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Sometimes What Happens in Vegas, Deserves a Chance to Bloom in Paris: A Review of Sweet, Filthy Boy by Christina Lauren

May you be in the throes of a hot summer romance (novel)!

You’re not? Then may we suggest one for you?

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I meant to do this review sooner, like back with the blog tour in May sooner, because I had read the book back then but certain members of my household had other ideas about how I should spend my time. Tea parties. Vacation. Water parks. Puppy training. Swimming. Gardening.

And then I couldn’t quite get my hands on my book. A member of my family decided to commandeer it and challenge me about trying to steal her boy away from her.

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Oh Ansel, you sweet, filthy boy…You really are the cat’s meow! Purrrr! 

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Sweet, Filthy Boy by Christina Lauren

Summary:

One-night stands are supposed to be with someone convenient, or wickedly persuasive, or regrettable. They aren’t supposed to be with someone like him.

But after a crazy Vegas weekend celebrating her college graduation—and terrified of the future path she knows is a cop-out—Mia Holland makes the wildest decision of her life: follow Ansel Guillaume—her sweet, filthy fling—to France for the summer and just…play.

When feelings begin to develop behind the provocative roles they take on, and their temporary masquerade adventures begin to feel real, Mia will have to decide if she belongs in the life she left because it was all wrong, or in the strange new one that seems worlds away.

Spoiler Free Review:

Loved it!!!

I guess it had been awhile since I had read the summary as to what this book was about when I dived in and started reading it  because when I got to the point when Mia had left Las Vegas (where she met Ansel) and suddenly was faced with the choice of leaving for Paris for the summer, I honestly did not know if she would go or not.

Not a spoiler alert: She goes! Wait, that is not the right way to say it. Officially, she makes the choice to accept his offer and escapes to Paris.

My own summer has been pretty great so far, and yet even so, I want to escape to Paris with Ansel for the summer! I have no idea why Mia hesitated.

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(We’re going with Ansel as Theo James. Is anyone opposed to this? No? Good!)

In the beginning of the story, we learn that Mia grew up dancing. It’s been her passion in life wanting to dance professionally someday, but she has gotten a bit derailed from dancing, and she’s at the point where everyone around her age is making choices about what to do — or at least what to do next — with their lives. She knows her parents are expecting her to make big choices about her life, too, which is something that is weighing heavy on her mind.

With her two best girlfriends, she heads to Las Vegas for a girls’ weekend. Three best girlfriends end up meeting 3 best guy friends, but they’re in Vegas, and despite what they say, there are a few things that can be done in Vegas that don’t have stay in Vegas, like getting married, which Mia does.

But let’s back up and talk about something this book does so well, something I like to call, the bait and pitch. 

The bait–It’s that first encounter between a potential couple. The girls are in a bar, and as Mia’s eyes scan the room, she meets the eyes of Ansel. Eye contact across the room turns into two strangers mouthing the word “hi” to each other.

and–Despite Mia describing her insides as melting at the site of Ansel as a first impression, the two don’t  find their way to one another. Mia and her friends have since left the bar, and as a reader, the anticipation is building for the pitch, the point in which these two will find each other again. Will they bump into each other? Will one seek the other out? Will they happen to ride the same elevator together? We don’t know yet. We do know it’s Vegas and anything can bring these two together and at this point, we are dying for them to meet!

pitch–After a night of dancing and having fun, the girls are back in their room, only Mia can’t seem to sleep. This is when the encounter happens! I’m not going to ruin it for you if you haven’t read it yet. I’m just going to reassure you that these two “officially meeting” happens quickly. Oh, and Ansel is shirtless.

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(Oh G-d, the name of that tumblr acct! *I die*)

It’s a pretty fun & fabulous bait and pitch in this story!! I was hooked and ready for more Mia and Ansel!

