Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Standalone/Series: Standalone (part of a series)
Published on: September 21, 2017
POV: Dual First Point of View
Rating: 4 STARS
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I enjoyed the previous books (Vicious and Ruckus) and couldn’t wait to dive into this story when I saw it has been released. I am glad I did it since Scandalous did not disappoint. It is the third book in the Sinner of Saint series by L.J. Shen following the story of the fourth Hotholes, Trent, and Eddie.
Trent Rexroth is a thirty-three years old, very successful businessman and a single dad. In order to be able to live in the same city together and have more time for their families, he and his three best friends decided to sell almost a half of the company to a billionaire, Jordan Van Der Zee, and have him as a partner. In one of his best friend’s family party when Jordan was one of the guests, he saw his daughter, Eddie Van Der Zee.
Eddie Van Der Zee is a seventeen-year-old daughter of a billionaire, Jordan Van Der Zee. From the outside, she seems to have everything–money and the awesome, rich parents everyone wants. However, her life is not as perfect as what it seems like on the outside. When she met Trent, there was an attraction she could not explain and despite the odds, she finds out that her feelings for him are more than a teenage lust.
“I should warn you, Edie. I’m not the prince in this fairy tale. I’m the villain. The poisonous apple, the flame-breathing monster.”
It is not easy for me to rate this book. While I loved some parts of the story, some made me raise some questions. What did I love about the story?
I loved the forbidden elements of the story. The age difference and biracial issues played a major role and made the story interesting and addicting. What makes this story relevant is that those issues still exist now and a lot of people can relate to. I loved the message the author delivered through this story and found myself connected to it as I turned the pages.
“I wanted what was forbidden, and wrong, and fucking crazy. I wanted my partner’s daughter, who was nearly half my age.”
I could feel the main characters’ conflicted feelings and found myself rooting for them. L.J. Shen managed to make their issues as real as possible that readers could connect to. Their inner voices were like a magnet that, whether you agreed with them or not, would pull you in and make you part of their journey. I could feel their emotions—the guilt, the fear, the confusion—which together resulted in chaotic, sometimes hard-to-accept choices.
“Whatever we were, we were toxic. A lullaby on a thoroughly scratched record that keeps hiccupping again and again on the line that you hate. This can’t happen. This can’t happen. This won’t happen.”
I loved that L.J. Shen maintained the personality of each main characters. The complexity of their characters were both enjoyable and relatable. Trent’s bad yet sweet and responsible character was my favorite. These two elements of his character were great-maintained. He was both sweet and bad at the same time, but SO adorable and swoon-worthy, you couldn’t help but fall in love with. Meanwhile, Eddie’s character was admirable as well. She was beyond her age when it comes to maturity and such a loving, caring character that everyone would love. Her sacrifices she made for her family made her one of my favorite heroines.
I enjoyed the bromance between Trent and the other Hotholes, his best friends. Their friendship was SO fun to watch. It was unconditional that ran deep beyond blood. They always had each other back and made sure everything was okay in each of their lives. Their hilarious, refreshing banter was my most favorite of the story.
However, it was difficult to connect with them as a couple. Something was missing that I wished I would have felt strongly toward the end which, unfortunately, hardly happened. While I loved the fact that the intimacy didn’t come early in their relationship, their attraction felt merely physical. I didn’t feel it as deep as they said it to be. It felt shallow. A deep conversation or some moments that showed their feelings to each other would have made more impact. The rushed ending (it felt that way for me) made their new relationship happened too quickly and left a little room for me to connect with them at the end.
Some of the scenes made me question the believability of some of the supporting characters as well. They felt one dimensional with one emotion. It was as if they were there and that was it. Their reactions seemed too robotic which made it hard to know their personalities and the reasons behind their actions. Hence, the entire scenes felt not real at times.
Overall, this is a very addicting story that those interested in a successful single father and forbidden romance would enjoy. Despite my issues, I did enjoy this story and highly recommend it. I appreciate that the author took a risk by creating such an unconventional love story that pushes boundaries.
“And I will never love anyone else the way I do you, because it’s not about my age. It’s about my heart.”