When You Disappeared by John Marrs

Book Description:

Published: July 13, 2017

Format: Audio/Scribd

Stars: 5

When Catherine wakes up alone one morning, she thinks her husband has gone for a run before work. But Simon never makes it to the office. His running shoes are by the front door. Nothing is missing – except him.

Catherine knows Simon must be in trouble. He wouldn’t just leave her. He wouldn’t leave the children.

But Simon knows the truth – about why he left and what he’s done. He knows things about his marriage that it would kill Catherine to find out. The memories she holds onto are lies.

While Catherine faces a dark new reality at home, Simon’s halfway around the world, alive and thriving. He’s doing whatever it takes to stay one step ahead of the truth.

But he can’t hide forever, and when he reappears twenty-five years later, Catherine will finally learn who he is.

And wish she’d stayed in the dark.

Review –

The very description of this book intrigued me, what would I do in the position of the main character Catherine?  How does she go on?  What thoughts are running through her mind when she discovers her husband has gone and never returns?  Also, and why does Simon to do this?  So much about this book just screamed “READ ME”.

The book opens on the day that Simon walks out of his life and you see the impact this has on his friends and family, watching the ground beneath their feet crumble and their lives are inexplicably changed.  But we also experience the life that Simon goes on to lead in the twenty-five years he spends estranged from his family before returning “home”, and allowing Catherine to find out who he really is and his reasons for leaving like he did.

From the onset, my heart went out to Catherine.  How awful it must have been for her to try and hold things together for the sake of her children while wanting to curl up and stop living.  Her marriage had some issues, and life wasn’t always easy with small children around but she thought that things were stable, that life was ok ay and that she and Simon were okay.  Not knowing that all the while that Simon had an ulterior motive, that he was planning to walk out on them all and not look back and leave them to try and pick up the pieces and get on with life.  From that moment I didn’t like Simon, I couldn’t help but feel a hatred towards him, yes I admit, I hadn’t read all of his story yet to find out what was driving his decisions but part of me didn’t want to find out.Part of me wanted to stop there and then, but of course I listened on. It’s always a good sign if an author can evoke such strong emotions from their readers with the characterization in their books and I have to admit that John Marrs has done that with When You Disappeared, he seems to have found a formula in his writing that makes readers hate characters but at the same time feel that they aren’t 100% sure of their gut instinct, keeping them questioning whether there may be an underlying story that might just save a character…….

Narrated from alternating perspectives, readers experience the lives of both Simon and Catherine, seeing how their lives have progressed in the intervening twenty-five years, leading up to the moment that they meet again.  I did feel that it pulled at my attention somewhat, the jumping back and forth between the two main characters did feel a little disjointed but it did add to the overall suspense and intrigue so kept me on my toes.  The pace felt that it matched the plot well, not an adrenaline packed, fast paced read, but more a slow build to increase the tension levels and keep readers wondering what might happen.

Why did Simon leave ? How did Simon and Catherine change as individuals? Did they find love again?  Were they successful and happy or did grief and hatred turn their lives into something even they wouldn’t believe possible?  To find out, you will have to read the book. 

Fantastic Five Star Read!!!!!

This book was previously published as The Wronged Sons.

Good Girl,Bad Girl (Cyrus Haven #1) by Michael Robotham

Book Description:

Published: July 23, 2019

Format; Audio/Scribd

Stars: 5

A girl is discovered hiding in a secret room in the aftermath of a terrible crime. Half-starved and filthy, she won’t tell anyone her name, or her age, or where she came from. Maybe she is twelve, maybe fifteen. She doesn’t appear in any missing persons file, and her DNA can’t be matched to an identity.

Six years later, still unidentified, she is living in a secure children’s home with a new name, Evie Cormac. When she initiates a court case demanding the right to be released as an adult, forensic psychologist Cyrus Haven must determine if Evie is ready to go free. But she is unlike anyone he’s ever met—fascinating and dangerous in equal measure. Evie knows when someone is lying, and no one around her is telling the truth.

