Reaper’s Fall, by Joanna Wylde

Reaper's fall

Grade: A

Doing it at: 36%

Catnip: Bikers, He’s Basically A Criminal, MC Romance, Tattoos, Opposites Attract, Strong Female Lead, Accidental Pregnancy, Hate to Love You, Dual Narrative, Pen Pals, Johnny Castle Complex

Shame Scale: Lower than it maybe should be? The men in Joanna Wylde’s books are not particularly concerned with being politically correct with their women, or anything else. But they’re so damned hot. The plot might be a fun one to explain to your great aunt Helen when she asks if you’ve read any good books over Thanksgiving dinner.

Fantasy Cast: Josh Mario John, Sophie Turner

Book Description:

He never meant to hurt her.

Levi “Painter” Brooks was nothing before he joined the Reapers motorcycle club. The day he patched in, they became his brothers and his life. All they asked in return was a strong arm and unconditional loyalty—a loyalty that’s tested when he’s caught and sentenced to prison for a crime committed on their behalf.

Melanie Tucker may have had a rough start, but along the way she’s learned to fight for her future. She’s escaped from hell and started a new life, yet every night she dreams of a biker whose touch she can’t forget. It all started out so innocently—just a series of letters to a lonely man in prison. Friendly. Harmless. Safe.

Now Painter Brooks is coming home… and Melanie’s about to learn that there’s no room for innocence in the Reapers MC.


Cleone: In a genre cluttered with MC novels, Joanna Wylde is writing some of the best ones out there. She’s created a world filled with hot alpha men and strong women we’d actually want to be friends with. We talked a little about our stance on feminism, and how being ok with the things that you like sexually IS feminism in our review for Silver Bastard. These men take what they want and we like what we like and no one should be apologizing for that.

Mary: I discovered the Reapers MC series way back when I was still getting my feet wet in the romance waters. It was after I stopped pretending I wanted to read anything other than sex-filled romances, but before I stopped being a little bit embarrassed by it. I picked up Reaper’s Property on a whim, and I loved it so much you guys. It’s about a biker who kidnaps a woman and tells her she’s going to have to work off her brother’s debt on her back if she wants to live. It was one of the books that made me begin to embrace the fact that yeah, I’m a feminist, and sometimes it’s really hot to read about criminal, maybe-a-tiny-bit-rapey, biker studs. I’m also pretty sure it was one of the first “should we maybe be a little bit ashamed of ourselves for thinking this is sofuckinghot?” books that Cleone and I bonded over. But we’re so so so very past that now. Bring on the criminals and the grey area and the men who just need to own their women.

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Overtime, by Toni Aleo

Overtime

Grade: B

Doing it at: 47%

Catnip: Hockey Players, Beards, Second Chance Love, Hate to Love You, Addiction, Serious Problems, Sports Stuff, Strong Female Lead, Brother’s Best Friend, Reformed Bad Boy

Shame Scale: Super low shame, the cover is obviously romance, but look at that guy.

Fantasy Cast: The glorious and sadly unknown to us man on the cover, Charlize Theron

Book Description:

Down and out with an injury keeping him away from the game, Assassins’ defenseman Jordie Thomas lives for the blades of his skates on the ice and the feeling of oblivion off it. With no choice but to heal, he’s forced away from the sport that runs through his veins. With everything at stake and darkness setting in, he quickly finds himself spiraling even further out of control. As his life begins to come crashing down around him and his contract with the Nashville Assassins on the line, he’s given an ultimatum. Ready or not, Jordie is forced to face his past, the fears that consume him, and the one woman he let walk away. 

Kacey King had her professional dreams come true, yet her heart was battered and broken. With an Olympic gold medal around her neck, she’s ready to look forward to the future but without the one man she wanted in it. She’s missing the key pieces of her heart she left months ago with the only person who was capable of destroying it, causing her to falter in all her plans to move on. 

In the game of life, there are winners and losers, and neither Jordie nor Kacey want to be on the losing bench. If only Jordie could convince Kacey he’s a changed man and that he wants her right by his side as his MVP for the biggest and best parts of a life they build together. With emotions running high and the game on the line, can two proud people find happiness with each other, or will their hearts and souls be left in the cold? Will they see that sometimes having someone by your side who knows the good, bad, and broken is better than going it alone and losing everything through the back of the net? They are out of time on the game clock and fighting for the win of their lives. 

