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.

Rating: ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ 

Alright so Hurricane Matthew made me become a total book slut this weekend. What is a book slut you ask? Well by the definition of this book dragon it has two meanings.

book slut: (noun)

  1. a person who reads a book only once and never reads it again; a person who engages in one-night reads.
  2. a person who reads more then two books at once

I fall into the second definition, since I was reading one book and started reading a second one at the same time, something I never do with the exception of reading a full-length novel while reading graphic novels. That’s my exception because while the average graphic novel is over 150 pages, the fact that you’re reading what amounts to as dialogue or inner dialogue does not take much time, even when you pause to reflect upon the imagery that goes with the dialogue. So when I start reading a graphic novel series at home, more then likely I’m not going to complete it that night (most series that I like are in the double digits) and there’s no way I’m going to haul a half a dozen graphic novels to for my lunch books (if it’s a work day) or to be just-in-case book as I go about errands during the day and I find some waiting time where I can read.

Anyways, I’m going a bit off tangent. Hurricane Matthew made an impact upon the southeast coast this past weekend and while my state did not get a direct hit, the eye of the storm was fairly close to our coastline and I live about an hour away from the coast. Thus we got a lot of rain and some crazy winds that knocked out power for 2 1/2 days in my area. My family lucked out yesterday through the time and traditional way of the south of knowing a friend who had a friend who had a spare generator that we used to save the food in our fridges and to power up some basic electronics such as phones and Nooks. Thus when it was too dark to read an actual book, I switched to my Nook which is lit to read.

Like the previous Penelope Ward books, I power-read through this one, unable to put the book down for a moment. There’s just something about relationships that are sorta forbidden, but not because they really don’t fall into the ick factor although the very right-wing conservatives would probably thinks so, that are appealing. You know what relationships I mean. Stepsiblings falling love (hey there is no blood relation; just because their parents fell in love it doesn’t close the door on love for them), falling for your best friend (who is the opposite gender, although as LBGTQ supporter, I have nothing against same gender besties falling in love; it just doesn’t appeal to me so I don’t want to read it myself) or the classic falling for your sibling’s (typically older sibling) best friend. I admit it, these stories appeal to me like dark chocolate.

In any case, when I was doing the tags for this review, I was little surprised, but not really that this was also classified as a young adult book by GoodReads. While some parents may flip if they actually took the time to read the books their kids are, there are lot of young adult books with language and a sex scene or two. Honestly, I think if I was a parent I’d be all right with reading this although feeling a bit squeegy about it. I mean, no parent like to think their kid is thinking about sex let alone having it (just as no kid, no matter what age wants to think of their parent in such context), however look at our culture and the times that kids are growing up and then think of your own teenage years. Teens are curious about sex and I’d personally rather have my kid get their kicks by reading about it then jumping into the frying pan (and if they are jumping into a frying pan, future possible spawnage better be safe or they will have one pissed off tiger mama).

That being said, I enjoyed the romance of the story. Seeing the beginning of how Elec and Greta fell in love as teenagers was sweet with the right amount of teenage angst. And then the drama of adulthood and missed chances…. The angst will kill you if you don’t know that Ward deals in HEA and things will be all right at the end. I also noticed that Ward likes having the writer’s tool of the “other woman/guy”, in this case another woman who like in the first book I read from this author, is a nice woman who you feel bad for because she’s nice, but hate her existence because she’s getting in the way of HEA. Luckily, things turned out right and…

Well we’ll save that for my next book review for Penelope Ward.^_~

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