Review originally posted here with Has and E: http://thebookpushers.com/2013/07/16/joint-review-beauty-and-the-billionaire-billionaire-boys-club-2-by-jessica-clare/
1. Thoughts on the Hero
MinnChica: What to say about Hunter? I was intrigued by the scarred man when he first appeared in Stranded with a Billionaire, especially once his attraction to Gretchen became evident. I think that Clare does an incredible job writing virgin heroes (read her Sims book Desperately Seeking Shapeshifter for another goodie) and I loved how shy and insecure Hunter was about it. At the same time, Hunter kinda came across as an alphahole. He was so flustered that he was short and gruff and at times a jerk to Gretchen. Toward the end when he screwed up with her big time, I wanted to beat him silly for some of the hateful things he said. But the way that Gretchen asked him to “grovel” was so amazing, and I loved watching that change in him.
Has: I loved that double aspect to Hunter’s character, he was so vulnerable and unsure of himself but at the same time he was the typical alphahole. I especially loved how flustered and frustrated he became when he tried to interact with Gretchen who saw through his bluster. But it was so refreshing to read a hero who was so socially cutoff but finding his way to communicate with a woman who is attracted to. I really liked how Hunter was in a position of power who tried to control the wooing of Gretchen. But I liked that it was Gretchen who turned the tables on him and very insightful that she saw through his brusque and aloof demeanor. And can I say I adore the fact he was a virgin hero to boot! That really gave the story and romance another sweet element because instead of Hunter setting out to seduce Gretchen which was his original intention – it was Gretchen instead who chased him.
I also loved that Jessica Clare managed to capture the elements from the Beauty and the Beast fairytale so well because Hunter really fits that role well, especially with his hobby in growing roses.
E: I had a blast with Hunter. He was so socially inept yet he really wanted a relationship with Gretchen. While I thought his methods were rather underhanded especially given his double standards he was still a very fun character. As his back story came out I could completely understand why he had a very hard time relating to people and the reason for his scars was something I never would have guessed. I also enjoyed how Hunter made up for lost time once he relaxed enough around Gretchen to discover some additional benefits of life. I will admit that he could certainly be an arrogant ass but he could also grovel when necessary.
2. Thoughts on the Heroine
MinnChica: I really liked Gretchen. She was wild and fun and carefree. It was kinda nice to read a book about an author who hated to write, it’s not a typical theme to find in romance books, and added another dimension to Gretchen’s character. I liked the way she had to really coax Hunter into becoming friends and then lovers. I think the only thing about Gretchen that kinda upset me was the way she didn’t immediately jump to Hunter’s defense during the horrible dinner party they hosted. While I understand how it all went down, I expected a little more from her.
Has: Gretchen was the perfect heroine for Hunter, while he was the loner and vulnerable because of his scars – Gretchen was much more social and outspoken. I loved how honest she was even though it did get into trouble at times. But I also liked the fact she was so sensitive and empathic to the people she was close to. I think the chemistry that she sparked off with Hunter, worked so well between them and I loved their interaction and the slow build up with the tension was amazing. I also liked her interaction with Hunter’s butler who disliked her but it helped to create some amusing scenes in the book with Gretchen’s snarky comments. I also loved that he helped to fit the gothic overtones of the story of the huge foreboding manor house and that really added another aspect to the story.
E: Gretchen was an intriguing character. She was spunky, snarky, and vulnerable. Watching her seduce Hunter was very enjoyable as she gradually worked within the bounds of his comfort zone yet would also push at the edges. She was good at thinking on her feet except when it came to her sisters. They were her weakness and almost ruined her chance at happiness. I also had an issue with how she approached her ghost writing and thought it didn’t look good for her professionalism even though I completely sympathized with her boredom. However, I liked her enthusiasm as she tackled the letter project and a few other things. I also enjoyed how sometimes things she said sounded much cooler in her head than out loud. That trait humanized her character and made her a lot easier to relate to.
