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Don't Make Me Beautiful

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Librarian Note: Alternate Cover Edition for ASIN: B00EZ5R78O.


This story was inspired by true events. If you liked the movie "Sleeping With the Enemy", then you might like this story too. 

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.

Content warning: Violence, foul language, and adult situations. Not meant for younger readers. 

A note from Elle about this book: A really long time ago, I read an article in a newspaper or a magazine (I haven’t been able to locate the original) about a woman who was so badly beaten over a long period of time, she couldn’t leave her house. I thought about that woman a lot over the years and about what her thoughts might have been, her fears, her reality … and this book was my attempt to both exorcise those thoughts from my brain and also shed some light on a subject —domestic violence— that I feel should never be left in darkness.

370 pages, Kindle Edition

First published September 8, 2013

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About the author

Elle Casey

91 books4,404 followers
Elle Casey, a former attorney and teacher, is a NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY bestselling American author who lives in France with her husband, the youngest of her three kids, and several horses, dogs, and cats. She has written more than 40 novels in less than 5 years and likes to say she offers fiction in several flavors. These flavors include romance, science fiction, urban fantasy, action adventure, suspense, and paranormal.

 (by genre):
By Degrees

Rebel Wheels (3-book series)
Just One Night (romantic serial)
Just One Week
Love in New York (3-book series)
Shine Not Burn (2-book series), also available as an Audiobook
Bourbon Street Boys (3-book series), also available as an Audiobook
Desperate Measures

All the Glory: How Jason Bradley Went from Hero to Zero in Ten Seconds Flat
Don’t Make Me Beautiful
Wrecked (2-book series), Book 1 also available as an Audiobook


War of the Fae (10-book series)
*Book 1, The Changelings, is a free ebook at most retailers*
Ten Things You Should Know About Dragons (short story, The Dragon Chronicles)
My Vampire Summer

Aces High


Drifters’ Alliance (3-book series +)
Winner Takes All (short story prequel to Drifters’ Alliance, Dark Beyond the Stars Anthology)
The Ivory Tower (short story standalone, Beyond the Stars: A Planet Too Far. A Space Opera Anthology)


Apocalypsis (4-book series) *Book 1, Kahayatle, is a FREE ebook at most retailers*


Duality (2-book series)
Monkey Business (short story)
Dreampath (short story, The Telepath Chronicles)
Pocket Full of Sunshine (short story & screenplay)

A personal note from Elle ...
If you've enjoyed any of my books, please take a moment to leave a review on the site where you bought the book, here on Goodreads, or on any book blogs you participate in, and tell your friends! I love interacting with my readers, so if you feel like shooting the breeze or talking about books or your family or pets, please visit me. You can find me at:

Want to get an email when my next book is released?
 Sign up here: www.E

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Profile Image for Aestas Book Blog.
1,059 reviews74.8k followers
September 20, 2013

First, here's my casting for Brian:


WOW!! I absolutely loved this book!!! 5 stars!

Don't Make Me Beautiful is a deeply touching, beautiful and inspiring story with a powerful message about the strength of survival and the healing power of love. 

It's both heart breaking and heart warming with a strong heroine, a to-die-for hero, and a story that will stay with you long after you finish reading. It touched my heart deeply and reminded me that there are still superheroes out there everyday who save each other.

This is easily one of my favorites of the year!

I first fell in love with Elle Casey's writing with her witty romantic comedy, Shine Not Burn, and when I learned that she'd released a new, more serious romance, I couldn't wait to try out another side of her writing and let me tell you -- I was blown away!!

The story is that of a brutally abused woman, Nicole, whose face has been horribly disfigured after years of beatings at the hands of a man she once thought she loved. She was conditioned to never escape and her body had been broken and rebroken more times than she could count.

Brian is a single dad whose whole world revolves around his son. Things may not have worked out with his ex-wife but they remained good friends and his focus is on living in the moment and hoping that maybe one day, if it's mean to be, the right person will come along who can complete his family.

When fate crosses his paths with Nicole's, he rescues her, takes her to the hospital under a fake name and offers to take her home with him to give her a safe place to heal. He might not know anything about her but he wants to help shelter her and help her give her back the life that was stolen from her.

“I’m no superhero.”
“Tell that to the girl you’re rescuing.”

Ok, first of all, despite the fact that this book might seem dark, it's really not. The base subject matter is grim but I generally found the story to be very heart warming. Because this is inspired by true events, it restored some of my faith in humanity and reminded me that there are true super heroes out there living among us each day.

I was hooked from the first chapter. I felt Nicole's pain, isolation and desperation. Seeing how happy she used to be and how broken she was now was gut wrenching and I knew I wanted to see her journey to safety and happiness.

"If only she'd known then what she knows now, she would have picked up the nearest weapon and beat John to death the minute she met him. Instead she dated him, moved in with him, and then became his prisoner."

The things she suffered at the hands of her boyfriend/abuser were sickening. There were no graphic descriptions but just the thought of any human being going through that made my stomach turn. I think a huge part of what added to how chilling it was though was the fact that this was all happening in a normal house in the middle of a suburban neighbourhood. It wasn't some creepy shack in the middle of nowhere. This was right in plain sight. And nobody noticed!!

"She gave up somewhere along the way out of a sense of survival."

Brian, was just absolutely to-die-for amazing!!! He honestly might be one of the most heroic and truly incredible people I've ever read about. A true  hero in every sense of the word. He was the embodiment of kind, caring and protective. He was a wonderful dad, a supportive ex-husband, and just generally the kind of person who just made you feel safe.

When he found her, I just felt such strong relief. He rescued her, saved her, sheltered her and helped her heal. He went above and beyond because that's just what was in his nature. The world would be a better place with more Brians in it.

"Why would you do that for me? I'm just a woman with a destroyed face and body and no where to go?" …

"No, you're not. You're a girl who fell in love with the wrong guy. Your face doesn't matter, it's your heart that's important. And if you can love a guy like that, then I know it has to be twice the size of a normal one. Beside… you do have somewhere to go. You're going to my place now... you had a few years of your life taken away from you. Now we're going to get them back… You're going to stumble, but that's what I'm here for. Lean on me. I'll keep you from falling."

She was scared, terrified even, that her abuser/boyfriend would find her and her instinct told her to run back and avoid the trauma of him finding her after she'd escaped. But Brian would hear none of it. He could see the strong girl hidden behind the scars and was determined to bring back that side of her.

"I need to go back."

"Bullshit… You are NOT going back there. I don't care what you say… I'm not letting you go back."

"You're not my keeper." …

"You are your own keeper, Nicole. I'm just your protector."

That just made me melt. I love that he saw right past her scars. He saw her - the girl underneath it all and was drawn to her. Remember that this is a romance but, given Nicole's situation and everything she'd been through, that side of the story understandably was slow building for the first while allowing time for healing first. I really enjoyed the pacing and loved that it was never rushed and that they bonded first as friends before anything.

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

The more he made her feel comfortable, the more the real her emerged. She was such a fun girl! Full of life, a little snark and had the biggest heart. They really were a perfect match and if anyone deserved a knight in shining armour, it truly was her.

But this wasn't just about healing, this was also about a woman taking charge of her life once again after it had been stolen from her. Owning her life once again. Facing her demons. Seeing the strength that Brian helped her find again and then the rest of the strength that she found on her own was truly inspiring.

