Audiobook Review: Beautiful Bastard (Beautiful Bastard #1) by Christina Lauren, Romance Novel
Since the few years that I’ve known Patti, sometimes we are hit and miss as far as taste. It usually involves a Romance. We were reading/listening to Beautiful Bastard at the same time…so this sparked — JOINT REVIEW and very different thoughts on the book. Which side do you fall on…will you read or won’t you?
Author: Christina Lauren
Narration: Grace Grant
Type: ADULT Romance Novel
Published: February 12, 2013 Simon & Schuster Audio
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Beautiful Bastard by the author team dubbed Christina Lauren is a book about a very OCD boss and his career oriented assistant. Chloe Mills is the assistant, the boss she has nick-named Beautiful Bastard is Bennett Ryan. Bennett has recently taken over the position in his family’s company, and Chloe having dedicated a good portion of her life to the company will not give up until she finishes her MBA. Even when their mutual hatred turns into lust and they begin exploring their feelings all over the office building. They know it is wrong…but they just can’t seem to get enough of each other.
Beautiful Bastard gained notoriety before it was even published by being another Twilight fanfic that was Pulled To Publish by none other then one of the leading publishers, Simon & Schuster. I knew I had to get my hands on a copy of this book…and personally I didn’t know what to expect. But the question that niggled at me before I even cranked up my headphones (I listened, Patti read) was…
Was it like
Patti: The only similarity I found to Twilight was the hero’s unruly hair. And maybe his brother reminded me of Emmett? That might have been because I was looking for it though. Other than that, I would have NEVER guessed this was Twilight fanfic. Even looking back now, I’m not sure who all the characters would be.
PJ: I didn’t notice any similarities either. In fact I would never have though Twilight if I hadn’t read the promo copy. I didn’t even make an Emmett connection with the brother, the only thing that could be related would be the close family dynamic, which is in a lot of books. The unruly hair could be a comparison – but isn’t that the style these days? All the boys have that “just humped” hairstyle.
Fan of the
Patti: The heroine was completely unlikeable – she needed anger management classes. I found the way they got together to be completely unbelievable and for the first few pages kept hoping it was a fucked-up dream she was having. I get ‘angry sex’, and strong emotions can bring out other strong emotions, but this was so far past that… maybe if the anger wasn’t so fierce I might have been able to buy it.
One thing that drove me nuts was that she charged a new shirt and panties after their first ‘incident’ but then got offended when he offered her a credit card to LaPerla. I looked up the price of their panties and unless she’s getting a 98% discount there’s no way she’s letting this guy go through her panties like that.
PJ: The heroine? I liked her, she was completely unhinged, who needs anger management classes when you can screw your way to nirvana? I did find they just slipped right into canoodling which did take me by surprise. I thought I had actually skipped over a part in the audiobook. Like, oops did I accidentally hit forward? But, I didn’t. It was quick. I do have to say though, I know a couple that absolutely hated each other, but whenever they were alone would end up having sex. It was so bizarre and when our friends found out we were flabbergasted, especially since they were busted “in the car” outside the bar after they had just nearly come to blows. So, I kind of believed it…people are weird.
She was just being your typical flaky chick character though, when it came to the LaPerla stuff…she was trying to use the charge against him and then when he turned it around on her, she freaked out, because instead of “making him pay” he made her feel cheap. I think she got angry because it put the relationship in perspective for her. She was acting cheap, she was acting sluttish and putting her whole career in peril…all because she couldn’t keep her legs shut. This defined the whole book, he had all the power and she had very little of it, which I think is the basis of most boss/employee relationships. That is why it rung true for me, working in the corporate world, I’ve seen it happen on numerous occasions and usually either the person in the lower position ends up quitting or getting pushed out of the business – or both go down in flames. Hence the saying “don’t shit where you eat.”
Patti: I guess really, I was ambivalent about Bennett. For a man-whore he was kind of clueless. Also, we don’t ever find out why he’s such a hard-ass, do we? I don’t think we do. Even his family thought he was a jerk. There was one scene (I looked but can’t find it – it was somewhere in the first 4 chapters) where he basically tells Chloe something to the effect of “this is your fault, you do this to me, you make me act like this” which made me think of abusive spouses; I was really, really uncomfortable with that passage.
PJ: Technically, they assumed he was a man whore because he was so good-looking. A man like that had to be getting around, right? I get you with the abuse, but in relationships certain qualities in your partner bring out qualities in you right? When he first saw her, he knew that he was attracted to her, so he chomped down on extreme formality and rigidness to keep himself in check. If he slipped and let himself go with her, like he did in the conference room — there would be no turning back. Frankly I thought it was hot. I thought his rigidness was just another way he showed his extreme attraction to her. Much better then just wagging his penis around and going “You like?” Or growling at her and going “Your Mine!” like most Romantic Heroes seem to do. I wish I had a Bennett as my boss back when I was a lowly assistant… *yum*
Patti: Unprotected sex with a character who’s supposed to be a man-whore? NO WAY. One thing I was pleased about though was that no one in the book suffered from a history of sexual abuse, as seems to happen quite a bit in erotic romance lately – as if you need an excuse for kinky/dirty sex to be okay…
I’ve got to say it: I’m all for angry sex – it’s pretty hot, yeah? But I think there needs to be some sort of lead in or history before the angry sex and I just didn’t see that here. I had absolutely no affinity with the characters and that’s something you need, I think, to enjoy a book – some way to connect on a personal level with the characters, whether it be the loss of a loved one, a similar hobby, or even just living in a familiar town. I’ll admit that I liked Bennett by the end of the book but Chloe was just too unlikable.
My other thought I wanted to get across was that in reading the book it felt to me like the authors wrote a bunch of hot angry sexy scenes and then decided to try to turn them into a story; there was no real plot or story arc. Unless you count ‘sex with the boss’ as the whole plot. I just didn’t get the ‘power exchange’ subtext that you did – I mean, I know if it was a real-life situation that would be true, but I don’t think either one of these characters really cared about that part of it too much; at least, their not judging by their actions. Honestly, if she was afraid of being caught, WHY did she charge her stuff to the office credit card? Not very subtle.
PJ: Patti, you crack me up, I’m sorry you weren’t impressed…but I really was. And I’m looking forward to reading Beautiful Stranger which is supposed to be new characters. How interesting. Obviously this story line is nothing like the Twilight fanfic it once was.
This book was all about a series of very bad choices. Unprotected sex with a boss. Sex with boss every place they could possible think of, always just seconds away from getting caught. I really think it displayed how out of control a woman can feel when in that sort of situation, no matter how in-control she tries to believe. Not a good situation, but I still found the book compelling and yes, a bit sexy. But, that is my thing. I’m big into female and male dynamics. I always push for the female to be in control of an alpha male — never with a Beta or inferior man. But, this showed that no matter how strong the woman was, in a complex society, like Corporate America things can go very awry, especially when you mix business with pleasure. No one ever wins. I thought the authors showed this in the book and also brought a lot of sexy-time to light. I don’t think Bennett would be a boss or hero that I would like to emulate, or Chloe for that matter, but I enjoyed their story.
The End All:
Patti: Ultimately, I’m mad I spent $15 of my $25 book budget on this.
PJ: I’ll be looking for Beautiful Stranger…