My Life in Shambles, a full-length contemporary standalone romance by Karina Halle is now live!
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.
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After reading the blurb for My Life in Shambles, I knew this book was going to deliver ALL. The. Feels…that Karina Halle was going to use Valerie and Padraig’s journey to illustrate life’s cruel realities as well as its wondrous adventures…that Valerie’s character and her struggles would speak to readers’ own insecurities, empathizing with her fears and self-image concerns while celebrating with her as she learns to say yes to new experiences – ones that she never thought that she would experience but now can’t imagine living without, even if there seems to be an expiration date to one particular adventure that she’s gone all in
I’m a reader who loves when the title of a story holds significant meaning for its plot line and its characters, and that’s one of the reasons why I was immediately pulled into My Life in Shambles because while Shambles is the name of the small Irish town that Padraig is from and the place that he and Valerie return to in order for Padraig to see his father and to prove to him that Padraig is happy and in love, the fact that the word shambles means a ‘state of total disorder’ and a ‘constant state of confusion’ speaks to the chaotic and uncontrollable circumstances that brought Padraig and Valerie together as well as the disarray their lives become when the lines blur between their pretend feelings and their true feelings for each other, making things between them much more complicated than just the fact that they live in different countries.
Valerie’s life is in shambles due to a broken engagement, a lost job, and the need for a new outlook on life while the maelstrom that Padraig is dealing with stems from a rugby injury that has kept him sidelined longer than it should and an estranged father who Padraig wants to make happy and maybe even make amends with before his father’s illness takes him away. And it’s clear, based on the amount of baggage that Valerie and Padraig are carrying, that they really shouldn’t add anything else to their messy lives, but when a meaningful connection occurs and mutual understanding is apparent, sometimes wading into another person’s chaos just might help them find some light out of the darkness that seems to surround them.
When Valerie and readers first meet Padraig McCarthy, we don’t see him as a star rugby player…well, that’s not entirely true…we all see his stardom by people’s reactions to him…by the way women throw themselves at him…by the way his fans want even a minute of his time. But the sport that has defined him…that has allowed him to live a much different life than the one he lived in Shambles…than the one he ran away from due to difficult memories and a strained relationship with his father doesn’t provide him with the same solace…with the same escape and what that means for him is yet to be determined.
While Padraig and Valerie play the part of an engaged couple, the poignant conversations they have, the intimate moments they share, and the overwhelming feelings that they develop for each other are real, which adds even more confusion and chaos to an already delicate situation with Padraig’s nan and his father. But what it also does is illustrate just how in sync Padraig and Valerie are with one another even though they barely know each other. And let me tell you, the first time they’re together physically…the scene is so damn erotic and sensual, capturing exactly how they’re making each other feel and showing that what’s supposed to be nothing more than a one-night stand is clearly something special and significant.
My Life in Shambles is an amazing read. Padraig and Valerie’s journey is everything I love about contemporary romance. Karina Halle’s words illustrate just how connected she is to her characters and how meaningful their story is to her. And the life lessons that are explored speak to the reality of being human and the need to experience all that life has to offer even if things get messy and the opportunity for heartache and pain can occur because sometimes saying yes can give people exactly what they need…exactly what they need to feel hopeful and loved simply by just be who they’ve always been.
5 Poison Apples
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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