.  I like reading about a character that’s not perfect and makes mistakes, but honestly Murphy’s heroines are borderline unlikable.


And God, did Ramona annoy me.

In part, I think this is being an older reader of YA.  The more immature, more teenage-y heroines are going to get on your nerves at a certain point of your life.  And, well, Ramona was the type of kid I’d want to smack.  And so was Willow Dean.  Both are extremely self centered.  But again, that’s more of a own personal preference not a this book is so bad you shouldn’t read it thing.

Another thing that bothers me about Murphy’s stuff is they often rely very little on plot.  Again, part of this might be because Murphy’s books are generally realistic contemporaries and having a linear plot with a contemporary can be a stretch.  Because, come on, most people’s lives aren’t linear plot-lines like in a book.  And to be fair there are some overarching events that happen in Ramona Blue that I guess you can view as plot points, but to me they were merely thrown in there.

Yeah, there’s the whole Ramona’s sister Hattie is pregnant thing and what is Ramona going to do after senior year, but it was sort of thrown around at best.  And the whole Ramona getting a scholarship for a community college thing made me roll my eyes.

And yes, Delgado is a community college in Louisiana.  There are several of them.  I know this because when I lived in that state I took a notary exam, and unlike most states actually be a notary public in that state is sort of a big deal.  You can actually do stuff that most states require a licensed attorney to do-draft wills, draft property descriptions, handle estates, etc.  It’s actually a good way as prep work before actual bar study for the state since a lot of Louisiana’s law is civil law and…


Anyway, long story short Delgado was a community college offering notary prep.  There’s several of these schools, and anyone seemed to get accepted to them.  So, it was sort of laughable that an out of state student was trying to go there.  Again, maybe there was something I was missing but from my own experiences but  it was sort of hilarious to read about.

One thing I will give Murphy, is I thought the atmosphere of the area was pretty spot on.  Again, lived in southeast Louisiana for almost two years, and even though this book takes place in southwest Mississippi I could see several similarities between the culture and it was eerie to what I experienced.

There was that tight sense of community that is prevalent in that area, but at the same time the area is overshadowed still by Katrina.  Yep, Katrina.  When I was living in Louisiana the ten year mark had just passed, and you could still see signs that the area was STILL struggling to rebuild itself.  Buildings would still have clear flood damage, the police station where I got myself finger printed for the bar still reeked of mold.  People would still talk about the storm, about how it effected them in their family, and hearing that Ramona’s family still hadn’t left the FEMA trailer that they had moved in after the storm seemed realistic to me.

So that was a plus, I guess.  Getting the setting down.  I know a lot books where this does not happen, but the setting came off brilliantly here.  Too bad, not much else did.  And I’m sorry a setting doesn’t make a book.

As for how it did depicting representation, I’m really don’t know if it’s my place to discuss so much  since I am straight.  However, I will say that I like that the quote quote plot about the MC’s sexuality it isn’t the sole focus of the book, i.e. it’s not so much a lesbian finding out that she’s bisexual than a teenager dealing with different relationships.  I can see someone who ID’s the same as the protagonist liking the book because the book’s target isn’t clearly WASP cis het kids who Murphy is trying to  “teach a lesson to”.  Rather, it deals with the character’s sexuality nonchalantly.  So that in my book, makes this one decent.  But again, I’m probably not the best person to ask about this.

So, at the end of the day, I really wasn’t a fan of Ramona Blue. I mean, it had some nice things going for it but the fact that it has a very unlikable protagonist and a nonexistent plot made me disinterested in it.

Again, though, more subjective reasons for me not liking this one than objective so take that into account.

Overall Rating: I’ll give it a C.


Books on my 2018 Reading List: A Whole Lot of Fluff and Some Other Stuff Too

It’s that time again, been saying that a lot lately, to discuss books I’m looking forward to in the upcoming years.  Note, this list is not exhausted.  I have a lot more books listed on my GoodReads list.  So if you sort of want an idea of what more there is in 2018 you can check out that list as well.  The ones I’m listing here are just a few of my picks for the new year:


My Lady Jane was one of my favorite 2016 reads.  I also have a soft spot for Jane Eyre since I spent a good chunk of my senior spring semester  writing an essay over it on female empowerment.  So yeah, this one is definitely on the list and has already been preordered.  Only thing is, it won’t be released until the summer.


