The Vixen and the Vet by Katy Regnery

A man who enjoys reading romance novels? Yeah I might just have to battle it out with the female lead to get my hands on this perfect male specimen.

What’s it About?

Vixen

In this modern-retelling of “Beauty and the Beast,” Savannah Carmichael, betrayed by an unreliable source, returns to her hometown of Danvers, Virginia with her once-promising journalism career in ruins. Given the opportunity to get back in the game by writing a patriotic human interest piece, Savannah turns her attention to the town hermit, Asher Lee, a wounded veteran who returned to Danvers eight years ago, and hasn’t been seen since.

After an IED explosion in Afghanistan took Asher’s hand and disfigured half of his face, he’s lived a quiet life on the outskirts of Danvers where the locals respect his privacy…that is, until Savannah Carmichael comes calling in a borrowed sundress with a plate of homemade brownies. When Asher agrees to be interviewed by Savannah, he starts feeling things for the beautiful reporter that he hasn’t felt in years.

Misfits in small-town Danvers, Savannah and Asher create a bond right away, touching each other’s hearts in ways neither thought possible. When a terrible mistake threatens to drive them apart, they’ll have to decide if the love they found in one another’s arms is strong enough to fight for their hard-won happily ever after.

First Impression

At first I was kind of like, oh it’s cute how this story kind of matches your classic Beauty and the Beast tale. After all, we have a scarred and slightly surly male lead who is a bit of a hermit living alone in his big house. One day our hidden hero finds his solitude interrupted by a curious female who is willing to look beneath his outward appearance to uncover the beauty hiding within him. When I found out he not only has a huge library, but also a housekeeper named Mrs. Potts I realized, oh this isn’t really supposed to be a subtle comparison! Hell, I wouldn’t have been surprised if we eventually met a gardener named Cogsworth. Alas, that doesn’t happen, but I would have been all for it.

CogsworthLumiereMrs.Potts-And-Chip-Potts-gh125

Southern Hospitality? 

I must say I was kind of surprised how quick the townsfolk were to turn their backs on this wounded war vet upon his return from battle. I understand it helped tie into the connection with the actual Beauty and the Beast story to have him presented as a recluse on the outskirts of society. It also sounds like his personality soured a bit after being wounded, so he might not have been the most pleasant company. However, to hear some of the hateful comments which were said by some of Savannah’s friends and family was downright shocking. To give him a nickname of the hermit, avoid pretty much any and all contact with him, and to even deter her from spending time with him because of his scars?

01_EverettCollection_BoardwalkEmpire-Huston

Richard Harrow, Boardwalk Empire

This man almost died trying to save the life of his fallen comrades, and rather than provide him with a warm homecoming you’re gonna express open shock at his return and start mocking him? I could get how some would be initially surprised at his obvious scars and missing limbs, but they practically treat him as a leper to be avoided at all costs. I just had a hard time believing that an entire town could be so cold to one of their own who was a hero in battle. Especially considering this book takes place in the South, where Southern hospitality is practically a way of life! I feel like even if Asher had tried to hide from the rest of the world he would have had people like my Aunt banging on his door every other day with baked goods whether he liked it or not.

cookies

Details Matter

They always say the devil is in the details, and there were a few missteps here and there which were somewhat questionable. Firstly, Savannah and her potential new editor never really focus on the ethical ramifications of a reporter getting romantically involved with her subject. Maybe it’s because technically she’s not actually employed by this newspaper, and it’s more of a trial audition piece? Still though, probably not the best sign of professionalism upon looking for a possible job to swap spit numerous times with the focus of her article.

grimm-monroe-rosaleejpg-080b60a2db01b36f

The fact the editor actually encourages their little romance seemed also slightly unbelievable, but heck what do I know? It’s the lifestyle section. Maybe they’re a bit more loose on the do’s and dont’s. But considering she was fired from her last job because of a bad source who just happened to be the guy she was dating means she doesn’t have the best track record when her personal and professional lives start to mingle. Lastly, it’s called Johns Hopkins people! Not John Hopkins!! Ok, I realize this is barely worth a mention, but as an employee of said establishment, it was like nails on a chalkboard.

BHMD_78760432_Johns_Hopkins_Hospital_960x360

Keeping Secrets

Their relationship might be fairly new, but it doesn’t take long before Savannah and Asher are both keeping big secrets from each other. He’s not sharing his inquiries into reconstructive surgery to improve his face and limbs. She’s not telling him about the approach to her article being about their growing friendship and love. While you really want to push both to open up, I can understand his reasoning a lot better than hers. Asher doesn’t want it to be true, but he logically sees the short term reality of their relationship. If Savannah’s article is a success she’ll move to Phoenix, and that’ll be it, so what’s the point of putting false hope behind the idea of a forever? He’s not going to leave Danvers, and he doesn’t want to have to ask her to give up her dreams of a career. I think he also fears that if he mentions it to her and she latches onto the idea of him improving himself, then it means she’s only sticking with him because of the possibility he’ll look better on the outside. That in essence would show that who he is now is lacking. It’s really an interesting observation of his mental state and reasoning.

