Marc reviews ‘Racing For the Sun’ by Amy Lane. Published by Dreamspinner Press on April 25th, 2013, 260 Pages.
Audiobook published on July 17th, 2014, narrated by Nick J. Russo, Length: 8 Hours and 24 minutes
CLICK ON THE COVER TO BUY THE AUDIO OR EBOOK VERSION
“I’ll do anything.”
Staff Sergeant Jasper “Ace” Atchison takes one look at Private Sonny Daye and knows that every word on paper about him is pure, unadulterated bullshit. But Sonny is desperate, and although Ace isn’t going to take him up on his offer of “anything,” that doesn’t mean he isn’t tempted.
Instead, Ace takes Sonny under his wing, protecting him when they’re in the service and making plans with him when they get out. Together, they’re going to own a garage and build race cars and make their fortune hurtling faster than light across the desert. Together, they’re going to rewrite the past, make Sonny Daye a whole and happy person, and put the ghosts in Ace’s heart to rest.
But not even Sonny can build a car fast enough to escape the ghosts of the past. When Sonny’s ghosts drive them down and run their plans off the road, Ace finds out exactly what he’s made of. Maybe Sonny was the one to promise Ace anything, but there is nothing under the sun Ace won’t do to keep Sonny safe from harm.
A free review copy of this audiobook was provided by Dreamspinner Press in exchange for an honest review.
The cover models are sexy in an interesting way and I love the tattoos. The eBook and print cover has the car as well, which really helps readers to see that it is about actual racing, even before they read the blurb.
Racing, references actual racing in this title and the sun directly paints the mental image of a happy end. A nice title 😉
The narration of this book is pretty damn awesome. It has one of the most authentic-sounding accents I have heard in audiobooks yet. Well, I am not an expert on accents from different regions, but I do realize when an accent is really bad and to me this one seems really good. The audiobook adds a lot to the book. I could not imagine or listen to such a voice in my head, so listening to a professional narrator who does a pretty damn nice job is a fantastic way to feel part of the story that plays somewhere else. It feels like I am right there and I really enjoyed it 😉
Okay, so this story seems to be a love it or hate it story from my favorite author. Fans are really split. I am kind of between those two camps. I strongly like it, the story was captivating, the narration awesome, but it is not a personal favorite among the many Amy Lane books I’ve read and listened to.
The style seems very different, which is great. I love when authors show different facets. It does change the way the story flows, though. The way the story is narrated is different. The kind of main characters in this story are different. The relationship they have with each other and secondary characters is different from any dynamic I have read in an Amy Lane book before.
I really enjoyed how different it felt though. Even if you have a favorite food, favorite thing to do, … you can’t just always eat that, do that or at some point you will come to reproach it or can’t see it as something special anymore. Variety is important and from the very start this story is different.
It begins with the end. Well, a small snippet from the end that while containing spoilers for the story, doesn’t spoil anything from the story, because it’s so taken out of its context that the reader can’t actually do anything with it. It takes you right into a story that hasn’t happened yet, and while it is confusing and you won’t know what’s going on – I had a big WTF-moment – you WANT TO FIND OUT.
That’s the important thing, Readers know from the beginning the stakes are high, something serious will happen. I’m not the biggest fan of this tactic, whether used in TV Shows, books or movies. Personally, I always want to stay with the most current story thread and not go back to the past, if we are already in the future. It goes against my natural inclination- though I admit that it can be very effective. I’m not sure how effective it was here for me, by the point the timelines caught up I had forgotten exactly how it began, because what happened was so out of context in the beginning that I had nothing to hold on to – but It showed me from the beginning that it was different and I had to take my expectations, stomp on them, leave them in the dust and just trust Amy knew what she was doing and roll with it.
So I closed my eyes and trusted her. I was not disappointed! Have I ever been?
The story of Ace and Sonny begins in the military. As you will have read in the blurb, Sonny offers to do anything, which confused me a bit and I didn’t understand it fully until later. however, Ace, takes care of him, which seemed important in the confusion and craziness of war. War is never pretty and that is plain to see in the story. The one thing that helped the two hold it together is Sonny’s dream of racing, which soon becomes a common dream for both of them.
I must admit, for me the dream never seemed tangible or real, so I was a bit surprised how it all came together. It seemed to have meant more to the characters than to me. They didn’t say empty words to distract themselves from the ugliness of war, every word held real meaning and promise.
