Chat Review: Grip Series by Kennedy RyanStill by Kennedy Ryan
Series: Grip #2
September 24, 2017
Genres: Romance
Pages: 434
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Goodreads

**STILL is the conclusion of Grip & Bristol's emotional journey. You must read FLOW, the prequel, and GRIP, book 1 before beginning STILL**

I'll be there.
Through thick and thin.
Ride or die.
You can count on me.

The promises people make.
The vows we take.
Assumptions of the heart.
Emotion tells us how we feel, but life...life has a way of plunging us in boiling water, burning away our illusions, testing our faith, trying our convictions.
Love floating is a butterfly, but love tested is an anchor.

For Grip and Bristol,
Love started at the top of the world
On a Ferris wheel under the stars
But when that love is tested, will they fly or fall?.

 

Technically, we will be chatting about the entire GRIP series: Flow, the prequel novella, book #1 Grip and book #2 Still. We can’t really tell you what’s going to happen here, this was an unexpectedly emotional series and our black hearts are just going to bleed all over this page. 

 

Q. Three words to describe the Grip Series?

Ali: I have three words. One for each book. Flow is the BONES of the series, the foundation. Grip is the BLOOD. Still is the HEART, the key to making it all of it work. Okay, fuck this. I have so many more words than just three. THIS IS THE MOST RELEVANT ROMANCE YOU COULD BE READING RIGHT NOW. And…you should be reading it. Not only for the romance, for the brilliant perspective on racial tension and stereotypes, or for the heart stopping words Ryan writes in regards to healing, or for the absolutely poetic way she has written these three books. But, for all those reasons combined. You will learn something from these books and hopefully it’s something you can take with you and teach someone else. 

Tiffany: How am I supposed to follow up to that?! Ali you legit just went Iz on me and I’m like stuck on stupid right now trying to pull up the dictionary! Lol. But okay three words let me try… POIGNANT because so many scenes throughout the entire series moved my emotions and forced them to exist outside of the space I gave them.  CONSEQUENTIAL because every action had a consequence whether it be hurtful or helpful, it proved how we all need to be more accountable in this world.  And lastly I think I am going to have to say LIFE, this book is real life with the added benefit of romance.  Grip and Bristol lead a LIFE we should aspire to have, their ever present awareness and curiosity in all facets of life are awe inspiring.  

Ali: You are so right. We should all aspire to live a life as full as them!

 

 

Q: Flow while just as vital as Grip and Still set up a foundation and possibly a tone for Bristol and Grip’s relationship, how did you feel going into Grip? 

Tiff: I was excited and oh so nervous.  I felt like from the start Bristol was this unknown of sorts. Grip saw her as this powerhouse and curious soul from the start and I loved that but I think he was the only one. Her parents and even Rhyson (at the time) for a lack of better words just didn’t get her or her motives. I don’t even think I answered this question properly but going into Grip after the many years later I felt “READY” well I thought I was ready, till Kennedy Ryan was like SIKEEEEE.

Ali: Same. For those who originally met Bristol in the Soul series, she was a mystery. She was intriguing, for sure, and you couldn’t help but be curious about her relationship with Grip. But, unknown, she was. As was he. So, Flow was essential reading to get that background and it made me so excited to see how things would shake out in Grip.

Tiff: I just finished the first the first book in the Soul Series, like half ass obsessing is not something I am capable of… I know though, I’m late to the game!

 

Q: Quick question, on a scale of 1-10 how much time do you want to spend on a rooftop with Grip? 

Ali: 10×10. All day. Every day. No questions asked. That man is sexy. And fucking sweet. Sexy sweet!

Tiff: The answer is infinite, I would like to spend an infinite amount of time with him up there while he reads poetry and does dirty things.  He is filthy, AND I LOVE IT!

Ali: Filthy is so true. His sniffing…fuck. Who would have thought that could be so fucking hot?

Tiff: FIRE! He was so dirty, I couldn’t even deal!

 

Q. Did Still go in any of the directions you anticipated?

Ali: Hell to the no, man. Nowhere even close. To be brutally honest, I expected more of what we got in Grip. Celebrity and racial prejudices getting in the way of a #gripstol happy ever after. I DID NOT SEE WHAT HAPPENED COMING IN A MILLION YEARS. And even though it was so emotional and I cried (and cried and cried), I loved that Kennedy went there. Brilliantly went there.

Tiffany: FUCK NO!! I am in total agreement with you, while they still battled racial prejudices I was still expecting that to be the main war. WRONG. I loved that you cried as much as I love the book!  You are greedy with your tears so basically it’s like Kennedy won a grammy. The direction she went set her apart from so many books right now, and it wasn’t just the direction but the execution. As hard as it is, I could live in that rawness with them time and time again, that’s the kind of s*d I love.  <- Is that a spoiler? I put an asterisk in the word… HAHHAHA.

Ali: Hahaha, like she won a grammy!! Her execution was genius. No other word for it.

 

Q: Racism and reverse racism were not issues that Kennedy shied away from in the least and the way she portrayed each side was so relevant.  But she also softened it for us and readers to understand and process it. Was there any one quote that spoke to you directly?

Ali: So many, but the one that stood out for me, is the one Bristol used to make a very important point. “Too many of our American systems are built on bias. The irony is that these biases are often inextricably, if unconsciously, connected to our own sense of superiority. The very biases that make those in power feel stronger, better, actually weaken them. Our biases are our blind spots, and we need others to guide us in the darkness of our own ignorance.”

This spoke so true to me. But, I also loved that when Kennedy was guiding one character with the words of another – it was done with patience and understanding. We see people, in real life, so easily write off ignorance with insults and more hate. It’s no way to change someone’s perspective. Kennedy showed it can be done with rational conversation and I loved that.

Tiff: “…Ignorance is a naturally occurring state. It’s not what you feel guilty about, it’s what you do something about. We are born not knowing, and our experiences feed us information. You limit your knowledge and understanding of not only your place in this world, but the place and plight of others by doing what you’ve always done and knowing only what you’ve always known. Position yourself socially and intellectually to know more, to understand beyond the scope of your experiences. That is how we evolve as individuals and as a society.”

That spoke to my soul and while I know so many of us do what we can we have to do more.  We have to try harder, we have to progressively move forward even if we are doing it singularly at first.  There are so many truths I feel this book will impart on us, I know it opened my eyes and heart even more.  I’m not blind to the injustices of the world but this passage truly made me dig  deeper within myself.  These words I am grateful for.

