Chemist Dr. Robert “Belle” Belleterre loves flowers, green trees, his best friend Judy, and “his baby”: the new face cream he developed to help put his father’s small cosmetics company on the map. Sadly he gets no help from his alcoholic, gambling-addicted father who loses Belle in a poker game to Magnus Strong, the CEO of Beauty, Inc. the largest American cosmetics company—a man infamous for his scarred ugliness.
Belle finds himself uprooted from his home, living in a wildly crazy apartment in New York owned by Mr. Pennymaker, and completely unprepared for his mad attraction to the charismatic Strong. Feeling like a traitor, Belle fights his passion only to see more and more of the goodness and humility hidden by Strong’s ugly face. But when Belle’s family starts manipulating his life again, the odds turn against happiness for beautiful Belle and his beloved beast.
I love a good retelling of a fairy tale as much as the next person and this one was actually a bit of a twist on two fairy tales. It was a touch of Beauty & the Beast meets Cinderella, minus the glass slippers, singing mice and midnight curfew, but it did have a couple of evil step-sisters (or in fact brothers) and an evil step-mother (insert drunken, gambling father) and a fairy godmother or godfather in the form of Mr. Pennymaker.
For the Beauty and the Beast portion well we had 'Belle' of course in the form of the beautiful Dr. Robert Belleterre (chemist) who like Belle from the Disney movie was loyal to his father and wanted to do whatever he could to help him but unlike Belle's father our Belle's father was not an adoring and loving but forgetful inventor who would sacrifice himself for his child without hesitation (see previous comments). Next we have 'the beast' otherwise known as 'Magnus Strong' whose face was terribly scarred when he was younger (nope, not telling how or why...you'll need to read the story or listen to the audio book). Magnus is the owner of Beauty Inc. and he wins Belle in a poker game with Belle's father who of course is very inebriated. We even have an updated version of Gaston, in the form of Christian a scheming and conniving board member who wants to ruin the beast (Magnus).
There was actually a lot about this story that I enjoyed it was cute and kinda' fluffy. It had a lot of secondary characters who were interesting. Belle and Magnus's relationship had more than a few obstacles to overcome before they could be together. So for overall concept I definitely applaud this one. A very traditional tale told with an updated and innovative spin.
What were my problems. Well in fact there was really only one, but it became a big one. Big enough to keep me from loving this story...it was the cheese factor. That's right when our MCs got together and by got together I'm talking sexy times here. The cheese factor was outrageous. Without fail my inner 12 year old was rolling on the floor in fits of giggles...note exhibit 'A'...
Belle giggled. Oops, had that sound really come out of him? “What are you going to do to me, you gorgeous beast?”
For a second Magnus’s eyes widened; then he seemed to get the game and growled. “I may eat you.” (there's more but it gets a little x-rated from here).
or there's this wonderful moment...
Belle whispered, “Oooh, don’t stop looking. It’s so pretty.”
Magnus opened up and gazed into Belle’s eyes. “You’re a naughty, naughty boy.”(I'll just let your imagination fill in the blanks on what they're looking at...go ahead let your inner naughty, naughty child run lose, I'm sure you'll figure it out).
These were a couple of the tamer lines but we'll go with them for the purposes of keeping at least a 'PG' rating on this review and I think it makes my point sufficiently, but if you want more examples, well than you simply need to read the book.
I'm sure that the intent was not to bring out my inner 12 year old for a giggle fest every time Belle and Magnus got down to business, but that's what happened.
Needless to say I was left with a story that overall worked and I thought was cute but needless to say when the sex scenes make you giggle like a 12 year old somethings not working quite right.
Now, for the audio portion of this one. Kale Williams was the narrator and he's a new one for me. I was impressed with the range of voices he had to create for the characters because this one had quite a cast...there was Belle, Magnus, Judy, Owen, Mr. Pennymaker, Leroy, Belle's father and brothers, several Beauty Inc. employees, Eric something or another (he was too much of a jerk to bother remembering his name...actually he was a total sleaze ball and the narrator did an excellent job with this voice because it was totally conveyed to me that I would not like this man and trust me...I didn't...well done Mr. Williams). Would I listen to other books by this narrator...very probably it would depend on the story.
An audio book of 'Beauty Inc.' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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