Friday, November 25, 2016

Release Day Reviews: Summer Lessons by Amy Lane

Release Day Reviews: Summer Lessons by Amy Lane

Title: Summer Lessons
Series: Winter Ball: Book Two
Author: Amy Lane
Release Date: November 25, 2016
Category: Contemporary, New Adult
Pages: 260

Mason Hayes’s love life has a long history of losers who don’t see that Mason’s heart is as deep and tender as his mouth is awkward. He wants kindness, he wants love—and he wants someone who thinks sex is as fantastic as he does. When Terry Jefferson first asks him out, Mason thinks it’s a fluke: Mason is too old, too boring, and too blurty to interest someone as young and hot as his friend’s soccer teammate.
The truth is much more painful: Mason and Terry are perfectly compatible, and they totally get each other. But Terry is still living with his toxic, suffocating parent and Mason doesn’t want to be a sugar daddy. Watching Terry struggle to find himself is a long lesson in patience, but Mason needs to trust that the end result will be worth it, because finally, he’s found a man worth sharing his heart with.

4 Stars! 

Mason seemed to have a lot going for him. Attractive, smart, nice with a good job and a super supportive family. However, he seemed to have the worst luck with men. From one bad boyfriend to the next, Mason begins to wonder why he's unable to find someone who will love him. After a particularly bad breakup, Mason moves with his brother Dane, who suffers bipolar disorder to Sacramento in order to be a much needed support system.

With a new job, a new home and a few new friends Mason meets Terry Jefferson on a recreational soccer team. Terry is younger, attractive and fun but, unfortunately, the man lives with his manipulative and cruel mother. Terry doesn't want to rock the boat when it comes to his mom so he insists he and Mason keep what's between them purely sexual and, of course, quiet. But he can't help his developing feelings for Mason. And soon it's pretty evident to everyone that there's something between them.

When Mason injures himself and Terry volunteers to take care of him going against his mother's admonishments, things begin to change. Terry and Mason are perfect together and Terry begins to really comprehend what he's missing by going along with his mother's machinations and manipulations. He finally starts thinking of ways he can gain his independence. With Mason's support, he sets a plan in motion and eventually he is able to finally be grown up and free.

Mason feels, however, that the only way Terry will ever be truly independent and feel like he's making his own way in the world is if he has a chance to be free. So with a heavy heart, he takes a step back and allows Terry to go off and enjoy what it means to be a real grownup. He, of course, makes it clear that when Terry knows what he wants he should let Mason know. But as more and more time passes Mason wonders if Terry will ever come back at all.

Ok, first let me start by saying I had mixed feelings about this story because I loved Mason, absolutely adored his adorkable personality and his loyalty and compassion. He's probably my favorite character in the entire series so far and if I could, I'd totally be his best friend. However, I couldn't stand Terry throughout most of the book. There were a few moments in there where I started to thaw towards him and then I'd get pissed at him again and hate him. Honestly, I don't think he deserves Mason and it kind of makes me mad.

I loved watching the dynamic between Mason and his brother Dane who is also a fun character that broke my heart more than once. These are two brothers that you can really tell have each other's backs and I loved that. I only wish we could've seen more of their mom because the beginning of the book had me laughing out loud. I may have to try spiking my Kool-aid with vodka sometime.

In obvious Amy Lane fashion, this book made me laugh, cry, scream and, of course, fan my face a bit. So do I recommend it? Yes! I just hope we have another story on the horizon about Dane and Carpenter because I really have to know what's going on with them.

*Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by Dreamspinner Press for my reading pleasure in hopes of an unbiased opinion, a review was not a requirement.*

*Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by Dreamspinner Press for my reading pleasure in hopes of an unbiased opinion, a review was not a requirement.*

Summer Lessons is Book 2 in Amy Lane's Winter Ball series. The characters overlap in both books in the series, so even though you could read this on its own, I think it would be more enjoyable if you read both books. 

