Beautiful Player

Title: Beautiful Player

Author: Christina Lauren. This is the third book in her Beautiful Bastard series.

Genre: Romance

Readers: Day care teacher EMarie, retiree Nancy, teacher Ninian, attorney Rochelle and at-home parent Colleen B.

Summary: When Hanna Bergstrom receives a lecture from her overprotective brother about neglecting her social life and burying herself in grad school, she’s determined to tackle his implied assignment: get out, make friends, start dating. And who better to turn her into the sultry siren every man wants than her brother’s gorgeous best friend, Will Sumner, venture capitalist and unapologetic playboy?

Will takes risks for a living, but he’s skeptical about this challenge of Hanna’s…until the wild night his innocently seductive pupil tempts him into bed- and teaches him a thing or two about being with a woman he can’t forget. Now that Hanna’s discovered the power of her own sex appeal, it’s up to Will to prove he’s the only man she’ll ever need.

Our Take: It’s a split. Romance readers EMarie gives it a big thumbs up as does newbie Rochelle. But Fifty Shades lover Nancy thought it was derivative, as did Ninian, also new to romance novels. But everyone seems to agree that the male/female double narration is a great device.

EMarie

While this book is in my favorite genre, I was a little wary as I picked it up to read. Romances can be bad in so many different ways. However, this book blew me away. I was immediately drawn into the story as I began to read, and was forced to put it down to go to bed so I could be functional at work the next day. As soon as I was able, I picked it up again and read until I finished it. If I could have read it in one sitting I would have been on cloud nine.

The characters are easy to relate to and very real. They have their flaws as people do, but none of these flaws frustrated or overwhelmed me as a reader. I had a great time getting to know their different personalities and interests. I wanted the couple to end up together and laughed and cried with them as obstacles appeared in their way.

I also loved the format of the book, being able to read in both the male and female’s perspective. This made the story and the characters feel more real to me than just reading from one point of view. The story flowed very smoothly and was easy to follow as it transitioned between characters. While it did have steamy scenes they did not overwhelm the story and make it all about sex. They just made the romance and relationship feel a little more real to me.

Christina Lauren did a wonderful job with this book and I am looking forward to reading the other books in the series, Beautiful Bastard and Beautiful Stranger. Though this book is the third in the series I was not lost or left out in any way. Reading the other books will let me continue to read about the characters I met in this book and I am looking forward to getting to know them better.

Grade: A+

 

Nancy

I had no idea what this book would be about but I was totally disappointed that it used “copycats” of Anastasia and Christian Grey. Living with those characters through 3 books and discussing their lives with so many others, it made these characters very forgettable. I found the plot totally predictable and the secondary characters very boring. After a while, I skimmed the sex scenes which seemed like they happened on every other page. Christina Lauren’s use of the male/female perspective on love and dating was the only thing that held any interest. Thank goodness the book did move quickly because I couldn’t wait to finish and move on. I would not recommend this book to anyone…if you want a steamy romance go right to 50 Shades.

Grade: D

 

Ninian

This is not your mother’s romance novel!

Let me preface this by saying, this is not a genre I read. I mean like, ever. I have to admit I was initially surprised at the steamy scenes in the novel because I wasn’t expecting them. Again, I never read this genre. However, when you strip away those scenes, you are left with a pretty generic, young girl in the big city romance. The characters seemed fairly stereotypical to me, the kind I’d expect in a romance novel. The formula of boy and girl flirt, boy and girl finally get together, boy and girl have misunderstanding etc seemed like a standard romance pattern.

Writing the book from two different points of view was a clever device, especially when telling the same scene. However, the steamy scenes did start to seem “samey” after a while and the characters didn’t really hold my attention. I didn’t find any of the characters to have any depth and I didn’t find myself liking any of them or hoping things would work out for them.

Grade: C

 

Rochelle

This is my first foray into modern romance novels. But since Jane Austen, typically considered the first classical romance novelist, has inspired so many modern day romance novelists, I figured the genre must have something in it for me! I will admit I was a little skeptical, since my love for Jane Austen runs pretty deep (my 2nd edition print of her Complete Works is one of my most prized possessions), and the Victorian and Romance eras of literature are my absolute favorites. Since the genre has romance and a happy ending as its requisites, and this one is set in modern times, I kept that evolution in mind as I read this book, and, I actually quite enjoyed it!

While Charlotte and Lauren’s writing may not embody Austen’s satire on society and customs, and they’re not creating a genre or breaking molds, this book was an escape from real life, into the steamy lives of Hanna and Will. The characters and story line were just engaging enough to fill the “Everyman” role, maximizing the number of people who will find the book relatable enough to escape into the story. Even though moments felt unrealistic, and the timeline was rom-com fast, I found myself wanting to know what happens next, and getting lost in the romance. That urgency to know what happens next is a result of both the writing and the dual narration. The dual narration does a great job showing each character’s vulnerability, endearing them to the reader. I caught myself smiling and laughing at moments when the characters would surely have been doing the same thing, and at times when Hanna’s behavior left Nathan bewildered, I found myself also frustrated with her for being ridiculous and confusing. This book really pulls you in, and gave me a newfound understanding of why the romance genre is so popular!

If you are looking for a quick, steamy read, with flirtation and banter leading to the inevitable happy ending, this book won’t disappoint!

Grade: A-

 

Colleen B.

I had not read the previous 2 books in this series before picking up Beautiful Player. Also, I never read that 50 shades book but if it was anything like this, then no thank you.

Here is what I gained from reading about 4 chapters.  Hey, we’re reunited. Let’s go to a party and have sex. Let’s go running and then have sex. Let’s eat and then have sex. After the 3rd time it got really explicit and I had to put it down. I can deal with innuendo and small “scenes” but this was basically book porn. Blech

I can count on one had how many books I have actually not finished over the years and I am sad to say that this was one of them.

Grade: D- (An F is just too harsh for any book.)

 

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