Review: Bring Me Home (#3, Shattered Hearts) by Cassia Leo

My Thoughts

A deeply emotional, intimate and heartfelt book that wouldn’t let me go. Beautifully written and paced, this is the perfect happily ever after to an amazing series, which ultimately tells a story of forgiveness and hope that with an unwavering believe proves that love conquers all.

5stars

Synopsis

Bring Me Home BN KoboClaire Nixon is a college student with a past full of secrets and heartbreak. She was saved once by her first love, and rock star, Chris Knight. But when she encouraged Chris to leave town to pursue his dreams, both Claire and Chris didn’t realize it would be the biggest mistake of their lives.

After a devastating year apart and thousands of miles of distance between them, Claire met sexy surfer Adam Parker. With his awful jokes and profound patience, he helped Claire pick up the shattered pieces of her broken heart for the second time.

But now Chris has returned and he is willing and determined to make Claire’s dreams come true—the same way she did for him when she let him go.

With Adam’s former girlfriend in the picture, Claire finds herself torn between the new, passionate love she shares with Adam and the love and family she shares with Chris.

My Review

“It’s not our mistakes that define us. It’s the lessons we learn that show our true character.”

This was the perfect ending to an amazing series. A series that with with each book became stronger and more introspective when it came to what we learned from the lives of three flawed, but very human individuals. To me, this is almost quite simply three life stories… ones that through destiny’s doing had more than their fair share of pain and sadness, but also ones that were filled with an abundance of love. Two of these people’s stories connected and were forever entwined, and one took a separate path that led him to his own, rightful happiness.

Reading this final installment, I could sense all the love and thoughtfulness that was poured into every word, every twist of the story. And I think that’s why the book felt so personal and intimate, allowing me, as a reader, to connect with and care about each of the characters. Yes, the series features a love triangle, but it’s much more than that. We also need to recognize what each character represents to the other, so we better understand their journey and ultimately their destiny.

“Sometimes letting someone go is the ultimate act of love.”

As the series progressed, it became increasingly clear to me who Claire belonged with. There was really only one person that felt truly right… her heart really only whole with him. And yes, despite the love they shared, life happened, mistakes were made and their path diverged for some time. After all, love doesn’t always give us a straightforward journey, it has unforseen twists and turns that we don’t always understand.

“Love is not black and white. It’s not even gray. Love is every shade of color in the spectrum, changing with every ray of light given and stolen.”

When Adam and Claire first met, they were both in pain and they became what the other needed. A sort of addiction that intensified as they found comfort in each other. Adam was still hurting from what happened with Myles, from his breakup with Lindsay and from his broken relationship with his father. So coming from a place where he felt betrayed, like no one loved him enough, he found Claire, who showed him love and understanding… exactly what he needed. For Claire, she was still reeling from the loss of Abigail and from her breakup with Chris. She was suffering with PTSD and seemingly had a huge hole in her heart. When Adam challenged Claire to open up, with love and patience, it was exactly what Claire needed so that she could finally face her past and begin to move forward.

“There are moments in life, and they happen so infrequently that they tend to really stand out, when life hands you the gift of perspective. Sometimes, we forget to show our appreciation. Sometimes, we get our priorities mixed up. And, sometimes, we forget how far we’ve come. But life always has a way of nudging you to remind you about these important things.”

But was Adam the right person for her happily ever after or was it Chris, her first love? Chris was the first person that opened her heart, allowing her to feel, to love, to be loved… but big mistakes were made when Chris chose his career over Claire. After Pieces of You, we see, however, how much Chris loves her and that he’ll do anything to claim her forever.

“The day you walked into our house almost six years ago was the day my world changed. Since that day, I have come to know every piece of you and I’ve loved every inch of you. I’ve counted the stars with you and I’ve counted the days, hours and seconds I was away from you.”