When Dimple Met Rishi was one of my favorite fluffs this year, so of course I’m going to pick up Menon’s new book which looks just as good as her first.


While I didn’t absolutely love Love and Gelato I am interested in the follow up, mainly because I studied a semester in Ireland and am wanting to revisit it.


Because the hidden princess trope will never grow old.  Do you hear me?


Because the washed up Hollywood star trope is never old.


This one just looks adorable.  And what is that she’s drinking, I want it now.


Owning a Beagle, I can tell you that dog is going to get into that wedding cake and it’s baying is the result of the obvious wedding disaster.  BTW, Patty Beagle says she’s annoyed that she wasn’t chosen as a cover model for this book.  She says she would’ve already gotten her nose in that wedding cake.  Whatever Patty.


Obviously, a Cover Beagle.  No, just, no.


This one has been compared to Anastasia and Fire Fly.  Interesting combination.


The title alone should tell you why it’s an instant must.  Also, I’ve noticed a lot of these books I’ve put on this list are happy fluff books.  I think it’s because life is so depressing right now.


So, I wasn’t really happy with how the third book in this series was, but this is Garret’s story.  Though, I really wish that the cover gods would’ve spared Garret from having to endure a ball gown.  For one that gown hardly looks period appropriate, for another Garret isn’ the ballgown type.


Okay, I’ll admit it the fact that Rachel Maddow’s name is on the book made me interested in it.  Maddow is a BAMF and of course a protagonist who is writing to her has to be a BAMF too, right?  Well, we’ll see.  But seriously, if you haven’t you need to watch TRMS, probably the best show to get news these days.


Macaroons are one of the only few things in the pastry world I can eat since having to go gluten free.  So of course a book with them being on the cover I have to have.  Also, I like cooking romances.  I don’t know why.  It’s not even like I cook that much or have that much of an interest in it, other than the fact I refuse to eat fast food and have to pretty make everything because of my dietary requirements but need that book.


Again, anything with royal in it I’m down with it.  I am anticipating a lot of these books with Prince Harry getting married and all and I am going to live vicariously through these books.


Female Oliver Twist with gender bending could be very, very, good.


It’s That Time Again: 2017 Wrap Up

How time has flown when you’re worried the world is going to be blown up because there is a loon in the White House.

Seriously, though.  2017 was ridiculous.  It was like blink and you missed it.  I am hoping that 2018 sanity re-enters the world, but I hoped the same after 2016-the year of hell-so I really don’t have that much hope for next year just that it somewhat gets better…hopefully.  Anyway, in addition to the news going all topsy turvy.  2017 has been challenging for me.  Professionally I have grown a lot, which is a good thing.  I’m actually getting to do more lawyer-ly things now which is good.  Writing wise, I’ve been a little meh.  But I am hoping next year to buckle down some.

Total Books Read: Per my GoodReads tracker thing I read 92 books.  Last year, I read 160-sh books.  Big decline, but again, I am actually working more now so the decline was expected.  Plus, I only had a goal of 50 books so I accomplished that.

Most Read Genre: I’d say this year the list is more eclectic but I do think probably the most read genre, if any, was contemporary YA.  I like fluff, since most of my day is spent dealing with people’s problems I need a break and it’s usually with fluff.  Of course, that stupid sorting hat quiz based on books sorted me as a bloody Hufflepuff because of this but don’t let my reading choices fool you I am a Slytherin at heart.


Reading Report: Eh.  Not that memorable of a year.  There were a few really good books that stuck out.  But I did DNF a lot.  However, there wasn’t really a horrible stand out this year.  Oh, I’m sure I did read a couple of things that had me raging.  But I have finally gotten to the point where I DNF rather than continue to read the damn thing.

Biggest Surprise:


I read this very early on this year and it still was one of the most pleasant surprises of the year.  I honestly did not like Stacey Lee’s debut.  In fact, I mocked it in an Oregon Trail game log style of a review.  However, The Secret of a Heart Note really was a good read.  Given the summary, I expecting it to be borderline cliche, but surprisingly it wasn’t. If you like witch oriented books you might want to give this one a try.

Biggest Disappointment(s):


I think this was a case of over hype for me.  I just didn’t get into this book.  I might try to pick it up again later on, but there is just too much high fantasy language in it for my liking.    When I generally read, I read to get away, which means my brain is not working over time.  Believe it or not, Reading MJ is a lot different from Working MJ.  Working MJ has to read a lot of dull code books that numbs her brain, Reading MJ does not wish to read stuff that makes her think.  Hence, why Reading MJ’s reading choices made her a damn Hufflepuff/muggle when she took that stupid quiz.

