Wednesday, December 11, 2019

The Younger Man by Karina Halle: Emotional, Sensual, and Unforgettable

The Younger Man by Karina Halle
Published: December 11th, 2019
Publisher: Self-published
Genre: Contemporary romance
Tropes: Forbidden romance, age-gap romance, sports romance 
Heat level: Smokin' hot!
# of pages: 500
My rating: 5 stars
Acquired this book: Through the author's publicity team in exchange for honest consideration. All thoughts are my own
Buy now: Amazon Canada || Amazon US || Amazon UK

Starting over was her only option.

Forty years old and still reeling from a public and painful divorce, Thalia Blackwood is looking for a fresh start, somewhere far away from her upside down life. When she’s offered a new job as the sports therapist for a football (soccer) team, she jumps at the chance. This is just what she needs to leave the heartbreak and shame of Manchester behind, trading it in for the warmth and hopeful vibrancy of Madrid.

He was her only desire.

Twenty-three-year-old Alejo Albarado is rising up the ranks in his career. As the charming forward for the Real Madrid team, Alejo’s life revolves around women, parties, and being a tabloid darling, that is until the new sports therapist joins the team.

Their passion could not be ignored.

What starts out as a strictly professional relationship between Thalia and the young Spanish player, slowly evolves into something more. Much more.

Their relationship was forbidden.

But their combustible chemistry and simmering sexual tension can only go so far—should Thalia give into Alejo’s advances, she’s at risk of not only losing her job, but succumbing to a much younger man will drag her through the spotlight again.

Alejo might be worth that risk.

Unless he breaks her heart in the process.

One of my favourite books of 2019 was Karina Halle’s My Life in Shambles, so I was thrilled when I managed to score an ARC of The Younger Man. It was My Life in Shambles that made me truly appreciate Halle’s ability to squeeze your heart to the point of breaking it, and then put it back together again. After seeing some of the things she was saying about The Younger Man on Instagram, I had a feeling I was in for another emotional rollercoaster, and whoo boy, was I right. The Younger Man was full of passion, romance, angst, sensuality, and so much more.

I’ve never read an age-gap romance, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I appreciated that the stereotypes and double standards were addressed head-on - why is it okay for men to date younger women, but it’s ‘gross’ or ‘inappropriate’ or whatever other bs for an older woman to date a younger man? Why is a woman immediately labelled - and dismissed as - a ‘cougar’? I also appreciated that Alejo acted his age; he was impulsive and often driven by his emotions. When I was his age, I was in a relationship with someone who was thirteen years older, and I made a lot of mistakes and was insecure because I didn’t know any better, didn’t have the experience in life or love that someone who was over a decade older had. It all felt very real and relatable.

It was easy to get invested in these characters and their story. Both Thalia and Alejo had issues from the past that haunted them and affected how they dealt with things in the present. My heart ached for both of them...and it also raced because Halle sure knows how to write hotter-than-hell sexytimes! The forbidden aspect was incredibly sexy, and then throw in the fact that as a young, super-fit football player, Alejo had more stamina than the Energizer Bunny, and it made for a lot of really steamy scenes. I loved watching Thalia and Alejo get to know each other, resist their feelings, and fall deeper and deeper for each other. I rooted for them from beginning to end and basically spent the last hour of the book tearing up or outright crying. These two overcame so much - separately and together - and they earned their happily ever after.

Two more things I want to note: sports romances aren’t typically my thing, but this book actually made me want to watch football (and made me want to visit Spain!). I felt like I was there while the guys were training and during their games - I was part of the game, feeling the excitement and the tension and the thrill of it all. The second thing is Thalia’s struggles with mental health. She talks honestly from the beginning about her depression, anxiety, and panic attacks, the fact she’s sought professional help and is on medication. As someone who has struggled with depression and anxiety for most of my life, I’m always grateful to see it on page, talked about openly and honestly.

There are now officially two of Karina Halle’s books on my Favourite Books of 2019 list: My Life in Shambles and The Younger Man. Thalia and Alejo truly came to life for me and felt like real people. I was completely immersed in their world. This book made me laugh and cry and feel ALL THE FEELS. I know it's one I'll be recommending often.

Have you read The Younger Man? Do you have a favourite sports romance? Or forbidden romance? Or age-gap romance?

*Please note I'm an Amazon affiliate, and some of the links in this review are affiliate links. All income made through affiliate sales goes directly back into maintaining Ramblings of a Daydreamer. Thank you for your support!  

1 comment:

  1. I've read a number of Karina's books and some I've loved and others were okay. Both Shambles and Younger Man are on my recent tbr challenge. I'm fairly certain I'll be reading Younger Man for February's age-gap selection. I've been excited about both of those books. Shambles has a character related to her McGregor Brothers Series and I've read all of those, so I'm extra interested. Your thoughts on both are encouraging.


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