Member Reviews

The trope of fake fiance/husband is one of my favorites and I thought it was clever to use the expiring visa as the crux/problem of this novel. LJ Shen always writes a fantastic romance novel that's filled with the right amount of spice, sex, and sweetness to appeal to all.

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Cant go wrong with this author, never ever! This book is a sort of guilty pleasure. It follows Duffy, a young woman whose poverty-ridden childhood has left her determined to marry well at any cost, and Riggs, a billionaire rake whose life consists purely of pursuing adventure and who is determined never to be tied down. Life, of course, has other plans. Thrown together by circumstance, they enter a fake marriage. But it isn't long before they give in to their attraction and feelings soon follow. However, before they can have a future they must face their pasts and confront their demons. Duffy says from the start that she’s just a gold digger, not knowing that Riggs is secretly loaded. They go from completely hating each other to lovers trope with an age gap romance. I really enjoyed the book, surprisingly because I didn’t think that either would be redeemable.

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3.5 stars rounded up

This book is a contemporary Billionaire romance with marriage of convenience trope, it had the hate to love trope, from both the main characters. The writing was good, and I liked the pace and the plot of this story. The secret billionaire was a lot of fun and added a whole element to the story. The miscommunication that happened in this book was all over the place mostly because of secrets being kept which I got but after a while because of feelings development and the character relationship I was ready to move away from that especially since I don’t care for it most of the time in romance I read. Riggs did not grow on me while I was reading. At times he was ok, I understood some of his line of thinking, but he would open his mouth and say horrible, conceited, hateful things and it really came out juvenile at times. Finally, the ending was missing some elements for me that I really wanted to see especially for Duffy, and I was disappointed a little. Not to mention everything was wrapped up pretty quick.
I did have a pretty good time reading this for the plot and spicy which was about a three for me, but the relationship was just ok.
I received an ebook, via Netgalley. This review is my own honest opinion.

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I've read the Cruel Castaways series from Book 1 so I did not have a lot of expectations for Rigg's book - so I suppose you could say my expectations were exceeded. He was nice-ish once he got to know Daphne and overcame his hatred for her because she's a gold digger. And while Daphne does meet the definition of a gold-digger, I just feel like her character was rooted in the real world - she wanted to marry well so that her future was secure. She came from nothing, and wanted better for herself and her family- which is a perfectly valid reason to find someone rich to marry. Despite her need to secure her future, she agrees to marry Riggs - who she thinks is poor - which I thought showed her real character as opposed to what she kept saying about wanting a rich husband. All's well that ends well, I suppose.
Duffy and Rigg's story was surprisingly well done, and both characters had unexpected hidden depths that made them more likeable than one would expect.

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A lot of LJ Shen's romance novels have pulled me right in and I've binge read them in a day, but this one just didn't work for me. There were a few scenes that I felt like bordered on misogyny and weren't to my personal tastes, but I have high hopes for the next book. I do always love a marriage of convenience trope though.

Thank you so much to the publisher for allowing me to read an advanced copy of this book.

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Everything the LJ writes is pure gold. This entire series is *chefs kiss*. Loved Christian, then I loved Arsène, and now Riggs has stolen my heart.

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Title: Cold Hearted Casanova
Author: LJ Shen


✨★★★★☆ 4/5 Stars

"Cold Hearted Casanova" by L.J. Shen is a sizzling romance that masterfully blends humor, tension, and unlikely love. Known for her compelling characters and sharp, witty writing, Shen does not disappoint in this tale of a fake marriage that becomes all too real. The story hooks you from the get-go with its unique premise and keeps you eagerly flipping pages, thanks to Shen’s knack for creating dynamic and multifaceted characters.

Riggs Bates, the billionaire protagonist, is a complex figure who shuns commitment and hides his wealth. His approach to relationships is as transient as his meals—one for every occasion, never the same twice. This changes dramatically when he finds himself entangled with Daphne “Duffy” Markham. Caught in a compromising situation, Riggs is blackmailed into a fake engagement by Duffy, a woman with dreams of marrying well and staying in the United States amidst visa troubles and an AWOL almost-fiancé.

Duffy is an intriguing heroine with her own set of vulnerabilities and ambitions. Her decision to blackmail Riggs adds a layer of boldness to her character, making her stand out as someone not to be underestimated. Shen skillfully navigates Duffy’s mix of desperation and determination, transforming her into a relatable and root-worthy protagonist. The chemistry between Duffy and Riggs is palpable from their first meeting, and their journey from mutual disdain to reluctant respect and deeper feelings is deliciously entertaining.