That quiz sucks.


Ugh, Mulan retelling my ass.  One thing it’s in Japan, which I guess you know that’s where it’s going to be set given the synopsis of the book.  But God did this move so slow, and it featured a heroine who was a bad ass in name only.

Most Relevant Book(s): 

Going to cheat again and put two here.


No, shit.  This book was extremely relative to what’s going on and it was extremely cathartic.  Like, I felt like everything was going to be better for the fifteen minutes after I read it, until  I turned on MSNBC and saw Trump acting like an idiot.  Upon reflection, the biggest thing I picked up from reading Hillary’s book is just how fucked up our country is.  Seriously, you let emails destroy a country, people.  Emails.  And it’s interesting to note that a lot of those people in the media who were belittling her throughout the election have been caught up in all their own little scandals (cough, Matt Lauer, cough).  Also to note, my review on this book is probably one of my most popular reviews on GoodReads (after that one I did mocking Cassandra Clare expanding the Shadow Hunter book series for the fiftieth time) I also get the most flames for it as well.  I have to say though blocking deleting or mocking the various trolls I get for that review are a nice form of therapy.


The Hate U Give  needs to be given attention for this category as well.  This book made me so emotional, and I can see it being a must on every school reading list.  While it handles contemporary real time issues such as race relations and police brutality with precision and grace, the characters are also well formed and the voice is addicting. And of course, it had to be banned in some school in Katy, Texas (seriously, Texas, we are looking more and more ridiculous, Ted Cruz is bad enough, but banning The Hate U Give)  I am looking forward to seeing the movie when it comes out.  I’m also looking forward to reading Thomas’s next book too which is about a teenage rapper.

The Trend That Can Just Die:


Youtube/Internet Famous tropes just need to die.  I’m sorry YA authors, you are pandering.  With the very rare exception(s) Geekerella and Eliza and Her Monsters I get so, so, annoyed with this trope.  More often than not, it seems like the author does not know how things go viral.  How Youtube stars and internet people actually have to work to get popular.  How, a lot of Vine stars are just god damn annoying and not people I want to read about.  Seriously, just stop.

Forever Ship:


Eliza and Wallace because they’re just awkward and precious. Actually I read quite a few cute ship book this year.  I’d also suggest checking out Geekerella (one nerd themed trope book I didn’t want to throw at someone) and When Dimple Met Rishi if you want some ship goodness that tackles arranged marriages.

Kill This Ship With Fire


Charlotte and the Random Dude She Met in the airport.  Seriously, no.  I don’t care if he’s cute.  You don’t get into an Uber with a random dude you met at the airport.  Especially to get makeovers at Macy’s. Runner ups go to Ramon and Katie from Tender Triumph which will always forever suck, and Chuck and Jess from Jess and Chunk and the Road Trip to Infinity because Chuck deserved better than having his girlfriend call him Chunk for the rest of his life.  Also, that couple from #Famous who were just god damn annoying and I’m to lazy to look up their names (I also think I gave away that book too-hopefully, I don’t want to see it again).

Best Overall Book:


Yeah, I know I suck.  But you know what, this book made me feel so much better after I read it and it was the book I needed this year so it’s going to be named my top book.  Deal with it.  Also, it’s kind of one of those inspiration books for me, to get myself to move on and keep fighting.  That is a good thing.  I’ve actually read quite a few feminist themed YA books this year too come to think of amongst them being Moxie and A Mad Wicked Folly.

Honorable Mentions Should be Given to the Following:

  • Every Move by Ellie Marney it’s Ellie Marney duh.  Also last book in this fantastic Sherlock retelling series.
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas see previous discussion about how relevant this book is.
  • When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon a meet cute with the female lead interested in STEM while her male counterpart is an artist.
  • Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia an actual cute fandom romance that actually had some thoughtful discussion about mental health.

Worst Overall Book: 


As I said in my review, I’m pretty sure this is the romance novel that gave Hillary Clinton her disdain for the genre.  It is horrible all around horrible.  Honestly, though it’s sort of cheating putting this one on here since I knew when it came to reviewing it it was going to be like the worst book I read this year.  I hated it when I first touched it ten years ago.  However, a list is a list and it gets the crowning glory.  However, here are some of the other books that made me want to puke and/or throw them against the wall.

