Tag Archives: Chic lit

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

Overview
The Bride Test (The Kiss Quotient, #2) by Helen Hoang

Title: The Bride Test
Author: Helen Hoang
Series: The Kiss Quotient #2
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Chic lit, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 5th – 6th January 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Corgi
Year: 2019
5th sentence, 74th page: Fortunately, this kind of firm touch was acceptable – he liked proprioception and deep pressure.

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Synopsis

Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, not big, important emotions – like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better – that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly refuses to consider a relationship, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.

As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. So when the opportunity arises to go to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down. This could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go quite as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working… but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.

As Esme’s time in the United States dwindles, will Khai let his head catch up with his heart? Can he find the strength to let go, and let love in?

Thoughts

This was one of those books that I read cover to cover, completely unwilling to put it down. It was brilliant and clever. Cute and the kind of book that left me with a smile on my face. In fact, I was almost late to work the next day because I couldn’t put this down and stayed up way too late reading.

Khai is a great male lead. You don’t get many neurodiverse leads in books, so having one that featured so strongly was brilliant. The fact that Hoang is neurodiverse herself makes his differences all that much more realistic. Not only did I find it seriously relatable, but I also love how Hoang is able to use her work to bring autism to the forefront in a light and understandable manner. Add to that the fact that Khai is a gorgeous romantic lead, well, it made everything that much more… yummy. And sweet. And I just wanted to hug everyone on the pages!

I’ve read a few contemporary stories which feature immigrants. And even non-fiction books. I haven’t yet read one which features an immigrant. Someone from poverty who is travelling to another country to try and make their lives better. Particularly when that person is effectively a mail order bride. Again, Hoang is able to provide an educated insight into the unique challenges of finding oneself in this situation.

I love the romance that Hoang takes you on in her story writing. But, I think the thing that I love the most and keeps me coming back again and again and again is the way in which she is able to feature marginalised groups. And she doesn’t do this from her imagination, but, rather, she is able to create these amazingly diverse characters from her own experiences, or the experiences of those near her.

This novel melted my heart and left me grinning from ear to ear. It is cute and sweet. And most definitely impossible to forget. Definitely one that I will be rereading at some point in the future.

<- The Kiss QuotientThe Heart Principle ->

Image source: Goodreads

It’s Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han

Overview
It's Not Summer Without You : Jenny Han : 9780141330556

Title: It’s Not Summer Without You
Author: Jenny Han
Series: Summer #2
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Chic lit, Contemporary, Young adult
Dates read: 23rd – 24th December 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Publisher: Penguin Books
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: “It’s my prom.”

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Synopsis

When something is perfect, you hope it never ends…

Isabel’s lazy, long hot summers at her family friends’ beach house are over.

Conrad – sexy and unavailable – is the only boy she’s ever loved. He’s left for college, taking her heart with him. Jeremiah, his gorgeous brother, is still Isabel’s best friend – but maybe friendship isn’t enough for him any more…

Isbael just wants everything to stay the same, because change means moving on. But if she stops looking back, will she find a future she never knew she wanted?

Thoughts

I’m very on the fence about this novel. Belly is a bit of a selfish pain. I thought that in The Summer I Turned Pretty but felt that she’d grown up a little by the end of it. And then I started this, and it felt like we were right back where we started. It wasn’t so painful that I had to put the book down, and I’ll still read the final book in the trilogy (because I really want to know which brother she ends up with), but it’s the kind of trilogy that I need a good gap between readings.

The most difficult thing I think I found about this story is the idea of a girl being between two brothers. Love triangles often aren’t my favourite trope, I just can’t understand them in my own little reality. But when the love triangle involves two brothers? That just feels wrong and cruel. I mean, I know that it even happens in real life… but still… how can you kiss one brother and then the other?

Aside from the weird love triangle stuff and immaturity, I did seriously feel for Belly throughout this. Losing someone is always tough, and this story really highlighted the ways in which grief shows in all of us differently. And that there is no right or wrong way to deal with losing somebody. Actually, I think that the way in which Han dealt with this issue and plucked at the heartstrings is why I bought up the rating which I gave this novel.

