Author: Jen Frederick

Review: Heart and Seoul by Jen Frederick

Posted May 10, 2021 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Heart and Seoul by Jen FrederickReviewer: Rowena
Heart and Seoul by Jen Frederick
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: May 11, 2021
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 352
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Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Rowena's 2021 Review Pile Challenge
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three-half-stars

From USA Today bestselling author Jen Frederick comes a heart-wrenching yet hopeful romance that shows that the price of belonging is often steeper than expected.

As a Korean adoptee, Hara Wilson doesn’t need anyone telling her she looks different from her white parents. She knows. Every time Hara looks in the mirror, she’s reminded that she doesn’t look like anyone else in her family—not her loving mother, Ellen; not her jerk of a father, Pat; and certainly not like Pat’s new wife and new “real” son.

At the age of twenty-five, she thought she had come to terms with it all, but when her father suddenly dies, an offhand comment at his funeral triggers an identity crisis that has her running off to Seoul in search of her roots.

What Hara finds there has all the makings of a classic K-drama: a tall, mysterious stranger who greets her at the airport, spontaneous adventures across the city, and a mess of familial ties, along with a red string of destiny that winds its way around her heart and soul. Hara goes to Korea looking for answers, but what she gets instead is love—a forbidden love that will either welcome Hara home…or destroy her chance of finding one.

Heart and Seoul is about the emotional journey of Hara Wilson. Hara was abandoned when she was just a baby, outside of a police station in South Korea. She was adopted and raised by Pat and Ellen Wilson in Des Moines, Iowa. She grew up being the only Korean in a sea of white faces and she was uncomfortable being the only one that didn’t look like everyone else. Being teased about the way she looks, the way she smells and the Korean food her Mom tried to make for her made her want nothing to do with being Korean. So when you grow up rejecting your ethnicity, when it finally hits you in the face that no matter how far you run away from what you are, it doesn’t change a hot damn thing.

When she hears an offhand comment at her father’s funeral, Hara begins to question who she is and becomes curious about where she comes from so she books a trip to Seoul to find some answers for herself. What she finds over there is a whole lot more than she bargained for and her life is upended. The truth about her present, the truth about her past, and where she goes from here is enough to drive anyone crazy and it’s driving Hara crazy. Her entire life has been thrown for a loop and she spends the whole of this book trying to sort through how she feels about the truths uncovered and it hurt my heart more than once.

Getting to know Hara reminded me a lot of myself when I was younger. Growing up in the states, as a person of color, your culture is always weird and the food you eat, the way that your home is set up is always a discussion that made me feel uncomfortable with my white friends. So I understood Hara when she said that she rejected being Korean in Iowa. I did pretty much the same thing when I was in high school because it was easier to blend in when you liked the same things that everyone else did. I remember getting so embarrassed when my Mom and Dad would speak Samoan when they came to my school or if we were out and about. I just wanted them to blend in with everyone else around us and speak English. Like Hara, I finally wised up and decided that blending in and denying that I’m Samoan was not something I wanted to do anymore. I never hated being Samoan, I just hid it when around my non-Samoan friends. So I really connected with everything Hara went through in this story. My heart went out to her and I rooted for her to really come into her own.

The love interest in this one melted me a little and I pictured Park Seo Joon from What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim as Choi Yu Jun. I liked seeing him try to woo Hara and I really enjoyed seeing him try to get Hara to understand that no matter where she grew up or how little she knew about the Korean culture, she was still Korean. Nobody could take that away from her and their romance was just super cute and I enjoyed it.

I will say that while I did really enjoy the story and Hara’s journey, there were parts of this story that I felt weren’t needed and kind of dragged the story a bit. There was a lot going on with Hara’s trip and everything she was going through internally that a lot of the stuff that happened directly to her felt unnecessary. I was also not super thrilled with the ending. It felt too unresolved. I get that this was more of a women’s fiction story than a romance but I really just needed more of a solid resolution to everything that happened at the end. I’m wondering if there’s going to be a follow-up book to this one. I’m so on board for another one if that’s the plan.

