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Tryst Six Venom

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𝑨𝒘𝒂𝒚 𝒈𝒂𝒎𝒆𝒔, 𝒃𝒂𝒄𝒌 𝒔𝒆𝒂𝒕𝒔, 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒍𝒐𝒄𝒌𝒆𝒓 𝒓𝒐𝒐𝒎 𝒂𝒇𝒕𝒆𝒓 𝒉𝒐𝒖𝒓𝒔... 𝑮𝒆𝒕 𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒅𝒚!

𝘾𝙇𝘼𝙔

Marymount girls are good girls. We’re chaste, we’re untouched, and even if we weren’t, no one would know, because we keep our mouths shut.

Not that I have anything to share anyway. I never let guys go too far. I’m behaved.

Beautiful, smart, talented, popular, my skirt’s always pressed, and I never have a hair out of place. I own the hallways, walking tall on Monday and dropping to my knees like the good Catholic girl I am on Sunday.

That’s me. Always in control.

Or so they think. The truth is that it’s easy for me to resist them, because what I truly want, they can never be. Something soft and smooth. Someone dangerous and wild.

Unfortunately, what I want I have to hide. In the locker room after hours. In the bathroom stall between classes. In the showers after practice. 𝑀𝑦 ℎ𝑒𝑎𝑑 𝑠𝑤𝑖𝑚𝑚𝑖𝑛𝑔. 𝑀𝑦 ℎ𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑢𝑝 ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑠𝑘𝑖𝑟𝑡.

For me, life is a web of secrets. No one can find out mine.

𝙊𝙇𝙄𝙑𝙄𝘼

I cross the tracks every day for one reason—to graduate from this school and get into the Ivy League. I’m not ashamed of where I come from, my family, or how everyone at Marymount thinks my skirts are too short and my lipstick is too red.

Clay Collins and her friends have always turned up their noses at me. The witch with her beautiful skin, clean shoes, and rich parents who torments me daily and thinks I won’t fight back.

At least not until I get her alone and find out she’s hiding so much more than just what’s underneath those pretty clothes.

The princess thinks I’ll scratch her itch. She thinks she’s still pure as long as it’s not a guy touching her.

I told her to stay on her side of town. I told her not to cross the tracks.

But one night, she did. And when I’m done with her, she’ll never be pure again.

*TRYST SIX VENOM is a standalone, new adult, bully romance suitable for readers 18+. It will release directly into Kindle Unlimited!

587 pages, Kindle Edition

First published June 3, 2021

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About the author

Penelope Douglas

53 books66.6k followers
Penelope Douglas is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. Their books have been translated into nineteen languages and include The Fall Away Series, The Devil’s Night Series, and the stand-alones, Misconduct, Punk 57, Birthday Girl, Credence, and Tryst Six Venom. Please look for The Hellbent Series, coming next.

They live in New England with their husband and daughter.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,387 reviews
Profile Image for Penelope Douglas.
Author 53 books66.6k followers
Shelved as 'finished-writing'
June 3, 2021
The queen bee of Marymount Academy loves to torture the school outcast, Olivia Jaeger. No one knows what she likes to do to her in private.

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Profile Image for mel ☽.
365 reviews7,624 followers
June 10, 2021
3.5 - 3.75 (idk yet) stars ✩⋆

yes, yes. Clay and Olivia are fucking adorable (most of the time) with their enemies to lovers, hate to love, mutual longing, scenes filled with sexual tension where they're pretending to hate each but actually wanna bone, and character growth where they're just simping or being horny for one another BUT THEN...

...
...
...

[insert the oldest brother with emo and loner hermit tendencies who gave up his whole life to take care of everyone but rarely shows emotion and affection but you can tell he loves his crazy af siblings deeply even if he doesn't show it and is VERY protective and probably has a traumatic past aaand cue all the dark shit and inner demons he most likely keeps to himself because duh any quiet and mysterious characters are like this]


...
...
...

ladies and gentlemen, ✨🥵 MACON MO'FUCKIN JAEGER 🥵✨

you're telling me this side character who is kinda mysterious but is very much an asshole but obviously loves deeply and has depth is just that- a side character?!!?

description

pls- this man deserves rights and his own book.

RTC for now because i have like 2 assignments that are overdue cuz i was too busy reading this long ass book so your girl needs time bare with me pls 😔✋🏼
Profile Image for Cristiina♡Reads.
574 reviews3,303 followers
June 3, 2021
A bully romance that will get your blood flowing in the best filthiest of ways, making you crave more of this world that consists of the Jaeger family...



My FF romance cherry has been officially popped, and Penelope has found a way for my wicked side to enjoy and thoroughly fall in love with her magical ways of creating a brand new world, with new characters that will have you seeking for more. Starting this book and being introduced to these new characters, brought back so many nostalgic moments to when I dived into the DEVIL'S NIGHT series. The feeling of a new world that has so many opportunities, especially when they come from Penelope, is just he best feeling for any book lover. And knowing the kind of writing you would be diving into from a favorite author who has no hold backs about what kind of kinky, forbidden, and dark romance she is willing to write is such a thrill seeking feeling for an avid romance reader like myself. And for those who are seeking a brand new dark romance to dive into, this is the one because Miss Douglas will never disappoint.

Now to briefly talk about the story without giving anything away... Liv & Clay. What can I even say these two level headed young girls, who want nothing more than to feel that passion and emotional connection that they felt from the moment they met each other. One who knows what she wants, and another who is hesitant to get there because of the judgment and criticism she would get for loving someone of the same sex. It's the vulgar way of getting there, and admitting to each other that there is no denying that strong lust and emotional angst they have for each other. It's through the forbidden ways of the smallest touches, to the longing glances, to the harsh words that bring the attraction to each other. When I tell you that they bullied each other, they truly did bully each other. But to Liv, waiting for years for Clay to actually admit that they are meant to be with each other and relieve that sexual tension, is the hardest part of all. Especially when Clay knows the kind of girlfriend and human being Liv would be and is to her;
It's like being in her orbit, I can feel the shine, too. I feel bigger with her close...

Though we have been getting a lot of intense dark romances from Pen lately, there is no denying that she is a true believer of happily ever afters... even if they have some sort of wicked ending that we all secretly just love. And to crave more of her writing is a mutual side affect one gets after reading any of her books, no matter what trope it may be. Hopefully we do get to see more of the characters in this series, because I am seriously invested in Liv's brothers whom each individual have one hell of a story line to follow.

ARC kindly provided by Penelope Douglas in exchange for an honest review...

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March 23, 2022


“Most people, he’d once told me, don’t do great things, because great things don’t feel great when you’re doing them.”


4 "Venom" stars!!!

Clay Collins, the highschool Barbie, a front row cheerleader, a lacrosse star, a born Snow Queen. All the boys in school, old and young are panting to have a taste of that sweet cherry. But what they don't know is that inside she's a neglected broken girl with no one to turn to. What they don't know is that she isn't interested in riding their horses. She's interested in only one person. A girl. Her worst enemy. Her rival. Her victim. Her obsession.

Olivia Jaeger, the highschool weirdo, a bitchy biker, a lacrosse star, the girl from the the wrong side of tracks. Her brothers are her protectors. Her guidance. No one else wants her. Or at least that's what she thinks. She has no business wanting to own the school Barbie. Her tormentor. But why does she feel hot all over whenever she watch her?

Will they be able to stay together without being judged by the world?

It's like being in her orbit, I can feel the shine, too. I feel bigger with her close...


ABSOLUTE-FUCKING-LUTELY LOVED IT!!!! My FF romance cherry has finally popped!! Yayy!!

If I'm being honest it was the cover that made me want to read this! I never thought this was an FF book since I assumed Clay was guy. I have nothing against MM or FF but for some reason, I have always avoided it. But now thanks to Penelope I am in love with these tropes.

I loved Clay. I loved the broken, insecure girl inside starving for love as much as I loved the bitchy girl inside her who know what she wants. And oh momma! She was so hot when she goes all possessive over Liv. I loved how she hate-loved Liv and how she cared about her. Tbh I hated, no annoyed with her. When she kept denying her lust for Liv and hurt Liv in the worst ways. But slowly with all the drama and all I came to love her.

I loved Liv too! The her sassy, no-nonsense, I-dont-give-a-fuck-about-what you-think-about-me attitude had me like boom! I love how she didn't care about what other think and how she handled her emotions and words when she was bullied. I love how she let herself be weak and break instead of showing abnormal strength which is usually displayed through female characters in most books.

Women are not superheroes. They break, they feel, they hurt, they cry. And it is through that they become strong. Just because they are women doesn't mean they can deal with every hardship, every obstacle with a smile.

The connection between these two character is intense. Those cruel words in the field, small touches in the locker room, heated glances in the class.....whoa! You could literally feel the tension, the sparks through the words. And the bullying....both of them know to hit where it hurts the most. Clay for her insecurities and Liv for her crumbling family. The bullying was so raw, so real I swear I felt punched in the gut by those cruel words.

From sub characters I loved Liv's brothers. They were so adorable when they go overprotective of her. And whoa! Clay's mom's and dad's love story is something I wished for. With all that losing kid,drifting apart, cheating, divorce and second chance.....if Pen ever write a book on them I guess it'll be a big hit.

I had to reduce one star because there was too much OM/OW drama. Clay kissing Callum, Liv making out with another girl. There was a bit too much emotional cheating but overall the plot was amazing. As usual Pen does not disappoint her readers.

Tropes

-Bully/Victim
-Rich Girl/ Poor Girl
-Lesbian
-Flame/Snowflake
Note: HEA, violence included

Highly Recommended!! Enjoy!!

Profile Image for elena ❀.
259 reviews2,875 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
December 23, 2021
dnf @ 40%

This is a case of "It's not the book, it's me."

I read Bully by PD back in 2016 and rated it 1 star. Although it was the first bully romance I've read (the only other bully romance I’ve read is Vicious), I realized romance books with the bully trope were not going to be my cup of tea. While I knew this was a bully high school f/f romance, I wanted to give it a chance to see if I would like it more because it's a f/f romance. However, by the time I started, I was already debating whether I was going to finish this or not. It only took 20% for me to realize I was either going to finish this and rate it 1 star or DNF it. Clearly, the latter was a better option.

I've mentioned before how I can stand rude love interests as long as there's development, but when it comes to bullying . . . I feel like there's no hope for me because the rudeness is done deliberately and for no reason other than hurting the others.

I was going to attempt and read more of this, but I realized the more I read, the more bored and frustrated I got. The whole mentality and thinking of "I hate them but I love them so I'm going to make their life a living hell" isn't my thing. But if that is your thing then I'm sure you'll like this one.

Bully romances are not for me, and I don't think it has to do with the author or how they're written because I don't like bullying in general, even if it's fiction. As I said, it's a case of it's not the book, it's me, which is why I'm not finishing this and I'm not rating this.

I don't think I'm ever going to read a bully romance again because I know that I'm not going to like it for that reason. The trope is clearly not for me. I believe in second chances for tropes and authors, but this trope didn't even let me give it the entire chance.

