When Skyler spots the new bartender at Vino and Veritas, his body responds before the guy even turns around. But when he does, it takes only a heartbeat for recognition to set in and for sparks to fly. Judson’s been gone for ten years, but he’s the man Skyler never forgot. Or forgave.
The last place Judson w ...more
When I started reading, I felt sure this was going to be another solid 4 or 5* book, but unfortunately it just tailed off a bit towards the middle act and things fell a bit flat for me at that point.
There's a super sweet ending and a very firm HEA though which definitely brought my enjoyment level back up by the time the book finished.
On the face of it, this sounded like it would be a passionate former best friends/enemies to lovers romance, with the added spice of a reality TV show - but th ...more
and the fact ten years of estrangement could have been solved with, i don’t know, one conversation? kinda annoying. everything was just too... straight forward with no build up. but they were cute and sappy enough for me to still enjoy this on a simple level. nothing too deep or astounding. just... okay🤷🏻♀️ ...more
This was an entertaining enemies to lovers romance that I enjoyed how sweet and honest the two main characters were in overcoming their shared experiences. The HEA was well earned due to the miscommunication that created a ten-year separation for these childhood best friends turned enemies.
I was curious and excited while reading to see how Skyler and Judson would overcome their relationship obstacles and I was not ...more
Judson + Skyler.
Judson left his hometown in Vermont ten years ago when he was just 18. We don't yet know why and what happened back then. But he ended up in Paris as a successful chef. But now he's back home at his parents' place - and again we don't yet know what happened in Paris.
Skyler never left home. He dreams of having his own maple company, but his dad needs him on the farm until his little brother comes home from college to take over.
Judson and Skyler used to be the bestest of friends - ...more
Skyler and Judson were childhood friends but they don't see each other for ten years.
When Judson comes back after his culinary studies and chef experience in Europe he is fascinated from this grown up version of his old friend and even if he is still heartbroken he can't stay away from Skyler. Will they give each other a second chance and start anew? Or the past disappointments are still too painful to forget?
I really liked the main characters, and their mums, Skyler and Judson are as sweet as
This was a lovely addition to the Vino&Veritas series! I enjoyed this story quite a bit, but if I'm honest, it didn't really stand out. I had an enjoyable time while reading, but I have a feeling it's not a story that is going to stay with me for a long time. It was lovely, it was well written and it definitely had the Vino&Veritas vibe I enjoy so much about these books. I still believe that's an amazing accomplishment by all the different authors in this project: all books I have rea ...more
Okayyyyy everything about this was perfection. To this day I argue with myself about what I love best: friends to lovers or enemies to lovers. I think I just need to quit trying to decide and accept the fact that I love both equally but can be in the mood for either/or at different times. This one was a bit of a friends to lovers/second chance situation. Due to a misunderstanding their senior year (isn't there ALWAYS ONE?!?) these former best friends hadn't seen each other in ten years. Judso ...more
Judson/Jud, 28, Chef, slim, dark blonde,
blue-eyed, tattooed, came back to town, is working at V & V while he tries to figure out his life. He failed in Paris and lost everything.
Skylar/Sky, 28, a tall, buff and muscled,
blondish Henry Cavill look-a-like, who works the family farm and his own business, Maple Sky. He has to work the farm because his brother is in college and their Dad has gambled away the profits.
Sky goes to ...more
I must give the author mad props for handling the whole miscommunication conflict of the story maturely and respectfully. I don’t want to give details of th ...more
I had a great time reading Skyler and Judson’s story. They’re childhood friends who had a sudden and painful fallout ten years ago, so they’re not precisely on speaking terms. But there’s attraction and heat between them, along with a history and unresolved feelings.
Judson is a world-class chef who’s going through a tough time. He’s back home in ...more
Jud and Sky don't speak for 10 years after a misunderstanding. Jud doesn't want to be friends with his ex-bestie after his return from France but Sky has always had his heart.
