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Book Review: Ryan and Scott series, by Amy Lane

Phonebook - Amy Lane

Curious Phonebook - Amy Lane 2 Puppy, Car and Snow

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Book 1: Shirt

Polar opposites Scotty and Ryan’s love-at-first-sight romance should never have worked—but it has. Now the two lovers are welcoming Ryan’s parents into town to meet the love of their son’s life… until Ryan encounters technical difficulties with the world’s most common object. Can Scotty and Ryan’s relationship survive the tangle caused by one woven, oxford blue, button-down shirt?

Book 2: Phonebook

Stuck away from home on business, all Ryan can do is talk with his lover, Scott, on the phone. But the conservative Ryan finds no comfort in phone sex—he’s far too embarrassed. Fortunately, his playful lover has not only planned ahead, but he can think on his back as well. It turns out that the heart really is where good sex starts!

Book 3: Puppy, Car and Snow

Ryan’s entire life changed the night Scott surprised him in a bathroom at a party. Now Ryan’s soulless climb up the corporate ladder has stalled—but his quality life has become a whirlwind of laughter, joy and surprises, thanks to Scotty’s playful, gentle heart.
After three years together, they’re going to Ryan’s parents’ cabin to spend Christmas. Snowed in by the weather and locked under the icy glare of his mother’s disapproval, can Ryan show he has found the most profound happiness in the simplest of things?

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Book – Shirt (Ryan and Scott #1)

Author – Amy Lane

Star rating – ☆☆☆☆

No. of Pages – 25

Movie Potential – ☆☆☆☆☆ (No plot to speak of)

Ease of reading – easy to read, confusing POVs

Would I read it again – No.

Page 370 – 395: Curious? A Woman’s Introduction to Gay Romance.

WARNING: light, improvised bondage; spanking, first time bottoming.

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Ryan is kind of girly and immature. He reads like a teenager, though he claims Scott is younger than him. Scott is more forward. Flirty and honest, with only a hint of vulnerability in the end. Despite Ryan claiming that Scott is the sexually charged one and Ryan the together in life one of the pair, we see Ryan take equal charge and Scott seems the more sensible of the two.

It felt like there was this really big something missing. Chapter 1 should have been a Prologue, setting us up for the main story, which in Chapter 2 suddenly bounced through 2 paragraphs of the processes of a relationship, until these people who only met a chapter ago are now a serious couple, with no hint of why they like each other, other than a quick snog in a bathroom, at a party.

Colour me confused.

Then we find out halfway through Chapter 2 that they’ve only been together four months. Things just bounced way past “fast” and into “insta-” territory. It’s all very sudden, like the ultimate Gay For You, Insta-Love kind of moment. Four months? Four months together and they’re moved in, meeting each other parents and practically living a totally fully integrated life together? Huh. Then to use a phrase like “in the early days”? I’m sorry, but when you’re only into a relationship four months, you’re still IN the early days.

Ryan is someone who can’t date women, (in 2 months of a relationship he never went further than letting Tania’s hand down his pants) but he’s never thought of men either, and suddenly one sniff of Scott has him in a long term relationship, that we get to see nothing of. After just five minutes of being in the one room, acting like naughty schoolkids trying to hide during an adult party.

There’s no explanation of why he hasn’t been good with women or why he’s never thought about men. No explanation of being asexual or uninterested in sex and just faking being straight. Nothing. Then, suddenly, after that fateful sniff of Scott, he’s fully gay. Not bi or bicurious or anything. Just gay. With no explanation or even an attempt at one. It’s just “oh hey, I never knew I was gay”.

Oh, and I’m not a fan of one partner pushing physical intimacy onto another. And there’s no other way to explain Scott rimming Ryan, when he’s never (as far as we’ve been told) done it before and when Ryan’s already told him to shove off. No. Nopety nope. I don’t care how long they’ve been together or if it gets him aroused; Ryan says no, that is a sign for Scott to stop. At least ask permission before pouncing on your accidentally restrained boyfriend and shoving your tongue up his arse!

Also, how is it that Ryan can’t see, but he can tell the difference in sound between one drawer rummage and the next? Illogical!

There are quite a few flashbacks, that have missing full stops. It’s in these flashbacks that suddenly everything is supposed to make sense and we’re introduced to the “relationship” these two guys have with each other. FYI, two paragraphs of how quickly they’ve moved in together and a few sexual scenes do NOT make a relationship. It’s also a little annoying to have one sex scene interrupted to switch to another sex scene in a flashback. It made no sense and felt more like an attempt to drag the story out even longer.

And, frankly, I don’t like being told there’s a safe word after something has been done without consent. See that whole bondage, rimming part above. That whole scene would have made so much more sense if we knew about Turkey (safe word) first. Reading it before just made me angry with Scott for ploughing on ahead regardless, while Ryan protested.