After a one-night stand, they’re married in Vegas with Ansel offering Mia to come back to Paris with him to live there for the summer, which as I stated earlier, she goes!  She just got married on a drunk whim, and was supposed to just get an annulment. And yet going to Paris means delaying having to make any real-life decisions for a bit. (Decisions that she has to give a lot of thought to, while she isn’t drunk, that is.) Going means she can escape her fractured world. Going she can go be just Mia without the attachment of her past expectations of what her life would or should look like at this point.

Once in Paris, Mia can’t help but feel a bit out of place and  somewhat guilty, as her new “let’s give it a go” groom must go to work every day while she is left on her own to do as she chooses. Inspired by her ability to pretend while on stage dancing, she ends up choosing to do pretend in order to better get to know her new husband. Ironically, pretending is what eventually helps Mia figure out what she is capable of doing, both in a relationship and for a career.  There are a few bumps along the way, that Mia has to learn and grow from too. It’s a very satisfying end to a fun story! You’ll understand Mia’s yearning to run away and you’ll fall for Ansel. He’s self-assured, but doesn’t take everything so seriously. He’s risky but sweet and playful. He’s hot and sensual. Most of all, he’s willing to fall in love with a girl he laid eyes on across a crowded room, and that’s always sexy!

It’s still summer, and YOU deserve a quick escape to Paris for the summer in the form of this fun, light, and wonderful summer read! Get in on it now because it is the first in a new series called Wild Seasons by Christina Lauren! Their next book, Dirty Rowdy Thing is due out November 4th and will tell the story of Mia’s friend, Harlow, and her hook-up with Ansel’s friend, Finn, from the same Vegas trip. I can’t wait to see how that all played out and have the chance to revisit with Mia and Ansel.

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Here’s the girls! Thanks for another great book Christina and Lo! The writing style of these two girls is well-defined by this 4th book, and there’s no telling where the collaborative efforts start and stop. Possibly they’re sharing a brain now (in addition to shoes!). We are looking forward to the continuation of Wild Seasons not to mention an upcoming opportunity to meet Max Stella’s little brother. 😉 For more great information on all of their books, check out www.ChristinaLaurenBooks.com

Sign up for their site so you can read an exclusive Outtake of Will and Hanna from Beautiful Player. You can read our previous review of Beautiful Player and interview with Christina Lauren, here.

Thanks as always to Nina Bocci & Kristen Dwyer for reaching out to us!

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Okay, ladies, today we’re talking secret crushes on that older, unobtainable guy you knew when you were younger. Let’s make that first secret crushes! Think back to when you were in middle school. Was it…

  • the boys’ counselor at summer camp who dated the girls’ counselor?
  • the lifeguard at the beach that you considered faking a drowning for just to get his attention?
  • the college-aged tennis instructor that gave you goosebumps when he touched your arm to show you proper form?
  • your older brother’s handsome 19-year-old friend who happened to intern with your father’s company and spent a summer living under your roof?

We all love a good romance that involves the handsome stranger who comes into our lives and sweeps us off our feet. Those are stories we can absolutely lose ourselves in and shut the door on reality for a bit, but sometimes there’s another fantasy of ours which authors succeed in bringing to life—finally getting a chance with a school-girl crush and seeing how it would play out. This is the basis of Christina Lauren’s newest book, BEAUTIFUL PLAYER!

Synopsis & Ordering Information Here

REVIEW *Minor Spoilers*

Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeet William, girls, I loved this book! I was absolutely lost to the new couple as this story unfolded, as well as the intertwining of characters we have already met and adore. At this point in the series, we have a complete ensemble. We met Will earlier in the BEAUTIFUL BASTARD series, Max’s genius of a business partner who was part of the little pictures on the phone joke. In his early thirties, he’s the man who has a set schedule of female companions. We quickly learn that at his oldest friend’s wedding, he easily charmed two women…at once…to sneak off to a room with him.

Said oldest friend has a younger sister, 24-year-old Hanna, living in New York. Hanna is introduced in the beginning and immediately likable. She’s kind of boisterous with all these crazy theories based in science and sex that’s she not afraid to share.  Openly. [You’ll find yourself cringing and laughing at the same time when she speaks.] She’s a brilliant scientist as well, but much less social and certainly less sexually experienced than Will, but put that aside because Will is the only familiar, gorgeous face who lives in the same town as her.  On the request of Hanna’s brother, Will agrees to spend some time with “Ziggy,” as he’s called her since they were younger, in order to help her meet people, get out more, and enjoy a social life.

