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Christmas He Loved Her

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

It has taken Jake Edwards a year and a half to return back home

It has taken Jake Edwards a year and a half to return back home to idyllic Crystal Lake after his twin brother, Jesse was killed in action overseas. Jake had been part of the same unit and survived, but there were days he wished he hadn't. Frankly, he had avoided going ...
It has taken Jake Edwards a year and a half to return back home to idyllic Crystal Lake after his twin brother, Jesse was killed in action overseas. Jake had been part of the same unit and survived, but there were days he wished he hadn't. Frankly, he had avoided going home. Too afraid to face the pain in his parents faces, but especially to be confronted with Jesse's widow, Raine. 




All Raine can feel is fury, when she sees Jake standing on her front lawn. All this time she never heard from him, she needed him and he wasn't there for her. Yet there is part of her that can't help being relieved he is here. Losing her husband and having his brother, her best friend, disappear from her life permanently, would have devastated her beyond repair.




The past year and a half has done damage to everyone. Raine is is a mere shadow of her former self, functioning only to appease the outside world and to take care of her grieving in-laws, but barely cares to take care of herself. And pain and guilt have become so overwhelming for Jake, that he has completely shut off from everyone, attempting to hide in work.




But when Jake's father becomes ill, and Jake finally returns home and is confronted with his parents and Raine, he realizes that he is done hiding. Buying and restoring an old local home is a catalyst for the reparations to be made in his life. With life long friends, with his parents and most importantly, with Raine, who he's loved all his life. She can see the monsters that haunt him and won't rest until they're gone, and there is only one way left for them to go........forward.




**********




OMG..... Within a few pages I could feel myself getting emotionally yanked into this story. 




Such a devastating situation, with no easy resolution for anyone. You just know whatever scabs have formed have to come off before any of the wounds can heal properly.......for anyone involved. 




Only 25% into the story, I felt such a strong connection with the two main characters, that my emotions would run the gamut along with theirs. This was NOT what I expected when I read the title of this book, but what an amazing surprise!




A family so intensely affected by the loss of one of their sons, lost in battle, who each in their own way, are trying to cope with the everyday life after. 
The parents try to avoid thinking too much about the actual loss, about what happened and attempt to focus on what they have left; one son, and a daughter in law, who has always been more like their own daughter. 




Raine who initially tries to find Jake for comfort, is forced to turn her grief inside and focuses on functioning instead. Mostly for the sake of her inlaws, for whom she is concerned, especially with Jake's absence. When her father in law becomes ill, even more responsibility comes Raine's way, she finally isn't able to hold herself together anymore, and her job falls a victim. Once Jake returns, and despite her anger at him, he returns some colour to her days, and her battle to regain herself begins. 




Most conflicted in his pain and grief is Jake. Not only is he the single one person who was present when his brother died, but he has some serious doubts as to the state of mind his brother was in, and this is a load he has to carry alone. No one wants to hear what happened and he is not sure he can bear to tell anyone, but he aches to unburden himself. He also lost his brother, his twin and best friend. He grieved for his parents and felt guilt towards them. But again, most of the conflict he felt was with respect to Raine. He loved his brother's wife, couldn't bear to see her in pain and was unsure how to be the friend he had always portrayed to be when all he wanted was to be the lover he didn't deserve to be. 




What struck me most about this book was how respectful it was of all of the different types of grief and how people deal with it. I really felt there was no judgement from the author, she just allowed the characters to handle it the way they needed to handle it. It may sound like it is a depressing story, but really it is not........it is quite a hopeful book, an incredibly realistic tale of the different ways of coping with loss and how we sometimes can be our own roadblocks in healing. 




I had previously read a few works by Juliana Stone, and I knew she could write and that her steamy style appealed to me, but this one blew me away!! The book is not only incredibly moving, it is very passionate and sensual in all the right places!




 I hope people will take the time to read this review and take my words to heart........this book is worth it!!!




