Monday, March 3, 2014

Review: He Belongs With Me

He Belongs With Me
Author: Sarah Darlingtion
Published: March 4, 2014
Received an ARC from author in exchange for an honest review
4 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

Two girls. One Leo.

Identical twins, Maggie and Clara Ryder, both grew up with Leo Maddox, billionaire playboy, apparent alcoholic, and heir to his grandfather's world-famous Maddox hotel empire. Their roles were cemented long ago: Maggie, as his best friend and Clara as his childhood nemesis.

But when a simple twist of fate changes everything and both girls start to fall for the lean, mean, ridiculously sexy and seemingly spoiled Leo... which girl will win his heart?

Throw in a little mischief, drama, and one smoking-hot bartender and lines are sure to blur. But one thing's for certain, neither good-girl Maggie nor rebellious Clara will be satisfied until they each figure out where they belong. 

*NEW ADULT ROMANCE. Recommended for 17+ due to sexual situations and adult language

I'm still new to the New Adult scene. I've read a few and I've noticed that they are drastically different than how Young Adult is written. There is less focus on discovering who you are and more focus on the relationships. They are swoony, dramatic, and all around a good time. They play out much like a romance novel and it's a nice change when you're reading a book and you know things are going to work out for the best. Even though they are identical sisters, Maggie and Clara couldn't be more different. Maggie fits her father's idea of country club class and Clara is rebellious to a fault, eager to get as far away from her family as possible. So when Leo, the girls' childhood friend, asks Clara to join him in New York for the weekend, both girls are confused. Clara was always the nemesis, the bad twin, and Maggie and Leo have been best buds since childhood. Clara never thought twice about her feelings for Leo (no way would she ever get together with him) but being in New York with him, the sexual tension is flowing through them and suddenly Clara doesn't know what she feels. Jealousy hits Maggie like a brick. Her and Leo don't really have feelings for each other, but she always thought if someone would end up with him, it'd be her. So when she's distracted by a hot bartender, someone she remembers from her past, she's not sure who to fight for. 

Told from both Maggie and Clara's viewpoints, this is a nice quick read that will have you rooting for both girls. The friendly competition between the twins is realistic, two girls that were born exactly the same trying to prove to the world that they are two different people. Maggie is known for being the good girl and Clara the bad, but both want to be known as themselves instead. There could have been more focus on the relationship between the girls instead of solely focusing on their relationships with Leo and Dean. There's never really any backstory as to why they don't get along. 

There's no doubt the men are dreamy. Leo Maddox is a playboy millionaire, a guy who has been in the twins' life forever. He drinks a lot, sleeps around, and shows off his money whenever he can - at least this is how he seems to most people. Get past all that and he's sweet, understanding, and ready to do whatever it takes to keep Clara. Guys in New Adult always seem to have the same makings - bad boy with lots of experience beneath his belt - but I like it when they prove me wrong like Leo did. He is genuinely a good person and maybe he's made some mistakes, but his love for Clara is something we dream of. Dean is worthy of this title too. He's done some things he's not proud of. He's hurt Maggie and now he's trying to make things right. Maggie isn't so easily persuaded but he fights for her. There isn't as much of a love triangle as I expected and I'm happy for it. The way everything plays out is believeable. Of course Maggie would develop a crush on Leo once she realizes he may not stay on the market. He's always been her go-to guy and it's now or never. 

Darlington tells this story fluidly, hints of suspense and twists and turns along the way made for an exciting read that had me wondering to the very end if I had predicted things right. And there's no denying how great those sexy scenes were. That's the fun part of New Adult - no hold bars. It's a nice change sometimes, don't you think? I'm glad I had the chance to read this as it gave me a better idea of the New Adult genre, I like to find ones I actually enjoy reading!

“Leo backed me against the door frame, his demeanor turning all 'take-no-prisoners' as he pinned me in place with his hips. His hands traced up and down the curve of my body until they wound their way through the loose strands of my hair. He was in control, I was totally at his mercy, and I. Didn’t. Even. Care.” 

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