January 30, 2013

Review: Nice Girl by Kate Baum

Series: Girl Series 1
Format: PDF
Release Date: December 5, 2012

Publisher: Self-published
Source: Author
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Graduate student Grace Locke moves from the Midwest to New York City to complete her Masters degree in Criminology. She longs to one day be a college professor. It is a field that is dominated by men. She is worried about succeeding in such an atmosphere. Past sexual relationships have caused her to feel intimidated. Her experiences with college men have left her jaded and unsatisfied. She gives herself a challenge. Time to toughen up or she won’t make it in a career she yearns for. She decides to surround herself with alpha males so that she can practice becoming what she sees as a strong confident woman. She finds power and defiance in her new attitude…until Vinnie.

When Grace takes a part time secretarial job at a private investigator office, she assumes it will be interesting to watch how the cases unfold. It is close to her campus apartment and gives her the extra cash she needs as a struggling college student. Even more perfect is that the office is surrounded by street wise hardened males. Now, she can get the needed practice at increasing her confidence among men. She wasn’t prepared for Vinnie Lewis. A former hit man who decides to go straight, he is the ultimate “bad boy”. After growing up with a prostitute mother on the streets of New York City, he has no patience for nice girls like Grace. He is difficult to work with. She finds him just plain scary with his six foot four frame, bulging biceps, and a scar from a former knife fight that goes across his right ear to his chin. She shakes in his presence but then…is shocked when she can’t stop thinking of him.

NICE GIRL is your usual feel good contemporary romance novel, it's filled with sexual and romantic tension between a nice girl and a bad boy. It has the expected rom-com elements like funny supporting characters, quirky side stories and a little drama to spice it up and keep it interesting. What the blurb doesn't tells us is Grace Locke and her three bestfriends made a pact that they will have their first orgasm come what may. They have been frustrated with their sexual experiences in the past and they want to experience the full gratification the act can give them and NICE GIRL is Grace's quest for that coveted first orgasm. 
I've been called a nice girl my entire life. I've had it with that label.
NICE GIRL to  me is like a "second coming-of-age" story, a little formula but if it ain't broke right? Anyway, Grace essentially is all about finding her inner sexy. She had a New-York-Minute wherein she went through and initiated a lot of changes in her life starting from moving to a new city, meeting new people, starting a new graduate program, a new job down to a personal makeover, shedding not only pounds but her nice girl persona and just embracing herself, flaws and all. Seeing Grace's metamorphosis is engaging and very relatable for me to read. I just wish I could be as dedicated to weight loss as she is, I could lose 15lbs myself LOL. 

Her eventual love affair with Vinnie was slow burning, there's a lot of flirting and close run-ins and man cave over protectiveness that went on before they finally hooked up. He has that bad-boy-tortured-soul going on for him being an ex-mobster with a prostitute drug addict for a mother complete with a 6'4 frame, shaved head and a nasty facial scar. I probably won't date someone like Vinnie in real life even if he's rich but he is so attractive on paper. I get why Grace's thongs are in a constant bunch when he's around. 

The secondary characters are great and provided the comedic breaks rounding up NICE GIRL's rom-com pitch. Jamie, Grace's gay co-worker is my favorite plying Grace with office gossip and playing matchmaker for her and Vinnie. Grace's girlfriends, and upcoming Girl feature heroines, are a rowdy bunch too. They have a Sex in the City vibe going on for them with their personalities loosely similar to Carrie Bradshaw and Co. Grace would be the meek and girly Charlotte York. 
Grace, baby, don't you know that it is you I want to keep me out of trouble.
You, Grace, remind me of where I want to go.
NICE GIRL is a good debut for someone trying to break in the romance genre. As a librarian who turned to her naughty side, KBaum paid attention as a reader and penned and delivered a fun and sexy story. There are some things that I wish were more fleshed out like Vinnie reconciling with his traumatic past and how Grace became his vehicle for redemption. I would've wanted that element in the story to have been in-depth instead of Vinnie's cousin, Anthony, doing the soul baring on his behalf. 

Still I had fun reading NICE GIRL, it's character driven and the dialogue smooth and upbeat. The mini-collisions and the main conflict were light but had enough emotion to keep me attentive and entertained. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series, Brave Girl (Spring 2013), with the tough and feisty Eve as the heroine.

Kate Baum is a librarian who resides in the Hudson Valley area of New York. She lives with her husband of 23 years and 5 children. Their busy household also includes a dog and a cat adopted by the local rescue shelter. When she isn't working, cooking, doing laundry or taking care of the kids, she loves to write down her fantasies!

Visit Kate
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  1. The secondary characters and comic relief sound refreshing. Lovely review.
    Happy reading,
    Brandi @ Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  2. Why do you need to toughen up while being surrounding with alpha men ?
    You can still be a Nice Girl but you just have to stop blushing when some colorful words come from their mouths every 30 seconds...

    I guess that Grace is the kind of characters that will make me laught and grind my teeth at the same time.

    1. Because she's on a mission to get her slut on to get her first orgasm! Hahaha! Yeah I think you will gnash your teeth over Grace.


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