All in all, this isn’t a book or series that I would give away, because the potential for rereading it far into the future is there. But, it’s also not a series or novel that I’m going to dive into picking up again and again. Maybe when I was younger, and could relate to Belly a little more… but as an adult? She’s kind of frustrating…

<- The Summer I Turned PrettyWe’ll Always Have Summer ->

Image source: BookDepository

The Bad Mothers’ Book Club by Keris Stainton

Overview
The Bad Mothers' Book Club by Keris Stainton - Books - Hachette Australia

Title: The Bad Mothers’ Book Club
Author: Keris Stainton
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Chic lit, Contemporary, FamilyHumour
Dates read: 15th – 16th December 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Trapeze
Year: 2019
5th sentence, 74th page: ‘Good job I had my head torch.’

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Synopsis

Since moving to the seaside after her husband’s career change, Emma Chance’s life consists of the following: long walks on the beach (with the dog), early nights (with the kids) and Netflix (no chill).

Bored and lonely, when Emma is cordially invited to the exclusive school-mums’ book club, hosted by Head of PTA and footballer’s wife, Jools Jackson, she thinks her luck may finally be about to change. She soon realises she may have made a grave mistake when she realises it’s all about books, and less about wine and gossip – but it’s always better to stick things out, isn’t it?

Or not.

After a few months and a few awkward moments involving a red wine on white carpet accident and a swear-word incident involving Jools’s daughter, Emma is ungraciously kicked out of the book club. Exhausted, she decides it’s about time she fights back against the shame and humiliation. Enlisting the help of some similar-thinking mums, Emma sets up her own book club – no cleaners, polite conversation or reading required: this is the Bad Mothers’ Book Club.

A frank, irreverent and laugh-out-loud read for grown-ups.

Thoughts

I absolutely adored this novel. Far more than I had anticipated to be honest. After all, I thought it was just an average chic lit novel. Instead, it was incredibly hilarious and thoroughly enjoyable. And, as someone who has a few friends with babies on the way… I can imagine this form of motherhood all too well.

I love that this novel deals with motherhood in a very humorous and light manner. It didn’t try and pass motherhood off as something that suddenly turns people into saints. In fact, most of the anecdotes featured women who were in way over their heads and just trying to make sure the kid survives. I can guarantee that if I ever become a mother… this is what I’m going to be like. No angelic, in control adventures for me.

Emma is exactly the kind of heroine that I needed. I was in a bit of a reading slump when I picked up The Bad Mothers’ Book Club and really just needed something that was cheerful and a little chaotic. Which is exactly what Emma is. She’s constantly positive and completely chaotic throughout this entire story. I love how she seems to bumble from one social faux pas to another. Completely derailing herself along the way.

This is a great story about family and motherhood. About being a fish out of water and finding a place to belong. It’s humorous and light, with enough sass throughout to keep me grinning like an idiot. I will definitely be adding some more Stainton books to my wish list after this seriously enjoyable read…

<- Baby One More TimeCounting Stars ->

Image source: Hachette Australia

Beard Science by Penny Reid

Overview
Beard Science (Winston Brothers Book 3) (Volume 3): Reid, Penny:  9781942874256: Amazon.com: Books

Title: Beard Science
Author: Penny Reid
Series: Winston Brothers #3
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Chic lit, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 22nd October 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Penny Reid
Year: 2016
5th sentence, 74th page: Her hand trembled slightly where it held the spoon.

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Synopsis

Beards, brothers and bananas! Oh my!

Make a deal with the devil and you might get what you want, but will it be what you need?

Jennifer Sylvester wants one thing, and that one thing is NOT to be Tennessee’s reigning Banana Cake Queen. Ever the perpetual good girl and obedient daughter, Jennifer is buckling under the weight of her social media celebrity, her mother’s ambitions, and her father’s puritanical mandates. Jennifer is officially desperate.

And desperate times call for Cletus Winston.

Cletus Winston is a puzzle wrapped in a mystery covered in conundrum sauce, and now he’s in a pickle. Despite being convinced of his own omniscience, extortion by the exalted Banana Cake Queen of Green Valley has taken him completely by surprise. So… what’s a maniacal mastermind to do?

Likely, the last thing you expect.

Thoughts

I think that Cletus may be my absolute favourite Winston Brother thus far. He is a little bit sick and twisted, he is definitely devious, but mostly I just love that he refuses to take crap from… well, anybody. But, mostly I just love how damn devious and sneaky the man is. And how he eventually gets his comeuppance…. That is also completely hilarious and brilliant.

Of all the characters that would seem to match Cletus, I love that it’s Jenn. Her supposed innocence and lack of a backbone not only lulls him into a great false sense of security, but it also acts as a reminder not to make assumptions about others. That, and just had me laughing. Frequently. After all, the man who thinks he’s infallible and bullet proof and knows who is going to be a perfect match for him is so completely wrong. It left me laughing quite a bit throughout this story and entirely unable to put down the damn book.

