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review 2019-01-13 20:32
Review: My Boyfriend Is a Bear
My Boyfriend Is a Bear - Pamela Ribon,Cat Farris

My Boyfriend Is a Bear is the story of an unlikely romance between a woman and her bear. This is a sweet graphic novel that is not as perverse as the title may imply. Ribon provides a romance with all the elements you expect: an unlikely couple, a chance encounter, and the mistrust and pressure to evolve for a partner that causes division. Farris’s art is a simple and colorful comic style, but it fits the subject. One way this graphic novel stands out is in its lack of sentimentality. This is a sweet story, but it’s not cloying. It parallels a realistic relationship without losing its heart or trying too hard. Lots to grah here.

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text 2015-11-09 16:29
Jam: Roller Derby in Romance Novels
The Mane Squeeze (The Pride Series) - Shelly Laurenston
Falling Hard: 1 (Roller Girls) - Megan Sparks
Loved by You: BBW BWWM Romance (Found by You Book 2) - Victoria H. Smith
Love and Skate: Books 1-5, The Complete Series - Lila Felix
The Derby Girl - Tamara Morgan
Derby Girl - Shauna Cross
A Taste Of You - Jennifer Stevenson
Going in Circles (Pocket Readers Guide) - Pamela Ribon
Prom Nights from Hell - Michele Jaffe,Lauren Myracle,Stephenie Meyer
Demon Derby - Carrie Harris

I love Sports Romance. I just love a hero or heroine who is really really good at something. 


I love capable heroines who aren't afraid to punch someone in the face. 


I use to be a competive speed skater. 


Thus, I love Roller Derby and if I can get it in a Romance Novel--Joy is Mine!


Here are some Romances with Roller Derby! My lists are never in any particular order. 


1.  The Mane Squeeze by Shelly Laurenston


Growing up on the tough Philly streets, Gwen O'Neill knows how to fend for herself. But what is she supposed to do with a nice, suburban Jersey boy who has a tendency to turn into a massive Grizzly? Despite his menacing growl and four-inch claws, Gwen finds Lachlan "Lock" MacRyrie cute and really sweet. He actually watches out for her, and unlike the rest of her out-of-control family, manages not to morbidly embarrass her. Too bad cats don't believe in forever.


At nearly seven feet tall, Lock is used to people responding to him in two ways: screaming or running away. Gwen--half lioness, half tigress, all kick-ass--does neither. She's sexy beyond belief and smart as hell, but she's so busy protecting her family and friends that she's forgetting about her own safety. Lock probably shouldn't get involved, but he can't simply walk away. Not when Gwen means absolutely everything to him.


2. Falling Hard by Megan Sparks


When Annie moves from London to a small town in the midwest, she struggles to fit in. She gets off to a bad start when she makes an enemy of her school's queen bee, Kelsey. But she discovers a new passion, the exciting sport of roller derby, and makes friends with the cool and quirky girls on her team, the Liberty Belles. She also meets Jesse, the friendly boy who works at the roller rink, and Tyler, a cute, all-American sports star.


3. Found by You by Victoria H. Smith


He’s noticed by everyone… 

Griffin Chandler. 

He’s captain of our college’s basketball team. I swear to God I’ve already seen him in a Nike ad, and he’s one of the top picks when he goes pro following our spring graduation. 

His life is on display for the world. Both his accomplishments and demons there for judgment. 

I’m a girl who likes to play roller derby from, of all places, Wisconsin. My own demons better concealed. And one day… 

He notices me. 

Found by You is a new adult contemporary romance. 


4. Love and Skate: Books 1-5, The Complete Series by Lila Felix


On the rink she’s tough, she’s a leader, she’s fast and she’s the epitome of a rebellious girl. But Nellie’s been hurt, only once, but it was enough to make her look at life through different eyes and off the rink she’s a timid girl who loves with no pretenses. 
A long time ago Owen Black was betrayed by the girl he thought he loved and the guy he called his best friend. The anguish set off a domino effect of negativity in his life and he never has fully recovered. He meets Nellie Forrester and thinks he can let it go for her.  
But how can you love someone when the wounds from your past are still wide open?


5. The Derby Girl by Tamara Morgan


Roller derby girl Gretchen "Honey Badger" Badgerton lives in the moment, no apologies. Like every woman in Pleasant Park with a pulse, she finds Dr. Jared Fine irresistible, but she's taken by surprise when her unattainable new neighbor asks her out.

