Review

The Beau and the Belle by R.S. Grey

The Beau and the Belle
by R.S. Grey

Published February 1, 2018

Source: I received an ARC of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion. This in no way affected my review.


Beau Fortier starred in most of my cringe-worthy teenage fantasies. I met him when I was a junior in high school, a time that revolved exclusively around bad hair, failed forays into flirting, and scientific inquiries into which brand of toilet paper worked best for stuffing bras. That is, until Beau moved into the small guest house just beyond my bedroom window.

A 24-year-old law student at Tulane, Beau was as mysterious to me as second base (both in baseball and in the bedroom). He was older. Intimidating. Hot. Boys my age had chicken legs and chubby cheeks. Beau had calloused hands and a jaw cut from steel. Our interactions were scarce—mostly involving slight stalking on my end—and yet deep down, I desperately hoped he saw me as more of a potential lover than a lovesick loser.

Turns out, I was fooling myself. My fragile ego learned that lesson the hard way. Now, ten years later, we’re both back in New Orleans, and guess who suddenly can’t take his eyes off little ol’ me. My old friend, Mr. Fortier. But things have changed. I’m older now—poised and confident. My ego wears a bulletproof vest. The butterflies that once filled my stomach have all perished. When I was a teenager, Beau warned me to guard my heart. Let’s hope he knows how to guard his.

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R.S. Grey, just take my money and continue to hand over these fantastic books! I don’t know how you manage to write such compelling romances and put them out every few months, but please continue to do so.

THE BEAU AND THE BELLE was a compulsively readable rom-com that I devoured on a grey Saturday afternoon. The dreary Austin weather had nothing on me – I was whisked away to the French Quarter of New Orleans, enjoying king cake and hurricanes (of the beverage variety) while two quirky and interesting characters fell in love over a span of a decade.

The story begins in the past, and then later loops back around to the present. It starts in 1997 and Lauren is a self-conscious 17 year old who is unsure of herself, inexperienced in love, and crushing on the most popular boy in school. She’s the daughter of New Orleans socialites and lives in a Garden District mansion. It was so fun to see certain aspects of late-90s life depicted because it brought back so many memories and gave the story an unexpected authenticity.

I could have been Lauren in those moments – meticulously planning my moment to log online to the minute my crush would be there. Watching my buddy list to stare at his username and will the universe to let him message me. The message would obviously say “what’s up” (spelled crazy somehow) and I would respond “nm u” and he would be doing “nm” either. Love would ensue and my young heart would explode.

It was so funny to see those exact thoughts run through Lauren’s head, because it really was the perfect depiction of being a teenager at that point in time. I really enjoyed reading these bits of nostalgia.

Lauren develops a huge crush on Beau but it can’t be realized because she’s in high school and he’s in his 20’s. Approximately 30% of the book is spent in the “past” portion, giving plenty of time for us to get to know Lauren and Beau and watch Lauren’s crush on him grow. This is important because their relationship later on never feels like insta-love even though it does develop pretty quickly.

After a major hurricane hits the city and forces Beau and Lauren apart, they don’t see each other for 10 years. Lauren moves to New England and stays through college, beginning her career in New York City. Beau is transferred to UT Austin after his school closes, and he then creates a venture capital firm that becomes very successful. Ten years later, in the present day, both Lauren and Beau are back in Louisiana and Lauren is no longer unattainable.

Although as a reader you expect them to fall for each other right away, there is a lot of back and forth, will-they-won’t-they that is well-written and never feels forced. Reading the novel I felt like there were real stakes at play for each of them, making it that much more satisfying when they finally got together. I really enjoyed seeing them fall for each other and realize that the chemistry they had 10 years ago is still there. Beau is a kind, hard-working hero who loves his mother and is a good person in general. I rooted for him and Lauren through and through, and it absolutely paid off.

I adored the New Orleans setting as it is one of my favorite cities. Most of the story takes place during Carnival season (the weeks leading up to Mardi Gras) and I loved all of the New Orleans culture that was weaved through the story.

