You guys, I feel so honored. Two of our usual book reviewers extraordinaire are on vacation in Europe looking for costume shops and Frenchmen named Ansel or something like that, so I get to introduce you to the newest addition in the Beautiful Series by our favorites, Christina Lauren. That’s right, Beautiful Secret releases today!
I have to be honest, I was super anxious about reviewing this book. Despite my depraved sense of humor and love of all romance novels, I’m apparently a huge prude. I’m the type of reader that rips the cover off of the cheesy regency novels I buy from the dollar bin at Half Price Books so that no one knows what I’m reading. Was I reading Tolstoy or Danielle Steel behind the desk of the Water Park I worked at in high school? I’ll never tell. I’m the perfect customer for the anonymity of e-readers. (Blah, blah, melatonin. I’ll never sleep again. Worth it.) All that to say that actually admitting for all the internet to read in perpetuity that I am recommending the latest in this sexy series? Terrifying. But I devoured this book in about 24 hours while keeping two preschoolers alive and growing a third so I think it deserves public accolades despite the fact that I’m checking over my shoulder to make sure my mom isn’t reading this. Hi Mom, I’m 30.
Beautiful Secret is the story of Niall Stella and Ruby Miller. To those of you familiar with the Christina Lauren repertoire you may recognize those names. That’s because Niall is the younger, taller, swoon-worthy British brother of Max Stella from Beautiful Stranger and Ruby is a character who is mentioned in the Wild Seasons series. Without posting spoilers, their story is about a recent divorcee who is clueless about women, finding himself in a relationship with a younger woman who is more sexually and emotionally developed than he is. It’s funny, sexy, surprisingly sweet and I can’t wait to share with you the reasons I will totally spill this beautiful secret to my friends (you!).
1. Niall is a Modern Day Mr. Darcy (If Mr. Darcy had a Dirty Mouth)
Niall is described throughout the book as a Mr. Darcy type which is to say that he is reserved and proper on the outside, but a ball of repressed romance and sexual tension ready to explode on the inside. One of my favorite combinations. He has pretty traditional views on relationships and is in a constant internal battle about his actions or lack thereof. His back and forth is confusing to Ruby, but totally relate-able for me the apparent prude. He has his pride and prejudices (see what I did there?) but once he finds his confidence in himself and his relationship with Ruby he’s just plain old hot.
2. Ruby the Feminist with a Wicked Crush
I loved Ruby. First, she’s a successful woman in the male dominated field of engineering. Go math and science! Second, she’s unapologetic about her intelligence and career goals. Third, while she’s younger than Niall and had the misfortune of having the cliched crush on a work superior, she’s more emotionally mature and sexually experienced than he is. This isn’t your typical romance with a simpering young thing being taught the ways of the world by an older man. I felt that Ruby held much more of the power in their relationship early on which made for a fun and unexpected read. Plus, Niall values her intelligence and experience which makes me love him just a little more.
3. Can you say “Slow Burn”?
Okay real talk, I got married at 21 and haven’t experienced the age of Tinder firsthand so I can’t always relate to those books that have characters jumping into bed (or a closet, bathroom, limo, etc) hours after meeting. What I can relate to is the pages and pages of foreplay, both verbal and otherwise, that Ruby and Niall engage in. I think they used to call that dating; I sound so old right now. Anyway, the slow burn of this couple’s story is totally different than the other characters in the Beautiful Series, but I think appropriately so for their characters. All I can say is that it was worth the wait.
So there you have it, my Beautiful Secret is out there and now the book is too! Make sure to pick up or download your copy and let me know what you think.
A Beautiful Explosion Giveaway!
We’re giving away Copies of ALL THE NOVELS in the Beautiful series (That is, Beautiful Bastard, Beautiful Stranger, Beautiful Player and Beautiful Secret) through a fun INSTAGRAM photo challenge. Yes, we’re making you DO something this time. Rules are:
1. Follow us on Instagram @Thats_normal
2. Post a “Shelfie” of you & your Bookshelf. Smile, Don’t Smile, Point to the spot where you want the Beautiful Books to go. Be creative. Show us your personality. Add wine. Here is an example:
3. Tag us in the photo (@Thats_normal) and use the hashtag #TNShelfie
4. Enter as often as you’d like from now until next Tuesday 4/21!
Is Niall your new book boyfriend? I think I’m still Team Will Sumner but maybe I’ll be Team Niall when he’s visiting from London just like I’m Team Finn when in Canada, eh?