Review: Stepbrother, Mine by Mandy Lou Dowson

Review: Stepbrother, Mine by Mandy Lou DowsonStepbrother, Mine by Mandy Lou Dowson
Series: Taboo #1
Publication Date: January 29, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Erotic, Romance
Amazon Goodreads

Synopsis

Review

They were always taught that family was about more than blood, but when step-siblings Sophie Ellis and Logan Castle meet for the first time, their attraction is instantaneous. Forever trying to keep each other at arm's length, they discover that sometimes the best laid plans fall apart, when lovers fall together.

He's everything she's ever fantasized about, and everything she can never have.

She's all he's ever wanted, but never hoped to have.

Trying so hard to be his stepsister, she can't shake the attraction she feels.

He decides it's best to leave, but when circumstances see them reunite, and he discovers their initial attraction is still there after all the intervening years, he can't help himself.He has to have her.

Running scared, she cuts all ties.

Left behind, his bitterness grows.

When again circumstances force her back into his arms, her past comes back to haunt her.

He's determined to make her pay for leaving him.

Desires are forbidden. Loyalties are tested. Hearts are broken. And in the end, is love strong enough to conquer all?

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.

Review

I have been newly introduced to Mandy Lou Dowson as an author.  I was drawn to Stepbrother, Mine because of the taboo feature of, ”don’t touch what you can’t have.”  I had a very distinct idea in my mind of what this story would hold, based on its description.  I am thrilled to say that it was everything I had anticipated and so much more than what I could have possibly imagined.  It held me captive from start to finish.

We begin the story on the wedding day of Sophie Ellis’s mother.  Sophie is not overly happy about her mom getting married to her soon-to-be step-father, and she is apprehensive about getting a step-brother.  She is a teenager and is quite awkward at times.  She makes it through the wedding, after catching the eye of a handsome young man, and is whisked away to the reception, where she is inevitably seated at his table.  At one point she steps away from the table, needing a reprieve to the restroom…unbeknownst to her that her life is about to forever change.

“Maybe he should pull her hair and call her pizza face.”

Logan Castle is equally as thrilled about gaining a stepsister, stepmother, and moving in with his dad.  Upon his arrival to the church we see that he is immediately taken by a young, blonde woman in red who steps out of a white limo.  He knows that he really doesn’t belong amongst all of the people at this event, but he promised his dad that he would come. Ready or not, he is here to meet his new family, and get the awkwardness over with.

“So be a good brother and bring me to bed.”

We become undoubtedly aware that Sophie and Logan have an immediate pull of attraction to one another.  Their infatuation, according to the initial reaction of their parents, is never meant to be.  They have to stay away from one another, never giving in to their own desires. After all, they are young. How could they understand or know what love is?  They can’t possibly give in to something that could bring shame to their parents or cause them heartache.

“Tragedy has a way of making a ruin of the best laid plans.”

We are taken through a menagerie of emotions, as the story of Sophie and Logan unfolds.  It appears as though their hidden feelings for one another will always remain that, hidden.  Their longing to experience and explore more with one another seems to be like sand slipping through their hands…just when think they have a good hold on it, it disappears.  Time passes in the story, and they find each other again.

“Your arms. Don’t they every get tired pushing me away.”

It is difficult to tell at times who is pushing harder.  We are reminded that events in the past plant seeds that still grow and take up heart-space in the future, and are vivid in memory.  Sophie and Logan battle to remain true to themselves, while finding that puzzle piece in life that they are missing.  We experience their triumphs and failures as they try to maneuver their way through devastation and the preconceived notions of others.

In Stepbrother, Mine, we are given humor and feistiness, which are both equally compelling parts of this story.  But, it goes so much deeper than that.  We are shown each characters’ vulnerability in such a way that we are moved to have empathy for them (and need a BIG box of tissues), with a wide range of emotions from elation to brokenness, compassion to vehement anger, cold and bitterness to a smoldering heat where the flames can’t be put out.

When I first began reading about Sophie, I knew that her only-child, quirky personality was going to dance (or stumble and fall, as the case may be) all over the pages of this book in a very unique, and probably sometimes awkward, manner.  Soon after starting, I turned a page and saw Logan’s name as a heading, I let out an internal “squee”.  I was ecstatic that the  “hot boy” had finally entered the scene.  I had such an overwhelming sense of desperation for Sophie when she and her mom were discussing her stepbrother, and she had not yet formally met him.  When she did finally meet him, I wanted to crawl under a table and run from the room at the same time. Then as Sophie described Logan I wanted to melt into a puddle of goo. As their relationship swayed back and forth, I was overcome with a need to help them steady the ship so they wouldn’t sink.  When they did finally let go of everything that was holding them back, what a mighty storm they created.  WOW!  Their chemistry was just as hot in the bedroom as it was in their earlier verbal interactions.  I love that the author allowed for a change in dialogue and mannerisms, from the young teens they were in meeting, to the adults that they became.  I also thought it was unique that the author allowed us to experience the expanse of compassion and tenderness that Logan had for Sophie and the lasting effects it created, for better and worse.  Of course, as in any good story, I was thrilled with the friends/side-kicks that were there to cheer on, slap around, laugh at, cry for, and love the main characters.

Mandy Lou Dowson has made a 5-star entry with her first Taboo book in this series.  I can’t wait to read what she has crafted for us next.

One of my favorite quotes from Stepbrother, Mine that definitely sums up the way I feel about this book:

“I am wearing…a smile.”

5 Stars

About Mandy Lou Dowson

Mandy Lou Dowson was born and raised in a small town in Ireland, in 1983, and at this stage in life, she's pretty sure the town won't let her leave. Family is a huge deal to Mandy. She has three wonderful children (most of the time), and two Siberian Huskies who are each as naughty as the other – in fact, she's sure they egg each other on in silly cartoon voices when nobody is looking.
~
“Climb out the window and get covered in mud.”
“No, I did it last time. You do it!”
“R'uh, r'oh, here SHE is. Shhh.”
~
When she's not writing, reading, or plotting her next book -- or, you know, world domination – , she likes to relax with a few glasses of wine and some karaoke. You can usually find her procrastinating on social media of some sort, chatting to fans and talking nonsense.

Mandy started reading at quite a young age and her appetite for the written word has only increased with time. It would not be at all surprising to find her reading anything and everything from shampoo bottles to Edgar Allan Poe.

She is the author of three different genres of romance books.

The Moon Bound series, which is in the Paranormal Romance genre, and is gathering rave reviews, and the Taboo series, which is Contemporary with a hint of the forbidden, the first of which has gathered very mixed reviews across the board, from one extreme to the other.

She has also made a foray into Dark Romance recently, with her first title in the genre, Retribution, releasing in Summer 2015.

More from Mandy Lou Dowson

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