¿A gorgeous, utterly compelling and intensely emotional read!!¿




**ARC courtesy of NetGalley and Sourcebooks in return for an honest review.**

posted by RipeForReader on September 30, 2013

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Confused

What was in the bag?

posted by 6608225 on October 6, 2013

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  • Posted September 30, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    It has taken Jake Edwards a year and a half to return back home

    It has taken Jake Edwards a year and a half to return back home to idyllic Crystal Lake after his twin brother, Jesse was killed in action overseas. Jake had been part of the same unit and survived, but there were days he wished he hadn't. Frankly, he had avoided going home. Too afraid to face the pain in his parents faces, but especially to be confronted with Jesse's widow, Raine. 




    All Raine can feel is fury, when she sees Jake standing on her front lawn. All this time she never heard from him, she needed him and he wasn't there for her. Yet there is part of her that can't help being relieved he is here. Losing her husband and having his brother, her best friend, disappear from her life permanently, would have devastated her beyond repair.




    The past year and a half has done damage to everyone. Raine is is a mere shadow of her former self, functioning only to appease the outside world and to take care of her grieving in-laws, but barely cares to take care of herself. And pain and guilt have become so overwhelming for Jake, that he has completely shut off from everyone, attempting to hide in work.




    But when Jake's father becomes ill, and Jake finally returns home and is confronted with his parents and Raine, he realizes that he is done hiding. Buying and restoring an old local home is a catalyst for the reparations to be made in his life. With life long friends, with his parents and most importantly, with Raine, who he's loved all his life. She can see the monsters that haunt him and won't rest until they're gone, and there is only one way left for them to go........forward.




    **********




    OMG..... Within a few pages I could feel myself getting emotionally yanked into this story. 




    Such a devastating situation, with no easy resolution for anyone. You just know whatever scabs have formed have to come off before any of the wounds can heal properly.......for anyone involved. 




    Only 25% into the story, I felt such a strong connection with the two main characters, that my emotions would run the gamut along with theirs. This was NOT what I expected when I read the title of this book, but what an amazing surprise!




    A family so intensely affected by the loss of one of their sons, lost in battle, who each in their own way, are trying to cope with the everyday life after. 
    The parents try to avoid thinking too much about the actual loss, about what happened and attempt to focus on what they have left; one son, and a daughter in law, who has always been more like their own daughter. 




    Raine who initially tries to find Jake for comfort, is forced to turn her grief inside and focuses on functioning instead. Mostly for the sake of her inlaws, for whom she is concerned, especially with Jake's absence. When her father in law becomes ill, even more responsibility comes Raine's way, she finally isn't able to hold herself together anymore, and her job falls a victim. Once Jake returns, and despite her anger at him, he returns some colour to her days, and her battle to regain herself begins. 




    Most conflicted in his pain and grief is Jake. Not only is he the single one person who was present when his brother died, but he has some serious doubts as to the state of mind his brother was in, and this is a load he has to carry alone. No one wants to hear what happened and he is not sure he can bear to tell anyone, but he aches to unburden himself. He also lost his brother, his twin and best friend. He grieved for his parents and felt guilt towards them. But again, most of the conflict he felt was with respect to Raine. He loved his brother's wife, couldn't bear to see her in pain and was unsure how to be the friend he had always portrayed to be when all he wanted was to be the lover he didn't deserve to be. 




    What struck me most about this book was how respectful it was of all of the different types of grief and how people deal with it. I really felt there was no judgement from the author, she just allowed the characters to handle it the way they needed to handle it. It may sound like it is a depressing story, but really it is not........it is quite a hopeful book, an incredibly realistic tale of the different ways of coping with loss and how we sometimes can be our own roadblocks in healing. 




    I had previously read a few works by Juliana Stone, and I knew she could write and that her steamy style appealed to me, but this one blew me away!! The book is not only incredibly moving, it is very passionate and sensual in all the right places!




     I hope people will take the time to read this review and take my words to heart........this book is worth it!!!




