"Smart Girls Think Twice" by Cathie Linz

"Smart Girls Think Twice"
by Cathie Linz

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I am not a huge fan of contemporary romances, but Cathie Linz gets a lot of great reviews so I decided to give this one a try. Emma Riley, a sociologist caught up in the world of academics, returns to her hometown to do a research study on the recent boom of new occupants and new businesses in the small town. She doesn't put much importance on appearances or even the whole dating scene, preferring to be at home with her textbooks. Jake Slayter is one of her prime targets to interview because he just moved to town. Jake is an ex-pro extreme athlete, and semi-famous, not to mention gorgeous, why would he move to the middle of nowhere? But Jake isn't willing to tell an interviewer, even one this beautiful, that he's in town to find his birth mother.

I had a really hard time getting into the story because the beginning seemed so cliched. I was really irritated by the way Jake came on so strong right off the bat. He kept tucking Emma's hair behind her ear, touching her cheek, etc, when they had only just met. Just like Emma, I would be so turned off by this and think that he acted like this with every girl he met. Another thing that annoyed me was how the author kept repeating how attracted Emma and Jake were to each other. I wanted the author to show me, not just keep telling me over and over.

There were a lot of secondary characters to keep track of in this book. Emma's sisters were irritating to me and didn't add much to the story besides being an annoyance to Emma. I may have gotten off to a better start if I hadn't been bombarded with the bridezilla sisters right from the start. Maybe these two were characters in Linz' previous books, so her fans were happy to see them back, but I didn't care for them. Emma's parents were interesting additions to the story, and Lulu and Oliver were fun characters, if a bit over the top. Lulu is a friend of Emma's family, who is goth and outspoken, and Oliver is a friend of Emma's from the world of academics, and even more of a 'nerd' than Emma. It was cute to see Jake jealous of Oliver, even though he was so non-threatening.

The turning point of the book for me was when Jake adopted a stray dog named Mutt. This made me see Jake as a great guy who was really just a big softie underneath his extreme sports bravado. Jake redeemed himself even more by taking Oliver under his wing too.

I really liked Emma, she was an uber-nerd only interested in her research projects until she met Jake. She was a little lacking in her self confidence around men, but stlll confident in herself otherwise and not about to let anyone, including a hot guy, take advantage of her. She was vulnerable without being pathetic and needy.

I'm glad I finished reading this book, because Emma and Jake's romance turned into a believable one and I really did want to see where it would go. The characters of Oliver and Mutt (yes, the dog!) helped me stay interested in the story. I'm still not converted to a big contemporary romance fan, but this was a cute, enjoyable read!

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