REVIEW: Beautiful by Christina Lauren

beautifulAuthor: Christina Lauren
Series: Beautiful Bastard #5
Release Date: October 4, 2016
Rating: 4/5
Source: Print book sent by the publisher
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Featuring the entire BEAUTIFUL series cast for one final hurrah!

A FREE-SPIRITED GIRL IN NEED OF A BREAK.
A MAN WEIGHED DOWN BY RESPONSIBILITY.
A ROAD TRIP VACATION WHERE ALL BETS ARE OFF.
OH, AND A LOT OF WINE.

After walking in on her boyfriend shagging another girl in their place, Pippa Bay Cox ditches London for the States to go on a drunken road trip with Ruby Miller and some of her Beautiful friends.

Scaling the career ladder is the default way to deal with heartbreak—and to just deal—for Jensen Bergstrom. Absolutely buried by his drive and workload, he rarely takes time for himself. But when his sister Hanna convinces him to join the gang on a two-week wine tour, he has a rare moment of cutting loose. Of course, it’s only once he’s committed that he realizes the strange girl he met briefly on the plane is coming along, too. She might be too much for him…or he might realize his life has become too small and needs her to make it bigger, crazier.

With this circle of friends there’s always something going on: from Chloe and Sara’s unexpected personality swaps to Will’s new domestic side to Bennett’s text message barrage and George’s own happily-ever-after. In short, their adventures in love, friendship, and hilarity are nothing short of Beautiful.

I cannot believe this series so beautiful would’ve come to an end. I mean—why does it have to end again?! I can go on and on reading about these characters. The whole gang. The separation anxiety game is so strong as a reader but even more so, I think, for the dynamic duo of romance. I can’t imagine how it must’ve been so hard for them to say good bye because me as a reader? I. Don’t. Want. To. Let. Go. I have clingy issues with amazing series, yeah #sorrynotsorry.

So! Beautiful. Man, how do I even start?! First off, while this book revolves around Jensen (Hanna’s brother, Will’s best friend, both characters are from my favorite, Beautiful Player) and Pippa (Ruby’s best friend from Beautiful Secret), the whole crew is here and ready to roll out their awesomeness. There’s the Beautiful Bastard couple, Bennett Ryan who’s pretty much weirded out as to why his monster wife, Chloe (my favorite character) is being gentle with him when the pregnancy started. (They made a child. A freaking child. When all they do is to verbal lash one another then have hawt sexcapades after. Holy shitballs!) It was like Sara’s (Beautiful Stranger) spirit was swapped with Chlo’s! Then there’s British hottie Max Stella (Beautiful Stranger) with her again very pregnant wifey, Sara, who can’t seem to stop thinking of murdering her husband in so many ways. Like I said, that’s pretty much Chlo’s usual attitude with Bennett. There’s also Niall Stella (Beautiful Secret), Max’s brother, who can’t stop his Brit charm to win over Ruby all over again. They’re like teenagers! Then of course, my favorite next to Bennett, Will Sumner who fucking knows how to fucking cook now. I mean—what the actual fuck, Will?! Could you please stop being so fucking perfect?! Will who’s still very much in love with her Plum, Hanna. And Hanna, whom I love with all my heart because of her nerdiness and how she tamed The Player. Really, with all these characters in tow, the book already screamed fun!!! But put half of them in a vehicle to go places and have booze because winery tour and road trip… so much fun!!!

Back to Jensen and Pippa. These two met during an odd moment of their lives. And it was awkward because they didn’t even know each other. But I guess, that’s the thing about being in a plane with a random stranger and a past you’re trying to run away from so you can take some time off and breathe. I like Pippa. She’s a ball of energy and sunshine and determined, carefree, fun and thoughtful. Not a weird thing fazes her, even when she caught Jensen talking something off-ish about her. She has the brightest of ideas that crack the shells of Jensen’s ice-cold heart. Basically, a person who’s nice to be with anywhere because she’s all positive-y and game for anything. While Pippa successfully managed to put a big smile on my face because of her quirk, it took me a while to get Jensen. He’s this gorgeous lawyer in a true lawyer fashion—serious, careful, smart and sexy. But he’s also so closed off to feelings I was afraid his shield were insusceptible, it’s almost unreal. But behind that frozen exterior was a man whose trust issues were real, who’s hesitant to give meaning to things because he’s been there, done that, never again thank you very much, and who’s so independent yet so alone, it’s terrifying. I feel sad about his situation that he couldn’t let Pippa in because some random person really did a number on him. I wanted to hug him after slapping his beautiful face. But that Jensen was out of sight during the duration of the road trip. If anything, I saw a man who’s living his life, carpe-ing the fucking diem with Pippa. I’d like to say it’s called the Pippa Effect but maybe it’s the Jensen who’s finally ready to get back on the driver seat of his life, to let go of all those excess baggage that’s obviously weighing him down, and to enjoy his single life, finally. Because this side of Jensen? I like it. I like that even when he doesn’t wear his heart on his sleeve, his actions show that he cares for Pippa and he’s starting to appreciate her for what she truly is. But good things come to an end because not a moment later, they’re back in the real world and it was like back to square one where it seemed that nothing happened. Back to boring, dedicated, workaholic, uptight Jensen. Ugh. To be clear, there’s absolutely nothing common about these two. Well, except for their wrong judgment of people to love. But other than that, they couldn’t work. But they were a proof that opposites do attract and in a true CLo dynamic, when love gets in the way, it gets its mighty way and cement its part there. There’s no escaping it.

As much as I was happy with the #squadgoals being all here, it would’ve been nicer to see much more of Jensen and Pippa together, having more moments, getting the hang of their new relationship and sorting things through together. Especially seeing Jensen letting himself lose a little in the love battle with Pippa. It would’ve been more captivating to see the fun Jensen during college and even better Jensen because he’s with Pippa now and he just couldn’t resist that girl.

Book-wise, the scenes flowed smoothly, paced so well with slow burn precision and with a lot of heart and classy sexiness poured into it. Jensen and Pippa were the characters whose only fault was that they fell in love in the wrong time, with the wrong people so they both got hurt in the chaos of it all. To be honest, their issues aren’t new so it’s very easy for me to connect with them. What with their weaknesses and strength so relatable to most people. I was really glad how things turned out even when I almost cried like a baby because I was so infuriated with Jensen and my heart broke for Pippa. But you think CLo would downplay the grand gesture in the works? Nope, not at all. It was nothing like I’ve envisioned. It was genuine, made my heart squeeze tight. It was the stellar manifestation of love that lingers… For the long haul. I wish it didn’t feel rushed though. Because it kind of did. And I was hoping for more togetherness than a quick wrap up.

I really liked the surprise multiple epilogue treat and how it made me cry my way through it all, pausing at each page, savoring every word, slowly reading them, even more slowly rereading them in the hopes it wouldn’t just end because it hurt so bad to know there’s nothing after this. If there was a battle for stunning epilogues, Beautiful’s would be topping the competition in one fell swoop. It was gloriously mesmerizing. Yes, this #sepanx game is so real, guys. Not even kidding. It was like CLo made them say their farewell to me and I. Didn’t. Want. It. You can all have it, it’s yours. I don’t remember agreeing to saying goodbye! How do I move on from this?! Tell me please.

Overall, I think this is more of like the previous characters’ stories wrapped up in Jensen and Pippa’s book than just Jensen and Pippa’s. It’s still cool though, because I honestly think Beautiful is one hell of a cherry on top of this delectably unforgettable series.

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