“Clear off a top spot on your Best of 2020 list. Playing with Fire is coming in HOT!” –Harloe Rae, USA Today bestselling author
Playing With Fire, an all-new intense and all consuming small town standalone romance from USA Today bestselling author L.J. Shen is available now!
5+ I RISE CROWNS
Sometimes a book finds you when you don’t even know you needed. Sometimes the theme developed is something you needed to hear when the world feels like it weighs a ton on your shoulders. Playing with Fire by LJ Shen was the book I didn’t even know I needed.
Grace is a heroine unlike any who have come before her. The strength she has to endure, the evolution of her character, and the girl she is at the end are astounding. I was so proud of her and her journey. Proud of the demands she made, the sacrifices she endured. Grace epitomizes the essence of not letting life beat you down, and although she has a tough exterior in the beginning, seeing her set it ablaze and transform into a new woman comfortable in who she is and who knows her worth was a phenomenal experience. She is a force.
West, oh boy, West owns my heart. I’m sorry, but HE IS MY TOP HERO. He had so many layers and depth. Like most of her heroes, he is broken, but he is a bit more surly than the average Shen alpha. And although this demeanor may by similar to previous heroes, he is NOTHING like them. His complexity and layers are many, and the transformation to open his heart had me falling for him. West shows a woman how a man should court a woman and love her fully.
The love between Grace and West is, although at times difficult, transformative. Shen brought us REAL ROMANCE, the ugly, passionate, sweet, hurtful, and kind love. My heart was breaking when it was over because I never wanted to let them go. I wanted one million epilogues. Alas, a reread is what I will have to do, and I’m not mad about it.
Poignantly written, this book showcases the indomitable human spirit. It encapsulates the strength one individual can possess, and it holds so many lessons about letting go, moving on, being happy, and living fully. It is without a doubt one of my favorite reads of 2020 and will be a reread for years to come.
5 The Phoenix Has Risen Crowns
So, I finished this book yesterday and I had to take the night to really ruminate on what I read. Every time I read one of LJ’s books I always think; “Damn, this is amazing how is she going to top this book?” And then boom her next book comes out and it slays everything that came before it. But this book, this one hit me differently. These characters are not the typical ones that we’ve come to read, they are broken and scarred in ways that really resonated with me on a deeper and more intense level. Grace and West are more than their pasts, they’re more than their demons, they’re more than they’ve settled for and the way in which LJ brought them to life will live in a part of me forever.
Grace is pure resilience and strength, this woman has literally been to hell and back but she survived, she is a survivor! She has lived her life in two separate stages, one was before the incident and then after the incident. She is not who she was before and she will never be that girl again. But that’s okay, she doesn’t need to be her, she is a tougher person. Does she have walls up the size of the Great Wall? Yes. But can you blame her? No. Her character spoke to the person inside us all, the one that doesn’t feel good enough, or pretty enough. The innocent naïve girl that doesn’t know how terrible people can be until you witness it first hand and it’s directed at you, and that small piece of innocence dies. But in its place is a rebirth, it’s a determination not to let others dictate how you see yourself and how you live your life.
West has his own demons to battle and come to terms with. But underneath that aloof façade he flashes around, is the soul of someone who’s dying on the inside. His life experiences and his trauma is so dark and painful that it is slowly and meticulously eating him alive from the inside out. But, it’s his raw determination with Grace that really sets him apart. He sets out to breakdown her walls and get inside to the person within, not realizing that she too was breaking down his walls until they are both exposed and vulnerable in ways they never thought they would be.
LJ effortlessly reached inside and touched my heart and soul with this book. These characters are so different but so very real and raw that you can’t help but form an intense connection with them. Every moment, every memory, every single thing about them has embedded itself inside my very marrow. Grace and West are my absolute, without a single doubt, favorite of LJ’s characters. I was not prepared for the journey that LJ took me on but I am so glad that I went on it. I don’t know how I lived before these two came into my life, but I know I will reread them over and over again! If I could give this book more than 5 stars I would because they deserve all the stars and more, so if you read 1 book this year let it be this, you will not be disappointed!!!
Voluntarily Reviewed an Advanced Complimentary Copy
A broken boy on the path to destruction.
A scarred girl without direction.
A love story carved in secrets, inked with pain and sealed with a lie.
Grace Shaw and West St. Claire are arctic opposites.
She is the strange girl from the food truck.
He is the mysterious underground fighter who stormed into her sleepy Texan college town on his motorcycle one day, and has been wreaking havoc since.
She is invisible to the world.
He is the town’s beloved bad boy.
She is a reject.
He is trouble.
When West thrusts himself into Grace’s quiet life, she scrambles to figure out if he is her happily-ever-after or tragic ending.
But the harder she pushes him away, the more he pulls her out of her shell.
Grace doesn’t know much about anything beyond her town’s limits, but she does know this:
She is falling in love with the hottest guy in Sheridan U.
And when you play with fire—you ought to get burned.
Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!
About L.J. Shen
L.J. Shen is a USA Today, Washington Post and Amazon #1 best-selling author of contemporary, New Adult and YA romance. Her books have been sold to twenty different countries.
She lives in California with her husband, son, cat and eccentric fashion choices, and enjoys good wine, bad reality TV shows and catching sun rays with her lazy cat.
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