Their "begrudging engagement" begins on a foundation of strict house rules and mutual distaste. However, it's not long before the spark they initially deny ignites into something intense and undeniable. Shen’s depiction of their growing connection is both steamy and heartfelt, offering readers plenty of moments to swoon over—while also maintaining a healthy dose of witty banter and conflict.

The evolving dynamics between Riggs and Duffy are central to the book’s charm. Shen beautifully portrays how their forced proximity and shared frustration give way to understanding and affection, making their romance feel incredibly organic despite its unusual beginnings. The secondary characters also add depth to the narrative, providing humor, wisdom, and additional layers to the main storyline.

"Cold Hearted Casanova" does, however, follow some familiar tropes of the romance genre, which may feel predictable to some seasoned readers. But Shen's strong character work and engaging prose breathe fresh life into these themes, ensuring the story remains captivating.

In conclusion, "Cold Hearted Casanova" is a witty, spicy, and thoroughly enjoyable read. L.J. Shen has crafted a romance that is as humorous as it is heartfelt, bringing together two seemingly incompatible characters in a way that feels both inevitable and exhilarating. If you're a fan of romance novels with strong characters, palpable chemistry, and a blend of humor and heart, this book is an excellent addition to your reading list. Prepare to be charmed by Riggs and Duffy as their fake marriage leads them to very real feelings.

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What you can expect going into this:
-fake relationships/real feelings
-marriage of convenience
-slow burn

The characters were lovable and I enjoyed seeing how they grew and changed throughout the book. Definitely have tissues handy because certain parts are tear-worthy.

5/5 stars

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L.J. Shen is an amazing author, that is a must-read if you love spice and angst. She is a staple on my shelf and I find that I'm always looking for her next book, no matter the story because she is just that amazing. This books is a great read and while it is part of a series, it is not a must to read the other ones before hand, but I highly suggest reading them because they are just that good! 4 stars!

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the free copy of Cold Hearted Casanova by L.J. Shen in exchange for my honest review.

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Major heart eyes for one of the most unlikely couples ever!
Daphne's work visa is about to expire. To avoid having to go back to England, her long term boyfriend is set to propose and get married so she can stay. Instead, the douchebag tells her he's going on a six month 'find myself' trip to Nepal. Super douchebag.
Crazy enough, the perfect (not at all perfect but it'll do) solution falls in her lap. Or she falls? There was falling. And blackmailing. Due to her crazy boss leaving her jobless, her dire finances, and her visa situation she has to do what a girl has to do: marry Riggs Bates, a nomad photgrapher that is never in the same place for more than a week and never in the same woman's bed for that long either.
Daphne is an uptight control freak set on marrying up and is a self proclaimed gold digger. Riggs is the last place to go for that but she is out of options and almost out of time.
Riggs is actually really sweet and thoughtful despite his manwhore ways and Daphne has a huge heart that wants to help everyone any way she can despite wanting to be a cold gold digger rich trophy wife.

I loved these two and I loved this book! I couldn't put it down!

(Thank you to NetGalley for a complimentary copy of this book.)

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I think that this is the first book by this author that I have given a DNF to and I can’t believe it. I think it was just the wrong time to read this book, I’ll have to come back at a later date to be sure. This was a DNF at 20% for me.

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Delightful, spicy, and humorous read!!!

Riggs is a billionaire bachelor and Duffy is a gold digger looking for a visa.
Brought together by circumstance, they decide to have a fake marriage. They finally give into their attraction and feelings for each other. But soon demons and truths will need to come out.

I flew through this book! I stayed up late reading it because I had to find out what happened next! I live L.J. Shen’s writing style. It was descriptive, and I didn’t feel like the book dragged on or had unnecessary writing. This was the third book in the series, and I can’t wait to go back and read the first two! I highly recommend this book!

📘: Cold Hearted Casanova by L.J. Shen
🗓️: April 9, 2024

Thank you to NetGalley, L.J. Shen, and Montlake for this ARC!

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

*Reviewed on NetGalley, Amazon, and Goodreads.

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I didn't particularly like Duffy or Riggs at the beginning of this book. Duffy seemed too mercenary in her pursuit of wealth and a green card while Riggs was too much of a manwhore for my liking. However, as the two were forced to live together as part of their fake marriage they grew on each other and me too. Both characters mellowed nicely and their rough edges smoothed out as I learned about their backgrounds and insecurities. It became a lovely romance and I enjoyed reading it.

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From USA Today bestselling author L.J. Shen comes a witty romance about a woman desperate to marry into money…and her fake marriage to a (real) billionaire reluctant to commit even to a zip code.

