Happily Ever Ninja
Knitting in the City, #5
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Caped Publishing
Date of Publication: January 19, 2016
Number of pages: 308
There are three things you need to know about Fiona Archer… I would tell you what they are, but then I’d have to kill you.
But I can tell you that Fiona’s husband—the always irrepressible and often cantankerous Greg Archer—is desperately in love with his wife. He aches for her when they are apart, and is insatiable when they are together. Yet as the years pass, Greg has begun to suspect that Fiona is a ninja. A ninja mom. A ninja wife. A ninja friend. After fourteen years of marriage, Greg is trying not to panic. Because Fiona’s talent for blending in is starting to resemble fading away.
However, when unexpected events mean Fiona must take center stage to keep her family safe, her response stuns everyone—Greg most of all. It seems like Greg’s wish has come true.
When all is said and done, can Greg handle this new version of his wife? Will his irrepressible cantankerousness push her away? Or can the couple find a way forward without either being forced to step back into the shadows?
This is a full length, 100k word novel, and is the 5th book in the Knitting in the City Series. All books in the series can be read as a standalone except book #1.5
I tucked my fingers under her chin and lifted her face to mine, stealing a kiss; true distress clawed at my chest, traveled like a spike down my spine. I didn’t want to guess, or entertain any possibilities. Inevitably, my mind always jumped to the worst possible conclusion whenever I saw her inexplicably sad (i.e. brain tumor).
Even so, I attempted to keep my tone level and calm. “What could be too important for the greeting card aisle? It’s the perfect place to tell me anything and everything. There’s likely a card we can buy afterward for the occasion.”
She huffed a laugh, laughed a bit more, and then began crying again.
Her laughter was a good sign, so I went with it.
“Let’s see...” I shuffled us both to the rack and plucked a greeting card from it. “You tell me if this one describes your situation.” I cleared my throat and began to read, “Dear Brother, Many blessings on your fortieth birthday. May your girlfriend bring home that hot girl she works with and suggest a three-way.”
Fiona began laughing in earnest, burying her face against my chest.
I returned the original card, walked us a few steps farther down the aisle, and selected another card at random. “Here’s another. Dear Friend, Thank you for your thoughtfulness. I am so lucky to have you in my life, especially after that time I hit you with my car and salted the earth around your house.”
I cracked a smile as I grabbed another card. She was laughing so hard she could barely breathe.
“Dear Co-worker, Get well soon. Sorry about the scorpions in your bed. And the leprosy. And the chlamydia.”
“Stop! I can’t- I can’t breathe.” Fiona gripped the front of my shirt as though she needed my solid frame to remain upright.
I took one more step and picked a new card. “Dear Dad, Happy Father’s Day. I know I’m not your favorite child, but I hope you will... you will...” I stopped reading because Fiona had stopped laughing.
In fact, she’d grown eerily still, though her fists remained anchored in my shirt. I don’t think she was even breathing.
She released an audible exhale—as though bracing herself—and titled her head back. New tears shone in her eyes and she looked... emotional.
Not sad. Not worried or scared. Just emotional. And I knew.
“I’m going to be a dad,” I said.
She nodded, her mouth wanting to smile but her eyes betraying the disordered chaos of her thoughts.
I had no idea what she was thinking.
I had no idea what I was thinking.
But I felt like I’d just been punched, slapped across the face. And it felt scary. And good.
I felt like I was the king of the universe, the luckiest man alive.
I felt panic, because I didn’t know how to be a dad, at least not the kind I wanted to be.
I felt a bizarre surge of pride, of accomplishment.
I felt a heady wave of possessiveness, for this woman I loved, for the child we’d made. I felt responsible.
But I did not feel burdened.
And I knew nothing would ever be the same.
I have adored this series since I first discovered it with Neanderthal Seeks Human. When I first read the book, I thought it was great and gave it 4 stars. If I had realized how much I was going to continue to contemplate and reminisce about the characters, I would have given it 5. Just saying. Janie, her knitting group, and the spin off Winston Brothers have landed near the top of my Must Read list and I can't help but get excited whenever a new book comes out.