Promises that didn’t loose their power, even as the years went buy and many relationships would not have survived. The war has broken them and forged new men out of the broken pieces. Edgier, at times cutting. Not the same as they were before, but then neither of them had a normal’ life even before the war. It forged a bond between them and their dreams become real.
It was interesting to see them realize this dream, something I knew nothing about. That seemed exotic to me.
The fact that Ace knows there is something weird in Sonny’s past is forever looming over the story, especially knowing that the whole thing will end in a crazy mess from the very beginning of the novel.
Before they get to the big revelations and things really start to happen, their relationship changes as they realize that they are more than friends. They need each other. Not just in the ‘need-to-be-close-to-you’ way, but in a very co-dependent, screwed-up kind of way that reminded me a bit of the characters in Mary Calmes’ ‘Mine’. Yet, however ‘weird’ the kind of love they have is, they are there for each other and that makes it beautiful.
Sonny did not lie, when he said he would do anything for Ace, but it turns out Ace is quite willing to do the same. Quite effectively and without remorse. There is something cold and shiver-inducing and at the same time very romantic about this. A confusing dichotomy ❤
And this is where I stop. No more about the story, you need to discover Ace’s heartbreaking story yourselves, meet the quirky and quite interesting secondary characters, feel the adrenaline of the race, of the chase of the kill – before Sonny and Ace can find their HEA.
Well, perhaps rather HFN, considering that I’m pretty sure there will be a follow up 😉
I think the important thing to do before reading or listening to this story is to let go of your expectations. They will likely not be met, this is not the kind of story you are used to from the author. But if you open yourself up to it, this will be an unforgettable ride. Sonny and Ace will linger and the story will make you think about morality and love and what you would be willing to do for those you love. What you are capable of.
8.5 out of 10 pots of gold
Enjoy an exclusive excerpt of ‘Racing for the Sun’ selected by Amy Lane ❤
“What’s in here?” I asked, pulling out streamers and balloons and, at the bottom, cookies and a big thing of Kool-Aid with a plastic pitcher.
“It’s for opening day,” Alba said like I hadn’t even interrupted her. “Mommy wants to say thank you for making me not a whore and all, so here you go. The cookies are for opening day. You should have snacks. So’s the Kool-Aid. I’ll buy ice in the morning. You should get an ice machine, you know? All the other garages have them. And a soda machine. But you just starting. I told Mommy that.”
I felt a burning behind my eyes. “This is real nice,” I said, smiling hesitantly. A part of me wondered if she’d be this warm if she knew the things I wanted from my partner at the garage—Latin culture ain’t big on faggots, I knew that. But that’s not what I said. “Uhm, Alba, your mommy knows we’re gonna be street racing, right? I mean, we’re not totally legit.”
Alba laughed again and scattered some Spanish over at her mom, who shot it right back like little language BBs. “Yeah, she knows. She said it’s how my uncle Manny sent his kids to college.”
I perked up and looked at Sonny. “You think she could give us Manny’s number? We need some more gigs to race!”
Sonny was still smelling the casserole, his eyes closed. “You… you all don’t want any of this, right?” he asked, and I expected him to wrap his arms around the glass dish greedily. “I mean, this is all for us, right?”
Alba laughed again. She was a pretty girl, was gonna have a big rack like her mom when she got older, even though she was slim with youth and determined diet, and she looked better laughing than she had with all the crap on her face, that was for sure. “Yeah. You’re funny. You act like no mommy ever cooked for you before.”
Sonny’s face went very, very still, and for a moment, I expected him to throw the casserole down on the ground.
“It’s always a treat when one does,” I said seriously. Alba looked at me, her face flushed, unhappy, and I felt bad for her. She was a kid. She had no way of knowing that when we’re kids and we think all the adults around us are fucked in the head, very often they are just doing their best. She had no way of knowing that her stocky mother, who didn’t want her to be a whore, was a real good mother, and that some people, like Sonny, apparently, hadn’t known one that good.
“Tell your mom thank you,” Sonny said, his voice as formal as he could make it. He looked at the foil-wrapped casserole dish forlornly like it had held such promise, and now it was tainted.
“Yeah, seriously.” I looked over at Mrs. Rodriguez and said, “Gracias,” hesitantly, smiling and hoping she’d see that was the only Spanish I knew.
She spoke to Alba then, her words hissing like cold rain on hot tin, and Alba looked up and smiled, her discomfort falling away. “She says you two need mommies. And she says she’ll give your number to Manny, and he’ll be in touch.”
