Author: Jen (page 1 of 123)

Monthly Wrap-Up – May, June & July

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 the four of us have read, any other posts we may have had, giveaways still going on, our most popular Instagram posts, and books that I’ve added to my ever-growing TBR.

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

♥ Enjoy!

Jen’s Life:

Some of my highlights from the summer were:

May – The weather was dreary and snowy, so we were counting down the days until it was hot and my boys were out of school.  Here’s a picture of me driving in another winter wonderland, here.
✮ June – My kiddos finished up school and I cried during my youngest’s kinder graduation.  Time goes by too fast!  Right after that we had over a month of out of state family and friends staying with us.  We live in an area where so many people vacation, so we usually have a ton of visitors.  We hiked, swam, biked, went to a baseball game and spent countless hours at the beach.  Here are some pictures from one of our hikes, picture 1, picture 2, video 1.
✮ July – July was just like June, but with no visitors.  So we got to spend every single day outside and playing around in Tahoe. My favorite thing was how many days we were at the beach, it was the perfect month ever. ♥ Here are some pictures from another one of our hikes – picture 1, picture 2.

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What Arielle, Cassie, Chelsea & Jen Read:

5 Stars:
Worlds Collide (Sunset Rising #2) by S.M. McEachern
The Maddest Obsession (Made #2) by Danielle Lori
New World Order (Sunset Rising #3) by S.M. McEachern
A Study in Charlotte (Charlotte Holmes #1) by Brittany Cavallaro
Finale (Caraval #3) by Stephanie Garber
Breakout by A.M. Rose
Superfan (Brooklyn #3) by Sarina Bowen
Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young
Bloodwitch (The Witchlands #3) by Susan Dennard
Fix Her Up (Hot & Hammered #1) by Tessa Bailey
Bad Influence (Bad Love #3) by Charleigh Rose
The King by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Storm and Fury (The Harbinger #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout


4.5 Stars:

Overnight Sensation (Brooklyn #2) by Sarina Bowen
A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3) by Sarah J Maas
Brooklynaire (Brooklyn #1) by Sarina Bowen
Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren
Kickin’ It (Red Card #2) by Rachel Van Dyken

4 Stars:

Passion on Park Avenue (Central Park Pact #1) by Lauren Layne
Fake It Till You Break It by Jenn P. Nguyen
Hello Girls by Brittany Cavallaro & Emily Henry
There Will Come a Darkness (Age of Darkness #1) by Katy Rose Pool
Roar (Stormheart #1) by Cora Carmack
Say You Still Love Me by K. A. Tucker
On the Corner of Love and Hate (Hopeless Romatics #1) by Nina Bocci

3.5 Stars:
Missing, Presumed Dead by Emma Berquist

3 Stars:
You Owe Me a Murder by Eileen Cook

2.5 Stars:
You Must Not Miss by Katrina Leno

 

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Our Favorite Books of the Month:

Finale (Caraval #3) by Stephanie Garber (Chelsea’s Choice)
There’s just something so magical about this series that goes beyond the actual, well, magic. The words transport you. The world makes you so thirsty for more. The boys are just so addicting and drag you in, even if you don’t want to…and the relationships make you stay.

 
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Bad Influence (Bad Love #3) by Charleigh Rose (Jen’s Choice)
Her writing is addicting, her characters are consuming and Bad Influence is my new favorite Charleigh Rose book!

 

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Bloodwitch (The Witchlands #3) by Susan Dennard (Arielle’s Choice)
Why. Aren’t. More. People. Reading. This. Series?!@?!?! WHY. I’m serious. Sooz’s writing is on an entirely different level than like 80% of the stuff currently out right now in YA fantasy.

 
 
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Hello GirlsHello Girls by Brittany Cavallaro & Emily Henry (Cassie’s Choice)
From the opening chapters, I knew I was going to be hooked into this book.

 

 

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Instagram:

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

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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

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

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

 

June:

 
 
 
 
 
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View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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

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


July:

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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

 

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Books Added To Jen’s TBR This Month:

I just keep adding books to my tbr lol…..

