Howdy, howdy! It’s the last Wednesday of April! Can you believe it? Time sure flies, I guess. Anyway, it’s time for another book review! Actually, this month is a little different because I’m reviewing two books at once. My friend, Danielle Rose, has a duet coming out on May 14th, so I decided to see if I could get some Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs) of the books. Thanks to NetGalley and Waterhouse Press, I did just that. The duet is called Pieces of Me and it’s comprised of Lies We Keep and Truth We Bear. They are contemporary romances, so they’re not my usual reads, but I knew that going in. I thought you should know as well. Anyway, as usual, I have to thank NetGalley and Waterhouse for allowing me access to the ARCs in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Let’s get on with it!
The Pieces of Me duet is centered around famous author, Jezebel Tate, and her bodyguard, James Blakely, as their relationship blooms from “just sex” into full blown love. Lies We Keep is told from Jezebel’s perspective and follows her as she hires Blakely to protect her from her stalker. Along the way, she has to confront her past and accept that she isn’t to blame for her parents’ deaths. Truth We Bear is told in Blakely’s perspective and follows him as he and his past chase each other into a head-on collision. He has to learn the same lesson as Jezebel, but under completely different circumstances.
Let’s talk plots. The whole of the stories are vastly different, but both books are pretty similar if you boil them down to their bones. Both Jezebel and Blakely have to deal with stalkers while they sort out issues revolving around the deaths of their folks. Plus, they have to find time to cram in lots of steamy sex (a requirement of the romance genre, so don’t pretend you didn’t know it was coming). Granted, Jezebel’s journey to resolving her issues is more internal and psychological while Blakely actually gets to confront people from his past, but still similar. I enjoyed the parallels.
The characters were interesting and mostly fleshed out. Jezebel vacillates between a strong woman who knows what she wants and takes it and an insecure woman who feels that only a big strong man can save her. It’s annoying at times, but not out of the realm of believability. Blakely is basically your average stoic dom on the outside with a bunch of weird insecurities inside (I say weird because I didn’t understand why he was worried about her leaving him over what happened when he was a kid). Tara, the literary agent, was a neat character that I felt could have been used more. As far as the bad people go, I felt like Jezebel’s stalker could have shown up earlier and played a bigger part. He seemed a little like an afterthought. I really liked Blakely’s stalker, though. Her development was quick, but nicely done. And lastly, the pastor (Blakely’s actual bad guy) was a bit flat.
The writing is crisp and flows well. It makes for a quick read. There are some gestures that became repetitive. Distractingly so. Lots of bit lips and bobbing Adam’s apples and clenched jaws, especially in the first book. But to be fair, this happens in every romance I read, so I guess it’s a genre thing. But what I really liked was that they’re written to work as both a duet and standalone novels, so even if you only read one, you get the pleasure of a satisfying ending.
Ultimately, both books in the Pieces of Me duet were fun and I’m glad I read them. It’s good to get outside of my comfort zone once in a while.
Overall, I gave both books 4 out of 5 stars. The issues I had with them are minor and seem fairly common in the genre. If you like romance and lots of random sex, these are definitely worth a look.