Karina Halle is one of the best at writing heart-wrenching, sexy, enthralling stories. Her latest, My Life in Shambles, is no exception. I devoured it in a day because I couldn't put it down.
Here's the synopsis:
When Valerie Stephens made the resolution to say yes to new adventures, she never thought she’d end up in the tiny town of Shambles, fake engaged to one of Ireland’s top rugby players. But there’s a first time for everything.Halle's contemporary novels all have a similar feel - lots of intense emotions, interesting characters, great settings - but none of them are ever close to feeling the same. I don't know how she does it because she writes a lot of books and you'd think they'd start to get repetitive. Not with Halle. That's one of the things I love about her books - they may have a trope you've read time and time again but she always manages to twist things just enough to keep the story feeling fresh.
They say bad things happen in threes.
After my boyfriend broke off our engagement, and I lost my apartment, and was laid off from my job, I can more than attest to that.
They also say life happens when you say yes to new adventures.
So when my two sisters invited me to ring in the new year in Ireland, I decided to throw all caution to the wind and go for it. I was going to let “saying yes” be my new resolution.
Little did I know I’d spend New Year’s Eve having a hot and dirty one-night stand with Padraig McCarthy, one hell of a sexy Irishman. I also didn’t know that the brooding and intense sex god was one of Ireland’s top rugby players.
A rugby player with a proposition for me:
Come with him to his tiny hometown of Shambles and pretend to be his fiancée for a few days, just so that his ailing father can have some peace of mind.
It sounded simple enough.
It was anything but.
Not when a town gets up in your business, not when the media hunts you down, not when your past comes back in the picture, not when there are real hearts and feelings at stake.
Not when there are secrets that could break you.
They say life is what happens when you say yes to new adventures.
This is my life in Shambles.
This book is really heavy. There are illnesses (yes, plural) and childhood traumas (also plural) and the emotions that come from falling head over heels in love with someone after only a few short weeks. One of the things I liked about this book was jow it challenges our typical view of a Happily Ever After. I had to check myself a few times because of the...prejudice, I guess, I (and tons of other people) have. It's uncomfortable, to be sure, but I'm happy Halle and her novel challenged my views. (OK, I know that's super vague but I can't give anything away!)
The characters were so multi-layered, just like real people, and the reader can't help but fall in love with Padraig and Val as their feelings for each other grew. Val seemed older than her mid-twenties age but I imagine that has a lot to do with the issues she dealt with growing up. Padraig has just as many issues stemming from his childhood and teen years that shaped him. They were both able to face those traumas and have some healing and closure by the end of the book. An aside: I wanted to throttle Val's mother. I could not believe some of the cruel things she was saying to her own daughter and how misguided she was. She thought she was saying it out of love but she was so out of touch with her daughter's feelings that she couldn't see how much pain she was causing. So frustrating!
Like all of Halle's books, this one is super swoony. You'll get so caught up in the love and lust that is practically leaping off the pages. So good.
All in all, My Life in Shambles is another winner from Karina Halle. It's a must if you love real stories that have all the highs and lows life has to offer.
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Karina Halle is a former travel writer and music journalist and The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling author of The Pact, Love, in English, The Artists Trilogy, Dirty Angels and over 20 other wild and romantic reads. She lives on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her rescue pup, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails and devours a lot of books.
Halle is represented by the Root Literary and is both self-published and published by Simon & Schuster and Hachette in North America and in the UK.
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*An eARC of this novel was provided by the author via Social Butterfly PR, in exchange for a review for the purposes of a blog tour. All opinions are honest and my own.*