Book Reviews · Releases & Reveals

Blog Tour + ARC Review: ‘My Life in Shambles’ by Karina Halle

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My Life in Shamblesby Karina Halle
Release Date: April 11, 2019


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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, 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 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.


4.5 ‘The pulse of my heart’ Stars!

ARC provided by the author via Social Butterfly PR in exchange for an honest review.

What a beautiful and emotional love story! Definitely a little bit more on the dramatic and angsty side of Karina’s works, My Life in Shambles is a stunning example of her incredible talent as a romance author. A roller coaster of emotions that will make you fall in love with Padraig and Valerie from the very first page to the last one!

So My Life in Shambles is Karina’s newest standalone release and, as I said, it is a little bit more intense in terms of drama and emotions (which I am not complaining!). Valerie Stephens did not expect to share a passionate and adventurous one night stand with Irish rugby star Padraig McCarthy and even more, a night that changes their lives forever. Padraig and Valerie share a beautiful connection and that is what makes them turn it to a fake engagement in front of the people Padraig loves. But these two cannot stop themselves to saying yes to more adventures together and they fall in love.

It takes a moment to change someone.
Sometimes it just takes a kiss.
I know this before it happens.

I loved how this couple shares their vulnerabilities to each other and that makes them stronger. Yes, this Irish hunk of a man will melt your insides with his gorgeous soul and his sexy AF body. The chemistry between Padraig and Valerie is smoking hawt and that makes their heartbreaking relationship even better. Not everything is hearts and flowers, the lives of these two people are actually in shambles but you’ll see how together they will fight for their loved ones and the relationship they are building. Gah, these two are so intense, steamy and oh-so-sweet! I loved them together and their ups and downs as a couple. Karina did a fantastic job with this one and I am so glad Padraig and Valerie found each other.

“There ye are, darlin’.”
“Here I am,” she says, smiling sweetly at me.

“Tell me you love me and I’ll tell you I love you more.” 

Therefore, my rating for My Life in Shambles is 4.5 STARS. This story is a moving, romantic and adventurous romance that will make you think and inspire you to take chances when you least expect them. I loved the plot, all the characters, the passionate chemistry between Padraig and Valerie and that beautiful ending! Karina Halle’s writing style just works so well for me and I really enjoyed all the feels this novel gave me. Highly recommend reading this emotional and sexy love story!

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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.

The Author


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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