Knitting in the City by Penny Reid
So far this is a five book series. I will be posting a review of each book leading up to the fifth book, Happily Ever Ninja. There is a book, Neanderthal Marries Human, which is labeled as 1.5, but it should really be read after book 2. So I will review it in what I think is the correct reading order.
Friends Without Benefits (Book 2)
Overall Rating: 3.5 (sXe/xoxo)
P.S. I need another shout out about book covers. This one is so sexy. That moment… ah… that moment.
Quick & Dirty summary: Elizabeth Finney is a smart, beautiful, successful young doctor. She’s got a strong group of girlfriends—her knitting group—a super smart best friend, and a wonderful dad. Sure she experienced a great deal of loss at a young age, but she’s determined to be honest, adventuresome, and a great friend. So what if her love life is a little dry? Of course, when Nico Manganiello walks back into her life, all of those pesky details like zero love life, two gigantic losses at a young age, and an awkward adolescence come to the forefront. And Nico isn’t just some guy from her past, but he’s also The Face, a famous model turned actor who can melt the panties off almost any woman in the world. What’s a girl to do when she’s already lost the love of her life? Is she capable of a second love of her life?
This book is my least favorite to read and I hate saying that, despite it being true, because it’s really a well-written book. It’s funny, heartfelt, and off-the-charts romantic, but it’s also terribly sad, embarrassing, and surprisingly dramatic. I forgot to mention in my previous review that while these books are romantic comedies, they also have a suspenseful storyline that explodes in the end. It is true of Neanderthal, and it’s true of Friends. The suspense part doesn’t bother me; in fact, the suspense part of the storyline is interesting and I love it. But in this particular book, the confusion Elizabeth feels during the first two thirds of the book is difficult for me to bear. The history between Elizabeth and Nico is heart wrenching and my heart does not like to be wrenched. There is enough stuff in real life that gets my heart all twisty, I don’t really like to put it through any more added (fictional) strain. That being said, Reid makes Nico the kind of guy that makes the pain worth it. It’s not like I dislike Elizabeth, but for me this story is all about Nico. I love him, I adore him, and I want him. Still, this is hard book for me to read, and the payoff in the end, isn’t quite enough for me to go through the journey again and again.
This book is classically funny in a Reid sort of way. There are hilarious conversations between the knitting group friends, like this one with Ashley and Elizabeth. Ashley tells Elizabeth, “Oh dear… Elizabeth, I don’t know how to break this to you, but you’ve been having relationships with men.” And then there’s the one-liners that just get me every time. Elizabeth thinks to herself, “Friends don’t pussy submarine friends. Not cool.” You can probably guess what “pussy submarine” means, but if you can’t, then it’s the female equivalent of “cock blocking.” There is a lot of that in this book—making up the female equivalent of socially acceptable phrases that only have male references. I love how that infuses a kind of feminist culture throughout the whole book. Gosh Reid is a genius.
Interestingly enough, this book has the option to be salacious with a version of a chapter written two ways—explicit and demure. I was a little surprised by this at first, until I realized that there wasn’t anything explicit in Neanderthal Seeks Human. It startled me to realize how little I missed sex scenes in the first book because the storyline was so engrossing and funny. I’m not sure that this book needs it either, except the sex scene itself was rather funny too. I’m sure someone speaking Italian to me would get my motor going, but I’m not convinced it works quite on the same level as Reid makes it out to be.
Is it worth buying? (Kindle $5.99)
Hopefully by now you realize that I am kind of a penny-pinching scrooge, even when it comes to books. So normally I wouldn’t recommend buying this book because $6 is a lot of money to me. However, it’s a testament to how good Reid is, and how good this series is, and yes, even how good this book is, that you need to buy it. It’s good on it’s own merit and it’s absolutely integral to the series.
Something else you might enjoy:
If you enjoy tragic, angst-filled adolescence that transition into once-in-a-lifetime loves, then read The Law of Moses by Amy Harmon. Talk about heart wrenching. I cried like a baby and still think about this book to this day. Plus Reid and Harmon are friends (I think), so it makes sense to promote one with the other. You can read my review of Harmon’s book here.