But overtime was made for an Assassin like Jordie. 


Mary: Full disclosure. We bought this book for the cover model. 100%. Look at him:

Overtime

I don’t even want to admit to the lurid, depraved, bottomless depths of Tumblr I have explored, trying to find a dirty lookalike for this guy.

Dear Toni Aleo, *Slow Clap* Also, how about you HABO (Help A Bitch Out) and tell us who this model is so we can stalk him incessantly on Instagram.

Cleone: Seriously, this is maybe our best cover model of all time, if we didn’t want to avoid angering Jay Crownover we’d tweet this at her RE: this is how you do it (plus she redeemed herself with #HotCop).

Overtime 11

M: And also, hockey is kind of hot. I guess. I’m not really a sports person, but I think out of all of the sports, hockey has some of the better looking players (not counting the dental issues).

C: Hockey has Henrik Lundqvist. It is definitely hot. Plus I adore the Rachel Gibson Chinook series, so hockey has serious catnip for me.

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Knocked Up by the Bad Boy, by Vanessa Waltz

Knocked Up by the Bad Boy

Grade: C+

Doing it at: 23%

Catnip: Mafia; Motorcycles; He’s Basically A Criminal; Italian Pillow Talk; Accidental Pregnancy; Papa Don’t Preach; Sex at the OB’s; #LikeABoss; Dick-Dazzling

Shame Scale: Pretty high shame. Can you picture yourself reading this one at your in-laws, and having to answer someone who asks what you’re reading?

Fantasy Cast: Vincent Piazza; Nina Dobrev

Book Description:

The last thing I need is a wife and kid.

The only settling down I do is at night, when I take a girl home to f*ck. I get laid to unwind from the chaos in my life. I live to hear them scream my name, but one night is all they get.

One night was all I needed.

Until I knocked up Maya.

It was supposed to be one night. But one wild night made me want another, and another. I’m addicted to every inch of her body. Now that I have her, I can’t let her go. I thought I never wanted a family, but now I can’t imagine life without one.

Only, there’s a problem.

Her father wants me dead.

I didn’t know she was his daughter.
I don’t give a damn.
She’s mine. Our child is mine. I protect what’s mine.
Even if it means war.


Knocked Up by the Bad Boy is just the kind of book I needed to accompany my last day of work/frantic vacation packing. The kind of book where there might be a few surprises, but the title gives you all the major plot points. There’s a bad boy, and he’s going to get someone pregnant. Odds are excellent that there won’t be any emotional hangover, and you probably won’t have to pay attention too hard to follow the story. Bonus: books with the best titles usually have some of the best trash lines. In that respect, this book did not disappoint.

When I read this book, I had just finished watching The Wedding Planner (Find me a woman who didn’t like this movie and I’ll show you a liar), so I couldn’t get the image of Justin Chambers’s ridiculous Italian accent out of my head when I was trying to picture our hero, Johnny. Johnny is a mafia boss. The mafia of Montreal. Totes not joking. I love the idea of there being a big powerful Italian mafia in a French-Canadian city.

I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse, eh? 

Or maybe, Leave the gun, take the Tim Hortons. 

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Stay, by Emily Goodwin

https://i0.wp.com/badbirdreads.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/71/2014/09/cover-stay.jpg

Grade: C+

Doing it at: 74%

Catnip: Kidnapping, Accidental Pregnancy, Secret Love

Shame Scale:  I felt really awful reading this.

Fantasy Cast: I can’t fantasy cast this book. I wouldn’t want to think of anyone in the same position as the characters.

Book Description:

**Trigger Warning: This book is dark and is not suitable for readers easily offended by realistic tellings of human trafficking, those that do not wish to read about hard topics, or readers under the age of 18. If you want a feel-good, sexy read, this is NOT the book for you. Stay does not fit neatly into one genre. It’s part erotica, part dark romance, and part suspense thriller. It is a dark, gritty, and harrowing tale about finding love in the darkest of places. Read at your own risk. **

I felt like I was walking to the end of a plank precariously hanging over shark-infested water. When I jumped, sharp teeth would rip into me and the cold water would steal my breath away. The monsters would take everything from me, leaving me shivering and naked in the water. The only difference was that tonight I would be pulled from the icy darkness and forced to do it again. There would be no release from death, only pain.”

