I had the random idea to share some of my favorite books from MRLBIEP (aka My Reading Life Before I Ever Published). I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, being a writer starts with being a reader and since I was three years old (I realize that sounds wholly unbelievable, but yes, my mother taught me to read basic books at three and I was *that* show off who read to her class in kindergarten. Don’t judge me) reading has defined my life. Prior to venturing back into the world of writing and finally making the attempt at publishing my own works, I would devour a minimum of 4-5 books a week. My kindle was my best friend and that thing was ON FIRE a lot of times as I would burn through book after book. Everything from sweet romance to steamy erotica and dark, suspenseful stories, I was game. Still am in many ways, but day job stress (working in healthcare during a global pandemic is just not as fun as one would expect *sarcasm free of charge*) and ironing out details for the next series I’d love to share with you all has caused a massive cut in my reading time.
Instead of offering a halfhearted reaction to a brand new read, I want to take this month to share some old favorites of mine instead. Starting off with Neanderthal Seeks Human.
Now, I am a crafty girl. I can’t draw anything more than a stick figure that usually requires explanation, but I can craft. Everything from knitting and crocheting to mosaics and scrapbooking, I am here for it. So when I first saw Penny Reid’s Knitting in the City series in 2016 (the series released in 2013, but I, as usual, was late to the party), it immediately piqued my interest.
Let me just start out with Janie, our curvy, awkward heroine. We stan a curvy, awkward heroine here, folks. I actually saw in some reviews that a “complaint” with this book was that it was awkward and, here’s the thing, it’s meant to be! Janie is socially awkward which is not only part of her character arc, but part of her charm.
Her excessive knowledge of random factoids was a facet I completely enjoyed because I am occasionally THAT PERSON who just absorbs the most obscure/random bits of information and spews them out at, possibly, inappropriate times. There were definitely features of Janie that felt like looking in a mirror for me.
Normally I am all about the book boyfriends, but I connected much less with Quinn than I did Janie so I don’t have as much to gush about when it comes to “Sir McHotpants” (come on, that nickname has to make you laugh). He was a fairly classic “stand offish” strong, silent type. Because of this I didn’t click as well with him, but appreciated his unconditional acceptance of Janie in all her awkward glory and ownership of his own… less than Prince Charming attitude.
While this is a rare breed (a book that labels itself as a rom com and actually IS!), there is a thread of danger throughout that culminates in Janie and her elderly knitting circles being infiltrated by bad guys bearing weapons. Honestly, I still managed to chuckle my way through this scene when Janie’s excessively logical and rather random thought process kicked in and it was pretty adorable actually.
Neanderthal Seeks Human is a true rom com with opposites attract and semi insta love tropes. Now, I am not a huge fan of insta love, but the way Ms. Reid handled it in this story was so well done with Janie’s awkwardness and socially unaware self making it enjoyable and endearing.
Even more than four years after reading this book, I am still recommending it to any friends who ask for rom com suggestions and now I am going to share it with you all.