This might sound odd to say because it so rarely happens in books but I actually also really loved the relationship that Brian had with his ex-wife. They truly were best friends. They loved each dearly but weren't in love with each other. It was so nice to see a divorced couple in a book who weren't at each other's throats and who genuinely supported each other and wanted each other to be happy.

In fact, every single one of the supporting characters was wonderful -- especially Helen (the ex-wife), Agnes (the next-door neighbour) and Liam (Brian's adorable son). I fell in love with them all in their own way. Except of course John, the abusive monster who, as Helen said, "deserves to be butt raped in jail."

Another thing that I really loved about this book was that I absolutely respected and understood every decision each character made. Never once did I roll my eyes or want to shake anyone. I'm always very impressed when a book comes a long like this this where I can genuinely respect each one of the characters and where the drama comes from completely external sources. To me that speaks volumes for the strength of the story itself that it's able to be this captivating without any unnecessary drama.

There was a twist in the last 20% or so that sent full body shivers through me!! I absolutely loved the direction it took the story in and I read the ending with happy tears in my eyes as everything came together. It was truly beautiful and I was left with the most wonderful feeling ever!!!

Don't Make Me Beautiful is a beautiful, poignant and unforgettable story about survival, healing, and a second chance at life and love. It made me laugh and cry and feel with my whole heart 

Seriously, someone needs to make this into a movie!!

Highly recommended!

5 stars!

PS - this is a standalone.


For more of my reviews, book news and updates:
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Profile Image for Kristin (KC).
251 reviews25.1k followers
October 11, 2014
*3.5 Stars*

While I didn't end up falling in love with the delivery of this story, I respect its content and the brave messages it so strongly conveyed.

Don't Make Me Beautiful centers on one woman's escape of an extremely brutal and heartbreaking case of domestic abuse. The beginning presents fairly gruesome events that, although potentially difficult for some to witness, are detrimental in communicating an honest representation of the abuse.

Nicole is a woman who is trapped in a physically and mentally abusive relationship; one that has not only crippled her integrity but has dramatically deformed her physical appearance to the point where people see her as a "monster"...

Except people DON'T see her. She has become an unwilling prisoner to the confines of her home, where she is sadly hidden from the world around her. Until a child, a baseball, and a broken window rock the foundation of her tortured world.

Brian is a man with a genuine kindness. When he sees Nicole, it becomes his selfless mission to rescue her from not only her circumstance, but from the unwarranted blame she places on herself. His gentle and understanding, yet firm and persistent persona is exactly what Nicole needs to pull her back to life.

Listen, you're going to stumble, but that's what I'm here for. Lean on me. I'll keep you from falling.

There are a few twists and suspenseful turns in this story that do NOT disappoint. The writing is fairly simplistic, but I felt it became a gentle way of presenting such difficult subject matter. Although this story is based on a heartbreaking scenario, I found the majority of it uplifting and was surprised to find much lightheartedness within its pages. The plot could have easily remained dark, but it gracefully placed more emphasis on positive growth rather than becoming swallowed up by the violence.

What didn't entirely win me over was this story's pace and believability. I felt the hero's portrayal was a bit too flawless and perfect ... consistently doing and saying the all right things ... never once faltering as a parent, a friend, a lover. Yes, it was inspiring, but his character lacked the feel of being "human". That's not to say I needed him to be broken, cruel, or conniving — but for me, his 'superhero' character sometimes felt robotic.

Although the way everything so perfectly unfolded felt a bit unnatural at times, the family and friendship bonds that formed warmed my heart and made me smile. Yes, this plot resembles Sleeping With the Enemy in the way the heroine runs from an abusive situation, but it's aftermath subtlety displayed the charm and gratification of a fairy tale ... a very unconventional, largely twisted, but happily-ever-after fairy tale — and that's not to make light of the very real and disgusting truths to domestic abuse. I feel this story does a wonderful job in getting across the healthy ways to face and handle such a serious and heartbreaking circumstance, and offers a very lovely and positive message of seeing the beauty within.

Love sees inside the person. It doesn't stop at the surface. That stuff is all just window dressing, anyway. It says nothing about what you're really getting.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Book Stats:
▪ Genre/Category: Romantic Suspense/Abuse
▪ Steam Caliber: Moderate
▪ Romance: Hesitant but sweet and heartwarming.
▪ Characters: Strong and sweet hero. Abused and emotionally broken heroine.
▪ Plot: a broken woman escaping an abusive and destructive relationship.
▪ Writing: Raw, vivid.
▪ POV: 3rd Person Perspective
▪ Cliffhanger: None/Standalone

Profile Image for Dilek VT.
1,530 reviews1,346 followers
November 14, 2019

That book hugely disappointed me. Domestic violence is an issue all of us should be sensitive about and when films are made or books are written about it, I appreciate the effort; that is why I read this book but it didn’t make sense at all.

Having grown up in a home where there was domestic violence, I have a pretty good idea what it feels like and many things in this book sounded so wrong to me.

Before telling you my problems about this book, let me describe the severe condition of the abused girl. But from now on, my review may contain spoilers and if you are going to read this book no matter what, then don't read my review.

There is this girl, Nicole, who chose a wrong person as a boyfriend at the age of 19 and has been abused, both beaten and raped by him in his house where he kept her locked and as a prisoner for three years.

As a result of years of physical and emotional abuse as well as psychological pressure, her brain is washed and she believes that she has no way to escape. Believing there is no hope for her, she has stopped trying to escape. She doesn’t even try to break a window and cry for help when he is not at home. She has tried only once and when she failed, she never tried again.

She is beaten continuously and more than 20 bones were broken in her body and because she was never hospitalized, the bones healed themselves irregularly. She has one or two teeth only. And after repeated blows on her face, her nose, jaw and cheekbones also lost their natural shapes. Her ears are damaged, and with her damaged and bent face, she looks like a monster.

And the sadistic boyfriend keeps a photo of her from the times when she was beautiful and every now and then he forces her to look in the mirror and then at the photo and compare herself with it. Pure torture...

She also got pregnant and gave the child an early birth after being beaten brutally in the abdomen, and the child died as soon as she was born or so she was told.

So, have you pictured her now?

Well, then, one day, by accident, a neighbor and his 6-year old son discover the existence of this girl and the boy’s father rescues her from that house.

From then on, things started to sound so very wrong to me.

The man who rescued her is a handsome man who is thoughtful, loving and tender. He is willing to help her until she is safe from that evil man.

This is good...
This is good but...
But, yes, there is a big but here…

Her face is described as a monster’s face, so very ugly that when his child first saw her, he ran away in fear. Whoever sees her, they think she looks awful. She needs a series of plastic surgery.

But this good man, who thinks beauty is inside not outside falls in love with her. And she also finds him very attractive and she falls for him, too.

I just had a hard time to believe this!

If there is going to be some romance in a book like this, you don’t have to start it a week after she was saved from that abusing monster. Even her broken bones are not healed yet, let alone her psychology. Such an insta-love that doesn't feel right or probable here!

And the sex... Gah! She was continuously beaten and raped by that boyfriend, which requires a serious amount of therapy to heal but this girl falls for him immediately. And after she believes that he really wants her, she literally jumps on him, getting naked in an instant ... sooo eager!!!