Jenn’s journey of self-discovery was a really nice storyline. Although there is a great character arc for Cletus throughout this, I actually love Jenn’s moment in the sun the most. It’s all about finding out what she wants, and realising that pleasing those you love isn’t necessarily always the way to go. The fact that her father may actually be the devil doesn’t overly help matters… but still, it makes for a fantastic story and has you hoping for the happily ever after that you’re going to get.

My favourite thing about this couple is the fact that Jenn seems to be the only one in the whole damn town who can see how truly evil / devious / sneaky Cletus is. To the point that she fears him. I think that this is a great way to start of the relationship. She knows exactly who she is getting involved with… but decides to take the plunge anyway. And what is love if not seeing somebody, flaws and all and still deciding that you want to keep them?

<- Grin & Beard ItBeard in Waiting ->

Image source: Amazon

Grin and Beard It by Penny Reid

Overview
Grin and Beard It (Winston Brothers): Reid, Penny: 9781635764871:  Amazon.com: Books

Title: Grin & Beard It
Author: Penny Reid
Series: Winston Brothers #2
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Chic lit, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 21st – 22nd October 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Penny Reid
Year: 2016
5th sentence, 74th page: Thus, I couldn’t help but usually greet her as follows: “Susie… Moist?”

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Synopsis

Beards, brothers, and bears! Oh my!

Sienna Diaz is everyone’s favorite “fat” funny lady. The movie studio executives can’t explain it, but her films are out-grossing all the fit and trim headliners and Hollywood’s most beautiful elite. The simple truth is, everyone loves plus-sized Sienna.

But she has a problem, she can’t read maps and her sense of direction is almost as bad as her comedic timing is stellar. Therefore, when Sienna’s latest starring role takes her to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park she finds herself continuously lost while trying to navigate the backroads of Green Valley, Tennessee. Much to her consternation, Sienna’s most frequent savior is a ridiculously handsome, charming, and cheeky Park Ranger by the name of Jethro Winston.

Sienna is accustomed to high levels of man-handsome, so it’s not Jethro’s chiseled features or his perfect physique that make Sienna stutter. It’s his southern charm. And gentlemanly manners. And habit of looking at her too long and too often.

Sienna has successfully navigated the labyrinth of Hollywood heart-throbs. But can she traverse the tenuous trails of Tennessee without losing her head? Or worse, her heart?

Thoughts

Sienna is just all things that are awesome in a woman. Like, honestly, she is freaking amazing! And funny, and quirky, and… well, I have a huge girl crush on this character (can you tell?). Not only did I thoroughly enjoy her character… but I also loved the voice / narration that she provided. It was kind of like sinking into my own brain when I was feeling chirpy and optimistic…

The Meet Cute between Sienna and Jethro is wonderful. I love that she’s pretty much cracking an absolute tanty and stomping on her map. All because she’s lost. It’s the kind of insane and completely off-kilter thing that I would probably do. The hulking out moment and the humour in the situation… I was smiling and giggling from the very beginning of this story.

I was intrigued to see what Jethro was going to be like… he is only kind of peripherally around throughout the rest of the Winston Brothers books (all two) thus far. So finding out what his emotions are surrounding his involvement with bikers, how he has grown… I was drawn in. And he is just so damn cute! Like put him in my pocket, and take him home cute… partner that with his past… and wow, I had SOOOOO many feelings while reading this! In all of the best ways possible.

Sienna’s issues with people’s perceptions of her body reminded me of all of the crap that we sometimes get as women. And the fact that even her own sister jumps on the stupid bandwagon… I honestly just wanted to reach through the pages and give the woman a huge hug. Although, the moment in which she publicly stands up for herself and takes charge of her own future again… oh. Be still my beating heart.

Loved, loved, loved this novel. And, since I was sick when I was reading it… it was the perfect antidote to feeling like crap and being seriously bored…

<- Truth or BeardBeard Science ->

Image source: Amazon

Truth or Beard by Penny Reid

Overview
Truth or Beard (Winston Brothers) (Volume 1): Reid, Penny: 9781942874126:  Amazon.com: Books

Title: Truth or Beard
Author: Penny Reid
Series: Winston Brothers #1
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Chic lit, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 23rd August – 19th October 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Penny Reid
Year: 2015
5th sentence, 74th page: My mouth fell open – not a whole lot, just enough to be gaping – and my eyes narrowed as a small sound of disbelief tumbled from my lips.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

Beards, brothers, and bikers! Oh my!

