⭐️⭐️⭐️ REVIEW: Playing with Fire by L.J. Shen

Well, she tried to change things up, she really did. This has some noticeable differences from anything I’ve read by the author before, but still feels very much like one of her books. Including the level of OW drama and the problematic hero. West is not Hunter-level of problematic – thank God – but his actions in the first half of the book prevent me from considering a higher rating, along with a few other things. It’s still got that enemies to lovers friction that Shen is know for, with just a dash of friends to lovers romance – though these two are never really “just” friends. Our antihero is a pretty, broken boy for sure, but he’s a little different than the uber-wealthy, spoiled heroes of some of her past books. West has been fighting with everything he has for the last several years, and I appreciated that about him – though I still didn’t like him as a book boyfriend.

The story follows Grace, a young woman who has endured through a lot of pain. She’s sensitive about her appearance and tries to blend into the background. But when she starts working with bad boy West, he begins to notice her in a way no one else has in a long time. He’s broken in his own way and their jagged pieces just might fit together, but West has sworn off any type of promises. He’s been there, done that, and much prefers the one-and-done lifestyle. Though there’s something about Grace that intrigues him, he knows better than to play with fire.

I think after how traumatizingly awful the “hero” of The Hunter was, I expected this to be worse. By no means did I like West – especially not in the first half – but you can definitely see the progression of his feelings. These two dance around each other for awhile, and I wish he wasn’t quite so broken (and also that the reason for his brokenness was different). Yeah, he hooks up with other girls after they meet. That’s the biggest factor in me not rating this higher. I don’t find it sexy or romantic to hear about a “hero’s” hookups with other women, especially if he’s already met the heroine and started to feel things for her. Beyond that, this is just too long. It definitely dragged at times, and my disconnect from the characters didn’t help with that. My expectations were set low after the last few disastrously un-romantic books this author has released, but I could definitely see improvement over those. I didn’t really like it; it won’t top my list of best reads of the year by any means, but I think it does show an effort from the author to not go for the shock factor.

Amazon: https://amzn.to/32Iw5UJ


From #1 Amazon Store and USA Today Bestseller L.J. Shen comes a raw, emotional love story about the truths that tangle us together…and the secrets that rip us apart.

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.

Amazon: https://amzn.to/32Iw5UJ

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