It was neither emotional nor hot for me, I just felt utterly disturbed by the untimely and unrealistic sex scenes in this book.

I am sorry but I cannot accept this as reality.

A week with a handsome and gentle stranger cannot make you heal like that all of a sudden.

In a situation like this, there are a few things that must be done.

- Letting the police know about it so that the man can be arrested is the first thing you should do.
- Then, the woman should first be healed physically and then she should take the necessary amount of therapy.
- And meanwhile, she needs people who take care of her, not trying to have sex with her before her broken bones are healed.

Well, did they do all these logical things?
NOOOO! Of course, not!

- First of all, she refused to report to the police and they all accepted her decision!
- She didn’t want therapy because she didn’t want to talk about the terrifying things she endured and they also accepted it.


Come on, no person with psychological problems go to a therapist cheerfully and willingly, you should make them believe that they seriously need it to heal and to survive. You can’t say, “OK, however you wish”.

She also wanted to get out of the hospital before she was completely healed and he did as she wished. Come on, take her to a god damn dentist, at least! She doesn't have teeth!

And if she is afraid that the police will not help her, you should also try to make her see that this is absolute nonsense.

But no, they don’t report him to the police and Yes, why not? If you are so stupid, this is what would happen!

Also, this girl looks awful and ugly (this is what the book says, not me) and she needs to have a lot of plastic surgeries to gain her previous appearance back.

Another absurdity happens there!

Minutes before the operation (yes, minutes before the operation), she tells the doctor she doesn’t want to look like the way she did in her photo. She was really a beautiful girl before. And she says she doesn’t want to be beautiful anymore! When the surgeon says he can put her face back to its original shape, she refuses it.

Her reason is she believes that she had to endure all that abuse because she was beautiful. She believes that her boyfriend got jealous of her because other people also found her beautiful (not because he was a psycho!). So, she doesn’t want to attract any attention anymore!

So what happens when she says, “Don’t make me beautiful”? The surgeon says, “OK, however you wish” again and he doesn’t make her beautiful!!!

Come on, she cannot think healthily because she didn’t have therapy so she thinks being beautiful is a curse whereas in reality the reason was the fact that she unfortunately met someone who was a psycho!

So, in this state of mind, you cannot operate her. You cannot accept her wish as a sane and healthy decision when her wish is so absurd. Let her heal psychologically first and then, ask her again how to do the operation. Psychologically unhealthy people cannot make the right decisions for themselves.

I was totally going insane reading all those pages!

Oh, at the very end of the book, when everything comes to a kind of resolution, , she decides that she can now start therapy...
Oh, really?!

OK, so I am furious because this book had such good potential with a plot like this but all these absurdities made me go crazy.

Also, even when there was no absurdity, even the scenes of abuse made me feel nothing because of the way it was written. I should have cried ugly but I didn't feel much, which was strange. Lesser amount of abuse in other books made me cry so hard but here... zero, zilch, zip, nil, nought, nothing...

I definitely do not recommend this book to anyone.

My 2 stars are for only dealing with a plot like domestic violence and taking the attention of people to this issue, not anything else.
Profile Image for Jacqueline's Reads.
2,735 reviews1,477 followers
September 17, 2013

4.5 Stars

Don’t make me Beautiful is a mixture of Safe Haven and Slave. It’s a damsel in distress story line that will grip your heart from start to finish.

I loved Shine Not Burn, so I was very excited for Elle Casey’s newest book, Don’t Make Me Beautiful. Okay, so “Romantic Suspense” isn’t a genre I usually read, BUT it’s an Elle Casey book, so I had to read it. Don’t make me beautiful made me realize how much I do love those deep emotional, you-want-to-give-the-Heroine-a-hug story line.

Nicole is in an abusive relationship and for over three years her boyfriend has beaten her to the point where she is not pretty anymore. Her scars and beatings have taken such a toll on her body that she can’t fully recover. She’s trapped in her own home and misery. One day, a little boy hits a ball into her home and breaks a window. The father of the boy is Brian. Brian is just your average guy with an average life, but he soon finds himself in a situation he can’t walk away from.

I know who I am and I know who he is. He’s no match for me

You listen to me, you stubborn little thing… you can’t tell me what I think about you, okay? That’s for me to decide.

WOW, is all I got to say. First off, I love me a damsel in distress story line, so yes to that. Also, there are no flashbacks. I know! How can you write a story about an abused Heroine with no flashbacks? I do not know, but it worked and it was perfect for me. Also, you FELT for Nicole. Oh god, you just want to jump through the pages and just say “GIRL.YOU.ARE.BEAUTIUFL!”

This isn’t really your typical, oh girl gets beat up and guy comes to save her read. I felt like there was a lot that went on and when you add the whole image issue, it just creates another delicious layer. I like Brian, he’s such a sweet man and definitely has the guy-next-door vibe, plus you add in an adorable kid and well it’s a great duo. The relationship between Nicole and Brian progressives gradually and there’s plenty of push back on Nicole’s part to keep you interested in the read.

It only took five days for her to go from invisible woman living in a house around the corner to the center of his universe

Despite the subject matter, I wouldn’t call Don’t Make Me Beautiful a difficult book to read and it’s not really steamy. I think in all honesty it’s a beautiful story of moving forward and discovering yourself. I have never been abused, but I know people who have and it’s a very difficult and emotional subject to touch upon. I believe Elle delivered and wrote a beautiful story and it shocked me when I read a note in the book that it was based on true events. You can tell she poured her heart into the writing and it shows.

Don’t Make Me Beautiful isn’t for everyone. Realize it’s about a women who is traumatized, broken and is coming to terms with her situation, all in the process of a caring man trying to help her through it. If you like that then Don’t Make Me Beautiful is perfect for you.

An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review

For more reviews, please visit Jacqueline’s Reads
Profile Image for Beverly.
1,005 reviews801 followers
June 6, 2014
Let me start by saying this subject matter, domestic abuse, is very near and dear to my heart. I think it is very serious and my heart goes out to individuals in these situations.

Nicole is living with a monster. For the past three years she has endured endless abuse. The mental abuse has broken her down and made her weak and vulnerable. The physical abuse has made her look like a monster, to the point she scares children.

A lot of people who read this have issues with Nicole staying in an abusive relationship for 3 years, or have issues with her refusal to go to the police after the beating that nearly took her life. I am not one of those people. I think it is very realistic, and I feel that it is easy for us women who have never been in that situation to say what we would do.

When I started reading this I actually told the girls buddy reading with me, that I loved this story and it could easily become a favorite. My heart broke for Nicole and I loved that Brian was so compassionate towards a stranger.

Then at around 35% the story lost me. Here is how I felt.

I was traveling down the interstate going 70 mph, on the edge of my seat with excitement. Then all the sudden my car died, and I started coasting. I had to wait until about 60% for things to start back up again. Only to have them slow back down again.

Honestly, I wish I loved this one, and going in I had high hopes.

In the end it fell flat for a few reasons. I didn’t love how the story seemed to slow down to an almost halt, before picking up over 20% later. Once it did pick up again, it didn’t take long for things to level out again. I didn’t love the insta-love connection. I get she is damaged, but it felt like the insta-love was coming more for Brian then Nicole.