The reason you’ll love this story is because the authors perfectly balance out the relationship between Hanna and Will from Hanna’s crush to Will’s experience that has come with his age (and good looks!). How do they do this? First, they tell the story in alternating Hanna and Will chapter point of views. Second, they create situations where Hanna and Will are able to put their age difference aside and share in exciting, spontaneous first/early-love-type experiences, even if that means acting like horny, drunk, college-aged kids in a dark room of a frat party or risking getting caught being naked together at Hanna’s parents’ home.

Thinking she might do better socially with more pleasurable sexual experiences on her resume, Hanna seeks to learn as much as she can from Will’s sexual expertise, confident in the knowledge that he’s a Player, so he’d never have any interest in more than her proposition when she asks him to teach her. Will knows that this probably isn’t what Hanna’s brother had in mind when he asked for his help, but he gets so deep into his coaching gig that he realizes he wants to be the one filling her social calendar, not anyone else. In the meantime, his own previously scheduled social life [read as: scheduled sex life] is of less and less interest to him.

In the middle of all of this, these two easily build a friendship…daily conversation while running and via texting…and a trust in each other that adds to that perfect balance the authors have developed.

There’s so much more to this book as the two go through the ups and downs of coaching, learning, and navigating their relationship! Hanna and Will each have their own discoveries to make, and I’m not going to say much more, because I want you to discover all the goodness of this story yourself. But I will say this… For those of us who have already become attached to Bennett, Max, Chloe, Sara, and George (how could you not love George?), the good news is they are all brought in and out of this story, so this couple isn’t isolated. Their story flows right into what you’ve previously read! Also, this story turns up the heat, so as a word of caution (or go girl!), plan to have your boyfriend, husband, or favorite gizmo nearby while reading, because when Will promises that he’ll “make it good,” he’s not playing around!

Bradley-Cooper-and_1623388aDid we mention Will’s a bewb man?
(A/N: I would love to see Ryan Gosling in the role, but I couldn’t help but picture Bradley Cooper & Jennifer Lawrence as Will and Hanna while reading. I think it stems from the jogging/running they did in Silver Linings Playbook and Jennifer’s Hanna-like brazenness in her real life remarks.)

I can’t wait until you get your chance to read how Hanna’s second chance with her young crush plays out. Will the Player get played or is the Player playing for keeps this time?

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We know Christina and Lo are doing a bunch of interviews to celebrate the release of BEAUTIFUL PLAYER, but we guarantee that this will be one of the most fun ones you’ll read! We were thrilled to get another chance to read an ARC of their books (thank you Gallery/Simon & Schuster!) and to interview them.

Q&A

We had a great time with our Q&A last time, and we’re back with some more, hopefully fun, questions that your fans and friends can relate to. According to what we hear, there is plenty of excitement about the release of BEAUTIFUL PLAYER, so we hope this adds to it all just a bit!

Thanks for having us!! So far the early response to PLAYER has been amazing. We really can’t wait for this book to be out there so we can talk about it with everyone!

I was the lucky one who got to read the ARC. Lisa somehow stayed strong and waited for the audiobook release but kept up with the awesome VIP teasers. I may bring up Ryan Gosling a lot. Will you both be okay with that? It won’t be a problem, Will it? 

HAHA! Wow, he would be perfect wouldn’t he? We hear he’s taking a little hiatus from Hollywood, but by the time the third movie is ready, he should be back on board, don’t you think? (A/N: *nods emphatically* Except… *gasp* No plans to see Will in movie #1 and #2!?!?! That’s going to be rough on me. Can’t Max at least speak to him on speaker phone at the office? #sexyvoice)

1. Will Sumner is the third major player (pun intended) of the series. At what point in the collaboration did his back story begin to take shape between you two?

