Sunday, November 24, 2013

REVIEW: THE CHRISTMAS HE LOVED HER by JULIANA STONE

The Christmas He Loved Her (Bad Boys of Crystal Lake, #2) 
Series: Bad Boys of Crystal Lake #2
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: 10/1/13
Format: ARC
Pages: 332
Source: Received from publisher for review
Rating: 5 stars

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.


From the moment I met them in The Summer He Came Home, and realized just how stormy and complicated the relationship was, I have been waiting for Jake and Raine's story. Thinking back on it, as much as I loved Cain and Maggie, and was intrigued by Mackenzie, Jake and Raine practically stole the book. It doesn't get much more torn and complicated than falling in love with your deceased twin's widow. The promise of a beautiful and heart-breaking story is what had me anticipating The Christmas He Loved Her. That anticipation was so worth it.

The Christmas He Loved Her is the story of two lost souls who must face down the darkness that has been hovering over them for two years. Jake Edwards lost his twin Jesse, a fellow soldier, on the battlefield in Afghanistan. He is consumed by not only grief, but also guilt that he wasn't able to stop the events that led to Jesse's death. But it's not only that guilt that consumes him, but also the guilt that he has been in love with his brother's widow for years. Raine was always a part of the Edwards brothers' life. She had completely different relationships with each brother, an especially intense relationship with Jake, but she and Jesse fell in love. Since Jesse's death, she has been wrapped up in her pain. A pain that it seems only Jake can ease.

Juliana Stone did a remarkable job with Jake and Raine. There were so many moments when her words evoked such a response in me, that it felt like a punch in the stomach. It was so powerful, and I am such an empathetic reader, that I could almost envision the pain of losing my own husband. Or brother. She didn't just write a story about two broken characters, she brought them to life. I was simply blown away by these characters and their story.

I would also like to mention the secondary characters. The Day He Kissed Her will be the next book in The Bad Boys of Crystal Lake. This book will focus on Mac, one of the Bad Boys, and he clearly has a story to tell. I have a feeling it will be a heart-ripper. Lily, Jake's friend was introduced in this story. I did not like her one little bit for most of the book. Near the end, though, she began to grow on me and I am excited to get to know her better, as well. Cain and Maggie also showed up in this installment, and it was so awesome to get a glimpse of the happy couple.

The Christmas He Loved Her isn't so much a holiday story as it was a story that happened to be set at the holidays. I only point this out to explain that if you're not into holiday books, or the season comes and goes and you haven't read it, don't let this book pass you by. This book happens to be one of the very best stories dealing with the aftermath of losing a loved one that I have ever read. It also is what I consider to be one of the very best stories about a returned soldier, the pain and trauma that continues to linger long after the battlefield has been left. This story portrays a man that is still grieving his twin, and is still facing his fiercest battle yet. The battle with his heart and mind.

If you are looking for a powerful, beautiful story that will grip your heart and emotions, but will also leave you so very satisfied in the end, I highly recommend The Christmas He Loved Her.



Favorite Quotes

  She went quiet as her thoughts wandered toward the dark place inside her. The empty place. The one that would never heal.
  I'm alone.
  Jake's eyes narrowed and the bleakness in them intensified. She knew exactly what he was thinking about, and for a moment she was back there with him. Back to that crazy night when the darkness inside both of them had exploded.
  The night they had reached for each other in pain. The night they had used their bodies to try and forget Jesse's death -- her husband, his brother. But it had backfired, and their pain had been too great, their last words bitter. Jake's had rung in her head for many, many nights.
  I can't stand to be around you.   ~ARC, pg. 17


  He gave up any pretenses of fighting the one thing he'd wanted his entire life, it seemed. Wrong or right didn't matter anymore, not when he'd been lost for so long and finally, finally felt as if he'd found himself.
  In that moment, Jake Edwards said to hell with the consequences and ignored the voice in the back of his mind.
  The one that told him he'd be damn lucky to survive it.  ~ ARC, pg. 175


The Bad Boys of Crystal Lake Series
The Summer He Came Home (Bad Boys of Crystal Lake, #1) The Christmas He Loved Her (Bad Boys of Crystal Lake, #2) The Day He Kissed Her (Bad Boys of Crystal Lake, #3)
(covers lead to GoodReads)
Purchase The Christmas He Loved Her



About the author:

Juliana StoneJuliana Stone’s love of the written word and 80s rock, have inspired her in more ways than one. She writes contemporary romance, paranormal romance and will debut a young adult novel in 2014. She spends her days navigating a busy life that includes, a husband, kids, a dog and a cat.

Website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  GoodReads






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20 comments:

  1. I saw these books on your blog before and let's face it - it's hard to avoid all those muscles. :) I'm so glad that this story is more than just a model on the cover. It sounds great. Great review, Andrea :)

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  2. Great review. The book sounds intense and very emotional and I'm a sucker for those :)

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  3. Oh, Andrea, you really know how to make a girl want to read the book. Great review.:)
    Glass @ Way Too Hot Books

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  4. The premise for this one sounds like it will rip your heart out and those are always the best kind of reads. Great review Andrea!

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  5. You know powerful and emotional are right up my alley.

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  6. These sound they are emotional but at the same time, well-written. I'm quite intrigued by the concept and it seems that Raine and Jake work well together.
    I will definitely keep an eye on this one.
    Lovely review, Andrea.

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  7. Ok,you've totally sold me on this book, and I want it now! I'm a very empathetic reader myself, and love realistic, powerful, and emotional stories! This one sounds amazing!!! Excellent Review :)

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  8. I so LOOOOVE this series. I'm planning to read it after thanksgiving so it's in theme with the melancholy Christmas songs, chilly weather and snowfall. That's my "reading kit" for this one LOL

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    1. That is the perfect set-up for this book, Braine! I can't wait to see what you think.

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  9. I'm definitely going to have to pick up these books, Andrea! I put The Summer He Came Home on my TBR when you reviewed it...The Christmas He Loved Her sounds like an equally emotional read. And you know I love books that evoke powerful emotions. :) I'm glad this was a great read. I loved your review. :)

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    1. I hope you read them soon, Brandee. I can't wait to see what you think!

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  10. Your holiday books are putting me in the Christmas mood! I'm gonna have to check this one out on amazon.

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  11. Oh lord you have me drooling not just for one book but for two books..eek gads. Will this work as a standalone or will I miss too many elements?

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    1. I honestly thing this can be read as a standalone. The first book is really good. This one was stellar!

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  12. Yikes this sounds so emotional. Not only to lose a husband to be in love the brother - a twin no less.

    It sounds like the author did it so well. I teared up a little just from the summary and review.

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  13. Yay! Thanks for putting this on my radar Andrea! I will definitely be checking it out! It sounds emotionally heartbreaking, but beautiful at the same time.

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  14. This sounds emotional but utterly lovely, Andrea! I'm sure I would love this if you did. Lovely review! :)

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  15. Fabulous review Andrea - this is my type of book.

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  16. I'm glad you loved this one. I've been looking at it. We'll see if I can read it before Christmas.

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