Picking Up the Pieces by Annabella Michaels

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3.5 out of 5 Stars

The Summary: Two Shattered Hearts

Brody Murphy feels as if he’s lost everything when his best friend and partner, Paul, dies in the line of duty. Partners on the force for years, Paul Donovan was all Brody had. Paul accepted Brody as he was—standoffish from a childhood in the foster system, bisexual in a police force that wasn’t entirely welcoming, Brody is now adrift. Wracked by survivor’s guilt and grief, Brody devotes what’s left of his heart to help Paul’s widow and her children. And when his partner’s oldest child returns home a grown man, Brody is torn between what he thinks he should do and what his heart wants.

Grief Binds Them

Cooper Donovan is in his senior year of college when the unthinkable happens. His father dies, and Cooper returns home to be with his family, and help his mother with his little sisters. So many things were left unsaid between Cooper and his father, a fact that weighs heavily on his heart. College helped Cooper learn more about who he was and what he wanted from life, and with Brody Murphy comes unexpected feelings and complications.

Hope Leads Them Home

Brody and Cooper forge a connection that leaves Brody conflicted, Cooper determined, and both men wounded by their shared grief. While Brody struggles with why he lived, and Paul died—he had no one and nothing, and Paul had everything to live for, Cooper sees a man who deserves love and happiness under the grief. Tension rises when Brody and Cooper can’t deny what’s happening between them. Both men are picking up the pieces of their previous lives and putting together a new future, one where hope and love heals, and home is in each other’s arms.

The Review

Picking Up the Pieces by Annabella Michaels is a story of loss. It is a story about finding hope in the face of losing one of the most important people in your life and finding love in a place you may least expect it.

Brody Murphy watched his partner Paul Donovan get shot in a botched robbery attempt. Not only was Paul his partner at work, but he had become part of Brody’s family. Brody is wracked with guilt. He doesn’t have a family, no children or spouse. Why was he the one who made it out alive?

Cooper Donovan, Paul’s son, returns home to help his mother take care of his little sisters and to make sure they’re going to make it through this as a family. Cooper’s thoughts weigh on him. He never had the chance to come out to his parents and he would never have that chance with his father. Brody evokes feelings in him he didn’t think he should have. He was much older, his father’s best friend and one hundred percent off limits. Or so he thinks.

This is a story that pulls at the heart. There were moments that my heart broke for both these men. Cooper is picking up so much responsibility, while attending school, and trying to keep it all together. Brody becomes a support, someone he relates to and can speak of his secrets with. The attraction between them is established quickly and it runs deep. It’s not only an age-gap romance, there’s depth to it that makes it feel realistic. Brody and Cooper are equals that compliment and keep each other balanced.

I do feel like there was something missing here though. I feel like there weren’t enough scenes between Brody and Cooper. I loved the date scene, and Brody making sure Cooper knew that he felt like Cooper was someone worth being treated special. That he deserved dates and to be won over. It wasn’t just sex between the two of them, it was more. I think everyone deserves that and I love to see it written out in books.

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Perfect Partners by Maggie Cummings

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Four out of Five Stars

The Summary: Sara Wright knows better than to fall for a cop.

For Sara, an elite police dog trainer for the federal government, attractive women in uniform are an occupational hazard. But she gave her heart to a coworker once before and the battle scars from that failed relationship are still fresh. She dodges every chance at romance with the officers she trains, focusing her energy on turning out the finest handler-canine teams in the country. But when annoyingly perky, unfairly sexy Isabel Marquez arrives at Homeland Security’s Northeast Regional Training facility brimming with excitement, and a surprising desire to succeed, Sara’s good intentions start to falter. She can’t help being drawn to Isabel’s enthusiasm, and, okay, her long dark hair and brilliant smile don’t hurt either. Keeping their contact limited to friendship is harder than she thought. When it comes to enforcing her own rules of the heart, Sara might need to break a few for a chance at forever.

The Review

If you are looking for a quick, fun read then this is the book for you.

Isabel Marquez arrives bright eyed and excited to become a K-9 officer. She’s determined to do her absolute best and prove that favors weren’t all that got her into this position. Sara Wright trains the officers and dogs for the real world and all the risks that come with being a K-9 officer. She doesn’t want to get involved with another cop, but it’s hard to resist Isabel especially once Chase picks her as his officer. There is no other way to explain the bond between Isabel and Chase but it was moving seeing the two get to know each other and learn to work together.

What I really enjoyed about this book with the romance. It wasn’t too spicy and it fit Sara and Isabel. Their relationship was gentle, kind and well thought out. I liked the realistic sex scenes (that felt odd admitting to) but it wasn’t like last few books where I needed to skip a few pages. The way they touched each other was intentional and done with care. I like a soft, subtle romance scene. That’s what you got with this book.

There was a little drama with Sara’s previous girlfriend, but it wasn’t too angsty.  It kept the story moving and helped us learn more about Sara’s past and why she does what she does. Family was also an important aspect in this novel. While we didn’t get huge family scenes, the ones we did get were enjoyable and felt exactly how you would feel meeting your significant other’s family.

This was a cozy romance with a touch a spice.

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