Monday, October 26

Review: Friends Without Benefits by Penny Reid

Title: Friends Without Benefits
By: Penny Reid
Series: Knitting in the City #2
My Copy:
The BookWhisperer's Rating: 

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.

I thought it would be impossible for Nico and Elizabeth to beat Quinn and Janie adorableness as a couple.  Though they really didn’t beat them, they ended up equaling right up beside them on the adorbs scale.  This probably had a lot to do with the fact that Nico and Elizabeth knew each other from a long time ago and had somewhat formed a friendship, if you could call it that, before their paths took them separate ways.  So, in my mind, this was a (sorta) friendship to lovers kind of story and that made me immensely happy.

While you can read this as a stand-alone story, I highly recommend starting with Janie and Quinn’s story first (#1 & #1.5) because Elizabeth’s story weaves in and out of theirs and I found it interesting to relive some of the events that happened with Janie again and get Elizabeth’s side of them.  Also, I found that some of the holes in Janie’s stories regarding Elizabeth were filled in and that after reading these three books, some scenes made more sense. 

Now, let’s talk about Nico and Elizabeth.  Just by chance, Elizabeth runs into Nico one day at work and while she wants nothing to do with him, he wants everything to do with her (and, again, this made me immensely happy. I love it when boys fight for girls.)  Poor Elizabeth, she tried hard to stay away from Nico but it was physically impossible.  She kept being drawn in to him and this created amazing friction throughout the story.

There are many things that I could praise Reid for bringing to the table in regards to this book.  Two more amazing characters, a different plot that corresponded with the first book, two chapters of chapter 22, but most of all was the difference between the characters established in the first book (Janie and Quinn) and the characters established in this book (Nico and Elizabeth.)  While I loved Janie for her logic thinking, ability to blurt anything out at any time, and a tight hold on her feelings, I found that Elizabeth was different.  She, too, also thought logically, made sound choices, and didn’t get too emotional but she did get emotional.  It was nice to see a break in the stoic characters that I am used to reading from Reid and to see Elizabeth just have a crying fit (even though her head stayed screwed on at all times.)  Elizabeth presented more emotions and because of this I felt as if the dynamic of the relationship that she starts with Nico turned this book into a different kind of fascinating read.

Again, I am going to admit that Penny Reid is a goddess of writing and I am enjoying each of these books.  I have already recommended them to multiple friends because I feel that each character has a little bit of something that everyone will enjoy.  I am looking forward to continuing this series and love the crap out of everyone.

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