Book Review – Love, in English by Karina Halle

by Maryse on April 23, 2014 · 22 comments

in My Book Reviews

Love, in English
What an incredibly exciting, butterfly-inducing, turbulent love story! This is the epitome of emotional roller coasters, and I could barely put it down. Every single moment of this ride was thrilling, intoxicatingly scary, desperately addicting and breathtaking, right from that first steep hill.

That slow and steady climb (aka “slow burn”), the anticipation, the delicious nervousness fluttering in your stomach, as the wistful yearning to satisfy your hearts newfound desire builds. You tell yourself it won’t be that bad. You’ve got a handle on this. Even though you know better. You’re fooling yourself and the fact that your heart is skipping beats solidifies that knowledge. Deep down, you’re anticipating that heartstopping plunge. Craving it, even. And simultaneously wondering why you are doing this to yourself. Knowing that you are about to go over and it just might be the death of you.

But still, you stared at it longingly, you contemplated it, you stood in line for hours (in this case… days) flirting with it. Getting used to it. Liking it… and then maybe even loving it. Or the idea of it. That pulsing adrenaline rush enticing you to live dangerously (’cause you know this one should be… unquestioningly off limits). But it welcomed you, gently at first. With it’s bright colors, and cheerful and charming disposition. And everyone around it seemed to love it. And then before you realized what was happening, you “got in”. Cradled in it’s cushy, innocuous embrace. Locked in, nice and tight. And there is no stopping now.

And I never wanted it to end.

Maryse’s Book Blog: 6:52am and I’m reading. And crying… Lucky i still have half of the book to go, but OMG if I’m already crying I’m in for it.

Amy: Stealing your word here…*squeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!* I have been waiting for this one for a while and have been *devouring* it since last night! I won’t be sleeping too much tonight either.

Maryse’s Book Blog: My stomach is in constant clench mode!

Amy: Arrrgh! Maryse, I *know* that I can’t be alone in my (literal) eye-covering and, ahem, “meeping” moments, right?!? I’m so glad the skewing of my moral compass doesn’t extend beyond my reading. *snicker* :P

Donna: I’m also crying and half way through ……so so romantic! I want a Mateo xx

Amy: I’m at 66% of Love in English. *sniff* *sob* *hiccup* That sums it up right now.

Jean: you guys have me completely intrigued with Love In English.

Rebecca: Eeeek!!! I’m at 39%, nearly up to you guys! Excited and a little scared, of what’s coming up, by the sounds of it!!

Robyn: I loved it!!!

Trisha: I had to close the book at the almost half way mark late last night, I was so in love with it, I was afraid if I did not stop then, I would be up all night. I want to read it fast as bad as I want to savor it.

Yvette: 80% Maryse!!! Eeeek

Summer: I am at 13% what am I in for? Yikes. I love it so far totally hooked!

Ali: I feel for you Maryse, I hardly ever cry at books but this one got me too!

Rebecca: OMG!! Just finished part 1!! So emotional, I am wrecked!! Putting this down now, it’s 12.20am, start part 2 tomorrow.

Yvette: Done!! Heart wrenching, stomach twisting, leg bouncing yup all in the last 20%!! Really liked this one!! Loved Mateo!! Can’t wait to read your thoughts!!!!

Hang: I cried too Maryse! Trust me, it’ll be worth it

Karla: I finished last night and I absolutely loved love, in English one of my faves this year and omg having such a book hangover!

Sara: 76% and WOW… I am so in love with this book. Karina Halle is a word wielding genius!

Amy: LIE was everything I hoped it would be. :D I went from feeling all la-la-la I’m in love to my heart hurting to being giddy to #%*@ and then back to my heart hurting and trying not to cry (didn’t work ;) ). … *This* is why I read!

Yoyo: At 55% and I am wrecked. I found myself holding my breath towards the end of part one. I don’t want to stop reading but I must get some sleep so I can function at work.

Robyn: Oh sh!t! I just started!

LOL Robyn!! :D Everyone that is just starting this… brace yourselves. ;)

But before I get into what it’s about, I’m going to say this book might not be for everybody. But so far from the feedback I’ve received, even those that usually shy away from this kind of “love story”… have been loving it like crazy. Because this author is THAT good and you get everything. Every detail, every emotion (good and bad) and it all makes sense, and plays out exactly as reality would have it (even in it’s chaos). And you’ll find yourself connecting… no. Latching on to, and becoming one with, these characters.

I’m starting to think that most villains aren’t evil – they are just misunderstood.

Or victims of that most manipulative force: love.

So what’s it about?

Vera is considered the “black sheep” of her family. But in reality, she’s quirky-normal and down to earth. Once a slightly troubled teen, now twenty-something, tattooed, a bit daring, and a bit “unconventional”, she takes a six week trip to Spain to teach “conversational english” in a specialized program at a resort for Spanish business professionals.  <— First, OMG I want to do that!!!!! LOL!

