Friday, February 16, 2018

#COYER Review ~ Sparrow ~ L.J. Shen #ShelfLove

SparrowSparrow by L.J. Shen 
Release Date: March 8, 2016
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance

Source: Purchased on Kindle
Rating: 3.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #COYER, #ShelfLove

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.

I've been hearing a lot of good things about LJ Shen recently and since I happened to have a few of her books already on my kindle, I decided to give her a go. Although I had a few issues with Sparrow, I can see what the fuss is all about *wink* and I'll definitely read more of Shen.

What Worked

  • Character Development
    This is an area where Shen excelled. I'm not certain but I think Sparrow may be Shen's debut and so her characters are impressive. In Sparrow we have this street-smart young woman who's this total spitfire. She stands tall even in the face of fear and I admired her. In Troy we have...well, a hardened criminal, really. His father was the head of the Irish mob and even though Troy is no longer mob, he was raised immersed in it. He's a man driven by revenge - for the death of his father - and loyalty, fulfilling promises her made to his dad...including one concerning Sparrow.
    Y'all know I'm a fan of character growth and Sparrow has it, especially in Troy. I quite enjoyed watching their fall and particularly how emotion changed Troy.
  • Setting
    I've never been to Boston but I feel like Shen did well in conveying the look and feel of the city.
  • Emotion
    She was able to make me feel the emotional upheaval Sparrow felt at her situation...the far, the confusion, the anger, and eventually, the love. I could also clearly see Troy transition from cold and calculating to a feeling being. Shen uses dual POV to tell the story and that certainly made it easier to understand Troy.

What Could Have Worked Better
  • Plot
    While the plot was compelling, I never felt it was exactly what it was aiming to be. I didn't feel like Sparrow had no choice in matters. I also felt liker the resolution was a bit too convenient. I didn't buy that Troy, doing what he did for a living and having been raised in the mob, wouldn't have done his due diligence.
  • Editing
    There were things about the story that could have been tighter - made the story more solid - with some editing. I'm referring to content editing, not typos. There were a few things that could have been stronger, a few holes filled, had someone helped Shen focus.

Overall though, I'm happy I have Shen a try. I'll absolutely read her again. I'm eager to see how her writing progresses.

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