Sunday, April 20, 2014

Love, In English by Karina Halle ~ Release Day Review

love, in engllish

Title: Love In English

Author: Karina Halle

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: April 20 2014


5 stars love in english

add to gr


He’s thirty-eight. I’m twenty-three.

He speaks Spanish. I speak English.

He lives in Spain. I live in Canada.

He dresses in thousand-dollar suits. I’m covered in tattoos.

He’s married and has a five-year old daughter.

I’m single and can’t commit to anyone or anything.

Until now.Because when they say you can’t choose who you fall in love with, boy ain’t that the f*#king truth.


To a restless dreamer like Vera Miles, it sounded like the experience of a lifetime. Instead of spending her summer interning for her astronomy major, she would fly to Spain where she’d spend a few weeks teaching conversational English to businessmen and women, all while enjoying free room and board at an isolated resort. But while Vera expected to get a tan, meet new people and stuff herself with wine and paella, she never expected to fall in love.

Mateo Casalles is unlike anyone Vera has ever known, let alone anyone she’s usually attracted to. While Vera is a pierced and tatted free spirit with a love for music and freedom, Mateo is a successful businessman from Madrid, all sharp suits and cocky Latino charm. Yet, as the weeks go on, the two grow increasingly close and their relationship changes from purely platonic to something…more.

Something that makes Vera feel alive for the first time.

Something that can never, ever be.

Or so she thinks.


love in english casting


Becs’ Review

Wow!  I loved this despite my initial reservations.  The whole cheating theme is one I often tend to avoid as a reader and a reviewer but Karina Halle’s writing has captivated me in the past so I was determined to give this one a go and I’m  so glad I did.  Love, In English really did help me see past the forbidden love story and discover the depths of emotions hidden beneath and I so very much enjoyed Mateo and Vera’s story – possibly a more unlikely couple you’re not likely to see!  It shouldn’t work but it just does.


love in english teaser 1


Vera, herself a product of divorced parents is a Canadian college student setting out to participate in a language programme in the rolling Spanish hills – she is helping Spaniards brush up on their conversational English. 


vera teaser

Vera’s quite an edgy character – all tattoos, piercings and bad attitude.  She’s been used to a succession of casual sexual partners never really connecting emotionally with any of them.  She’s headstrong, spiky, fairly singular and really not at peace with who she is.  Her love of astronomy and all the constellations show a hidden desire to reach out and soar away from the misery of her home life and really and truly discover herself.  And that’s just what she’s about to do in those intense four weeks at Las Palabras although she didn’t bank on meeting and falling in love with a married father – Mateo Cassalles.


mateo teaser


Mateo  is a former professional footballer who suffered a career-ending cruciate ligament injury and is now a successful restaurant owner and business man.  He’s married to a very beautiful woman who is ‘quasi-royalty’ and father to a five year old daughter – the light of his life.  He’s very much the metro-sexual and the descriptions given by Karina Halle really brought to mind real-life Spanish Keeper Iker Casillas – himself a beautiful man playing the beautiful game.




I truly adored Mateo with his easy charm, affable wit and gentle humour.  He’s not a happy man, his marriage is floundering and he’s immediately besotted with Vera and they slowly get to know one another.  Their attraction to one another is undeniable and the hothouse atmosphere of the Spanish retreat is allowing people to fall into bed with relatively unknown strangers but Mateo and Vera, his Estrella, really do fight it for the longest time – their guilt overrules their passion.  Most especially in Vera’s case.


love in english teaser 2


This has all the hallmarks of a great Karina Halle novel.  She has a knack of placing people who would otherwise be considered anti-heroes right at the heart of the novel and coercing the reader into feeling sympathy and empathy with them and making them into heroes in their own right.  She’s  incredibly adept at making us the readers look beyond the faults and misdemeanours to find the beating heart of the vulnerable human being inside and rooting for them.  In reality, if I read this story in a gossip rag, I would most definitely be on the side of Mateo’s wife and would hate him and Vera for what they have done but, when you get up close and personal with the story, the reverse is true.  I expected Karina Halle to push my boundaries, she always does, but she really has made me leave some of that prejudice behind and understand the emotions involved.


As always, with Karina Halle, you get superlative character development – hers are always very character driven stories and Love, In English is no exception to that.  All the secondary characters up on that Spanish hillside come vividly to life and I could really imagine myself under the European sun in that very insular little community that became the whole world to the participants for those four intense weeks.  Love, In English is full of deep emotions, Karina’s trademark wit and and an edgy and challenging story line.


If, like me, cheating is a storyline that you steer away from, I can say that this one really did work for me and I am glad I read it.  It’s very passionate as Mateo and Vera’s unrelenting chemistry builds to an incredible crescendo before they finally succumb and I found it to be such a genuine and refreshingly honest love story – love isn’t all saccharine sweet hearts and flowers.  It’s often painful, difficult and only to be found at the end of a tortuous path and that’s exactly what you have here.


I’d like to thank the author for sending me an actual physical copy of the book for review – it’s been a long while since I curled up with a paperback and it felt like quite the novel experience and it’s such a pretty book!


paperback!! love in english 

So, all in all, another thoroughly excellent read from Karina Halle and, the way that this book consumed me, I can nothing but give it 5 stars and make it a Sinfully Sexy Recommended Read.


Purchase Links

Coming Soon!




Claudia shrugged and pulled down at her yellow tee. “Not my problem. Eduardo is nice but Ricardo is really nice.”

“How did it happen?” I asked, kinda wanting the sordid details.

She was coy. “The way it usually happens.”

“Did you make the first move?”

Another shrug. “Why not?”

I swear, a shrug and a “why not?” were the Spaniards’ go-to answer for everything.

