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.

 

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 !

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 !

 

Vicious (Sinners of Saint #1) by L J Shen

Book Description:

Published: December 27, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

Emilia

They say love and hate are the same feelings experienced under different circumstances, and it’s true.The man who comes to me in my dreams also haunts me in my nightmares. He is a brilliant lawyer. A skilled criminal. A beautiful liar. A bully and a savior, a monster and a lover.

Ten years ago, he made me run away from the small town where we lived. Now, he came for me in New York, and he isn’t leaving until he takes me with him.

Vicious

She is a starving artist. Pretty and evasive like cherry blossom. Ten years ago, she barged into my life unannounced and turned everything upside down. She paid the price.

Emilia LeBlanc is completely off-limits, my best friend’s ex-girlfriend. The woman who knows my darkest secret, and the daughter of the cheap Help we hired to take care of our estate. That should deter me from chasing her, but it doesn’t. So she hates me. Big fucking deal. She better get used to me.

Review –

I always love a good “love/hate” relationship in my books and this one has it in spades !!!

Barron Spencer, more commonly known as Vicious, is a great anti-hero.  HE IS NOT A NICE MAN.  He’s not a good guy in disguise, he’s never redeemed, and he’s never apologetic for the cruel things he does, the cruelest of which is to Emilia, the heroine.

The story starts in the past.  Emilia is the daughter of ‘the help’ who looks after the home Vicious lives in.  She overhears a conversation he is having with someone and from that moment on he is determined to get rid of her.  He’s afraid she heard something he didn’t want her to know.  There is another issue, though, and that is that Vicious is attracted to her.  They are in the same grade at high school.  But when she starts dating one of his good friends, that’s it, he blackmails her into leaving her home, her family, and everything she loves.

The story picks up years later when Vicious runs into her at a bar she’s waitressing at and he decides he’s going to meddle in her life again and then sets about it.  He makes her an offer she can’t refuse, working for him, and he proceeds to run her life.  The reason Vicious has pulled her back into his web is to use her in a revenge plot.  The only reason Emilia allows it is that she has always had feelings for Vicious and sees a side to him that he hides from the rest of the world.  Since the story is told in first person in alternate POV, we get to see the same glimpses Emilia does.

I found this book a very compelling read, though not the easiest  at times. Although Vicious has no real redeeming qualities, Emilia sees him for exactly who and what he is.  She doesn’t connect the dots until later, but goes into the relationship with both eyes wide open and prepared for heartbreak.  I like her as a heroine, I really do.  She’s been through fire because of Vicious and has come out very much stronger because of it.  I give huge kudos to the author for writing such a controversial yet gripping male protagonist.

 

 

 

Defy (Sinners of Saint #0.5) by L J Shen

Book Description:

Published: January 31, 207

Format: Audio/Audible

Defy is a smutty, insta-love, insta-lust short novella. Defy is a prequel to Vicious. It is recommended, but unnecessary, to read Defy before reading Vicious.

My name is Melody Greene, and I have a confession to make.
I slept with my student, a senior in high school.
Multiple times.
I had multiple orgasms.
In multiple positions.
I slept with my student and I enjoyed it.
I slept with my student and I’d do it all over again if I could turn back time.
My name is Melody Greene, and I got kicked out of my position as a teacher and did my walk of shame a la Cersei Lannister from the principal’s office, minutes after said principal threatened to call the cops on me.
My name is Melody Greene, and I did something bad because it made me feel good.
Here is why it was totally worth it.

Review –

I usually never read Teacher/Student contemporary romances because they are too “icky”, but this was a prequel to Vicious, which I did want to read, so I read it and I loved it.

Jamie is unlike any eighteen year old boy I knew in my teens, but this is fiction, after all. He is self-assured, cocky, hot and sexy and seems to know just what a woman eight years his senior wanted sexually. 

Melody isn’t your token stiff, boring, literature teacher and they get together when Jamie is  literally three months away from graduation. Melody was relatable in that she owned up to her lust for Jamie right away. She wasn’t a predator, she was more of the prey. Who can resist a guy like Jamie? She was in a tough position in life that makes it easy to understand why she would throw caution to the wind and consider an illicit affair with a student.

One thing I LOVED was Jamie’s unwavering devotion to Melody. He may have been so much younger than her, but he had the backbone and loyalty many full-grown men could use. He wasn’t just a teenager wanting to bang his teacher to have something to tell his pals over a few drinks. Genuine feelings took root and didn’t let go and transformed this book from just a forbidden fantasy story, to something a lot deeper and meaningful. True romance at its best. It won’t take you more than a couple of hours to read this one, so I highly recommend you pick it up right away, especially if you’re planning to read Vicious or the other books in the series.