Tag Archives: Penny Reid

Live and Let Grow by Penny Reid

Overview
Live and Let Grow by Penny Reid

Title: Live and Let Grow
Author: Penny Reid
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 30th October 2021
Pace: Fast
Format: Novella
Publisher: SmartyPants Romance
Year: 2021
5th sentence, 74th page: Yeah.

Synopsis

Alice is in love with her best friend.

Now all she has to do is tell him.

Best buds Milo Manganiello and Alice Hooper have been the one constant in each other’s lives for over fifteen years. The charismatic and compassionate physics professor was there when Alice got married, and he was there ten years later when she got divorced. Likewise, the candid and kind computer science professor has always been there for Milo. She babysits his apartment and plethora of houseplants when he’s traveling and they share breakfast together every day he’s in town.

Alice wasn’t always in love with Milo, but the feeling has grown, and when Milo returns from his latest globe-trotting adventure, Alice decides it’s time to spill the seeds. 88 Does Alice have the grit to confess? And will feelings take root? Or is hers a love destined never to bloom?

Thoughts

For such a short story. This was just too damn cute. I mean, two people who are completely in love with each other, not quite ready to let each other know. And just generally having a whole heap of misunderstandings that could lead to total tragedy.

Alice is such a quirky lead. I know how hard it is to tell the person you love of your feelings. But the multitude of ways that she’s tried to do this… just way too cute for words. Actually, I would have probably enjoyed it far more if the first scene of her attempt to tell Milo of her feelings continued. Her sister was a bit of a killjoy with the whole romance thing. And kind of strongly putting down poor Alice when she was “looking out for her”.

The part that I’m most jealous of in this story is the fact that Alice is able to keep plants alive! I mean, I’m sure I should be jealous of the amazing romance in this tale. But since I don’t tend to even be able to keep cacti alive… I’m mostly just incredibly jealous that Alice can.

This was a fantastic visit back into the world of Penny Reid’s mind and writing. It was a short read. But one that I loved and will read again and again and again.

<- More Penny ReidMore contemporary romance ->

Image source: Goodreads

Marriage and Murder by Penny Reid

Overview
Marriage and Murder by Penny Reid

Title: Marriage and Murder
Author: Penny Reid
Series: Solving for Pie #2
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Contemporary romance, Cozy mystery
Dates read: 24th – 29th October 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: SmartyPants Romance
Year: 2021
5th sentence, 74th page: The lie.

Synopsis

The Devil is in the details…

Cletus Byron Winston wishes to marry Jennifer Anne Donner-Sylvester (aka The Banana Cake Queen) posthaste! He’s spent the last year wanting nothing more than for the celebrations to be brief, libations flowing, and BYOB (bring your own blueberries). His future mother-in-law has other plans, plans his intended has been willing to indulge, much to Cletus’s chagrin. Therefore, so must he. To a point. But truth be told, he wouldn’t mind if the meddlesome matriarch disappeared, at least until the nuptials are over.

On the night of Cletus and Jenn’s long-awaited engagement party, just when the surly schemer is of a mind to take matters into his own hands, a shocking events upends everyone’s best laid plans and sends the small hamlet of Green Valley into complete disarray. The final months leading up to Cletus and Jenn’s matrimonial bliss are plagued with chaos and uncertainty. Will Cletus and Jenn finally make it to the altar? Or will murder and mayhem derail their happily-ever-after?

And most importantly, who done it?

Thoughts

After the most enjoyable of moments in Engagement and Espionage, I couldn’t wait to pick up Marriage and Murder. Luckily, this was one of those times that I actually had it sitting on the shelf, ready to go. So, of course, I dived right in. And I most definitely was not disappointed. This was an amazing story. love the contemporary mystery feel. Loved the story line. And, as always, loved Cletus and Jenn.