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So that was our May, June & July lol! 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 summer too. And cheers to August being fabulous for all of us!

 

 

Our Most Anticipated Releases For May, June, July & August

I’ve been swamped the last few months with visitors and having my boys off from school, so here are the books we were counting down to all summer long.  And the ones we can’t wait to read this month!

 

May 2019:

05/06 – Prom-Wrecked by T.H. Hernandez and Jennifer DiGiovanni (Review)
05/07 – Finale (Caraval #3) by Stephanie Garber (Review)
05/07 – Broken Throne (Red Queen #4.5) by Victoria Aveyard
05/07 – Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle #1) by Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman (Review)
05/07 – Broken Throne (Red Queen #4.5) by Victoria Aveyard
05/07 – Romanov by Nadine Brandes
05/14 – Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston (Review Arielle, Review Cassie)
05/14 – Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno
05/21 – Kingsbane (Empirium #2) by Claire Legrand
05/28 – Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered: The Definitive How-To Guide by Karen Kilgariff & Georgia Hardstark
05/28 – Passion on Park Avenue (Central Park Pact #1) by Lauren Layne (Review)

       

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June 2019:

06/03 – Breakout by A.M. Rose (Review)
06/03 – Cinder & the Prince of Midnight by Susan Ee
06/04 – The Beholder (The Beholder #1) by Anna Bright
06/04 – Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson (Review)
06/11 – Storm and Fury (The Dark Elements #4) by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Review)
06/11 – Kickin’ It (Red Card #2) by Rachel Van Dyken (Review)
06/12 – Bad Influence (Bad Love #3) by Charleigh Rose (Review)
06/21 – 27 Ways to Find a Boyfriend by Shari L. Tapscott
06/25 – Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer (Review)

 

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July 2019:

07/02 – Lock Every Door by Riley Sager
07/02 – The Best Lies by Sarah Lyu
07/09 – Maybe This Time by Kasie West
07/11 – The Prenup by Lauren Layne
07/23 – The King (A Wicked Trilogy #3.6) by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Review)

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August 2019:

08/20 – The Last Hope (The Raging Ones #2) by Krista Ritchie & Becca Ritchie
08/27 – Rage (Stormheart #2) by Cora Carmack

     

 

 
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So these are the books we couldn’t wait to be released! Were you excited about any of these releases too? Or is there a book we missed that we should definitely check out? Let us know. ♥

BOOK REVIEW: The King by Jennifer L. Armentrout

BOOK REVIEW: The King by Jennifer L. ArmentroutThe King by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

As Caden and Brighton's attraction grows despite the odds stacked against a happily ever after, they must work together to stop an Ancient fae from releasing the Queen, who wants nothing more than to see Caden become the evil Prince once feared by fae and mortals alike.

Review:

The King was action packed, emotional and there was even more sexual tension between Brighton and Caden *fans face*.  When I finished that last page, I was shocked again that I read a novella.  At almost 200 pages, there was so much packed into this book and I even found myself crying because I was so emotionally invested.   The King was definitely a phenomenal follow up to The Prince!  So if you’re a fan of The Wicked Trilogy, fae or Jennifer Armentrout then you have to pick this one up!

The King was quiet for several moments, and then he looked at me. “If you knew that someone you…you looked fondly upon was doing something that would surely lead to their demise, would you not try to stop them?”
“Are you saying you look fondly upon me, King?”
His head tilted, and then he looked away.

The story started two years after The Prince ended.  Brighton was focused on hunting down the fae who killed her mother and nearly killed her too.  It didn’t matter that she had never hunt fae for The Order, she’d been trained just like everyone else.  So while Brighton was out for revenge and redemption, Caden seemed to turn up wherever Brighton was. 

Part of me hated how my body responded to him, how my heart swelled and raced whenever he was near. All of me wanted him, though, and I loathed that most of all.

