All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Pieces Of Me by Jacquie Underdown

on December 14, 2015

Pieces Of MePieces Of Me
Jacquie Underdown
Escape Publishing (Harlequin AUS)
2015, 260
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

For Hannah, Mercy Island is a refuge, a new beginning, and a place to find safety in her own skin. Here, in this peaceful, beachside place, she will rediscover all those pieces of herself her abusive ex stole away. 

For Bear, Mercy Island is a prison, a backwater, a place he can’t wait to escape. Away, in the city, he’ll chase his dreams and lose the bad memories haunting him.

When Hannah’s home is damaged in an ugly storm, Bear offers his handyman services to repair it—a last job and a pretty girl to pass the time before he heads out. But Hannah is terrified to lose herself in another relationship, and Bear isn’t in it for the long haul.

However, their simmering sexual attraction refuses to be ignored, and just because love isn’t on the line doesn’t mean sex isn’t on the table. A no-strings-attached brief fling to curb the tension and take the edge off. No ties. No emotions. No pain.

But love has a way of coming in the windows, even when you’ve slammed the door, if only Hannah and Bear can stop looking to the past and find hope in their future.

I’m not succeeding very well with my summer reading list. So far I’ve read three titles off it already and I still don’t leave for my holiday for a few days yet! I’ve never been much good at waiting and these books are all published already, so I guess it doesn’t hurt….right?!

This one was very sweet. Hannah is young, only early 20s and her grandmother has just passed away, leaving Hannah her house on Mercy Island. Hannah spent summers with her grandmother growing up but became estranged from her due to a rift between her grandmother and mother. When the roof collapses in a storm, Hannah discovers not only how much she enjoys the company of local carpenter Bear, who used to mow her grandmother’s lawn when they were teens, but also a chest of her grandmother’s things, which includes a bucket list.

Having recently escaped a very negative situation, Hannah gravitates toward the idea of the bucket list. Her grandmother was able to accomplish many things and have many adventures during her later years before she passed away and Hannah sits down to write her own list of things she wants to do now that she is able to experience some freedom.

Hannah and Bear meet in embarrassing circumstances but become relaxed in each other’s company when he is called out to inspect the collapsed roof and puts together plans to fix it and begin renovating the house. Whereas Mercy Island is a haven for Hannah, for Bear it has kept him feeling trapped. He’s almost free to leave, ready to travel and then move himself forward, escape the chains that have shackled him in a place that’s mostly full of bad memories. Hannah turning up when she doesn’t couldn’t be worse timing – he’s attracted to her immediately but senses the deep scars she has and her fragility. She’s not ready for a relationship and Bear is leaving soon, so they shouldn’t….but their attraction is hard to ignore.

I really enjoyed the progression of Bear and Hannah’s friendship. Bear is a lovely character, he’s very protective (something that he had to learn at a young age). I felt sorry for him, because he’d been stripped of his childhood and innocence pretty young, forced into a role he was too young to have to shoulder. He’d made the most of it, done a spectacular job but there was no doubt that it had left him feeling bitter, cheated of things. He didn’t want to stick around but it took him a while to realise the true reasons he was wanting to leave and whether or not they were really the right ones for him. Hannah has suffered some damage too, she thinks she wants time away from relationships but sometimes the right person comes along when you least expect it!

Pieces Of Me tackles a couple of tough issues, namely domestic violence and neglect and definitely shows how the emotional scars can be long lasting and shape the decisions people make. Both Hannah and Bear definitely have issues tied up in what they’ve faced but they’re also able to rely on each other for support, understanding and strength. It was nice to see them establish such a strong friendship first – although it was underscored by sexual attraction, it wasn’t totally dominated by it and they spend a lot of time getting to know each other as Bear fixes up Hannah’s new house and teaches her to surf as part of her new bucket list. There was a slow burn which played out really well and kept the mix of sweet and sexy just right.

A very enjoyable read.

8/10

Book #184 of 2015

aww-badge-2015

Pieces Of Me is book #74 of my Australian Women Writers Challenge 2015

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