Eleven years later, he waltzed into my life, demanding a second chance.
Dean Cole wants to be my bronze horseman. My white knight has finally arrived.
Hopefully, he isn’t too late.
They say the brightest stars burn out the fastest. They’re right.
She sets my mind on fire.
All smart mouth, snarky attitude and a huge heart.
In a world where everything is dull, she shines like Sirius.
Eleven years ago, fate tore us apart.
This time, I dare it to try.
Getting to her is a battlefield, but man, that’s why they call me Ruckus.
Rosie LeBlanc is about to find out how hard I can fight.
And conquering her will be the sweetest victory.
LJ Shen is a gifted author. Why do I think that, you ask? Is it her stellar writing mechanics? Interesting plots? Unique characters? Sure, all that is true. But what really makes LJ Shen special in my mind is that she makes me like—no, love—characters who I would HATE in any other author’s hands. That was the case with Vicious, and that’s definitely the case with Ruckus.
Dean is everything I normally hate in a hero: he’s an arrogant, crude, alcoholic manwhore who hides behind charm and good genetics. Rosie probably said it best:
Dean Cole was nothing like people pegged him. He was the worst kind of devil. One that hid behind a polite smile, preppy clothes, and good manners.
But because everything LJ Shen touches turns to gold, I didn’t DNF at 10%, which I would’ve done with any other book. She kept stringing me along with little tidbits here and there—backstory and insights into Dean’s behaviors—to keep me coming back for more. And in the end? I loved Dean every bit as much as Rosie did. I was probably more invested in their HEA than is strictly healthy or normal, actually. (I might’ve squeed a bit, OK? Just because I’m a mean, heartless, cynical book reviewer, I‘m still a girl. We squee occasionally. It’s in the DNA. I regret nothing.)
Rosie is a great heroine, too. She’s strong and smart and determined to live independently, despite her serious illness. She doesn’t ever let that illness define her or hold her back, either. No whiny self-pity parties for Rosie, no siree. In fact, the absence of whiny women that give the entire gender a black eye is one of the biggest reasons I fangirl so hard for LJ Shen.
And together, these two were magic. Their relationship was steeped in history and complexity, but there was no denying that it was right, no matter how difficult their road would be.
“I don’t want to make you forget. I want to make you remember. And I’m about to, Rosie. I’m about to rewrite the pages of our fucking history, baby.”
I could keep pulling quotes all day, but what would be the point of that? Just go one-click. You’ll thank me later.
Does this book contribute to or help crush the romance stigma?
Crushes it! No rehab needed. This one is clean and sober.
Other reading suggestions
If this is a new-to-you author, you gotta read Vicious first. The rest of the LJ Shen backlist is pretty awesome, too.