On paper, Jared is the perfect man: gorgeous, wealthy and charitable. But his golden image is just that, and opening an upstate practice is a welcome chance to start a new life. When Gretchen stops to help him with a flat tire, he's intrigued by her feisty attitude—and her sexy body art. There's something refreshing about being with a take-charge woman who doesn't expect him to be anything but himself.


Though Gretchen is hesitant to shatter Jared's "bad girl" illusion of her, she has to face facts: she's fallen for the good doctor. She's used to putting everyone else's needs before hers, but as their relationship heats up, can she handle having someone take care of her for a change?


6. Derby Girl by Shauna Cross


Meet Bliss Cavendar, a blue haired, indie-rock loving misfit stuck in the tiny town of Bodeen, Texas.

Her pageant-addicted mother expects her to compete for the coveted Miss Blue Bonnet crown, but Bliss would rather feast on roaches than be subjected to such rhinestone tyranny.

Bliss' escape? Take up Roller Derby.

When she discovers a league in nearby Austin, Bliss embarks on an epic journey full of hilarious tattooed girls, delicious boys in bands, and a few not-so-awesome realities even the most bad-assed derby chick has to learn.
7. A Hinky Taste Of You by Jennifer Stevenson
Hel became an energy vampire at seventeen and accidentally reduced her first boyfriend to ashes. Forty years later, she still looks seventeen. Her life is teaching hyperactive boys, roller derby, and worrying about paying her mother's hospital bills. 

Nick Jones, federal anti-magic cop, has a secret, too. Magic excites him, to his shame. This makes it hard for him when he's assigned to recruit Hel. 

Nick feels guilty for his attraction to a teenager. Hel adores Nick's yummy energy. If he learns she’s a vampire, he'll send her to Hinky Guantanamo. 

But can they keep their hands off each other?
8. Going in Circles by Pamela Ribon
In fact, she reached her life’s quotient when her husband of five months walked out on her, only to abruptly change his mind a few weeks later and move back in. Stung by a whiplash of grief, resentment, and confusion, Charlotte calls a time-out, taking a small apartment where she can figure out what shewants. Instead, the thought of making even the simplest choices triggers an anxiety attack. In order to get out of bed in the morning, she must concoct a to-do list for each day, The Plan, one with absolutely no surprises.

“Without The Plan, horrible things can happen. I’m likely to end up sitting on a curb beside a taco truck on Sunset Boulevard, crying over a carne asada burrito, wondering where my marriage went. I can’t handle being the Weeping Burrito Girl.”

Charlotte knows all this self-absorbed introspection isn’t good for her, but she’s running out of people to turn to, as seemingly everyone in her life is pressuring her to make an immediate decision about her future. Then her new friend Francesca—an impulsive, smartass co-worker—offers Charlotte salvation in the unlikeliest of places: the fast-paced, super-tough, bump-and-bruise-filled world of roller derby.

Sure, it’s dangerous. Yeah, she could get hurt. But what’s a little physical pain when healing your soul is at stake? The question is: whether she’s on or off the track, will Charlotte be strong enough to stand on her own two feet?


n this exciting collection of paranormal tales, best-selling authors Stephenie Meyer (Twilight), Kim Harrison (Once Dead, Twice Shy), Meg Cabot (How to Be Popular), Lauren Myracle (ttyl), and Michele Jaffe (Bad Kitty) take prom mishaps to a whole new level—a truly hellish level. Wardrobe malfunctions and two left feet don't hold a candle to discovering your date is the Grim Reaper—and he isn't here to tell you how hot you look.

From angels fighting demons to a twisted take on getting what you wish for, these five stories will entertain better than any DJ in a bad tux can. No corsage or limo rental necessary. Just good, creepy fun.


10. Demon Derby by Carrie Harris


Casey kicked cancer’s ass. Now a demon wants to kick hers. . . .

Casey hates being known as the girl who survived cancer. She wants people to treat her like her old self, fearless and strong. And after a creepy encounter with a crazy guy in an alley, Casey is all about reclaiming her power.

