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Title: Love OnlineMy Review:
Author: Penelope Ward
Published by: Indie
Release Date: August 27, 2018
Format: Kindle Book
Genres: Romance, Contemporary
Reading Challenges: Lenoreo's 2019 AtoZ Reading Challenge, Lenoreo's 2019 Beat the Backlist Challenge, Lenoreo's COYER Winter 2018
Find it: Goodreads ✩ Amazon ✩ B&N ✩ Google ✩ Kobo ✩ iBooks ✩ IndieBound
From New York Times bestselling author Penelope Ward, comes a new, sexy standalone novel.
We met in the least likely of places. It started out innocently enough. I was “ScreenGod” and she was “Montana,” but of course, those weren’t our actual names, just the virtual cloaks we hid behind.
Logging in at night and talking to her was my escape—my sanctuary.
Her real name was Eden, I’d soon come to find out.
From the first time we connected online, I found myself transfixed.
She was an addiction.
At first, we knew nothing about each other’s real identities…and she was adamant that we keep things that way. Anonymity had no effect on our unstoppable chemistry, though. If anything, it allowed us to open up even more in ways we may not have otherwise.
Eden was funny, intelligent, gorgeous—everything I’d ever wanted in a woman.
But I couldn’t really have her.
I had accepted things would have to stay the way they were—until the day I found a clue that led me straight to her.
So I took a chance.
And that was when our love story really began.
4.5 stars — OK, wow, this book went in places I wasn’t anticipating at all. And while I don’t want to spoil things, I will warn that if you have problems with people in porn or the sex industry, then you should steer clear.
So while I was surprised what subjects this book tackled, I found it really fascinating and thought-provoking. I doubt I was supposed to, at least to the degree which I was, but I think women who work in…shall we say “less savoury” professions are so often judged without looking deeper. And what’s strange is that a lot of romance books I’ve read have helped me to consider the reasons women might seek these jobs out, besides the obvious of enjoying it (or the common thought that they were forced or coerced). It’s a strange world we live in where sex really does bring in the money. And while that’s kind of a shame, I like how books I’ve read have helped me not to judge the *people* in those industries (well, the ones on the bottom, not necessarily the ones at the top who exploit). What I appreciated about this one was that we didn’t really get into the industry at all, it was just an aspect of Eden’s character. Instead we got to see the role it would play in a love story…which is, I suppose, the part that I found fascinating.
Ryder was not what I was expecting at all. I truly felt how lost he was when the book started, and how lonely. And while I’m not really a fan of mentioning some “secret” (about how his previous relationship ended) and then not telling the reader, I tolerated it in this book. I was worried about what the secret was going to be, but it was interesting in and of itself and added a new dimension to Ryder. Through him we also got a realistic view on grief as well. The thing that got me about Ryder is that he was this interesting mix of jealous/possessive with understanding/compassion. I loved that his compassion for Eden’s situation meant that his jealousy didn’t go out of control. It, again, felt very realistic. Because it would be hard to turn off those feelings, even as you understood the circumstances. He was just such an interesting hero for me, because he didn’t fall into any of the usual hero traps. He was a rich, powerful guy, but he was still struggling with what he wanted to do with his life. He loved his parents, and struggled with making his father proud. He was just way more humble and down to earth than I was expecting. He surprised me in the best ways.
I felt a bit more in tune with who Eden was going to be, and I loved that she was sweet, caring, and while she had her insecurities, we got to see her struggle to not let them overrun her emotions. She had her own balancing act between her fears and her desires. While I really liked Eden, I didn’t connect with her as strongly as I connected with Ryder, and I’m not sure why…truly. *shrugs* It happens I guess. She had her own “secret” that was kept from the readers, and while I had guesses to what it was, it was actually more intricate than I was anticipating.
I loved the way Ryder and Eden’s love story progressed, from their first interactions right to the end. I LOVED that the relationship wasn’t sexual at first, but that they got to know each other. I loved that they found they could share their true selves with each other. Basically their connection felt real to me, and I appreciated that it wasn’t a rush to the bedroom, despite how they met. But worry not, their steamy scenes were worth waiting for (in my opinion).
Now here’s the surprise of the story: Ollie. But I can’t tell you more without some spoilers, so proceed at your own risk. View Spoiler »I didn’t expect to fall in love with Ollie as hard as I did. I think he took both me *and* Ryder by surprise. He was a pretty funny kid, and I loved how Ryder interacted with him, and learned from him. He helped Ryder to grow. I love that I truly believed in their connection as well. It wasn’t just that Ryder fell in love with Eden, he loved Ollie too. And OMG, the crisis phone call from Ollie near the end made me laugh (even as it again made me think). « Hide Spoiler
So yeah. Huh. I told my hubby I was having trouble writing this review, but apparently what that meant is that I had a novel’s worth of thoughts to put on paper. *rolls eyes* And I still think of other things to say (like I loved how the ex wasn’t really vilified). I can definitely see this book not working for everyone, but it totally worked for me. In the end, I fell in love with their love.