A MelanieM Review: Chasing Forever (This Time Forever #3) by Kelly Jensen

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Old wounds, new directions, and a forever worth chasing.

Malcolm Montgomery was a history teacher and track coach until an accident left him with two broken legs. He’ll recover, but life has knocked his feet out twice now. He’s not sure if he’s ready to try again, especially when it comes to love—and slick guys like Brian Kenway. Still, he needs help mentoring the school’s LGBTQ society, so he asks Brian to take some responsibility.

Brian has been hiding behind his reputation as a liar and a cheat for so long that he actually believes he’s that guy—until his nephew, Josh, turns up on his couch, tossed out for being gay. Brian has never considered being a father, but he knows all about being rejected by loved ones. Now Brian wants to be more: a partner for Mal and a role model for Josh.

But when Mal’s recovery is set back and the sad truth of Brian’s past is revealed, the forever they’ve been chasing seems even further from their grasps. It’ll take a rescue effort to revive their sense of worth and make Brian, Mal, and Josh into a family of their own.

If you haven’t found Kelly Jensen’s This Time Forever series, you seriously need to.  While each story uses a structure like a legacy home or lodge at its heart, it’s the author’s ability to create and bring to life a group of interlocked men of varying ages, often older than your usual contemporary romance, intelligent, each carrying more than their share of life’s baggage.  Some are easily more damaged than others, some emotionally, others physically, some both. Through the stories we’ve met several of the characters over and over through their complicated relationship dynamics with each other, as couples form and ex’s watch from the sidelines.

In Chasing Forever, one of those ex’s, Brian is someone we’ve “seen” through other characters perspectives and the view hasn’t been a pretty one.  Here Brian’s past is revealed, the truth of the man  peeled back, and he’s set on the path to redemption.  One reason? Mal “Malcolm” Montgomery, history teacher  and track coach who is trying to recover from a devastating hit and run accident.  Prior to the accident he was someone who defined himself by his physical ability…to run, to coach…to just do and now it’s a struggle to just walk.  In these two amazingly complicated and damaged men, Jensen brings about both redemption, recovery, hope, love, and, finally an emotionally triumphant future.  All done within a realistic, adult plot with the expectant struggles, arguments, and hurdles to overcome.  What a joy to read!

Threaded through this romance is the series foundation that features, in this case, not a family house or lodge but a bar that needs saving because the historic structure is slated to   be  sold to a developer in town.  This is an ongoing battle in this series, as the developer has made an appearance in a previous story and I expect to see them again  in future novels.  How it all plays out I will leave out to each reader to discover for themselves.  It too is a rich, multidimensional element of this story, just as I would have expected from someone who clearly loves her old structures as much as this author does.

In fact, there are several other floating storylines here that will capture your heart, along with the characters that go along with them.  There are no people here that I could honestly consider “supporting” cast because each feels so meaningful to the town and each other.

It’s like that with each and every story here.  For me they build on each other with their relationships, their place in the town, and in each other’s lives.  This is one series I would go around waving at people, recommending the hell out of it because it’s just that great.  Start with the first one and work your way here.  Get to know the town and its people.  Love them as I do.  Then you will know why I highly recommend this story, this series, and it’s author.  And do the same.

Cover Art:  Natasha Snow.  It matches the other novels in the series in style and element perfectly.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 333 pages
Published December 10th 2018 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN 139781626498426
Edition Language English

Series This Time Forever 

Building Forever

Renewing Forever

Chasing Forever

A MelanieM Review: Renewing Forever (This Time Forever #2) by Kelly Jensen

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Frankie and Tommy once dreamed of traveling the world together. But when seventeen-year-old Frank kissed Tom, their plans ended with a punch to the jaw and Frank leaving town without looking back. Thirty years later, Frank’s successful career as a journalist is interrupted by his uncle’s death and the question of his inheritance—the family resort where his childhood dreams were built. When he returns to the Pocono Mountains, however, he finds a dilapidated lodge and Tommy, the boy he never forgot.

