“Rock the Curves” by Twyla Turner hits the right notes

Nerdy Romantics Podcast gets a group discussion going on Episode 5, which looks at the novel Rock the Curves by Twyla Turner. In this book review and discussion, Y. M. Nelson is joined by fellow Nerdy Romantics readers Dana and Staci from YouTube’s L-5 Podcast to review what they liked…and didn’t like about the interracial romance novel with a plus-sized heroine.

This episode contains book spoilers.

We discuss:

  • The cover (which is what led me to the book. )
  • Lyris as plus-sized heroine
  • Gage as a good guy and formerly plus-sized hero
  • Lyris’ insecurities with fame, social media, and dating “out of your league”
  • Interracial romance novels in general

Other authors and books mentioned on this episode include

  • Stephen King
  • Ida B. Wells (Ida B. Wells-Barnett)
  • Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff (This is a Bookshop.org link. As an affiliate, I will receive monetary compensation for purchases from this link.)
  • Dean Koontz
  • John Saul
  • Theodora Taylor (Alien Overlords series)

Rock the Curves by Twyla Turner is available now on Amazon in eBook and paperback and in Kindle Unlimited. (This link is not an affiliate link. I do not get paid for any clicks to purchase from this link.)

The L-5 Movie Podcast episodes are available on YouTube. Subscribe by going to their channel. (Click photo for link).

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Ep.5 Rock The Curves by Twyla Turner Book Chat Nerdy Romantics Podcast

Friday Fun Reviews: “How to Fail at Flirting” by Denise Williams

This review is one I wrote for BookTrib.com and is featured on its front page carousel. (I’m not going to lie, I’m darn proud of that!) And for ONCE, my Friday Fun review is for a book that is NEWLY RELEASED! How to Fail at Flirting by Denise Williams is a great holiday present for all your girl friends (and for you!) who need a funny cute romantic comedy with some “real life complications.”

How to Fail at FlirtingHow to Fail at Flirting by Denise Williams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dad jokes, bad jokes, single nerd sad jokes.

Whatever you call them if you love them, then you’ll love Jake and Naya’s “witty” banter in this book! But that’s not all you’ll love. Check out my full review on BookTrib.com!

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Friday Fun Review: “The Unhoneymooners” by Christina Lauren

The UnhoneymoonersThe Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Premise Olive, the unlucky-in-life twin, prepares for her sister Ami’s—luckiest girl in the world—wedding, in which the best man is the groom’s brother Ethan. And boy, does he hate Olive! Turns out Olive’s luck begins to change, when everyone gets food poisoning at the wedding except Olive and Ethan. But then Ami pushes Olive to take her non-refundable honeymoon…with Ethan. Yikes.

The story/The characters
I loved Olive and Ethan! This is the enemies-to-lovers fake-marriage tropes done right! There’s just enough weirdness, hate, attraction, and clumsiness, and it happens at the right times to keep the story moving. I was concerned there wouldn’t be enough story to get through all the days of the honeymoon, but I shouldn’t have worried. And the post-honeymoon ending didn’t feel rushed either—great pacing!
CLo is so great with dialogue, and they don’t disappoint here. This is what makes their characters so real and “pinch-able” (so lovely you want to pinch their cheeks).

Olive and Ami are Mexican-American and their family plays an ever-present role in the book. Thank you, Christina Lauren for not hitting us over the head with stereotype. Here, I think the cultural portrayal is well-done. I can almost smell the cooking and feel the familial love while reading it!

This is a great chick-lit/women’s fiction novel with all the romantic feels we love. It checks all the boxes of an entertaining feel-good novel.

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BONUS Friday Fun Review: “Fix Her Up” by Tessa Bailey

Fix Her Up (Hot and Hammered, #1)Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Some background on why I read this now: I’ve been drafting my latest #romanticcomedy which now includes a racy scene for me as an author. The cover has been done for a couple of months now, and it came out looking illustrated, and very chick-lit looking. When I trialed the cover, mentions of Fix Her Up came up in comments. I remembered that people were shocked by the racy prose in Fix Her Up when they thought they were picking up a sweet RomCom from the cover. I had to get this one off my TBR list to compare. So, I was already warned about the heat level.

About the Story/the characters: Since I already knew about the heat level, it allowed me to move past the sexy parts to really see the story, which was very entertaining. I loved this new spin on a heroine finding her place in the world and a hero, trying to break out of his mold. The fake romance trope is cute and well done here to up the sexual tension. There are a lot of funny parts, crazy antics that you could see happening on screen–the For Us meeting that went out of control, throwing lo mien on Travis, the clown birthday parties. All cute, funny, original spin on #romcom tropes.

