Sparrow by L.J. Shen

Book Description:

Published:

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars: 5

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 runaway from the place where we grew up.
Put simply, Troy Brennan clipped my wings.

I have dreams, big ones, but I doubt he’d ever let me chase them. I have no idea why he’d 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.

Review –

Sparrow Raynes is a survivor. She can’t be caged or caught or forced unless she wants to.  Abandoned by her mother at an early age and caretaker for her alcoholic father, she has learned that life is never going to be easy.  She was never going to have free and easy. She had to work for everything she has. That’s fine. She doesn’t mind working hard for what she loves.  She’s going to cooking school with dreams of owning a food truck one day. Until, everything gets taken from her… yet again.

Troy Brennan knows death. He knows blood and loss and pain.  The son of a murdered mobster. When he was nineteen and Sparrow only nine, his father made him make another promise –to marry and take care of Sparrow.  Another burden that his father heaped on him. He is stuck with her, but he won’t ever love her and she better get used to it.

Troy Brennan is on a mission to avenge his murdered father.  But before he can finish his mission he has to full fill  a promise to his father first.  Marry Sparrow Raynes. Yes, he’ll be stuck with her, but that’s beside the point.  He doesn’t have to like her. He is just full-filling the promise he made to the father the loved. He informed her of their impending marriage by take her from her home, installing her into his apartment, supplying her with take out menus and leaving her to it.  Have a good week.

Marriage is new for him. Feeling are new to him. Her spark of fire and take-no-shit attitude attract Troy. She reminds him of… well, him. He doesn’t really see the point in caring about her. He know their relationship is doomed from the beginning.But he does like to see her occupied and maybe a little happy. (It would get her out of the house and allow him to see his mistress without having the worry about her) So when he finds out that she likes to cook he installs her into his high end restaurant where she meets Brock, right hand man of Troy and restaurant manager.

Sparrow tries to finds her way in the new world that she is trust into.  Working, jogging, meeting with friends.  Living with her awful husband as best she can, but it’s more that difficult.  He cheats on her openly and living with him is a chore.  She tries to connect with him but he takes joy in trying to make her feel small.  Well, good luck with that.  She can’t be taken down by a man like her husband.

As the days go on, Troy watches Sparrow take all of his challenges and rise above them. All of them. She is strong. She proves that daily.  He stops looking at his mistress as the ideal beauty and starts to really see this small, red haired, girl-woman as the true beauty and warrior that she really is.  As he learns more about her life, he finds she has survived much more than he knew.

When she is taken on the street on morning, Troy must finally come to feel and acknowledge the feeling that he hasn’t been dealing with for a few weeks. He has to find her.  He finally sees what his hate has been blinding him to for too many years.  He has to save his wife. He does and fast forward and he frees her from their marriage and eventually she realizes she can not live without him and there is a very HEA.

I loved this book.  I loved the story and the characters, although, Troy at first, not so much!   The pace of the plot is good.  You get to see the couple first hate each other, then slowly find things they liked about each other and then come to love each other in the ways that they can, but so much of this book is about Troy’s mission and Sparrow’s past.  Troy isn’t ever going to be anything but who he is, but once he figures out that he loves her, Troy loves her wholeheartedly.

Loved this book and the narration was great, although might have been plus five stars with the addition of a female narrator.

 

Bound and Freed (Andre Chevalier Books 1-5) by Nikki Sex

Book Description:

Published: March 10, 2013

Format: Audio/Audible

Bound – an André Chevalier novel (BDSM Stories #1)
The toughest case of Andre’s Chevalier’s career…

John Taylor is a brilliant and sexy young man in need of BDSM training to curb his Dominant sexual tastes. But John is a deeply damaged soul, bound to his tormented past. Can André save him from himself?

Submissive Kelly Flynn has a huge crush on John Taylor, and is restrained by troubling ties of her own. She is suffering from the “Fatal Female Flaw” when ordinarily sensible women fall madly in love with an unattainable man who can’t, or won’t love them back. There’s no possible way Kelly can ever break through John’s defenses to the tortured soul beneath… or can she?

