Wednesday, August 24, 2016


TITLE: Neighbor Dearest
AUTHOR: Penelope Ward
AGE GROUP: New Adult
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
RELEASE DATE: August 13, 2016
PUBLISHER: Self-Published
PAGES: Approx. 299
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RATING: 5+ Stars!
CLIFFHANGER: No (Standalone)

A 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.

Reviewer's Note: Neighbor Dearest is a New Adult/Adult, Contemporary Romance Standalone written by Penelope Ward. I was gifted a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review through The Rock Stars of Romance.

5 “Changed the story” Stars!
Sexy, Romantic and Completely Consuming. I devoured this in one blissful sitting! 

The Review: 
The FEELS! Holy hell, the FEELS people! This book was all heart and downright delicious! I couldn’t put it down! And I mean, who would want to? Damien is just THAT perfect! You have to read this book! Like, right now!

I can honestly say, I was worried about reading Neighbor Dearest. I loved Elec so much in Stepbrother Dearest and I didn’t want to read anything that would be disparaging to his character at all. I thought reading the heartbreak of Chelsea and seeing the aftermath of their breakup would put a shadow over a character I absolutely loved. But it totally didn't. If anything, it took a character I cared nothing about and made her a pivotal centerpiece in a story that was epically heartfelt and poetically beautiful. Penelope Ward literally “changed the story” for Chelsea and made me love her in spite of her ex-lover status with one of my all time favorite book boyfriends. And then she gave us Damien! Holy hotness on a mancandy stick! Damien was everything a book boyfriend should be. Alpha strong, smart, funny, sarcastic with a kindness that seeps through everything he does. He’s intense and vulnerable and so very courageous. He had some serious emotional walls, but when he decided to reach out and take what was offered, he was absolutely unstoppable in loving the woman he decided he had to be with. And he’s HOT! Did I mention that? Cuz he totally is! All those things make book boyfriends desirable and Damien had them pouring out of him in waves. 

When the book opens, we get a first hand glimpse into the devastation Elec left behind when he followed his heart. Chelsea was left heartbroken and insecure and completely vulnerable, questioning everything she thought she’d known. She’s trying to move on but her heart seemed stuck.

“I believed love was indestructible.
I was wrong.” 

I was worried about the Elec bashing we might get in this book and though Chelsea’s heart is broken and she does have a few choice words to say about her ex, it’s not the crap-fest I was expecting. The author handled it very well. Sure, Chelsea was dispirited and there was the usual “how could he dump me for her” comments, but for those of you who were scared it would be too much, it wasn’t. It was just the right amount to show how devastated she was (I mean, who wouldn’t be. She lost Elec after all!), but she soon picked herself up when she realized there was life after heartbreak and that maybe her all-consuming love for Elec wasn’t the soul-mating she thought it was. 

Damien Hennessay came into Chelsea’s life at the perfect time and she came into Damien’s life at just the right moment. They saved each other and their story was filled with fun, silly moments, angsty, heartbreaking moment, revelations, soul searching and complete and total romance. Their budding friendship, the push-pull between them and then the exquisite romance was expertly done. I swooned, laughed and even cried! I can count on one hand the amount of times a book has made me shed a tear. This one though.. three time! THREE! It was phenomenal in every way and I can’t suggest it enough.

And for us Elec lovers, there was resolution to be found and a HEA for all.

The Wrap Up: 
This author has a way of transporting you to another world. A world filled with hope, clarity, understanding and moving forward. Sometimes... well most times, there’s soul bearing angsts along the way, but the rocky journey is always worth traversing through, to get to the beautiful end. This novel did just that. I was scared to enter life post Elec. I was fearful it might change how I felt about him. But it didn’t. Not even a little. If anything, I love him more because he had one of the hardest decisions to make when he let Chelsea go. I see that now. And as he said, things worked out just how they were supposed to. Chelsea and Damien were magical. THEY are MY unicorn and they give me hope. 

”You were never able to understand how he could do what he did to you, why things happened that way. I figured it out. You know why it didn’t work out with him?”
“Because God made you for me.”

NOTE: You do NOT need to read Stepbrother Dearest to follow along with this book. It’s definitely a stand alone. But seriously, you should. One word. Elec. That is all. :)

Final thoughts... because I can’t help myself.
While you’re rooting for the hero and heroine to finally complete their union after their extraordinary journey, you never really give a second thought to what happens to the ex, the girl left standing alone as the “it couple” ride off into the sunset. I sure didn’t give Chelsea a second thought after she stopped being an obstacle for Elec and Greta. It never occurred to me her heartbreak and her journey back from that heartbreak, would be story worthy. But it was. It so, so totally was. I loved seeing the other side of the coin. And then there were the surprise character connections from this author's other books. I love how Penelope Ward intertwined these stories! I can’t wait to read Jade’s book, because you know it’s coming! She was another ex I didn’t think much about past her exit from RoomHate. But now? Now I need to know she finds her HEA because she was a delightful surprise in this book. Hearts break, relationships end. But life goes on. New and exciting things are destined for us if we have the courage to reach out and grab them. Chelsea sure found that out and now I don’t think I’ll be as eager to discard the ex as insignificant again. That was a revelation.

Purchase now at Amazon US | Amazon UK |  iBooks | Kobo | Nook


Penelope Ward is a New York Times, USA Today and #1 Wall Street Journal Bestselling author. She grew up in Boston with five older brothers and spent most of her twenties as a television news anchor, before switching to a more family-friendly career. She is the proud mother of a beautiful 11-year-old girl with autism and a 9-year-old boy. Penelope and her family reside in Rhode Island.

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