Oh well.
Profile Image for Phuong ✯.
617 reviews5,134 followers
June 10, 2021
3.5 stars

SONG:
Lewis Capaldi - Someone You Loved

Petition for Penelope Douglas to write a spin off series about each of Olivia's brothers, especially Macon deserves his own book. I'm lowkey obsessed w him.

Tryst Six Venom was popping the F/F cherry for many readers, myself included and I couldn't be happier that it was by one of my favorite author. Since I didn't like any of PD latest releases, Tryst Six Venom was a huge step into the right decision. It reminded me a lot of her older works. With the enemies-to-lovers, bully romance & rich girl/poor girl trope TSV gave me some Punk 57 & Fall Away vibes.

Not her best book, but worlds better than the last weird incest standalone book that PD wrote. LOL.
“But the more I look around at the world, Clay, the more I realize that villains are a lot more complicated than we want them to be. Sometimes, they’re just people who are really afraid.”

━━━━━━━━━━━━━━
CHARACTERS
━━━━━━━━━━━━━━

Clay Collins. The little princess. Clay's home life has been hard since her little brother died. Her mother is controlling and want to micro-manage everything, her father is never at home. She's miss little perfect.

It took me quite some time to warm up to Clay, because she's mean and pretty unlikeable at the beginning. Clay is not exactly the most likable person, but she's such a complex character that I even when I was frustrated w her, I felt bad for her too, because I knew every demeaning, insulting word she threw at Olivia was her way of coping w her own sexuality. This girl had issues and she had no one to talk besides Olivia. I could even be mad at her for all the homophobic things she said to Olivia, cause the internalised homophobia is accurate from what I gathered...

Olivia Jaeger. The outsider. She's baby and I love her. And everyone who disagree can leave me alone. 🤚

Liv is a queen, just because she knows exactly who she is. She is not afraid to show people who she is and what they think of her and how many people can really say that about themselves, not Clay tho. She has 0 fucks left to give, stayed unbothered for most of the time... I don't have any choice but to stan. ✨

She's basically Misha from Punk 57 , but the female version. What I loved about her character the most is that she didn't back down when Clay was bullying her, but at the same time she was so patient w Clay and was the only person to really understand how Clay was feeling and how Clay was struggling.

━━━━━━━━━━━━━━
ROMANCE
━━━━━━━━━━━━━━
“Imagine what the world would have to come to for me to take fashion advice from a white trash, rug-sucking, swamp rat like you.”

Aw, that's sweet. If my soulmate doesn't insult me on a daily basis, I don't want it. <3

No fr, I didn't mind the bullying aspect that much, because Penelope Douglas is like the queen of writing bully romances. If there is one author I trust w that trope it's her, but apart that this book was way too long than necessary, the bullying went on for too long IMO. And then the transition between the bullying and the "I'm in love" stage, felt very unnatural. It went from one stage to the other too quickly and needed more development in between, cause Liv was a simp for Clay from the start. What I like w the bullying here is that both girls give as good as they get. The power balance was more or less equal and that's never the case w M/F bully romances.

Another thing I just didn't love about the romance is all the OW/OM drama in between when Clay was making out w Callum and Liv was making out w Megan. Yeah thanks, but thanks no I didn't need to read about those on screen make out sessions. That was just messy.
“Just let me go,” I barely whisper.
“I can’t.

I liked Liv and Clay together and they were pretty adorable & very cute especially in the second half. But the first half of the book was so tedious and had so much drama that I wasn't as invested in their romance by the end as I could have been.

━━━━━━━━━━━━━━
SIDE-CHARACTERS
━━━━━━━━━━━━━━

Mr. & Mrs. Collins. Why do I name these characters first? The dumbass that I am always get way too invested in the side love story/side characters. Clay's parents have a love story I'd die to get my hands one. Their love story is so fucking messy w the death of one child, neglation of the other child, the cheating, the lying, the second chance, but I ate up every crumb. I was a little sad when I read that they got a divorce, but even happier to see that they tried dating e/o again after four year! What a messy love story, but I loved it.

Macon Jaeger.
“You’re going to go to Dartmouth.” He dips his head down close to mine, holding my eyes. “And you’re going to join a club and make some friends, and in a couple of months you’re going to have a life.”
“You’re going to leave,” he grits out. “You’re going to leave here and leave any hope of her. You’re going to do the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do, because it’ll save you, Liv. Because you’re Trysta Jaeger’s daughter, and we’re going to do what she would’ve wanted us to do and didn’t have the courage to do herself. We keep biting back. We survive, because sometimes that’s the most violent thing we can do to other people. We stay alive.”

Macon carrying the world and all its responsibiliites on his shoulders. Give this man a freaking break!!! Macon sacrificed everything to be there for his siblings. EVERYTHING. I don't think he has his own life anymore, all he does it survive and breathe to keep his siblings and their children alive.

Every time Macon appeared on the page, HE STOLE THE FUCKING SHOW. Olivia who? Clay who? All I see is Macon Jaeger. He has so much to say. Just give him a book already.

All the other Jaeger bros

I can't remember all their names, but they all need a book too. I mean single dad??? What a serve would that be. But honestly, I loved all of the Jaeger brothers, cause they were so protective of Liv and even though their family is dysfunctional at least they have each other.

****

Penelope Douglas cover appreciation–

I love the cover for Tryst Six Venom and basically love all of PD standalone covers, because I know what's inside is pretty hot, but when I read them in public no one is going to question what the fuck I'm reading.
Profile Image for Jessica .
2,077 reviews13.3k followers
June 2, 2021
TW for mentions of suicide, sexual assault, and loss of a loved one.

Gah, where do I start? I always have SUPER HIGH expectations when I start a new Penelope Douglas book. This one definitely felt like she was going back to her roots of Bully and Punk 57. We haven't had one of those in a while, and I devoured this book. Clay and Liv are enemies. They both play lacrosse together, but Clay has made it her mission to make Liv know she is not welcome and that she hates her. Clay is rich and popular while Liv is from the other side of the tracks. Both girls go head to head but they won't be able to fight their attraction for long.

This is definitely a bully romance and both girls pull no punches when it comes to hurting one another when they're feeling hurt. That's the usual cycle with bully romances, though, and it's only a matter of time before they work things out. This book was looooong and I don't know if I necessarily think it had to be that long, but I really loved the character development Clay when through. Liv knows who she is and is out to everyone. Clay, on the other hand, denies her attraction to Liv and is determined to show everyone she's straight and that she hates Liv. This becomes hard, though, when Liv and Clay start giving into their attraction because, in public, Clay is still trying to keep her sexuality a secret, especially since she's still confused about what her sexuality even is.

What really made this book for me, aside from the romance, was the side characters. I loved all of Liv's brothers and would LLOOOOVVVEEEE books for them! I don't now if that would happen, but there's so much backstory there and I loved how protective her brothers were and how they would always show up for her, no questions asked. Then, near the end, I really enjoyed Clay's storyline with her parents and how that all played out. I wasn't the biggest fan of Clay's friends and I would have liked to see them more genuinely there for her more than just at the end.

I also loved how this was also a sports romance! They both play lacrosse and we actually get to see games and practices, which I loved. Liv is also in theater, so we get to see her at play practice and the performance. I loved how fleshed out these two characters were and how they had so much to them. In a lot of high school bully romances, the characters lack depth or even a hobby, so I enjoyed how these two characters had fully lives and hopes for their futures.

Overall, this had me in my feels and so nostalgic for Penelope's older books. If you love her NA high school bully romances, you're going to love this. Penelope doesn't hold back on the steam, but she also doesn't hold back on the enemies/hate aspect of the romance.
Profile Image for Arini.
776 reviews1,627 followers
June 25, 2021


CLAY & OLIVIA - WHAT A SAVAGE COUPLE!
BUT CAN I PLEASE HAVE ONE OF THE JAEGERS??
(Preferably the oldest one)


PD’s shit is my kind of shit. Like, she can shit on paper and I would still read it. (Idk if this is a common expression - but if not, then I’m borrowing it from Val. 🙈) That said, I went into this book tentatively and came out struggling to identify my thoughts and feelings. So, we’re just going to figure them out as we go. Idk how long this will get or if you even care at all, but here goes.

==> My history with gay romance = NONE...

I have never read a queer romance prior to this one (neither MM nor FF). I’ve read many books featuring queer couples acting as side characters. Do you know what I mean? I’ve never been particularly interested (in MM/FF romance) either. I’m not opposed to this practice/culture in real life, but I always thought it was just something I wouldn’t prefer in my reading.

Then PD came out with this book. I was sort of convinced this wasn’t my thing. On the other hand, I was also curious if this WAS my thing. And I thought, what better way to start my venture into this category of romance if not by trusting one of my favorite authors to guide me through it? Hence, I said... Fuck it, let’s do this! I didn’t have any expectations seeing as I wasn’t sure what to expect to begin with.

To put it simply, I was mostly reading this book just because. If I loved it, then that would be awesome and probably made me more open to seek out other queer romances. If I didn’t love it, that would be fine too. I wasn’t going to feel sad or disappointed. No harm no foul. ✋ Now, we’re here and I didn’t love this book. But I also didn’t know exactly what I feel. Hmm. Help.

==> In which I (kinda) gush about Clay & Liv, but feeling all kinds of confused regarding my stan on FF...

I can’t tell if this is PD not coming through; OR, if finishing this book just solidifies I’m not into gay romance. Though, saying that might be too soon seeing as I’ve only tried this ONE book. In any case, this is pretty much like reading MF - except I couldn’t bring myself to feel invested in the romance, and all the sex scenes did was put a puzzled look on my face instead of getting me all hot and bothered.

Like, I was busy wondering... How did they dry hump each other if there was no ‘bulge’ to rub and nugde the little nub (??) ?? Heh. WTH. How did they do the ‘scissors’?? Wouldn’t that just hurt their pubic bones?? Uh, okay, you get the point. This is getting uncomfortable. 🙈 Anyway, the MCs (Clay & Liv) clearly have chemistry, and they’re ✦hot✦ bitches. Not only by themselves, but with each other as well.

I didn’t condone the behavior obviously, but I approved how the bully trope was executed in this book and how it tied with Clay’s internalized homophobia. She was so mean (especially in the beginning) and a frustrating character to read about, but she was also someone whom you could feel the pain of and show some sympathy to. Wish she’d sorted herself out sooner though.

***Spoiler***

My least fave Clay (bully) moment - when she criticised Liv’s body by writing hurtful (and untrue) words on it with a sharpie.

My most fave Clay moment - when she *purposefully* scarred Milo’s face with a knife. 💀💀

Meanwhile, Olivia (Liv) was my favorite of the two. She might be the one getting bullied and ridiculed, but she was far from pathetic. She embraced who she was and didnt give a damn what people thought. Not only did she have overprotective brothers whom I’d very much like to get in bed with, but she was also vicious in her own right. When she wasn’t, her vulnerability cracked my heart open.

