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Release Blitz: Playing with Fire by L. J. Shen

“Clear off a top spot on your Best of 2020 list. 

Playing with Fire is coming in HOT!”

–Harloe Rae, USA Today bestselling author

Playing With Fire, an all-new intense and all consuming small town standalone romance from USA Today bestselling author L.J. Shen is available now!

A broken boy on the path to destruction.

A scarred girl without direction.

A love story carved in secrets, inked with pain and sealed with a lie.

Grace Shaw and West St. Claire are arctic opposites.

She is the strange girl from the food truck.

He is the mysterious underground fighter who stormed into her sleepy Texan college town on his motorcycle one day, and has been wreaking havoc since.

She is invisible to the world.

He is the town’s beloved bad boy.

She is a reject.

He is trouble.

When West thrusts himself into Grace’s quiet life, she scrambles to figure out if he is her happily-ever-after or tragic ending.

But the harder she pushes him away, the more he pulls her out of her shell.

Grace doesn’t know much about anything beyond her town’s limits, but she does know this:

She is falling in love with the hottest guy in Sheridan U.

And when you play with fire—you ought to get burned.

Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

Amazon: https://amzn.to/35scdah

Amazon Universal: http://mybook.to/PWFLJShen

Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/3bDlzRh

Add to PLAYING WITH FIRE to Goodreads – https://bit.ly/MDVljgr

About L.J. Shen

L.J. Shen is a USA Today, Washington Post and Amazon #1 best-selling author of contemporary, New Adult and YA romance. Her books have been sold to twenty different countries. 

She lives in California with her husband, son, cat and eccentric fashion choices, and enjoys good wine, bad reality TV shows and catching sun rays with her lazy cat.

Connect with L.J. Shen

Facebook: http://bit.ly/2OhSvp1

Twitter: http://bit.ly/36ELHZc

Pinterest: http://bit.ly/2oMbFsu

Instagram: http://bit.ly/2AIOiTo

Stay up to date with L.J. Shen by signing up for her mailing list:

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Website: http://www.authorljshen.com/

Handbag Essentials for the Coronavirus Pandemic

I used to hate leaving home. In fact I still do but the fact that I can barely go out to the mall without fear of bringing home the virus, makes me equal parts excited and exhausted. Excited because YAY I AM LEAVING THE HOUSE. Exhausted because leaving the house means packing a million different things in order for me to feel safe.

Here are my handbag essentials for the Coronavirus pandemic:

  1. Hand sanitizer: This one is obvious. I like to take my own sanitizer because sometimes malls and stores have the icky one that goes on all thick and goopy. No, just no. This also came in handy for the one time I went in to a store and there was no one there to sanitize me because the guard was too busy flirting with the cosmetics lady. Three days later, another branch of the store had to close because one of their staff tested positive for the Covid virus. You can never be too safe.
  2. Disinfectant wipes: I like to use these to wipe down my handbag and anything else like the car door handle. These wipes are a lifesaver if you came across the type of store that takes down peoples details and has everyone using the same pen.
  3. Backup mask: I rarely use my mask until I am in the car. Sometimes I find out that the mask I picked is too big or just doesn’t fit right. I carry a back-up mask just in case.
  4. Wallet with driver’s license, bank cards and enough cash if needed to tip guards: I prefer using cards so I don’t have to touch cash. However I remember way back before we had so many positive cases in South Africa (I think it was March), there was a female car guard who helped me with my trolley but refused to touch the packets. She explained that she had heard what was going on and would not touch my groceries. I packed the car, thanked her but made sure to tip her. I don’t know exactly how much a car guard takes home but it made me sad that she was probably losing her livelihood already due to the beginning of the virus.

What are your handbag must-haves? Is there something that I am missing? I’d love to know below.

Fiction Friday: Bookworm Buys

I have not spent as much time reading as I should. However the one bookish thing I do whenever I am not reading is scouring the internet and bookstores for great deals (both bookish and not bookish).

So I thought why not create a section here where I can share some of the deals I’ve found. Maybe someone would find something that interests them.

  1. Reader’s Warehouse has a special where you can buy two boxsets and get 25% off
  2. “Midnight Sun” by Stephanie Meyer is out! Bargain Books Umhlanga has it for R295. I went in-store to check it out and the book is HUGE! It actually looks bigger than “Breaking Dawn.”
  3. If you’re fine with venturing out in public, CNA is having a R20 sale. On some stores this applies to their cute stationary as well so definitely stock up if this applies to your nearest store.
  4. Not technically a sale but a bookish deal that you should not miss. “Awkward in Print” by Rachel Rhodes is $3.44 on Amazon.com

PSA: Check in on Your Loved Ones

lady in window

So in South Africa, we have been in Lockdown for about 4 months. While most of the city and businesses have opened, we are still technically not allowed to visit or spend time with family members.

Now I don’t know you or what your own rules are regarding the pandemic but here in South Africa, most people are breaking the rules.

If you are one of them or even if you aren’t, make sure that you are taking the time to keep in contact with your loved ones especially if they live alone.

While we have been assisting with doing shopping for both of my grans, once the spread increased, we stopped all contact so it’s been about a month or two since I’ve seen either of them.

Whether it’s a phone call, video call or a Whatsapp message, make sure you are checking on your family and making sure that they are okay during this trying time.

