For What It's Worth

Friday, February 7, 2014

Reader Ramblings: The Getting Physical series by Tamara Morgan

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On Goodreads


Recently I posted a review for The Rebound Girl (Getting Physical #1) by Tamara Morgan. I ended up reading all three books from the series in three days.

I received The Party girl (Getting Physical #3) for review and I was about to write said review but then decided to discuss this series instead. Because I think Morgan has taken your standard romance tropes and injected them with a few very clever concepts that should be common, but aren't, that makes her writing and this series a stand out for me.

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The Rebound Girl (Getting Physical #1)

The Rebound Girl gives us a professionally and sexually aggressive woman in Whitney who goes after whatever she wants. We also get a resistant, beta love interest in Matt.

It's jarring at first and I was all….I do not like this girl! While I'm not sure I would ever be friends or hang out with Whitney, mostly because I'm a shy hermit - but hey! maybe opposites attract and all, I learned to appreciate Whitney's boldness, confidence and honesty. She doesn't "learn the lesson" that she should tone it down or that her abrasive behavior was covering some deep wound from her past. To be sure - she crosses lines and needs to mature, but she essentially remains unapologetically Whitney.

Matt could be sort of passive in a way that got irritating but had an inner strength and moral compass that grounded Whitney, while she challenged his passive nature without either disrespecting who they were as individuals.

The Derby Girl (Getting Physical #2)

We meet another strong heroine with Gretchen, a roller derby girl, and serial college student. She has issues but it was Jared who grabbed my interest.

He is an alpha, arrogant jerk. We met him in book #1 and for reasons….I didn't like him at all. But once again Morgan adds a twist. Jared is at a crossroads in his life. He wants to rebuild the close friendships he once had and succeed in his new joint business venture with them but his arrogance is what made him one of the best plastic surgeons. He has a reputation as great humanitarian for his charity work but only he knows his true selfish motivations for his sacrifices.  How does he humanize himself to others but still get the accolades he craves? Because he does crave the attention. I thought it was an interesting take on that type of guy and how you don't need to change yourself, so much as make peace with your decisions and move forward. Perhaps refocus your goals and priorities. As with Whitney in The Party Girl, he didn't get a personality transplant just because he fell in love. This was a thoughtful examination of what makes this guy tick, not a romance ploy.

I really liked how Jared's perceived weakness (being an arrogant asshole) was really a strength when channeled correctly.

The Party Girl (Getting Physical #3)

First off, I knew Kendra from book #1. She's Whitney' & Jared's business partner and best friend. I loved Kendra's tell it like it is & responsible personality. She's an esthetician who loves partying, fancy clothes, creature comforts and has breast implants. I have no idea why the breast implant thing struck me. As I mentioned, I knew and loved Kendra from the previous two books but then all of a sudden in her book I was like - can a heroine have breast implants?? Isn't she supposed to be all humble and natural? Realize beauty is only skin deep? And where the hell did I get THAT preconceived notion from? Since when did I get all judgey?

It made me realize that I have only read about women with breast implants who are the man stealing shrew and the girl that all women hate. We expect sweet women for our heroines. Even when the women are confident, which thankfully, is more common these days, to eschew those vain desires once in love with the hero.

And it's pure genius to pair her with a hermit who's adverse to any and all technology. lol I loved the compromises and thoughtfulness of Kendra and Noah in this one. Very sweet. 


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What I love about this series and Tamara Morgan's writing is that she gives me something, as a reader, that I didn't even know was missing. I hear a lot about flawed characters these days. In my experience that has translated into horrific abuse and an excuse to treat people like crap. Morgan presents the flaws in such a realistic way and with an underlying layer of kindness. All of her characters have past mistakes but are professionals and functioning with friends and families. There is also a lightheartedness to her stories so you can be mad one minute but laughing the next.

I don't think her books are going to connect with every reader and I do get VERY frustrated with her characters at times. They tend to be kind to a fault, if that's possible. Sometimes she takes a direction that has me so angry and I'm sure she's just wasting my time! What I've learned though, is to trust Morgan's writing. If I let it play out, the actions of the characters reveal truths that help them grow into better people with healthier relationships. Any other path would have felt underdeveloped.

This series in particular, made me realize that as evolved and tolerant as I think I am, I still judge. I think it's completely fair to like or not like characters based on their actions. But in my case, I realized I was making snap judgments based on their sex life or appearances, a few pages in, without really getting to the story. Something I thought I was above. 