For so long, Claire had been so scared to hurt again, afraid to be vulnerable enough to give herself fully, feeling the errors of her past somehow made her unworthy. In this third book, however, we see Claire begin to own her future, finally taking the reigns of her life and begin to heal. And after all she had been through, it was so great to finally see Claire happy.

I can’t comment more on the story or how right the relationships ended up being without revealing her choice, but I assure you that the way the book ends is full of love and happiness.  I honestly think that if you truly understood the series and loved each of these three people, you will be happy with the ending. All three of them are where they should be, with whom they should be with. It’s also important to note, that each played a pivotal part of how their journey concluded… perhaps the ending wouldn’t have been the same if paths hadn’t crossed as they did.

Overall, this has just been a wonderful series. So heartfelt, so moving, so full of love… and so full of learning even. Reading the last page was a bittersweet feeling, but I’m so very happy I had the opportunity to read these heartfelt and emotional books. I can’t wait to see what comes next from Cassia Leo!

“Thank you for giving me a home. Thank you for being so patient with me. Thank you for loving me when I didn’t think I deserved it. Thank you for being my friend, my love, my home and my hope.”

BMH TEASER FOR REVIEW
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About Cassia

cassia-leo-croppedUSA Today bestselling author Cassia Leo loves her coffee, chocolate, and margaritas with salt. When she’s not writing, she spends way too much time watching old reruns of Friends and Sex and the City. When she’s not watching reruns, she’s usually enjoying the California sunshine or reading–sometimes both.

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Cover Reveal: Bring Me Home (#3, Shattered Hearts) by Cassia Leo

Bring Me Home BN Kobo

  • Title: Bring Me Home (Shattered Hearts #3)
  • Author: Cassia Leo
  • Expected Release Date:  August 6, 2013
  • Genre:  New Adult Contemporary Romance
  • Cover reveal organized by: Shh Moms Reading
  • Related Posts: Review: Relentless (#1) + Review: Pieces of You (#2)

GOODREADS2

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Synopsis

Claire Nixon is a college student with a past full of secrets and heartbreak. She was saved once by her first love, and rock star, Chris Knight. But when she encouraged Chris to leave town to pursue his dreams, both Claire and Chris didn’t realize it would be the biggest mistake of their lives.

After a devastating year apart and thousands of miles of distance between them, Claire met sexy surfer Adam Parker. With his awful jokes and profound patience, he helped Claire pick up the shattered pieces of her broken heart for the second time.

But now Chris has returned and he is willing and determined to make Claire’s dreams come true—the same way she did for him when she let him go.

With Adam’s former girlfriend in the picture, Claire finds herself torn between the new, passionate love she shares with Adam and the family she shares with Chris.

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bmhteaser

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Teaser #3

Chapter Seven
Claire

“Did Eddie call you again?” She nods and the anger I felt when Senia’s cheating ex-boyfriend called her last week returns. “You don’t need to be with an asshole. You are beautiful and smart—”

“And I give a mean bj.”

“Exactly. You don’t need a guy who’ll fuck anything with legs. You deserve a guy who’ll worship you.”

“So you think Tristan’s just looking for a fuck?”

I don’t even answer because this question is ridiculous.

“Do you think Chris gave him my number? How did he get my number?”

“I don’t know, but if it was Chris, I’m going to have a talk with him about that.”

“No, don’t get mad at him. I’ll take care of Tristan. I’ll text him a picture of my bunion. He’ll never text me again.”

I try not to laugh because, sadly, I know Tristan is too persistent to be deterred by a bunion pic. I stand from the bed and make my way to the dresser where she has a picture of the two of us framed in a pink “Best Friends Forever” picture frame. It’s a picture taken last Thanksgiving when her uncle took us to his house in Carolina Beach. I was four months pregnant, so I wore a big T-shirt to hide my bulge and hardly spoke to anyone the whole weekend, afraid they’d hear the betrayal in my voice.

“I’m going to see Abigail on Monday,” I say as I pretend to be interested in the other framed pictures on her dresser.