Freed
With a deep phobia of small spaces, the last place Kelly Flynn wants to be is trapped in a dark elevator… especially with John Taylor, the handsome Dom she has a huge crush on. As her fear threatens to overwhelm her, it becomes clear John will have to do something drastic to save her.

Luckily, John is just the man to solve the problem. An experienced Dom, he knows everything about a woman’s body, including how to bring it to soaring heights of pleasure.

Both Kelly and John are caged by far more than just walls. Each has their own issues that bind them. Can they free each other?

Stripped
After escaping the elevator, Kelly Flynn goes home with John Taylor, the Dom she has a crush on. Why? Because she has fallen completely, madly in love with the man. And what woman in her right mind wouldn’t fall in love with him?

To Kelly’s mind, John is perfect. Or is he?

Punished
Kelly Flynn is on an emotional roller coaster ride from hell.

Saturday night she had hit a freakish all time low when she had been caught in a broken elevator. With a phobia of being trapped in small, dark places Kelly had totally flipped out when the lights went out and the elevator screeched and jerked to a halt.

Luckily the Dom she had been crushing on all month, John Taylor, was there to save her. One thing led to another and Kelly ended up spending the night with John and having the BEST SEX of her entire life. Not to mention falling head over heels in love with the guy.

Who unfortunately it turned out, was a complete nut job wacko bastard.

Or was he?

John Taylor is in fact, the ultimate Dom. He knows just how to deal with a disrespectful sub. What will John do? Because it is pretty clear by now, that Kelly won’t get away with her behavior toward him. There is no question about it.

Kelly will need to be punished.

Connected
Submissive Kelly Flynn’s life is falling apart.

John Taylor, her Dom boyfriend is wanted by the police for the brutal murder of his psychologist, a woman who was helping him deal with his childhood.

Kelly is John’s alibi, but the police don’t believe her. Her parents don’t believe her either, but she knows John.

Madly in love with John Taylor, Kelly just doesn’t know anything about his past.

What is it that made him the way he is?

Meanwhile, with John’s solid alibi, the real killer is looking for another victim.

Does the murder have Kelly’s name on the top of his “To-do” list?

Between her parents, John’s past, the police, and the killer, Kelly’s perfect love story is seriously feeling the strain.

Review –

 Believe it or not – TOO much sex and the bad narration made it a chore to listen. Reading this set would be fine but skip the audio version.

 

Broken Knight (All Saint’s High #2) by L.J. Shen

Book Description:

Published: August 2019

Format: Audio/Audible

Not all love stories are written the same way. Ours had torn chapters, missing paragraphs, and a bittersweet ending.

Luna Rexroth is everyone’s favorite wallflower.

Sweet.
Caring.
Charitable.
Quiet.
Fake.
Underneath the meek, tomboy exterior everyone loves (yet pities) is a girl who knows exactly what, and who, she wants—namely, the boy from the treehouse who taught her how to curse in sign language.
Who taught her how to laugh.
To live.
To love.
Knight Cole is everyone’s favorite football hero.
Gorgeous.
Athletic.
Rugged.
Popular.
Liar.

This daredevil hell-raiser could knock you up with his gaze alone, but he only has eyes for the girl across the street: Luna.

But Luna is not who she used to be. She doesn’t need his protection anymore.
When life throws a curveball at All Saints’ golden boy, he’s forced to realize not all knights are heroes.

Sometimes, the greatest love stories flourish in tragedy.

Review –

Wow!

What an absolute rollercoaster of a ride! Broken Knight has absolutely wrecked and ruined me for all books for quite some time I’m sure. This book was beyond phenomenal and a favourite book of mine for 2019. L. J. Shen’s writing is always right on point, but she knocked it out of the ball park with this one, I just don’t know if I’m ever going to get over this Broken Knight. I knew this book was going to be great because Shen does not write bad stories, but I was unprepared for how truly captivating this story really was. If there is one book you need to read this year, it is without a doubt BROKEN KNIGHT!