Meanwhile, Cyrus is called in to investigate the shocking murder of a high school figure-skating champion, Jodie Sheehan, who dies on a lonely footpath close to her home. Pretty and popular, Jodie is portrayed by everyone as the ultimate girl-next-door, but as Cyrus peels back the layers, a secret life emerges—one that Evie Cormac, the girl with no past, knows something about. A man haunted by his own tragic history, Cyrus is caught between the two cases—one girl who needs saving and another who needs justice. What price will he pay for the truth?

Review –

Troubled psychologist Cyrus Haven has to evaluate a girl without a past while finding out who killed a rising young figure skater.

Evie Cormac is an enigma. No one knew who she was when she was found in a secret room in a north London home, weighing less than a child half her age, which was determined to be 11 or 12. Only a few feet from her hiding place was the decomposing body of a man who had been tortured to death.

Given a new name, she ended up in Nottingham’s Langford Hall, a high security children’s home, after a series of foster homes. Now, six years later, she’s eager to be declared an adult, so Cyrus must evaluate her for possible release. Evie is rude, unruly, self-destructive, prone to occasional violence, heartbreakingly naïve, and very, very broken. She also seems to be able to tell, with remarkable consistency, when someone is lying. This intrigues Cyrus, who wrote a thesis on human lie detectors, aka “truth wizards.” When Cyrus makes an impulsive choice to temporarily foster Evie, it brings a basket of challenges to his already complicated life.

Meanwhile, Cyrus is assisting his mentor, Chief Inspector Lenny Parvel, in the investigation of the suspicious death and possible rape of fifteen-year-old Jodie Sheehan, who was called the “golden girl of British skating.” Some shocking revelations lead Cyrus and the police down a rabbit hole of dark family secrets, and Evie can’t help but involve herself in the investigation. It’s the careful and often poignant interplay between Cyrus and Evie that elevates this page turner.

Cyrus’ parents and sisters were murdered when he was just a boy, and by all accounts Evie’s childhood was nothing short of hellish. Trauma unites them, but the author seeks to show that together, they might begin to heal. Readers will adore the brilliant hot mess that is Evie, and more than a few moments are breathtakingly sad, such as Evie’s confusion about her wrinkly fingers during a long bath…because she’s never in her life had one.

This was a fantastic read/listen (my second on Scribd’s free 30 day trial) and I will look for more from this author!

 

 

 

 

 

 

When She Returned by Lucinda Berry

Book Description:

Published: October 15, 2019

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars: 5

One woman’s reappearance throws her family into turmoil, exposing dark secrets and the hidden, often devastating truth of family relationships.

Kate Bennett vanished from a parking lot eleven years ago, leaving behind her husband and young daughter. When she shows up at a Montana gas station, clutching an infant and screaming for help, investigators believe she may have been abducted by a cult.

Kate’s return flips her family’s world upside down–her husband is remarried, and her daughter barely remembers her. Kate herself doesn’t look or act like she did before.

While the family tries to help Kate reintegrate into society, they discover truths they’ve been hiding from each other about their own relationships. But they aren’t the only ones with secrets. As the family unravels what happened to Kate, a series of shocking revelations shows that Kate’s return is more sinister than any of them could have imagined.

Review –

Dark and disturbing…

When Kate Bennett vanished from a Target parking lot, her husband and daughter never thought they would see her again. But eleven years later, Kate shows up dehydrated and malnourished, showing signs of severe abuse in Montana holding a baby. With Kate returning, her family’s lives are turned upside down. As they struggle to understand what happened with Kate during those years, shocking revelations come to surface and threaten to destroy their lives. The narrative shifts between past and present and is told from the perspectives of Kate(first wife), Meredith(new wife), and Abbi, (daughter). Kate’s story is chilling and full of dread as she recounts the shocking cruelty from her days/years in “captivity”. The author’s exploration of Kate’s complete entrapment in the cult community is both compelling and disturbing. The pace gets hampered in the middle from the monotony of Kate’s story, but Berry threw in another twist that invests readers’ interest until the shocking culmination and what an ending it is!!!

I listened to this while traveling from Oklahoma to Alabama last month and kept my mind off the HUGE semi-trucks that traverse I-40.

Five star read!

 

Angry God (All Saints High #3) by L.J. Shen

Book Description:

Published: February 15, 2020

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars:5

From #1 Amazon Bestseller L.J. Shen comes a new, emotional standalone about first love, second chances, and overcoming breathtaking losses at a young age.

