A Guest Review: Bonfires by Amy Lane

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Bonfires: by Amy Lane
Release Date: March 24th, 2017
Pages: 280 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon

Ten years ago Sheriff’s Deputy Aaron George lost his wife and moved to Colton, hoping growing up in a small town would be better for his children. He’s gotten to know his community, including Mr. Larkin, the bouncy, funny science teacher. But when Larx is dragged unwillingly into administration, he stops coaching the track team and starts running alone. Aaron—who thought life began and ended with his kids—is distracted by a glistening chest and a principal running on a dangerous road.

Larx has been living for his kids too—and for his students at Colton High. He’s not ready to be charmed by Aaron, but when they start running together, he comes to appreciate the deputy’s steadiness, humor, and complete understanding of Larx’s priorities. Children first, job second, his own interests a sad last.

It only takes one kiss for two men approaching fifty to start acting like teenagers in love, even amid all the responsibilities they shoulder. Then an act of violence puts their burgeoning relationship on hold. The adult responsibilities they’ve embraced are now instrumental in keeping their town from exploding. When things come to a head, they realize their newly forged family might be what keeps the world from spinning out of control.

 

three-stars

 

I was really excited when I read the blurb for this book. I am so tired of reading books about 20 year olds, and the idea that both MC’s were in their 40’s and were single parents really appealed to me. Unfortunately the story itself didn’t turn out to be what I was hoping for.

The story follows Aaron, a local police officer and Larx the local high school principal. Both have been married before and both have teenage children still at home. The two men have known each other in a casual way for years. They start running together each morning and their friendship soon turns into something romantic.

In addition to their romance, there is a murder mystery and a related side story about homophobia within the high school. This is where the story lost me. I went into this looking for a romance novel but found the romance was only a small part. More of the book was focused on the mystery and the town drama and I could not get into those parts at all. They just didn’t interest me.

The story itself was well written and I have no complaints about that aspect. It’s really one of those cases of “It’s not you, it’s me.” This wasn’t a bad book but it wasn’t what I wanted to read and therefore did not draw me in.

If you go into it knowing it is more mystery focused you might really enjoy it. I will say again, that I’m very happy the author did a book around older MC’s and I hope this is not a one off. I would love to see her go down this road again.

 

 

 

signature-fonts

About Amy Lane

Amy Lane has two kids in college, two gradeschoolers in soccer, two cats, and two Chi-who-whats at large. She lives in a crumbling crapmansion with most of the children and a bemused spouse. She also has too damned much yarn, a penchant for action adventure movies, and a need to know that somewhere in all the pain is a story of Wuv, Twu Wuv, which she continues to believe in to this day! She writes fantasy, urban fantasy, and m/m romance–and if you accidentally make eye contact, she’ll bore you to tears with why those three genres go together. She’ll also tell you that sacrifices, large and small, are worth the urge to write.

Lollipop, (Candy Man #3) by Amy Lane

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

LollipopLollipop by Amy Lane  Series: Candy Man
Release Date: January 25, 2016
Pages:  250 • Published by: Dreamspinner Press  Format: eARC
Purchase Links:  Dreamspinner •  Amazon • ARe

Ezra Kellerman flew across country to see if he had another chance with the man he let slip through his fingers. He didn’t. Rico has moved on, but he doesn’t just leave his ex high and dry. Instead, Rico entrusts his family and friends with Ezra’s care. Ezra, confused, hurt, and lost, clings to Rico’s cousin and his boyfriend as the lifelines they are—but their friend Miguel is another story.

Miguel Rodriguez had great plans and ambition—but a hearty dose of real life crushed those flat. When Miguel finds himself partially in charge of the befuddled, dreamy, healing Ezra, he’s pretty resentful at first. But Ezra’s placid nature and sincere wonder at the simple life Miguel has taken for granted begin to soften Miguel’s hardened shell. Miguel starts to notice that Ezra isn’t just amazingly sweet—he’s achingly beautiful as well. Suddenly Miguel is fending off every single man on the planet to give Ezra room to get over Rico—while fighting a burning suspicion that the best thing to help Ezra get over his broken heart is Miguel.

 

 

four-half-stars

Miguel was on the lookout for one more thing to make Ezra happy, one more thing to talk to him about, one more thing to keep their growing friendship alive and thriving.

