Scientific and Mathy Ratings Matrix

We take a very scientific approach to our book review ratings. We even made a graph, to show the relationship between the quality of the book and the sex. We might even develop a very impressive and mathy equation. Our research has shown that the quality of the book is highly dependent on when the characters start boning.  Specifically, P in the V.  A deficiency in writing quality/cliched plot can often be saved with sex, and we’ll give a book with some excellent writing/plot till the magic and not-at-all-arbitrary 65% mark to get down to getting down.

Also: books with no sex can be divided into two categories: Books and junk. We don’t really read either of these anymore.

Bookshame ratings

In terms of plot, we like books with reasonably original plots, likable characters (especially funny ones), and unpredictable suspense. We also factor in points for our personal catnips such as: dark secrets, insanely jealous men, and accidental pregnancies (basically the opposite of what we want in real life men), tattoos, a dying girlfriend or boyfriend they can’t leave for their true love, and dual narrative stories. Cleone and Mary are divided on books with cheating.

Things that make a plot bad for us (and we’ll forgive a lot!): truly unlikable heroines, or a couple who is truly in love but wishy-washy, too much sex, or bad sex that makes you flip through to get back to the plot, sneaky Christian romance, slow or absent sex, ridiculous/cringeworthy dialog, emotional attachment to a living or deceased ex, and the kind of books where they describe the character’s clothes like they’re supposed to sound super stylish but they sound awful and dowdy like they were written by a 50 year old romance writer trying to break into the college romance scene. We have a very high tolerance for nonsense in plots, sometimes the more ridiculous the better, so if we are rolling our eyes and throwing our hands up to Jesus, it has to be pretty bad.

Bad writing. Whenever the characters start in on any of the spidey-sense shit in a non-paranormal romance, I steadily begin penalizing the book.  For example – that sixth sense, “prickling of the neck” when the love interest enters the room. Or when he can “smell her arousal” while she’s fully clothed. Just stop. If he can smell it, so can everyone else, and that’s kinda gross (However: panty sniffing = hot points, try and keep up). Also, we strongly object to any cringe inducing euphemism’s for moisture or a lady’s “parts,” such as, but not limited to: weeping, dripping, gushing, glistening. That’s not real and it sounds like a health issue you should talk to your doctor about. Basically what we’re trying to get at, is anything that makes me so embarrassed to be reading it that I have to turn off my kindle when people are walking by because I’m ashamed they might see it.

So what about you guys? What’s your catnip? What do you want in your trashy romances? How long will you wait for the D?

13 thoughts on “Scientific and Mathy Ratings Matrix

  1. Pingback: Hard As You Can, by Laura Kaye | mybookshame

  2. What is the scientific opinion of phrases like “Her mound” or “Her slit” when reading? For myself, they give me quite a imaginative cringe.


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  4. I’m ashamed to admit it, you both are all far more womanly than I will ever be. I’m still in the YA league. I get the vapors at anything more raunchy than adorable awkward shy teen lovin.

    This graph is causing me to weep with laughter. Have either of you considered writing? A book, I mean? I would read it.


    • Now it feels like a challenge to ruin you. This is our specialty. You tell me your all time most favorite book and I’ll give you something dirty that you love. We’re trying to break it down to a science 🙂

      We totally DO want to write dirty books together, its our passion. So glad that you love the blog!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ooh! I’m excited. I’m trying to think of a favorite book that would make sense for this challenge. Something tells me Harry Potter is not a helpful answer. I absolutely loved Bridget Jones’s Diary, is that a useful suggestion? I’ll also cop to being an Austen fan (I know, how generic am I) but I would never, ever, ever touch a Regency sex-fest, I just can’t keep a straight face with so much of the historical stuff (I know too much about that period, all I can think about are the historical inaccuracies).

        Please please write a dirty shameful romance!! I’ll be a beta reader! I am 100% serious about that.


  5. I always encourage Jennifer Crusie as a good starting place for jumping into the romance world, they feel very much like Real Books, but with sex. Faking It is my favorite, its got a chubby heroine, a plot about forged art, a quirky array of side characters, and great banter. I’m actually doing it for the Summer ReReads posts we are starting next week! If you love Bridget it might be right up your alley. You might also love Christina Lauren’s Beautiful Secret for that awkward girl/uptight guy vibe. Mary and I both over the top LOVED it.

    When we gird our loins and start writing we will totally ask blog readers to beta 🙂


  6. I bought Beautiful Secret at 7:00PM last night and stayed up after midnight reading it… then I woke up at 6:00AM this morning to prepare for a big presentation at work and I JUST READ BEAUTIFUL SECRET INSTEAD.

    When I’m an unemployed homeless lady with a library card reading trashy books on the street, you’re gonna feel so, so bad about what you’ve done!!!

    It sounds like the beginning of a rom-com doesn’t it? Beautiful intern (me, obv) is supposed to be prepping for presentation, walks past hot executive and drops steamy SEXY romance on floor right in front of him! His eyes fall on the words “glistening mound” and he looks at her with deep arousal hidden by years of repressed sexuality (he works too hard, y’all).

    This is just like that time at DFW when I got on the airport tram from Terminal A to Terminal B and there was nothing to hold on to, and I was like OMG for half a second, and then when it started I fell spectacularly backwards into this super-hot young pilot.


    • We are so proud of you! And ourselves for breaking you! Beautiful Secret is so delightful, and such a great representation of what romance can be when it’s well written.

      This comment exchange with you is making our lives, I hope that you really do get a rom com worthy meet cute while reading your next romance. Sweet Filthy Boy (with Ansel who is French and so hot and funny and sweet and good at things like bed) is on sale $1.99 today. That is such a good deal and you should snatch it up! We would never steer you wrong.

      Let us know when you’re ready to move on to some things that maybe you feel like you shouldn’t like as a feminist 🙂 That’s where we are really going to shine.


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