I admit to wondering how the author was going to handle creating a romance for a married couple. After all, we have know that Fiona was married from book one. I wondered if there would be a divorce or death, something to create an opportunity for a romance. Ha! Shows what little imagination I had. This story was so, so, so much more than I could have hoped for. I mean, it had all the ups and downs of the first blush of love crossed with the comfort and familiarity of the old married couple. Plus kicking butt! When the action started I couldn't read fast enough. Fiona is my hero!!
If you're unsure because you haven't read anything by the author yet, you can totally grab Ninja at First Sight for Free right now. It's the story of how Greg and Fiona met and fell in love while in college. It won't give any spoilers to the other books in the series. And if it doesn't hook you and make you ready to read on, I wash my hands of you. *rubs hands together symbolically* Seriously.
This was an outstanding addition to the series and I admit to staying up way to late to finish it the minute it hit my inbox. Let's just say, much caffeine was needed to function the next day and leave it at that. I am left wondering how Ms. Reid is going to top this story in her next installment. But I'm not truly worried, because I have faith that she will. 5 Ninja Stars for Happily Ever Ninja!
Thanks to Indie Sage Promotions and the author for the opportunity to read and review this book.
SEX! It all started with sex, between my parents. Personally I don’t like thinking about it, but whatever works for you is a-ok with me. No judgment. The sex happened in California and much of my life also occurred in that state until I moved from the land of nuts (almonds), wine, silicon… boobs, and heavy traffic to the southeast US. Like most writers I like to write, but let’s get back to sex. Eventually I married and gave birth to 2 small people-children (boy-6, girl-4 as of this writing).
By day I’m a biomedical researcher with focus on rare diseases. By night I’m a knitter, sewer, lino block carver, fabric printer, soap maker, and general crafter. By the wee hours of the morning or when I’m intoxicated I love to listen to the voices in my head and let them tell me stories. I hope you enjoy their stories.
To connect with the author online:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
"Marriage is an ultimate sport in emotional multitasking. I'm never ony mad at Greg. I'm mad and madly in love; angry and concerned for his wellbeing; he frustrated and delights me in the same second"
Happily Ever Ninja gave me exactly what I was expecting and it totally didn't.
Let me explain this statement.
What do you expect when reading Reid? Well, that's easy enough to answer: A whole lot of fun, some cute & fluffy, awesome geekness, lots of smolder and most importantly real life romance. And Happily Ever Ninja ticked all those boxes... and then some.
So basically if you love Reid and haven't read this: Why are you sitting here reading my review? Just go read the book. You will like it. I promise.
Now why did is say it totally didn't fulfill my expectations? Look basically this is a good thing, but it also holds the a wee bit of my only tiny issue with the book.
I mean what do you expect when there is a romance novel about a couple that is married for more than a decade? When Reid has written a super cute and heart melting novella about how they got together? (oh yeah, if you haven't, do read it! It's awesome!)
I was worried that maybe we get a break up and this is their makeup novel? --Rest assured this isn't.
Honestly would you have asked me how Reid is going to make this into a romance, that would have been my only possible option. Buuuuuut thankfully as I said, she didn't chose that route.
Instead, she, in my opinion, did something way way better. She went real. And I mean really real.
If you have been like me married a while, your spouse and you live hectic life, spending quite a bit of time apart. This will ring so true! I cannot describe how often I could relate to Fioan's worries and reactions. Those issues, are totally real life.
But most importantly the romance. The love. All the bits that make Fiona and Greg's romance, were so familiar and rang so true, it was eerie actually. I felt like Reid might have stalked my life... Then I wondered if this is maybe, at least to a part autobiographical? Because, though I have never met Reid (sadly) I imagine her to be quite a bit like Fiona, which mean she definitely has a Greg in her life, doesn't it. Add to that Fiona's situation at the end of the book... (well minus the ninja parts obvs.. at least I think so) then well, it seem to kinda fit right?
I am getting carried away here...
Basically what I am trying to say: Reid managed to write a romance about a fairly happily married couple... by highlighting the beauty and depth of their relationship. She took a marriage and boiled it all down to the core of why we are married or in relationships with people and what the beauty of it actually is. Simply put: genius. I absolute adore it!
To get us to those meaningful moments, Reid chose a rather action filled plot. To be honest I am not quite sure how I feel about the plot. I love it and I don't like it that much.