Riggs Bates may be a billionaire, but he knows money can’t buy happiness. He keeps his financial status a secret and takes his women the same way he takes his meals—a different one three times a day. That’s until he’s caught sleeping with a married newswoman by none other than her ambitious assistant.

Daphne “Duffy” Markham wants two things in life: marry well and stay in the States. So when her almost-fiancé takes off to “find himself” and her work visa approaches expiration, Duffy resorts to the only thing she has left—blackmail. Luckily, Riggs needs an excuse to stay in New York as badly as she does, so their first meeting quickly leads to a begrudging engagement.

Armed with strict house rules and their mutual distaste for one another, Riggs and Duffy soon find there’s no denying the spark between them…or the fact that this fake marriage is starting to feel a little too real.

Loved, loved, loved this story. Must read the others in the series. Will recommend to others.

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My favourite of the series and this may be because of Riggs. A marriage of convenience for both characters (Riggs our MMC and Duffy our FMC) need to be married, it starts out as a way for Duffy to blackmail Riggs into it so she can get a greencard and then when that fails he ends up with a reason for a wife.
Obviously, we know where this going to go and they get to build on their almost strangers relationship to roommates to being friends whilst they are married. Duffy is a 'gold digger' who wants financial security and wants to not just marry for her right to stay in the US but to marry rich. She ends with Riggs who has secrets of his own about money. Duffy's financial desires are explained but feel a little dirty/cheap and shallow. The two do find themselves in a third act miscommunication break up, obviously, which of course could be avoided and whilst this is a pet peave when I am reading romance books I can at least understand this based on our main characters back story and insecurities.
I had hoped for a little more banter and chemistry with these two though.

I received this e-book ARC through NetGalley. This is my honest review

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i dont want to her support her anymore learnt that she's an extremely problematic author! so yeah but i have read her studd its easy to read and the perfect sense fo dark and mafia if you're interested u must pick this book up!!

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Really lovely fake marriage romance. Yes, the concept is a bit cliche, but oh my god is it well worked out. THIS MAN i swear, is so awesome in every way. I kinda hated the female main character at the start, but this man changed her so much, and it is simply so nice. I also love the plot twist at some point which i will not further disclose any information about lol.


Thank you to netgalley and the author for sending me the book in exchange for an honest review

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I haven’t read a L.J Shen book in ages so I was really happy to read this book. I love arranged marriage especially with a secret billionaire. Daphne basically marries her boss’ affair partner, Riggs, to get her green card. Riggs is your typical playboy who doesn’t do commitment and Daphne is a prim and proper lady who is a “ gold digger”. The banter was everything in this book because the two characters were so different yet they clicked in such a funny way. Riggs was hilarious although at times he was childish considering he is 37 years old. I overal enjoyed this book a lot

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Cold Hearted Casanova is the 3rd book in the Cruel Castaways series. This is another amazing LJ book, and I loved every minute of it. This book is about Riggs and Daphne "Duffy."

Duffy needs something and when Riggs falls into her hands she forces him to be her fake fiance. With them together will feelings start to develop, or will Riggs finally get rid of Duffy after their allotted time frame?

I loved these two characters and their banter. Duffy started out using Riggs, but Riggs learned there was more to Duffy than he originally though.

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Riggs Bates may be a billionaire, but he knows money can’t buy happiness. He keeps his financial status a secret and he never takes women seriously. That’s until he’s caught sleeping with a married newswoman by none other than her ambitious assistant. Daphne “Duffy” Markham wants two things in life: marry well and stay in the States. So when her almost-fiancé takes off to “find himself” and her work visa approaches expiration, Duffy resorts to the only thing she has left—blackmail. Luckily, Riggs needs an excuse to stay in New York as badly as she does, so their first meeting quickly leads to a begrudging engagement.
Armed with strict house rules and their mutual distaste for one another, Riggs and Duffy soon find there’s no denying the spark between them…or the fact that this fake marriage is starting to feel a little too real.
This was such a great story right from the beginning! Riggs is super-hot and so much fun! He definitely has commitment issues, but he is an amazing friend, partner in crime and loyal to a fault. Daphne sees herself as a gold-digger. She is interested in the security and status only money can buy. Her past is heartbreaking and difficult and she is always struggling in order to avoid repeating it. But she has a bigger heart than her aspirations and soon, the arrange engagement seem real and honest!
The secondary characters are so fundamental and great developed! This romance is full of aghast, sexual tension, deep engaging moments and pretty emotional ones. The writing is flawless and wonderful as always from this great author. I highly recommend it.
I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

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