***Spoiler***

My fave Liv moments - (1) when she gave Clay an orgasm using a showerhead in the locker room shower 🚿💦; (2) when she managed to escape on her own after being ‘snatched away’ by Callum & Milo; (3) all of her scenes with her brothers - especially when she broke down in tears and Macon scooped her up in his arms. 😭

I think it’s safe to say that I liked Clay & Liv individually just fine. However, I mentioned earlier that I wasn’t hooked with their romance or them as a couple. Tbh, I’m not sure why. I kept asking myself if I’d have liked it more had one of them been a guy... Aside from the bullying and few heart to heart talks, their relationship was filled with jealousy, Clay’s ‘wimpiness’ to out herself, and sex.

They simply didn’t give me any flutter. In fact, I was more giddy about all the other heterosexual pairings. Like, what was going on with Krisjen & Trace and the second chance romance between Clay’s parents - even though those were not discussed in details and only mentioned in passing. I was also positively more OBSESSED with the Tryst Six brothers. They reminded me of the Van der Berg men.

On another note, I feel like this book had a lot of things going on, yet nothing at all. It was too darn long, and some parts got repetitive. I tried hard to read through everything - an endeavor I only partially succeeded in accomplishing. I skimmed through the second half and completely skipped the sex scenes. If only PD had reserved those wasted tedious scenes on the brothers. *sigh*

==> To sum up...

This book is very PD and totally screams ✦ high school ✦ romance. I guess I’m feeling rather indifferent towards it, but there are parts that I did enjoy - all of it mostly in relation to Macon & the brothers. Seriously hoping for them to get their own books! Anyway, Clay & Liv are the baddest bitches of the highest order. They’ve truly found their match in each other. I loved that both had dominant personalities.

The bully aspect was masterfully crafted. The angst was emotional, but I just couldnt vibe with the romance. I know it’s strange that I’m praising Clay & Liv, yet seemingly complaining about their relationship. Idk how else to explain it. I think I’m just not fully on board with this being FF. Does that make me a bad person?? 🙈 I think I can conclude that it’s just not my preference (still).

In my opinion (and maybe just to give you an idea), “Tryst Six Venom” is better than “Bully” but is not as good as “Punk 57.” I’m proud of PD for trying something new - even though it doesn’t quite pan out for me. But it’s not the book’s fault, it’s merely a matter of my predilection for MF romances. I’m glad for those of you who relish in this being FF, and I hope it fulfills your expectations. :)
Profile Image for pauline.
128 reviews21.7k followers
December 30, 2021
4.25 ★

THERE ARE SO MANY PARTS TO THIS BOOK THAT I LOVED.

Let's start with the brothers. THE JAEGAR BROTHERS NEED THEIR OWN SPIN OFFS. I swear to God 😫 Macon and Dallas and Iron and Army and Trace!! I feel like it'll be obvious that my favorite brother is Macon. His perseverance, his dedication to his family, his love despite not being able to verbally express it, but nonetheless showing it in other ways. There's always something about a character sacrificing their entire life to care for their family that gets to me. And I don't know if it's the brotherhood dynamic or the fact that it's just the siblings left to fend for themselves and he's in charge, but Macon didn't start off as my favorite character and the way he develops and cares for his family NO MATTER WHAT really got to me so I need a book for him RIGHT NOW ✋🏼🥺

But obviously this book isn't about Macon. IT'S ABOUT MY BBY LIV AND CLAY.

Listen... I'm team Liv all the way because Clay???? SO SO SO MEAN. So mean that my feelings were getting massively hurt and I started crying for Liv during one part of the book (and not even during the sharpie scene, it was way later). If Clay bullied me, I could not tolerate it the way Liv has. I read bully romances all the time, but something about this hurt extra deep 😂

Does Clay redeem herself? Sure. But I'm not as easily forgiving as Liv is to her because she crushed my feelings and I'm not even the main character 😭 But do I still love her? Love them both? YES YES 100% YES.

Clay and Liv are really hot and cold. They dance on that thin line between love and hate and there's a lot of pain between the two of them on top of the pain they harbor individually. But I still rooted for them the whole way. I was still heavily engrossed in the book. Despite being over 500 pages, this read really fast to me. I finished it in two nights' worth of reading.

Tons of spice easily woven into their complicated, rollercoaster relationship. The brothers play a large enough role for Liv and for their small town and where all of the rich kids are concerned.

The last quarter of this book... shit got real and I was so shook because I didn't expect it to go that direction. SO I WOULD DEFINITELY ADVISE ON LOOKING UP TRIGGER WARNINGS PRIOR TO READING.

Let me just say... Liv being the youngest of the siblings and Macon being the oldest... there's this one scene between the two of them that ATE ME ALIVE!!!! ❤️ You might start reading it and thinking that their relationship is too rocky, but man oh man the siblings 🥺
Profile Image for gloria .☆゚..
684 reviews1,203 followers
May 2, 2023
➥ 5 Stars *:・゚✧

Gently, I pry her hands off as I nibble her ear. "Let go, Clay."
Her chest shakes, her breathing ragged. "I don't want them to see."
"They won't, baby"
.

━━━━━━━━━━━ ♡ ━━━━━━━━━━━


I've lost count of the number of times I've reread this book, desperate for the high in never fails to give me. Honestly, I wish PD would just write another sapphic romance rather than finish a literal six-book series of straight romance...but we persevere!! PD wrote a dark, smutty sapphic romance that remains unmatched by any other.

Olivia (h) is the fucking book-girlfriend to end all book-girlfriends. She's so attractive, she's brutal, she's secure, she's strong.

On a phone call. “Hi Mom. I’m safe. I’ll be home as soon as the rain lets up.”
“You’ll be home when I’m done,” I correct her, jerking her harder into my hand.


But she's also patient and vulnerable and loving.

And I reach out and touch her face. Clay. I smooth out the lines of worry and anger. The fighting and the hurt. I wipe away her tears with my thumb, feeling her warm skin and how she’s the softest thing I’ve ever touched.
“Livvy,” she whimpers, squirming against me.
“Clay.”
She leans into it and exhales, her warm breath wafting over my mouth, and slowly slides her arm around my waist, pulling me in close.


Whereas, Clay (h) is crazy, insecure, and...adorable. God, she literally fucks everything up but I'll forgive her for it every time.

“I don’t hate you.” Her murmur is barely audible.
I look up, listening.
“I think about you all the time,” she almost mouths.
I swallow the lump in my throat.
She holds the pizza, all of her hair loose and spilling over her shoulder, and she’s so still, her gaze fixed on the food in her hands. “Was there ever anything you liked about me?”


Clay is the popular blonde girl that's used to getting her way. But has problems no one else sees. Her home/family life is a mess. She's still processing the loss of her brother. On top of this, being lesbian is not something that fits her agenda. But she can't help being drawn to Olivia.

But even now, I still feel it. She’s bigger than me. She glows, and I don’t, and it’s not like I even want to push her down and make her shrink. It’s like… It’s like being in her orbit, I can feel the shine, too. I feel bigger with her close."


Basically, like Olivia says...

She’s such a cunt, but then she says things like that and I just want to give her everything she wants.


Being the absolute bitch that Clay was most of the time, it took a little while to get used to her, but she really does grow on you. Seeing her vulnerable and just so desperate to express her love for Olivia really does stuff to you. Even when it's in a way that's a little crazy and protective.

She lays a hand on my cheek. “Stop crying,” she whispers, pressing her forehead to mine. “Please stop.”
I go to grab hold of her, slip my hand around her waist, but I hold back. I already told her too much. But the tears keep coming, no matter how I try to hold my breath to stifle the crying.
“All right, I’m gonna shave her head,” she says. “Where can I find her?”
...
“Seriously,” she says, pushing me onto my back and climbing on top of me. “You’re under my protection now and I get shit done. Want her fired? Arrested? Her car repossessed?”
I smile, no more tears stinging as I slip my hands under her shirt—my T-shirt—and caress the fucking amazing skin on her smooth stomach.
“Porta-potty shit dumped on her lawn, maybe?” she goes on. “I know a guy.”


Part of what made me grow fonder of Clay was her humour. Sometime's, she says things unironically that will just kill you.

“See you around,” I hear her say, and when I turn around again, she’s gone.
Facing Liv, I give her a scolding look, but I’m sure she can see my amusement. “She was just saying hi.”
“She can wave.”


But sometimes...just kidding. That's literally all she does: say things unironically that make you spit out your drink.

“I’m not gay,” she says quietly, and I have to strain to hear her over the rain. “I’m just in love with you.”


I was dying of laughter. Especially when this is literally her half the time:

She rises, pulling me up with her, and whispers in my ear. “I love these.” She squeezes my breast, moving from one to the other as she kisses my shoulder. “They feel so good.”


Not very heterosexual of her. But anyway, they're just everything. Even little things like She stops at my side, her hair in the two French braids I did this morning. kills me. Oh to live a life where you french braid your girlfriend's hair.

I generally don't like when there's a lot of emphasis placed on a character being a virgin, but I loved how patient and kind Liv was with Clay. I've read some dark romance where one of them (always the guy) uses the moment where he takes her virginity to be awful and unkind. That was not the case here at all. I liked how this was a moment for them to be vulnerable, soft and patient.

“Open,” I whisper over her mouth. “Open your legs, baby.”


On another note, can I just say that I'm seriously side-eyeing the people who read this book and only gush about Olivia's brothers and how they can't wait for their book and how they're soooo hot. It's just so obvious when a straight person reads a sapphic romance. Especially when Olivia's brothers were so unkind to her, are awfully misogynistic and slut-shame women all the time.

Not one of my brothers gives a shit about who I sleep with, because they think pregnancy is the only way I can be hurt. They don’t ask about girlfriends. They don’t think this is anything more than fun.


And...

“Where’d you disappear to?” Dallas asks me, picking up his bottle off the end table.
I sip my water. “Were you looking for me?”
He makes a face, and I breathe out a laugh. Of course, he wasn’t. Probably didn’t realize I was gone until just now.


My heart actually kind of broke when Olivia expressed how unloved she felt by her brothers, and I find it bizarre how so many people seem to pay attention to anything but the main sapphic couple.

Like how can they not be talking about this instead:

“Mine.” She pants, rubbing her thumb across my lips. “Until graduation. Okay?”
“Yeah.”
She tips my chin back and kisses slowly down my neck. “No one has to know, but you better.”
“I know.” I nod. “Don’t worry, I know.”


And Olivia as a character in general is one I love so much. She's gone through so much and she's still fucking wonderful. But my heart ached for her so many times. If it wasn't her brothers' lack of support, it was how she had to go through so much alone.

I turn over in her arms and look at her in the dark. “All I dreamed about was someone wanting me. I wanted to look over in class and see a girl looking at me the way I looked at her. Having someone touch my fingers and hold my hand or pass me notes in class. I wanted someone to have a crush on me—someone with a soft body and soft hair.”