Tom’s been keeping the resort together with spit and glue while caring for Frank’s uncle, Robert—a man he considered father, mentor, and friend—and his aged mother, who he refuses to leave behind. Now Robert is gone, taking Tom’s job with him. And Frank is on the doorstep, wanting to know why Tom is still there and why the old lodge is falling apart.

But before they can rebuild the resort, they’ll have to rebuild their friendship. Only then can they renew the forever they planned all those years ago

Kelly Jensen has another warmhearted winner of a contemporary romance in Renewing Forever, the second in her This Time Forever series.  This time, instead of a decades old one family home,  Jensen looks to frame her story around a family resort high in the Pocono Mountains that has seen better days and the men whose lives were and are grounded in its foundations and woods.

I’ve always felt that houses, especially older ones, have a life of their own, one made over years of habitation, wear, care, and the impressions of the people who have pressed their personalities and lives upon their structures, until they almost give off a feeling of their own when you enter them.  Fanciful notions?  Maybe.  But Kelly Jensen’s resort has the power to pull one man back and to keep one man safely  tied to the dreams it represents, past, present, and future.    And with her vivid descriptions and ability to create painful scenes of a  resort on the edge of heartbreaking neglect and foreclosure, she contrasts that with memories of a place brimming over with promise, joy, and, love.

In many ways, this is a novel that has layers of time,  past, present, and a flickering hope of the future that shrouded by a mystery.  What happened all those years ago that divided these men?  As the story climbs towards the answer, we get flashbacks to the their past, and each boys background and history.  Then we move forward to the present as they awkwardly deal with the fact that Frank now owns the resort that Tom has been living in and keeping together for all these years.

The men, their relationship, their friends, the dynamics between them all are all rendered realistically.  It’s complicated, as they say because of old romances and misec up feelings have a   way of playing havoc when trying to sort out a truth. Kelly Jensen gets that muddy nature of life, especially at a older age with more emotional baggage to haul around.

There’s plenty of angst, hurt/comfort here, the serious nature of homelessness to deal with, and issues of trust.  Not exactly a lighthearted romance but the depth of the issues is mirrored by the depth of the characterizations and setting.  It’s a conglomeration of narrative wonder.

I thought that ending was just about right for these two men, such a beautiful way to go into the future.

This Time Forever series has given us a remarkable home, a memorable resort, and what?  What is next in this series?  I can’t wait to  find out.

I highly recommend this story, this series, and yes, this author.  They are all amazing.

 

Cover art:  Natasha Snow.  I love this cover artist but honestly wish there was a little aging to this house.  It’s not how I pictured this resort in the Pocono Mountains surrounded by the  woods.  It does fit in with the branding of the series.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

 

Book Details:

ebook, 285 pages
Published November 12th 2018 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN 139781626498402
Edition Language English
Series This Time Forever

Building Forever

Renewing Forever

Chasing Forever

Kelly Jensen on Behind the Story and her new release ‘Renewing Forever (This Time Forever #2)’ (guest blog and giveaway)

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Renewing Forever (This Time Forever #2) by Kelly Jensen

Riptide Publishing
Cover Art: Natasha Snow

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Kelly Jensen here today talking about the inspiration behind her new release, Renewing Forever (This Time Forever #2). Welcome, Kelly.

✒︎

Behind the Book by Kelly Jensen

I’m known in author circles for being super organized. I have templates for my outlines, I spreadsheet my revisions, and often write 6000 word character histories. The support documents for every book are indexed and hyperlinked. The bulleting in my outlines often goes four levels deep.

And yet…

My big book of ideas is spread over several notebooks that live in different places throughout my house. That way, if inspiration strikes, I have paper close at hand—which sounds a lot better than I just have notebooks everywhere, in no particular order! The notebooks have snippets of dialogues, entire scenes, outlines, character notes, and plot ideas. And they’re all mixed in together without any sort of indexing.

