Book Review: Beautiful Disaster by Jaime McGuire!
Beautiful Disaster: Beautiful #1
Book Description from Goodreads:
The new Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate percentage of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance between her and the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University’s Walking One-Night Stand.
Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby needs—and wants—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match.
***ARC received by Simon & Schuster for review***
“You’re trying to save him, and he’s hoping you can. You two are a disaster.”
I smiled at the ceiling. “It doesn’t matter what or why it is. When it’s good, Kara…it’s beautiful.”
This quote describes Beautiful Disaster perfectly! I had read a couple of good reviews about this book and when I saw Beautiful Disaster on NetGalley a couple of weeks ago, I decided to get it and planned to squeeze it my reading list sometime in the next couple of months. But after reading a particular review by Debbie @I Heart YA Books, I just simply had to put all of my other books aside and I HAD to read it right away! I started reading this book around 11:30pm and I stayed up until 2:30am reading half of the book (even though I had to wake up at 5:30 the next morning) and finishing the whole thing the next night. So yes, this book was simply unputdownable. (Is that a word?)
Let me start off by saying that this book is not perfect and at times it was a bit of a disaster but that’s why I loved it so much. Travis and Abby were two very flawed characters with a lot of issues to work through. For some reason these always become my favorite types of characters. To me, it makes it even more special to see them grow and change and I feel like the payoff is even bigger at the end. I know a lot of people really didn’t like Travis but I absolutely and completely LOVED him, everything about him! The good and the bad. Yes, he can be a jerk and he has one hell of a temper and some major jealousy issues but all of these flaws just made him even more realistic to me. Don’t worry because he doesn’t stay that way throughout the whole book. Once he meets Abby he slowly starts changing, sometimes for the better, sometimes not. But the important thing to me is that he tries to be a better person for Abby. There is another character in this book, Parker, who is somewhat a love interest to Abby. He was pretty much perfect: good looking, rich, nice, good manners, Harvard-bound…and I absolutely could not stand him! He was such a bore. Maybe it’s just me and maybe I’m not right in the head but I like reading about the messed up characters. The more screwed up they are, the better I like them. (Most of the time)
Abby was a very complex character. She has a shady past and has worked hard to move on from it. But from the moment she meets Travis, she can’t help but feel drawn to him. Don’t worry; this isn’t one of those insta-love stories. In fact, it’s the completely opposite. It’s one of those almost excruciating but awesome slow build-ups that pushes them together one moment only to have them ripped apart the next. Abby and Travis have such a complicated and messed up friendship and their relationship is even more messed up. Just like the quote above says, when things are good between them it was such a beautiful thing. But when things went bad, it was definitely disastrous. At first, I really liked Abby because she was really tough and she would stand up to herself to Travis and didn’t take any of his bullshit. But the closer they got, and the more blurry the line between friendship and romance got, she did some very stupid things which made me want to reach into the book and slap her a couple of times. (Maybe more than a couple)
It’s official! I found my new favorite category: New Adult! I mostly read YA (hence the blog name) and as much as I love them I sometimes feel like there is something missing. Well I found out what that was: sex! This is another thing that adds a realistic element to the story. I don’t know why but it always bugs me when couples in YA wait until the third book to finally have sex. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against waiting and I definitely love the sexual tension until then, but what is it about the third book that makes it ok then? The relationship between Travis and Abby is scorching hot without being graphic or inappropriate. It’s also such a refreshing change to move away from the high school setting (and drama). All of these things including the language make it so much more real to me.
The plot definitely took a couple of crazy turns but overall, I absolutely fell in love with this book! The only thing that I didn’t like about the book was that Travis has this nickname for Abby: Pigeon or Pidge. It briefly gets explained why he gave her that nickname although it didn’t really make sense (to me). I mentally programmed my brain to just read ‘Abby” every time the word Pigeon came out. I also loved Shepley and America who are Travis and Abby’s best friends (and also a couple). Travis and Abby are one of my new favorite couples and Beautiful Disaster has made it into my top 10 all-time favorite books. I read on the author’s blog that she is writing a companion to this book, Walking Disaster which is basically this story but told from Travis’s POV! Travis has some serious issues and I can’t wait to get inside his head. Counting down the days until we get to read a new perspective on Travis on Abby. And just in case you were wondering, according to author Jaime McGuire this is Travis:
PS-This book is currently available as a “Read Now” book on NetGalley. If you want to read it, go get it now before they change it back! Due to the content and language of this book, it is recommended for ages 17+. (New Adult) Beautiful Disaster is not for everyone. I have seen some pretty harsh reviews for this book and it looks like it’s one of those books you are either gonna LOVE or HATE. It’s raw and intense and very emotional and it tackles some pretty serious issues. Whether you love it or not, one thing is clear: everyone is talking about Beautiful Disaster!