Also, I have noticed that some sapphics do dislike this book. Some say that the sex was unrealistic (because of the amount of tribbing/scissoring) which is actually a good point. But to me, there's two things to consider. Firstly, that PD is married to a man and came out recently, so it's largely possible that they don't have their own experience to base their knowledge on, so I didn't mind too much that they based it off of what they'd seen/heard. And secondly, I find that sex scenes are not only about what the characters are doing but also about the dialogue, and that was done extremely well. The characters' dialogue was always so true to their personalities, and that's something I really admire in sex scenes.

I found that some people even felt that PD wrote an m/f book and just changed the pronouns of the man, because of how aggressive and possessive the women were...*crickets*. Surprise, women can be aggressive, possessive, violent and brutal too. Which is not something that should be shocking to find in a dark romance. And that point also takes away from both characters' queer experiences which was explicitly written in.

I do agree, though, that it was strange that PD refused to explicitly write the word "lesbian" in context, when both characters clearly expressed no attraction to men, solely women.

Also, PD does occasionally shade on abortion which I find very strange. They did this in Rival too. In this book, Clay's parents are not getting along, partly because they've both been enduring the grief of losing their son, but both Clay and her dad get mad at her mother for having an abortion recently, because her dad wanted a baby after losing their son and felt having a baby could fix their marriage. You cannot possibly be mad at someone for not wanting to give birth at such a difficult time of their life, especially when the dad had been consistently cheating on Clay's mother. And it was crazy that they saw having the baby as a replacement for their son.

Lastly, I do think this book was a bit too drawn out. PD's plots tend to be their weakness. Not only was the territorial, "save the town" plotline quite bizarre in the first place, but the way it was later extended in the last 20% of drama was...not great. Like when . Like WHAT. And the plot twist of was horrifically unnecessary. It almost felt like an attempt to redeem his character, and a misogynistic rapist does not need redemption at all. It felt cheap. I almost wish the plot had been more focused on the competitive lacrosse players thing that Clay and Olivia had going on.

Regardless, this is obviously a book that I hold near and dear to my heart, so I'll leave you with this heart-melting quote:

“I stick the pencil through a slit in the vent of Liv’s locker, the yellow paint on the wood scraping off as I shove it through. Hanging from the inside, the little bouquet dangles down the outside of her locker, a few of the pretty white petals floating to the ground. She probably doesn’t like flowers.”


Olivia and Clay are everything. I can't wait for PD's next sapphic standalone (which they have said they have roughly planned)! 💘

━━━━━━━━━━━ ♡ ━━━━━━━━━━━
Profile Image for moonlight ☾ [semi-hiatus].
621 reviews933 followers
August 30, 2021
reread (1): august 2021

It never looks like me, the person in the mirror,
She looks like everyone else.
She's like every woman on his arm—the same hair, the same clothes, the same smile, because to beat she has to compete, right?
I stood in front of the mirror this morning, a mouthful of toothpaste and my hair tangled by your fingers. You sucked my lips swollen last night, and I can still smell your kisses on my skin.
The world swims, how hard I'm used by you.
How all I have when you're done with me is my bones.
I don't care what I look like anymore as long as I look like yours.
Marked, raw, tangled, sore, and scented like you—I don't care.
As long as I look like yours.


so i was in the mood to reread this and i loved it just as much the second time around (brb sobbing bc Clay's poetry is getting me in my feels). 😭 my current thoughts after rereading is still pretty much the same as my original tbh. i loved Clay and Liv together + i need Liv's brothers to have their own books, pls thank u.

if anyone has any ff enemies to lovers recs with the same intensity (or close to) as Clay and Liv, pls lmk!!

⊱ ────── ஓ๑♡๑ஓ ────── ⊰

original review:

5++ stars

just wanna start this off by ✨ m a n i f e s t i n g ✨ future books for Liv’s brothers. they were the best side characters (dw, i’ll ramble more about my love for them later lmaoo) and i genuinely believe it will be a waste of what has potential to be amazing books if their stories aren’t told. i wanna see each of them have their own happy ending because they deserve all the happiness. <3

‼️ SPOILERS AHEAD ‼️

It doesn’t excuse his behavior, but the more I look around at the world, Clay, the more I realize that villains are a lot more complicated than when we want them to be. Sometimes, they’re just people who are really afraid.
— this quote stood out to me because, once you finish the book and take a step back to reminisce about what you just read, i honestly believe it could be summed up in this one quote what the characters went through.

this was my first sapphic romance and one of my most anticipated releases of this year. in conclusion, PD never disappoints. her writing style always leaves me in awe whenever i read one of her books, the way she’s able to bring out emotions within beautiful moments. just- how??

Clay Collins (h):
↬ i had a love/hate relationship with Clay but, rather than hate, i guess it was more towards love/frustration. it’s not really her in denial that frustrated me (because it’s understandable to be afraid), but it was the hurtful words she said to Liv in the first half. i know it was a self defense mechanism thing, but the words she blurted out cut deep that i felt the pain and it wasn’t even directed towards me. despite that, i loved her growth! i think she had my favorite character arc in the book. if you compare how she was in the beginning vs end to the scene when she defended Liv from Callum and Milo, wow it was perfect honestly.

Olivia ‘Liv’ Jaeger (h):
↬ it’s hard to compare Clay and Liv because, in the beginning of the story, both were at different paths in their lives. while Clay was still closed off, Liv was already out and accepted who she was and there’s no wrong or right side because, in reality, you should move at the pace you’re comfortable in, but the reason Liv is my favorite of the two is cause of her strength and the way she was able to stand up against Clay. although Clay said those hurtful things, she never let it get to her and managed to fight back twice as hard. there was also a scene where i thought “man, she’s a crazy bitch” but in the best way. i admired her during the scene when Callum kidnapped her and the way she kept taunting him and Milo, even tho they could obviously just kill her on the spot, had me in awe. it’s the bravery for me.

the romance:
↬ if y’all know me, yk i’m weak for enemies to lovers and this book was the exact definition of that and i craved every moment of it. i binged this in one sitting because each page left me wanting more to see how ClayOlivia’s romance would develop. it was worth staying up until 6am just to finish this.

side characters:
Macon. LISTEN, i love and adore all of Liv’s siblings but, if i had to choose, i think Macon deserves the most happiness atm. he’s that sibling who would give you tough love and not really show affection, but his love for you is obvious and he would burn the world just to keep you safe. if he’s that kind of sibling, imagine how he would be for the love of his life. chefs kiss. 🥺🥺 also, he sacrificed everything for his siblings, like c’mon. he deserves a chance at happiness too PLS.
Dallas / Callum. ok before you come at me, hear me out. i hated Callum with a passion. a part of me was like “ohh, an asshole. redemption arc?” but, as i kept reading, i lost hope because his character just kept getting worse every time he appeared BUT that one revelation about him and Dallas was enough for me to take a step back and see a different perspective, especially when Liv told Clay about villains being more complicated than what they seem on the outside (see quote in the beginning for reference) and i think it’s possible there are layers to Callum we have yet to see that could be a good redemption arc for him? the reason i’m putting Dallas here is mainly i feel like there’s a potential story to explore with this pairing because of their shared history and the angst would be everything; not to mention, Dallas is another Jaeger brother i feel like was surrounded with mystery and i’d love to know more of!
Trace / Krisjen. they seemed to have a friends with benefits situation and i wouldn’t mind if she becomes his love interest since i did like her character!
Army. single dad trope?? YES PLS.
Iron. if i remember correctly, it was Iron and Dallas who liked having threesomes/sharing with each other so it would be interesting to see them actually become possessive of the person they end up loving in the future. 👀

Trace nods. "You shouldn’t tell them you’re bisexual, Clay," he says. "You’re not."
Huh?
"I mean, some people are," he assures. "But I’ve also learned that some people will simply say they’re bisexual rather than gay, because they feel it’s easier on their families."


my (only) complaint:
↬ idk, maybe it’s just the way it was written cause i’m sure Trace meant well, but this scene felt off. even if Clay’s situation was what Trace had implied, i still feel like it wasn’t his place to say that. i mean- the fact that he’s telling her she’s not bisexual was strange because he’s not Clay?? only she knows her true feelings soo.

overall thoughts:
i absolutely loved this book! if you liked PD’s Fall Away series, i think you’ll definitely love this one. it has a similar writing/tone as her older books and those are some of my all time favorites of hers. i’m really hoping to see more stories from the side characters in future books!!

⊱ ────── ஓ๑♡๑ஓ ────── ⊰

update: march 2021

okayy but the teasers PD has released for this book sounds so good, i- 😭😭
Profile Image for Lacey (laceybooklovers).
2,019 reviews10.1k followers
June 3, 2021
Tryst Six Venom is Penelope Douglas' very first F/F romance and I have been DYING to get my hands on it ever since she started teasing about it. It's a bully romance set in high school, and normally I don't gravitate towards these kinds of reads but I trust Penelope Douglas and I trust her process. TSV ended up being a gripping, entertaining, emotional read – I highly recommend it especially if you love Punk 57 or Bully!

Good girl Clay comes from a wealthy family. Bad girl Olivia comes from the wrong side of the tracks. They hate each other, they're on the same lacrosse team, and Clay has made Liv's life hell their entire time in high school. Unfortunately, Liv can't retaliate since the rich kids at their school don't experience any kind of repercussions. So she keeps to herself and works hard to survive long enough to graduate and go to an Ivy League out of the state.

The relationship between Liv and Clay is toxic. At least at first. It's full of turmoil and angst and anger and hurt. There's so much to unpack between them but underneath it all is also an unwanted attraction. Liv is out and Clay is confused and scared about her sexuality. All she knows is that she just wants Liv.

It's a roller coaster of emotions when you read TSV. My heart HURT for these two, not just regarding their budding love and romance but also for both of their wrecked homes. Clay's brother passed away years ago, leaving her parents a mess. Liv and her brothers have lived day by day making ends meet ever since their parents died. I loved the fact that Penelope Douglas was able to make me so invested in the secondary characters! I fell in love with Liv's brothers (who I wouldn't mind books for. Especially Macon!!!) and I found myself rooting for Clay's parents to get back together. It was a fantastic cast of well-rounded, developed characters.

The main reason why I'm not rating this higher is that I did struggle to get into the story in the beginning. The hate was so real and brutal, and I had no idea how Clay and Liv would be able to move past all the hurt and heartache. But I always tell myself to trust in PD and before I knew it, I was hooked. I really enjoyed Clay and Liv and their romance. Their chemistry is insane and I'm always in awe of how PD can unravel her characters and build them back into something even better. If you love your NA romances on the more intense and angsty side, you can't go wrong with this.

*****

My weekend is booked 🥰🥰🥰 I’m forever thankful to PD for sending me her ARCs!

*****

I already love this book from the teasers PD posted on fb and the end of nightfall. I cannot WAIT to read this f/f romance!!!
Profile Image for Bee.
147 reviews432 followers
June 4, 2021
5 STARS

I live for her, an enemy I never wanted to defeat. A fight I never wanted to end.



