Friends Without Benefits by Penny Reid

Friends without benefits my ass! These two have crossed the line from friend zone into sexual innuendo lane in about 2.5 seconds. Not that I blame them, mind you. With the amount of sexual tension simmering between these two they didn’t really have a choice in the matter.friends

As the second book in the Knitting in the City series, I must say I enjoyed this book much better than the first one. It was more endearing and romantic, as the two main characters have a longer history than the couple we met in the first novel. Elizabeth Finney hated Nico Manganiello when she was little, but after the death of her high school sweetheart, she finds brief solace in the arms of her nemesis. She then turns away from him, and never looks back. Until he comes barreling back into her life, full throttle.

At first, I was worried about where this novel was going, as the reason our two love birds are reunited is because Nico’s extremely ill niece is eligible for a clinical trial at Elizabeth’s hospital, and demands that Elizabeth be the one to carry out the trial. I immediately thought, uh-oh, we are going to be dealing with a heart-breaking tale of illness, probably ending in a young girl’s eventual death that will make me go through a box of Kleenex with every turn of the page. What can I say? I’m a pessimist. Therefore, I must personally thank Penny Reid for choosing to avoid that plot path, and instead have Nico’s niece solely travel on the road to recovery. I bow my head to you madam.

This book is just as funny as the first in the series, but the main thing which sets it apart in a positive light is the relationship between Elizabeth and Nico, and how it evolved from their time as enemies in childhood, to a brief friendship which quickly heats up to horizontal mambo partners. What Elizabeth never realized as a child was how much Nico cared for her, and because she was already involved with someone else he chose to bully her out of frustration. And Nico comes to learn that what he believed to be light teasing had a lasting impact on Elizabeth, and he has to show her how much he still loves her. And good God does he show her. Multiple times. In an elevator. Dramatic sigh.

There are other elements from the first novel which carry over into this one, aside from the comedy of it. Firstly, we again get to see our lovely knitting ladies, who just seem so unbelievably wise I want to have coffee with them all. They also make me want to learn how to knit, which is kind of weird. Another element present in this novel which is just as frustrating as it was in the first is the fact that we have to wait a rather long time before our love birds become friends with benefits, if you know what I mean. But because I knew it happened in the first one I was sort of expecting it here, so it wasn’t as terrible. There were also plenty of meaningful stares and half-naked apple fritter baking to keep me satisfied throughout.

There was also another element present in this novel which I didn’t particularly care for, which I believe was much more pronounced in this book than in the first one. For some reason, I find that the female lead character is always portrayed as extremely naive. I understand the whole “blinded by love” idea, but “idiocy by infatuation” is something I don’t particularly condone. For example, Nico makes an unbelievably romantic mixed CD for Elizabeth (so 80’s) which distinctly expresses his love for her since they were children, and how he wants to be with her always. However, his clear message of love completely flies over her head, and it isn’t until the knitting ladies tell her to listen closely to the lyrics that it hits her like a ton of bricks. This woman is a doctor for crying out loud, surely she can’t be that stupid! You’re telling me she listened to that CD over 16 times, and just thought Nico was trying to broaden her musical horizons?! Puh-lease!

That being said, overall I really thought this book was a fun read. It successfully blended a romantic story with a suspenseful side plot that I think the first novel failed to do in a convincing way. The ending was ridiculously silly, but it will make you giggle, and is definitely toe-curl inducing.

Series: Knitting in the City, book 2

Should you read it? Sure! If you choose to avoid this series you aren’t really missing much, but it’s a fun beach read.

Smut Level? There is a titillating elevator sex scene, which is just delightful, but you have to wait quite a while for it. But you have to love their mutual desperation to get each other out of their clothes as quickly as possible. Tee hee.

Buy it on Amazon: Click Here

6 thoughts on “Friends Without Benefits by Penny Reid

  1. I love your review style! And ‘idiocy by infatuation’ is putting it perfectly! This is one reason I read very few romance novels. I tend to steer towards the rom-com type stories because the female leads are usually stronger.

    Liked by 1 person

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