Review: Neanderthal Seeks Human: A Smart Romance by Penny Reid


Title: Review: Neanderthal Seeks Human: A Smart Romance
Author: Penny Reid
Date of publication: 13 March 2013
Genre: Contemporary Romance
More reviews: Goodreads

My rating: 4 stars

Goodreads Blurb: 

This is a full-length, 110k word novel and is the first book in the Knitting in the City series.

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 loosing her boyfriend, apartment, and job in the same day, Janie Morris can't help wondering what new torment fate has in store for her next. 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- the focus of her slightly, albeit harmless, stalkerish tenancies-to make her an offer she can't refuse.

My Review:

I came across after somebody recommended it in one of the topics in the Kristen Ashley fan group on Goodreads. It was described as funny romance and I was immediately interested because that is exactly the type of romance I like - sweet and funny, not just hot sex. I am really happy to say that the book did not disappointed me in the least, actually it turned out to be much better than I expected initially. 

Janie is this freakish, geekish girl who says the most award things, yet she is super smart and her inner monologues and interactions with actual people come across as just hilarious. I loved her character even though at the beginning the presentation of her thoughts seemed as too much, gradually as the story progresses you just accept this as her modus operandi. She overthinks things, this is her natural way to make sense of the world around her. She is socially inadequate, yet her sincerity makes the people in her life really care about her (her family excluded).

I can really relate to Janie's infatuation with Quinn, (Sir. McHotpants, how cool is that?). I enjoyed everything about their relationship - how it started, progressed and lead to something good for both of them. She made him want to be a better person and his acceptance of her the way she is made her engage in life rather than just observe from a distance.

The secondary characters in the story were also great. The book had it all - trusted and loyal friends, a slightly annoying ex-boyfriend, a sympathetic gay colleague and a jealous bitch colleague, a crazy family, some dangerous thugs. 

The story is told entirely from the point of view of Janie (except the Epilogue, but I will come to it later) and we are given an in-depth insight into her character. Against this I feel that Quinn is a much weaker character. We learn that he has done things that he regrets and he sees himself as a bad guy, yet the glimpses of his past and present (independent of Janie's opinion of him) were not enough for me. I kept waiting to learn more about him. Still, that does not mean, I did not love him, I really did.

The weakest element in the story for me was the Epilogue. It is told from Quinn's point of view but for me it was not convincing. His voice was too much like Janie's, it did not fit his alpha male nature we see in the rest of the novel. At the same time the final scene in the luxury fixtures store, though fitting to the Janie's freakishness, did not provide the ending her love story deserves. Even though it is cliché, I feel the actual proposal would have been a better choice. Just saying!

There are also some plot elements that did not make much sense for me (Jon being responsible for Janie being fired and Jem stripping for Quinn, biting him and burning him with a cigarette, for example). 

These minor weaknesses prevent me form giving the book five glowing stars, still I really enjoyed reading it
and I hope that it will be just the first story in the Knitting in the City series.

Personal note 1: I know how to knit and enjoy doing it occasionally :) 

Personal note 2: There is a reference to Bulgarians in this book. Unfortunately for me, it is quite a negative one, still I am mentioning it since it is so rare to come across one. 

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  1. Thank you for the very fair and honest book review (Neanderthal Seeks Human), I am so pleased that you enjoyed it! I promise to only promote positive Bulgarian references from now on ;-)

  2. You are welcome! Thank you for the future positive Bulgarian references ;)

  3. Great and honest review! I enjoyed this though I agree that the epilogue was a little weird with the writing style.


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