Vaughn Spencer.
They call him an angry god.
To me, he is nothing but a heartless prince.
His parents rule this town, its police, every citizen and boutique on Main Street.
All I own is a nice, juicy grudge against him for that time he almost killed me.
Between hooking up with a different girl every weekend, breaking hearts, noses and rules, Vaughn also finds the time to bully little ole’ me.
I fight back, tooth and nail, never expecting him to chase me across the ocean after we graduate high school.
But here he is, living with me in a dark, looming castle on the outskirts of London.

A fellow intern. A prodigal sculptor. A bloody genius.
They say this place is haunted, and it is.
Carlisle Castle hides two of our most awful secrets.
Vaughn thinks he can kill the ghosts of his past, but what he doesn’t know? It’s my heart he’s slaying.

Angry God is a stand-alone, DARK High School Romance. It deals with sensitive subjects some may find triggering.

Review-

I am a firm believer that this book needs to be gone into completely blind. Vaughn’s story is not an easy one he was always special, and this book proves why. I have never anticipated a story to the extent that I have this one and I was completely blown away by the flawless execution and delicacy with which the author handled his book. Interlacing his storyline with her uniquely LJ sense of humor that lightens up the darkest of situations and puts a smile on your face, brings this story to the next level for me. 

Leonora’s character was unlike any heroine that I’ve seen. She had this fire inside her that burned bright and fierce. Her flames and talent danced with Vaughn’s with such intricacy and emotion you could feel it burn from the pages and light your soul on fire. You think Vaughn is ice, but he is anything but, Vaughn is fire feeling everything and burning from the inside. These two couldn’t have been more perfect together and watching as they evolved into what they ultimately became was like watching two shooting stars collide and become one; singularly unique but together something more beautiful and charged with another level of intensity.

LJ Shen continues to grow and expand as an author, with every new story that she creates being better than the last. She has this unique way with words, drowning you in them as if they are poison soaking into your blood and becoming forever a part of you, ultimately seeping into what is your very essence. Every time I pick up one of her books, I’m immediately carried into that story utterly and completely. Nothing else matters but finishing that book and finding out what happens, that story becomes your nourishment until you are done. 

Like every single book in this series, Shen tackles major issues, topics, themes, and she did it with integrity and respect to the content. There are triggers in this book, for sure, but I am believer that literature (and romance is) should be a reflection of issues that we experience and plague the world, and sadly the issues in Angry God are rampant still today. Addressing these issues makes us more empathetic, more aware, more humane. Vaughn and Lenora’s story absolutely does that. The pain they suffer, the antagonism of a young romance as they stumble through their feelings, and the final HEA shows reader so many things – that light can bloom in the darkest of places, that love can shatter darkness and heal wounds, and that real family, blood or not, will love all your broken pieces and hold you together when you fall apart.

L.J. Shen started this journey with Vicious and it ends with his son, Vaughn, the 8th and final book (as of now) in the Todos Santos world. This series has brought us full circle. These characters and this world has taught me so much. I’ve grown, laughed, loved with this fictional people, and that is the power of a phenomenal romance.

Vaughn’s story tore me to shreds, each page was a slice to my very soul until I was left completely ruined by this book. Then slowly and with delicacy that only the author possesses she puts you back together mending you with parts of this story permanently imbedded. I could not have asked for a more perfect ending to my time here in Todos Santos, these character’s will forever be a part of me, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

I guess you can tell that I loved this book!!!!!

 

Ruin (Slay Quartet #2) by Laurelin Paige

Book Description:

Published: October 29, 2019

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars: 5

With her heart literally in his hands, Celia will have to try and bargain with a devil.

Edward Fasbender is my captor.

Trapped on this island he owns everything on–including, it seems, me.

He told me he would break me, but I thought he meant in the bedroom. It turns out Edward is playing a completely different game.

And he won’t stop until he’s ruined me.

Slay Two: Ruin is the second book in the Slay Quartet. Slay One: Rivalry should be read first.

Review –

I absolutely loved the first book, and I almost died when it ended with such a massive cliffhanger! So, as soon as I saw the second book on my was available on Audible Escape I dropped everything and dove right in!

