Wednesday, October 5, 2016

{Book Review} Blood to Dust by L.J. Shen

Blood to Dust by L.J. Shen
Published: July 17th, 2016 L.J. Shen
Series: Standalone
Source: Bought
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Dark
Pages: 264

His name is Beat, and I should hate him.

Bound, blindfolded and bruised, I'm tied in his basement, waiting for the men who stripped me from clothes and humanity to collect his debt to them. Me.

His name is Nate and I should hate him, but I don't.

I'm not supposed to know his real name, even worse, I'm not supposed to care. He is nothing to me but means to an end. The plan is simple: break free, collect the pieces of my broken soul, kill the bastards and run away.

His name is Nathaniel Thomas Vela, and I've never seen his face, though I hear that it's beautiful.

Behind the rugged and handsome exterior, there's a quiet murderer, a killer who thinks guns are for pussies and ends people with his bare hands.

His name doesn't matter, neither does his face, but what does matter is my heart. And right now, sadly, it's his.

I was really excited for this book.  The cover is gorgeous and the synopsis makes this book sound amazing, and it was for some readers, but just not for me.  I liked the writing and the plot of this book, but my lack of connection to the characters and the romance is what really made this book fall flat for me.  I don’t really read many dark, gruesome romance books (which this one defiantly was) and I think that could have affected my rating.  I honestly had no idea what to expect going into this book, but I am glad that I opened my reading scope and tried something new.

The writing in this book was good and addictive.  However, the beginning of the book was very confusing.  In the beginning, sections were labeled as characters names, but the story was not being told in that character’s perspective.  It took me awhile to figure out that I was reading in the main female protagonist’s voice.  Once I read further, I started to get a grasp on what was happening.  I did think it was strange that the chapters started to alternate between the two main protagonist’s, but were still labeled just like the beginning of the book.

The plot of this book was what really made me want to read this and it was the thing that I enjoyed the most.  It was very original, dark, gruesome and at times, cringe worthy.  It was full of action and suspense.  This book felt like it was split into two parts, the first allowed readers to get to know the characters and the second was full of suspense and revenge.  However, there were some problems with how the characters were written that made me have a hard time connecting to them.

Prescott, the main female protagonist, lacked back story that was important to the plot and her character development.  It is written that Prescott is tough, tricky and fights to survive, but it is never explained how she knows what she does.  Some of her back story is explained, but it never made sense that she ended up being a big time drug dealer.  It almost felt like it was thrown in there to add to the revenge plot and propel the story along.  I wish that her character would have been more fleshed out, so that I could have felt the emotions the author was trying to achieve.

I did enjoy the main male protagonist, Nate, slightly more than Prescott.  The journal entries from Nate really gave his character depth and helped me to feel compassion for him.  However, I never really felt like I knew who he was.  It also somewhat felt like his character was not entirely consistent…sometimes he was hard & cold, other times he was sweet & caring. 

The romance in this book just was not my cup of tea.  I did not feel the chemistry between the characters.  There were sweet moments within their relationship, but ultimately, it never made me fully commit to their romance.  I did like all of the nicknames that Nate had for Prescott (there were a lot) because it showed his softer side.  I also loved how he kept calling her by the last name on her fake ID…hilarious!  The more mature content was a little too rough and abusive for my tastes.

I do have to say that this book is full of things that could be triggering for some readers.  {Spoilers: some triggers listed} There is a lot of murder (obviously), rape, forced abortion, loss of body parts and just overall gore. {End Spoiler}  I have to say that there were a lot of twists and turns I never seen coming.  I also really liked the ending.  It was not the big blow-out fight I was expecting, but I did like that it was bitter sweet.

Overall, I know a lot of readers did like this book, but this book just didn’t live up to my expectations.  I will most defiantly try some other books by L.J. Shen and am excited to read some other dark romances to see if it could be something that I could enjoy. 


“And in case you’ve forgotten”-I yank her by my hoodie, our noses crushing together-“you’re carrying around the heart of the girl I’m f***ing in love with.”

Check out Shen's other books below:

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