Title: He Belongs With Me
Author: Sarah Darlington
My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
Source: I received this book in exchange for an honest and thoughtful review
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.
He Belongs With Me was a book that ended up surprising me. It was funnier than I first expected, sweeter than I could have imagined it being, and the characters had me in a constant state of indecision when it came to picking a favorite.
I appreciated that this book was written in dual points of view. First off, I simply love dual POV’s when they are done right and secondly, this book is about twins so it really allowed me to get to know both Maggie and Clara. They may be twins but they are incredibly different girls with totally different sides of the story. It was actually really fun thinking I knew all about one character and then learned something very different when the POV changed.
At the beginning, I loved Maggie. She is a hard worker, a good daughter, responsible, and always doing the right thing. My heart went out to her because from the very beginning we learned that she’s had her heart-broken by a sucky ex-boyfriend and her twin sister, the one person she is supposed to be closest with. Luckily Maggie has her best friend to confide in. Leo is one of those guys every girl wants for a best friend (or perhaps more!) He is super attractive, yes, but he is also kind, fiercely protective, and always there when you need him. He may have his share of problems, but he seems like a genuinely nice guy…unless your name is Cora.
Cora was a character I told myself I was going to hate. After hearing what she did to Maggie, I couldn’t help but feeling that way towards her. However, things in this book aren’t always as they seem and as the story went on, Cora very quickly became my very favorite. She turned out to be more complex and layered than any other character in the book. She is a little wild and a little crazy yes, but in her own way, she is also thoughtful and almost sort of sweet. She is just a little lost and lonely and a lot misunderstood but I so enjoyed watching her grow and learning more and more about her throughout this book.
Because of her actions towards Maggie, Leo is actually pretty mean to her. But since things in this story are never quite what you think they are, I soon found out Leo’s bitterness towards Cora is just a cover. Like Cora, Leo is a character I enjoyed more and more as the story went on. He definitely seemed like a different person around Maggie than he did Cora and it was a bit hard to get a grasp on the “true” Leo but I can say that at the end of the story, I was really happy with who the real Leo turned out to be.
While I enjoyed a lot about this book there were a few things that I wish were a bit different. I think in this story Cora and Leo really stole the show. Perhaps that’s the way it was supposed to go but I just didn’t find myself loving Maggie and Dean as much. They weren’t as well-rounded as Cora & Leo and their relationship just seemed off to me. I kept hoping there would redeem themselves for me by the end of the book but when I finished reading, my feelings were just so/so on the couple.
I liked that this book was full of surprises! I loved that neither Cora nor Leo was quite what they seemed! The direction this story took, who ended up with who, and the overall happy feeling of the book was unexpected, but unexpected in a good way! It is definitely worth the read if you are looking for a fun, quick romance!
If this book had a song, it would be….
Somebody to Love by Queen
I had fun picking the song for this book! You have four 20-something year olds all trying to find someone to love, all thinking they know who they should love and I guess sometimes it just doesn’t work out how you think it will.
“Clara?” His eyes searched my face, screaming with unexpected vulnerability and fear. He seemed genuinely worried about me. “What’s going on? Say something, please. Are you okay?”
I nearly lost my nerve. How easy it would have been to kiss him and fall into his arms all over again? A big piece of me wanted to do just that, but one moment of weakness was all I was going to allow myself for the day. “Am I okay?” I asked him, trying to sound indifferent and not angry. “What’s that annoying code word you and Maggie used to say all the time? The two of you probably thought I was too dumb to crack that little language you created to use against me. Oh yeah, I remember now. Peaches. I’m just totally peaches.”
Standing tall, I reached my arm above his head and slowly poured the remaining contents of my beer on top of him. A shocked breath left his lips, but he didn’t budge and took the beer shower like a man. “Real mature, Clara,” he grunted, glaring a shitload of hate-fire my way as the liquid coated his hair, face, and clothes. Angry as hell and soaking wet was a good look on him.
“That’s for making me care,” I told him, setting my empty glass back down on the table. Then my hand swung hard and made stinging contact with his wet face. “That’s for being a jerk to me since we were kids. And this…” I stood up on my tiptoes, grabbed hold of his handsome, shocked face, and planted one firm kiss on his wet lips. “That’s so you know I’m not fucking around.” I held onto him for another moment. “Prove it to me,” I whispered. “Prove to me you aren’t an ass and I’m all yours.”
Then I pulled away, turned on my heel, and left Leo standing there, soaking wet and stunned.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Sarah Darlington is obsessive by nature. When she gets an idea in her mind, it becomes impossible to shake. Take her debut novel, HE BELONGS WITH ME, for example. Before deciding to write New Adult Romance, she wrote three different versions of the same Young Adult Novel where her main characters were teenage superheros from an alternative universe. It never worked. It drove her crazy. Then she dropped the superhero bit, added some spice, and suddenly everything started to click. She found her niche. And if it hadn’t been for her obsessive nature she never would have learned how to write in the process.
Sarah lives in Virginia, is married to her high school sweetheart, and is currently spending her days chasing around a very active toddler. When she gets a chance to breathe, she writes.
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