Monday, June 15, 2009

he did NOT just say that!

Every so often I read a story that makes me cringe. This time I saw red and wanted to throw up.

The basic premise of the book intrigued me, which is why I bought it in the first place. She's a humble girl living in England, scraping to get by. He's an attractive, rich Italian who's forced to bring her to the family she never knew she had. When she's showered with pretty things and is turned into this gorgeous creature, the hero suddenly can't keep his hands off her.

First, let me just say. It's fun to read a makeover story. I love it when the hero is speechless as he witnesses the heroine's transformation. What I don't love is the idea that the hero found the woman ugly BEFORE said transformation.

I once wrote a makeover story myself. In "Forbidden Fruit" Ava's a tomboy who is more comfortable in jeans rather than a skirt. But when she decides to catch Luke's eye, she goes shopping. It's a fun, hot read. HOWEVER, Luke thought Ava was hot before the skirt and sexy lipstick. He always craved her. Which is why I liked him so much.

In the story I just read this is SO not the case. In fact, he actually thinks to himself 'no point putting lipstick on a pig'. I had to read that line several times before it registered. Yes, the author really wrote that. Yes, the publisher actually published that. Through the entire book the issue of her beauty is constant. The message is very clear. When she wasn't wearing the fantastic clothes and expensive makeup, she was worthless. Now that she is 'presentable' she's worthy of the hero's attention.

God, I felt sick to my stomach. It made me actually ill. The hero went beyond horrible. His entire attitude sucked. I never want to read another book by this author again. I won't give names or badmouth anyone, because I think that's a shitty thing to do, but I am most definitely NOT a fan of her work.

So, today I want to ask you all. Have you ever read a makeover story that you loved? If so, give me titles!! I need to wash this story out of my head!


Regina Carlysle said...

OMG!!! You have to wonder about a publisher who would let something so demeaning even go OUT. Crazy.

Actually, no makeover stories come to mind but I LOVED the Lori Foster book that broached the weight issue in such a good way. Was it Too Much Temptation? That might have been it. She had two books and this one was about the older brother who was nuts for a woman who was his grandmother's assistant. The heroine, Grace, was full figured and had no idea the hero thought she was absolutely gorgeous. Am I right on the title?

Kelley Nyrae said...

Ugh! I wouldn't like that either. I've read makeovers before (can't remember the names right now) but they were like FF, he was attracted to her before, even if he wasn't quite sure why he was so attracted to her, he was. The makeover just pushes him over the edge he already teetered on.

Kelley Nyrae said...

YES that is my favorite Lori Foster book! I love Grace and Noah.

Anne Rainey said...

Regina--I was beyond shocked. SOOO not the right message to send readers. And yes, I LOVED that Noah and Grace. One of the best!

Anonymous said...

LMAO you know I'm dying to find out what book this was right? Wow. See I hate books like that. I've come up across a lot of books lately that make me wonder what the publisher was thinking. And even some reviewers are all crazy about the book. I can't figure out what's wrong with them. Besides yours Anne, I don't think I've read a makeover story. I'm reading Lili St. Crow's (Lilith Saintcrows) new YA book right now and totally going crazy over it. It's called Strange Angels.

Anonymous said...

LMAO you know I'm dying to find out what book this was right? Wow. See I hate books like that. I've come up across a lot of books lately that make me wonder what the publisher was thinking. And even some reviewers are all crazy about the book. I can't figure out what's wrong with them. Besides yours Anne, I don't think I've read a makeover story. I'm reading Lili St. Crow's (Lilith Saintcrows) new YA book right now and totally going crazy over it. It's called Strange Angels.

Anne Rainey said...

LOL, I'm totally not telling. :)
I've never read YA, but so many people are into them these days!

I just remembered another good makeover story I read. "The Cinderella Solution" by Cathy Yardley.

Nancy G said...

No actual makeover stories, but I did read one where she grew up to be a beauty, and her longtime crush comes to town for a charity auction and doesn't recognize her and hits on her without knowing. One of those OMG he doesn't know its me moments.
The book is Saving Sophie by Elle Amery, and I loved it. (HEA too)

Anne Rainey said...

Nancy--I LOVE those types of stories. Thanks for the rec. I'll check it out. :)

Jake - but not the one said...