Caden and Brighton traveled down a forbidden path that had me absolutely addicted.  He’s fae, she’s in The Order.  They should not be together, but their story was oh so seductive and sexy.  And when we learned both of their secrets, ohhhhhh it was so good!  With twists and turns, it was impossible to put this book down.  Especially since you can binge it in one sitting.  While one of the twists hurt my heart, the other one I saw coming!  But hold on because there are also some dark and twisted moments that left me horrified to read what unfold next.

This was insane. I was mad at him, and he was beyond frustrated with me, but this… God, this felt right, and I was so full of raw, painful need that I didn’t care what came next.

With lots of angst, my emotions were through the roof.  And while this story pulled at my heart, there was also moments of lightness since we got to spend time with our favorites.  Tink was hilarious as ever with his Amazon addiction and his antics with Dixon.  Ren, Ivy and so many others we cared for from The Wicked Trilogy were in the story too.  Plus I loved watching how much Brighton grew emotionally and physically.  And Caden.  Sigh.  He stole my heart even more.  Caden was beyond protective and while I knew he had to have a huge heart, well, I can’t say more other than he easily became one of my book boyfriends!

“Duty should never supersede what is right,” he said. “No matter the cost.”

So yes, I definitely recommend this book!  But start with The Prince.  And if you even want to go further back, then you can pick up The Wicked Trilogy.  They’re all so amazing!  Now I’m counting down the days until I can read the third and final book about Caden and Brighton.  That ending has me desperately wanting to know what happens next but also left me screaming and smiling I Knew It!!  Enjoy!

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

Reading Order & Links:
Amazon (click on covers) & iBooks (click on titles)

The Prince   #1

Reviews:
Jen
 
The King   #2

Reviews:
Jen

The Queen   #3

Reviews:

 

BOOK REVIEW: Bad Influence (Bad Love #3) by Charleigh Rose

BOOK REVIEW: Bad Influence (Bad Love #3) by Charleigh RoseBad Influence (Bad Love #3)
by Charleigh Rose
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Allie

When I moved to River’s Edge, dating was the last thing on my mind.
I definitely didn’t expect to fall for him.
Jesse Shepherd.
Popular. Star athlete. Cocky as hell.
You know the type.
But as time passed, I realized there was more lurking beneath that gorgeous exterior.
Secretive. Angry. A little bit broken.
The more I peeled back his layers, the deeper I fell.
Until I slammed headfirst into his sea of lies.

Jess

I blew my shot.
Pissed everything away—college, lacrosse, my future—only to end up right back where I started in River’s Edge.
I was content to revel in my misery, spending my days drowning in a bottomless pit of booze and girls.
Until I saw her.
Allison Parrish.
Beautiful. Sarcastic. Perpetual bad attitude.
The pretty little distraction from the shit show that was my life.
But the sins of my past were closing in on me, and I learned the hard way that nothing gold can stay.

Review:

“So, we’re on the same page?”
“We’re not even reading the same book.”

Bad Influence is my newest obsession!  I found myself laughing, sighing, swooning and even crying.  I loved how much these characters meant to me and that every single time I pick up a book by Charleigh Rose, it becomes an instant favorite.  Her stories are emotional, sexy as hell and the characters always become embedded in my heart.  So if you love romance stories that will pull at your emotions, have fabulous banter and scenes that will have you melting into a puddle, then you definitely need to pick up one of her books!  

Love is real. Powerful. It has the potential to destroy you. To start wars and end lives. Love is a weapon. Love is dangerous, and I want nothing to do with it. – Allie

Within that first chapter I was sucked right in and my heart ached for Allie.  She tried her hardest to be emotionally strong and take care of herself, but she had been dealt a shit hand.  Her mother would rather be with her newest boyfriend and not be bothered by her.  And the way her dad died?  It was horrific, life truly sucks some times.  But Allie was a breath of fresh air to me.  She was fierce, loyal and had the hugest heart. Her sarcasm cracked me up and her taste of music made her feel like she was a long lost friend.  When Allie ended up working at the bar with Lo, I couldn’t wait to see what happened next!

