Rival by Penelope Douglas

These two lead characters take the whole concept of the cat and mouse game to an entire new level. I mean we’re talking like, cheetah and gazelle here.

What’s it About?


Madoc and Fallon. Two estranged teenagers playing games that push the boundaries between love and war…She’s back. For the two years she’s been away at boarding school, there was no word from her. Back when we lived in the same house, she used to cut me down during the day and then leave her door open for me at night. I was stupid then, but now I’m ready to beat her at her own game…

I’m back. Two years and I can tell he still wants me, even if he acts like he’s better than me. But I won’t be scared away. Or pushed down. I’ll call his bluff and fight back. That’s what he wants, right? As long as I keep my guard up, he’ll never know how much he affects me….

First Impressions

There was so much back and forth between these two I felt like I was constantly on the verge of whiplash. Throughout the entire novel they are continually alternating between phases of hating each other, followed by screwing each other. Sure, maybe one back and forth is ok, but this was like hate, screw, hate, screw, hate, mild toleration, full blown love affair. At times, I also kind of felt like their antics and verbal sparring was a bit too teen high school drama for my tastes.


An Unusual Trope

Fallon and Madoc have a rather complicated past with each other, which is enhanced by the fact that they are step-siblings. Always a rather bizarre trope I never know how to handle. Sexy, yet icky at the same time. What starts as an apparent teen drama develops into something much more serious as we slowwwwly discover why Fallon and Madoc had such a dramatic and tragic falling out years beforehand.


Definitely an emotional story line, but overall I was kind of disappointed in how dramatic this novel actually was. When we were first introduced to Madoc in book one he was always presented as a continual flirt who was quite the jokester. However, in this novel we barely get any glimpse of his carefree personality. Everything was always so seriously somber between him and Fallon that I would have liked to see a lighter side as well.

Series: Fall Away, book 2. I’m still interested in reading book 3, as it follows a very intriguing character from this second novel.

Should you read it? Overall, an engaging story, but I would have liked one less back and forth between them over whether or not they actually liked each other. Also kind of a strange ending. Basically, if things aren’t going your way, blackmail is the answer.

Smut Level: Not only do they have sex in a chair, but they also do it while facing a mirror.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $5.99 Kindle Price. NAL Publishing. 366 Pages.



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