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Unbreak Me by Michelle Hazen with Adenrele Ojo Narrating [arc review]

"An unlikely pair take on their pasts together in this endearing contemporary tale of love through emotional hardship. Hazen writes with grace and compassion about life after trauma, smoothly addressing racism, sexual assault, and large-scale disasters without pat answers or platitudes."—Publishers Weekly


And that says it all right there. I often avoid books that deal with political and social issues, I read to escape the real world not to face it, I have the morning news for that... That being said, Michelle Hazen did an amazing job at bringing social issues to the front without making me feel like I was reading portion of the news.

The Blurb:

What could two troubled souls from different walks of life have in common? Maybe everything.
Andra Lawler lives isolated at her family’s horse ranch, imprisoned by the memories of an assault in college. When she needs help training her foals, she hires a Haitian-Creole cowboy from New Orleans with a laugh as big as the Montana sky.

LJ Delisle can’t stand the idea that Andra might be lonely—or eating frozen TV dinners. He bakes his way into her kitchen with a lemon velvet cake, and offers her cooking lessons that set them on the road to romance. But even their love can’t escape the shadow of what they've been through. Despite their growing friendship and his gentle rapport with the horses, LJ is still an outsider facing small-town suspicions.

Before they can work through their issues, LJ is called home by a family emergency. In the centuries-old, raggedly rebuilt streets of New Orleans, he must confront memories of Hurricane Katrina and familiar discrimination. And Andra must decide if she’s brave enough to leave the shelter of the ranch for an uncertain future with LJ.
 

The Review: 4.5 Stars

This was AMAZING! I got the arc for it from Berkley but I actually bought the audio book from libro.fm too- best decision ever. The narrator did a fantastic job, so much so I would happily have her narrate every darn book I listen to EVER! Specially if she is talking like LJ. I mean... can you fall in love with a narrators voice? or is that just too weird?! Ok, fine, I am weird... :)

LJ Delisle was charismatic, charming, big hearted... It was impossible not to fall for the guy. He took his time with Andra, he didn't rush her. He did everything right from beginning to end.
Andra was charming in her own right. Although both have a sad past to deal with hers is a little more pronounced as it affects her mental health. I felt for her, and I was proud of her in the end. 

Their friendship developed into something more slowly. You can see it happening and wonder how along it will be until one of them gives in. It was a very well written slow burn romance and I appreciated that. Both main characters are a little broken, and they needed that time to learn to trust each other. Nothing good would have happened without that. 

Now I bet you are asking "if you loved it so much why not give it 5 stars?" well, although the social issues did not make the book feel 'preachy' and/or 'news like' as so many contemporary books end up sounding, some of those issues did take more page time (or in this case audio time) than I would have liked. There were a few instances that the topic of race could have been cut off for being repetitive- "I understood your point the first 5 times, enough now". Obviously it didn't get so repetitive I didn't enjoy the book, but it enough to not be a 5 star book.

Find this awesome book at: GoodReads - Amazon - Inklings Bookshop


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