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review 2016-02-05 15:07
Found your person a while back? ... Read this!
Happily Ever Ninja (Knitting in the City Book 5) - Penny Reid
"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.

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review 2016-01-27 00:00
Happily Ever Ninja (Knitting in the City Book 5)
Happily Ever Ninja (Knitting in the City Book 5) - Penny Reid Did you read the prequel Ninja at First Sight ? No? Stop right there and do so. You need to understand these characters before you begin the journey of married life. Yes? Cool. Then be prepared. This isn't a typical Penny Reid book. Not typical I say? Yep, definitely. When someone asks me who my favorite humorous contemporary romance author - it's Penny Reid. She melds funny with touching and always a fantastic read. Well, Happily Ever Ninja is a fantastic read. But, it's not a Penny Reid everyday book. As she says it's 'weird'. I say - be prepared to think about marriage.

"Are we going to have sex tonight? I have stuff to do and it's already nine thirty."

I really don't want to give away the storyline. It's complex. It's can be political. It's touching. It's suspenseful. You aren't sure whose side you are on in the marriage war. I could relate to each characters needs and wants. Also their reasoning on why they choices they were making were the best. Marriage is hard. Fiona and Greg, well, lets say their marriage gets tested in ways no one ever wants to experience. However, this experience is a great parallel storyline of trust, listening and overcoming hardships that marriage really is. There was a slight lull in the story telling about half way through; otherwise it was engaging read.

If you are a huge Penny Reid fan like I am, I highly recommend. You've probably read her Facebook post outlining how different and relevant the story is. So expect 'weird'. Are you new to Penny? Read the prequel first as you get a taste of her typical and then be prepared for different. 4.5 out of 5 stars.
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review 2016-01-25 12:56
"Happily Ever Ninja" by Penny Reid
Happily Ever Ninja (Knitting in the City Book 5) - Penny Reid

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.


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review 2016-01-10 18:03
Happily Ever Ninja by Penny Reid
Happily Ever Ninja (Knitting in the City Book 5) - Penny Reid

PJ header


PJV Quickie: Penny Reid has written a humorous, heartfelt, and honest love letter to marriage. I was not expecting to feel as many emotions as I did while reading Happily Ever Ninja – some good, some not so good – but overall I was thrilled to be back in the Knitting in the City world.


Fiona Archer met the love of her life in college, got married, had a career and put it on hold after becoming a mother. Now, after 14 years of marriage, sometimes she feels like a shell of her former self – putting everyone’s needs ahead of your own is exhausting. Something needs to change, but the catalyst for that change is nothing she’d ever expected.


Greg Archer knew the moment he set eyes on Fiona that she was The One. Now, after two kids and years of marriage, she’s still The One. The One he lives for, The One his heart beats for. He misses her every day he’s away – and unfortunately, he’s away more often than he's home. An opportunity for Greg to spend more time at home has an unexpected outcome, and Greg and Fiona are left fighting – for their marriage and for their lives.



Hmmm…where to start? Mostly, I loved Happily Ever Ninja. If you’re an established Penny Reid fan, Happily Ever Ninja is a bit different than her other books, and in this case, that’s both a plus and a minus. This book doesn’t have as much of the signature humor I expect with this author; it’s a bit more serious than previous installments to the series. BUT, I still enjoyed reading Happily Ever Ninja and am looking forward to more adventures from the knitting group.


I’ve always liked Fiona as a secondary character and her turn as the main character was spectacular – she’s funny, smart, and nurturing all rolled up tight like a burrito. But, like a burrito, you can’t tell what’s inside by looking at the wrapper. Fiona has a lot going on and I think that of all of Penny Reid’s characters, I related to Fiona the most. I’d be surprised if most of her readers didn’t relate to Fiona and her frustrations on some level. Fiona’s family life, both as a young person and as a married adult, showcased her resilience and her ability to always see the good in people. Her frustrations with her husband, though, really got to me. Ms. Reid didn’t pull any punches when writing scenes between Fiona and Greg – some so syrupy sweet it made my teeth hurt, and some so maddening I wanted to throw my e-reader at my husband because Fiona’s anger really touched a nerve.


The chapters in Happily Ever Ninja move back and forth between college and present day, and I think it was a good choice by the author to remind us how Fiona and Greg fell in love. Greg was a great character – but he was frustrating to read. Strong headed and opinionated, I needed the reminder that there is also romance and uncertainty inside Greg too. His love for Fiona caused him to make impulsive decisions that made Fiona (and me) want to scream. But then, Ms. Reid would flash back to a scene where the reader (unfortunately not Fiona) was reminded why Greg does the things that he does.


