by Trish Jensen

January 2005
ISBN: 0-505-52585-2
Reviewer Graphic Button Lovespell
Mass Market Paperback

Leah Smith is pretending to be two different women, a mousy intelligent female and a blonde bimbo in bright stilettos. Her brother Steve is also playing dual roles. He’s himself and his fictional twin sister, Stephanie. Why? Leah wants to perform a little research for her doctoral dissertation by experimenting with the question – who gets the job, is it the flashy, buxom bimbo with little brain power or the plain Jane with the high IQ. Steve, on the other hand, has been dressing as his twin for several years to appease the financial backer of his company, Just Peachy Cosmetics, who prefers that a woman head the cosmetic firm. Once Steve’s debt is completely paid to his backer, Stephanie will be erased from the picture.

During his masquerade, Steve learns that someone is stealing his company secrets so he hires security specialist, Mark Colson, a former FBI agent, to spearhead the investigation. When Leah takes her experiment to Just Peachy Cosmetics, Mark immediately notices that she has two different identities, and she becomes his prime suspect. His investigation of her is of course marred by his strong attraction to her.

Leah who began this project with one purpose in mind, to further her sociological studies, is now pulled into some very foreign avenues. One, she never thought she would be used as bait to ferret out a company spy, and two, she never imagined she would find herself in love with one of the most stubborn men in the world. If anyone can handle this, it’s definitely a Phi Beta Bimbo.

The title, Phi Beta Bimbo, just seems to leap out at you. The contradiction in terms insists that the book be read. And so this reviewer read and was greatly disappointed for her efforts.

There is so much going on in this novel that readers will undoubtedly get lost in all the subplots and mini-schemes. In addition to Leah and Steve’s romance, there’s also another romance brewing in the story, and in between all the wardrobe changes, this reviewer’s mind was spinning way too fast.

Often times, the characters’ actions fail to blend in with their personal experiences and backgrounds. One example of this is the fact that although Mark is a former FBI agent, he still can’t tell that Steve is Stephanie? This is highly improbable and totally unbelievable.

Unfortunately, the best thing about this novel is the title and the pretty cover, and in the end, good looks only get you so far. There has to be more there to hold my attention, and this one doesn’t have it.

Reviewed in January 2005 by Natasha.

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