Member Reviews

✨ Publication date: April 9, 2024✨

Cold Hearted Casanova is the third and final in LJ Shen’s Cruel Castaways trilogy. It can be read standalone, I haven’t read the other two and didn’t find I was missing anything.

Duffy Markham grew up in poverty in England as a young girl. When she meets a rich American at college, she moves to the US to maintain the relationship and work.

After nearly 10 years of a mediocre relationship, she’s hanging on for an engagement ring and the security of being with a man with money. Duffy’s visa is expiring shortly and her boyfriend who promised her a ring announces he taking a 6 month sabbatical to find himself. In desperation, Duffy needs to find an American willing to marry her to help keep her in the country.

Riggs Bates is a billionaire. But you wouldn’t know it to look at him and that’s how he likes it. Abandoned as a child, he was raised by his grandfather who left him a very large inheritance.

Riggs lives a bit of a nomad life, photographer for Discovery magazine, no address or place to call home, he couch surfs with his friends while not on location for a job. When Riggs is offered a lengthy job in a location he swore he’d never go to, he needs a reason to tell his boss he’s got to stay in the US.

Duffy and Riggs met under unusual circumstances and don’t really like each other but seize an opportunity to get married and solve each other’s problems. They have a set of house rules though and the most important one is don’t fall in love with your spouse, what happens when house rules are broken?

Okay, I really liked this authors writing. It’s my first by then but I couldn’t stand these two characters. Most reviews talk about them growing on you as the story moves along but I really didn’t get the connection. This is a 3.5 star for me! I would read this author again though to see how her writing lands with different characters.

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


#NetGalley #ljshen #coldheartedcasanova

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Well well well... Shen did it. I loved this serious and was so excited for Riggs' book. At first I wasn't sure if I was going to like Duffy but you soon got to understand why she was the way she was, and I loved her. I loved her pairing- banter, spark, chemistry...i loved it all.
Shen did a great job at a popular trope and it was the least dark (in my opinion) of the trio, but my favourite.
Shen is my god.

Read read read!

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So I have seen this author everywhere and I am so glad I did. I thought this book was just amazing. It was unlike anything that I have ever read. Such a good book .

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I was kind of afraid to read this. For some reason I had it in my mind this would be a dark romance. Thankfully, it wasn’t. However, it wasn’t the most enjoyable either. We have an age gap, marriage of convenience, dislike to lovers (I wouldn’t consider them enemies or grumpy/sunshine). But the poor communication completely ruined it for me and took me out of it.

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Thank you to Montlake and NetGalley for an ARC of this book, in exchange for my honest opinion.

An easy ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ from me!

This book was absolute perfection! I loved it so much! I’m just now realizing it’s the third in a series, but I haven’t read the others so this can be read as a SA.

Watching Riggs and Duffy fall in love, was like watching one of my comfort shows. It brought me so much joy and love watching them slowly fall for each other. Seeing Riggs become so protective over Duffy, and Duffy slowly letting her guard down to let Riggs in. Their relationship timeline felt very realistic, and very genuine. I also loved the surprise news that came close to the end of the book. (I no lie sat tears streaming down my face reading this chapter).

This was my first book by LJ Shen and it certainly won’t be my last! I loved that this read was quirky, but also deep. I loved the banter, the growth from the characters, and their happily ever after. If you’re looking for a new romance read to sweep you off your feet, this is the one!

Duffy’s boyfriend just announced he’s leaving her for six months and she was let go from her job, which means she’s being left in the US without a Visa. What starts as a perfectly good plan to blackmail her ex boss, she finds someone to marry on short notice, so she can get her green card. Enter Riggs; broody, grumpy, not into monogamy, and a nomad who travels everywhere for work.

The guidelines are simple, they will marry to secure Duffy a green card, and then divorce two years later. But when Riggs moves in and they start spending more time together, sparks start to fly. They develop a friendship, that turns into a relationship. But when Duffy’s immigration meetings are moved up, that means their fake marriage can end even sooner than expected. Except maybe they don’t want it to end after all?

You will laugh, you will cry, you will grin ear to ear, you’ll feel every single emotion with this book! And I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!!

