Series: Knitting in the City #2
Published by Caped Publishing on September 29th 2013
Genres: Romance, Romantic Comedy
Narrator: Devra Woodward
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Friends Without Benefits can be read as a standalone, is a full length 120k word novel, and is book#2 in the Knitting in the City Series.
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.
Penny Reid is known for her witty romances. It’s what drew me to her work initially and keeps me coming back for more. Her Knitting in the City series is an excellent example of her clever storytelling. Each book details the life of one of the ladies in an eccentric knitting group. While quite enjoyable, Friends Without Benefits lacks some of the whimsical spirit I anticipated.
This is Elizabeth’s story. She has blossomed from a scrawny, insecure teenager who was bullied, into a desirable, successful doctor. Unfortunately, experiencing a great loss at a young age has caused her to seek superficial relationships. Circumstances bring her face to face with her former childhood friend turned arch enemy, Nico Maganiello.
He’s now a famous, arrogant, and super hot Italian who is known for his panty-melting charisma and his hit comedy talk show. For Nico, Elizabeth is the one who got away, and he’s determined to win her over. She is cautious and hesitant to be friends, let alone bump uglies. Eventually, Elizabeth can’t help but succumb to his charms so she agrees to a friends without benefits relationship.
So far, so good with the plot, but then it’s like the air is let out of a balloon as the story takes on a more serious tone. I understand Elizabeth’s reluctance to risk her heart, but her persistent stubbornness remains long after Nico proves his trustworthiness. It becomes unreasonably tedious. Additionally, the concentration on Elizabeth’s loneliness is a bit of a downer.
The humor is sporadic, and I missed the lively, feel-good vibe that’s so abundant previous books. However, I loved the adventures of the ladies in the knitting circle. I can always count on them for an injection of fun craziness. There are other entertaining supporting characters who are either completely lovable or incredibly despicable. A dramatic side plot is also quite engaging.
I’m pretty sure Penny Reid is incapable of writing a bad story, and Friends Without Benefits is a pleasant read overall that I definitely recommend. I suspect I would have appreciated it even more had I not assumed it would be a total laugh out loud comedy.
Recommended for fans of:
Hot men speaking Italian
Doctors and romance