 

Q. Final thoughts?

Tiff: Quick to the point… Life and death do not care what color you are, what God you do or do not pray to, the amount of money you have or do not have.  We all enter and leave this world the same way. The first breath in and the last breath out, we may get there differently but it will all happen the same. Love who you want and be who you want, but DO NOT hate anyone for doing that. This book is powerful, something everyone could benefit from reading whether you are a romance reader or not. Also when can we read it again, because I want to see Ali cry! Hahaha!

Ali: Now I’m not sure how to follow that. This series is further proof that humanity needs to adjust our perspectives and opinions of others, but it’s also proof that we CAN. It may not stick the first time, or the fourth time, but eventually…we can learn and evolve. Society may struggle with this time and time again, hopefully in lesser and lesser forms. But as long as we have people willing to teach and to love, indiscriminately, we’ll continue to grow.

Gah! This is all so deep for a romance review. Then again, this is much more than a romance.

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About Kennedy Ryan

Kennedy Ryan grew up in North Carolina, but loves living in Atlanta with her husband (tall – check, dark – check – handsome – check), and her handful of a son. Though she knew, like writers often do, that she was supposed to tell stories, the road to fulfillment has been paved with “some of everything” jobs that kept her family eating and living indoors. With her degree in Journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Go Tar Heels!), she has focused on writing for non-profit organizations and even doing some non-fiction ghost writing. Only in the last few years did she start telling stories again.

In addition to being a devoted wife and mom, she’s also passionate about serving families living with Autism. Her son was diagnosed with Autism at the age of two, and she has made it her mission to help as many families as possible find the resources and services they need.

I am just as passionate about the REAL LIFE stories I tell as I am about the worlds I build in fiction. Some of these use my given TINA DULA and some are written under my pseudonym KENNEDY RYAN.


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Chat Review: Trust by Kylie Scott

Chat Review: Trust by Kylie ScottTrust by Kylie Scott
July 18, 2017
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 372
Format: ARC
Source: Copy for Honest Review
Also by this author: Twist
Amazon US
Goodreads

Being young is all about the experiences: the first time you skip school, the first time you fall in love…the first time someone holds a gun to your head.

After being held hostage during a robbery at the local convenience store, seventeen year old Edie finds her attitude about life shattered. Unwilling to put up with the snobbery and bullying at her private school, she enrolls at the local public high school, crossing paths with John. The boy who risked his life to save hers. While Edie’s beginning to run wild, however, John’s just starting to settle down. After years of partying and dealing drugs with his older brother, he’s going straight—getting to class on time, and thinking about the future.

An unlikely bond grows between the two as John keeps Edie out of trouble and helps her broaden her horizons. But when he helps her out with another first—losing her virginity—their friendship gets complicated.

Meanwhile, Edie and John are pulled back into the dangerous world they narrowly escaped. They were lucky to survive the first time, but this time they have more to lose—each other.

When Ali started reading Trust, she gushed over it a little bit and that got Tiffany’s attention. This is Tiffany’s first Kylie Scott book, but we get the feeling she’ll be back for more! (Somethings never change, I’ll stalk Ali for LIFE. -Tiffany)

 

Three words to describe Trust?

Ali: Honest. Brave. Mature.

Tiffany: Real. Funny. And I’m going to have to go with mature also. 

Ali: Right? It doesn’t have that all too familiar whiny teenage feel to it. Both Edie and John were pretty down to Earth and reasonable.

Tiffany: Is it too soon to want to re-read?! I could use some more John and Edie in my life.

Ali: Not at all, I’m ready too!

Do you think you would have handled the robbery like John or like Edie or completely different?

Tiffany: I’m not sure to be honest. I would like to think I would be a John, especially if I had my kids with me or even without, he did what he could and that’s definitely more than most.  Actually you know what I’m pretty sure I’d be a John and then when all is said and done, I would be an Edie.  

Ali: I’d also like to think I’d be like John, all level headed. But, I think that would only happen if there were people I loved with me. Otherwise…I’d freak the fuck out.

Tiffany: Fuck that was an intense beginning…

What was the one thing you loved most about Edie?

Ali: For me, I think her self awareness. She’s not a shallow girl. Even though she’d love for a boy to like her, she’s not overly insecure about it. She still has that vein of vulnerability that all us women do, but she’s still very honest about it all. She was one strong chic and liked how she took strides to to live her life on her own terms.

Tiffany: I always agree with you Ali! Lol.  But really though I love how she was apologetically herself without also being pretentious.  Without spoiling much I adored the way she went about a certain relationship with her friend.  She displayed that you don’t always have to forgive someone because of who they have been to you and more so once you do decide to forgive them DOES NOT mean you have to allow them back in your life.  That, I liked, A LOT. 

Ali: Yep! It wasn’t only the way she dealt with that relationship though, that same assuredness showed in a couple spots with John.

Did you like the way the relationship between Edie and John evolved?

Tiffany: YES! I know we talked about this when you were sort of in my hood a few weeks ago but that is something I loved MOST.  I love YA but sometimes I get turned off by how unrealistic it could be… Let’s be honest there’s more pining and wanting then there is actually having in HS and then all of a sudden like the sex is explosive, like come on I’m an adult and don’t know some of the tricks that are happening in YA books.  

They became friends first and then shit got awkward, they way IT REALLY DOES.  I’m just really remembering how much I love John right now and I am now having a hard time focusing. >.< Back to their evolution, right, it was perfect and true to their age and due to what happened to them they both began changing and I was happy they had one another through that. 

Ali: Yes, yes, yes! I always think that authors who aren’t actively involved in a teenager’s life, should not write teenagers. I don’t know if Scott has teens, but she definitely wrote them as if she does. I think it’s easy to forget that a lot of teens are really quite grown up, more so than some adults, and are completely able to navigate a relationship the same as adults.

This goes back to that overall feeling of maturity in Trust. I think this book will not only resonate with a new, younger fanbase for Scott but will also do well with her current readers who love her adult work so much.

Overall thoughts about Trust?

Tiffany: I LOVED IT.  The beginning started strong and I was a little worried with what might follow. But that’s what I get for jumping to conclusions. The time line followed through with perfection. Chapter after chapter, I fell further and further in love. I honestly feel repetitive because I seriously want to do nothing but fawn over this book and I have said how much I love it like a million times already. Overall it was an amazing story about a REAL relationship, REAL evolving characters, REAL situations, all of it just felt entirely REAL. As previously stated this may have been my first Kylie Scott book but it is no where near my last.  

OH MY GOSH WAIT.

We have not talked about have much I loved one of the car scenes… John, oy vay JOHN!!! Ali I know you know which part I’m talking about, ugh it would totally be worth missing curfew for!!!

