Book Review – Rival by Penelope Douglas

Book Review – Rival by Penelope Douglas
Book Review – Rival by Penelope DouglasRival by Penelope Douglas
Series: Falling Away #2
Published by NAL, Penguin
Publication date: August 26, 2014
Genres: New Adult, Romance
366 pages
Format: eARC
Source: ARC via NetGalley

Madoc and Fallon. Two estranged teenagers playing games that push the boundaries between love and war…

She’s back.

For the two years she’s been away at boarding school, there was no word from her. Back when we lived in the same house, she used to cut me down during the day and then leave her door open for me at night.

I was stupid then, but now I’m ready to beat her at her own game…

I’m back.

Two years and I can tell he still wants me, even if he acts like he’s better than me.

But I won’t be scared away. Or pushed down. I’ll call his bluff and fight back. That’s what he wants, right? As long as I keep my guard up, he’ll never know how much he affects me….

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Book Review:

I wanted a good hate-to-love story, but I didn’t get it.  This is the first book by Penelope Douglas that I’ve read. If the rest of her books are anything like this, then she’s not the author for me. This book was fraught with too much of everything. View Spoiler » Between the stepbrother/stepsister romance, overly vindictive mother, the bouncing boobs, and the mobster father, I just didn’t like this book.

The way the story was structured made it really difficult for me to get into the romance aspect of the book. The reader is thrown into Fallon and Madoc’s present circumstances, knowing very little of their past, which is obviously intentional. The author wanted to slowly reveal to the reader what happened between them two years prior in small little chunks. But it didn’t really work for me. This type of story structure takes skill and finesse that this author does not possess.

The pacing of the relationship between Madoc and Fallon prevented me from believing their love story and falling for them as a couple. I never really got to a point where I even liked them together or really cared for them at all. If I were to draw their relationship in visual form it would be all over the place: up and down and up and down. Sometimes, a little back and forth is necessary for the characters and the story, but in this book it felt forced and out of place. In addition, we were told so much of how they felt for each other instead of being shown (I think this was due to way the story was structured with so much of the past being hidden). I want to feel their chemistry and the connection between them and felt nothing for the couple here.

The insanity only intensified leading into story’s conclusion. That ending? Really? What in the world? View Spoiler » What? The absurdity was off-the-charts.

The nail in the coffin with this one was the author’s writing style. Sometimes when the story is all over the place, I’m able to find solace in the writing, but that was not the case in this book.

1 star

* I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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