What To Read Wednesday

This week’s recommendation is Don’t Make Me Beautiful by Elle Casey

Don't Make Me Beautiful by Elle CaseyA ROMANTIC SUSPENSE NOVEL. 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.

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This book left me speechless. Written in third person present—a tense that I’ve never particularly liked but worked brilliantly here—Don’t Make Me Beautiful is the story of Nicole, a woman beaten so cruelly she looks like a monster. At least, that’s what six-year old Liam thinks, when his ball flies through her living room window, causing him to knock at the door.

Nicole is a prisoner in her own home. She is locked inside the house by her cruel husband, and locked inside her mind by her crippling fear and disfigured face. But her encounter with Liam, and later with Liam’s father, Brian, leads to a turn of events that change her life forever.

Brian is a single dad, living with his son Liam and making a living creating furniture. He isn’t a rich man, nor is he particularly an alpha male. He’s a good, kind man, and this comes across in everything he does. The day after the incident with the ball, he goes back to Nicole’s house and sees her lying on the floor, bloody and unconscious. He calls the police and ambulance, and stays by her side as she’s rushed to hospital.

Don’t Make Me Beautiful is a tale of second chances, of how love can bring redemption and set you free. It’s also a reminder that beauty is truly only skin deep, and it’s the kindness you show others that makes you truly attractive. And the well- crafted characters of both Nicole and Brian really shine through in this story. It’s different from anything else I have read recently, and this is just one of the reasons that I loved it. I gobbled it up avidly, like a child with a candy bar. I was just sorry when it came to an end.

I laughed, I cried and I sobbed some more. The story hooked me in and wrung me out, in the best way possible. I’ve never read anything by Elle Casey before, but I will definitely be back for more.

Five wonderful, emotional, life-affirming stars.

Fabulous Friday – 20th September 2013

It’s Friday!

What a week it has been. I’ve managed to cut back my hours at work so I can concentrate on editing Halfway Hidden, and start to write my next book (when I get somewhere, I’ll definitely let you know!). I’m finding I have to be very disciplined; sitting down at my laptop at eight am, then writing straight through for a few hours. Otherwise I’ll pick up a book and before I know it, it’s time to get the children from school. I save editing for the evening, when I can do it on my iPad in one hand, and a glass of wine in the other. But that’s another story!

Next Wednesday (25th September) sees the unveiling of the cover for Halfway Hidden, something that I’m very excited about. If you get a chance to look, please go over to the CBL Review Blog, hosted by the beautiful Laurynne, and see why I’m so pleased with the work done by Mayhem Creations. The book is already listed here on Goodreads – and is due out in November.

Two other books have been released by Mayhem Publishing this week.

Whispers in the Dark by K.I. LynnSlick as Ides by Chanse Lowell

The first is Whispers in the Dark by K.I. Lynn, a hot novella about a power outage and a sexy neighbor – what’s not to like?

The second, Slick as Ides by Chanse Lowell, is a full length novel with computer hacking, stolen cars and a handsome genius. Sounds right up my street.

I plan to read them this week, so will make sure I post a review in a future  ‘What to Read Wednesday’. If you get to read them, be sure to let me know what you think.

That’s it for now, thank you so much for popping by. I hope you all have a great weekend. 🙂

Carrie Pink

What to Read Wednesday

This week’s recommendation is Present, Perfect by Alison G. Bailey.

Present Perfect by Alison G Bailey

Amanda Kelly spent her entire life trying to control every aspect of it, while striving for perfection. Her obsession with being perfect, along with her feelings of worthlessness, consumed her. The one thing she thought was perfect in her life was the bond she shared with her best friend, Noah. 

Everything was going according to her life plan until she woke up one day and realized she had fallen in love with him. The one thing she couldn’t control was the affect he had on her. Noah had the power to give her one hundred lifetimes of happiness, which also gave him the power to completely devastate her. He was the one thing in her life that was perfect, but she couldn’t allow herself to have him.

