Christine's ARC Review: Stepbrother Dearest by Penelope Ward

Monday, September 29, 2014

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. 

**Contains graphic sexual content and harsh language. It is only appropriate for adult readers age 18+


3.5 Stars

"You make me feel things, Greta. You always have. When I'm around you, whether it's good or bad...I fell everything.

Stepbrother Dearest, is written in two parts. In the first part the character are 17/18 years old and in highschool. In the second part the book fast forwards seven years. The characters are reunited, and so the story continues.

So first of all let me just say that, Stepbrother Dearest was a really great book. The writing was engaging, the characters multifaceted and the pacing was pretty good too.

Secondly, 3.5 Stars is not a bad rating. It means as per Goodreads rating system that I liked the book bordering on really liked it.

Here's a quick summary of my feelings towards Stepbrother Dearest:
Yes, the story follows the relationship of Greta and Elec who are step-siblings. Elec's father married Greta's mother, and when Elec's mother gets a job opportunity overseas, she sends him to go live with his father and new wife and step daughter.

Here's where the story fell a bit flat for me. That first meeting between Elec and Greta was awesome, the sexual tension was palpable and the forbidden factor was pretty obvious and made the scene very enjoyable but unfortunately we had one POV and it was Greta's. So I was constantly reading about her lust and growing love for Elec, while I could pick up on Elec's growing attraction to Greta, it lacked intensity. Which is why I need his POV. I love a cocky alpha male, and I love it when he's so into the heroine his knee jerk reaction is to be mean. But I need his POV to counteract the meaness, otherwise I just think he's being a dick.

That was the problem. I'd grown to love a little mean mixed in with my nice.

Seven years
The characters are estranged for seven years, and when tragedy befalls the family, they're are reunited. The tension and angst was so obvious, and with both characters having moved on, mainly Elec who now had a girlfriend, it was pretty painful.

Here's where I get a bit ranty. Rants are not done because we want to slam the book, I just rant because I have all these emotions inside me that need to be let out.

Greta, was obviously still in love with Elec and I'm not sure but I think he was too, or maybe it was just lust. I don't know. I needed his POV, because quite honestly I started hating the guy. He had another girlfriend who he vocalised his love for at any given moment in front of Greta.

I'm sorry, Elec but don't I remember you saying you would never hurt her? And don't act dumb, you know she still has feelings for you!

So I regret to say the story became some sort of love triangle and you know what that's okay. But at least have the third party play an active role in the book, Chelsea was like a shield for Elec, he mentioned her when things got intense. Which was like a bucket of ice cold water to Greta.

And then lastly "the book", so I'm just going to spoiler tag this one.
(view spoiler)

And when the characters resolved their issues, Elec immediately wants to have kinky sex with Greta. And like the lovesick puppy she was she agreed. No, no and no. Firstly, Elec needed to do a lot more groveling. Elec ended up seeming like a spoiled brat who got everything he wanted and Greta ended up looking like a doormat. You have to make him work for it, girl!

"Nothing says I'm sorry like a dick and a smile."

So by the end of the book I surmised that, Elec loved Greta first, but he also loved Chelsea. So unfortunately the book missed that 5 star mark for me.

P.S. It didn't really feel forbidden to me.

"I've never got over hurting you the first time, but hurting you twice...believe me when I say this was the last thing I ever wanted to see happen in my life time.

ARC kindly provided by author in return for an honest review

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