on January 19, 2016
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Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance, Suspense
Source: ARC via author, ebook
This is a full length, 100k word novel, and is the 5th book in the Knitting in the City Series. All books in the series can be read as a standalone except book #1.5
There are three things you need to know about Fiona Archer… I would tell you what they are, but then I’d have to kill you.
But I can tell you that Fiona’s husband—the always irrepressible and often cantankerous Greg Archer—is desperately in love with his wife. He aches for her when they are apart, and is insatiable when they are together. Yet as the years pass, Greg has begun to suspect that Fiona is a ninja. A ninja mom. A ninja wife. A ninja friend. After fourteen years of marriage, Greg is trying not to panic. Because Fiona’s talent for blending in is starting to resemble fading away.
However, when unexpected events mean Fiona must take center stage to keep her family safe, her response stuns everyone—Greg most of all. It seems like Greg’s wish has come true.
When all is said and done, can Greg handle this new version of his wife? Will his irrepressible cantankerousness push her away? Or can the couple find a way forward without either being forced to step back into the shadows?
I tucked my fingers under her chin and lifted her face to mine, stealing a kiss; true distress clawed at my chest, traveled like a spike down my spine. I didn’t want to guess, or entertain any possibilities. Inevitably, my mind always jumped to the worst possible conclusion whenever I saw her inexplicably sad (i.e. brain tumor).
Even so, I attempted to keep my tone level and calm. “What could be too important for the greeting card aisle? It’s the perfect place to tell me anything and everything. There’s likely a card we can buy afterward for the occasion.”
She huffed a laugh, laughed a bit more, and then began crying again.
Her laughter was a good sign, so I went with it.
“Let’s see . . .” I shuffled us both to the rack and plucked a greeting card from it. “You tell me if this one describes your situation.” I cleared my throat and began to read, “Dear Brother, Many blessings on your fortieth birthday. May your girlfriend bring home that hot girl she works with and suggest a three-way.”
Fiona began laughing in earnest, burying her face against my chest.
I returned the original card, walked us a few steps farther down the aisle, and selected another card at random. “Here’s another. Dear Friend, Thank you for your thoughtfulness. I am so lucky to have you in my life, especially after that time I hit you with my car and salted the earth around your house.
I cracked a smile as I grabbed another card. She was laughing so hard she could barely breathe.
“Dear Co-worker, Get well soon. Sorry about the scorpions in your bed. And the leprosy. And the chlamydia.”
“Stop! I can’t- I can’t breathe.” Fiona gripped the front of my shirt as though she needed my solid frame to remain upright.
I took one more step and picked a new card. “Dear Dad, Happy Father’s Day. I know I’m not your favorite child, but I hope you will . . . you will . . .” I stopped reading because Fiona had stopped laughing.
In fact, she’d grown eerily still, though her fists remained anchored in my shirt. I don’t think she was even breathing.
She released an audible exhale—as though bracing herself—and titled her head back. New tears shone in her eyes and she looked . . . emotional.
Not sad. Not worried or scared. Just emotional.
And I knew.
“I’m going to be a dad,” I said.
She nodded, her mouth wanting to smile but her eyes betraying the disordered chaos of her thoughts.
I had no idea what she was thinking.
I had no idea what I was thinking.
But I felt like I’d just been punched, slapped across the face. And it felt scary. And good.
I felt like I was the king of the universe, the luckiest man alive.
I felt panic, because I didn’t know how to be a dad, at least not the kind I wanted to be.
I felt a bizarre surge of pride, of accomplishment.
I felt a heady wave of possessiveness, for this woman I loved, for the child we’d made. I felt responsible.
But I did not feel burdened.
And I knew nothing would ever be the same.
Ninja at First Sight was such a delightful novella. It’s the story of Fiona and Greg and how they met and fell in love during college. The setting takes place in the late nineties. This book encompassed everything I adore about Penny’s writing. The characters were endearing and the storyline was sweet, smart, funny, and swoony. NAFS had all the feels and it gave me the warm fuzzies inside. The novella ends on a cliffhanger, but that was okay because I was able to read Happily Ever Ninja right away.
Happily Ever Ninja takes place in the present, about 17 or 18 years after NAFS ends. Fiona and Greg have been married for many years and have two children. Greg is away from home A LOT working overseas. The couple is struggling with the stress of being apart so much and all that comes with being working parents and raising a family.
I actually enjoyed the first half of this book a great deal. The story dealt with real issues married couples face everyday. Fiona and Greg love each other, but life is tough and marriage is hard. I felt the emotions and their struggles so deeply. Penny Reid had me crying at one part.
Then at about the halfway point, the story takes a major turn. It was a twist I was not expecting. The characters end up in an exotic location and there is a ton of action and some suspense. I’m not sure if I’d exactly classify HEN as romantic suspense because Fiona and Greg are already a couple and have been for a long time. There is no mistaking their love for each other. Whenever I read a romantic suspense novel my favorite part is the chase and the tension between the characters. There really wasn’t any of that because again, Fiona and Greg are already together. Writing married characters can be tricky.
I enjoyed HEN, though the first half of the book worked best for me. And I can definitely appreciate that the author wrote a storyline that is different from her other books. (At least the ones I have read.)
Overall I’m rating the two books together as 3.5 stars.