maxresdefault (1)

Now, if we look at her reasons for silence about the approach to her article? Girl what are you thinking?? What, you think he’s just not gonna read it once it’s published and realize that you included some of the most private details of your relationship with a wide audience? Savannah basically admits to herself that her motive is to ask for forgiveness later rather than permission beforehand. Mkay…we’ll see how that works out for ya.

second-guessing-and-doubt.jpg

Turns out, very very badly. As expected. Asher really rips her a new one, and you can’t completely fault him for it. She went against his trust and privacy. What I really loved about this big blow-up scene was that Asher gave her every opportunity to explain her reasoning once the truth came to light. I was wondering if we’d get an instance where he refused to listen to reason, but instead he calmly asks her to explain her motives. The problem is, her reasoning suuucks. It always did. She was desperate to salvage her career, and when the editor demanded something more steamy and romantic in her article about Asher, she caved to that pressure. In spite of countless opportunities to explain the true spin of her article to Asher, she chose to keep silent. She assumed their love was strong enough that he’d automatically forgive her indiscretion and misuse of his trust. Well, you know what happens when you assume, don’t you? It almost makes you question which of them is the beauty and which is the beast.

sunset-691995__340

Series: A Modern Fairytale, book 1. I’ll probably continue with this series.

Final Impressions: Goodness gracious do I want Asher for myself. This man is so damn near perfect I can’t even stand it. Sure he may have been a bit surly in the beginning, but he was quick to open up and let his true beauty shine. Savannah is a bit more hit or miss. Her love for Asher is undeniably true, but she let her ambition for success cloud her judgement when it came to him. We all knew it would be just a matter of time before the truth blew up in her face, and when it does man oh man is it a humdinger. In the end you can’t deny these two ultimately brought out the best in each other. She gives him the hope and desire to live again, while he helps her see what true love feels like.

Smut Level: Asher might only have one hand, but my God does he know how to use it.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. FREE Kindle Version. Self-Published. 290 Pages

The Beautician and the Billionaire by Evelyn Aster

I have lost track of the number of modern versions of Beauty and the Beast that I’ve read in the last few years, but I haven’t managed to get sick of them yet! I just love seeing how various authors will interpret the classic tale, and create their own beauty and beast.

What’s it About? 

beautician

This is the complete romance of Conor and Charisse! Charisse is still reeling from a miscarriage that tore her relationship apart last year. Her only focus is making her beauty salon a hit in Manhattan. Conor is still recovering from the death of his wife three years ago. He spends his days orchestrating corporate takeovers. Charisse and Conor want nothing more than to be left alone. But when Charisse’s dad loses three of Conor’s ships at sea, negotiations begin that land Charisse under contract to Conor.

First Impressions

One of the unique aspects of this novel is that it was actually released as a serial. That being said, in my opinion the evolving complexity of the main characters was the standout feature. I felt like my opinions of them were constantly changing, and that my first impressions didn’t always hold true. At first, you think Charisse’s dad is a heartless prick who uses his daughters for his own personal advantage. Eventually you come to see how he’s always treasured them above all else. As for her sister, Marie, I initially thought she was a ditzy socialite who only wanted to sleep her way to the top. However, in the end, I think she may have been the most intelligent character of the bunch. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a group of characters that have kept me on my toes so much!

surprise.gif

Our Beautiful Beast

Something I love about any Beauty and the Beast retelling is the interpretation of the Beast, and Conor sure is a humdinger. Without question, Conor could definitely play a beast. At times I believe the term “rat bastard” came to mind. He’s not afraid to push Charisse to her ultimate limits, and he’ll do anything to have her. Even if it involves pushing her away.

book-cover-69sample-e1439052112787

Our Beauty, Charisse, manages to do the impossible by getting Conor to open up. Both characters are dealing with complicated issues from their pasts, and they struggle to deal with it on their own. It’s only when they come together, and support each other, that they can become strong enough to move on towards a brighter future as a couple.

Evolving Contracts

At times I did sort of feel like the story went in too many different directions. Conor sets up deals and contracts with seemingly every character in the book. These deals were altered, dropped entirely, or sometimes tweaked slightly that it was kind of hard to keep track. I must say though, we have a stellar ending on our hands here! There is one fabulous climactic scene at the end which highlights how far Charisse has come, and grown since being with Conor. I wanted to do a fist bump I was so proud.

yassss

*A copy of this book was provided for an honest review*

Series: Originally produced as a serial, you can now buy all of the parts in one convenient package.

Should you read it? This novel definitely starts with a bang, and the ending was so unbelievably satisfying on so many levels you gotta love it. There were a few parts in between that dragged a bit, and it’s important to remember that Conor can be the ultimate beast every once in a while. It all comes together in the ending though!

Smut Level: These two make passionate love in a swing. Not of the BDSM variety! It’s sort of a giant bed swing in his penthouse garden. That being said, they can get pretty raunchy when they want to. At one point they even make out in her salon chair. Looooove!

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $9.99 Kindle Price. Hot Java. 413 Pages.

seg_activities8