I think we all have kinds of stories or characters that just leave us cold. Totally alpha males in a story make it almost unreadable for me - I care too much about autonomy for women to accept the premise that a hot guy just KNOWS what she needs.

I can well imagine there are women for whom Anne's story (not hers as in she wrote it!) works perfectly. I'd like to think the women I know well would mirror Anne's take on the story.


Kenzie Michaels said...

Okay...this is going to drive me crazy...the male was Damien; the 'street urchin' he rescued's name is Bonnie, and Lady Marianne, his part-time married mistress is the one who actually pointed out Damien is in love with her...god...what the HELL is the title?? And it's buried in my storage unit!!

Anyway, he saves her from being sent back to the workhouse, and presents her to society as his 'ward', but it is very apparent they can't keep their hands off each other, no matter how hard he tries to deny it. I loved it; it's one of my favorite 'bodice rippers'.

Emma Lai said...

So...what the message of this story is beauty really is only skin deep. Makeover stories are fine if the hero didn't hate the heroine before hand, but I actually prefer the stories where the hero thinks the plain jane becomes more beautiful as he gets to know her. I mean aren't characters supposed to have...well character?

Anne Rainey said...

Jake--The alpha thing...Hmm, I think we might've had that talk before. LOL ;-)

It definitely takes a lot to get me to throw a book. And I simply cannot fall for a hero if he thinks the heroine is ugly. It makes me nuts every single time. That's not hero material.

Anne Rainey said...

Kenzie--You HAVE to think of the title! LOL I already want it!

Emma--I do enjoy for the hero fall in love with the heroine as he gets to know her too. I just don't like that he pretty much hated her guts until she had on the pretty clothes. Not the type of fella for me. ;-)

Lynne Connolly said...

Oh, I think I know the book. Makeovers are fun, but only when they give the heroine more confidence. Wouln't it have been great if she'd given the "hero" the bird and gone off with someone else?

Kenzie, I know that book. It is one of the worst historical romances ever written, with a mistake on every page. I'm not even going to mention the title, it was sooo bad. I couldn't believe the author had the nerve to call it a 'historical' because it didn't have any!

J.A. Saare said...


One of my favorite stories isn't a make-over one, but the heroine does grow to love and accept herself as does the hero of the tale (that happens to be blind). It's called "This is all I Ask" by Lynn Kurland.

Kenzie Michaels said...

Can you email me the title, Lynne? I have no idea what box it's in.

It's going to bug me, and I really don't want to go tear apart my storage unit:)

flchen1 said...

Wow. Anne, that's just horrible. As much as I love a good "Cinderella" story, I kind of hate when the heroine gets a makeover and then tada! Suddenly the world sees what a great beauty she always was and like magic, all that she's dreamed of falls at her feet. On the one hand, I'd love to be that sort of Cinderella; on the other hand, that so rarely happens in real life that I feel like it's such a cop-out.

One plain-Jane heroine story I love is Debbie Macomber's Morning Comes Softly. The transformation is not so much physical as a change in perspective. The hero comes to see her as beautiful not because she gets a haircut and wears makeup but because he comes to love her and who she is, and that allows him to see her beauty. It's such a reminder that love does indeed transform us. :)

Anonymous said...



Anne Rainey said...

Lynne--Funny you should say that! I was actually beginning to cheer for the other guy mentioned in the story! I liked him way better!

J. A.--I've never read that author before. Thanks for the rec. I'll check her out! :)

Anne Rainey said...

flchen1--Thanks for the rec. Yet another author I've never read. I'll be checking her out! :)

Hotcha--It's an older book (not a new release), so you probably won't be buying it. :)

Wendi Zwaduk said...

I totally agree with you. I get frustrated with the stories that practically demonize women who aren't sociallly perfect. Probably why I write my heroine's with some sort of issue that actually draws her to the hero. I'm with you. He better find her hot without the glitz.

Though I'm shocked the published published that, I also realize that some publishers will publish whatever they can in order to get product out, whether it's good or not. That's a shame for the reader and the writer. Both get cheated.

But then again, some people want to be cheated.. wasn't that in an Eurythmics song?



Anne Rainey said...

Wendi--I did google this author and found that this was her only release. Maybe she changed her style of writing and is published under a different name, then chose NOT to promote that title. I don't know, maybe that's just wishful thinking. LOL

I can say this much though. I've never read a book where the hero was SUCH a complete ass. It was a unique experience for sure!