Fall Through Spring (Winter Ball, #3)

Fall Through Spring (Winter Ball, #3) A Winter Ball Novel As Far As Clay Carpenter Is Concerned, His Abusive Relationship With Food Is The Best Thing He S Got Going When A Good Friend Starts Kicking His Ass Into Gear, Clay Is Forced To Reexamine Everything He Learned About Food And Love And That S Right When He Meets Troubled Graduate Student, Dane HayesDane Hayes Doesn T Do The Whole Monogamy Thing, But The Minute He Meets Clay Carpenter, He S Doing The Friend Thing In Spades The Snarky, Scruffy Bastard Not Only Gets Dane S Wacky Sense Of Humor, He Also Accepts The Things Dane Can T Control Like The Bipolar Disorder Dane Has Been Trying To Manage For The Past Six YearsDane Is Hoping For Than Friendship, And Clay Is Looking At Him With Longing That Isn T Platonic They Re Both Positive They Re Bad At Relationships, But With The Help Of Forbidden Desserts And New Medication Regimens, They Prove Outstanding At Being With Each Other But Can They Turn Their Friendship Into The Love Neither Of Them Has Dared To Hope For 3.5 It took me ages to get through this book eight days to be exact, which is unheard of in my reading world This isn t a very long book, either, but for some reason it dragged for me Why I m not sure, but I ll try to muddle through an explanation I love Amy Lane, and that is no secret, but sometimes her stories sink under the weight of all that angst This was the case here Clay Carpenter has an eating disorder compulsive overeating , which is most definitely a thing Clay can never have just one cookie he eats the entire package Dane has biopolar disorder, first diagnosed six years prior His current meds aren t working, and Clay along with Dane s brother, Mason, MC from book 2 support Dane through a very rough mental breakdown.The romance is not at the forefront of this story Clay and Dane are friends first, friends who love each other, but only friends Clay has issues with anyone seeing him naked, and Dane doesn t trust that anyone will stay once they know about his special brand of crazy There is a lot of back and forth, a lot of arguing, a lot of inner drama frankly, it was exhausting Look, imperfect MCs are my preference I don t mind one iota that both men struggled with demons, but the story felt heavy, with not enough brightness This book overlaps with book 2, Mason and Terry s story I don t remember Dane and Clay being that present in the second book, but here we get constant updates on the state of Mason and Terry s relationship, which felt intrusive I strongly suggest you do NOT try to read this book as a standalone The MCs from the other books are VERY present, and the narrative of the story is busy enough even if you ve read the other books like I have Don t get me wrong in the end, I LIKED this story The slow burn is all kinds of delicious, and once the guys got going, they really got going Hot damn, but Clay s first time with a man was all kinds of juicy Dane really knows his way around a cock, and Clay most certainly benefits except when he freaks because Dane goes all porn star on him yeah, even the sex was fraught with complexities.The interactions with Clay s family felt super real Clay s mom meant well, but she was just so judgy, as was Clay s sister No wonder Clay ate his feelings Also, Dane giving Clay s sister a piece of his mind was fabulous The foil to Clay s family are Clay and Dane s friends their true family There s a lot of togetherness here and a big focus on making your own family, which, hell, yeah.I d consider the ending a HEA, even though everything is not all roses, and both men have ongoing struggles ahead, including Clay coming out to his family as bi We know it s not going to be EASY life never is , but it s going to be RIGHT. You know how sometimes you feel like you ll just die if you don t get a follow up story for a previous side character And sometimes, you just don t Well, this was kinda the latter for me.In the previous books, Clay seemed like a nice enough guy, but he was sort of the green bean casserole at Thanksgiving dinner for me Sure, he was there , but he didn t end up taking up much space on my interest plate.However, as this story began, I didn t actually like him very much He was unhappy, ate his feelings, and didn t seem to want to take much ownership in the situation where he had actively put himself I mean, two degrees in fields in which he had no interest Dude Really No wonder you re miserable.Dane s character was much fun and likeable Even if he was prone to severe mood swings, due to his bipolar diagnosis, at least he was trying to be happy and putting in the work to improve his overall satisfaction with life.I did like how the MC s were able to mellow one another out and be happier together than apart, no matter what life threw their way, which was quite a bit.The drama here came on two fronts, First, from Dane and his chosen family helping him get to a good place with his mental illness, then second in the form of Clay s pretentious, judgy family.My favorite part of the story was where Dane called out Clay s perfect , can do no wrong sister and her kids I wanted to be a fly on that wall so bad But overall, the story didn t totally excite me and I wasn t sad to finish it, so I d rate it at around 3.25 stars.As a side note, I really was hoping to see Clay reconnect with his estranged childhood friend, Jordyn, only as friends, because that unresolved hurt kept bugging me like a stray cookie crumb stuck