Tuesday, February 4, 2020

BOOK REVIEW: Stepbrother with Benefits by Hazel Kelly

4 Stars

Feeling like the third wheel at his own apartment where his sister and best friend have gotten together (see book #1 My Best Friend’s Sister), James Mason has bought a house with issues almost as big as his family issues. And James’s family situation is only getting dicier when he temporarily moves into his dad’s house, still occupied by his step-sister.
Brie, 25, is a graduate student working on her MFA and trying to get published.  She doesn’t want any distractions, but it’s hard to ignore the step-brother who she’s always had a crush on.
“She’d never uttered my name like that before, as if she were pleading with me and surrendering at the same time. The sound made me harden on the outside and soften within. I sank my fingers into her hips and sucked a slip of her neck between my teeth, eliciting a whimper from her that made me forget everything: who we were, why it took me so long to do this, why it shouldn’t continue.”
I took an interest in James during the first book so I was pleased that he got his own story. Told via his and Brie’s alternating first person POV, James is a solid, reliable guy, trying to hold his family together and get the girl he always had a thing for. His advice and assessment about their parents was spot on.  

I had mixed feelings on Brie. On one hand, I high fived her for comments such as:
“‘Don’t infect me with your offensively dated views on gender roles.’”
At other times, I found her a little cool (not cold though) and detached. Now this was probably fitting for her character who’d gotten the short end of the stick when it came to her family, but it made it harder to feel warm and fuzzy about her.
“I was a headcase lately, swinging like a pendulum from blanket impersonator one minute to manic queen of vengeance the next, my moods as hard to predict as the fall weather.”
I was frustrated with her at times, especially when she pushed James away or didn’t even let him in. She didn’t have the spunk that Maddy did in the previous book.

In fact, that low angst steamy feel from book one seemed missing, right along with the actual Scrabble scene. It was such a motif and yet was only referenced rather than depicted. I kinda felt like it mistakenly ended up on the cutting room floor and needed reinserted. No pun intended….okay maybe a little one.  

Now what I ate up (I swear no pun this time) was the appearances of Quinn and Maddy. Quinn especially stole some of the scenes and made me want to re-read their story.

Now I’m hoping Maeve Mason gets her own book and her man before she makes a trip to the sperm bank.  

Safety Recap: 

*I volunteered to review this ARC from the author. All reviews written by Book-Bosomed Book Blog are honest opinions. In the interest of providing unbiased book reviews and to avoid misleading other readers, it is the blog’s policy not to withhold or delay any reviews no matter the star rating. To the best of my knowledge, this title was presented to the blog without any conditions or stipulations.

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