  • Flower by Elizabeth Craft: Didn’t even get to the 50 page mark with this one and it got returned.  That’s how bad it was.
  • #Famous by Jilly Gagnon: Ugh, ugh, ugh.  This one was just all out embarrassing.  It’s one of those books you cringe throughout the entire book.  Also, Gangon has no idea how things go viral.
  • Romancing the Throne by Nadine Jolie Courtney: It’s bad when you are more curious about what reality show the author was on than the actual book.  Also, book sucked.  Just read The Royal We.  I know it’s not age appropriate for all, but it is way better than this drivel.
  • Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven: Obviously, Niven did not do her research about over eating and face blindness.
  • Toward a Secret Sky by Heather Maclean: Twilight in Scotland.  Didn’t I read a time travel book with a similar premises a few years ago.  Oh, wait that was time travel this one…I didn’t even get far enough to see what sort of paranormal was thrown in.  It was just so 2006.
  • If There’s No Tomorrow by Jennifer L Armentrout: A book that will just depress you.  Enough said.
  • Kiss Me in New York by Catherine Rider: Or be an idiot and get in a car with a stranger.

There were several more books I read that didn’t make the list for one reason or the other.  Before the new year, I’ll try to post what new release in 2018 I’m looking forward to.


I’m In a Funk: Kiss Me in New York by Catherine Rider

34220850It’s Christmas Eve at JFK in NYC.

Charlotte is a British student, waiting for a flight home after the worst semester of her life. Anthony is a native New Yorker, surprising his girlfriend at the airport after three months apart. Charlotte has just been dumped, and Anthony is about to be dumped, right in the middle of the holiday crowd.

Charlotte’s flight is canceled when a blizzard blows in, and Anthony can’t bear to go home. So, they set out into the city together, clutching a book Charlotte picks up in the airport gift shop: Ten Easy Steps for Getting Over Your Ex. For this one night, they’ll focus on healing their broken hearts … together.

Step-by-step, the two struggle to put the past behind them. But the snow is so enchanting, and the holiday lights are so beguiling, that soon their shared misery gives way to something else. Soon, they’re not only over their exes — they’re falling for each other.

Then a subway ride splits them up by mistake. Will they reunite before Charlotte’s flight leaves New York forever?

Source: GoodReads

I love Christmas themed stuff.  Which is probably why I spent a good chunk of my weekend watching bad holiday movies on Hallmark and Lifetime.  Whenever there’s a YA book that looks like its cute and holiday themed, I’m always willing to grab it.  However….well, a lot of them suck  And Kiss Me in New York is one of these books.


Honestly though, I sort of wonder if some of my disdain for this book was that I’ve hit burn out.  I have about a shelf worth of books that I haven’t read and nothing sounds good to me right now.  And I have sort of been on a DNF streak lately.  Don’t ask me why, I just have been.  I don’t even think if I was in a funk I would enjoy this book.

This book just feels very packaged.  In part, that is expected.  After all, the book isn’t going to be that original.  There’s only so many ways you can do a Christmas centered romance or any contemporary really.  What makes a book special though, is its characters.  And God knows, this book is filled with insipid twits if there ever were some.

Charlotte is dumped by her boyfriend and she acts like it’s pretty much the end of the world until he meets this random new guy at an airport bookstore.  It’s not a cute meet.  It feel contrived and just blah.

I get having a teenage girl upset about a breakup is realistic, but the way Charlotte was acting it was like it was the end of the world.    It was annoying, and then as soon as she finds a somewhat cute guy that through luck becomes single pretty much after they have a twenty second talk at said book store that she falls instantly in love with him.

I mean, come on.  I get that instant love is going to be standard fair in YA.  And to some degree, it’s standard fair in adult romance as well, but this goes beyond the pale in what you usually see.

For example, in the most notorious example of insta love I can think of (The Twilight Saga) while there is pretty much instant attraction between Bella and Edward, it takes a good 200 or so pages of them to profess their love in a disgusting way.  Here, while vows weren’t exchange the two randomly decide to spend a day together after a fifteen second conversation in the airport.