In fact, when we signed with Gallery for BEAUTIFUL BASTARD, it was initially a two-book contract, with the second book an unknown story at the time. We had two book ideas in our head: one ended up being STRANGER, and the other turned into what is now PLAYER. We felt that STRANGER would be a better second book and the way the stories could weave together came to us once we made that decision. So, yep, Will has been with us for a little while now!

2.  Our glimpse into Will in BEAUTIFUL STRANGER with the little picture game he played with Max wasn’t exactly favorable. When writing BEAUTIFUL PLAYER, did you have to keep in mind that Will would need to ‘win over our hearts’ or did you just let him evolve?

We already loved Will, so we didn’t really try to do anything to make the readers love him. We just showed him as he is—wonderful but also flawed. The nice thing about having a character do something stupid in a previous book is you don’t expect them to be perfect when it’s their turn to take center stage. We just had the most fun writing PLAYER, and truly truly love Will.

Let’s talk famous (or should we say infamous) character Players!!! 

3. Do Players get a bad rep until they settle down with one woman or does a part of us love to see them playing around?

We don’t know how it is for everyone else, but for us the reformed player is incredibly sexy. It’s because he’s the man who knows how to do everything you want—we mean really throw down in the bedroom, okay?—but is devoted and loyal to the woman he loves. That’s hot, who can disagree?

4.  Tell us who some of your favorite TV character Players are/have been? We’ll start you off! Who didn’t love Dr. Doug Ross on ER

Everyone loves Clooney, no lie. Other players we love to love? Damon from Vampire Diaries, Sawyer from Lost (come on, you know he would have been a huge slut if he had more options), Spike from Buffy, Jackson from Teen Wolf. YUMS. 

5.  Let’s keep going with some of your favorite movie character Players. So many come to mind, but I’ll always love Ramjet the Rookie, aka Doug Dorsey in The Cutting Edge. Who are your faves?

We are Bond girls, no doubt. Give us Daniel Craig on a platter and we’re happy.

6. But with most examples of Players that come to mind, they eventually decide that someone has come into their life that they don’t want to lose, so that means giving up their lifestyle. As Ryan Gosling’s character Ladies Man (aka Jacob Palmer) said in Crazy, Stupid, Love: “I met someone, and she’s a game changer.” What do you think it is about the Player falling in love that makes us girls swoon?

It’s a little what we said in question 3—where you’re assured that this guy knows how to get the job done—but it’s also more than that. It’s the idea that he’s picky, or obstinate, or happy alone and the girl that comes along is so right for him, he can’t really resist falling for her. That story has been told so many times in literature, and it will never get old for us.

7.  In BEAUTIFUL PLAYER, I loved the scenes with the boys hanging out at Maddies. Three of my favorite gorgeous guys having a beer together? Let’s be sure to get that in the movie! Would you say that “love” strengthened the bonds of friendship between the boys?

It definitely gives them common ground. When Will has such a different social life than Bennett or Max, their time outside of work and guy-night-out is so starkly different and it does give them fewer things in common. So, for sure, Will understanding love helps the guys relate on one more level.

8.  Is it true love for all three couples or is it possible one of them just got a little caught up in what he thinks his life should look like now based on his age and his friends settling down? *bites fingernails* 

We are firmly in the “it is true love for all three couples” camp, and since we’re the authors, we can pretty much call it decisively. (A/N: I asked because I was genuinely concerned that things could unravel for one couple!) 

9. Does George ever find love? Maybe at the wedding of Chloe and Bennett he’ll meet a nice young man who happens to be Chloe’s cousin?

Lo says: I can’t tell you how badly Christina wants to write the George novella. (A/N: Lisa and I can’t tell you how badly we want you to write it!) 

10.  I love Hanna’s personality, especially in the beginning when it is the strongest. Is that because she didn’t feel as vulnerable then, so she could openly be suggestive and ballsy in voicing her opinions and random theories? Or was she trying too hard in front of Will because of the history of her crush on him?

