Monday, May 30, 2016

[ARC Review]: "Unbreak My Heart"

Unbreak My Heart by Nicole Jacquelyn 
Publisher: Forever (June 7, 2016)
Genre: Contemporary Romance

What do you do when your soul mate marries your best friend?

If you're Kate Evans, you keep your friend Rachel, bond with her kids, and bury your feelings for her husband. The fact that Shane's in the military and away for long periods helps-but when tragedy strikes, everything changes.

After Rachel, pregnant with her fourth child, dies in a car accident and the baby miraculously survives, Kate upends her entire life to share parenting duties. Then on the first anniversary of Rachel's death, Kate and Shane take comfort in each other in a night that they both soon regret.

Shane's been angry for a year, and now he feels guilty too - for sleeping with his wife's best friend and liking it . . . liking her. Kate's ability to read him like a book may have once sent Shane running, but their lives are forever entwined and they are growing closer.

Now with Shane deployed for seven months, Kate is on her own and struggling with being a single parent. Shane is loving and supportive from thousands of miles away, but his homecoming brings a betrayal Kate never saw coming. So Kate's only choice is to fight for the future she deserves - with or without Shane. . .

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My Review:

This book . . . oh, this book is a hard one to rate and review. For a good portion of the book, I wanted nothing more than to kick the hero in the balls. Repeatedly. For other parts of the book, I was content with the way things were going and could see myself giving the book 4 stars. How do you combine those two feelings and fully explore them in a review? To be honest, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to, but I’ll do my best.

Kate and Shane knew each other in their late teens; they were both in the same foster home for a few years. There was something between them, but neither acted on it. Instead, Shane ended up falling for Kate’s new best friend, Rachel. They later married and had children. Shane was deployed through most of that time and Kate, still Rachel’s best friend, gave up a good portion of her own life in order to keep Rachel company, to help her with the children and be there for support. Towards the end of Rachel’s fourth pregnancy, she gets into a car crash, and while the doctors were able to save the baby, Rachel passed away, leaving this huge hole in their lives. Kate, who had already been basically raising the kids, steps in to help Shane. This continues for a year, but on the anniversary of Rachel’s death, one thing leads to another and the two fall into bed together. That one night changes their lives forever.

"I'm really sorry, Katie."

"Nothing to be sorry about," I replied smoothly. I wasn't playing that game with him again. I was so tired of the push and pull that seemed to happen constantly. As far as I was concerned, if he was sorry, he wouldn't keep saying shitty things over and over.

Shane was truly a dick to Kate so often. He was always reminding her that she wasn’t the mother. Don’t even get me started on how he treated her the morning after That Night. He was a fucking douchebag and even blamed her for what happened, despite the fact that they were BOTH in that bed. I honestly can’t even count all the times he treated her like shit; there were a lot of instances, some worse than others, but all dick-moves nonetheless. It seems like he’d just start to change his ways and grovel to Kate, act like the kind of hero I wanted him to be, and then BAM! He’d fly that Dick Flag high and proud. It was a bit exhausting, really. And yet . . . I never wanted to DNF this book. There were other things – the story, the writing, the hope that he’d finally change entirely – that kept me reading.

Don’t get me wrong, despite Shane’s giant flaws, I did enjoy this book. I don’t regret reading it, and I didn’t hate it at any point. But I think it’s fair for you to know ahead of time that Shane will almost certainly piss you off. A lot.

Nicole Jacquelyn did a good job at trying to tackle such a hard – emotionally – storyline. I may not have entirely loved Shane, but he had his moments sprinkled throughout. I’m not sure if he had enough groveling and proof that he had changed to balance out all his shittiness, but I’d say it was pretty close.

Considering there’s only a couple of sex scenes in this book, it did still pack a punch in the steam department. I think I actually prefer that the sex wasn’t the driving force for their relationship. If it had been, on top of Shane’s asshole tendencies, I think I might have been very much tempted to stop reading. Instead, they had to work through their very screwed up relationship and how to take care of all the kids and just deal with daily life. In that way, the story felt very realistic, and I admit their more intimate, domestic scenes were probably my favorite – the times when they worked together to keep things running smoothly or when Shane would help her to relax after a tiring day, just the small things like that. Those were the moments when I was the happiest. Even something as simple as Shane helping Kate to try and bring down the swelling in her breasts (she was breast-feeding at the time but the baby wasn’t eating regularly, so there was a bit of build-up, sort of speak). Those were the moments when I wanted things to work out for them, when I wanted them to finally get a true HEA.

I'd pushed her aside for so long that there was no foundation to build on. Just a mess of shattered pieces that I'd crushed with a sledgehammer every time she'd grown closer than I was comfortable with.

Unbreak My Heart had some issues for me – mainly Shane’s asshole ways – but overall I did like following Shane and Kate’s journey through to the end. It’s rough, there’s angst and emotions flying throughout, and you might also find yourself ready to kick Shane’s ass until he changes, but I can see this book being a hit with many readers. I waver between giving it 3 ½ and 4 stars, but regardless of the actual rating, just know that it wasn’t a perfect read for me, but it was one that I’m glad I picked up. Even though this doesn’t appear to be the start to a series (that I’m aware of), I’m wondering if some of Kate’s foster siblings will get a book in the future. If so, I’d probably read them in a heartbeat.

3 1/2 STARS! 

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I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.

*Note: The quotes used belong to Nicole Jacquelyn; TBQ's Book Palace does not claim them. Any mistakes or typos in the quotes are my own fault.

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And yes, every time I saw the title on my screen while reading, the song started playing in my head. :P Both the original (here) and the one from Il Divo (here). 

Would I recommend this book? Yes. It wasn't a top hit for me, and, as I pointed out above, I did have issues with it at times, but I kept reading and ultimately I did enjoy most of it. When it was good, it was good. But when Shane was being a dick . . . well, that's when I was tempted to throw something. 

Oh, and just as an FYI, it's told in alternating 1st POV. 


Until Next Time,


  *TBQ's Book Palace is a member of both the Amazon and Barnes and Nobles affiliates program. By using the links provided to buy products from either website, I receive a very small percentage of the order. To read my full disclosure on the matter, please see this post!

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