PJV Quickie: Penny Reid is quickly becoming my ‘go-to’ author for smart, funny romance. Her Knitting in the City books have been a surprise hit for me and I hope she’s got a book planned for every member of the knitting group…and maybe a bodyguard or two *winks*
Sandra Fielding is a 28-year-old psychiatrist who has been really, really unlucky in love. Every date she’s gone on in the last two years ends up with her date crying and Sandra recommending him to her colleague for counseling. At least she’s got a great ‘first-date restaurant’ where the food is good and one particular waiter is hot, hot, hot. His voice is sexy and if her dates have to end in tears, at least she gets some eye-candy while she’s there and her favorite butter chicken to-go. She’s never spoken to him about anything personal, until one night, after a late date ends in typical fashion, she walks back to settle the bill and her waiter is sitting at her table, waiting for her. They talk and drink wine, and then Alex lays the most amazing kiss on Sandra that she’s ever experienced. So he’s a bit younger than she is, nothing wrong with a quick fling with a hot guy, right?
Alex Greene can’t figure out why Sandra comes to the restaurant every other week and makes men cry. At first he thought she was breaking up with them, but there were too many. Then he thought she was firing them. After overhearing a few of Sandra’s conversations, he figures out she’s a psychiatrist, and even though he has a severe disdain for psychiatrists, Alex can’t help his preoccupation with her. Once he makes his move and gets to know her better, Alex knows he wants something real with her, but he has a past that he can’t escape, and he’ll do anything to keep it separate from his relationship with Sandra.
Ohhh, I really liked Love Hacked! Ms. Reid’s signature brand of humor is there, and I found myself laughing quite a bit. I enjoy her awkward heroines, and while Sandra is definitely awkward (she has an imaginary “Wookie suit”), this time it’s her hero who’s more eccentric. I couldn’t figure him out until we started getting bits and pieces of his past. He’s younger than Sandra, 21 to her 28, and she has issues with the age difference. Honestly, as I read I imagined both characters a bit older (in my head they were about 32 and 25); 28 seems kind of young for a pediatric psychiatrist, unless she’s brand new? And Alex is very mature for a 21-year-old – but he’s got the swooniest lines I’ve read in a long time. So many sighs while reading Alex, so many swoony sighs… Ms. Reid has written Sandra and Alex a complicated love story, full of doubts and secrets and heartbreakingly honest discussions. It was a story I didn’t want to leave when it was over.
The knitting club is still active in Love Hacked, and these women are supportive yet honest; every woman needs a group of friends like this! We also get to check in on Janie and Quinn (book 1) and Elizabeth and Nico (book 2), and there are a few surprises from the knitting group.
Without going into spoilers, I found the bitcoin plot to be interesting; I don’t quite understand the concept of bitcoins but they have been in the news quite a bit lately and I thought it made a good storyline. It tied in to a whirlwind ending, but I’m a hopeless romantic and thought it was sweet – they’ve got enough of an ‘opposites attract’ thing going to keep them from getting complacent with each other.
(I also want to add that they nailed the cover! Sandra’s red dress figures prominently in Love Hacked and I could totally see her in this dress.)
Fans of Contemporary Romance, non-traditional heroes, nerdy heroines, and positive female relationships will all find something to love in Love Hacked. You can read Love Hacked as a stand-alone, but I highly recommend reading the two previous books in the series as well – they’re terrific!
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