Oh my goodness, my feelings were in happy sugary sweetness overdrive!!!! Amy Lane has made me happy, and I didn’t cry. Yes!!! I think this was my very first book by her and I didn’t shed a damn tear. Ha, you take that you Temptress of Tears & Angst!!! From the very beginning to the end I was in love with these two characters. I honestly think these might be my two favorite characters by her. Ezra is a doll, no a kitty cat that needs love! He broke my heart, but then pieced it together with his strength. Miguel surprised me, I didn’t expect this from him at all. Miguel needs to be put on the pedestal and I don’t say that often about characters.

This is book 3 in the Candy Man series, and best far the greatest all of all. I love Adam & Finn a tons, they are great together. Derek & Rico are okay as well. But this friends to lovers trope is beautifully done. Ezra has flown to Sacramento trying to get that old thing back in Rico, but unbeknownst to him Rico has moved on. Stuck on a lawn with nobody sees me Miguel and this is fate at it’s finest. I didn’t know how this was going to work out at all. Ezra seemed so shattered and broken, and I am so happy to see that he got to enjoy his life a little. He was extremely kind, and the littlest things made him smile. I think I was grinning from ear to ear. Seeing him with Miguel’s nieces & nephews had me awwing all over the place. His conversations with Therese was adorable as well. His life hasn’t been easy or his own’s for the longest that he hasn’t got a clue what he wants to do or who he wants to me. One thing for certain is Miguel is always going to watch his back. I think Ezra was meant to be for Miguel. He was just waiting around to find someone to need and keep him for a change. Miguel is the best. I understood him, it’s hard having a voice when you have 5 siblings. I enjoyed laid back Miguel a ton, but when jealous & possessive Miguel came out it was Muy Caliente. It was a different Miguel, an assertive Miguel.

Both guys are so good for one another confidence and ego. I think Amy Lane killed it with the dialogue between these two guys. You can see the love and devotion blossoming before our eyes. I highlighted so many good parts in this story. It’s my first favorite book of the new year! Well done.

And then Ezra simplified all of that, boiling it down to the one thing that was most important, and so so simple. “Love you, Miguel,” he panted against the bed. “Love me too?” Of course he did.

About Amy Lane

Amy Lane has two kids in college, two gradeschoolers in soccer, two cats, and two Chi-who-whats at large. She lives in a crumbling crapmansion with most of the children and a bemused spouse. She also has too damned much yarn, a penchant for action adventure movies, and a need to know that somewhere in all the pain is a story of Wuv, Twu Wuv, which she continues to believe in to this day! She writes fantasy, urban fantasy, and m/m romance–and if you accidentally make eye contact, she’ll bore you to tears with why those three genres go together. She’ll also tell you that sacrifices, large and small, are worth the urge to write.

Bitter Taffy (Candy Man #2) by Amy Lane

 

Bitter Taffy by Amy Lane  Series: Candy Man
Release Date: July 29, 2015
Pages:  199 • Published by: Dreamspinner Press  Format: eBook
Purchase Links:  Dreamspinner •  Amazon • ARe

A Candy Man Book

Rico Gonzalves-Macias didn’t expect to fall in love during his internship in New York—and he didn’t expect the boss’s son to out them both and get him fired either. When he returns to Sacramento stunned and heartbroken, he finds his cousin, Adam, and Adam’s boyfriend, Finn, haven’t just been house-sitting—they’ve made his once sterile apartment into a home.

When Adam gets him a job interview with the adorable, magnetic, practically perfect Derek Huston, Rico feels especially out of his depth. Derek makes it no secret that he wants Rico, but Rico is just starting to figure out that he’s a beginner at the really important stuff and doesn’t want to jump into anything with both feet.

Derek is a both-feet kind of guy. But he’s also made mistakes of his own and doesn’t want to pressure Rico into anything. Together they work to find a compromise between instant attraction and long-lasting love, and while they’re working, Rico gets a primer in why family isn’t always a bad idea. He needs to believe Derek can be his family before Derek’s formidable patience runs out—because even a practically perfect boyfriend is capable of being hurt.

