Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Review: Neaderthal Seeks Human and Neaderthal Marries Human by Penny Reid | (Knitting in the City Books 1 and 1.5)


There are three things you need to know about Janie Morris:
 1) She is incapable of engaging in a conversation without volunteering TMTI (Too Much Trivial Information), especially when she is unnerved, 2) No one unnerves her more than Quinn Sullivan, and 3) She doesn't know how to knit.

After losing her boyfriend, apartment, and job in the same day, Janie Morris can't help wondering what new torment fate has in store.

To her utter mortification, Quinn Sullivan—aka Sir McHotpants—witnesses it all then keeps turning up like a pair of shoes you lust after but can't afford. The last thing she expects is for Quinn to make her an offer she can't refuse.

New York Times Bestselling Author Penny Reid’s debut novel!
★ AAR top 100 romances of all time ★

Neanderthal Seeks Human is book #1 in the Knitting in the City series. Each book is a standalone, full length (110k words), contemporary romantic comedy novel, and follows the misadventures and exploits of seven friends in Chicago, all members of the same knitting group.


There are three things you should know about Quinn Sullivan:
 1) He is madly in love with Janie Morris, 2) He’s not above playing dirty to get what (or who) he wants, and 3) He doesn’t know how to knit.

After just five months of dating Janie, Quinn—former Wendell and unapologetic autocrat—is ready to propose marriage. In fact, he’s more than ready. If it were up to Quinn, he would efficiently propose, marry, and beget Janie with child all in the same day—thereby avoiding the drama and angst that accompanies the four stages of pre-matrimony: engagement, meeting the parents, bachelor/bachelorette party, and overblown, superfluous wedding day traditions.

But Janie, much to Quinn’s dismay, tosses a wrench in his efficacious endeavors and challenges him to prove his devotion by going through the matrimonial motions, no matter how minute and mundane.

Will Quinn last until the wedding day? Or will he yield to his tyrant impulses?

This book is not a standalone. It is the sequel to ‘Neanderthal Seeks Human,’ and is book #1.5 in the Knitting in the City series.

Neanderthal Seeks Human
The story opens with Janie Morrison having a really bad day, including a wardrobe malfunction and termination of employment. The only (possible) bright spot in her day is being escorted out of the building by Quinn Sullivan, a security guard she's been admiring from afar for months. 

Quinn helps her get a job at his company. Yes, his company, not just the company he works for. Owing to the fact that he 'worked' a security guard at her former company, it takes weeks before Janie realises Quinn is THE boss. It was a little odd, because there were obvious hints and (although Quinn didn't hit her over the head with the info), he also didn't intentionally keep it from her. Still, I found the boss/employee dynamics a tad problematic.

Janie had several quirks that made her odd and interesting. Her tendency to drop trivia at odd moments made me laugh in some parts, and Quinn seemed to love it. I liked her girlfriends and the whole idea of the knitting club. 

This is a lighthearted story with some drama thrown in for good measure. I found the writing and the story enjoyable. The story was told entirely from Janie's POV and I felt like I didn't get to know Quinn enough. This opinion was solidified when I got to the epilogue, which was in Quinn's POV. 

Neanderthal Marries Human
This is a sequel to Neanderthal Seeks Human, set about five months after the events of book one. As you may have guessed from the title, this is pretty much a wedding romance story. Despite the happy ending in the previous book, Quinn is convinced he has to make a case for marriage. He comes up with an elaborate plan to get her to say yes. I'm on the fence about the proposal scene. There are sweet parts to it, but some aspects made me uncomfortable. I'd definitely have problems with it in real life.

Anyway, it turns out Quinn was right. Practical as ever, Janie's first instinct is to say no (for now). It's too early to think about marriage, since their love hasn't been life-tested. Her plan to rectify it in the short space of time to their wedding is interesting to say the least. Definitely something Janie would do.

We find out more about Quinn and his family in this story, which is nice. There's an even mix of humour, and drama, with themes of friendship, family, broken trust and reconciliation in the midst of wedding planning. This is more of an extended HEA for Janie and Quinn. It's sweet without being too heavy on romantic conflict.

If you enjoyed book 1, you'll enjoy this.  

Tuesday, 1 September 2020

Review: Ravensewood Series by Talia Hibbert

The series

This series was my introduction to Talia Hibbert’s writing. I thoroughly enjoyed her writing style and humour. I particularly liked the fact that the main characters were ordinary everyday people - a refreshing change from the billionaire and royal romances I’ve been reading lately. Each of the main characters was flawed in a way that made them feel real and relatable. I should say, each story deals with one or more issues that may be triggering for some readers.

I listened to the audiobooks for the main 3 books in the series. The production was great, and I loved the narrator (Rupert Channing). The spin-off (book 1.5) wasn't available as an audiobook, so I read the ebook and often found myself reading it in Rupert Channing’s voice.=

A girl like her (book 1)

Evan is the new guy in town. Nice guy that he is, he decides to introduce himself to his next-door neighbour by baking him or her a pie. The neighbour turns out to be Ruth Kabbah, a girl with a sullied reputation in the small town of Ravenswood. Evan doesn’t care about the gossip and is genuinely intrigued by Ruth.

I liked Evan very much. He was the perfect combination of sweet and macho. Ruth is weird in a good way, and I also liked her a lot. They complemented each other well.

I enjoyed the story and the characters who are perfectly flawed. It was a nice change from the billionaire and royal romances I’ve been reading lately.

This was my first Talia Hibbert book, and I thoroughly enjoyed her humour.

The audiobook narration was also excellent


Damaged Goods (Book 1.5)

Pregnant and soon-to-be-divorced, Laura, returns to her childhood home to get away from her abusive husband. She reunites with her childhood friend, Samir. Though they haven't seen each other in years, time falls away as they rediscover each other. Laura had a lot of unlearning and re-learning to do in her journey to finding herself and regaining her confidence. Samir's love and devotion to her was sweet. It was great to see Ruth and Evan from book 1. I was both surprised and impressed by her relationship with Laura. 

Untouchable (book 2)

Nate returns home to Ravenswood with his two kids to help take care of a sick mother. His search for a nanny reunites him with Hannah Kabbah, an old schoolmate. Hannah works as a waitress, due to an ill-advised (albeit justified) action a couple of years ago which cost her the career she’s always dreamed of--working with children. Fortunately, Nate doesn’t care about this, and after seeing his kids take to her at a chance meeting, he hires her as their nanny.

But their attraction for each other gets in the way. Both Nate and Hannah are individuals who normally do the right thing, so their growing attraction isn’t what either of them would choose. For one, she works for him. They decide to handle the matter of their attraction like adults (yea, like that was going to work).

I liked both Nate and Hannah, but my favourite characters were Nate’s kids and his brother, Zac (hero of book 3).


That Kind of Guy (book 3)

I learnt a new thing: Demi sexuality. This is the hero’s orientation and he’s tired of having to hide and pretend otherwise or explain/defend it. For once in a romance novel, it is the hero (Zac) who’s off sex trying to find a real connection. The heroine (Ray) is recently divorced and unwilling to trust her heart to a man again. This combination paves the way for a "just friendship" to form between the two.

When Ray has to attend a function where she’ll meet her ex and his new wife, the idea of a fake boyfriend seems like a good, safe plan. Who better to fake date than the guy she’s come to like a lot and trust? Neither expects their relationship to develop beyond friendship, but their weekend together reveals otherwise.

This is a slow burn romance but once it’s lit, it scorches. This story had many unexpected things (for a romance novel) that made it a truly special book. I enjoyed Zac and Ray’s journey of love and learning to trust their feelings for each other.