I honestly couldn't wait to read this book despite the fact that it is Harlow Grace's debut novel. With a debut novel, you never quite know what you are going to get. While I love discovering new authors, that gamble doesn't always pay off. But a forbidden stepbrother romance is one of my guilty pleasures, and I just can't help myself. That being said, Monster Stepbrother wasn't what I had been expecting or hoping for and I am sad to say this book wasn't for me.
After her father remarried, Maya Childs went from being her daddy's princess to having to compete for his attention with her new stepmother. She also gained a stepbrother who was four years older than her, and hated her from day one. But the older they got, the more the attraction between them grew and both of them found themselves obsessed with each other. When things finally became too much for them to fight, Oliver made it clear that Maya belonged to him and he would do as he pleased with her. But is there more to their relationship than the obsession and passion they share for each other?
I couldn't connect with these characters, and honestly that was a huge part of why this book didn't work for me. Oliver was supposed to be all alpha and possessive, and at times he tried to act like that. But to me that was all it was, an act. He didn't really come off as being a true alpha, and honestly he didn't really have any redeeming qualities that made the reader want to like him. He was pretty much just a jerk, and he treated Maya horribly. There was one specific time that he was awful to her, and it honestly bothered me. She had just done something really sad and was clearly in need of help, and the way he treated her was disgusting. Maya was the case of a character who didn't know what she wanted to be. One minute she was sweet and innocent, the next she was a sexed up vixen, and then the next she was playing the victim. It was really hard to figure out who the real her was when the author would make her pine for Oliver one minute as though anything between them was hopeless, and the next she would turn Maya into the sexy tease that was seducing Oliver. It just didn't mesh to me, and I couldn't connect at all. Beyond the physical attraction, we never saw these two develop any kind of connection. How could the reader possibly believe in a relationship or love between them when all we saw was Oliver being a jerk to Maya or the two of them having sex?
I try not to give spoilers in my reviews as I don't think that it is fair to the author or the reader. But I will say that there are a few things that I feel readers should be aware of before they read this book. If you do not want to read anything that could possibly spoil it, I would suggest you stop reading now. Besides the characters in this story, one of the biggest issues I had was the fact that Oliver was sleeping with someone else almost this entire book through. I just couldn't get past that. It pretty much killed the story for me. I also felt like there were a few things that could be a trigger for those that have some issues with self violence, and readers should be aware of that before going into this book. I will also say that while I thought that this story had promise, it was very noticeable to me that this was the author's debut. There were a lot of jumps in time, and it was a bit disorienting. This book was choppy and hard to really get into. I wasn't drawn in the way I should have been with such a forbidden and sexy story. I also found the dialogue a bit strange at times, and it just didn't feel right. Overall, I was hoping for more with this book, but I just didn't get it. If you are looking for straight up steam and smut, you might give this one a shot. But with the writing, and the characters not really having many redeeming qualities I wouldn't suggest this book to anyone wanting something beyond sex.
**ARC Provided by Give Me Books**
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