Ruin starts where we were left off in the first book. And let me tell you, I couldn’t listen fast enough. I just soaked in every word! 

Told from dual first person perspectives (Celia and Edward) Ruin follows the building, but acrimonious relationship between businessman/billionaire media mogul Edward Fasbender, and Celia Warner. Several weeks earlier Edward Fasbender propositioned Celia Warner in an effort to regain control of his life, and that of the woman with whom he would fall in love but Celia is a game player, and she is about to enter into a game of which she has no control. Left alone for weeks to months at a time, on a Caribbean island with only Edward’s staff for companionship, Celia will discover that Edward’s power and control is beyond anything she could have imagined. Edward’s primary directive is to break the woman he married, and by breaking Celia, Edward will gain domination and command of her body and soul. What ensues is the tempestuous relationship, and sexually charged romance between Edward and Celia, and the potential fall-out as Celia reveals her past, a past that will affect Edward’s direction and intent, going forward. Edward is one arrogant SOB and is always one step ahead of Celia, but in his own sick and twisted way, he has come to care for/love her.

Celia Warner plays with people’s lives ultimately destroying those in an attempt to regain control of her life but the past cannot be fixed, and in this Celia’s desperate need to win at all costs, will cost her her own freedom when Edward Fasbender takes control of her heart and her life.

Ruin  is a story of betrayal and revenge; power and control. Edward Fasbender realizes that Celia Warner is broken beyond repair, just as he wanted her to be, but it’s not as satisfying as he had thought it would be. Never expecting to fall in love, Edward and Celia will come to terms, relationship wise, in an effort to destroy someone else. The premise is intriguing and captivating; the characters are strong, resilient, broken and flawed; the romance struggles in the face of vengeance and determination.

NOTE: Due to the nature of the story line premise, there may be some triggers for more sensitive readers.

If you decide to start this series, be prepared to see it to the end!

An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Book Description:

Published: January 8, 2019

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Stars: 5

Seeking women ages 18–32 to participate in a study on ethics and morality. Generous compensation. Anonymity guaranteed.

When Jessica Farris signs up for a psychology study conducted by the mysterious Dr. Shields, she thinks all she’ll have to do is answer a few questions, collect her money, and leave.

Question #1: Could you tell a lie without feeling guilt?

But as the questions grow more and more intense and invasive and the sessions become outings where Jess is told what to wear and how to act, she begins to feel as though Dr. Shields may know what she’s thinking… and what she’s hiding.

Question #2: Have you ever deeply hurt someone you care about?

As Jess’s paranoia grows, it becomes clear that she can no longer trust what in her life is real, and what is one of Dr. Shields’ manipulative experiments. Caught in a web of deceit and jealousy, Jess quickly learns that some obsessions can be deadly.

Question #3: Should a punishment always fit the crime?

An electrifying new novel about doubt, passion, and just how much you can trust someone.

Review –

Struggling Manhattan makeup artist Jessica Farris impulsively decides to chase some quick cash by lying her way into an NYU psychiatrist’s study—of ethics and morality, no less—in this slickly twisty psychological thriller from bestselling authors Hendricks and Pekkanen.

 Still shaky after a disturbing #MeToo encounter with a top theatrical producer that dashed her dream of doing stage makeup, the twenty-eight-year-old laps up the supportive attention from impossibly chic and self-confident Dr. Lydia Shields, whose second-person narrative alternates with Jessica’s first person. So when the therapist starts to enlist her in increasingly dicey real-life role-playing assignments, including trying to pick up specific targets, such as a stranger in a hotel bar, Jess pushes aside her doubts and goes along—until she hears some information too alarming to ignore about the fate of Dr. Shields’s previous protégé. The page-turner’s second half whizzes along at a furious pace, exploiting the dual perspectives for maximum tension. Though some of the gasp-worthy final twists require substantial character flip-flops, and an eye roll or two, it’s a fantastic, suspense filled mystery that I HIGHLY recommend .

 

Before She Was Found by Heather Gudenkauf

Book Description:

Published: April 16, 2019

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Stars: 5

A gripping thriller about three young girlfriends, a dark obsession and a chilling crime that shakes up a quiet Iowa town, from the New York Times bestselling author of The Weight of Silence .