So when she has a chance to try out for the Apocalypsies roller derby team, she jumps on it. Being a derby girl would prove that she doesn’t need anybody’s pity. It doesn’t hurt that Michael, the team manager, is almost unnaturally hot. Which makes sense when Casey finds out that he’s not human.

Michael’s got a secret: he trains demon hunters. That crazy guy in the alley? Demon. And the fact that Casey went head to head with evil and lived makes her a threat to demonkind. Casey thought she’d already fought and won the battle of her lifetime. But it’s only beginning. . . .


Did I miss one? Let me know!


Vote on my Goodreads list: Jam: Roller Derby in Romance Novels 

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review 2014-11-28 04:45
Review: Notes to Boys by Pamela Ribon
Notes to Boys: And Other Things I Shouldn't Share in Public - Pamela Ribon

Pamela Ribon has been showing up a lot in my recent life. First of all, she shows up with that horrible barbie book nonsense, bringing it all to life in her blog post. Then I see her name mentioned in a Smart Bitches post and think, "Oh! I recognize her! She is the one who wrote the hilarious thing on the sad barbie book". And finally, it came to a point when I looked at the book my friend from work had loaned me and realized it was her again. At that point I knew I was going to like this book. 


My friend had told me that this was their bookclub pick this month and most of the ladies had liked it though it took a bit to get into. I liked it from the beginning though did skim through some of the more cringe-worthy stories. 


Let me back up. This book is written on the concept that Pam saved all of the notes she wrote to boys as a teenager. They are just brimming with 15 year old angst and feeling. I would read them and cringe to myself on her behalf and then cringe again remembering some of the things I did as a teen. All this cringing would culminate in the grateful realization that I was no longer 15 and did not have to worry about overwhelming feels anymore.


My favorite parts of this book were not the notes themselves but the context and stories around them. Pam is a fantastic writer who drew me into her past quite easily. I want to read more of her books now that do no center around these notes. The notes were my least favorite part actually. I enjoyed them more toward the beginning, but as the book went on I had enough flashbacks thanks. 


Anyway, I enjoyed this book. Give it a shot if you are interested in a memoir centering around some of the more embarrassing aspects of teenage girlhood doused with a good dose of humor. 


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review 2014-02-12 10:55
Did you ever send notes to your High School crush?
Notes to Boys (And Other Things I Shouldn't Share in Public) - Pamela Ribon

Pamela Ribon did and kept copies of them all. Tiffany Turpin Johnson reviews a memoir of adolescent fervour for LitReactor.com




Notes to Boys (And Other Things I Shouldn't Share in Public)


Who wrote it:


Screenwriter and author Pamela Ribon, who already has several bestselling books to her name.


Plot in a box:


In a mostly funny memoir of her 1990s-era teens, Ribon recounts the hardships of being a pubescent writer with too much word vomit and no internet trash can.


Invent a new title for this book:


Wherefore Art Thou, Adolescence?


Read this if you liked:


Bossypants by Tina Fey


Meet the book's lead:


Little Pam is like any other thirteen-year-old girl...who writes two-hundred-page notes to boys. More than once.


Said lead would be portrayed in a movie by:


Eden Sher from ABC's The Middle, if she dyed her hair blonde. She's so adorkably irritating, but you know she's going places, and you wanna go along.


Setting: would you want to live there?


Um, no. Let me rephrase that. HELL no. There's racists, bullies, bigots, book-burners, and boys who don't write back. And I thought my high school was hell!


What was your favorite sentence?

Life. It's pretty much bullshit. Brought to you by the number fifteen. 

The verdict:


There’s basically two main characters switching perspective throughout the memoir, although they’re ultimately the same person. Grown-up Ribon narrates us through her early ‘90s journey as Little Pam (LP), the wannabe writer who kept copies of the copious letters she sent to every teenaged boy unfortunate enough to look her way—and sometimes even to those who never did. Here and there we get sprinkles of (mostly bad) poetry and short stories. You can’t read too many chapters in one sitting, either because you feel too embarrassed at LP’s follies or too overwhelmed by flashbacks from your own adolescence. If you were ever a teenaged girl, at least.


Ribon’s a comedian at heart, so most of the book is funny, with just enough heaviness to remind you that you’re reading a memoir, not a Disney Channel script. There are some dark moments, although Ribon mostly glosses over them in favor of focusing on the more widespread embarrassments of adolescence. There were a couple places where this became an issue, because in our culture of rape and bullying, it’s no longer okay to play down the inflated feelings of angst that go along with the teen years, especially for young girls. But if you can get past the one suicide joke, in particular, she does get serious on the issue later on.


