Johnnies: Book Three
Evan Costa learned from a very early age that there was no such thing as unconditional love and that it was better to settle for what you could get instead of expecting the world to give you what you need. As Ethan, porn model for Johnnies, he gets exactly what he wants - comradeship and physical contact on trade -and he is perfectly satisfied with that. He's sure of it.
Jonah Stevens has spent most of his adult life helping to care for his sister and trying to keep his beleaguered family from fraying at the edges. He's had very little time to work on his confidence or his body for that matter. When Jonah meets Ethan, he doesn't see the hurt child or the shamelessly slutty porn star. He sees a funny, sexy, confident man who-against the odds-seems to like Jonah in spite of his very ordinary, but difficult, life.
Sensing a kindred spirit and a common interest, Ethan thinks a platonic friendship with Jonah won't violate his fair trade rules of sex and touch, but Jonah has different ideas. Ethan's pretty sure his choice of jobs has stripped away all hope of a real relationship, but Jonah wants the whole package-the sexy man, the vulnerable boy, the charming companion who works so hard to make other people happy. Jonah wants to prove that underneath the damage Ethan has lived with all his life, he's still gold with promise and the ability to love.
©2013 Amy Lane (P)2014 Dreamspinner Press
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"Reviewed for Prism Book Alliance"
When the Johnnies series first come out I can still clearly remember reading Chase Shadow and being left with the feeling that my heart had been torn out with all the hurt. If somebody asked me to give one word to describe Amy Lane it would undoubtedly be ANGST. She is the absolute master of it!! Ethans book is also full of angst but not in the all consuming way that Chases was.
At the start of this book we find out that Ethan has been abused at school, as a 5 year old, by the bad man with him ‘bamboo’. At first he is supported by his family but those feelings quickly change when they pull away and his mother stops touching him altogether. Whether in fear, stupidity or ignorance the pain this causes Ethan and the effects it will have on his life are devastating and life changing, even more so than the original abuse
Ethan craves touch and I mean CRAVES. He reminded me of a big puppy as he grew up, always trying to do the right thing, to please everybody around him, just so people would touch his arm or tousle his hair. His family fail him completely in this respect; he has a failed attempt at a sexual experience with another boy which leads to more confusion and pain and for a while settles in a relationship with a girlfriend. Although not what he wants deep down he is finally being touched, skin on skin and it settles him.
After leaving his family he finds a way of getting the touch he needs in abundance. He becomes Ethan, a porn star. He has unconsciously built a new family around himself and the men in his life, his co-stars, recognise the need in him to be touched and petted and look after him well. Two years into this new life he meets Jonah who will rock his world and change everything.
Jonah has no experience of the world Ethan lives in. His is a twenty something year old virgin whose life revolves around work, home and looking after his dying sister. He may be the inexperienced one in the relationship but he has an uncanny way of reading Ethan and knowing what he needs. Slowly h e ingratiates himself into Ethans world and shows strength and maturity when the secrets start to come out.
Even though Ethan is its own story it runs at the same time and therefore alongside Chase and Dex. There are events that happen that you will recognise from both the previous books. To get the most out of the stories and understand the characters I think it is imperative that you read all the books in order.
Ethan and Jonah are great together but there is very little romance. Back to Amy Lane, if I would describe her writing with the word angst then I would describe her characters in this series as broken. Oh boy do they all have issues. The drama that surrounds this small group would be overwhelming in real life but somehow it still seems very real. There is no fluff. They might get their happy endings but the woman makes them bleed for it!
I thoroughly enjoyed my second visit to the Johnnies characters. I you haven’t read this series all I would ask is. Why not?
Looking through the number of audio books that Sean Crisden has narrated it is obvious he is a popular choice. From recent experience I have discovered that you need to listen to each book individually. Where you may not like a narration of one book by a person you may end up loving the next. Sean was near perfect for Ethan. For nearly 11 hours I listened as his voice flowed through the story clearly. He didn’t make the sex scenes sound ‘squicky’ and he portrayed each of the characters as I imagined them in my head.
"Good story. Couldn't get past the narration."
The story was good. Happiness, sadness, growing up, some juicy, explicit scenes. I just could not listen to the narrator on this one.
It was good to learn Ethan's backstory. The writing was great, as usual, and the storyline wasn't a cookie-cutter copy of the other books in the series.
I couldn't get past the narration, especially of one of the main characters. The 22 year old sounded like a constipated 7 yr old.