Identical twins Beau and Duane Winston might share the same devastatingly handsome face, but where Beau is outgoing and sociable, Duane is broody and reserved. This is why perpetually level-headed Jessica James has been in naïve and unhealthy infatuation with Beau Winston for most of her life. Whereas Duane and Jessica have always been adversaries. She can’t stand him, and she’s pretty sure he can’t stand the sight of her…

But after a case of mistaken identity, Jessica finds herself in a massive confusion kerfuffle. Jessica James has spent her whole life paralyzed the fantasy of Beau and her assumptions of Duane’s disdain; therefore she’s unprepared for the reality that is Duane’s insatiable interest, as well as his hot hands and hot mouth and hotter looks.

When Jessica finds herself drawn to the man who was always her adversary, how much of her level-head heart is she willing to risk?

Thoughts

I did take a bit of a pause halfway through reading this novel. Mostly because Duane was in some fairly serious trouble. And I didn’t like it. Sure, I knew that it would end up begin resolved… but I still really, really, really didn’t like him being in trouble. So yeah… apparently I got WAY too attached and then couldn’t face reading the story for a little while… I don’t need a life at all. 😊

Like the other Penny Reid books that I’ve read thus far. This is a great, funny and kind of cute / sweet romance. Duane and Jess work together really well, and I love that you get to find out more and more about the Winston Brothers and their many shenanigans. Add to that the fact that Duane is a red-head with a twin and a beard… well, like I said… I did get a little bit too attached to this one.

Jess had this great sense of spunk and attitude throughout. Even when things unravelled for her a little and she questions her relationship with Duane… she still manages to do it in a fire cracker way and with a fair amount of spunk and sass. These are the things that I tend to love in a lead woman. Particularly when she’s crying and smacking him at the same time to show her frustration. Because, honestly, who hasn’t been there?

To be honest though, you know that Jess is going to be a completely loveable and adorable lead when the first scene of the story opens with her dressed in a Sexy Gandalf costume… I mean, that’s kind of the dream Halloween costume in my books. Now I just have to figure out how to make one and find a party to wear it to…

Although the biker history is mentioned a little in Beauty and the Mustache, this really starts to bring in that idea. And the many, many issues that I’m sure this is going to cause the Winston Brothers as they fall in love and lust throughout this series. There is just enough history here for me to understand what is going on… but also all these tantalising hints that just make me want to find out more!

<- Beauty and the MustacheGrin and Beard It ->

Image source: Amazon

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

Overview
The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han – review | Children's books | The  Guardian

Title: The Summer I Turned Pretty
Author: Jenny Han
Series: Summer #1
Rating Out of 5: 3.5 (Liked this)
My Bookshelves: Chic lit, Contemporary, Young adult
Dates read: 19th October 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Penguin Books
Year: 2009
5th sentence, 74th page: But there they were, dunking one another for all it was worth.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

Every year Isbael spends a perfect summer at her family friends’ house.

There’s the swimming pool at night, the private stretch of beach – and the two boys.

Conrad – unavailable, aloof –
who she’s been in love with forever.
Jeremiah – friendly, relaxed –
the only one who’s ever really paid her any attention.

But this year something is different. They seem to have noticed her for the first time. It’s going to be an amazing summer… and one she’ll never forget.

Thoughts

This is a fairly typical teenager story. It’s a little angsty, it’s about coming of age and discovering oneself. And it’s fairly self-centred all in all. Which to me, is what a lot of teenagers / teenage stories are like. I mean, the name of the book in itself gives that fact away. It’s also an incredibly sweet story and a reminder of my own summers when I was growing up and figuring out just who I was. Making it a seriously enjoyable and easy read (which is exactly what I wanted at the time).

Don’t get me wrong, “Belly” tends to annoy me a little bit in patches throughout this story. She is kind of whiney. And although I sort of get it, I mean, she’s constantly left out by the other three… I also sometimes wanted to reach through the pages of the book, and just clip her over the head. Tell her to get over herself and find someone who did want to spend time with her. She does eventually do this, and the whiney annoyance did eventually disappear. But there were moments of “oh girl”.

