Book Review: Stepbrother Dearest

Stepbrother Dearest
by Penelope Ward:
You’re not supposed to want the one who torments you.

When my stepbrother, Elec, came to live with us my senior year, I wasn't prepared for how much of a jerk he’d be.

I hated that he took it out on me because he didn't want to be here.
I hated that he brought girls from our high school back to his room.
But what I hated the most was the unwanted way my body reacted to him.

At first, I thought all he had going for him were his rock-hard tattooed abs and chiseled face. Then, things started changing between us, and it all came to a head one night.

Just as quickly as he’d come into my life, he was gone back to California.

It had been years since I’d seen Elec.

When tragedy struck our family, I’d have to face him again.

And holy hell, the teenager who made me crazy was now a man that drove me insane.

I had a feeling my heart was about to get broken again.

Stepbrother Dearest is a standalone novel.

Julie's thoughts: Stepbrother Dearest is a full length, standalone novel by Penelope Ward. This is the first of her books I've read, and overall, I really enjoyed it.

Honestly, this book was getting at least four hearts from me until I got two-thirds into it. The first part of the book was perfect. I loved Ms. Ward's writing style, story, and characters. I really felt the connection between the main characters and found them to be mostly realistic and relatable. Around the two-thirds point, though, the story went from being told from the heroine's point of view to being read by her as an autobiography written by the hero, and much of it was his view of what had already taken place. Obviously, this worked for many readers, but I felt it really took away from the story and made me less connected. I would have rather had alternating points of view to get the hero's view or not had it at all. It just took away from the experience to watch the heroine read what the hero experienced and how he felt instead of getting to watch him tell her, especially so long after it actually happened in the story. I guess it has a lot to do with that "show me, don't tell me" preference, which I thought was done well in the first part of the book.

Other than the above, I would recommend this book for those who enjoy good, but typical, NA books. It was very well written, with few errors. Other than the re-telling parts, I didn't want to put the book down. I really liked both characters. Even though they were instantly attracted to each other, Ms. Ward developed the relationship over a six-month period and took the time to let the reader watch the real connection form between them. Keep in mind, though, that the first part of the book (~2/3) truly reads as a YA book. He’s the typical 18-year old alpha male bad boy, and she’s the typical 17-year old virgin. There’s a good bit of angst and build up. I adore that, so that part was perfect to me.

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Lori L. Clark

She Reads New Adult Admin: Lori L. Clark

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