Friday, November 21, 2014

Our Book Reviews... Beauty From Love

We came across this author and the series thanks to Inkslinger PR, so first things first we thank you Inkslinger PR for this and allowing us a copy of the trilogy to read in exchange for an honest review.

*/* Emmys Review */*

The teaser for this book says that the past comes back to haunt Jack - and they weren’t kidding.  I joked with Barb right when I started this book that I could guess what was going to happen - as much as Jack was going on about having a baby with Laurelyn I just knew she would at the very least be pregnant by the end of this book.  

When we start out Jack and Laurelyn have arrived in Maui for their honeymoon.  They spend the time as any newlyweds would - lol - and have a pretty blissful time of it.  They return to Australia just in time for Christmas with the whole family, per Laurelyn’s request.  This will be her first Christmas with a big loving family.  Things roll along pretty good until New Year’s Eve.  They attend a party given by Jack’s brother and sister in law.  During this party, one of Jack’s exes - Lana, one of the very first, the one that caused him to institute the whole no names/no strings policy shows her face. The fact that Jack has married Laurelyn was a red flag in Lana’s face, and she corners Laurelyn and does her best to make her feel like a whore, telling her that Jack would eventually tire of just her and would inevitably seek out other women.  I am at a loss as to why Laurelyn didn’t just deck this crazy bitch instead of letting her get to her.  My first instinct would have been to beat her bloody and dare her to lay a hand on my man.  Laurelyn has her own insecurities about her and Jack, and lets Lana upset her terribly.  

They have a fight, and a blowout say-anything confessional right before midnight, because neither one of them wants to start the new year pissed off at each other.  Jack confesses that he cannot stand her parents, and would be perfectly fine if they never contacted Laurelyn again.  Also, he is terrified that one day she will wake up and realize that he’s not worthy of her love.  Laurelyn on the other hand is afraid of the very thing that Lana planted in her head, that she is not enough woman for Jack.  She’s afraid that she will be a horrible mother, like her own.  They blow it all out, and start the new year in peace, if not in perfect harmony.  

Laurelyn tries to forget Lana and all of her crap, and carries on with her life with Jack.  It’s a pretty good life - Jack is building her a music studio in the back of the house, and she is writing songs.  The only bit of drama at the moment they are dealing with is that Ben (Addison’s brother, who had the jones for Laurelyn once) is dating Chloe (Jack’s little sister)  Jack is not happy about this one bit, but there’s not a whole hell of a lot he can do about it.  My opinion was that he just needed to get over himself on this one. Speaking of Addison, there’s exciting doings in her life as well.  She and Zac are living together, and happy, but he shows no sign of proposing.

Addison is worried about this, but has a bigger problem - she is pregnant, and doesn’t know how to tell Zac.  She’s afraid he will leave her if she tells him.  Addison truly grows into an interesting character in this installment of the story, even though I disliked her intensely in the first book.  I would be interested to hear a after-the-story short story about Addison and Zac now, especially with how they ended up at the end of this book.  Jack’s birthday rolls around and Laurelyn decides to put aside her motherhood fears and gives Jack the gift he really wants - they start trying for a baby.

Next up, disaster strikes again!  Another of the evil exes (yay, Scott Pilgrim reference!) appears, this time with a two year old in tow that she claims is his.  MAJOR DRAMA ensues.  It’s like the hits just keep on coming for these two, especially when Laurelyn gets pregnant herself.  Here she is, upset about his past coming back at them again and again, and going through all of those changes herself as well - I felt bad for the girl.  And Jack - in my humble opinion, Laurelyn knew the deal when she got with him, and knew there were twelve others before her.  I thought it was kind of unrealistic for her to hold his past against him, when him and her started out the same way.  Luckily my new friend Addison does the verbal best-friend-bitchslap, and sets her back on the right path.  Laurelyn tells Jack that she is with him to the end, forever and ever amen, and they face their future together, with or without a baby mama.  That whole part was well done - I enjoyed all the tension, even if I wanted to slap the mess out of both of them more than once.  It did seem like they were in the middle of a war for awhile there...drama bombs one after the other.  (Beware of interns, just saying! Is everyone is Australia trying to get in Jack’s pants?)

