05 December 2014

Beautiful Outlaw Tour Stop!

After the last fourteen years of surviving as a walking, talking, living doll, Laura feels dead inside. 

She has sacrificed everything for her family, marrying a man she could never love. Her husband doesn’t beat her, doesn’t berate her. He transforms her, forcing her to live as a stand-in for his long dead wife. She stays silent as piece after piece of herself disappears, willing to do anything to protect the people she loves.

When his demands go too far, she finally tells her brother the ugly truth.

Wanting to protect her without putting the rest of their family at risk, he sends her to the one place he knows she’ll be safe. He places her into the hands of his best friend, Vice President of the Savage Outlaws MC.

Once again, she is transformed into someone new; Shay.

Bowie has spent many nights dreaming about his best friend’s little sister. The reality is so much sweeter than his dreams. He wants to be more for Shay, needs to protect her, but he’s not sure if he knows how.

Can an Outlaw show her how beautiful life should be?
Having read other books by this author, I had high hopes for this book, and I was not disappointed.
Laura had led a strange life for the past 10 years.  Forced to marry a man she didn’t love, he has tried to mold her into his dead wife.  He dresses her, even calls her by another name.  It’s a little bit of a psycho situation.  Naturally, Laura decides one day that she’s had enough.  But reclaiming herself is going to be a little difficult, mostly because she’s not quite sure who she is anymore.  Combine that with a new environment unlike anything she’s experienced before and in the care of the Outlaws VP, Bowie, and she’s in for the ride of her life.
Biker books seem to be a dime a dozen these days, but this author definitely sets herself apart from the pack with her characters and plot development.  It was very interesting to watch Laura/Shay grow into herself.  She has lost so much of who she is, but had noble reasons for doing so.  Her story is very sad, but so is Bowie’s.  In his own way he’s discovering himself too.
Another thing I liked about this book is that Shay and Bowie are not the perfect match in a lot of ways.  Outwardly, you would take a look at them and think “huh?” but inside they click, and they go together in the ways that are important.  Bowie is also delightfully domineering.  Totally does not cross over into douche territory.  Ok, that’s not entirely true, but I was very easily able to forgive some of his more douchey moments. 
Biker books also have to really walk a fine line between gritty enough to be somewhat realistic but not a turn off, and romantic.  This managed to skirt that line well.  My only complaint is the insta-love factor between the H/h.  I really like a bit more build up, but I can’t fault them too much for that, especially because all the other action and politics of the book was so intriguing to me.  Overall, I enjoyed it.  4 stars.
I cannot believe that I haven’t read any of Ms. Minton’s books before now. Beautiful Outlaw was a great read that combined the grittiness of a hardcore one-percenter MC club with the suspense of Sleeping with the Enemy. I found the Prologue to be devastatingly effective at sucking me into Laura/Shay’s story. When I got to chapter one and found that we had jumped ahead by 10 years I was at first jarred by the time shift because even though I didn’t want to know what Laura endured at her husband’s hands, I had to know – kind of like a car accident, you don’t want to see it, but you can’t look away. Yet Ms. Minton’s writing style is such that she disseminates information on a need to know basis in an extremely effective way that kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the book. While I seriously doubt that I could personally put up with the way Bowie would talk to Shay, especially at the clubhouse, it worked for them. Their relationship was quite entertaining to watch develop because as Shay was learning how to be herself, Bowie had to learn how to love. As the inevitable sparks flew, Bowie and Shay proved to be quite explosive in bed. Yowser! But in the end, despite all his alpha male bluster, Bowie protected Shay because he loved her and not because she was his “property.”

My biggest issue and main complaint about Beautiful Outlaw is the ending of the Bonus Epilogue. When the Epilogue ended I had a “NOOOOOOO” reaction because I felt myself grasping for the cliff. If for some inexplicable reason I wasn’t already looking forward to book two in hopes that it’s going to be Tin Man’s story, the ending of the Epilogue sealed the deal. Then I flipped the page and saw the Bonus Epilogue and got all giddy because I love getting a look at how the main characters are faring as time has passed. While there was some disturbing yet not surprising foreshadowing for future books regarding Jeremy and Tag, I powered through as I read what was going on in everyone’s lives. And then I got to the end. I am sure that there will be readers who love that twist, but for me it was unnecessary and served to shove me far away from the cliff. It was as if the author forgot that she had already set up a cliffhanger ending with the Epilogue – or wasn’t happy with it – and felt she had to do something unexpected to draw readers back to the series. It felt overly contrived and completely out of place, especially as it was five years later. I fully enjoyed Ms. Minton’s writing and the tale she weaved in Beautiful Outlaw, which is probably why I was so disappointed with the unnecessary way she chose to end the book. Fortunately my interest in Tin Man’s story far overpowers the ending and I will definitely be back for more of the Savage Outlaws MC series. 
Let me start by saying that I struggled with what rating to give this book. I love the premise of this story and I enjoyed most of the characters.  I was even left wanting more and looking up information of when the next book would come out so  I also want to remind you, my review comes from my opinion alone and how I like a book to flow.  The plot in this story was a freaking fabulous idea.  I was hooked from the synopsis.  For the most part the author did a fabulous job telling the story and developing the characters.  My main objection to her style was the flow issue.  As a beta reader for other authors I am always checking to make sure the story can be followed easily and that the scenes and chapters conclude in a proper place so the reading flow isn’t broken.  I felt like there could be some tweaking done in this area of her style. 
What affected my rating and disturbed me was Laura/Shay.  She spent ten years with her husband in order to save her family.  The stuff she endured from him was horrific.  He took EVERY opportunity to make her into his deceased wife, even forcing her to take on his wife’s name.  She was doing this for her family, but yet she was estranged from them.  When one of her husband’s requests was just too much she reached out to her brother.  This was a bit disturbing, more unrealistic than I can wrap my brain around but still intriguing. 
Now her brother finds out what she is going through and helps her escape.  He doesn’t feel he can care for her so he gives her to his buddy Bowie who sort of fell in love with Shay by the stories and pictures her brother shared with him.  <not creepy at all here right, ok, kind of creepy but still intriguing>  When Bowie sees her for the first time she is NOT the picture of the woman he imagined but he will get her help and make her his own.  Once again she just does as she is told. 
Bowie is in a leader in his MC and they have their own rules and codes, so to make her his, it was in my opinion harsh, alpha and not something I think she needed right then in life.  Dealing with other issues involving his club and family concerns Bowie has to protect her from her husband finding her and of course you know how protective they are with anyone in their circle so there is a lot of action and suspense in the book, which I loved.  So I am sure you are getting what is disturbing, when is Shay going to take this new freedom and live her life for herself?  Well you will have to read the book to find out. This is why I couldn’t go below a four because the suspense and action had me hooked.   
It is really impossible for me to give you more of an idea about what scenes left me scratching my head because I don’t want to ruin the story by giving spoilers away.  I feel like if you are going to enjoy this book you must work at overlooking some strange occurrences and flow issues plus be very invested in the characters.  I found I couldn’t stop no matter what because I needed to see how this ended for Bowie and Shay but I was frustrated a few times while reading.  I would recommend this story and I do look forward to seeing what is coming next in the series but please remember that in some areas you will have to piece things together yourself and the reading flow will be disrupted at times, but you are working towards the end of a very interesting story.  
USA Today Best Selling Author, Emily Minton is a Kentucky native. She claims she bleeds blue--Wildcat Blue! Emily loves to read, and this love of the written word led to her writing career.



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