Her life begins to unravel. Events take over and force her to let go of her dreams and desires. She needs to realize that a person cannot control the events in their life, only their reaction to them…but will it be too late for her to save her relationship with her best friend?

Present Perfect is a story of how past events have present consequences and how perfect your present could be if you stopped fighting and just allowed it to happen.

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Amanda is constantly compared to her older sister who can do everything better; ride bikes, get good grades and of course, is so much prettier. Even worse, she is a kind, lovely person. I’m already feeling sorry for Amanda, whose desperate strives for perfection always fall short.

From the start of the book, the author takes on a journey of growing up as the less-perfect sibling. From being dressed as Tweety-Pie for Halloween at the age of six, to being described as ‘ugly’ by the mean girls at school, everything that happens to Amanda seems to confirm her low opinion of herself. The one shining light in all of this teenage angst is her best friend, Noah.

Oh, Noah …

He’s a baseball playing, sensitive gorgeous boy who becomes Amanda’s self-appointed protector, taking care of her when life gets her down, and standing between her and teenage lotharios when they try to get too close.

Despite the fact he loves Amanda, she can’t bring herself to see them as anything more than friends. The author describes the angst of being a teenager so perfectly; the belief that nobody can love you when you don’t love yourself, that you just aren’t good enough for the boy of your dreams.

That a friendship isn’t worth ruining over a quick fling.

So Amanda pushes Noah away. More than once. And I had to bite my nails, my lips, and then put my hands under my behind to stop myself from shaking this imaginary character. Because he loves her, he loves her and she just can’t see it.

And there I go again – getting all het up!

Up to this point, the story seemed like a well-written, enjoyable NA story. Then, about two thirds into the body of the novel, we get to the game changer. The one I can’t tell you about, but the one that makes Amanda see things oh, so differently. This part of the book deserves six or more stars – it grabbed my heart, chewed it up and then spat it out on a dirty sidewalk. It made me think about the story long after I’d finished the final page, and made me want to cuddle my husband and children all night.

Overall, I give this story five stars. Four for the first part, then a huge six plus for the rest. Go read it, enjoy it, and wipe the tears off your face. It’s worth every one.

Fabulous Friday

It’s Friday again, I almost can’t believe it. This week has gone faster than lightning, but I’ve never been happier to see the weekend.

My week has looked a little like this:

Monday: I worked all day (boring – you don’t want to know) then spent my evening working on my original fiction project – more about that at the bottom of the page. Sleep arrived very late, but I grabbed what I could.

Tuesday: As above, but add in some fanfiction writing, which always makes me smile. As do the lovely reviews.

Wednesday: I ended up at the dentist, lying on the couch staring up at his masked face. While he prodded my infected gum (ouch), I wondered if I could ever make this situation sexy. I mean, the dentist’s chair is practically a bed, and he’s pretty much a doctor. Hmm, I’ll revisit that another time.

Thursday: A long, long drive to an all day meeting. It sounds like it was a drag, but it isn’t. I love sitting in the car for two hours, with nothing to occupy me but my thoughts. I pretty much edited a chapter of my next project in my mind, and dissected the characters of the key protagonists. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to simply think about a story and characters, with no pen, paper or keyboard in front of me.

Friday: Today – yay! No work today, so I’m settling down with a hot cup of coffee, some great tunes on the Sonos player, and my lovely laptop. I did have to clear the office of the mister’s mess (how he works in such chaos I’ll never know) but now I have my caffeine and my zen I’m a happy girl.


I said at the top there would be news on my first book – Halfway Hidden, so let’s get to it. I’m delighted to say that the cover (made by the ever-talented Mayhem Creations) will be revealed on the wonderful CBL blog on 25th September. To say I’m excited is an understatement. I love the cover so much, and can’t wait for you to see it.

In the meantime, I’m going back to my edits and my coffee. I hope you’ve had a great week too. See you soon


Carrie Pink