I have recently revisited a story I first read as a privileged beta and more recently got a SIGNED copy of, which I cherish. Having the physical book to hold required a reread. And because my repeat read through was such a joy, I felt it required an updated review. Plus, ya know, my blog, my privilege. 😉
So let’s jump in. I want to start with Malcolm (you’ll find out why later), but I’ll wait on that. Instead let’s talk about Calida, our heroine. The first thing you should know about Calida is that Not Broken is, in fact, Calida’s second book by Ms. James. In the first, Fiendish, Ms. James, well… she wasn’t exactly super kind to Calida. In fact, she basically ripped the poor girl to shreds. But, Not Broken is the happily ever after that Calida so richly deserved for surviving Fiendish and all the things her creator put her through.
One thing that is of very important note is that there was not a magical band-aid that the author put over all of Calida’s emotional and mental scars. We get to see the very realistic roller coaster survivors go through as they walk the path to healing. And we also get the opportunity to yell at them when they make bad choices (like relying too heavily on wine to get through the memories *ahem*).
No, Calida didn’t just all of the sudden get better because she entered a relationship with her knight in shining armor. She had good days, bad days, and horrific days. She had moments where the evil memories won and moments where she managed to triumph over the pain. It was a painfully accurate description of how survival from past trauma looks in the real world and was beautifully portrayed by Ms. James.
Now, about that knight in shining armor. Okay, so I will admit that for the first five or so chapters I was NOT a fan of Mr. Malcolm. Like, at all. I may or may not have called him some unkind names. In caps. However when he makes a turnaround HE TURNS AROUND. And holy cow does that man know how to charm your pants off. Literally and metaphorically. He has some moments that I wanted to bop him in the head because he was just SUCH a boy, but he has this charming smile that basically gets him a free pass from, well, everything. By the halfway point in Not Broken I had thoroughly claimed Malcolm as mine and mine alone and I am not really okay with sharing so while you may read, admire from a distance.
Malcolm is exceedingly patient and understanding through the majority of Calida’s ups and downs. Yeah, sometimes he misses the mark, but even that is a brilliant display of the imperfections of life and relationships.
Not Broken is a realistic portrayal of pain, life, the struggle to move on, and the beauty of hope you can find in the aftermath. It isn’t a walk-in-the-park kind of story. It deals with hard hitting issues in an honest way that I believe will hit home for a lot of people. Although I desperately hope none of you fair readers have experienced anything like the late Seth Jakobi.
But there is one VERY important thing you need to know about Not Broken as a book and Ms. James as an author. She weaves the most detailed and hot-as-hades sex scenes you will ever experience. If you need a little something something to add to your life, pick up ANY of her books and you will find it hitting all the right notes. Especially the brilliant little companion to Not Broken, The Lists which follows Malcolm and Calida through their marriage and their sexual exploration as they check off each one of their sexy bucket list items.
You can find these books by Ms. James by following the links below, but you really need to go to her site and devour every word from this brilliant author. If you are just slightly tired of billionaires and virgins, she will offer a welcome reprieve with real life couples that welcome you into their incredibly sexy world.