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OVERALL

I didn’t get this story. At all. Maybe if it had been a full length novel or even twice the length, there would have been room for the characters to grow and actually be something other than a pair of jumped up hormonal kids playing around with BDSM. But that’s all it was, in the end.

Not enough character development (and it’s not the length that’s the issue, because I’ve seen it done). Not enough plot development. And I often had to re-read passages to tell if if it was Ryan’s POV or Scott’s, because that got confusing for a while. I like some plot with my hot, but this is just a bit of kink in 25 pages.

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Book – Phonebook (Ryan and Scott #2)

Author – Amy Lane

Star rating – ★★☆☆☆

No. of Pages – 30

Movie Potential – ☆☆☆☆

Ease of reading – much easier to read than book 1.

Would I read it again – No. Not enticing enough.

** I WAS GIVEN THIS BOOK, BY THE AUTHOR, IN RETURN FOR AN HONEST REVIEW **

Reviewed for Divine Magazine

WARNING: This is book 2 in a series. I say this, because the publisher page and the page/information I was given, when deciding whether to review this or not, didn’t tell me that. Book 1 is only available in the anthology: Curious? A Woman’s Introduction to Gay Romance.

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I came to this immediately after reading (and so not loving) the first book in the Ryan and Scott series. What was lacking in book 1 – a plot, namely, as well as character development – I got here. The characters of Ryan and Scott (the only characters this time around) were much better fleshed out and read like a real couple, rather than two guys who met and suddenly had a solid, permanent relationship after four months together.

The plot was good. It wasn’t great, since the story was still mainly about sex, but there was more of a plot here than book 1. There were some good one liners that made me smile, but I wouldn’t be outright laughing at them. There were some sweet moments, but again, not the kind of heart-warming stuff that you’d normally expect.

Generally, it was luke warm. If all three books had been a novel in chronological order, with more attention to detail and character development, these two characters could have given us a really great story. Unfortunately, their story has been chopped into short, hot snippets that leave no real room for tenderness or “love” in anything but the remotest form. The stories are sex, with a hint of plot thrown in for good measure, but never really reaching that evened out stage.

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Overall, it was a good short story. Not something I’d come back to, nothing something that is going to stay with me, but decent. I might even read the third story, which I wasn’t going to do after reading book 1. If you want a short set of books to read, with very light kink and a lot of sex, then this series will be right up your alley.

However – and this is a HUGE however – I feel cheated. The story ends at 69%. After that, we have 11 pages of adverts (cover and blurb) for another 5 Amy Lane books AND 4 pages of Amy Lane books in list form. This really ticks me off, because I was anticipating at least another 1-2 chapters of story, when I turned that last page. I wondered what it could be, since the story itself seemed tied up nicely. Then, WHAM!, it’s over and there’s another 30% of the book left.

If I’d bought this book, instead of being given an ARC to review, I would be very unhappy.

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Book – Puppy, Car and Snow (Ryan and Scott #3)

Author – Amy Lane

Star rating – ★★★☆☆

No. of Pages – 92

Movie Potential – ★★☆☆☆

Ease of reading – easy to read, but POV is still confusing

Would I read it again – Probably not.

The relationship is further on in this story, but there’s still the deep sense of dissatisfaction that the entire beginning of their relationship – the best part – was skimmed over and is only ever mentioned in short, sex-filled flashbacks. That doesn’t really change much in this one; not even one page in and we’re into a sex scene.

The difference here is that there’s a solid attempt at a plot. It’s not skimmed over or hinted at, but a full grown plot that, for the most part, works. The plot is Christmas themed, but also more about the progression of their relationship and the challenges it has faced. On the down side, this story acts as though the first two never happened. For some reason, we get an entire half page about how the two of them met, despite book 2 never really recapping the events of book 1 in any similar way. This way doesn’t work for me, either, because it’s more like an information dump than any kind of reminiscing that it could have been, over all the time they’ve had together.

Suddenly, despite the contrary being true in both previous stories, this one makes out that Ryan is the sexually dominant of the two. He’s also the strong buffer for awkward conversations, which was Scott’s role in both previous stories. This is also the first time we’ve been told that Scott can’t get it up during sex, which is a pretty important thing to know since both previous stories involved copious amounts of sex, so this should have come up before.

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Overall, this one reads more like a complete story, with a real plot and less sex (though they’re still a few scenes), but there are also times when it reads as though this is the only story of this couple. It recaps the previous stories in a non-interesting way, so that if I accidentally picked this one up first, I wouldn’t bother going looking to read the previous two. It also completely changed the dynamics of their relationship, turning things on their head, contradicting the previous stories and such.

For me, I’d say read this one and don’t bother so much with the previous two. All the important details are in this one and, if so inclined, you can read the other two as “fillers” for the hot snippets. Otherwise, this story says all you need to know about the characters and their story, without the lackluster sex filled shorts of the previous books.

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