Book Reviews

Fall Through Spring (Winter Ball 3) by Amy Lane at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Romance
Reviewed by Christy Duke on 27-December-2019

Book Blurb

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 Hayes.


Dane 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 years.


Dane is hoping for more 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?


Book Review

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 more 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!” ~ Clay

Clay 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.

“So you’re a slave to your body chemistry. What happens if you don’t take the meds?”
Dane closed his eyes. “Well, when it was really bad, I did a demolition job on my dorm room, and then my boyfriend’s house.”

It was impossible not to empathize with Dane. I have my own meds I take every day and even though I’m not bipolar, I still despise being regulated to having to take them. When Dane is on his meds he can be rational and understand his feelings, his insecurities, and his responsibilities. Unfortunately, when he misses dosages everything skyrockets and there’s a part of him that likes the intense highs. It’s why his schedule and routine are an absolute must. It’s why he’s thirty and lives with his older brother because when he’s stressed he forgets, and going to college to be a veterinarian is highly stressful.

“Because you are special to me, and I think I’m special to you. And I don’t want you to disappear because we hook up and suddenly you’re terrified you did or said something wrong. If I’m your friend, you know anything is forgivable. Being lovers is harder. Let’s get our shit sorted first.” ~ Clay

Before Clay and Dane became friends, I fell in love with Clay. How could I not? So many of his difficulties are ones I deal with as well. Watching him with Dane had me falling even harder for this gentle man with a sweet disposition and a soul so bright. It’s not that everything he said or did was always perfect, but maybe because of what he dealt with growing up, he tried really hard to always listen to Dane even when he was in a downward spiral.

‘Fall Through Spring’ completely exceeded my expectations and believe me, they can be pretty high. Now, if only I can convince the author to write Thomas and Cooper’s story. It could be done. Truly. Not much is known about them. Imagine where you could take me. Thank you, Amy, for this gorgeous love story. It’s definitely one-of-a-kind!





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Dreamspinner Press for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 225 pages/81404 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 03-December-2019
Price $6.99 ebook, $14.99 paperback
Buy Link