Home after her first year of college, Adeline Miller is looking forward to a stress free summer filled with reading, working on her blog, and spending time with friends. But all that changes in an instant when she is witness to something terrible, something she wasn’t supposed to see.

Beaten, drugged, kidnapped.

Adeline Miller is ripped from her innocent and carefree life and thrust into darkness, into a world full of pain and horror. As a sex slave, she is forced to do horrible things, and have horrible things done to her. One of her captors has a past as dark as the world she is now living in. Will getting close to him mean freedom? Or will he pull her deeper into the shadows?

*Stay is a bit of a departure from the fluffy stuff we normally read on Mybookshame, and while it wasn’t our kink, we know it might be your kink. The ladies who read and blog here firmly believe in “I Like what I Like!” as a rallying cry. 

This book was a tough read. And I don’t mean it was tough to read like Grey has been for many. The plot deals with human trafficking, a very real and very terrifying thing. Our lead character, Adeline, has an ideal life. She’s only 19. She’s an avid reader and blogger (much like some other girls we know). She lives at home with her parents and little sister. Then one day she decides to attend a Pride Parade with a couple of friends, sees something in an alley that she shouldn’t have, and just like that, is kidnapped. Poof.

The two men that kidnap her are Zane and Jackson. She is thrown in a car trunk, driven to an unknown location, then locked in a closet located in a basement with no food or water. She is brutally hit over and over again along the way. After she’s been in the closet for a while, she hears voices. They belong to two other girls. Although they are also in the basement, locked up, they ignore her pleas for help.

Eventually she is dragged upstairs to meet Nate, the brains of the operation. He laments on the fact that Zane smacked her around too hard and that she’ll need time to heal. This is when the panic Adeline is feeling kicks into high gear. Heal for what exactly? She makes an escape attempt, and is easily subdued by Zane, who is already showing his sadistic side. He drags her back down in to the basement, tries to rape her and is stopped by a quick knee to the stomach. At this point in the book I was questioning my reading choice here. The writing itself is good, but the subject matter is difficult to say the least.

Before meeting her basement roommates, she snoops around and discovers only sleazy clothes in the dressers and essentially nothing else. This is just further evidence to back up what she already fears. Then she meets Lily, Phoebe and Rochelle and there is no more guesswork involved. They divulge all the details of their lives, and now hers, while she listens in horror. The only escape is death, and that almost seems better.

Adeline is put to work, and her first “job” is described in horrific detail. Thankfully, it is only the first one that’s detailed. From this point on, Adeline is raped repeatedly by various men and tossed back in the basement after. Jackson is the one in charge of feeding the girls and doing their laundry, as well as several tasks upstairs in the pristine farmhouse. Adeline begins to notice small things about Jackson that clue her in that he may be suffering the same fate. He frequently is bruised and beaten, and is very timid around Zane and Nate. My brain started screaming “Stockholm Syndrome” but it is revealed that he is also owned by Nate.

It’s easy to see the plot being driven by Adeline’s unfaltering faith in humanity and her need to escape. Her and Jackson end up sharing more than just slavery in the end. But honestly, this book was brutal. The subject matter is heavy and dark. PEOPLE are sold and traded. It’s stomach-turning. I would not recommend this unless you are prepared. There is a mostly happy ending, and Adeline is a vigilant hero who is desperate to escape and see her family again. There is a companion novel told through Jackson’s POV, but I’m not sure I want to venture any further into this genre.

Axel, Corps Security #1, by Harper Sloan

axel

Grade: B-

Doing it at: 61%

Catnip: First Love; Alpha Hero; White Knight; Accidental Pregnancy; I Need a Soldier

Shame Scale: The dialog, talk of “weeping”parts, and super formulaic formula make this one pretty shame-tastic. But damn if I could quit it.

Fantasy Cast: Channing Tatum; Alessandro Ambrosio

Book Description:

Fate hasn’t always been friends with Isabelle West. In fact, fate has been a downright bitch.

