BOOK TOUR: Playing With Fire by L.J. Shen

BOOK TOUR: Playing With Fire by L.J. ShenPlaying With Fire by L.J. Shen
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads
Synopsis:

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.

“A flawless story of redemption and salvation, Playing With Fire will consume you entirely.” – Amali Rose, USA Today Bestselling Author

Playing With Fire, an all-new heartbreaking and intensely beautiful small town standalone romance from USA Today bestselling author L.J. Shen is available now!

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!

Amazon: https://amzn.to/35scdah

Amazon Universal: http://mybook.to/PWFLJShen

Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/3bDlzRh

Add to PLAYING WITH FIRE to Goodreads – https://bit.ly/MDVljgr

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.

Connect with L.J. Shen

Facebook: http://bit.ly/2OhSvp1

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Website: http://www.authorljshen.com/

BOOK REVIEW: Lies & Lullabies (Hush Note #1) by Sarina Bowen

BOOK REVIEW: Lies & Lullabies (Hush Note #1) by Sarina BowenLies & Lullabies (Hush Note #1)
by Sarina Bowen
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Summer nights and star-crossed lovers! From USA Today bestselling author Sarina Bowen.

Once upon a time, he gave me a summer of friendship, followed by one perfect night. We shared a lot during our short time together. But he skipped a few crucial details.

I didn’t know he was a rock star.

I didn’t know his real name.

Neither of us knew I’d get pregnant.

And I sure never expected to see him again.

Five years later, his tour bus pulls up in Nest Lake, Maine. My little world is about to be shattered by loud music and the pounding of my own foolish heart.

Review

I’m not gonna lie, I tend to avoid the rock star trope because that scene really isn’t my type of thing. I do however, love anything and everything that Bowen writes so I figured why not give this a chance. Just like with all of her other books, the characters are what truly draw you in. Jonas and Kira are no different. Jonas meets Kira when he decides to take a summer away from it all in quiet Nest Lake, Maine. He gives her a different name, John, to keep some anonymity and they bond over her cooking. While the two try their best to keep it to a friendship (he having just gotten out of a toxic relationship and she having gone through a rape) we all know how the story goes….

Five years later he’s back, not even expecting to see Kira again and gets the surprise of a lifetime.
Let me tell you, it is so funny to me the kinds of stories you grow to like and dislike based on what season of life you are in. I used to never like any romances that had an unexpected pregnancy or child involved but here we are now, with two kids of my own, totally being fine with both of those things. This hasn’t been the first book I’ve read where the Hero leaves and comes back years later only to find out they’ve left behind not only their Heroine, but a baby besides. Sometimes it’s a pretty unbelievable situation that pisses me off but honestly that wasn’t really the case with this one. With Jonas being a rock star and with the things Kira had gone through in her past (and him not returning her letter) I don’t find it hard to believe that she had kept things quiet about Vivi. Is it incredibly sad that Jonas missed out on FIVE years of her life? Extremely. But that’s how things went and as we all know, we can’t turn back time.

I liked the flashbacks of Jonas and Kira meeting, getting to know each other, and the making of Vivi (lolllllll). I liked how simply they knit themselves back together and how quickly Jonas took to having a daughter even though he initially was thinking he was not father material. While this isn’t a TOP favorite of Bowen’s, I did thoroughly enjoy and sped through it in a few days. Her writing is just one of those comfortable things at this point that makes me happy and it was exactly what I needed!

P.S….I NEED to know more about Nixon…..
Huge thanks to Tuxbury Publishing LLC for the chance to read this eARC in exchange for my honest opinion! ♥

BOOK REVIEW: Fable (Fable #1) by Adrienne Young

BOOK REVIEW: Fable (Fable #1) by Adrienne YoungFable (Fable #1)
by Adrienne Young
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

As the daughter of the most powerful trader in the Narrows, the sea is the only home seventeen-year-old Fable has ever known. It’s been four years since the night she watched her mother drown during an unforgiving storm. The next day her father abandoned her on a legendary island filled with thieves and little food. To survive she must keep to herself, learn to trust no one and rely on the unique skills her mother taught her. The only thing that keeps her going is the goal of getting off the island, finding her father and demanding her rightful place beside him and his crew. To do so Fable enlists the help of a young trader named West to get her off the island and across the Narrows to her father.

But her father’s rivalries and the dangers of his trading enterprise have only multiplied since she last saw him and Fable soon finds that West isn't who he seems. Together, they will have to survive more than the treacherous storms that haunt the Narrows if they're going to stay alive.

Welcome to a world made dangerous by the sea and by those who wish to profit from it. Where a young girl must find her place and her family while trying to survive in a world built for men.

