Spotlight, Review & Giveaway: Sparrow by @lj_shen

Review-SparrowSparrow
Genre: Dark Romance
Author: L.J. Shen
Release Date: March 8, 2016add-to-goodreads-button-2

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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.

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Excerpt

“What do you do for a living?” I asked, more proof of how little I knew my husband.“Money,” he answered. “I make it.”

“What do you do for this money?” I pressed.

“I have a grocery store, a restaurant and a few private poker joints. Your dad is a bouncer in one of them. You know this shit.”

“The grocery store in Dorchester was losing money even before it opened. The poker joints are small and people always owe you money. That’s not how you pay for a Maserati and a penthouse the size of a football field.”

He arched an eyebrow, giving me a slow once-over with those frosty baby-blues. “She’s sharp, too.”

“There’s a lot you don’t know about me,” I croaked.

“There’s one thing I do know, and it keeps me from spilling my shit in your ears—you hate my guts, Red.”

“I don’t hate your guts.” It took all the effort in the world to say it. Because I did. I hated Troy Brennan for marrying me, caging me, owning me and chaining me to his grim life and destiny for no reason other than because he could.

“Anyone ever told you that you’re a terrible liar?” His nostrils flared, but he kept his cool. He jerked me closer, wrapping his hand around the nape of my neck, his breath falling on my face with a whisper. “You wear the truth on your sleeve.”

I tiptoed my hand up to his face, my heart picking up speed as I stroked his bruise. Ballsy move, but I was afraid of him. Afraid that his frustration with me would swell and that he’d send me off back to the bedroom.

Fear is a prison, and in prison you played by different rules to survive.

Troy’s eyes narrowed on mine skeptically. The epitome of ruthless, his lips turned into a challenging smirk. “Prove you don’t hate me.”

And I did. I leaned up and pressed my lips against his softly.

I kissed him.

I kissed the husband I hated so much. Against reason, against logic, against everything my heart was telling me.

I kissed him because I wanted something from him. A job. A chance at happiness. Some freedom.

He fisted the hem of my nightshirt and in two big steps shoved me to the nearest wall, slamming me against it. My back felt the impact, and I arched to soothe the pain trickling down my spine. It felt different than the usual ache of flesh hitting concrete. Made my body buzz with something unfamiliar. Desire bit at my insides, and just like that, I got lost in his touch again.

His lips searched for mine angrily as he took one of my thighs and wrapped it around his waist, lifting me off the floor, only him and the wall supporting my weight. His erection pulsated beneath the fabric of his suit pants, and I resisted the instinct to grind against him. I lifted my arms to touch his smooth hair, running my hands down his slick mane.

He was a cheater.

A criminal.

A murderer.

And I was…fascinated.

Review4.5 starsSparrow-DGR

My father had sinned. But I was to be punished.

Sparrow Raynes grew up the daughter of a drunken father who happened to work for one of the most feared men in the Boston underground. But now that man is dead, and his son who’s known to be even more ruthless is to be her husband…and she has no idea why other than it’s been arranged and her father agreed to it. So she’ll do it, but she won’t like it. In her eyes it’ll be a marriage in name only because no way can she give her heart to the devil with the steel-blue eyes that’s known as The Fixer. He’s ruthless, he’s cold-blooded, but she refused to cower from him like even the most deadly of the deadly underground seem to…
Sparrow-DGR2Troy Brennan doesn’t hold any allegiances to anyone. His father may have been top dog in the Irish mob, but he’s dead now. There’s a reason Troy is know as The Fixer. He’s the one the rich and powerful call on to “fix” things. He’s infamous in the Boston underground for his ruthlessness and just as feared. But now he’s stuck marrying a girl he wants nothing to do with out of an obligation that she’s doesn’t know of. But the woman that he thought is a demure tomboy has a whole lot more spark to her that begin to slowly change the way he wants things to be…

Love and hate are similar in a lot of ways.”
“Is there a way to love you away from me?”
“No, but you could hate-fuck me all you want.”

Sparrow was exactly the kind of gritty anti-hero that I needed. L.J. Shen was not afraid to stick true to her characters and pulled no punches to do so, and I respect the hell out of her for this. Yes, Troy did some things that may not sit right with some readers, but for this reader, I loved to hate it. See I love when an author takes risks to stay true to the characters and that was definitely the case here. This is no insta lust, insta-love, or insta-anything. Troy and Sparrow’s connection formed over time and it felt authentic because of that. Considering how Troy is and where he came from, I wouldn’t have bought it any other way.

I’m saying if I can’t eat it, fuck it or kill it I have no interest in it.”

It was entertaining as hell to watch Sparrow really come into her own throughout the story. She has a backbone to begin with, but I just loved watching her give as good as she gets and she just gets stronger with the progression of the story. What was even better was that she wasn’t stupid. She doesn’t instigate or make silly decisions out of spite, she’s smart about it, which is a refreshing change of pace. She doesn’t want to like her husband, but watching him unknowingly get under her skin and grow on her was so entertaining to read. As for their chemistry? That was though the roof hot!

My monster, my capturer, my corrupter. My lover.

L.J. spared no detail to make her story gritty and real. It was action packed, super sexy, and filled with twists and turns. It was enough to keep me at the edge of my seat the whole time and eagerly turning the pages to see what will happen next. The romance was sizzling hot and together with the plot it all came together perfectly.

…the rumor is you like it kinky.”
“I like it interesting…
I like it delicious…
I like rough…
But most of all, I like it with you.”

My only minor quibble with the book was that it went a little much and too creative with the analogies at times. But that was such a minor thing compared to everything that I loved about it that I barely batted an eyelash at it.

The story was quick paced and kept me reading well into the night. I couldn’t seem to put it down until I finished. It’s not often when an author can surprise me with a hell of a twist but boy this one did! I loved every page of it.

This was my first book by this author, but I can say with utmost certainty that it will definitely not be my last. L.J. Shen clearly has a talent to write one hell of a punch with her romances and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next. If you’re looking for an anti-hero read with a great heroine to boot and a believable romance, you need to be one-clicking this one right meow.

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About the Author

L.J. Shen is a former entertainment and music journalist and your average typical girl. She enjoys the simple things in life, like coffee, wine, traveling, spending time with her family and internet-stalking Chris Hemsworth.

She lives in Northern California with her husband, son and chubby cat and spends her days reading and her nights writing.

She is 29, lived in three continents, speaks three languages and thinks bras should be outlawed.

Feel free to contact her on Twitter and Facebook:

Giveaway

If you follow me on Facebook or Goodreads, then you already know how much I’ve been gushing about this book! I loved the absolute fuck out of it. I’m a reader that gravitates towards the dark and gritty and this one sure as hell brought it! I’m so excited to be able to spotlight this book on the blog today! But not only that, LJ Shen has been generous enough to donate a SIGNED PAPERBACK for the occasion! So I’m hosting a giveaway for that and one lucky US dirty bird will win this pretteh! Make sure to scroll to the bottom of post for the giveaway link 😉

ENTER HERE for a chance to win a SIGNED PAPERBACK of SPARROW!

 

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