Isabelle has learned the hard way how hard life can be when fate isn’t by your side. It can hand you dreams on silver platters, but it can snatch them right back and hand you nightmares. One thing Isabelle knew for sure fate was consistent with was taking away everything she ever loved.

For the last two years Isabelle has been slowly clearing the clouds of her past. Happiness is finally on the horizon. She has a thriving business, great friends, and her life back. All she has to do is jump over the last hurdle…her ex-husband.

When problems start causing her to fear her new life, and memories that are better left forgotten start rushing to the surface the last thing she needs is a ghost from her past to come knocking on her door.

Axel never thought he would look into the eyes of Isabelle West again, and he wasn’t sure he wanted to now. He’s carried his anger for so long he isn’t sure he can just turn it off, but when he is faced with protecting her and an unexpected desire to have her again, life gets a little more complicated.

How will Axel and Isabelle deal when all their cards are put on the table and everything they thought was true blows up in their faces?

Locke, book six in this series, was on sale for 99 cents on Amazon and I purchased it for the Family Library* last week. Because look at that cover guys.

locke

Mary messaged me to let me know she had the whole series in one collection already in there, and since I’m trying to be a good girl I thought I would go ahead and start with #1 and maybe just speed read through the entire series. Even though THIS was the Axel cover in the anthology:

axel2

The subtle difference in cover models make one look super hot, and one look like an ad for a bathhouse in San Fran where a bunch of guys can pee on you at once while you lie in a tub (that’s a real thing that happened at a bath house, not to me, and no shame in your game if that’s your thing).

Axel opens with a disclaimer about violence against women, I don’t need a trigger warning, but was glad it had been put in for other women who might. The opening scene between Izzy and her sociopath husband is brutal. He’s a controlling bastard whose violence towards Izzy has been escalating for six years. We meet her when it has reached fever pitch and he almost kills her for daring to go out and see her best friend, Dee, while he is at work. Luckily Dee has slipped Izzy a secret cell phone that she is able to use to call for help and Brandon doesn’t win that day.

We flash two years into the future. Izzy is trying to heal; but this abusive marriage wasn’t the first awful thing to happen in her thirty years of life. Her parents were killed in a car accident when she was seventeen and her first love, Axel, went to boot camp and never came home. As far as she knows he is dead, and shortly after her parents died she miscarried their baby. So, emotionally she is kind of in rough shape. Dee has been her life coach, helping her find a new town and start a new life with the help of their friend, Greg Cage. Here is where I started having a few small issues. The gentlemen in this book had dialog that I just could not get on board with. No adverbs. So many egregious uses of the word girl; do straight ex-military men really affectionately refer to their female friends as “Girl” like a sassy gay BFF? My brain is determined that Greg is gay (I try to not be stereotyping but this wouldn’t shut off, like when my brain cast Weevil as Travis in Beautiful Disaster) so I may skip his book and move right along to number three.

It’s Izzy’s 30th birthday and Dee has convinced her to actually get a little crazy and go out with friends to drink and dance and be young. Until Izzy receives a package on her doorstep from Brandon who most definitely SHOULD NOT know where the girls live. Greg owns a security company staffed by men he knows from his time in the Marines. The man who ran the west coast branch has recently moved to Georgia and Greg thinks that this dude, Reid, should be the one to help track down Brandon and keep Izzy safe. Izzy is all “cool, whatever, someone keep me safe– lets go do that drinking we didn’t do yesterday I want to be numb now please.” The girls get very super drunk and then Greg’s hot friend/coworkers show up. They’re all giant, handsome, ex military dudes and Dee and Izzy are busy drooling. Until Reid shows up. And Izzy passes right on out. Because Reid is Axel and he is definitely not twelve years dead. Izzy has a major panic attack and has to be carried out of the club by Greg who is growling at Axel to stay the hell away from her.

Axel himself is pretty pissed. He has a whole different story in his head about what happened. He has no clue that Izzy thought he was dead, that she had been pregnant with his child, that she was almost beaten to death by her husband, and that she’s a walking nerve ending. The characters spend some time (but not much, this book is pretty short) getting their wires straightened out and falling back together. Its all fine. The story itself is formulaic but entertaining for what it is and the sex/story ratio is pretty balanced.

