Monthly Wrap-Up: April

During our Monthly Wrap-Up, we’ll take a look at what has happened around here in the last month. That’ll include what’s happened in my life, what we’ve read, any other posts we may have had, our most popular Instagram posts, and books that I’ve added to my ever-growing TBR.

*We linked this post to the April Monthly Wrap-Up Round-Up Link-Up at Feed Your Fiction Addiction*

 

Jen’s Life:

✮ I celebrated my 41st birthday last month.  You guys, I do not feel that old lol!  Since we didn’t get to celebrate my 40th with my family last year, this year my Aunt made me a unicorn cake and my Mom got me a unicorn pinata and balloons.  It was the best day ever!
✮ We got our seeds to start our garden, yay!  Since we live in snow country, by Lake Tahoe, we can’t plant them outside till the end of this month.  But we already have some started inside our house!  This year we’ll be growing tomatoes, cucumbers, watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries, radishes, carrots, spinach, zucchini and yellow squash.

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What We Read:

5 Stars:
Bombshells (Brooklyn #5) by Sarina Bowen
The ​Crown of Gilded Bones (Blood and Ash #3) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
When a Cowboy Loves a Woman (Creedence Horse Rescue #2) by Jennie Marts
Code (International Sensory Assassin Network #4) by Mary Ting

4.5 Stars:
The Bridge Kingdom (The Bridge Kingdom #1) by Danielle L. Jensen

4 Stars:
Chain of Iron (The Last Hours #2) by Cassandra Clare
Kingdom of the Wicked (Kingdom of the Wicked #1) by Kerri Maniscalco
The Seat Filler by Sariah Wilson
Overtime (Moo U #5) by Kat Mizera
Halftime (Moo U #6) by Kim Findlay
Darkroom (Moo U #7) by Kate Willoughby
Twisted Love (Twisted #1) by Ana Huang

2.5 Stars:
Gametime (Moo U #4) by Jami Davenport

 

 

 

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Our Favorite Books of the Month:
 

Jen’s Choice – The ​Crown of Gilded Bones (Blood and Ash #3) by Jennifer L. Armentrout & Code (International Sensory Assassin Network #4) by Mary Ting
I’m sorry but again I can NOT choose between a fantasy and a dystopian.  They’re so different and I loved both of them in very different ways.  The Crown of Gilded Bones was an epic continuation of the From Blood and Ash Series!  It gave me chills, caused tears to fall down my face, and made me to laugh out loud so much, sometimes at the most inappropriate times.  CODE was a heart pounding addition to the ISAN series!  With a gritty and rugged story-line, that held a lot of heart, this book was impossible to put down! 

 

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Arielle’s Choice – Bombshells (Brooklyn #5) by Sarina Bowen
There are books that you read and something strikes you like a bolt of lightning while reading a certain line and you just…can’t breathe. I felt that way when I read the quote found above. “And I can’t fucking breathe.” Like who wouldn’t want someone to look at them and literally lose the ability to breathe because they are so stunned by what they are seeing in front of them. That line for me was the very moment that I knew Anton and Sylvie’s story was going to be something extraordinary.

 
 
 
 

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Instagram:

We thought it would be fun to share our most popular posts for April. And they were….

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Star-Crossed Book Blog (@starcrossedbookblog)

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Star-Crossed Book Blog (@starcrossedbookblog)

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Star-Crossed Book Blog (@starcrossedbookblog)

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Star-Crossed Book Blog (@starcrossedbookblog)

 

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Books Added To Jen’s Goodreads TBR This Month:
 
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So this was our April….did you read any of the same books that we did? Or share the same favorite book as us? If not, then what was your favorite book? Or have you read any of the books I just added to my TBR?

Here’s hoping you all had a wonderful April. And cheers to May being fabulous for all of us!

#Giveaway on Instagram

Giveaway

We’re celebrating our 1,000 post over on Instagram with a giveaway! 

Today’s the last day to enter, so head on over to enter to win a book of your choosing up to $25 on Book Depository.   Good luck! ♥

 

 
 
 
 
 
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BOOK REVIEW: Turnabout (Vino & Veritas #9) by Laurel Greer

BOOK REVIEW: Turnabout (Vino & Veritas #9) by Laurel GreerTurnabout (Vino & Veritas #9)
by Laurel Greer
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

“Auden and Carter are the swoony heroes I didn’t know I needed in my life! Turnabout is spectacular, and everyone should read it.” USA Today bestselling author Sarina Bowen

I don’t have time for an unplanned visit home to help out in my father’s struggling letterpress shop. My stint in Vermont will have to be short, for a couple of reasons:

One, I’m a busy executive trying to climb the corporate ladder.

Two, my ex is still my dad’s right-hand man in the shop. And I am not over him.

Nothing has changed at the Burlington shop. Auden still has his infuriatingly sexy Scottish accent. He’s still hot, and still stubborn. Between operating the antique press with his shirtsleeves rolled up, and moonlighting at Burlington’s hottest inclusive wine bar, he pushes every one of my attraction buttons.

