Book Review – Spider by Ilsa Madden-Mills

Ashlyn Hope Reviews Spider by Ilsa Madden-Mills

I guess I’m a little late on the bandwagon with this one. Everyone was talking about Spider by Isla Madden-Mills a few months ago, and I just kept avoiding the book. Obviously, Spider isn’t a shifter romance (how crazy would that be?!?), but the thought of a romance around a guy with such a name just didn’t seem like my cup of tea. Yet, here I am, rather liking the book, and maybe even having the feels for a guy named Spider.

He’s a British rock star.
And my stepbrother.
What can go wrong?

He called himself Spider. I just knew him as the sinfully gorgeous guy with eyes of fire that fate sat next to me on the airplane. I didn’t know who he really was…rock star…my stepbrother.

He kissed me because he thought we’d never see each other again. We would.

Everyone warned me about him.
They said he was ruthless and cold and screwed up.
They said he’d leave me with a hole in my heart.

Maybe I should have listened.
Maybe I should have built up a fortress to keep

What’s to like?

Watching Spider grow as a man, observing the growing tension, and following as these two develop as a couple with a realistic and unrelenting love for each other left me with a case of the feels for this book.

Spider has real issues to conquer, and I appreciate it when a duo comes together and becomes stronger rather than a male hero who simply sweeps a woman off her feet. Plus, the oh-so-taboo stepbrother trope is simple and enjoyable; there’s a lot of drama without making things incredibly complicated.

Ashlyn Hope Reviews Spider by Ilsa Madden-Mills-Quote

The first rule of this house is that you cannot, I repeat, you cannot fool around with Rose.


If you miss the allusions to Jane Eyre (an oldie, but a goodie), you won’t be alone. It took me a bit to catch on. Personally, I appreciate authors that reach into “classics” for inspiration and pay homage to earlier generations of romance writers. And as an aside, I’m glad we’re living in a time where friends aren’t regularly dying from Tuberculosis!


What’s not to like?

Call me crazy, but instalove is not really a thing, looks don’t conquer all, and having a rough (really rough) childhood does not make all misdeeds forgivable. But if I had to write off this book for these things, I couldn’t be a contemporary romance fan. This is just pervasive in the genre… and something I’m guilty of doing too!

The verdict

Getting over the thought of spiders just takes a single turn of a page. The rich, realistic relationship that unfolds throughout the book has nothing creepy or crawly about it.

This is just a good bad boy romance with some steamy stepbrother taboo. Overall, Spider is a book I’d definitely recommend to my friends, and that includes you.

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