Now the complaint department. Axel calls Izzy ‘Princess’ and for whatever reason that annoys me. He isn’t even saying it in a sarcastic way, he’s really cloyingly calling her his princess. And so much points-deducting sex writing:

“Fuck baby, I can smell you from here. I bet your pussy is soaked, fucking sopping wet and ready for me.”

“…causes wetness to gush from my core.”

the tip of his generous cock hitting my cervix

He needs no help persuading me to guide him inside my seeping body.

Noping right out at gushing and seeping, guys.

Still, Axel gets a B- for being just as trashy as I wanted it to be, and being really fun to read. Reading is FUNdamental, yinz.

Also it has a new favorite line to add to the list:

Three boxes might be excessive for a normal man, but for me, that’s just making sure I’m prepared.

Three boxes of condoms if that wasn’t clear. He’s confident! And we like that in an Alpha.

*Have we mentioned that we share a kindle library? Its amazing, its the loveliest, most salacious collection of trashy books. And what happens in the family library STAYS in the family library. Its more secure than Fight Club

Amazon

Nameless, by Claire Kent

nameless

Grade: C-

Doing it at: 4%

Catnip: Accidental Pregnancy; Mature Rational Decisions; Emotional Unavailability

Shame Scale: Low shame, this is pretty close to a real book, dammit

Fantasy Cast: Lee Pace; Anna Paquin

Book Description:

They named it anything but love.

After a failed marriage to a domineering man, Erin refuses to be controlled by anything or anyone. That includes Seth, the father of her baby—a man who was supposed to be only a one-night-stand, a man who’s used to always getting his way.

There’s a reason that Seth Thomas, a successful defense attorney, is often referred to as the Bulldozer. If something needs to happen, he makes it happen. That includes being part of his baby’s life—even if he never expected to be a father, even if Erin doesn’t really trust him.

They’ll work out an arrangement in the best interest of their baby—and if they occasionally have sex, well, that’s just an added perk—but they both agree on one thing.

What they have will never be love.

I was crazy excited for this book. Mary sent me a link to it with the text “Happy early birthday, I better get a good review”, and I was all “SQUUEEEEE.” You see the whole synopsis is super catnip to me; I totally totally want to have a bar baby. Its pretty common for me to mention in any sort of company that I want to reenact the song All I Wanna Do by Heart. And here was Nameless! Just look at that cover! That girl totally looks like she’s young and in trouble; making bad eye make up decisions and having an awesome secret pregnancy. Alas bitches, alas alas, that was not what the book held for me.

Nameless opens with our gal Erin at a funeral for a neighbor, a man who was a lifelong friend of her father. She’s divorced from a controlling man, dedicated to a career that wasn’t what she dreamed of but that she likes OK, and is close to her small family. Seth is there too, he was the dead man’s closest kin and no one is talking to him. Apparently Seth was a dick when he came to live with his uncle as a teen and the whole town is still holding it against him. Even though now he’s grown up and a hot-shot lawyer who makes the gossip pages, and has lots of money. It seems kind of shitty of a whole town to hold a grudge against a troubled kid; and Erin thinks so too. The troubled kid comes home was reminding me of Jess and Rory, and my hopes for this book were getting even higher, a little Gilmore Girls wishful thinking never hurt a book. Erin starts talking to Seth, they head to a bar for a drink, and end up having several. The more they talk and drink the more it becomes clear that they both really want to see the other one naked, so they go back to his uncle’s house for some lust and thrust. We’re still doing OK at this point. No Erin isn’t going to be knocked up by a stranger but we can overlook this one little disappointment! The sex is well written; its realistic and a little awkward and Claire needs actual clitoral stimulation to get where she’s going. I especially appreciated that, so often in these books the guy like blows a puff of air down there and our girl shatters into a million pieces. UNREALISTIC.

