Member Reviews

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.

Recommend

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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OMG I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH!!
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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Definitely one of my FAVORITE fake marriage/marriage of convenience book!!!

5 ⭐⁣
2.5 🌶️⁣

I BAWLED my eyes out. There's one scene that got me good, and it seriously brought back memories. It felt too close to home. 😭 ⁣I don't want to say which scene because it'll TOTALLY spoil the book. ⁣

LJ Shen totally outdid herself with this one. My favorite in the series for sure!!! She saved the best for last. If you read the blurb, you know that Daphne "Duffy" caught her boss and Riggs sleeping together. She then blackmailed him to marry her so she can get a Visa to stay in the US. Riggs is a casanova and doesn't want to get married at all, but when he was put in a situation that he didn't want, he agreed to marry Duffy. ⁣

The relationship build up was perfect. They were strangers, turned roommates, friends, and then lovers. The banter between them got me laughing and swooning. A few times where I want to shake them, but I totally get why they did the things they did. I'm so obsessed with them right now. You'll totally see more edits of them coming. ⁣

If you love The Proposal, this book was inspired by it so go grab it!!!

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Erica – ☆☆☆☆☆
COLD HEARTED CASANOVA is the third and final installment in the Cruel Castaways series.

Can the novel be read as a standalone? Yes

Should the novel be read as a standalone? No.

While no confusion would be had for a new reader, you'd miss out on the backstory of our three cruel castaways and their cameos in each other's novels.

Having read and listened to the previous installments, RUTHLESS RIVAL (Christian) was a hook for me, while FALLEN FOE (Arsene) wasn't my cuppa. I was on the fence about COLD HEARTED CASANOVA because of the previous installment.

From page one, I was hooked. This novel could have been read in one sitting, but life called me back to reality. That being said, I'm glad, as I was able to stretch out the delightful escape for three days.

Riggs is different from his Alpha-Hole friends. Riggs brought levity to every page, no matter the content. No hard edges. No cruelty. This made for a warmer, fluffier, sweeter yet more emotionally impacting read. Hyper-realistic.

Fake marriage for a visa. Duffy, the self-proclaimed gold digger. Riggs, the vagabond billionaire.

While Duffy and Riggs appear to be opposites attract or opposite personalities balance, I didn't see it that way. They had similar personalities, similar traumas, and they reacted differently. Riggs was breezy while Duffy was regimented but their core personalities were similar.

The story was delightful, humorous, yet evocative. The humor didn't lessen the deeper emotions, but it did bring much-needed levity to brighten the darkness.

The family interactions shined brightly. Particularly Riggs and Duffy's twin. Heartwarming and hilarious. Riggs engaging in text battles with his boss. Just as I said aloud, are we ever going to see this man... all of this created a well-rounded reading experience.

I am beyond curious to listen to the audiobook to hear Riggs and Duffy's interactions.

Highly recommend this trilogy. Books one and three will be on my reread and re-listen list.


Veronica – ☆☆☆☆☆
I loved COLD HEARTED CASANOVA. Duffy and Christian’s first meeting had me laughing out loud. Christian’s laid-back confidence is sexy and the way Duffy deals with a very embarrassing situation was so impressive. The banter between Duffy and Christian is clever and cheeky right from the beginning and it only gets better as the story progresses.

I’m not a huge fan of fake relationships in books but I think part of the reason that it works so well here is because Duffy and Christian come from very different worlds. She comes from a loving family where money was scarce, whereas he has no family and more money than he could ever need (even though Duffy thinks he is flat broke). I loved seeing Christian and Duffy learn from each other, and this leads to personal growth for both of them.

Parts of COLD HEARTED CASANOVA were amusing and thoroughly entertaining, other parts romantic and sexy, and as we get deep into the book, heartbreaking events lead to many, many tears. The ending was wonderful and I was left feeling incredibly happy. COLD HEARTED CASANOVA is a brilliant romance and I can’t recommend it highly enough.


Ruthie – ☆☆☆☆
This is the third book in the series – and we do meet up with earlier protagonists, so I think I would recommend that you read them in order, but it stands alone too.

The really fun thing about this book is that you know you will love them both by the end, but as you begin the book, you may wonder how that is going to happen! Really and truthfully, they both have their faults – although Riggs’ judgmental behaviour before he knows the facts may be the least tasteful, we soon understand what is behind his assumptions about Duffy.

As the chemistry is clear, even if they don't like what each other appears to represent, it is inevitable that they will engage in some off the charts fun... but when Duffy makes some really caring and generous gestures, Riggs is flummoxed and touched.

