#MBreview “Blood to Dust” by L.J. Shen

bloodtodustreview My musings…

4.5 Bloody CROWNS

Fair warning, this book is dark.  I have read several dark romances, but Blood to Dust is the darkest I have read.   Now that I have given you that warning, I will tell you I loved every minute of this book.  These characters and their journey captivated my attention.  The revenge, the violence, the sex, and the development of their relationship between the two main characters is beautiful

“’Tell me something beautiful…’

‘Us, I rasp. ‘We’re beautiful and ugly and broken…and whole.’”

Even though Nate, the anti-hero, and Prescott, the anti-heroine, act savagely as they seek revenge and freedom throughout the novel, J.L. Shen writes these two in a way that makes me love them anyway.  I don’t think I would have cared at all what they did during the course of this book.  Even their most violent acts felt justifiable to me.  I wanted the revenge for them.  I wanted them to get away with everything. I wanted them to get their happy ending.  It is my personal feeling that it takes a truly gifted writer to take dark and violent characters and to make the reader love them.  I logically know that I shouldn’t love them, but it doesn’t matter.  J.L. Shen makes me love them anyway.  I have no choice in the matter!

“She’d walk through f***ing fire in kitten heels with a smile on her face and wouldn’t even break a sweat.”

Prescott, Pea, Country Club, Silver Spoon…how I love her.  She is one of the most bad*** heroines I have ever met.  Her strength, her fight, and her ability to still find happiness in the world makes her one of my all-time favorite heroines.  What was done to her, the reason she is seeking revenge, is utterly soul destroying, and ached for revenge for her.

“I love you. All of you.  Your perfect face. Your beautiful soul. Your ugly deeds.”

Beat, Mr. Delaware, Nate…he is one of my top favorite anti-heroes.  I shouldn’t love Nate.  He is damaged and violent, a switcher.  He can take life without thought or care.  Even though the reader is shown all of these undesirable characteristics, we are also shown how he is fair and just.  There are hard lines that he won’t cross.  On top of all of this, he is smart and willing to endanger his life for the people he loves.  His motivation for doing what he does is believable, and I see him as being an honorable character, even if his actions aren’t.

“She gives me storm. I give her peace.”IMG_3384

These two characters together are golden.  I enjoyed all of their interactions together.  Their understanding of each other, their willingness to sacrifice for each other, their ability to forgive and move on is just amazing.  These two had so much tragedy in their life that I just desperately wanted them to get their happy ending.  I also love that L.J. Shen showed us more than this vigilante couple.  She allows us to see their relationship develop and grow.  I wish I could give you all the reasons I love them, but I feel like I would reveal too much about them.  So just know that this beautifully flawed and tragic couple is one of my favorite couples I have ever had the pleasure of reading.

The plot is unbelievable.  The exposition opens with action and violence.  You are immediately drawn into the plot because she places the reader mid-action, and we are left scrambling to put all the pieces together.  Throughout the rest of the story we get to see Nate and Prescott struggle with their feelings that are developing, the need for revenge, and the fight for survival.  Through all of this turmoil and violence, the reader is still given the story of two people that are trying to heal from the tragedies they have experienced in life.  The climax of this story is unbelievable, and I sat just staring at my Kindle with my mouth covered as my eyes flew across my screen.   I just couldn’t believe what I was reading.  The resolution to their story is just as satisfying.

Blood to Dust is my first book by L.J. Shen but it will not be last.  I have just found a new favorite author in the dark romance genre.

Continue reading for the synopsis, purchase link, and author information



His name is Beat, and I should hate him.

Bound, blindfolded and bruised, I’m tied in his basement, waiting for the men who stripped me from clothes and humanity to collect his debt to them. Me.

His name is Nate and I should hate him, but I don’t.

I’m not supposed to know his real name, even worse, I’m not supposed to care. He is nothing to me but means to an end. The plan is simple: break free, collect the pieces of my broken soul, kill the bastards and run away.

His name is Nathaniel Thomas Vela, and I’ve never seen his face, though I hear that it’s beautiful.

Behind the rugged and handsome exterior, there’s a quiet murderer, a killer who thinks guns are for pussies and ends people with his bare hands.

His name doesn’t matter, neither does his face, but what does matter is my heart. And right now, sadly, it’s his.

Blood to Dust is a standalone, full-length novel. It contains graphic violence and adult situations some may find offensive.

Amazon US

About the Author:

L.J. Shen is a former entertainment and music journalist, a recovering hipster, a hopeless romantic and a reformed Riot grrrl. She speaks three languages – four, if you include sarcasm. She writes everything from dark to comedy, as long as there’s enough love and romance involved. Shen lives in Northern California with her son, husband, cat and collection of designer shoes.

L.J. wants to be Tina Fey when she grows up. Keep your fingers crossed for her.

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Happy reading,


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