Laurelyn has a rather rocky pregnancy, and more than once I wondered if she would miscarry.  Given that this author was a labor and delivery nurse for years, all of these parts were VERY well done.  I learned things that I didn’t know, and that’s always a good thing.  Jack really grew on me in this section - he was very sweet, and took care of Laurelyn without reservation or thought for himself. Laurelyn proves even before the baby is born that she is going to be a great mom, just by how determined she is to keep this baby inside of her.   His mom is frigging awesome too - I love her character most of all, out of this entire series. Jack and Laurelyn debate for the entire pregnancy over if the baby will be a girl or a boy, and I had to laugh every time Jack called the baby by a girl’s name, or referred to the baby as “she”.  

The big day finally arrives, and this kid is NOT waiting around to be introduced to the world.  It’s coming on so fast that Laurelyn decides to not have the epidural.  She has this kid naturally, people, and all I could do was stare at the page and alternate between “you go, girl,” and “girl, you stupid!”  It should be known here that I have never had a baby, so I really can’t comment on the reality or unreality of any childbirth scenes that I ever read.  The baby is born, practically before Jack can get his head wrapped around the fact that it’s actually happened.  She (yes she) is healthy and Jack and Laurelyn get their happy ending.  

Just so you know, there is an epilogue, it’s set several years into the future, and it’s adorable.  

So in conclusion, I am glad that I read this trilogy.  I’ve mentioned before that this is not my usual genre of novel.   There were a couple of things that attracted me to it.  First, the premise.  Pretty Woman is one of my favorite movies of all time, and the plot was similar (ish). Second, the setting.  Australia is on my bucket list of places to see before I die, and I enjoy novels set there.  I’m told that all of the Australian slang used is completely authentic, so kudos to the author for doing some stellar research.  There was more than once I had to ask my resident Aussie expert (Barb) what the heck a word meant!  And lastly, I was attracted to this book because of the music angle.  I’m a music nerd myself, and the fact the Laurelyn was one too (and also Southern, and a brunette) was just the icing on an already damn good cake.

*/* Barb’s Review */*

Talk about a O.O moment… the blurb said the past comes back to haunt Jack and sweet baby Jesus they were not kidding. He got called a few unlady like words during this one. And again, my kindle is the only reason it didn’t get thrown across the room a time or two or ten.. who am I kidding. (laughs)

But at first, right after the wedding things go good. Laurelyn is swept off to Maui and is given the gift of a life time. A beach front home, one that means so much to Jack Henry. His childhood second home. Private beach and all. Of course she loves it, I mean who wouldn’t love that? It’s a great get-away. Jack has an idea of keeping her there as long as she wants. But, Margaret fouls that up by wanting them home for their first Christmas as husband and wife. They make it back to Sydney just in time for Laurelyn to get sick. Damn their luck. But ya can’t help getting sick so they move on. A few days later she is feeling better and they go to Jacks, brother’s house for a New Years Eve party. Well I have to say I wasn’t expecting an ex playmate of his to show up but ya know what? That’s exactly what happened. His ex Lana, we will just call her the Psycho pops up. She is the reason Jack is the way he was when he and Laurelyn first met. She is the reason he had issues with woman. Well the psycho  manages to get into Laurelyn’s head. The thing is.. Jack showed great restraint by not smacking the heffa. I would have. (shrugs) She asked for it but instead of clocking her one he put his hand through the sheetrock of the well right by her face. Damn shame, the wall was just standing there minding it’s own business too.