Life in the Time of Corona

My alarm goes off at 5:20AM. I ignore it and drift back to a half-asleep state. It doesn’t matter if I’m late. There’s no traffic. My mother wakes me up at 5:30AM and this time I finally get out of bed.

I stumble to the bathroom with my eyes half-closed and pick up my toothbrush. I brush my teeth with one hand and with the other I check the news sites for anything related to Covid-19.

This is an everyday routine. This is our new normal. When we went back to work three weeks ago, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to adjust after more than a month at home but surprisingly it took me a short while to accept our new world.

I leave home at 6:50AM, careful to ensure that I have a freshly washed mask. Our company provided us with three black ones but I have been starting a collection of infinitely more colourful options.

Once I get to work, it’s time for our temperature check. The drive to work is only twenty minutes but I make sure to arrive early just for the temperature check. The lines can get long and I hate waiting even with social distancing.

The lady checked my temperature, has me sign attendance and then sanitizes my hands. I still have to go in the building and press the button for the lift which still creeps me out. The lift reeks of disinfectant but all the same, I am careful not to touch any part of it.

When I get to my desk, it is either already cleaned or in the process of being cleaned. Desks are cleaned daily and the entire office has a night cleaning with extra strong chemicals (allegedly. I’ve obviously never seen these people but I feel pretty good about our cleaning routine).

I sit down at my desk and use the sanitizer given to us by management to clean my hands again after using the lifts. I start up my pc and make small talk with the staff.

We are all spaced apart on the floor and if anyone is approaching you for conversation, masks are required.

There is a limit on the number of staff allowed in areas such as the kitchen and seating areas (the same goes for stores).

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that there’s a pandemic going around. We have adjusted to the rules pretty well.

Life has been going on as normal. Sure you can’t see friends and family nor can you touch them.

But you can go to work, go to the store and almost live your life as normal.

It makes me wonder was I wrong in freaking out when this all started? It has been 3 months since we were first hit with the virus. Our numbers are 20 000+ confirmed cases and 300+ deaths. All things considered it seems like South Africa is handling the virus relatively okay.

Welcome Back

I really thought by the time I went back to blogging, Corona would be a thing of the past.

But nope, it’s still alive and thriving. It’s just that in South Africa we are now out of lockdown (or quarantine as some people have been calling it).

The president has given us to go ahead for a gradual return to work in certain sectors but things are going to be tough regardless.

The company that I’m working for will be retrenching staff as well as several other companies.

As someone who has seen the struggle of small business owners and those who make their living from the flea markets, I wonder and pray for these people.

Pray for the world, guys.

We need it

Year in Review: 2019

I cannot believe that 2019 is finally ending. For me, personally I feel like this was a hellish year and I CANNOT wait to see it leave.

Here is my year in review of the best and the most brutal moments from 2019:

January– I started the year on a pretty good note by signing up for an online Digital Marketing course that I was convinced was going to change both my life and my career. While I have picked up some great blogging information from the course, I am still sadly in the exact same career field. Oh, well.

February– Had my first ever interview at a magazine which was my dream job. But I blew it which led to this blog post as well as the realization that I place way too much importance on my job.

March– Attended the Ed Sheeran concert and made time for family. Because I was a changed person now…mostly. I also spent R1300 on a discounted Johannesburg bookstore and then put myself on a book ban. It was supposed to last for 3 months but it ended up lasting for most of the year.

April– Watched my father’s company close down. Helped him make arrangements to move out of town for 3 months for a new job with a lesser salary.

May– Watch the company that promised my dad a job, ghost him and then ultimately turn him down. Had a meltdown on the blog about it. Also received a counselling letter at work from the two new managers because I was unable to go to work since we had no water for three days. Was repeatedly victimized by the lower of the two managers because HR decided to speak to her about it. Unfortunately for me she was also my new reporting manager.

June– Got shortlisted for a job that could possibly solve all of our problems. By this time our only source of income was flea markets and it was NOT looking good. Got turned down for the job the Friday before my 24th birthday. Also important to note, said manager made sure to grant me leave for all the days except my birthday. She has a wicked sense of humor that one *rolls eyes*. Gave up shopping

July– Turned 24 while still working at the call center. Cried when my wonderful manager didn’t even let me go home for my half-day for my birthday. Got put on a diet because all I had left going for me was food and now I couldn’t even eat my feelings.

August– Found out father’s heart is worsening. Laughed hysterically coz nothing goes our way.

September- Accepted that life sucks and whatever. Literally nothing worse can happen so things have to get better, right? Discovered the wonder that is Diwali flea markets and night markets. Finally started making some sort of income with the flea markets.

October– Got a warning at work. Got in trouble at work. Repeatedly. Stuck it out coz last October I had an even worse manager and October is our financial year-end. Watched in disbelief as the staff complained about our new reporting manager who was apparently screaming and demeaning ALL the staff (and here I thought I was special). Watched the department head speak to the reporting manager (and then she cried in a corner of the office which unfortunately everyone saw. I felt bad for her. Don’t worry, she’s back to her normal self now). Watched her hire newer managers for our team- one of whom has been applying for the position for over ten years.

November– Inspired by my new manager who was applying to be a manager for over ten years, I applied for writing jobs and finally got one.

December– Used my bonus to buy large amounts of alcohol. Because IT HAS BEEN A YEAR.

How has your year been? Better or worse than mine? I’d love to know below.

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