Sweet Filthy Boy (Wild Seasons, #1) by Christina Lauren
Series: Wild Seasons #1
Published by Gallery Books on May 13, 2014
FINAL DECISION: The story was okay, but didn’t grab me. I got tired of the characters who seemed to be stuck in a neutral position for most of the book. Just an okay read overall.
THE STORY: A crazy weekend in Vegas celebrating college graduation becomes something more when Mia Holland ends up following her one night stand to Paris. The summer spent with Ansel Guillaume is completely different from what the dutiful Mia is expected to do. But as the weeks of summer count down, Mia has to ask herself whether there is something between them that is worth fighting for.
OPINION: I’ve loved everything I’ve read by Christina Lauren until this book. This one was only okay for me. Both the beginning and ending of this book were good, but there was too much time in the middle when the characters didn’t seem to be going anywhere in their relationship.
And ultimately, I don’t know that the characters problems were really resolved. Instead, I felt like this book could have benefited greatly with an epilogue. Instead, I couldn’t help but feel that too much was left unsaid by these characters and replaced by sex. While sexual exploits are something I expect from a Christina Lauren book, I think in this book the sexual relationship was a diversion rather than something that brought the characters closer together. Perhaps because we never got Ansel’s point of view, I also felt that he remained too distant and unknowable throughout the story.
I did enjoy Mia’s journey and I was intrigued by the glimpses of her friend’s possible stories. I also liked Mia and Ansel growing in their relationship by the end.
WORTH MENTIONING: This book sets up the next two books in the series.
CONNECTED BOOKS: SWEET FILTHY BOY is the first book in the Wild Seasons series.
STAR RATING: I give this book 3 stars.
Beautiful Beginning (Beautiful Bastard, #3.5) by Christina Lauren
Series: Beautiful #3
Published by Pocket Star on November 19, 2013
FINAL DECISION: The story of the marriage of Chloe and Bennett, getting to see the characters all in a happy place was nice, but I wasn’t as drawn into this story as much as the other novellas. The humor felt more forced and less exciting, but still a nice revisit.
THE STORY: Chloe and Bennett started out with arguing and angry sex, but now they are getting married and there is plenty of anger at family and no sex because Bennett wants to wait for the wedding night. A series of crazy capers happens when it is time for the wedding.
OPINION: I always enjoy seeing all the characters from the Beautiful series in situations that are not about their emotional turmoil but rather about enjoying their relationship. This novella is a cute episode with the crazy events surround Chloe and Bennett’s marriage. What I enjoyed most about the story is how we get to see Bennett’s intense love for Chloe. Definitely sigh-worthy. Although the story has a lot of humor, I wasn’t as engaged with the story as with the prior stories. I liked the story, but didn’t find it as hilarious as others.
WORTH MENTIONING: This is an adorable novella with all the cast and crew of the prior books in the Beautiful series. It clearly was designed to be an ending to the series although the authors continued the series a few years later.
CONNECTED BOOKS: BEAUTIFUL BEGINNING is book 3.5 in the Beautiful series. It should be read as part of the series as it assumes knowledge of the characters.
STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.
Beautiful Player (Beautiful Bastard, #3) by Christina Lauren
Series: Beautiful #3
Published by Gallery Books on October 29, 2013
FINAL DECISION: I enjoyed this one because I simply adored Will. Hanna annoyed me more than I would have liked, but watching Will completely fall for Hanna was worth my annoyance.
THE STORY: Hanna Bergstrom’s brother is concerned that she has become too obsessed with her work and doesn’t have a social life. He makes her promise to get out more and to call his best friend, Will Sumner, for help in getting into the dating scene. What Hanna’s brother doesn’t know is that Will starred in Hanna’s teenage fantasies and he is even more attractive now. Will now finds a woman he can’t seem to get out of his mind and who tempts him to something more serious at the same time she doesn’t believe that anything with him can be permanent.
