Blog Tour // Review + Excerpt: Pretty Reckless by L.J. Shen

Pretty Reckless by L.J. Shen
Series: All Saints High #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: April 21st 2019
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From USA Today and Washington Post bestselling author L.J. Shen comes an intense, high school enemies-to-lovers romance with a twist.

Penn

They say revenge is a dish best served cold.
I’d had four years to stew on what Daria Followhill did to me, and now my heart was completely iced.
I took her first kiss.
She took the only thing I loved.
I was poor.
She was rich.
The good thing about circumstances? They can change. Fast.
Now, I’m her parents’ latest shiny project.
Her housemate. Her tormentor. The captain of the rival football team she hates so much.
Yeah, baby girl, say it—I’m your foster brother.
There’s a price to pay for ruining the only good thing in my life, and she’s about to shell out some serious tears.
Daria Followhill thinks she is THE queen. I’m about to prove to her that she’s nothing but a spoiled princess.

Daria

Everyone loves a good old unapologetic punk.
But being a bitch? Oh, you get slammed for every snarky comment, cynical eye roll, and foot you put in your adversaries’ way.
The thing about stiletto heels is that they make a hell of a dent when you walk all over the people who try to hurt you.
In Penn Scully’s case, I pierced his heart until he bled out, then left it in a trash can on a bright summer day.
Four years ago, he asked me to save all my firsts for him.
Now he lives across the hall, and I want nothing more than to be his last everything.
His parting words when he gave me his heart were that nothing in this world is free.
Now? Now he is making me pay.

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I don’t read high school romances anymore. Young adult books set in high school just don’t interest me as much these days. That being said, I devoured Pretty Reckless. I’d been looking forward to this second generation of characters after loving the Sinners of Saint series. First up is Daria, Jaime and Melody’s eldest daughter. There were highs and lows in this book, as expected when the main character is a teenager. Daria and Penn’s love story is addictive and tumultuous, things I love in a hate-to-love romance. If you’re looking for a read with plenty of drama and twists, read this book!

His scent messes with my head. I want to reach out and caress his face. Kiss his wounds better. Beg for forgiveness. Curse him. Push him away. Cry on his shoulder for what we’ve done. For how it ended. For what we became afterward. Because I’m full of crap, and he is totally empty.
We ruined ourselves the day of our first kiss

Daria lives in the cushion of privilege and Penn does not. He’s from the wrong side of the tracks, and she’s the most popular girl at her elite private school. At their first meeting, they shared their first kiss, but quickly after that, things spiraled downward and all they have is hate and lust. When Daria’s mother takes in a homeless Penn, things start to change with the forced proximity. The chemistry and tension racks up, there’s even more biting banter, and all they want to do is make each other hurt.

I struggled a bit in the first half of this book, not going to lie. Daria and Penn were hard to warm up to, being so full of anger and wanting to hurt each other and everyone around them. But I trusted L.J. Shen and stuck with them, and I’m so glad I did. Daria and Penn eventually won me over and I felt for their heartache. These are two characters that have so much going against them that I only wanted them to be happy, which was delivered in the best way. They grow into characters I admire, ones who learn the consequences of their actions. All the drama, involving a spiteful sister, neglectful parents, and of course, other high schoolers, all of it made the end result – their love – worth the pain.

“There’s nothing I want more than every single thing you have to give.”

L.J. Shen’s writing gets better and better with each book she puts out. She knows how to write straight to your heart and gut, to make you FEEL. And she knows how to write brilliant character development. I hated Daria and Penn, and I loved them. I kept having to remind myself of the fact that these characters are teenagers and will keep making stupid decisions, even when I want to smack them. I felt so many emotions reading this book, but I couldn’t seem to put it down. Pretty Reckless is a fantastic start to a series that I’m sure will be filled with even more drama and steam, and I can’t wait to see what’s next!

I love you, Daria Followhill, and I think you love me, too. In fact, I think we fell at the same time. You, like rain, in drizzles, over the weeks. Me, like the fucking sky above my head, all at once, crashing without the faintest chance of stopping.


lacey

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.

Now here’s an excerpt from Pretty Reckless! ❤

excerpt button

“I don’t want you transferring into my school,” I hiss out. Melody would gladly file a transfer request, and Principal Prichard would salivate over the chance to snatch him up for our football team.

“That won’t be a problem. You guys suck so much ass, you have shit-breath.”

“Still smells better than poverty. You’re poor, right? Your sister was just bullshitting about being rich.”

When someone hits me with a stick, I run over them with a tank. I’m so mean to him I want to throw up. I hate this part of being me. The striking harder at all costs part.

“Just to make things clear.” I put the brush down, batting my lashes. “You’re not my step-sibling, foster brother, or a part of the family. You’re a stray dog. Last of the litter, most unlikely to be adopted, and a charity case.”

Penn takes a step toward me, and my heart is fighting its way out of my ribcage. The closer he gets, the more I realize that my heart might succeed. Penn’s eyes remind me of a snake’s. Mesmerizing, but inhuman altogether. They weren’t like that before.

His scent messes with my head. I want to reach out and caress his face. Kiss his wounds better. Beg for forgiveness. Curse him. Push him away. Cry on his shoulder for what we’ve done. For how it ended. For what we became afterwards, because I’m full of crap and he is totally empty.

We ruined ourselves the day of our first kiss.

Penn looks down at me. Time stops. It feels like the world is losing gravity, falling into a bottomless depth in space when he clasps my chin with his thumb and finger, lifting my head up. I can’t breathe. I’m not sure I want to, either. My towel drops to the floor with a thud, even though I secured it over my chest. I realize that he tugged at it intentionally. I’m naked. My body, my soul, my heart. All my walls are down. Somewhere in my head, a red alarm blasts and my inhibitions are getting armed, ready to fight back. I’m trying to decode his expression. He is amused, irritated, and…playful? The mixture of emotions doesn’t make any sense.

“Mess with me, Followhill, and I will ruin you.”

“Not if I ruin you first.”

Reading Order: All Saints High series

#1 ~ Pretty Reckless: Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Angry God: Goodreads (Aug. 20, 2019)
#3 ~ Broken Knight: Goodreads (2019)

about the author button

L.J. Shen is an International #1 best-selling author of Contemporary Romance and New Adult novels. She lives in Northern California with her husband, young son and chubby cat.

Before she’d settled down, L.J. (who thinks referring to herself in the third person is really silly, by the way) traveled the world, and collected friends from all across the globe. Friends who’d be happy to report that she is a rubbish companion, always forgets peoples’ birthdays and never sends Christmas cards.

She enjoys the simple things in life, like spending time with her family and friends, reading, HBO, Netflix and internet-stalking Stephen James. She reads between three to five books a week and firmly believes Crocs shoes and mullets should be outlawed.

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