Vicious by LJ Shen

January 17, 2017 Book Review 0 ★★★

Vicious by LJ Shenthree-stars
Vicious by L.J. Shen
Series: Sinners of Saint #1
Also in this series: Scandalous
Published by Self-published on December 27th 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 326
Buy on Amazon

They say love and hate are the same feelings experienced under different circumstances, and it’s true. The man who comes to me in my dreams also haunts me in my nightmares. He is a brilliant lawyer. A skilled criminal. A beautiful liar. A bully and a savior, a monster and a lover. Ten years ago, he made me run away from the small town where we lived. Now, he came for me in New York, and he isn’t leaving until he takes me with him.
She is a starving artist. Pretty and evasive like cherry blossom. Ten years ago, she barged into my life unannounced and turned everything upside down. She paid the price. Emilia LeBlanc is completely off-limits, my best friend’s ex-girlfriend. The woman who knows my darkest secret, and the daughter of the cheap Help we hired to take care of our estate. That should deter me from chasing her, but it doesn’t. So she hates me. Big fucking deal. She better get used to me.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.

Well, I’ll be!

I am more surprised than anyone else that I am busting at the bit to talk about this book. There are quite a few LJ Shen books on my TBR list, and it was the constant talk of Vicious that pushed me to take the plunge and read this story. Not only was this my first book by LJ Shen, it was also my first time trying out Kindle Unlimited. There was nothing to lose but my reading time. Yeah, that’s valuable, so my flippant attitude quickly became something I began to question.

This review nearly didn’t get written because Vicious came so close to landing on my DNF shelf, it wasn’t funny. Obviously, it didn’t happen and I need to explain why this went from OK to fantastic. From memory, I don’t think I’ve ever been so perplexed about a book. There are books I claim to love but struggle with the subject matter but this was different. It was the characters I had a battle with, until I didn’t.

Vicious is a surly, arrogant and bitter character. He was hard to embrace and it wasn’t until around the 75% point did I finally want to listen to him. Yes, he had a brutal upbringing, but his inability to be in a relationship is where I struggled to place him as the guy I wanted to be anyone’s romantic interest.

Emelia though was another kettle of fish. She won me over in the beginning, then slowly began to frustrate me with her decisions. At one point it was virtually game over for me and there seemed no reason to stay invested in their story.

Initially in the flashback chapters, while their situation was clearly set in a YA environment, Vicious didn’t come across as an average teenager. When the story was being told in the present tense, he came across as juvenile even though everything else in the story was far from it. This added to my frustration with the story. Then came a massive revelation that I wished had been shared around the 10% mark because I am sure it would have totally changed my reading experience.

The details that were shared created an empathy for both of the characters that I was missing throughout the majority of the story. So powerful was the change when I read it, I went from wondering why I was still reading to holding a page-turner in my hands. I fought sleep, until I could no longer make sense of the type on my Kindle and conceded my need for sleep. First thing I did when I woke up was reached for this book to read it again.

The friendship circle Vicious is a part of is interesting. While they play their role in Vicious’s story, they have left me curious to read on. After all, their story is limited to what has been shared through a jaded young man’s perspective.

It brought me to a book buzz that compelled me to write my review. I deliberately avoid reading reviews before I read a book. My reading pleasure is partially due to discovery and that is usually achieved by going into a story with the bare minimum of expectations. What I did want to convey was this is a story I ended up falling in love with but need to stress that patience is required, the reason you’ll be so enamored by their story won’t be evident for some time.

4 Broody but you should have told me why Stars!

Spice's ReviewsThis is one of those books that created a lot of buzz on my feeds and I finally gave into temptation, throwing all my other TBR books to the wind and one clicking on Vicious. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out for me even after the way too late in the story revelations.

I like books with action, grit, and flawed characters. I don’t mind dark stories and I love an alpha-hole who eventually turns to mush for the woman he falls for. But, I need them to be redeemable and I need the connection to be believable.

Both in the past and in the present, Vicious lived up to his name. He was one vicious, malicious asshat who made it his goal in life to make the girl he wanted as miserable as he possibly could, even going so far as to run her out of town and away from her family, including her sister who has an incurable fatal disease. Why in the hell would I believe that she had the hots for him even if she said she hated herself for it?

I get he had a horrid life, his Step-mother was a monster, his step-uncle an evil jerk who deserved what he got, and his Dad the worst of all for allowing bad things to happen to his son, but Millie didn’t do anything to Vicious. And it wasn’t just Millie, he was a rude jerk to everyone.

Yes, there are some revelations at the 75% mark that could explain the connection between the two, but it didn’t do much for me since it seemed to be more of the same asshattery going on, just in another form. The last 25% was better, but the transformation just wasn’t believable to me.

I finished the book but only because I took a peek at Lily’s review pre-editing and knew a turnaround was coming. For me, it was too little, too late. He was an irredeemable asshole and she was an idiot for having anything to do with him.

Rating: 2 Some Guys Just Aren’t Worth It Stars


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