I usually know which book to reach for (or go hunting for) when I want to look something up, though, and I never mind having to flip through the notes for other projects along the way. Sometimes another idea will catch me, and I can make more notes, or sometimes one of my ideas leaps off the page and says, “Write me!”

The ideas for Renewing Forever came from two different notebooks. One had a few notes about Frank, jotted down after a beta reader for Building Forever asked if Frank’s book would be next. I had no plans to write a series, but I wrote the idea down, anyway, and tucked it away.

In another notebook, I had a brief outline for a story about a guy who was “camping out” in a dilapidated resort. About five years ago, we took a road trip to New Orleans and stayed at a quaint family resort in Tennessee. The guy manning the desk had the most amazing accent—and he was very cute! I immediately got an idea for a story involving someone trying to revitalize a rundown family resort, and maybe facing challenges from a local developer who wanted the land.

I’m not quite sure how these two ideas got combined? I think it was mostly a matter of me hunting through my notebooks for a story idea that would suit Frank. I like using and combining ideas I already have—it gives me a sense of accomplishment to cross something off what is probably a never ending list.

I quickly decided to switch up the imagined roles: Frank would be the one to inherit the resort and he’d return “home” to find someone living in one of the guest cottages. Then I decided to complicate everything by giving Frankie and Tommy a shared history—one where they’d been each other’s best friend and first love.

What I didn’t realize while plotting was quite how emotional this book would be to write. I’m reasonably emotional anyway—for me, watching the television show “This Is Us” is like combining a wedding, a funeral, and the birth of a new baby every week. I’m always completely drained afterward! So I often get a little weepy (sometimes a little sobby) while writing my guys. This book wrecked me in a lot of ways. Tom’s self-sabotaging self-reliance (or hubris), and Frank’s longing. Oh my goodness, the longing. He never got over Tom and likely never would have.

What I also wanted to do with this book was write a character (Tom) whose bisexuality was integral and almost never discussed. I didn’t want this story to be about sexuality. I wanted it to be about rekindling lost love—and holding on to something you never really let go of.

After all of this, I devised relatively simple plot: should they or shouldn’t they renovate the resort? Really, the plot is just a reflection of the bigger question in this novel: should they or shouldn’t they repair their friendship and love? The obstacles to both are Tom’s inability to ask for help—and the fact he’s not so slowly sliding down the financial gurgler—and Frank’s dissatisfaction with his current career, and to a smaller extent, his feelings regarding his best friend, Simon, having found The One. Frank thinks he’s getting over a crush on Simon, and he is… sort of. What he’s really doing is mourning The One who got away. The one he let go.

So there is a lot of introspection and reevaluation going on, and in keeping with the themes of this series, scenes that highlight the importance of family (blood and found), friendships, and lots of more lighthearted moments where Frank and Tom explore small town happenings and decide whether or not they’re going to renew their forever.

I hope you enjoy Frank and Tom’s story. It’s not quite as upbeat as the one I wrote for Simon and Charlie, but all of my characters are different, and therefore they require different stories. I love the one I wrote for Frank and Tom. It’s one to cherish, and one that still makes me misty eyed, all these months later.

 

Renewing Forever is the second of a series of standalone novels focused on older characters who think love has passed them by. Frank and Tom’s story is a true second chance romance, reuniting childhood friends and first loves separated by an argument and thirty years of misunderstanding. I hope you enjoy reading about their renewed friendship and their plans for forever.

 

About Renewing Forever

A neglected resort, a lost chance at love, and one last chance to renew forever.

Frankie and Tommy once dreamed of traveling the world together. But when seventeen-year-old Frank kissed Tom, their plans ended with a punch to the jaw and Frank leaving town without looking back. Thirty years later, Frank’s successful career as a journalist is interrupted by his uncle’s death and the question of his inheritance—the family resort where his childhood dreams were built. When he returns to the Pocono Mountains, however, he finds a dilapidated lodge and Tommy, the boy he never forgot.

