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Review & Giveaway: Brutally Beautiful (Beautiful #1) by Christine Zolendz

Brutally Beautiful (Beautiful #1)
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A deadly game of hide and seek. 

With blood still on her hands, Samantha Matthews is on the run, running from dark secrets and a man she prays to God will never find her. Running and hiding, just to stay alive. She had no choice but to run, to leave, to hide and forget about her life before. When Samantha believes she's gained enough distance from her past and her demons, she stops running, hoping to find her future in the heavily wooded area of the Adirondack Mountains, a place she never expected to encounter a man with secrets as dark and as sordid as hers. 

Kade Grayson is hiding, not from the demons after him, but from himself and from the entire outside world, wishing every day he could have just died. Arrogant and domineering, he’s tormented and terrorized by his past, seeing nothing good for his future. With the ghosts of his past still haunting him, he has exiled himself to a life of solitude, only living for his words and through his stories.

Until her.

An undeniable attraction, turns into hate and then ultimately obsession, an obsession that grows into a powerful story of love and redemption.

Will the bond they have begun to build between them grow stronger than the tragedies that have scarred both of their lives? Or will they allow their demons to consume them?

Brutally Beautiful...Teaser # 1

“Well…you look like first degree murder, and me, I look like an assault with a deadly weapon. What the hell do you think we LOOK LIKE?” She rubbed her fingers over her face and smeared a streak of blood across her tanned cheeks. Oh my…Oh my God, there’s a lot of blood. What the hell did I do? “Just pull over, Sam. You’re going to freaking bleed out while driving. You’re leaking like a sieve.”

I gave her a little snort, “Don’t worry, okay? They’re just flesh wounds; nothing is internally bleeding. I’m just…I think we’re in shock…that’s all. And I don’t think most of the blood is mine.” I ran my hand through my auburn strands of hair and my fingers came away bloodier. Suddenly, I developed an acute case of Tourette’s syndrome, “Fuck! That fucking-shit-son-of-an-ass-monkey-dick-weasel!” I didn’t remember getting hit in the head. “I should have ripped his dick off!”


Brutally Beautiful...Teaser # 3

“Don’t block me out.” He pressed my body against the wall of the stairs, my head lightly thudding against the handrail. His wet pants seeped a cold dampness into my skin. “I want to saw off my own hand, just so that I could let you go, let you go to keep you safe from my mind, from my issues. But you, you’re just like me, right? Something’s wrong inside you too.”




6 BRILLIANTLY written KICK ASS character stars!!

Brutally Beautiful is pure f***ing poetry! It's a raw, in your face, and twisted mind f*** of a ride. 

"Words had always come easily to me. Violence and hate were in my veins. I was rage personified, and horror and malice were my only friends. We had lived together peacefully since I came to terms with being me." 

Savage. Uncivilized. Unforgettable. Those are just a few words that come to mind when I think about the man Kade's become. He is such an intense, offensive, and poignant man; one controlled by brutal and crippling skeletons. The violent tragedy of his past along with his dark personality makes him the perfect anti-hero. Our socially impaired and flawed hero is all kinds of fifty shades f***** up. And who can blame him, for the past 16 years or so, his tormented past has shaped Kade into a scarred and bitter man who lives his life in hatred, fear, guilt, self-loathing, and solitude. He’s become so comfortable with his inner demons that he actually revels in them. Brace yourselves because the consequences of living years with these overwhelming and powerful emotions are far from pretty. It doesn't take long to figure out that Kade sorely lacks any kind of appropriate filters, boundaries, or social norms. He’s a complete and utter jackass. One thing about his character that affected me the most was that he definitely didn't play nice amongst the other kids in the sandbox, which makes his fall for Sam that much more stimulating and delicious.

"It's a condom, Kade, because if you're going to act like a d***, you might as well dress like one." ~Sam
"Well, love, maybe you are one step above trailer trash." ~Kade
"Well, fuck me gently with a chainsaw and no lube. Thanks for the compliment." ~Sam"

Major. Girl. Crush. Worthy. Sam’s my new ultimate heroine. She’s one of those chicks I could totally hang out with in real life, in fact, my bestie is just like her!  I loved the fact that she is just as damaged as Kade, but unlike our hero, there’s nothing about her that screams victim. Our girl’s been through hell and back, yet she is so cheeky she doesn't have it in her to lay down for anyone. Kade is so broody and crude in his interactions with our heroine, but her responses and sassy attitude had me laughing my ass off each and every time Sam gave back as good as she got.  A girl after my own heart.  I wish more heroines were written with her type of awesomeness and spitfire.

"Seriously? Did you get dropped on your head as an infant?"~Kade
"Yep, into a large puddle of glitter, glorious intelligence, and flawless awesomeness. What happened with you, did you get left in the mud?" ~Sam


Sparks. Tempers. Power plays. A game of cat and mouse has never been more enticing. And hot damn, their chemistry was so wicked… it dripped off the pages. Kade and Sam were addicting and delicious in all the right ways! They held my absolute attention. Everything about them was just so vivid and all consuming! They played perfectly off each other. I’ve fallen so damn hard for these beautifully broken characters and their off the charts explosive connection. This couple entertained me so much that I wanted their story to go on forever, hey, I’m greedy like that, especially when I have found such breathtaking and expressive characters.

"I think you're hiding demons too, Samantha Matthews. I want you to introduce me to all of them, because I think I finally found someone whose demons would play nice with my own."

Christine never fails to create dynamic duos that are dramatic, damaged, and rich in character. Her couples always leave me wanting more of them. She truly has this knack for writing stories that stick with you for the long haul. Brutally Beautiful left me so enthralled  that I was sad to see the ending sneak up so quickly. I've stated it before and I’ll state it again, Christine’s books are a reader's version of crack… after the first hit you'll keep coming back for more.

