Is it just me or does this category of the 2015 reading challenge seem a little… silly? About 80% of the books I read are by authors I have never read before, which is usually why I pick them up in the first place. It is the excitement of discovering a new author and seeing if their writing style falls into your literary tastes. It’s a lovely literary meet-cute when an author and a reader discover each other, and a bond ultimately forms between the two. The bond between a reader and their favorite author exceeds all space and time; you love everything they write, you buy every book, you have seen every movie/TV adaptation of their books, and even have the merchandise to go with it. As a book blogger, I am always on the look-out for discovering new authors, finding new book loves, and literary series to dive into. At a recent trip to Target, I managed to wander by the book section and discovered Beautiful Secret by Christina Lauren. Intrigued since I haven’t heard anything about it from the book social media world, I grabbed a copy.
Ruby Miller, an American fresh out of UC San Diego, is living the high life; not only has she landed a dream internship at one of London’s prestige engineering firms, and is on the rise to attend Oxford in the autumn, but she cannot keeps her eyes off of planning executive Niall Stella. But it looks that fate is about to step in for Ruby. Ruby’s boss announces that he is sending her to New York on an extended business trip with none other than the man of her dreams, Niall. Niall is all work and no play. Recovering from a recent divorce, Niall consumes himself with work and focusing on the trip to New York. But work has become difficult for him when it is announced that the beautiful, California Intern, Ruby is to accompany him. Thousands of miles from London and their world, will Ruby and Niall succumb to the desire that burns between the two of them in the Beautiful Secret? (That was pretty damn good if I say so myself! I really should write the back covers of books, I would be awesome at it!)
I am not quite sure what to do with this book… is it a chic lit book or were they trying to go towards the 50 Shades of Grey “sexy” book kind of thing? It is a little mixture of the two which is why I am confused by it. There is the promise of a funny, witty chic lit novel, but then the sexiness of an “erotic” novel, so which one is it?? It is a new hybrid of genres like “Sexy Chic Fiction”, oh that’s good! I like it… but I have mixed feelings about this book. I loved the writing; it is creative, sharp, and full of funny, dry wit, and sexy “intimate” scenes between the two main characters was steamy for sure! But I did not like the characters individually or their chemistry. Ruby seems a little sad, desperate and bit too sex crazed for my liking, and instead of her acting like she was 23 (which is technically what she is in the book), she appears to be such older, but in a weird way. I couldn’t connect with her as a reader. It seemed that her only intension was to sleep with Niall, and it was only about sex for her. As exciting as this is, it gets really old, really quickly. I only saw glimpses of her personality and how smart she was, which is a shame because I would have liked to have seen more of that. As for Niall… I know someone is going to stone me for staying this but… I am not attracted to him AT ALL. He had the making of a true chic lit crush, but the follow through was lacking. I did not want to date, sleep with, or marry Niall and would have probably passed him up in real life if I ever saw a man like him. I didn’t see much of his personality, and he only focused on his divorce, and wanting to sleep with Ruby. Once again, entertaining but for only so long. I needed more from him in order to love him as a character, I just didn’t get it. Maybe this is why I couldn’t like it as much as I wanted to. Don’t get me wrong, I finished the book in a matter of days due to the writing being brilliant! But the characters seemed to be lacking that thing. It is that thing that makes all fictional characters great; their humor, wit, character, personality, depth, strength, chemistry and over all being is what makes a reader fall in love with them. Niall and Ruby lacked those things I would consider key components of great literary characters; they had potential of good chemistry but it sometimes felt like it was forced. Did Elizabeth and Darcy love each other right away? Nope! But they learned to love each other, and grew together as characters. I felt that the chemistry between Niall and Ruby was a little forced, and little too out there. Some of the events seemed so outlandish. I think in fiction you either need to be realistic, or over the top, and Beautiful Secret was the weird inbetweener; it was not realistic so you could understand but not so over the top that it would have been entertaining, while developing a curiosity in a reader. It was just awkward, which is a shame. The character chemistry and development was flawed, which makes or breaks a book. In this case, it broke the book.
It would seem that everyone is loving this book right now, but I sadly cannot consider myself one of those people. I kind of liked it, and the writing is the very good quality, and maybe I would be willing to give another Christina Lauren book a shot strictly for that reason. Beautiful Secret is a fun read to enjoy during the summer, by the pool but not something if you are not looking for something too serious. If you are looking for a “sexy chic lit” book then this may be one you should check out. It is strictly a book aided for entertainment, and it did its job beautifully! Was I entertained? Absolutely! Am I personally effected by the story? No, but it is always good to have a balance in what you read. Not all books are going to cause you to have personal, emotional growth, and not all books should have that too. You need the serious with the funny and entertaining. Reading is meant to be enjoyed, so allow it to.
Have you read Beautiful Secret? What did you think? Let me know your thoughts on this book.
Buy on Amazon: Beautiful Secret (The Beautiful Series)