Can you imagine that?  Getting in a taxi with a random person you see in the airport.  Doesn’t that creep you out a little bit?  I know it creeps me out.  But I guess in the authors (yes, authors Rider is a pen name) didn’t think of all the weirdos you meet in the relationship and if Charlotte randomly met a cute boy it would be okay…



Side note, I actually have been stuck in JFK’s international terminal for a six hour layover.  It was not romantic.  I remember getting very annoyed about having to wait six hours and wanting to go to the Jet Blue terminal which was loads better, but couldn’t because then you’d have to go through security again and who’d want to get patted down again.

Digression, I know.  But it was hard not to digress with this book.  Or not get bored.  I stopped reading honestly, after they went to Macy’s to get makeovers.


Side note: You don’t go to Macy’s to get a makeover.  Or anything really, now that I think about it.  I had a horrible experience the last time I went there, so I’m not very fond of it right now.  And honestly, if you’re in New York Barney’s and Bloomingdales’s are better options than Macy’s unless you’re wanting to visit 34th street because of that movie.  But as far as actual makeovers though….yeah just stick with Nordstrom’s.

Also, I found it sort of funny that this random stranger would agree to get a makeover.  But you know what, you meet a lot of strange people at the airport.

And that’s pretty much when I decided to DNF the book.

At this point, I feel pretty disillusioned when it comes to my reading choices.  I want to read a few new things before the year is over, but I’m starting to get to the point where I feel like the only way to remedy this funk will be to read some good old reliables.   Because reading has not been fun lately.

This book was not fun.  It had all the potential to be fun, but at the end it seemed like canned garbage.  I hate books like this.  I hate the fact they sold this book as a hardcover and it was not even 200 pages.  That my friends is a ripoff.

Don’t read this book, you’d be better off getting a makeover at Macy’s.

Overall Rating: DNF


On the Bodice Ripping Era (Or the Worst Contemporary Romance I Ever Read): Tender Triumph by Judith McNaugh


Discover the sensual and sweeping power of love in this story of new beginnings and uncertain endings by Judith McNaught—the New York Times bestselling author that USA TODAY raves “is in a class by herself.”

On Friday, a sensuous stranger enters Katie’s life. By Sunday, her life is irrevocably changed forever.

Katie Connelly submerges her painful past in a promising career, an elegant apartment, and uncomplicated, commitment-free romantic liaisons. Yet something vital is missing from her life and she’s uncertain what it is—until she meets proud, rugged Ramon Galverra.

With his charm and passionate nature, Ramon gives her a love she has never known. She is still, however, afraid to surrender her heart to this strong, willful, secretive man—a man from a different world, a man with a daring, uncertain future. Will Katie’s relationship with Ramon survive once the initial thrill of their simmering passion subsides?

In this bold and heartfelt novel, perfect for fans of Julie Garwood and Lisa Kleypas, Judith McNaught proves once again that she “not only spins dreams, but she makes them come true” (RT Book Reviews).

Source: GoodReads

Guess, what peeps, it’s rant time.  If you know me, you know that this book has been on my hate list for awhile.  Okay, maybe I haven’t mentioned it that much because it’s not YA and YA is what I usually review on this blog, but it is a known fact amongst personal friends that this is one of the most hated books on the MJ list.

Long story short, it was one of the books my mom gifted me when I first started reading romance.  I don’t think she realized how God awful offensive this book was.  Because if she did, she probably wouldn’t have given it to me (she has actually told me this when I ranted about said book several times).  It’s the sort of book that makes my blood pressure get ridiculously high where I feel the blood pumping in that vein above my head and… I end up looking like Toht on Indiana Jones when his face melted into liquid goo.


I still remember my rants about Katie and Ramon quite well.  I think I was a high school junior then so it’s been roughly about twelve years since I read it, and I still remember it.

God, I’m old.

Anyways, I decided to pick this one up again mainly because I wanted to discuss some of the faux pas in the bodice era of romance after reading that Hillary Rodham Clinton found romances in general to perpetuate to the  misogynic toxic society that we are living in.  Honestly, if all books were like Tender Triumph and Midsummer Magic (just mentioning that one has that vein throbbing again) I’d have had no beef with what Hillary said.  However, I think with being first lady, senator of New York, secretary of state, and just being an all around BAMF for the past twenty plus years has kept her busy from picking up a modern day romance novel which departs a little bit from the bodice ripper era books.

To be blunt though, there are still some very problematic romances out there.  You’ve heard me rant about them, but there are also some really good ones out there.  Classifying the genre like that left me shaking my head a bit, but for someone who probably hasn’t read the genre in years I can give her a pass.  Especially if she would’ve read Tender Triumph.  Because if we’re using Tender Triumph as an example, then, well, Hillary’s got it pegged.

