Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Blog Tour and Review: Beautiful Disaster (The Bet #1) by Francette Phal

They created the game but eighteen year old Nicholas Grayson mastered the rules.

They are young and entitled and utterly bored with their lives, so they play games to entertain themselves. They call it the “bet” and new girl Ellie Holbrook is their latest target. Ellie is not the kind of girl Nicholas dates, but she is pretty enough to be his next conquest and so he sets out to seduce her and claim a nice little prize at the end. But her seduction proves difficult when she openly rejects his advances. In his dogged pursuit of her he slowly finds himself in her small circle of trusted friends and meets her two year old daughter, Sophie.

Life takes a startling turn for Nicholas when he realizes his happiness now lies with the young mother and her daughter. Falling in love with Ellie isn’t something Nicholas ever thought could happen to him and he’s completely frightened at how fiercely she makes him feel. But before he can further examine those emotions and clearly process them, enemies from Nicholas’s personal circle of friends conspire to tear them apart and he must now decide whether their love is worth saving or allow his friends to take away the greatest thing that’s ever happened to him.     

This is the first book I have read from Francette Phal and let me tell you I am hooked!!!!!!!   This book was so crazy good!  It’s so twisted and full of things that make you scream WHAT and I loved everyone second of it.  Previous to reading this book I took a peek at previous reviews.  Something I hardly ever do and someone had said it was like Cruel Intentions on crack and I could not agree more!!  I so can see this book made into a movie.  Ms Phal does an amazing job bring the characters and story to full color and I felt like the plot was unfolding in front of me.  She also does an amazing job with how she words her story.  I love it when an author challenges me to use my built in dictionary!  Nothing wrong with learning some new words, right??  The story is part of a series that is available now since this book is not a new release and is told in third person.  Some people do not like this writing style but I love it.  I love getting the story from every angle and know exactly what each person is feeling. 

What do rich spoiled and entitled high school students do in their free time??  They make outrageous bets with each other for the fun of it.  The consequences of who they hurt in the process are not important.  We start off with Nicholas and Matt, they have been best friends for years. Their families are rich and powerful and they do what they want, when they want.  Nicholas has a reputation for being the manwhore.  He sleeps with anything with legs and has no qualms about it.  When they spot the new girl, Ellie, Matt and Nicholas make a bet that Nicholas will be able to sleep with her. 

What they don’t know is that Ellie is getting her life back on track.  She just spend her last 3 years getting her life together.  She fell in with the wrong person who got her addicted to drugs and not long after Ellie found out she was pregnant.  Realizing what was important, Ellie leaves town and moves with her Godfather.  She gets clean for the baby.  Now, her senior year, she returns to high school to live her last year in high school like the typical senior would.  Her daughter is her priority and she doesn’t have time for boyfriends.  She quickly befriends Maddie after Ellie witnesses Maddie having a meltdown.  Little did Ellie know the person who caused her meltdown would quickly have his sights on her. 

With his prey set, Nicholas goes out of his way to get to know Ellie.  He becomes Mr Perfect and turns on the charm to try to get in Ellie’s bed.  But what Nicholas didn’t plan for was for actually falling for Ellie.  At some point, his lines get blurred and he starts to realize his feelings for Ellie are genuine.  He calls off the bet with Matt and comes clean with Ellie.  What Nicholas doesn’t know that Matt has a plan of his own and this was not part of the plan.  He has his heart set on someone as well and will do whatever it takes to make his dream a reality, including bringing in Tony, Ellie’s ex-boyfriend and father to her child. 

How will Tony’s appearance affect Ellie?  How will Ellie react to Nicholas’ bet?  Will she be able to accept that she was just a game to her?  What had Maddie so shaken up in the beginning?  Will that come back into play and what secrets is she keeping?  And then there’s Matt….  Love will make you do crazy things and he is just a wee bit crazy.  There are so many facets to this story and when they all come together I was speechless!  A fascinating tale of lies, deceit, and love that will have your head spinning… but in the best way possible.  5 huge stars! 

"Maybe it's because your head is so full of bullshit rumors about me that you've already cast out judgement"

Beautiful Disaster starts off with the reader having all types of misconceptions about the characters, Nicholas, Maddie, Gabe, & even Ellie, but as you turn each page and become further immersed in the plot, those misconceptions fly out the window.  Francette Phal has created a novel that is powerful, thought provoking and full of angst, leading the reader to wonder what the outcome will be.  This book was a 4 star read for me, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys peeling away the layers of the characters one page at a time.

The book starts with the bet to end all bets, that at first I almost wondered, wow are these kids really just in high-school. A bet that helped Nicholas become the most loved and hated person in his high-school.  His best friend since they were young, Matt would choose a girl for Nicky to seduce and provide video proof in exchange for money that he didnt necessarily need.  Nicholas was devoid of emotions, steming from the lack of love and parenting he received at home, that is until he started on his most recent conquest Ellie.

He was as jaded as they come, eighteen years old, with a moral compass permenently fixed on diabolical.

Ellie was a senior in high-school who had been through more tough times and come through to be a strong independant woman, then most adults twice her age.  A recovering heroin addict with a two year old daughter, living with her godfather who took her in after her own parents disowned her, Ellie had more dreams and determination than any character I have encountered reading.

She wanted, needed to prove to herself and her parents that her pregancy didnt mean the end of her life.

