Book Review – Unbreak My Heart by Nicole Jacquelyn

by Maryse on June 9, 2016 · 5 comments

in My Book Reviews

Unbreak My Heart
With that gorgeous cover, that promisingly heart-hurty title, and that blurb, I just knew this book was written for me (and us!!) She’s in love with her best friend’s military husband, but when her best friend dies, she helps him hold it all together while he’s deployed, including HIS children, (oh yes my friends, this one is hard-core like that!!!)

…supportive from thousands of miles away, but his homecoming brings a betrayal Kate never saw coming…

It was definitely a book after our own broken hearts, and we were DYING to read it. So we did! A buddy-read! It promised so many feels, and some that would make me ache just right, and boy did it!

Tessa: I have to confess. Every time I see the title, Unbreak my Heart, the song plays in my head.  :P

Amy: ♫…say you’ll love me again♪ :D

Maryse: ♪Undo this hurt you caused when you walked out the door and walked out of my life…♫♪ *sob* :P

Michelle: *Horribly off key* ♪Un-cry these teeaarrrssss

Amy: I cried so many nights♫

Maryse: ♫Un-break my heart. My heart………………………. (The extra dots are me holding that note. ;))

Jan130: ♪Unbreak My Hearrrrrt…..♪ *uses hairbrush as microphone* Dang, now It’s in my head too! And I’m not even reading the book!

Tessa: ROFL Thank you all for that. That was priceless!  :D

Maryse: It’s a good think I like that song, Tessa… I too have been singing it non-stop every time I think of this book.

Cheryl: ♫ ♫…Time is so unkind…And life is so cruel without you here beside me… ♪  Kinda sums up where I am at in the book now (47%). It is so realistic with no insta-love and the GUILT and the kids. REALISTIC, but frustrating to read and waiting for the really bad to happen.

Maryse: OMG CHERYL!!!!!!! EXACTLY. Realistic as can be… the writing is good, the story is good, and I believe every bit of it. Especially how he reacts to her, and around her. Even his thoughts are believable.

Ahhhh the wonderful heartache relief of singing!!!!

I can officially say, when I asked the book-gods for a hero that would infuriate me, and be true to his jerk-butt character, through and through, this author sure as heck delivered him. She delivered SO much that I wasn’t sure I’d be able to even like him in the end. Oh, don’t get me wrong, he’s not an absolute monster, or irredeemable or anything to that extent, but he sure as heck is unlikeable, and even hate-able for a good part of the book. I’d go so far as to say he was, at times, emotionally abusive. YIKES! I know… that can be considered unredeemable, but his circumstances might forgive him for such atrocities. Or maybe not. I know I hated him for a good while!

Cheryl: I’m at about 35% in Unbreak My Heart. Yes, it has been heartbreaking, but I am so frustrated with it so far; Kate’s lack of a backbone and the overall meanness of Shane. Talk about a slow-burn relationship. Worried about where this is going, especially with the blurb about “his homecoming bringing a betrayal.” What is the betrayal?!!!

Amy: Cheryl…I’m not that far into it and I’m *already* having twisty-tummy over what the betrayal is that’s coming. And you’re so right…no insti-love here!

Maryse: Ohhhhh he IS a jerk. A total ass!!!! But I kind of get it (why he is, although she certainly doesn’t deserve that), and I’m enjoying it. Definitely gives this an edge and some depth. Mind you, I find her a bit of a busy-body when it comes to him. So of course at times, he’ll react… badly.

Amy: OOOOOOH!!!!! That D!CK!!! That d!ckety d!ckhead full of d!cks stupid d!ck-faced D!CK!

Maryse: Oooooooh I wanna KICK HIM. Right. There!

Cheryl: Amy, preaching to the choir…

Maryse: Amy let’s kick him!!! But you know… as uncomfortable as his thoughts are.. and the things he says… it’s kind of really realistic, ya know? The author is not trying to make him “pc” as far as bad-boy/good-hearted heroes go. He’s not a bad guy per se… he’s just… UGH!!!! And this is as unrequited as it gets. I couldn’t have asked for more. ;)

Jan130: Maryse the visual on my screen is hilarious. Your pretty smiling face in your little photo beside your words “let’s kick him!!!” Makes your smile seem evil and vicious…. mwah hah hah…..

LOL!!!!! *snort* :P


Considering his circumstances during a good portion of this story, it’s hard to completely blame or hate him, because he’s grieving. Being so crazy-in-love with his deceased wife, and having her best friend (and one that he KNEW was constantly pining for him for years) in his space (their space) put him on edge constantly, and he did everything he could (er… well. confused except for that one time) to keep her at a significant distance.

No matter how much he needed her, how much his children NEEDED her (other than their mother, she was all they knew), he didn’t want her in his life. For his new wife. He didn’t want her for his children’s mother. He didn’t want her. And he made it known. Oh sure… there was a slight attraction on his part (there had always been) but she just wasn’t his “type”. And after losing his wife, she was so far from his heart, he couldn’t see straight. And he was one hurtful a$$!!!!