She’s pretty, but not “perfect”. Fun, smart and outgoing, but fairly insecure and shy, too. And it is that insecurity, those self-doubts juxtaposed with her confident sex-appeal that has her sleeping with random men, whenever she wants. Whenever she needs to. But she avoids connecting with any of ‘em.

That is until she reaches the resort in Spain and is encouraged to connect with… everybody. The resort has scheduled tons of fun, game-like, “get to know you” tutorials and get-togethers…

Red wine? At lunch? What kind of sorcery is this?


… and Vera begins to truly make friends with so many of the Spaniards and English tutors alike. True friendships that have that “test-of-time” feel (with a few not-so-friendly encounters) but that’s just life. Still, this group as a whole become tight knit and forge amazing bonds. I giggled like mad. I felt as if I were a part of their group. I even wanted to hug the awkward “noobs”.

“Lo siento,” he said, then clamped his hands over his mouth in shock over his contraband Spanish. Then dropped the card so it landed face up and just ruined the game for himself. What a noob.

*snort!!* :P

I can’t even possibly do justice to how you’ll feel about (and how much you’ll LOVE) this group as a whole.

And there is NO WAY I’ll be able to do justice to the biggest, sweetest, seemingly soul-deep friendship that occurs between Vera and a gorgeous Spanish biz-professional named “Mateo”. Who is married. And has a young child.

“… this place does things to you. Believe me, you’ve already been caught up in it.”

Nope. I can’t even come close to doing it justice in this review. Their story just must be read, and experienced moment by moment, to be understood.

And therein lies the potential for oncoming angst, drama and pain. But also the potential for love.

And that, my friends, is the ride of this love story. Steep uphills, and exhilarating drops. Brace yourself. You’re going down, you’re scared out of your mind, but happier than you’ve ever been. Surprise loops that take your breath away. Oh sure, you knew there were coming, but you ignored them until they swallowed you whole. But there are also bumps, twists and turns that have you gasping. That jar you out of that smooth, safe feel. In this case, out of your own personal romantic nirvana.

And sure, while on a real roller coaster, you already know the outcome. Euphoric safety and most likely a thrilled, stunned grin (and maybe even a “Let’s do it again!!!”).

But this roller-coaster love story? It was fraught with exhilarating and agonizing realism. That initial connection,

I grinned at his humor, so similar to mine. It almost made me… giddy. God, giddy.

the friendship, the crush,

Butterflies tickled my chest and suddenly I was transported to kindergarten all over again. I knew I needed to get a grip but I honestly hadn’t had a genuine crush on anyone in a very long time.

… the hesitancy, the eventual inability to resist. <— Oh you knew that was coming. A foregone conclusion.

But so are the circumstances, reactions and the outcome. The comfort of support and the rampant disapproval. This author did not shy away from REAL. She addicted us with heady rush after heady rush. And then she left us in withdrawal. Over and over again.

And a love story from an author like Karina Halle? It’s laden in emotional *eeeeeep-factor*. She’s got that risky, unpredictable and even daring edge to her.

What if the relationships I made at Las Palabras were only meant to survive right there in that bubble? What if they don’t stand a chance outside of that world?

Would this end in an HEA? Or would this end in a life lesson? Would this end in utter disaster, destroyed hearts and the ultimate reading hangover? Or would it fulfill my heart, catering to my need for soul-deep love that can’t be denied withstanding anything thrown in it’s path… and the ultimate reading hangover?

The only thing I can tell you is that an “ultimate reading hangover” awaits you, no matter what. <— Another foregone conclusion. ;)  Tee hee. My lips are sealed for the rest.

But here’s a hint. This is me in the throes of my own reading hangover, just as I was finishing it (chatting about the book):

Maryse: perfectly explored. I swear. It felt like my own brain… my thoughts, my reactions… And I put it down to work and stuff but I never wanted to. I was never bored and didn’t skim a single thing. It’s hard to deny love no matter what form it comes in. I freaking devoured it and loved it! That’s exactly the kind of detail, and pacing and the kind of romance angst and *spoiler* I want to read about. Mateo is a dream! Absolutely perfect and wow… Just… He was so open and honest and so intense and soooooooooo sad and omg I loved him so hard.

The hangover? Oh yes, I’m still in it’s throes. And delighted to be! This is a shining example of exactly what I LOVE to read when it comes to love stories. And I just had to give it FIVE hands-in-the-air-screeching-my-heart-out stars!

5 stars!!

P.S. Thank you to the author for sending me a print review copy. I actually purchased it on Amazon so I could read along with my buds, and so that I could highlight and make notes to my hearts content (and re-read my favorite parts). I love the ease of e-books. But I cherish that gorgeous print copy and will absolutely have it signed and displayed on my “favorites” shelf for all time.

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Kirsten April 23, 2014 at 12:21 PM

Fab review. Karina keeps stepping up her game.

