In Review: Stepbrother Dearest by Penelope Ward

Posted October 30, 2014 by Kim in 3 Stars, In Review / 1 Comment

In Review: Stepbrother Dearest by Penelope WardStepbrother Dearest by Penelope Ward
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Publication date: September 28, 2014
Publisher: Self-Published
Format: eARC, 230 pages
How I got it: I bought it!
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
My rating:

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+


in review my thoughts

I had tremendously high hopes for this book. It sounded like it would be the awesome result of mixing a bit of Penelope Douglas’ Bully with Lisa Desrochers’ A Little Too Far. And while I enjoyed this book – or I should say specifically PARTS of this book – as a whole I was a little underwhelmed.

I love a good forbidden love story, so I was all over the mere idea of this one when I first heard of it. Unfortunately, the relationship between Elec and Greta just never felt all that forbidden to me. Elec was a difficult guy to like and I never fully connected with his character. I did like Greta. I was able to relate to her and I definitely had a vested interest in her happiness. I loved the way these two went at each others’ throats. They had a ton of chemistry and I got sucked into that aspect of the story. Where I was lost, unfortunately, was in the second half of the story. I loved the concept behind all of it, but the execution didn’t work that well for me.

For the most part, the pacing of the book was pretty decent. It jumped forward large amounts of time at a time during certain parts, but it always seemed clear to me that it had. There was one long, drawn out segment during the second half of the book, near the end, that slowed things down way, way too much for me. ***SPOILER*** {I *LOVED* the idea of Greta reading Elec’s autobiography. It was a unique way for her to learn about where Elec’s head was. The first part of it was intriguing. I liked learning about what made Elec the way he was and why his relationship with Randy was so strained. I didn’t, however, need to read a total rehashing of the conversations and events that took place during the book. I was there the first time. I think that portion of the book was clearly important to the overall story and the ending obviously, but I would’ve liked to have seen it cleaned up a bit. It felt like too much deja vu to me.} *** /SPOILER***

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed parts of this book. (Despite what some might believe, three stars isn’t a bad thing. In the rating system I use on my blog, it means I liked the book, but something was missing.) With the exception of the portion mentioned in the spoiler section above, I was completely sucked into the book. I couldn’t wait to see what happened with Elec and Greta. Did I love every part of their story? No. But I knew I wouldn’t love all of it. Elec was a complicated character with a lot of flaws. He totally grew on me though. There were plenty of sexy and swoony times in this book, if you’re into that kind of thing. (Which I totally am.) I wasn’t sure where the story was going to wind up. It could’ve gone so many different directions. I was definitely kept guessing up until the final chapter or so. I’d definitely give this one a shot. You might get a little more out of the portion of the second part that didn’t work for me. Everyone reads a little differently and appreciates different things in a story.


About Penelope Ward

Penelope Ward is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author. She grew up in Boston with five older brothers. She spent most of her twenties as a television news anchor, before switching to a more family friendly career. Penelope lives for reading books in the new adult genre, coffee and hanging out with her friends and family on weekends. She is the proud mother of a beautiful 10-year-old girl with autism (the inspiration for the character Callie in Gemini) and a 8-year-old boy, both of whom are the lights of her life. Penelope, her husband and kids reside in Rhode Island. She is currently working on her fifth novel and loves friend requests from readers!


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