I only got through about 90 pages when I reread this one.  In the couple of chapters there was sexism, racism, and homophobia.  Lovely stuff.


Because I have way too much time on my hands ( I really don’t).  Here’s a few keepers:

“Any roommates?”

“Two lesbians,” she lied gravely

He believed her, and wasn’t shocked.  “No kidding?  It doesn’t bother you?”

Katie gave him a look of wide-eyed innocence.  “I adore them.”  For just a fraction of a second he looked revolted, and Katie’s smile widened with genuine laughter.

Recovering almost immediately, she shrugged.  “Too bad.  See you around.” (15)

She knew, and he knew, that simply because he was Hispanic she had assumed he drove a produce truck. (23)

“I mean, you think it is important that brandy be drunk in the ‘proper’ wau, yet you do not worry if it is ‘proper’ to invite any man you meet into your apartment.  You risk soiling your reputation and-” (29)

Those are just three quotes that made me throw the book against the wall,  I threw it several other times as well.  You know when I revisited Midsummer Magic  as gross as it was-and it is gross, Coulter tries to justify rape with bloody cream-at least it was sort of fun to mock in the fact that it was clear that Coulter didn’t take herself seriously and the book in part was meant to be taken as a farce.  A sick fuck of a farce, but a farce.   This book though, it did take itself in a more serious fashion and these quotes I’m using-well, they were all supposed to be a part of playful banter that has the characters endear each other to them.  Ramon’s backwards views that Katie should make him dinner and give up her job, were suppose to be sweet.

They weren’t sweet though, they were fucked up.

As was the marriage proposal that appears randomly after the characters barely know each other and the immediate if you marry me you move to Puerto Rico with me woman bits as well.



It’s not like I can even sympathize that much with Katie.  She is a racist bitch.  There’s no other way to describe it. But I still wanted to shake her and tell her that she was getting herself in danger with Ramon.  It had all the classic marks of an abusive relationship and it made me want to vomit.

Ramon “rescues” Katie when she’s being harassed by her married boyfriend to put out.  It’s not a meet cute situation for sure.  I think McNaught wanted the reader to feel like Ramon was a white knight of sorts, but I kept thinking how did Katie not know that married guy was married.

As for Ramon,  he’s obnoxious.  Pretty much he sells produce out of his truck because daddy got senile and ruined the company, and rather than sucking it up and getting a job that his skills could actually be utilized he decides that he’s going to go back to farming-something he’s never done before.  I guess based off of the books God awful narration, he thought he’d be good because his grandfather was a farmer or whatever.


You know, being a farmer actually requires you to know things like how plants grow and the like.  Not that Ramon knows this.  But I think he’s at least okay with farming since he can grow cabbages in Puerto Rico and apparently take them over in the mainland  to fly in his truck.

Look, I don’t ask questions.  Ramon is suppose to be this big shot businessman so I’m guessing he had some sort of plan in this cabbage growing investment of his.  But I didn’t even know you could grow cabbages in Puerto Rico.

Anyway…digression about the agriculture business aside, after Ramon rescues Katie he decides to stalk her.

Seriously, girl asks him to go away and he won’t actually go away.  Katie should’ve got the pepper spray out and called the police.  But instead he’s mildly attractive so we get some very squeamish scenes of them “dating”.

Which consists of the characters insulting each other back and forth and being okay with each other only because they find each other to be oddly physically attractive.

You know, this has the bare bones to be a good story.  I would’ve enjoyed reading Ramon’s riches to rags tell if he wasn’t such a sexist creeper ass.  I would’ve enjoyed Katie had she not been such a racist bitch who somehow doesn’t know she’s dating a married man and then is willing to randomly agree to marry someone who is forcing her to move outside of the continental US.

But instead, this story was just gross.  This was the sort of story that you could see why Hillary Clinton has the bad impression of romance books that she does.  To be fair to McNaught, I vaguely recall reading an interview awhile back that this book and Double Standards (another early era McNaught book) were heavily influenced by the publisher.  But honestly, that’s sort of a piss poor excuse.  I think if anything Tender Triumph shows really underlying problems in society that still exists to this day.

