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Sparrow

Written by: L.J. Shen
Narrated by: Michael Pauley
Length: 9 hrs and 23 mins
Categories: Romance, Contemporary
4.5 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Troy Brennan:

Every Southie in Boston knows that name. The son of a dead mobster. The heartthrob 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.

©2016 L.J. Shen (P)2016 L.J. Shen

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Julie Dean
  • 2016-06-29

Surprisingly fantastic

This book surprised me. I wasn't sure about it after reading the intro, but it was such a beautifully twisted story that I listened to in one night. I thought it was fantastic. I am a huge reader and audible listener, so I am extremely picky on what books I like. This is one of my favorites by far. I recommend this book. I was sad when it was finished.

34 of 36 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lydia D. Rella
  • 2016-06-26

Fantastic gritty romance with amazing narration!

Wow, wow, wow!! I just finished this audiobook and it was INCREDIBLE! It's been a while since I've listened to a book that made me happy SoCal has such craptastic traffic. I just wanted to keep driving because the story is phenomenal and the narration is spellbinding.

L.J. Shen knocked this out of the park IMHO. If you like gritty romance novels, you need this book. This is no flowers and hearts story. Troy Brennan is an a-hole, but good luck holding on to your heart with him. Sparrow is an amazingly tough warrior of a heroine while still being fragile and broken. She may be one of my favorite book heroines ever.

The narration is done in a perfect Southie Boston accent and it took me a couple chapters to buy in and adjust. After that, I couldn't stop listening! Michael Pauley did an INCREDIBLE job. 😍😍😍😍😍

P.S. Not a cliffy, thank goodness!

43 of 46 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • ❤️ Cyndi Marie ❤️
  • 2016-07-20

Enjoyable!

This one is hard for me to review/rate because in the beginning I wasn't any more than interested in the story by the middle I was getting annoyed with the characters but by the end I truly liked the characters and how they had grown. So I'm giving 4 stars for the character growth and story line.

I enjoyed this book. The story line was pretty original which is a huge plus. It wasn't incredibly hot but it was angsty and suspenseful. The characters were a little rough, he is "mob" like and she is oh so sweet and innocent with a lot backbone. Once getting to see just how tough she really is, I still can't understand why she agreed to the arrangement so easily. He comes off as a complete jerk, but by the end of the book you can understand his reasoning for sure. I love that it is stand alone too!

I personally couldn't see the chemistry between these two until almost the end of the book. This is a hate-love romance which is usually one of my favorites but I needed a little more love or at least niceness between them to even begin to see where the love comes in. For example, the first time these two really even act like they like each other (besides their thoughts) was towards the very end when they are on the phone, they show a playful side towards each other that I needed to see before I decided that they even liked each other. I loved that scene because it was the first time in the book that either one of these characters really smiled and teased or even laughed.

The narration was 50/50 for me. I loved his voice for Troy with the great Boston accent. I didn't love his voice for Sparrow because it was almost exactly the same as Troy, there were a few parts that I was confused for a minute as to who was talking. I think Michael Pauley was great but I also think he needs to co-narrate with a female narrator.

18 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sofia Talley
  • 2016-08-25

Don't let the innocent cover mislead you...

Perfection.
Funny, sexy, hot, unique, captivating and romantic in the best possible way!
The narration was great, although a dual narration would have been better.

The book:
• Contemporary • Standalone • Happily Ever After • First-Person Narrative • Her POV • His POV

The romantic theme:
• Mafia Romance • Outlaw Romance

The read:
• Page Turner • Made Me Laugh • Touching • Twists & Turns • Sexy • Provocative

Heat level:
• 3 / 5 (Includes hot and explicit sex scenes) • MF scenes • Dirty Talk • Vanilla Sex

Story ingredients:
• Cat And Mouse Games • Instant Clash • Witty Banter • Opposites Attract • Fake Marriage • Heroic Rescue • Big Secret • Billionaire Lifestyle • Mystery & Suspense • Violence • Brutality • Sexual Abuse

He is...
• Alpha Male • Bossy • Cocky • Possessive • Emotionally Unavailable • Hot • Fit • Billionaire • Manwhore • Bad Boy • Outlaw • Troubled Past

She is...
• Pretty • Sassy • Strong • Unconventional • Model Figure • Fit • Virgin • Troubled Past

36 of 41 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • 🔹🔹🔹CAROLYN 🔹🔹🔹
  • 2017-06-12

I SHOULD'VE KNOWN IT'D BE EPIC

Well, I may of been a year late to get to this awesome book.. but wow! I totally agree with the other reviewers.. this was a five star listen all the way. It was gritty, intense, and raw as alpha anti-hero Troy, the emotionally impotent Bostonian known as 'The Fixer', took the twenty-two yr old innocent daughter of one of his lower-level minions and made her his wife. There were reasons why this cold heartless ruthless villain did it and love definitely wasn't amongst them.. but few people knew his secrets and he wasn't about to spill everything to his virginal new bride.. Hell he didn't even like her. But the feisty strong-willed woman wouldn't show fear, wouldn't stop disrespecting him and wouldn't stop challenging him. So what's a bad-to-the-bone badass going to do.. he's patiently going to claim his wife, slowly succumb to her feisty ways, surprisingly look forward to their barb-filled push/pull relationship - and shockingly fall in love. But it won't be without drama, it won't be without tears and it won't be without bloodshed.

