Review: Friends Without Benefits: An Unrequited Romance by Penny Reid


Title: Friends Without Benefits: An Unrequited Romance (Knitting in the City #2)
Author: Penny Reid
Date of publication: 3 October 2013
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Author's links:
Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads

My rating: 4.5 stars

Goodreads Blurb

There are three things you need to 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.

My Review

Ms Reid loves big words and she is not afraid to use to them!

If you have read my blog before you  have probably come across Ms Reid's first novel in the Knitting in the City series, Neanderthal Seeks Human: A Smart Romance. I read, loved and reviewed the book when it released back in April. I keep recommending it, including it in different lists and rankings. All this took place while waiting patiently/or not for the next instalment in the series. 

Friend Without Benefits (FwoB) tells the story of Janie's best friend, Elizabeth and Nico. It was just as good as I expected - funny, smart and a bit serious and in short, a real pleasure to read. I didn't think that anyone can replace Sir Quinn McHotpants from my heart but Nico Manganiello simply stole my heart with the mix tape he prepared for Elizabeth. It is definitely one of the most romantic gestures I have read in while, if ever. Ms Reid has treated us to an amazing soundtrack to her novel. While I totally loved the songs Nico chose for Elizabeth, I totally understand her obsession with boy bands. I have to admit that I find her justification for liking them pretty solid and just because I also love me some boy band music, here my pick for this review (You can't go wrong with One Direction, right. Just ask my 6-year old niece :)))

Now, back to the serious part of this review.

The story was told from Elizabeth's POV and I really enjoyed her voice. She had some of Janie's quirkiness and a lot of her own style/weirdness. Her antics had me laughing, made me teary-eyed a few times and I also wanted to slap her sense into her on numerous occasions.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Nico, the perfect romantic hero - sexy, smart, successful. And not to forget, totally infuriating :) I feel for Elizabeth trying to resist his twinkling eyes and charming smile all the time - it is not an easy feat.  

The story of Elizabeth and Nico was a sort of second-chance-love story. They had an interesting, to say the least, history behind them. They both made mistakes as teenagers and hurt each other but I like how they grew up and evolved and at the present they are more or less grown up. Well, it took Elizabeth a little bit more time and incentive to act like a adult, and she finally did it, it was rather crazy than normal, but it was real and sincere.

We get to see more of the knitting club ladies in this book and to get to know them even better. They are a formidable force and great secondary characters. Speaking of secondary characters, Nico's mother and niece and his family as a whole were just wonderful and had a strong presence in the novel. 

I liked that Ms Reid introduced a more serious element in this novel - Nico's niece suffers from a rare disease. It adds another layer to the story making it something more than a fluffy romance.

A weakness in NSH for me was the lack of epilogue and the fact that I found Qunn's voice in the end in complete mismatch with his characters from the rest of the book. I am happy to say that FwoB has an epilogue, a great one and Nico's voice was very much true to his character - sexy, funny and a bit naughty.

I have just one complaint about this book which takes a half star from perfect rating - Nico speaking Italian. As fun and sexy as it was, I didn't understand everything, thus I couldn't fully enjoy it. I am aware that Elizabeth didn't understand Italian and she didn't care to, but still I think it would be better to have an English translation is included in some form.

In short, if you are looking for a funny, smart romance with great and a bit unconventional characters, I strongly recommend The Knitting in the City series. Neanderthal Seeks Human is currently on sale (0.99$ for US and 3.59$ for International buyers) until the release of Friends Without Benefits on 3 Oct. FwoB will be available for free on 8-10 Oct, so don't miss your chance to get it.

I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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  1. I read and enjoyed this too! I absolutely fell in love with Nico...twinkling eyes and all. I think I actually enjoyed this more than Neanderthal Seeks Human because I can see the growth of Penny Reid's writing. Can't wait for the next one. Great review!


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