I completely picked who the end love interest would be in this story. Although, some of the bumps along the way were a little unanticipated. And even though it was completely predictable, I did actually like who she ended up with. They somehow work together (I think) and I’ll be interested to see how things unfold in the next story. Particularly when you already know which character will be missing, and how it’s going to be a little bit sad…

I do love that throughout this story Belly goes through a pretty good transformation. Alright, she starts this with suddenly being “pretty” (barf). But it’s that internal one that I actually really enjoyed. She manages to figure out just who she is (which helps her win the boy). And she also learns to be less selfish, more able to think about others. Which, ultimately is what I really look forward to in a teenage characters’ growth.

<- More Jenny HanIt’s Not Summer Without You ->

Image source: The Guardian

Beauty and the Mustache by Penny Reid

Overview
Beauty and the Mustache by Penny Reid - BookBub

Title: Beauty and the Mustache
Author: Penny Reid
Series: Knitting in the City #4, Winston Brothers #0.5
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Chic lit, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 22nd – 23rd August 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Caped Publishing
Year: 2014
5th sentence, 74th page: Elizabeth muttered under her breath, “If you let him, I think he’ll gladly rub you the right way.”

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

There are three things you need to know about Ashley Winston

1) She has six brothers and they all have beards,
2) She is a reader, and
3) She knows how to knit.

Former beauty queen, Ashley Winston’s preferred coping strategy is escapism. She escaped her Tennessee small town, loathsome father, and six brothers eight years ago. Now she escapes life daily via her Amazon kindle one-click addiction. However, when a family tragedy forces her to return home, Ashley can’t escape the notice of Drew Runous – local Game Warden, reclusive mountain man, bear wrestler, philosopher, and everyone’s favourite guy. Drew’s irksome philosophising in particular makes Ashley want to run for the skyscrapers, especially since he can’t seem to keep his exasperating opinions – or his soulful poetry, steadfast support, and delightful hands – to himself. Pretty soon the girl who wanted nothing more than the escape of the big city finds she’s lost her heart in small town Tennessee.

Thoughts

This novel may be about Ashley, but for me, the brothers just steal the show. There is something about a clan of brothers coming together around their little sister and their mother that makes me incredibly happy. Ashley is great. But it’s the Winston Brothers and Drew that made me feel seriously emotionally vested. Which makes it a brilliant prequel to the Winston Brothers series and a great little teaser into another series that needs to fill my shelves.

This is a reminder that, in spite of what is happening in the world, sometimes you just need to return home. Sometimes it’s the things that you ran away from that truly leave you feeling happy and complete. I like that although Ashley fled her family and hometown eight years before the beginning of this story. And obviously needed to in her own way to figure out who she was. Part of really figuring out what she needed in life was coming home and embracing all that she left behind. Returning home might not always be the answer. But I love that it is in this novel…

Although this is a beautiful and sweet romance, there is a little bit of heartbreak in this story. Namely in the passing of Ashley’s mother and her illness. It is done so well though. It is serious and does wrench at your heart quite a bit, but it also leaves you focusing on all of the positives that take place in the blossoming new relationship and the hope that Ashley finds for the future. Plus, the heartbreak that Ashley experiences highlights the beauty of her friendship with the girls.

This might be the most tragic and sad of the Knitting in the City stories. But it is also the one that seems to show the power of love and friendship the most. Everyone willingly and lovingly rallies around Ashley and her family. And I absolutely adored this show of love and affection. It’s something that I hope (but kind of doubt) that we all have…

<- Love HackedScenes from the City ->

Image source: BookBub

Love Hacked by Penny Reid

Overview
Love Hacked (Knitting in the City, #3) by Penny Reid

Title: Love Hacked
Author: Penny Reid
Series: Knitting in the City #3
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Chic lit, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 17th – 22nd August 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Caped Publishing
Year: 2014
5th sentence, 74th page: We stared at each other, that wolf and me, as the blood ran down my chin and soaked my shirt.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

There are three things you should know about Sandra Fielding

1) She makes all her first dates cry,
2) She hasn’t been kissed in over two years, and
3) She knows how to knit.

Sandra has difficulty removing her psychotherapist hat. Of her last 30 dates, 29 have ended the same way: the man sobbing uncontrollably.

After one such disaster, Sandra – near desperation and maybe a little tipsy – gives in to a seemingly harmless encounter with her hot waiter, Alex. Argumentative, secretive, and hostile Alex may be the opposite of everything Sandra knows is right for her. But now, the girl who has spent all her life helping others change for the better, must find a way to cope with falling for someone who refuses to change at all.

