Friday, June 15, 2018

Series Review Tour: Shoes and Ties by Jena Wade


Book 1

Book Title: Shoes and Ties (Shoes and Ties #1)

Author: Jena Wade

Publisher: Self-Published

Cover Artist: Silver Heart Design

Genre/s: gay contemporary romance

Length: 33 000 words


Ashten Brody is a chef fresh out of college. He lands his dream job working as a personal chef to Trent Cole, local luxury hotel owner. As it turns out, Trent is also his dream man.

After working together, the two are unable to deny their attraction. One late night they can’t hold back any longer. Too bad Ashten rushes off soon after.

In the weeks that follow, it appears to Ashten that he has landed his dream man and his dream job. He and Trent appear to be on the path to a serious relationship and life-long happiness. Life seems to be just too perfect…

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Ashten Brody smoothed his hands down the front of his suit one more time. He hadn’t expected Trent Cole’s security guards to frisk him at the door. The man ran a luxury hotel in North Carolina. It wasn’t like he was a celebrity. Though he had the appearance of one.

As flustered as he was now, Ashten was confident that he was the right person to be Trent’s new personal chef. He was not confident, however, that Mr. Cole would hire him. He’d only just finished his degree in culinary arts and hospitality management. He was young and green, but he wanted this job and would do anything to get it. Well, that was a slight exaggeration, but he would wear a bland, conservative suit complete with a tie and jacket if it helped him beat out the competition.

The elevator pinged, and he took a deep breath as he stepped out, still in awe that he had gotten an interview. The main office was located on the top floor of the ten-story hotel—convenient if Trent ever worked late and needed to crash at the office.

Finding the secretary easily, Ashten stood next to her desk and patiently waited for her to finish her phone call. The lobby area was comfortable, with decor that matched the rest of the hotel. Doors lined the walls, and a few windows revealed the insides of conference rooms and small offices. Ashten rested his hands on the mahogany horseshoe desk. It was large enough to fill his old apartment.

“May I help you?” Annette, as her nameplate said, asked as she hung up the phone.

“I have an interview scheduled with Mr. Cole. I’m a bit early. My name is Ashten Brody.” His voice sounded calmer than he felt. It was important to make a good impression on the secretary, though; they were the ones who ran the whole office.

The secretary raised her brow. She opened her mouth to speak, but the elevator at the opposite end of the room dinged, and Mr. Cole stepped onto the floor, a deep scowl etched on his handsome face. Ashten’s breath hitched in his throat. He bit his lip, pain stopping any reaction his cock might have had to the man capturing his attention. The pictures he’d found in his Internet search hadn’t done the man justice. Trent Cole oozed confidence. Ashten’s eyes followed him as he crossed the floor. A touch of afternoon stubble shaded his strong jaw, and his tailored suit outlined his broad shoulders perfectly. The open jacket revealed lean hips, which brought Ashten’s tongue out to wet his lips. Trent walked directly past the desk, not bothering to glance at Ashten or Annette. Everyone in the office moved faster and looked busier now that the boss was in the room.

“Annette, please send in the applicants as they arrive. The sooner I get these interviews over with, the sooner I can get back to real work. Thanks.” Without waiting for a reply, he stepped inside his office, leaving the door wide open.

Ashten’s face heated, and his heart pounded. He rolled his shoulders back to try to get ahold of himself.

“Go right in, dear. Good luck.” Annette gave him an encouraging grin.

Ashten flashed a broad smile. “Thank you, ma’am.” He turned and walked toward the open door.

Book 2

Book Title: Lumber and Law (Shoes and Ties #2)

Author: Jena Wade

Publisher: Self-Published 

Cover Artist: Silver Heart Design

Genre/s: gay contemporary romance

Length: 29 000 words 


A few months after his brother’s accident, Jesse Brody can’t stop thinking about Troy Evans, the police office that helped solve the case. Even though Troy almost had to arrest him, Jesse is sure he has a shot at a date.

The two meet by chance and share a nice dinner at Jesse’s apartment, which ends with Jesse all over Troy’s lap. Though he isn’t out at work, Troy agrees to give a relationship with Jesse a chance.

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Jesse settled onto his usual park bench. The warm sun beat down on his back through his T-shirt as he leaned forward, elbows resting on his knees. Runners and walkers passed him without a glance. The happy chatter of Frisbee games and families sitting on outspread picnic blankets filled the air.

Taking a deep breath, he touched the tablet in his hand, pulling up today’s news. He checked the time and tapped his foot against the concrete of the running path. His reason for being here today and every Sunday for the past six months had yet to show.

Any minute now Troy Evans would jog by, his golden retriever following closely behind him.

Jesse ran his fingers though his hair and glanced around the park. Annoyance prickled at his skin. Until his twin brother, Ashten, had been attacked three months ago, he hadn’t even known Troy’s name. It was just by chance that Detective Evans had been on duty when the police were called to investigate Ashten’s hit-and-run assault. In the week that followed, Jesse and Troy had spoken over the phone and occasionally met at the precinct to discuss the case. Since the woman responsible for hitting Ashten had been arrested, Jesse hadn’t spoken with Troy.

A knot formed in Jesse’s gut as he remembered why he never tried to contact the man again. When he’d found Trent, Ashten’s boyfriend, and Troy together, he’d assumed the worst. Jealousy and anger had spurred violence in him he didn’t know he had. Anger because it appeared as if Trent could replace Ashten so easily, and jealousy because he’d replaced him with the one man Jesse wanted.

Jesse had punched Trent square in the jaw.

Shame filled him at the memory. He’d read the situation completely wrong, and he’d looked like a fool because of it. Had Troy not threatened to arrest him, he might’ve messed up their little sting operation further, and Ashten’s assailant wouldn’t have been arrested that day.

It had only been a few months earlier that Jesse had seen Troy jog by at the park. He’d been mesmerized by the man’s movement. Troy had worn blue basketball shorts and a tank top that stretched nicely across his chiseled chest and abs. Jesse hadn’t hidden his admiration for the man very well. His neck craned until he had to stand in order to continue watching his magnificent form.

The man never noticed him.

Book 3

Book Title: Forever and Always (Shoes and Ties #3)

Author: Jena Wade

Publisher: Self-Published 

Cover Artist: Silver Heart Design

Genre/s: gay contemporary romance

Length: 8 000 words 


Now that they're living in their Happily Ever After, Ashten, Trent, Troy, and Jesse are ready to take the next step.
But what happens when the twins choose the same wedding date? May the best couple win…

Buy Links - Available on Kindle Unlimited

Karen’s rating for the series:  

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:  

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:

‘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:

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.

While 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.

About the Author 

Jena began writing in January of 2013 as a New Year's Resolution--and so far she has stuck to it!

She lives in Michigan. By day she works as a web developer, and at night she writes. Born and raised on a farm, she spends most of her free time outdoors, playing in the garden, or riding her horses. She also helps run the family dairy farm.

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