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.


The cover and the blurb lured me hook, line and sinker into this book, so when the author sent me Sparrow to review, I dove straight in whilst trying really hard not to have any high expectations. I have to admit that it’s been a long while since I read a Mafia type book that I have enjoyed that’s felt authentic, without being over the top and gratuitous for the sake of it.

My first impressions were that the writing was absolutely fantastic, I love the authors writing style and you can definitely tell that LJ Shen is very dedicated to her craft. The book flowed so well for me and from the very first chapter I was hooked with the story and the interesting characters that she created.

The book begins on the wedding day of Sparrow Raynes, a quiet and innocent woman, she has the unfortunate fate of being the daughter of a mobsters lackey. She has been kidnapped and coerced into marrying Troy Brennan, and for the sake of her father, she agrees to become the wife of a criminal.

“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.”

Troy is the only son of one of Boston’s most notorious Irish mobsters, and vows to avenge his fathers murder, and the meek and plain woman he’s know all his life just happens to be a part of his master plan. He soon finds out however that Sparrow is far from the plain Jane she first appears to be and loves that she stands up to him and those around her.

“Tory Brennan was the devil, but sometimes, even good girls wanted a healthy dose of evil in their lives.”

As husband and wife get to know each other and find out what makes the other tick, we learn of all the secrets that have been kept hidden and the intricate way that their lives have been interwoven all this time, culminating in the final act of revenge.

I really enjoyed the story, and whilst it didn’t end up being completely mafia-esque in its theme, it definitely had the mafia vibes which made this dark and edgy enough for me to keep reading. Troy is someone who grew on me, he is an anti-hero who makes no apologies for who he is, but it was fun to watch him fall for the red headed spitfire who was the complete opposite to what he was expecting.

Overall, a very impressive read and I urge anyone who likes a semi-dark unconventional romance to pick this up, you won’t regret it.

Sparrow is a standalone novel, told in dual POV.

ARC gratefully received from the author in exchange for an honest review

Images featured in this review were created by me using stock images either purchased from deposit photo or from free stock sites.

About the Author

LJ Shen

L.J. Shen resides in sunny California with her husband, son, chubby cat and wild, wild dreams.

Her passion is to write badass stories, sushi, UFC and her awesome family and friends (not in this order, though. Obviously, sushi comes before writing. Oh, and also the family part.)

She spend the first half of her twenties traveling the world and is now paying all the fun with extra shifts in front of her MacBook. Feel free to contact her on her Facebook page. She loves to hear from her readers.

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