Author: Christina Lauren
Rating: 4 Stars
Dates read: 14 Apr 19 – 16 Apr 19
Publication date: 16 Apr 2013
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre(s): New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Escaping a cheating ex, finance whiz Sara Dillon’s moved to New York City and is looking for excitement and passion without a lot of strings attached. So meeting the irresistible, sexy Brit at a dance club should have meant nothing more than a night’s fun. But the manner—and speed—with which he melts her inhibitions turns him from a one-time hookup and into her Beautiful Stranger.
The whole city knows that Max Stella loves women, not that he’s ever found one he particularly wants to keep around. Despite pulling in plenty with his Wall Street bad boy charm, it’s not until Sara—and the wild photos she lets him take of her—that he starts wondering if there’s someone for him outside of the bedroom.
Hooking up in places where anybody could catch them, the only thing scarier for Sara than getting caught in public is having Max get too close in private.
The Beautiful Series has thus far been about Bennett and Chloe, so it was quite fun to meet some new characters within this world/story. I really enjoyed this story. It had a very different feel to Beautiful Bastard, in part due to the characters, their dynamics, and in part due to the different work place dynamic that exists in this story. Max was briefly introduced as Bennett’s university friend and close mate in Beautiful Bitch, which made it apparently quickly that any previously introduced characters would continue to feature in the series of stories, in a less prominent role.
I like to meet in the new characters and getting to know them as they got to know one another. I’d like to be even though these are close friends with the characters from the first book, they have their own traits and preferences, flaws and plus points that make them interesting as a separate couple. They have an unusual bond, meeting in a club whilst drunk and engaging in a throw away liaison that leads to a casual non-casual relationship. Sara has come from heart break and does not want complicated relationships or commitment, but rather free fun. Max is a playboy who is intrigued by her openness and willingness to explore her boundaries, shirking his playboy proclivities to spend time with her.
They don’t work with each other in this book, which removes the work place setting and gives us a break to see how the characters react without each other under their noses. Because of this, we’re also introduced to George and Will. George is Sara’s assistant, the sassiest gay best friend and assistant one could ever want and a hilarious edition to the series. And then their is Will. He is Max’s partner in the work place and seemingly with the ladies, and is described as being really hot, really charming, and is the apple of George’s eye even though he is very much straight. Again, he is a pleasant addition, and actually the focal point of one of the later stories.
Again the sex scenes are a huge part of this story, and again I could have done with less, but unlike the first story surrounding Chloe and Bennett, Max and Sara’s feels more like an adventure, like we’re exploring things with them, rather than voyeuristically gaining intimate knowledge of their Private lives (which is ironic really considering the predilections of these two characters). I really liked that they explored each others, and their fantasies within their relationship boundaries, broadening their minds and growing together, rather than separately. It created a unique dynamic that I find is often missing with fictional couples, and was extremely refreshing. It also featured genuine communication, the discussions surrounding their relationship, how it would pan out, what they were and weren’t willing to do was made clear and was accepted and considered by the other in the relationship and I think should be used as a great example for others writing similar pieces.
And most of all I like the fact Christina Lauren, the combination of two female authors, has not created meek female characters or weak male characters, but two powerful voices and presences that work together in an enjoyable, respectful, and real story that will hopefully continue throughout the upcoming books.