Book Review, Romance Review

Review: The Monster by LJ Shen

The Monster by LJ Shen - Boston Belles book 3
The Monster by LJ Shen
Boston Belles book 3

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.

“You are dumb. But it’s okay. You’re hot and
ooze that look-at-me-I’m-dangerous vibe, so I’m sure you’ll find someone.”

“Don’t forget rich.”

“Not by my standards. Just try not to make conversation. You’re not very good at it.”

“Based on you dry humping my leg like a bitch in heat five seconds ago, I’m sure I’ll be able to keep them entertained some other way.”

This is Sam and Aisling’s story and it feels like I’ve waited forever. Sam Brennan is the man I’ve wanted to know more about since Sparrow and Aisling Fitzpatrick is easily the most intriguing of the ladies. She’s so reserved, we don’t know her at all. I was worried that I was building this up too much so it would be a letdown but that fear was completely unfounded. These two are stellar characters and their story is epic.  

It started out almost predictable: Aisling is pining for Sam, he ignores her. She still lives at home at twenty-seven, taking care of her needy, histrionic mother. She seems weak but the truth she’s hiding under the gracious demeanor is very different. Don’t mistake kindness or selflessness for weakness, they’re not the same thing and Aisling Fitzpatrick is an excellent example.

Sam is every bit as cold and calculated as expected, at first but we slowly learn that he’s long had feelings for her, he’s just fought them every step of the way. There’s a lot of Troy and especially Sparrow parenting Sam in this book and I loved it. The idea of these people who raised a stone-cold killer pulling the “A mother knows” card on him could easily crash and burn if not done right but Shen knocked it out of the park.

There’s much more to this story than possibly-unrequited love. Much unfolds to show us who Aisling truly is and it’s shocking but impressive. She’s a complete badass and capable of much more than I imagined. To say she gives the infamous mobster a run for his money is a major understatement and nobody was more shocked – or pleased – to see it than Sam. It’s also worth noting that there’s way more backstory to these two than I’d guessed and I loved everything about their history. The initial interactions were fascinating and gave the story more depth. The banter is excellent and these two are also super steamy, too.

I couldn’t put this book down, devouring it in record speed and loving every minute of the story. Their love story is one of my favorites and their lives are interesting enough that LJ could easily give us a sequel. Yeah, yeah, I know it won’t happen but a girl can dream, right? There was a lot going on here but it all made sense and there are some real surprises from the supporting cast. This instantly became one of my favorite LJ books and I’ll enjoy reading it again as much as I did the first time.

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