08 February 2017

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

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Part of a series?: Yes, Book #1 of Knitting in the City series
Genre: Contemporary romance
Format read: E-book borrowed from library
Sweet or hot?: Peach-mango salsa -- sweet with a bit of heat

Disclosure: “Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.”

Halfway through reading Truth or Beard, I decided that there were elements of Penny Reid's writing that I liked enough to back up and try the first book in her Knitting in the City series. I'm glad I did because this book had all of what I liked without the troublesome parts.

Neanderthal Seeks Human: A Smart Romance opens with our heroine Janie having what she calls her "Worst. Day. Ever.". She starts it by finding out that her boyfriend of five years cheated on her. Because he owns the apartment they live in, breaking up with him makes her homeless. Then she goes to work, only to find that she has been downsized. Throw in a few other mishaps that have her looking and feeling less than her best, then you can imagine why she is embarrassed to be escorted out of the building by Quinn, the handsome security guard that she had been lusting after from afar for weeks. As a hired car drives Janie away from her former place of employment, she thinks that is the last she will see of Quinn, but she is so wrong.

Now that the summary is out of the way, I think you need to know, dear reader, that this book has next to nothing to do with knitting despite the name of the series. If you go into it expecting something similar to those cozy mysteries with long descriptions of handknit items and a knitting pattern at the back of the book, then you will be disappointed. Reid happens to be a knitter; she uses the knitting group as a device for gathering the group of friends together every week, but there are no passages waxing rhapsodic about the healing properties of knitting a la The Friday Night Knitting Club.

The subtitle of this novel is "A Smart Romance" which may give readers the impression that there is an intricate plot surrounding the romance. Although I enjoyed this book, I would refer to it as light and fun rather than smart. I must assume, then, that the subtitle refers to Janie herself. She is rather analytical, very good with numbers, and has a head full of random facts that she unleashes on people when she is nervous. She is a character that seems to be popular in the media these days -- an introvert who prefers curling up at home with her comic books over going out, a smart girl who lacks street smarts. I couldn't dismiss Janie as being part of the nerd girl trend, however, because Reid took the time to flesh her out and gave good reasons for her idiosyncrasies.

Our hero Quinn was a little more problematic for me. In the beginning, he seemed like a sweet guy, but as the novel progressed he showed more traits of the alpha hero -- taking care of issues for Janie without asking, becoming angry when things don't go his way, etc. The two things that made this less annoying for me were that everyone in Janie's group of friends seemed to be taking care of her and that Quinn was genuinely fascinated by her quirks. I didn't get the feeling that he decided at first sight that he had to have Janie and ignored all her other qualities.

Overall, the banter between the hero and heroine was charming, the love scenes were stimulating but not too steamy, and I wanted to spend a little more time with Janie and Quinn. This is a good thing because there is a sequel that features them, and I've already added it to my reading list!

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