 
 
three-stars

I really liked book one, but this one fell kinda flat to me. I get people families play a big role in their life, but to keep bringing it up as a catalyst for the entire story was nerve wracking! At times having Derek and Rico steadily bringing it up seemed like Adam was their child. I mean, Adam is doing great and I’m so happy that he is, but it got unbearable to see certain relationships sit at a stand still because of Adam, who I am sure would not be having this if he knew.

YAY, low angst from Amy Lane. I’m happy it was low angst, but did anyone else have a hard time trying to read between the lines? Damn, I felt like it was rainbows and kittens without making any kind of sense. Some of the dialogue was getting on my nerves because they were talking in circles. Another issue is that something of the characters sounded the same. It was literally like reading Derek’s point of view from different people’s name.

I liked Rico & Derek together. They fit really well together. Sure Derek came off kinda sexual harassment suit at the beginning, but I got over it. Finn!!! I love Finn, he is amazing. I liked that Rico came out to himself. He came to terms with his sexuality and being himself. His self discovery was nice, and he truly was happy with Derek. I’m looking forward to this next book.

About Amy Lane

Amy Lane has two kids in college, two gradeschoolers in soccer, two cats, and two Chi-who-whats at large. She lives in a crumbling crapmansion with most of the children and a bemused spouse. She also has too damned much yarn, a penchant for action adventure movies, and a need to know that somewhere in all the pain is a story of Wuv, Twu Wuv, which she continues to believe in to this day! She writes fantasy, urban fantasy, and m/m romance–and if you accidentally make eye contact, she’ll bore you to tears with why those three genres go together. She’ll also tell you that sacrifices, large and small, are worth the urge to write.

Beneath The Stain by Amy Lane

Beneath The Stain by Amy Laneon 2014-10-17
Pages: 350
AmazonB&N • (Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)
In a town as small as Tyson, CA, everybody knew the four brothers with the four different fathers—and their penchant for making good music when they weren't getting into trouble. For Mackey Sanders, playing in Outbreak Monkey with his brothers and their friends—especially Grant Adams—made Tyson bearable. But Grant has plans for getting Mackey and the Sanders boys out of Tyson, even if that means staying behind. Between the heartbreak of leaving Grant and the terrifying, glamorous life of rock stardom, Mackey is adrift and sinking fast. When he's hit rock bottom, Trav Ford shows up, courtesy of their record company and a producer who wants to see what Mackey can do if he doesn't flame out first. But cleaning up his act means coming clean about Grant, and that's not easy to do or say. Mackey might make it with Trav's help—but Trav's not sure he's going to survive falling in love with Mackey. Mackey James Sanders comes with a whole lot of messy, painful baggage, and law-and-order Trav doesn't do messy or painful. And just when Trav thinks they may have mastered every demon in Mackey's past, the biggest, baddest demon of all comes knocking.
four-stars

Beneath the StainBeneath the Stain by Amy Lane
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For the five people who wouldn’t tell me the end, I’m so mad at y’all.

So here’s the thing, I stay clear away from Amy Lane if I can help it. She is the bringer of angsty heartbreak. I barely deal with angst, and I know if I want to go through a box of kleenex then grab a A.L. novel and rock out. I’ve had this book since the series came out. I honestly don’t think I planned on reading it. Well I started reading, and I feel completely madly in love with Mackey & Grant. Ugh!!!! Why give me this greatness and take it away! Damn you Amy Lane! I went through so many levels of anger while I was reading this. It’s one thing for the story to be upsetting, it’s another for me to be crying for the last 20%. Oh man, her books need to come with some sort of warning.This book will leave you crying on the floor. Expect puddles of tears

We need a band of misfits in the beginning of the series. All the guys warmed a way in my heart. Stevie & Jefferson, I loved these two. I would really read a book about these two. I like the Kell that was at the end of the story. The mature Kell is a very sweet man. I even like Trav. I love Mackey & Grant. There was something so magical about these two. I didn’t see this love throughout the book except for these two.

Amy Lane was able to have all these wonderful backstories involving these guys. She was able to wove a thread between each guy. She was about to write realistic fiction surrounding these characters. It wasn’t just about the guys, it was about the people who brought them into this world who let them down. I want to RAGE at the whole town of Tyson California except Heather & The Music store owner. I am a sucker for hurt/comfort stories, she delivered on that front.

