This book does not contain a good girl – Spoilers ahead

Welcome back to my dungeon where the floors are always slippery, the lights are always dim and the shelves are full of dust. This week I plucked off of my shelf a particularly bad romance by the name of Things Good Girls Don’t Do. Our esteemed author is none other than Codi Gary who seems to have a slew of these types of books, all based on the premise that a good, sweet, innocent girl goes for a “bad” boy. While I can’t speak about the others in this series, I can tell you for a fact that the bad boy in this book was never at all bad and is truly pretty boring and the girl in it is at best polite, but in no way good.

Let me start by summarizing the premise so we all know where we are starting here. Good girl Katie Connors has been dumped by her jerk-face boyfriend of seven years. We know he is a jerk-face because 1. he cheated on her, 2. he then invites Katie to his wedding with the girl he cheated on her with and 3. and most importantly, Jimmy is short and stocky. This point is repeatedly made in this book, that Jimmy is short and stocky. So for those of you who are not sure, short and stocky equals a jerk-face. This is one of those things that just makes me crazy with romance books. The body image problems here are nuts. What’s wrong with being short and stocky? Do all the short and stocky guys depicted in romance books have to be jerk-faces? Name one romance book where the short and stocky guy is the main love interest. Anyway, I got off on a tangent there.

So Katie’s heart is broken still seven months later when she is getting ready for this festival that they are going to have in the small town of Rock Canyon, Idaho. Katie speaks with the guy who we know she will fall in love with, local “bad boy” (I use quotes here because he is anything but bad, more like a moron) Chase Trepasso. We know he’s the one for Katie because 1. he is not short nor stocky, 2. he gets a cool name like Chase instead of a basic name like Jimmy, and 3. most importantly, he has steel-grey eyes. That point is repeated over and over in this book. Take a moment and think about how many people you know. Now think about how many of them have steel-grey eyes. My guess is you know one at maximum. If I saw someone with steel-grey eyes, I would think they had come from a cosplay contest and had just forgotten to take the contacts out.

Before I get further into the summary of the plot, let me take a moment to tell you why Chase is the bad boy and Katie is the good girl. Um… Chase runs a tattoo parlor. Ok, maybe not that conventional, but he owns the place and makes a good business so uh, where’s the bad boy part? Katie is the good girl because she dresses conservatively, enters and wins beauty queen contests and doesn’t really swear in public. I gotta say, in small town Idaho, that doesn’t make you much different than most women. We’ll get back to this whole good bad thing in a bit but there’s the basis for it.

So Katie, feeling rather mopey one day, goes to the local bar. This book being full of really bad puns, it’s called Buck’s Shot Bar. Yeah, I groaned too and I am known for making bad puns. Katie drinks too many mojitos and gets a bit tipsy. She writes down stuff she’s never done, like dye her hair with purple streaks, shoplift, and have a one night stand. So of course, fake bad boy and super hot hunk of meat Chase Trepasso does the thing that makes third graders bad and steals a girl’s note. Yeah, he takes it from her and I guess that means he’s a rebel and not, you know, a jerk-face. Let’s remember that Chase is not short nor stocky, so it’s fine.

Chase, being the rebel he is reads the note and sees all these mildly rebellious things written on it and realizes he should give the note back. So he pretty much harasses Katie into letting him “help her” to complete them, one night stand included. Cause that’s not creepy or weird at all.

I imagine you can guess how this goes, Katie does a few wild things, Chase is there, they hook up, so on and so on, pretty standard stuff. We learn over and over how bad Chase is and how good Katie is. Only Katie’s not good anymore because she speaks her mind when she wants to now. It’s a little weird how it took her being with a guy to be able to do that but ok sure. Chase is bad because he helps Katie to uh… go skinny dipping, gives her a tattoo and kind of generally hangs out with her. So, giving Katie a ride on his motorcycle is supposed to up his street cred I guess, but the author pointedly doesn’t mention any helmets being placed on Katie’s head until like the third time she rides, so to me Chase is not bad, just a moron who’s okay with a girl he likes potentially getting her brains splattered on the pavement. Also, while he gives Katie this tattoo, to dull the pain, he hands her a flask of scotch. Now, I’m no health code or ethical expert, but I’m thinking that there are some regulations about intoxicating your clients while performing your tattoo duties. This seems especially stupid to me considering how Katie had already proven herself to be a lightweight drinker more than once in the book.

