GS vs. STA: Nerdy Heroines

Time for “Good Shit vs. Shit to Avoid,” with special guest PK, who is looking for a particular kind of heroine:

Oh baby, talk nerdy to me.

There was a great ad for some sort of high end kitchen appliance years ago
that featured a very cute lady with naughty librarian glasses and lab coat
standing next to a male model in a designer suit and it said “IQ meets GQ”
and it always made me smile. I love smart girl protagonists, I love quirky
geniuses! I love sexy doctors/scientists/academics/etc. I am looking for
books with heroines like that. Geeks, nerds, scholastic overachievers, etc.
There seems to be a good chunk of mainstream films where the nerd gets the
incredibly hot girl but I want books with nerdy heroines and perhaps not so
nerdy heroes.

I am planning a vacation and would love to load up my Nook with tasty beach
reads and could use some help.

Ready, set, go – bring on your recommendations!


Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Augustina says:

    It might just be too late for your holiday, but I am really looking forward to Tessa Dare’s new Spindle Cove series. The first book (A night to surrender (?)) appears August 30th and the story takes place in a village that’s a haven for young ladies who don’t fit in elsewhere, bluestockings prominent among them of course. The excerpt was delightful and Tessa Dare is one of my favourites. If you haven’t read here yet, definitely do so!

  2. 2
    Elizabeth says:

    The first book to come to my mind for this is Sherry Thomas’ superb Not Quite a Husband.  It’s set in the Victorian Era, so the doctor heroine is a bit of an oddity.  The hero has aspirations of being a math professor, but he is far less nerdy than she.

    Equally wonderful is Mr. Impossible by Loretta Chase—Egyptologist heroine who publishes under her brother’s name meets less intelligent, but adorable hero.

    Meredith Duran’s Bound by Your Touch has an independent-but-wallflower heroine and a dissipated, society hero.  Also great!

  3. 3
    Rainbow Jen says:

    This is an oldie but a goodie for me – Hot Shot by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. It deals with the creation of a computer company not dissimilar from Apple, and there are nerds aplenty.

    I also like Open Season by Linda Howard, where a librarian decides to get down with her bad self, and the local sheriff notices. Might not be quite the same thing, but as a one-time librarian, I definitely liked it!

  4. 4
    Victoria says:

    If we’re talking Susan Elizabeth Phillips, you can’t miss Nobody’s Baby But Mine. The heroine is a mega nerd and the hero is a sexy football player.

  5. 5
    Alex says:

    I’m not sure that you’d describe her as nerdy but Sybill in Inner Harbour by Nora Roberts is definitely on the intellectual/academic side of things. 

    Actually Nora Roberts writes quite a few good characters like that.  I like Kate in Holding the Dream too.

  6. 6
    Daisy says:

    Girl From Mars – the hero’s a literary author hired to write a special run of a superhero comic as a publicity move; the heroine’s the comic’s artist, a sci-fi geek who’s furious that the comic she’s loved since she was a little girl is being handed to someone who’s never read it. I didn’t like the love triangle with the heroine’s Nice Guy housemate/best friend, but otherwise it was fun.

  7. 7
    Rose says:

    Dizzy (Desdemona Carlisle) from Connie Brockway’s As You Desire – she’s very bright and has a gift for languages. I suspect one reason I did not like Mr. Impossible is that Egypt-set romances are not common, and I kept comparing it with AYD, which I found much more enjoyable. Harry is a fantastic hero.

    And another vote for NQAH. It’s wonderful.

  8. 8
    Shanna says:

    There is always the nerd series by Vicki Lewis Thompson. Sometimes the hero is the nerd, sometimes the heroine is the nerd, sometimes they’re both nerds.

  9. 9
    Jilli-bean says:

    Thanks bitches, now my mammoth reading list may just get longer!

    Cathryn Fox’s Pleasure Games series. They’re all about a research lab in Iowa that are working on various sexual serums. The first two,

    Pleasure Control

    , and

    Pleasure Prolonged

    revolve around female heroines who are smart and good at what they do. The books are steamy, passionate, and funny. Since I was a Biology major in college, the fact that Cathryn Fox helps shatter the myth that nerdy, science-loving women are not at all passionate in a carnal sense makes me really happy.

    Suzanne Enoch’s

    Care and Taming of a Rogue

    also made me smile. Flip’s a bluestocking who loves museums, book club, etc… So when her favourite author, the daring explorer Bennet Wolfe comes into her life, it’s like a dream come true. So what happens when a hardened adventurer crosses paths with a bookish, headstrong young woman? Well, you’ll have to read and see.


  10. 10
    Colonel Angus says:

    That’s weird. I just gave this list to a friend last week.

    My Darling Caroline by Adele Ashworth – brainy botanist
    Midsummer Moon by Laura Kinsale – brainy inventor
    Ravished by Amanda Quick – brainy paleontologist
    Circle of Sin Series by Cara Elliot – brainy circle of girlfirends

    I like brainy heroines because I know that they’re not going to be sitting around waiting to get kissed.
    I’m going to be back to see what else is recommended.

