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I Belong


Early Review: Beautiful Stranger by Christina Lauren

Title: Beautiful Stranger

Author: Christina Lauren

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Series: Beautiful Bastard (Book 2)

Publication Date: May 28, 2013

Format: Paperback, 352 Pages

ISBN-10: 1476731535 (Simon & Schuster)

ISBN-13: 978-1476731537 (Simon & Schuster)

Reviewed by: Michelle

Synopsis:

Escaping a cheating ex, finance whiz Sara Dillon’s moved to New York City and is looking for excitement 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 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.

Quick & Dirty: A strong sequel to Beautiful Bastard, filled with romance that stands apart from many others.

Opening Sentence: When my old life died, it didn’t go quietly.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

In my reading world, YA mostly takes up my time. So when I get the chance to read adult fiction, especially romance, it feels like a sweet escape. In the instance of Christina Lauren’s Beautiful Stranger, it was bliss. I adored Beautiful Bastard, Chloe, and especially Bennet, but there is something refreshing and untouched with Sara and Max. Beautiful Stranger definitely puts Christina and Lauren on the map not only for their swoon-worthy men, but for their great storytelling.

In the follow up to the much loved Beautiful Bastard, Christina and Lauren introduce us to Sara Dillon and Max Stella. Sara has escaped a fiance that has cheated on her in both a public and private way. She has moved herself to New York to move on and reinvent her life. With her new outlook on life, she wants fun, no commitments, and to stay in control. This practically gets thrown out the window when she meets Max, a British entrepreneur. Meeting this irresistible man at a dance club should have been a quick flirtatious jaunt, but it quickly turned into something more.

Sara is a strong woman. Her past has made her into this emotionally cold woman, protected by a wall around her heart. Her actions are calculated, until her emotions took control. No matter what Sara did, her heart won. I connected to her and her feelings, her struggles, and her goals.

Max is someone that you fall in love with instantly. From the point where you realize he has a British accent, you just want to put him in your pocket. But Christina and Lauren did a very interesting thing with his character. He was first. First to fall in love, first to realize his feelings, and first to want it all. It’s rare to see that in romance. And I loved that.

I really enjoyed Beautiful Stranger! I loved how Max was more emotionally vulnerable than Sara, to a point. I loved how Christina and Lauren showcased the similarities and differences between a man and a woman, when it comes to matters of the heart. The symbolism of parallels and contradictions weaved throughout the story was genius. The romance between Max and Sara, their complex personalities of the two individually went well with how they evolved when they’re together.

Once again I was trapped into this contemporary world that Christina and Lauren built. I was an empowered female and an internally vulnerable male. I was hurt by a failed relationship and I was in love with a woman who only wanted me for my body. I became these two characters and lived their lives. I really appreciated that as a reader, these authors brought me deep into their world to the point where I forgot my own. It says a lot to me, and hopefully to you also.

In today’s world of romance and erotica, there is a competition to be individual and unique. I feel that Christina and Lauren have achieved this, bringing a solid set of characters that stand out and leave lasting impressions. Their stories make you wish they were your own and their characters make our hearts race. Both Christina and Lauren have gone beyond my expectations. I was a fan in their days before publishing, but here, where their stories are their own, I will forever be a reader.

I really enjoyed Beautiful Stranger, and I absolutely think you will also.

Notable Scene:

“We . . . shouldn’t do this here,” she said.

And still, she pushed farther into my hand. All around my steady rhythm, I could feel her begin to tighten, her breath coming out in tiny, sharp pants.

With a guilty wince, I removed my hand and turned her to face me. She looked practically drugged, eyelids heavy, lips parted.

“And unfortunately my two minutes are up.”

I kissed her cheek, the corner of her mouth, and then each of her eyelids when she closed her eyes. And then I took my phone out of her hand and walked out of her office.

Beautiful Bastard Series:

1. Beautiful Bastard

1.5 Beautiful Bitch (June 24, 2013)

2. Beautiful Stranger (May 28, 2013)

2.5 Beautiful Bombshell (September 2, 2013)

3. Beautiful Player (October 29, 2013)

3.5 Beautiful Beginning (November 18, 2013)

FTC Advisory: I purchased this copy of Beautiful Stranger.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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