Audiobook Review: Bad Cruz by L.J. Shen. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Bad Cruz by L.J. Shen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I would say Dr. Cruz Costello is my archenemy.
But that would require acknowledging one another, which we haven’t done in over a decade.

He’s the town’s golden child. The beloved quarterback-turned-physician.
I’m the girl who got knocked up at sixteen and now works at a diner.

He is Fairhope royalty.
I get my monarch dose from tabloid gossip.

He’s well-off.
I’m…well, off.

When our siblings get engaged, Cruz’s parents invite both families to a pre-wedding cruise.
Except Cruz and I find ourselves stuck on a different ship from everyone else.
Cue ten horrible, insufferable days at sea with a man I cannot stand.
(My fault, of course.)
But when the alcohol pours in, the secrets spill out, and I’m left with one question:
Can I take another chance on love?

Bad Cruz

“Scared sheetless!”

The following ratings are out of 5:
Narrator: 🎙🎙🎙🎙
Romance: 💚🖤💙💜❤️
Heat/Steam: 🔥🔥
Story/Plot: 📕📗📙📘📔
World building: 🌏🌍🌎🌏🌎
Character development: 😎☺️🙃😚🥰

The heroine: Tennessee “Nessy” Turner – the people of Fairhope, North Carolina call her “Messy Nessy”. She had a child out of wedlock and has been know to throat punch when angered. She grew up on the wrong side of the tracks, her high school boyfriend left her when she found out she was pregnant. Thirteen years later she raising her son, Bear, working at a diner and she thinks of herself as the town screw up.

The Hero: Dr. Cruz Costello – grew up very nicely in Fairhope as the favorite son. He and his family were once invited to Thanksgiving at the White House. He was the popular High School quarterback who went off to an ivy league college and came back a Doctor. He is loved by everyone in town. Cruz is also “Hotter than Ryan Gosling in Drive”. He goes into the diner often with his high maintenance girl of the month.

The Story: Cruz made a deliberate effort to not acknowledge Nessy when they were in the same place, he also called her Tennessee when everyone else called her Messy Nessy. When Nessy’s deadbeat ex. Boyfriend Rob comes back to town and moves down the street from her, she has no idea what to do. She is busy working and helping her sister get ready for her upcoming marriage to Cruz’s older brother.

The book was told in dual points of view via dual narration. Lauren Ezzo and Sebastian York did the narration. I love Sebastian York, he is a great narrator with a terrific voice. Lauren Ezzo is great at putting emotion and sarcasm into her voice, she also did a fine southern accent. However, I didn’t like the tone or something, the voice just made me dislike Nessy from the start. She sounded like one of those brash and over-loud outspoken women who’s so annoying.

This was quite a departure from L.J. Shen’s previous works. Cruz is a genuinely nice guy and a realistic person. He has always been known as the golden boy, the good son, the great neighbor and all around good person. He doesn’t necessarily like always being Mr. Perfect, but he has anxiety when he doesn’t live up to peoples expectations.

Tennessee was also a much different person than everyone saw her as. While everyone saw her as the low class town screw up, she in fact was a great mother, a loving daughter and would do just about anything for her sister. Though people treated her exactly like what they thought of her, and her family took her for granted.

Nessy and Cruz go on a ten day cruise with both of their families, a pre-wedding cruise intended for the families to get to know each other and they end up on a different ship than the rest of the family. They are true enemies, yet they get much closer during the 10 day cruise. I liked the pace of this book as they learned more about each other as well as the supporting characters on the cruise and in their families.

I came to like Tennessee more and more as the story went on and even liked the narration by Lauren Ezzo more. It seems she was just being exactly like the character was at the beginning. Nessy put on a fake persona to protect herself from all the haters and became more real as the story went on. As her and Cruz got to know each other she became more herself and the narration paralleled that. Though I must say that I got frustrated at these two characters, they could tell each other off like nobody’s business but neither could find a way to tell off those that really deserved it.


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