While, I enjoyed the story I might be in the minority on the relationship between Mackey & Trav. I didn’t like it, didn’t want it. It’s like you playing with your favorite toy and here comes Amy Lane taking it away, breaking it and giving you back this disfigured illusion of your perfect toy. That’s how I would describe what she did to my heart. I can’t give away the plot because it would ruin it. I’m not a happy camper at the end of this though. What about Mackey & Grant? What did they win?

About Amy Lane

Amy Lane has two kids in college, two gradeschoolers in soccer, two cats, and two Chi-who-whats at large. She lives in a crumbling crapmansion with most of the children and a bemused spouse. She also has too damned much yarn, a penchant for action adventure movies, and a need to know that somewhere in all the pain is a story of Wuv, Twu Wuv, which she continues to believe in to this day! She writes fantasy, urban fantasy, and m/m romance–and if you accidentally make eye contact, she’ll bore you to tears with why those three genres go together. She’ll also tell you that sacrifices, large and small, are worth the urge to write.

Beneath the Stain by Amy Lane

Beneath the Stain by Amy Laneon 2014-10-17
Pages: 350
AmazonNarrator: Nick J. Russo
(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)
In a town as small as Tyson, CA, everybody knew the four brothers with the four different fathers and their penchant for making good music when they weren't getting into trouble. For Mackey Sanders, playing in Outbreak Monkey with his brothers and their friends especially Grant Adams made Tyson bearable. But Grant has plans for getting Mackey and the Sanders boys out of Tyson, even if that means staying behind. Between the heartbreak of leaving Grant and the terrifying, glamorous life of rock stardom, Mackey is adrift and sinking fast. When he's hit rock bottom, Trav Ford shows up, courtesy of their record company and a producer who wants to see what Mackey can do if he doesn't flame out first. But cleaning up his act means coming clean about Grant, and that's not easy to do or say. Mackey might make it with Trav's help but Trav's not sure he's going to survive falling in love with Mackey. Mackey James Sanders comes with a whole lot of messy, painful baggage, and law-and-order Trav doesn't do messy or painful. And just when Trav thinks they may have mastered every demon in Mackey's past, the biggest, baddest demon of all comes knocking.
four-half-stars

Amy Lane is one of the best storytellers in the business and this was definitely one of her best work, if not the best. I felt engaged from the beginning to the end, but no runny mascara eyes this time. I love how Amy Lane (via Nick Russo the narrator) takes the reader on a journey with the characters from adolescent years to their time as grown men. It’s like the author is the driver, the character is the passenger, and I was in the back seat watching and listening. It was a quite a ride!

This story featured the Sanders brothers who formed a rock band with one of their childhood friends and named their band “Outbreak Monkey”. The youngest, 14 yr. old Mackey Sanders, was the band’s writer as well as their lead singer. Mackey had a crush on his oldest brother Kell’s best friend, 17 yr. old Grant Adams, the other member of the band but always thought Grant was straight. After one drunken night of mutual discovery, Mackey and Grant embarked on a secret affair. They told no one because Grant’s family was unaware of his orientation and they are very homophobic. Out of fear of incurring his father’s wrath, Grant drops out of the band and marries a girl, ending his relationship with Mackey.

Outbreak Monkey moves on to sign to a record label and achieve professional success. Meanwhile, Mackey personal life descends into depression and drug abuse. The record company brings in a new manager, clean up specialist Travis Ford, to get the Outbreak Monkey guys on point. Travis immediately set up on the task of helping Mackey reclaim his life starting with rehab. Under his care, Mackey and the Outbreak Monkey had to address their issues before they began to flourish again. The brothers and the band went from a fun time to living the rock-n-roll lifestyle to rediscovering their bond as a unit. This book took us through all those transitions whether they were happy or painful. After some healing, Travis and Mackey begin a relationship…and then the past comes knocking.