Did I have a few quibbles with the story? Yes, but only a few. There were a few scenes where the humor felt forced (lady closet, anyone?) and I didn’t really see the point in making Greg British and using Britishisms as an adult if he moved to the US at age 15 - it felt like carrying something that’s not heavy but still awkward to hold, if that makes sense.


All in all though, Happily Ever Ninja is a tale of love in all of its glory and all of its misery, a story of how love grows and changes as we grow and change. One thing books often gloss over is how much work is required to keep love alive after that first blaze of new love is ignited – it’s not a magical fire that never needs to be re-stoked, sometimes it takes special care and attention to keep it burning - Ms. Reid captures it all in Happily Ever Ninja.



If you’re a fan of Ms. Reid’s Knitting in the City series, you don’t want to miss Happily Ever Ninja. It’s a great ‘falling in love again’ story and I love that the hero and heroine are not in their 20s and have an established family and a (relatively) long marriage. If you’re new to the series, I would not recommend starting here – try Neanderthal seeking Human (you won’t regret it!).


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text 2015-07-29 15:47
She got a Stalker!
Friends without Benefits: Knitting in the City, Book 2 - Penny Reid,Devra Woodward
Get Lucky (Tall, Dark and Dangerous Series #9) - Suzanne Brockmann
The Strongest Steel - Scarlett Cole
Wild Man - Kristen Ashley
Absolutely, Positively - Jayne Ann Krentz
Mr. Perfect - Linda Howard
Just Good Friends - Rosalind James
Lover Undercover - Samanthe Beck
Fiancé by Friday - Catherine Bybee
Keeping Guard (Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense #234) - Christy Barritt

The theme of having a stalker is very common in Contemporary Romance Novesl. Sadly, it is also common in life.


While this isn't my favorite theme because the heroines often have resources and assistance that women often don't, I understand the fantasy appeal of breaking free of such a horrible situation. 


I tend to like the love stories where the hero is being stalked and the heroine saves him.


Here are some wonderful examples of Romance Novels with this theme.


My lists are never in any particular order. Enjoy! 



1.  Friends Without Benefits by Penny Reid


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. 


2. Get Lucky by Suzanne Brockmann


An unlikely state of affairs. For Navy SEAL Lucky O'Donlon was the original love-'em-and-leave-'em guy. Used to women swooning at his feet. So how could it be that the frustratingly attractive journalist Sydney Jameson had nothing to offer him but one very cold shoulder?


Well, two could play at this game. But first things first--he and Sydney had a job to do.

They had to get their man.


Then there would be time enough for him to get his woman....


3. The Strongest Steel by Scarlett Cole


Harper Connelly never expected to find herself outside of a tattoo parlor at one in the morning. The scars that decorate her back are just one more reminder of things she'd rather forget, the past she wants to leave far behind her, but before she can move on she needs him


Trent Andrews has his own reasons for specializing in inking over scars. And there's no way in hell he's going to turn Harper away. Not when a swirling mix of tenderness and desire slams into him every time her sees her. Being with Harper is like going 10 rounds in the ring-exhilarating, powerful, and dangerous. She stirs feeling in him he thought were long gone... if he can only get past her carefully constructed defenses.


Running was the only thing that saved Harper last time, but each session at Second Circle Tattoos brings her closer and closer to Trent. His lingering touches seduce her, making her believe in a life without fear, where she can be happy, whole, in love. But when cryptic messages start appearing on Harper's phone, strange deliveries arrive at her door, and Second Circle is vandalized, Harper is convinced that her ex-boyfriend has tracked her down, and worse, that he knows about Trent. She ran from her past once before, this time will she have the strength to fight back?


4. Wild Man by Kristen Ashley


While filling her display case in her bakery, the bell over the door sounds and Tessa O’Hara looks up and sees the man of her dreams. Within thirty seconds he asks her out for a beer. Thirty seconds later, she says yes. But after four months of falling in love, she discovers he’s an undercover DEA Agent investigating the possibility she’s involved in her ex-husband’s drug business 

Obviously Tess decides this means it’s over. 

But DEA Agent Brock Lucas disagrees. A man on a mission who’s really committed to his job, he’s spent years in the underbelly of Denver with the dregs of society. And spending four months with Tess who’s as sweet as her cupcakes, he seriously enjoyed his job. But during Tess’s interrogation, Brock learns the devastating secret Tess is carrying and he’s determined to be the man who helps her heal as well as take her back as she walks on the wild side. 

As wild and sweet mix, they face challenge after challenge of family struggling with history and terminal illness. Not to mention, Tess’s ex-husband, the drug lord and Brock’s ex-wife, who has a very big playbook are scheming to tear them apart. 

