New Releases

Blood to Dust by L.J Shen


 

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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.

 

Review: 3.5 Stars

Blood To Dust by L.J Shen

To say I was excited to read a new story from LJ Shen was a huge understatement! Let me start off by saying, Sparrow by LJ Shen is one of my top reads for 2016 so far and trust me, that list is very small. I fell in love with her way of weaving words into a beautiful story and keeping me engrossed from the very first page to the last. The quality of her writing then automatically added her to my auto-buy author list!

As much as it pains me to say this and I think I may be in the minority here, but I did not feel this way with Blood To Dust. I did still enjoy reading the book, I just couldn’t love it despite trying hard to. And believe me, I wanted to love it.

What I did like about Blood To Dust was Prescott and Nate’s personalities. These two were DIFFERENT and this entire book was NOT your typical dark romance cliché. While in the beginning Prescott’s badassery seemed more cocky than likeable, I found that changed quite quickly which I was glad. For a woman who had suffered the abuse and loss that she had, I admired how it became her driving force and strength rather than her weakness. It gave Prescott an edge that I personally love in a heroine.

And Nate, oh Nate! LOVED him. He is what made me keep reading when I wanted to put the book down. I loved everything about him because honestly, there was nothing not to like. I think Nate was supposed to be an anti-hero but for me that fell flat with how swoony he was and his inner monologue. The bad boy edge was there in words but not in actions. While things were SAID to make you believe he was a bad guy, his actions and all the feelings he seemed to have made it unbelievable that he could be anything but a good guy in a bad situation.

Blood To Dust is fast paced, violent, gritty dark romance with an intriguing story line that makes you question the past, the present and the future for these characters. While I didn’t mind it, I found too many issues with it to really love it. Starting with the first quarter of the book. I found it confusing at times with so many hints of different backstory that we knew nothing about and were not given more of until further along. The suspense I felt and mysteriousness to the story was overridden by the confusion of just too many questions too soon without even minimal details of what had happened in the past.

Even though Prescott and Nate’s “love” wasn’t instant, I felt once their relationship got going it moved from new to the “I love you’s” VERY quickly. I have nothing against insta-love at all, as long as I can FEEL the realness of the relationship and emotional connection. Unfortunately Prescott and Nate’s connection was not believable to me as it was made to seem. Everything does happen in a short time frame in the book and great detail was clearly put into the main and sub plot lines but it took away too much of the romance for me. I wanted to SEE the love grow between these two just a tad more than what we were given. I think it would have definitely improved my overall enjoyment.

All in all, still a good read that most dark romance lovers will likely enjoy, just not one I am likely to pick up again. If I’m being honest, even the writing quality from Sparrow to Blood To Dust felt very different. Will I read more form LJ Shen?
Definitely. Just because this one was more a miss for me, doesn’t mean the next won’t be a hit!

Reviewed by Ivy.

 

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“Food.” He kicks the sole of my boot. So it is him. Somehow, it makes me feel a little less scared. He didn’t want me here, and didn’t slap me across the face. Unfortunately, in my world, this qualifies him as some sort of a black knight.

I hear the clank of a plastic plate being thrown in my direction on the floor, but don’t make a move for it.

“You deaf?” he asks.

“You stupid?” I smart off. “I’m blindfolded and tied. How the hell am I supposed to get to this food? The power of telepathy?”

He offers me another grunt, and I immediately regret snapping at him. I feel his fingers working the black cloth that’s tying my hands together, that peachy breath on my face again.

Once I’m free, he bends down, his warmth engulfing me, and places the plate in my hands.

“What’s for dinner?” I lick my injured lips.

“Whiskey-glazed steak with a side of wine-tossed asparagus.” He lets out a sniffle before adding flatly, “Wait, my bad. It’s just a peanut butter sandwich.”

“That’s better. I’m vegetarian.”

“I’ll let our chef know.” He offers me his own brand of sarcasm, his voice already descending. I realize that he’s about to climb back up. I can’t let that happen. Who knows when he’ll check on me again? The prospect of holding my pee a minute longer is nothing short of tormenting.

“Wait!” I launch forward, crawling on the floor toward his voice. I don’t hear anything, so I continue.

“I really need to take a shower, wash off all this blood. And I really, really need to pee.” I shuffle my way back to the corner, taking a small bite off my sandwich, my teeth brushing against my fingers. “Please?”

I feel his palm pressing flat against the wall I’m leaning on. I swear it moves a little from the impact.

“Finish your sandwich. Make it quick.”

I wolf down my dinner before he grabs my hand and leads me up the stairs. He stalks closely behind, and even though it’s taking me forever to climb up the narrow staircase, he keeps his grunt-count to a respectable minimum.

Leading me to the bathroom by the arm, he throws the door open and we both walk into the tiny room. Still blindfolded, I feel the cold sink stabbing at my lower back, but the warmth of his proximity keeps me from shivering.

“I need my privacy.” I lick my lips, feeling him everywhere. Not only is Beat physically big, he is also somewhat of a human furnace. I swear he radiates enough heat to photosynthesize a whole forest. I guess it’s good, because I always know when he’s around. But also bad, because why would it matter? It’s not like I can fight him in any way.

“Dream on, Country Club.” Another grunt.

“Please.” My voice breaks. Usually, I’m counting on my caramel blonde hair and big Disney-animal eyes—which he unfortunately can’t see right now—to get me out of trouble. I have a feeling this guy is harder to crack. “Just lock me in and stand guard outside. What can I do? Arm myself with a bar of soap? Try and break free through the sink’s hole?”

Is he going to buy it?

Is he sensitive?

Is he hard-nosed?

Maybe he’s both. He’s got some serious codes going on—no beating women, no manhandling your victim—yet he essentially agreed to lock me in here. Then there’s his tone and body language. Peaceful. Like he hasn’t got a care in the world, which couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve known him for a few short hours and I’m already privy to the fact that he was an inmate in San Dimas, has killed, owes Godfrey a favor and has the Aryan Brotherhood on his tail.

“Be warned,”—his peachy breath tickles my nose—“when people are bad to me, I’m worse. Don’t tempt my demons.”

 

 

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L.J. Shen is a best-selling author of Contemporary Romance novels. She lives in Northern California with her husband, young son and chubby cat.

 

She enjoys the simple things in life, like chocolate, wine, reading, HBO, spending time with her girlfriends and internet-stalking Chris Hemsworth. She reads between three to five books a week and firmly believes Crocs shoes and mullets should be outlawed.

 

Author Links

 

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