in Clay s beard Oh well, missed opportunity felt missed My ARC copy of the book was provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.See All My Latest Reads Review Quick Links The Winter Ball series is in my top two Amy Lane series I love these characters These are books I ve read and listened to and re listened to, seriously, if you have the coin grab them on audio they re spectacular multiple times.But Fall Through Spring, which I was ridiculously excited to read, was an emotionally exhausting read without the emotional payout in hurt comfort Amy Lane usually provides For me, it was missing so much of the humor and underlying hope, or je ne sais quoi, that the last two books had, and I m so sad because Clay and Dane were the two characters I was really, really looking forward to getting their romance We do get to see their relationship unfold, but I would have liked the parts explained in exposition to have been filled in and given me something .I love these characters and I don t know why, but something did not click for me while reading it This was a real emotional rollercoaster and it drained me so much I had to keep putting it down and finding something upbeat or funny to stare at for a while before picking it back up.Maybe I tried reading it at a bad time, or was in a mood I don t know If Nick revives his role and narrates the audio, I ll pick it up and give it another try in audio format.Dual POV hurt comfort romance with some angst, the good kind of UST, some humor, sexy times later in the story, and a HFN happy ending with strong potential for the future Advanced Review Galley copy of Fall Through Spring provided by Dreamspinner Press in exchange of an honest review.This review has been cross posted to Gay Book Reviews. You know that friend the one who s just always there when you need them I m sure we ve all met or maybe we are that person..the friendthe quiet, steadfast friend who s there when they re needed No, they re probably not the person who draws a crowd at parties or comes up with the crazy wild ideas for fun They may not even get noticed much at events but when everyone else has gone home they re the one who s still there helping you clean up even though they were the one who arrived early to help you set things up for the party to begin with, they re the friend who drives you home after you ve had one to many when the gang s out on the town, they make sure you get into your home safely They re not the star of the party or even your knight in shining armor but they re just like you and Ithey re someone who s looking for lovethis is Clay Carpenter.Clay s been here since the beginning and I think most of us saw him as Skipper s best friend and we never really gave him a lot of consideration beyond that He was nice and dependable and really in the history of romance have there ever been two words solidly connected to the kiss of death when it comes to love than nice dependable I think notthat is unless your name s Dane Hayes Dane s done hot, attractive, sexy, exciting, yadda, yadda, yaddahe knows what those words mean or at least he knows what those words mean for him For Dane they mean sh t s getting real, so it s been nice and I m outta here Dane s bipolar so sometimes his world goes sideways really fast and the only thing he s ever been able to depend on is his familyhis parents and his brother Mason He s accepted this But Dane s like Claythey can say what they want but the truth is their hearts want someone to love, someone to call their own.I loved Skipper and Ritchie and Mason and Terry were truly adorable but I felt a connection to Clay and Dane that I just didn t with the others Clay may be the silent, dependable, steadfast friend but that s not all that he is and Dane sees that Dane truly sees him He sees all that s good and honorable about Clay but he also sees his faults and insecurities right along with what makes Clay one incredibly sexy and attractive man in his eyeshe sees Clay the real Clay and Clay does the same for Dane Their relationship is grounded in a love and appreciation of the whole person flaws and all and as the story unfolds we are shown this on than one occasion.Most of Clay and Dane s story runs parallel to that of Mason and Terry so there s definite overlap but we ve given different perspectives of a lot of events and while some things may have seemed familiar I never found that anything felt repetitive or boring However, I would have probably liked it if there d been a bit of post getting back together Mason and Terry shared with usbut truly it wasn t their story so that s me being greedyagain.I loved how Clay and Dane fit togetherit was neither seamless, nor effortless but it was real and worked at, so hard by both of these men It as a happy ending that was very much deserved I don t know if there s in store for us from the lives of these men but if there is I ll certainly be happy to find out what comes next An ARC of Fall Through Spring was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 3.5 stars for me After reading the first two books in the Winter Ball series, I was eagerly looking forward to getting Carpenter and Dane s story, since we saw the beginnings of their relationship so much from different POVs in the previous book However, even though this was their book, I felt like there was still so much focus on Mason and Terry and there were SO many hurdles that they had to get through, it was a bit of a struggle to get to that HEA It s