Sparrow didn't know why Troy Brennan, the feared son of a dead Irish Gangster, had chosen her.. she wasn't his type - he was gorgeous and she was plain - he was bad and she was good - he was sexually experienced and she wasn't - he never looked twice at her but she couldn't look away. Sparrow knew Troy had his reasons, his mistresses, his secrets, his dangerous business and his rules.. however what she naively didn't know was that she was going to change everything, she was going to make a cold-hearted villain thaw out.. and she was going to make him hers. But it won't be without drama, it won't be without tears and it won't be without bloodshed.

Over the year this fast-paced dual POV book has tempted me over and over again.. and now I'm kicking myself for waiting so long.. because now I know how good, how pulse-pounding, how exhilarating, how exciting, how addictive, how enjoyable and how beautiful an L.J. Shen book can be - and next time I definitely won't wait. There's character growth as they both learn how to trust, how to deal and how to love, there's sex but it isn't overused, there's a villain but they're in a sheep's disguise, there's suspense that'll leave you breathless.. and there's a love story that'll leave you wanting more. It doesn't take place over sweet diner dates, carefree movie nights or peaceful evenings in.. no, it's undiluted passion, it's seismic chemistry and it's raw desire that fuels the flames between these two opposing characters who only know war. It's a slow-build and no insta-anything.. but it was always their Fate to marry.. the question is - would it be their Destiny to stay together?

Worth a credit? Yes.. 100% YES. It's got a well written storyline that instantly grabbed me, held me in its tempting clutches and totally won me over as, chapter by chapter, it spoon-fed me its delicious delights. And Michael Pauley breathed life into its varied characters and made this listen memorable.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Cheri
  • 2017-02-06

EXCEEDED MY EXPECTATIONS!


This was an Amazing Story and Awesome Narration!

I love coming across an author who can take a plot, reinvent it, twist it, and make it feel fresh and original and L.J. Shen did just that! Sparrow was dark, raw, gritty, and intense! The spin she weaved from a mafia arranged marriage was outstanding. It's a well written story, that keeps the listener in suspense, with excellent dialogue between the characters. The characters were incredible, unique, flawed, and unapologetic. From the moment I started listening, I was a captive to the story, and hanging onto every word. I LOVED THIS AUDIOBOOK!

Michael Pauley did an outstanding job with the narration, especially all the dialogue between the characters.

I'll admit I committed the ultimate sin any listener or reader can make, I judged this book by it's cover, and skipped over it several times before deciding to give it a chance. This is a rememberable dark romance that rivals stories by A. Zavarelli, T.M. Frazier, Tillie Cole, M. Robinson, and is well worth a credit!

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jennifer
  • 2016-07-04

" You are my Love Bird, You are my home "

Where does Sparrow rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It has a very special place in my heart *loved it*

Who was your favorite character and why?

Troy - because it was amazing to see how much he grew and changed for the one he learned to love
Sparrow - A great and strong female heroine who didn't take s**t from anyone

Have you listened to any of Michael Pauley’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No I haven't, this is my first book narrated by Michael and he really did an amazing job with this book.
The way he transformed his voice into different characters was on point and all the accents really melted into this type of story and did it true justice.

Any additional comments?

I have been longing to read this book from the very first promotional teaser I saw and now I know why.
It is an amazing and different story in this jungle of romance books out there.
Very satisfying and refreshing to read/listen to something unique like this was.

My first book from this author but will not be the last one.
I am a devoted fan from now on.
The way L.J Shen wrote this book was thrilling and motivating, it wasn't just typical boy mets girl they fall in love and live happily ever after.
I loved the depth behind it and how it lured me into it and kept me wondering how will this resolve and who would get their HEA in the end.

There is so much more to this plot that keeps you craving for more and the closer to the end you get the more you don't want it to end.

This was a brilliantly written piece that will stick to me for a long long looooong time.

I enjoyed every second of it and listened to it every moment possible and will highly recommend it for everyone.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • ReadMeAStory
  • 2016-07-04

THAT was AWESOME!!!!!!!

Any additional comments?

