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Maria Elizabeth Romana is a second-generation Italian-American with a background in mathematics, business, and research. In other words, she's a straight-up geek...with a side of pasta. By day, she's all numbers, but at night, she transforms into Word Woman, writing about the same kinds of people and places and events that colored her make-believe world as a child. Maria prefers characters who are smart, sensitive, and strong-willed, but like you and me, not without flaws. As far as she's concerned, there's nothing more annoying than a heroine who's too stupid to live, but one who's Barbie-doll perfect is even worse. Maria likes to give her characters some cool mysteries to solve, crises to encounter, and folks to fall in love with, and she tries to do it all with a dash of humor. (Oh, and full disclosure: the headshot is at least ten years old. Maria has a lot more wrinkles and gray hair now. ;))
on June 08, 2011 :
A good thriller romance set in the research end of the pharmaceutical industry. This is a long book - really too long to read in one sitting. The e-pub version has no chapter links; I didn't try the pdb version (pdb saves your place). Anyways, a smart heroine, a dashing Chilean hero and a good cast of supporting characters make this a good read.
(reviewed 4 months after purchase)
on Nov. 23, 2010 :
This book reminded me of an old Judith Krantz or Fern Michaels saga, where the heroine is caught up in a misery or mystery of someone else's making, and has to claw her way out of it, using only her wit and skills...with maybe a little help from a handsome hero. What I liked best about it was the attention to detail. I really got to know the characters and their world, and genuinely cared about them and their experiences. Even the bad guys were well drawn, eliciting a certain amount of sympathy instead of just being flat, purely evil characters.
I will warn you that this is a long, complicated story. It's not something you're going to finish on a cross-country flight or even in a weekend. It has lots of characters, lots of layers, and lots of events taking place over a period of several months. If you're looking for a short, sweet romance or a bit of chicklit fluff, this is not the book for you. Fortunately for me, long, complicated stories that pull me in and won't let me go are exactly what I like!
(reviewed 3 days after purchase)
on Nov. 19, 2010 :
Little Miss Straight Lace has a great story to tell, a great cast of characters, and a wonderful brace of villains that you enjoy hating.
Josie Natale is a bio-statistician - she makes her living checking and correlating the data produced by pharmaceutical trials. She's good at her job and has earned a reputation for being by-the-book, never fudging numbers or cutting corners - Little Miss Straight Lace. Nic Remedian is a South American security consultant brought in by Josie's best friend to investigate threatening emails that have been received by various employees and appear to be coming from a religious cult.
The relationship between Josie and Nic is wonderful to see unfold. Josie is a vibrant character and so is Nic. They work well for each other. The supporting cast of friends and family is also well-drawn and fully fleshed out, and the villains are both brilliant and scary.
My only problem with the book was the pacing. At points it would drag on, and on, and on, like the Energizer Bunny. As an example, Nic thinks he sees someone leaving Josie's apartment. He tells her about it and she thinks he's mistaken - and then NOTHING happens for chapters and chapters and chapters. I'd read something like that and would gear myself up for the action / confrontation to start and then it would just wither. It sometimes felt as if I was reading two separate books. One was a contemporary romance, and the other was a romantic suspense. For the first half of the book, it was straight contemporary with a smidge of suspense thrown in here and there, and then at the last half of the book the romantic thriller took over. I feel like the book would have been better if pacing and flow had been a bit faster.
Despite the plodding plot, it was still an enjoyable read. I was really rooting for Josie and Nic, they were a great couple. Miss Romana really nailed the chemistry between them and created something very sweet where you just ached for them to have a Happily Ever After. She delivered on that, too, in a very satisfying way.
Official Review for TheRomanceReviews.com
(reviewed the day of purchase)
on Sep. 19, 2010 :
This book is very well written and the main character, Josie is a researcher testing an abortion drug. I liked her immediately! Next you will meet Nic, the computer expert who is called in when Josie begins receiving mysterious emails after reporting the truth on the drug. The book will keep you reading as the plot thickens. A very good read!
(reviewed 6 days after purchase)
on July 28, 2010 :
Romana’s characters are portrayed with skill, each is a credible person filled with foibles, warts and gaffs...the various twists and turns are handled with skill, are easily followed, and add depth and dimension often lacking in works provided by newer writers.
Maria Romana’s Little Miss Straight Lace is a fast paced, keep ‘em guessing and turning the page type read sure to intrigue readers who enjoy good writing, a bit of romance, a lot of action, and a downright good read for these long hot summer afternoons.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
on July 25, 2010 :
i really enjoyed this book. i read it in one sitting. looking forward too more.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
A. J. Braithwaite
on July 24, 2010 :
A thoroughly enjoyable read. Kept me glued to my computer for a day and a half. A great mixture of romance, pharmaceutical shenanigans and pure escapism. Thanks for sharing it!!
(reviewed 2 days after purchase)