While I didn’t cry, this audiobook was angst –filled. Grant and Mackey had all that youthful passion and love that I couldn’t help but root for. Mackey and Travis had that adult relationship when you have seen a person at their lowest which I also found myself wishing would last. I thought, Amy Lane, what are you doing to me because I don’t know if Mackey can handle this?  The writing was poetic and smooth, and the characters were multi-layered. I found it hard for me to judge their mistakes because you could see why and how they could make those decisions. While Mackey was the central character, the supporting cast was equally essential to the story. Forgiveness and Support was big in the end. If you are looking for a book about love, second chances and character growth, then this one is for you.

Available at: Dreamspinner Publishing

*Special thanks to Dreamspinner Publishing for providing the audiobook.

About Amy Lane

Amy Lane has two kids in college, two gradeschoolers in soccer, two cats, and two Chi-who-whats at large. She lives in a crumbling crapmansion with most of the children and a bemused spouse. She also has too damned much yarn, a penchant for action adventure movies, and a need to know that somewhere in all the pain is a story of Wuv, Twu Wuv, which she continues to believe in to this day! She writes fantasy, urban fantasy, and m/m romance–and if you accidentally make eye contact, she’ll bore you to tears with why those three genres go together. She’ll also tell you that sacrifices, large and small, are worth the urge to write.

Ethan in Gold (Johnnies #3) by Amy Lane

Ethan in Gold (Johnnies #3) by Amy LaneSeries: Johnnies #3
on 2013-10-04
Pages: 350
AmazonNarrator: Sean Crisden
(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)
Johnnies: Book Three

Evan Costa learned from a very early age that there was no such thing as unconditional love and that it was better to settle for what you could get instead of expecting the world to give you what you need. As Ethan, porn model for Johnnies, he gets exactly what he wants—comradeship and physical contact on trade—and he is perfectly satisfied with that. He’s sure of it.

Jonah Stevens has spent most of his adult life helping to care for his sister and trying to keep his beleaguered family from fraying at the edges. He’s had very little time to work on his confidence or his body for that matter. When Jonah meets Ethan, he doesn’t see the hurt child or the shamelessly slutty porn star. He sees a funny, sexy, confident man who—against the odds—seems to like Jonah in spite of his very ordinary, but difficult, life.

Sensing a kindred spirit and a common interest, Ethan thinks a platonic friendship with Jonah won’t violate his fair trade rules of sex and touch, but Jonah has different ideas. Ethan’s pretty sure his choice of jobs has stripped away all hope of a real relationship, but Jonah wants the whole package—the sexy man, the vulnerable boy, the charming companion who works so hard to make other people happy. Jonah wants to prove that underneath the damage Ethan has lived with all his life, he’s still gold with promise and the ability to love.
four-stars

The timeline for this book matches with Dex’s book, right after Chase gets in the hospital.
What I always remembered about Ethan/Evan was that he needed “touch” so I was excited to jump into the book of the guy who needed lots of hugs & touches.

Ethan’s family life was as crappy as Chase & Dex’s life. Another reason that Johnnies because his make-shift family. Ethan was the “smart one”, the one who did well in school and was supposed to go to college. But right now, he is making movies.

I found his story to be so sad especially with the tattoos he used to label himself and keep people at bay. This whole time he craved physical touch, but he needed emotional touch just as much.
Jonah Stevens was a great match for him because Jonah was observant. His sister Millie’s illness had made them very aware of non-verbal communication and Jonah was able to see past Ethan’s aloofness.

I am glad that one of the Johnnies boys fell in love with a guy from a family who accepted their child’s boyfriend. Jonah’s family was really cool and I really enjoyed the love that they lavished on people. It will help Jonah and Ethan continue to grow and develop as they chart their lives together.

I must say that my tears this time had nothing to do with the two guys but was for the sister. Very touching and I was so sad for her. But the story was well written and another enjoyable installment in the series. I am anticipating the next book

About Amy Lane

Amy Lane has two kids in college, two gradeschoolers in soccer, two cats, and two Chi-who-whats at large. She lives in a crumbling crapmansion with most of the children and a bemused spouse. She also has too damned much yarn, a penchant for action adventure movies, and a need to know that somewhere in all the pain is a story of Wuv, Twu Wuv, which she continues to believe in to this day! She writes fantasy, urban fantasy, and m/m romance–and if you accidentally make eye contact, she’ll bore you to tears with why those three genres go together. She’ll also tell you that sacrifices, large and small, are worth the urge to write.