My emotions really went through the wringer with this one; I was moved, I was heartbroken, I cried, I sobbed, I smiled, I laughed and above all else I loved. I was unsure at some points whether my poor heart could take much more, but there was no way I was putting this book down even if my life depended on it. I thrived on the push and pull of the tempestuous friendship and lived vicariously through these characters who became such an important part of me. This story was just so real, I really felt like I was watching everything unfold in front of my very eyes and I was a part of this deep and emotional journey. I’m not sure I can ever get past these characters as I feel like they are now a part of me and our lives will be forever intertwined.

Broken Knight had so many layers to be discovered and the more I pulled these layers back the more I became addicted to everything that’s exposed before me. The author positively broke me with her storytelling which is true perfection, but then she also healed me in the most breathtaking way possible. Broken Knight is a true love story that will stand the test of time as it is positively unforgettable.

I have not gone into details of the story and that is deliberate because this needs to be devoured free from spoilers. If you are yet to read this book, my advice is to try to go in completely blind without knowing all the ins and outs of the story.

Broken Knight is EVERYTHING and more! I was completely enthralled from start to finish and could not get enough. Definitely one of the  best books of 2019 thus far.

Five stars !

Home Tears by Tijan

Book Description:

Published: December 1, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

Dani’s survived a lot of sh*t storms.

Her mother died. Her two sisters loathed her. One aunt hated her. The other was strangely distant, but the worst storm—being dumped by her childhood best friend/high school boyfriend/first love for her younger sister.

There went the one person who was hers and with that, the main reason she stuck around. So, she left for ten years. But now she’s back, and nothing’s the same.

With help from Jonah Bannon, a reformed—kind of—bad boy she remembers from high school, Dani uncovers family secrets that have spanned generations. And along with those, she’s about to face the biggest sh*t storm of her life.

Only this time, she may not survive.

Review –

Home Tears was a good read, but didn’t feel like a Tijan book. Her characters lacked depth and I felt a little disconnected with a few of them. First of all this is full of secrets and a few twists that I didn’t think needed to be throw in. But I really did like Dani.

Dani is the heroine of the story. She left home ten years ago running from herself, her family and her love. She was destroyed by those who were suppose to love her the most. She runs away to start over somewhere else and what does she do, she runs again. She has all these walls around her and most are understandable. But now that she has decided to come home, she’s gonna have to learn to let the past go and move on with her life. The town is shocked and it has caused some major upheaval because everyone thought she was dead and of course its a small town and everyone has an opinion.

This book was a messy stew of family secrets, sibling in-fighting, jilted lovers, epic storms and terrible tragedies and was filled to the very brim with flawed characters. I’m afraid there was just too much going on for my pea brain to handle because this book tired me out and not in that cathartic “cry your heart out” kind of way. Were it not an excellently narrated audio, I likely wouldn’t have finished it, just joking, I ALWAYS finish a book I start.

 

 

 

 

Pretty Reckless (All Saints High #1) by L.J. Shen

Book Description:

Published: April 21, 2019

Format: Audio/Audible

Penn

They say revenge is a dish best served cold.
I’d had four years to stew on what Daria Followhill did to me, and now my heart was completely iced.
I took her first kiss.
She took the only thing I loved.
I was poor.
She was rich.
The good thing about circumstances? They can change. Fast.
Now, I’m her parents’ latest shiny project.
Her housemate. Her tormentor. The captain of the rival football team she hates so much.
Yeah, baby girl, say it—I’m your foster brother.
There’s a price to pay for ruining the only good thing in my life, and she’s about to shell out some serious tears.
Daria Followhill thinks she is THE queen. I’m about to prove to her that she’s nothing but a spoiled princess.