Tom’s been keeping the resort together with spit and glue while caring for Frank’s uncle, Robert—a man he considered father, mentor, and friend—and his aged mother, who he refuses to leave behind. Now Robert is gone, taking Tom’s job with him. And Frank is on the doorstep, wanting to know why Tom is still there and why the old lodge is falling apart.

But before they can rebuild the resort, they’ll have to rebuild their friendship. Only then can they renew the forever they planned all those years ago.

Now available from Riptide Publishing!

 

About the This Time Forever Series

Small towns and second chances.

Simon, Frank, and Brian think love has passed them by. Each is facing down his fiftieth birthday—Simon in a few years, Frank next year, and Brian soon enough. Each has loved and lost. But for these men, everything old really is new again, and it’s only when they return to their roots that they’ll find their second chances and the happily ever after they’ve been waiting their whole lives for.

This time it’s forever.

This series includes:

  1. Building Forever — releasing October 15, available now!
  2. Renewing Forever — releasing November 12, available for preorder!
  3. Chasing Forever — releasing December 10, available soon!

About Kelly Jensen

If aliens ever do land on Earth, Kelly will not be prepared, despite having read over a hundred stories about the apocalypse. Still, she will pack her precious books into a box and carry them with her as she strives to survive. It’s what bibliophiles do.

Kelly is the author of a number of novels, novellas, and short stories, including the Chaos Station series, cowritten with Jenn Burke. Some of what she writes is speculative in nature, but mostly it’s just about a guy losing his socks and/or burning dinner. Because life isn’t all conquering aliens and mountain peaks. Sometimes finding a happy ever after is all the adventure we need.

Connect with Kelly:

 


Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Renewing Forever one lucky person will win a $25 Riptide Publishing gift card and a swag pack of stickers, art cards, and bookmarks! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on November 17, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

In the Spotlight: Building Forever (This Time Forever #1) by Kelly Jensen (special excerpt and giveaway)

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Building Forever (This Time Forever #1) by Kelly Jensen
Riptide Publishing
Cover Art: Natasha Snow

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Kelly Jensen here today on on for Building Forever, a story we highly recommend. The author has   brought along a excerpt and giveaway for all to enter.  Check out both below.

Building Forever is the first in a series of standalone novels focused on older characters who think love has passed them by. I loved writing these second chance romances, and I hope you enjoy reading about the books—especially this one because Charlie and Simon will forever be the characters who started me on this journey.

 

About Building Forever

A new town, a new neighbor, and a new chance to build a forever.

Charlie King is doing fine. Sure, he’s a widower raising a teenage daughter who just got her first boyfriend, his book series isn’t writing itself, and he has a crush on his new neighbor — the guy next door. But everything’s just fine.

Simon Lynley is doing better. He moved to Bethlehem to fall out of love and rebuild his career. An affair with his neighbor isn’t part of the plan, but the attraction between them is too hard to ignore.

But when Simon’s ex follows him to Pennsylvania seeking reconciliation, and Charlie’s life starts to feel like a video on repeat, everything comes apart. Charlie worries that he’s failing as a father, and Simon is a distraction he can’t afford. Meanwhile Simon doesn’t know if he could survive being left again, and he hasn’t come all this way to make the same mistakes. But despite their fears, it’s only together that they’ll find the strength to slay old foes and build the forever they’ve been waiting for.

Now available from Riptide Publishing!

Building Forever Excerpt

Charlie’s daughter, Liv, is out on her first date, and Charlie is trying not to obsess over the fact that everything is changing. His daughter has met someone, Charlie has too—and he doesn’t know what to do with all his new anxieties or where to put them. Best friend Phil to the rescue! He and Phil head out for Chinese takeout and a little shopping and Phil does a lot of listening while Charlie struggles to come to terms with the changes in his life.