My falling-in-love-again buttons, too. Except I’m his polar opposite. I love change, and taking chances. Everything he avoids in life.

So why am I trying to convince him to reach for more than we’ve ever dreamed of—the possibility of forever?

Turnabout is a second-chance romance with interfering family, groveling, and a large helping of artisan stationery geekery.

Review

Okayyyy I love this series SO MUCH. Every single one that I’ve read so far has featured such a range of characters and emotions and love stories that are completely unique and unforgettable. This one features a second chance romance between Auden and Carter. The two had met and fallen in love in college and are in the interestingly uncomfortable position of not ever having gotten rid of the other post-breakup due to the fact that Auden works with Carter’s dad at a his letterpress shop. Carter, who wanted to bring the shop into the 21st century and mayyyyybe didn’t present his ideas to his father in the best of ways, was heartbroken when his boyfriend and love of his life sided with his father instead of him.

Naturally, Carter, wanting to get the hell out, moved away to work with a bigger, more modern company and doesn’t visit home much. When he goes back temporarily to help both the shop (and Auden) and his parents’ marriage he finds himself thrown back into things with his old love and they find quite early on that even if their ideals on the shop still don’t align, those that they have about each other (in the attraction sense especially) pick up where they left off years ago.

I don’t know what it was about these two but between Carter’s bossy, white collared toned ass and Auden’s Scottish stubbornness I was entranced. On paper, the two shouldn’t make sense BUT THEY DID. Everything about them made my heart clench and expand. They both had their fair share of mental and emotional trauma to work through but of course, the power of love wins out. I loved every single bit of this story and I hope EVERYONEEEE make sure to pick this one up!

Huge thanks to Heart Eyes Press for allowing me to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review!♥

BOOK REVIEW: Twisted Love (Twisted #1) by Ana Huang

BOOK REVIEW: Twisted Love (Twisted #1) by Ana HuangTwisted Love (Twisted #1)
by Ana Huang
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

He has a heart of ice...but for her, he'd burn the world.

Alex Volkov is a devil blessed with the face of an angel and cursed with a past he can’t escape.

Driven by a tragedy that has haunted him for most of his life, his ruthless pursuits for success and vengeance leave little room for matters of the heart.

But when he’s forced to look after his best friend’s sister, he starts to feel something in his chest:

A crack.
A melt.
A fire that could end his world as he knew it.

***

Ava Chen is a free spirit trapped by nightmares of a childhood she can’t remember.

But despite her broken past, she’s never stopped seeing the beauty in the world…including the heart beneath the icy exterior of a man she shouldn’t want.

Her brother’s best friend.
Her neighbor.
Her savior and her downfall.

Theirs is a love that was never supposed to happen—but when it does, it unleashes secrets that could destroy them both…and everything they hold dear.

Twisted Love is a contemporary brother’s best friend/grumpy sunshine romance. It's book one in the Twisted series but can be read as a standalone.

WARNING: This book contains a possessive antihero, explicit sexual content, and profanity. No cheating or menage, but if you're looking for a traditionally sweet, loveable hero, this is not the book for you. Recommended for 18+.

Review:

Her chest rose and fell with every breath, and she stared at me with nothing but trust in those big, brown eyes.
Oh, Sunshine. If you only knew.

Twisted Love was an emotional tale that will have readers addicted from that first page.  The writing was so easy to devour, the characters leapt from the pages and the story pulled at my heart.  If you’re a fan of NA romance then there’s a good chance you’ll want this one on your tbr!

“Josh has the worst taste in friends,” I bit out. “I don’t know what he sees in you. I hope that stick in your ass punctures a vital organ.” Then, because I’d been raised with manners, I added, “Thank you for the ride.”

I adored Ava, she had the hugest heart ever, lots of sass and I loved that she had no problem putting others in their place.  She found so much happiness in life while at college, even though she struggled with her past.  And her relationship with her brother, Josh, was so heartwarming.  But with Josh going away, he asked his best friend Alex to step in and watch his baby sister.  So when Alex moved in next door, I knew that was a recipe for disaster or would be the most fabulous thing ever.  Because while Alex attended their family holiday functions, and had been around Ava for years, they didn’t always mesh in the most fabulous of ways lol.

I could imagine myself lifting that shirt, tugging her bra aside with my teeth, and closing my mouth around those sweet, hardened peaks—
I yanked myself out of that startling fantasy fast. What the fuck was wrong with me? That was Josh’s sister. Innocent, doe-eyed, and so sweet I could throw up.

I was already obsessed with Alex Volkov the first moment we met him.  He was a genius, who graduated early and had one of the most successful real estate development companies in the US.  Alex was the poster boy for alpha males.  And while I do love those types, he was a little too intense at times, even for me.  But regardless, I loved that he seemed cold and shut off to the world.  That he was able to control his emotions and could say the minimal while getting so much across.  He was a closed book that I definitely wanted to crack open.  But once Ava and Alex started spending more time together, he slowly started to open and oh my heart it was fabulous!

