Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Review - The Play by Karina Halle

Title: The Play
Author: Karina Halle
Release Date: November 3, 2015

A troubled Scottish rugby player who doesn't play by the rules.
A vivacious man-eater who's given up on love.
When it comes to Lachlan and Kayla, opposites don't just attract - they explode.

Kayla Moore has always been comfortable with her feisty, maneating reputation. At least it was fine until she hit her thirties and saw her best friends Stephanie and Nicola settle down with Linden and Bram McGregor, leaving Kayla to be the odd one out. Tired of being the third wheel with nothing but one-night stands and dead-end dates in San Francisco, Kayla decides to take a vow of celibacy and put men on the backburner.

That is until she lays her eyes on Linden and Bram’s cousin, hot Scot Lachlan McGregor. Lachlan is her sexual fantasy come to life – tall, tatted, and built like a Mack truck. With a steely gaze and successful rugby career back in Edinburgh, he’s the kind of man that makes her want to throw her vow right out the window. But Lachlan’s quiet and intense demeanor makes him a hard man to get to know, let alone get close to.

It isn’t until the two of them are thrown together one long, unforgettable night that Kayla realizes there is so much more to this brooding macho man than what meets the eye. But even with sparks flying between the two, Lachlan can’t stay in America forever. Now, Kayla has to decide whether to uproot her whole life and chance it all on someone she barely knows or risk getting burned once again.

Sometimes love is a game that just needs to be played.

I have no idea how to express what this book did to my heart. It started with a bang of laughter—a literal laugh-out-loud moment that had me all excited for this funny book. And it was a book with many lighthearted, laugh-out-loud moments, but it wasn't just a funny book. It was so, so much more than that. 

Look, I'm not usually a crier. I mean, sometimes a tear will escape or I'll have a little sniffle, but it takes a LOT to make me ugly cry. A lot. I don't like feeling like my emotions are being manipulated and so I sort-of turn off when I feel like I'm being led down an emotionally treacherous path. But, God damn, Karina Halle snuck one in on me. And I don't want to scare you off this book because while some of that crying was because my heart was fucking breaking all over the place, some of it was because of the breathtaking beauty of this love story, and how amazingly, beautifully told it was. I would read words and gasp and think "Holy shit—this feels like falling in love. Exactly like it." And then my eyes would leak some more.

So? Where do I begin? How do I even try to capture how big this story was? To say it is a Beauty and the Beast story (which I love) seems to be trying to put it in a box into which it doesn't wholly belong. Lachlan is a beast—he's built like a sequoia tree, tall and broad, bearded and tatted (delicious, and irresistible). He's all male, all heart, and chock full of demons. He's so complex and deeply layered—his demons at constant war with his big, beautiful heart. It was impossible not to love him, but also impossible not to kind of hate him a little bit too. I hurt for him. I ached for him. I wanted to punch him in the nuts and shake some sense into him, and I wanted to fold him in my arms and soothe the pain away—all in equal measures. He was amazing. I fell so completely in love with him; his compassion, his brokenness, his unflinching humanness. 

Kayla has been known for being all lighthearted and fun times. Nobody's really scratched beneath the surface with her before. She is deathly afraid of love, of opening her heart to someone and all the consequences that come with that. But she was completely powerless against Lachlan's charms (such as they were). She fell so completely in love with him, like it wasn't even a choice. Like his being in her world was the only way her world was ever going to exist, and her getting on board with her love for him was the only possible outcome. She soothed Lachlan's inner beast and she was strong when he was weak. I love a strong heroine. I love someone I can rally behind—who doesn't create conflict and doesn't lose all sense of herself when the conflict rears its ugly head. Kayla was perfect—her unapologetic humanness and Lachlan's humanness call to each other and in the end, they find their home in each other.

This book is intensely emotional in a way I was not expecting. It is, by turns, breathtakingly beautiful, scorching hot (and I'm not using the term scorching lightly here; the sexiness of this book probably deserves its own paragraph, maybe even its own review), painful, heartbreaking, redemptive and sweet. It's....stunning in its honesty, its intensity, and its beauty. I loved every minute. 
~ Review by Shelly

Karina Halle, a former travel writer and music journalist, is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of more than twenty-five wild and romantic reads, including The Pact, The Offer, Racing the Sun, Love, in English, Dirty Angels and The Artists trilogy. When she's not travelling all over the world for book research, she lives like a hermit on a gorgeous island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her rescue pit bull, Bruce.

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