The letters are reported as-is, so there’s loads of distracting [sic]s in the way, and Ribon can’t help interjecting commentary every other sentence, leering at each of LP’s imperfections like a nitpicking mother. I remember being a teenaged girl struggling to be heard, and I just want to scream at Ribon, Let the girl speak already! But it’s just because Ribon’s made me see myself in LP, so that even while I’m annoyed by the girl I want to hug her and tell her everything will be okay, that I love Siamese Dream too, that I miss my K too, that we all find our Nice Boy one day and so will she.


So ultimately I enjoyed the book, and I rooted for LP even when I wanted to slap her. The last quarter of the book is the best, so hang around for the payoff.

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review 2012-11-08 00:00
Going in Circles - Pamela Ribon This book was a 2 star, middle of the road, didn't hate it, didn't love it, it was OK kinda read until the last 40 pages or so. At 40 pages from the end, I stopped reading, stared at the book, and asked it: "Are you fucking kidding?!!" It didn't answer, probably because I'd shamed it into silence, but the answer is no, it was not fucking kidding.


Lemme back up a bit and work up to my vocal incredulity. This book was selected as the November book in my real life bookclub. And so I read it. I was assured that the author is "hilarious" and "smart" and that I would "probably love this book".

Huh. Not so much.

I'm gonna talk about what led me to stare down and then yell at this book now, so if you have intentions of reading this book, or just don't want me to ruin it for you, stop reading right about.... Now.

Let the rant commence.

OK, so, we start this book with Charlotte grieving, unable to get out of bed or deal with her day without a plan. Through her memories, we see her daily morning interaction with her absent husband, Matthew - how she's a horrible morning person, how he would tease her that her right side is still sleeping and tell her left side not to wake her, etc. So cute, sweet, loving... *HURK*. Oh, 'scuse me. I just ate. Anyway, so, we add together Grief + Missing Adorable Husband, and we end up with the assumption that he's dead. Turn that in to the professor and we get a big red FAIL for faulty logic. He's not dead... he's just estranged.

And Charlotte is a fucking wreck.

Alrighty... I don't know how long they were together before they got married, but from the bits and pieces of their courtship, where Mattypoo is impossibly adorable in spite of (if not because of) his OCD, which necessitated Charlotte learning his mannerisms and body language, meaning that she is The Only One Who Gets Him, I really did not get the impression that it was very long. Maybe a year? Then they were married for 5 months, when seemingly out of the blue, Mattypoo says he's moving out. Which he does, until a month later when he changes his mind and comes back home. Which sends Charlotte into a mental crisis tailspin of worry and doubt and what-the-fuckery where she ends up masturbating on the cold bathroom floor in the middle of the night, before skeeving herself out and then scrubbing said floor at 3am.

Charlotte: OMG! My beloved husband left me! This is terrible... I'm sad.
Charlotte: He's back! Wait. Why? Why is he back? Did he sleep with someone and now he feels guilty? Did that someone (who is, of course, blonde and beautiful, and utterly uninhibited) do things that I would never let him do, so now that oat is sowed (sown?) and he can come back? Does he love me? I love him. I don't know if he loves me. But he came back. But he left. He loves me though... he came back. But he doesn't.

(At this point, I was like "DID YOU TRY FUCKING ASKING HIM WHY HE LEFT?! *slap slap*)

Charlotte, cont'd: He loves/doesn't love me. Everything is falling apart. If I don't have him I don't exist... but he doesn't want me... or maybe he just doesn't want to be alone. Or maybe blah blah blah blah [edited for brevity]... *Complete breakdown/bathroom scene*

And that is how, after being unable to cope with her husband deciding to leave OR stay, SHE decides to leave HIM... apparently in order to save her marriage. Or... something.

'Or something' because she somehow thinks that makes sense... She makes absolutely ZERO effort to discuss anything with him, aside from inviting him to her family functions, because she insists on pretending as though there's nothing wrong at all to her family, while at the same time acting as though the sun just fell out of the sky to her friends, acquaintances, co-workers, and casual passersby, whom she expects to behave the same way.