I enjoyed this story, but didn’t love it. I will say if you do take the time to read it, I recommend finishing it. There were multiple times I was ready to throw in the towel, but I am glad I stuck it out and finished it.
345 reviews131 followers
November 19, 2013

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Don't make me beautiful is the story of Nicole. Nicole is trapped in an abusive relationship, her boyfriend has beaten and tortured her to the point where she no longer recognises herself in the mirror. She can no longer see a way out and has resigned herself to always being trapped, always being a prisoner. She has continuously been broken down and along the way she has lost so much more than just herself........

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Until one day a little boy hits a ball and breaks her window, and this simple act brings Brian into her life.

Now I don't want to give too much more of the story away but what Elle Casey gives the reader in this book isn't simply a story about domestic violence. It's not simply a book about the victim of abuse, it's so much more than that. Elle gives us a beautiful love story about new beginnings, moving forward, learning to trust again and believing that despite the many monsters in this world, there are still some knights in shining armour waiting to catch us when we fall.

This review took me a while to write, it was hard because I didn't know how I could do justice to a book that touches on such a difficult subject matter, yet isn't all doom and gloom and unbearably dark. It was hard because I didn't know how I could explain how very real the author makes the story feel, how her writing flows so effortlessly that she was able to bring Nicole's character to life.

It was hard because it's a book that gives the reader a very raw insight into the life of a woman who has been beaten and broken both physically and emotionally, over and over again. Yet the author wrote it in a way that turned a heartbreaking story into a story of hope, a story about learning to trust again and moving on after some heartbreaking goodbyes.

It was a story, the author tells us, which was inspired by true events, about a woman who decides to make a stand, to trust in others and let herself be saved and despite some reviewers feeling it wasn't always a believable story, that surely no victim of abuse would react the way Nicole did.....well for me I never questioned it's believability, for me it was very real, because I was one of the lucky ones, and like Nicole, I was saved by my very own, real life, 'Brian', for whom everyday I am truly thankful.

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Profile Image for k.
98 reviews282 followers
September 28, 2013
✮✮✮✮✮ 5 Beautifully Damaged Stars ✮✮✮✮✮

"She stares out the window as the late afternoon sun tries to make it's way through the window. Those gauzy curtains would make it almost impossible for her to see what’s going on inside her house, if she were ever standing on the lawn or the sidewalk looking in. But that never happens. She never leaves the house. Not even at night. Well, once she did. But then never again. The aftermath was not worth the brief taste of freedom."

Don't Make Me Beautiful by Elle Casey was beautiful, touching, inspiring, heart-breaking, motivational, romantic, and everything else that you could possible want in a book. It has a wonderful message about inner beauty and the strength of survival as well as the healing powers of love. This book touched my heart and it will stay with me for a long time to come.

"There would be no happy ending to this little story. She's not foolish enough to even dream otherwise. Life will never be a fairtale for a girl like her."

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

She's just 25 years old, but hasn't stepped foot outside in almost 3 years. She doesn't even look human anymore. Her face is so terribly disfigured from having the bones in her face broken repeatedly by The Monster. Nicole feels that her life is over, she has no hope and she wants to die. Is waiting for death to set her free.

"She could see one of the neighbor’s pools
out the back window. It was such a bright azure, so inviting. She dreamed of going over and
drowning herself in it many times, but then she’d look down at Kitten’s spot in the yard and know that
she couldn't. Then she’d be leaving Kitten behind and that never seemed right."

Then her world is irrevocably changed forever when her "superhero" Brian Jensen's baseball breaks her window and forever changes her life as she knew it by culminating events that ultimately bring them together.

Brian, oh how I loved Brian! He truly is the perfect guy. Perfect in every way because Nicole needed that and I was so happy that she found that guy for her. He stood by her through thick and thin, and I couldn't adore him more for it! Brian is a single dad who is raising his son with the help of his ex-wife whom he is still best friends with. Brian is a goofy and sweet guy who would love to meet the right person to spend the rest of his life with. I loved how sweet Brian was with Nicole. He was sweet but he still knew how to rile her up and bring out her inner tough girl that's been waiting to come out. I loved that side of their relationship.

"You're my heart, babe. My heart. Without you I don't know what I'd do."

Don't Make Me Beautiful is such an inspiring story. When I closed the book I almost felt guilty for all the times that I complained about things. It made me realize how lucky most of us are and how bad some people have it. This story is probably right now someone's life, and that breaks my heart. I hope wherever she is, she finds her Brian..

*****I would recommend this novel to others*****
If you or your loved one is suffering from domestic violence call this number now!
U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY 1-800-787-3224
UK Women’s Aid
Women’s Aid at 0808 2000 247
Australia Domestic Violence Helpline
1800RESPECT at 1800 737 732
International Directory of Domestic Violence Agencies
Profile Image for Kainat 《HUFFLEPUFF & PROUD》.
293 reviews718 followers
June 6, 2016
Just watched Me Before You, now i can't stop picturing MC as Emilia Clarke! <3

Interesting title? Check.
Mysterious cover? Check.
On top of that this author's note!

"A really long time ago, I read an article in a newspaper or a magazine (I haven’t been able to locate the original) about a woman who was so badly beaten over a long period of time, she couldn’t leave her house. I thought about that woman a lot over the years and about what her thoughts might have been, her fears, her reality … and this book was my attempt to both exorcise those thoughts from my brain and also shed some light on a subject —domestic violence— that I feel should never be left in darkness."
Profile Image for SamJ ★Needs a HEA★.
609 reviews852 followers
October 4, 2015
★Book Basics★

Genre : - Contemporary Romance
Series : - Stand Alone
Love triangle? -
Cheating? -
HEA? -
Would I read more by this author? - Maybe
Rating - 2


At first this started off well, even though I am not a fan of present tense.

The switching of the chapters from Brian's life to Nicole's life was done very well. Offering some relief while serving to highlight the awfulness of Nicole's life.

And I liked the last couple of chapters.

But the middle for me, was not good.

I expected a heartbreaking, but beautiful, heart warming tale of a woman overcoming abuse and an awful past to find love again.

Plot wise, it had the potential to be beautiful tale of strength, recovery and love.

Execution wise - it just was not pulled off for me.

I found myself questioning a lot of what happened and how and if that would happen in real life.

Within a couple of weeks of Brian having found Nicole, they are "in love" and involved in a physical relationship.

This is a woman, who has suffered years of abuse, has horrific injuries, missing damaged teeth, a nasal passage so messed up she cannot breath through it.

Yet the author has Brian flirting with her almost straight away. He makes her a huge part of his life, brings her into his home after a matter of days, a home he shares with his young son, yet, he lives just around the corner from her abuser, and the only contact Nicole had had with anyone other than her abusive boyfriend in years, was with Brian and his son, and the very next day she is saved. And Brian thinks that her abuser is not going to be suspicious about who exactly saved her and where she could be?

Nicole is in hospital, in ITU, with supposedly one of the worst cases of abuse the doctors have ever seen.

Yet after a day, some woman is barging in all "ITU care is expensive, it needs to be paid for" Now, I do not claim to have a knowledge of the US health system or exactly how it works - but that is not right surely. What would they have done if Brian was not there, pretending to be her brother? Chucked her out?

