Stand-Alone Bully Stepbrother Romance!
The following ratings are out of 5:
World building: 🌎🌍🌏🌎🌏
Character development: 😳🤬😏🤓😎
The heroine: Harper Sloane – she grew up taking care of herself and moving from place to place whenever her mother started dating someone new. The last place she’d lived was a trailer park. Since her mother got married she has lived with the Dearth’s and is now part of what she considers a perfect family, which includes step-sister Rosie and step-brother Jude.
The Hero(es): Jude Dearth – he grew up caring for his little sister Rosie after his mother died. His father couldn’t be bothered to handle Rosie, who is mentally challenged and prone to tantrums. Jude and Rosie are also well accustomed to corporal punishments with a belt at the hand of their father and tiptoe around him in order to avoid his wrath.
The Story: Not long after moving into the Dearth household, Harper begins to have racy dreams that include Jude and she daily hopes they will go away. Jude starts to feel similar toward Harper after finding her in a compromising position one day, though he hates it since he sees her as pretentious and stuck up.
Harper is a loner though Jude thinks of her as a snob and even his football teammates see her as an “ice queen”. What they don’t know is that she has no friends and has moved from place to place so many times that she no longer bothers trying to make friends. I find it funny that though they consider her trailer trash and figure that makes her a slut, they still consider her a snobby ice queen. It seems a bit incongruous to me.
Harper’s only friend has been Alcohol since she first tried it when one of her mother’s boyfriends left a bottle and she got tipsy for the first time. She uses alcohol to forget and to sleep and even to get through the day. Jude is also a loner, though he is a successful quarterback at Cinderhart High. He is too somber and sober for most of the students to hang out with. He also has a bit of a problem with anger.
Jude and Harper end up in a battle of wills as each tries to one-up each other in bid to make the other miserable. Their games get dangerous and outright cruel, but I liked the give and take between them and the fact that it wasn’t always the guy getting the best of the girl like in some books. Though as their games more hateful, it feels like neither of them comes out a winner.
I genuinely liked both Jude and Harper, aside from Harper’s alcoholic tendencies, so I didn’t really like to see either of them becoming so mean that they hurt each other like they did. But then the book takes a turn that I didn’t expect and I really ended up loving where it went from there.
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