What I liked best about Spider was the soul-mate-like bond between Spider and Rose. Their timing was off, certainly, but these two clearly understood each other in a way no one else ever could. Their connection was instant and intense, and I loved reading about how these two star-crossed lovers found their way to a beautiful HEA.
Spider was a flawed hero. He’s charming and sexy as hell, but in the beginning of the story, he’s certainly not what anyone would ever call good boyfriend material. He has issues with drugs, lugs around a staggering amount of emotional baggage, and is a bit of a manwhore who treats Rose terribly. The whole manwhore thing is usually a deal-breaker for me in a story, but as events play out and his backstory is revealed little bit by little bit, I started to forgive Spider for his appalling behavior. And I won’t give anything away, but if you stick with the book until the end, I can guarantee you that Spider redeems himself and becomes the absolute best kind of book boyfriend. (You’ll have to take my word for it. It takes a while to get there, but don’t give up on him!)
There were several things I really liked about Rose (like the fact that she’s a survivor who rose above a horrible upbringing to become a good-hearted, smart-as-hell woman who wasn’t afraid to go after what she wants in life), but she was a little harder for me to warm up to than Spider was. (Which was weird, because Rose was technically a much better person than Spider was. *Shrugs*) I won’t give too much away, but I thought the way she treated Trenton was disgusting, and he didn’t deserve it. So he was a little emotionally tone-deaf and boring. So what? That didn’t give Rose the right to treat him like gum stuck to the bottom of her shoe. The incident didn’t totally wreck my enjoyment of the story, but it irked me enough to deduct a half star from my overall rating. (What can I say? I’m petty like that.)
And while I’m on the subject of Rose and Trenton, I feel I need to point out a couple of things you’ll need to accept if you plan on giving this one a read: 1) The hero and heroine do have sex with other people, and 2) There is cheating. If either of these things are deal breakers for you as a reader, you’ll want to gracefully bow out of this one. But if you can take it, you won’t regret giving Spider a try.
(Side-note to the author: If you ever decide to write Oscar and Axe’s story, I’ll one-click the crap out of it!)
Long-story-short, Spider was engaging and angsty and sexy, and I’d recommend it to any fans of the new adult or contemporary romance categories who can appreciate an incredibly complex hero who works his ass off to eventually become worthy of his very own HEA with the woman of his dreams.
Does this book contribute to or help crush the romance stigma?
Crushes it! No rehab needed. This one is clean and sober (even if the hero mostly isn’t).
Other reading suggestions
Get to the author’s backlist immediately! Dirty English and Fake Fiancee are my personal favorites.