Lots of subplots and twists which make this book all the richer – L.J. Shen can be counted upon to deliver a strong story, a clever message, and a fabulous love story. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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Typically, I'm a character driven reader so when I started, I thought about not finishing because I absolutely felt no affinity for the characters. Daphne, a self professed gold digger and Riggs, a jerk. I pushed through and actually, the characters ended growing on me as they started to demonstrate their own growth. I ended up using KU to read/ listen to the story and I thought that the narration was good too, though Tor Thom's soft voice didn't really mesh well with Rigg's character. Overall, I would say that this is a good book, with many chuckles but the characters take some getting used to.

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Thanks to Netgalley, the publisher, and author for the copy of this eARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Riggs is a wealthy man however you wouldn’t know that by the way he acts and the lifestyle he leads. He also isn’t concerned about what others think about him so when he gets caught in an intimate situation with a married woman it doesn’t phase him that her assistant is threatening to tell all unless he agrees to marry her or at least not until it works for his agenda as well.

As a result of her upbringing there are two things that Duffy wants and that is to stay in the US and marry well. She thought she had it all planned out until her boyfriend changes her mind and now she finds herself in jeopardy of having to leave the US so coming across Riggs and her boss seems like the answer she needs until she realizes their marriage of convenience is anything but convenient.

Although you can understand the motivations behind the actions of Riggs and Duffy there are times you will feel for them and at times they will infuriate you. As the heat between them transforms from animosity to chemistry you can feel how they are exactly what the other needs if only there weren’t so many mistruths between them.

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Decently put together romance. One of "dislike to love" There wasn't really any blackmail there but the hint of "help me or else" I guess. Riggs is your typical rich playboy and Duffy is your typical fight to get what she wants FMC. Not a lot of communication through the two of them, Riggs reacts immaturely to some things I feel.. The banter between the secondary characters was more desirable than the Mcs. Overall enjoyed the book but wouldn't read again. However I am a big fan of L.J. Shen so I won't ever give up on any of the books.

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Cold Hearted Casanova is the third book in the Cruel Castaways series by author L.J. Shen. This is a fake relationship, marriage of convenience, slow burn that can be read as a standalone.
In this story the main characters are Daphne and Riggs. Riggs is a closet billionaire who leads a nomadic lifestyle working as a photographer. Daphne aka Duffy, is from the UK and will do anything to stay in America. She is about to lose her job which means she will have to go back to England as work was sponsoring her visa. Imagine her surprise when she walks in on her married boss doing the deed with someone who isn't her husband.
Riggs' boss wants him to go to Alaska for an assignment. Why? Because he has no wife or kids. Riggs will travel anywhere but Alaska is a no go for him. This has Riggs telling his boss he has a fiance - aka Duffy. Duffy somewhat tries to blackmail Riggs into marrying her so she can get a greencard. The deal works for both of them.
He moves in with her and notices that while she may have gold digger vibes, she is also caring and down to earth. Riggs also establishes a relationship with Duffy's neighbour who has similar interests as himself.
The more time Duffy and Riggs spend together, the more they begin to catch feelings. In the end, Duffy ends up going home to England. But does Riggs follow her?
Overall a good story with angst,slow-burn, tension and more. I loved the cameos from the others in the series such as Arsene and Christian and the text exchanges between Riggs and his boss? Hilarious.

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Give me anything LJ Shen writes and I will eat it up! She is such a queen. This was literal gold in paper form and I am obsessed!

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This was the first book I've read by L.J. Shen and I immediately purchased her other books in this series - yes, that's how much I enjoyed it :) The story was so fun to read - and I was surprised by the emotional aspects of it. I laughed, I cried - I got turned on. All around highly enjoyable read. Would recommend to anyone who enjoys the following tropes: romantic comedy, slow burn, forced proximity, fake marriage.

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this is my favorite of the series.. and i also believe its the final of the series. This book hits a few tropes and overcomes a few issues. For me it worked for others maybe not. This book hits on enemies to lovers, marriage of convienience and the opposite of both. Its quirky, funny, loving, irritating, wholesome, not wholesome and much more. It was also really nice to catch up with the previous books characters and i actually grew to like arsene wayy more than in his own book haha

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I don't know where to start! I was HOOKED from the first page of the book! Oh how I wish I could give it more than 5 stars. All of it was to the point - the smut, the comedy, the emotions and the tears! The end of the book had me bawling continuously. All the characters of the book were lovable. The banter between Riggs and Duffy was adorable, yet funny. They were best friends first. When he calls her 'My Wife', it's just a melting point for me!
The author has done great in revealing minimal spoilers for the previous books, so this can be read as a standalone too.

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Another wonderful LJ Shen book that was a delight to read! This was a great final book in the series, and I loved the appearances from the main characters from the first 2 books.