I. Loved. This. To. Pieces.

Despite the fact that I’ve mostly outgrown bully romances, bitchy heroines and high school drama galore, I ate this up like I eat my favorite pizza: enjoying every bite and not leaving a single crumble behind. I’ve realized that the only type of bully romances I like are the ones written by Penelope Douglas. She is a connoisseur of these type of stories, and her mastery was yet again displayed here. There really is nothing better than reading a book you’ve been anticipating for ages, and have your (pretty damn high) expectations met. So excuse me if I gloat and act smug for a bit, heh.



Clay and Olivia kept saddling the line between hate and love, obsession and detestation throughout the book and oh my, it was executed just perfectly. Every interaction they had was packed with emotion, every small touch was so freaking intense and they had my full attention from start to finish. Clay was so obsessed with Olivia and that little detail made me feel things that I can't even put into words. I looooved that the bitchy rich princess was the one who couldn't keep her attention away from the bad girl, and not vice versa. Their possessiveness and jealousy of each other was exactly what I wanted from them and exactly as I had envisioned it - if not better. Just look at Clay being all proprietary of her girl. Gahhhh!

“Her team spots her. Do you understand?” And then I lower my voice, pressing my forehead into hers hard. “I spot her. If I have to repeat myself again, I will do damage you can’t come back from. She is seventeen, a minor, and…” Mine.



I loved how, despite the fact that they 'hated' each other and the whole bully aspect that was quite prevalent, the reader could sense this intense need they had for each other. And that is essentially why I loved this book so freaking much.

I really like my crazy-as-fuck Barbie doll with a mouth that pisses me off one minute, and arms that hold me so tightly that I don’t care if I can breathe the next.

They would be at each others' throats, they would say some fucked up shit, they would hurt each other, and through it all you could sense a twisted sort of affection and tenderness they felt for each other. Their connection felt so palpable at times, I felt like I could reach inside my kindle and actually touch it. They hated each other, but no, not quite. The only proper words I could find to describe it is just primitive need. Every single scene they had with each other, that need was so easy to feel and spot.

And immediately I know that I can’t even fool myself. I’m not in control. She has my heart in her fist.



I loved Clay and Olivia as characters. So much. Olivia was the nicer out of the two, but I gravitated towards Clay more. Which is surprising since I love my soft heroines, but Clay's vulnerability, broken past, hilarious come backs, cute self totally won me over. She is just... so adorable. Even when she's angry and mean. Even when she acted like a total brat. She had these scenes where I just wanted to hug her tight and protect her from the world. I love how polar opposites me and her are - yet she was the one I sympathized the most with.

“You’re so pretty, Liv,” she breathes out. “You know you’re never getting away from me, right?”



The side characters - I know it's probably never going to happen but damn if I'm still not going to think about each of the Jaeger brothers getting their own books. I just adored them, every single one of them. I loved their family dynamic, I loved how protective they were over Olivia and I loveeeed their interactions. Every single one. Macon especially deserves a happy ending and I will probably cry myself to sleep every single night if he doesn't get one. I loved him the most out of all of them. I also really liked Clay's friend Krisjen, she was so cute!

Honestly, I couldn't have dreamt of a better version of this book. PD really did Clay and Olivia justice in every single aspect. She fleshed out their story masterfully, and stayed true to their characters which I respect. The drama was so entertaining, and I can't think of a single scene I disliked. I just really, really loved everything about Tryst Six Venom. And I don't think I'm gonna get over this story and these characters anytime soon.

I know, in this moment, that I have no intention of looking into any other pair of eyes for the rest of my life.
Profile Image for Jessica ❥Chatterbooks Book Blog❥.
774 reviews2,627 followers
June 20, 2021
Penelope Douglas popped a lot of cherries with this one, and trust me when I say, we couldn't have been in more capable hands! 
I call her my unicorn for a reason. Her writing is second to none! 

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Everything I love about bully romance is present and accounted for in this one. The push and pull, unbearable tension, intense passion, angst, cruelty, all-consuming love, and combustible sex, this author delivers it all! I guess it's fitting that the woman who helped introduce me to mf bully romance also introduce me to the ff variety, and just like the first time time around, she blew my expectations out of the water! 

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Liv and Clay's story is sexy, complicated, gut-wrenching, heartwarming, and absolutely beautiful. I was captivated and addicted from the very first page. A myriad of emotions hit me in the chest over and over as I was reading, and it didn't stop until the very end! 

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I have a full out girl crush on Liv. She's hot, strong, smart, determined, caring, talented as hell, and gives zero fucks what anybody thinks. I understand why Clay is obsessed with her! Who wouldn't be? 

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Liv is everything Clay wishes she could be. She knows what she wants out of life, and she goes after it. She's confident in her sexuality, unbothered by other people's judgements and opinions, and doesn't hide who she is for anyone. Simply put, Liv is free. 

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Clay feels stifled by society, her friends, and her family's expectations. She's afraid to let the world see who she truly is or even admit it to herself. Her home life is falling apart, and while Liv is no stranger to heartache when it comes to family, her brothers are her ride or dies. They always have her back and love her exactly the way she is. She never has to worry about disappointing them just by being herself. Clay isn't sure she has that kind of unconditional love from anyone. 

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Clay may be an acquired taste for many, but I felt for her right away. When it comes to heroes, I always love the jealous, possessive assholes, and I guess, the same goes for heroines. Clay is especially vicious in the beginning, but I understood the pain and confusion behind her cruelty and bullying. She wants Liv in anyway she can have her, and if that's to get the shit beat out of her for being a bitch, so be it. 

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She's also not without any good qualities. The work she does at the morgue is a perfect example of how she's more than meets the eye. Underneath her popular, privileged, tough girl exterior, she is compassionate and kind. Anyone that can do what she does is a special brand of human, and it bumped up my opinion of her exponentially. 

4Hl1

In most romance novels, the setting is just where the story takes place. In a Penelope Douglas novel, it feels like a whole damn character. I love the Saints versus Swamps dynamic in the town, the alligators, the light house, the oyster eating, and the scavenger hunts on Night Tide. I need more of it!! So much more! 

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I wish so badly that this was a series, because there's clearly more to be told about Liv's brothers. Those scene stealing characters shoved their way into my heart from the second they showed up on the page, and I want each and every single one of their stories. I LOVE Macon, Army, Dallas, Iron, and Trace, and I'll be crossing my fingers, toes, and eyeballs that the author is inspired to give us more of them!

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Tryst Six Venom is everything I hoped it would be and a whole lot more. I've tried to put into words all that this book accomplishes, the perspectives it shares, the lessons it teaches, and what it says about the human experience, but I simply cannot do it justice with just a handful of sentences. You need to experience it for yourself. 

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In other words, READ THIS BOOK.

You won't regret it! 

NA bully romance fans, this one's for you!
Profile Image for Shabby  -BookBistroBlog.
1,468 reviews784 followers
June 4, 2021
What a fantastic way to honor 🏳️‍🌈 Pride Month🏳️‍🌈 than by reading a trope I haven't touched before. TBH I was quite apprehensive of popping my FF romance cherry, but the fact that it's a romance & gender shouldn't play a factor in love and secondly, Pen is a pretty hardass author. She rarely pulls punches or writes for the masses. She writes from her gut and her style is scathing and sharp when needed, yet treated with compassion and understanding. These just sealed the deal and I'm now sat here, having closed the book wondering HOW can I go about my life now after having journeyed through this phenomenal story. It's like this book has given me glasses to see the world around me more clearly. My senses are hyper aware now.
This book comes at a crucial time where the outside world turmoil needs to be quieted by mind broadening discussions and honest, sensible dialogues, directed towards closed minds. Hopefully change starters here.
This is such a book.
I've always seen Pen as an author who has improved and grown with every book. My trust in her writing deepens with every book of hers that I pick up.
I will not talk a single word about the book, only about what it meant to me, and the Most Important lesson I learnt today. Life is short.... "This could be it" .

description

There's Two Girls in Marymount High Clay Collins- Homecoming Queen. Prom Queen. Omega Chi sweetheart, and something nice to look at. . She belongs to an affluent, projectedly perfect world where Rich hold the power and facades are flawless at the cost of one's truth and integrity.
She's a product of her biased and artificial environment
And there's Olivia Jaeger, a girl who has 5 brothers and no parents, living across the tracks from Clay, in the Sanoa Swamp.

description

This book has created quite the polarized opinionated buzz in indielandia. My advice to those opposing it merely on the fact that it's FF romance- Stuff it and read.
This book is SO MUCH MORE than sex it's about LOVE and relationships and family and abandonment issues and emotional and physical loss, about fear of acceptance and fear of public humiliation and entitled brats and hardworking siblings...Omg there's SO MUCH TO BE EXPLORED!!!
"Sanoa Bay is an unincorporated neighborhood of St. Carmen, but it may as well be the moon. They’re Saints. We’re Swamp. We share a zip code. That’s it."
There's also this constant struggle betweenHaves and Have Nots two completely opposing lifestyles on either side of the tracks. The difference might as well be between two worlds. Their trials are polar opposites even when inhabiting the same town, same city, same state.
“the more I look around at the world, Clay, the more I realize that villains are a lot more complicated than we want them to be. Sometimes, they’re just people who are really afraid.”
An everyday battle to be accepted by the society to just step out of the boundaries of prescribed norms and not be limited to a box that you have to tick.
"I’ll be dead someday.
Done.
Never to speak or love or kiss again.
What will I regret? What if I’m alone?"

For the first time I felt uneducated and ashamed about some of the things members of LGBTQ face every single moment of their existence. Perceptions and prejudices hurled at them. Their tender souls stripped of their armors to bear the brunt of homophobic barbs persistently, it just brought a steady stream of tears streaming from my soul throughout the story.
"I was just angry. Jealous. I want her, I can’t have her, and I’m angry that I can’t have her. So I take it out on her."

description

In the first half of the book I was completely enamored by Olivia. Her bravado, her strength just blew me away.
The second half showcased more of Clay's struggle with her mother and Mimi, keeping up with their expectations, trying to suppress her wants and desires to maintain the family legacy.
There's too many topics spotlighted through this topical, relevant story. The societal hypocrisy, high school toxic atmosphere filled with bigotry, peer pressure and venomous hate.
But one person who was the object of my obsession (I want more of him Pen!!!) - My heart just cried buckets everytime Macon came in the scene. His stoic personality, his "sees all, handles all" character, his sincere love for his siblings and tireless devotion for his family...it just broke me. His uphill battles & sacrifice increased my admiration for him tenfold.
I can babble on and on till the gators crawl out, but I'll INSIST..nay DEMAND that all of genuine book lovers Read. This. Book.
Pen says Perfect doesn't exist, it never did. Well...this book is damn near perfect I say..
It's important, it's crucial, if we want to have better understandings of the world around us.
You ain't a romance reader if you don't accept romance in all its colorful glory!!

description

5 stars for Heart, Heart, Head
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840 reviews260 followers
January 13, 2022
3ish✨

’I lived for her. An enemy I never wanted to defeat.’


there were so many scenes, monologues and dialogues that were just not necessary. so i skimmed some (i full on skipped near the end, the last 30% or so, so except for the epilogue, i’ve got no idea what happened there). i loved some scenes but it got repetitive and dragged on forever

She just shrugs. “I mean, it’s not like this is a relationship, right?”
Well… I open my mouth but nothing comes out. I guess not. I hadn’t thought that far ahead.
Just that she’s the only option for me. She’s the only thing I want in the world.



enjoyed it anyway. though i hated clay for a while, i liked watching her character grew (still needed more groveling). her & Liv match. clay can be a nasty fuck but there’s no denying the fact that she’s obsessed w/ her



”Sometimes my feelings for you are good and sometimes they’re bad,” she tells me, “but they’re always strong, Liv. Like no one else.”



