Beautifully Damaged

Beautifully Damaged Series Book One

Romance - Contemporary
300 Pages
Reviewed on 09/16/2022
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Emma Megan for Readers' Favorite

Beautifully Damaged: Beautifully Damaged Series Book One by J.A. Owenby is a fascinating and unforgettable romance story. It follows River Collins as she struggles to claw her way out of hell at only nineteen. River lives in a trailer park with her legal guardian, Dan, who is an alcoholic and a drug addict. Dan often beats her and takes advantage of her body. River is determined to make Dan pay for all the harm he caused her. But her plan to get rid of Dan didn't succeed in the way she wanted, and now she has other enemies, even more dangerous, haunting her. On her way to a safe place, River ends up on Holden Alastair's property. Shortly after she meets him, she gets hit by a car, and Holden must look after her until she heals. Nothing could prepare River for what she discovers during her stay.

Whoever thinks romance books are not for them or that they are only for girls or women should read Beautifully Damaged by J.A. Owenby. This book is absorbing and an absolute mind-shock, but also quite sinister, intense, steamy, and suspenseful. The behavior of a person who has been through highly traumatic experiences, who fears trusting someone again, and who easily gets triggered is captured perfectly by Owenby. I enjoyed the gradual revealing of the depth of the characters' dark secrets. I dare you not to fall in love with this well-written emotional roller coaster, which has plenty of unexpected plot twists, angst, tragedy, action, and most importantly love, which leads to a completely gripping and heart-wrenching page-turner.

Stephanie Chapman

Nineteen-year-old River Collins knows she has to get away from her abusive guardian, Dan. In Beautifully Damaged, J. A. Owenby presents a young woman’s struggle to escape from dire circumstances. After Dan rapes her, River tries to make her escape. However, Dan pursues her until she hides in a tree. Horrified, River watches the local drug dealer’s dog kill Dan. River overhears Logan and his friends standing in front of her house claiming Dan owes him money, and he would take River. River runs to her job where coworkers pay for a bus ticket. River misses her drop-off and wanders into the darkness of Spokane, Washington. She spends a cold night sleeping in a recycling bin; however, Holden Alastair discovers her the next morning. River attempts to run from him, but a car hits her when she runs into the street. Indebted to Holden, River learns that not everybody thinks she is unworthy of kindness.

This is a story I couldn’t put down. J. A. Owenby depicts River’s life in vivid detail. I felt Dan received full justice for what he had subjected her to for years. I understood why River had problems trusting anyone after she grew up in a ghetto-style trailer park. Holden’s reaction to finding her in his recycling bin was puzzling to me. I am not sure if I would trust a stranger in my home. Holden’s home was something out of my dreams. There was never a dull moment in the entire book, and I fell in love with Holden’s friends. The plot dives deep and makes every person relatable with their layered personalities. I kept turning the pages, trying to uncover what Holden’s hidden secrets were, especially since River had noticed the emotion in his eyes. Despite some darker themes, the witty remarks made in conversations allowed me to laugh. The perfect balance of suspense and revelations made the story unpredictable. The ending had me buying the sequel. Beautifully Damaged is an intense story for adult readers who like complex plots with romance sprinkled on top.

Alex Ndirangu

Does the notion that love can truly make everything beautiful have any basis in reality? J.A. Owenby's Beautifully Damaged: Beautifully Damaged Series Book One answers this question in a compelling narrative that paints a clear picture of what true, beautiful love is. River Collins first appears in the story, living in a life-threatening home where she has endured years of sexual assault and even beatings. At the age of nineteen, she can't take it any longer and decides to flee town to avoid the constant danger threatening to destroy her young life. But life without a home will not be easy at all. She becomes lost, alone, and suffering in the unforgiving cold of Washington's streets after she misses her bus stop. One chilly night, River seeks shelter in a recycling area, where she is taken in by the owner, Holden Alastair, a wealthy and stunningly handsome young man. He provides River with a place she can call home, at least while her broken leg is healing. From being strangers, these two will develop into the most endearing couple. But how does Holden win over someone whose heart has been broken for so long? Get your hands on a copy to find out.

