All The Lost Pieces by Lara Martin @laramartin123
Twenty-nine-year-old Nina Abrahams is not in a good place. She’s been fired from her restaurant manager job after she stands up to her bully of a boss. Her motivational speaker mother is helping other people get their lives on track and ignoring the derailing of her daughter’s. And her best friend, Lucas Wilson, the guy she’s loved since she was eighteen, can’t seem to look beyond the girl in braces to the woman she is now.
When a new opportunity comes up, Nina decides it’s the perfect time to start over. The restaurant needs a reinvention and so does she. Unfortunately for her, the restaurant comes with hostile servers, a belligerent chef, and an owner averse to change.
But if Nina’s brave enough to take on the restaurant and tackle the people out to sabotage her, perhaps she can find the courage to tell Lucas how she really feels, even if it means risking the most important relationship in her life.
What was it all about
All The Lost Pieces by Lara Martin was a contemporary, women’s fiction that had romance interweaved through it. A standalone, the writing beautifully captured the nuances of the main character Nina’s life as she traversed the paths of unemployment and unrequited love.
This was an author request that I was truly honored to read as the book kept me engrossed within its pages right through my viral illness. (I and my entire family have not been well for the past two weeks, and even now, I barely can sit up for a few minutes before dizziness drags me down.)
A short summary
Nina, a restaurant manager, stood up for what was right in her place of work, for which she was fired by a bully of an employer. Thanks to her best friend, and her love for 11 years, Lucas, she could get a glowing letter of recommendation.
With the support of her brother and his wife along with Lucas and along with her mother’s constant nagging, Nina tried to find a new job, not knowing if she would be happy with the work ethic of it. But on hearing Lucas’s words, she knew that she had to find a new way of living away from the old. A journey of self-discovery and happiness was this book, where along with Nina, I too made some inroads in knowing myself.
Trigger Warnings: Nothing about this book triggered me. In fact, I kept returning to the book, making Siri read out the prose when my headache got to be too much. But there was one toxic relationship with her so-called best friend, Tammy, that kind of frustrated me.
The writing was the compelling hook where the bonds of family were portrayed in such a way that many a thing caused me to smile and laugh out loud. I loved the banter between Nina and her brother, Ryan.
The book far exceeded my expectations as I loved reading stories that showed the family life with their cute and sometimes irritating family members. There was always something to love about each one of them.
I liked how the author made every character distinct in the book, even at Nina’s new place of work.
Nina was portrayed realistically in the book. Sometimes she was stubborn even when others showed her the error of her decisions, but that was her plus point too. She didn’t live life from others’ perceptions but learned her lessons as life taught them. I quite respected that as I too am stubborn in my own way.
Emotions emanating from her were keenly felt, and kudos to the author for making me the nuances of each one of them. I was so connected with Nina that when Lucas spoke some truths of his life, I rushed to the end of the book to see if she would get her HEA too.
I couldn’t help it. Not knowing created so much angst in me that I had to know the truth. That was how much I was immersed in this story.
And it was not only her, I liked how the author made me care for every character in the book. Each one was distinct, especially at Nina’s new place of work. There was growth in them, where they went from being belligerent to finding a new equation with Nina.
This was Nina’s story through and through, and Lucas played a good supporting role. I loved that the author kept the story focused solely on Nina.
A women’s fiction was this where the story was a slice of Nina’s life as she started understanding herself and what satisfied her in life. Starting from being fired, the book showed me all the days of her life right until she found her happiness and satisfaction.
A lot of family dynamics were explored in the book from siblings to mother-daughter along with old love and childhood best friend. Each added a facet of value to Nina’s life and helped her to grow. The relationships were relatable and genuine in their details.
This was a clean romance, yet love sang a clear song, even when it was one-sided. It was awe-inspiring to see the talent the author had in the strokes of her pen where each page pulled me further into her life.
I loved the challenges she had to face in her personal and professional life. Many a time, she didn’t fall in line with her mother’s expectations, yet picked up pieces to do what was right for herself.
Since I was naughty, I knew the ending long before I reached the midway of the book. And I was so happy with the ending.
The familial bonds and other relationships were well maintained in the book. But what was particularly noteworthy was the author brought out the atmosphere of a working restaurant with different types of customers and an owner who was rigid about old ways that were not working.
Sometimes, guiding someone to a new way of life was much better than telling them to change. I loved how the author, vis-a-vis Nina, did that.
This was a slow-paced, delicious book, but it read so damn fast that had I not been well, I would have finished it within a day. It took me two days to get through it with Siri reading out many parts of it.
The style of writing - The Prose
Beautiful. Beautiful. Beautiful.
I found the author’s style of writing touching my heart in all ways. There were no crushing emotions that messed up my brain, but the ones that were embedded in the words portrayed a world of their own.
Nina’s voice was compelling even when she was gentle in her ways. Reminded me of steel wrapped in silk.
How it made me feel
I loved Nina’s transformation in the book whereby she came into her own and took decisions that made her happy. She could focus on her own happiness, even when the initial steps were painful. But that was the truth of every decision in life.
The only part where I found myself feeling the prickle was when she found love in the last couple of chapters. I felt more pages were needed for that love to make it believable. That was the only part where I didn’t feel it was quite so realistic.
But my primary emotion after reading the book was pure, unadulterated joy.
Do I recommend this book?
Yes. Yes. Yes.
This was author Lara Martin’s debut, independently published. Yet the book read as if it had been written by someone who had multiple bestsellers under her belt.
Sheer storytelling was a talent not many authors had. And I am quite proud to say that Lara Martin has it by the bucketload.
Do not miss the opportunity to read this book. It is simply AWESOME.
I received the digital version of the book from the author, and this is my journey down its pages, straight from the heart. STRICTLY HONEST and UNBIASED.
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