That night they start a ‘3 minute confessional’. Say what ya gotta say, no further discussion of it and no questions asked. It was a good call. It let him and her see where they were both coming from, especially after the run in with the psycho. That night during the confessional Jack asks Laurelyn to have his baby. He begs her actually. It was cute. And to me showed just how much he had grow.. or tried to grow up and be a rational adult male. Things for these two are never simple or easy. What would the fun it that be? But they move on, even if it takes them some time to get back in the game. Laurelyn agrees to ‘think about having a baby’ but at this moment she isn’t sure what she wants yet. Jacks Christmas present to Laurelyn is a music studio added onto their house at Avalon. This will allow her to be able to do her music thing, compose whatever her heart desires. She can still have her dreams if she wants them.

A couple weeks later they go back to Sydney for his birthday party. You know Margaret has to have a party for her kids. Well… when they walk in the door the shit hits the fan, again. (laughs hard) Ben Donovan, Addison’s brother, the one that had the hots for Laurelyn when she first came to Australia is in the living room with Jack’s little sister Chloe. Talk about sparks flying. Jack was ready to pop a vessel. But he manages to get through the night. laurelyn confides in Margaret during the night that her gift for Jack’s birthday is going to be to try and have a baby. She gave him an ovulation tester for his gift. (snorts) needless to say those two have a lot of fun. And thanks to Margaret (yes, the mother in law gives good sex advice) they have a few extra tricks to help them out.

Once they are back home Laurelyn goes out to lunch with Addison to see why she’s been so out of it lately. Come to find out Addison is pregnant. She is scared shitless and not sure what to do. She wants Zac to marry her and want it but not to marry her just ‘cause she is knocked up. I get that but the drama queen takes this to a whole new level. Poor kid. She is out of her element here but she agrees to tell Zac when she is ready. When Laurelyn gets back to Avalon she tells Jack what’s going on with her bestfriend. It changes nothing between them but laurelyn is worried as anyone would be.

A few days before laurelyn’s actual birthday they are getting ready to head to Sydney to be with the in-laws to celebrate her upcoming birthday. this is when laurelyn meets the new intern Jack has had since December. Her name is Bianca and she is the granddaughter to one of Jack’s biggest client’s. Laurelyn isn’t impressed with the little one but meh I wouldn’t be either. But she lets it pass and they head to Sydney. They have a good time in Sydney then head back to Avalon. On her actual birthday Laurelyn goes out with Addison. Lunch, shopping anything to get her mind off of her troubles. When Jack arrives home just before her... well yeah shit goes to shit faster than a goose can flap its wings. Apparently the little intern intercepted a package for Jack… but not the one she was supposed to so he comes home to find her in his bed with the sex toys he got for Laurelyn out on the bed and a skimpy outfit on… He freaks out and the girl suddenly understands she is wrong. Laurelyn comes in just as the gal is getting dressed and well.. her Southern came out. (laughs) So, yeah she punched her and kicked her in the ass, literally. The girl won’t be coming back.

The day after Laurelyn’s birthday Jack takes her to Ash, the restaurant where he made that first assessment of her and asked her to be him companion. While Jack waits for Laurelyn at the bar a lady asks him up to her room. Of course he is a good boy and turns her down but when the gal gets all up in his face he realizes its Laurelyn. She is dressed up as another woman, blonde wig and all. Things go from bad, to crazy to just fucked up in a matter of minutes. These two still have unresolved issues. Laurelyn winds up leaving him at the hotel and goes to get Addie. She needs her friend. Addy politely tells her she is being stupid and Laurelyn leaves her at her house and goes back to Jack. Of course by the time she gets there he is drunker than a hillbilly on moonshine. They sex it up, sorta and then when they wake in the morning Laurelyn pees on a stick, part of their birthday agreement to see if she is pregnant.