Score! Another fanf***ingtabulous read going straight to my absolute faves of 2014 shelf. Not to mention, a MUST HAVE for my paperback shelf at home. I can't freakin' wait to spend more time with Kade and Sam!

P.S. Rest assured there isn't a  major cliffhanger.  Brutally Beautiful can be read as a standalone.  However, while Brutally Beautiful answered  questions,  it also left me with the need to finish filling in some of the missing blanks.  I have it on good authority that Christine is hard at work on the second book in this series, Cold Blooded Beautiful,  where I have no doubt she’ll answer all those questions inquiring minds want to know. 


People who have seen real life monsters up close will never feel understood by people who haven't. What those people don't understand, is that we still see those monsters, everyday. The will never understand how tragedy makes you bitter and spiteful, and how it always keep its claws around your neck, ready to suffocate you. 


Holy Hell! This Book is incredibly gritty, raw, and intense. It grabs you from the first page with its very strong harsh imagery and takes you on a ride that you will not forget. It is completely unique, intriguing, and captivating in a twisted kind of way. I was completely sucked in and read it in one sitting because I could not put it down. 

Kade is basically an anti-hero that makes you actually feel guilty for liking him at first.  He is probably one of the most tortured and broken males that I have read about. He is so full of rage, self loathing, and negativity. He has no filter, no social awareness or skills, no respect for others, and is completely self absorbed in how own head and own little world. His brother calls him savage and it is a pretty apt description.  He is a recluse that isolates himself from the people around him and has a horrible view of people in general. The tragedy in his past has completely caused him to shut down emotionally and socially.  He channels his pain into writing horror stories with graphic grotesque details. His mind is kind of a scary place and his thought processes are often dark and creepy. But that is how he copes. He is a complete asshole and jerk at times, and completely disturbing at others, but something about him just got to me.


"Words had always come easily to me. Violence and hate were in my veins. I was rage personified, and horror and malice were my only friends. We had lived together peacefully since I came to terms with being me." 

"He's damaged. And he's just grown very attached to his demons."

Seeing Lainey(Sam) for the first time totally rocked him on his axis. His reaction to her angers him and confuses him. He fights it, he fights her, and he fights himself, but he can't stop thinking about her. She becomes an obsession and  messes with his head worse than it already is without even trying. Just her presence is enough to do him in and clutter his mind with something other than his destructive thoughts. 

She wore a familiar emotion on her face that I knew all too well, haunted. The plain raw intelligence of her face was utterly breathtaking and for the first time in my life, I couldn't find the correct adjectives to describe something. 

And she is no wallflower. She does not take his crap. She calls him out on it and gives it right back to him. She has her own tragedy and demons in her past past that she is running from and she is not going to let anybody mess with her again. She is a kick ass heroine with a wicked sense of humor and tough, sassy attitude. She is also very protective of her best friend Bree(Jen) and will do anything for her.  I completely adored her and loved her interactions with Kade. They would go from angry, to funny, to flabbergasting, to flirty and dirty in no time flat. They circled around each other in a complicated game of cat and mouse. 

"I think you're hiding demons too, Samantha Mathews. I want you to introduce me to all of them, because I think I finally found someone whose demons would play nice with my own."

They are so volatile that eventually they had to collide. And when they do it only confuses them more and adds more tension and drama. But slowly he begins to realize that she has darkness in her as well and that they are really somewhat kindred spirits. It ties them together in a dysfunctionally functional sort of way  and they had a calming effect on each other's broken souls. And as his hard shell began to show signs of cracking showing glimpses of the vulnerable lost boy underneath, I fell for him even more. 

"Because Lainey, you somehow soothe the chaos that's inside me. You heal me."

But sometimes the past stays buried and other times it does not. When they are faced with danger, will it bring them together or rip them apart? 

This book was a complete mind fuck at times. It was dark, gritty, enticing, sexy, suspenseful, funny, dangerous, sweet, morbid, and disturbing. The characters had unique back stories that were violent and had long reaching repercussions. It was full of tension (sexual and otherwise) and suspense. Their stories slowly unfolded keeping you guessing and wondering. It was told in both points of view that illustrated just how tortured each of these people were and how their thought processes underwent change as the story progressed.

I also loved the side characters of her best friend Bree(Jen) and his brother Dylan. They were a sweet and easy couple in the midst of the all of the drama from Kade and Lainey(Sam). Even though Bree(Jen) has her own past issues that haunt her. But there was one male character that totally grated on my nerves. But he was supposed to and Christine succeeded in making him annoying as hell. Everytime he was in a scene I wanted to cringe. 

My only  complaint is that the ending seemed a bit rushed to me after being so invested in the story, but it did not leave us completely hanging either. But then I saw that there would be book two Cold Blooded Beautiful, so that makes sense. I think it will give us even more answers about Sam's past that we did not quite get. And hopefully more into the future with Sam and Kade, and Dylan and Jen. I highly recommend this creative, darkly entrancing, and twisted read. Brutally beautiful is seriously the perfect title for it. 

Christine Zolendz


(2) Digital Copies of Brutally Beautiful: Christine Zolendz (International)

This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. Age 18 and over please. Ecopy giveaways are international. Signed or paperback giveaways are US only unless otherwise specified. Giveaway will run 01/12/14 to 1/126/14 closing at 12:00 a.m. Winner will be notified via email. Winner has 48 hours to claim their prize; otherwise, a new winner will be chosen. Please allow time (up to two weeks, unless stated otherwise) for the delivery of your book. If you have not received your book within the started time please notify us. In addition, In addition, if the book has yet to release please keep in mind that the book will be distributed within two weeks of it's release date.

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