This may be my favorite of R.S. Grey’s books so far. While not quite as steamy as some of her other books, the great story line was more than enough to make up for it. It’s such an affordable e-book that it’s really a must read for anyone who loves contemporary romance. 5 stars!

Review

The Fortunate Ones by R.S. Grey

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The Fortunate Ones
by R.S. Grey

Published November 1, 2017

Source: I received an ARC of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion. This in no way affected my review. 


 

1

At Twin Oaks Country Club, there are the fortunate ones, and then there are the rest of us: the waiters, the caddies, the valets, and in my case, the cabana girls. Most days, I’m poolside in a pleated skirt, dishing out margaritas to tycoons and titans. It’s not exactly my dream job, but it does come with one perk… James Ashwood. He’s my silver lining in a custom black suit.

Besides being a legacy member at the club, he’s a tech mogul and Austin’s most eligible bachelor. Oh, and those dimples? Yeah, they make my stomach dip too.

On good days, I catch his sleek Porsche winding down the tree-lined drive. On better days, I steal a glimpse of his handsome profile as we pass in the hall. And on the absolute best day, I find him alone at the bar, looking for company.

“Come have a seat.”

Those four little words set me down a path I never could have imagined. Private planes, penthouse suites, and temptations around every corner make it impossible to keep my distance. His world feels decadent and wild—but overindulgence comes with a cost. Every kiss comes with strings. Every erotic encounter is a promise I’m not ready to keep.

When I pump the brakes, he hits the gas. James doesn’t want to go slow—he wants a commitment.

And the thing about the fortunate ones?

They’re used to getting what they want.


2

R.S. Grey has become my go-to author when I’m looking for a light and fun romantic comedy. I’ve read several of her books and there hasn’t been one that I wasn’t thrilled with! I loved her last novel, THE FOXE AND THE HOUND, which I wrote about here. That one was my favorite novel of hers to date, so I was definitely anxious to read THE FORTUNATE ONES and see if it lived up to expectations.

There was so much I really loved about THE FORTUNATE ONES. I really identified with Brooke’s aspirations to travel the world and work as an au pair overseas. As someone who is straight up obsessed with travel and foreign languages, I loved that Brooke was too! I absolutely adored the Austin setting (obviously) and thought that the author did a really great job of incorporating local tidbits in a way that didn’t seem like she just tried to insert famous Austin places via a Google search.

I was into the country club setting, although I never really figured out why two girls who come from A LOT of wealth themselves were working there. The country club definitely seemed like the kind of place Brooke’s dad and stepmom would belong to, seeing as they live in a huge mansion and host actual galas. It seemed like they would not approve of their twenty-something daughters essentially doing nothing with their lives and working as cocktail waitresses? (Not that there is anything wrong with waitressing….AT ALL….it just seemed unrealistic for two super rich girls to be doing, especially with the older one living at home even.)

James Ashwood was….an interesting character. He was definitely my least favorite of all of R.S. Grey’s love interests to date, but I can see how some people would find him appealing. He was super rich and supposedly insanely hot, but I was very turned off by his borderline-abusive tendencies. There were a few scenes that involved him being super rude to Brooke for no reason, ignoring her and playing games, or even grabbing her way to harshly, etc. But then he was supposedly just ‘really sensitive’ and ‘needed to be handled with care’. That’s not hot to me, it’s psycho. BUT HE WAS REALLY RICH AND LIVED IN A MANSION AND WANTED TO GET MARRIED ASAP, so Brooke was all about him for some reason.

I was very disappointed that Brooke considered giving up her DREAMS for this dude, too. I won’t spoil the outcome by saying what her decision works out to be, but when she is offered to move to Spain to work as an au pair, she isn’t sure if she should go or stay in Austin to get ignored by this dude some more. I will say that IN THE END (like….the very end), I was okay with Brooke’s overall outcome but still never felt connected to this romance at all due to the aforementioned issues.

Even though I found myself very frustrated with the characters at times, I was always interested in reading and am still glad I read the book. While not my favorite of R.S. Grey’s work, I give this 3 stars. Definitely check out her books if you are looking for a fun rom-com to read!

Her next book is supposed to be set in New Orleans, my favorite city ever, and I can’t wait to read it!

 

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