Daria

Everyone loves a good old unapologetic punk.
But being a bitch? Oh, you get slammed for every snarky comment, cynical eye roll, and foot you put in your adversaries’ way.
The thing about stiletto heels is that they make a hell of a dent when you walk all over the people who try to hurt you.
In Penn Scully’s case, I pierced his heart until he bled out, then left it in a trash can on a bright summer day.
Four years ago, he asked me to save all my firsts for him.
Now he lives across the hall, and I want nothing more than to be his last everything.
His parting words when he gave me his heart were that nothing in this world is free.
Now? Now he is making me pay.

Review –

Pretty Reckless took high school rivals, added a splash of enemies to lovers, wrapped around heart-wrenching angst, and delivered one finger-licking utterly addicting page-turner/ audio book.  If NA angst is your crack of choice, then Shen is about to become your favorite dealer.

If you’ve read Shen’s Sinners of Saint series, then you’ll be familiar with the Followhill from Defy. Daria is the daughter of Melody and Jaime. And if you recall their forbidden union, then you already know that their daughter will have one big chip on her shoulder as she attends the same high school as her parents had their notorious relationship at.

Daria is easily one of my favorite heroines of LJ Shen to date. I love a female that can own the fact that she’s a queen B. But she’s also not the stereotypical do-gooder. This is a girl with a huge chip on her shoulder and she can be downright vicious to those that cross her path. She’s completely unapologetic about it, though being in her head, you see the glimpses of the vulnerability that causes her to lash out the way she does. Poor little rich girl.

As for Penn. Sweet mother of ovaries! I turned cougar for this man and I have no regrets. The turbulent enemies to lovers relationship that happens between these two kept me absolutely riveted. Daria may give as good as she gets, but Penn doesn’t pull any punches with her either. They are pure fire together.

I devoured and I mean straight up DEVOURED this book and was left desperate for more. Shen is a master of her craft and just keeps getting better and better with each new book. I’m already frothing at the mouth for more ASH!

Five stars !

 

The Silent Waters (Elements #3) by Brittiany C. Cherry

Book Description:

Published: September 22, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

Moments.

Our lives are a collection of moments. Some utterly painful and full of yesterday’s hurts. Some beautifully hopeful and full of tomorrow’s promises.

I’ve had many moments in my lifetime, moments that changed me, challenged me. Moments that scared me and engulfed me. However, the biggest ones—the most heartbreaking and breathtaking ones—all included him.

I was ten years old when I lost my voice. A piece of me was stolen away, and the only person who could truly hear my silence was Brooks Griffin. He was the light during my dark days, the promise of tomorrow, until tragedy found him. Tragedy that eventually drowned him in a sea of memories.

This is the story of a boy and girl who loved each other, but didn’t love themselves. A story of life and death. Of love and broken promises.

Of moments.

Review –

This book was simply amazing  These characters were so raw and real, and so amazingly developed, you can’t help but fall in love with them.

The Silent Waters tells the story of Maggie May and Brooks, neighbors, childhood best friends, and eventually lovers as they go through the best and worst experiences of their lives. From the prologue through the epilogue the story spans a few decades. Now, I’m not sure how much I want to say, sometimes you need to go into some books blind and discover them by yourself. And I definitely think this is one of those. So, I will try not to spoil major plot points.

Maggie May is a beautiful, smart and lively child that experiences a traumatic event that marks her forever. She is such a beautiful and amazingly developed character, I dare you not to fall in love with her. I felt so much for her and her struggles. She was truly remarkable.

And Brooks, what can I say about Brooks. He’s amazing and beautiful, patient and understanding. He was Maggie’s anchor, her beacon of light through the darkness. He was hers, completely. I loved everything about Brooks. He also went through a dark time and was able to overcome everything life threw at him. 

The love between them was definitely my favorite part of the book, it was so pure, so real, so powerful. It’s what kept them both going in difficult times and what kept me hopeful that they totally deserved a happy ending.

This book will hook you from the prologue all the way to the author’s note at the end. I felt a lot while reading this book, happiness, sadness, fear, frustration, love, and anger. It was truly a journey. It was also so moving and inspirational. And beautiful, just beautiful.

So, needless to say, I absolutely, 100% recommend The Silent Waters. It’s one of my favorite books this year. It has all the feels and you will not be disappointed! 