Before the results can be seen there is a knock on the door and Laurelyn and Jack’s worlds are flipped over, shook up and stomped on. Seems a prior companion had seem Jack in the hotels lobby and as an employee was able to track him down. The bitch, as we will call her, says her 2 year old is his kid. Of course Laurelyn flips, he’s freaking and this lady wants a paternity test to prove it. laurelyn leaves him at the hotel, again and goes home. In the middle of her breakdown in the shower Addison comes in and says she needs to go to the hospital. She is bleeding, badly. So as she drives her to the hospital Jack is on his way home. So what does he see when he comes home? Blood everywhere. He saw Laurelyn’s pregnancy test at the hotel, she is pregnant so he panics and starts calling all the area hospitals.

Laurelyn comes in and he is relieved but now they have to worry over Addison. Jack tells L that they are pregnant and it takes her some time to realize this is okay. The baby is what is important not the other woman or the fact that Jack could be the kids dad. They have a paternity test done and he is NOT the baby daddy. But the bitch won't take no for an answer. She decides blackmail is the thing to do. But Jack being Jack gets his PI to come up with dirt on her and yeah bitch has gone bye bye.

When Jack and Laurelyn go to the OBGYN for her first appointment things don't go as planned. They have to wait a few hours to be seen, which we all know can and does happen. But they finally get seen and get to see an ultrasound of the baby. Jack immediately says its a girl. L thinks its a boy… the Doc asks if they want to know and they finally say no. But then the Doc’s questions set them off. Laurelyn’s body was trying to abort the baby and there was only one way to stop it. She spent a few days in the hospital, almost upside down in a bed to use gravity to get her uterus back where it’s supposed to be. When Jack calls Margaret and tells her what is going on she makes her way to them. Nothing was needed to be said. her kids needed her. But.. when he called Jolie the heffa acted as if she didn;t care. She asked if Laurelyn had a miscarriage then went straight into she needs to call me her dad and I are getting married. I wanted to punch her in the face. I expected jack to go off on her, I would have, but he didn’t he just went back to focusing on Laurelyn and hoping she and his baby were going to be okay.

After 4 days the Doc took laurelyn into surgery and placed a stitch in her to keep her closed up. It was touch and go for a bit. Even the surgery was a risk to the baby; but all was taken care of and L was sent home. Bed rest, no vaginal sex.. poor things but the Doc wasn’t budging on that. What’s a little sacrifice to keep your baby safe, right? The dedication Laurelyn shows to keep her baby safe and in her as long as she can is inspiring. Jack too. He was so worried and focused on her and the baby that his needs and wants came last. As it should have been. And Margaret, my God I love that woman. Best mom and Grandma, EVER!

(The fact that the authors real life as a labor and delivery nurse for so many years the facts and techniques done in this book were off the charts. And made the research nerd in me come out. LOL but that is always a good plus when diving into something new.)

A few weeks pass and Jack is woken up in the middle of the night with, “I need to go to the hospital”. Well he freaks but it isn’t her that she is going for.. its Addison. The baby is coming. So we get to meet little Donovan. Now Laurelyn sees a small glimpse of what she has to look forward too. Is she scares? Yes but would wouldn’t be.

The baby's birthing day finally gets here, Laurelyn is miserable, tired of being pregnant, as so many women due when they are in that last week or so of their term. jack is waken by Laurelyn moaning and shifting in bed, thinking she is just uncomfortable but when he realises she is in Labor he panics but pulls himself together. Margaret is called but isn’t able to make it in time. This baby is coming fast, which they were warned could happen. Laurelyn decides to go natural. No drugs, no nothing. She is one tough cookie and her nurse Amy was frigging awesome! Now, it’s time to meet their bab. And guess who was right? Jack! It’s a girl. Little Maggie James has arrived. She is the apple of her daddy’s eye.

This is their happy ending but as we see in the Epilogue it doesn’t end there. 2 years later they have Maggie James, age 2, twin boys Luke Henry and Hudson. You’d think it would end there. But Jack Henry doesn’t know Laurelyn has a secret… can’t tell you what.. you shall have to see for yourself, you’ll be glad you did.

We hope you enjoyed our reviews as much as we enjoyed the series! Go check it out, hurry hurry hurry!!!

Keep turnin’ them pages,

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