This may make me a slightly bad person… but, personally I love the fact that Kip dies in this story. I mean, death is bad and all. But he is the kind of villain I most fear. The sort that is so deliriously self-righteous that you just… can’t even reason with them. Or bribe them. Or really in anyway do anything. And they’re also the type of person that I fear the most in the world. I mean, someone who has no logic and you can’t have an open, safe and frank conversation with? Yup. That’s scary. So in this story, I appreciated that he can no longer quite torture Jenn and Cletus. Once his murder is solved anyway.

I always love a good mystery in which you can’t quite guess what / who the guilty party is. The facts of this get more and more blurred as there are potentially two different murder methods / villains. I loved trying to piece together all of the bits and pieces as Cletus and Jenn rush to try and do the same thing. I mean, I would love this story just because of the amazing lead couple. But the fact that there is a mystery I spent the whole time trying to piece together? Completely priceless.

This is most definitely one of my favourite books to have read recently. Again, mostly because, well, Cletus and Jenn are awesome. They’re fun and quirky, they’re completely unique and they just leave me with a huge smile on my face from the very beginning. Definitely an impossible couple to forget. And not one that I would want to. I’m so glad that this story ends in their marriage. Now I get to find out about the next part of their relationship when I save up the money to buy Home and Heist.

<- Engagement and EspionageHome and Heist ->

Image source: Goodreads

Engagement and Espionage by Penny Reid

Overview
Engagement and Espionage by Penny Reid

Title: Engagement and Espionage
Author: Penny Reid
Series: Solving for Pie #1
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Contemporary romanceCozy mystery
Dates read: 22nd – 24th October 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: SmartyPants Romance
Year: 2020
5th sentence, 74th page: What am I going to do about those cows?

Synopsis

Jennifer Sylvester made her deal with the devil… and now they’re engaged!

But all is not well in Green Valley. A chicken choker is on the loose, 61 dead birds most “fowl” need plucking, and no time remains for Jennifer and her devilish fiancé. Desperate to find a spare moment together, Jenn and Cletus’s attempts to reconnect are thwarted by one seemingly coincidental disaster after another. It’s not long before Cletus and Jenn see a pattern emerge and the truth becomes clear.

Sabotage!

Will an undercover missions unmask the culprit? Or are these love-birds totally plucked?

Thoughts

I already know that Penny Reid can write an amazing romance and a wonderful story. Plus, I did fall stupid in love with Cletus and Jenn in Beard Science. But, I was a little intrigued as to whether she could write a decent cozy mystery or not. It turns out, she can. And, like everything else I have read by her. It’s brilliant. And fun. And just all around a really good read.

I love that throughout this story, there is not only the question of who is out to get Jenn, but how Cletus is going to propose. I love that he is sweet enough to have multiple rings and to want to try again and again to get the exact right proposal. He’s incredibly dense, but also completely adorable. A nice balance in my opinion. I mean, I don’t know many people who aren’t kind of dense in at least one area. And the fact that for Cletus, it’s how relationships work… loved it.

One of the hardest things I’ve found about being in a relationship is trying to juggle everything when things get a little hectic. I know that my partner is always in my corner, but I also know that I need to make the time and space to show him that I’m also in his corner. I love that Cletus and Jenn very much go through this. They are madly in love and completely understanding of one another, but they’re not quite meshing completely throughout this story. Something that, realistically, I think most relationships go through at some point.

Jenn and her mother have a contentious and difficult relationship from the very moment that you meet them. I like that Reid acknowledges this and works towards finding a more satisfactory way to live with one another. It’s a difficult line to walk and I found the way that they try and negotiate this to be absolutely brilliant. It’s a reminder that no one is perfect, and all relationships need work – particularly those that have been dysfunctional for far too long.

There are a number of cute moments throughout this, but the part that, of course takes my attention the most – the battle that Jenn and Cletus face. The way that they are racing against the clock to try and figure out who, exactly, is trying to sabotage them. The relationships and the negotiation of their worlds’ just makes this all that much better. And, of course so much harder to put down.