Review

Never, under any circumstances, reveal who or what matters to you.





In the land of ever-changing Young Adult Fantasy, the newest (as far as I know) trend is Pirates and the like. Anything to do with the sea, really-and I can’t believe how deeply it resonates with me. This is only the third or fourth story set at sea (exclusively) that I’ve read, but it easily catapulted to the top of the pile with grace.



I don’t need much to make me happy-a tortured-or loyal (or both)-hero, a feisty or fierce or witty heroine, and a fantasy that takes me away. That has a deeply rooted foundation capable of carrying a story even when things are slow, or only day to day fillers. They don’t need to be action packed from beginning to end. And, as a seasoned reader and reviewer, I’ve learned I don’t even like that. Back when I was a little less sure of what worked for me, I always thought that action meant good and the more there was, surely the better the book would be.


This crew had already been in trouble when I stepped onto their ship, but I couldn’t help but wonder if I was going to be the storm that finally sank them.





After countless series crashing and burning (in my humble opinion) because of this exact reason, I learned that action does not equal plot, and action does not equal a story that resonates deeply in your soul-it can’t possibly reside there, because what really was there to grasp onto? What did the characters say or do that stuck with you? The answer is convoluted and a whole lot of nothing. But, with master storytellers such as Young? There’s something special there that can’t be won with flash and flare-it’s won with quiet, fierce storytelling and a few perilous battles here and there. THAT is how a good fantasy is told, and it’s how it becomes a permanent resident in my heart.

I was standing in the breezeway with my heart in my throat, trying to figure out how to say goodbye, and West couldn’t wait to be rid of me.





Character driven stories are really the bread and butter of my all-time favorite books in my most recent, wiser years, and this story-while there was plenty of action for my taste-is no exception. Fable is an AMAZING heroine, one that I rarely see anymore. I don’t get to read like I used to, but I still know a good heroine when I see one. I have always been about the book boys, but I have a soft spot in my heart when a fierce female comes along and steals the show.

Fable is made of tougher skin having been raised under the Narrows trade leader, Saint, and after being left on an unforgivable island where she had to fight for her life every single day, she’s not one to be messed with. One goal in mind, she dredged day after day, morning to night, to make coin when the Marigold came every couple weeks looking for what only she could deliver. She’d trade what she had dredged, and she was finally close enough to get off the life-threatening island she was left on four years prior…until she attracted the attention of every other dredger trying to find the same HEA fate as she, and instead it became about fighting for her life not silently and intently as before, but kicking and screaming, striking a deal with the only trader she could halfway trust-West.



Which…this brings me to the crux of everything, doesn’t it? West was a beyond amazing character, for me. I love when the heroes (and the heroines) are morally gray and you can’t quite pinpoint who they are, what their intentions may be, and how they want the pieces to fall. West was just that. He is a perfect example of the heroes I continually fall hard for, because he keeps his emotions close to his chest-He doesn’t betray what he’s really thinking. But, his actions continually speak louder than his words (or lack thereof) and he is always waiting in the wings, rushing to help Fable even when he can’t trust her.

And though West had said again and again that he didn’t do favors and that he didn’t take chances, he’d done both. Over and over.
For me.





This was the slowest of slow burn romances and it was EVERYTHING I hoped it would be. I don’t need book long, flashy romances. I need that build, that something to look forward to-the hoping, the praying, the what-if of how it will-or won’t-happen. And, ultimately, I love waiting for that horrible end we just know is coming. I’m sorry, but it gets my perilistic, masochistic heart pumping and my blood buzzing. It simmers under my skin just WAITING to see what obstacles the hero and heroine will face and…I’m done sounding [exactly like who I am] psycho.



Fable honestly took me by surprise. I knew I wanted to read it; I was excited about it. But, it wasn’t until I started the book that I felt my soul leave my body and my heart begin pounding, butterflies erupt in my stomach, and a giddiness erupt that is unparalleled since having my little boy. It was an escape, a world to look forward to after a long day with two small children, a sickness that just now seems to be finally going away, and a reprieve from my ‘I must always be on’ duties. I haven’t felt like that in over a year. For that, I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Fable.

BOOK REVIEW: A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire (Blood and Ash #2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

BOOK REVIEW: A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire (Blood and Ash #2) by Jennifer L. ArmentroutA Kingdom of Flesh and Fire (Blood and Ash #2)
by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Is Love Stronger Than Vengeance?

