I want to thank Karina Halle and SocialButterflyPR for the advance reader copy of Karina’s latest release, Life in Shambles.
I am such a loyal Karina fan having read the vast majority of her books, and loving all of them. If you never read any Karina Halle, check out this post on where to start.
Check out the Goodreads synopsis below…
“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.
They say bad things happen in threes.
After my boyfriend broke off our engagement, I lost my apartment, and was laid off from my job, I can definitely attest to that.
They also say life is what 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 fiancé 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.”
Here are my more detailed thoughts…
- Characters: Valerie and Padraig, both surprised me as my first interactions with them made me see them a certain way, and by the end of the novel I viewed them both very differently. Valerie is strong and I underestimated her strength at the beginning. Whereas with Padraig I underestimated his struggles, which I urge you not to do as they are really what makes the story the tearjerker that it is.
- Setting: This story takes place in Ireland, mostly. It starts in Dublin, but the majority of time it takes place in the small town of Shambles. Such a cute small town feel was the perfect place to see such two vibrant people fall in love.
- Romance: What can I say, Karina always nails this. Valerie and Padraig fell hard and fell beautifully. It was a ride I never wanted to get off, and gosh did I ever cry myself through it, both happy and sad tears.
If I haven’t convinced you yet, check out this excerpt…
“The rest of the evening starts to pass by in a bit of a blur.
The food comes, and suddenly I’ve never been so hungry in my life. I don’t even pull any of that dainty eating nonsense, you know the type you do on a first date with someone, all tiny nibbles and delicate wiping of the mouth with a napkin. No, I fill my damn mouth with food, dumplings and spicy meats and rice. I eat with abandon, like there’s no tomorrow.
Padraig does the same. It’s freeing. It’s funny. I keep making orgasm noises over it all and he keeps laughing, and we eat and eat, even feeding each other won tons at one point with shaky chopstick skills. Honestly, there’s never been anything sexier.
When we’re finally finished, we’re both full, more drunk than before, and a little greasy. I try to pay the bill but he insists (although I don’t even think they charged him for anything), and then as we leave the restaurant he grabs my hand.
I’m not a small-boned girl, but with his hand over mine, I feel like I’ve been reverted back to the hapless woman being led by an alpha caveman and I don’t mind one bit. The fact that his palm is warm in this snowy weather with the skin-to-skin contact sends consistent shivers down my back.
We stroll down the streets and I almost slip a few times, my bad balance combined with the snow making for a dicey situation. But each time Padraig grabs me and keeps me upright, and I have to admit, it’s kind of fun to be constantly falling into him. It’s like having a wall of bricks for support, if that wall of bricks was shaped like a rugby god.
I have no idea where we’re going. All I know is that it’s not even midnight yet.
He takes me to a bar and then a club, both of which are packed to the doors and have crazy long lines, both of which we bypass with ease because he’s Padraig McCarthy.
I’m not one for dancing and Padraig doesn’t strike me as the type either, but there’s something about the deep bass beats in this place, and the free-flowing champagne, courtesy of the club, that has us falling into a rhythm together.
At first we’re dancing apart but it’s not long before the inches between us close. The heat from his body and mine brews, and the electricity is flowing in sparks and jumps, moving to the erotic pulse of the music, mixed with the hope and hedonism of the crowd on this once-a-year night.
His hips bridge the gap, his strong palms running down the sides of my waist, my hips slowly swaying then grinding against him. I feel his erection burning through his jeans, the width and length taking my breath again, making me blush in such a way that I’m glad the lights are dim.
I’m both a young girl, naïve and inexperienced and shy as the very touch and proximity to him hurls me toward a sexual awakening, and at the same time I’m an old soul who has found her equal in another, whose body wants to know this stranger intimately, who isn’t scared at what’s transpiring, but is hungry instead.
Both of these sides are at war inside me, dancing around each other like a caduceus, until I’m dizzy with my feelings for him. This want, this yearning, this need for something new, something exciting and terrifying, it claws through me until I can’t ignore it anymore.
I glance up at Padraig and see only his eyes. Those deep, dark haunting eyes that glimmer with the pulsating lights and yet radiate with something as wanting and wicked as the feelings inside of me.
His hands go to the back of my neck and the small of my back. My chin tips up. The rest of the world fades away and I know when it comes back into focus, everything will be different.
Everything will change.
It takes a moment to change someone.
Sometimes it just takes a kiss.”
My Life in Shambles receives five out of five stars.
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Thank you again to Karina and SocialButterflyPR for the review opportunity. Thank you for reading and supporting my blog.