So she gets discharged, even though her injuries are pretty terrible, but she has no insurance, but apparently she can have some rehab as an outpatient (which never happens) No support is offered, no links to appropriate charities, help etc. Just off you go, you have no money.

But off she goes with super hero Brian, a perfect specimen of a man. Who seems to have some need to be needed.

At some point her abuser finds her, they both end up back in hospital and she is all of a sudden waiting on the DA to make a decision as to if she should be charged with a crime - "luckily" she does not get charged with a crime that could lead to jail time, but a lesser charge. Now, again, not an expert on US law, but I find it really hard to believe, given her situation and history, and given the donations flooding in for her, and the public sympathy she was getting at this point, that anyone would even think she should be charged with anything. She was being charged with being a helpless victim as far as I can see. It just seemed totally unbelievable and quite honestly just made me angry.

The police seemingly cannot do anything, even though they were at the house along with the ambulance, when she is rescued, know full well the state she was in, who's house she was found in, but seem to be completely powerless to even find the bloke let alone question him.

Why put that in the book, to add more drama? More suspense?

Tbh, I just feel like the author bit off more than she could chew with this storyline. If you want to write it, you have to be able to really write it. Here I just felt detached from the 2 main characters. Brian especially, it all felt a bit too "perfect" and false, far far too quick.

I did like the last couple of chapters, and was pleased for the HEA.

But overall, I was not impressed. I just got the impression, given how quick it all happened and the insta love thing, that she would have fallen in love with whoever "rescued" her, and Brian just has the need to be the "hero" and save her. As if 5 years down the line, she no longer needs saving, or helped, and he is not needed in that way - then they will struggle being together.

Profile Image for Carol (StarAngel's Reviews) Allen.
1,681 reviews595 followers
September 19, 2013
*****5 Heartbreaking warming Stars*****

There are so many words I can think to describe this masterpiece but so few to describe the whole story in a nutshell.

I cried, laughed, swooned, hated, sighed, etc......

This book touches every emotion while reading and so few authors have this ability to really make the reader FEEL

Nicole is a young woman trapped in a relationship with a monster. A monster who has beaten her so bad that her face is distorted and has left her looking like a monster. It's beautiful how the author creates an ironic "MONSTER" in both Nicole and John. Nicole may look like a monster on the outside but she is beautiful inside, while John looks beautiful on the outside but inside him lives a monster capable of horrific things.

Nicole has lived a life of fear, abuse, and self-loathing for the past 3 years before Brian swoops in as a guardian angel to save Nicole from John and her life. Brian works on healing Nicole's physical wounds along with building up her self-worth. He sees Nicole for the angel she is in the inside and they both fall in love with each other.

There are so many twists and turns in this book that will have you on the edge of your seat the whole time.

After I finished this book - I was so curious as to who the woman was which the story was based on, but the author didn't disclose this. I was horrified thinking that woman deal with the same type of abuse that Nicole did.

This is definitely a book worth reading and I will follow this author to see what other books she has and will write.
Profile Image for Helen Power.
Author 10 books423 followers
August 13, 2022
Well I’ve been on a roll with the extremely angsty reads lately, and I was excited to pick this one up! I was intrigued by the concept that the heroine is so badly beaten that her facial structure is permanently damaged. She’s no longer beautiful, but love is blind, right?
This book is about Nicole’s gradual literal and mental escape from her abusive boyfriend.
One thing that bothered me, however, is that the man who’s saving her, Brian, falls in love with her almost instantly. She’s worried that he loves her out of pity, and the fact is, how could he fall in love with her before she even talks to him? I would have liked for their relationship to be more gradual. He could have been helping her out of the kindness of his heart, and as he got to know her, developed feelings for her–which was what I’d been hoping for/expecting, particularly with the way she looks being such a critical part of the plot.
All in all, this is one of those books that take you to rock bottom along with the heroine before building you back up again. It’s super angsty, and worth reading if you’re like me and mildly deranged, and enjoy having your heart ripped out with your romance books.

Content warnings:

Profile Image for ❥ KAT ❥ Kitty Kats Crazy About Books.
2,112 reviews7,122 followers
October 11, 2013
A monster living in the dark

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At the age of twenty two Nicole doesn't even look human anymore..A monster, consigned to a life of fear and solitude..This story was inspired by true events..And that's when it became real for me..Gut wrenching, heart breaking raw story of domestic violence, times I had to stop reading and read something light because it just broke my heart..Imagine the solitude, day in day out, not going outside because of the way you looked..

Thinking you deserved this life dished out to you because you fell in love with the wrong man..

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This book opened up my heart and ripped it to shreds, made me think what would I do if I was in that same situation, with no one to turn to, no family, no money, nothing..

Ice green eyes are the only thing left of Nicole's beauty, the rest has been taken, beating by beating, week by week, year by year..Who she used to be has been erased, leaving a monster behind..

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Her bones have been broken so many times and set in weird shapes, that her nose now is non existent, which makes it hard to breathe, her cheek bones don't match one another, one of them having been slammed into the coffee table several times a few months back..Her left ear now resembles a small head of cauli-flower, mis-shapen, large, lumpy and permanently swollen..Her lips have been split too many times for her to remember, scarred and swollen, her jaw has been broken three times and is no longer aligned, several of her teeth have gone, the rest will be gone soon too..

This book made me love my partner even more, not once has he ever raised his fist at me, his voice, lost his temper towards me, and for all that I am very lucky..
Profile Image for .Lili. .
1,155 reviews260 followers
October 23, 2013
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I'm kind of late to the party on this one... so I won't rehash what the story is about. What I'd like to focus on instead is the fact that this was a beautiful story about strength, hope, and perseverance. Nicole, suffered through years of domestic abuse. This man, has made her prisoner in mind, body, and spirit.

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Upon chance she meets her guardian angel and from there she meets people who are truly there for her and make her a part of. They make her feel somehing she's been scared to feel: hope.

I know that some people found some aspects of the story too far reaching or unrealistic and to that I say: so what. I think the author achieved what she set out to do and that is to inspire a sense of hope. What an empowering story this is, truly touching. It's about the strength of the human spirit. 5++ stars.

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Profile Image for Raquel.
345 reviews
February 5, 2016
DNF at around the 60% mark.

Have read other Elle Casey's books and have enjoyed them. But this one fell a bit flat. Really liked the idea of the story and the story started out ok, but as it went on some of the characters actions, mainly the main male character Brian's felt a bit too unrealistic . I really liked the compassion he showed but a lot his actions were just too much/too convenient for under the circumstances. Also, I'm not the biggest fan of insta-love and that was the vibe I got in this book. I just wasn't feeling a connection to the characters and even by skimming some parts I was struggling to continue.

Oh well, onto the next.
Profile Image for Jo.
957 reviews200 followers
June 6, 2016

For the last three years, Nicole has been violently abused by her boyfriend. She used to be a very beautiful girl, but after years of abuse her face has been so disfigured that she can’t leave the house. The mental and physical abuse has made it impossible for her to leave, and even if she could have found the courage to try again, her boyfriend locks her in their home when he’s not there so that there’s no way out.

