Beauty from Pain
Author: Georgia Cates
Series: #1 in the Beauty series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ½
Narrators: Bunny Warren, Robert Black
Run Time: 9 hrs, 9 mins
Narration Rating: ☆ ☆ ½
They agreed on three months…but their love knew no boundaries.
Jack McLachlan is a winemaking magnate and easily one of Australia’s most eligible bachelors. His success and wealth make him no stranger to the complications of romantic relationships and that’s why he goes to extreme measures to avoid the hassle. He prefers simplicity in the form of a beautiful female companion with no strings attached. He arranges relationships like business deals and they’re always the same. No long term relationships. No real names.
It’s his game and his rules. He’s content to play as usual, but when Laurelyn Prescott enters his life, his strategy must change because this player is like none he’s ever encountered. His world is turned on its head after he begins a three month affair with the beautiful American musician. Nothing goes according to plan and as he breaks more and more of his own rules for her, she’s exceptionally close to becoming something he never thought possible. His ultimate game changer.
I’ll admit it, i’m a sucker for a gorgeous cover and if I had been in the bookstore, Beauty from Pain (and its subsequent books) totally would have caught my eye. I love the black and white photography with the erotic looking cover, that still stays this side of being too much. But since I was listening to the audiobook, well, I did still gaze at the cover, but it didn’t affect my choice as much. I will admit that when I pick up a book that has been marketed as erotica/nominated in an erotica category for awards, I have certain expectations and unfortunately for me Beauty from Pain just didn’t live up to that. For me, erotica is about the sexual journey of the participants and while there were some spicy scenes in Beauty from Pain, it read more like a traditional romance to me. The only thing that really could potentially push it into the “erotica/erotica lite” category is that there really wasn’t a happily ever after which is required for a romance, but that being said, this was really the first in a series with a continuing storyline where I expect one to culminate at the end of book 3.
While the storyline was intriguing, I found the writing to be chunky in places with lots of redundant sentences. Maybe it was because I was listening to it, but weak writing is much more obvious to be when I’m listening to audiobooks, rather than when I’m reading. I think because I actually concentrate more in the audio, rather than reading where I tend to skim read. And maybe it is a small thing, but it got really annoying with the alternating point of views, that each chapter was titled who was speaking/thinking – I wish that had actually been left out, because I do think the voices were distinct enough that it was obvious the POV that the chapter was written from (also an minor irk, Laurelyn barely went by that name in the book, so it was disconcerting to hear that every time it was her point of view). In general, I didn’t mind Jack and Laurelyn’s story – I think it had potential to be really good, although there were some things that Jack did that just weren’t resolved for me. Certain things he was adamant about and then all of the sudden just changed his mind, no explanation (i mean, I’d expect that from a female, but not a male…well, you know what I mean – j/k) however, I spent the majority of the book hating the secondary characters. I wasn’t a fan of Laurelyn’s friend, or her friend’s brother (Ben) because he was a douchebag and the limited mention of Laurelyn’s mother made me go crazy, she was just so self-obessessed (and I have a feeling she is going to be significant in book 2, which I’m not looking forward to).
Both Bunny Warren and Robert Black were new narrators to me. I’ve found when listening to duo’s narrating books that I often really like one, and not so much the other; or find them both to be fairly middle of the road. In this instance, it was the former – I really liked Bunny’s narration – I found she did a great job of narrating Laurelyn’s POV – her voice was pleasant to listen to and I found myself sucked into those portions of the audiobook. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about Robert Black’s narration. Maybe it had something to do with having grown up in Australia (for the first nearly two decades of my life), but the accent that he used for Jack just grated on me. Maybe that is how Australian’s sound to a complete outsider, but I don’t remember ever hearing them talk to like. I found it hard to listen to and distracting to the point that I struggled to listen to his portions of the audio. I almost wish I could have listened to Bunny’s stuff and read the male POV’s – it may have worked better for me. It also seemed like the author dug in and found all the random slang that aussies use – some frequently and other not so – I actually posted a question on facebook about one such phase because I had never heard of it in my life (apparently, Sanga is short for Sandwich, but not where I grew up). That made it hard for me.
I know that I will be finishing the series – because I want to see what happens between Laurelyn and Jack (and because book 3 in the series was also nominated for an audie award in the same category). But overall, I was disappointed – it didn’t live up to what I expected, based on the number of high rated reviews from Goodreads friends/ the fact that it was nominated for an award (even if the award was for narration). Both the story and the narration got 2.5 stars from me, but if Bunny had been the sole narrator, it would have been more like 3.5 stars.