<- More Penny ReidMarriage and Murder ->

Image source: Goodreads

A Beardy Bonus by Penny Reid

Overview
A Beardy Bonus, Bonus & deleted scenes from the Winston Brothers series by  Penny Reid | 9781942874652 | Booktopia

Title: A Beardy Bonus
Author: Penny Reid
Series: Winston Brothers Companion
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Chic lit, Contemporary, Contemporary romanceShort story collections
Dates read: 22nd October 2021
Pace: Slow
Format: Collection
Publisher: SmartyPants Romance
Year: 2020
5th sentence, 74th page: Time.

Synopsis

Beards and bonus scenes, oh my!

All the Winston Brothers bonus scenes and deleted excerpts all in one place!

Thoughts

After the emotional intensity of Beard Necessities, this was a great way to come down and just flow out of the Winston Brothers series. It’s not intense, but it is enjoyable and easy.

The short stories in this collection are just fun. There’s not anything huge or life shattering in it. And you’d be more than filled in on the Winston Brothers if you didn’t read this. But, as I mentioned, it is a bit more of a mellow finish than Beard Necessities provides. But you kind of expect that with Billy and Scarlet as leads in that.

Like the Knitting in the City collection, I didn’t love Beardy Bonus like like did the rest of the series. That’s not to say anything bad about it… I just didn’t quite NEED this in my life as much.

Overall this is a fun, easy and engaging story that had me smiling and giggling as I got to revisit some favourites.

<- Beard NecessitiesMore Penny Reid ->

Image source: Booktopia

Beard Necessities by Penny Reid

Overview
Beard Necessities (Winston Brothers, #7) by Penny Reid

Title: Beard Necessities
Author: Penny Reid
Series: Winston Brothers #7
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 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: SmartyPants Romance
Year: 2019
5th sentence, 74th page: “Then why are you drunk?”

Synopsis

Beards, brothers, and bears! Oh my!

Billy Winston’s family is going to see him happy and in love if it’s the last thing they do.

No one deserves happily-ever-after quite as much as the second oldest Winston brother and his lady love, Claire McClure (aka Scarlet St. Claire). Cruelty and circumstance tore them apart almost twenty years ago. Secrecy and bitterness kept them separated.

But you know who’s tired of their separation and stubbornness? Everyone. Especially billy Winston’s family. And now they’re going to do something about it.

Well-meaning interference means the star-crossed lovers can’t stop tripping over each other in the hills of Tuscany, the catacombs of Rome, and the waterways of Venice. Billy and Claire find themselves thrown together and at the mercy of the Winston siblings’ shenanigans.

But will their forced proximity bring them together? Or push them even further apart?

Thoughts

It’s taken me a while to get to this story. I’ve been attached to the idea of Scarlet and Billy from fairly early on in my reading of this series. But, it’s taken this long to actually get to this book. Partly because I obviously read all of the other books in this series first. But, mostly because I knew that they had the most tragic of backstories. And sometimes I really struggle with the sad backstories. They’re just so… sad.

Having said that, I did get the worst of the “sadness” over during my reading through of Beard in Mind. But I was worried about how long Reid was going to prolong the pain. I mean we’re talking a love story that is decades in the making and filled with lots of tragedy. I was still feeling tentative reading this. Luckily, it was NO where near as painful as I was expecting.

In fact, Scarlet seems to jump on board with the whole plan fairly quickly. And she’s able to stick with Billy as all of the secrets of the oast unravel. Don’t get me wrong, she’s no dishrag – she most definitely gives him what for when she finds out what he’s been keeping secret. But, her willingness to finally get over her crap and finally try made the hard parts so much more pleasant.