Chase gets to know Katie and they start to develop mutual feelings for each other. There’s this whole side plot with the festival going on where Katie has to ride on a float and pass her beauty queen crown on to the next winner. So in the course of this side plot, we find out that Katie is 30 and the girls competing in the contest are like 15-25 usually but Katie did the contest last year cause jerk-faced short man Jimmy wanted her to. So she does it and wins. And she keeps thinking to herself how she doesn’t look like those fifteen year old girls anymore. What?? Yeah, so first of all, I got the impression from the book that Katie had the emotional maturity of a seventeen year old at best but I was pegging her at around twenty-three. I’ve got news for anyone who is thirty, male or female, comparing yourself to a fifteen year old is not a good comparison. Why would you do that? I sure as heck hope you don’t still look like you are fifteen when you are thirty cause if you do, there’s a problem.

To find out more about how bad of a guy Chase is, we find out that he draws graphic novels and is known for one he called Destructo-boy. I think our author pulled out of a hat what they thought a comic book title should sound like and went with it. We also find out that Chase is college educated and went to Berkeley on a scholarship. Katie’s reaction to that news was amazement. She was amazed that he got a scholarship, not that he went to Berkeley. I mean, not everyone gets a scholarship but Katie was like “That’s really hard to get” as if he was a Rhodes Scholar. The dude drew some graphic novels and won a scholarship. All due respect to graphic novels (I particularly love them) but doing art and then getting a scholarship to do art happens to people and it’s not that big of a thing. The final bit of evidence that Chase is a bad guy is that he has tattoos and piercings. His piercings are vaguely described and the one and only tattoo on Chase that is described is that of a sun. Why do we find out he had a tattoo of a sun on his chest? So that we can find out he has mommy issues and the sun on his chest reminds him of his mother singing “You are my sunshine” to him. Oh, the rebel. Keep that guy off the streets or he’ll sing nursery rhymes at you.

Ok, so furthering the plot along, Chase falls deeper for Katie but can’t, you know, man up and say it out loud. At this festival thing, there are these fireworks and jerk-face Jimmy shows up with his buddies and starts harassing Katie. Chase and his friends get into it and a fight ensues. During the whole fight, Chase is freaking out internally because Katie called him her boyfriend. Long story short, Chase gets his butt kicked pretty hard in what amounts to an unfair fight, then the newly liberated Katie decides on some property damage and busts Jimmy’s headlights.

After the fight Katie is like, you need to go to the hospital, Chase and he’s like, I’ll be fine. This dude who probably has cracked or broken ribs gets on his motorcycle (or maybe he was driving his truck at this point, can’t quite remember) but drives home. On the way, his stepfather calls him and tells him his mother is in the hospital potentially dying of liver failure. So Chase does what any reasonable bad boy would do and goes to try and donate his liver and save his mother. He writes Katie a note saying they will talk when he gets back and he had a family emergency. So this is important here, I want you to remember how Katie sees Chase last in these moments. He’s injured to the point where she thinks he needs a hospital, then she finds a note saying he had this family emergency and they will talk in a couple days after the weekend when he gets back. You have to remember this because this is how we can see that Katie is a truly awful, horrible person and not good in any way.

Chase gets to know his mom a little bit before she dies. They had a strained relationship earlier. He’s not a good match for her on the liver donation so he stays a while longer than expected. He gets surprised by the fact that his mother cared about him more than he thought. I just tell you this so you know what Chase is up to while Katie does her thing.

Katie mopes around for like a week because she thinks Chase just up and abandoned her. She doesn’t call, doesn’t text, doesn’t do anything to find out where he went or what his family emergency was. She is mad because he doesn’t call or text her. She doesn’t seem to think, hey, the guy who drove away with potentially broken ribs might be hurt or have been in accident and maybe I should file a missing person report. Nope, never occurs to her. Her friends convince her that the best thing for her to do is to have an un-bachelorette party. Basically they go to bars pretending that Katie is getting married so they can get guys to buy them free drinks. Katie doesn’t do anything worse than talk to guys but I think it’s a bad look when your boyfriend seems to have gone missing with very little explanation. But maybe I’m just old fashioned that way. One thing I have to point out is the conversation that Katie has with some of these guys in one of these bars. She comments on how muscular they all are. They tell her that they are part of the Boise Grizzlies football team. So Katie thinks to herself how she doesn’t follow professional football. Her not following football seems perfectly reasonable to me. But the athletes specifically say they are football players, so they should know what sport they play. Apparently they don’t though, and neither does the author because A. there is no professional Idaho football team and B. here is a picture taken from the website of the actual Boise Grizzlies.