Ali: Hahaha, I’m surprised it took until the end of the review for you to bring that up! And yeah…broken curfew…restrictions galore…ALL WORTH IT.

I basically agree with all you just said to sum up this book. So, I’m going to finish this up and maybe head right back in for a re-read!

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About Kylie Scott

Kylie is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author. She was voted Australian Romance Writer of the year, 2013 & 2014, by the Australian Romance Writer’s Association and her books have been translated into eleven different languages. She is a long time fan of romance, rock music, and B-grade horror films. Based in Queensland, Australia with her two children and husband, she reads, writes and never dithers around on the internet.


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Chat Review: Black Hearts by Karina HalleBlack Hearts by Karina Halle
Series: Sins Duet #1
February 19, 2017
Genres: Romantic Suspense, Romance
Pages: 238
Format: ARC
Source: Copy for Honest Review
Also by this author: Dust to Dust
Amazon US
Goodreads

For Vicente Bernal, truth is all he’s known. The son of an infamous drug lord, Vicente was born to help run the family business, which means he’s been raised on a throne of sordid pasts and dirty laundry, violence and pride. But when Vicente stumbles across someone he’s not supposed to know about – a woman from his father’s checkered past – he sets out to California to find her behind his father’s back.

What Vicente doesn’t expect to find in San Francisco is Violet McQueen, the woman’s twenty-year old daughter. Beautiful and edgy with a vulnerability he can’t resist, Violet tempts Vicente from afar and though he promised himself he’d stay away from her, curiosity and lust are powerful forces. Besides, Vicente has always gotten everything he wants – why shouldn’t he have Violet too?

Soon his wants turn into an obsession, one that sweeps Violet into his games as they fall madly, deeply in love with each other, the type of first love that can drive a person mad.

But it’s a love with tragic consequences.

Both the truth – and the lies – not only threaten to tear them apart, but threaten their very lives.

Someone has to pay for the sins of the fathers.

And they’ll be paying the price with their souls.

 

Review is probably not the best word for this. It should just be described as ‘that time Tiffany and Ali reminisced about the characters they love’. Hopefully, you get something out of this. Hopefully, that something is that you want to read this book. 😉

What three words would you use to best describe Black Hearts?

Tiffany: You always do this to me and it’s hard. Lol. But let me try… Vicente, Javier, Bernal. Because that blood line is FUCKING GOLD!

Ali: Javier is back.

Tiffany: Hahah! I mean Javier is a self centered asshole it makes sense we have similar answers!

Ali: I love him and all his fucked up flaws.

Tiffany: FOREVER AND EVER!

Ali: Yes!

Tiffany: Dude…omg. Every part he was in, I just about died!

Ali: I know! I’m so glad age didn’t change him. He’ll be a grumpy ass murdering grandpa and I’ll still think he’s hot.

Seriously though, how exciting was it to see Ellie, Camden and Javier back on the pages?

Ali: It’s pretty awesome to get a glimpse of some of your all time favorite characters, years later. These three hold a very special place in my heart and one of them, in particular, is still living up to everything I loved about them from the start.

Tiffany: I totally agree with you although I read them like a year and a half go, no other drug lord trumps JAVIER, none. He is the ultimate. It took a second for me to adjust and envision them older while reading but once I did it was like NOSTALGIA HEAVEN.

And this…

Javier feels remorse snake through his body but then it’s gone. It never stays for long. It knows it’s not welcome.

Ali: Fuck. That’s so good. 

Tiffany: But this is my favorite: 

Wherever they go, we will follow. If he wants to fall in love while getting his dick sucked, it will only make his own life harder, not mine.

First impressions of Violet?

Tiffany: She kind of bored me, not in like a bad way where I didn’t like her but her personality was a bit monotone. I did however LOVE that she is an aspiring photographer. By the end though, I really did like her. But I think I especially liked her when her and Vicente had their first spat. I loved how she pushed back and didn’t accept him giving her bullshit.

Ali: She’s much more timid and sensitive than I expected from parents with such strong personalities. I think I expected someone edgier, someone with some bite. I guess I can understand how she’d be a more quiet and sensitive girl though, too. I imagine that could happen, constantly living around alpha types. I really had to have a good ‘think’ about her.

I agree, by the end I liked her more. I hope she comes in to her own in the next book.

Tiffany: Yes! There was definitely layers to her that are slowly being peeled back. I can’t wait to see what Vicente evokes out of her.

First impressions of Vicente?

Tiffany: Actually I wavered with my impression on him at first. Seeing as he is the son of Javier I instantly was in love with him but I think I was expecting him to be just like Javier. Then when he wasn’t I was like WHAT?! But that was my own personal hinderance I had to get over. Once I did, I was like damn! And he likes licking all the frosting off the cupcake if you know what I mean!

Ali: I thought the same. I expected him to be so diabolical. Where as he’s much more calculated and methodical.
Javier is too, but he was a bit more of a hip shooter. Vicente doesn’t give me that same feel.

Tiffany: Yes that’s it’s exactly it, Vicente has more feelings than Javier and it’s like an ice water shock. Lol

Ali: Yes! That’s a good way to put it. But, I loved him no less. He’s much more in tune with his feelings but his mind is still totally twisted.

I wonder what our take would be on it, had we not read The Artist Trilogy and Dirty Angels series first. I bet it would be completely different. We should have made Leah read this with us.

Tiffany: We should have!

Man… that part where Vicente was like I heard stories of what my dad did to Esteban. Seriously at the thought of Esteban I physically shrieked!

Ali: Hahaha! Esteban is not an image you easily forget. 

Tiffany: That (Dirty Promises) is still one of the most gruesome books I’ve ever read. 

Ali: Me too. So violent. I mean, it’s a drug cartel, so it’s fitting. But damn.

Tiffany: Luisa and the chicken. I couldn’t eat chicken for weeks!!!

I hope no one dies in the next book that matters, I couldn’t handle it. 

Ali: Hmmm. I don’t know how you get out of this situation with nobody dying. 

Tiffany: That’s what I’m most scared of. 

Ali: I have a feeling the four parents are not going to be all rainbows and unicorns about this love connection. 

Tiffany: You know even though I’m all for Javier I’m excited to see how Camden reacts, I want to see his violence unleashed!!

Ali: OMG, ragey Camden. Yes, please. For all the days.

Honestly though, I really want to see Vicente and Violet to just take all of this to the street and teach their parents to butt the fuck out.