Five stars.

Coldhearted Boss by R. S. Grey

Book Description:

Published: June 6, 2019

Format: Audio/Audible

 

I’m desperate and destitute when Lockwood Construction rolls into my small town with an offer too good to pass up: high wages to any able-bodied man willing to join their crew.

Say no more. I throw on baggy clothes, tuck my long hair under a baseball hat, and apply for a job. Unfortunately, my half-baked idea of disguising myself as a guy is flawed from the beginning. As Shakira says, these hips don’t lie.

Still, I like to think I might have pulled the whole thing off save for one thing:

I know my boss.

Last month, we met at a bar, and after a fiery first encounter, it seems we’re destined to be sworn enemies.

Ethan Stone is ruthless and arrogant, a man I never would have crossed had I known how much he likes to toy with his prey.

He should just fire me and be done with it. Instead, he decides to make me his personal slave. Oh right, I think they’re calling it personal “assistant” these days.

It’s torture, all of it—his bad attitude, his ruggedly chiseled face, his desire to grind me into dust.

Every one of our friction-filled battles burns hotter than the last.

A girl can only hold out for so long. Soon, I’m bound to go up in flames.

My objective? Survive the heat long enough to send home a paycheck.

My real objective? Stop having X-rated fantasies about my coldhearted boss.

Review –

This was my first read/listen by R. S Grey and I loved it. Taylor’s character was my favorite.  I loved how determined and driven she was. If you want a strong willed, fierce heroine – look no further than Taylor. Her character was the strongest part of this book for me.

I also gotta give Coldhearted Boss it’s props because this one really delivers on enemies-to-lovers (a favorite genre of mine)and slow-burn romance. I mean this is ~SLOW~ burn  The banter was great for enemies-to-lovers, and the tension between Taylor and Ethan was amazing.

I loved how they were forced into a “live together” situation and they tried their best to out do one another by causing tension and heat between them. The “enemy” part of the story seemed to go on and on but finally they gave in to their desires and started a relationship and the epilogue was fantastic, almost tears worthy.

If you enjoy “enemies to lovers” contemporary romances with humor thrown in, add this one to your TBR list. You won’t regret it.

 

Beautiful Mistake by Vi Keeland

Book Description:

Published: August 3, 2017

Format: Audio/Audible

The first time I met Caine West was in a bar.
He noticed me looking his way and mistakenly read my scowling as checking him out.
When he attempted to talk to me, I set him straight—telling him what I thought of his lying, cheating, egomaniacal ass.
You see, the gorgeous jerk had wined and dined my best friend–smooth talking her into his bed, all along failing to mention that he was married.
He deserved every bit of my tongue-lashing and more for what he’d done.
Especially when that lazy smile graced his perfect face in response to my rant.
Only it turned out, the man I’d just told off wasn’t the right guy.
Oops. My mistake.
Embarrassed, I slunk out without an apology.
I was never going to see the handsome stranger again anyway, right?
That’s what I thought…until I walked into class the next morning.
Well, hello Professor West, I’m your new teaching assistant.
I’ll be working under you…figuratively speaking.
Although the literal interpretation might not be such a bad thing—working under Professor West.

This was going to be interesting…

Review –

This book features a sort of teacher/student forbidden love aspect. Caine West is exactly what you’d think of when you hear his name is Caine—strong sexual presence, perfect body, sex god. He’s a music professor and Rachel is his graduate teacher assistant (GTA), much to her shock. Why? Well, she may or may not have told him off at a bar the night before her first class, without knowing she was going to be working under him.

He’s the professor and she’s his new TA.  Leave it to Ms. Keeland to work in a trope that you usually see done a certain way and give it her own spin.  That’s one of my favorite things about her writing.

