Review: Unbroken by Maisey Yates

Format: mass market, ebook
Pub Date: August 5, 2014
Publisher: Berkley (Penguin)
Length: 320 pages
FTC: ARC courtesy of the author

It's here!!!!! The book with the heroine named Amber who is NOT a bimbo stripper, buckle bunny etc. Woohoo! It really sucks having a name that somehow ends up being typecast as either the "quirky" bimbo sidekick or a stripper. Hell, even Veronica Mars's dingy undercover name is Amber. *Ahem*

I'm by no means impartial when it comes to this story. I've read (and loved) the previous books in the series, and I've been looking forward to this one for quite awhile. I was predisposed to like it, in other words, but the fact that it really hit all of my reader buttons is the real reason I ended up loving it.

This is a friends-to-lovers story, my very favorite trope in Romancelandia.  And it's funny and sarcastic. Button number 2. And HOT. So no big surprise that this really worked for me.

The story picks up about a year after the events of the previous book, Untouched. There's a lot going on for both Cade and Amber. Cade's little sister has married, leaving him stuck at his family ranch with his brother's rapidly expanding family. Thanks to an injury from the rodeo circuit, Cade is unable to do as much as he used to, physically, and resents that his input and opinions about running the ranch he is part owner of are ignored.

Amber, meanwhile, is busy working a waitress job to help make ends meet at her own family ranch. Her grandmother's death and grandfather's forgetfulness has left the ranch on the brink of financial ruin. To add to her stress, a rodeo competitor is sniffing around hassling her about selling the ranch. Not an option or Amber or her grandfather.

The thing I love about the friends-to-lovers trope is that there is no real "meet cute." There's an awakening. One or both people start to realize that their feelings run deeper (or differently) than they thought. It's an emotional shift, and when it's done right–as it is here—it is incredibly moving.

What makes this book better than the norm, though, is Maisey Yates's voice. I LOVE strong writing voices, and we definitely get that with Unbroken. It's funny, sarcastic, very modern/slang filled, and distinctive.  And the way she writes the different men in the story feels spot-on.  I don't have brothers, but my husband is the middle of three...and I can see them doing or saying exactly the same things that the characters in the books do.

Believable, emotionally complex characters and Maisey Yates's strong, sexy, and sassy voice make Unbroken a memorable and moving read.

My Grade: A

The Blurb:

Amber Jameson has always thought of her best friend Cade as an older brother. A really hot older brother. But growing up in foster care, she learned to rely only on herself. As much as she likes stealing glances at Cade’s chiseled jaw and painted-on jeans, she resents the way he swoops in like a superhero to fix things for her.

When former rodeo rival Jim Davis starts harassing Amber to sell her grandfather’s failing ranch, Cade swoops in once again. To send Jim on his way, Cade pretends to be Amber’s boyfriend, moving in to help fix the place up. With her grandfather behind the idea, Amber and Cade have to keep the charade going—whether she likes it or not.

But as their make-believe romance starts to heat up, maybe Cade and Amber will learn to admit that they both could use a little saving…

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