like, what I imagined their story being like in my head while I was reading book 2, was not what Amy Lane saw for their story and so it wasn t what I actually read Dane struggles daily with his bipolar disorder, and the highs and lows and medications that come with that Then he meets Clay Carpenter, who struggles daily with food and his weight and weight gain and his own self image These two have so many things against them also including that Clay doesn t see himself as wanting or having a boyfriend that I knew in the 2nd book that they would have an angsty road ahead But there was something in this story that kept me from feeling that still a bit of lightheartedness like I did in the previous books There was so much back and forth, there was like adisconnect between wanting them for me as a reader, and I don t know how to really explain it I definitely recommend you read this series in order, and I know many many people will enjoy this one just as much as the previous ones For me, however, Winter Ball will remain my favorite in the series I look forward to what Amy Lane has in store for us next And I pray she has a publishing home to do so in 2020 I received an arc in exchange for an honest review. This was a very hard book for me to read It made me look at my own life and what I had to deal with with my ex Only he refused to get help And it s like looking in a mirror as well as I struggle with what Clay does Being constantly nitpicked about your weight It was hard and I m not going to lie, I cried like a baby during the whole thing It s hard to see the bad parts of your life in a book and wish there was hope at the end like there is here But that s the good thing about this book and about others out there There are happier endings Life is never perfect Especially when dealing with mental illnesses or people that constantly mentally berate you But you have to learn to live for you And that was one good message in this book Well, several actually Support teams and family are who you make it And if you can t be healthy for you, and are trying to be for someone else, it will never work.With Clay dealing with his food addictions due to some of his back history, and Dane dealing with severe bipolar disorder, when the two met, the sparks were there on both sides, but both had lots of baggage and things they had to overcome in order to move things to the next level Plus Clay had to finally accept that he really was a bisexual person and not be ashamed or hide that part of himself These two struggled in this book, through lots of ups and downs with food, and meds that weren t working or stress overloads that caused Dane to forget to take them It was hell on their friendship mental wise Because both were putting themselves in very vulnerable positions with each other But the support system was there They weren t giving up on each other, even if they stayed friends forever It was hard as hell But with both wanting , they both knew they had to get in the right mindset to be able to do so But could they do that and it last Even thinking about this book, writing this, I still am crying It s a hard story and Amy, as usual, pulls no punches She doesn t hold anything back and I m glad to see it Bipolar and food addictions, mental disorders and the such are no joke They rip people s lives apart and when they have no support system, it s worse Even with a support system, it can be bad, because some people just can t deal with it The constant ups and downs But what I loved with Clay and Dane is even during the shittiest parts of what they were dealing with, they gave each other hope for each other They bonded and even if it just meant talking each other down they were there in a heartbeat for each other And that made things so much harder and easier It s a heavy burden to take on sometimes, but when you truly care for someone, you care and love all the parts of them And I loved Clay for standing up and saying that to several people You don t get to pick and choose the bad and good parts You love someone wholly or not at all And Clay was in all the way Even Dane in his way He just had to get a little clearer headed to see it.You will definitely need tissues with this book But again, Amy does not disappoint She pulls no punches and tells it like it is and I love her for it Thank you Amy, for another masterpiece.http lovebytesreviews.com Oy vey This might be a very unpopular review because a lot of readers love Amy Lane As do I But I did not love this book My all time favorite MM romance, Beneath the Stain, was written by Amy, which makes it all the difficult to say that Fall Through Spring was painfully boring I was quite looking forward to reading about main characters with bipolar disorder and overeating weight issues I have close family members with both conditions and I think Amy did a very good job portraying the realities of both this is the one area where the book excelled The upswing, crashes, depression, irresponsibility, forgetting or refusing to take medication, feeling dependent on drugs that make your life bland, hyper sexuality, and an inability to function are all accurate features of bipolar I m most pleased with how Amy characterized bipolar as having a far reaching effect on the sufferer s loved ones the way it did Dane s brother Mason, his friend boyfriend Carpenter, his parents, and other friends The patience and devotion Mason and Carpenter exhibited for Dane was remarkable I don t think he could ve