    ¿A gorgeous, utterly compelling and intensely emotional read!!¿




    **ARC courtesy of NetGalley and Sourcebooks in return for an honest review.**

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2014

    Awesome

    Great, emotional story. Can't wait for the next in the series

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2013

    Loved it

    This book us filled with so much emotion and inner struggle, you find yourself wanting to cry as they try to deal eiththeir heartbreaking pain. I loved their bond and Raine passion to build something more and Jakes deep love. Thisis an emotional love story and I could not out it down.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 19, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    This book almost did me in. Every once in a while I come across

    This book almost did me in. Every once in a while I come across a book that will have me in tears and feeling every emotion the characters do and completely absorbs me The Christmas He Loved Her is that book times a million. This is such a heartfelt, gut wrenching story. There are so many aspects and so many feelings that it was almost too much at times. I didn't know what to feel half of the time.

    "But right now, in this lifetime, in this moment... it's different. It's raw and it's hungry, and I don't think that I can live without you."
    ~Raine

    We start with Jake Edwards, who lost his brother overseas and blames himself, and Raine Edward his brothers widow. Raine and Jake have known each other since they were kids, and Raine fully admits that she was always in love with both Jake and Jesse. I have read the widow story line before, but it is so much harder to read when the late spouse was a likable, upstanding person. What the story conveys so well though, is that there are different kinds of love. I never feel like Jake and Raine were betraying Jesse. When you lose someone you love there is always pain to overcome, but where Raine and Jake are concerned there is almost too much pain to deal with. They are dealt so much more than the loss of a brother/husband and they almost miss their chance at happiness again.

    "'We're trying to survive,' she whispered through tears.
    I'm trying to survive."
    ~Raine

    At first Jake and Raine try to form a relationship without clearing their history first, and it works for a while. Despite their love for one another they both have too many secrets and feel too much blame to form a cohesive relationship. Raine is such a heartbreaking character, she has experienced enough grief for an army. The one thing she finds that she needs in her life is Jake. Not as a crutch or as a replacement for Jesse, but to make her heart whole again. With the circumstances she has been handed in life she finds that if you can find that all consuming love, it shouldn't matter who it is with, she needs to grab it and live her life without regrets. Jake on the other hand can't get past the guilt of watching his brother die in front of his eyes, and he feels that by falling for Raine he is taking over Jesse's life. These two have to learn to forgive themselves, Jesse and each other. This is such a beautiful story of two people finding acceptance and learning to love again. Juliana Stone is a fantastic writer and I am in awe of how captivating this story is. The Christmas He Loved Her is a book that sets the standards for all books in my opinion. Make sure to pick up a copy and fall in love with Jake and Raine the way I did!

    Happy Reading!
    *ARC provided by Net Galley in exchange for an honest opinion*

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 3, 2013

    Juliana Stone is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. Th

    Juliana Stone is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. This is the second book in her Bad Boys trilogy and it is just as good as the first. In this installment we learn more about the characters of Jake and Rains. The pages are filled with angst, love, and guilt but never fear...there is a great he's! I highly recommend this book as well as the first.  You should really read in order.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 1, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Wow!!! Juliana Stone has written a heart wrenching, painfully p


    Wow!!! Juliana Stone has written a heart wrenching, painfully poignant book that will put you through a range of emotions. You don't know if you should root for Jake and Raine or be upset, because Raine fell in love with Jake so easily. Then you realize that we cannot control our emotions. Even though it maybe painful to accept, we have to realize that it is okay to love again after the death of a spouse.





    "The Christmas He Loved Her" is a passionate and moving romance that will make your heartache for Jake & Raine. This is a very satisfying read just remember to have your tissues ready.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 28, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Read on September 24, 2013 Book Info  ebook Expected public


    Read on September 24, 2013




    Book Info 
    ebook
    Expected publication: October 1st 2013 by Sourcebooks
    edition language English
    URL 
    seriesBad Boys of Crystal Lake #2
    Source:Netgalley EARC




    Book Buy Links 




    AMAZON 




    B&N 




    BOOK SYNOPSIS








    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.




    My Thoughts








    First off The Christmas He Loved Her was an amazingly passionate, emotionally traumatic, honestly raw and totally intense book that was very easily gulped down in one days reading! Now having spent several days mulling over my reaction to the story and how the characters brought it to life can truly say that the author surpassed my expectations for Jake and Raine's story. 




