Tuesday, November 11, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: He Belongs With Me by Sarah Darlington

So the night I started reading this I was in a bit of a reading funk. I’d picked up at least three other books off my TBR pile before this one and none of them were doing it for me. It was kinda like being hungry, but nothing you sampled really tasted right.
(No, not the fruit).
WTF does that mean then, you ask? Well read this book and ‘peaches’ will make sense.

Anyways, author Sarah Darlington had graciously provided a copy of He Belongs With Me in advance of the release of Leo Maddox, the companion book coming out on November 25th.  Both are stand-alones and you can read either one or both. So since the cover reveal for Leo Maddox was coming up (check back on Sunday, November 16th for the cover), I decided it was time to open He Belongs With Me, which was also on my ever growing TBR pile. And that was the book that hit the spot!
Character Interview: Click HERE

He Belongs With Me by Sarah Darlington

5 Stars
Set in a golfing community in Blue Creek, Virginia, amidst the Blue Ridge Mountains, the story is told via the alternating first person point of views of 21 year old twin sisters, and it’s a bit like getting two stories in one. And it’s executed well as the girls’ love lives are intertwined.

Maggie Ryder is the “good” twin. She’s “daddy’s” favorite and a people pleaser. Clara Ryder is the “bad” twin. She’s the black sheep of the family who does what she wants, when she wants, and doesn’t mind shaking things up. Leo Maddox is a hotel mogul’s son, who lives across the golf course from them. He has a bit of an attitude, drinks too much, but dresses the role of heir to a fortune. The three have grown up together as their mothers were best friends before the twins’ mother died and Leo’s mother left.  

But these are all surface descriptions, and that’s one of the best qualities of this book. The characters aren’t one dimensional at all. They defy stereotypes and each in their own way are quite likeable. The “bad” girl is pure; the good girl is more experienced; and the rich guy isn’t really materialistic.

Oh and then there’s Dean. Dean is a bit of a continually unraveling mystery.

So what’s the plot?  Well, Clara thinks she hates Leo. Maggie thinks she’s in love with Leo, her best friend. Or does she have feelings for Robby? Sound like a soap opera? Well it’s not. It’s a well written new adult dual romantic comedy. It’s funny, but not cheesy. (I caught myself snorting out loud a few times.) Sweet but not sappy. And full of surprises and twists that aren’t predicable. In fact, some twist you won’t even anticipate till you read them. And while it sounds like a lot going on the story is never hard to follow.

How does this all get sorted out? Well at a minimum it requires a “driving” accident; a peak at someone’s bare butt, and a kiss…or kisses. (There are four people involved here.) And in the end the people who belong together end up together.

I really liked both girls’ tales, possibly for different reasons. Maggie’s kept me turning pages for the mystery aspects to the plot with Dean; Clara’s kept me turning for the banter and chemistry between her and Leo.

Plus, Clara is a great character. She’s spunky and sometimes no holds barred. But she’s also sensitive and sweet too. Leo can be a smart aleck and has this brooding rich boy quality about him, but at the same time he’s quite vulnerable.   
“I’m gonna say stupid shit sometimes…That’s a given. And you’re probably gonna find new and interesting ways to piss me off. That’s a given too.”
The two have an ‘I hate you/I love you’ kind of relationship. They just have a way of getting under each other’s skin. Oh and she’s nearly killed him twice. 
“You have a funny way of flirting with me, Clara. One I never understood until just this moment.”
There are a ton of cute circumstances and original scenes. I want to share all the ones I enjoyed, but I don’t want to ruin it at the same time. I will say I loved and laughed at the golf cart scene; the gift exchange was so sweet; and when the pairs finally came together it was pretty hot.

This is a gem of a book with lots of originality. If you’re craving a love triangle twist, hold the angst, with a topping of humor and a double helping of HEA then this light-hearted new adult read is the one to order!


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