They have their sex, Erin declines to stay the night because she a modern woman, and she chalks it up to a really great one night stand. Until her period doesn’t come. I was expecting:

A: Erin keeps the baby secret until Seth sees her heavily pregnant (they both work in the court system so this is a good possibility)

B: Erin tells Seth and he doesn’t believe the baby is his (he’s been talked of as kind of a douche and dates around a lot, so this is also a good possibility)

C: Seth demands she get an abortion, she lets him think she did, and then he sees them two years later and is all WHOA NELLY (Again douche, good possibility)

What I get is nothing like any of those. Nameless gives me two mature adults having a rational discussion about an accidental pregnancy. To be absolutely clear this was not what I wanted in my bar baby book. I wanted secrets and yelling and then the eventual acceptance and crazy head over heels love. I wanted maybe 250 pages of plot then an easy HEA, possibly before the baby is even born.

Instead I get Erin and Seth having very occasional sex to scratch her pregnancy itch. I get a labor scene that gave me traumatic flashbacks — the author has either had natural child-birth or is a goddamn psychic — and a confession of love at the worst possible moment. I get a pages long scene of a child who doesn’t want to pick up Cheerios. Epilogue after epilogue detailing their HEA with nary a screaming match or mistake to be found.  At one point, its been made to seem like Seth is cheating on her and Erin very calmly decides that it can’t be what it looks like and talks to him instead of doing something rash. This is a great real life reaction, but in a book that I had such high trash hopes for it kind of sucks. Trash books don’t need to let the reader know that Seth made space for her in his apartment by redecorating a room, or that he supports her decisions to go back to school or not go back to school, or that he worries about how she’ll pay for child care. Less realism and more doin’ it in hallways, por favor.

Again, the doin’ it in this doin’ it book is A level work. The pregnancy sex takes angles of penetration and awkwardness and Erin not feeling hot in to account. Kent does those things and STILL makes the sex sexy. She deals with breastfeeding mom having boobs full of milk frankly and without any embarrassment. I kind of felt like I was reading a pregnant and new mom sex how-to guide at times. Is it OK to be mad that my book wasn’t trashy enough?

You guys this was not a true bar baby book. This was practically a REAL book about love and parenting and emotional growth only with some good hard fucking thrown in to liven things up. I’m so disappointed. If I want to read about “imagine his surprise when he saw his own eyes”, I’m just going to have to write it myself.

Perfection, by R.L. Mathewson

Perfection

Grade: C

Doing it at: 44%

Catnip: Hot Neighbor; Friends With Benefits; Unlikable Hero; Accidental Pregnancy; Dual Narrative; But it was 99 cents…

Shame Scale: Medium

Fantasy Cast: Nick Bateman & America Ferrara

Book Description:

Zoe is used to taking care of herself and has long ago accepted that if anything bad was going to happen, it was going to happen to her. So when she loses her job over something most bosses would probably be happy with and her life starts going down hill from there she doesn’t expect it to get any better. She certainly didn’t expect any help from the loud jerk next door, but then again she has nothing to lose so puts her trust in him and hopes for the best. What she didn’t expect was the once in a lifetime opportunity that he offers her through an arrangement where they both benefit and no one is supposed to get hurt, but she should have known better because her luck has never been that good. 

Like most Bradfords, Trevor has a soft spot for food, but that’s about all. He leads a pretty straightforward life and likes to keep things simple and that includes his relationships. He wants the perfect woman and knows exactly what she’ll be like. So when he discovers much to his horror that he’s thinking about his frumpy little neighbor he decides the best way to get his head straight is by working her out of his system. He’ll keep her around, but only until he finds perfection.

This is the second book in R.L. Mathewson’s ‘Neighbor From Hell’ series. I read the first one, and it was delightfully average. Fun plot, plenty of doing it. A palate cleanser book, basically. I picked up Perfection soon after, and have had it in my ‘to do’ pile for awhile, waiting for day when I needed a quick, reliably fun book with no emotional hangover. Also, it was on a Goodreads list of books with accidental pregnancies and that’s just my kind of catnip. But this book unexpectedly filled me with such all consuming rage…

The story picks up with Zoe getting doused with a giant cup of iced coffee, right before she gets fired from a terrible job. She proceeds to have one of those only-in-books bad days: Dragged out of work by security, car trouble, broken purse strap, broken heel, pouring rain, neighbor in her parking spot… She gets home and is all, fuck it, I’m going to be living out of my car anyways, lets order a giant pizza and chicken fingers. And I’m really empathizing with Zoe as that’s exactly what I’d do. Also – she’s descried as “short, chubby, pale, and plain,” so my brain is all, “this book is about MEEEE!”