Hanna just has no filter, and sort of speaks her mind in bursts of awkward. And when she’s first with Will, she’s so nervous and excited and trying not to throw up that things just sort of come out of her mouth before she can think better of it. But yes, as she and Will get to know each other more, it softens that side of her, gives her comfort to ask things in more tender, unguarded moments.

Speaking of her crush… Let’s go there and chat about crushes! Easily one of my favorite parts of this story is that Hanna was 12 when her crush began on her brother’s friend, Will, a 19-year-old boy that all of the girls were crazy over! 

So bonus round, girls.

Which best describes Will:

  1. an inspired product of a real-life crush of Christina
  2. an inspired product of a real-life crush of Lola
  3. an inspired product of a combination of traits of real-life crushes of both Christina and Lola
  4. an inspired product of a celebrity crush (If you care to admit it was Ryan Gosling, ladies, then say no more! We get it!)
  5. other (please explain!)

We’re going to have to say 5, although 3 was a close option. The thing is, Will has elements of boys we’ve crushed on in our lives, but although we designed certain aspects of Will intentionally, a lot of it just came out as we wrote him, without a lot of planning or thought. The same was true for Max, and also Bennett. The more we write them, the stronger their personalities become, and it’s not always the way we imagined.

Who were your crushes at the age of 12? Camp counselor? Older brother’s friend? 

Lo: A family friend who was a couple of years older and who may actually read this and laugh his ass off. He was just so good-looking and funny and I basically just stared at him all the time. It was probably really awkward for everyone around us, including him, I have no idea. Then when I was 15 and he was 17 we made plans to meet up for dinner (at Sizzler, lulllz forever) and I just assumed he was fucking with me and wouldn’t show up, and so I didn’t show up, and then he called and was like, “Why didn’t you show up?” and I was like OMG I AM THE BIGGEST IDIOT ON THE PLANET.  

Christina: Joe Elliott, the lead singer of Def Leppard, and I legit thought he would see me someday and be smitten. Oh, and we had a boy around the block that used to play basketball so I’d ride my bike for hours to go by his house. I had an ass like granite that summer.

[Lo is seriously cackling reading Christina’s answer] (A/N: We are cracking up at both of your answers!) 

Mine was the high school senior who accompanied our school trip to Washington, DC. All of the girls liked him, and considering he always sat with the girls at lunch, he knew it! 🙂 I never had a chance to know him outside of school until one day I was a junior in high school and he was standing in my living room. O.M.G. Could I even talk? No. I froze. 

Turns out, my brother worked with him, and he gave my brother a ride home. So naturally he had come inside to ask me out, right? Wrong. LOL! But that’s why we have books like yours—a story about the 12-year-old girl with a crush who matures and gets her chance later in life! It’s going to hit home with a lot of women who are really going to enjoy the story and characters!

HAHA!! That is an adorable story. We are totally going to write that book someday. 😉 (A/N: Awesome!)

Thanks again for indulging us!

Thank you! Most fun ever.

Great interview, girls. Beautifully Played! Happy Release Day! (Somewhere Will is snickering at that comment!)

GIVEAWAY

Thanks to the beautiful team of Christina & Lo for playing around with us and for TWO copies of BEAUTIFUL PLAYER!

Here’s all you have to do to enter:

  1. Follow us on Twitter here.
  2. Follow Christina on Twitter here.
  3. Follow Lauren on Twitter here.
  4. Follow Beautiful Bastard on Twitter here.
  5. Copy, paste, and tweet the following message:
  • I’m following @fics2flicks @seeCwrite & @lolashoes for a chance to win a paperback copy of #BeautifulPlayer. #F2Fplayer

Not on Twitter? Just leave us a message in the comments that you’d like to be entered in the giveaway!

We’ll choose the winner via Random.org from qualified entries on Saturday, November 2nd. Good luck!

NEXT FROM CHRISTINA LAUREN

So excited for BEAUTIFUL BEGINNINGS which is due out November 19th!!

Synopsis & Ordering Information Here

Lauren Billings, Christina Hobbs, Christina Lauren

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