Gender roles is also a recurring theme. I love how Morgan forces you to look at behaviors that are generally accepted from male characters but frowned upon for their female counterparts and confronts it head on.

Overall, to me, the Getting Physical series was about embracing and accepting yourself – flaws and all, knowing when to let go of old behaviors that hurt the people you love and when to hold on to who you are as a person, instead of conforming just to please others.

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If you're looking for a mature YA equivalent series to read. I highly recommend Tammara Webber’s Between the Lines series (4 books).  She also has several giveaways on her blog right now for the entire series. This is another author that I think nails it when it comes to flawed, realistic characters.

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Have you ever read a book that helped you change your perspective?

18 comments:

  1. I have realized that if you recommend a romance book, I need to read it. Adding this to my TBR list now, thank you!

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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    1. I'll be interested to see what you think Wendy. The characters aren't always likable and even I struggle with them from time to time but I enjoy the series and what Morgan is trying to do.

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  2. It's definitely different when the woman is the sexual aggressor (that's actually a sad statement about romance and other things but I'm not going to get all philosophical today) but I like it. This series sounds very intriguing (yay for derby girls! If I were younger... wait. Who am I kidding?).

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    1. I find that even when the girl is strong, she's weak somewhere else. Like maybe in bed. There's nothing wrong with that if that's what they like but I feel like we have to make female characters weaker in some way in order to be likable to the reader.

      What was weird is that I thought it too at first with this series and I didn't think I was like that at all.

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  3. OMG I need to read this series. I think I would enjoy these different tropes of romance :)

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  4. I bought Rebound Girl, and can't wait to give the entire series. We seem to be on the best streak lately. I'm excited to have another great author to read!

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    1. I really think you'll like this series and Whitney. So many people found her off putting - and she is in a way but I loved her. I also think she grows up a lot. Not changes - but matures.

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  5. Oh this sounds like a series I need to read. I didn't realize that arrogant asshole could be channeled in a good direction. YES! I must know how (not that I'm trying to be one or anything...). LOL Oh and I know what you mean about being judge-y. I think they did set you up for it with the title though. However, I love how you questioned that and then enjoyed the book. Going to the author's site now.

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    1. You'll have to trust me that arrogance can be good under the right circumstances lol It works here.

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  6. I recently read the Derby Girl, as well as her novella, In The Clear, and loved them. In The Derby Girl, most authors would have just written the usual trope with the rich alpha hero with all the power, and the weak, submissive woman that he bowls over. Instead, Gretchen constantly calls Jared on his arrogance and inspires him to be a better person. That's what I love to read, two flawed people who come together and inspire each other to be their best selves.

    I want more ordinary people who aren't either perfect or hopelessly damaged. Why can't a heroine have implants? Plenty of ordinary women do, and they are not "bad girls". Why can't a hero be shorter than 6 ft tall, and be a normal computer programmer instead of a billionaire software developer? One reason I'm loving authors like Mary Ann Rivers, Cara McKenna, and Ruthie Knox is that these are the kinds of characters they write. I'm just happy to find another author to add to the list.

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    1. I really liked how Gretchen did accept his nonsense or self pity but didn't change him either.

      All the characters in this series challenge - yet accept their partners and I love that.

      I adore McKenna, Rivers - I haven't read Ruthie Knox yet and I recommend Rebecca Rogers Maher as well.

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  7. I'm sold!!!! I want to read book 2 in particular, it sounds like a riot!

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  8. Interesting -- I don't read many romances where the woman is the chaser, so yay for that. Why not? And the breast implant thing. Hmmm.... it's only weird to me if the character thinks about or mentions them all the time. Otherwise, whatever!
    Overall, I love the fact that this author plays with stereotypes. That's fantastic!
    Thanks so much for stopping by! Jen @ YA Romantics

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    1. It was weird. I don't really care about the breast implant thing either but when she was the heroine int he last book it really hit me how that NEVER happens. That girl is always the man stealing b*tch.

      I also realized that every time a girl is portrayed as confidant and sexy - cares about things like clothes and jewelry - she changes after meeting the guy. It was just an interesting wake up call to me about the tropes in romance that have become acceptable.

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  9. I'm drawn into that derby girl cover. idk about the hero though!!

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  10. Very good post. I think that we all make snap judgements at times and that goes for characters as well. I love flawed messed up characters. One that comes to mind is from Dark Places. My friend couldn't read it because she didn't like the main character...I was intrigued by her because she was kind of unlikeable.

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