Everything Is Changing

Charlie followed the girl to a curtained alcove at the rear corner of the shop, accepted two different pairs to try, and pulled on the first. Stepping outside the curtain, he called to Phil, “What do you think?”

“They look like jeans.”

“Well, duh.”

“Why are you trying on clothes?”

“My old jeans are getting pretty, um, old.”

“Liv isn’t going to be coming in this direction, is she?”

“No. Banko’s is in the other way.” Someone had recently reopened the small local theater—and renamed it. Charlie could never remember the new name, though. “I just need new jeans.”

Charlie ducked back into the changing room. He studied himself in the mirror and admired the jeans. They made his legs seem longer and all of him more lean. He didn’t even have to suck in his gut, though that could have been all the jogging and projects around the house. As he turned to the side to inspect his profile, his thoughts wandered toward Simon again.

Would he notice the new jeans?

Did Charlie want him to?

“Here. I picked out some shirts for your updated wardrobe,” Phil called through the curtain.

“Uh-huh.”

Phil thrust a handful of material through the gap at the side. Charlie took the shirts and shook the first one out. It had Cute But Psycho printed across the front. “Very funny!” A muffled snort sounded from near the front of the shop. The second read: Sassy Since Birth.

“I think I see Liv!” Phil called.

Charlie dropped the shirts and scrambled for his own jeans, falling against the wall as he yanked them up his legs—over the pair he already had on. Shit. Tempting as it was to run, getting arrested for shoplifting would stick a wrench in his evening plans. Charlie pulled the new pair off and the old pair on. He pushed through the curtain with his fly half undone and nearly bowled Phil over. A laughing Phil.

“Just foolin’,” his new nemesis reported with an evil grin.

“Jesus.” Charlie melted back through the curtain and into the wall at the rear of the dressing room. He so wasn’t cut out to be the father of a teenager. Then there was this business with the jeans. What was he doing? Why was his life so weird all of a sudden?

“Everything okay in there?” Phil asked from outside the curtain.

Charlie drew it aside. “Yeah. I guess.”

“The jeans looked really good. Clean. Um . . . slimming.”

“Now you’re trying to distract me?”

“Is it working?”

“I dunno.”

Phil took the new jeans from Charlie’s hand. “C’mon, our food is probably ready.”

They paid for the jeans, collected their takeout, and turned back toward the beer store. By the time they got to the truck, Charlie felt drained. Not just empty, but as though he’d spent energy he didn’t have. He leaned against the side of the truck and closed his eyes.

“How are you doing?” Phil asked from his side of the truck.

Swallowing, Charlie shook his head.

Phil came around the back and stopped in front of Charlie. “Wherever you’re doing in that whacko brain of yours, stop. Okay?” Easier said than done. “Liv’s a good kid.” Phil delivered an encouraging shoulder squeeze.

“She was always a good kid. Thing is, she’s not a kid anymore, is she?”

“Don’t make me hug you on Broad Street.”

Charlie let go of something that might have been a whimper.

Phil put on a reassuring expression. “They’re always gonna be our little girls, man. Always. Even when they’re our age and we’re too old to even try for Maximum Overdrive.”

Charlie waved in the general direction of their heads. “Virtual reality. If we can think it, it will happen.”

“That’s kinda your problem.”

Charlie sighed. He wanted to tell Phil he was scared, but Phil already knew. “Everything’s changing,” he whispered instead.

He wasn’t sure Phil had heard him until his friend patted him on the shoulder. “Let’s go home.”

Charlie straightened his spine. He had to own this, whatever it was. The good and the bad. The jeans he could return tomorrow. Simon . . . Simon needed more thought. Liv, though, she was his, irrevocably, until the end of time, and he had no regrets there.

None.

But if he could have done things differently— No. Some things just couldn’t be changed. You had to own them. Fully.

 

About the This Time Forever Series

Small towns and second chances.