Although Ellie started out as simply a bet for Nicholas, one that he knew would be difficult to win, it turned into so much more than that for him.  He found love and a contentment that he never thought possible in his life.  They have their share of obstacles to face in order to be together and allow the love that they have for each other to be the rock that holds them up through their most trying times.  And although it seems at times that the love that they have for each other faulters slightly, it's only because they are unwilling to face the feelings and need that they have for each other.  

This books is a must read for all!!!

Nicholas Grayson wasn’t a nice person. In fact one could call him an asshole and he wouldn’t dispute it. He was as jaded as they come, eighteen years old, with a moral compass fixed permanently on diabolical. He was an emotional cripple with the personality of a cactus. He understood his faults and embraced each one with gusto.

His goals in life were to piss off his parents, break a few laws and generally screw his way through life. He was a good looking kid, born with movie star looks, a little James Dean with Brando’s swagger thrown into the mix to make the female populace of John Edgar High swoon.

He was fully aware of his power over the fairer sex and he used that knowledge for his own selfish end.

It was a game his group of friends played and Nicholas excelled at it. He’d slept with nearly every girl on campus, seduced each and every one with practiced ease that had become second nature, like breathing.

The sex was initially meant to stave off boredom; another vice to add to the growing list of evils he’d accumulated over the years. But then, like all things in his life, sex had become nauseatingly easy to obtain.

“Nicky.” The breathy call of his name had Nicholas peering over his shoulder where Maddie Tate, “Fatty Maddie,” as she was known by many in his circle, looked at him with sickening adoration.

Lounging across his king sized mattress in post-coital bliss, she looked every bit the sated lover with her tousled cinnamon red hair, flushed face, and gleaming azure eyes. She was in love with him. Had been for quite some time now and would undoubtedly do anything he asked of her.

 It would take nothing to manipulate her and bend her to his will. Nicholas was sure that she would follow him. Therefore the seduction of Maddie Tate hadn’t taken much doing. The fact is Nicholas had been feeling charitable at the time. She was just another notch in this game he’s come to master; another pawn to use and discard when he was finished. He’d made a video of all their sordid acts just as he always had done and stood to win five hundred dollars for his troubles. Chump change as far as he was concerned but a win nevertheless.
 “N-Nicholas…,” the voice was little hesitant this time. He heard the rustling of sheets as she rose.
“Get out.” This was the part he relished the most. Devil that he was, he caught the hitch of her breath and reveled in it.
“I…um…did I do something wrong?”
He took a moment tinkering with the camera before turning to give her his undivided attention, mouth curling into a bastardized version of a smile. “Well.” He moved with effortless grace, swagger unmatched, open and welcoming in contrast to the calculated, almost predatory look in his diamond grey eyes. “You didn’t bore me completely.”
Her face crumpled.  The ensuing expression nearly heartbreaking as tears welled. If he cared he would’ve felt something other than this deep rooted annoyance and sudden need to see her out of his bedroom. “Now, please get your shit and get out.” It didn’t take long after that. Shoving him aside with surprising strength she gathered her things and was out like a shot.
Now, Nicholas figured, she’d grow to hate him like so many of the others who’d come before her.
It was what he did best. Fuck ‘em and leave ‘em. He lived by those words, using a slightly different variation out of the bedroom.
He was his father’s child after all; he had learned about screwing people from the master himself. Grabbing the half emptied bottle of whiskey from his dresser Nicholas made his way to the balcony in his bedroom. He took a mouthful, and then another, feeling decidedly better as each swig burned a warm path down his throat. Maneuvering himself over the balcony’s ledge he sat precariously over the edge, legs dangling four stories over the gleaming pool below. A deprecating smile tugged at his lips and Nicholas knew his demons were not far. He could hear the menacing gait of their hooved feet making a steady trek to the forefront of his mind, carrying with them memories he would sooner forget.
Shit, he was feeling maudlin. Why? He hadn’t the slightest idea. Only that the memories refused to be quelled, refused to be inundated by the liquor as per usual. The sudden image of his father fleeted across his vision and Nicholas gave a humorless laugh. Well wasn’t that just a kick in the teeth? Even at his lowest he continued to be haunted by the immoral bastard.
Charles Grayson, CEO and founder of one of the nation’s largest real estate firm was the devil incarnate and Nicholas could attest to that. He’d been ten years old when the first lesson had been imparted. There’d been an incident in school involving him and another student. Nicholas couldn’t remember exactly what it was he’d done, but he remembered he’d been mean and had been fittingly reprimanded for it by his teacher. Charles had somehow gotten word of it and swiftly rectified the situation. The teacher was terminated, credentials ruined and she’d been unable to find work in the state again. This action was quite extreme and cruel for something so little, but then Charles had never been the sentimental sort.
He was a ruthless man whose underhanded business tactics had gained him his empire. Therefore when it came to his son, Charles was merciless. He’d taken the ‘spare the rod, spoil the child’ ideology quite seriously and the scars of those lessons were now imprinted on Nicholas’s soul.
Nicholas took another swig from the bottle while raking a hand through his long hair. He was agitated and dear old Jack wasn’t doing it for him tonight. Needing a distraction that was something quite possibly stronger, he headed back to his bedroom and finished off the last of the amber liquid before tossing it aside. 


Francette lives in Massachusetts with her amazingly supportive husband of ten years and her darling two year old son. Reading amazing books has led her to writing and she’s dabbled in fan-fiction before self-publishing her own works. She’s constantly thinking up new stories to write and does her best work when music is playing in the background. Romance is where she’s most comfortable but she hopes to one day venture in mystery novels. She has a weakness for coffee ice cream, tropical fruits and a good glass of wine.