    Childhood friends turned lovers Jesse Edwards married Raine Delgatto young and by 30 he was gone and she was a grieving widow whose life was turned totally inside out with the loss of the one person she always turned to for support. Jake Edwards was also close to Jesse's widow and when they lost his twin brother it devastated him to the core causing him to lose his way for over a year, now he has returned to Crystal Lake sure of only one thing that the lifelong attraction that he has had for Raine is stronger than ever.




    This story of pain and loss kept me transfixed, my heart broke for the Edwards family as much as it did for Raine and it was almost more than I could bear at times when faced with just how deeply Jesse's death affected them all in so many ways. Top that off with the family having to deal with Steven Edwards, Jesse and Jakes father, first being stricken with and now recuperating from prostrate cancer the burden on this family was almost to much to bear!




    The delicate balance that the author has woven together in this blend of tense emotional highs and lows is what makes a contemporary romance such a unique reading experience because it allows us to fully embrace everything the characters feel from joy to sorrow and back again. 




    This was a struggle to read at times because it was so darkly realistic but do not think it is only about loss and pain because this is also a story of joy and healing, a story of love and laughter, a story of friendships old and new and most of all a story of rebirth for two wounded people who finally allow themselves to let their grief and guilt go replacing it with love that has always been between them but never given expression to.




    The Christmas He Loved Her is all about second chances and fully satisfies the most ardent romantic hearts desire to see love fully expressed and embraced!




    [EArc from Netgalley in exchange for honest review]

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  • Posted September 24, 2013

    I have no idea how to start this review, but to say this book is

    I have no idea how to start this review, but to say this book is a very emotional one.  I had tears running down my face several times, while reading this book. I actually looked at my husband during one scene and told him how I could not believe Juliana has me crying over fictional characters.  I felt their pain though and wanted to comfort both Jake and Raine.  I knew it was going to be emotional, when Jake and Raine were introduced in the first book.  The last chapter of the previous book alone made Jake and Raine’s story not going to be a easy one.  Juliana Stone made Jake’s and Raine’s story even more emotional, when the truth came out what happened to Raine.  (How I felt for her…I just wanted to hug her and tell her I was here for her)

    Raine went through a lot in this book and you could tell she went through a lot during the time frame that Jake and her did not speak.  It was eating her alive and her mother, who was never there for her, notice a change in Raine.  She wanted to be there for her and Raine did not want her help.  Raine’s in-laws were even noticing something was wrong.   Jake was being a major jerk in this book, but he did have his reasons.  He had his own demons inside of him still brewing from his twin brother’s death, that he felt he could have prevented.    He was trying to fight over his feelings of his brother’s wife.  The past creeped out and told the story of how Raine, Jake, and Jesse and the rest of the gang got together.  The one scene that Raine caught Jake doing something broke my heart for her.  How could he not tell what her intentions were?  Some guys are clueless. …..  Grrr!!!

    There was so much going on between both Raine and Jake that you just wanted them both to finally have a happily ever after.  Raine was so confused in this story on why Jake never talked to her, but he talked to the Barbie looking girl, he brought home for the holidays.  Jake had no clue on what was going on with Raine and why she looked so skinny, but he did try to be there for her…but his inner voice kept telling him, he shouldn’t.

    Juliana Stone gives you a story of two characters, who were meant to be with each other from the beginning, but they both were confused on what to do.

    This is touching story of two people, who get a second-chance at love.  The second-chance is not going to be easy, but no one ever said it was easy.

    I liked how Juliana was able to write this story with the holiday themed to it, while she wrote it during a different season.  This book definitely put me in the Christmas mood…and it’s only September.  I adore Jake and Raine even more after this book and look forward to Mac’s story.  I need some more of the Bad Boys of Crystal Lake.

    I give this book 5 full moons and highly recommend it to contemporary romance readers out there.  Make sure to read the first book though.  You will need to know about ALL of these Bad Boys.

    I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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