Debbie's World of Books
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The Christmas He Loved Her by Juliana Stone

October 7th, 2013 by Debbie's World of Books

The Christmas He Loved Her by Juliana Stone

Source: Received through Netgalley

Publication date: October 1, 2013

Publisher: Sourcebooks

Series: Bad Boys of Crystal Lake #2

Rating: DNF

Summary from 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.

I rarely DNF a book as many have started off rough but ended up being at least decent by the ending if not really enjoyable.  I even looked up the Goodreads ratings for this book and kept pushing after seeing that it got a majority of 4 and 5 star reviews but I finally had to give up.  There are just too many other books I want to read at this moment.

*After writing the rest of my review I had to come back and add a disclaimer that my opinion may have been influenced by my own experience with PTSD after a loved one’s military deployment.  So something to keep in mind when deciding if this is something you are considering reading.

I found the story line to be so slow moving that I had a hard time getting into it but that wasn’t the primary problem.  The main character Raine was what I couldn’t stand anymore.  Perhaps it’s because my own husband is going through PTSD therapy after multiple deployments but  the way she treated Jake when he returns home infuriated me.  I get she’s hurting (and not having lost someone like that I can’t say how I would be in her shoes) but she pretty much treats him like his feelings aren’t as important as hers.  Yes, she comments on how haunted he looks and how she knows he’s hurting but damn it he should still have made her feelings and pain a priority.  Seriously?!  This is his twin brother that he lost in an obviously very traumatic manner.  I think he deserves to be cut some slack.  She even has the nerve to refer to the time he’s spent trying to deal with his brother’s death as a “yearlong vacation”.  Believe me this had me wanted to slap her despite knowing she is dealing with her own pain.

Then the book triggered a pet peeve of mine (no pun intended) in that Raine who seems pretty aware of how depressed and unstable she is goes out and buys a puppy.  Early on in the book she drops into such a funk that she can’t even drag herself out of bed to feed this poor puppy, give him water or take him outside.  I know depression can do this to a person but to go out and purposely buy a pet who is solely dependent on you when you obviously are in no shape to take care of him pisses me off.

I also found it a little disconcerting over how easily Raine seemed to be fine with having sex with Jake despite him being the twin brother of her dead husband.  Yes, all her arguments make sense when she lays it out to Jake but still for someone who was so devastated over her husband’s death I expected a lot more agonizing before coming to this realization that her husband would have wanted her to be happy even if it’s with his brother.

The final straw came when she threw a hissy fit that Jake would leave her (not even permanently mind you) for a few days to go to a friend whose brother may be dying.  This is a woman who Jake confesses was there in his darkest days and helped pull him through and the dying brother was a buddy of his from his military days.  Yet again, all Raine wants is for him to focus on her pain and is pissed that Jake doesn’t make her his priority.    A) She’s survived this long will a few more days hurt?  Callous I know but she’s already on my bad size. B) How can you be so callous to someone who is currently in the hellish situation of wondering if her brother will live or die and C) Judgmental much?  She doesn’t even make an effort to get to know Lily.  Yes, she’s jealous but still Raine is such a bitch toward Lily basically based on who her family is.

At this point I’m thinking why should I like this woman?  Is there really a way she can redeem herself in my eyes to think she even warrants Jake’s love?  I didn’t think so. So I put the book down and decided to move on.

Sorry for the long rant but despite the fact that I felt sympathy towards Raine for losing her husband so young and in such tragic circumstances it couldn’t overcome everything else about her that pissed me off.

Like I mentioned this book received rave reviews from plenty of readers but obviously just didn’t click with me.

Posted in Books, Romance

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