Thoughts

Well. I wasn’t expecting this kind of story. It came a little out of left field and was really unexpected compared to the rest of the Knitting in the City stories so far. But then, Sandra is a little different. Which I love. So I really shouldn’t have been so surprised. And saying that it was completely unexpected doesn’t mean that I didn’t absolutely adore this story. Rather, it was just so wonderfully, pleasantly, and enjoyably unexpected.

As someone with a partner who is somewhat obsessed with BitCoin, it was kind of fun to read about this topic. I don’t know heaps about it (finances and the such are just a little over my head). But it was really fun that I was reading a romance which featured such a common, if not well understood concept. The fact that the NSA and all sorts of conspiracies are further drawn in… it was brilliant. I loved that not only did I get an enjoyable and fun romance, but I got to learn a little more than expected.

Alex as a lead male is wonderfully stubborn, supremely glorious and the kind of lead that just made me want to reach through the pages and wrap him in a big, warm hug. I love a stubborn man (I’m not sure why, because my man is stubborn and often has me growling at him like a bear), so reading about what had me smiling, laughing and bonding a little too strongly from the beginning. In fact, there is something about Alex that is making him my favourite male lead in the series thus far… I also love that he is the epitome of the man who is unwilling to change. Involved with a woman who is constantly trying to change others for the better.

Lastly, there is Sandra. I love her shock factor in everything that she does and says that shouts out from the pages of the book. Partner that with the fact that she is beautifully sweet and loving… she’s such a nice lead. Her sass, wit and sarcasm, alongside with the shock factor are the aspects of her personality that I absolutely adored. Particularly when the story starts with the fact that she makes all of her dates cry…

<- Friends Without BenefitsBeauty and the Mustache ->

Image source: Goodreads

Friends Without Benefits by Penny Reid

Overview
Friends Without Benefits (Knitting in the City, #2) by Penny Reid

Title: Friends Without Benefits
Author: Penny Reid
Series: Knitting in the City #2
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Chic lit, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 16th – 17th August 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Caped Publishing
Year: 2013
5th sentence, 74th page: Nico frowned and flinched slightly.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

There are three things you should know about Elizabeth Finney

1) She suffers from severe sarcastic syndrome, especially when she’s unnerved,
2) No one unnerves her like Nico Manganiello, and
3) She knows how to knit.

Elizabeth Finney is almost always right about everything: the musical merits of boy bands are undervalued by society, “benefits” with human Ken dolls are better without friendship, and the sun has set on her once-in-a-lifetime chance for true love.

But when Elizabeth’s plans for benefits without friendship are disarmed by the irritatingly charismatic and chauvinistic Nico Manganiello – her former nemesis – she finds herself struggling to maintain the electric fence around her heart while avoiding electrocution, or, worse, falling in love.

Thoughts

This was such a beautifully cute novel. I like the idea of people who were in love at a young age re-finding each other as adults. The fact that there is a bit more tragedy and confusion in the past just helped to add to my love of this novel. It was just seriously cute and adorable. And, even though Elizabeth’s wedding is revealed in Neanderthal Marries Human, there were enough surprises throughout that it no longer irritated me.

One such surprise / enjoyment was the scene with the proposal in it. I actually guffawed. A word that I have never applied to myself or my own actions. But here, it is completely suited and works. I actually guffawed and thought that this was a brilliant way to expand on the unconventional relationship that Elizabeth and Nico seem to have. I also like that this less than traditional relationship nicely balances the normal narrative which surrounds love, first love and that forever love which is frequently discussed in this novel.

One of the things I sometimes find difficult in romance series is that there becomes a bit of a same-same voice throughout the series. I very rarely find any which are written in the first person. Yet, Reid is able to do this seamlessly. She manages to find a way in which to write in the first person that is completely different across the novels. Or at least, the first two novels in this series. Janie and Elizabeth might be best friends, but they have completely different personalities. Which shine through brilliantly in this story. It made it all that much more difficult to put the book down…. Luckily I didn’t have all that much I had to do in the way of acting responsibly.

I found the slow unravelling of the past and the intertwining of this narrative with the present a really great narrative technique. Again, it helped to differ this from Janie’s stories even further. It also provided this sense of hope and understanding throughout the story that completely melted my heart and transported me to my happy place.

To finish of this novel, I found Epilogue I was just damned cute and gave a lovely sense of completion to the story. But then, to cap it all off, there was Epilogue II. This made me clutch my chest and give a watery smile. It was just too damn cute.

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