Book Review: Sparrow by L.J. Shen

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Title: Sparrow
Author: L.J. Shen @lj_shen
Reviewer: Grace
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 302 pages
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis

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.
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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.

Grace Review

This book was full of conflict.

Conflict between Troy and Sparrow, husband and wife who hate each other.
Conflict about Troy’s motives for marrying her in the first place.
Conflict for Sparrow’s reactions around Troy.
Conflict for the reader, like myself, who can’t make heads or tails about their relationship.

“Pretend to be happy, or I will provide you with a real reason to be sad.”

No doubt as you are reading the story, you will develop a hatred for Troy.  He’s cold, uncaring, and ruthless.  I don’t know what bothered me more, that he cheated, or that he had zero feelings for Sparrow before their union, and early into the marriage.  I wanted him to care.

“So if you’re looking for favors, you better start reciprocating.  Start acting like a goddamned wife and not like a prisoner.  Oh, and a few more days of that magical period of yours and I’m sending you for a checkup in the ER.  Don’t want you to bleed out, huh?”

At the same time, I had to wonder where Brock, his business partner would fit in.  Are we looking at a love triangle?  Interesting enough, Sparrow makes reference to the potential trial with a shout-out to my favorite band, New Order, and their song Bizarre Love Triangle.  But I can clarify, that Sparrow’s heart lies with only one.

Now the dynamics between Brock’s wife Catalina, aka super bitch and Troy, had me worried.  I had a feeling she would take things too far.  The direction that side relationship took did surprise me though.

This story doesn’t have insta-love, or even insta-lust.  More like hate lust.  Despite the fact that Sparrow hates Troy and what he has done with her, she can’t seem to control her body’s reaction around him.  Right or wrong, despite his treatment of her, she ultimately gives him what he wants.

Troy was the guy who not only broke your headboard, but also broke your heart.

As the story progresses, I wasn’t entirely convinced of Troy’s feelings for Sparrow.  While her feelings are clear, I had trouble believing him later in the story, based on the lies he previously told Sparrow to win her over.  His actions should speak louder than words, but this is one of those guys that doesn’t follow a normal path, so I was suspicious of him throughout.

Bad men do bad things, and eventually, those bad things may come back to haunt them. Troy’s actions years prior, have a price.  What he does to make amends and do the right thing, shows how much he has changed.  A woman who was once an obligation, is now so much more.

This is not your average mob story.  But it has the same elements, corruption, greed, revenge, which drive the reader through the story.  I loved the element of the caged bird woven throughout the story.  The ultimate question in this story is whether that bird is set free, will it ever return?

– Grace

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