Tropes include:
-marriage of convenience
-forced proximity
-lots of banter and spice
-dual POV

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::| "If anything, I've never been mean or abusive to my partners,"
I pinned Christian with a glare.
"Nor have I ever bullied anyone."
My gaze shifted to Arsène.
"I always try and say my goodbyes while inflicting minimum damage. Compare to both of you. I'm a gentle soul."
"A gentle soul who keeps mason jars with his farts in a Brooklyn storage space from when we were in the ninth grade."
Christian raised his whiskey glass in a dropped-mic gesture. |::

Riggs is a walking red flag. A flag that rippled in the wind screaming no strings attached fun with a hot Adonis look alike who lived to serve women and often got his own way with a cheeky smile and a charm born to make your mother blush.
But as uppity, money-driven, fussy and obsessed by an ex boyfriend Daphne known as Duffy to friends, finds him in an uncompromising position, she works her new power and ask the ultimate reward to stay quiet.
The m word. Marriage, for a green card as to help the understated beauty stay in America instead of going back home to England.

Will he be able to conquer his fear for Duffy? Can she give up her ex boyfriend and the security blanket he provides, for Riggs? Can they ever get over their pride, fear of rejection and trying to baby step for good intentions?

I loved this book. Although it did become repetitive during the middle of the book, I like the touching scene at the end with Charlie. I also felt like I resonated with Duffy, I'm sure every girl has felt the sting of betrayal in the past and as I read Daphne's thought process it reminded me of my own situation not to long ago.

Amazing book I loved it!

Thank you to L.J. Shen, the publishers and Netgalley for allowing me to read this book for voluntarily, honest feedback x

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This book was incredible. LJ Shen is one of my favorite authors and I love everything she writes. This book gave me ALL of the feels and I know you will enjoy it too.

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I really enjoyed this book! For me it was the perfect pace and kept me interested the whole time! Loved alllllll the characters. Thanks Netgalley and to the publisher.

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In all honesty this story took me a bit to get into but once I got going I didn’t want to stop.

Secret Billioanire (she doesn’t know he’s rich)
Marriage of Convenience
American playboy nomad/Prim & Proper Brit
Opposites Attract
Forced Proximity
Found family

The banter…the tension…what everyone saw but the two of them 😍.

Even with a few over the top bits this was a great wrap up to the series!
.

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LJ Shen is one of those authors I have seen floating around my instagram, but haven’t read yet. Until this book. And boy, was it worth the wait! I loved the story and pacing of the book, and was immediately engrossed in the characters.

Riggs and Duffy were the epitome of opposites attract, but that’s it unique circumstances of needing to get married (her for a green card and him for work reasons) was a plot point I haven’t read a ton before. Then, to have him be a secret billionaire on top of that, I wasn’t sure all that would work together in one book well. I was wrong. The author made everything fit and makes sense. There were definitely a few things that were easy coincidences, but I didn’t mind that because ultimately they furthered the character development well.

LJ Shen is an author that I will be seeking out from now on and I hope you do too!

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I was so wrapped in this forced proximity, fake marriage of convenience, slow-burn romance with great chemistry, and even better banter between the characters, that I almost overslept because I was reading it way past my bedtime. I enjoyed this story and even though this is the third in a series, I didn't feel that I was lost in the story. Nevertheless, I will go and read the first two books, and complete this series.

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A great read, I have always enjoyed L.J. Shen's writing and this one delivered. I normally do not like a age gap romance, but this one did not highlight this trope much. Duffy, is in a pickle with her visa status, her long time boyfriends flakes on her and she is left scrambling to find a way to stay in the country. Along comes Riggs in a compromising position, he is the ultimate man child. He despises commitment and any type of monogamy. There is a lot of personalities clashing and tension that keeps you wanting more. A great conclusion to the series. I look forward to whatever she writes next. I received an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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L.J. Shen is a master storyteller. Her characters are always so unique, her stories have the perfect amount of steam and fiesty storylines, and they just leave you feeling happy with a smile.

Duffy needs to stay in the states so she needs to find a husband, asap. Her boyfriend leaves on a vacation to find himself so she's left behind to flounder with her immigration status while at a successful agency and making her way in the world. Enter Riggs, a secret billionaire, who Duffy thinks is a bum...but he's an eligible bum! They marry, not knowing who the other is truly,

A great novel, these two chracters have the spiciest dialogue! Loved it. Made me laugh. I stayed up incredibly late reading and the book seamlessly worked in other characters from the series which I adored.