Simon, Frank, and Brian think love has passed them by. Each is facing down his fiftieth birthday—Simon in a few years, Frank next year, and Brian soon enough. Each has loved and lost. But for these men, everything old really is new again, and it’s only when they return to their roots that they’ll find their second chances and the happily ever after they’ve been waiting their whole lives for.

This time it’s forever.

This series includes:

  1. Building Forever — releasing October 15, available now!
  2. Renewing Forever — releasing November 12, available for preorder!
  3. Chasing Forever — releasing December 10, available soon!

About Kelly Jensen

If aliens ever do land on Earth, Kelly will not be prepared, despite having read over a hundred stories about the apocalypse. Still, she will pack her precious books into a box and carry them with her as she strives to survive. It’s what bibliophiles do.

Kelly is the author of a number of novels, novellas, and short stories, including the Chaos Station series, cowritten with Jenn Burke. Some of what she writes is speculative in nature, but mostly it’s just about a guy losing his socks and/or burning dinner. Because life isn’t all conquering aliens and mountain peaks. Sometimes finding a happy ever after is all the adventure we need.

Connect with Kelly:


Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Building Forever one lucky person will win a $25 Riptide Publishing gift card and a swag pack of stickers, art cards, and bookmarks! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 20, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

A MelanieM Review: Building Forever (This Time Forever #1) by Kelly Jensen

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Charlie King is doing fine. Sure, he’s a widower raising a teenage daughter who just got her first boyfriend, his book series isn’t writing itself, and he has a crush on his new neighbor — the guy next door. But everything’s just fine.

Simon Lynley is doing better. He moved to Bethlehem to fall out of love and rebuild his career. An affair with his neighbor isn’t part of the plan, but the attraction between them is too hard to ignore.

But when Simon’s ex follows him to Pennsylvania seeking reconciliation, and Charlie’s life starts to feel like a video on repeat, everything comes apart. Charlie worries that he’s failing as a father, and Simon is a distraction he can’t afford. Meanwhile Simon doesn’t know if he could survive being left again, and he hasn’t come all this way to make the same mistakes. But despite their fears, it’s only together that they’ll find the strength to slay old foes and build the forever they’ve been waiting for.

Building Forever (This Time Forever #1) by Kelly Jensen is one of those books to hug close to your heart.  Once finished I wanted to pick it up and start it all over again, lose myself in the richness of the relationships the author has created within.  It’s so easy to fall in love here.  To embrace the people and their lives.

Charlie and his daughter, Liv?  You can feel the truth of their lives, the pain of having lived through watching a beloved mother and wife dying of cancer and then her death, the void her loss has meant and the guilt for Charlie.  And the warmth Charlie exudes, the “realness” of that father/daughter relationship just jumps off the page at you until you almost are a part of their lives as well.

Simon is just a connectable.  Viable, human, hurting.  His chemistry with Charlie and his, unbelievably Charlie’s house (a character in its own right) is so vivid that I kept re-reading passages for the shear joy of them.  I loved these two men together.  Their conversations, the funny dialog.  Especially, Charlie’s conversations and Simon’s reactions to them.  Priceless!

But, of course, it’s so much more than that.  It’s Phil, it’s the dog, Liv, Justin, that house…it’s the whole of this story.  It’s every element that combines to bring a town, a family, and this couple together so memorably alive that your heart feels warm and happy and so not ready to see everyone go.  I wanted to stay, seated in their midst, ready for another story from Charlie, another chapter in their lives, their next step forward.  Their next anything….

Building Forever (This Time Forever #1) by Kelly Jensen is beautifully written with wonderful characters and a heartwarming story you will truly love.  Yes, I absolutely recommend it.

Cover art: Natasha Snow.  I love this artist’s work but that isn’t the house as I pictured it with greystone and slate roof which is a big fail seeing that it’s a huge part of the story.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 1st edition, 337 pages
Expected publication: October 15th 2018 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN139781626498389
Edition LanguageEnglish

Series This Time Forever #1