A Betrayal…

Everything Poppy has ever believed in is a lie, including the man she was falling in love with. Thrust among those who see her as a symbol of a monstrous kingdom, she barely knows who she is without the veil of the Maiden. But what she does know is that nothing is as dangerous to her as him. The Dark One. The Prince of Atlantia. He wants her to fight him, and that’s one order she’s more than happy to obey. He may have taken her, but he will never have her.

A Choice….

Casteel Da’Neer is known by many names and many faces. His lies are as seductive as his touch. His truths as sensual as his bite. Poppy knows better than to trust him. He needs her alive, healthy, and whole to achieve his goals. But he’s the only way for her to get what she wants—to find her brother Ian and see for herself if he has become a soulless Ascended. Working with Casteel instead of against him presents its own risks. He still tempts her with every breath, offering up all she’s ever wanted. Casteel has plans for her. Ones that could expose her to unimaginable pleasure and unfathomable pain. Plans that will force her to look beyond everything she thought she knew about herself—about him. Plans that could bind their lives together in unexpected ways that neither kingdom is prepared for. And she’s far too reckless, too hungry, to resist the temptation.

A Secret…

But unrest has grown in Atlantia as they await the return of their Prince. Whispers of war have become stronger, and Poppy is at the very heart of it all. The King wants to use her to send a message. The Descenters want her dead. The wolven are growing more unpredictable. And as her abilities to feel pain and emotion begin to grow and strengthen, the Atlantians start to fear her. Dark secrets are at play, ones steeped in the blood-drenched sins of two kingdoms that would do anything to keep the truth hidden. But when the earth begins to shake, and the skies start to bleed, it may already be too late.

Review:

A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire was an epic continuation of the Blood and Ash Series.  This story brought out all of my emotions!  The laughter constantly floated out of me, I cried more tears then I could count, my smile was a permanent fixture on my face and at times uncertainty pooled in my chest.  I loved every single minute of it!  If you’re a fan of addictive fantasies, fearless heroines and the most enticing of book boyfriends, then you definitely need to add this one to your tbr!

He was both the villain and the hero, the monster and the monster-slayer.

This book picked up right where From Blood and Ash stopped.  Deceit and lies swirled around Poppy.  So much of what she thought was true wasn’t.  Her Kingdom, Hawke, to even herself.  My heart ached watching her come to terms with it all.  But Poppy persevered.  She was brave, fearless and faced challenged head on.  She was someone that you could look up to and respect.  And I loved listening to her voice as we traversed this new chapter of her life with her.  Especially anytime she was near Casteel.

“Most people aren’t as insane as you,” I said in a throaty voice that wasn’t mine.
“That’s not a very nice thing to say.” He scraped harder with his sharp teeth, just below where he’d bitten me before, and I gasped as my body jerked. “And the truth is, you like my brand of insanity.”
My blood pounded through me in a dizzying push. “I don’t like anything about you.”
He laughed as his lips skimmed the side of my throat. “I love how you lie.”

Oh you guys, Casteel was the embodiment of intoxication.  I am obsessed with him. I didn’t care that he could be cold and ruthless at times.  I didn’t care that he could kill without a second thought.  He did what he had to do to keep those he loved safe and to get what he wanted.  So the way he protected and respected Poppy made my heart race.  The way he spoke to her made me smile and laugh.  And the way he looked or touched her set my soul on fire.  Casteel is officially my favorite book boyfriend ever!

“Just pretend?” I trembled as the tips of his fingers skated down the side of my throat, around to the nape of my neck.
“Pretend.” His lips hovered above mine once more, right there, teasing.
I closed my eyes, my voice barely more than a whisper. “Yes.”

This story was filled with not only a physical, but an emotional journey.  So I loved watching Poppy and Casteel figure out their way alone and together.  There was the proposal, frightening creatures, horrific truths, obstacles that seemed impossible to breach and deals to be made.  Trust, faith, and love shimmered across the pages but so did the uncertainty of their world, what was to come and their feelings for each other.

He claimed my lips as if he were staking a claim to my very soul. The possibility that he was already well on his way to doing so should’ve served as a dire warning, but I was far too immersed, far too gone at the feel of him, lost in how demanding his lips were.

Anytime Poppy and Casteel were together, I would find myself laughing, smiling or sighing.  Well also tears a time or two orrrr more.  But their relationship was so deep, so real.  I loved how hard Poppy fought against Casteel.  She tried her best to not cave, to not care for him.  But he was Casteel, he was irresistible.  So while they may fight, bicker, and wear masks around each other, at the end of the day they were perfectly imperfect together.

His forehead dropped to mine. “There is one more thing I need. Something that I’ve needed for days. Weeks. Months. Maybe forever.” The bridge of his nose brushed mine. “But I know you won’t allow it. Not like this.”
The pounding in my chest moved lower. “What…what have you needed for so long?”
You.”
I shuddered.

