Saturday, February 8, 2014

"Beautiful Bastard" series, by Christina Lauren

Since I've read all 6 books from this series, I figured I'd write one blog post, reviewing the entire series as a whole with a brief review of each individual book. I must say, before I start, that my 2 favorite books in this series are "Stranger" and "Player". They are "I'll re-read many times over" good! Warning: Highly descriptive & frequent sexual content and course language.

The series:
Erotic contemporary rom-com set in a young (the female characters start off as graduate students),  professional & urban setting. These books are so hilariously funny! I've found myself literally laughing out loud uncontrollably at times. The highly descriptive sexual content is very steamy & quite frequent. The love stories will melt your heart and have you "ooh'ing" and "aaaah'ing". The characters are loveable and amazingly described. The women are smart, strong willed and funny. You feel like you are "part of the gang". Each novel in the series (see below) could be read as stand alone books since they each are about a separate couple, all within the same circle of friends and wraps up nicely (no cliffhangers). The novellas are fun add-ons to the novels. They are the answer to "I wonder what happened to so and so after the events of the book".  Congrats to both Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings on an wonderful series! I can't wait to read more from you!

Books in the series (type and individual ratings):
- Beautiful Bastard (novel; 4 stars)
- Beautiful Stranger (novel; 5 stars)
- Beautiful Bitch (novella; 3 stars)
- Beautiful Bombshell (novella; 4 stars)
- Beautiful Player (novel; 5 stars)
- Beautiful Beginning (novella; 5 stars)

Reading order:
Above is the publication order as well as the reading order as suggested by the authors, however, the events of "Bitch" happen before the events of "Stranger".

Individual reviews:

Beautiful Bastard (Beautiful Bastard, #1)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book pleasantly surprised me. The humour and sarcasm present is wonderful. The story is told alternately from Chloe & Bennett's point of view. Both characters have amazing personalities. I love a book with a smart, head-strong leading female character and a strong-yet-able-to-admit-he's-vulnerable leading male character. In BB, we get both! BB is set in a corporate office setting, where Bennett is not only Chloe's boss but her MBA internship supervisor as well. To say that their tempers clash is quite tame. World Wars have been started over less! The bickering, banter & passion is quite heavily felt throughout the entire book and there is a nice gradual evolution to the relationship. BB gave me a whole new appreciation for underwear ("power panties"). The sex scenes are highly descriptive (hot!).

The only slightly negative comment I have about this particular book (which is not an issue with the other books in the series) is that there were too many descriptive sex scenes for my taste (about 1 per chapter) and not enough character, event or emotional description. I understand that the basis of their relationship at first is the physical attraction to one another & their inability to resist but it would have been nice to have a bit of a breather in between sex scenes.

Beautiful Stranger (Beautiful Bastard, #2)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book!!! I've read it twice already and will go back for more! 

I was so surprised by the characters of Max Stella (Bennett Ryan's college friend) and Sara Dillon (Chloe Mills' best friend). Sara moves to New York after a bad breakup and wants to start a new life, away from the social pressure of her previous life. Max is a beautiful British socialite who's name and picture frequently makes the headlines, especially in regards to the women hanging on his arm. A chance, one night adventure turns into so much more! It is funny and sexy and it will get your heart beating fast, I promise! Whereas "Bastard" is more of a power struggle between 2 headstrong people, "Stranger" is a more delicate romance built on secret desires and trust. Told from Max and Sara's point of view, alternately.

I loved that Max doesn't fit the usual typical alpha-male character that we often read about in romance novels. Yes, he is rich and beautiful and self-assured but he has a niceness about him that you rarely see in a leading male character in a romance book. He's nice, she's nice... and this book is HOT (don't let their niceness fool you!).

There should be a warning on the cover of this book saying that once you start, you can't put it down until the end. It's really addictive!

Beautiful Bitch (Beautiful Bastard, #1.5)

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Although I love Christina Lauren's style of writing and this entire series, this novella was just "okay" for me. I was not stealing minutes here and there to squeak in a couple pages throughout my day like I did with all the others (which were impossible to put down). I think the constant back and forth between present time and flashbacks might have contributed to that. It was harder to get into the story because the reader is constantly jostled from one time to another and back again. I wonder what it would have been like if the story had been written in chronological order... Max Stella and Sara Dillon have minor parts.

A quick entertaining & fun read!

Beautiful Bombshell (Beautiful Bastard, #2.5)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An entire novella told from Bennett and Max's point of view, alternately... priceless!!! Bennett, Max, Will and Henry (Bennett's brother), go for a guys' weekend of drinking, good food and gambling in Las Vegas. Put in the hands of Christina Lauren, you KNOW that this is not going to be a tame trip!

For Bennett and Max fans, this book is a MUST! For Will fans, his character is set up nicely for the upcoming events in "Player".

It took me a little over 3 hours to read "Bombshell".

Beautiful Player (Beautiful Bastard, #3)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sexy, heartfelt & funny.

This book follows Will Sumner, Max's friend & business associate. We first meet Will in Beautiful Stranger and he is also in Beautiful Bombshell. Will catches up with Hanna "Ziggy" Bergstrom, a college friends' youngest sister. As a favor to his friend, Will has been asked to help Ziggy become more sociable, since she lives and breathes for her scientific work in the lab. A deep friendship develops under unusual circumstances. Friendship develops into something sexier, completely turning Will's world upside down.

So many ROFL moments along with some hot and steamy, heart pounding, temperature rising, descriptive sexy moments. Told from Will and Hanna's point of view, alternately.

I loved the passages where we see the characters from the previous books (Bennett, Chloe, Sara & Max). The chemistry & the friendship in that group is so heartwarming. I was really glad to read about Max (seeing as he is my favorite character of the entire series thus far).

Beautiful Beginning (Beautiful Bastard, #3.5)Beautiful Beginning by Christina Lauren
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Well, it's done. The "Beautiful" series is complete. This last book definately came through and it ends "Beautifully". For all the Bennett, Max & Will fans, there was a lot of "swoon" to go around. Although the book is told from Chloe & Bennett's point of view alternately, you get to see a lot of what goes on with the other 2 couples. I love to read about the guys interacting with each other. Their friendship is awesome!

I was really glad to see that Bennett has not lost his Bastardly ways. I was getting a little worried as of Beautiful Bitch and onwards that he was becoming a little too whipped by Chloe and losing his edge. Boy does the Beautiful Bastard live on strong!

I really hope that Christina & Lauren consider writting more novels with these characters in the future. It would be nice to read more about the couples as they enter the mysterious & sometimes terrifying adventure called marriage and parenthood!!!

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