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review 2018-06-16 13:42
Series Review...
Forever & Always - Jena Wade

and here it is...my review for all three stories in the Shoes & Ties series...


Karen’s rating for the series:  3 stars


Series overview…


‘Shoes & Ties’ in general is a short light read about Ashten Brody and his twin brother Jesse Brody. The series consist of 3 novellas. ‘Shoes & Ties’ is the also the title of the first story and it’s about Ashten Brody and Trent Cole. While book #2 Lumber & Law is about Jesse Brody (Ashten’s twin) and Troy Evans. Then in ‘Forever & Always’ the third and final story in this series we find out what happens when twins Ashten and Jesse get their happily ever after and as fate would have it the twins choose the same date for their nuptials. Surprisingly neither twin is happy about this turn of events.


Review Book #1: Shoes & Ties

Karen’s rating:  3.5 stars


In ‘Shoes & Ties’ we meet Ashten Brody aspiring personal chef as he’s about to interview for his dream job as personal chef to Trent Cole owner of a local luxury hotel and as Ashten is about to discover a man who pushes every one of his hot buttons…but it also turns out that Ashten pushes a few buttons of his own for Trent.  Both men are determined to keep things professional…strictly employer/employee …*snort* good luck with that one boys.


I have to admit I’ll at least give these two an ‘A’ for…ok, maybe it’s more like a ‘B-‘ for their efforts…they tried truly they did. But as we all know ‘the heart wants what the heart wants and often times propriety be damned the heart will have its way.


I liked Ashten a lot. He’s definitely one of my favorite characters to come out of this series. He’s caring and sweet, loyal, dependable and while he’s confident in his abilities especially as a chef for me he never came off as being overly confident thus entering into that area where confidence becomes arrogance.


I also liked Trent as well but for some reason I found myself just a little more charmed with Ashten but this certainly never kept me from thinking that Trent and Ashten weren’t a good match. In fact I enjoyed watching their relationship go from professional to very up close and personal.


While the attraction between Ashten and Trent is a case of lust-at-first-sight that doesn’t mean that their relationship happens over night and I really liked that they took a bit of times to get to know each other…mind you it was only a bit at just over a hundred pages there’s only so much time to be taken especially when there’s a bit of drama set to happen when someone from Trent’s past decides to put in an appearance.


So overall a sweet and relatively uncomplicated little love story that introduces us to some secondary characters that helped to add interest to the story and also lays a bit of ground work for ‘Lumber & Law’ the next book in the series.


Review Book #2: Lumber & Law

Karen’s rating: 3.5 stars


‘Lumber & Law’ is the second book in Jena Wade’s series ‘Shoes & Ties’ and this one is about Jesse Brody, Ashten’s twin brother and police officer Troy Evans, whom we were introduced to in ‘Shoes & Ties’, but you’ll need to read the book to find out why and really these are fairly short books so why miss out…I definitely recommend reading them from the beginning and getting all the background.


Jesse is almost the polar opposite to his brother, Ashten. Where Ashten is responsible and maybe a bit to serious at times. Jesse is more light hearted and fun loving but that doesn’t keep him from wanting what he sees that Ashten and Trent have. Jesse wants someone to love and share his life with, someone to hold hands with when they’re walking down the street. Jesse has had Troy on his mind for a while now and despite how disastrous their first meeting was Jesse is sure that he’s got a shot at dating the man.


Troy’s a cop and he’s got himself very securely tucked away in the closet…probably somewhere in the back corner near the entrance to Narnia and that’s where he’s planning on staying or at least he was until Jesse came along and suddenly Troy finds himself wanting and wondering about things…things that he told himself he could never have. Things like a partner and a life outside of the closet that doesn’t involve hiding his love for the person who matters most to him.


Jesse and Troy’s relationship began back in the first book, but we don’t really get any details until Lumber & Law, which is good since the stories are on the shorter side. I like that the author has kept the focus on the MCs in each of these stories. Creating a fully fleshed out story in a shorter format is quite honestly a challenge that can often be hard for an author to meet but Jena Wade has done that and while I have to admit, had there been more in either of these stories I would have happily read it that doesn’t mean that I felt like there was anything missing in what there was. Just that I liked it and would have happily enjoyed more…so, that’s a good thing in my world.


Now, on to Book #3 Forever & Always

Karen’s rating:  2.5 stars


So, while I enjoyed the first two stories, this last installment was a bit disappointing for me. I’m not going to go into a lot of detail here as I don’t want to spoil it for those who haven’t read it yet and may very well like how this plays out. Over all I was ok with much of what happened in this short story and at less than 50 pages, my friend google tells me this one in fact falls into the area of a long, short story and that to be honest is not an issue at all for me. ‘Forever & Always’ really doesn’t seem like it was intended to be anything other than what it was and for me that was the chance to see Ashten and Trent, Jesse and Troy get their happily ever after in their own way, making each couple happy.