For twelve-year-old Cora Landry and her friends Violet and Jordyn, it was supposed to be an ordinary sleepover–movies and Ouija and talking about boys. But when they decide to sneak out to go to the abandoned rail yard on the outskirts of town, little do they know that their innocent games will have dangerous consequences.

Later that night, Cora Landry is discovered on the tracks, bloody and clinging to life, her friends nowhere to be found. Soon their small rural town is thrust into a maelstrom. Who would want to hurt a young girl like Cora–and why? In an investigation that leaves no stone unturned, everyone is a suspect and no one can be trusted–not even those closest to Cora.

Before She Was Found is a timely and gripping thriller about friendship and betrayal, about the power of social pressure and the price of needing to fit in. It is about the great lengths a parent will go to protect their child and keep them safe–even if that means burying the truth, no matter the cost.

Review –

After investigating a local urban legend, (which was assigned by a teacher )a twelve year old girl(in sixth grade) is brutally attacked in the author’s latest thriller.

Like nearly every almost teen, Cora struggles in middle school. She’s shy and sheltered and tries every day to navigate the stormy social seas of friendships and crushes, even within the small town of Pitch, Iowa.

When Violet and her family move to Pitch,  from New Mexico, she connects with Cora and helps her begin to come out of her shell, but this is complicated by the on-again, off-again presence of Queen of the Mean Girls, Jordyn. All three girls end up working together on a social studies project to explore the truth behind an urban legend; they choose to research the story of Joseph Wither, a boy supposedly responsible for the disappearances or deaths of several local high school students across the decades.

As they dig deeper into the mystery, Cora begins corresponding online with someone claiming to be Joseph, in a chatroom on a “not so safe” web site. She knows this could be dangerous, but when her classmates find out and mock her for believing in the legend, Cora decides to meet up with Joseph and prove them wrong.

The book opens with an assault and then slowly unravels the events leading up to that act of violence; also functioning as a mystery, it is not until the VERY end that the perpetrator is revealed. There are interesting layers of psychology at work here, but it can be exhausting inhabiting the world of these teenage girls, so concerned about appearances, so protective of their own secrets. 

There  are so many suspects and people of the town are visibly cautious of everyone they meet going about their daily routines. You almost have a notepad handy to keep track of all the twists and turns as the end approaches, and they will blow you away. THE ENDING!!! That’s all I’m going to say.

It is so timely, dealing with bff’s, jealousy, cliques, wanting to so badly to belong, bullying many more things that young girls of today come across on a daily basis.   

This is one book that you HAVE to read!.

Of Blood and Bone (Chronicles of the One #2) by Nora Roberts

Book Description:

Published: December 4, 2018

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars: 5

hey look like an everyday family living an ordinary life. But beyond the edges of this peaceful farm, unimaginable forces of light and dark have been unleashed.

Fallon Swift, approaching her thirteenth birthday, barely knows the world that existed before—the city where her parents lived, now in ruins and reclaimed by nature since the Doom sickened and killed billions. Traveling anywhere is a danger, as vicious gangs of Raiders and fanatics called Purity Warriors search for their next victim. Those like Fallon, in possession of gifts, are hunted—and the time is coming when her true nature, her identity as The One, can no longer be hidden.

In a mysterious shelter in the forest, her training is about to begin under the guidance of Mallick, whose skills have been honed over centuries. She will learn the old ways of healing; study and spar; encounter faeries and elves and shifters; and find powers within herself she never imagined. And when the time is right, she will take up the sword, and fight. For until she grows into the woman she was born to be, the world outside will never be whole again.

Review –

In this sequel to the apocalyptic Year One, which released in 2017, the world settles into its new normal after The Doom, a sickness that killed off just about everyone and caused new powers to be realized. The girl who will be The One reaches her thirteenth birthday, makes the choice to train with her magical mentor, and steps into her many gifts, then must find allies to prepare for the war to come.

Survivors of The Doom have aligned themselves into different factions, with various priorities. Many have discovered magical abilities; many who don’t have them hunt those who do. Governments have failed, electricity is scarce, industrial production is practically nonexistent, so in order to survive, people must produce or scavenge food and goods.

