Genre: New Adult
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Rating: 4 Stars
I’m a fan of Bella Jewel. Let’s get that out of the way now. All one has to do is look through my read books and you’ll see that I’ve got a knack for picking up and reading her stories. There’s just something about her writing style, the stories she chooses to tell that pull me in and they don’t let go.
This story was much like the others in that way. Sometimes I feel like a speed reader with the way I devour her books. When she’s not tackling the world of the MC, she’s writing second chance romances or like this one, subjects that aren’t quite acceptable socially. She’s able to do this with a flair that not a lot have, which makes me continuously come back for more.
Step-Lover, I’m going to admit, I was afraid to read. I’ve been coming across a lot of step brother/sister books in my travels lately and they all seem to follow a similar road. There’s nothing wrong with the road that’s taken per-say, but once you’ve read ten of the same type of book, you’ve read them all. (And I wrote a step sibling book).
There was nothing to be scared of here. In fact, I’m extremely happy that I came across this and that it was Bella that wrote it. Not only were the characters well-built and believable, but so was the situation in which she put them in. Where in other stories, I’m usually drowning in sex (and truthfully, I don’t mind sex in a book if it connects to the actual romance you’re trying to convey), I wasn’t here and it was a pleasant surprise.
Was there sex? Yeah there was. Was it hot? As hot as sex can be in a book, yes it was. Did I feel that the story itself was based more around that aspect of their relationship than anything else? No. It was a pretty good balance of both, and for me personally, it worked.
What I liked most about this book was the way the relationship was shown throughout. How it started, how they didn’t know each other before and the reaction from both of them and various family members later in the story when the truth did come out. The way it was touched on made me extremely happy. It looked at it from all angles. The way society (their family and outsiders) would look at them and the relationship, and also how they themselves handled it.
There was quite a bit of back and forth in this book. Blade pulling away. Aria wanting to give up but being unable to. It did go back and forth quite a few more times than I was expecting, but why it didn’t drive me crazy is because I can imagine being in their shoes and I can’t imagine there being an easy part of what they were going through at all.
The only real issue I had with this story was Blade’s relationships after they’re met again. Was it wrong of him to back away and move on? Not entirely, but the way it was portrayed, how important this other woman became, it made it hard to see Aria as anything other than another woman. She was no better than the one he had used to move on from her. It just didn’t sit right with me. I had a hard time believing in them after that, but was it enough to twist up everything else I loved about this book? No.
I guess I’m just not a real big fan of a guy that takes off, moves on essentially, but then when he finally accepts the girl he loves back into his life, snapping at her and treating her like a child for having feelings regarding his relationship with another woman. Can you tell I was Team Aria? Lol
Overall though, my love of this book will always come back to the family aspect. Her step brothers (the other ones) and the mom and step-dad she gained and what they had built together by the books end. It was fantastic and refreshing and the top reason I’m happy not only that I read it, but that Bella wrote it.
If you’re a fan of step brother romances, taboo subjects, Bella Jewel or romance in general, I think you’ll like this. Just realize going in that it’s not easy breezy. It’s a complicated story with even more complicated people that by the end find what they’re looking for. In all aspects.