Final Grade

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Losing Control by Jen Frederick

Posted December 17, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Losing Control by Jen FrederickReviewer: Rowena
Losing Control by Jen Frederick
Series: Kerr Chronicles #1
Also in this series: Losing Control, Taking Control
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: June 16, 2014
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 280
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two-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

I’d do anything to keep my mother alive.

Anything, including ask Ian Kerr for help. I don’t know much about him, except that he has more money than some small countries. And he’s willing to spend it on me. Just one catch: there’s a string attached, and not just the one I feel pulling me into his arms and his bed. There’s also the plan for revenge he wants my help with.

Every time he says my name, it makes my body shiver and my heart stutter. I know he’s going to wreck me, know there won’t be anything left of me but lust and sensation by the time he’s done with me, but even though I can see the heartbreak coming towards me like a train, ready to crash into me, I can’t get out of the way. I want what he makes me feel. Want what he’s offering.

This may have started out as something to save my mother, but now…now it’s about what he makes me feel. I’m in danger of losing everything that’s important. Worse? Ian's whispered words and hot caresses are making me believe that's okay.

This review was originally posted on December 23, 2014.

I read this book for my book club meeting last month. Jen Frederick is an author that I enjoy so it wasn’t hard for me to jump right in. It didn’t take me long to read the book but when I was finished, I was a bit underwhelmed and I can’t blame that on the cliff-hanger at the end. I knew there was a second book so the cliff-hanger didn’t bother me one bit.

I just didn’t connect with Victoria, the heroine. And while I enjoyed Ian (the hero), I thought his high-handedness where Victoria was concerned was kind of offensive and reminded me of Christian Grey (even though I’ve never read those books). Yeah, we all wish that a billionaire would come into our lives, become so enchanted with us and then take us away from our poor lives. The fantasy is great but for some reason, it didn’t work for me here.

Victoria is a bike messenger trying to make ends meet. She’s taking care of her sick Mom and doing whatever needs to be done in order to make sure they have a roof over their heads, food on the table and their bills paid. Even if it means working for her douche-hole of a criminal step-brother, Malcolm. She does some shady delivery services for him, asks no questions and makes more money than she would at her normal every day bike messenger job. There are plenty of risks but to keep her Mom healthy and comfortable, Victoria will gladly take those risks.

When we first meet Victoria, I really liked her. She was a bad-ass with enough stress to drown a sumo wrestler but she kept right on going, taking care of business. So when Ian bulldozes into her life, I felt like a lot of the bad-ass I admired kind of went out the window. She turned from this determined young woman who was fighting the good fight against poverty to this new person who was trying to stay strong and independent by coming off bratty and whiny and who still rolled over whenever Ian was around. And then in the end when her life is drastically changed forever, I felt like she dropped the ball. The strong and independent girl that I liked in the beginning was completely gone. She spent so much time worried about her Mom in the book and then when everything goes to shit, she kind of just fell apart. Maybe it’s the way that I was brought up but when shit gets hard, you handle your shit. You don’t fall into a pit of depression and let other people handle shit that you should handle yourself and Victoria (I didn’t like her nickname, Tiny so I refuse to call her that) let me down. She wanted to put distance between her and Ian after all of that stuff with her Mom but who the hell was taking care of YOUR business while you were thinking of leaving him? NOT YOU.

Ugh.

My friend Tasha and I had completely different reactions to this book. She was hooked and though it wasn’t her favorite read, she still really enjoyed it but not me. Even Holly liked this book more than I did but sometimes it happens that way. I didn’t completely hate it. There were moments between Ian and Victoria that I thought were cute and the beginning showed such promise so that was good but those moments didn’t stand out to me in the end because I didn’t rush to start the next book and I have it to read.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Kerr Chronicles

two-stars


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Review: Downed by Jen Frederick

Posted December 1, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: Downed by Jen FrederickReviewer: Rowena
Downed by Jen Frederick
Series: Gridiron #3
Also in this series: Jock Blocked
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: December 1, 2016
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 300
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

He’s the guy no one likes…

Despite winning two national championships, JR “Ace” Anderson was sent packing from his old school after losing the trust of his coach. At Southern U, he has a second chance to prove that his college legacy isn’t endless debauchery and selfishness. But his reputation precedes him, and his teammates offer a chilly welcome in the locker room. The one person who is willing to accept him is the very woman he should stay away from—his new coach’s daughter.

