Friday, March 24, 2017

Release Day Review ~ Bonfires by Amy Lane (Giveaway)

Release Day Review ~ Bonfires by Amy Lane

Title: Bonfires
Author: Amy Lane

Release Date: March 24, 2017

Category: Contemporary

Pages: 280

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 Lark 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.

5 Stars! 

Maybe I'm biased but I absolutely adore Amy Lane and I loved Bonfires. It was nice to read a story with slightly older main characters who had older children and more established lives. I was able to connect with both Larx who I loved and Aaron who I fell head over heels for. We also meet a great cast of secondary characters who made the story more than just an overly sweet acquaintance/friends to lovers story.

Aaron is a deputy for the local sheriff's office in the town of Colton. Widowed, with two daughters in college and a son in high school, he's finding himself finally ready to make a move on Larx, principal of the High School. His hesitation at anyone knowing he's bi has held him back but after 10 years of his wife being gone, it's time to start living for more than his kids and his job.

Larx is pleasantly surprised when the Deputy asks to run with him in the mornings. While the two men had spoken and Larx knew his children well, the two men were never really more than friendly acquaintances. Running with Aaron though becomes a favorite part of Larx's hectic day. When he and Aaron begin a mutual flirtation it throws him for a loop. He had no idea that Aaron might be interested but now that he knows he's nervous and excited at the chance to get to know him better. They are taking things very slow, neither are out and there is no point in making waves if nothing will come of it.

As Aaron and Larx work on getting to know each other better, the town of Colton is hit with vicious homophobia, attempted murder, and the discovery of an unidentifiable body in the lake all while Lark faces troubled students and their deplorable parents and his job is called into question. Aaron is working tiredly to find a murderer and be there for Larx all the while the town has no clue that the Deputy and the Principal are falling in love.

Both Aaron and Larx are easy to like characters. They're both down to earth and real and they have awesome chemistry. Great individually or as a couple, it was easy to picture them making their mixed family actually work.

Their kids with the exception of one (who I truly did not like even though she's only in the story briefly) are supportive and have great heads on their shoulders. I loved seeing the men interact with them and how everyone kind of meshed and balanced one another out. I wouldn't mind seeing them later down the road to get a glimpse at how they all fit.

I liked the other couple in the story as well and while they didn't fare as well as Aaron and Larx, I see a possible story of their own that I hope Ms. Lane might write. I have a feeling it'll break my heart but I'll love it all the same. It'll also give us a chance to hopefully see more of Larx and Aaron.

I totally recommend Bonfires. This is a great read that's hard to put down. Sexy and sweet. funny and sad. With a bit of murder mystery thrown in it well 
worth it.

*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.*

When Aaron's wife died, he moved his children to a smaller town and devoted himself to them and the town as a sheriff's deputy. His two older daughters are in college, and his son is getting close to graduation, allowing Aaron time to consider about what he wants. But he also has to consider what will happen to him if he's to come out in his small town. He's always known he was bisexual, but he met his wife in college and that was it for him. Now, he can't help but notice Larx.

Larx is a single dad, a principal, and Aaron's kid's favorite science teacher. Larx was married to a woman, but realized he was gay. His marriage ended and his ex wanted nothing to do with their children. To give themselves a fresh start, Larx moved his kids to the small town and took a job as the science teacher. He loved his job but when the school needed a new principal, he was forced into taking the job and he found himself the authority. Aaron has spent his whole life as a rebel, "giving it to the man", but now he's "the man".

Aaron finally works up the courage, and an excuse to talk to Larx and ends up arranging for them to run every morning together. But having a relationship isn't going to be easy for these two public figures in a small town.

There were so many characters in this story that I loved. The MC's were in their late 40's and didn't have perfect bodies. I loved that they were so concerned about their bodies, especially when they were showing it to the other. This book felt like such a real life story which just added to the depth of feelings. I absolutely loved Aaron's love of his late wife. He made no apologies or excuses for it, and you knew that had his wife not died, that they would still be married and none of this story would happen. And, Larx's marriage did not end amicably but there was no bad-mouthing his ex-wife.

I went into this book expecting the romance, but had no idea about the other elements of the book (I know, duh), but there's a very well-done mystery involved. Honestly, I guessed the outcomes of all of it, but that doesn't take away from my thoughts about the mystery. The bullying that happened in the school and the actions of one particular board member are something so typical of a small town and that made this story so real. This entire book was just fantastic and so well-written! I would love to have more of these characters, though! I'd love to see Aaron and Larx settled into their life, without all the pressures they were facing. And, I'd love to see more of other characters introduced.

Rating:  5+++++++++ stars

4 Stars! 

A little slow and confusing to get going, but a decent tale. 

This isn't strictly a romance that focuses on the romance aspect solely; the leads in this tale are mature adult males and they have pasts, lives, kids and responsibilities, all of which make their way into the tale. 

It's a decent read, one filled with openness, with lots of talking about pasts and a hoped-for future, with an actual storyline beyond the (background-ish) romance, with some intrigue, and it ends with the starts of a new future for the leads. 

Why can't I elaborate on it? If I did, I'd end up spoiling the tale, as it's made up of lots of tiny things, day-to-day things, ordinary things, all of which contribute to the guys' lives and community, as well as some moments of...intrigue, machinations, finding out who your friends are. It's worth a read, but it isn't your average MM romance. 

ARC courtesy of Dreamspinner Press and Bayou Book Junkie, for my reading pleasure.

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  1. I like reading book with older men as main characters as much as younger men or mix between the two. I'm greedy like that! *grin*

  2. I enjoy reading books with older MCs. They have different concerns and issues. Plus, there aren't as many books with them it seems, so it's refreshing to read them.

  3. I enjoy reading them. They have totally different concerns and issues.

  4. Yep. I enjoy reading them. They're more mature & more prudent on making decisions that's why I like them. <3

  5. Yes, I like reading about the different issues people have when they are older and also their reactions are generally more inline with how I would react.

  6. Congrats and thanks for the post. The book sounds great. And yes, I do enjoy older romancers, being one myself. I like YA/NA, but find the older romancers have more maturity and life experiences that I can relate to as well. - Purple Reader
    TheWrote [at] aol [dot [com]

  7. Congrats on the new release, Amy. I do read YA/NA, but I enjoy reading about older men more. The life experience, bad and good, give the stories depth.
    I love a bit of suspense in a story, but for me romance should be the most important.
    One of the authors I haven't read yet is Devon McCormack.
    tankie44 at gmail dot com

  8. I enjoy the love story in general..age doesn't matter

  9. I do like reading stories with older MCs because it's when they're closer to my age it's easier for me to relate to them than if they're my son's age.

  10. Congratulations on your new release Amy and I think it's great to have older MC's and one of my favourite tropes is "Second Chance Love" And Why? well Why not!

  11. Congrats on the new release!
    I like coming of age and older guys books but I prefer others.

  12. I do prefer older guys -- maybe because I feel like I can relate to them better than I do with YA/NA. I often find myself impatient with the young love / emotion. So if I have to choose, definitely older men :)

  13. For me it depends. I can for 5-10 years but it gets a bit weird to me for anything over that range. I'm not kicking it for those who prefer it just doesn't work for me.

  14. Congrats and thanks for the post. The book sounds great. I do like a story to go beyond the romance. Mind you, I like the romantic part, but if it's not just about that, it adds a little bit more of reality - whether it be a mystery, adventure, or life itself. - Purple Reader,
    TheWrote [at] aol [dot] com