“What? How did this happen? Oh, my god, Claire! Are you sure this is what you want?”

She leaps off the bed and rushes to my side.

I pause a moment before I look up into her eyes and respond firmly. “I need to see her, even if it’s just this once. I don’t know if I can even explain to you the ache I feel inside. It’s excruciating and it consumes me, day and night. I just want to see her.”

“You don’t think it might make it worse?”

“I don’t know, but this is not the kind of thing I want to play it safe with. This is my daughter. I’ve never seen her and I already feel like I might die without her. I just need to see her, at least once. I need to know that she’s real. I need to see this beautiful person that Chris and I created.” I pause to wipe the tears from my face. “I don’t know if you can understand that, but that’s how I feel. It’s what I need.”

She stares at me for a moment and her big brown eyes shine as if she’s hatching a devious plan inside her twisted mind. “Claire, I’ve known you long enough to know that you wouldn’t do this unless it was what’s right for you. You have some kind of weird radar for that shit. I also think that I may have misjudged Chris.”

“Are you being serious?”

“Yes, I was pissed about the fact that he never got in touch with you all those months you were living here, but I think I just realized something and I’m sorry I didn’t realize it sooner.” She pauses as she takes a breath and steels herself to speak whatever words she’s about to say. “I think you needed Adam to show you how much you still love Chris.”

That is not at all what I expected her to say and I’m actually a little pissed. “I don’t think so.”

“I’m sorry. I don’t mean to say that Adam was a stepping-stone.”

“No, I don’t want to hear that. Can we just go downstairs?”

She nods and hangs her head apologetically, but I’m still upset with her. I clench my jaw to keep from uttering an angry retort. Adam was not a stepping-stone.

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About the Author

cassia-leo-cropped

USA Today bestselling author Cassia Leo loves her coffee, chocolate, and margaritas with salt. When she’s not writing, she spends way too much time watching old reruns of Friends and Sex and the City. When she’s not watching reruns, she’s usually enjoying the California sunshine or reading–sometimes both.

Facebook * Twitter * Website * Goodreads

 

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Review: Pieces of You (#2, Shattered Hearts) by Cassia Leo

My Thoughts

Gripping, addictive and moving. 
I loved this book. The series keeps getting better and better.

5stars

Synopsis

piecesofyou

In Relentless, college student Claire Nixon and surfer Adam Parker each had a painful past too heavy to carry alone. Claire tried to push Adam away, but Adam’s relentless pursuit of her heart and her secrets made her walls come crumbling down.

Though their hearts will never be whole again, Claire and Adam now know they are stronger together than they are apart.

But now Claire’s attending college a hundred miles away from Adam. With their relationship already hanging by a thread, Adam is sent to Hawaii on business.

And rock star Chris Knight is back in Claire’s life.

Chris wants his ex-girlfriend back and he knows just how to get her: only he has the power to mend the final missing piece of Claire’s broken heart. Now Claire must choose between a long-distance relationship with Adam and a second chance at love, family, and home.

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*Although this review is spoiler-free, I do not recommend you read until you read book 1, Relentless. To see my spoiler-free review of Relentless, click here.*

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My Review

OMG this book! This series! It has totally hooked me. But as I mentioned in my review of Relentless, I was totally stressed out because there’s a love triangle. And worse than that, I don’t know which team I’m rooting for! Gahhh!!! This book tore me to pieces… it really made my heart ache. I felt so much for all three of the main characters… all three of them are flawed, have made mistakes and are working through their fears and insecurities to get to a better place. They all deserve a happy ending, dammit!

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In Pieces of You, we pick up several weeks after the incident at the concert and now that Chris knows about Claire’s big secret, they start spending more time together. We know Adam loves Claire deeply …

poy7

… but as Chris and Claire see more of each other, Adam’s temper flares and he’s increasingly jealous, volatile and insecure.

“Adam and I have been straddling the line between crazy in love and Crazy Town ever since everything blew up at Chris’ concert five weeks ago.”

