Single Sunday: Stepbrother Dearest by Penelope Ward

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for Stepbrother Dearest (from Goodreads):

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.


Author: Penelope Ward
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Heat Rating: Toasty
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: September 2014
Source & Format: Own–eBook


Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Penelope Ward is one of those authors that was everywhere when I first started reading New Adult romances. I have quite a few books on my TBR by her but I haven’t read any of them. But I really loved the concept for this one and kept it on my TBR for years.

The Plot:

This story is told in two parts. The first is their time as teens when they last see each other. The second part is their reunion and the events that follow.

I really enjoyed the first part. I loved watching their hate to love you relationship unfold. They have great chemistry.

And that’s kinda why the second half–their second chance–fell apart for me. Seven years apart with no contact doesn’t convince me these two belong together when they were only together for a few months as teens. I wanted a little more interaction and connection, not just the assumption of past feelings.

The Characters:

Elec is the quintessential bad boy with a secret heart of gold. I loved peeling back his layers. Greta is sweet and I enjoyed seeing her character evolve in the latter half of the novel. It was so easy to feel for both of them and their situations.

The Romance:

Again, I loved their initial chemistry and their forbidden romance. I could see how they would be drawn to each other and a good match. But after seven years of being apart, I just needed a little more time to see that rekindle and truly make sure they are a good match after their lives when in separate directions. Because who you are at 25 is not who you are at 18. It was a little too kismet and “fate” and not as much logic as I would have hoped.

My Rating: 2/5


This started out so strong for me but fell apart in the end.

Read if You Like: forbidden love, angsty love
Avoid if You: dislike contemporary romance


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