I study him, once again sensing that there’s more to him than his persona. I want to swim in his depths, uncover every little hidden piece that the rest of the world doesn’t get to see.

Let it be known that I had already fallen in love with Jessie Shepard back in Bad Intentions.  You can easily read this book as a standalone, but I have so much love for Bad Intentions too!  Jessie was Lo’s younger brother and his smart mouth, Netflix obsession and take no shit attitude completely hooked me.  Jessie was the ultimate bad boy who was tortured, seductive, charming and hot as fuck. *fans face*  So when Jessie started showing up where Allie always seemed to be, you couldn’t knock the smile off of face.  The way they met had me giggling and smiling so hard.  

He moves toward me, and instinctively I step backwards until my back is flush with the door. “I want you. And I’m sick of playing this game.”
I swallow hard, feeling the warmth of his skin without even touching him. “That’s not why you’re here,” I say, calling his bluff. 
“No,” he admits. “But it definitely sweetens the deal.”
“You had your chance. The offer’s expired.”
“Is that so?” he asks, moving closer. “And what’s changed?” He pinches my chin between his finger and thumb and tilts it up so I’m forced to meet his gaze. 
“Everything.” I don’t know why my voice comes out as more of a whisper.

Both Allie and Jessie were hurt from their pasts and were trying their hardest to find their paths in life.  But while both of them were struggling with their own problems or demons, they kept running into each other.  And while there was a carnal attraction between them, Allie tried her hardest to fight it.  But this is Jessie Shepard we’re talking about, there was no escaping him.  His charm was impossible to resist and the sexual tension between them was intense.  Even the moments that had me laughing so hard I couldn’t catch my breath, were still sigh inducing.  

He moves past me, his chest skimming my folded arms as he leans in close to my ear. I hold my breath, suppressing the shiver that’s fighting its way through me, but my traitorous heart doesn’t get the message. “See you at home.”

This story toyed with my emotions in the best of ways.  I was enchanted with the push and pull that played with my heart and through it all,  I fell in love.  And while I know that Charleigh Rose’s stories are emotional, this one hit me hard.  I cried, and before I could even stop the tears from falling, I found myself sobbing.  This story reached deep into my heart and Jessie and Allie’s pain became mine.  

She pushes off the doorframe, making her way toward me. Her arms wrap around my middle, palms flattening against my stomach, cheek pressing against my back. I squeeze my eyes shut, allowing her touch to calm the storm inside me.

So yes, a million times yes I recommend this book!  Bad Influence was absolutely everything I look for in a romance story and I loved that we alternated between Allie and Jessie.  I loved how important the side characters were.  You have to meet Halston and Dylan, Allie’s friend.  Btw I would kill for Dylan’s story!  And I loved that we got to see all of our old favorites!  If you’re wanting to give Charleigh Rose a try, this is the perfect book to start with.  Her writing is addicting, her characters are consuming and Bad Influence is my new favorite Charleigh Rose book!

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

BOOK REVIEW: Kickin’ It (Red Card #2) by Rachel Van Dyken

BOOK REVIEW: Kickin’ It (Red Card #2) by Rachel Van DykenKickin' It (Red Card #2)
by Rachel Van Dyken
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Love breaks the offside rule in New York Times bestselling author Rachel Van Dyken’s irresistibly sexy Red Card romance.

Successful, high-profile sports agent Matt Kingston thinks he can handle anything. Then soccer player Parker Speedman shows up at his door. She is young and gorgeous, has natural talent, and is looking for a team. She’s also a hothead with a punchy past who floored her last coach on live TV. Despite his misgivings, Matt agrees to be both her agent and her coach. Professional common sense says she’s off-limits. But what can he say about the raw attraction between them?

Parker plays soccer with her heart and soul. But after the events of the last year, she’s shaken. She’s already seen what a powerful man can do to a female athlete’s career. And her beloved dream is in the hands of a sexy, gorgeous man with the uncanny ability to slip past her defenses…and into her heart.

Now Matt and Parker are about to learn that when it comes to love, the only way to win is by breaking every rule they know. And by playing nice. Real nice.