OPINION: I enjoyed this one primarily because I thought that Will was adorable. I loved how his stumbles and struggles with moving from a man who is happy to have relationships only about sex to wanting a relationship that is all about emotion and connection while the woman is keeping her distance.
This book continues the humor and sexiness of the series, but I got annoyed with Hanna for portions of the book. (Perhaps because the reader is privy to Will’s inner thoughts, Hanna’s actions seem harsh at times). I also don’t really like it when women won’t say what they want. Be a grown up and say what is on your mind! On the other hand, I really loved the goofy side of Hanna who says the most inappropriate things.
The book was a really good read, but not up the excellent standards of the first two book in the series for me. But just by a little bit. The quirky and natural interaction between these characters was enjoyable and emotional. The uncertainty and the fears that both characters give the book a sense of honesty that I especially enjoyed.
WORTH MENTIONING: My favorite moment in this story actually has to do with Max and Sara. Fans of the their book should definitely read this one.
CONNECTED BOOKS: BEAUTIFUL PLAYER is the third book in the Beautiful series. The romance here is a standalone, but there are overlapping characters from the other books in the series.
STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.
Beautiful Bombshell (Beautiful Bastard, #2.5) by Christina Lauren
Series: Beautiful #2.5
Published by Pocket Star on September 3, 2013
FINAL DECISION: Funny and sexy escapades with the two couples from the Beautiful series. An enjoyable add on to the series.
THE STORY: A bachelor party trip to Las Vegas is complicated when the women show up in interesting situations and Max and Bennett can’t seem to keep their thoughts on what is supposed to be a men’s only weekend.
OPINION: This is a fun little story with the Beautiful men intending to have a bachelor weekend in Vegas but finding that they would much rather be with the Beautiful women. But, of course, they have to hide their adventures.
Sexy situations and funny moments. This is a fun story for fans of the series. It is more a series of encounters and funny situations and really depends upon begin familiar with the characters and their relationships.
WORTH MENTIONING: This novella alternates the first person points of view of Max and Bennett.
CONNECTED BOOKS: BEAUTIFUL BOMBSHELL is book 2.5 of the Beautiful series. It should be read as part of the series because it is really an additional vignette about the two couples in the series so far.
STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.
Beautiful Stranger (Beautiful Bastard, #2) by Christina Lauren
Series: Beautiful #2
Published by Gallery Books on April 16, 2013
FINAL DECISION: Whoa, this is a hot one. Sexy, a bit kinky with two characters who are charming and fun to read about.
THE STORY: After six years with a cheating jerk, Sara Dillon is starting fresh in New York. At a dance club she meets a sexy Brit and she is ready to be crazy for once. But a hot sex encounter gets complicated when Sara ends up meeting Max Stella who just happens to be good friends with her friend’s fiance. Sara and Max find that they can explore sex in unusual places and some other enhancements. Soon their no strings encounters turn to wanting to know one another and then a desire for a relationship. But Sara is wary of a man who seems to be a player after her fiance.
OPINION: I might have enjoyed this book more than the first in the series — and I really enjoyed that one. Sara and Max are an adventurous couple and the story is really one of self-discovery and acceptance. But the story never gets too serious and stays a fun, enjoyable read with lots of hot action.
Sara is finding herself after a bad relationship. Max’s life is going okay but he falls for Sara just when she is intent on keeping her distance and not taking things seriously.
I loved that Max is head over heels for Sara long before he can have confidence in Sara. I also enjoyed watching these two explore their sexual relationship in ways that are unconventional but consensual and honest.
A book that hooked me from the start. I just flew through the reading. I enjoyed the heat in this book but I enjoyed even more that this book is more concerned about the relationship between Sara and Max than sexual exploits.
WORTH MENTIONING: This book includes public sex but is monogamous.
CONNECTED BOOKS: BEAUTIFUL PLAYER is the second novel in the Beautiful series. Although there are overlapping characters, this book can be read as a standalone.
STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.