Monday, February 9, 2015

REVIEW/RELEASE: Monster Stepbrother by Harlow Grace

His dark obsession runs deep.
How does a girl go from being her Daddy’s precious baby doll to feeling like a filthy whore?
Easy really. When my father remarries it changes the course of my life and everything becomes...complicated.
My new stepbrother is a monster who hates me. Unapologetic, controlling and brazen he’s intent on making my life a living hell. Blackmails me into doing things I never thought I’d do. Illicit things. 
Oliver King makes the rules. He f*cks me whenever he wants. How he wants. Where he wants.
My head screams this is wrong, yet I can't resist giving in to forbidden desires.
I’m his possession, his toy — his ultimate pleasure.
He’s never letting me go. I’m his dark obsession.
My dirty addiction to my stepbrother grows to a dangerous level. Am I sick to crave more from the man who has made me his slut? Or should I escape and run as far away as possible? 
My name is Maya Childs and this is my story. 

Dark erotic novel that contains sensitive subject matter that may make readers uncomfortable. Not appropriate for readers under 18. Contains explicit language and descriptions of sexual situations and violence.

~Book Review~
2 stars

Let me first clarify the synopsis because maybe this is where I had a different impression of the book going into it than what I actually took away from the story after reading it…

Is Oliver obsessed? Yes. But does his obsession make him devoted to her? No! Does he introduce her to a dark and erotic world? Not probably the way some are thinking (or at least not how I envisioned).

Is Maya daddy’s little girl? So she says but it’s never really shown. Does Oliver treat her like his whore? Well he seems to view most, if not all, women that way.

I had high hopes for this book. It looked really intriguing, and I was looking forward to reading it. I did read it all in one sitting, holding out hope that it would turn around or avoid certain plot and character pitfalls. Unfortunately, there were a few too many deal breakers for me to give it any higher of a rating. 

To start, one of the biggest items I struggled with is that the main characters (Oliver and Maya) are either screwing or fooling around with other people for probably more than half of the book including the first 40%! I felt like a cold shower was being turned on what could have been some budding chemistry and real heat between the H and h. And sadly while I hoped that their encounters would possibly make up for some of it, they turned out incomplete and choppy, never delivering a real erotic punch that was implied. (Many of Oliver’s sexual proclivities felt thrown in rather than a specific aspect of his character.) I suppose technically there is no cheating as Oliver never makes any promises to any girl, but his bouncing around with different women (and one in particular that I didn’t understand his repeated use of) will not appeal to fans of monogamous pairings in their love stories.

As far as the characters go, they were a bit hard to relate to (secondary characters included). The bones are probably there for deep, intense characters but somehow none of them ever evolved. Oliver is a crazy jerk. I can’t think of a better way to describe him. He’s clearly got some serious issues he needs a good shrink to work out. He’s totally into slut-shaming (not cool) and repeatedly calls Maya a slut and whore. That’s one of many turn-offs that Oliver could boast. He also threatens to call up his pseudo girlfriend during sex with Maya when she won’t comply with his specific requests and frequently torments her by having loud sex in the room next to her. (I don’t know in what universe this turns a real girl on but it makes me want to puke just reading about it in multiple scenes).

Maya was intriguing in the beginning, and I thought she was going to be one of those heroines that defy stereotypes, challenging the H when he really needs it, but then she becomes weak and broken by him and looses all her spunk.

Bianca is your stereotypical bitch girlfriend. I hated this chic’s guts somehow and yet she really wasn’t a fully developed character. Her inclusion feels clichéd rather than as an engaging point of the story, and ultimately she’s a bit unresolved.

Be aware, there are very minimal moments of romance between Oliver and Maya. More “Little Bee” and so much less “Slut” would have gone a long way. There is so much confusing hot and cold flips between Oliver and Maya you’ll need a score card to keep up with what each is feeling at the moment even though both of their first person point of views are provided. At times their feelings and actions are contradictory and the time jumps in the plot certainly didn’t help that.  

Honestly both characters needed some serious professional help that their “love” for each other would not have believably fixed. Since they came from affluent families I never understood why they weren’t given access to the best therapy or why it wasn’t sought out for either of them at varying times when it was obvious. There are deep seated problems of self harm, misdirected anger, commitment, and self esteem among others.  What eventually happens in the way of their “happiness” felt way too little, too late. (The mark was missed in places long before). Some reveals and plot points felt a bit unbelievable; the dark aspect redeemed too easily; the resolution rushed.

Ultimately the story was not my cup of tea (and it had nothing to do with the step-sibling taboo aspect). Enjoyment for others will depend a lot on the type of plot they enjoy in a romance (dark or not) and what they are looking for in the characters. If the items mentioned above do not bother you, then it’s one to check out. If they do, then this is one to pass on.


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Harlow Grace has tried many things in her life but writing has always been and still remains her passion.  She loves to create characters in need of redemption and her stories are mostly all dark romance but then again, she likes to mix things up so don't be surprised if she publishes a sweet romance every now and then.  When she's not writing or reading, Harlow is plotting and planning her next adventure or dreaming of lazy days in the sun with a good book in one hand and a cocktail in the other.

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