and here it is...my review for all three stories in the Shoes & Ties series...
Karen’s rating for the series: 3 stars
‘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.