5 out of 5 very sparkly stars!!! A MUST-read!
Some of my favorite non-spoiler quotes from Beautiful Disaster:
-“You’re only making it worse by brushing him off. He’s not used to that.”
“What do you suggest I do? Sleep with him?”
America shrugged. “It’ll save time.”
-“I didn’t say you’re a bad person. I just don’t like being a foregone conclusion to the sole reason of having a vagina.” I focused on the grains of salt on the table until I heard a choking noise from Travis’s direction.
His eyes widened and he quivered with howling laughter. “Oh my God! You’re killing me! That’s it. We have to be friends. I won’t take no for an answer.”
-He leaned in close and whispered in my ear. “I don’t wanna sleep with you, Pidge. I like you too much.”He walked past me to the bathroom, and I stood, stunned.
Kara’s words replayed in my mind. Travis Maddox slept with everyone; I couldn’t help but feel deficient in some way knowing he had no desire to even try to sleep with me.
-I clinked my bottle against his. “To being the only girl a guy with no standards doesn’t want to sleep with.” I said, taking a swig.
“Are you serious?” he asked, pulling the bottle from my mouth. When I didn’t recant, he leaned toward me. “First of all…I have standards. I’ve never been with an ugly woman. Ever. Second of all, I wanted to sleep with you. I thought about throwing you over my couch fifty different ways, but I haven’t because I don’t see you that way anymore. It’s not that I’m not attracted to you, I just think you’re better than that.”
-“Abs?” What are you a workout video?” he sneered.
“Pigeon?” I said with the same amount of disdain. “An annoying bird that craps all over the sidewalk?”
-I yanked his shirt over his head, fumbling in the dark with his belt buckle. He jerked it open, ripped it off, and threw it on the floor. He lifted me from the mattress with one hand and unzipped my dress with the other. I pulled it over my head, tossing it somewhere in the dark, and then Travis kissed me, moaning against my mouth.
Jamie McGuire was born in Tulsa, OK. She was raised by her mother Brenda in Blackwell, OK, where she graduated high school in 1997. Jamie attended the Northern Oklahoma College, the University of Central Oklahoma, and Autry Technology Center where she graduated with a degree in Radiography.
Jamie now lives in Enid, OK with her three children and husband Jeff, who is a real, live cowboy. They share their 10 acres with four horses, four dogs, and Rooster the cat.
Books published by Jamie include the Providence trilogy, and The New York Times best seller Beautiful Disaster, a contemporary romance. When she’s not writing, Jamie spends her days letting her four dogs in and out.
Keep reading after the page break for an awesome sneak peek of Walking Disater:
TEASER: Snippet from Chapter Two: Backfire
“What are you doing?” Shepley said. He stood in the middle of the room, a pair of sneakers in one hand, a dirty pair of underwear in the other.
“Uh, cleaning?” I said, shoving shot glasses into the dishwasher.
I smiled, my back turned to Shepley. He was going to kick my ass. “I’m expecting company.”
“Abby, Shep. I invited Abby.”
“Dude, no. No! Don’t fuck this up for me, man. Please don’t.”
I turned, crossing my arms across my chest. “I tried, Shep. I did. But, I don’t know.” I shrugged. “There’s something about her. I couldn’t help myself.”
Shepley’s jaw worked under his skin, and then he stomped into his room, slamming the door behind him.
I finished loading the dishwasher, and then circled the couch to make sure I hadn’t missed any visible empty condom wrappers. That was never fun to explain.
The fact that I had bagged nearly every beautiful co-ed at Eastern was no secret, but I didn’t see a reason to remind them when they came to my apartment. It was all about presentation.
Pigeon, though. It would take far more than a good presentation to bag her on my couch. At this point I was taking it one step at a time. If I focused on the end result, I could easily fuck it up. She noticed things. She was farther from naive than I was; light years away. This operation was nothing less than precarious.
I was in my bedroom sorting dirty laundry when I heard the front door open. Shepley usually listened for America’s car to pull in so he could greet her at the door.
Murmuring, and then the closing of Shepley’s door was my signal. I walked into the front room, and there she sat: Glasses, her hair piled on top of her head, and what might have been pajamas. I wouldn’t have been surprised if they’d been molding in the bottom of her laundry hamper.