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Honestly this book was so good until it got the third act. The third act breakup in this book was truly infuriating. While I don’t love the miscommunication trope I’m not against its use because I have seen it been done well. In this book it was not done well. The amount of active refusal to say what they are truly feeling or thinking that was required for the third act conflict was annoying. It is purely because of the third act break up that this book is a 3.5 stars rounded up to 4 for me.

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Cold Hearted Casanova by L J Shen is a spicy billionaire romance with a little bit of friends to lovers.

The book started and I really disliked Riggs Bates. He is a playboy photographer that sleeps with any woman he wants and rarely remembers her name. We literally meet him white he is having a very intimate experience with a married woman. Riggs doesn’t have his own place, staying at friends houses when he’s not traveling the world taking photos. He doesn’t feel the desire or need to have lasting meaningful relationship other than with his two best friends.

Duffy Markham works at a job with a boss she despises. Her life takes an unexpected turn when the man BJ she has been dating for years tells her he’s going on a six month trip to Nepal to find himself, which coincides with her losing her job, her visa to stay in the United States, and her hopes of them getting married to have stability. When she walks in on her nasty married boss Gretchen in a compromising position with the dirty playboy, she decides that the best way to stay in the US is to blackmail them. How you may ask? She tells him either marry her or she will tell the world about Gretchen and tank her political career. And her boss begs Riggs to marry Duffy, meanwhile still treating Duffy like garbage.

Riggs doesn’t care if his married friend gets outed, but when his boss tells him he has to go to Alaska for a photo shoot because he’s single, he decides the best way to get out of a forced trip is a fake marriage.

The book started out annoying and they all seemed immature and silly, but at some point I started to really like the book. 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.

The characters are definitely dislikable in the beginning but as you get to know them you definitely see so much more. I love Duffy family as well as Riggs friends. I haven’t read the earlier books in this series but it didn’t really hurt the story, although I will definitely add the other books to my tbr. I enjoyed the characters arc, enjoying the way they grow and change.

I disliked their immature attitude in the beginning of the book as well as Riggs blasé attitude about sex with anyone anywhere. BJ made my skin crawl. I also disliked how obsessed Duffy was with wealth for a large portion of the book.

Tropes
Enemies to lovers
Age gap
Marriage of convenience
Billionaire romance

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Thanx to Netgalley for the ARC!!
So I picked up this one on a whim, hadnt read the previous books by the author. Just wanted a nice predictable small romance!
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Before Anything else let me ENUMERATE the tropes
- Enemies to Friend
- Marriage of Contract
- Forced Proximity
- Dual POV
- Intense daddy issues
- Getting over childhood trauma
- Secret Billionaire
- Sassy, hard-working, Wannabe-golddigger-but really has a heart of gold- FMC

When you read this blurb, you’ll think that you have read this story before!!! But, but, but, trust me when I say, You have NEVERR read something like this!
The author is mind-blowing! Her writing is hillarious, yet deep! Light, yet gripping! Dripping with sarcasm, with those snippets of hard truth slip in at all turns!
The characters are beautifully written, amazingly described and the situations are painted vividly!
The romance is sloww, yet surreal! Their friendship, chemistry, love, understanding, acceptance evrything develops at its own pace! You grow with the characters, love them slowly, and your heart is owned by the author and her pages!
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The story is amazing- you are going to laugh out loud, smile a hell lot, fall in love, have your heart broken, cry in a public place( I did when a horrible thing happened), and learn to let go!
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I cannot understand why I have deprived myself of her(The authors) writing, and plan to correct that immediately!

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This entire series has been so lackluster, I’m truly disappointed by Shen’s lack of care or effort. Very recycled characters but lack the depth and dimension that made the original characters so beloved. It feels like this author keeps trying to emulate her previous successes but writing the same billionaire alpha-hero three times is clearly not the solution! I was excited for a Proposal-inspired story but the characters were grating and the premise was contrived and superficial. The writing style is distinct and may work for some but it is clear that LJ Shen shows no growth in her writing career. That’s something I typically look out for from an author that I’ve been reading for a long time and Shen fails to deliver anything original or fresh or interesting in each of her recent releases. She seems to be barely catching the passing train of Ana Huang and Lauren Asher-type romances and missing the mark that made them so globally popular, unfortunately. I also do not appreciate how Shem uses serious medical conditions as a plot crutch instead of authentic representation in multiple of her books (cystic fibrosis, Tourette’s, mutism, Huntington’s). Disingenuous medical trauma does not make irredeemable billionaires more likable so please consider refraining from using them as weak plot devices if due diligence will not be given to these very real lived experiences.

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