A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire was seductive, addictive and mesmerizing. There was a fierceness to this story that consumed me.  It was impossible to put down and not to feel everything all these characters did.  We got to know characters deeper….I love Kieran!  And we got to dive into their world and see so many things unfold that I can’t talk about.  It’s killing me to keep quiet!  A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire was absolutely breathtaking and I can’t recommend it enough!

*I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book, provided by the author. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

 

Other Favorite Quotes:

“You’re beautiful when you’re quiet and somber, but when you laugh? You rival the sunrise over the Skotos Mountains.” – Casteel
 
“I have a lot of blood on my hands, Poppy. Sometimes, so much that I don’t think they’ll ever be clean. So much that I don’t know if I ever want them to be.”
 
The next time I saw Casteel, I was going to shove the stupid knife so far into his chest, he would have to dig it out.
 
“You don’t smell like that to me,” he murmured, and a shiver curled its way down my spine. “You smell like honeydew.”
Oh, my gods….

BOOK REVIEW: The Hunter and the Mage (The Raven and the Dove #2) by Kaitlyn Davis

BOOK REVIEW: The Hunter and the Mage (The Raven and the Dove #2) by Kaitlyn DavisThe Hunter and the Mage (The Raven and the Dove #2)
by Kaitlyn Davis
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Return to the world of The Raven and the Dove, where winged people rule the skies, a lost kingdom lives at sea, and two star-crossed lovers hold the fate of each in their palms. Perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Sabaa Tahir, and Leigh Bardugo!

A mage written in prophecy…

When Lyana wakes in the Sea of Mist, adventure is the first thing on her mind. But between her unruly new magic and an unyielding young king, the world below comes with more responsibility than she ever dreamed. An entire civilization exists within the fog, and its survival depends entirely on her.

A hunter forged in blood…

Adrift at sea on a ship full of strangers, Rafe fights to cope with his new reality. He'll do anything to return to the sky and the people he left behind. When a surprising offer comes his way, he instantly accepts, sparing no time to consider the consequences.

Loyalties are tested and an ancient war begins anew…

With rebellion in her heart, Cassi defies her king and befriends the prince she's been ordered to kill. Oblivious to the threat, Xander welcomes her into his inner circle, determined to rescue his mate. As one works to help and the other to hinder, an ancient enemy stirs, forcing Cassi to choose between trusting the man who broke her heart and turning her back on everything she's ever known.

Review

Damn. DAMNNNN. I found and devoured book one via NetGalley in March and I was DELIGHTED when Kaitlyn reached out, asking if I would be interested in reading and reviewing the second book. At this point in my life, I feel like I’ve read thousands of books, traversed a thousand skies and lands, and lived through the eyes of thousands of characters. There have been many similarities, how could there not have been? So when I come across a book that feels completely new, I pay very close attention. This story is one of those instances.

There’s an entire world with floating islands, each hosting a different kingdom home to a different race of bird people (I mean that sounds weird when I word it like that but really it’s just the type of wings those people have, lol). They fear magic and when they find any of their people with it, they either kill them out right or rip off their wings and throw them over the ends of their lands (messed up, right???). They think that magic represents and is given by a god that all of them fear and that he lives below their lands in the mist that hides dragons and other terrible things.

In that first book we discover that that is NOT the case. There is an entire world of people down there without wings, where magic is NOT a crime and where the people live in that perpetual mist just trying to survive. Their King, Malek, has been working his entire life to find the queen of a prophecy who is supposed to help him save the world.

This book is broken up below and above the mist in the POVs of Lyana, Rafe, Malek, Xander, Cassi, and a new character, Brighty. Getting to know more about the world below the mist was soooo intriguing and seeing Lyana come into her power was so amazing. She might honestly be one of my favorite heroines of all time. She’s just so fucking bad ass and GOOD. Malek on the other hand got on my shit list for MANY different reasons. Rafe. Oh sweet baby Rafe, you tortured soul. I just love him. I love Cassi’s strength and her budding relationship with ~a certain someone~ and was so glad when she finally was able to tell people her secrets.  Xander is just also such a pure soul and I cannot WAIT to see him as a King some day for his people.  Seeing him react to Cassi treating him like a normal, strong person was everything.  Overall it’s just such a memorable cast of characters and I am dying to find out more about new developments with the prophecy and the lands above the mist and relationships and EVERYTHING.

The writing is so damn good. It had my heart beating wildly on so many different occasions, especially towards the end. I need moreeeeeee!

Huge thanks to the author for letting me get my hands on this early in order to shout out my honest thoughts and opinions to the world

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