Until a little boy hits his baseball through her window, and a Knight comes to her rescue. When Brian goes to the house to apologise for his son breaking the window, the man that answers the door just feels off for him. And because he is unable to let it go, trying to find out about the monster his son saw, he goes again the next day. What he finds is an unconscious women, badly beaten. And because Brian is a good guy, he makes it his mission to help Nicole escape her monster of a boyfriend.

All the abuse Nicole has suffered just broke my heart, and it was at times very difficult to understand how much she was broken, up and to such a point that she just could not leave her abusive boyfriend, he brainwashed her in such a way that she believed that she deserved his abuse, that the secrets she kept would land her in worse trouble. It was heartbreaking to witness a strong and sweet woman reduced to such a weak state.

I wish there really was guys like Brian in this world. Such selfless and sweet guys. But honestly he just came across as too good to be true.

The romance felt like it happened way too fast, especially after all the abuse that Nicole suffered.

This is a very difficult book to review. Although the book didn’t appeal to me, I applaud the author for writing about such a dark subject, the domestic violence that so many women are subjected to, their suffering at the hands of the person that is supposed to love and protect them.

Profile Image for [~Ami~]♥Sexy Dexy♥ .
501 reviews454 followers
Shelved as 'did-not-finish'
October 1, 2013

DNF at 45%

I'm gonna have to call it a day when John just walked in again and gave me the creeps. *shivers*

Brian finds his neighbour, Nicole almost been left for dead in her own home. She has been the victim of severe physical and mental abused by her partner, leaving her face distorted.

A few things didn't work for me. The main problem being I just couldn't connect with the main characters. I felt like they lacked chemistry and there was sort of an insta love thing going on. I thought Brian was too perfect and my personal preference I like my heroes a tad messed up.

Your face doesn't matter, it's your heart that's important

I have no doubt that this is a beautiful story about a survivor of domestic violence and eventually finding her happy ever after. But it just wasn't clicking for me x
Profile Image for Sade.
306 reviews205 followers
November 14, 2019

This book had a nice premise and the first couple of chapters were actually promising but the whole plot went down hill so fast, it left my head spinning.

I cannot stress this enough, authors need to stop romanticising serious issues in books.

When authors write about Rape, Kidnapping, Domestic Violence, Pedophilia et al and label perpetrators of these acts "Anti-Heroes" it stresses me out, when they paint it in a romantic way, it really really does my head in.

Real Life is messy and frankly if you're going to bring the ugly that is part of life into books, you owe it to your readers and yourself to tackle that issue with respect. If it's too much then just write normal romance books where the biggest complication is probably lack of communication.
How, i mean HOW can you write what i can only classify as total B.S on domestic violence? People die from this, people's lives are practically destroyed from this. and i think it's very appaling that this author decided to write a book about this very gritty issue but never really addresses domestic violence head on. So you expect me, the reader to believe that a woman who has been abused for 3 BLOODY years to the point that her face has been disfigured (this brings me to how unrealistic the book cover is but i'll talk about that later),who hasn't spoken to any human being apart from her abuser for those three years agrees to go and live with a MAN who from the descriptions has an almost similar build to her abuser??? You expect me to believe that the hospital let her go without any referrals to theraphy? you expect me to believe that all through the book she didn't completely lose her shit once?? Not once did she lose her shit living in a strange man's house? are fucking kidding me?
How is it even acceptable to tell someone that has gone through such gruesome abuse less than a week ago according to the timeline of the book to stop feeling sorry for herself? Brian goes to Nicole in this scene:

"Stop. Now you're just feeling sorry for yourself...you're not going to mop around here all day and night, feeling sorry for yourself. This house is a pity party free zone".

How is that okay?

Then lets talk about the cover. I've come to the conclusion that whatever authors say in their book, they are the shallowest people ever. You'll read a book where the MC is supposedly disfigured and ugly but instead the book cover has a cover model that looks like he could walk the New York fashion show. Nicole is described as horribly deformed and her eyes are the only thing that has remained beautiful from her previous life, which, granted, is what can be seen from the cover. But can you really picture a horribly disfigured character from the cover? Because i sure as heck can't. Shouldn't something have shown? On the cover she just does look sad, yes, but otherwise perfect.

This book completely fails to deliver. It's like the author goes don't think about domestic violence too much, here's two people falling in insta love, think about that instead.
Profile Image for bibliophile (Romance Addict) .
170 reviews155 followers
August 20, 2016

This book is worth 4.25 stars.

This is NOT a bad rating because I immensely enjoyed reading this novel. Nicole is a woman who has been abused for years. She has been prisoned and mistreated for a long time that she has given up on freedom.

This novel is good because:
♦ Reversed beauty and the beast.
♦ The abuse aspect is different because at the start of the book, Nicole is still experiencing it. It's kind of different from other books where the hero/ine has experienced it in the past but are still wounded from it.
♦ I like the family aspect of this.
♦ There were some very unpredictable parts.
♦ I like how I was never able to understand John because his actions were not understandable. He was a typical socio.

I also have found a few parts that wasn't very well done such as:
♦ The love aspect happened too quickly for me.
♦ There was a part where Liam

Quick review:
Novel:Don't Make Me Beautiful.
Author: Elle Casey.
Stars: 4.25.
Hero: 3.
Heroine: 4.
Level of sadness:4.5 (Duh! The book is about abuse & rape!)
Level of darkness: 4 (Only because I read darker books).
Profile Image for Jamie.
1,005 reviews914 followers
September 22, 2013
Wow!!! A completely unique storyline.. Sad, gut wrenching, sweet, hopeful....I loved it.
Profile Image for Marti Honeycutt.
8 reviews3 followers
September 9, 2013
I will start out by saying that hands down this is the best book I've ever read.....and I have read so many.....this one just blew my fav's out of the water. Here's why:

This book is not about one night stands.....whoring around.....dirty thoughts upon knowing each other 5 seconds.....characters drowning theirselves in meaningless sex and meaningless relationships yadayada.....this book just feels so real. A lot of times I finish my books and I feel like dang I just spent hours of my time on that crap? Not with this book! I am proud to have read it! Now don't get me wrong i still love most or all of my romance books....but I am a very picky person when it comes to my romance books I want things to go a certain way lol yeah I know don't we all.....this book just went my way considering the circumstances of this story.....not only was I routing for the characters in this book but for the first time in reading a book I was very aware of the author I just kept thinking in my head from time to time.....you go girl! You wrote it right! There are all these books out there.....big time titles and stories that we all love....and when I got done reading this book I was like Elle Casey just surpasses them at least she does with this book....I am wanting to be her little reader cheerleader....I hope this book gets huge everyone should read it....those of us that read the likes of Sylvain Reynard.....Colleen Hoover....Abbi Gilnes.....S.C. Stephens....Jamie McGuire just to name a few.....we all sit around waiting for their new releases patiently....well Elle Casey just went on my top list of Authors to look for with their next story :) So anyway on to my review :)

Heroine: Oh where to start its so difficult....I guess I'll start by saying she is as broken as one could possibly get and still be breathing. We don't get a lot of information about her background ( growing up....family etc.) but that's okay we get all the information we need to understand why she is in the situation she is in....which is absolutely horrible....a real life nightmare that probably happens so often we wouldn't be able to sleep at night if we knew how much of a reality this story truly is.....my heart just broke for her....I don't do a lot of crying over a story but this one well I shed a lot of tears for this young lady....I won't say to much about her physical or mental condition it's not really something I can put into words....it's something you need to read and feel. This Heroine actually makes me think of a Phoenix rising from the ashes and persevering.....especially with the help of our Hero :)

Hero: Just when I think I've read a book and I go oh my best book boyfriend ever nobody will beat him....un huh....here in this book lies the best book boyfriend ever or to date anyways.....probably till Elle writes another book lol....
Our hero is the bomb! He is not a whore or a reformed whore lol god I love him! He is a Father.....a Ex-Husband/ Best Friend....He is a real Man! None of that I was hurt and now I'm gonna destroy myself lol Seriously he is so wonderful....He actually is an Angel....but he is not so great you think in your head nah I can't latch onto to him because he is just to wonderful....it's not like that! He is just a human being caring about another human being and looking deep inside to in our case the heroines soul.....her inner beauty.....her true self.....and wether or not people out there like him really exist it's such a good feeling to hope that maybe just maybe there is.....makes you wanna believe....

