Snickers Satisfies But this Book doesn’t
It’s late at night and you want to curl up with a good book that will give you lots of warm and fuzzy feelings about love. Here’s my advice for that situation. Under no circumstances should you read Mulberry Moon by Catherine Anderson. Re-read Outlander instead. Trust me.
The story centers around Sissy who is a restaurant owner and a woman who keeps walls around her heart and the guy who is destined to be with her, the stetson wearing, manly hunk of manly goodness, Ben. Ben is in love with Sissy, but she is tough to win. They go back and forth for ridiculous reasons about not being together and of course in the end they wind up married like we all knew they would.
Overall, I would mostly call this book just dull. It has a couple moments that could have been cute and funny but just really read flat for me. However, I noticed some things in this book that made me, uh, wonder some things. The premise is fine and I think that this book is supposed to be in a series where like everyone in Mystic Creek (the setting) is supposed to come under some kind of love spell eventually but I am just going to talk about what popped out to me.
- “With the taste of tacos lingering in his mouth, Ben Sterling opened the door to leave Taco Joe’s on West Main and hollered good-bye to Joe Paisley, the owner.” That is the first sentence of the book. A.) nothing says romance like talking about the taste of tacos in someone’s mouth. B.) I vote this for worst opening line of a book, ever. And I have read some bad openings my friends.
- A good portion of the book has Ben complaining to himself about the women he dated in the past who couldn’t get along with the animals at his ranch. Example: “He needed a down-to-earth person who didn’t run in terror from his free-range chickens or pick dog hair off her fancy clothes. ” I have a few thoughts here. First, where is this guy finding these women? He lives in this tiny Colorado town where no one visits. Is it just somehow full of super rich women? Second, even if that is the case, why would he be interested in them? I think he’s a pretty casual guy so why would he be like, I gotta date me a woman who wears fancy clothes!! And finally, what exactly is a woman with fancy clothes supposed to do with dog hair on them? I think taking the dog hair off might just be them trying to you know, not ruin their clothes.
- When Ben and Sissy, well not first meet because they seem to have met before the book starts, but when they have their first meaningful interaction, Sissy acts very standoffish even though Ben is just trying to help her round up loose chickens. Ben thinks to himself how women always respond better to jerks and then thinks, “I need lessons in how to be a convincing jerk” Mmmmm…. nope, you don’t. Assuming a woman is not a nice person just because she doesn’t want to talk to you while she is trying to gather all her chickens on the street makes you a jerk already bro.
- Another window into Ben’s mind: “If a woman could turn him on now, when his nuts still ached, he guessed he really was going to be fine.” Let me check, do my nuts ache? Yes. Can a woman turn me on while my nuts ache? Yes. Okay, life must be good then! You got this life thing figured out Ben!
- Sissy has her own problems. She can’t get close to a man because she had a terrible father who abused her (which is a perfectly valid reason to have emotional issues). But she has a soft spot for animals so she ends up connecting to Ben through his dog. She is supposed to, you know, not like Ben at first because that is how romance books work but she looks at Ben’s dog and thinks this. “It wasn’t Finn’s fault that his master embodied everything that she most distrusted in a man. Ben Sterling was suave, charming, and successful.” Yeah, suave, charming and successful. No one could possibly like those qualities…
- This is what Sissy really thinks of Ben: “Sans Stetson his bangs and sideburns gleamed like a horseshoe-shaped halo around his head.” Er… what? I don’t even know how to picture that in my head. I guess he is angelic but like in a hairy way?
- There is a little side plot at the beginning about what Sissy thinks is a ghost haunting her but turns out to be a literal pack rat. Why does she think she has a ghost? Well, she hears noises at night. Okay sure. But more importantly, in Sissy’s candy bowl she has fun sized Snickers bars but they keep disappearing. She knows that the candy is disappearing because she is very strict with herself and just eats two per night. She eats the candy because… she isn’t having sex with anyone at the time. Err… seriously. But this whole thing leads to dialogue like this, “I just can’t wrap my mind around the idea of a nonphysical being that steals Snickers bars.” Me neither, Ben. Me neither.
- More of Ben’s head, “But I’m tired of hooking up with fussy women who reject my world and want me to wear chinos with polished loafers.” Okay, Ben, here’s a thought – Don’t date those kinds of women then!