Review:

Kickin It was fun, flirty and I couldn’t stop smiling or laughing.  With deep and meaningful friendships, characters who came alive off of the pages and a romance that had me constantly begging for more, this book was a solid win!  While Kickin It can easily be read as a standalone, I highly recommend you also read, Risky Play. They’re both a ton of fun and if you’re looking for books to take to the beach, look no further!

“Behave.” His breath was hot on my ear. “I don’t know you. In fact, I’m instantly regretting letting you into my house, but this night is important. These people may be friends, but they’re still clients. Respect them or I’m finding you a nice cardboard box to call home in downtown Seattle. Got it?” 
I sucked in a breath. “You would steal a box from people who are truly homeless?”
“What did I do to deserve this?” He looked toward the sky and then shook his head.

I adored Matt Kingston from Risky Play.  He was such a thoughtful, caring and considerate man.  But he was also ruthless in the work world and he owned a highly successful business of managing sports players.  There was an edge to him and while he could be a dickhead, he loved his sister fiercely.  So when his sister, Willow, asked him if she could work for his company over the summer, he gave in.  But Matt had no clue what he was getting himself into lol. Willow brought her bestie Parker Speedman to live at Matt’s house with her.  And Parker and Matt didn’t get off on a good foot at all.

She was pretty when she smiled, but she didn’t do it often enough. 
And it made me wonder too much. 
It made me want to dig when I had no business digging. 
Coach. 
Agent.

Parker Speedman was sassy and bold, but she was also hurt and broken from the past.  She wanted to play professional soccer more than anything, but her past reputation of punching her coach didn’t have teams lining up for her.  Even though she was an amazing player. So when Matt agreed to be her agent, Parker was finally within reach of her dreams.  

“Good thing we aren’t friends,” Parker piped up, her venom directed at me. And all I could conjure up was an image of us being anything but friendly in the shower. 
And me pulling her hair. 
Running my hands over— 
I locked eyes with her and whispered gruffly, “Good thing.”

Not only was there a ton of banter between Matt and Parker, but there was attraction too.  But Parker is focused on her goal, to be signed by a soccer team. And Matt needed to just be her agent, nothing more.  Well until he also agreed to be her trainer too. Between living and training together, it was hard for them to keep the lines from not being blurred.  Even if they were still fighting and throwing jabs at each other. But that didn’t matter because any time they were together, that attraction was there.  It helped that they both had ridiculously high walls, but spending that much time together meant walls would eventually crumble a little.  And any time they got emotionally closer to the other, it felt like the hugest victory ever.

“Also, stay far, far away from Willow.”
“I love the name Willow.” Jagger stared me down. 
“I have no problem shoving you off my yacht and dumping a bucket of blood in afterward for good measure.”
“Graphic.” Jagger grinned. “I like it.” 
Slade stood. “What’s for lunch?”
“You aren’t staying for lunch.”
“I’ll get the plates!” Jagger followed.

One of the gems I always find in Rachel Van Dyken’s books are the friendships.  Not only the one that the hero and heroine form, but the ones they have with their friends.  Parker and Willow’s friendship felt so real and was filled with tons of love. And then there was Matt with Jagger and Slade.  The three of them were brutally honest with each other and had the others back. But Matt, Slade and Jagger also messed with one other, and there were so many moments that had me laughing hysterically.  I love that Rachel Van Dyken is the queen of writing friendships that are deep and real. 

Our eyes locked. 
Off-limits. She’s off-limits. 
I just never realized how much.

On top of the friendships, banter, and chemistry there was also a side love story between two characters.  I can’t say who, but know that it was hilarious, smile inducing and absolutely everything!  It added so much to this story and the epilogue at the end of this book was absolutely perfect!  Kickin It was such a huge score!  I loved every single minute of it and I can’t recommend this book or series enough!

PS We don’t learn much about Chief Johnny Alfero but I need MORE!  He seems like a man who has miles of secrets and I was obsessed! I’m hoping he gets a story!!

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

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