Bravo Ms. Shen. Love this one and can't wait for more!

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Cold Hearted Casanova by L.J. Shen is book Three in the Cruel Castaways Series. This is the story of
Daphne "Duffy" and Riggs. Daphne grew up poor and has been working her way of that life style. When she catches Riggs in a bad position she ends up blackmailing him. Riggs is a billionaire who is also a playboy. But they have entered into an agreement but can they stay in that agreement or will feelings start to take over? Enjoyed this author's writing.

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Cold Hearted Casanova is book three in the amazing Cruel Castaway series by L.J. Shen.
Book three was just as amazing as the first two!
I love Shen’s writing! She definitely knows how to hook the reader with her sharp writing and amazing characters.
I adored Riggs and Duffy. Their chemistry was outstanding and their personalities just shined on the pages.
If you haven’t read her work yet you really need to.
Even the Sinners of Saint and All Saints High series are freaking phenomenal!

Thank You NetGalley and Montlake for your generosity and gifting me a copy of this amazing eARC!

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Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️/5
Spice: 🌶🌶🌶/5

Tropes:
-age gap
-marriage of convenience
-slow burn
-billionaire romance


Favourite Quotes:
“Which meant I had an engagement to propose to a complete stranger. It was either that or going to Alaska. And I sure as hell wasn’t going to Alaska.”
“And she smelled good. Not fruity and seductive like the women I stumbled into bed with. More like . . . drywall.”
“Your chest did not constrict, Riggs Bates. You probably just had a minor heart attack or something.”
“She’s not single, Einstein. She’s married. To you.”
“Nobody says things like that to my wife and keeps their teeth to repeat them.”

Review:

Full disclosure, this is the first book I’ve read in this series so keep that in mind while reading this review (I will be adding the others to my never ending TBR). I finished this one in a day but got very close to DNFing early on when I realized how the MMC was introduced. I found both of the main characters super enjoyable. I loved that Riggs was equally enamored with Duffy’s fun quirks (and really who doesn’t love a good laminator). I also loved how playful they both were and the banter between them. I didn’t enjoy that Riggs used his past manwhore tendencies as a weapon to try to prevent them both from catching feels. Duffy wasn’t shy to admit that her main goal in finding a partner was ensuring financial stability after experiencing poverty in her childhood. This still caused a lot of tension with Riggs, who for all intents and purposes was lying to her about a lot of things. I think communication could have been better between them but it did add to the drama and plot. The spicy scenes I kept wishing were more descriptive and heartfelt. Also like I mentioned in the beginning, this was my first book in this series so I haven’t read about the characters from the previous books before. That being said I felt like they were underdeveloped and very 2D when reading this as a standalone. Overall, I enjoyed this book and would recommend picking it up (maybe after reading the first two in the series).

Thank you to NetGalley and Montlake for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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"Cold Hearted Casanova" by L.J. Shen is a captivating fake marriage romance that kept me hooked from start to finish. As someone who enjoys this trope, I was pleasantly surprised by the depth of the characters and the witty dialogue that Shen effortlessly weaves throughout the story.
Riggs and Duffy's reluctant engagement sets the stage for a compelling and sometimes tumultuous relationship, filled with sparks and tension. Despite their initial distaste for each other, their undeniable chemistry pulls them closer together, blurring the lines between fake and real.
Shen's writing style is engaging and immersive, making it easy to become invested in the characters and their journey. While the romance leans towards the darker side, it adds an intriguing layer to the story that kept me turning the pages.
Overall, "Cold Hearted Casanova" earns a solid four stars from me.

NetGalley arc

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I loved this book. It was funny and the characters were great. I think the characters are complex and easy to hate but you grow to love them. The chemistry and the banter were perfect.

Thank you for the opportunity to read this arc.

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The way I am obsessed with this book and this series. The banter, the flirting, the fighting? Amazing. The perfect ending to this series and I wish it could’ve been longer

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ɪ ᴡᴀs ʙᴇɢɪɴɴɪɴɢ ᴛᴏ sᴇᴇ ᴛʜᴀᴛ ʟɪғᴇ ʜᴀᴅ ᴀ ᴡᴀʏ ᴏғ ʙʀᴇᴀᴋɪɴɢ ʏᴏᴜ, ɴᴏ ᴍᴀᴛᴛᴇʀ ᴡʜᴏ ʏᴏᴜ ᴡᴇʀᴇ.