Every encounter with Alex, no matter how small, left me on edge.
I was nervous, yes, and a bit terrified.
But I’d also never felt more alive.

While Ava tested and pushed Alex at times, which could be so funny, he also messed back with her in the best way possible.  Yet every single interaction between them, even if it was a moment with disgusting cookies lol or a movie, was HOT.  The tension was so thick between them, and with Alex being sex personified, you’re in for a lot of steam in the pages!  And while I loved a lot of their sexier moments together, a few of them were not exactly my cup of tea.

I didn’t want to heal. I wanted to burn. I wanted to bleed. I wanted to feel every scorching lick of pain.
And soon, the person responsible for that pain would feel it too. One thousandfold. – Alex

Both of their pasts could be such a mystery, since one was locked away and the other hadn’t been divulged to us yet.  Alex was set on a path for revenge and Ava wanted to shed light on the years of her life that were filled with a fog.  So I loved getting clues and peaks into what made them the way they were now.  But I loved even more watching how they grew together.  Especially since Alex was dark, seductive, caring, dangerous and extremely protective and took care of Ava.  I also loved how he had no remorse for destroying those that did Ava wrong.

I wanted her, but it wasn’t a sweet, tender kind of want.
It was a dirty , ugly want, tainted by the blood on my hands and a desire to drag her out of the sunshine and into my night.

Twisted Love was gritty and rugged, seductive and erotic and twisted while being heartwarming.  The story was filled with a richness and depth that flowed through the pages and made it so easy to devour.  If you’re a fan of alpha males, stories that will twist your mind and a heroine you will be rooting for every step of the way then definitely check out this book!

Other Favorite Quotes:

I couldn’t resist— I scooted closer to him on the couch and pushed his shoulders forward so I could run my palm down his back.
His muscles bunched beneath my touch. “What,” he said in a tight, controlled voice. “Are you doing?”
“I’m searching for your control panel.” I patted his back, trying —and failing —not to notice the sculpted contours of his muscles. I’d never seen Alex shirtless, but I imagined it was glorious. “You must be a robot.”
 
Darkness craves light as much as it wants to destroy it, and here, in this ballroom, with her in my arms and my cock straining against my zipper, that had never been more clear.
I hated how much I wanted her, and I hated that she wasn’t smart enough to run away from me while she still had a chance.
Though let’s be honest, it was already too late.
She was mine. She just didn’t know it yet.
 
It was only a kiss, but it seemed so much more illicit. Dangerous.
 
A better person would tell her the truth, but I’d rather be the villain with her by my side than the hero who risked losing her because of a misguided sense of morality.

*I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book, provided by the author. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

BOOK REVIEW: Darkroom (Moo U #7) by Kate Willoughby

BOOK REVIEW: Darkroom (Moo U #7) by Kate WilloughbyDarkroom (Moo U #7)
by Kate Willoughby
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

As a top draft pick from a family of hockey royalty, I'm under so much pressure that I’m losing my edge on the ice. I need something to snap my brain out of this self-destructive stress-loop. That’s where Indi Briscoe from my photography class comes in. She’s flirtatious and funny one moment, sweetly shy the next.

But she’s cagey. She has secrets. Also? She’s a virgin. Did I mention the pressure thing? Maybe I’m crazy for starting something with her. But we can’t seem to help ourselves...

Warning: this standalone novel contains heat, heart, familial expectations, extreme milkshakes, and a hamster with deep thoughts.

Review

I have been so deep in Moo U hockey over the past week and a half that I am going to be so confused reading another series with different characters when I pick up my next book, lol! I will say that I am very impressed with the range of topics that themes that this series has presented so far. There have been a lot of very different characters experiencing very different things and I really appreciate that.

This book features Indi and Hudson. Indi was born in China and adopted by an American couple when she was a baby. She has a port-wine stain on her face that she now covers up very thoroughly with makeup after being bullied for years as a kid. For a good chunk of this book she also denies any and all attempts to connect with her Chinese heritage until her roommate helps her realize that part of the reason why she has so vehemently rejected that part of herself is because she associated it with her birth parents having abandoned her at a Chinese orphanage. Delving into that part of herself really got to me because I’m sure plenty of other people struggle with that very same part of their identity as well after being adopted, especially if it was from a country other than the one they now live in.

Hudson comes from a hockey dynasty. There has been a member of his family in the pros since the league was formed about a hundred years ago. He struggles with some really intense pressure and anxiety over preforming well in front of others and also find out over the course of the story about a medical issue involving his hearing that also really takes a toll on him as well.

While I overall really enjoyed reading about how all of those aspects of life affected and shaped Indi and Hudson both separately and together, there were times that I became frustrated with Indi especially. It’s brought up one time by her mom after she blows up at Hudson but it could really be overwhelming for me when she went from 0-100 with her anger and verbally lashed out at people. Sure it was realistic but I just didn’t vibe with her as much as other characters. Still, it had a great ending and I was so happy for how both of their journeys were wrapped up by the end!

Huge thanks to Heart Eyes Press for allowing me to read this eARC in exchange for my honest review!♥

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