I loved the plotting and scheming of the Winston family throughout this. Surprisingly, nothing hugely backfired on them. And it filled this story with many, many beautiful, lighthearted moments. Finally, the epilogue helped to tie in all of the Winston family’s happily ever afters. Leaving me feeling grateful and at peace. Now onto the next series in my Penny Reid pile…

<- Beard with MeA Beardy Bonus ->

Image source: Goodreads

Beard with Me by Penny Reid

Overview
Beard with Me (Winston Brothers, #6) by Penny Reid

Title: Beard with Me
Author: Penny Reid
Series: Winston Brothers #6
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Chic lit, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 19th – 21st October 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: SmartyPants Romance
Year: 2019
5th sentence, 74th page: How’re we going to pay for all this stuff?

Synopsis

Beards, brothers, and bears! Oh my!

‘Beard With Me’ is the origin story of Billy Winston and Scarlet St. Claire (aka Claire McClure) and is just the beginning of their epic love story.

No one is better at surviving than Scarlet St. Claire and making the best out of circumstances beyond her control is Scarlet’s speciality. In an apocalyptic situation, she’d be the last person on earth, hermitting like a pro, singing along to her CD Walkman, and dancing like no one is watching.

Scarlet is clever, Scarlet is careful, and Scarlet is smart… except when it comes to Billy Winston.

No one is better at fighting than Billy Winston and raging against his circumstances – because nothing is beyond his control – is Billy’s speciality. In an apocalyptic situation, he’d be the first person on earth to lead others to safety, overcome catastrophe, or die trying.

Billy is fearless, Billy is disciplined, and Billy is honorable… except when it comes to Scarlet St. Claire

Thoughts

I have been putting off reading this book for ages. I knew that it was going to be sad and heartwrenching. And that it was probably going to make me cry. Turns out, it wasn’t ANYWHERE near as bad as I expected. It wasn’t happy, and I still cries. But less tears than expected.

One of the reasons I think this destroyed my heart a little less than expected was probably the fact that I had Beard Necessities ready to go. Knowing that regardless of how sad I found this, the part ending was RIGHT THERE most definitely helped. But, more than that it was Scarlet. She was able to take hold of all this horribleness and be filled with joy. And humour. I seriously loved all of her jokes.

That’s not to say that there wasn’t tragedy and Scarlet was always happy in this. She had so many battles to face. And at fourteen. Then, considering what else she faces after the conclusion of this story. Seriously tragic. Not to mention Billy. I think it was Billy’s ending that completely destroyed my self control. To love someone that truly and deeply… I’m not sure I can even fathom it.

Yes, this story was less soul destroying than I had expected. But it was still completely heart wrenching. It was the kind of story that helped me to completely invest in the couple (even though I WAS already invested). And it is obvious that it was very much needed. But wow. Make sure you have tissues handy.

<- Dr. Strange BeardBeard Necessities ->

Image source: Goodreads

Neanderthal Seeks (Extra) Yarns by Penny Reid

Overview
Neanderthal Seeks (Extra) Yarns by Penny Reid

Title: Neanderthal Seeks (Extra) Yarns
Author: Penny Reid
Series: Knitting in the City #8
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Chic lit, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 14th – 17th June 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: SmartyPants Romance
Year: 2018
5th sentence, 74th page: “I just hate this.”

Synopsis

There are three things you should know about this book

1) It contains deleted scenes,
2) It contains bonus scenes,
3) Almost all the characters know how to knit.

If you find yourself missing y our favourite knitting group, this volume contains a comprehensive collection of all the bonus scenes, deleted scenes, and short stories available for the Knitting in the City series.

Janie & Quinn’s deleted (love) scene from ‘Neanderthal Seeks Human’ as well as ‘Neanderthal and Human seek Baby’ parts 1&2 are included. You can also read four deleted scenes from Elizabeth & Nico’s book, or an original, exclusive short story about Sandra & Alex. Ashley & Drew have two deleted scenes and two bonus scenes, and readers will get a chance to read never before shared content from Fiona & Greg, Marie & Matt, and Dan & Kat’s novels.