  11. 11
    Bri says:

    What the Librarian Did – Karina Bliss

    Librarian Heroine, former Rock Star Hero, lots of twists and turns in the plot

  12. 12
    Bri says:

    What the Librarian Did – Karina Bliss

    librarian heroine, former rock star hero, lots of twists and turns

    Soldier’s night Mission – CIndy Dees

    Astrophysict Heroine, wicked smart AND mikitary hero, major wolrd calamity

  13. 13
    nystacey says:

    This is the first book I thought of when I saw this particular prompt: :
    Lucy Monroe’s Watch over me…
    It was, in fact, adorable *grins* 


  14. 14
    Amanda says:

    Not really romance (though it actually may fall under the inspirational category?  It’s hard to tell):  The Amelia Peabody series.  She’s smart, her husband is smart and they’re Egyptologists who solve crimes.  I only ended up reading one or two out of the 25 novel series, but I did enjoy them.  She’s super feisty and uses a parasol as a weapon.  (LONG before the Soulless novels did so.)  They’re a good, fun read, though I didn’t get into them quite at the level that my roommate at the time did!

  15. 15
    Mandie says:

    Dark Desires After Dusk by Kresley Cole—heroine is a nerdy math teacher, hero is a sexy immortal.

  16. 16
    JoanneF says:

    And Then He Kissed Her by Laura Lee Guhrke.  She’s prim-and-proper, bluestocking secretary to womanizing publisher.  Both are smart, but she’s nerdy and he’s not.

  17. 17
    Rose says:

    If we’re branching outside of pure romance, there’s Jennifer Donnelly’s The Winter Rose, set in London around 1900 – the heroine is a doctor working in Whitechapel, and the hero is a criminal.

  18. 18
    Mary G says:

    Just One Taste by Louisa Edwards – one of my fave books ever.
    Here’s part of a post I wrote for my turn at Marie Force’s book club:

    “I just adored sexy, bad boy Wes & sexy, adorable nerd Rosemary. Wes came from a questionable childhood with a scam artist dad & he is trying to get a life. Rosemary is a child genius who feels she lacks social skills because of the way she grew up – not much interaction with people her own age. She wears Star Wars t-shirts & has Star Trek dreams.  She is a sweet combination of passion & logic.”

    She is adorable & so innocently funny.

  19. 19
    Chelsea says:

    I second Mandie’s Kresley Cole rec. Love those books!

    And thanks everyone for reminding me that What the Librarian Did is still in my TBR somewhere. As a library assistant, I really should read that one.

  20. 20
    Carin says:

    I wanted to second the recommendation for Vicki Lewis Thompson’s nerd series.  The first book is Nerd in Shining Armor.  I read them a while back and remember liking them a lot – funny and sweet.

  21. 21
    Rebecca says:

    Cathie Linz has a couple books where the main female characters are librarians. I really enjoy her writing style, sweet and light. Another book I read with a nerdy female character was Agnes and the Hitman. It is by Jennifer Cruisie and Bob Mayer I think. It was a very funny romance.

  22. 22
    Ana says:

    Amanda Quick’s Mystique is a historical, but the female lead is kind of a nerd, for the time she lives in: she likes books, studies stones and so on…

  23. 23
    Joy says:

    _A Sense of Sin_ by Elizabeth Essex features a wonderfully nerdy botanist heroine.

    _Follow My Lead_ by Kate Noble has a nerdy art historian heroine.

    Both books are very good. I love books with nerdy heroines.

  24. 24
    Kristen A. says:

    In the Vicki Lewis Thompson Nerd series, the hero is almost always a nerd (IMHO the hero of Nerds Gone Wild‘s nerd cred is pretty low) and the heroines get nerdier as the series go on. The heroine of My Nerdy Valentine is quite nerdy, and I liked that the reason she hasn’t had much of a love life lately is just that she’s been too busy.

  25. 25
    Donna says:

    I’m gonna pull one out of my way back machine – no, I’m lying, it’s on my shelf & reread on a regular basis. “MacKenzie’s Mission” by Linda Howard. Oh, how I miss the old Linda Howard…..

  26. 26
    Laura (in PA) says:

    Can I just say I hate these threads where people recommend books? In a good way, of course.  :-p

  27. 27
    Evelyn says:

    I just read two books that might fit your preference. The first one is about a female comic-book nerd, Girl from Mars, by Julie Cohen. Apart from the end I enjoyed it a lot, but it might be considered chick-lit more than romance (maybe one day someone will explain the difference to me).

    The other on is Sarra Mannings’ “You don’t have to say you love me”, where Neve is a book-addict and has a pancake-relationship with very handsome Max while she is waiting for her true love William to return from the US of A to London. I am absolutely in love with this book becaus I could see so much of myself in Neve. So, don’t be afraid of the number of pages (576 pages), it’s worth to be read. In the end I actually didn’t want it to finish.

  28. 28
    Gina says:

    I love Shelly Laurenston’s Go Fetch! Tons of humor and the heroine is totally unapologetic about her geekdom.

  29. 29

    The heroine isn’t nerdy in Nora Robert’s Tribute, but the hero is TOTALLY one of us, and I adore him. He’s a graphic novelist. He owns BOTH versions of Battlestar Galactica on DVD. And when the heroine laments that love is her Kryptonite, he half-seriously starts asking her what kind of Kryptonite, and that’s the part where I KNEW La Nora had done her geeky research. (heart heart heart)

    I’ve also read a couple of the Vicki Lewis Thompsons, and did like the first couple quite a bit. The second two didn’t impress me, but I’d be willing to be talked into looking at any further installments! And I shall be slurping up recs from all over these comments, as well.

  30. 30
    Hydecat says:

    This isn’t a traditional romance novel, but Bellweather by Connie Willis features two scientific researchers who work their way to a happy ending, with much comedy on the way.

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