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Stronghold (Vino & Veritas #14)
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(Vino & Veritas #14)

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  413 ratings  ·  121 reviews
A second chance at love? Or a second chance to ruin everything?

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
Kindle Edition, 172 pages
Published August 12th 2021 by Heart Eyes Press
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Average rating 4.04  · 
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 ·  413 ratings  ·  121 reviews

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Jul 07, 2021 rated it really liked it

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
this was cute but the transition from being estranged for ten years, to barely friends to an intense, full throttle relationship gave me goddam whiplash. the pacing was just too jarring.

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🤷🏻‍♀️
Renae Reads
Jul 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
*** I received an eArc from Heart Eyes Press in exchange for an honest review.***

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
Aug 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
There's so much I loved about this story... I don't know where to start, so I'm going to leave it like this and come back to this review when I've gathered my thoughts. ...more
✰ Bianca ✰ BJ's Book Blog ✰

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 -
Aug 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-stars

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

3,5 stars.

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
Arielle ⭐ Cursebreaker ⭐
Aug 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtq, romance, new-2021

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
Denise H.
Second chance? Childhood friends reunite, but the anger still lingers.
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
Aug 13, 2021 rated it liked it
Sweet maple cream cooks.
Second chance at insta-love.
There's not much to this.
Jessica Alcazar
I binge-read the last five books, starting with this one of the Vino & Veritas series and it was an epic ride! The story of Jud and Sky was a heartwarming swoon-fest for me. I love second chance-to-get-it-right stories and this one had the added pleasure of getting a childhood friendship back on track and it made it that much sweeter for me.

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
Claudia Fosca Stahl
Jul 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
Stronghold is a standalone novel, but it is part of the Vino and Veritas series, set in Sarina Bowen’s World of True North. And it is adorably Vermonty.

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
Jul 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: vino-and-veritas
I'm a sucker for a second-chance romance, and I loved experiencing these two fall in love. So many swoony lines. All the feels. ...more
Jacquie Stewart
Jul 30, 2021 rated it really liked it
A sweet story but it made me miss Chester Falls, just because I didn't love the characters the same.
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.
Fernanda Parente
Jul 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Judson and Skyler are childhood friends who lost contact when Judson leaves to Paris to learn how to cook.
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
Jul 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs
Aaaaa second chances romances and childhood friends that they rediscover each other. This is the sweetest trope ever.
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
✰  BJ's Book Blog ✰Janeane ✰

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
Oct 30, 2021 rated it really liked it
Judson Hale and Skyler West grew up together and they were inseparable. But one night changed everything for the both of them, Judson left for Paris and Skyler lost his best friend. Now ten years later, Judson's back home in Burlington to spend some time with his family and start over. Skyler is now a sugar maker with a thriving business selling maple syrup and maple cream and helps his parents on their farm. Since Judson's money is tied up in a restaurant he owned and ran in Paris, he's found a ...more
Ruthie Taylor
Aug 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
~~I received a free copy of this book to read and review for Wicked Reads ~~

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.
Joyfully Jay
Aug 12, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: michelle
A Joyfully Jay review.

3.75 stars

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
Marianela Aybar (Mari Loves Books Blog)
A sweet second chance romance with childhood best friends and some amazing chemistry. I loved seeing Jud and Sky reconnect and work through their past hurts. The past didn't affect the present as much as it normally does and they dealt with it in a manner that made sense. This was my first book by this author and now I will be reading more. ...more
Jamie Lee Zonneveld
Aug 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
Stronghold is a standalone romance in the Vino and Veritas serie. Stronghold is written by Ana Ashley and is about Skyler and Judson. I really liked their story. It was sweet, sexy, full of feels and very well written.
The Word Nerd Reviews Blog

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
Sharing The Book Love
Aug 12, 2021 rated it really liked it
Judson and Skyler, second chance love comes to the V n V.

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.
Aug 15, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle
Better-written review/write-up to be found on The Pewter Wolf Reads at a later date in August 2021.

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
Crystal Stafford
Aug 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mm-madness, arc-s
oh yes oh yes this was one of my favorites in the series. The fact it's one of the last to be released is bittersweet because I have so loved The Vino & Veritas Series and all the amazing characters along the way. This was my first read by Ana Ashley and she totally nailed it with some of my top tropes from friends to lovers, second chance and childhood soulmates while throwing in a reality TV twist and I was completely sold. I adored Skyler & Judson so much and I thought their connection and ch ...more
Aug 22, 2021 rated it really liked it
*3.5 stars*
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
Jacqueleen ♡
Oct 21, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-mm, series
This was my first book by author Ana Ashley and I thought it was super cute. One of the reasons I love the Vinos and Veritas series so much is that it has introduced me to so many new to me authors. For example, we met Skyler in another book in the series where he was dating an MCs ex ( I hope I am remembering that correct). I liked how Skyler was portrayed, and his actions during the scene he was involved in led me to making sure I read this one. Voila, a new author to enjoy. Bonus: I get to ch ...more
Jul 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I loved diving back into the Vino & Veritas series. And this one in particular definitely made it as one of my favorites from the series so far. You can't help but love Judson and Skyler, the sweetest characters who deserve the happy ending with one another. Judson and Skyler have been friends since the day they were born. Literally. Their mothers met the day they gave birth at the hospital. They have been in one another's lives ever since. That is until the day after graduation. Where a misunde ...more
Aug 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: blog
I loved Sky and Jud so much!

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
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Play Book Tag: Stronghold by Ana Ashley - 3 stars 1 4 Oct 31, 2021 03:29PM  

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LGBT > Gay
See top shelves…
Ana was born in Portugal but has lived in the United Kingdom for so long, even her friends sometimes doubt if she really is Portuguese.

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

Other books in the series

Vino & Veritas (1 - 10 of 18 books)
  • Featherbed (Vino & Veritas, #1)
  • Heartscape (Vino & Veritas, #2)
  • Headstrong (Vino & Veritas, #3)
  • Undercover (Vino & Veritas, #4)
  • Aftermath (Vino & Veritas, #5)
  • Booklover (Vino & Veritas, #6)
  • Flipcup (Vino & Veritas, #7)
  • Hideaway (Vino & Veritas, #8)
  • Turnabout (Vino & Veritas, #9)
  • Unguarded (Vino & Veritas #10)

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