Overall Rating: ★★★★★
Performance (Luci): ★★★★★
Performance (Joe): ★★★★★
Narrators: Joe Arden and Luci Christian
Audiobook Length: 8hr 59m
Release Date: 04-25-2018
Reading Time: 6 minutes
*FTC Disclaimer: I received a review copy of The Beau and The Belle from AudiOMG! in exchange for an honest review. I have in no way been influenced by the author, narrators and/or publisher’s generosity.
Beau Fortier starred in most of my cringe-worthy teenage fantasies.
I met him when I was a junior in high school, a time that revolved exclusively around bad hair, failed forays into flirting, and scientific inquiries into which brand of toilet paper worked best for stuffing bras.
That is, until Beau moved into the small guest house just beyond my bedroom window.
A 24-year-old law student at Tulane, Beau was as mysterious to me as second base (both in baseball and in the bedroom). He was older. Intimidating. Hot. Boys my age had chicken legs and chubby cheeks. Beau had calloused hands and a jaw cut from steel. Our interactions were scarce—mostly involving slight stalking on my end—and yet deep down, I desperately hoped he saw me as more of a potential lover than a lovesick loser.
Turns out, I was fooling myself. My fragile ego learned that lesson the hard way.
Now, ten years later, we’re both back in New Orleans, and guess who suddenly can’t take his eyes off little ol’ me.
My old friend, Mr. Fortier.
But things have changed. I’m older now—poised and confident. My ego wears a bulletproof vest. The butterflies that once filled my stomach have all perished.
When I was a teenager, Beau warned me to guard my heart.
Let’s hope he knows how to guard his.
First Line: “I came tonight with the intention of reconnecting with a ghost from my past, but the woman standing a few feet away from me is no ghost.”
Narrator Review (Luci):
Luci narrates like a boss.
Let’s just say that now so there’s no confusion later.
I adore this woman’s voice. I will admit that I fall asleep when she reads to me…but what’s better than listening to an audiobook twice?! Nothing. Don’t tell me you wouldn’t fall asleep with the voice of an angel in your ear.
Here’s your math lesson for today: Luci = LIFE
Her ability to hone into emotions is just unreal. We follow her character, Lauren, through teenage years and then adulthood and MY GAAAWD I was the shadow to Luci’s Peter Pan. I live vicariously through each of her narrations. She’s in my hall of fame. She’s on my auto-buy list.
My favorite part (yes, there is more) about The Beau and The Belle is when Luci—I mean, Lauren—tries to convince herself that she’s “protecting her heart.” Gah! Denial is my favorite delusional state in characters and Luci nailed it like a carpenter.
Narrator Review (Joe):
Joe Arden makes me numb. This man can do no wrong. He can read me a bedtime story any. freaking. time. I’m picking up what Joe’s putting down and I’m rowing down his stream of smooth words to audiobook heaven.
Once you have a listen to The Beau and The Belle, you won’t ever go back to—gasp!—actually reading. Pretty soon, I won’t have to SPEAK to anyone because Joe will do that for me, too.
Joe Arden is flawless. He’s immaculate. He’s adaptable (I almost wrote “edible” there LOL). His ability to add a current of passion to a text is why I keep coming back to him. I’m tethered to this man’s voice. Listening to Joe is, without a doubt, my favorite hobby. My fitness tracker doesn’t seem to know what the heck “Listening to Joe” is, but someday technology will get on board.
Lauren LeBlanc was in love with Beau Fortier at first sight. Beau had all those classic, sexy features and broad shoulders—and was wa-a-ay too old for her.
Well, there goes our sweet Lauren’s crushed teenage dreams.
What can you expect when you fall in love with a twenty-four-year-old law student who is renting an apartment from your parents?
I glance back over his suit. The fitted pants stretch over his muscular thighs as he walks. Don’t look there, you idiot! I turn back to the path that leads from the house toward the apartment. “For your job?”
So he is a lot older.
“I’m a junior,” I say, as if to emphasize that I’m on my way out of high school.
Had Lauren even hit puberty yet? I mean, Lauren was classically cute but completely off limits. She learned the hard way that teenage love cannot conquer all.
But times have changed, my friends. Lace up your big girl panties, Lauren, because fate has a way of making dreams become a reality for those who wait!
Ten years later, Lauren and Beau are both in New Orleans. She is a young woman, and Beau sees her in an entirely new light. Lauren sees Beau in a whole new light as well, but this time without the tingles of love in her stomach…
Gag! Okay, this is not how we imagine rekindled love. We want sparks to fly. Instead, we get…nothing.
Years before, Beau told Lauren to guard her heart. She took Beau’s advice…and then some. She not only guards her freaking heart, but she also wears a bullet-proof vest. Heck, girlfriend’s got a chastity belt on for all we know!
Now that Lauren has this second chance to get Beau to notice her, she intends to take advantage of it. But this time, she resolves that she will not be the one with a broken heart. Can Beau get through her defenses? *eyebrow waggle*
Err merr gurrd this is my favorite R.S. Grey book to date and believe me when I say I’m binge reading them all. We are set in the Garden District of New Orleans (one of my favorite backdrops for romance) and R.S. Grey’s standalone novel explores the awkward teenage years and the difference a decade can make when it comes to affairs of the heart.
First of all, bring me this man because he needs a lesson in how to talk to young women. When I think of his character, I love him, then I hate him. He is missing an eau de R.S. Grey that’s present in all her epically swoony gentlemen, but for this book it worked. He is a “meh” book boyfriend.
Lauren on the other hand is my absolute favorite heroine this year. She MADE this novel.
Perhaps Beau is still epically hot, but Lauren just out-hotted him. Either way, the combination of these two is liquid magic. I practically broke my wrist fanning my face. If I could summarize this book in three lines, I’d say:
- The tension is off. the. charts.
- Lauren is my favorite heroine of 2018
- R.S. Grey is undeniably fantastic