Tiffany: Yes! I have a feeling Luisa is going to pull some ninja shit. Idk what but I have a feeling.

One thing is for sure, March 17th couldn’t be further away! This will definitely be where we see how truly similar or different Vicente is from his papa.

Ali: I’m pretty anxious for that showdown!

About Karina Halle

Karina Halle is a former travel writer and music journalist and The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling author of Where Sea Meets Sky, Racing the Sun, The Pact, Love, in English, The Artists Trilogy, Dirty Angels and over 20 other wild and romantic reads. She lives on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her rescue pup, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails and devours a lot of books.

Halle is represented by the Waxman Leavell Agency and is both self-published and published by Atria Books/Simon & Schuster and Hachette in North America and in the UK.

Hit her up on Instagram at @authorHalle, on Twitter at @MetalBlonde and on Facebook. You can also visit www.authorkarinahalle.com and sign up for the newsletter for news, excerpts, previews, private book signing sales and more.


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Chat Review: Harley & Rose by Carmen Jenner

Chat Review: Harley & Rose by Carmen JennerHarley & Rose by Carmen Jenner
October 18, 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 316
Format: ARC
Source: Copy for Honest Review
Also by this author: Revelry
Amazon US
Goodreads

Ever since she was a little girl, thirty-year-old Rose dreamed of the day Harley would carry her across the threshold on their honeymoon. So what if this isn’t her actual wedding day, and that she’s only here because Harley was left at the altar just a few hours earlier?

Trading San Francisco for paradise and swapping her bridesmaid’s bouquet for a Blue Hawaii, Rose hopes she can finally escape the friend zone.

Once upon a time they had been more than friends, but life got in the way. She’s spent every day since wishing Harley would get a clue.

She’s always been his best friend.

He’s always been hers.

She’s in love with him.

He’s … not in love with her.

He’s … marrying someone else.

He’s … hiding something.

He’s … well—it’s complicated.

BH - Chat Review Banner

 

Ali and Tiffany both read Harley & Rose, and both had similar feelings. While Tiffany LOVES to become an ugly crying mess while reading books, Ali does not. At all. But, that is exactly what happened. Following are some of our thoughts, we want to hear yours though too, so hit us up in the comments below or on Facebook.

Q: First things first – let’s talk about the cover – thoughts?

Ali: THE COVER IS A LIE!

Tiffany: Its a beautiful LIE! A pink wrapped fucking LIE! 

Q: If you had to pick three words that describe Harley & Rose, what would they be:

Tiffany: Three… Really, oh gosh that’s hard.  Beautiful, sorrow, and UNCONDITIONAL. But trust me there are way more than three words I could use to describe them. 

Ali: Beautiful. Tragic. Epic.

Q: What were your first impressions of Rose?

Tiffany: Sometimes I thought she was a bit dramatic and then there were times I wish she were more dramatic.  For the most part though I LOVED her and that doesn’t happen often but she was my hero, she loved crappy TV so basically she’s a WINNER! 

Ali: SHUT UP! You loved a book girl? 😉  I loved how quirky she was.  I also really loved that she put her heart on the line a couple of times in regards to Harley. So often the girl never speaks up and just gets her heart get broken over and over. While that happened, at least she was able to stand up for herself at times too. I also loved that she was so true to her heart, she knew who it belonged to, no matter what.

Tiffany: I do have the capacity to like heroines too… Most of the time I just don’t! Lol. But yes spot on, she was so true to her heart and it was her nature, most of the time it would annoy me but not in Rose, I think because she was so genuine.

Q: What were your first impressions of Harley?

Ali: I’ll readily admit that I had many, many moments of quite nearly hating Harley. He is so loving and caring yet so fucking stupid at the same time. It was aggravating.

Tiffany: I have to agree with you! SO many times I was so frustrated with him but then I would get all giddy over him.  But he won me over, tubes and all.  He was perfect but an idiot and I think sometimes that’s just a man gene so it wasn’t entirely his fault. 

Ali: I think his intentions were never bad, just misguided…maybe that’s the right word. In the end, I forgave him for everything and that’s really what matters.

Q: Chapter 4, location 343, on a scale of 1 to 5 how much did you appreciate Rose’s love for the perfect man nipples? 

Ali: OMG, perfect! I, too, have a thing about nipples. They can be soooo wrong or they can be perfect. There is not much middle ground for me. I loved that I shared that with Rose!

Tiffany: NIPS are a big deal for all of us, so yes Rose thank you for being so critical and not accepting anything less than the best man nipples! You have standards girl and I admire that. 

Q: Did Harley & Rose take you were you thought it would?

Tiffany: AB-SO-FUCKING-LUTELY! It’s been a year I’ve been waiting for this book, literally FB just reminded me and showed me the shared post from the blog of the cover reveal.  But really though, this was way more than I expected and I think their adventure together was perfect, real, raw, and so honest.  Had it went other way I don’t feel that I could of loved it as much, oh gosh the magnitude of this story will FOREVER BE ONE OF MY NEW ALL TIME FAVORITES! 

Ali: FUCK NO! This book did not take me where I thought it would. HARD FUCKING LIMIT, JENNER! But, that’s okay because it pushed my boundaries and was a really beautiful experience. I think I learned something about love and life and you can’t expect more than that from a book. Ever.

Tiffany: I don’t think Carmen will ever hear the end of this one, I still can’t believe you read it and I still think you’re a liar by omission, but I love you even more for it because you knew I would love this book and I so totally did!

Q: How awesome were the Peter & Wendy references? Did it practically make you shit out flowers from the cuteness? 

Ali: Too. Damn. Adorable. It fit perfectly with how they grew up together.

Tiffany: YES! UGH, him climbing through her window, I loved it! Have I mentioned yet that this has become one of my top reads EVER?! Like ever, like I want to live in this book! 

Q: How satisfied (or unsatisfied) were you at the end of the book?

Ali:  Such a fucking hard question.  If I focus on just the end and not some major factors leading up to the end…I’m absolutely satisfied. There was a moment where it could have gone a different direction and I’m so thankful it didn’t. I’m speaking of the epilogue here. I think it was exactly as it needed to be.

Tiffany: I so agree with Ali again about her answer, there was total content at the end and it had to be that way, there was no other way.  I can’t even bare to think of it going any other way. 

Q: On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being a gentle pat on the head and 10 being a pencil to the eye), how upset were you with Carmen while reading Harley & Rose?

Tiffany: A pencil to the damn eye and then for good measures a second one because the first one didn’t cause enough damage!  I was so upset like a beautiful, torturing mess upset.  But I don’t know if I was more upset with the cover LYING to us silently or the events inside the book.  Either way if someone is going to make me cry and ruin good $5.99 lashes I’m glad it was Carmen. 