Jud in particular was easy to understand, his body hang ups and hurt feelings were relatable. I loved the background characters.
Slower burn, lower heat. No trigger warnings that I can think of. ...more
10 years later he returns to his hometown and to Skyler, but are things the same as 10 years ago?
Maybe, maybe not
Another great book from Ana Ashley, and being from Europe I want to try maple syrup
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review
We did meet Skyler in “Insatiable” by awesome Rhys Everly and he had the misfortune (Skyler not Rhys) to be in a relationship with a not-so-nice fella. That was fixed in the end, leaving Skyler free to find his HEA in Stronghold.
And queue in Judson. Best friends, like attached to the hip best friends, turned to lovers. They both had a crush on each other since forever and a misun ...more
Yaaaasss more World of True North
Now,what is that Bon Jovi song - "Who Says You Can't Come Home".
That is delectable Judson's life right now. And when he sees his old best friend, his heart went boom - and so did mine.
Oh Jud has some splainin' to do do Skyler - and I loved going on the ride with them.
I am obsessed with Skyler and his maple farm - and may have just bought everything I need to make maple cream - I need that stuff in my life STAT
Cute and adorable and sexy maple farmery ...more
This is the 14th book in the series, and I think is a strong addition to this series of interconnected novels written in Sarina Bowen's True North world. You don't need to have read earlier books to enjoy it, but you would have more context, and many of them are excellent reads!
New V&V bar tender Judson, has returned from a spell in Europe as a chef, and is home to lick his wounds before he starts afresh somewhere else. ...more
Stronghold is part of the Vino and Veritas collection, which is a set of multi-author stories set in the larger World of True North universe. The books are designed to be standalone stories that can be read in any order and feature the Vino and Veritas wine bar and bookstore.
This is an easy to read friends-to-lovers book set around the type of miscommunication that happens at a younger age. Judson and Skyler were the closest of friends, but Judson always felt he ...more
Stronghold by Ana Ashley is book 14 in the Vino & Veritas series, which is a spin-off from Sarina Bowen's True North world. I have been very fortunate to obtain several ARCs for this series, and so far, I've enjoyed every one.
One of the things I have most enjoy about this series is being able to sample 'new to me' authors. Each of the V&V books is under 300 pages, usually around 200 – 250. This makes them long enough to get a rich and detailed story but does not require the commitment of a long ...more
Judson and Skyler have history, meeting again reminds them of what they are missing.
As I've said I love this whole series, love all Ana's stories and this one doesn't let me down. ...more
After discovering and binge-reading Ana's Chester Falls series (ok, reading How to Catch a Prince & How to Catch a Bodyguard, but I have bought two more instalments in the series!) and knowing that I wanted to dip my toe more into MM romances in general, I knew that I was going to read this one way or another, expecting something light and sweet.
And I got light and sweet, but I wasn't expecting t ...more
Ana Ashley’s Stronghold, the fourteenth book in the multi-author, shared universe, Vino & Veritas series, delivers an enjoyable, if bemusing, second chance romance. Skyler and Judson, childhood best friends, are unexpectedly and unintentionally reunited after a decade’s long separation. In that intervening time period, anger and confusion surrounding Jud’s abrupt departure fester, leaving both unsure of where they stand with each other. They are similarly ambivalent about whether they ...more
Stronghold combined two of my favorite romance tropes into one fantastic story. Friends-to-lovers and second chance stories are probably my most favorite tropes and this one was so freaking good!
Sky and Jud were best friends almost from birth; their mothers bonded while in the maternity ward and became best friends. Next Sky and Jud began doing everything together and were best friends until something cause Jud to run away.
Jud’s life as a chef in France imploded so he ...more
Ana Ashley writes sweet and steamy gay romance set in America, often in small towns where everyone knows everyone. Coming from a small town herself, she knows all about meddling families, nosy neighbors and that community spirit that comes from knowing people all ...more