“Well, then I guess it seems safe—and a little boring now—to tell you that I have a crush on someone.”

Her brows quirked up. “Other than Mateo?”


“You are sleeping with Mateo, no?”



“No!” I exclaimed, appalled. “Why does everyone keep thinking that?”

“Because you are always together,” she said simply. She took a sip of wine. “The attraction is very obvious. So, I figured you must be sleeping together.”

“He’s married!”

“Yes, but you are not.”

I shook my head adamantly. “It’s wrong. I don’t want to be the other woman. I’ve seen my dad go for the other woman, and I can’t put Mateo’s daughter through that,” I said. “Or his wife,” I quickly added.

“That doesn’t mean that you can’t have feelings for anyone else.”

“Yes, it does mean that.”

“Maybe you are meant to be together.”

“We’re not! There isn’t even a together. We’re just friends. I haven’t done anything about it, and so far my feelings are totally one-sided.”

Claudia got up off the couch and brought a pack of cigarettes out of her front jean pocket. “If you think it is on the one side, you have not seen the way he looks at you.”

She walked over to her small patio table and pulled out a chair. I got up and stormed after her, my nerves dancing excitedly.

“What do you mean, the way he looks at me?” I asked, lowering my voice in case there were people around listening. I felt like bouncing off the walls.

She slid the ashtray toward her as I sat down. “You do not see it. But I do. I think everyone does. He looks at you like…like you’re his favorite food.”

“Favorite food?”

She lit her cigarette. “Yes. You’re like his favorite food in the whole world. He wants to have you, eat you, devour you. He thinks about you all the time, craves you. But he cannot have you for one reason or another. Perhaps you upset his stomach. Maybe he is on a diet, yes? All he wants is a taste, but he cannot even have that. That is how he looks at you.”

I sat there, stunned, as some of her smoke blew in my face. That’s how Mateo looked at me? Like he wanted to eat me? I was pretty sure that’s how I looked at him. Just last night I was contemplating nibbling on his earlobes.

“And yes,” she said, leaning closer to me, a small smile on her lips, “that is also how you look at him.” Great, a mind reader. “But you are more subtle about it. You try not to let everyone know. But, we know.”

“There is nothing to know,” I reminded her, poking the table with my finger for emphasis. “We are not sleeping together. He is married. I have a crush. That is it. The end of the story.”

“A crush?” she questioned. “Vera, I think you’re in love with him.”

No fucking way. Not love. That did not happen with me, not ever and not now.

“You can’t fall in love in a week,” I told her heatedly.

“You can fall in love in a second,” she said with a snap of her fingers. “The heart has no regard for time.”

With that sobering thought, Claudia told me about her ex-boyfriend and how they fell in love at first sight then took the conversation back to Ricardo and their exploits. I envied her so badly right then and there. She could fawn over Ricardo, kiss him, fuck him, and no one would ever bat an eye. It was okay for them to be together. It wasn’t forbidden.

I gulped the rest of the wine and left her apartment, heading back to reception to meet Cristina for my next one-on-one, my mind and heart and hormones all over the place. Lo and behold, Mateo was walking up the path toward me.

He was on the phone, smiling.

His shirt was off and slung over his shoulder, exposing his bare chest, abs, and arms.

Holy fuck.

For a moment, I was sure that time had stopped. Or maybe ever single nerve, cell, vein, bone, muscle in my body just slowed as I took him all in.

From his thick-veined forearms to his sculpted shoulders and broad chest peppered with neatly-trimmed chest hair, to his six-pack abs, he had, by far, the best body I’d ever seen on a man. He kept himself in fine-ass shape, looking more like a young athlete than anything else. He and David Beckham had more in common than I thought, although David’s skin tone wasn’t as mesmerizing. Mateo’s color was amazing, just beautiful, this dark, golden bronze that covered him everywhere. I wanted so badly to just touch him, to lick the sheen of sweat off his skin. I bet he tasted like victory.

And to think this was the man that Claudia said wanted to taste me.

I really, really wanted to believe her.

Meanwhile, I was just standing there like I was melting into a puddle of myself. I clamped my mouth shut as he walked past and I heard him say into the phone, “No, mi tesorito, it was easy, I didn’t injure myself.” He was beaming, talking about the game, to his wife. To his tesorito. And he called their relationship complicated? This was complicated.

He winked at me in acknowledgement, his smile becoming broader. I tried to smile back but it wouldn’t come. I just stared at him, feeling stupid, foolish, and strangely rejected. In a perfect world I may have been his favorite food, but it still wasn’t what he got served every day. I turned around and walked down the hill, my heart feeling like a pincushion.

“Vera!” I heard him call out from behind. I stopped and nervously glanced over my shoulder. He was holding the phone’s receiver to his chest, grinning at me. “I need to ask you your question.”

“What?” I asked, hoping it was quick.

“Who is your favorite Spaniard here?”


And yet I couldn’t lie to him.

“You,” I said, more to myself than to him. Then I turned around and walked away as quickly as I could.


About the Author

karine halleWith her USA Today Bestselling The Artists Trilogy published by Grand Central Publishing, numerous foreign publication deals, and self-publishing success with her Experiment in Terror series, Vancouver-born Karina Halle is a true example of the term "Hybrid Author." Though her books showcase her love of all things dark, sexy and edgy, she's a closet romantic at heart and strives to give her characters a HEA...whenever possible.

Karina holds a screenwriting degree from Vancouver Film School and a Bachelor of Journalism from TRU. Her travel writing, music reviews/interviews and photography have appeared in publications such as Consequence of Sound, Mxdwn and GoNomad Travel Guides. She currently lives on an island on the coast of British Columbia where she’s preparing for the zombie apocalypse with her fiance and rescue pup.




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