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Genre: Adult | Contemporary Romance | Romantic Suspense
Series: Green Valley Library #2
My Rating: 4 stars!
Release Date: November 5th, 2019
Source: SmartyPants Romance
Description: In Green Valley, Tennessee everybody knows everybody, but nobody knows Sabrina Logan.
Sabrina has been hiding in plain sight for years. Living her life inside of books, dutifully helping her family, and hoping no one will notice her. So far? Mission accomplished!
Yet when sexy—and distrustful—sheriff, Wyatt Monroe returns to town with his daughters, he definitely notices the quiet librarian everyone else overlooks. The single dad can’t seem to shake thoughts of shy Sabrina. Without quite understanding the impulse, Wyatt makes his mission finding her again, so he can . . . well, he’ll just have to reckon with that later. What Wyatt discovers is a woman who trusts too easily, but who’s afraid to live. Trust doesn’t come easily to Wyatt. But living? That’s never been a problem. And he’d sure like to show her how.
‘Crime and Periodicals’ is a full-length contemporary romantic comedy, can be read as a standalone, and is book #2 in the Green Valley Library series, Green Valley World, Penny Reid Book Universe.
Disclaimer: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, but it does not influence my opinion of the book nor the contents of this review in any way.
Let me start by saying Penny Reid is one of my favorite authors. Now after reading that statement, you may be asking me, “Why the heck are you talking about the lovely and wonderful Ms. Reid when this is not her book?” To that I would say, you are correct! But you are also wrong. Ms. Reid an author and the founder of SmartyPants Romance, which is a kind of small publishing venture that she’s started up. Basically, other authors write extensions to her stories! No, that’s not right. Other authors write their own stories, just set in the Pennyverse, in the world she’s created and with character’s she’s written about as side characters. That makes more sense, right?
In the other SmartyPants Romance books, Ms. Reid’s characters were a great touch of nostalgic window dressing. They weren’t main characters or even ultra-important side characters. For instance, in Crime and Periodicals, our main character’s niece (a high schooler) produces podcasts for community members, including one Cletus Winston! Not to mention, Sienna Diaz was our main character’s idol. The Winston Brothers, too, were a fun addition to this book, I do have to say 💕✨ Plus, Jackson made more special appearances!!
Anyway, Crime and Periodicals was definitely soooo much better than book one, Love in Due Time. It was everything I expect from a SmartyPants Romance book! It was funny, entertaining, and full of a great cast of characters that had a huge amount of depth and I really enjoyed. This one follows Sabrina Logan, the twenty-seven year old virgin and assistant librarian at the Green Valley library. She is excruciatingly shy, and pretty much goes to the library and home, avoiding town wholly unless it’s forced upon her.
Even at work, while she’s wonderful with the children, she’s been known to hide in horror section when it comes to interacting with other adults.
In this town, everybody knew everybody, but nobody knew me. I lived my life in this library and at home. I took care of Harry, Ruby and Weston, and nurtured my Kindle like the baby I would probably never have.
But she’s been looking to take a new outlook on life, and tries to go out and join the land of the living when she can. And it’s not during one of those excursions that she meets single dad Sheriff deputy Wyatt Monroe, when she was pulled over the side of the road and he came to investigate. It was his first sighting of the shy librarian, but he immediately knew it wouldn’t be the last and informed her that he’d be in at some point within the week to ask her out.
Their courtship really was quite fun and flirtatious and made my tummy and toes curl more than a few times. The best part, and what was missing most from the first book in this series (by a different author), were the side characters! Wyatt had two little daughters, Mel and Mak, who were literally the most adorable. He really was a single dad, and they were as a part of the story as Wyatt himself was. Plus, their interactions at home had me in stitches – because you just know that’s how it is. The scene where Mel couldn’t find her shoes, and Wyatt told her she’d left them by the door, but she didn’t want hose shoes anymore because they made her shoes bunchy… oh yes. It was oh-so accurate. Then she started crying and he was trying to get her dressed and out the door but the leggings were too itchy, so he suggested sweatpants, but she would only wear pink ones… yes 😂😂 Anyone who’s been around little girls just know, that’s how it be sometimes.
Not to mention, Sabrina herself has a large family. Her sister, who was a mother of three kids, died giving birth to her youngest, the autistic Harry, leaving her three kids in Sabrina’s care. Now, Harry is nine and the older two teenagers are Ruby at sixteen and Weston at … I want to say seventeen? I’m not actually sure his was specified, but he can drive and is in high school. The three of them live with Sabrina and Sabrina’s dad, the two adults who work to raise them. Ruby and Weston pretty much raise themselves and just need some extra love and advice, but Harry is wholly Sabrina’s and she’s actually working to get the biological father to sign over custody in the book (but he’s being an ass. Typical).
“I want to know more. I want to know everything about you. You talk about books like…”
“Books are just like life. Books used to be my whole life,” she whispered.
“You attach your memories to books. I want to read all of them – every one of your favorites. Then you can tell me all the reasons why you love it.”
Harry was a huge part of the book, and I thoroughly enjoyed his presence. I’m not sure about the autistic rep, having zero experience to give a verdict, but I loved him as a character. He was often hilarious and kept the book moving. Ruby and Weston, too, were just a bowl of fun, as they treat their Aunt Sabrina as more of a (much older) sister, and it was a fun dynamic. Wyatt and Sabrina both have large family responsibilities, and I loved that their kids had the presence in the book that they did, really giving them a great loving, family vibe. Ruby, especially, had a huge personality. Really, all the kids did, but she really shined for me.
Plotwise, it was not an edge-of-your-seat, fast-paced story. It was a slow courtship that built, and there weren’t a whole lot of conflicts thrown in there. It was very character-driven, which I appreciated, because that’s the book I needed in my life right now. It’s a busy time over here, and I wasn’t looking forward to a high-stress story. The slow roll and burn of romance was exactly what the doctor ordered. I have to admit, however, that I am curious at a loose end – what’s Willa’s story? I’m hoping we find out in another SmartyPants Romance story here soon 😄
Speaking of being character-driven — this is the first SmartyPants Romance that I felt finally, fully embodied the Pennyverse characters! I’ve mentioned that each book in this series is written by a different author, and I did not like Jackson James’s representing in book 1. But here, I felt that Ms. Everly really captured the spirit of not only him, but also several of the Winston Brothers. It was full PENNY, but I don’t expect that. She’s her own style and can’t be completely replicated 💕✨
Not to mention, as an introvert, I connected with Sabrina, a lot. I may not have the crippling shyness and hermit tendencies, but her anxiety was hugely relatable, and often hilariously vocalized, in this story. Ms. Everly did an absolutely fantastic job on this one, and I was so thrilled that I picked this one up. Overall, this was a thoroughly enjoyable book. It was sweet, considerate, kind and whimsical in all the best ways. Read my review of book three…
Thank you SmartyPants Romance for the title, of course, and to Social Butterfly PR for the work you do 😄
Other reads you may enjoy…
Have you read any of Penny Reid books? Do you prefer sweet or fast-paced romantic suspense novels? A little of both? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!