Book Review – Unbreak My Heart by Nicole Jacquelyn

Book Review – Unbreak My Heart by Nicole Jacquelyn
Book Review – Unbreak My Heart by Nicole JacquelynUnbreak My Heart by Nicole Jacquelyn
Published by Forever, Grand Central Publishing, Hachette
Publication date: June 7, 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 353
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
1 Stars

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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Unbreak my Heart sounded like it was going to be really good. I was really intrigued by the book’s hook‚ÄĒgirl falls in love with her best friend’s husband after she dies tragically. This book didn’t deliver the good solid romance that I look for and I didn’t care about the characters. Instead, I found myself skimming often, and it was honestly really difficult for me to finish.

Katie gave her heart away to Shane when they were growing up. But Shane fell for her best friend, Rachel. Fast-forward ten years later, Shane and Rachel are happily married with a house full of children and happiness. Katie and Shane have barely spoken in years but she’s still around to help Rachel out with the children when Shane is deployed overseas. Tragically, Rachel dies in a car accident, leaving Shane and Katie with four children and broken hearts. Their crazy life gets more hectic when a drunken and passionate leaves them with even more to handle.

A large chunk of this book was a revolving door of the exact same drama. Shane and Katie will have a romantic moment or Shane will jump to a ridiculous conclusion. Then he flips out or is a major jerk in order to push Katie away. Then, he will realize how big of a jerk he is and apologize and grovel for her to forgive him. And then Katie will forgive him. This happens more than 4 times.

This monotonous back-and-forth¬†is the¬†only source of conflict for the book. I don’t mind a certain level of angst and drama, but the drama needs to actually be necessary for the story. In this book, the conflict was entirely¬†manufactured and there was no real reason why Shane and Katie couldn’t be together. She was a mother to his children. Both of their families got along. The only thing keeping them apart for the entire book¬†was Shane’s spontaneous and innumerable moments of jerkiness directed at Katie.

I think the author wanted to try to create an internal struggle for Shane, like a sense of guilt for moving on when he was so in love with his wife. But the author’s attempt to relay this to readers failed. If the author wanted me to buy that Shane was a jerk to Katie because he was grieving, that message was lost on me. When I read the premise of this book, that’s what I was expecting. I was expecting a grieving husband and a woman who put herself in his life and just takes over. But that’s not really what we were given.

The hero and heroine here are former best friends’ and have been through the ringer with Rachel’s death. But the author doesn’t ease the reader into their intimate relationship, we get no build up. Instead, we’re thrown into this drunken sexcapade. Like I said earlier, the rest of the book is Shane trying to convince himself that he loves her. But it’s not done is a way to make the reader fall in love with the couple.

There were moments in this book where I felt like there was an attempt to infuse this romance book with bits of women’s fiction.¬†This book is¬†not women’s fiction by any stretch of the imagination‚ÄĒthere was no female character journey. View Spoiler »

The writing in this book just seemed very amateur. There was no nuance or prose. The characters were very generic and there wasn’t anything that made them unique, memorable, or distinct. I didn’t feel anything but frustration. The book was very heavy on the dialogue, which made it an incredibly quick read, but I would have liked actual introspection and depth.

* I received an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

1 Stars
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Book Review – Pop Goes the Weasel by M.J. Arlidge

Book Review – Pop Goes the Weasel by M.J. Arlidge
Book Review – Pop Goes the Weasel by M.J. ArlidgePop Goes the Weasel by M.J. Arlidge
Series: Helen Grace #2
Published by NAL
Publication date: October 6, 2015
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 390 pages
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
3 Stars

A man’s body is found in an empty house.
A gruesome memento of his murder is sent to his wife and children.

He is the first victim, and Detective Helen Grace knows he will not be the last. But why would a happily married man be this far from home in the dead of night?

The media call it Jack the Ripper in reverse: a serial killer preying on family men who lead hidden double lives.

Helen can sense the fury behind the murders. But what she cannot possibly predict is how volatile this killer is‚ÄĒor what is waiting for her at the end of the chase...

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Pop goes Goes the Weasel, the second installment in M.J. Arlidge’s Helen Grace series, is full of thrills and chills. Many moments had that delicious pull that made it hard to put the book down, but it took me a long time to become fully engrossed in the book.

A murderous prostitute¬†is on the loose. Police find her male customers’ bodies with their hearts removed, evidence of a vicious murder. Detective Inspector Helen Grace and the rest of Southampton Central have their hands full as they try to track down the killer¬†before more men fall victim. At the same time, Helen is struggling with what happened at the end of Eeny Meeny. Her resolve¬†to keep her personal pain locked away and hidden is slowing crumbling. Meanwhile, Charlie’s return to the team complicates things as it forces her to face her own feelings of guilt as well.

One of my complaints in the first novel was the lack of character development. I am pleased to say that I didn’t get that same feeling in this one. I think the author is taking his time with Helen Grace’s character, revealing all of her layers over time, which is great. I only wish she was more compelling from the start of book one.

In Pop Goes the Weasel, we are given so much more insight into who she is because she allows herself to be vulnerable‚ÄĒand the reader gets to see that‚ÄĒwhich helped me enjoy the book much more. Helen is compassionate and strong, yet guarded, often coming across as cold or somewhat callous. In reality, she’s consumed by how much she cares‚ÄĒher past haunts her.

I enjoy seeing how the investigations into these murders unfold, including all of the dead ends. I look forward to seeing what’s next for Helen Grace and the rest of the gang in The Doll House! I really hope a certain member of the force is out.

There were a few subplots that I didn’t love, one of which felt like it was a repeat of what happened in Eeny Meeny. But overall, I liked this book more than book one, even though the plot structure of these two novels are virtually identical. Like the first book, each chapter is very short (no more than 4 pages).

Note: While you can technically go into each book without having read the others, I would highly recommend reading this series from the beginning, as there are spoilers for the previous book.

* I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinion in any way.

3 Stars
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