Let me just apologize. This post should’ve been released last week, but my blog was down for the count with an attack on my server.
Have you ever felt like this after an experience?
Have you ever felt as though what you were expecting was so far from what you received that you’re now unclear as to what color the sky is, what day it is, possibly your age, gender, and occupation?
In a word? Gobsmacked.
That’s what Happily Ever Ninja by Penny Reid did to me. Sure, I knew it would be different. It’s a romance novel wherein the MCs are already married. That right there shakes things up a bit.
I didn’t expect the Vitamix/San Andreas Fault/Jurassic Park promo of plotlines.
Because moms are superheroes, duh.
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?
What I thought:
This book is titled Happily Ever Ninja for a reason. It’s fucking sneaky, and I can’t get over how much I loved it.
It’s a romance that analyzes the ever after. What happens when the couple is established, and the day to day isn’t about wooing and winning, but about wooing and keeping? Should it still be about wooing? Is the woo even relevant? Can I use the verb woo one more time just to make it extra awkward for all reading this post? woo.
I read it in a sitting. One. I sat down, opened it, and didn’t do anything but refill my tea, get some snappea crisps, and let the tea continue its life cycle in and out of my body, and then finished the book. I closed it and felt alive. I felt vindicated. I wanted to tell everyone about this book. Married, unmarried, single, straight, gay, bi, a, demi, narcisexual. Everyone.
Happily Ever Ninja embraces the quotidian modalities of the modern family with such aplomb that it borders on the poetic. Greg and Fiona have been the face of marriage for the Knitting in the City series since book one, and when we finally get to see behind the bedroom doors, we’re surprised and intrigued. The pair have an amazing chemistry and dynamic, but they also have the same issues every married couple has. There’s a harmony in the discord that I’ve never previously encountered in my reading. Their roles have been so well-defined throughout their relationship, that when problems surface, they’re so entrenched in the capillaries of their marriage, that it’s difficult for Greg and Fiona to see that it’s slowly cutting off circulation to the limbs.
It also makes the decision to rectify the issues feel as much like a release of pressure and new life given to things past, that it makes the relief as fluid as the formation.
It’s truly a satisfying plot.
But, it’s also funny as hell.
Greg and Fiona were funny characters before this installment, (knitting needle, anyone?) but in this book, their dry wit is given full operation in this book. A few of the phrases have made it into my daily conversation, but my favorite is “that sounds like something Hitler would say.” Because it works for so much. Especially at random places, like the ice cream shop or on social media. “Oh, I never get hot fudge”–”That sounds like something Hitler would say.” Or “I went to a casserole party and I had salad.”–”That sounds like something Hitler would say.” SEE? IT WORKS. I’m just waiting for someone to tell me they prefer 4 to 6 nipple clamps at a time, or something. Perfection. Or “I prefer to dress like a baby and be spoonfed canned peaches.” Unfortunately, most baby fetishists are underground about their proclivities, and I don’t think that will come up in conversation without alcohol or LSD–possibly wisdom teeth surgery.
Five huge stars. Not for Hitler.
Review of Ninja Ever After by @ReidRomance and #recipe for Ginger-Matcha Olive Oil Muffins
The recipe inspired by the book:
In the novel, one of the frustrating things many women deal with, Fiona deals with: messy husband antics. In one case, it’s muffins. Trust me, read it. Also, Greg works on oil rigs. And ninjas are traditionally Japanese.
Ginger-Match Olive Oil Muffins
Ginger-Matcha Olive Oil Muffins
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Keywords: bake appetizer bread breakfast snack dessert
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Ingredients (20 muffins)
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 eggs or 6 tbsp aquafabas (beat aquafabas to medium peaks)
- 1 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 3/4 cup boiling water with 1 tbsp matcha powder whisked in, or 2 matcha teabags brewed into it.
- 2 cups AP flour
- 1/4 cup candied ginger, measured and then chopped finely
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 20 muffin liners
- powdered sugar
preheat oven to 350F
fill a muffin tin with liners
beat together syrup, sugar, and oil until frothy
add in eggs
slowly pour in tea
sift in flour and stir slowly
stir in salt, baking soda, and baking powder
fold in ginger.
pour evenly into twenty muffins, about 2/3 full
bake 20 minutes or until puffed and a skewer inserted in the center comes out cleanly.
let cool completely
dust with powdered sugar