Beneath Beautiful, Allison Rushby
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Some books take a while to get into, this one had me not hooked exactly but intrigued, right from the start. It kind of keeps me feeling that way through the story. Cassie’s first encounter with Cameron is innocuous, until she suddenly realises he’s a celebrity artist and she hasn’t recognised him. She’s no stranger to fame herself, she’s got a childrens bestseller series out, but she sees that as almost accidental and doesn’t see herself as famous. She’s in Paris while she tries to drum up inspiration for a new book, something more than just a kids series. So far she’s come up with nothing, so when Cameron finds her again and asks her to sit for him she agrees, thinking she’s got time, and maybe it’ll inspire her in some way.
Cassie can feel a pull between them and wonders if they might get closer, but she’s worried, her father is a politician, a somewhat cold man for whom his daughters must look to his career at all times, and the impact of what they do upon it. She knows he won’t approve of her sitting for Cameron, and as for anything more – no way. At times I wondered if the attraction was all in Cassie’s mind, then Cameron would say something and I’d think is wasn’t, that there was a real spark there. Being an incurable romantic I wanted it to be more, I wanted them to get together, so I wasn’t best pleased when they’re in US and her friend with whom she;’s staying introduces another person, James, a reporter hoping to interview Cameron. It puts Cassie in an awkward place, she hasn’t told anyone except her big sister about the sitting, and feels she’s not able to tell James but makes her also feel duplicitous at keeping it secret.
I loved all the characters, even the curious Plum, an artist friend of Cameron’s who knows Cassie’s sister, and seems to have an unseen agenda towards Cassie. The book is full of little puzzles, teasers, things where the reader needs to read between the lines. It flows easily and we see Cassie go from confident in some things and cautious in others, to someone who’d grown, develops self confidence. I loved the descriptions of Cameron’s art, and the processes behind it, and like Cassie wondered just what it was he was seeking from her for the piece. He kept saying she was in control, it all depended on her, and he was clearly looking for something but wouldn’t/couldn’t tell her what, and she was in the dark as to what it was ( me too). Then the penny dropped, by way of a scandal and a good bit of pushing from Plum, and it made sense to me. I finally understood what he wanted and why he couldn’t just tell her, and I was so in admiration of Cassie for committing to something she needed to do, but that she knew would cause her grief from her father.
It ends kind of ambiguously, where its not really clear ( to me at least) as to the romance side of things, but in a way that’s good as I can “write” my own conclusion and have Cassie and xyz living happily ever after Smile . I’m not sure its a book I’d re read, but its still one I loved and am glad I read.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers
Tempted by the Billionaire Tycoon, Jennifer St George
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews
Genre: Contemporary romance
Sometimes I just want a simple, uncomplicated romance and this books delivers that. Kind of like an updated 70’s M&B….simple romance but with some hot, spicy sex thrown in!
Nic’s a typical book billionaire, dragged himself up from nothing after refusing to do what his father wants. He was a bully, and made his money by crime, including gambling, drugs and alcohol, so it’s easy to see why Nic is so against those things. He wants his sisters and mother to leave his dad, but they’re too scared of repercussions, so Nic is driven to make more and more money to prove to them they will be safe. Money is power after all – that never changes and was an easy to believe in motive for his striving to be better all the while, to make more money by the success of his business. As a person he’s very confident and hasn’t really got a personal life, just some flings when he needs them – nothing serious, the only thing he’s serious about is business. Now he’s about to float it on the stock market and the English division is causing huge problems in the media, and losing money hand over fist after a series of recent dramas. He wants to fire the GM but his second there says no, it’ll cause problems. Nic decides he’ll go in undercover and catch her out then he can fire her.
Poppy is hiding a secret only Luke, Nic’s second at the resort, knows about. It means she really needs her job, and when she finds out what Nic’s doing she’s desperate to convince him she can sort everything. He’s really attracted to her but doesn’t mix pleasure with business – usually. Something in Poppy keeps making him lose all his sensible reasons though, tempting him to break his resolve. Then part of her secret comes out…just after they’d got closer, very much closer and its a dramatic scene. I understood what she was doing and why, but also that Nic had to stick to his line, make one exception and others will be complaining. The system only works if its rigidly followed, that’s the only fair way but its heart-breaking for Poppy. Even Nic I felt sorry for – he didn’t know the full story so how could he guess what motivated Poppy.
Then there’s the dangers running through the story, which seem to be stacking up and becoming more personal and aimed at Poppy – I had a couple of guesses at who was behind them, but Jennifer threw in some diversions that put me off track!
Its a fun read, nothing too dramatic and heart stopping but a fun read and a HEA – I need those.
Stars: Four, excellent easy to read romance.
ARC supplied via Netgalley