Book Review, Romance Review

Review: Tyed by LJ Shen

Tyed by LJ Shen
Tyed by LJ Shen

Meet Blaire
An underachieving college student with zero prospects and a ton of issues (hey, being the less-successful twin of a gorgeous supermodel would totally do that to you). She doesn’t do bad boys. Actually, she doesn’t do boys, like, at all. Not that she’s a lesbian. And not that there’s anything wrong with being one. It’s just that . . . well  . . . she kind of needs to focus on graduating from college right now.
And she needs something from Ty. Badly.

Meet Ty
Mixed Martial artist, soon-to-be Welterweight champion of the Xtreme Warrior League and the hottest guy in the Bay Area. He’s cocky, arrogant and completely off-limits to anyone with more than three working brain cells . . . but dude, HAVE YOU SEEN HIS BUTT?

On top of being a world-class player, Ty has a secret.

And Blaire? She can barely even handle his truths.

Life is about to throw a few knockout punches at both of them. Can they handle the pain?

Blaire is a fun character with a hilarious inner monologue and a unique way of looking at the world. She’s quirky without trying and totally loveable. She’s smart, funny and has no idea that she’s beautiful. She’s also a bit lost right now, struggling to decide what she wants out of life and living in the shadow of her gorgeous supermodel twin. That’s a tough burden because having a supermodel sister would be hard for anyone but she’s your twin? Gah! Blaire handles her angst well until she doesn’t and that’s where the story went slightly off track.

She meets Ty while doing research for a school project and she’s determined to ignore the super hot MMA fighter for various reasons, not the least of which is his playboy ways. He’s tenacious however and turns out to be pretty sweet and the fact that he wants her so badly makes this ultra-hottie impossible to resist. They’re obviously falling for each other but Ty has secrets he’s not ready to share and Blaire’s imagination runs wild. She’s terrified of what he’s hiding but obsesses over it instead of talking it through.

When she finally learns his big secret, Blaire kid of goes crazy. It wasn’t at all the reaction I was expecting from her and that’s not necessarily a deal-breaker for me but in this case, I think it could’ve been done better. Her over-the-top reaction kind of blew up both of their lives and created so much unnecessary drama. It dragged the story out and not in a good way. While both eventually find their HEA, I think there are much better ways this story could have been told. I would have loved to see more honesty and communication because even if they were at odds, love can still blossom. Shen went a different route here and I understand why but it was too dramatic for my tastes.

To be fair, I’d read the entire Sinners of Saint and All Saints High series before reading Tyed, which is her first book so I was accustomed to a more sophisticated level of Shen’s work. My one criticism of this book is that it’s all told from Blaire’s POV so we never get inside of Ty’s head. It kind of relegates him to a supporting role in Blaire’s story instead of this being their story so I definitely would’ve loved to get Ty’s POV. It would have given the character more depth and made for a better read. I also think Blaire’s actions could have been more tailored to him and their situation as opposed to being a generic hysterical-girl freakout if we had both POV. I also would have killed for an epilogue to see where they were in the future.

That said, I enjoyed the story and like both characters very much and would definitely recommend this book. If you’re new to LJ Shen, read this one first though and know that it only gets better from here. The supporting characters were fairly inconsequential but for Blaire’s friend Shane and her twin, Izzy, but they have interesting roles and even more interesting dynamics. Izzy’s a fun character and I hope to someday read her story, although I doubt that will ever happen.

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