I smiled and Sonny nodded soberly. “Tell her thank you again,” I said, and then, remembering my mom and all the times she’d tried to tell us about manners, I lowered my voice and spoke to Alba. “Thank- you card, right? Maybe some flowers?”
Alba nodded seriously and then sent a shy look at her mother, who was regarding us with impassive patience. “You can’t tell, but Mommy likes flowers.”
With that, they got back into the car and left. I put the bag of decorations and stuff in the office, and grabbed the food to keep in the house, leaving Sonny to close the garage bay door. We were going to work on the Ford some more that night, but the rest of the garage was good to go in the morning.
I washed up and dished up the casserole as soon as I got into the house and turned on the swamp coolers and fans, and Sonny came in, washed up, and sat at the counter next to me.
He fretted for a minute with his food before taking a bite and closing his eyes to savor. He’d looked this one up—potatochips, cheese, pimentos, mayonnaise, chicken, and sour cream—it seemed so easy, but every bite was a little taste of fat-laden heaven.
When he’d swallowed, he said, “I’m glad you said that, about the racing. I woulda felt like a cheat if I’d ate her food and she hadn’t known that.”
“Yeah,” I said, taking my own bite. “We need to order more stock for the garage.”
“We’ll see how much business we get,” he said. “After we win our first pot, I’ll order again.”
I looked at him, smiling a little. Sonny didn’t seem to know much about his place in the world, but this, this he knew. “You are awfully damned confident about winning that pot.”
He shrugged. “When we get her back together, she’ll fuck the road like a pro.”
I choked on my chicken casserole. “God, Sonny, the things you say. Cars fucking roads, you fucking jackrabbits—I’mserious. The shit that gets action when you open your mouth—”
It was his turn to choke on his chicken, and this time he started giggling and couldn’t stop. I realized what I’d said and was suddenly torn between the swelling in my groin and my fantasy of getting some action with my dick in his open mouth, and laughing with him like a twelve-year-old because I so seldom heard him laugh.
I opted for the laughter in the end, chuckling, and before we were done, we’d managed to talk about choking on chicken and making it dirty, as well as jackrabbits fucking roads.
It was good to let loose like that. When we finished (and managed to eat the rest of our dinner too), we were too relaxed and sleepy to work on the car, and we had time. So we decided to shower and go to sleep after a little bit of television, which was good, because we had a big day in the morning.
After we turned off the TV, as I stood up and started making up the futon, Sonny stopped on his way to his room.
“Thanks,” he said, his eyes darting nervously toward his room. “For what?”
Racing for the Sun |
“I asked for you to get time off, and you did. And I like having you home at night. Thanks for doing this for me, Ace. For making the garage to race, and then making sure it’s a good garage and doing what we need to race. I don’t… I couldna done another two years in the army, and I don’t think I woulda done half so good when I got back if you hadn’t… I dunno. Taken my stupid dream and run with it.”
I blushed—I knew he could see it—and was suddenly glad I’d gone for laughter over lust. “I’d do about anything for you, Sonny. I hope you know that.”
He looked at me and moistened his lips, parting his mouth a little, his gray eyes big and limpid in the light from the lamp. Right then I was back to that day at report, and the way he’d looked at me, all suggestion, and said, “I’ll do anything.”
The words hung between us, and for a minute my heart beat hard, like an eagle’s wings at hummingbird speed, and my flush grew worse, popped into sweat on my forehead, and I suddenly knew, in a way I’d never had before, what want meant, and why it was dangerous and greedy and huge.
Sonny swallowed, for a moment looking twenty instead of forty like he usually did, and gazed at me helplessly.
“I don’t know if you’d do what I need,” he said at last and disappeared into his room.
I made up the futon and lay down, pulling the sheet up so I could close my eyes and think of those eyes and that mouth, and stroke my cock until I came, muffling my noise behind my hand.
Any time, Sonny. I’d do anything.
Amy Lane has four children, two cats, a love starved Chi-who-what, a crumbling mortgage and an indulgent spouse. She also has too damned much yarn, a penchant for action adventure movies, and a need to know that somewhere in all the pain is a story of Wuv, Twu Wuv, which she continues to believe in to this day! She writes fantasy, urban fantasy, and m/m romance–and if you give her enough diet coke and chocolate, she’ll bore you to tears with why those three genres go together. She’ll also tell you that sacrifices, large and small, are worth the urge to write.