She’s the girl everyone loves…

Bryant Johnson’s only goal in life is to make others happy, even at her own expense. One look at her father’s new star quarterback, and she knows that Ace is her next project. With a reputation for being a “jerk whisperer”, Bryant has spent her last three years at college reforming sorry behavior and turning bad boys into the best boyfriends ever. In Ace, though, she’s met with surly resistance and a sizzling attraction she doesn’t expect. Fixing this wounded warrior will be her biggest challenge yet. Not falling for him will be even harder.

Between her big heart and his damaged one, a battle is ensuing. In this game of love, every defense will crumble.

Downed is the third book in Jen Frederick’s Gridiron series and it follows, Ace Anderson’s book. If you read the last book in this series, Jock Blocked then odds are, you weren’t a fan of Ace’s. With good reason, of course. Ace was an asshole. He did his best friend dirty and with friends like him, who needs enemies, am I right? 🙂

It’s a new year and for Ace Anderson, a new school as well. Ace transferred from Western to Southern and his new coach is hoping that he can lead the team to a championship and that’s what Ace plans to do. Ace has been at Southern for a few weeks now and hasn’t made any friends. He’s got two roommates that don’t include him in their plans, he hasn’t developed any relationships with any of his other teammates and he knows it’s because he’s an asshole. At a party, a girl named Bryant approaches him and before he knows what is what, she’s claimed his as her boyfriend and he just kind of falls in with her. It’s funny because she’s the girl that everyone loves and he’s the guy that nobody likes. Perfect pairing, right? 🙂 Things really take off after Bryant claims Ace and I’m happy to say that this book hit me in all the right places because I loved the heck out of this book.

So Ace’s main focus is playing football. He knows that he probably won’t be playing professional football so he’s focusing on making the most of his time playing football now. He’s not connecting with his receivers and any of his other teammates on and off the field and while they’re pulling wins out of their hats, the team chemistry still needs a lot of work.

Bryant is the coach’s daughter and when Ace finds out about that (all after the fact), he’s not interested in starting up a relationship with her. He’s been there, done that and he’s got a whole lot of regrets where that is concerned. He’s done with all of the drama from Western. He wants to start fresh here and while he never planned on going the girlfriend route (he likes sex, of course), the more time that he spends with Bryant, the more he likes her.

I really like Jen Frederick’s writing style. She writes realistic college romances that just hits me with all of the feels. I love her dialogue. It’s not cheesy. It’s not over the top. It’s just right for the characters and their age groups. I’m always drawn to her characters and it wasn’t any different in this one. Ace and Bryant were great characters that really leaped off the pages. Their personalities shined bright and I really fell in with everything going on. From Ace’s Dad’s shenanigans to Bryant’s issues with the her sister and all of that, I was right there with them through it all.

I really enjoyed getting to know Bryant. I thought she was a compelling character. I really connected with the way that loved to help others. She was genuinely caring and I adored the way that she grew to love Ace, in all of his asshole-ish ways. I really loved how loyal she was to Ace as well. Her attitude toward everyone from Western had me grinning because first and foremost, she was Ace’s girl.

