Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Blog Tour: The Monster by LJ Shen

The Monster, an all-new addictive and moving standalone romance from USA Today and #1 Amazon bestselling author L.J. Shen is available now!

The most important thing I’d ever read was scribbled on the door of a portable restroom, engraved into plastic at a carnival on the outskirts of Boston.
Lust lingers, love stays.
Lust is impatient, love waits.
Lust burns, love warms.
Lust destroys, but love? Love kills.
Maybe it was always my destiny to fall in love with a monster.
When other kids stayed awake at night fearing the pointy-toothed beast hiding in their closet, I longed to see mine.
I wanted to feed it, domesticate it, understand it.
Sam and I were only allowed to love each other in the dark.
Once our story unfolded, and the truth came to light, I was the one to cut the cord.
My name is Aisling Fitzpatrick, and I have a confession to make.
Sam Brennan is not the only monster in this story.

4.5 Stars

Review by Lisa Kane

Once again, this author has roped me in, hog tied me and willingly had me offer up a limb to be branded! I love her books-and her series may have similarities (the "hero's are usually broken and twisted) but there are enough differences to keep me reading.

Ainsley is strong and yet she melts for Sam. To be honest she crushed on him without little encouragement far longer than I hope I would moon over a guy but she didn't just sit there, in a corner, crying her eyes out. Her parents, particularly her mother, do their best to stunt her emotional growth, but she matures and moves forward with her life. 

Sam lacked for love early in his life and grew up believing that once he ruled Boston and its underbelly, he would be king. His ambition drives him to control, to kill without mercy and to have no regrets. A chance meeting with Ainsley affects him more than he will ever admit, but he will still conquer, still gain power regardless of the price. There's a few twists to the story that will leave the reader questioning if it's Ainsley or Sam that is the monster, or maybe both? 

The story covers almost a decade and that's a lot of time to fill. But the author colors the blank canvass with interactions and angst and down right heartbreak at times. I never felt the story drag or felt that less story would actually be more. She held my attention through out. Although, at times, I wanted to smack a little sense into Ainsley and wanted to throat punch Sam on more than one occasion. Both infuriated me, but who wants to read about characters that always do what you expect from them?

I love reading a series and being able to figure out where previous characters fit in-what they were like years ago. It's like catching up with old acquaintances and remembering why you loved them so much in their own stories. I'm thinking the next book is probably about Belle-now she is one interesting character. She has copious amounts of sex, owns a notorious club, is a self proclaimed hater of monogamy and is going to be damn hard to get that chick to settle down!  

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Haunted mansions were my playground. 

I lived in one, after all—my house held the secrets of seven generations of Fitzpatricks—and I’d always been drawn to ghosts and monsters.

I took my place in line, shifting from foot to foot as I checked my phone. My mother and brothers were all looking for me. 

Cillian: Where are you, Aisling? Call me back immediately.

Hunter: Yo, sis. You okay? Sounds like you were involved in some heavy shit. Sending hugz from Cali.

Mother: I heard what happened. Quite terrible, dear. Please come home so we can discuss this. So dreadful that you saw this. 

Mother: You know how bad my anxiety gets when I can’t get hold of you. You need to come back home, Ash.

Mother: Oh, Aisling, what am I to do? You didn’t even make my herbal tea before you left. I’m a wreck over here!

That was my mother. Self-centered even when it was my world imploding into miniscule pieces. Always worried for her own well-being before mine. 

I tucked my phone back in my pocket and craned my neck to look at the carts as they slid back from the jaws of an evil, laughing clown. Muffled screams bled from the inside of the ride. The people who came out stepped out of the carts with wobbly knees, buzzing with excitement. 

When I was finally put in one of the wagons—it looked like a rickety pod with red paint smeared all over it to symbolize blood—I was alone, even though there was enough space for two people.

I knew nothing would happen to me on a fair ride. 

Still, I felt lost, fragile, and unbearably lonely tonight. Like someone had peeled away my skin in one go and left me to carry my bones and veins and muscles in a messy heap. 

I’d just lost my best friend. The only one that counted.

I grabbed onto the shirtsleeve of the guy manning the ride, tugging.

“I want to get off.”

He gave me a slow once-over, his gaze lingering a second too long on my bare thighs.  

“Hell, sugar, I’d like to get you off, too. But you’ll have to wait till the end of my shift. I need the money,” he slurred, sounding stoned.

I clutched onto his Hurley hoodie sleeve, throwing fourteen years of etiquette lessons out the window in one moment of desperation. “No! I want to get off the ride. Unless you can put someone in the cart with me?” Hope trickled into my voice. 

“Bro, it’s, like, a ride anyone four feet or over can get on.” He shook my touch off, frowning. “You’ll make it out alive.”

“I know. It’s not that I’m scared. I just—” 

 “Look…” he raised a hand to stop my stream of words “…if I don’t press that red button over there every three minutes, I lose my job. You getting out or sucking it up?”

I was about to answer that it was fine, that I was just being silly, when someone stepped forward, cutting the entire line behind them.

“She’ll suck it up, Sir Smokes-a-Lot.”

A curtain of unshed tears blocked my vision, and I knew if I blinked it away, everyone would see I was crying. I was so embarrassed I wanted to die. Blurry Stoner Guy pushed the metal rail open obediently, muttering a quick hello to the stranger approaching us, ducking his head down. 

The person slid into my cart, pulling the metal bar against our waists, flicking a cigarette sideways, an umbrella of smoke cocooning us together.

I wiped my eyes, mouthing a mortified thank you. When I looked up, our gazes collided, and my insides crushed like a glass ceiling shattered by a supernova.


I didn’t know him, but I dreamed of him. 

I’d dreamed of this man every night since I was nine.

Since I’d started reading kissing books under the covers about brave knights and the princesses who loved them.

Beautiful and princely, with eyes that could see through your soul.

He looked to be in his early twenties. With tawny, wind-swept hair tousled in untidy sexiness. His eyes were two silver moons—the kind that change color in different lights. His skin glowed, like he’d been dipped in gold, and he was so tall his knees poked out of the cart. He wore a black V-neck that clung onto his muscular chest and biceps and black jeans ripped at the knees. 

A Saint Anthony charm was wrapped around his neck, held by a tattered leather string.

“I—I’m Aisling.” I stuck my hand out to him. Our cart jerked forward and whined as two girls my age jumped into the pod behind us, gossiping hotly about a girl named Emmabelle who used to go to school with them and apparently had sex with half the football team then sucked off the other half. 

He ignored my outstretched hand. I swallowed, withdrawing my hand and dumping it in my lap. 

“Bad night?” His eyes lingered on my puffy eyes. 

“The worst.” I didn’t even have the good manners to smile politely. 

“I highly doubt that.”

“Oh, I’ll bet you anything my night is going worse than anyone else’s in this carnival.”

He offered me an arched eyebrow, showing me his handsomeness had a devilish quality to it, the kind I suspected very few women could resist.  

“I wouldn’t bet with me.”

“Oh? Why’s that?” 

“I always win.”

About LJ 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 nineteen 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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