Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Pieces Blog Tour: excerpt & review

Pieces (The Breakaway, #2) by Michelle Davidson Argyle
Paperback, First American Paperback, 284 pages
- Rhemalda Publishing (February 14th, 2013)
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Two years after watching her kidnappers go to prison, Naomi Jensen is still in love with one of them. Jesse will be released in a few years, and Naomi knows college is the perfect distraction while she waits. But when her new friend Finn makes her question what is right and what is wrong, she begins to wonder if Jesse is the one for her … until she discovers he's out on parole. Naomi must sort through her confusion to figure out where love and freedom truly lie—in Finn, who has no connections to her past, or Jesse, who has just asked her to run away with him.

Pieces is a companion to The Breakaway and can be read independently, if desired.

Excerpt from Pieces:

The next day, after reading books until she thought she would go mad, she walked to the door again. She heard no arguing this time, but when she reached for the handle she broke into a sweat and turned around.

Not today.

This was what had stopped her from trying to escape the house—a deep-seated fear of the unknown, of wondering what might happen if things didn’t go right, a precarious feeling her universe might implode if she couldn’t plan everything down to the last detail and know how it would end. So, instead of trying, she held back. It was what had kept her from leaving Brad before her kidnapping. More than Jesse’s plea, it was what kept her from calling her mother.

She curled into a ball on the bed and cried herself to sleep until Jesse came home and woke her up. He started rubbing her back.

“This is how it’s going to be,” he explained, leaning down to her ear. “I’m sorry, but I have to work if we want to live here. Your money won’t last very long and we’ve spent most of mine now.”

“You want to work,” she said, burying her face in the pillows. “I know you love the job you have. It’s everything you ever wanted.”

“Everything I ever wanted is right here.” He scooped her into his arms and held her close. “You’re scared, I know, but you’ll get used to everything. It’ll get easier. This is a new start, remember?”

“I don’t know what I was thinking,” she said, feeling like an idiot. “Why can’t I be strong?”

Turning her to look up at him, he lifted a hand and traced her lips with his fingers. “You’re stronger than you think, just not in ways most people expect.”

“What do you mean?”

He continued tracing her lips as a warm smile lit up his face. “Do you think you’d be alive right now if you weren’t strong? Eric would have killed you in the first three weeks if you hadn’t kept your cool like you did.”

“I was too scared to try anything,” she whispered. “I wasn’t being strong.”

He lifted his fingers from her lips as his smile melted into a straight line. “Strength doesn’t always mean fighting back. Sometimes it means enduring to the end—quietly. Not everybody could have handled your situation the way you did. Most would’ve tried to get away because they would’ve been too impatient to evaluate the kinds of people they were dealing with. They would have pissed Eric off so much he would have shot them in the head the first chance he had. You saw past that. I don’t care if you call it cowardice or fear. To me, it was smart and brave.” 

Naomi didn’t know how to respond. She hadn’t thought of herself as handling her captivity very well, but maybe Jesse had a point. He watched her for a moment, admiration sparkling in his eyes. It made her want to hug him and never let go.

The Breakaway (The Breakaway, #1) by Michelle Davidson Argyle
 Rhemalda Publishing / May 1st, 2012
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

When Naomi Jensen is kidnapped, it takes her parents two days to realize she’s missing. Escape isn’t high on her list of priorities when all she has to return to is an abusive boyfriend and parents who never paid much attention to her. For the first time in her life she’s part of a family—even if it is a family of criminals. But she’s still a captive. In a desperate attempt to regain some control in her life, Naomi embarks on a dangerous plan to make one of her kidnappers think she’s falling in love with him. The plan works too well, and when faced with the chance to escape, Naomi isn’t sure she wants to take it.

About the author:
Michelle Davidson Argyle

Michelle lives and writes in Utah, surrounded by the Rocky Mountains. She loves the seasons, but late summer and early fall are her favorites. She adores chocolate, sushi, and lots of ethnic food, and loves to read and write books in whatever time she can grab between her sword-wielding husband and energetic daughter. She believes a simple life is the best life.

Imagine being kidnapped by a bunch of guys and told you're supposed to stay with them. Would you be able to fall in love with one of them? The Breakaway began as a compelling story with Naomi being taken but as the story progressed I had a problem believing she could develop real feelings for her captive. There's something wrong with developing feelings for a guy who forces a girl to live her life--a lie--as dictated, and I couldn't figure out why she even liked him. I'm aware of Stockholm Syndrome, a psychological condition made famous when heiress Patty Hearst was kidnapped and then joined her kidnappers in staging a bank robbery.

Naomi is young, impressive, she doesn't have a great home life or nice boyfriend, but still, Jesse? Fast paced and intense, there were times I wanted to know about her predicament so I could understand it better. Over time, her captors, Eric and his sister, do show her compassion so the reader can be confused if feelings change about disliking them. The story spans over a year and some things had a sense of being contrived, of falling into place too easily. I was still interested to see what happened to Naomi and kept reading, enough so I also dived into the second book, Pieces.

Interestingly enough, I liked Pieces more. The storyline held my interest and the characters were more developed. I believed most of what when on. Naomi changes the most. She's in college and still dealing with her trauma except for one thing--she still loves Jesse and thinks she can wait for him to be released from prison so they can be together. At school, she meets a nice guy named Finn, and through his friendship, she begins to see what a real relationship should be like, what friendship can offer. But Jesse is paroled and old feelings surface. He's not supposed to be near Naomi and yet we know what will happen. Naomi will seek him out and she does. What happens afterwards, and the secretive way Jessie acts is an eye-opening experience for her, but is it too late for Naomi?

Pieces is a tale of healing and understanding. I'm glad I read The Breakaway first since I gained insight into Naomi and her harrowing undertaking so I could better understand what happens to her years later. Both novels paint an intriguing portrait of the human mind and experience.

Rating: 3 liked them both

Cover comment: Don't like the first cover. I do like the second cover and the symbolism of the train tracks.

Book source: I received promotional copies in return for my honest opinion in my review during a book tour.

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