Why I Love Geeks by T.A. Chase

Grade: C
Hotness Level: Inferno
Kink Level: No Kink
Genre: Contemporary, m/m, police, nerd
Series: Why I Love… #1
Published: 3/6/11
Reviewed by Anne
140 ebook pages

I’m a sucker for nerd books, and the blurb for this one really sucked me in!  You’ve got Chuck, a homicide detective and technophobe who meets Herb, a talkative and super-smart scientist.  There’s instant attraction but not much in common – that’s a recipe for a good story as far as I’m concerned!  

Because I love the nerd trope so much, I’m willing to suspend a lot of disbelief.  Unfortunately, this story just pushed too far for me.  The set up was really awesome and I really enjoyed about the first half of the book.  Then it just got to be too much.  Little inconsistencies pulled me out of the story.  In one interaction Herb doesn’t know what a prostate is, but in the next he’s thinking about how much better that felt than what he’d read.  Another time he’s not sure what the lab normally looks like, and a few pages later he’s musing that the lab is kept compulsively clean.  Neither of those things is huge, but it was this kind of thing that kept pulling me out of the story – even though I didn’t want it to!  So, while in the beginning I could roll my eyes and accept what was being worked on in the lab, by the end I was just frustrated by the concept.

Herb is funny, and his verbal diarrhea made me smile.  Chuck was a character I loved, too.  A tough guy with a sweet side.  Chuck’s family was awesome!  I really wish I could have liked this one more.

Flirting with Disaster by Ruthie Knox

Grade: B+
Hotness Level: Blaze
Kink Level: No Kink
Genre: Contemporary
Series: Camelot #3
Published: 6/10/13
Reviewed by Anne
298 ebook pages

Sean stuttered so badly in his childhood that he was essentially not speaking at all in high school.  This is why Katie, who went to high school with him, just always thought he was a quiet guy and never realized he stuttered.  This is why, when Sean comes back to town and ends up working with Katie that he chooses not to speak to her rather than reveal his stutter.  

Katie doesn’t really know what to make of Sean.  She hears him talk to other people, but he never speaks to her.  (His stutter is selective, and only shows up in certain situations or around certain people, such as his secret high school crush, Katie.)  She wonders if he’s just rude and mean, or if she has done something to offend him.  Then she tells herself not to worry about what HE thinks, because she’s done living her life for someone else.  Baggage from a failed marriage left Katie hurting, but she’s getting stronger each day and discovering what it’s like to live life for herself, not in service to someone else.

I loved these two and this story.  And the more I read, the more I liked them.  In fact, when I got toward the end and the confrontation between the two of them that had been building throughout the story… it blew me away!  I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy about how a situation played out.  I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll just say Katie and Sean both have issues and they work through them in this book.  The way they do this is so wonderful!  Neither can save the other;  they have to fix themselves!  And it just happens that they’re falling in love at the same time.  That really was a wonderful story to watch unfold!
The secondary story line in this book worked less well for me.  Judah is a rock star who has been receiving threats and Katie and Sean are helping figure this whole situation out.  I think I just never really liked Judah, but I felt like I was supposed to.  So for me, this story line just provided a reason for Katie and Sean to road trip together, and I didn’t care about it a whole lot more beyond that.
One thing I really appreciated about this story is that there was no magical mystical healing of Sean’s stutter.  I think whenever I read a book where a character his some sort of disability, I cringe and worry that the author will use the Voodoo of the Magical Vagina or the Power of the Healing Penis to “fix” that problem.  Not so with Ruthie Knox and I LOVE that.
I’m kicking myself for waiting so long to read this installment in the Camelot series.  The others have all been favorites of mine.  I’m looking forward to more writing and to finishing up my reading of Knox’s backlist.  This is the 3rd story in the Camelot series, but it stands alone well.  I recommend this book and this series!

The Principle of Desire by Delphine Dryden

Grade: A-
Hotness Level: Inferno
Kink Level: Moderate Kink
Genre: Contemporary, BDSM, Nerdmance
Series: The Science of Temptation #3
Published: 12/9/13
Reviewed by Anne
119 ebook pages

Beth was in a dead end relationship for years.  It was a relationship that included some BDSM, and she liked that, but her ex-boyfriend was an ass.  Now she’s free of him and she’s decided to keep the kink, but try out the side of her that would like to be the Dom instead of the sub role she was stuck in before. 

Ed’s interested in Beth, and she sees that, but he’s in the group she knows that’s into her kind of kink.  In fact, she’s pretty sure he’s a very vanilla kind of guy, so she doesn’t really give any encouragement to Ed.  She doesn’t give him any encouragement until she finds him at her BDSM club on the same night her ex makes a reappearance.  Ed’s a quick thinker and he sees the jam she’s in, so he offers to pretend to be her sub.  And so it starts…

This is one of those reviews that’s hard to write because I love Delphine Dryden so much!  I love her like I love Shelly Laurenston – NO ONE gets shifters like Laurenston, and no one writes geeks like Delphine Dryden!  I highlighted references to LARPing, a bag of holding, Pavlovian responses, Zoolander, and Star Trek – and those are only the ones I highlighted.  

Another real strength of this story is how imperfectly perfect Ed is!  There’s this wonderful moment where he takes off his shirt in the BDSM Club, when he’s agreed to be Beth’s sub, and he looks around and realizes he has more body hair than anyone else in the whole place combined.  And Beth sees him as he is.  He’s not a handsome hunk who has her swooning at first glance.  Instead we get to see how her attraction to Ed grows over time, and holy cow do I enjoy that!

There was a bit of a love triangle when Beth’s ex makes a play for her.  That’s pretty much my least favorite trope in romance reading, but the rest of the story was strong enough that I kept reading.  I also appreciated the fact that Beth’s ex was a two dimensional character that had some good qualities.  He wasn’t EVIL just because he was an ex-boyfriend.  

Overall, it was a great read I highly recommend, especially to romance readers who enjoy a little geek and some BDSM.