But Brock Lucas has wild in him and once in his past on the trail of vengeance he let that wild loose, making a mistake that he would have no idea years later will put his sweet Tess in the position to pay his penance.


5. Absolutely, Positively by Jayne Ann Krentz


Molly Abberwick, trustee of her father's foundation and owner of Seattle's Abberwick Tea & Spice Company, has every intention of firing her new consultant. True, he's brilliant, sexy, and fascinating, but he's also arrogant, over-bearing and impossible. Dr. Harry Stratton Trevelyan has his own plans. To Molly's shock, he proposes a no-strings attached affair. Molly can't believe that he thinks there is any such thing as a simple, no-commitment relationship. But there is this strange attraction between them... Turns out Harry Trevelyan has a secret side. It involves paranormal premonitions and his family of composed of carnival illusionists, daredevils and psychics. Before Harry and Molly can find a way to overcome their personal issues, violence and a mysterious stalker crash into their lives. Now these two mis-matched people will have to find a way to work together to survive.


6. Mr. Perfect by Linda Howard


What would make the perfect man? That's the delicious topic that heats up the proceedings at a certain table of professional women at their favorite restaurant. What qualities would he have? Would he be tall, dark, and handsome? Caring and warmhearted—or would just muscular do? Jaine Bright and her three girlfriends start off with the basics: he'd be faithful and reliable, the responsible type, and have a great sense of humor.

But as the conversation picks up momentum, so do the quartet's requirements for Mr. Perfect as and they write down a tongue-in-cheek checklist that's both funny and racy. The next thing they know, the List, as it has come to be called, becomes an overnight sensation, spreading through their company like wildfire and grabbing the interest of local newspapers and television coverage. No one expected this avalanche of attention for something that began as a joke among friends. But the joke turns deadly serious when one of the four women is murdered...

The prime suspect in the case is the victim's boyfriend, who was one of a number of men who found the List sexist and offensive. An impenetrable alibi gets him off the hook, but a deadly stalker targets the three remaining friends. Now, with the help of Jaine's neighbor, an unpredictable police detective, the puzzle must be solved as the dream of Mr. Perfect becomes a chilling nightmare.


7. Just Good Friends by Rosalind James


Kate Lamonica isn’t Koti James’s type. Too small. Too dark. And heaps too much work. So it’s an easy bet that he can be her friend for six weeks without making a move on her, no matter what his mates would have said. 

Kate can’t believe she’s made the bet at all. New Zealand had seemed like the perfect escape from the stalker who’d threatened first her peace of mind, and then her life. She doesn’t need any more trouble, so why has she agreed to spend time with a Maori rugby player who’s far too handsome and charming for his own good—and knows it? But there’s more than one game Koti’s good at playing ... 


8. Lover Undercover by Samanthe Beck


Yoga instructor Kylie Roberts is the good twin. At least she was--until an accident forces Kylie to step into her twin's sexy stilettos at a posh Hollywood "men's club." But nothing could've prepared Kylie for the dead body in the club's parking lot or the ridiculously hot detective who insists the killer is targeting her regulars. 

Detective Trevor McCade needs Kylie's help to draw out the killer. It means long nights undercover and long dances where Kylie's body tempts him with sensual promises. Dances that leave them both wanting more. But despite Kylie's hidden identity and the danger lurking in the shadows, it's only a matter of time before Kylie and Trevor take this undercover operation under the covers...


9. Fiancé by Friday by Catherine Bybee


Gwen Harrison:
The beautiful, high-born daughter of an English duke came to America to take over her sister-in-law’s matchmaking business. But just because she’s the boss doesn’t mean she can’t fantasize about making her own perfect match with bodyguard Neil MacBain. Will the enigmatic man who haunts her dreams cost her more than she bargained for?


Neil MacBain:
The retired Marine can’t deny the effect blue-blooded Gwen has on his troubled soul or his battle-hardened body. But as a client, Gwen is off-limits—until a threat from Neil’s past returns…and Gwen is caught in the crossfire. Now to keep her safe he will risk it all: his career, his life…and his heart.


10.  Keeping Guard by Christy Barritt


Her anonymous stalker's threats are getting scarier and scarier. Now Kylie Summers fears for her life. She flees her home for the protection of a former military man in a small Virginia town. But her brother's handsome best friend already has a long list of obligations. Kylie knows she's intruding on Nate Richardson's life. Even though he promises to keep her safe, Nate's keeping her at arm's length emotionally. Until her stalker emerges from the shadows, forcing Nate to choose between keeping guard over his wary heart—or Kyli


Vote for the best of the best on my Goodreads list: She got a Stalker! 

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