Pretty sure those are not football players. Do fifteen seconds of internet research!

Finally Chase is done wrapping things up with his mom and stepdad, funeral is over etc and he goes back to Rock Canyon, Idaho. At this point Katie is EXPECTING AN APOLOGY. Sorry for the caps there but duuuuuuuuude. She expects an apology? She didn’t text or checkup on the guy in any way, was out partying and he was, you know, at his mother’s funeral. I’m no fan of non-stocky, sunshine tattooed, steel-grey eyed Chase, but even I felt bad for him at this point. But instead of Chase ditching this crazy woman, he asks how he can make it up to her. HIS mom died. Not hers but he has to apologize? Ughh, romance books. Anyway, he makes a list of his own, basically a list of nice things he has never done for a woman. He buys her flowers, feeds her chocolate covered strawberries, you get the idea. Katie, though, being. you know, a horrible person, isn’t swayed so easily. She really wants him back but can’t admit that so she asks her friends what to do. They come up with the idiotic plan of having an actual bachelorette party for a woman that Chase knows that is getting married for real. Nothing wrong with having a party like that but Katie gives Chase the distinct impression that she is going with another guy (why a guy is at a bachelorette party I don’t know) to make him jealous.

Chase rushes over there in a mad rage and finds Katie dancing on top of the bar. Now, in a sane world, this guy would be like, this woman didn’t care where I was for days on end, didn’t check up on me even though I was injured, ignored all my romantic advances and decided to go out partying without me. I am out of here. Noooooope. Chase confesses he will love her and never wants to leave her. We jump to an epilogue where they have been married long enough to have had a kid but of course they’re still hot for each other and not, you know, exhausted parents of an infant. It’s freaking ridiculous.

So that’s the book. I don’t recommend reading it unless you are stuck in one of these dungeon rooms like I am. But before I sign off on this post, let me provide you with a few more items from this book that annoyed or confused me.

  1. The name of the coffee shop is “The Local Bean”
  2. The name of the clothing store/adult toy store is “Sweet Tarts”
  3. Chase makes Katie a mix CD with both AC/DC (good call) and The Back Street Boys (not a good call) on it. What? This is the bad boy in town?? Um ok sure.
  4. Katie is depicted as being good because one time she helps an old lady cross a street. I call that common decency but whatevs.
  5. Katie is constantly popping her mouth off as the new Katie but every time she does, it just reads to me like she is being a jerk-face herself although admittedly some of the people she is talking to had it coming.
  6. Here is a sampling of the romantic dialogue that comes out of Chase’s mouth: “I’d kiss you if you ate dog s**t and barfed fish guts.”
  7. Here is sampling of the romantic dialogue that comes out of Katie’s mouth: “I think your kisses are like crack.”
  8. More from Chase: “Now that is a sexy noise. You sound like a hyena/pig hybrid.”
  9. Chase is such a bad boy that he hires the High School Glee Club to sing to Katie. James Dean watch out.
  10. Katie’s response to Chase saying he loves her is, “Hey baby, do you wanna do this thing?” This is supposed to be a sweet throwback to an earlier conversation they had but if I was Chase, I would have dropped Katie right then and there and been like, you are never going to grow up and good luck finding a guy.

I’ll leave you with this thought. Next time you see a steel-grey eyed man walk into your small Idaho town, stop pretending he is bad and you are good and just save us all an awful read ok?

If you liked this post, come back for more next week when I am going to go through one of the cozy mysteries by M.C. Beaton in the Agatha Raisin series. I’ll be reading Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death. I’m afraid I will die from the sheer annoyance of it. Or, you know, from the strange creatures lurking behind these walls, but that might be less painful. For now, I have been Slick, this has been my dungeon and reading has not been my pleasure.

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