”Virginity is a concept invented by people to make women feel worthless for having sex.” I raise my eyebrows matter-of-factly. “You want to worry about protecting something. Protect your credit score. That’ll come in a lot handier someday.”



‘Tears fills my eyes. She’s such a cunt, but then she says things like that and I just want to give her everything she wants. I want her to know that I wish to God this didn’t feel so good and that she didn’t feel so good.’



“I couldn’t stop myself anymore.”
“Why?”
She leans up and takes my face in one hand, nearly grazing my lips with hers. “Because sometimes two wrongs make a right, Clay.” She breathes hard. “Because venom works slowly but surely and I was so tired of not fighting for my life. And because one of the ingredients in anti-venom is venom, and sometimes you need poison to counteract the poison.”



2. But Clay dives in, pressing her body flush with mine as she lays a hand on my cheek. “Stop crying,” she whispers, pressing her forehead to mine. “Please stop.”
I go to grab hold of her, slip my hand around her waist, but I hold back. I already told her too much.
But the tears keep coming, no matter how I try to hold my breath to stifle the crying.
“All right, I’m gonna shave her head,” she says. “Where can I find her?”
I break into a laugh through the sobs, wiping my eyes. But when I look at her, she’s lifted her head off the pillow, and while I can’t make out her whole expression, she’s not joking.
“Seriously,” she says, pushing me onto my back and climbing on top of me. “You’re under my protection now and I get shit done. Want her fired? Arrested? Her car repossessed? Porta-potty shit dumped on her lawn, maybe?” she goes on. “I know a guy.”



3. “So, what did you want to talk about?” I ask.
“Your car’s extended warranty.”
I bury my face in her neck, unable to not laugh. “Brat.”
“Beautiful,” she calls me, instead.
“Trouble,” I counter.
“My pearl.”
“Hellion,” I bite out in her ear.
She turns her head, whispering, “Sunshine.”
“Pain in my ass.”
I smile and kiss her. I kiss her for a long time, the wind in our hair as the last light leaves us.
“Do you love me?” I ask against her lips.
She meets my eyes. “So much, I’ll hurt if you don’t marry me.”
And before I know what’s happening, she’s slipping something on my ring finger, her gaze never leaving mine.





🦐 ᴄᴏɴᴄʟᴜsɪᴏɴ


the book’s too long but i still wanted more from them, especially the ‘falling in love’ part. if only we could just get a little less of their push and pull bullying, banish the whole callum / clay’s parents drama / other repetitive boring other thing, in exchange of the couples’ muchmore meaningful moments, and most importantly, grovel from clay, i’d’ve enjoyed it more. (liv just didn’t make her work for it y’know? clay was more than an asshole to her and when she decided she wanted her, liv just accepted her w/ open arms. we dont accept that in this house), but at least theres good smut

at times i felt similar vibes w/ Punk 57. don’t take my word for this if you love that book. ik that one doesn’t have any bullying between the mc but just the high school, some enemies to lover, and mean girl vibe)
Profile Image for Valkyrie ✨.
542 reviews565 followers
March 16, 2022
I had only read another Penelope Douglas book before this and I must admit I didn’t really like it that much. But hearing they had written a sapphic romance, I thought I’d give it a try and maybe get what I was looking for the first time I picked up one of their books.

Sadly, this was a hot mess.

It read like the idea straight people have of how queer relationships work. The story is told through the lens of strong heteronormativity ideas and that in itself was its biggest flaw.

I’m sure many of their straight audience will love this book. In truth, I enjoyed some scenes and some ideas. But most of the time, it felt like Douglas watched awful lesbian porn as the only research for their first ff romance.

Spoilers below.

~

I’m not going to talk about the bully romance aspect. We all know the kind of story Douglas likes to write about. The bullying in this one isn’t the worst I’ve read from her or other authors.

My main complain is how both female protagonists sounded like men. They were easily prompted to violence, they were possessive, they were constantly horny... They were your typical alpha male from any dark romance ever, only with tits and throbbing clits.



This book is 75% smut. Which, ok. But oh my god, some of those scenes were seriously cringe worthy.

The first time they had sex, they ✂️ each other while standing up. I’m gonna need someone to draw me a sketch so I understand HOW THAT WAS POSSIBLE.

One of them was a virgin and she was obsessed with her hymen and virginity. There was too much talk about her virginity and how she needed to be penetrated and bleed in order to lose her virginity, no matter how many times they had sex together!




After having sex 20 times at least, and all their dirty talk centering on being inside each other and riding each other and more heteronormativity shit like that, they finally bought a double dildo and bled together... At least they shut up about their virginities after that.



The way Clay talked to Olivia borderline abusive and toxic. There was no need for a lot of scenes where she forced Olivia to say she was hers or shit like that. She even threatened her with a blade once. But I guess it’s okay because Olivia was into the possessive bullshit?

Ultimately, my certainty that women don’t treat other women like this, that love between women is nothing like this, made me unable to enjoy this story.

Women in general are not the possessive, violent, toxic type. And trying to give those popular trails from male characters to female characters is an insult, especially because the author is a woman and she apparently has no idea how to portray women.




Callum is probably my least favorite part of the book. He’s Clay’s abusive boyfriend. He’s portrayed throughout the story as this sexual predator and abuser of women. And the worst plot twist possible reveals he’s actually gay /and that’s why he treats women like this/.

I wanted to punch something when I read that part, I was so angry. The book is full of hurtful queer stereotypes but this one was the worst one by far.

I’m pretty sure this isn’t a stand alone and Douglas will write a book for each of Olivia’s brothers. I’m crossing my fingers Callum and Dallas don’t end up together. I’d love to read Dallas in a mm romance but Callum is awful. We don’t need to romanticize an abuser like him.

I was planning on reading Birthday Girl but after two bad reading experiences, I’m not sure there’s even a point to keep trying.
Profile Image for ❥ KAT ❥ Kitty Kats Crazy About Books.
2,162 reviews7,589 followers
June 1, 2021
2e0pm6g 90ca45e7e7c6ddfa7f3d6d91a5f154bd-1-3-2
'TRYST SIX VENOM' Is a full length ff romance novel by Penelope Douglas. Spoken in 'Dual Perspectives.'

“𝐼'𝑚 𝐶𝑙𝑎𝑦 𝐶𝑜𝑙𝑙𝑖𝑛𝑠
𝐵𝑙𝑜𝑛𝑑𝑒 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑗𝑢𝑠𝑡 𝑙𝑖𝑘𝑒 𝑎 𝑏𝑜𝑚𝑏. 𝐸𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑦𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑎𝑑𝑚𝑖𝑛𝑖𝑠𝑡𝑟𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑙𝑜𝑣𝑒𝑠 𝑡𝑜 𝑝𝑎𝑟𝑎𝑑𝑒 𝑎𝑟𝑜𝑢𝑛𝑑 𝑖𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑖𝑟 𝑟𝑒𝑐𝑟𝑢𝑖𝑡𝑚𝑒𝑛𝑡 𝑏𝑟𝑜𝑐ℎ𝑢𝑟𝑒𝑠.
𝐴𝑛𝑑 𝑦𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑂𝑙𝑖𝑣𝑖𝑎 𝐽𝑎𝑒𝑔𝑒𝑟
𝐴 𝑑𝑢𝑚𝑝𝑠𝑡𝑒𝑟 𝑟𝑎𝑡 𝑝𝑟𝑜𝑏𝑎𝑏𝑙𝑦 𝑙𝑜𝑜𝑘𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑓𝑜𝑟𝑤𝑎𝑟𝑑 𝑡𝑜 𝑎 𝑙𝑜𝑛𝑔 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑖𝑙𝑙𝑢𝑠𝑡𝑟𝑖𝑜𝑢𝑠 𝑐𝑎𝑟𝑒𝑒𝑟 𝑡𝑢𝑟𝑛𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡𝑟𝑖𝑐𝑘𝑠 𝑜𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑑𝑖𝑟𝑡𝑦 𝑓𝑙𝑜𝑜𝑟 𝑜𝑓 𝑦𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑑𝑖𝑟𝑡𝑦 ℎ𝑜𝑢𝑠𝑒.”

This goes to show that this author could write anything and I would read it, even if that means my ff bubble is popped because that’s exactly what she did.

I’m kind of, sort of, open to giving anything a go when it comes to my tastes in books, but I’m not going to lie I did tiptoe into this, my biggest concern was that I’d puke in my mouth and shudder throughout, but honestly I kind of got hot under the collar!! 🔥🔥🔥🔥

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Along with my kindle my knickers combusted, the author did such a great job with this story. Not once did I feel uncomfortable, and the characters are really relatable, a slow burn which got its hooks into me.

I loved the way these two clashed in such a feisty, toxic manner but drifted over the line into something so beautiful and uninhibited.

30462737-SY540

Liv & Clay took bullying to a whole new level, it was turbulent and soul destroying with its delivery. Their too and fro, their barbed words, their wayward touches, to their stolen glances, these two were stubborn to a fault, their angsty unwanted attraction had me glued to my ipad throughout, I loved this world this author pulled me into, and I'm left hoping that we get to see more.

                  
Profile Image for Shaniece.
73 reviews105 followers
June 2, 2021
I'm moving into the swamp with the tryst six


As I sit in front of my computer trying to gather all of my thoughts in order to write a review worthy enough for the insanity of this book, I came to the conclusion that I simply have too much to say, so I apologize in advance for the length of this.

I had never read an FF prior to Tryst Six Venom. Therefore, when Penelope announced the release of this book I felt quite anxious, left wondering if this trope would pull the same strings and check off the list of things I loved and craved in an MF. I wasn’t completely sure how Penelope would write this story as I went blind into this trope overall. But, having always admired Penelope’s amazing writing, I had good faith in what she had in store for us. And I can confirm without a doubt that that faith has nowhere near shaken since.

