Tag Archives: author: amy lane

The Virgin Manny by Amy Lane

The Virgin Manny

The Virgin Manny by Amy Lane

Series: The Mannies, Book 1
Published by:
 Dreamspinner Press on January 1, 2017
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Tino Robbins has always worked hard to achieve his goals. He’s taken his education seriously, and he’s managed to balance working and attending college to keep himself on track. And it’s all about to pay off as he approaches graduation with a business degree and a trajectory for a bright future. But when he covers one evening for his sister’s dinner box delivery service, he finds himself bumped off that trajectory and not sure if he can get back on track. To blame? Channing Lowell, a charming and successful businessman who has just gained custody of his young nephew, Sammy, after his sister’s tragic passing. Tino’s quick connection with Sammy and ability to calm the chaos in the Lowell household after just a few minutes of being there leads Channing to make a lucrative proposition: if Tino will be Sammy’s manny for the summer, Channing will pay off Tino’s student loans and provide him with a glowing letter of recommendation, which should be enough for him to get a job anywhere. The offer seems too good to be true. And there’s also the fact that Tino’s not sure he could spend the entire summer living in the same house with Channing and hold not his virginity. But he also can’t help but question if that’s such a bad thing…

What an interesting cast of characters in this one! There is honestly quite a bit packed into these 228 pages, and it is interesting to watch the various characters–Tino, Channing, and Sammy for sure, but also some of the supporting cast–go through some major changes over the course of this book. Nothing seems forced, though, and as a reader, there was just enough reality laced into what many might see as a bit of a fantasy-type situation. How often does one just show up at a fancy house and get an offer like Channing’s? But as readers get to know him a bit better, it’s easy to understand why it doesn’t faze him much at all to make his proposition. Worth a read!

Chase in Shadow by Amy Lane

Chase in Shadow

Chase in Shadow by Amy Lane

Series: Johnnies, Book 2
Published by: Dreamspinner Press on February 23, 2012
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Chase Summers has put together the perfect life. His girlfriend, Mercy, is perfect. Their relationship is perfect. And yet, Chase isn’t happy. And his construction job isn’t paying what he needs to give Mercy the life she deserves. So when he learns of a gay-for-pay porn website that is hiring–and pays well–he actually decides to give it a shot. After all, it’s just for money, right?

When Chase meets Tommy Halloran, however, he has to admit that maybe he’s not quite as straight as his “gay-for-pay” resume indicates. Tommy is a fellow performer, and while they never perform together on camera, they fall quickly into a romantic and sexual relationship that seems like it might provide them both exactly what they need. But Chase and Tommy both have demons to face. And Chase doesn’t seem very willing to face his. He’ll have to, though, if he wants to make it out of both of his relationships alive…

This is heavy. Heavier than you might expect from reading the blurb. It’s not really angsty, but Chase is carrying some massive baggage with him that comes to a head in some pretty dramatic ways. But what’s really inspiring in this story is the way that friends come together for each other and support each other when they need it–even if they’ve made some not-so-intelligent decisions to get into the situation in the first place.

Content warning: discussions of suicide and attempted suicide

Mourning Heaven by Amy Lane

Mourning Heaven by Amy LaneTitle: Mourning Heaven
Author: Amy Lane
Published: September 7, 2012
Pages: 200
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Author Website: link
Rating: ★★★

Peter’s childhood was really a mixed bag. After ten years of traveling from town to town with his mother as she struggled to provide for them, she left him with his aunt and cousin in Daisy, California. While Daisy is a small town with “small town values”, Peter took some solace in his cousin, Michael, who he knew would always take care of him. And then there was Michael’s friend, Bodi, who treated Peter like a brother of his own. Although Michael’s relationship with Bodi (which turned out to be more than friendship) left Peter feeling a bit jealous, he was happy that the two of them had each other. But when a tragedy struck that left Bodi running from Daisy and Michael broken, Peter’s world changed. And then it changed again when Michael enlisted and left Peter with his distant and homophobic aunt. But now Michael is gone, and it’s time for Peter to take charge of his life. He needs to deliver the news to Bodi, and maybe, somewhere he can find a way to move on and move past a town that nearly destroyed the lives to three young men, the future of two families, and the memory of a young girl…

Amy Lane knows how to write those books that just hit you right in the gut. The raw emotion that she can invoke with words is one of the reasons I find myself coming back to her stories again and again. There’s a reality that one just cannot shake in the worlds that she creates–and this is no exception. The characters here are very well-developed and consistent, the world they live in is well-designed, and the plot itself is both interesting and well-paced. I read this in one sitting as I found it difficult to put it down.

That said, I did find the arguments that Bodi and Peter have to be rather tiresome. It’s basically the same thing over and over again in different words. While I understand, based on their personalities and circumstances, that is going to happen to an extent, there did come a point when I realized “well, they’re going to have this same argument in about 8 more pages…” The arguments between Peter and his aunt are similar in that they rehash the same things, but there is a progression and escalation that I didn’t really see between Bodi and Peter. But it works for the story overall, and I found it less bothersome as I finished the story and looked back at it as a whole than I did in the moment.

