Book Review: Ruckus by L.J. Shen

Hi! Despite all of the exams I have to prepare this Summer, I’m here reviewing, which is one of my favorite past-times. How you doin’? Here is super hot already, I wish I had a break to enjoy all of this sun at the beach, but I have to wait. Today’s review is about “Ruckus”, the second book in the Sinners of Saint (couldn’t choose a more appropriate name for this series) by author L.J. Shen.  The ARC was provided by the author for an honest review. If you want to read my thoughts, go under the cut! 😛

Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Dark
Publication Year: 2017
Part of a series?: Yes, Book 2 of 3
You can buy it HERE from Amazon.com

“Ruckus” is the second book of the Saints of Sinners series, which I came to love so much. Not so long ago I read “Vicious” and fell in love both with the character and the author herself. She has an amazing way to write scenes and dialogues. I love reading about what the HotHoles do and say, and what each one of them does. In this book we get to know Dean, and along with him, Emilia’s sister Rosie.

Dean Cole is living in New York and manages the FHH branch there. He is your typical manwhore, but he is also kind and good-hearted, and this is a tight mask he wears everyday at work and when he’s with his friends. There’s something missing in his life, and we get to know what in this book. I won’t spoil it for you but I’ll just say if you thought Vicious was messed up, then think again, because Dean Cole is troubled in his own way. He drowns himself in alcohol and smokes weed, because he needs to get his mind off his issues. Now that he met Rosie LeBlanc after ten years, his ex’s sister, he’s even more uneasy but he has a goal set in mind, make her his since they never got a chance to be together in the past because he was with Emilia while lusting after her sister in secret.

Rose LeBlanc is still living in the Big Apple as well, and in the apartment the HotHoles bought in the same building as Dean’s. She works at a bar, volunteers at a hospital and does her daily healthy routines because of her illness. Being close to Dean is hard, because Rosie has had eyes on him ever since she’s saw him the first time. But she didn’t try to stop him to be with her sister, because she didn’t believe she had a long shot at life because of her illness. She tries to act strong but she isn’t a superwoman, although she manages well and takes care of herself. Dean has always proved her that he saw her strong and independent, unlike her family, who treated her as if she was breakable. This is probably why she was attracted to him in the first place, besides the fact that he’s obviously a hot man.

Dean and Rosie are a unique couple just like Vicious and Emilia. And, in my opinion, their sort of alter-egos. Dean is the nice guy but he has a lot in common with Vicious, who is able to shed his personality layers and see through him. If they weren’t straight or one of them was a woman, I bet my money that they’d end up together and have one of those relationships with tons of hate sex and UST. I love how Vic gets Dean and their friendship, although they often come at each other when they discuss. I think that’s because deep down they know that the other can see their “weakness”, and being both strong alpha males, scares them to death. Rosie is also Emilia’s counterpart. She is the feisty and nosy one, the girl who loves to break the rules and do crazy stuff. She is a keeper, and Dean knows it. She has a strong maternal instinct and I love how after she’s talked things Dean with her sister, she dives into the relationship and stands by him through anything – and trust me, Dean’s issues are like soap operas, they never truly end. lol. Dean and Rosie fit so much more together than Dean and Emilia every did, probably because Rosie is unpredictable, caring, despite she knows she may die any moment because of her illness.

The story starts off a few months after “Vicious” ends. I don’t want to spoil this one for you because I think that even if “Ruckus” works as a standalone, YOU SHOULD READ “Vicious”. Believe me, it’s super worth it. Anyway, we see what happens now that Rosie is alone. She’s just dumped her ex, Darren, and like I already said, she finds it hard to be in the same building as her first love Dean, especially see him making out with random women. When I started this book I knew the road wouldn’t be easy, but I was happily surprised every step of the way and I crave more, but I know that we’ll get the third book, “Scandalous” (that will be about Trent and I think I know who) in 2018 probably. SIGH. In the meantime I can re-read these two and read “Defy”, which is sort a prequel about Jaime, that I bought but still haven’t read. What can I say, this is my second L.J. Shen book and I knew I would love her writing and style, and I did. I love the banter between all the characters, because it’s realistic and sarcastic. This book made me cry both laughs of joy and of sadness, but it was worth the ride because L.J. Shen is the kind of author who “rewards” the reader in her books. I had expectations with “Ruckus” that were more than met, and I love when this happens, it just means I found a writer who makes me want to read more and crave more. I was already sold with “Vicious”, but now I am definitely a fan and I’ll wait patiently for her next book, whatever it may be. lol. I think she is a guarantee.

This brings me to a hot topic. I know that the whole “guy falls in love with his ex’s sister” and “girl falls in love with her sister’s ex” is a tabu for many. I honestly don’t get why. Many times during our life we met people and we grow affection for them. This is what happened between Dean and Emilia. Vicious bullied Emilia during high school and Dean was her knight in shining armor, a pure guardian more than a lover. She stayed with him because he would be able to protect her from Vicious’ threats, and as much as it sounded selfish, that was her way to survive. It was clear in “Vicious” that Emilia didn’t love Dean and he didn’t love her back. They liked each other’s company, but that was it. I guess Dean also accepted to be with Emilia to piss off Vicious because he was aware he loved Emilia already and because he didn’t want to leave her alone, but nothing more than that. It is evident if you’ve read Vicious, that Emilia wasn’t into Dean. Sometimes we remain with people because we can’t say no to them, or not to be alone. This is why it isn’t an issue for me that Rosie and Dean fell for each other. Things are explained well in “Ruckus” and you get WHY things happened the way they did, why Dean and Rosie couldn’t be together before he and Emilia got together. And also, it’s not like they would start their relationship just like that. You also need to hear the people involved in this, like Emilia. Her sister fell for her ex, so what? It’s in the past. Sure, there are people who may be annoyed their sis/bro falls for their ex, but not everyone is the same. Not everyone holds grudges and not everyone sees this as breaking girl-code. Because you know, despite Emilia and Rosie are sisters, they’re also friends who love each other. So one has to think about this perspective as well: I believe that my sister or my friend wouldn’t want me to stay away from a guy I like/love just because is her ex, if she is well aware said guy and I click. It would be selfish to deny a person their happiness. At least, that’s how I see it.

“Ruckus” is also a tough emotional ride. Not only because there’s a character with an illness, but because L.J. Shen is also great at making her characters raw and real, as if they really existed. They can show a variety of pure emotions that can range from anger to kindness to affection, and all in a believable way. When I think someone is gonna behave in a way, I am surprised. You’ll shed a lot of tears until the end of this book, but believe me, it is all worth in the end and you’ll be grinning from ear to ear too. This is a contemporary romance book but it is deeper than your usual contemporary story. There are dark shades as well, that makes the book even more complex and engaging than it already is. I would LOVE to read more scenes with our HotHoles and couples. Perhaps in a collection of novellas? 😛 Just putting this out there, haha.

RATING: 5/5 stars

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About purplebass

hey, you! Thank you for stopping by. I'm Tweety, and I am a girl who loves writing, reading, and watching stuff on TV and write reviews about it. I currently study languages (English and Spanish) @ University here where I live in Italy. I dream to become a teacher or something more impossible, like a writer. For the moment I only write stories on my laptop and review a lot of books. Speaking of which, I'm really into YA despite I am not a teenager anymore, and if you have suggestions, I am always open to hear your book advice! :D
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