Helen: for the first time ever I am going to include an Ex....let me tell you why....she was great almost as great as the main characters....but more importantly not just because she was a pretty cool Ex...she is just testament to how great our hero is.....read and you'll see why ;)
Agnes: heck for kicks and giggles I am gonna throw in the neighbor too....she is a neighbor I would be blessed to have.....her part in the book was small but meaningful.

So...there is a little breakdown of our characters....

I am so glad I had the opportunity to read this book.....I am a forever fan of Elle Casey.....

I also wanna throw a little shout out to another book by this author Shine not Burn......which is equally as great! And also if the author reads this: just wanna mention Ian again :) want his story so bad!!!! Lol just had to throw that in there :)

Happy Reading!
Profile Image for Kirsty.
386 reviews73 followers
March 27, 2015
5 stars just aren't enough. And neither are my words. Nothing can give this book the amount of credit it deserves.
"I'm no superhero."
"Tell that to the girl you're rescuing."

Don't Make Me Beautiful broke my heart. I've had this book on my 'to-read' pile for a long time but have never really felt that in to the idea of reading it. For no reason at all other than there's always another book to read.. Well, I am so glad I finally decided to give it a go. It was beautiful.

Nicole is living through a nightmare of a life. Her partner beats her to a bloody pulp on a regular basis and she hasn't left her home in over three years. Her face is disfigured and she thinks of herself as nothing more than a monster. I admit I had a really hard time a) picturing Nicole and b) stomaching some of the stuff that she has had to live through. It was truly painful to imagine. And what's worse is we all know this goes on in the world, but when you read about it in such detail, it just brings it all home. It really is beyond worsd.
"Scars are your body's way of healing, making that damaged part stronger than it ever was before the pain."

Her saviour comes in the form of Brian, a recently divorced single dad of one. He was perfection. Absolute perfection. He quite literally rescues Nicole, in all the ways that matter. And slowly but surely he helps to rebuild her life, giving her back the confidence she has lost along the way. All the while, falling in love with her. Their love story was one of the sweetest, most honest that I have ever read. Most people would think, Nicole herself included, how can he see past 'a monster'? Well, he does and I can totally see why. This book teaches you one hell of a lesson. Don't ever judge a person by their looks, not until you know their story and get to know the real person, the one inside. I think we could all take some advice from this book.
"You just keep on crying until all the sadness is gone, and I'll just keep wiping the tears away until you don't need me to anymore."

The writing in this book, as you can imagine, was flawless. I can't imagine what a difficult subject it is to write about, but Elle Casey did it beautifully. I can't say enough positive things about this book. All I can say though is, if you get the chance, give this book a go. You certainly won't regret it.
Profile Image for ♥Sharon♥.
950 reviews143 followers
September 26, 2013
Don’t make me beautiful is a heart wrenching story about a young woman who has suffered unspeakable physical and mental abuse at the hands of someone she thought loved her.

Nicole’s story was painful to read. I can’t imagine surviving what she went through. Once beautiful, her face is now distorted because of so many beatings where the broken bones, cuts and bruises were left to heal on their own. My heart more than broke for her. It shattered into a million pieces. But as I turned the pages and finished each chapter, my heart was slowly put back together.

At the beginning of the book the chapters are split between learning of Nicole’s torment and meeting Brian and Liam who turn out to be the ones to finally get her out of the hell that she has been living in. It was a hell that she wished she could have escaped but not only did she have insurmountable fear; she was harboring an exorbitant amount of heartache.

When Brian first sees Nicole it is without question that he was going to care for her and help her heal somehow. It isn’t easy for him to make this decision because he has his young son Liam to think about. But with the support of his ex-wife Helen he finds away.

Brian is an incredible person. He has the ability to look beyond a person’s physical appearance. He believes that beauty starts within a person’s heart and soul. Because of Brian’s actions and words Nicole learns to accept the love that he and the others are giving her. She begins to heal and becomes a stronger person.

Their journey is not easy. There is heartache and comfort. There is suffering and happiness. There is rejection and acceptance. There is weakness and healing.

Ellen Casey did an incredible job at writing this story. There were a few twists and turns in this book that had me on edge too. While I found it hard to put down, there were a few times that I had no choice. There were parts of this story that had me sobbing and truly feeling the heartache that everyone was going through. This story will have your emotions all over the place.

My only negative point would be to say that there was a lot going on at that end of the book and while it did all come together it just felt a bit rushed.
Profile Image for *TANYA*.
1,002 reviews280 followers
November 17, 2015
Wow!! I couldn't put this book down!!! Yup, it was intense!! I can't wait to read more of the authors other books.

“You are your own keeper, Nicole.  I’m just your protector.  I can’t let you go back to him.  He’ll kill you next time, you know that, don’t you?"
Profile Image for Alpha Possessive Heroes.
482 reviews762 followers
September 16, 2013
Wow, this was emotional, disturbing and beautiful! I started reading this around 12 am, told myself I'm just going to read a few pages to make me feel sleepy but damn.. I couldn't take my eyes off my kindle!

I've never been abused, but reading this book I was consumed with different emotions. To be honest at one point I felt that I was her.

Brian.. oh sweet Brian. I usually go for possessive, jerk hero but in this story our hero Brian is quite the opposite. He's nice, sweet, honest and understanding... yeah. really different at it was refreshing to read him.

I don't read romantic suspense so I'm quite surprise I devoured this book and didn't sleep until I finish it. :D I highly recommend this to anyone!
Profile Image for Chan.
682 reviews36 followers
April 25, 2019
I'm struggling with what to say about this book.

I see that it's labeled as dark, but I would disagree. I think disturbing is a better adjective.

Elle Casey addressed a serious issue with this novel, but IMO, it wasn't done well. I don't want to be rude, but this is one of those reads that I could have lived the rest of my life without reading. I don't expect a formulaic storyline or an HEA, but a sensitive issue like this needs to be handled...IDK...I just didn't care for it.