I normally read reviews before deciding on a book, but I walked into this one pretty blind. I had heard a lot of people promoting it, but I thought I'd tired myself out on Mob books so I kept passing it.
MAN. I AM SO SO SOOOO glad I listened to this one!

The story was FANTASTIC.
The narration? I have heard Michael Pauley in a mid-western type accent previous to this, and I wasn't expecting a Southie for this book (because again, didn't do my book diligence) I was a little apprehensive that I'd get tired of it but just like another reviewer said, I settled in and LOVED it. And the accents in this one! Irish, French, Mexican, Boston, "Californian" accent lovers can accentgasm - and the gender-voice-differences? Some of my favorite audiobooks are ones where men read the whole thing.
That is exactly what happens here, and Michael Pauley just became even more of a favorite - he handles Sparrow and alllll the other many, many females in the cast superbly - and let's not forget all the guys! Wow!! This was a HUGE cast, and all 'ages' too, I was really impressed. And when you focus on the individual characters, Pauley can REALLY voice act, and there was more than one place where I stopped and hit the rewind because the line was delivered so well, and probably not in the way I'd have read it - that is when I know I love the audiobook; when I'd rather listen to the narrator tell it. (There is a line about five hours in that he says so dryly and full of regret & chagrin that I laughed out loud ("Worst. Tuck. I'd Ever. Had.") There were quite a few lines throughout the book that made me laugh, actually.)

This book was dark, and twisty, and delicious. It wasn't bogged down with Mob stuff even though the book is framed alongside that world.
Initially, I couldn't imagine myself liking the hero and then... that angry sucker grows on you.
There is something to be said for the stories where the "hero" is this cold and cruel and emotionally bereft -- yet with enough redeeming moments that you somehow become invested, wanting so badly to see how just this average girl from Boston slums can take him down hard. And you NEED to see that Beauty's Beast transformation where he goes from wanting her dead by his hands on her throat (because she drives him nuts) to loving her fiercely (when he realizes he likes her sassing him after all, aawww! Way to go LJ Shen!) NOTEWORTHY: I can't recall any TSTL moments by the heroine. And "The Great Misunderstanding -- although there were misunderstandings between the characters in the book, they never ran on to be tiring, or glaring so that you were screaming, "COME ON ALREADY JUST SAY THAT, SAY THAT RIGHT NOW AND HEA, OKAY?" They were just normal - well, as normal as you could expect from a book where the hero does shady things and is in absolutely no way a nice guy, and the heroine is damaged, mistrusting, and takes nothing lying down even if her husband. Gah, that was refreshing.

If I could give this story more than five stars, I would. And if I could give Michael Pauley's narration more than five stars, I'd do that too.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amy Halter- The Obsessive Book Whore
  • 2016-07-09

Absolutely a MUST LISTEN!

Any additional comments?

I am an avid audiobook listener. I find that it's sometimes hard to find a book I love paired with the perfect narrator to bring that book to life for the listener. L.J. Shen got it perfectly right! I not only enjoyed listening to this audio, I have listened to it a number of times! Bravo Ms. Shen for the perfect fit!

‘Troy Brennan was Boston’s master manipulator, pulling strings like we were all his puppets. He decided who lived and who died, who disappeared and who made a comeback.’

Troy Brennan is known as “The Fixer” in his father’s mob syndicate. Troy has known Sparrow Raynes since he was young, but never paid her much attention until now. When his father is murdered, the only thing on his mind is revenge, but he is informed in order to receive his inheritance he must marry Sparrow Raynes and decides this is just one more thing he needs to fix.

‘He has a troubled past. A disastrous future. And I’m about to become a part of his present, whether I like it or not.’

Sparrow Raynes is the daughter of a drunken father and an absent mother. She grew up hearing all the rumors that revolved around Troy Brennan and she wanted no part of him. So when she finds herself not only kidnapped but forced into a marriage neither one of them wants, it leaves her feeling caged.

‘I hated Troy Brennan for marrying me, caging me, owning me and chaining me to his grim life and destiny for no other reason other than he could.’

This book is full of lies, betrayal and revenge. Throughout this book, I wanted to throat punch Troy for how he treated his “wife” and wished she would somehow end up with someone else. I loved that Sparrow was a fiercely strong woman that fought for what she wanted. There are lots of ups and downs, twists and turns and an ending I did not see coming that absolutely crushed me then put me back together.

“At first, you were business... And then, at some point, you became my pleasure.”
“And what am I now?”
“Now, my lovebird, you’re my home.”

I highly recommend this audiobook! The book itself is fantastic and the narrator really brought it to life! Mark this as a MUST LISTEN!

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Gabi B.
  • 2018-01-29

DNF

I read about the accent and was excited to listen. I really like this author but the voice of the narrators at the end annoyed me.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful