Nothing like having internet problems right at the time you're trying to post a review. I guess they don't call it the witching hour for nothing.
I sat down a couple nights ago with Calandra North's new book, Banging My Best Friend's Brother. I imagine you can guess what kind of story it was just from the title!
Calandra North has only recently broken into the scene, but I predict she'll be staying around for quite some time. As one of her first works, Banging My Best Friend's Brother is quite good, with a sweet underlying story that almost all readers will identify with.
Let's break it down after the jump!
The story is one of previously unrequited lust. Brianne, our protagonist, has been harboring feelings for the sexy surfer boy, Alex, for quite some time! While most of these feelings are centered between her legs, there's also a hint of something more than that, which makes it all the more sexy when they finally hook up. There are a few caveats to this, however, which we will discuss below.
It's not excessively new ground we're treading here, but Calandra does it in a unique way, and that's really what matters. I was interested in the story from the blurb alone, so while it's nothing as groundbreaking as, say, Fifty Shades, it was still able to hook me and reel me in. Most of this comes from the relatability of the main character, and I believe most women would find this a satisfying story if they've ever had a crush they felt was "out of their league."
Character Development: ★★★★ (3.5)
Alex is hot. Like, super hot. Hot in that intangible way, as well as the tangible. He's a great lust interest for Brianne, and it's easy to see why she feels the way she does about the laid-back, smarmy blonde.
Brianne herself is smart, very funny, and very capable. I enjoyed her aggression for all the right reasons instead of the wrong ones. Her humor had me giggling and her surrender to her passions had me heated. She was easy to identify with, and I enjoyed slipping into her shoes.
Unfortunately, except for one conversation at the book's beginning, Brianne and Alex have little else to discuss. While their sexy physical interactions are great, I was yearning for more between them - a bit of dirty talk, perhaps? Validation of their mutual attraction? This area felt a bit sparse to me, and I wasn't completely satisfied with the breadth of their development in this way.
Calandra's editing is better than some, but I did find many of her sentences to be a little clunky. I also found a few syntax errors that jolted me out of the pages, and word repetition (one of my pet peeves) reared its ugly head a few times. Despite these flaws, the formatting itself was superb, and I have it on good authority from the author that future editions will be flawless, so don't let this one aspect deter you from purchasing!
Story Satisfaction: ★★★★
I thought the ending was a bit lackluster. I was looking for more resolution, and the aforementioned lack of dialogue contributes to my feelings on that. I would have preferred if the author was a little more definitive about the path Brianne had just taken and Alex's role in her future, even if it wasn't a lasting one. The rest of the story flows very well, however, and I have only the one complaint to list.
The Sex: ★★★★
Beautiful. Simply beautiful. It's vindication-at-last sex, wherein at least one party is reassured that their feelings really *were* returned after all this time! This can be some of the most incredible, sensual, and comforting sex that there is, and Calandra North illustrates it well. Alex's singular mid-coitus phrase of, "Come on, beautiful," came at such a perfect time that it gave me goosebumps and butterflies all at once. I'm betting this author has a bit of insight into this particular style of lovemaking herself, which just makes it all the more personal and intimate when you get to read about it.
In future edited editions of this work, I believe it will be a solid 4.0 stars. But in the interest of fairness, I can only review on what I read rather than what has yet to happen. It's still a story worth picking up, and an author I will add to my watch list.
You can purchase Calandra North's book by clicking the cover image at the top of this post. It is also available at Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.