Mason missed out on a relationship with Skip (Book 1), but he did gain a new group of friends. At one of Skip and Richie's parties, he met Terry. Terry is younger than him and still lives at home with his mother. Mason is unsure if Terry is even gay and feels like he's too old and boring for Terry. Terry is interested in Mason but can't be gay because his hateful mother would never allow it. He and Mason start spending time together whenever Terry is able to get time away from his controlling mother, until Terry gathers the strength to move on with his life without his mother. Mason stands beside him and helps him and then steps back and lets Terry figure out if Mason is what he wants.

I really liked Mason in Book 1 so I was happy to see him find love in this book. From the outside, Mason seems to lead a charmed life, but in this book we see the truth. He does have a good life but he also has to fight to keep his bipolar brother moving forward with his life. Mason has done well for himself, and unlike others in his position, recognizes that he didn't get his success without the help of others. And Mason has a filterless mouth. He tends to offend others when he opens his mouth, except the group of friends he's made, who like that he speaks his mind. Honestly, the story starts out with little stories from Mason's past and totally explains his mother's fondness for kool-aid and vodka. I thought it was hilarious and gave great insight into Mason.

Terry was raised by a single mom who has spent his life telling him she owes him for giving birth to him. He's pretty beaten down. As this story is told from Mason's POV, I don't feel that I know Terry as well but when provided the support, he's able to take control of his life and do what's best for himself. And, unlike what most people would do, he doesn't completely cut off contact with his mother once he gets away from her. I sympathized with Terry's situation but I really didn't like him for part of this book. He hit the jackpot with Mason and the fact that he didn't see that and needed to explore really ticked me off. He eventually proved himself worthy, but he's still lucky that Mason is so loyal to those he loves.

I really enjoy this group of people and look forward to reading more about them and more from Amy Lane!!

Rating: 4 stars

Winter Ball by Amy Lane

a Winter Ball novel
Through a miserable adolescence and a lonely adulthood, Skipper Keith has dreamed of nothing but family. The closest he gets is the rec league soccer team he coaches after work—and his star player and best friend, Richie Scoggins.
One brisk night in late October, a postpractice convo in Richie’s car turns into a sexual encounter neither of them expected—nor want to forget. Soon Skip and Richie are living for the weekends and their winter league soccer games—and the games they enjoy off the field. Through broken noses, holiday decorating, and the killer flu, they learn more about each other than they ever dreamed possible. Every new discovery takes them further beyond the boundaries of the soccer field and into the infinite possibilities of the best relationship of Skipper’s life.
Skipper can’t dream of a better family than Richie—but Richie’s got real family entanglements he can’t shake off. Skipper needs to convince Richie to stay with him beyond winter ball so the relationship they started on the field might become their happy future in real life!

Cover Artist: Anne Cain

3 Stars! 


What can I say about Skipper and Richie? Kind of awkward. I think a big part of my dislike for this book is that I honestly can not form an attractive picture in my head of either character. Even with descriptions, I can not begin to imagine what they look like, their mannerisms or how they speak. It made it virtually impossible to connect to them. On top of that, while I kind of liked Skip, I felt nothing for Richie. Talk about a let down when you feel nothing, not love nor hate not even like.

Also, I have to admit their relationship seemed to have been set to super warp speed because this was way past instalove/lust. These two seemingly straight men are sitting in a car talking about their failures with women and all of the sudden they're making out and exchanging orgasms and then tasting their release, umm no. This was not sexy, again, the word I felt while reading was: awkward. These men go from straight to gay within the blink of an eye. Jumping right into it sexually without a hesitation.

There is some angst about it, when it comes to Richie's psychotic trashy family who pretty much torment him about absolutely everything and treat him like a leper yet emotionally manipulate him into sticking around. Skip and Richie's fear of their teammates not wanting to be on a team with them if they know the two of them are sleeping together. All of that combined with Skip's emotional baggage from growing up with a father who walked out and an alcoholic mother who died while he was young, leads to Skips issues of wanting and needing a family yet being scared that he'll be abandoned again.

Overall, I just couldn't get into it. 

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