Book Review and Excerpt: Did I Mention I Love You? – Estelle Maskame

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Love is everything but expected.

Eden Munro came to California for a summer of sun, sand, and celebrities- what better way to forget about the drama back home? Until she meets her new family of strangers; a dad she hasn’t seen in three years, a stepmonster, and three stepbrothers.

Eden gets her own room in her dad’s fancy house in Santa Monica. A room right next door to her oldest stepbrother. Tyler Bruce. Whom she cannot stand. He has angry blue eyes and an ego bigger than a Beverly Hills mansion. She’s never felt such intense dislike for someone. But the two are constantly thrown together as his group of friends pulls her into their world of rule-breaking, partying, and pier-hanging

And the more she tries to understand what makes Tyler burn hotter than the California sun, the more Eden finds herself falling for the one person she shouldn’t…

Did I Mention I Love You? is the addictive first book in Wattpad sensation Estelle Maskame’s DIMIY trilogy: three unforgettable summers of secrets, heartbreak, and forbidden romance.

 

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This was a bit of a guilty pleasure read for me since it’s YA. I started reading expecting to like this book and then to forget about it. I definitely did not expect to love this as much or expect it to affect me as much as it did. I adored this book and it turned out to be one of my favorite stepbrother romances of all time.

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Eden’s parents are divorced and after three years of radio silence from her father, he begs her to join him and his new family in LA. Once there she meets her new stepbrothers. The eldest brother, Tyler, is a troubled boy with a devil may care persona and she quickly falls in with his group of friends. Eden and Tyler have a love-hate relationship but the more they are thrown together through friends and family the more their connection turns to love.

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Tyler was such a beautifully broken, lost boy and my heart bled for him. He displayed some real assholish behaviour, and at times he was really unlikeable but there were glimpses of vulnerability and softness that had me in tears.  Eden was a sullen and snarky heroine and even though she was thrust into a world she had no experience in, I never felt as if I was dealing with a delicate flower who couldn’t deal with the situations she was thrown into.

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Without writing anything explicit (this is YA after all) the author still managed to create some amazing tension between the characters. Their romance developed slowly and with the slow burn of their feelings their chemistry sizzled and it had a lot of addictive angst. It contained all of the awkwardness, insecurities and dramatic passions if young love.

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I read stepbrother novels for angst factor of the taboo type romance, and I definitely got the taboo aspect here. Not only because they are step-siblings but also because with Tyler being such a bad seed I had my own torn feelings about whether these two should get together or not. But again, Tyler was such an addictive bad boy fantasy and his need to be with Eden was so consuming, that at the end I totally needed this to happen for them.

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This is not a fluffy little read. These characters are flawed. None of them, not a single one, are perfect. The story revolves around a group of teenagers who make poor decisions, party, drink and use drugs. The adults in the book don’t do any better. I was amazed at how this author tackled some pretty tough subjects so eloquently and at such a young age, much better than some of her older contemporaries. I thought the plot devices were handled responsibly and with the necessary brevity they deserved in a truly refreshing voice. The ending was also not one I expected and the author didn’t take the easy way out. I felt it was realistic and handled responsibly and I can’t wait to see what is in store for these two in the next book.

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Please note that this book deals with under-age drinking and drug use and it touches on subjects such as child abuse and cheating. This book may not be for everyone so if these subjects aren’t your cup of tea, steer clear. I for one, definitely recommend this book.

(ARC received via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review)

 

REVIEW EXCERPT

I can almost see the road through the gaps in the fence by the side of the house, and I squint through. There’s music playing. More like blaring. I can hear it over the crappy music that’s already bouncing around the back yard, and as a sleek white car speeds up to the edge of the sidewalk and skids against the curb, I grimace in disgust. The music cuts off the second the engine is killed.

“What are you looking at?” Rachael asks, but I’m too busy staring to even attempt to answer.

The car door swings open roughly, and I’m surprised it doesn’t fall straight off its hinges. It’s difficult to see clearly through the fence, but a tall guy gets out and slams the door shut just as aggressively as he opened it. He hesitates for a moment, stares at the house, and then runs a hand through his hair. Whoever he is, he looks su-per depressed. Like he’s just lost all his life savings or his dog just died. And then he heads straight for the gate.

“Who the hell is this jackass?” I mutter to Rachael as the figure nears us.

But before either of us can say anything more, Jackass decides to hit the gate open with a fist, drawing the at-tention of everyone around us. It’s like he wants everyone to hate him. I figure he’s probably that one neighbor that everyone despises, and he’s only here in a fit of rage because he wasn’t invited to the lamest barbecue get-together that’s ever been hosted.

“Sorry I’m late,” Jackass comments sarcastically. And loudly too, with a smirk on his lips. His eyes flash green as emeralds. “Did I miss anything besides the slaughtering of animals?” He throws up the infamous mid-dle finger to, from what I can see, the barbecue. “I hope you guys enjoyed the cow you just ate.” And then he laughs. He laughs as though everyone’s expressions of disgust are the most entertaining thing he’s seen all year.

“More beer?” I hear my dad call out to the silent crowd, and as they chuckle and return to their conversations, Jackass heads through the patio doors. He slams them shut so hard I can almost see the glass tremble.

I’m stunned. I have no idea what just happened or who that was or why he’s just entered the house. When I realize I’m slightly slack-jawed, I close my mouth and turn to Rachael.

She bites her lip and pushes her sunglasses down over her eyes. “I’m guessing you haven’t met your step-brother yet.”

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author estelle maskame

Estelle Maskame started writing at the age of thirteen and completed the Did I Mention I Love You?  trilogy when she was sixteen. She has built an extensive fan-base for her writing by serializing her work on Wattpad. Fitting book writing between work, Estelle has amassed followers from all over the world. She lives in Scotland. For more visit estellemaskame.com

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