3. Favorite Scene
MinnChica: Oh man… what to pick, what to pick. I think, because it’s Clare, I need to pick a sorta naughty scene, so I’m going to go with the scene where Gretchen asks Hunter to help her act out the letters. It was Gretchen’s way of coercing Hunter into becoming more intimate with her, and yet still keeping it light and fun and sexy. I loved the way Hunter really let himself go at first, let himself get into the game of it, and enjoy the touch and fell of Gretchen’s body and his own. I loved that it showed how fat Gretchen was willing to go to reach out to him, and how desperate Hunter was for human contact, while first showing his own playful side.
Has: Like MinnChica said, that was one of my favourite scenes in the book as well. But I also loved the scene detailing Hunter’s love with growing and hybridizing roses, who he would place a vase every day in the library for Gretchen. When he explained to Gretchen about the process, and asking her which species of roses she loved the best. I felt that was the moment in their relationship overcame a hurdle and I also love the nod to the Beauty and the Beast. There is another scene which I really loved when Gretchen was on Hunter’s lap and was teasing him and what happened next was very very sexy. But the lead up to it was funny but sexy and so fun to see Hunter starting to open up more and exploring sexuality.
E: I think since Has and MinnChica took two great smexy scenes I am going to go with the grovel scene. This was really an extended scene that I loved. Once Hunter figured out that he had screwed up he really put time and effort into trying to show that not only had he learned his lesson but that he was serious about making changes. To me watching what he did over time was so touching especially since it screamed that he had listened to Gretchen and thought what she said/did had merit. I love a good grovel scene and this was was superb.
4. Dislike about book
MinnChica: Oh man… there wasn’t anything huge that I disliked about this book, other than Gretchen not doing a better job of standing up for Hunter at the disaster dinner party. There were a few characters that I didn’t really like, specifically Gretchen’s agent and Hunter’s stuck-up butler. I thought they both sucked as people, but I liked the value they added to the story, despite their crappy personalities. :)
Has: I really don’t have any bad comments about this book either, the pacing, the story was great and the characters, even the ones I disliked, like MinnChica stated – they all added to the story and it was a delicious one!
E: I had the same dislike of the two characters that MinnChica did and I didn’t like what her sisters did at the dinner party. I thought Audrey was a bit too concerned with catering to their famous sister even though both of them knew what was likely to happen. That was actually my least favorite scene. I felt so awkward and bad for both Hunter and Gretchen initially and then I got mad at them both as well. However, as much as I didn’t enjoy that particular scene I have to admit it was well written and it served as a great yardstick for their HEA (happily ever after).
5. Any other misc. thoughts along with grade
MinnChica: All in all I thought Clare really knocked it out of the park again with this book. I am loving this series so much, and am super excited for the next installment. I love all the characters; the guys have such a fun and interesting dynamic between them, and it’s great getting to know the ladies who are winning them over. I am so excited to see how things play out with Gretchen’s twin sisters, and anxiously awaiting Audrey’s book. I adored the relationship between Hunter and Gretchen, and getting to know them as individuals as they came together was a wild and fun ride.
I give Beauty and the Billionaire an A-
Has: I know there has been a slew of brooding billionaire heroes at the moment, but this series has been a pure and utter delight. I loved that Jessica Clare has made the character much more relatable and likeable. Even though Hunter started off as this closed off man, his romance with Gretchen slowly unveils him to be a hero who has insecurity and emotional and physical scars. I loved that both Gretchen and Hunter both learned about other aspects in their lives which they changed as well as falling for each other. There was real growth and development, and I loved its take on the Beauty and the Beast fairytale. This was a romance filled with humour, passion and real passion and I totally fell in love with it.
I give Beauty and the Billionaire an A!
E: I loved this story. Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite tales and I enjoy reading different retellings. I thought Clare did a great job here down to incorporating the roses. This was a great installment in her Billionaire Boys Club series which really stands out from all of the other billionaire stories that exist. The connection between the billionaires, how they screw up but make up for it, the women they end up with and their connections. The humor and how it seems as if the monetary imbalance is countered by the fierce independence of the women keep me from feeling that the hero has all of the power. I am looking forward to the next one and I want to see if/how Clare is going to redeem Gretchen’s two sisters in my eyes.
I give Beauty and the Billionaire an A.