I don’t want to give a spoiler so lets just say that with this book giving you some insight into the past at times, it added another element to this story that added the emotion it needed. (you may need tissues)

This book has everything you would want in a contemporary romance: chemistry, sexy banter, swoony hero that has more layers than meet the eye at first, feisty and smart heroine.  The relationship between Caine and Rachel was explosive at times and tender at others.  And the writing, kept me engaged and wanting more.  If you are looking for something that will keep you glued to your seat while sipping a nice drink this summer, pick this up.  You’re in for some fun with this one.

Slashes in the Snow (Baum Squad Novel #1) by M. Never

Book Description:

Published: March 3, 2019

Format: Audio/Audible

Ky
Three years ago my father walked away. Away from our MC club, all his responsibilities, and me. We haven’t spoken since the day he handed me the keys to the kingdom.

Shoved them down my throat was more like it.

I hate him, and the new family he’s playing house with. He left his entire life behind for a woman he barely knows. But I’m strong, resilient, and don’t need a damn soul to survive.
At least, that’s what I thought…until she walked into my bar.

Kira
Someone is watching me. I can feel it. I wake up in the middle of the night freaked out of my mind, paranoid a stranger is there. My skin prickles every time I leave my house, because I know someone is following me.
I’m afraid. Alone. And there’s only one person left to turn to.

The stepbrother I never met. The man my stepfather speaks so highly about, but never sees. He’s the president of a notorious motorcycle club, and exactly the kind of person I need to protect me.

Little did I know, Ky Parish, freakin’ hates my guts.

Review –

Slashes in the Snow is an enemies to lovers, stepbrother romance, romantic suspense (emphasis on romance) with dark elements and a motorcycle club throw in for good measure.  What more could a female reader ask for?

Fantastic read!

 

 

Cake (Cake #1) by J. Bengtsson

Book Description:

Published: May 14, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

Jake McKallister might have been a rock star, but he was no ordinary one. Surviving an unspeakable crime as a young teen had shaped him into a guarded workaholic, and he now lived his life trying to forget. If it hadn’t been for music and the redemption he found through it, he might not have survived. Career success came easily for him. Personal connections did not.

When outspoken, vivacious college student Casey Caldwell was paired with the famously reserved rockstar for a friend’s wedding, she was prepared for the worst. What could they possibly have in common? She was a bubbly talker; he was a reclusive loner. His life was filled with music; she couldn’t carry a tune. She’d enjoyed a happy childhood; his was a well-publicized nightmare.

Yet despite their obvious differences, Jake and Casey found each other, and her light balanced out his darkness. Would their love be strong enough to survive the weight of his tragic past?

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This is a *full-length* standalone romance. Cake is a love story at heart but does deal with a sensitive topic and may not be for all.
Due to strong language and sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of eighteen.

Review –

I’ve had this book in my Audible library for a very long time but never got around to listening to it until now.

I thought ‘what in the world does CAKE have to do with a Rock Star themed contemporary romance?’ Is that the name of the band? But, no, CAKE is an acronym of the names of the two main characters.

I don’t  read rock star romances too often,(they are my favorite) but this book was delightful. Now it might not be for everyone especially if you are expecting a steamy read. Because this book has only one or two bedroom scenes and they aren’t too detailed (the sex is mostly implied) but I found the chemistry between these two just wonderful. And their fun bantering from the beginning just draws you in immediately. Seeing Casey go on tour with Jake for the summer and then seeing their relationship take on a great test with facing Jake’s past and seeing that these two work together and that they don’t give up on each other was heart-warming and heart wrenching at the same time. There is conflicts of course, but NOT in the relationship. I love that the minute that they are “together”, they never stop fighting for each other and keep working on their relationship and making sure it’s as strong as ever.

There are some hints of darkness though when dealing with Jake’s past and seeing him work through this was really hard to see because Jake is so talented and kind and down to earth and he has really gone through hell and back and is still fighting for his sanity and his past does haunt his intimate relationship with Casey. But Casey….she is a fighter, she never stops loving him or standing by him. She is very true to Jake and is willing to stay by his side through the good and the bad times and I LOVE this aspect to the romance. They go on an incredible journey and it definitely was written so well and tugged at my heartstrings.

Fantastic read!