Review: Playing with Fire

Playing with Fire Playing with Fire by L.J. Shen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Final Score - 4 Stars!

When life hands you lemons ... do you make lemonade or do you just suck on them?

LJ Shen has woven a beautiful tapestry of a story - about a love that was formed in the bowels of friendship first. West & Grace both understand the great and immeasurable agony of grief, loss and pain, but yet they both found the strength within themselves to bravely and boldly step out of themselves and reach for the other. And to me, that's the real beauty of this story. Let's be real - we've all got scars and trauma in one way or another. They leave behind echos that effect how we move forward in life. But it's how we move on from and face them, that counts. We all want to step into the light - and for Grace and West - that journey was not easy. They both had to overcome a lot of the damaged those scars & trauma left behind. But in the end, they did. They each rose like the Phoenix from it's ashes and flew toward the sun. And in the process, they managed to steal a piece of my heart & soul.

Now, I've recently read some rather disparaging reviews of this book and LJ Shen as unimaginative, writes the same tale, repetitive, etc. That is up to the reviewer to decide and feel, however, I feel quite the opposite - and no, I'm not drinking any kool-aid the writer is handing out, thank you. I've been following Ms. Shen's writing form the beginning. At times, it's made my cringe, cry, laugh in hysterics, left me frustrated and YES, I've wanted to quit. But, isn't a writer supposed to make YOU feel those emotions? Isn't that what getting lost in the pages of a book is supposed to do? Maybe I'm wrong, but this tale is just another is a long line of books by this writer that has left me emotionally crippled. And again, YES, I not liked it - I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT.

I don't find this book boring, the troupe once again revisited - man-whores, damsels in distress w/o back bone, or any of the other horrible references I've seen in other's reviews. What I see a heartbreaking tale of two people overcoming darkness. Of finding empowerment in the face of adversity. Two damaged souls that without the other, could not find light, love and appreciation of life in anything. It was only after meeting each other, getting to know and understand one another, for them to realize - they were not alone in their feelings. And by forging an unlikely friendship, they helped the other overcome their quirks, their defense mechanisms, and their avoidance of their pain.

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