Claire continues to assure Adam that she loves him. Adam has been her rock… he’s been everything she’s needed at the time she’s needed someone the most.

“Adam, I don’t think I’ve made it clear enough. I was drowning when I met you. I was barely breathing until you saved me. I’m afraid of what will happen to me without you here.”

Soon, however, Adam’s insecurities get tested when leaves to Hawaii for two months on a job for his father. Claire is heartbroken, Adam is afraid of what will happen and Chris begins to work to get Claire back. It’s the perfect storm in the making.

For me, the more time Claire spent with Chris, the more I felt myself falling for them as a couple. Chris seems to love her so deeply and he feels like home to Claire. He will do ANYTHING to get Claire back. Chris realizes none of it is worth it without her.

poy5

In the meanwhile, Adam starts to push Claire away, and despite Claire’s protests, insists on giving her the time he thinks she needs to sort herself out.

“The quickest path to self-destruction is to push away the people you love.”

You know, starting off the book, I thought for sure I was Team Adam, but I felt so frustrated with the choices he made in this book. I wanted him to act differently and fight for Claire, even though I understood his feelings were coming from a place of total love. He left the door wide open for Chris. In turn, Claire naturally starts to feel confused about how she feels and things get even muddier.

poy6

I have to say, I feel like I want to root for Chris and Claire to be together. They are already a family, connecting over shared grief and past hurt. He’s relentless in trying to make up for his past mistakes and is being so wonderful and loving and patient and REAL. Claire can’t help but see the truth and honesty in Chris’ feelings.

“How can you still love me after everything I’ve done to you?” “How can I not? You’re the fucking love of my life. You don’t stop loving someone just because they’ve hurt you. Yes, what you did hurt me, but I gain nothing if I stay angry with you. But I might gain everything by forgiving you. You’re my everything. I just want you back.”

And geez, the end has me desperately wanting the third book just because I want to see how this story ends and how the conclusion will unfurl. Pieces of You made me tear up, had me smiling and certainly, many times, had my heart aching for Chris, Claire and Adam. I honestly don’t know who I want Claire to end up with. Adam and Chris are so different and fit Claire in very different ways… Adam helped Claire at a time she needed to start anew, while Chris represents her sense of home… their pasts inexorably intertwined.
poy3In the end, Claire will need find a healthy place within herself and learn to trust her own heart. But who will she choose?! 

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About Cassia

cassia-leo-croppedUSA Today bestselling author Cassia Leo loves her coffee, chocolate, and margaritas with salt. When she’s not writing, she spends way too much time watching old reruns of Friends and Sex and the City. When she’s not watching reruns, she’s usually enjoying the California sunshine or reading–sometimes both.

Facebook | Twitter | Author Website Goodreads

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Review: Relentless (#1, Shattered Hearts) by Cassia Leo

My Thoughts

Super engaging and emotional.
This book hooked me from the beginning and didn’t let me go. I felt and connected with the characters and was so
into the story that I simply devoured the book.

4halfstars

Synopsis

relentless-cover

Claire Nixon is a twenty-year-old college dropout with a secret.

To Claire, Adam Parker is just another flirty customer at the cafe, until a chance encounter and seemingly innocent comment spurs a bet between them. The bet is simple: If Adam can get Claire to reveal the secret that made her drop out of college, she has to re-enroll. If he doesn’t succeed, she gets to keep her secret and he has to stop stalking her at the cafe.

Claire thinks she has this one in the bag. She’s perfected the art of forgetting her past. But she isn’t prepared for Adam’s relentless pursuit or for him to share his own secrets. And she’s definitely not prepared for her rock star ex, and her secret, to come banging down her door one year later.

My Review

“With every choice you risk the life you could have had. With every decision you lose it.”

