Series Review: Jackson Boys by Jen Frederick

Before I start my reviews for the Jackson Boys series, I need to give you a little background information in case you’re unfamiliar with Jen Frederick’s novels. The Jackson Boys series is a spin-off of the Woodlands series. Nathan and Nick are the offspring of Noah and Grace. Charlotte is the daughter of Bo and AnnMarie. You don’t have to read the Woodlands series prior to reading this book. The older characters show up, but their stories aren’t really revealed in this new series.

The Charlotte Chronicles
Series: Jackson Boys, #1
Author: Jen Frederick
Publication Date: December 8, 2014
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Charlotte Randolph was only fifteen when she fell in love with her best friend’s gorgeous older brother—but she wasn’t foolish enough to hope he could ever love her back. Nate Jackson always viewed her as a pesky kid…until the day she got sick. The one bright spot during her illness? He realized she was all grown up. But just when she allows herself to believe that dreams can come true, Nate disappears from her life, taking her heart with him.

Nate knows he lost more than his best friend when he deserted Charlotte to enlist in the Navy. He thought he was doing the right thing, sparing the girl he loves from the shame and humiliation of his actions. Nine years later, it’s time to right his wrongs. He returns home determined to win back his first love…only to find that Charlotte’s moved on without him.

But if there’s one thing that being a Navy SEAL has taught Nate? Never give up, even when all hope seems lost. And Nate’s never going to give up on Charlotte. Ever.

My Review:

The Charlotte Chronicles is one of those books where I feel like my rating for it doesn’t quite jibe with how much I enjoyed reading it. I loved Charlotte and Nate. Their story was emotional from the start. The writing was great, but the actual story didn’t flow as well as I wanted it to.

My frustration with The Charlotte Chronicles was how the story was set up. The only way I can think to describe it is that it felt like three books in one. It starts out when Nate and Charlotte are seventeen and fifteen. The story surrounding Charlotte’s illness is sad, but also sweet because of Nate. They have such a pure love for each other. It really made me fall in love with both of their characters.

While Charlotte’s fighting her illness, Nate takes off and joins the Navy. This begins what feels like a new book. It’s a bunch of letters from Charlotte to Nate while he’s serving. She writes him for YEARS with no response. Her letters are sweet, desperate, and heartbreaking. I am so angry with Nate throughout this section of the book because I have no clue what he’s thinking and I can’t believe he would abandon someone he loves so much during the hardest time in her life.

Time then fast forwards again. The story changes format again. It’s been nine years since Nate and Charlotte last communicated with each other. (I guess they had a few run ins during that time, so I don’t get why they didn’t talk then?) We’re back to both Nate and Charlotte’s perspectives, and they’re older so they almost feel like different people. Nate finally gets to explain himself. He basically ignored her for a VERY STUPID reason for NINE YEARS. I struggled with the length of time the characters were apart and the flow of the story. I think if it had been shorter this separation and reunion would have been more believable to me. I just couldn’t get over the fact that they both held on for almost a decade. Nate was so lucky Charlotte hadn’t moved on.

I think my issues with The Charlotte Chronicles wouldn’t have been issues if it wasn’t for that nine-year separation. I would have found it more understandable/believable had it been three or even five years. I did like everything else that happened in the story, so that’s why I feel so conflicted. It’s still a book I would recommend. I’m excited to read Nick’s book and get to know him more.

Be Mine
Series: Jackson Boys, #2
Author: Jen Frederick
Publication Date: October 3, 2014
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

At twenty years old, Lainey Wilson has made enough mistakes for a lifetime. She’s gotten herself knocked up by a cruel, uncaring man, lost her home, and found herself outside of a ramshackle bar with a crying baby and a broken purse.

When Nick Jackson, the Mustangs’ new rookie quarterback, swoops in like her savior, all she wants to do is fall into his arms. There’s just one problem… she’s sworn off football players and men for good.

He’s charming, eager, and sexy as hell, but Nick’s not the man for her. No matter what her body says.

Besides, she’s got bigger problems to fix such as how she’s going to feed her child, where she’s going to lay her head, and how to stay hidden from her ex. There’s no room for flirtation, a hand on the small of her back, or even the way he makes her daughter smile.

Nick Jackson isn’t in her plan now or ever.

Right?

My review:

Having read Be Mine immediately following The Charlotte Chronicles had me a little confused. Be Mine is Nate’s brother Nick’s and Charlotte’s friend Lainie’s story. In The Charlotte Chronicles, Lainey and Nick seem to have a frenemies thing going on. They were standoffish with each other, and Nick butted into Lainey’s life in weird ways. It made me expect an enemy to lovers story. That wasn’t what I got at all in this book.

Nick and Lainey actually had a very different start to their friendship/relationship than I was expecting. Nick and Lainey’s friendship actually came before Charlotte and Lainey’s. I didn’t find the animosity between Nick and Lainey that I thought I would. When it did pop up, I didn’t understand it. It was all on Lainey’s part, and didn’t make sense. Nick was nothing but a sweetheart to her when I thought he would have been a jerk at times. It threw me off — especially when the timelines for The Charlotte Chronicles and Be Mine overlapped. I don’t want to go into too much and ruin anything for anyone. If I hadn’t just read The Charlotte Chronicles the little changes might not have been so noticeable.

Despite all the questions that arose from reading the books back to back, I did really love reading Be Mine. It was an entertaining love story. Nick and Lainey were a cute couple with interesting obstacles to overcome. I liked the twists involving Lainey’s baby daddy. I loved Nick and Cassidy’s relationship. It also had a very sweet epilogue. Be Mine probably would have been a 5 star read for me if I hadn’t had so many little questions about the possible discrepancies between it and the first book.

8 thoughts on “Series Review: Jackson Boys by Jen Frederick

  1. My ratings for these books are swapped from yours haha! I liked the angst of the first book, but Be Mine wasn’t clicking for me. I had a hard time connecting with it. Nick was cute though, especially with her kid. These books overall though don’t come close to how good the Woodlands books. Those were amazing!

    • Very true! I loved the Woodlands series. Although, the Gridiron series is my fave of hers. I had a hard time rating Charlotte because of that 9 year gap. That just bugged me. Otherwise, I loved the angst of it.

  2. I haven’t read Frederick as a solo author before, but sometimes large time gaps don’t work for me either. They leave me like seriously, you never moved on??? You have to have some believability to seal the deal. One of the books I’m thinking of, they hadn’t been in a relationship at all – even one stands for like 10+ years. So dramatic! ?

    • Yes, I agree. Anything more than a couple years without talking, etc. is too long in my opinion.
      If you’re interested in trying one of her solo books, I highly suggest starting with Sacked. It’s the first book in the Gridiron series. I love that series!

  3. I was sent Be Mine even though I didn’t sign up. It was so strange. I asked for book one but no reply 🙁 I’m bummed you didn’t really love book one. I haven’t read this author before so now I’m kinda nervous lol.

    • I think everyone on Nina’s list was. I got it, too. I actually think you would be fine just reading Be Mine. I liked it. I might have liked it even more if I didn’t read book 1. I think there was just so much time between when she wrote each book so little details were changed. It wasn’t enough to really bother me. Remind me — you have KU, right? If so, Charlotte is on that program.
      I actually love this author. Her Gridiron series is one of my favorite NA sports romance series. I also liked her Woodlands series. She’s definitely not one to be nervous about. 😉

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