However, there was an added surprise in regards to one of the secondary characters that as I said just didn’t quite work for me…so very much a matter of personal preference but all in all I really enjoyed this series and while it wasn’t my favorite story, ‘Forever & Always’ was definitely the icing on the wedding cake.


You could read either of the first two books as a standalone I’d definitely recommend reading this one only if you’ve at least read ‘Lumber & Law’. This series makes for a nice, light summer read…love, romance, steamy times and hot men…sounds like summer reading to me.



A copy of the series ‘Shoes & Ties’ was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2018-06-04 07:41
Edge of Forever - Barbara Elsborg

Loved it, But then, Barbara Elsborg's MM stories tend to fit me very well.


In Edge of Forever two people from very different worlds find their missing piece in each other on a cattle ranch in Russia. Levi is the very definition of American cowboy. His mother was Russian and speaking the language fluently he has little problems fitting in at the Russian ranch, whereas privileged, rich boy Pasha sticks out like a sore thumb with his eyeliner and designer clothes.
But of course there is more to Pasha than meets the eye and despite Levi's determination to never find himself in a relationship, the two grow close.


I was nervous in the beginning that Pasha would begin to annoy me; he has a smart mouth on him, jokes around and has a snappy remark for every situation. It could easily have been 'too much' but it wasn't and I fell in love with him quite quickly. Although he is not at the ranch by choice, he works hard trying to make the best of the situation. He doesn't try to hide who he is and he has a huge heart - in my book there will always be bonus points to a guy who loves animals ;)


This is more than just two guys getting it on on a cattle ranch; there are dark, painful secrets in both their pasts and in Pasha's case his immediate past refuses to let go and continues to pose a threat - if you know this author, you'll know that there are some nasty POS bad guys lurking around!
But in the end love conquers all (obviously!) and Levi and Pasha get their perfect HEA.

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review 2018-06-01 15:19
My Little Pony: Friends Forever Volume 1 - Tony Fleecs,Jeremy Whitley,Agnes Garbowska,Amy Mebberson,Ted Anderson,Rob Anderson,Carla Speed McNeil,Alex de Campi

For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

Overall, this is a cute graphic novel based on the characters in the My Little Pony show. There are four stories, each with a different writer and illustrator. For the most part, I liked it. There were a few times the comics seemed to break from the show (I can't imagine Applejack being okay with pretending to be somebody else during a competition- even if it were an accident, her element is literally honesty). I liked some of the artwork more than others. Carla Speed McNeil's artwork is closest to that of the show while Amy Mebberson's is very different. I preferred the art that represented the ponies seen in the show. 

All of the stories are entertaining and fun. Great for fans of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

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text 2018-06-01 09:20
Reading progress update: I've read 61%.
Edge of Forever - Barbara Elsborg

“I love your body,” Pasha whispered. “Beautiful muscles, all those dips and curves.”

“You’re the one with the beautiful body. I’m covered in scars.”

“Little ones and I adore them all. Except this one.” He pointed to the tiniest white line on Levi’s wrist.

“Barbed wire.”

“And that one.”

On his shoulder. “More barbed wire.”

“You didn’t learn after the first time?”

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review 2018-05-21 13:58
The Forever Summer
The Forever Summer - Jamie Brenner
Marin was not in love with her fiance so she broke off their engagement, now she’s in love with a fellow a work, a relationship that is taboo in their environment.
Marin finds out that her parents are divorcing and her father has a new girlfriend.
Marin receives an email from Rachel. Rachel says that according to a DNA test that she took, Marin is her half-sister and now, Rachel wants to meet her.
Marin decides to take a DNA test herself and what she finds is surprising. When she questions her mother about the results, her mother is tight-lipped until Marin pressures her and then, her mother reluctantly tells Marin about her pregnancy many years ago.
Marin relationship with her current boyfriend at work is uncovered and the immediate results are not good.
It’s pouring in Marin’s world, she thought when she broke up with her fiance, she might get things back on track but it seems that did not happen.
When Rachel arrives to meet Marin, the anticipation of what would occur was mounting inside me. I was hoping something great would transpire as it seemed that Marin’s life was headed in a downward spin. When Marin’s mother arrives on the scene, as this connection was taking place with these girls, I was expecting fireworks. Then, as the girls made plans to visit Rachel’s grandmother (also Marin’s grandmother), I didn’t know what to expect of these three women. Would there be harsh words spoken? An argument? Would someone say something that couldn’t be taken back?
I didn’t feel that Marin’s mother was truly honest about Marin’s past and I wasn’t sure she really wanted to be. Rachel and Marin seemed to hit it off with each other and it looked as if Marin’s mother was going to be left in the shadows with Marin learning about her past from someone else.
This was an interesting and captivating novel that had some interesting twists inside. There wasn’t any over-the-top drama but it was a novel that kept my interest and as the story played out, I felt a deep connection to the characters and to the lives that they were leading. As the secrets slowly came to the surface, the biggest surprise was how they were handled.


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