Reni's Review: MONSTER STEPBROTHER by Harlow Grace

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His dark obsession runs deep.

How does a girl go from being her Daddy’s precious baby doll to feeling like a filthy whore?
Easy really. When my father remarries it changes the course of my life and everything becomes . . . complicated.

My new stepbrother is a monster who hates me. Unapologetic, controlling and brazen he’s intent on making my life a living hell. Blackmails me into doing things I never thought I’d do. Illicit things.

Oliver King makes the rules. He f*cks me whenever he wants. How he wants. Where he wants.
My head screams this is wrong, yet I can't resist giving in to forbidden desires.
I’m his possession, his toy — his ultimate pleasure.
He’s never letting me go. I’m his dark obsession.

My dirty addiction to my stepbrother grows to a dangerous level. Am I sick to crave more from the man who has made me his slut? Or should I escape and run as far away as possible?

My name is Maya Childs and this is my story. 

Dark erotic novel that contains sensitive subject matter that may make readers uncomfortable. Not appropriate for readers under 18. Contains explicit language and descriptions of sexual situations and violence.

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I was given an ARC of Monster Stepbrother in exchange for an honest review. I usually hate when people begin their reviews with that sentence. It’s unoriginal, and quite frankly, boring. In this case, it’s important. I pride myself on being honest, especially when it comes to my reviews. You put your trust in me, and I don’t take that lightly. So honest I shall be…

This is probably the most dysfunctional story I have ever read, and I’ve read a lot. Oliver’s mother marries Maya’s father when he’s 16 and she’s 12. Big whoop, right? Oliver is an angry teen boy. He’s disrespectful, rude, and crude.

Fast-forward four years…

Oliver is now 20, and Maya is a very sexy 16. Oliver knows he can’t touch her, but he can make her life a living hell. Apparently his entire goal in life is to fuck up Maya’s. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, spending your time trying to ruin someone else’s life is a waste of your own.  He purposely uses another girl (sexually) to get to Maya. He wants her to hear him fucking (there’s no better word in this case) other women so she knows what she’s missing. Nice guy… He also has her do things which I find extremely inappropriate for a man to ask of an underage girl.

Fast-forward another two years…

Maya is now legal, and Oliver blackmails her into a sexual relationship. Let’s just say that the two of them being step-siblings is small potatoes next to other things that happen in this story… There are sexual encounters that boarder on rape. There are also some very serious, controversial topics that are breached at this point in the book. Oliver is manipulative and unkind. He wants to seek “revenge” (his word, not mine) for things that happened in his past. Basically, the man needs extensive therapy. He wants to inflict pain on Maya. More than once I felt physically sick while reading a scene intended to be “sexy”.  Oh, and calling someone a slut  repeatedly is never acceptable, especially when you have no idea what you’re talking about. Just like forcing someone into sex when they’re not 100% on board is inexcusable.

I was going to fuck her, make her scream with pain. The same pain I felt deep in the abysses of my fucking soul.

Was I heartless? Yes. Yes I fucking was. 

There is a tremendous difference between pleasurable sex with a little pain and inflicting pain on someone during sex in order to cause physical agony. I really did not enjoying this book. I found myself close to tears various times and am pretty sure that my blood pressure spiked a time or two, as well. I don't do repeated borderline rape, or handle men treating women like shit very well. I just don't. Being a turd for a while in the beginning of a book is totally fine, but telling someone you're going to jam your cock up her ass while she essentially cries? NO. Oliver needed a come to Jesus moment. He never really got it… Being step-siblings with feelings for one another is very minimally taboo, and certainly does not give ANYONE the right to do what Oliver did to Maya.

Let me touch on Maya for a moment. She is EXTREMELY insecure. I am not a fan of weak-minded heroines, and Maya is the worst kind. When she begins her “relationship” with Oliver, she feels like she now belongs to someone; she’s accepted and wanted. Some of the comments she makes throughout the book made me cringe. The girl has severe abandonment issues and needs some sort of intervention.

The story was also very inconsistent. I think Harlow would have benefited greatly from some additional editing. With some input, Oliver could have become a more likable character, one that eventually redeemed himself. There is a difference between alpha and asshole. Oliver is an asshole until the very end. He never works through his issues and the explanation for his actions is flimsy at best.

Now that I’ve said all that… Harlow Grace shows a lot of promise as an author. As much as I hate to admit it, I couldn’t put the book down. I wanted so desperately for Oliver to do a 180. The fact that she could pull me in even though I had such an issue with the subject matter speaks volumes about her writing.

Monster Stepbrother romanticizes abuse, and I can’t get behind that. For that reason, I can’t in good conscience recommend you read this book. 

I had originally given 2 stars. With further review, I now feel it should hold a rating of 1.5 stars.

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