I LLLLOOOOOVVVVEEEDDDD this book! If you can’t figure it out by that statement alone, then let me forewarn you I AM going to GUSH about this book. There aren’t many books that I get into so much that I will push sleep aside, but THIS was one of them. In fact, I think the only other books I have done that for are the Warden. Yes, I might have just compared Danica Raimz’s Jigsaw Hearts to J.R. Ward. Did I mention she’s also a fan?
All right, I have digressed enough. Let’s get down to the nitty gritty and then the review.
Ren has learned it’s better to feel nothing at all, then everything and she has found ways to keep her emotions in check. Until her criminal brother, Seth, the one person she has trusted all her life, unexpectedly dies. His death sets of a chain reaction causing her coping mechanisms to falter. And the one person she finds comfort in is Galen—brother of the woman Seth conned. But Ren isn’t the only one battling demons; as it turns out Galen has a few of his own. Can they find the missing pieces in one another or will Seth’s past catch up with them first?
Now, you know what the book is about, allow me to continue the tradition of warning you that from this point forward there will be spoilers. I have some favorite lines that I can’t wait to share with you! Read ahead at your own risk.
If you read my Amazon review, then you know I teased about what “Ren” is short for. And for all the Apples, Maples, and Javas out there, I’d take “Ren’s” full name any day of the week and twice on Sunday. That leads us to my first favorite line, “The girl’s doe eyes blinked. ‘You’re Renaissance? I didn’t recognize you!’”
Yes, you read that correctly. “Ren” is short for “Renaissance.” And I absolutely loved it! Especially since there is a play on the name later. While I’ll give you a few more of my favorite lines shortly, that one you’ll have to discover on your own. (Do you think the author would mind if I named a future child that?)
There is a lot we learn about Seth’s and Ren’s relationship early on. For instance, they weren’t related by blood. They’re step-siblings. Though throughout the book it is clear that blood didn’t matter to the two of them. At least not for the majority of their lives. Initially they hated one another. The death of Ren’s father and the abuse they suffered from Seth’s mother changed all that. Suddenly they were all the other had. There is so much that is unknown about the depth of all they two of them went through as children in the beginning. The more that I discovered, as I read on, the more I felt for them. It certainly put a lot into perspective.
For instance, why had it become necessary for Ren to become, as she put it, a “cold fish?” I’m not going to say that I didn’t understand this because I’ve been there. To some degree, I still am. Probably one of the reasons I loved Ren so much. I could relate, even though I hadn’t gone through the same things, I got her. In fact, the line that sealed the connection is Ren’s explanation of how she became a shell: “I simply learned to avoid most situations that called for me to feel sentimental, attached, teary, or indebted.”
The teary is the one place Ren and I differ. Sad movies make me cry. My family crying makes me cry. Frustration and defeat make me cry. I’m sure that’s not it, but this is about Ren and Galen, not me.
Oops, did I tell you the name of the hunk already? Wait, you read the synopsis, of course you know the name of the hunk. Sort of. And for this, I’m just going to tell you what happens and then give you a nice little snippet. Because honestly, this was a great opening to Ren and Galen. And the more I read, the more I WANTED them together!
Anywho, so the book opens with Ren at her brother’s memorial service that his girlfriend (the doe-eyed girl from above) set up at the cliff where he died. Yeah, I know, a bit strange, but okay, I can go along with it. Corinne, the girlfriend, is giving a truly heart-felt eulogy about Seth when Ren passes out. It’s the first instance we see her coping mechanisms falter. And boy is it worth it!
Enter yummy, strong, steamy, chestnut-haired Galen to the rescue. The man is truly a wonder. He volunteers as an EMT, works in sustainability, and so many other wonderful things. So, Ren comes around in his arms and he helps clean up her head wound. And this is the beautiful introduction of Ren and Galen.
“‘River?’ I challenged. I found I couldn’t help myself.
He took a slow deep breath and glanced skyward. ‘Yeah. I know. Who names their kid River for real?’
I held back a grin. ‘Probably the same sort who would choose Renaissance.’
Galen cracked up, unleashing a set of dimples that stirred me. Then, ‘Sometimes I think I should just change it.’
‘What would you change it to?’
I couldn’t see him as he returned to pressing at the back of my head. ‘Butch. Rocky.’”
Now, I REALLY, REALLY want to give you more, but I could go on for a second and there are still some great lines to share. So, here we go!
- “Before I knew it, she threw her arms around my shoulders to squeeze me like a cobra on speed.”
- “‘Forgive me, Ren, but … are you into random encounters with men?’” (more for the response that follows.)
- “‘Yeah, well if some gnome runs at me from under a bush, I’m kicking it like a football.’”
- “‘You … are this beautiful study in contrasts.’” (Swoon!)
- “‘So very,’ he said with a devilish smirk. ‘Nothing makes a man happier than getting his girl super wet.’”
I know that’s more than a few, but I just couldn’t help myself. The way Ren and Galen both fought their attraction, gave in, then for all the emotions to overwhelm Ren and make her run, only for them to find their way back was all so exquisite. This isn’t just some random boy meets girl love story. It’s a truly emotional, in-depth love that conquers all story. A rollercoaster ride that I would hop on again and again and again. Just so I could be reminded that there is hope even for those of us who are slightly banged up or damaged.
Overall, I give it:
I’d give it more if I could.
And if you want more of Ren and Galen, there is another story out that I’ll review in a week or so. In the meantime, you can find Pieces of You, Pieces of Me here.