Thirteen years later, New Hope is thriving, magicks and normals banding together for protection and community. Meanwhile, Fallon Swift, raised on a remote farm with her mother, stepfather, and three younger brothers, has learned the basics of survival but knows that when she turns thirteen, she’s expected to leave with the mysterious Mallick and train for two years, preparing to step into her role as The One, destined to save the world. When the time comes, she goes with him into a mystical forest populated with elves and faeries, where she studies spells, trains with swords, and spars with ghostly figures in order to build her strength and abilities.

On the way she finds allies of every variety, including three spirit animals who represent aspects of her powers and humanity that enhance her ability to lead. She also meets a shadowy figure in her dreams who becomes more real once she’s able to travel across spaces in a flash. She realizes he’s a son of New Hope and guesses that their destinies are tied closely together along with his twin sister’s. Change is coming, and it’s up to them to create a new, better world—or die trying.

The author continues her apocalyptic Chronicles of The One with a mesmerizing follow-up that is bold and breathtaking. Focusing mainly on Fallon’s rise, the plot offers details and vignettes that glimpse the horror and trauma of the past fifteen years and introduces the characters who presumably will frame the future.

This installment feels a bit like a rest between the trauma of The Doom and the war to come except for an explosive end battle; however, meeting the next generation and watching the heroine grow into her powers and leadership is enthralling. 

I thought the first book would be hard to top but Nora Roberts has done it and I now look forward to reading/listening to the final chapter of The One saga and have no doubt that it will too will hit the mark.

 

 

Final Scream by Lisa Jackson

Book Description:

Published: August 1, 2005

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars: 5

It’s the sound every killer waits for . . .

WHEN THERE’S NO ESCAPE FROM A COLD-BLOODED KILLER . . .
As white-hot flames sear the dark night, a killer waits in the trees, watching the mill burn, listening for the screams–the only proof that justice has finally begun for the sins of long-ago.

SCREAM . . . SCREAM AS LOUD AS YOU CAN . . .
For journalist Cassidy Buchanan, this inferno is a living nightmare: a reminder of the horrible, mysterious fire that destroyed her wealthy family seventeen years ago–and of Brig McKenzie, the handsome hellraiser accused of setting the blaze. That tragic crime has never been solved, and already the whispers have begun in Prosperity, Oregon: Another fire, more deaths, and one common denominator–Cassidy herself.

OR IT MAY BE THE LAST SOUND YOU EVER MAKE . . .
Cassidy came home to Prosperity to put the past behind her, but it seems the past isn’t finished with Cassidy. Someone doesn’t want her to uncover the chilling truth…someone who has killed before and will kill again…a cold-blooded psychopath who is only waiting to hear her final scream . . .

Review –

This haunting story begins with an inferno that sears the night, snuffing out lives and dreams, and leaves a killer go unpunished for the next seventeen years until they once again feel threatened and slash out at the innocent victims of Prosperity, Oregon.

The tale revolves around journalist, Cassidy Buchanan, who at sixteen suffered the loss of her older half-sister, Angie Buchanan and her unborn child. With no leads as to who was responsible for the arson fire that took her life and that of Jed Baker, the case was closed but now, seventeen years later, the arsonist strikes again injuring both Cassidy’s husband, Chase McKenzie, and a John Doe. With Cassidy being the only link between the original fire and a new one that takes the life of another victim towns folk could have been responsible for the fires or if she had also been an intended victim that had been lucky enough to escape with her life. Meanwhile Cassidy’s teenage crush, Brig McKenzie, who had been a suspect in the arson returns vowing to keep the woman he never stopped loving safe while readers can’t wait to learn if the killer gets his/her wish, to hear Cassidy’s FINAL SCREAM before dying.

The author is a master of suspense and manages to create characters that are both full and rich while fully exploring all the emotions that an extremely dysfunctional family could experience. The only surprise I found was that much of the book spent time exploring past events while covering the current events in much less detail. This was particularly evident in Brig and Cassidy’s relationship since it never focused on an adult love relationship but rather tried to get the reader to assume that their young love was enough to bring the adult one into fruition. Fortunately, the mystery was great and the villain was presented in such a manner that they were neither too obvious nor too obscure making it a quite enjoyable read.

Fantastic read.

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.