- Sissy finds herself attracted to Ben but doesn’t want to show it. This is what she does while working along side him fixing up a chicken coop. “She just made sure she didn’t look at him from his belt buckle up. Or from there down for that matter.” Uh, okay so you are going to just not look at a dude while you are working right along side him. Yeah… that makes sense…
- More of the whole Snickers equals sex thing in Sissy’s head, “And looking at him did maker her want a Snickers bar.” So yeah, if a woman wants to eat a Snickers bar because she is looking at you, she’s waaaay into you. Take note!
- There is this weird thing in romance books where characters seem to think that it would be romantic to go to jail and that they would get to do jail time with their romantic partner somehow. In part of the book Sissy and Ben decided to steal a kitten with no front paws from the vet office because it will be put down if they don’t. Sissy says to Ben, “I want you to know that there’s nobody on earth I’d rather do time with.” Seriously that might be the most romantic line in this whole book.
- At one point Ben looks at Sissy who is just wearing a little bit of makeup and a somewhat nice sweater. Not like fancy clothes like he hated those other women wearing and he thinks how good she looks. But then his next thought is, “Ben wished he could dress her, starting with undies and bras from Victoria’s Secret, with her modeling everything for his appreciation.” Make up your freaking mind Ben. Do you want fancy clothed women or not?!
- More of Ben’s romantic thoughts: “Why did the idea of a tie-down strap ruffle her feathers? He had one in the bed of his truck that would work.” In this part of the book Sissy had broken her leg and rather than just wait for it to heal, Ben thinks to freaking tie her leg down so she wouldn’t buck when they… well you know. I gotta say dude, you are not lacking in confidence there about your charms, skillful use of bondage equipment, and physical abilities.
- Remember above when I quoted Ben wanting to put Sissy in Victoria’s Secret underwear for his pleasure? Here is what he tells her, “You don’t need sexy lingerie.” Seriously man, make up your mind!
- Next time you want to get steamy with your romantic partner say this, “Watch another romantic movie, sweetheart, and remember during all the love scenes that I am going to outclass every Snickers bar you’ve ever eaten when I come back upstairs tonight.” Snickers – 0 Ben – Outclassed them all. No candy is safe.
- Ben reassuring Sissy, “Your breasts are the perfect size for your build. And you do have some. Trust me, I notice things like that.” Very observant of you Ben.
- Also Ben, “Maybe I should rent you some porn.” To each their own I guess?
- Also Ben, “You’re so beautiful I couldn’t spit if you yelled, ‘Fire.'” I still haven’t figured out what this is supposed to mean.
- Also Ben, “I need to know, before we take our relationship to that level, that you’ll be my forever lady.” Smooth Ben, smooth.
- There is a really disturbing scene in this book where Sissy’s father tries to out and out rape her. This is not a particular criticism of this book or anything but I swear like eighty percent of romance books have a rape scene in them. I don’t know why this is the case. These scenes are always awful to read and I get the feeling sometimes that they are put there just to show that the guy who gets the girl is not like that. I just have to think there is a much better way to demonstrate that without placing in rape scenes that might get fetishized by certain sick individuals. Okay, stepping off of my soap box now.
- Now I will remind you again that Sissy was almost raped by her own father in a very violent and brutal way. After that she is sort of shell shocked and doesn’t want to speak with Ben, or really anyone. This is Ben’s thought, “He loved her too much to take no for an answer.” WHAT?! That is the absolute most awful thing you could think in that moment dude. Ben, when you thought you should take jerk lessons earlier, you really were wrong. Get your money back because you are a jerk.
- Sissy basically goes back to hiding her feelings from Ben but then he basically gives her an ultimatum of how she has to win him back. She is worried that mental illness runs in her family and that their kids will be less than perfect and that wouldn’t be fair to Ben. He offers that they could adopt and all kinds of other things that would make it okay for them to get married. You know what I didn’t see from Ben? Him asking if Sissy was okay after attempted rape. And now she has to ask him to marry her if she wants to keep the relationship. What an A-class jerk.
- Here is Sissy’s proposal, “Ben Sterling, will you please become my husband? For richer or poorer. In sickness and in health. For better or worse, whether or not we’re genetically flawed, crazier than loons, or predisposed to have any kind of cancer?” You know, I think Ben might have said no but then you threw in the cancer and I am pretty sure that sealed the deal.
- Ben’s answer, “If I say yes, will you have unprotected sex with me tonight and risk getting pregnant?” Wow. That feels like a good place to stop.
Again, I cannot recommend not reading this book enough. I hope you enjoyed reading my review more than I enjoyed reading Mulberry Moon. Next week I will be reviewing another destined to become classic literature book – Doggie Day Care Murder. Why did the doggies murder the day care? I have no idea.