It was so hard not to bust into laughter. Never once had a female come to my apartment dressed like that. My front door had seen jean skirts, dresses, even a see-through tube dress over a string bikini. A handful of times, spackled-on makeup and glitter lotion. Never pajamas.
Her appearance immediately answered why she’d so easily agreed to come over. She was going to try to nauseate me into leaving her alone. If she didn’t look absolutely sexy like that, it might have worked, but her skin was impeccable, and the lack of makeup and the frames of her glasses just made her eye color stand out even more.
“It’s about time you showed up,” I said, falling onto my couch.
At first she seemed proud of her idea, but as we talked and I remained impervious, it was clear that she knew her plan had failed. The less she smiled, the more I had to stop myself from grinning ear to ear. She was so much fun. I just couldn’t get over it.
Shepley and America joined us again. Abby was flustered, and I was damn near lightheaded. She went from doubting the fact that I could write a simple paper to questioning my penchant for fighting. I kind of liked talking to her about normal stuff, preferable to the awkward task of asking her to leave once I bagged her. She didn’t understand me, and kind of wanted to, even though I seemed to piss her off.
“What are you…the Karate Kid? Where did you learn to fight?”
Shepley and America seemed to be embarrassed for Abby. I don’t know why; I sure as hell didn’t mind. Just because I didn’t talk about my childhood much didn’t mean I was ashamed.
“I had a dad with a drinking problem and a bad temper, and four older brothers that carried the asshole gene.”
“Oh,” she said simply. Her cheeks turned red, and at that moment, I felt a twinge in my chest. I wasn’t sure what it was, but it bugged me. I immediately tried to make her feel better. “Don’t be embarrassed, Pidge. Dad quit drinking. The brothers grew up.”
“I’m not embarrassed.” Her body language was opposite her words. I struggled to think of something to change the subject, and then mentioning her sexy, frumpy look came to mind. Her embarrassment was immediately replaced by irritation, something I was far more comfortable with.
America suggested watching TV, but the last thing I wanted to do was to be in a room with Abby, unable to talk to her. I stood. “You hungry, Pidge?”
America’s eyebrows pulled in. “No, you haven’t. Oh…er…that’s right. I forgot. You grabbed a…pizza? Before we left.”
Abby was embarrassed again, but anger quickly covered it.
I opened the door, trying to keep my voice casual. I’d never been so eager to get a girl alone—especially to not have sex with her. “C’mon. You’ve gotta be hungry.”
Her shoulders relaxed a bit. “Where are you going?”
“Wherever you want. We can hit a pizza place.” I inwardly cringed. That might have been too eager.
She looked down at her sweat pants. “I’m not really dressed.”
I grinned. She had no idea how beautiful she was. That made her even more appealing. “You look fine. Let’s go, I’m starvin’.”
Once she was on the back of my Harley, I could finally think straight again. My thoughts were usually more relaxed on the bike. Abby’s legs had my hips in a vice grip, but that was oddly relaxing, too. Almost a relief.
The weird urge I felt around her was disorienting. I didn’t like it, but then again, it reminded me that she was around, so it was as comforting as it was unsettling. I decided to get my shit together. Abby might be a pigeon, but she was just a fucking girl. No need to get my boxer briefs in a bunch.
Besides, there was something under the good girl facade. She hated me on sight because she’d been burned by someone like me before. No way was she a slut, though. Not even a reformed slut. I could spot them a mile away. My game face slowly melted away. I’d finally found a girl that was interesting enough to get to know, and a version of me had already hurt her.
I barely knew the girl, and the thought of some jackhole hurting Pidge infuriated me. Abby associating me with someone that would hurt her was even worse. I gunned the throttle as I pulled into the Pizza Shack. That ride wasn’t long enough to sort out the clusterfuck in my head.
I wasn’t even thinking about my speed, so when Abby jumped off my bike and started to yell, I couldn’t help but laugh.
“I went the speed limit.”
“Yeah, if we were on the Autobahn!” She ripped the wild bun down and then brushed her long hair with her fingers.
I couldn’t stop staring while she re-wrapped the long, caramel strands, and then tied them back again. I imagined that was how she looked first thing in the morning, and then had to refer to the first ten minutes of Saving Private Ryan to keep my dick from getting hard. Blood. Screaming. Visible intestines. Grenades. Gunfire. More blood.
I held the door open. “I wouldn’t let anything happen to you, Pigeon.”
She angrily stomped past me and into the restaurant, ignoring my gesture. It was a damn shame; she was the first girl that I had ever wanted to open the door for. I’d been looking forward to that moment, and she didn’t even notice.