So I started this book cold turkey, which is something I almost never do, and I didn’t realize the series featured a love triangle! GAHHHH!!! You know how stressed out I get with love triangles, but I have to tell you this book was such a great surprise and really the love triangle doesn’t come into full play until book 2. Not only is the writing smooth and captivating, but the story is poignant and heart-wrenching. I loved it! The book is told through alternating POVs from the main characters, allowing you to really get them… their thoughts, their feelings and the intent behind some of the choices they make. I truly felt I knew them and fully experienced what they went through.

Claire Nixon works at a coffee shop to make ends meet. She dropped out of college and seems to be hiding a deeply painful secret she can’t seem to let go. We learn early in the story that she often becomes lost in her own memories, which seem to almost haunt her on a daily basis. It’s during one of these moments at work, where a customer gets angry at her and a gorgeous guy comes to her rescue. Later that night, to her surprise, she comes face-to-face with that same stranger, who turns out to be her neighbor. Adam Parker is a surfer — tanned, handsome and relentless in getting to know Claire… but the last thing she needs is a new relationship.

We learn that Claire comes from a harrowing background, living with her drug-addicted mom and soon after jumping from foster home to foster home. She finally lands in a safe place and meets her first love.

“Chris was more than my first love, he was my first friend, my first heartbreak, and my deepest betrayal.”

She’s hesitant to get involved with anyone, but with his charm and insistence, Adam starts to break through her walls. There’s something about him that makes her feel comfortable and the attraction between them intensifies every time they’re together.

“I want to leave you dazed and confused for a week with nothing but my name on your lips.”

But as they get to know each other, we learn that Adam is keeping big secrets of his own, but realizes her secrets are almost paralytic for her. He makes her a bet.

“If I can get you to tell me why you dropped out of school then you have to go back.”

I felt so much for Claire. It’s so clear what she’s hiding is big and it’s eating her up. She’s also battling so many insecurities and fears. She self-medicates with meditation… denying the fact that she has to deal with her very real problems by escaping into her thoughts. Together, however, they connect over their past experiences and they both realize that they’ve fallen hard for each other.

“I guess we both had to lose something to find each other.”

Adam is exactly what she needs right now. And gosh, I loved Adam. He doesn’t give up on Claire and just cuts through it all to see how special she is, always giving her exactly what she needs. Adam’s secrets also weigh heavily on him and his temper is continously simmering on the surface, ready to explode. We see that as they get even closer to each other, they also start to push each other away. The push and pull is heart-breaking some times and I desperately wanted both of them to be okay.

“The quickest path to self-destruction is to push away the people you love.”

Of course, as the story gets to a place where you’re feeling good and happy, we get to know Chris,  a famous rockstar, but most importantly her first love. And yes, he enters the picture and things get complicated… FAST. We also finally learn Claire’s secret, and it’s completely heart-breaking.

“I guess that’s the way secrets are. They’re only heavy when you’re holding them. As soon as you let go, the significance of keeping those secrets hidden blows away and everything falls into place.”

The story ends, not necessarily on a big cliffhanger, but definitely at a precipice of so much more to come and certainly at the point where I grabbed the next book immediately. Ultimately, this story is about so many things, but really, it’s about a girl that has gone through more than anyone should have by the age of 20… a girl that needs to be brave enough to face her past so that she can move on and find her happiness. It’s a gripping story that fully captivated me and left me wanting more!

“The relentless pull of love is a thousand times harder to fight than the tides. If you’re lucky, you’ll make it out before you drown. If you’re even luckier, you’re pulled under just long enough to wash away the sorrow. If you’re really lucky, like me, you resurface just in time to find the one you love floating right beside you.”

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About Cassia

cassia-leo-croppedUSA Today bestselling author Cassia Leo loves her coffee, chocolate, and margaritas with salt. When she’s not writing, she spends way too much time watching old reruns of Friends and Sex and the City. When she’s not watching reruns, she’s usually enjoying the California sunshine or reading–sometimes both.

Facebook | Twitter | Author Website Goodreads

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