survived without it I m living at home at thirty I mean, I m living with my brother, but that s because my parents are getting older and I m exhausting them If I didn t have these people in my life, I d be in a care center, or homeless I know this Clay I know this Carpenter s battle with food issues was likewise handled well, showing how his weight problem was always on his mind, all day, every day Food was his obsession Clay Alexander Carpenter was the first to admit it his first love was a chocolate chip cookie the chocolate chip cookie never let him down.He fretted over what he could eat, if he had to exercise, if his clothes fit and did they look okay, and his family harping on his weight Amy mentioned the eight different sizes of clothing in his closet and that body image was always on Carpenter s mind Like Dane, he also had a solid support system in his best friend Skipper and Skipper s boyfriend, Richie, and Dane, who all helped him make better food choices Skipper, Richie, and Mason were all very likable, compelling characters, and starred in books one and two of this series , whereas the MCs were not, and therein lies the problem with Fall Through Spring The book has no plot, which is fine I enjoy character driven stories But you need interesting, well developed, captivating main characters and on this Amy did not deliver Carpenter and Dane were mundane, both insecure, and Dane was whiny and broody I was not invested in either The secondary characters were much enjoyable Something I found to be odd is that Fall Through Spring runs concurrently with book two in the series They are on the same timeline, and cover many of the same events, but are told in different points of view There are even some of the same lines in both books.I first considered DNFing somewhere around 20% It was so slooow and boring and got confusing with extraneous stories about soccer buddies It drove me crazy how Amy switched between calling Carpenter by both his last name and first name, Clay, sometimes in the same sentence By 80%, the pace had yet to pick up, the story didn t get interesting, and the whining and insecurity became pervasive I was skimming everything, even the sex which felt inorganic to me The urge to bail was overpowering but I figured I could push through the last 20%.The book ended on a positive note with Dane realizing Mason needed him, too through a break up , and Skip and Richie needed him when he helped them with house projects It was so important for Dane to feel useful Having people mattered Having people made you a better person.The best I can say is that the book portrays bipolar disorder and overeating admirably, and the book is inoffensive, just interminable I still love Any Lane and will read her future books this was just not for me, and I do not recommend it This review has been cross posted at Gay Book Reviews. 3.5I like this book I just did not love it I think I expected from Dane and Clay They were cute and all, but they did not wow me I liked seeing them both grow and share their insecurities and try to help each other Clay broke my heart when seeing his toxic relationship with food, which stemmed from his childhoods I loved seeing him gore as Danes genuine Desiree and love for him became clear Seeing Dane battle his bipolar and anxiety was tough but well worth it I enjoyed this story, however Mason and Jefferson are still my favourites, and their book is still the best in my opinion. I never dreamed that Amy Lane would write Dane and Clay s story I hoped Oh yes But I didn t believe she would mainly because their story coincided, on a timeline anyway, with Mason and Terry s in Summer Lessons There is than one reason why I m so happy and grateful that she did write their story Dane isn t the first of Ms Lane s characters to struggle with mental health issues, but he is the first that I truly grasped the full extent of his battle Dane was the friend and companion Carpenter had always dreamed about And Dane was fragile Carpenter had to make sure Dane didn t death spiral in his own head But he had to do that while he made sure he didn t eat a dozen donuts a day because he was stressing about Dane s internal death spiral, and dammit, he wasn t strong enough to do this and he really wanted some fucking donuts ClayClay Carpenter has been around since the first book, Winter Ball , as he works in the IT department with Skipper and he, somehow against his will, ended up playing on their rec league soccer team Or as he always refers to it, the church of holy soccer Clay wasn t exactly thrilled in the beginning, but anything he can do to try and exercise while watching what he eats can only be a good thing Because while Dane fights his body chemistry, Clay has his own war he deals with the one against using food as a way to feel better about himself and eating all of his negative emotions I wanted to hate his parents and his sister but I just couldn t They re not horrible people They didn t abuse him They just didn t listen but he never really spoke up Clay views his family as perfect and himself as far less than A viewpoint I could intimately relate to Please find my full review at Rainbow Book Reviews 4.5 starsTalk about angston top of angst I think I read in Amy s blurb, or somewhere, everyone deserves to be loved and OMG, never a truer statement has been made These characters make you love them, want to strangle them and even shed tears for them..Such an emotional roller coaster of emotions Recommended