Ali: Bahaha! Your poor eyelashes. But, I am right there with you. There is no end to the horrible names I called Carmen while reading this book. And she deserves all of them and some more for pulverizing what little heart I had left.

Tiffany: That’s a huge feat! You don’t cry, EVER except for that one time in Seattle at breakfast at 8:52am when you cried and we all saw it.  But I obviously hardly remember the details of that! Hahah!

Q: Not so much a question really, but what was your favorite quote from the book and why? (Kind of a question after all) 

Ali: Shit…too hard! Okay, so I’m not going to give the whole quote. For reasons. But it’s the one that starts with “Tell him that I loved you first…” <— HEARTBREAK CITY!

Tiffany: And I am now CRYING AGAIN! We need ID’s made with our place of residence showing Heartbreak City, if Harley & Rose are there I’d gladly live there. Okay but favorite quote, I had a million but this one was one of my faves, seriously I have too many but this one was one that is just so TRUE! “All of what I told him was true- some people are just meant to break your heart, as if it were their sole mission here on earth to teach you not to fall in love with the wrong person.  Some people will break your heart over and over again, because some of us never learn.” – Rose 

Ali: Such a perfect and true quote.

Harley & Rose releases on October 18, 2016, but you can pre-order it now for only $0.99. Link is at the top of the post.

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About Carmen Jenner

Carmen Jenner is a thirty-something, USA TODAY and international bestselling author of the Sugartown, Savage Saints, and Taint series.
Her dark romance, KICK (Savage Saints MC #1), won Best Dark Romance Read in the Reader’s Choice Awards at RWDU 2015.
A tattoo enthusiast, hardcore MAC addict and zombie fangirl, Carmen lives on the sunny north coast of New South Wales, Australia, where she spends her time indoors wrangling her two wildling children, a dog named Pikelet, and her very own man-child.
A romantic at heart, Carmen strives to give her characters the HEA they deserve, but not before ruining their lives completely first … because what’s a happily ever after without a little torture?


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Chat Review: RoomHate by Penelope WardRoomHate by Penelope Ward
February 3, 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 280
Format: ARC
Source: Copy for Honest Review
Also by this author: Stephbrother Dearest
Amazon US | B&N
Goodreads

From New York Times Bestselling Author, Penelope Ward, comes a new standalone novel.

Sharing a summer house with a hot-as-hell roommate should be a dream come true, right?

Not when it’s Justin…the only person I’d ever loved…who now hates me.

When my grandmother died and left me half of the house on Aquidneck Island, there was a catch: the other half would go to the boy she helped raise.

The same boy who turned into the teenager whose heart I broke years ago.

The same teenager who’s now a man with a hard body and a hardass personality to match.

I hadn’t seen him in years, and now we’re living together because neither one of us is willing to give up the house.

The worst part? He didn’t come alone.

I’d soon realize there’s a thin line between love and hate. I could see through that smug smile. Beneath it all…the boy is still there. So is our connection.

The problem is…now that I can’t have Justin, I’ve never wanted him more.

Author's note – RoomHate is a full-length standalone novel. Due to strong language and sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18.

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SPOILERS! We were very honest, perhaps harsh at times, and did not sensor ourselves. There are spoilers below. BEWARE!

Sidenote: This is way more of a rant than a review. We’d apologize for it not making a whole hell of a lot of sense, except we really just don’t give a shit.

 

 

What three words would you use to describe RoomHate?

Ali –
Immature. Ridiculous. WTF?
Leah – Cringeworthy. Awful. Needs Editing (pretend that’s one word).

What were your first thoughts on Justin?

Leah –
He was fine I guess. The whole eye patch thing was stupid as fuck. The stabbing. I hated their past memories with a vengeance. His level of asshole was pretty ridiculous too. When they see each other again. It was so over the top, it was eye roll worthy. Him in second half was way better. I actually *liked* him. Minus his tit milk fetish. OMG ALL THE CREEPY WATCHING. Hahahaha I forgot about that.
Or him having the knife in his work out shorts. *snort*
Fuck, that editing.
Or her not knowing she was knocked up until she was halfway done. For fuck’s sake.
Ali – Okay, I gotta admit…I kind of liked the first bit of flashback. The Patch nickname. It was cute.
 
 
Leah – God I’m feeling stabby remembering it.
 
 
Ali – Slow the fuck down, woman.
 
 
Leah – Didn’t I say I wanted to dnf like 5 times before 10%?  Sorry, I’m getting anxious. Hahaha!
 
 
Ali – I agree that he was entirely too aggressive with his level of hate at the beginning. It was over the top dickish.  And I don’t even know where to start with my disgusting feelings about the breast milk.
 
 
Leah – Way over the top. For a ‘friendship’ IN HIGHSCHOOL.
 
 
Omg. The boob juice. It was SO wrong.
 
Ali – Boob juice. Sick. LOL
 
 
Leah – And I’m an open person. Wanna talk tits and boob juice, that’s my damn job.
 
BUT THAT PART OF THE STORY WAS SOOOO FUCKED
 
 
Ali  – Okay, so on to Amelia. Thoughts?
 
 
Leah – She was such a weak character. She would never be in my tribe, if you feel me.
 
 
Ali – Honestly. I don’t even really remember her. Seriously, I had to go look up her name. She left that little of an impression on me.
 
 
Leah – I couldn’t tell u the names LOL. I just remember her being a twit. And a creepy starer.
 
 
I think I liked the girlfriend and the baby more than the two main characters.
 
 
Ali – Fuck. YES! So much yes!
 
 
Leah – That’s SO sad.
 
I looked at reviews. All 5 star then a ton of 1 and 2 stars saying DID WE READ THE SAME BOOK?  I feel their confusion.
 
 
Ali – Yup. I don’t get it. At all. I know everyone likes different things. But this book was just so immature and ridiculous. The ONLY good feels I got were from Justin with the baby but that all happens pretty late in the game and in NO way makes this a five star read.
 
 
Leah – I loved him with the baby!!! That was the ONLY redeeming thing.  I wish he wouldn’t have said no kids ever though.  Too cliche. No kids, then falls in love with a baby that’s not his.
 
 
Ali – Agree.
 
So, overall…I think it’s pretty safe to say that neither of us enjoyed this book. Really, at all. It’s full of ridiculousness. My ratings pretty low. Like, a two on a good day and barely a one star when I’m PMSing all over the place.
 
