Book Review: Sparrow – L.J. Shen

pop kitty book blurb

Troy Brennan

Every Southie in Boston knows that name. The son of a dead mobster. The heart-throb with steel-blue eyes. “The Fixer” who can make or break you in this city.

Oh, and my new husband.

Sparrow Raynes

That’s me. No one seemed to remember my name up until he barged into my life.
But then he caged me.
Kidnapped me.
And killed every chance I had to run away from the place where we grew up.
Put simply, Troy Brennan clipped my wings.

I have dreams, big ones, but I doubt he’ll ever let me chase them. I have no idea why he decided to take me as his wife. But I do know this: pissing off this man will not do me any good. At all.

Sparrow is a standalone, full-length novel. It contains graphic violence and adult situations some may find offensive.

popkitty book review

Troy Brennan is a legend. His name is only whispered. His exploits are rumour.  But the one thing that is fact is that you don’t want to make an enemy of him. The powerful son of an ex Irish Mafia boss, he’s known as ‘The Fixer’ and he has the power to make or break you.

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Sparrow Raynes is nobody. Nobody whispers her name. Nobody tells stories about her. She’s the daughter of a lowly drunken bouncer. She’s carved out a piece of a quiet life for herself, but everything she holds dear when Troy kidnaps her and forces her into a marriage that neither really wants.

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Troy thinks Sparrow is a naïve girl who can be easily disregarded but he will soon realise that Sparrow didn’t grow up in South Boston without growing a spine of steel as well. Troy still has a debt to settle, and the people in his life are not making it easy – but the biggest surprise he encounters may just be in the form of a little bird with a spine of steel.

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Troy is an unapologetic asshole. He doesn’t have many redeeming qualities; some would argue that he doesn’t have any at all. He is cold, hard and he’s hiding many terrible secrets. His sham of a marriage to Sparrow is covering the biggest secrets of all, and although Sparrow doesn’t know why he forced her to marry him she’s not about to take this asshole’s behaviour lying down. You can’t threaten someone with nothing to lose.

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As far as Mafia Romances go, this one held all the intrigue, secrets and action one would expect from it but more than that L.J. Shen created some excellent and believable characters. I absolutely loved Sparrow for her strength and snark and even Troy managed to capture my attention. This was an absolute battle of wills with neither willing to back down and I ate up every single word. Their stubbornness and constant push and pull made for a delicious slow burn romance that soon turned to passion and when neither could deny themselves any longer, it was nothing short of scorching.

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Although there were some questions in this book I didn’t quite get a satisfactory answer for, the more I read the more addicting this tangled web became. There are many players in this complicated chess game and each played their part perfectly. The writing and characterisation was brilliant and even when I hated these characters, I loved them.  It all made for an exciting, sexy and fast paced read that I absolutely recommend to fans of the Mafia trope.


(ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review)



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author lj shen

L.J. Shen is a best-selling author of Contemporary Romance novels. She lives in Northern California with her husband, young son and chubby cat.

She enjoys the simple things in life, like chocolate, wine, reading, HBO, spending time with her girlfriends and internet-stalking Chris Hemsworth. She reads between three to five books a week and firmly believes Crocs shoes and mullets should be outlawed.