This book (𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘙𝘪𝘨𝘨𝘴) surprised me in the best of ways.
I thought I knew everything I was going to say before I even finished reading - before I even got to the part where everything changed. I wanted to talk about how sweet and unexpectedly funny, and easy-going their story was... until they knocked me on my ass. This book pulled every emotion from me imaginable. But mostly, it broke my heart.
In just the first two chapters, I was giggling so hard - they’re hilarious! The banter, their quirks, their differences. They're polar opposites, but they fit.
This book truly was bittersweet. The last of a series and just filled to the brim with so much love. I adored all of the cameos - each one of these men, so very different, but wholesome just the same. I loved Riggs & Duffy and every single part of their journey. 
Coldhearted Casanova is live nowwww – and trust me, you don’t want to miss it!
I’m not going to go too much into detail as not to spoil, but I will leave you with some of my absolute fave quotes!

ɪ ʟᴏᴠᴇ ɪᴛ ᴡʜᴇɴ ʏᴏᴜ ᴛᴀʟᴋ ᴅɪʀᴛʏ ᴛᴏ ᴍᴇ, ᴡɪғᴇʏ.

ᴛᴀᴋᴇ ᴏғғ ʏᴏᴜʀ ʙʟᴏᴏᴅʏ ᴄʟᴏᴛʜᴇs ᴀʟʀᴇᴀᴅʏ.

ɪ ᴡᴀɴᴛ ᴛᴏ sᴇᴇ ɪғ ᴄᴏʀʀᴜᴘᴛɪɴɢ ᴛʜᴇ ɢᴏᴏᴅ ɢɪʀʟ ʀᴇᴀʟʟʏ ɪs ᴍᴏʀᴇ ғᴜɴ ᴛʜᴀɴ ᴛᴀᴍɪɴɢ ᴀ ʙᴀᴅ ᴏɴᴇ.

ɴᴇᴠᴇʀ ʜᴀᴠᴇ ɪ ᴡᴀɴᴛᴇᴅ ᴛᴏ ᴋɪss ᴀ ᴍᴏᴜᴛʜ ᴀɴᴅ sʜᴜᴛ ɪᴛ ᴜᴘ sᴏ ᴇǫᴜᴀʟʟʏ.

ɴᴏ. sᴀʏ ᴍʏ ɴᴀᴍᴇ.

ᴛʜᴇ ʟɪᴛᴛʟᴇ ᴋɪɴɢᴅᴏᴍ ᴏғ ᴛᴀᴋᴇᴏᴜᴛs ᴀɴᴅ ᴍɪᴅɴɪɢʜᴛ ɢɪɢɢʟᴇs ᴡᴇ’ᴅ ʙᴜɪʟᴛ ɪɴ ᴍʏ sʜᴏᴇʙᴏx ғʟᴀᴛ.

sʜᴇ ᴡᴀsɴ’ᴛ ᴊᴜsᴛ ɪɴ ᴍʏ ʜᴇᴀᴅ; sʜᴇ ᴡᴀs ɪɴ ᴍʏ ᴠᴇɪɴs ᴛᴏᴏ. ᴀ ᴘᴇʀᴍᴀɴᴇɴᴛ ᴘᴀʀᴛ ᴏғ ᴍʏ ᴅɴᴀ. ᴀ ғɪxᴛᴜʀᴇ ɪ ᴄᴏᴜʟᴅ ɴᴇᴠᴇʀ ɢᴇᴛ ʀɪᴅ ᴏғ. sʜᴇ ᴄᴏɴsᴜᴍᴇᴅ ᴍᴇ ʟɪᴋᴇ ᴀ sɴᴀᴋᴇ ᴇᴀᴛɪɴɢ ɪᴛs ᴘʀᴇʏ, sᴡᴀʟʟᴏᴡɪɴɢ ᴍᴇ ᴡʜᴏʟᴇ.

ғʀᴏᴍ ᴛʜᴇ ᴍᴏᴍᴇɴᴛ ɪ sᴀᴡ ʏᴏᴜ, ᴘᴏᴘᴘɪɴs, ɪ ᴡᴀs ᴀʟʟ ʏᴏᴜʀs.

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