I stumbled upon Penny Reid’s debut novel, Neanderthal Seeks Human, shortly it was indie published in April 2013 and I was immediately curious about the story of the socially awkward Janie and the alpha masculine and protective Quinn. I read the book in one setting and fell in love with Ms Reid’s quirky, nerdy characters and her wicked sense of humour and smart writing style.
The story of Janie and Quinn became the first book in the Knitting of the City series which are focused around a tightly-knit (see I what I did here) group of strong and smart heroines (who meet for knitting night and end up mostly drinking wine and discussing their social/love life, as one does usually in real life).
Each of her character in the main couples so far – Janie and Quinn, Sandra and Alex, Elizabeth and Nico, Ashley and Drew stand out on their own – they are fun, often awkward and nerdy, but always loyal to their friends and crazy romantic when the fall in love. Ms Reid’s creates vibrant modern stories of love and sex and friendship and family which have you in fits of laughing while reading and leave in a happy place when you are done. Her dialogue feels life-like and is full of funny one-liners, made-up phrases and sarcastic comeback.
None of her characters is simple or ordinary, yet there are very much people one meets in their everyday life – in Neanderthal Seeks Human Janie is super smart, yet socially awkward, shy and often oblivious about the world outside her, Quinn is an uber masculine and successful business man, yet we see (well-hidden) tender and romantic side when he falls in love with her.
Friends Without Benefits tells the story of Elizabeth who is a nurse and has had a crush of her best friend Nico since forever but it went mostly unreciprocated until suddenly Nico who is a hot celebrity entertainer and has her sights on her not taking No for an answer.
Loved Hacked is all about Sandra is a psychiatrist, free and liberal in her views, huge game/movie nerd and falling in love with Alex, who is younger than her, a genius computer hacker, turns her world upside down. He is a sweetheart with no sense of social norms and acceptable behavior who despite his inexperience (he’s a virgin) shows a somewhat dominant side and through insistence and tenacity finally breaks her barriers when it comes to intimacy and love.
Ashley and Drew’s story in Beauty and the Mustache though funny and awkward is a bit more serious and melancholic in tone than the previous ones in the series. It’s set in a hillbilly village in the middle of Tennessee where Ashley is back to be with her dying mother living with her 6 brothers and Drew is a game warden and dear friend of theirs. There is less humour in the story and more poetry and philosophy here but they fit the characters just perfectly.
Ashley’s brothers were such strong characters on their own and reader’s favourites, so their stories will be told in a spin-off series which started with Gin and Beard which is another hilariously funny romantic comedy I can greatly recommend.
Ms. Reid takes her characters on some wild journey, there are all sort of crazy shenanigans, a Vegas wedding, a close encounter with a grizzly bear and a crazy raccoon, beating some criminals with knitting sticks, a marriage proposal involving Darth Vader, a masturbation schedule, a sexy Gandalf Halloween costume, a biker gang and so much more.
The first book in the series, Neanderthal Seeks Human is currently free on Amazon and the next installment, Happily Ever Ninja, comes out in 2016.
Knitting in the City series reading order:
- Neanderthal Seeks Human (available for free)
- Neanderthal Marries Human (sequel novella)
- Friends Without Benefits
- Love Hacked
- Beauty and the Mustache
- Ninja at First Sight (prequel novella) coming in December 2015
- Ever After Ninja (coming in 2016)