This is probably where my troubles with this book all started, because I was starting to take everything that happened to Zoe way too personally.

While Zoe is waiting for the delivery man, she decides to wash her suit, since she’s going to need it for job interviews and it’s covered in iced coffee. Except when she gets to the laundry room, she realizes she left the suit in her apartment and runs back to get it – leaving all her stuff on the washer in the universal “I’m using this” sign.

At this point, Trevor, the titular ‘Neighbor From Hell,’ decides to do some laundry as well. So he removes her basket from the washer, puts his clothes in, and uses the last of her detergent for good measure. (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) On his way back to his apartment, the delivery man comes. Trevor proceeds to act like the worst kind of asshole bro, and claims the food for himself (the fact that his whole family has been banned from all delivery restaurants is a running gag throughout the book). Zoe straight up asks him if that’s her food, but Trevor has already decided in his mind that it’s his food since he paid for it, so he #nopes her and heads back to his place to eat it, not giving any fucks. Seriously, his internal dialog is borderline offensive with the level of fucks he’s not giving.

I get that this is just a fun trash book, and obviously we’re expecting Trevor to act like turd, because he’s the Neighbor from Hell and they named the book after him. But at this point, he’s still redeemable. I can still get past most of this with enough character arc. I LOVE the enemies-to-lovers trope.

So finally, Zoe grows a spine and barges into Trevor’s apartment to reclaim her food. She snatches the pizza out of Trevor’s hands and loses her shit, listing off all of the shitty-neighbor things that Trevor does. They get into a tug of war over the pizza box. And then this:

(Trevor) “No. You give me back my chicken tenders.”

(Zoe) “No.”

Something in him snapped. He wasn’t sure if it was from hunger, the embarrassment from knowing that she could hear him at night, or just the bullshit in general, but he said something that he regretted before the last syllable left his mouth.

“It’s not like you need it.”

shock

Shock 3

I can’t fucking even. I’m pretty sure I shouted, and then called Cleone at work, made her listen to me read the page, and then shouted at her. He’s the absolute worst, right?

Zoe felt her face burn and her eyes water as his words hit home.

“Oh shit….,” he muttered, looking horrified.

Biting back a sob, she carefully placed the box of chicken fingers on top of the pizza box in his hands. “Bon appetite,” she mumbled, heading for the door.

Trevor is pretty much irredeemable to me at this point. Not to mention, this book is in dual narrative, and his internal dialog reveals him to be pretty much the worst douchey bro ‘hero’ in book history. How am I supposed to forgive that? It would require true remorse, groveling, and maybe, I don’t know, GIVING THE PIZZA BACK????

Nope. He does not give the pizza back.

Trevor decides to strike up a conversation through their shared wall and apologizes, but doesn’t even offer to give back the food. Not ok, bro. He does however offer to set her up with an interview at his uncle’s construction company – and then pats himself on the back for it liberally.

Zoe gets the job, and she starts working for Trevor doing his cleaning, running his errands, and packing his lunches. She also develops an eating disorder, and Trevor is all, “Oh sweet, if you’re not going to eat that…?” He does not do anything altruistic for approximately 70% of the book. Even when they start hooking up, Trevor keeps up with the, “I’m just doing her a favor” bit in his head. Zoe is being bullied at work for her weight – he does not stick up for her. They start banging each other’s brains out (this was the part of the book I DID like. No complaints about the banging, it was solid A- level), but Trevor insists they keep their “arrangement” a secret, and pretends they aren’t even friends at work.

Towards the last quarter of the book, Trevor has an epiphany that he’s in love, and does an about face. But there’s no notable punishment. He gets everything he wants. There’s a HEA, and that’s not fair. I hate assholes like that who get everything they want. I wanted him to have a long, painful redemption.

I wanted him to suffer.

So that’s why I’m giving this one a C. It is ridiculous and I’m taking this way too personally, but as you may have guessed, I’m like the teacher who was bullied as a child, and takes it out on all the football players in her class by giving them bad grades and calling them stupid.

Amazon