Amy: It’s just…it’s just…after being in his head and knowing what he’s thinking, I don’t know if I’m EVER going to like him, ya know? :? I talk big like this but watch…I’ll probably end up loving him. *snort* And YES Maryse! Let’s kick him right in his unrequited junk!!! Errr, that didn’t make sense but whatever…

Maryse: I wish I could post a boot and an eggplant emoji!

Amy: Yeah, so we can boot him in HIS eggplant. :P


Amy: Aw crap, Cheryl…that reaction has me hesitant now. :?

Maryse: It has ME excited!!!!

Amy: Of course it does, you nutter. :P

Tasha: OMG all of your reactions have me grinning from ear to ear! Lol!! I’m late to getting here and just read through all of the comments. I must say you guys have me scared to read Unbreak My Heart, but I really wanna know if he ends up likable. :P

But I’ll be honest. As much as I cringed when she kept “coming back to help him” in some way, when she kept excusing the horrible way he’d treat her, and when she kept apologizing or sort of… clinging to him in ways (her internal dialogue, and even her external dialogue could drive me batty), I was SO connected.

Amy: Okay, so I’m feeling angry, my heart is clenching, I want to cry for her, I want to punch and simultaneously comfort him, I want to throw a tantrum for the whole situation, my gut is all cramped up… And you know what? I’m loving it every second of it. :D It’s been a while since I’ve had a book do THIS to me (at least that I can remember), and HOLY MOLY I’ve missed it!

Cheryl: So far it has been the most real book I have read. He is true to his emotions and feelings and doesn’t pull any punches. He loved his wife and Kate does not and has never done anything for him nor is she a replacement for his wife. There is no waking up and realizing oh yeh I love her.

Grace: Cheryl – That’s not really true. Remember his reaction to her in the beginning. He’s rotten to her because his reactions to her are twisted. He doesn’t like how she makes him feel.

Cheryl: Maryse and Amy! I’m loving your reactions! Angry? Check! Stabby and or Kicky (LOL!)? Check! Bleeding hearts (those kids!)? Check! Questioning? (Why does he? Why does she put up with it?) Check! I loved it, but I think it was because it was way more a bully book then a rip my heart out with your bare hands and chew on it while smiling book. I still do not trust you two, but this was a winner! ;)

I’m not saying his attitude is acceptable or excusable, or that she was the cause of her own heartache (although I wanted to shake some sense into her badly!!!), but I will say that circumstances were certainly not favorable or conducive for either of them to have even a friendship at that point, much less a healthy love, and it felt REAL.

Okay and now here is our buddy-read “overall opinions” so you might want to SKIP THIS NEXT PART if you don’t want to know more. We don’t spoil anything, but definitely give you a feel for it all, as a whole, so… you know. ;)

Yet, as much as his actions and demeanor enraged me, it was refreshing reading a potential love story where one of the characters was NOT that into the other. It was truly a journey. Potential love that needed to be worked for, uncovered, and allowed to breath… slowly. Delicately. And for specific reasons.

From the two main characters being sort-of-family/best friends as teens, to barely acknowledging each other when he went for her best friend instead of her, to tolerating each other for the sake of one mutual woman in their lives, to fighting like cats and dogs when she was all he had. He needed her, but resented her simultaneously, and while she didn’t deserve that treatment (OH MY GOODNESS, he USED her without batting an eye), and she let him. Maybe it was for the sake of the children, but knowing how much she loved him… I’m not that fooled. ;)

It wasn’t instalove (and I do believe instalove happens, so I’m not poo-poohing that). But it was nice to experience a tentative re-connection, on a whole different level. Second chance romance, but not your typical sweet version of that. A whole book about two people well acquainted with each other, with a certain history, that weren’t an obvious “item” loaded in apprehension and reservation and resentments. And does it ever become anything? My lips are sealed but I will say there’s a shocking *gasp*!!! Actually there were TWO gasps. One that I loved (due to the monkeywrench it threw into the mix)

Maryse: OMG the start of chapter three has me cackling, and nervous-excited.

and one that I HATED!!!

Amy: OMG. I was just starting to like him. REALLY like him. Then he did THAT. *sigh* We’ve come full freaking circle. I don’t know that I’m ever going to truly like this guy again.

Maryse: Maryse: You guys… I kind of hate him. In one way I understand, but nope. I kind of hate him.

Oh yes. I hated him. But I knew I needed to restrain my judgyness. There was SO much more to this.

So what’s it about?

His dead wife’s best friend (who was also sort of his… foster cousin from back when they were teens) has been in love with him for years, and has been deeply involved in his children’s lives since they were born (while he was away on deployment). She was there from start to finish helping his wife (her best friend) raise their children,

Amy: “I didn’t mind that Rachel wanted to spend time with Shane while he was home. I totally understood it. But it sucked being the friend who was ignored when someone’s significant other came home from yet another military deployment. I practically lived with Rachel while Shane was gone—she hated being alone—but the moment her husband stepped foot on American soil, I was persona non grata again.

