Saturday, May 27, 2017


"...a good plot and it had a good story that kept me reading, wanting to get to the end to discover all it’s secrets." - Craves the Angst

TITLE: The Boy Next Door
SERIES: Off-Limits Romance
AUTHOR: Ella James
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
RELEASE DATE: May 10, 2017
PAGES: Approx. 300

RATING: 3 Stars!

The boy next door. That’s what he was. Dash Frasier—my hero from the day we met, when I was six and he was nine. His sister was my best friend, the three of us one happy crew. Then one sweaty summer night changed everything. 

No one understood me like Dash. No one made me feel so loved. That’s why, when he skipped town, it wrecked me.

Now I’m older. Wiser. I’ve just snagged my dream job, writing at a film studio. The lead animator on my project? You guessed it.

He’s not the boy next door. Not anymore.

I’m guarding my heart this time. 

But Dash has secrets that could break us both.

3 Stars!

The Review: 
Though this book had it’s issues, I liked it. It had a good plot and it had a good story that kept me reading, wanting to get to the end to discover all it’s secrets. I love stories about childhood friends, who become more and then something happens and it’s years later before they reconnect. It’s one of my favorite tropes, but my like of this book also comes with some dislikes.

Here’s why...

As young children, the day Dash meets Amelia, he saves her life and from that moment on, they are connected. Dash, Amelia and Dash’s sister, Lexie grow up together as neighbors and best friends. The years pass and Dash and Amelia grow closer but never give in to their secret longing for one another. Dash is a couple of years older and though it’s apparent he has serious feelings for Amelia, he leaves for college ... and in the process, leaves Amelia feeling abandoned when all her letters go unanswered. That is, until one night she sees him at a party and that one night changes everything.

Abandoned again and years later, Amelia interns for a film studio and to her surprise and utter horror, there is the boy, now a man, who left her high and dry.

There was a huge build up to the secret Dash was hiding and when we find out what it was, I can honestly say, I didn’t see it coming and I was stunned. I enjoyed the surprise of it all and I enjoyed that I didn’t guess right about his reasons for abandoning Amelia, but I also found his reason, hard to swallow. I understand he was a victim in the events that unfolded, but it some of the blame was his. He did leave. He decided to abandon Amelia without telling her why or even making up an excuse. He did the bad in this relationship. When Amelia found out, I felt she gave him a pass all to quickly. She seemed almost desperate in her desire to be with him, no matter how he treated her. I'm used to the character at least proving his/her willingness to do what it takes to fix their mistakes, but Dash never had to because Amelia gave in and accepted everything immediately, even after years of self-doubt, heartache and confusion. Also, I have to comment on how the “reason” was revealed. Though I enjoyed the surprise, I also felt it was drawn out and the little hints that were more like red herrings, got old real quick. Everything was misleading and after knowing the real reasons and looking back, they feel like tricks to mislead the reader. I just didn’t like the way they were presented.

Like I said, I liked the story, but I also found myself rushing through some parts for more meatier scenes. There seemed to be a lot of filler ... scenes with overly descriptive settings, or showing characters doing mundane things, just to add words and not much else to the story.

I liked Dash and Amelia well enough. I enjoyed their characters, but sometimes the dialogue was confusing and didn’t deliver. And the sex scenes ... I love hot, steamy scenes and I love it when the guy talks dirty, but some of the ones in this book felt awkward and forced. The way Dash talks to Amelia just didn’t align with his character. He was contrite and vulnerable and he knew he’d hurt Amelia, so he was willing to do what it took to help her work through whatever she was feeling, but then in the bedroom, the author tries to play it like a dirty-talking biker just for spice and it didn’t mesh with who Dash and Amelia were outside the bedroom.

The Wrap Up: 
Again, I liked this read, but it had some things that just didn’t work for me too. I won’t be adding this one to my reread pile, but I am interested enough to check out this author's other works. This book just wasn’t my favorite.

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