I have been dying to read Stepbrother Dearest since I first heard about it. I couldn't wait to get my hands on this forbidden romance, and I knew I was going to really love it. I can honestly say that I couldn't put this book down. I pretty much read it in one sitting and devoured it because I had to know what would happen and how everything would turn out.
When Greta meets her stepbrother Elec for the first time the attraction she feels to him is instant. However she never expects for him to be such a jerk to her. Now that he will be living with them for her senior year, she is determined to make the best of the situation and tries her hardest to be nice to him. Elec continues to go out of his way to mess with her, but they both can't help but feel a pull to one another. Just when things finally seem to be on the right track between the two of them, Elec is gone again leaving Greta with only her memories of him and the single night they spent together. But years later when tragedy strikes, Elec and Greta are reunited only everything had changed. Elec is no longer the boy she remembered and things between them are more complicated than ever. As Elec and Greta get to know one another again, Greta feared that she will end up heartbroken all over again.
I liked both Greta and Elec. Elec was clearly struggling with a lot and you just knew that there was so much more to him than you could first see. He didn't let others in easily, and once his history was revealed it was clear why. But I loved that Greta was always the one person that got under his skin. She was able to affect him in a way that no one else could, and I loved how he let her in without even making a choice to. Greta was great as well. She loved Elec unconditionally and was always there for him no matter what he would do or how he treated her. While she did come off as a little weak at times, it was easy to see that it was only that way with Elec. She was smart and successful and had a good head on her shoulders. She could have settled at any point with someone who could make her reasonably happy, but she chose to be alone rather than be with someone that wasn't able to give her the love and passion that she had felt with Elec. I really felt how much she cared about Elec, and because of that I didn't feel as though she was a weak character but rather that she just couldn't stop herself from loving Elec regardless of how many times he tried to push her away. What made their physical connection so strong to me was that they also had that emotional bond between them. They connected with each other unlike they could with anyone else, and I think that is what really brought the heat between them.
The reason for this book not being a five star read for me was actually a few things. I thought that this one was going to be quite the taboo romance, but it ended up being something completely different. Not that it was a bad thing, because it wasn't. I enjoyed the story a lot and I really liked the book. It just wasn't what I had been expecting, and I thought that the author tried to make it more taboo than it was by mentioning the fact that they were step-siblings more than was needed. It felt like she was trying to drive the taboo point home, and it didn't really work for me because they hardly lived together or were around one another and didn't feel like siblings at all. Another reason was Elec's relationship with Chelsea. It was hard for me to get over his love for her. He truly loved her and was planning a future with her. He had moved on from Greta in a way that she had never been able to and that bothered me. I felt like his love for Chelsea was a ton, but just not as much as his love for Greta and that just left me feeling a bit unsatisfied with how things went between them. I wanted his love for Greta to stand out and be all consuming rather than his feelings for her were just stronger than for Chelsea. My other big reason for it not being a five star read was because I wanted more of Elec's POV. We were given some of that towards the end of the book, and I thought that it was done in a really clever way. I really enjoyed seeing his thoughts and feelings about everything, and I really wish that it had been done throughout the entire story. But despite those things, I honestly really liked this book. Stepbrother Dearest had me from the very beginning and I was so into this story that I just kept turning the pages until I was finished. I liked how Penelope Ward was able to give us the heat and steam you would expect, but that she also was able to show such an emotional connection and the depth of feelings between these characters. I highly recommend this book, and I can't wait to read more from her in the future.
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