In this book, sexism is treated merely as a courtship ritual.  Racism is merely innocent assumptions made about a person.  And homophobia is just a funny hahaha joke.  Honestly though, nothing about this is funny, romantic, or innocent.  It’s disgusting, disturbing, and deplorable.

The thing is, as bad as Tender Triumph is the genre has thankfully evolved.  While books as bad as this do still unfortunately do still exist, they’re not as near as prevalent as they once were.  Unfortunately though, books like this have stigmatized the genre to some degree.

When I first started reading romance, I remember picking up a copy of McNaught’s Paradise before one of my undergrad classes when the professor came into the room and told me I was too smart to read such drivel.  Honestly, that comment has lingered on me since taking that class and I’m still disgusted by it.  However, with the stigma that books like Tender Triumph have left on the genre, it’s understandable but still not right.  Fortunately, it does seem like the genre has made a lot of strides since the early 80’s (when this book was first published).  However, progress still can be made (you know, by getting rid of  the alpha douche themed books all together)

Overall Rating: Falalala you fail.

Slow as Syrup: Not Now Not Ever by Lily Anderson


The sequel to The Only Thing Worse than Me Is You, inspired by The Importance of Being Earnest.

Elliot Gabaroche is very clear on what she isn’t going to do this summer.

1. She isn’t going to stay home in Sacramento, where she’d have to sit through her stepmother’s sixth community theater production of The Importance of Being Earnest.
2. She isn’t going to mock trial camp at UCLA.
3. And she certainly isn’t going to the Air Force summer program on her mother’s base in Colorado Springs. As cool as it would be to live-action-role-play Ender’s Game, Ellie’s seen three generations of her family go through USAF boot camp up close, and she knows that it’s much less Luke/Yoda/”feel the force,” and much more one hundred push-ups on three days of no sleep. And that just isn’t appealing, no matter how many Xenomorphs from Alien she’d be able to defeat afterwards.

What she is going to do is pack up her attitude, her favorite Octavia Butler novels, and her Jordans, and go to summer camp. Specifically, a cutthroat academic-decathlon-like competition for a full scholarship to Rayevich College, the only college with a Science Fiction Literature program. And she’s going to start over as Ever Lawrence, on her own terms, without the shadow of all her family’s expectations. Because why do what’s expected of you when you can fight other genius nerds to the death for a shot at the dream you’re sure your family will consider a complete waste of time?

This summer’s going to be great.

Source: GoodReads

Geek culture has been invaded.

It’s true. It seems like there is a whole subgenera of YA books that deals with the subject matter.  There are some really good ones and there are some not so good ones that make me want to throw my Funko pops at someone.


Lily Anderson seems to like this subgenera.  The one other book she has written pretty much can be described as Big Bang Theory lite.  I remember liking it, but not loving it.  This book tipped my interest though because it was suppose to be a retelling of The Importance of Being Ernest.  Which was probably one of my favorite plays that I read during high school, it probably helped that we watched the Colin Firth movie in class.  Come to think of it, Mrs. G showed a lot of Colin Firth movies in class.

I sort of get why.


If you haven’t seen The Importance of Being Ernest its really a comedy of manners and its fairly quick witted.   Translating it to a modern day setting should’ve been an interesting task.  However, I found myself quickly bored with this version.

It started off fine.  We had an interesting set up, but I wasn’t laughing in this retelling.  I was just like get on with it already…and while there was na interesting set up it just kind of fizzled after awhile.

I think that was part of the problem I had with Anderson’s earlier work too.  Great set up, decent characters, but then the plot sort of stalls and doesn’t move.  And that’s what exactly happened in this book.

I thought about giving it more time, but honestly I think this year if anything has taught me that if something does not hold my interest to DNF and that’s exactly what I did here. I honestly felt sort of bad about it though.  There were a lot of things I did like about it.  The MC seemed complex, had interests that were outside of the realm of mainstream YA. The love interest looked possibly intriguing as well.  But everything about all the characters was just intriguing.  It was like when am I going to get a pay off…

Also, this is a companion book to The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You, while you definitely don’t have to read that book to understand this one, if you haven’t read it, it’s sort of like reading an inside joke.  While the characters from the previous book only make minor cameos, it’s like Anderson obviously expects you to know them.  Since it’s almost been two years since I read said book I had to sort of think about who some of the minor characters were from that particular book.

So yeah, this was a little bit of a dud for me but I might try picking it up again one day.  I just hate things that drag and this one unfortunately does.

Overall Rating: DNF