Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas – #BookReview

Goodreads: Birthday Girl
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Romance
Panda Rating:

JORDAN
He took me in when I had nowhere else to go.
He doesn’t use me, hurt me, or forget about me. He doesn’t treat me like I’m nothing, take me for granted, or make me feel unsafe.
He remembers me, laughs with me, and looks at me. He listens to me, protects me, and sees me. I can feel his eyes on me over the breakfast table, and my heart pumps so hard when I hear him pull in the driveway after work.
I have to stop this. It can’t happen.
My sister once told me there are no good men, and if you find one, he’s probably unavailable.
Only Pike Lawson isn’t the unavailable one.
I am.

PIKE
I took her in, because I thought I was helping.
She’d cook a few meals and clean up a little. It was an easy arrangement.
As the days go by, though, it’s becoming anything but easy. I have to stop my mind from drifting to her and stop holding my breath every time I bump into her in the house. I can’t touch her, and I shouldn’t want to.
The more I find my path crossing hers, though, the more she’s becoming a part of me.
But we’re not free to give into this. She’s nineteen, and I’m thirty-eight.
And her boyfriend’s father.
Unfortunately, they both just moved into my house.

*BIRTHDAY GIRL is a stand-alone, contemporary romance suitable for ages 18+.

This isn’t the type of romance that I often read and I don’t know what pushed me to pick it up since I had never heard of this author or book beforehand, but pick it up I did and … Yeah, it just wasn’t my jam. I liked that it was a slow-burn romance. I admit that the chemistry between Pike and Jordan was fire and the steamy scenes between them were all pretty hot and explosive. If my rating would be based on those scenes alone, I’d probably give this a 4-star rating.

But unfortunately, most of the story was just a little… meh and unbelievable? The majority of the characters were plot devices and I didn’t want to do anything but slap them for being truly awful people (especially Cole and his mother–I could not have rolled my eyes harder at these two characters. Just plain old disgusting). It was really hard for me to have any sympathy for a lot of these characters. One thing I’m glad of is that there was really no ‘love triangle’ aspect to this story because I honestly would’ve DNF’d it if it did (that’s really how much I hate love triangles because you know this panda does not DNF books lol). But there’s actually none of that in this book because Cole is the ultimate douchebag from page one and his hot/cold I-care-and-then-don’t-care attitude was just shitty and shady throughout. I would never cheat on someone but… Damn, Cole did not deserve half the respect that Jordan, and I’d even go so far as to also say Pike, gave him. I didn’t even care about his “redemption arc” at the end and I don’t feel it added anything at all. 🤷🏻‍♀️

There were moments that I found the relationship between Pike and Jordan a little weird because he’d act all reprimanding like her dad would and then obviously, there were the many other times when he’d have indecent very-not-fatherly thoughts about/towards her. I also found Pike annoyingly immature at times. Like, mate, you should be acting well above this immaturity right now. Some of his monologues also came off as sexist and fairly condescending towards Jordan/Jordan’s sister, and it just wasn’t a good look. For the most part, I did like Jordan’s character. She was strong, pretty mature (for her age and in comparison to the others), hard-working and wasn’t overly annoying or had unrealistic expectations about her life and relationships. Unsurprisingly for someone going through a tumultuous time in her early twenties, there were moments where she did get on my nerves, but I think Pike’s character managed to irritate me more.

I will say though that this was oddly addictive because I couldn’t put it down until I finished it. It was like another “The Stopover” moment for me where I was thinking “what the hell am I doing reading this book?!” and then at the same time being unable to stop reading it. 🤦🏻‍♀️ So I guess there’s that going for it?

Have you read Birthday Girl? How do you feel about love triangles?
Let me know in the comments and let’s chat!