 
Leah – LMAO.  I almost DNFd atleast 15 times. It was just….ridiculous. And she needs an editing overhaul.
 
 
Ali –Yep. It was really hard to get through. At least we had each other for moral support. As the rest of the reading world seems to have loved it.
 
 
Leah – I honest to god have no idea how. Sometimes I know I’m being a finicky bitch…but that book was just dreadful.
 
 
Ali – Sigh…guess we can’t love them all.
 
 
Leah – Fuck, ain’t that the truth?

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Chat Review: The Play by Karina Halle

Chat Review: The Play by Karina HalleThe Play by Karina Halle
Published by Metal Blonde November , 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 432
Format: ARC, eBook
Source: Copy for Honest Review, Purchased
Also by this author: Dust to Dust
Amazon US
Goodreads

A troubled Scottish rugby player who doesn't play by the rules.

A vivacious man-eater who's given up on love.

When it comes to Lachlan and Kayla, opposites don't just attract - they explode.

From the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling author of The Pact and The Offer, comes The Play, a standalone spinoff and contemporary romance about taking chances and rescuing hearts.

Kayla Moore has always been comfortable with her feisty, maneating reputation. At least it was fine until she hit her thirties and saw her best friends Stephanie and Nicola settle down with Linden and Bram McGregor, leaving Kayla to be the odd one out. Tired of being the third wheel with nothing but one-night stands and dead-end dates in San Francisco, Kayla decides to take a vow of celibacy and put men on the backburner.

That is until she lays her eyes on Linden and Bram's cousin, hot Scot Lachlan McGregor. Lachlan is her sexual fantasy come to life - tall, tatted, and built like a Mack truck. With a steely gaze and successful rugby career back in Edinburgh, he's the kind of man that makes her want to throw her vow right out the window. But Lachlan's quiet and intense demeanor makes him a hard man to get to know, let alone get close to.

It isn't until the two of them are thrown together one long, unforgettable night that Kayla realizes there is so much more to this brooding macho man than what meets the eye. But even with sparks flying between the two, Lachlan can't stay in America forever. Now, Kayla has to decide whether to uproot her whole life and chance it all on someone she barely knows or risk getting burned once again.

Sometimes love is a game that just needs to be played.

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How would you describe THE PLAY in 3 words?

Tiffany: Sexy, sad, and hopeful. What about you?

Debbie: First word that comes to mind is ‘Bowchikawowow’.

Tiffany: Due to the beast that is LACHLAN!

Debbie: And I have to agree with you..this story was definitely hopeful and emotional. Lachlan is a beast. He’s definitely my favorite McGregor.

Tiffany: Favorite hands down, like who cares about the other two. Not really, but almost.

Debbie: HAHAHAHA. That’s how I felt while reading this book. Like who were the previous dudes? Larry and Bob?

Tiffany: Pike and Joe?! They pretty much fell out.

Why do you think Lachlan was so different from the other McGregors? What made him standout from Linden and Bram?

Tiffany: Partly because he was adopted, but if Karina didn’t didn’t make this beautiful man as broken as he was I wouldn’t of loved it as much as I did. He stood out because he was the complete opposite of a male lead (sort of). He wasn’t so much out to save Kayla (the somewhat damsel in distress), but he needed her to save him. I think that’s what made him different. Bram and Linden did not have inner turmoil to this extent, not that they really had any. For me that’s what set him apart.

It wasn’t all let me put the slipper on your foot and we live happily ever after. It was real.

Debbie: I totally agree with you about Lachlan having more conflict. It kind of made Linden and Bram’s drama seem trivial compared to Lachlan’s past and the demons that haunt him. Karina definitely makes your heart ache for this man, who on the outside looks like a beast, but is really a wounded animal on the inside. As a woman, you can’t but want to be that glue to mend his broken soul. I’m a sucker for the broken or damaged heroes.

Tiffany: Yes! Omg! He in a sense is a pit bull so misunderstood but so loving and loyal. Everything about mending his soul is spot on, agreed 100%

Debbie: Don’t most women fantasize about taming the best? That’s what Lachlan is. I wanted to be the Beauty to Lachlan’s Beast, and make him realize that it is possible for someone to love, care, heal, and save him. I want to be a Disney Princess damnit!

Tiffany: He is nothing short of beast, and she really wrote him in that essence like he was all rough edges and just needed the little tiny creature that is Kayla to lay his demons to rest!

So what did you think about Kayla?

Tiffany: I actually really loved her… I generally think all heroines are DUMB. But I really like how she was the outcast and was constantly filter free but Lachlan was able to stoop her. I think her inner dialogue was real she didn’t think everything would be perfect and wonderful she had real doubts and fears about her blooming “relationship” with Lachlan and her life in general. In part 2 her emotions just ate me alive, I loved everything about her really.

Debbie: I loved Kayla. To be honest, I wasn’t sure I would end up liking her as much as I did. I enjoyed her character in the first two books, but I wasn’t sure how much depth there was to her character. The spunky Asian slut really surprised me. I love how loving and tender she was. Not just with Lachlan, but with her friends and family. She’s definitely the kind of friend who will be there for you through thick or thing. She’s the one that’s ready to cut somebody.

Tiffany: Yeah she was!

Debbie: I loved seeing her relationship with her mom too.

Tiffany: That was a definite tear jerker.

Debbie: I think seeing her being so devoted to her mom showed how Kayla just wasn’t this wild party girl that we had assumed she was.

Tiffany: Her layers definitely went deeper than that. You’re so right.

Debbie: And being able to see that gave me hope that she would be able to handle whatever or all of Lachlan’s issues. I also really enjoyed reading a book where the heroine was of another ethnicity…or at least half. Cause you know most contemporary romances star caucasian characters

Tiffany: True! White girls are cool and all… But Asians have #greedyvaginas

Debbie: #truedat

Tiffany: Hahhaha I just have a needy one… That wants Lachlan

Debbie: Not want but NEED that Lachlan D!

Tiffany: Ummm… Yes! Him taking her raw was the hottest shit EVER!

Debbie: Lachlan and Kayla’s sex scenes in THE PLAY overshadowed all sex scenes in The Pact and The Offer.

Tiffany: And Bram had a hot masterbation session…

But…

I could envision Lachlan over me propped up on elbows… I’m mean over Kayla!

Debbie: Every single one of their love scenes gave me vagina tingles. TMI?

Tiffany:  Black Heart knows no such thing of TMI!

Debbie: Bram’s masturbation scene was hot but the scene where Lachlan has Kayla bent over and he’s all pulling her hair…..ovary explosion.

