Monday, August 29, 2016

{Book Review} Dearest Neighbor by Penelope Ward

STANDALONE NOVEL that does *not* need to be read in conjunction with any other book.

From New York Times bestselling author, Penelope Ward, comes a friends to lovers story with sexy new characters.

After getting dumped, the last thing I needed was to move next door to someone who reminded me of my ex-boyfriend, Elec.

Damien was a hotter version of my ex.

The neighbor I’d dubbed “Angry Artist” also had two massive dogs that kept me up with their barking.

He wanted nothing to do with me. Or so I thought until one night I heard laughter coming through an apparent hole in my bedroom wall. 

Damien had been listening to all of my phone sessions with my therapist. 

The sexy artist next door now knew all of my deepest secrets and insecurities.

We got to talking. 

He set me straight with tips to get over my breakup. 

He became a good friend, but Damien made it clear that he couldn’t be anything more. 

Problem was, I was falling hard for him anyway. And as much as he pushed me away, I knew he felt the same…because his heartbeat didn’t lie.

I thought my heart had been broken by Elec, but it was alive and beating harder than ever for Damien. 

I just hoped he wouldn’t shatter it for good. 

Author's note – Neighbor Dearest is a full-length standalone novel. Due to strong language and sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18.

2 "Why Must I Always Be The Black Sheep" Stars

I was very excited to try this recent release, since I'd been eager to try the author out and there are a staggering amount of positive reviews for it. Not to mention it ticked so many of my guilty pleasure boxes, including:
Artistic hero (artists and rockstars are my weaknesses)
Dog loving hero
Woman scorned
Friends to lovers

I was expecting to be like other readers, and to fall in love with Damien and Chelsea's story. 
I did not. In fact, I nearly shelved this as a DNF!

My biggest problem with the story was the heroine, Chelsea. She was completely destroyed after breaking up with her then-boyfriend, and her only real joy comes from working at a youth center, at least until her new neighbor arrives. 
Once Damien was on the scene, all that angst over the previous relationship went out the window. While I was glad she was no longer moaning over the other guy, it was jarring to see her go from being totally listless to wanting any and all of Damien's attention. Ex-boyfriend who?

I can handle negative attributes in a protagonist; it gives them a more well rounded and believable feel. However, you have to balance that out! Aside from whining, moping, acting like a dramatic 14 year old, questioning herself and being horny (that one's not a flaw!), Chelsea had no other characteristics. She had no backstory beyond the ex-boyfriend, no likes or dislikes beyond Damien, and no real hopes or dreams. She mentions her enjoyment of her job at the youth center, but we never get to see or hear why she enjoys it.

Then there's Damien. He was a very typical contemporary romance love interest: a bad boy with a soft side, who happens to be hiding something that he feels the heroine cannot handle. He was pretty forgettable, to be honest.

My favorite characters were Damien's two Rottweilers. They were the most original part of the book.

One thing I had a massive problem with were the sex scenes! There was absolutely no foreplay, none at all. They'd be having a conversation, make eye contact and then boom, penetration. It was like really bad porn.

The pacing was choppy, with some things rushed and some things that dragged on. It kept me from really falling into the story.

On the plus side, it was as addictive as reality TV, and I finished it in less than a day. 

Overall, I was not a fan of this one. Clearly, haha. However, don't take my word for it - I'm the only one to rate it lower than 3.5 stars!



  1. She seems very one-dimensional. I hate when a heroine's identity hinges on a man. I mean, there's gotta be more to her than that. I was looking forward to reading this, but not so much anymore.

  2. Sorry this didn't work for you. Chelsea sounds annoying as do the sexy times. Great review!

  3. Oh no sorry you didn't enjoy this one. It does sound like the heroine is hard to like. You definitely have to have a good balance between good traits and flaws.

  4. Awww.. It does sound like it needs more foreplay. Sorry you had a rough time with this one.

  5. Darn. I was thinking that the female character could lean to the tstl trope. I probably would have kept reading b/c of the dogs as well. LOL Hope the next book genre or author you try you will love!

  6. I'm sorry this was a bust. I was kinda hoping this one would be stellar. But I confess I didn't care much for Step-Brother Dearest (Elec's story) where everyone else raved about it. :/ Hopefully your current and/or next read ROCKS!

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  8. Bad porn? Is there such a thing? lol. That's funny that the dogs are the best part. I almost read Step-Brother the other day, but decided to go with 53 Letters to My Lover instead. So glad I did!

  9. Nope...i need the! Sorry this disappointed!

  10. No... I don't think this is for me. Chelsea would get on my last nerve. Hope your next book is tons better!