Truth or Beard (by Penny Reid)

Contemporary Romance

After graduating from college, Jessica returns to her home town of Green Valley, TN to pay off her student loan and save some money before following her dreams and exploring the world.

Duane is anything but subtle. He’s honest to a fault, stand-offish and of the Winston brothers he’s the wall-flower. But he’s always loved Jessica and when she returns he sees his chance, plucks up the courage and makes his intentions known.

Unfortunately, settling down is not for her and it’s all there is for him. They grow to love each other, but with different life-goals, love just isn’t enough.

So…I was listening to an interview with the author and I think I’m going to contradict her here. One of the things I found most interesting about this book was that the typical archetypes of male and female characters were flipped. In this book Jessica was the one who couldn’t commit, the one who was going to leave while Duane was the one who wanted to settle down and have a family.

It isn’t surprising. In a genre that is dominated by books written for the lowest common denominator Penny Reid writes books that demand your attention and honestly make you feel a little smarter. She never plays by the rules and her books are better for it.

I don’t have a problem with those by the numbers romances. Honestly, I enjoy them –– they’re a bit like an apple pie bought from your local supermarket. They taste pretty damned good. But they can’t hold a candle to a homemade apple pie. There’s just no comparing the two.


Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 4.24.20 PMOrange, Red, Yellow. What it means:  YOR-Guide

Friends Without Benefits (by Penny Reid)

Contemporary Romance

Elizabeth’s earliest memories are of Nico teasing her. All through high school he picked on her but with the support of her one true love Garrett she was able to get through it. Then Garrett died of a terminal illness and Elizabeth was left alone.

Ten years have passed and Elizabeth is now a doctor. When Nico turns up at the hospital with Angelica, a young child who has a rare disease, it falls to Elizabeth to treat her. And with three treatments a days for 30 days, avoidance isn’t going to work. Despite their attraction to each other, the shadow of the past hangs over them and threatens any chance of a future together.

Friends Without Benefits is a very smart love story. There is no dumbing down in this book and it occasionally pushes the boundary between contemporary romance and chick lit. I loved that one of the characters would switch to Italian and it was just put out there with no translation. I love that Penny Reid uses medical jargon without explaining it. It’s just so nice to come across an author who has that level of respect for her readers.

It’s witty, occasionally very funny, a lot longer than most of the books I read but all in all, great fun.

Many thanks to Penny Reid for providing me with this ARC