Tiffany: Or when he took her by the window?! Damn!

Debbie: Or the under the kilt blow job? FUCK ME!

Tiffany: He was so primal and once again dare I say the word beast… But that all played into it!

Tiffany: Omg! I almost forgot about under the kilt blow job!

Debbie: You know I highlighted and marked all the sexy times.

Tiffany: When I grow up I want to give blow jobs like Kayla and swallow cum like a champ!

Debbie: #lifegoals

Tiffany: I wish she could give me lessons!

Debbie: Dirty whore.

We both agree that Lachlan and Kayla sizzle in the bedroom, but what did you think about their relationship? Did you find their chemistry outside the bedroom to be just as compelling?

Tiffany: I would say it was fragile and that’s what compelled me to it. It was so foreign for the both them and honestly and this may or may not be a spoiler but with the entirety of this book I would of accepted it whether it be a HEA or not and still be happy with either outcome… Because yes they meshed and he was perfectly showing her off the way any woman wants to be showcased, but they had onlyy known each other such a short time that I wouldn’t say there was much “relationship” yet more so passion for one another.

Does that even make sense?

Debbie: I get what you’re saying.

Tiffany: I’m glad you get me!

Debbie: Their relationship moved really fast. Like they went from 0 to 60 in 2.5 seconds. There were parts of this book that made me think that these two really shouldn’t be together. I honestly wasn’t sure if Kayla would be able to handle all of Lachlan’s heavy baggage. But she sensed early on that he had a lot of issues and that didn’t turn her away. It’s like Kayla sensed instantly that Lachlan wasn’t someone you just toss aside so easily. And that’s what he needed. Someone who really saw him for him and was still willing to stand by him continuing towards him rather than running from him.

Kayla had that sense that Lachlan wasn’t just some stray dog you just ignored and let continue to live a sad and lonely life. With a little care, she was able to get him where he needed to be.

Tiffany: My heart just clenched. Like I really felt it pulse.

Debbie: I hope it’s still pulsing or you’d be dead!

Tiffany: Hahaha! Debbie I’m a Vampire!

Where there any parts of THE PLAY that didn’t work for you?

Tiffany: This may sound frivolous…but some of her Asian traits weren’t as true to form, I do know she was born and raised in America but I would of liked her to be a bit more Asian-esque

Debbie: I totally get what you’re saying. I haven’t read a lot of contemporary romances where the female lead is of Asian descent so when you do find a book with one, you want to be able to connect or relate to that character. Some of her characteristics did stick out a little and I did find myself asking, “Say whaaa?”

Like, have you ever met an Asian girl with naturally long lashes?

Tiffany: Nope! Never! I’ve been wearing falsies since I was 16!

Debbie: And what Asian from the Bay Area doesn’t say ‘Hella’?

I was seriously expecting her to say ‘Hella’ a few times. I’m totally stereotyping my Asian peeps from the Bay Area but seriously every Asian person I know from there says ‘Hella.’

Tiffany: Yeah, hella is a definite staple!

Like you mentioned Asian heroines usually never get a staring role so it’s exciting when they do, maybe we are on the bias though.

Debbie: We are. We should be should become Asian authenticators.

Debbie: I do a have another issue with Lachlan and Kayla’s story. The last few chapters of this book was similar to how the story arch of the The Play and The Offer concluded. I don’t want to spoil the story for anyone, but it just seemed familiar and repeated.

(Debbie explains which parts she’s talking about to Tiffany but we’ll leave that out cause we’re not spoilery brats)

Tiffany: I didn’t even think about that to be honest, but now that you mention it they did sound about the same.

Debbie: You definitely saw it coming but I was hoping that Karina would have used a different device to drive them apart. Like, I get why Kayla did what she did but….shit…I don’t know. I wish she and Bram would have been able to resolve their shit differently.

Tiffany: I was in limbo with that too. I almost thought she wasn’t, and I think the reality of losing her would of hit harder for Lachlan.

Sorry for the vagueness….

Debbie: Lachlan definitely needed that push to get himself cleaned up but I was hoping that it wouldn’t be losing her.

Tiffany: Also I wished the actual fight would of been addressed more after…Because that was a heavy hitter and it was raw and intense! It deserved a bit more recognition. His words hurt me as if he were speaking directly to me and I wanted him to know the hurt they caused. I mean I know he was remorseful but I wanted her to rip him apart for it so she can really show him no matter what she will help piece him back together.

Debbie: YES! As painful as that scene was, I really loved it. That’s why I was upset what happened afterwards happened because I felt like they never really dealt with that situation. And then BAM! Lachlan is getting his shit together and then they’re happy fucking like rabbits again.

That fight/argument scene though….I loved it.

Tiffany: He really laid it on her

Debbie: Right? That was such a good scene. But I also expected for Kayla to fight back. She’s always been so fiesty and I was a little disappointed that she didn’t. Like she was just this defeated little puppy.

Tiffany: That’s shit men really say, not the baby I’ll be here when you come around nonsense. They really call you a whore and fool! Yeah but I think if anything she was shameful because in that moment only he proved to her “maybe” she should of never came in the first place

Overall, what are your thoughts of The Play? How many stars would you rate it?

Tiffany: I think I would rate it almost a 5, just about 5. I loved Lachlan and I feel like my love for him overshadows things that may have bothered me. Shiny things distract me

Debbie: What the hell is just about 5?

Tiffany: Like it slid home you know…Like, Ahhhh I almost got you pregnant, but I saved you

Debbie: OMG! I can’t with you right now.

Tiffany: Hahah sorry.

Debbie: I definitely liked The Play more than I did The Offer. I  was definitely a lot more emotionally invested in Lachlan and Kayla’s story. I’m a sucker for damaged heroes, and I loved that Karina delved into heavier themes with this book. I loved that she was able to give us all the romantic and sexy times ,but also gave us a good amount of angst. This is definitely my favorite book out of all the McGregors and I’m wishing that she continues with the heavy hitting stuff in Brigs’s book. She better give us his book or I might go over to her house and steal all her boots and handbags.

Tiffany: I will venture into that adventure with you Brigs better get a book! But yes, I loved the issues this book touched. Lachlan and Kayla were a completely different breed and I loved them!

Debbie: As far as rating…I’m still torn. There were a few other issues I had with the book on top of what we briefly discussed which is making want to give this book 3.5 to 4 stars. If the issues had been eliminated or dealt with differently, this book would have definitely been 4.5 star. Maybe even 5 stars because of all the good sex scenes.

Anything else….?