When I got the message asking if I wanted to receive an ARC I couldn’t have answered fast enough. And from the second I found it on my kindle, I couldn’t read it slow enough even as I tried with all my might. I devoured it much too quickly, losing all track of time. I was able to feel a connection between our two heroines immediately into the book. Through the hatred and the love, their chemistry was wildfire. Having read my fair share of “bully romances”, this one being an FF had an effect on the conduct between the two main characters. As this book is about two girls, there wasn’t an imbalance of gender. These girls would physically fight one another, something I had never read in any other book before this one. Nor Clay or Olivia had the upper hand in the relationship, neither was boxed as the single dominant one; someone to take on the lack of a masculine role. They set each other on equal pedestals.
In the beginning, I hated how much I related to Clay. But as she came to terms with her sexuality I felt like I was looking through a mirror of my past, coming face to face with the lost and confused high school version of myself.
Olivia is a character I very much admire. Considering the circumstances of her upbringing, her strength was inspiring. And if Clay wasn’t already doing it I would hold Livvy forever.

Now, having finished the masterpiece that was this book, I’m left missing them so much, wishing the book was even bigger than it was. I’m going to hold on to the hope of possibly getting more books in this universe as it felt as though Penelope was introducing Olivia’s brothers in a way that opened up the path for them to potentially have their own books as well. This world that Penelope created means so much to me now and I could only pray for a return ticket.
I will now spend my time grieving the end and editing Clay and Olivia as best I can to capture the perfection they were.
I wholeheartedly recommend this book, even to those who, like me, have never read an FF. Penelope has a way of grasping every fibre of your body and placing you in the character’s shoes, and you will not regret picking up this book.

thank you so much, Penelope Douglas for the ARC ♥️
☆☆☆☆☆

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Profile Image for Mali Mor ❤️ The Romantic Blogger.
422 reviews527 followers
July 28, 2021
4.5 STARS!
Pixaloop-26-07-2021-04-12-56-9460000
bonkers in britspeak crossword clue


Oh man, this book was so hot, it got me in to the delivery room... I KID YOU NOT! (Seriously, that's why it took me a while to publish the review) 😂

I have read quite a few MM books to this day and I really liked them, but I never thought I would wait so long to read FF book... and that being said - NEVER SAY NEVER because if there is anyone who can make it happen, it's Penelope Douglas !!! 🔥🔥🔥

Penelope always manages to write stories with emotion, power and sexual tension... I did not think she could raise the bar higher, but she did it! This book is so uniqe, I never read something like this... It's a new level of forbidden - seductive, sinful, intense and sexy as F! 💙

I had some issues at first with the connection between them (bullying) but I will not go into detail to avoid spoilers. 😬
So if you are not afraid to experience a different kind of love... I recommend Clay and Olivia's story!!! 👑

ARC

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📖 ᐯIᔕIT ᗰY ᗷᒪOG ᖴOᖇ ᗰOᖇE ᖇEᐯIEᗯᔕ: https://books-romance.com/

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💕 לקריאת הסקירה בעברית, כנסו לבלוג: https://books-romance.com/ 💕
Profile Image for Lana ❇✾DG Romance❇✾.
2,020 reviews12k followers
June 5, 2021
5 STARS
I hate Olivia Jaeger. I f*cking hate her, and I’d happily never love anything if I could hate her my whole life. My eyes pool with tears, and I don’t know why.

The author that first introduced me to bully romance now coming out with an FF bully romance? You best believe I'd be all over that. I was downright salivating for this book for moooooonths. Desperately awaiting the release. So when it landed on my kindle, I must have jumped on it quicker than you can say "mine". True story.
When you’re in the eye of the storm, the only way out is through.

A prestigious high school for the rich and entitled. A girl from the wrong side of the tracks. And the spoiled girl who seems to have everything she wants, except the one thing that alludes her. I was instantly hooked on the story.

Clay is a bully that you can't help but love. She's tortured, angry, and no matter how much venom she spits, you see the pain it's rooted in. She's the popular girl in the school. The one who seems to have everything at her fingertips. The captain of the lacrosse team and the girl all guys want and all girls want to be.

Olivia "Liv" Jaeggar is her antithesis. She's the black sheep of the school and the brunt of everyone's jokes. She doesn't hide herself and makes no apologies. The only girl amongst her 5 brothers, she's a bit of a bad girl with an aura of I don't give a d@mn. I loved her. She's venomous in her own right. She takes everything Clay has to give and dishes it right back. But where Clay hasn't quite figured out who she is, Liv knows it and wears it openly.

I loved the fact that Pen also focused on some very real pieces of bullying and I appreciated this story so much more for it.

As for the romance, I lived for it. It's a slow burn, full of angst and emotion. It had so much depth that I found myself happily drowning in it. And the epilogue? *chefs kiss* Perfection.

But even though I loved this book, I'm completely unsatisfied too. Why? Because I need more. I need a book for each and every single one of Liv's bothers. Particularly Macon and Dallas. Like I would DIE for their book. I need it BAD.

Aside from that, I'm in book heaven. This book hit every single spot. I loved every page of it.

ARC courtesy of author in exchange for an honest review

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Profile Image for Caitlin.
332 reviews2,748 followers
November 5, 2021
Penelope Douglas did it again and created another masterpiece! This book has everything from lot's of tension, it's hate-to-lovers and a bully romance.

"My heart is yours,” she says. “Shred it, burn it, I don’t care. I want every minute I can get."


Clay and Olivia are complete opposites but that's what makes them so perfect together. Clay is rich and popular while Liv is from the other side of the tracks. The tension and angst between them from the very start of the book was EVERYTHING. They couldn't deny the lust they had for each other but they really did bully each other in the beginning. Clay truly did not hold back on showing Olivia how much she hates her. But through the stolen glances and hidden touches we really got to see them fall in love despite the "hate" between them.

That being said by the end of the book I was completely in love with their relationship and I did not want the book to end. The romance was PERFECT!! The epilogue did make me SOB because Clay and Olivia truly are soulmates.

You all NEED to read this book, trust me.
BUY IT NOW
https://amzn.to/3j1krg0
Profile Image for TJ ☾.
690 reviews1,155 followers
June 8, 2021
3 Stars💫

So I was trying to get through PD's Devil's Night series, but then I read Meredith's review for this (flawless review btw, you should read it 💯) and at one point she compares the antiheroine Clay to Killian's character from Lords of Pain (and if you've read that ✨beautiful✨ piece of trash literature, your brain is quaking rn trying to imagine what a female version of Killian would be like💀) and she also pointed out that if anyone got between Clay and Liv, Clay's obsession was one step away from going full Joe serial killer from You, and honestly I could not have heard a better endorsement! I absolutely had to read that shit immediately and yeeted Hideaway right outta my hands

description

This is my first ff romance and I never knew how much I needed to read two hardcore bitches falling in love til rn 💘 I wish someone woulda told me earlier. Technically, Liv is not a bitch, but when Clay's a bitch to her, yeah she'll square up. This was a bully romance because if Clay had left Liv alone Liv never woulda been mean, she's someone who stays in her own lane, but bc Clay targeted Liv and gave her no choice but to engage a lot of time this felt like enemies to lovers. Cause Liv was never just gonna roll over and take Clay's shit. She would give it back just as hard and lucky for me,



I seriously loved Liv as a character, she's the type of heroine I consider myself lucky to stumble across in the romance genre, but tbh Clay carried this book for me. Her POV was just.... insane. We let our asshole antiheroes be so freakin dynamic it was just refreshing to see that in a antiheroine. She was god awful a lot of the time but there was so much going on under the surface. Like she was just so freakin obsessed with Liv, so possessive and twisted up and it came out in the worst ways I just loved her from the jump.

💎my top clay moments:💎

#1
“If you ever speak to me this way again, I will knock your teeth out.” I stare down into her eyes, a new energy filling me that kind of scares me, but I won’t fucking stop. Nothing comes between Liv and me. “Do you understand?”
Fear fills her blue eyes, and I squeeze harder as she tries to shift out of my grasp.
“Do you understand?” I bellow.




#2
"Baby..." she bites out, interrupting me. "If I think you're not mine, I might make a scene. Be very careful what you say next."



#3
My claws dig into her skin and her fingers are ripping her hair out of my scalp as we go at each other—hitting, tearing, squeezing, and raging.
I want to cry, I'm so happy. This is all I want. Everything I want. I don't want to ever do anything else.
Cheering fills my ears, she rolls on top of me, and I don't see anything but her.
I only feel her.

Let me make it known that quote #3 is NOT from a sex scene btw. They were straight up beating the shit out of each other on the floor of a cafeteria. And Clay is bursting with more joy than she'd shown the entire book at that point bc it's OLIVIA beating the shit outta her and she's just happy she has her attention. THAT is how you do enemies to lovers ppl!! (well, if your idea of romance is the same as mine 😇)

description

I liked the push and pull between them because they both had power in different areas. While Clay was the bully and had more money and social clout, Olivia had more experience, was more secure of her sexuality and also had the upper hand dealing with her emotions, all areas Clay struggled in. Liv was also the more unbothered one, it was just naturally harder to get under her skin which I loved and honestly wish I saw more of in bully romances. I usually hate bully roms where the bully gets to be flippant and superior while the 'victim' pines for them. Liv was never rly scared of Clay when she bullied her, she kind of just felt pity that someone would feel the need to act out like that. And I liked that Clay was the more obsessed one bc it evened out her outward behavior by being more inwardly vulnerable. In the end, I loved Liv's patience and Clay's turmoil. 🖤

I hate Olivia Jaeger. I fucking hate her, and I'd happily never love anything if I could hate her my whole life.


So even tho I liked the characters and mainly only have positive things to say about this book, for some reason I can't get myself to rate it higher than 3 stars 🤔 My enjoyment level stayed fairly flat throughout this book, I guess I just never felt that invested in the story. And this thing was longggg. Like I felt like I was reading this for about 800 years, by 30% I felt like I'd read a full length book. So all in all, loved the characters, but the story, just aight.
Profile Image for TiredBiGirl.
71 reviews4 followers
April 13, 2022
Cheryl Blossom and Toni Fanfiction. But worse.

I am a bisexual woman.
This book was not written for me. It was written for heterosexual women.
Much like lesbian porn is made for men.


ADDED 12/4/22
It has been brought to my attention that PD is not cishet, by the comment on this review. I don't follow their social media anymore so don't know when they came out, another comment said it was after I'd posted. I'm going to assume this too as 1. I would have noted seeing they/them on their insta bio before I unfollowed after this book and 2. Reviews by more prominent reviewers who love PD's work use the pronouns she/her in reviews posted around the same time as mine and I'd assume they would have used the correct pronouns. I've gone through this review and edited the pronouns because that is their pronouns. I've tried to find a post about their sexuality but can't so cannot state anything on that.

I did assume the author was heterosexual/monosexual (Attracted to one gender) in this case men. This is how I'd describe someone's sexuality without it being about their gender. Thats on me.

These facts don't change that I felt this book made queer women into a fetish. Look to the paragraph below for everything it includes that made me feel icky for its representation. When this book is the first and I bet you only (Maybe they will read the KBR book that was pure tosh, but had 1.5 sex scenes - something I found laughable when the mf and mm books they write have 5-6 sex scenes) is this, I'm going to talk about it as representation.

Even though it wasn't written by a cishet person, it appears from the wording of almost every positive review, its mainly being enjoyed by het women and the bad reviews are from non-het people.