Another thing that I really loved about this book was how Ace was redeemed without changing his personality completely. He was still the same asshole, just better. He was Ace 2.0 and by the end of the book, I had forgiven him for everything from before and still thought he was low key a jerk but I loved that he was Bryant’s asshole. They were cute and I’m curious to see who gets their story told next. This was a great addition to the Gridiron series. I loved the characters, the new ones, the old ones and I’m excited for more. Kudos to Jen Frederick for writing another winner for me. 🙂

Grade: 4.75 out of 5

four-half-stars


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Review: Paper Princess by Erin Watt

Posted April 20, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Paper Princess by Erin WattReviewer: Rowena
Paper Princess by Erin Watt, Jen Frederick, Elle Kennedy
Series: The Royals #1
Also in this series: Broken Prince (The Royals #2)
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: April 4, 2016
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 370
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

From strip clubs and truck stops to southern coast mansions and prep schools, one girl tries to stay true to herself.

These Royals will ruin you…

Ella Harper is a survivor—a pragmatic optimist. She’s spent her whole life moving from town to town with her flighty mother, struggling to make ends meet and believing that someday she’ll climb out of the gutter. After her mother’s death, Ella is truly alone.

Until Callum Royal appears, plucking Ella out of poverty and tossing her into his posh mansion among his five sons who all hate her. Each Royal boy is more magnetic than the last, but none as captivating as Reed Royal, the boy who is determined to send her back to the slums she came from.

Reed doesn’t want her. He says she doesn’t belong with the Royals.

He might be right.

Wealth. Excess. Deception. It’s like nothing Ella has ever experienced, and if she’s going to survive her time in the Royal palace, she’ll need to learn to issue her own Royal decrees.

Two of my favorite New Adult authors wrote a book together and I have been anxious to get my hands on it ever since I found out. I’ve been hearing good things about this book everywhere that I go and I went into it thinking that I was going to get one of those guilty pleasure books that is filled to the brim with drama and memorable characters. I’m happy to say that that is exactly what I got.

Ella Harper’s Mom just died of cancer and she’s never met her Dad so she’s on her own. Her plan is to work as much as she can to scrape by, graduate from high school and stay under the radar so that she doesn’t find herself in the foster care. She just wants to work hard, get good grades and hopefully land a scholarship for college. She wants a life she can be proud of and she’ll do whatever it takes to get it. If it means that she has to work as a stripper to make money than that’s what she’ll do. Everything was going according to plan until Callum Royal shows up and ruins everything.

When Callum offers Ella a chance at a bright future, Ella decides to go for it because what else she does she have to lose? She was prepared to keep her head down and get through the next two years with the promise of that future she always wanted in reach but she wasn’t prepared for life as a Royal.

When Ella is introduced to Callum’s five sons, she wasn’t expecting them to hate her on sight but whatever, she’s a survivor. She’ll survive anything they throw her way and she’ll do it with a smile on her face and I think that, above anything else was what I really liked about this book. How strong Ella was. She wasn’t a weak flower who let others get away with treating her like shit. She woke up each morning and just handled her shit. It didn’t matter how hurt she was or how much she was grieving, she handled her shit and made no apologies for it. She faced down the bullies and the whispers behind her back and she just went about her business.

Reed Royal was a mystery that I wanted to solve. I can’t wait to delve into his story in the next book. I wanted to know everything about him and his brothers. What in the hell happened to make him act the way that he does? Because hands down, Reed Royal was a complete dick to Ella when she first shows up in town. The shit that him and Easton did to her made me want to punch their lights out but as the story continues, for some reason (I have no idea what reason) your heart softens toward him. There’s a story behind all of his sneers and his cold attitude toward everything and everyone and I want to know it all. The Royals are an interesting bunch and I want to know everything about all of them. Easton, the twins and Gideon. What in the world is Gideon’s story? Who is the girl that Easton is in love with but can’t have? What’s the real deal behind Reed and that cliffhanger? I know there is one and I’m so bloody excited for the next book.