Thoughts

Surprisingly, this is the first Knitting in the City book that I wouldn’t give 5 stars. I mean, I still loved it and seriously enjoyed it. But compared to the other novels… it just didn’t hit me in the same happy place.

I think mostly this didn’t get me all spine tingly happy like the other novels is that I felt like there was amazing closure at the end of each romance. So, where I normally want to dive straight into the next one… I didn’t feel quite as strongly about getting extra closure. Particularly with the ending of Marriage of Inconvenience… that epilogue tied everything up perfectly.

There were some amazingly good standouts in this collection. Neanderthal Seeks Baby was very cute. Particularly since I read this when pregnant. So was Scenes from the Hallway with Dan and Kat… although not quite as good as Janie and Quinn expecting. But, probably my favourite of all… Sandra and Alex’s extra stories. I get so much mileage out of these characters.

Although I ranked this lower than the other books in the Knitting in the City series… I still seriously enjoyed it. And, honestly? If I need a fix of these wonderful women but don’t have the time to read the big novels… this will be a perfect go to.

<- Marriage of InconvenienceMore Penny Reid ->

Image source: Goodreads

Marriage of Inconvenience by Penny Reid

Overview
Marriage of Inconvenience by Penny Reid

Title: Marriage of Inconvenience
Author: Penny Reid
Series: Knitting in the City #7
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Chic lit, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 11th – 14th June 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: SmartyPants Romance
Year: 2018
5th sentence, 74th page: Sandra’s suggestion that I do sexy research distracted me.

Synopsis

There are three things you should know about Kat Tanner

(aka Kathleen Tyson… and yes, she is that Kathleen Tyson):
1) She’s determined to make good decisions
2) She must get married ASAP, and
3) She knows how to knit.

Determined to live a quiet life, Kat Tanner changed her identity years ago and eschewed her family’s legacy. But now, Kat’s silver spoon past has finally caught up with her, and so have her youthful mistakes. To avoid imminent disaster, she must marry immediately: it is essential that the person she chooses have no romantic feelings for her whatsoever and be completely trustworthy.

Fortunately, she knows exactly who to ask. Dan O’Malley checks all the boxes. Except, what happens when Dan O’Malley isn’t as indifferent – or as trustworthy – as she thought?

Thoughts

Kat and Dan have been on the edge of the Knitting in the City stories from very early on. So it was kind of fitting that they were also the last couple to round everything out. Their story was longer than the others. Not just in the pre-book build up. But also just in general length of story. And it was most definitely fitting…

This story was a good reminder that communication is ridiculously important. I mean, most of Kat and Dan’s issues come from them making assumptions and just NOT COMMUNICATING. If they weren’t so damn cute, it’d be fracking frustrating. Luckily, they quickly realise not to be so dense and actually figure out that sharing thoughts is important to a relationship.

I love how Reid touched upon schizophrenia in this story. The fear when it’s in your family, how people perceive it. And, in the case of this story, how it can be used against a person. I felt like Penny perfectly highlighted the judgement that comes along with such a diagnosis and honestly, how terrifying it can be.

I loved everything about Kat and Dan. I also loved how the epilogue rounded out their story. Actually, not just theirs, but all of the women I’ve fallen in love with throughout this tale. It was a happily ever after. But one that highlighted that even after the happy ending… there’s still a whole lot of happy to be lived.

<- Dating-ishNeanderthal Seeks (Extra) Yarns ->

Image source: Goodreads

Dating-ish by Penny Reid

Overview
Dating-ish (Knitting in the City, #6) by Penny Reid

Title: Dating-ish
Author: Penny Reid
Series: Knitting in the City #6
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Chic lit, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 10th June 2021
Pace:  Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: SmartyPants Romance
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: He was also shirtless and barefoot, wearing red loose-fitting pants that resembled a billowy sarong.

Synopsis

There are three things you should know about Marie Harris

1) She’s fed up with online dating,
2) She’s so fed up, she’s willing to forego the annoyance and consider more creative alternatives, and
3) She knows how to knit.

