Book Review:

Bad Cruz: A Reverse Grumpy/Sunshine Romance

From Wall Street Journal bestselling author L.J. Shen comes a romantic comedy that will make you fall in love…or at least stumble your way to it, laughing.

  • AUTHOR:  L.J. Shen
  • 4.4 stars (15,332 ratings)
  • 4.0 on Goodreads (21,807 ratings)
  • Genre: Enemies to Lovers | Romantic Comedy | Single Parent | Kindle Unlimited Eligible | Forced Proximity | New Adult & College | Unputdownable | Romance | Humor & Satire | Feel-good | Humor & Entertainment | Small Towns | Humor | Contemporary | Conversation Starter | Contemporary Romance
  • Pages: 378
  • Publication: November 10, 2021
  • ASIN: B098YJJ4TQ

From 'Messy Nessy' to Mischief at Sea: 'Bad Cruz' – L.J. Shen's Captivating Dance of Love, Laughter, and Second Chances!

"Bad Cruz" by L.J. Shen is a heartwarming story that blends humor, romance, and a touch of angst, exploring the complexities of small-town dynamics. Tennessee Turner is a single mother who is called "Messy Nessy" by Fairhope residents. She is strong but vulnerable because of her past. Opposite her stands the charming Dr. Cruz Costello - Fairhope’s golden boy, a man burdened by his community’s expectations.

While Tennessee grapples with the town’s biased view of her as a young mother and the resident ‘screw-up,’ Cruz is cornered by the golden boy image. Shen brilliantly deconstructs these stereotypes, displaying the characters’ depth as the narrative unfolds. Their budding relationship, marred with tension and undeniable chemistry, takes a comedic turn during a mis-booked cruise, leading to moments filled with wit, romance, and vulnerability.

Their magnetic push-and-pull dynamic during the unexpected cruise journey, one filled with mischief, laughter, and revelations. As they grapple with their budding feelings and preconceived notions, readers witness a transformative journey, not just of romance, but of self-worth and acceptance.

Shen's writing is mesmerizing, her characters are full of life, and she tells stories with great nuance. Shen's departure from her usual character archetypes may surprise some, but her writing still captures the same authentic and deeply touching essence.

“Bad Cruz” is more than just a romance; it’s a testament to resilience, self-belief, and the magic of second chances. The book radiates warmth, humor, and a dash of angst, solidifying Shen’s position as a master storyteller in contemporary romance. Highly recommended for readers seeking a blend of laughter, love, and societal reflection. An absolute must-read for fans of heartfelt romance.

L.J. Shen

Born in San Francisco, The United States


Genre: Romance, Young Adult, Chick Lit

Influences: John Fante, Charles Bukowski, William S. Burroughs, Zadie Smith, and more.

Goodreads Author Page:

About the Author

L.J. Shen is a Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Washington Post, and #1 Amazon bestselling author of contemporary, new adult, and young adult romance. Her books have been translated in over twenty different countries, and she hopes to visit all of them.

She lives in Florida with her husband, three rowdy sons, and even rowdier pets. She enjoys good wine, bad reality TV shows, and reading to her heart’s content. Connect with her on her website at or on Instagram (@authorljshen), or join her Facebook group at Sign up for her newsletter at, and text SHEN to 313131 to get new release alerts (United States only).


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