Travis is written so true to form, baseball player drummed out of the league due to injury, not finding anywhere to fit in and wanting to just be left alone. This is really his story, as I see the most change in him.

Georgie sees herself as she could be, but when no one else does, she realizes she has to prove it to others. Her family times, especially that dinner where they were all together made me cringe. It reminded me a lot of Me Before You and how Louisa’s family constantly puts her down or ignores her.

With all the characters, but especially Travis and the guys, I kept getting a Southern rural vibe, probably because that’s what I know (I grew up there), but still. I did not get The Hamptons/Long Island/ wherever they were. I got Backwoods Carolinas where Braves’ baseball plays on TV all summer long, guys call grown women “baby girl,” and people know each other and are always in each other’s business. Small town antics are small town antics everywhere, I guess.

So back to the sexy parts:Yes, this is hotter than most cutesy romcoms, but it’s not anything to be shocked about. (Also, most popular cutesy romcoms are YA if you think about it–read: Netflix). Unless you’re all about the Hallmark channel heat level for your romantic comedies. I would say it’s more dirty talk than dirty action. If you’re not into open-door sex or filthy mouths or sexual play, then yep you will be shocked here. If you like Penny Reid and Sierra Simone, you’re going to wonder what all the fuss is about.

The one thing I didn’t like is the manwhore/virginal girl trope. It annoys me so much in general. Here, I think it has a bigger purpose than just a trope for the sexy parts, so I tolerated it. It’s part of how people see them and how they see each other, so it kind of works.

Overall this was a funny, entertaining read. And though I may subtitle mine “A Dirty Romantic Comedy” both mine and Bailey’s are tame compared to some I’ve read. Lesson here: Don’t judge a book solely by it’s cover. But do be drawn in by it.

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Friday Fun Review: “Black Tie Billionaire” by Naima Simone

Black Tie BillionaireBlack Tie Billionaire by Naima Simone
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is my first read from Naima Simone. And while this one is good; I know her outside-Harlequin-pubbed work has to be even better.

The Premise:The 2nd book in her Blackout Billionaire series, Billionaire Gideon Knight is immediately drawn to waitstaff server Camille at society event when the lights go out. When they’re trapped in an employee lounge, the blackout provides the perfect cover for them to be themselves and explore their attraction. But when the lights come back on and real life goes on, Camille physically disappears and so does the introspective Gideon persona Camille got to know. On top of that, Gideon is at war with his former school friend, and has plotted to use his nemesis’ sister Shay in a diabolical revenge scheme.

The story/The sex/ The characters One caveat here: you’ve got to suspend belief in two areas a little to really enjoy the book. One: it takes longer than it should for Gideon to recognize that Camille and Shay are the same person (and no, that was not really a spoiler unless you don’t plan to read past chapter 2). And two: for them to be in the close circles of the billionaire-elite, they know very little about each other. And by “they”, I mean all the main characters of the novel. I expected Gideon would know more about Shay and Shay would know more about Gideon’s family than they do. Shay’s brother seems to be in his own plotting-evil bubble and wanting to keep Shay away from the family business that I can see how they wouldn’t really know about each other’s hangups/agendas. But it’s amazing how these folks functioned so naively.

Gideon is another Billionaire-alpha-jerk hero, and if you’ve been following, I don’t love those, but I keep getting books with them in it somehow. Someone give me a Randall Pearson a la This is Us as a hero, please. I need a break! HOWEVER, I love the scene with Gideon @ the food truck, because it shows a softer side of him, a side that has known what it’s really like to work. This makes him more likeable to me as a billionaire alpha.

Shay on the other hand, has always been privileged. I imagine her as an adult Ashley from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. She’s got her head on straight, but yes, she is an anomaly as a Black woman of privilege. I love how this isn’t even the traditional interracial romance (as these are both POCs), let alone a traditional romance with a white couple. That alone kept me reading.

The sex—It was open-door and fairly erotic. I discovered Naima Simone after attending a workshop she did about writing love scenes. She knows what she’s doing. But also like Theodora Taylor, I feel she probably had to tone it down for Harlequin. I want to read more of hers to see, though. As a writer, I love the pacing of the love scenes here. As much as I love a good open-door sex scene, too much and it gets tedious, not enough and I get bored. Hmm. Just as in life I guess! 😊

Overall, this was an entertaining read, and I can’t wait to get my hands on some of her self-pubbed, or non- HQ reads. I suspect they will be juicy gems!

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