I'm not rating lower than 3 stars because the writing was fine, and it's obvious that Elle Casey did some homework.
Profile Image for Renee.
256 reviews107 followers
September 23, 2013
**A Romance Suspense Novel**


I liked the writing and it had a unique story line. However, I felt it was a little unrealistic - I did not feel it was accurate description of the way someone who had been so brutally abused would have reacted and responded to a new relationship. Overall an OK read.
Profile Image for Imy♥♥.
165 reviews96 followers
October 6, 2013
Don't Make Me Beautiful truly is one of those great stand alone novels. I laughed. I loved. I cried and got angry. This book took me by complete surprise!

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At twenty-two, Nicole no longer resembles the beautiful young girl she once was three years ago. Her face has been savagely disfigured after years of abuse, So she hides from the world and tries to survive living, with him. Hopeful that one day death will set her free from the beast.

Brian's a single father to his six year old son, Liam. Both with a love of baseball, and the dream that one day they'll finally catch a fly-ball.
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That dream comes true.

Liam decides to 'borrow' the autographed ball from his dads dresser and it goes through the window of Nicole's prison, turning all their lives upside down.

This really opens up people's eyes to what can go on behind closed doors. As someone with a somewhat relatable past, I know this all to well. The wolf may dress in sheep's clothing, but he's still a wolf at the end of the day.

Nicole was a survivor. She was thrown through the gates of hell and came out the other side, alive. She was a shadow of her former self, going through the motions, waiting for the time when the consequences of her departure from that life will arrive on the doorstep - but she was alive.

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Brian was such a goofy and loveable man! He was completely selfless with a huge heart. Most people once presented with a situation such as he was, would walk away and have. It's the sad truth. We need more people in the world like this fantastic fictional character Brian.
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Liam melted my heart. He's the definition of adorable. (Enough said)awww gifs photo: snl stefon awww tumblr_lglzyegvXF1qdtmwjo1_500.gif

All of the characters, apart from one - Were easy to follow and love, and I completely devoured this book. I don't usually recommend books, but I think it's necessary. There is always going to be abuse, however if people accept it for what it is and not turn a blind eye - We can make a difference. It's not ok. It's disgusting. It's ugly. It's painful. Someone reaching out and helping could save a life.

Thankyou Elle Casey for this beautifully dark book.
Profile Image for Vickie*** .
342 reviews27 followers
September 18, 2013
there's not enough stars/5

Lately I have been really judgmental towards new books, and I was worried that I would criticize this book as well. THANK GOD THAT WAS NOT THE CASE

This is the first book ever where I cried more than once. It's such an emotional read. I am so glad that I came across this book!!

little beginning summary:
Nicole is currently living with her abusive boyfriend. Not really one of those cliche book abusive bf, because not only was Nicole scarred on the inside, but on the outside. Her face is damaged due to broken bones not moving back into place, swollen areas. It's just horrible.

Brian has a son named Liam. Liam was playing with a baseball, and it broke through the window of the house Nicole and asshole john are living in.
Now usually the books I read, kids are really sweet and kind and really try to help those in need. Liam's character in the beginning is real, this is what how real kids would react, and it's heart breaking.
Anyways when Liam sees Nicole he's scared and runs away, what makes me cry about this is that Nicole knows that she looks like a "monster" causing Liam to run away.
Now here are some of my thought (may contain spoilers)

- brian I am so in love with him. I wouldn't say he is an alpha male, he was protective but not like sexy possessive protective. He was patient, and able to look past Nicole's appearance for inner beauty. There's not a lot of guys out there (well not that I know of) right now, and it's just really nice to have that kind of hope.

-when reading the reviews, I was a tad bit iffy on reading about Helen, Brian's ex-wife and liam's mom.
No they don't have a bad relationship, in fact it's really good.
But when reading more about Helen I began to appreciate her presence in this book, her support for the family.

-Nicole's appearance: when she talks about her appearance in the beginning killed me. About how she talks about herself as a monster.
even later Brian and Liam even said she looked like one (not in front of her, but this KILLED me) the truth hurts... a lot
“There’s a real, live monster living there and I never want to go back there as long as I live.”-liam (keep in mind he's just a 6 year old, this is normal behavior)

This book is heartbreaking, but it was also beautiful. It's a story of recovering, having closure, and dealing with demons. Brian and Nicole are perfect together. I am so happy that they were able to have each other.

This is not an erotica, there was probably only one sexy scene. But I am totally ok with that. I honestly feel if this was an erotica, that this would definitely be a very cliche book. Not all books need sex to make it a wonderful read!!

I am thrilled to have read this, I read Elle's other book, and am continuing to read her future projects!!
Profile Image for ⒷⓞⓞⓚⓃⓔⓡⓓ.
670 reviews16 followers
September 16, 2013
You know how sometimes you just have that urge to find a read that will wrap itself around your heart and tug it? Well, I found this book, ‘Don’t Make Me Beautiful’ and as cliché as it may sound, it was, an instant connection.

I was up early Saturday morning eager to start reading. Having a late night out the night before, my mind was not truly ready for what I was about to encounter. The story is told in alternate point of views, between the H - Brian and the h - Nicole.

Okay, here goes….. I was in tears the first half of this book!!! At one time I was trying to figure out if it was close to that time of the month and I was probably just “hormonal”. Sob! sob! sob! Once I came to the part where the author is describing in vivid detail Nicole’s physical appearance from years of physical abuse, that image is what I saw, as I read through. I was in Nicole’s ‘state of mind’ feeling helpless, hopeless and living in hell! I desperately wished I could reach into my Kindle and be her friend, hold her hand, comfort her and save her from the monster she was living with. The abuse she endured tormented me as well. I had to take a breather from time to time; between my heart tightening and my uncontrollable sobbing! I was a total mess!

Oh Brian! With a “ruggedly handsome face, soft blue eyes and a muscular frame”. He may not be the usual, alpha male, billionaire, bad boy, CEO or rock star that we all swoon about. But, it was his kindness, compassion, patience and understanding that was attractive, admirable and awe-inspiring. Deep within was a genuine person who looked beyond Nicole’s imperfections, determined to protect her, guide and help her through the toughest of times.

Even the secondary characters like Liam, Brian's son. His ex-wife Helen or Agnes the neighbor are all worthy of mention. Their characters and personalities were integral to the storyline.

Pain, anguish, misery, heartache were true emotions that I had felt. Sadness knowing Nicole’s story of physical, psychological and emotional abuse is not far from the truth for some women out here in the real world.

I know that Don’t Make Me Beautiful will linger in my mind and tug at my heart a little longer. Elle Casey has done a terrific job in this well written story. Most of all she has brought awareness to an issue some may not be aware is prevalent all around.

I gave this read 4.5 stars because of a few (very few) typos that threw me off a few times while reading. This is a standalone book. No cliffhanger and a HEA!

Favorite Book Quote: "You're a girl that fell in love with the wrong guy. You're face doesn't matter, it's your heart that is important. And if you can love a guy like that, then I know it has to be twice the size of a normal one" ~Brian

™From My Playlist: Coldplay – Fix You
Profile Image for Ihcene.
139 reviews61 followers
February 28, 2018
I was intrigued by this book, first the cover then the blurb!
The story is about Nicole an abused woman who's been beaten within every inch of her body that she's no longer recognizable.. She's later rescued by her neighbor and the story goes from there!
I felt myself cry more than once while reading this book, it was so intense and it completely broke my heart, there was hope, faith and love and it deserve a happy ending.
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