Sunday, October 13, 2013

Review: Don't Make Me Beautiful by Ella Casey

Don't Make Me Beautiful by Ella Casey

No one knew a woman lived there or that she even existed. A monster, living in darkness...

At twenty-two, Nicole doesn't even look human anymore. The beast made sure of that. So she hides. A monster, consigned to a life of fear and solitude. This is all she deserves, she is quite sure of that.

And then one day out of the blue, the autographed baseball caught by Brian Jensen at the latest Marlins game enters her prison and manages to turn her world completely upside down.

Temptation comes in the form of pity at first, and then perhaps something more. Does she dare to believe the things she's told, that this is not the life she was meant to live? That being a monster is not her forever-fate? And will she be willing to risk everything, to reach out and accept the helping hands around her and share her deepest, darkest secrets? She knows only too well that hands can hurt. Finding out whether they can also heal is a risky proposition, especially when the beast is still out there. Looking for her.




"Scars are your body's way of healing, making that damaged part stronger that it ever was before the pain."

I have read plenty of Beauty and the Beast theme before with the usual scarred hero. This time we have the role reversal with a scarred heroine instead. Nicole had been the victim of a violent domestic abuse for years by her live-in boyfriend, John. She had been disfigured by years of physical abuse and held prison in the house. On one faithful day when a kid broke her window with a baseball, her life finally reach a turning point when she learned that she no longer wait for death.

Brian Jensen, the perfect man and overall nice goofy guy stumble upon Nicole's house when his six years old son, Liam did the unspeakable of breaking a neighbor's window. Due to his curiosity, he stumble upon Nicole laying face down on the hall and called in the authority. Soon he learned about Nicole's faith and decided to take care of her and keep her away from the monster boyfriend. 

"I have faith, and my faith tells me if I'm patient enough and if I believe enough and want something bad enough, good things are going to happen."

The beginning of the book sounds gloom due to Nicole's situation. But after Brian is in the picture, I find the overall tone of the book pretty upbeat. Brian is the goofy guy that reminds me of a kid with sugar high. He loves making everyone around him happy. He is such a great father and the relationship he had with his ex-wife, Helen is fantastic. Helen is such a straight shooter and she is the one who can keep him at his toes. At some point I kind of hoping he will end up with his ex-wife. *snicker*

"I'm frustrated with your superhero complex and wishing my life was a lot less complicated."

I love the premise of the story and overall tone of the plot, including some drama and twist towards the end that keep things interesting. Brian is simply awesome and he proves that chauvinist isn't dead in this world. But I find his romantic interest towards Nicole happen a little too fast. I would have prefer they form a tighter friendship and allow her the time to heal first. Nicole on the other hand can't believes that a man as amazing as Brian is willing to help her selflessly. 

"He can't possibly be for real. There's a catch here somewhere."

I understand Nicole is having a hard time dealing with her PTSD and trusting Brian. But her doubts about him gets repetitive after some time. Stop questioning the poor guy intention already. I would have prefer Liam gets more page time at the second half because he is such a funny kid. 

This is a standalone with a HEA. 

"You're funny, smart, wicked terrible at cards even though you refuse to admit it, and you have a nice ass. I add that all up and it equals cute to me."
"I think I will take that job you offered me earlier."
"Oh yeah? Why the change of heart now?"
"Because you obviously can't add. I can't imagine how much money you've lost over the years doing your own billing."

Rating 3.5/5