Erin’s Bookshelf: Rock Bottom Girl

Do you like some comedy with your romance? A down-on-her-luck heroine just trying to figure out what she wants in life? A drool-worthy hero who’s sweet and sexy?

Do you kind of like soccer?

Then I’ve got the book for you! Fresh from the bookshelf, it’s Rock Bottom Girl by Lucy Score.

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At thirty-eight, Marley Cicero finds herself dumped, jobless, and back in her childhood bedroom. It’s the rockiest of bottoms, as her main goal in high school was to escape the small town of Culpepper and live a life with meaning. She’s determined to get out again, but in the meantime accepts a temporary teaching position at her old high school, as well as the job of girl’s soccer coach. Her team hates each other, and her students don’t respect her. What’s a girl to do? Turn to the sexy history teacher who once roamed the school’s halls as the resident bad boy and stole a kiss from her under the bleachers, that’s what. Jake Weston can’t help but be drawn to the pretty new teacher who’s in way over her head. When a desperate situation calls for desperate measures, the two find themselves signing an ethics contract for the school stating they’re in a relationship, and can’t break up until the end of the semester. Jake agrees to help Marley out and be her fake-boyfriend, but there’s a catch: He’ll teach her how to coach, and she’ll teach him how to be in a relationship. It’s the perfect plan…until the line begins to blur between fake and real, and Marley finds herself falling for the job and the guy.

Rock Bottom Girl is one of the most adorable romances I’ve read in a long time. It’s lighthearted, funny, and has just the right amount of tension to keep you turning the page without bogging down the plot. Marley is such a down-to-earth character, anyone struggling to figure out what they want to do with their life can relate to her (which, I’m assuming, is a lot of people). Jake Weston is the perfect balance of fantasy and reality, with fully evolved emotions, real faults (the guy is a slob), and plenty of swooniness to make you blush.

The story doesn’t dive into the romance as quickly as I usually like, but the foundation that is laid leading up to the relationship of the leads adds a layer of authenticity that feels healthy and realistic. It’s clear the author took great care in bringing Jake and Marley together, and wanted them to be fully-fledged individuals before evolving into a couple. Also, I wouldn’t say I was necessarily a soccer fan before reading this book (I wouldn’t necessarily say I am after reading it) but the attention to detail and character development of the individuals on the team draws you in until you’re as emotionally invested in their growth as a group as you are in Jake and Marley’s growth as a couple.

I highly recommend this book, especially to anyone looking for a warm-hearted story that will make you say “ahhhhhhh” one minute, and have you fanning yourself the next.  It’s available for Kindle Unlimited, and in paperback (perfect beach read!). It’s cute, fun, and I already want to read it again.

Until next time!

Erin K.

10 Reasons to Read Romance

The Romance genre is one of the largest and most profitable genres out there, but it still often gets a bad rap. It gets labeled as “smut”, is not seen as sophisticated, or only as a guilty pleasure you’re too embarrassed to tell anyone about. Romance is so much more than people give it credit for, and if you’re one of those people who don’t consider Romance a serious genre, or have just never gotten around to checking it out for one reason or another, here are 10 great reasons to give it a chance!

1. There’s something for everyone!

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Do you like mystery? Suspense? Action? Adventure? Do you want something wholesome and sweet, or a little more…explicit? Romance has you covered! There are so many sub-genres to choose from, and among all the different authors with all their different writing styles, you’re sure to find a book to obsess over.

2. It’s more than “smut”…

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Romance isn’t just about the sex. It’s about emotions. Romance books focus on the emotional development of their characters, and how those developments effect the central relationship of the story. Some books do this better than others, sure, but even if there’s sex (because there doesn’t always have to be), a good romance interlocks it with the emotional and character growth of the couple.

3. …But the “smut” can be pretty great.

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Romance novels can be a way for you to explore your own fantasies. It’s important to note the difference between Romance and Erotica, though. Romance focuses on the relationship of the characters. Erotica’s all about that sex. Still, Romance, and especially well-written, inclusive, equitable Romance, can help to open your mind to better understand your own sexuality and preferences.

4. You can always count on a happy ending.

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By definition, a Romance novel must have a happily ever after (or at least a happily for now). So, even if the conflict between the characters seems insurmountable, you can take comfort in the fact that they will overcome it and end up together. Romance is about the journey, not the destination. So just enjoy the ride without stressing about where you’ll end up.

5. Strong female leads are often the driving force of the stories.

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Now, this isn’t to say that there aren’t problematic portrayals of women in Romance, but there are so many better books staring independent, intelligent, boss ladies. One of my personal favorites is Chloe Mills from Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren. She is a woman who is driven, ambitious, and quick-witted, with a spine of steel to go toe-to-toe with her boss/love interest Bennett Ryan. You can find female leads like Chloe throughout the Romance genre, and especially among new Romance.

6. Male leads are given the space to feel things.

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As with female leads, this doesn’t mean there aren’t problematic male leads in Romance. Many leads continue to fall into the alpha-male trope, but even within that, authors are dedicating more and more effort to the emotional development and vulnerability of their male characters. Since Romance as a genre is so centered on emotion, it make sense that the men in the stories would have to deal with their emotions in a way that isn’t often focused on in our society.

7. It can be a temporary escape.

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Life is hard, and sometimes you just need to occupy your mind and put aside your troubles, if only for a short time. Romance can be your escape, providing you a place where endings are satisfying, fantasies are indulged, and love conquers all. You can recharge your optimism with some feel-good stories.

8. We all love a little bit of drama.

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Romance tends to get a bad rap for being “melodramatic”, but so what? People love drama, that’s why Keeping Up with the Kardashians and The Real Housewives shows exist. Drama is exciting, but also messy, so why not get your daily dose from a book instead of from real people?

9. It’s like a roller coaster.

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You know that gut-deep thrill you feel when you’re plunging down that first slope on a roller coaster? Romance can be like that. It can take you for an emotional ride. The anticipation leading up to a first kiss in a Romance can be just as breathtaking as a love confession in the rain. Because Romance focuses on the emotions of the characters, it also tugs at your own emotions. You can fall in love with the characters just as they are falling in love with each other. Your heart can break when something forces them apart, and then be filled with joy when they are brought back together. Good Romance makes you want to emotionally invest in its story.

10. Romance is fun!

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At the end of the day, Romance novels are just fun to read. They’re like a walk through the park, or a well-earned vacation to the beach. Something to enjoy and brighten your day, because we all need to let loose once in awhile.