Book Review: Beautiful Player

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Author: Christina Lauren
ISBN: 978-1-7467-5140-5
RRP: $17.99

Beautiful Player is the third book in the Beautiful Bastard series and the first one I have read by Christina Lauren. I am becoming more accustomed to picking up mid series and in lots of cases recently series are able to be read as stand alone stories because they concentrate on different people in each book. From what I can gather about the Beautiful Bastard series this isn’t completely the case but Beautiful Player is the first book where hunky player Will Sumner is the focus.

I picked this book up late last night to keep me occupied and awake until I had to get hubby up, well next thing I knew it was 3am and I had to force myself to go to sleep. I then picked it up again over a late breakfast, where I remained until I finished.

Beautiful Player is a scorchingly steamy read filled with wit and fabulous flirt, I found the banter between our leading lady and the Beautiful Player to be very amusing and entertaining. I must applaud Christina Lauren because in 400 pages of quite explicit raunch there was not a single mention of the c word, I am impressed. It isn’t often that happens and I am very glad it did.

Beautiful Player is written in alternating viewpoints, chapter by chapter, by both Will and Hanna which is becoming an increasingly popular storytelling tool and allows us get right inside the heads of both characters. it is something I sometimes finds tedious and takes a while to get my head around but in Beautiful Player the chapters has different fonts so you can tell at a glance that you have changed viewpoints which really did make it much easier to keep everything straight in my head at 2am.

Hanna Bergstrom is a 24yr old grad student whose life revolves around her lab. Her social life is basically non-existent and it is nothing for her to put in 18 hour days at the lab. Her drive is something she inherited from her workaholic scientist father, and it’s a great thing to have but not to the exclusion of all else in life. Her eldest brother Jensen and said workaholic father visit her in New York to stage an intervention and encourage her to get out a bit and have some fun. Jensen suggests she call his best friend Will, who is also living in New York, and maybe they can hang out.

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Hanna is the baby of five children and affectionately known by the nickname Ziggy to all of her family, and of course that’s how Will remembers her from his time spent with the family when he was younger. Ever since the first time Hanna met Will when she was 12 and he was 19 he has had a way with women, and exuded sex appeal. Understandably she had quite the crush on her big brothers best friend – can any of you who have a big brother say that he never had a friend you crushed on, I seriously doubt it. Crushing on the older brothers friend is generally relatively harmless because being the little sister you go immediately into the no-go zone for him being either being seen as a little sister or just the little sister of a friend.

Will has never been the type for relationships, he much prefers casual non-exclusive affairs, generally with more than one partner in the mix at a time. He is well known for his player reputation and his friends love nothing more than to tease him about the day that someone walks into his life that makes him want to change his wild oat sowing ways. The group of friends he spends the most time with now are Max and Bennett, two former playboys who have been where Will is now, and their girlfriends Sara and Chloe.

The first morning that Will and Hanna meet up they run in Central Park and it is clear from the outset that Hanna is firmly in the little sister camp by the use of her family given nickname Ziggy, Will had not even been aware that her name was Hanna prior to their first morning run meeting. He is seven years older than her so she doesn’t even really rate a mention in his memories even with all the time they have spent together over the years. He is building his knowledge of her almost from scratch where she has quite a repertoire of memories of Will from across the years, many of them moments he can hardly even remember. Her memories of Will are all of Will the Player, the man who loves women, often more than one at a time, and the women love him.

Hanna decides to embrace Jensen’s advice and make the most of her time with Will, get him to teach her about the world and men and dating – all of the time keeping her eyes open to the fact that this man is terminally single and juggling a roster of women. Hanna knows she is extremely lacking in experience but she isn’t quite as naive and innocent as people would believe. Her time with Will begins as morning runs where they talk and get to know one another, and Hanna’s lack of filter for polite social conversation really shines through. They begin to forge a friendship in their own right and you can see the shift in their relationship happen as Will begins more and more to think of her as Hanna and less as Jensen’s little sister Ziggy.

I love these characters, with their journeys of self discovery, their getting to know themselves and each other. Will teaches Hanna the fine art of innuendo, with some very amusing conversations. Hanna is so different from what I would have expected from this heroine. She knows herself, her limits and is comfortable with who she is, comfortable in her skin and part of that could be because she has always felt a little cloistered and invisible hidden away in her lab. She is not self conscious the way many inexperienced women would be and her whole outlook is very different for Will who has known many women but never one like Hanna. She is a very intelligent woman and looks at everything from an intellectual point of view which means it is nothing for her to bring up porn over a drink at the bar.

This is definitely an author I’ll be keeping an eye out for because I found this book to be entertaining, interesting and scorchingly steamy.

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