Amy April 23, 2014 at 12:33 PM

“Red wine? At lunch? What kind of sorcery is this?”

*snicker* That is MY kind of sorcery. :P Oh my, I want to experience that story all over again.

Amy April 23, 2014 at 12:34 PM

By the way, do we have a post-LIE shopping list yet? ;)

Maryse April 23, 2014 at 1:03 PM

Well… I went out yesterday and bought nothing! Followed my husband around while HE shopped for toys, so I stayed in the car and read. :) I love being able to read anywhere I wanna.

But I’m craving some fun colors, so hoping to get to Sephora tonight.

Post-LIE… makeup list to follow. :D

Maryse April 23, 2014 at 1:03 PM

Thanks Kirsten!!! I felt very inspired! :)

Maryse April 23, 2014 at 1:05 PM

Oh I snickered so much throughout that first part. Everyone was so funny. Like the adorable spanish guy that came out, all drunk and said the C word, ’cause he was dared to. LOL!!! Awwwww. His fits of giggles made me giggle. CUTENESS

Amy April 23, 2014 at 1:24 PM

It was Angel! “Sammy told me to tell you… And if I said it, she would …” I know that’s crazy vague, but it *has* to be read in its context to fully grasp how hilarious it was. ;)

I have something soooo perfect right now and with unbelievable timing, too! I ordered the OPI Brazil collection not long ago, and it just arrived. Like, *just* arrived just now! You have to google it and then try to tell me those colors don’t scream LIE. All 12 colors!! Yes, yes, I know Brazil and Spain are two different places so just shush it. :P But these colors – wow! Sorry, I’m excited and wound up right now. I’m gonna go play with my new polish now! *hee hee*

Maryse April 23, 2014 at 1:42 PM

LOL!! I’m sufficiently shushed.They are gorgeous.

My favs from just looking’ at ‘em: Toucan Do It If You Try!!! < — MUST HAVE!

And I love Live. Love Carnaval. And Where did Suzi’s Man Go? LOL!!!! Okay I’m excited!! :D

Melissa April 23, 2014 at 5:42 PM

Well said, Maryse! I agree. this book was five-hands-in-the-air-screeching stars! I have a total book hangover too. I think my heart still hurts and swoons at the same time, if that’s possible.

Maria April 24, 2014 at 1:06 AM

Its funny how books affect people differently. Love, in english was a good reading, but i didn’t get super excited with the plot, as well as, i didn’t feel crazy butterflies in my belly

Jackie April 24, 2014 at 1:26 AM

Sure have the travel bug after reading this book. It really made me think how I’d love to read other books that take place in other countries that the characters travel to. I was thinking Vain, but are there other books?

Bianca April 24, 2014 at 4:11 AM

I am reading it now, only 19% in and I am so nervous with anticiaption !!

Cat April 24, 2014 at 9:34 AM

I am 57% through this lovely work. I have laughed my hinney off and now am crying my eyes out. What a wonderfully woven story.

Jessie April 24, 2014 at 12:27 PM

Just bought it. Should be done with The King tonight..then onto the next!

Trisha April 24, 2014 at 1:14 PM

I agree with Maria. I wasn’t blown away by it. I found myself speed reading parts just to get to the end.

Danielle April 24, 2014 at 4:11 PM

I actually stopped reading The King and started this. I cant put this book down. Im taking the rest of the day off to finish! And to see it was inspired by an actual trip…so cool.

Becky April 24, 2014 at 5:30 PM

Karina Halle quickly became my favourite author when I was introduced to Dex and Perry. But….. THIS book has made me actually cry. This one hits too close to home. Best. Book. Ever.

Kelly April 27, 2014 at 12:19 AM

Well this book was indeed a Roller coaster.. my God I’m exhausted, went to sleep so late *book hungover anyone** but I absolutely love Mateo and Vera.. Great book.. big fan of Karina Halle. Dex and Perry .. * sigh *

Claudia May 2, 2014 at 8:36 PM

I’ve been in such a book funk for months now :( I will start to read something and put it down after a few pages. I’ve been searching and craving for a book that grabs my attention from beginning to end! I missed that “I can’t put it down” feeling! Maryse, thank you so much for dragging me out of my funk, this was exactly what I needed to bring me back!! Karina’s writing is perfect. I love her writing, her stories and writing style! Hands down 5 stars also! I need more love stories like this!!

Mindy May 6, 2014 at 10:17 PM

I totally agree with the 5 stars. I love LOVED this book. Made me want to travel so badly! Halle is on fire! Everything she writes is amazing! Hopefully we’ll have another Dex fix coming our way soon as well!

Minha November 3, 2014 at 6:45 AM

Hi Maryse, is it an standalone?

Maryse November 3, 2014 at 7:59 AM

Hi Minha! Yes it is… complete right to the very end. I think the second book coming out is just his POV…

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