Definitely worth checking out if you like strong stories that pull at your heartstrings and make you ache for everyone involved…

Dex in Blue by Amy Lane

15832828Title: Dex in Blue (Johnnies, Book 1)
Author: Amy Lane
Published: October 1, 2012
Pages: 350
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher Website: link
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

David had a bright plan for his life, but that was all blown up after a tragic accident that took away the things that held the most meaning for him in his life. He found his way to California and reinvented himself as Dex, a top model for Johnnies, a porn company. He presents an image of normalcy to his coworkers, hiding the turmoil in his life that he’s never been able to resolve. But when one of his fellow models is kicked out of his home, Dex offers him a place to stay and soon discovers that they might just have more to offer each other than he thought at first glance.

This is the second book in a series, but I have not read the first one and had no problems following what was going on. It’s a largely self-contained story. The characters and story come across as very authentic and Amy Lane, as always, has written a story that it’s easy to get lost in while you’re reading. The emotions and complexity of the characters really shines through.

The only slight drawback I saw was that it probably could be just a bit shorter. There are a few places where I felt things dragged just a bit, but overall, it wasn’t enough to detract from my enjoyment of the story.

Clear Water by Amy Lane

12393029Title: Clear Water
Author: Amy Lane
Published: September 1, 2011
Pages: 230
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher Website: link
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Most people see Patrick Cleary and focus on the fact that he must live a privileged life. He has a rich father who can provide everything Patrick needs so Patrick doesn’t need to do too much for himself. But the truth is that he wants to. And he knows he can if someone can believe in him and he can find a way to believe in himself. Especially if that someone is not his boyfriend who has just left him for dead–until biologist Wes Keenan finds Patrick, saving him from danger, and offering him a space to sort things out and get himself together. But can Patrick be more than the screw-up his father and friends think he is? And what of this guy who has randomly shown up in his life doing more for him in one night than anyone else has his whole life?

This is an interesting, witty, and engaging read. Though one really should expect that from Amy Lane. The relationship dynamics here are really interesting and the layers that make up the plot are unexpected in a number of ways, too. I really enjoyed this. It’s sweet, hopeful, and just enough angst to give it some color.

Christmas Kitsch by Amy Lane

18591068Title: Christmas Kitsch
Author: Amy Lane
Published: December 9, 2013
Pages: 256
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Publisher Website: link
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Rusty Baker has led what many would think is a charmed life. Coming from an affluent family and being an integral part of the football team in high school, he never really wanted for anything. But when he becomes friends with Oliver Campbell, he quickly learns there is a lot in life that he may have been missing–including knowledge about who he is. With Oliver’s help, Rusty tries his hardest to continue down the path his family has set for him, but he struggles knowing it’s not really who he wants to be…and that what he truly wants out of life might just be to spend it with Oliver.

Another charming story from Amy Lane. I absolutely adored Oliver and he was a bit of a saint putting up with Rusty and being patient with him while he sorted everything out. As is the tendency with Ms. Lane’s novels, I felt like this ran a bit long and could have been paced a bit more quickly, but it’s still definitely worth a read.

Gambling Men: The Novel by Amy Lane

13594871Title: Gambling Men: The Novel
Author: Amy Lane
Published: May 7, 2012
Pages: 220
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher Website: link
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Quent and Jason are business partners who have been friends since their freshman year of college. Everything they’ve done has been based on Jason’s outlook that life is poker and he lives it like he’s in one constant game. But when one night they give in to passion, can they beat the odds and ensure their friendship-turned-romance is based on a winning hand.

I struggled with this one a bit. I know the poker metaphor is a large part of this book, but I feel like it overshadowed things quite a bit. I also felt like Jason’s personality was off-putting and a bit inconsistent at times–especially in terms of him being in control and possessive vs. indecisive with no real rhyme or reason that I could discern. Ultimately, though, it is a nice little romance and I did enjoy the dynamic between the two of them.

Keeping Promise Rock by Amy Lane

7544649Title: Keeping Promise Rock (Promises, Book 1)
Author: Amy Lane
Published: January 18, 2010
Pages: 332
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher Website: link
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Talk about a book that will totally put you through the ringer and have you wondering just what is going to happen right up to the end. This is the second book by Amy Lane that I’ve read, and I remain very impressed by her work (I have a friend who keeps recommending I read more, and I can see why he likes her work so much).

Crick and Deacon – the two of them are just incredible as characters, but all of the secondary characters are amazing, too. Ms. Lane has created an incredible and rich world here that left me laughing, crying, smiling, and worrying (mostly worrying, let’s face it). I can wait to learn more about it in the next book in the series.

Title: The Locker Room
Author: Amy Lane
Publication Date: April 22, 2011

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Long. Very long. Almost too long to tell this particular story.

Amy Lane packs quite a story into this book. We see Chris and Xander over a very long journey – both in terms of the number of yeas and the number of things that happen. It was easy to connect to these characters and the dynamic between the two of them is great.

There are points where things seem to drag a bit. There are also points where they jump around so much that I wasn’t sure that we’d transitioned to a new scene until something didn’t make sense anymore. And it was slightly frustrating to go on this whole journey and be left with that ending, but I can totally understand why it was left that way…