Welcome back to book addiction central. I hope time has found you well, and has provided plenty of fabulous books for you to sink your teeth into.
Today at The Never Ending Book Basket, we’re gonna focus in on one of the books I have recently devoured. (Can you tell I am writing this blog post right before dinner based on all the eating references?)
I am going to start this post off a little differently than I normally do. You all know the mumbo jumbo by now, and how my posts are typically written. I usually start off with some witty opening introducing the book, and then dive right into what I loved about it.
Here’s the thing about this book though:
- It’s a follow up to another book that you HAVE got to read before this one. (You know that whole don’t put the cart before the horse thing…)
- It’s got a beyond huge ending that I can’t even hint at a smidge because it would ruin all of the epic build up in this book and its predecessor.
- The authors of this book have promised to hunt down anyone who spoils the way all the shit goes down in the book. (You think I’m joking? I’m not. It’s in the god damned book, and call me crazy, but I kind of really believe them.)
So what does all this mean for my review of this book?
I am going to have to reign it in big time to not reveal anything in any way, or hint at my allegiances to certain characters. (And believe me, I have them!) I am also going to focus more generally on some plot aspects because this is a follow up to another book that I don’t want to ruin for you.
It’ll be a challenge to not word vomit all over this review, but god knows I’m stubborn as hell, so let’s go!
Without further ado, let me introduce you to Picking Up the Pieces by Elizabeth Hayley.
Picking Up the Pieces is a follow up novel to Pieces of Perfect. (I read that book before I created this lovely little blog, so feel free to check out my review of that book on Goodreads.) Let me give you the low down on what’s kind of going on in this book and its predecessor: You see, there’s a love triangle. And not one of those craptastic love triangles that clearly spells out what the ultimate choice will be at the end, when you’re only like 45 pages into it. (Cough, Twilight, cough)
This is an honest to god love triangle with 3 characters who mean business. They’re also full of real world flaws and complications, so you know I absolutely adore them through and through.
In the infamous words of my favorite ridiculously bad game show, it’s time to come on down and meet the triangular counterparts that make up Picking Up the Pieces. (Wahoo!)
- Lily: Lily is kind of hard to describe because she’s got a lot of levels to her. But that’s why I absolutely loved her, because it wasn’t necessarily all good under the hood, and that girl knew it and owned it. (Even if it took her a bit of time to get there.) Having made some pretty bad decisions lately, Lily is trying to start over. She realizes the mistakes she’s made, and she wants to be better. Lily goes through a shit ton of introspection over both books, but in Picking Up the Pieces she really hits it out of the park, and her character development is out of this world phenomenal. She’s also one lucky S.O.B. because she’s got two wholly different gentleman callers to choose from.
- Adam: Adam is the good guy you just fall in love with. From the get go he pours everything into his relationship with Lily. He feels it all, and he just really tries. He’s romantic. He says the right things. He does the right things. He’s just right, even when he’s wrong. Adam is also a single father raising his daughter, making him pretty damn compassionate and endearing. Honestly, I dare you to not love his character. Good fucking luck. (He’s got some serious candle house potential.)
- Max: Max is the ultimate bad boy that’ll make you schvitz in the best possible way. He’s a former professional NHL player who screams bad decisions and sex appeal. He meets Lily in a very memorable way, and their relationship has some serious ups and downs. To put it bluntly Max is an asshole. He’s rude and frank, a little bit damaged, and he does some truly questionable things. Like all the time. But through all the bs, he really tries. He puts what he thinks and feels out there, and you can’t help but love his vulnerability. Even when he’s bad, he’s just oh so good.
So those are the unique and wholly real counterparts to our love triangle. As you can see, Lily faces a choice in this book. It’s basically time to put up or shut up. She has to decide which one of these guys is for her, and who’s going to be the one she seeks the happily ever after with.
Think it’s an easy choice? As if. Like I said before, the buildup in this book is epic, and you will be guessing at who she picks until the very end.
What was truly perfect about this book:
- The multiple perspectives. It’s told in all 3 characters perspectives, and that just works seriously well for the book. No further explanation is necessary.
- The triangular counterparts. I seriously adored Lily, Adam, and Max for who they were. They were each different, but oh so easy to just love. All of these characters have their flaws that they are each coming to terms with, and you just can’t help but root for them. They just rock, and that’s even true when they have their heads up their asses.
- You had me at the sarcasm. This book and its characters ooze a little bit of sarcasm. And when I say a little bit, I mean that it’s leaping off the page in bounds. The banter and one liners in this book (and all of the other books by Elizabeth Hayley) had me cracking up out loud numerous times. I couldn’t stop laughing, and that just made the book all the better.
- The messy. This book has a love triangle in it, so of course it’s a tad messy when these 3 dynamic characters come together. But that “messy” makes it magnificent. It makes it authentic and chaotic and dysfunctional and ridiculous at times, but it works because that’s just how it is.
- The moments of reason. Putting all the humor aside, this book is full of moments of reason from not only the triangular counterparts, but also from the cast of merry men and women that make up the spectacular supporting characters. These moments of true reason and clarity show a remarkable side to this book, and demonstrates what happens when you look at yourself, and make some pretty hard and defining choices.
- The ending. I can’t and won’t tell you how it all ends. That shit don’t fly. But just know, the ending was EXACTLY what I hoped for, and it just blew it out of the water. It also makes the gut wrenching build up so much more worth it, because without all that build up, the ending wouldn’t have felt as hard fought and sweet as it was.
- The hot and spicy. This book has a lot of hot and spicy, hanky panky, the dirty deed, or whatever else you might call it. The hot and spicy was just enough, and added another level of excitement (No pun intended) to the already extremely engaging story.
- Amanda Bishop. I couldn’t not throw in my favorite Sex Snob into my love of this book. Amanda is her own delicious can of worms, and she’s my favorite supporting act in this book. She’s a hysterical voice of reason. She’s out there, and she knows it, and god do I love it.
- The level of growth. Each and every character residing in the story grows and changes over the course of the book. Some changes are monumental, others more subtle. In the end though, they all just keep changing and growing. Nothing is stagnate, and that just keeps it all moving in a thoughtful and seriously engaging way.
I could continue this list for pages, but I am going to stop now. I am reigning it in…
Suffice to say Picking Up the Pieces was an extraordinary book to read, and it made for a fabulous reading experience I won’t soon forget. The characters are hilarious, authentic, raw, emotional, frank, wonderful, and they just honestly hit it out of the park. The story itself comes off the page, and you feel it through and through. It’s messy, and complicated, and dysfunctional, but trust me that’s what makes it so incredible.
All the magnificent aspects of this book make for an exceptional read. You’ll be reeling until the very end, but like I said, the buildup, the turmoil, and all the ups and downs make the after so much more worth it.
So do yourself a god damned favor, and check out every single book by Elizabeth Hayley starting with Pieces of Perfect. (Eventually you’ll get to Picking Up the Pieces, and you’ll understand this review a smidge more. I hope.)
This writing duo is also one that’ll charm your ass off in spades, so go find them. Now.