Thursday, January 21, 2016

Diary Entry #0053: You'll Only Read A Book Like This Once In This Life—A Book Review

Title: In This Life
by Christine Brae
Date of Publication: January 22nd 2016
Genre: New Adult | Contemporary Romance

It started out so simply. Anna runs away to Thailand, drags her best friend Dante with her and spends a few weeks away, taking on other people’s problems while getting away from her own. She meets the enigmatic Jude Grayson, and for as long as it’s clear to both of them that it ends when they leave, she thinks she’s got the perfect fling planned out.
Or does she?
Anna returns home to find that her life is no longer the way it once was, and that she can’t stop thinking about him. She learns through tragedy that nothing she’s ever believed in has turned out to be true. The worst part? The people she loved were keeping a secret from her. And that no matter what she does, no matter how hard she fights against it, every path she takes keeps leading her back to Jude.
This is a story about love, found in a faraway place by two very unlikely people. It is also a story about friendship and loyalty and fighting for what you have despite the illogical mystery of fate. And with the struggle between morality and guilt, faith and acceptance, there comes a learning that even the best-laid plans are powerless against the alignment of the universe.
From the beaches of Thailand to the streets of New York, three friends, Anna, Dante, and Jude will learn the hard way that once providence steps in, there is nothing in the world that can change what is truly meant to be.

“He’s a force that pulls me towards him, a cliffhanger in a story in need of an ending.”

I’ve finished reading Christine Brae’s In This Life recently, and by recently, I mean around ten hours ago. As I was reading it, I typed some thoughts out about this book that was sort of like an outline of my review so that it won’t be hard for me to make a coherent and cohesive book review.
It didn’t help at all.

I actually don’t know how I’m gonna write this review, so I’m just going to wing it from here. You should know first that I really liked this book. I’ve read so many New Adult Contemporary Romance books, so it’s hard to get me to be impressed by the plot of books from the same genre now, but In This Life…yep, like the title suggests, there’s really nothing I could compare it to.

The thing is, I didn’t immediately like this book. If you’ve been following my reviews, you’ll know how much I loathe the insta-love trope. The romance in Thailand was whirlwind and it made me cynical about the characters’ feelings because I kept on thinking that maybe they just felt what they did because of grief. I mean, in all the books I’ve read, I know how much a part grief can play in uniting two people. So, there’s that. I also didn’t like Jude right away (I’m actually #TeamDante) because of his inconsistent characterization. Sometimes, he’s a good guy and sometimes he influences Anna to do things that aren’t necessarily…good. His jealousy wasn’t a plus either. There’s also the fact that Anna held on so much to the past that she wasn’t able to appreciate what she has in the present. She was back and forth during the first half of the book and was prone to knee-jerk reactions.


When I decided to look at the book as a whole, I saw it for what it really was—a book that contains a lot of valuable real-life lessons.

Anna’s confusion and indecisiveness wasn’t that at all. I learned that it just proves that people experience different kinds of love in our life. This book perfectly captured what it’s like to be torn between faith and passion. It taught me that once you set your mind and heart to follow a certain path, the rest will just fall into place as long as you keep on believing that there’s something happy at the end.

I also love that this book took me on a roller coaster ride of emotions. Honestly speaking, I didn’t expect this from Christine. There were times earlier in the book that I got totally blindsided. It was a terrific and good kind of surprise on my part because I love to read the unexpected. The last 20% of the book totally gutted me. Like I said, I didn’t expect Christine to write what she did in this book. I know how emotionally-loaded her books tend to be, but I still wasn’t prepared. Again, that was a major plus in my book.

All in all, In This Life showcased how hard it is to decide whether to follow your heart or do the right thing. It showed how to deal with loss, how to let go and what power true friendships can bring into a person’s life. If you’re looking for something different, but all the while satisfying read, go and get your hands around In This Life.

Book Trailer

Character Profile


Listen to the songs that inspired the story of Anna, Dante and Jude.
In This Life Playlist 

Author Bio

Christine Brae is a full time career woman who thought she could write a book about her life and then run away as far as possible from it. She never imagined that her words would touch the hearts of so many women with the same story to tell. Her second book, His Wounded Light was released in December, 2013.

Christine's third book, Insipid, is a standalone that was released in June, 2014, and her fourth book, In This Life is scheduled for release in January 2016.

When not listening to the voices in her head or spending late nights at the office, Christine can be seen shopping for shoes and purses, running a half marathon or spending time with her husband and three children in Chicago.


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