A Neighbor From Hell Series by R.L. Mathewson

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Let’s start by saying this … it is VERY difficult for me to not like a book. In fact, I can only remember one book in my entire life that I absolutely hated with a passion (Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather – sorry). I mean, I really love everything from Howard’s End to Twilight to Freakonomics … and everything in between! That being said, I’ve been on this insane romance novel binge for the past few months; this series actually helped me kick the habit.

To be fair, I’ll begin with the positives. I adore when a storyline strays from the cliche, which this whole series did. There was no wealthy bachelor with a private yacht who picked up an unassuming, pretty girl and made her live happily ever after. These were all pretty average characters who lived ordinary lives. In the second book, the female was not only “plain” but also slightly overweight. It felt good to finally read about “normal” people who still had insanely hot, albeit twisted, relationships. I guess another positive could be that I read the series all the way through to the end, but that could just be my unyielding determination to never leave a book unfinished.

Now let’s move on to why I gave this series a 2 out of 5 on Goodreads. Repetition, repetition, repetition. I love hot chocolate and bubble baths as much as the next self-indulging female, but why do I have to read about it on every page? It seems that every character in these books has an unhealthy obsession with something – food, sex, etc. – that is repeated, not just throughout the book, but throughout the series. I’ll give you an example. The Bradford family is full of huge guys who eat like monsters. They eat so much that they are often kicked out of buffets and restaurants. Eateries call it “The Bradford Ban” which prohibits any member of that family from eating there ever again. Now that you know this fact, is this something you’d want to be reminded of at least once in every chapter? I didn’t think so. I got so sick of reading about another member of the family being banned from yet another establishment. They’re animals; I get it.

Another infuriating aspect of the book is the inconsistency. In one book, the girl has naturally blonde hair. In the next, she’s a born-brunette. This may seem insignificant, but I’m an attentive reader and lack of attention to detail drives me crazy.

Finally, the stories were just cheesy. I don’t mean that in the usual rom-com, cheesy-but-I-love-it way. Sure, I laughed a couple of times, but mostly I just found myself rolling my eyes over and over again at the exhausting storyline. I could go on and on, but tearing this series a new butthole is taking me away from my next reading adventure.

I wanted to like it. I really tried, but for once, I do NOT recommend this series … that is, unless you would love to hear about how Rory James grew up with Conner O’Neil, hates him, but loves him, but really hates him, but then loves him, but then knows they can never be, but then they get married and have babies and eat a lot. If so, I apologize for just summing up the third installment.

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