Dude. She must either be a military wife or know one ’cause that is SPOT ON. And it’s nothing personal…it just is. *shrug*

and when she died in an accident, she was the first person everyone called to help pick up the pieces. Except he resented how close she was to his children, and he resented how close she was to his wife, and he especially resented how he had to work hand-in-hand with her since he was still deployed.

A double edged sword for him, because while he was relieved that there was someone there for his children, he didn’t want to get close to her, he didn’t want her to be a constant fixture in their lives (and he makes it known numerous times). Yet it was already done. It was (is) inevitable. His children LOVE her.

Maryse: The kids are SO realistic. SOOOOO REALISTIC!!!!! And cute. And bratty. She’s got the littlest one’s speech down perfect.

And other stuff. ;) Oh yes. Stuff.

And I’m stopping there. It’s a whirlwind of emotion for all of the characters AND the reader, and I can guarantee he will have you FUMING. You will be cussing up a storm, and you might want to attach your e-reader to your wrist. You might just accidentally chuck it across the room. Just sayin’. ;)

Amy: After all that turmoil and anger (which was SO fun!) through the first 50-60%, it just kind of plateaued. I would have liked for the tummy-twisting drama to have lasted a little longer. Or maybe I just get bored and impatient with my books lately. it was crazy fun at first with being angry at him and he turmoil, but I wasn’t thrilled with the last 40% or so. And I had a REALLY hard time warming up to him after all of his shenanigans. I still don’t think I like him. :? It was good but if I had to rate it I would say 3.5 to 4 stars…I keep going back and forth on that. ;) Thanks for another fun BR, ladies. :D

Maryse: Amy I’m on a 4 star level with it… I have to write the review now. But agreed. He was quite the ass!

Amy: Maryse…yes he was!! I guess my biggest issue with it was how we never really saw him in any other light aside from being the jerk husband of her best friend. We were TOLD that they were good friends before he hooked up with her best friend and then started treating her like crap (for a flimsy reason, IMO), but there weren’t any flashbacks or anything else given to let us see a different side of him so that we could hurt along with her over the the loss of the relationship between him and her. Make sense?

Maryse: YES!!! We lacked THAT initial connection for sure. In fact, I saw her more as the clingy little-foster-sister hanger-on, and him just… going for her hot friend, and rolling her eyes at her. Like he’s ALWAYS been a jerk with her, and she never… clued in. YEP. I get you.

Cheryl: My opinion on UMH, I really liked the first maybe 70% and the realistic feeling of their “relationship.” Then it just was meh. I got tired of his hot-cold reactions and her responses. Only time I really respected her, was towards the end when she finally stood up for herself. Had good potential and then just fell flat.

Grace: I just want to say that I agree with Amy that UMH would have been a great deal more powerful if we had the past closeness between them spelled out a bit more. I think I also feel that the ending was lacking in that it just happened to quickly even though the book told you how he was patiently waiting her out. I think I put a great deal of emotional stock into her love for the children. Everything she felt or didn’t feel had to be seen through the lens of her willingness to do anything to be with them. Even when she found her backbone they weakened her position. It wasn’t possible to just walk away even if we wanted her to. I thought it was really good, but I agree it could have been much more amazing with a few adjustments.

Jean: I agree with all your comments about UMH….. loved the beginning though! I wanted more angst after his deployment…..or something crazy….and I was expecting it, but it didn’t hit me as hard as I would have liked. I really liked the book, but never really liked him and I agree it’s because we didn’t see any of their past closeness. The realness was great and absolutely loved the kids!

4 stars <— GOOD but really hard on me. And I appreciate that, but let’s just say for me the reader, to re-connect to him after what he put her through? A proper look at the “sweet” version of their history (what we were told they once had as teens, because all we saw was the bad blood between ‘em). And perhaps a longer or more in depth version of the last quarter of the book. I was still scowling “at him” even though I should have been swooning…


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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Julie o June 10, 2016 at 4:09 AM

After I read everyone’s comments and Maryse’s review I don’t think I want to read this book. Don’t want to put myself through that especially when I have so many on my TBR list. Thank you ladies!

Jean June 10, 2016 at 8:51 AM

Great review Maryse! I really liked the storyline of the book, even though I never fell for Shane. 4 stars for me!

Maryse June 10, 2016 at 9:10 AM

Agreed, me too, Jean! Had I been able to finally fall in love with him… this would have been a 5 star for me.

Amy June 11, 2016 at 10:58 AM

Perfect, Maryse. :D

And everything you said right after the star rating…YES!! I was never able to fall for him. And SHE needed to grow some ovaries instead of being so quick to forgive every time she was given some scraps from him. UGH.

But man, was that fun being angry at him. ;)

Ela June 13, 2016 at 8:22 AM

Sounds totally right Maryse! Shane should really go suck a lemon and his freakin’ mood swings gahhhhhhhhhhhh! But still 4 stars!

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