Monday, December 21, 2015

Christie's review: Wicked Beautiful by J.T. Geissinger


Title:Wicked Beautiful
Series: Standalone
Author: J.T. Geissinger
Release Date: December 1, 2015
Rating:3 stars
Cliffhanger: No

Life coach and best-selling author Victoria Price has it all: a successful career, fabulous friends, a fantastic penthouse in Manhattan. What she doesn’t have—and doesn’t want—is a husband. Fifteen years ago her high school flame broke her heart so badly she swore she’d never love again. Now she makes millions teaching other women how to be just like her: a ruthless bitch.

Drop-dead sexy restauranteur and infamous playboy Parker Maxwell has only three rules for the women he dates: no questions about his past, no expectations for the future, and no spending the night. When he meets Victoria, however, he’s willing to break his own rules if it means sating the explosive desire she arouses in him. What he doesn’t know is that the alluring Victoria Price used to be the mousy Isabel Diaz, the girl he deflowered and dumped long ago.

Presented with a perfect opportunity for revenge, Victoria decides the game is on. But when her connection with Parker proves more than just skin deep, she has to make a choice: continue with her plan for payback, or risk her career, her reputation, and her heart by taking a second chance on love?

I had mixed emotions when requesting this book on Netgalley. This is my second book by this author and while I found a lot to love in the last one I read, it did not end on a high note. It was one of those cases where I was completely immersed in the story in the first half and it slowly deteriorated into a disappointing place by the end. So why read another, you ask? I see so much potential in this author, she really has the ability to write an addictive story that you can't put down. There are parts that I enjoyed so much, it was a bitter pill to swallow when I had to hand out an average rating. So, I wanted to see what else was on offer and if I could find a better balance the second time around. Unfortunately, the same situation arose again: First half, addictive. Second half, frustrating. I'll get to that in a bit though.

Let's start out with what worked for me. In the beginning of the book we're introduced to Victoria. Ladies, she's a professional Bitch with a capitol B, and she's proud of it. I mean that in the most literal way. She makes a living being a bitch-and teaching other women to find empowerment through teaching them how to gain confidence and assertiveness. These typically praised traits in men are looked at negatively in women. She's made it her mission to change women's perception of strength and femininity. I loved her in the beginning. It was refreshing to find such a unique premise and I couldn't get enough of her ruthless and powerful personality.

What makes her less than authentic is her motivation in her quest to empower women. Though she does believe every word she says, what no one knows is that she's hiding a past and an identity that no one knows about.

I'm not that unsophisticated country girl anymore, that girl who loved with all her heart and soul. That girl is dead. There's only one girl left, the one made of ice and vengeance.

She's overcome a debilitating heartbreak and betrayal by the first man she ever loved. And because of this, her whole life derailed with no white knight to come and rescue her. So she became her own savior. A woman who succeeds no matter what the cost, and she surely doesn't become attached to any man longer than it takes to get some physical satisfaction. Until one night, she comes face to face with the man who ruined her and rebuilt her into the woman she's become. And she's not willing to let his transgressions go without getting her retribution.

This should have made the story for me. It's a personal weakness to read about revenge in any form in my books. There's just something about it that I love and it never fails to draw me in. This one worked...for a while. I was loving the delicious tension and the push and pull between the h/H. That sexual tension was honed to the finest point using some hate lust that was raw and intense.

"I want you so fucking badly I'll do almost anything to have you, and I think you want me the same way. But I won't beg. I won't be lied to. And I won't be led around by my balls. I only want it if it's real. Yes or no."
My breath is ragged. I feel as if I'm standing over rocks far below. "Parker-"
"Yes or no."

It became glaringly obvious that nothing was as it seemed when it came to their past. Although Parker is known as a Playboy, he's not an asshole and you just know the fall out is going to be crushing when the truth comes out. Their relationship is built on lies, deception, but more than that, real feelings of unwanted attraction on both their parts. Because they both know they're playing with fire being together-they just can't seem to deny themselves. It's a dangerous game they're both playing, and I wondered how they would come out unscathed.

My main problem with the book would be that in the last half, the drama took a turn towards ridiculous and unrealistic. I can see where a lot of people would have no problem with the plot, but for me, it's just something that I don't find appealing. I tried to ignore my impatience with the direction things went, but it was impossible. Another thing I just couldn't wrap my head around was the fact that though they were each other's first love and never got over each other...he didn't recognize her. And this is explained away because it's been fifteen years, she grew a couple of inches, had her nose and teeth fixed, got contacts, and is now rich. Really now? None of these things are enough to completely alter a person's appearance unrecognizable. Nope, not buying it.

If you were thinking of reading this, don't let my problems with it dissuade you. It's very likely you'll find a lot to enjoy. But I think this may be my last attempt with this author, it may be we just aren't a natural fit and that's okay.


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