The rep, relationship arc and sex scenes screamed I don't know how two women have a relationship or have sex *could be read as good/enjoyable/comfortable sex*

End of addition

I will not be adding this book to any of my LGBT+ bookshelves. I almost dnf'd so many times.

This book involves: Sexual assault between the two protagonists (Fight me on this), the continuous use of the word dyke and perpetuation of the perverted lesbian trope, a lesbian who commits suicide, a piece of trash protagonist (Clay) and fat-shaming/Slut-shaming/racism/homophobia/biphobia.

Also there is no chemistry and the banter is no where to be seen. I felt that we missed something before the book started - where the characters actually developed the feelings for each other and had situations where they bonded or found the other attractive, instead we get this 'I hate you, but I secretly fancy you' thing yet no reason why either fancies the other. Its just that they are the only to lesbians in this town that haven't killed themselves so they have to get together, right?

Conclusion not involving spoilers:

[ If you walk away from reading this book *, patting yourself on the back for reading a queer book, or thinking you can cross it off a diverse reading bingo sheet (Don't know know if people still do those) YOU HAVEN'T AND IT DOESN'T COUNT. ] - PD IS A QUEER AUTHOR - This makes this paragraph null/void but I won't hide that I wrote it before I knew this as that feels shady. Just please read other queer books too. Please.

As a bisexual woman, I found this book disturbing and fetishising. I was left really hoping that people didn't think of this as representation. Oh and none of the sex scenes made me feel anything - no throbbing clits (A term used several times over) or hard nipples here. The shear amount of scissoring - when girl bent her knees and actually started tribbing I thanked the lord baby Jesus - was mind-numbing. The dirty talk that felt so heteronormative, with talks of being inside her and stretching her, was not hot.

* I've noticed the bulk of readers stating this is their first f/f book - I take this as most are straight as queer people would have most likely read other queer books.

WHY DID I BOTHER TO READ THIS BOOK? WHY AM I BOTHERING TO WRITE THIS REVIEW? WHY DO I CARE THIS MUCH ITS JUST A BOOK?

1. I wanted to see what a popular author could do with f/f and I was actually really excited and counting down the days for this book. I like how they writes hot scenes and was curious.
2. Because I was so angry reading this damn book and considered making a rant video for Youtube but didn't - that would be an energy suck.
3. Because rep matters. F/F IS NOT A TROPE. Which is how so many reviews spoke about this book. It is a real-life pairing situation. Lesbian/Queer women exist and we are fetishised enough by men. We are a community. We are people.

Disclaimer-
1. Birthday Girl is in my top-ten favourite romances of all time. Its one of only two het books that involve an age-gap that I think could actually happen.

2. I read m/m books. - I want to state this as I have chastised my reading of these books. 90% of them are written by heterosexual women for heterosexual women. Its why I view them far more critically now, on whether the characters are well-written, if there is a plot and if the representation is valid - not just fetishisation and continuous explicit sex scenes.

Some of the books, such as the Billionaires and bodyguards series I read because they are free on my audible subscription and I love the family dynamic.

Why do I read m/m?
1. Hetero romance tends to make me hate being a woman, which I've really had to explore and work through as a feminist - The second hand embarrassment, how so many female protagonists are weak OR 'strong' - yet lose all sense of confidence when dick is involved. She might be sexually experienced, but he will make her into a bumbling idiot when he takes out his penis. I cannot fathom why the man loves the woman. I cannot stand the level of fat-shaming, slut-shaming and the 'I have either not had sex or have very little experience, this guy is a manwhore and will sexualise and belittle me, then bugger multiple women before coming back to me - in which time I don't date or have sex, just pine over him' of it all.
2. The characters are better fleshed out, the dynamic is normally more even and the lack of douchebag love interests.
3. I love, love. I don't care about the genders involved - love makes my heart swoon and sexy times between people with clear chemistry that also shows intimacy is crack to me.

I acknowledge if I want the best rep for m/m books I will read Adam Silvera or David Levithan - which I have. I also try to find NA style m/m books that are written by men. Unfortunately there aren't many.

The bulk of f/f books, outside of YA, I have read are either badly written or meant for an older audience.

Back to the review.

From this point onwards there are spoilers for this book and PD other books, kinda.

Profile Image for Marci.
418 reviews153 followers
May 8, 2022
Here’s the thing - I’m an impatient gal and I’ve got many books to devour sooo a 500+ page book? No ma'am! But Penelope Douglas, you get a strong ‘yes ma’am’ from me. Oh how I loved this. I was often relieved whilst looking at how many pages I had left to read and finding that I still had a lot left to go because of how much I enjoyed Liv and Clay’s story. I didn’t want to leave the world I had become enamored with just yet and PD ensured that I had my fill before they sent me on my way to continue my quest of reading All The Books. Each and every character felt so vivid in my mind and I too felt like I was being drenched in the Florida humidity due to my being dropped directly alongside all of these imperfect beings. I mention the characters being ‘imperfect’ not to drag them but to state that I found them all the more interesting and dynamic because of their imperfections. I don’t really enjoy fluffy stories all that much and this book was the antithesis of that. The characters were downright vicious. They left each other bruised and bloodied inside and out. That being said -- I didn’t root for them any less because of that. Fiction doesn’t equal reality and I believe it’s perfectly fine to be a fan of toxic characters. Especially Liv and Clay😌😌😌

I found such joy in Liv’s relationship with her brothers. They were protective and loyal as all hell even if they didn’t always get it right. Or understand her fully. She loved them and they loved her. Deeply and unconditionally. Each of them would have died for the other in a heartbeat. In one scene Liv remarks how because she’s gay her brothers don’t see the women she dates as threats to her. They believe the only way she can get hurt by a significant other is by them making her pregnant.

“I can’t leave you alone,” she whispers. “Sometimes my feelings for you are good and sometimes they’re bad,” she tells me, “but they’re always strong Liv. Like no one else.”

The chemistry between Liv and Clay was out of this world. I could not believe how much I won! I can’t stand it when it feels like there’s barely a spark between the two people I’m supposed to give a shit about falling in love. Luckily -- I gave MANY shits about the status of Liv and Clay’s relationship. I loved how dominant they both were -- and the constant push and pull between them. It felt like a battle of wills even from the very beginning -- who’s going to be the first to surrender? In the first few pages, Liv and Clay share a hate-filled glance and I was already swooning. I muttered to myself, oh this is going to be good. Speaking of things being hated and filled...the hate sex!!!!!!!!!! Oh the hate sex. In one chapter they kicked each other’s asses and then what comes next is a passionate moment so bright it left me blinded. In a public locker room nonetheless -- about a few minutes after they were brawling. GLORIOUS. The jealousy, the possessiveness, the no-one-else-can-have-you of it all. The when-you’re-fucking-them-i-hope-you-think-of-me of it all!!! Oh I was LIVINGGGG!
I found the entire book to be extremely well written but the sex scenes were just absolute perfection. I’ve never read a PD book before and how silly of me! STEAMING hot. The-whole-building-is-on-fire-evacuate-NOW hot.

I just found it so beautiful to watch Clay finally give in to what she was feeling. As much as they fought -- Liv was Clay’s personal cheerleader, telling her that she’s validated in her feelings. Telling her that doing what feels good to her doesn’t take away from her personhood.

“Look at me,” I tell her.
She does.
“Virginity is a concept invented by people to make women feel worthless for having sex.” I raise my eyebrows matter-of-factly. “You want to protect something. Protect your credit score. That’ll come in a lot handier someday.”

I adored Liv to pieces -- for that iconic statement above and many other reasons. She was most definitely my favorite character in the book and will remain one of my all-time favorite characters. Strong, intelligent, resilient and confident; she was a force to reckoned with. She was also kind when maybe people didn’t deserve it. In spite of them deserving it. Not to say she was a doormat -- definitely not. Her and Clay both gave as good as they got. To each other and to other people. I loved both her and Clay’s tenacity -- the fire that sat in their bellies -- that made them both go after what they wanted, whether that be each other -- or following their dreams for bigger and better things. While my love for Liv knows no bounds -- I still related to and cared about Clay. I could feel all of Clay’s denial, repression, self-hatred and shame at who she’s attracted to because it lives so deeply in me too. Negative feelings about your sexuality can be a hard thing to excavate from your being -- like chipping away at solid rock.

“We keep biting back. We survive, because sometimes that’s the most violent thing we can do to other people. We stay alive.”

Soooo with all that being said -- I believe it is my God-given right to have access to more well-written, enjoyable and hot lesbian bully romances like this one!!!!!

A song that suits this book - What I Need by Hayley Kiyoko feat. Kehlani
Profile Image for Mika Auguste.
159 reviews2,655 followers
June 3, 2021
all i can say is that this was SO GOOD...i honestly wish this was a series because of how much i adored the secondary characters as well. penelope douglas really did what she had to do with this book and i can’t wait to see what she comes out with next
Profile Image for • Jodi Bibliophile •.
311 reviews1,094 followers
October 15, 2021
**2nd reread and just as good as the first. I live for Clay and Liv**

It’s been 5 days and I’m STILL NOT OVER THIS BOOK!!!

So much passion, so much heartache, so fucking intense, so much sexual tension and SO UTTERLY DELICIOUS!
Profile Image for Christy.
3,817 reviews32.4k followers
December 31, 2021
4 stars
“My heart is yours. Shred it, burn it, I don’t care. I want every minute I can get.”

Bully romances are so hit or miss for me. Sometimes they really work for me, and other times I don’t like them at all. The first part of this book I was so nervous this was going to be one that just didn’t work for me. I was going back and forth on if I should keep going or just dnf, but I’m so happy I stuck it out! I ended up loving it by the end!

Liv and Clay are not only enemies to lovers, but opposites attract. From the outside, they seem like they couldn’t be any different. Clay is well off and popular. Liv is from the wrong side of the tracks. They are on the same sports team together and they do not get along. In fact, there are times they’re down right mean to each other.

As their story goes on, you can see why each of them treat one another the way they do. What I liked about the bully aspect is that both of them were the bully at times, it wasn’t one sided. As much as I enjoyed Clay and Liv’s story, I would LOVE books for some of Liv’s brothers. That would be amazing!

Overall, this one was great. A nice slow burn, coming of age romance and the epilogue was amazing!
Audio book source: Audible
Story Rating: 4 stars
Narrators: Desiree Ketchum & Valentina Ortiz
Narration Rating: 4 stars
Genre: NA bully romance
Length: 14h 13m

Profile Image for theresa.
294 reviews4,314 followers
December 19, 2021
2.5 maybe?

this was very meh.

i wasn't a huge fan of the first half of this book and considered DNFing but i stuck it out. the second half was a lot more enjoyable but still nothing amazing.

this book felt very male gazey for a lesbian romance and didn't handle the heavy topics it dealt with very sensitively. after reading this I've come to the conclusion that bully romances just aren't for me and aren't something i enjoy. and that's okay.
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