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Wicked Beautiful (Wicked Games Series) (Volume 1) Paperback – July 12, 2016
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"I have been quite literally obsessed with both books in this series. Both standalone novels with interconnected characters, the first book (Wicked Beautiful) is the story of two people, each other's first and only loves and one another's greatest regrets, who cross paths again 15 years later, but only one of them recognises the other, while the second book (Wicked Sexy) is a seriously mouth-watering game of cat and mouse between a former Marine now self-employed Commando slash security expert, and a quirky Hello-Kitty-obsessed computer genius who outsmarts him every chance she gets. These are both top recommendations." - Natasha is a Book Junkie
"Revenge wears Armani and shimmers under New York City's lights in this saucy, unpredictable contemporary from Geissinger (Sweet as Sin). Readers will experience a roller-coaster of emotions as laugh-out-loud moments bandage the leads' deep emotional scars." - Publisher's Weekly
"Just when you think you know what's coming next a new twist is thrown in,secrets are revealed and new revelations come to light. I can'trecommend this book enough!! I LOVED IT!!- Mumbling Mom Book Blog
"To say I howled with laughter and was shocked to the core would beputting it mildly. I just couldn't find fault in this read which flowsat an incredible pace. ...get a hankie or two ready. Bravo." - Kindle Friends Forever
About the Author
J.T. Geissinger is an award winning author of smart, sexy romance. Writing in both the paranormal and contemporary romance genres, her ten published novels all include a high level of sensuality, intense emotional connections, and plot twists galore. She is the recipient of the Prism Award for Best First Book, the Golden Quill Award for Best Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, and was a finalist for the prestigious RITA© Award from the Romance Writers of America. Her work has also finaled in the Booksellers’ Best, National Readers’ Choice, and Daphne du Maurier Awards. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, on whom all her heroes are based.
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My own feeling towards this story can be best described as conflicted.
Synopsis: After being deeply hurt and betrayed by her first love, Victoria Price not only changes her appearance and name, but turns her whole life around. Driven by her own tragic past she has made it her life’s mission to help and empower other women to be just as hard and ruthless and successful as her. She has everything in her life, except and husband and family.
Dining out with a girlfriend she comes face to face with her first love Parker Maxwell who has become a successful restauranteur and famous playboy. When, not recognizing her, he hits on her she sees the perfect opportunity for revenge. She plans to seduce him, make him fall in love with her and then to dump him.
The premise of this story sounded very exciting, tragic first love and revenge tale, but of course it gets complicated once the two main protagonists get involved and start to have feelings for each other.
But, despite the fact that the story is well-written, fast-paced, emotional and gripping, I had some problems with it.
Reservation No 1: The skewed feminist perspective
The novel quite rightly illuminates the injustice of the different perception of attributes when applied to men and women. If a man is aggressive, ambitious and successful he is viewed in a positive light. When a woman displays the same attributes she is considered a cold bitch. So Victoria becomes just as hard and uncompromising as any man whereas the feminist perspective would be to question those attributes in the first place and try to envision a society where attributes like empathy, the ability to work in a team, to share responsibility (and success) would be/become just as important. By becoming more single-minded and focused than any man Victoria reinforces a paradigm that feminists have long since questioned.
Reservation No 2: Victoria is not all that likable
The story is told in first person narration from changing points of view (by Victoria and Parker), but with a large imbalance between the two, so we get what felt like 80% POV of Victoria and much less from Parker. Also, when Victoria is already involved romantically with Parker and he opens up to her, she continues to hold back and to think about how to hurt him. Her inner voice is quite vicious. This is in stark contrast to Parker, who – even though he wants to get in her pants from the start – is basically a decent guy, what we as readers seem to realize long before Victoria, who has let her whole outlook be poisoned by bitterness. The contrast is made even more pronounced when we learn that what Victoria saw as Parker’s betrayal was actually him trying to protect her and that he was as much a victim of the machinations of their families as her, and that in everything he has done since he was trying to atone for what happened to her. So basically I felt she didn’t deserve him and that is not a good feeling for the female protagonist and identification figure to evoke.
Reservation No 3: the sidekick (sort of minor)
I really liked Darcy, even though she is a touch over-drawn. She is black, loud, big and a famous food blogger (that’s how they end up at Parker’s restaurant in the first place). What bothered me about her was that she just reminded me so strongly of Janet Evanovich’s Lula, down to her mannerisms and her tendency to press her not inconsiderable figure into tight dresses of garish colors.
Also, the ending feels a bit contrived, but it was clear from the start that it would be difficult to resolve the revenge plot satisfyingly. But despite all these reservations it’s a well-written, emotionally gripping tale, so I give it 4+ stars.