Review of “Jigsaw Hearts”

JH
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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. 

 

Ring Synopsis

 

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.

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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. adult-1867702-340_origSuddenly 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!

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For another snippet, click here

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!

  1. “Before I knew it, she threw her arms around my shoulders to squeeze me like a cobra on speed.”
  2. “‘Forgive me, Ren, but … are you into random encounters with men?’” (more for the response that follows.)
  3. “‘Yeah, well if some gnome runs at me from under a bush, I’m kicking it like a football.’”
  4. “‘You … are this beautiful study in contrasts.’” (Swoon!)
  5. “‘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:

5-Star

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.

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Review of Abby’s Promise

AbbyPromise
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I LOVED this book! It was sweet with a splash of sexy and a hint of comedy all mixed into one. Sounds like the best kind of drink if you ask me! There were moments that made me laugh, some where I wanted to cry, and others that I just wanted to beat the snot out of someone. Like I said, it was a GREAT story. But let me not get ahead of myself.

If you’ve been following me on Townie Critics, then you know how this works. Synopsis, spoiler warning, followed by full review and my final rating at the end. Now that we’re all caught up, let’s get this road on the show.

 

Ring Synopsis

Abby and Joey parted ways eight years ago when he joined the Marines. They had maintained some contact, but it dwindled over time until they stopped speaking all together. Now back in town, Joey wants to reconnect, but Abby isn’t all that interested. Or is she? Even if she is, there are several people who want nothing more than to keep them apart. Can they get past all the drama and find their way to one another?spoilers

Now that you know the premise, this is your one and only warning that there are SPOILERS AHEAD. Continue reading at your own risk.

The story starts off with a text between Abby and Joey. Something he’s recalling from eight years earlier. It took me a second with this because Abby apparently gave him the nickname “Jo-Jo.” I couldn’t quite get used to that. Mostly because I couldn’t imagine a guy being nicknamed “Jo-Jo.” Though, now that I think about it, I could absolutely see a feminine woman calling her best guy friend named Joseph, “Jo-Jo.” Anyway, so Joseph is on his first day of college and he’s thinking about Abby. They haven’t yet crossed paths, but we all know it has to happen soon. Then we find out Abby went to college to teach. I was absolutely giddy at this point because I knew what would happen.

Abby would turn out to be Joseph’s professor. That alone spelled trouble! Though I certainly didn’t imagine everything else that would be going on. Kidnapping, fights, jail, asshole parents … okay, maybe that’s a bit strong … self-righteous would be more appropriate. Maybe even indignant. But I get to that later.

Within the first few chapters, we learn rather quickly that both Joseph and Abby have been through some things. Joseph fought in the war and that certainly left a mark on him. Then there’s family, his father mostly. I have never wanted to punch the shit out of a character more than I did Joey’s father! The guy was an absolute tool! Dickhead! Scoundrel. You get the picture.

As for Abby, she isn’t just the mother of a two-year-old, but she’s also a widow. Another mark left by war and this is one of the reasons she initially pushes Joey away. As the story goes on, we discover more about what happened to Abby’s late husband. This made me feel for her. Yes, she had her daughter and her family, but sometimes that isn’t enough. And while Joey had been her first love, she isn’t quite ready to take another leap, at least not without some encouragement.

AbbyPromise1And that is where we get our romance and hot as hell moments from!  Because sometimes you just can’t fight the feeling. Which means all it takes is a small glimpse of hope. It takes a couple of days, but Abby gives Joey just what he needs. “My heart lifted. It wasn’t a no, but a maybe another time. That gave me hope.” This leads to an offer for him to babysit while she’s teaching. Which can only go one direction.

Comedy! It would have been nice to see Joey babysitting from his point of view, except then the story might have dragged on a little. So the summaries we get by texts between Joey and Abby were the right way to go. And I definitely laughed. My favorite line, “YOU DIDN’T TELL ME THEY POOP THIS MUCH.”

Though, Abby’s reaction was pretty amusing too. “I stared at his text and started to laugh. I could just imagine the look on his face, changing my daughter. What is this? What is that? Why is there so much? He would be disgusted, amused, and freaking out.”

Seriously? Abby’s daughter is going on two. Kids do four things at that age: sleep, play, eat, and poop. What else did he expect? I’m just saying.

This was also pretty sweet. The way Joey got along with Abby’s daughter, how he entertained her, and it just made him look sexier to Abby. Not that was ready to admit it. And honestly that made me LOVE the story more. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good sex scene, but with these two we actually got to see them falling in love with one another.

While I don’t want to give too much away, I will leave you with three more of my favorite lines.

  1. “As if to let me know, Zoey promptly hit me on the top of my head. ‘Go!’ she squealed.”
  2. “My sister was laughing now. ‘Jesus Christ, ya’ll need a hotel room or what?’”
  3. “‘You’re the giver of wood, Abby Jameson.’”

Following their journey is what made this book so wonderful! Not only did these two have to overcome the history they had with each other, but they also had to battle the demons that had crept in while they were apart. This was a great read!

With that said, I give it …

5-Star