My Life in Shambles by Karina Hale

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My Life in Shambles, a full-length contemporary standalone romance by Karina Halle is now live!

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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.


My review:

Valerie is home for Christmas with her parents and two sisters, having just broken up with her fiance and sleeping on a friend’s couch in NYC. When she wakes up on Christmas Eve to news that her entire department has been laid off and she’s also lost her dream job, she decides to take her sisters up on their invite and join their trip to Ireland for New Year’s. On New Year’s Eve, the sisters are in a Dublin bar and she spots a man at the bar who is approached constantly, is polite, but sends each person on their way. She notices that he seems broken. Rugby star Padraig is reeling from getting word of both his estranged father’s terminal condition, and his own shocking diagnosis. When Val approaches him in the bar he rejects her at first, then realizes she wasn’t like the others who have recognized him and soon goes to her table to talk to her. They end up having a fun night of dinner and dancing to ring in the new year, ending in a one night stand. He doesn’t quite want to let her go, though. He asks her to go home to Shambles with him as his fiance. He tells her it’s to give his dying father peace of mind, but really he wants to show his father that he is worthy of love, despite what he felt from his father.

Of course things get more complicated, and their lie is exposed. Soon Padraig’s illness can no longer be hidden and life changes for everyone involved.

This was a really good book. I don’t want to spoil anything so I won’t talk much about Padraig’s illness, but I will say that I figured out what it was as soon as the doctor started talking about his symptoms and could really relate, since someone in my life has the same thing. I cannot imagine how hard it would be for a professional athlete at the top of his game to feel so betrayed by his body.

Valerie was just what Padraig and his entire family needed. She was a catalyst for mending hurts between father and son. In return, Padraig helped her to find her backbone and stand up to her mother and begin to heal their relationship. These two found each other at the exact right time, for both of them.

This is another book with lots of highlighted passages for me. Some of my favorites:

It takes a moment to change someone. Sometimes it just takes a kiss. I knew this before it happens. And when he leans in and the space between us dissolves, and his lips, warm, soft and commanding, meet mine, I k now that a simple kiss isn’t so simple at all and nothing will be simple after this.


What if is fear. Even if is faith.


Life is brilliant. And then it’s awful. sometimes trivial or boring or mundane. You just have to push through all that bad stuff until it’s brilliant again. Always hold out for brilliant.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

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Meet Karina:

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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