Tiffany: Lachlan is a beast. We like Kayla, just wish she was a better Asian. Brigs better get a book!!

Debbie: What she said.

Tiffany’s Rating: 5 Stars

Debbie’s Rating: 3.5? 4? 4.5? I really enjoyed the sex.

 

 

About Karina Halle

Karina Halle is a former travel writer and music journalist and The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling author of Where Sea Meets Sky, Racing the Sun, The Pact, Love, in English, The Artists Trilogy, Dirty Angels and over 20 other wild and romantic reads. She lives on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her rescue pup, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails and devours a lot of books.

Halle is represented by the Waxman Leavell Agency and is both self-published and published by Atria Books/Simon & Schuster and Hachette in North America and in the UK.

Hit her up on Instagram at @authorHalle, on Twitter at @MetalBlonde and on Facebook. You can also visit www.authorkarinahalle.com and sign up for the newsletter for news, excerpts, previews, private book signing sales and more.


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Chat Review: Stepbrother Dearest by Penelope Ward

Chat Review: Stepbrother Dearest by Penelope WardStephbrother Dearest by Penelope Ward
September 28, 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased

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. But things started changing between us, and it all came to a head one night.

Then, 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.

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We have teamed up again to review Penelope Ward’s latest new adult romance, STEPBROTHER DEAREST. This heart-warming story about an innocent girl who wears her heart on her sleeves and a pierced, tattooed smart-ass boy totally surprised us. Stepbrother Dearest is one of those books that captures you as soon as you start reading and will keep up late at night. 
 
  
Describe STEPBROTHER DEAREST in three words.
 
Ali: Surprising. Emotional. Addictive.
 
Debbie: Unexpected. Unputdownable. Feels.
 
 
Before we get any further, what were your initial thoughts about reading a step sibling romance?
 
Ali: I enjoy messed up situations, so I was excited to read it.  I’ve never read a step sibling book before but forbidden romance has always appealed to me. 
 
Debbie: The aspect of a step sibling romance really didn’t bother me or put me off. I love reading taboo romances. I was really curious and looking forward to see how Penelope Ward handled this somewhat controversial topic. 
 
 
So what did you think about step siblings Elec and Greta?
 
Ali: I loved Elec. From the time he enters the book he’s a captivating character.  He’s exactly the kind of guy I enjoy reading. Smart ass, rough, a little mysterious and a total dick.  I enjoy watching the layers peel away from a character like that and slowly learning the more intimate parts of them.  
 
Greta on the other hand, was not as strong of a character for me.  She’s kind, sweet, a bit innocent but there were not a lot of really compelling traits.  I would have liked to see more of her personality, more of her quirks. 
 
However, together I really enjoyed their chemistry.
 
Debbie: I agree. Greta wasn’t the strongest of characters, but for the story it really worked well for me. She’s sweet, kind-hearted, and innocent – the total antithesis of Elec. I loved how easily she accepted Elec to her home even though his dad didn’t wasn’t as welcoming. She kept giving him the benefit of the doubt even when he was being a total dick to her. I think at that time in his life, having someone like Greta is exactly what he needed, and that’s why I ended up liking her. 
 
As for Elec, well I loved the guy too. He totally captivated me as much as Greta was when he first walked into the house. Smug jerks with a smart-ass mouth are just the kind of guys I love. Greta was the yin to Elec’s yang and I thought they had really great chemistry and that really paid off when things started to hear up between the two. 
 
Ali:  You are so right, Greta is exactly what Elec needed.  Not only in his teenage years but I think also as adults.  It was obvious he was in a good place in his life when Greta comes back into it, but it was only ‘good’.  He still was not able to be 100% himself with anyone but Greta, which speaks volumes.
 
 
From the moment Elec walked into Greta’s house he was a total douchbag to her. What were your thoughts about his behavior and how he treated Greta?
 
Ali: As I stated above, I loved that part of him.  He baits her, he plays with her…like she’s his own personal play thing.  I thought it was adorable in a really twatty way!
 
Debbie: Twatty. Haha! Love it. I know his treatment of Greta seemed really harsh but I just brushed that off as teenage angst. I mean, if I was a teenage who had to move from California to Boston with a new family, I would probably have acted like a dick too. Also, the pranks he played on Greta gave us an insight to an Elec that wasn’t all dramatic, emo, or whatever the fuck teens are. It’s showed a lighter side of him, and I think, in a way, it helped him settle in with his new family. 
 
 
The majority of Stepbrother Dearest was written in Greta’s point of view but Ward gave us a bit of insight to Elec’s mind by letting us read his autobiography. What did you think about the change of POV?
 
Ali: While I loved getting a peak at Elec’s thoughts and I thought the way she introduced his POV into the story was smart…it was too repetitive.  There are some very important revelations learned through Elec’s point of view that made the story so much more emotional but there was also a lot that I quite nearly skimmed.
 
Debbie: Totally agree, Ali. I loved being able to hear Elec’s side of the story, and Ward’s way of doing it was brilliant. You really felt how personal it was when Greta was reading his story and it really tugged at my heartstrings. But I also agree that it felt too repetitive. I wish some scenes weren’t almost an exact retelling of what I had just read a chapter or two ago, with the exception of Elec’s personal thoughts. The repeated scenes is what swayed me from not giving this 5-stars. 
 
 
Overall, what were your thoughts about Stepbrother Dearest?
 
Ali: I loved how unexpected Stepbrother Dearest was for me.  I went into it expecting an angst ridden story of step siblings being ruled mainly by outside forces, i.e. parental control. And while there is that, there is really so much more story there.  Elec is a pretty deep character and the twists and turns that the story takes due to his choices was not at all what I anticipated.  This book delivered numerous heart fluttering moments and a few times I caught myself holding my breath in anticipation for how things were playing out. Those aren’t things I experience in many reads.  So, while I had some issues with Greta, with Elec’s POV and with an ending that felt a little easy and rushed; it was still a pretty fantastic read for me.
 
Debbie: I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump lately and I found the books I had been reading to be pretty underwhelming. The excitement I usually feel when reading had been missing for a while but Stepbrother Dearest changed that. I found my self totally absorbed in Elec and Greta’s story and could not put it down. I stayed up really late to read the first three-quarters of the book and immediately jumped back in to the story the very next morning. Ward really did a great job in making me feel while reading this story. I felt Greta’s excitement when meeting her new sibling. I felt her shock and hurt when Elec was a total dick to her. I felt her heartbreak and loss when Elec leaves. From beginning to end, Penelope Ward had me feeling everything that Greta felt and that’s what made me love this book. 
 

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