After the most bizarre first date in the history of dates, Marie is looking for an alternative to men. With the help of her friends, she quickly identifies a few possibilities: Need a cuddle? Use a professional cuddler. Need affirmation? Get yourself a life coach. Need an orgasm? Try orgasm meditation!

Why does she need the hassle of a romantic partner when she can meet all her needs with paid services? But then her irritating date resurfaces. And he’s not at all the person she thought he was. And he suggests a different – and crazier – solution to her dilemma…

Thoughts

I was so hoping that Matt would make an appearance in one of the romances when he was introduced in Happily Ever Ninja. There is something adorably geeky and off kilter about him that left me wishing / hoping for more. The fact that he then gets partnered with Marie? It’s enough to leave a girl grinning and dancing around like a fool.

You don’t really get much of Marie in many of the Knitting in the City stories until Happily Ever Ninja. She’s there, and she’s partly responsible for the fiasco at Janie’s hens party… but that’s about it. It, of course, made me more intrigued to meet her.

This is a great friend’s to lovers story. I love that even when trying to pinpoint their moment of falling, neither can. For some of the characters in this universe, love is an instantaneous thing. I love that for Marie and Matt it is the creation of friendship that slowly leads them to where the want and need to be. After all, some of the greatest loves are built on a foundation of friendship…

Just like every other Penny Reid book, I absolutely loved this. I sunk into the pages of this story from the beginning and couldn’t wait to see how the latest romance would blossom. It left me smiling and grinning. Plus, I had a nice note on which to end a long day… one that sent me to my dreams with a smile on my face.

<- Happily Ever NinjaMarriage of Inconvenience ->

Image source: Goodreads

Happily Ever Ninja by Penny Reid

Overview
Happily Ever Ninja (Knitting in the City, #5) by Penny Reid

Title: Happily Ever Ninja
Author: Penny Reid
Series: Knitting in the City #5
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Chic lit, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 8th – 10th June 2021
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel,
Publisher: SmartyPants Romance
Year: 2016
5th sentence, 74th page: Dear wife: I promise to do all I can to get you to stay.

Synopsis

There are three things you should know about Fiona Archer

I would tell you what they are, but then I’d have to kill you.

But I can tell you that Fiona’s husband, the always irrepressible and often cantankerous Greg Archer, is desperately in love with his wife. Yet as the years pass, Greg has begun to suspect that Fiona is a ninja. A ninja mom. A ninja wife. A ninja friend. After fourteen years of marriage, Greg is trying not to panic. Because Fiona’s talent for blending in is starting to resemble fading away.

But when unexpected events mean Fiona must take center stage to keep her family safe, her response stuns everyone Greg most of all. It seems like Greg’s wish has come true…

Expect… not.

Thoughts

I always love a good tale / contemporary romance about a married couple. That meet-cute / falling in love story is all well and good (and in the case of Fiona and Greg you can get that in Ninja at First Sight). But it’s the stories about the long haul and KEEPING the relationship going that I really love.

Of the Knitting in the City relationships, it’s definitely Fiona and Greg that I feel most attached to… I’ve been with my husband for 10 years and we fell in love at 18. And let me tell you, it takes WORK to keep the romance and relationship alive. Reid obviously understands that and shows just how true love can be. Even when you’re contemplating putting a chokehold on your significant other…

Ever since Fiona stabbed someone with a knitting needle in the first book, I’ve been intrigued by her ninja skills. The display of them in this novel is fantastic. And, humorous in many ways. Which, really is what I expect from Penny Reid. After all, she deals with off kilter leads, but she does it in such a light / wonderful / humorous way.

I’ve seen a lot on the Penny Reid Facebook page about Greg and Fiona. And now I completely understand all of the hype. It is very well deserved and left me with a huge grin on my face. I’m almost sad this story is over now…

<- Ninja at First SightDating-ish ->

Image source: Goodreads