J.A. Owenby's recounting of even minor incidents was fantastic. I could easily conjure up a fantasy world, complete with River's back slamming against the wall, the air whooshing from her lungs, her fingers going numb from the cold, and all the sweet allure that made this book's fictional premise seem realistic. The event sequences that kept this work exciting and emotional were also something I couldn't get enough of. My favorite thing about this book is the first-person point of view that Owenby used for most of the narration, enhancing the book's distinctive characterization and plot. Real-time updates of every action and subsequent reaction in the book made it easier for me to understand how the story developed. I'd also like to commend the vivid descriptions. Resonating with River would have been impossible without graphic scenes of her hardships. There was nothing in Beautifully Damaged that I found disappointing. Owenby painted a beautiful picture of the depths to which people will go to fulfill their hearts' desires and find inner peace.

J.A. Owenby

★★★★★ "What an amazing start to a new series! Beautifully Damaged packs a punch with plenty of grit, steam, emotion, drama, and unexpected plot twists." ~ Siobhan Davis, USA Today & WSJ bestselling author

★★★★★ "No two ways about it, I fell hard for Holden. Everything about him pushed my buttons. J A brings all the feels in Beautifully Damaged, and I, for one, cannot wait for Beautifully Broken!" ~ Serena Akeroyd, Best Selling Author

★★★★★ "It's racy and pulse pounding with highly charged sex and adrenaline rushing action in every chapter." ~ Shabby-BookBistroBlog

★★★★★ "This was an amazing start to an amazing story with so many different twists and turns my head was literally spinning! I love the fast-paced writing style of this author and cannot get my hands on the next book fast enough!" ~ Reading In the Red Room

★★★★★ "Five heart-wrenching stars!!! I was drawn in immediately and couldn't turn the pages fast enough. The heart-pounding moments, the love, the loss, and suspense are J.A. Owenby's signature beats, as she weaves a tale of two people who are the perfect match for each other. Beautifully Damaged is fresh, compelling, and a page-turner that will have you itching to read the next book." ~ Bestselling author, S.B. Alexander.

★★★★★ "Good Grief! This book is so steamy my kindle popped a fuse. This book is everything! Scorching hot scenes, a feisty heroine, a to die for hero, angst, and suspense. Beautifully Damaged is Kindle crack at its best!" ~ Naughty and Nice Romance

★★★★★ "O.M.G. BOOK. HANGOVER!! Owenby has taken her writing to another whole level!! Beautifully Damaged is by far my new favorite read of Owenby's." ~ A. Minear Goodreads Review

★★★★★ "Owenby took it to a new level. It was well worth the wait. Beautifully Damaged is raw, gritty, beautiful, and powerful." ~ Blushing Romance

★★★★★ "Hooked is too light a word for what this book did to me... It pulled me in and would not let go...I am so invested in River and Holden and I need to know more ASAP..." ~ Vicki, Goodreads Review

★★★★★ "Wow! Wow! Wow! 5 stars is not enough for Beautifully Damaged. This is Owenby at her finest ... edge of your seat plot, characters you love, and the STEAM. Dear God, the steam! You do NOT want to miss this book!" ~ N.S. Goodreads Review

★★★★★ "This was my first "dark romance" that I read, and I was hooked after the 2nd page. River and Holden's story is beautiful, but have tissues handy because this series will wreck you." ~ Kindle Customer

★★★★★ "I love this author, I need all her books NOW!!! LOL but seriously I do. River and Holden are couples goals. They compliment each other so well, I love Brynn too wish I had a friend like that. That cliffy is crazy, I'm starting the second book later today since I have work in a few hours. Love!" ~ SavannahsMom