Review: Neighbor Dearest by Penelope Ward

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Review: Neighbor Dearest by Penelope WardNeighbor Dearest
by Penelope Ward
on August 13th 2016
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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.

This book is smack dab in the middle of the scale for me. I didn’t hate it but I didn’t love it either. It was okay.

If you’re a long time Penelope Ward fan, the plot is a familiar one: heroine falls for the hero but hero is reluctant to commit because of a big secret. The familiarity isn’t a knock on Ms. Ward talent as a writer because for one, she does this type of story really well. And two, Ms. Ward definitely knows how keep her readers invested in the story.

My issue is that Neighbor Dearest kind of felt like a cheap knock-off of Jake Undone. It’s basically the same set up where the heroine falls for the hero and they have the connection but hero won’t go beyond friends with the heroine because he’s harboring some dark secret. That’s basically Jake Undone. The only difference is the nature of their secret. And the characters, unlike in Jake Undone, were uninteresting apart from Chelsea who I really, really liked and really sympathized with. They’re not bad; they’re just bland. Damian particularly is no different from Jake or Elec or other Penelope Ward heroes I’ve read before.

Despite my issues, I really did enjoy this book. I liked Chelsea’s earnestness. I liked that the author made me sympathize with her. And like most of Ms. Ward’s books, Neighbor Dearest was easy to read. It some some funny moments as well as the requisite angsty ones. But other than that, there’s nothing in this book that really elevates it above other books out there.

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