She could make a silent indy film called THE PERPETUAL DARKNESS OF A MATTHEWLESS WORLD. In miniature. Cannes would love it. (Remember the miniature part. This will be important later.)

Seriously, her behavior at this point in the story (pre-incredulosity, remember) is so out of proportion to the situation that I was hoping something really awful would happen to her just for some perspective. (It didn't.)

So anyway, then she makes a new friend, who introduces her to roller derby, which performs the oh-so-painful-but-necessary role of distracting her from her miserable, fucked up life, while at the same time teaching her confidence, and, umm confidence, and... conf-Zzzzzzzz...


But not really. Because she's still clinically UN-FUCKING-ABLE to make a goddamn decision about what she wants to do with her life. Or even cope with being a human. There was the part where a male friend is going through a mini-crisis of his own, and she hugs him, during which he kisses her on the cheek/corner of her mouth, and she freaks the hell out. Going into a panic attack/crying fit because a "man has touched her" and she can't cope with that. As if she'd been raped or assaulted or something, rather than just having her husband leave her and then come back. How traumatizing!!

Have I mentioned she's 30? She's MY AGE. And I am a Libra, and as such, I am technically allowed to be indecisive. But for shit's sake, I don't think that a break up with a boy EVER incapacitated me to this level of stagnation... not even when I was in full on BOYS ARE THE UNIVERSE mode at 15. I don't even think that I'd get that way now if The Boy and I were to split, and we've been together 24 times the length of Charlotte's pathetic ass Kardashian marriage.

But I digress.

Friend > roller derby > other shit which is too pointless to mention > leads to a Much Needed Girls' Getaway Vacation. (Brace yourself, the incredularity is coming soon.)

During the MNGGV, Friend asks Charlotte, "What did he do to you?" And this is where Charlotte breaks her long silence and tells Friend what led to Mattypoo leaving in the first place. (Ready?)

She is a miniature artist. By which I mean to say that she makes small things and displays them as art. Shortly after the wedding, she did a show, wherein a gallery owner got all flirty with Charlotte and Mattypoo got jealous. Mattypoo's not real good with his words (despite being a LAWYER!!) and so he tells her to keep him out of that aspect of her life... Until one day he gets drunk, comes home, they argue... and he breaks her miniatures.
And I quote:
"He opened the door and threw the scraps of my work out onto the porch.
I fell to the ground, empty, like I'd been tossed out, too.
Right there.
Right there was where my life stopped.
Where my marriage broke."
And then this...
"'He left two weeks later. I think he couldn't handle what he'd done.'
'Or what he was told he did. If he really doesn't remember, that has to be a little scary, huh?'
[...]'I know. And maybe now he thinks I'm a reminder of the worst that he's capable of.'
[...]'But what if you haven't seen the worst he's capable of?'
The question causes me to rub my chest, trying to get through to the ache inside. 'Frannie,' I say, my voice breaking. 'Why do you think I moved out?'"

I just... I can't.

He didn't hit her. He didn't call her a whore for allowing Gallery Guy to flirt with her. He didn't threaten her. They argued, and he broke the miniature art piece that she had been working on. Which ruined their marriage and sent Charlotte into an 18 month long depression.

Oh yes, you heard right. 18 months. The depression was longer than their marriage, and possibly longer than their entire relationship. Over a broken miniature art piece that they couldn't find it within themselves to work past.


Aside from the utter fucking ridiculous catalyst for the entire story, I didn't find anything particularly funny, though it was definitely trying, and I didn't like the writing all that much either. Things just randomly happen, huge time jumps occur and suddenly it's 1, or 5, or 18 months later, with no feeling of change or progress at all. Charlotte's nicknames are both "clever" references to her emotional state: Char (as in burned) and Hard Broken/Broke-Broke/Broken. And of course by the end, after all her Roller Derby Confidence Fixes Everything, she dumps the jerkbag and scores a date with the hottie from roller derby with the crush on her that she never gave two seconds thought to previously.

I'm trying to think, and I can't come up with a single redeeming thing about this book at all. Overall, I'd describe the entire book as TSTL. It felt like it was trying too hard to be unique or quirky or something, but just felt cliched. Add in completely unlikable characters I couldn't identify with in any way, and a catalyst that's TSTFB (too stupid to fucking believe), and I want my wasted time back.
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