Look the stuff that happens in Nigeria- I love that Reid decided to point something out, that is a reality. But while I read it, I kept on feeling frustrated by the lack of romance. Don't get me wrong, the action bits are good. They are fun. They are sadly not that far fetched.
The oil industry and the situation she points out in West Africa sadly are absolutely true.
But as I said I had expectations- and it wasn't THAT.
When I finally got over that tidbit however, I really enjoyed the ride.
While this could work as a standalone- I think it would be a crime to not read the other books first. You would miss out on so so much. (So basically don't do THAT.) Having read every single thing Reid has published so far, I loved revisiting the City Knitters. And honestly I think Greg has become my favorite male hero in the Knitting in the City Series...(sorry Alex.. ok, maybe they kinda equal...)
Greg is infuriating, sweet, hot, .. ah just pure awesome. I could totally relate to his POV and I absolutely loved Fiona's POV. I was hoping there would be a novel about them, right from the first book. And Happily Ever Ninja, did not disappoint. I loved getting to know those two better, loved how they got together and absolutely adore how they make their romance work, day after day.
I am not sure how I felt about the 180 turnaround in the end... I guess I expected a compromise rather than a total turnaround... but I still felt all gooey happy about it.
Look again, this is not your usual run of the mill kinda romance, it is actually the daily grid kinda romance. And if you look at it that way, then this is way more profound and way deeper than anything Reid has published so far.
Oh and I loved how each chapter was started.. Just loved it!
In my opinion a must read for everyone out there that is with their person for a while...
"My heart keeps discovering new ways to love you,"he whispered, like it was a secret. My smile was immediate. A rush fo emotion stung my eyes. Because sometimes marriage to this man was wonderful.
Snap this up! So cute!
What do a cynical former Marine and a sheltered former Olympic contender have in common?
He has a girlfriend and she’s never been kissed.
He’s sullenly sarcastic and she’s earnestly empathetic.
He can’t stop thinking about her.
She knows she should keep her distance.
Nevertheless, when opposites attract, the results may be unexpected, but they’re also undeniably magnetic.
‘Ninja at First Sight’ is a standalone, prequel novella (for book 5 of the Knitting in the City Series, ‘Happily Ever Ninja’) and is 40k words.
I wanted to love this book. Most romances tell the story of how a couple gets together, but books about how couples stay together after years of marriage when the going gets rough are rarer and, frankly, more important, because all of us in long-term relationships eventually hit a rough patch (or several). Happily Ever Ninja is about Fiona and Greg, who have been together for nineteen years and have two kids. Their rough patch stems from the fact that Greg travels for months at a time for his job, leaving the day-to-day work of child-rearing and managing the house to Fiona, and even when he's home he doesn't support her as he could. Greg's unhelpfulness is driven by cluelessness rather than malice, but the result is the same: Fiona is drowning in work and resentment.
I wanted to love this book because of that very real, very relatable conflict, and also because I really liked Greg and Fiona as a couple as we met them in Ninja at First Sight, the novella about the early days of their relationship. That story ended with a cliffhanger, which I was willing to forgive because I knew Happily Ever Ninja would follow in a month. However, this book doesn't pick up right where the novella ended, and Fiona and Greg have changed a lot as individuals and as a couple in the intervening years. While I understood those changes (indeed, they'd be pretty dull if they hadn't grown up in 19 years), that gap in time was a major shift in the emotional tone, one I didn't like and wasn't prepared for, much as I understand how it fit the plot.
My biggest problem with Happily Ever Ninja was that the plot is kind of over-the-top, and I had a really hard time willingly suspending my disbelief. Mild-mannered mother-of-two Fiona turns out to be ex-CIA, which comes in handy when Greg gets kidnapped by a corrupt splinter group of Boko Haram in Nigeria. I found myself rolling my eyes repeatedly as I read, thinking "oh, come on. No way," as the plot twists got crazier and crazier.
Yet even though it didn't work for me, one of the things I enjoy most about Penny Reid is that she takes these crazy risks with her writing. While everyone else is setting their romances in glittering English ballrooms and cozy American small towns, Penny Reid's protagonists are stealing jeeps in Nigeria and knocking out terrorists with ketamine darts. I've gotta give her major props for that, even though this book didn't really work for me.