Saturday, November 30, 2013

[Kame's Review]: "The Christmas He Loved Her"

The Christmas He Loved Her by Juliana Stone
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca (September 24, 2013)
Series: The Bad Boys of Crystal Lake, 2
Genre: Contemporary Romance (holiday)

All he wants this Christmas is her.

In the small town of Crystal Lake, Christmas is a time for sledding, hot chocolate, and cozying up to the fire with those you love. For Jake Edwards, it’s also time to come home and face his past. He thought there would never be anything harder than losing his brother. Turns out there is: falling in love with his brother’s widow, Raine.

Ever since they were little, Jesse was the Edwards brother who was always there for her, and Jake was the one who knew just how to push her buttons. Raine can’t imagine a life without them, which is why it was doubly decimating when Jake left town after his brother’s sudden death. Now he’s back and she doesn’t know whether to be mad or thrilled. Maybe both. Maybe it will be the perfect chance for both of them to finally find happiness again.

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Kame's Review:

Jake Edwards left home eighteen months ago. The pain was too great. Now it is Thanksgiving and his Dad is fighting cancer, he can’t avoid the pain anymore. He must come home and spend time with his Dad, and see his brother’s widow Raine. Jesse and Jake were twins and part of the town’s “Bad Boys”. They did everything with Raine and it was no shock when Jesse and Raine got married. What no one knew is that Jake loved her too, so when the twins were deployed to Afghanistan and Jesse made Jake promise to look after Raine if he didn’t make it home it was an easy promise to make.   He never thought he would have to keep it.

What makes this a fantastic book is that it truly could be set during anytime of the year. Yes it happens in a small town during Thanksgiving and the weeks leading to Christmas, but the entire Christmas theme is just a wonderful snowy backdrop to a great plot and characters of great depth. Jake is suffering; he came home from battle without his twin. He couldn’t save him, and the guilt has kept him away from home. Raine has lost herself. She lost her husband, but then she lost Jake too. One month after the funeral Jake left town and they have barely communicated since, and it is tearing her apart. She barely eats; and rarely leaves her home. Jake and Jesse were always part of her life; they were her family when she had no one else.  She loved them both.  The words Juliana Stone uses to convey her pain brought tears to my eyes at times. I could feel Raine’s anguish, I just wanted to reach into my Kindle and give her a hug. At the same time I could understand why Jake’s return is not met with open arms by Raine. The two of them walked on egg shells for a period of time, each protecting their hearts, and paying a penance for their deep secrets. When Raine is the first to give into the emotional pull they have and relishes the feeling of finding herself again I beamed with pride. I found this part of their relationship a joy to read, Juliana Stone’s wrote characters who are dealing with complex emotions, issues and regrets. Many authors would shy away from this theme, and never consider it in a Christmas book; Juliana Stone shows great confidence in her story and the depth of her characters to explore this plot on the way to their HEA. Don’t think this book is just filled with lots of pain; there are moments the characters show great personality. There are moments of joy and a few laughs too.

This quaint town is one I would love to go visit. There are secondary characters that have sparked my interest, and I look forward to meeting them again in another book. This is the second book in a series (it can be read as a standalone with NO issues) and I am going back to read book 1 and I will be on the lookout for any future books in this series. 

     5 STARS!

Kame received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for her honest opinion.


Meet Kame:

Kame is part of a family of readers; one day she picked up the Nook she purchased for her husband and discovered her love of e-books. A few months later he purchased one for her so he could have his back! Kame’s Nook is never far, and she is hard pressed to pick a favorite book, genre or author. As long as there are characters that make her want to sit down and have a chat and a plot keeps the pages turning, she’ll read it.

Kame's GoodReads 

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Thanks for the review, Kame! :) I've been eyeing this series for a while; now I'll have to pick it up! 

Have you read Juliana Stone before? Do you have a favorite? 


Until Next Time,

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