There’s a lot of stuff packed into this book. Lots of drama, lots of angst and a whole lot of attitude but Erin Watt did a great job of making room in the story for it all. It didn’t feel like too much, too soon. The story at the center (Ella finding her way in this new world and trying to navigate this new attraction to Reed Royal) doesn’t suffer with all of the other additions to the overall story being told. Whoever said that this book was a mix of Cruel Intentions and Gossip Girl hit the description right on the head because that’s exactly what this book reminded me off. It had the best parts of both movie and TV show and I’m wrapped up in it all. I need more…now. If you’re looking for a book with a deliciously cruel and interesting cast of character, look no further. This is for you. 🙂

WARNING: THERE IS A CLIFFHANGER IN THIS BOOK!

4.25 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Unrequited by Jen Frederick

Posted February 16, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Unrequited by Jen FrederickReviewer: Rowena
Unrequited by Jen Frederick
Series: Woodlands #4
Also in this series: Undeclared, Unraveled, Unspoken, Unraveled

Publication Date: April 13th 2015
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 300
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Winter Donovan loves two things: her sister and her sister's ex boyfriend. She's spent her whole life doing the right thing except that one time, that night when Finn O'Malley looked hollowed out by his father's death. Then she did something very wrong that felt terribly right.

Finn can't stop thinking about Winter and the night and he'll do anything to make her a permanent part of his life, even if it means separating Winter from the only family she has.

Their love was supposed to be unrequited but one grief stricken guy and one girl with too big of a heart results in disastrous consequences.

I’m still all about the Jen Frederick right now. I can’t get enough of her stuff and Unrequited was another great story that I fell right in with from the very beginning.

We finally get Finn’s book. Finn has been slowly spiraling out of control, drowning in booze and babes ever since his father died. He hasn’t taken the news of his father’s death too well but one hook up with Winter Donovan and he’s starting to sit up and take notice of just what he’s doing. All of the meaningless hook ups, all of the booze and all around irresponsible behavior isn’t doing much for him and seeing Winter again, hanging out with her again has changed Finn’s outlook on everything but it’s a little too late to come to that discovery because now that he’s decided he wants Winter…she’s not on board with his plan.

Winter has had a crush on Finn ever since she was a teenager and he was her sister’s boyfriend. It’s not anything she thought would ever become something so she was safe in her crush but it’s been years since she’s seen him and she just couldn’t help herself…she had to have one night with him. Never mind that she’s still thinking about that one night with Finn weeks later. Never mind that he seems to want to pick up where they left off. She can’t think about any of those things because Ivy comes first and she needs her right now.

Oh man, this book was full of angst and a whole lot of swoony Finn things. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about the whole ex-girlfriend’s little sister thing but Frederick won me over with Finn and Winter. I adored both of them and connected with Winter more than I thought I would. Her whole family loyalty and going above and beyond for her family (even when they weren’t worthy of that loyalty) was well written. I connected with her struggle to keep her family happy at the same time she was trying to be happy for herself with a guy that she had big time feelings for.

I loved seeing how constant Finn tried to be with Winter. No matter what was thrown at the two of them (and there was a lot of things thrown at them), he proved time and time again that she was first wife. She struggled with her feelings for Finn because of her sister but she wasn’t dumb about them. I loved that Finn understood her struggle and wanted to be there for her. He wanted to put her first and ugh, OMG I loved Finn.

Finn was everything I was hoping he would be. He was strong and steady and he knew what he wanted. I loved that his love for Winter never wavered and I loved seeing him win her over.

Winter was a great heroine, it would have been easy to get mad at her for the way she kept Finn at arms length for a bit but I understood why she did what she did. I understood what motivated her but when she finally wises up to her dirty rat of a sister, I was glad that she stood up for herself. I was glad that she was finally living her life and not one that would make things easier for her sister.

This was an emotional book for me and I really enjoyed it. I loved seeing the Woodlands gang, I loved seeing Finn and Adam’s friendship and I really loved the romance between Finn and Winter. Their love wasn’t perfect but it was still pretty great. I can’t wait for Adam’s book and I’m mighty curious to see which girl he ends up with….those love scenes are going to be interesting considering Adam’s choice of jewelry. Haha.

Grade: 4 out of 5

Reading Order:

Undeclared
Unspoken
Unraveled
Unrequited

four-stars


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