The story was good. It explained Ethan's behavior that we learned about in previous books. I also liked seeing the other johnnies from an outsider's point of view.
I bought the kindle version and enjoyed the story.
"Love this series"
Sean Crisden is the best narrator and wonderful throughout this series
Ethan, love his character. His story is heartbreaking and heartwarming all at once. It made him who he is and I love him, love all the Johnnies'
Yes, any chance I get, Perfect
The scene when he Ethan comes on to his high school friend and he freaks out! Heartbreaking...
Great series, this is not my favorite of the series, but I still love it, Love this whole series, worth every penny. I have read and reread this series, Now I have listened to it as well.
"Another good book in a series"
A nice continuation of the plot Amy Lane started in this series of books. If you're reading the series, don't miss this one. Worthy of a credit.
"Johnnies with a twist of virgin."
Amy will break your heart for sure with this installment of Johnnies, but it's not Ethan and Jonah that will do it. (Be prepared to bawl) Ethan has "Skin Hunger" and the guys from Johnnies know how to help him with that, but he meets and likes Jonah who, while being older is still a virgin, and has nothing to do with Johnnies. You first get Ethan's back story, and why he has "Skin Hunger"; then the story becomes current to Chase in Shadows & Dex in Blue. As a parting shot - you will finally get to know the sex of Chase & Tommy's child.
Johnnies is by far my favorite Amy Lane series.
""Good-Touching" story of porn star/molested child"
At 10 hours and 46 minutes this is currently one of the longest audio-books in my library but is consistently interesting and will probably be re-read at least annually over the next few years. At its heart this is a feel-good story of a guy who's healing.
Sean Crisden who does his usual commendable job of differentiating the large cast of male voices and manages to portray women's voices without the teeth-grating sweetness that some narrators use. But for me his portrayal of Kane is my favorite.
Hell take em all. They'd be a hoot!
Evan Costa disclosed to his mother at 5 years old that he'd been molested and while his mother got him the therapy he needed, she was forever changed. Their traditional Italian family became a frigid no-touching zone and Ethan's damage became the entire family's damage. At eighteen, away at college, and driven by his overwhelming need for human contact, Evan becomes Ethan, a porn star with Johnnies, where he can get the human contact he needs... though the "forbidden" nature of the business causes him shame, perhaps adding to the residue from his earlier experience.
Two years into his "career", when Ethan meets Jonah Stevens the two are drawn together. Yet how can Ethan confess to, or expect Jonah to accept, what he does for a living? Adding to this drama are Jonah's own problems with separated parents and a sister with a terminal illness.
Yes, everyone has their problems and Amy Lane's characters more than most and yet for the most part this is a story of good people managing through trying times. This is the third in the series so it should be no surprise by now that for the most part, all parties get their happy endings. As the third part of the series, there are no real surprises but we do get to discover some details that weren't apparent before, gain some additional perspectives, and we get to spend time with the friends we made in earlier books.
"Very emotional and intense read. Classic Amy Lane!"
Emotional, Intense, Sexy.
Chase in Shadow, book 1 in this series. Both books are difficult to get through in a way, subject matter and content is intense, but so well written and then conveyed by Sean Crisden that it is worth it in the end.
Ethan/Evan... I love his vulnerability.
Hide the razor blades
Evan Costa was a happy little boy with a loving mother, devoted father and way too many cranky sisters. Until a teacher violated his innocence and pushed his mother over the edge. Afraid to touch her own son or let anyone else, Evan became withdrawn and isolated. As he grew and matured he sought solace in his therapy sessions, a love of manga and a group of equally nerdy teenagers at school. Life continues to deal heavy blows to Evan as he navigates his way through bullying, being a gay teenager, a friends attempted suicide and a very unique need that was spawned by his Mother’s lack of empathy.
Johnnies becomes the family that Evan longs for and he transforms himself into Ethan, the big, burly porn star that longs to be touched, and shines like gold when he is. His co-workers become his family and they share a kinship and a camaraderie that he has ached for since he was five years old. But a real life relationship with a real life boy is out of the question as far as Ethan is concerned. He feels he is too damaged and broken to bring anything good to anyone’s life long term.
Jonah Stevens works a job he can’t see going anywhere and lives a life less ordinary in order to be there for his ailing sister. He meets Ethan at the pet store where he works and is enamored with the big guy’s confidence and swagger. Jonah is a very non-confrontational, laid back guy, but he finds himself taking chances and taking charge in an effort to turn his friendship with Ethan into something more. Ethan has dug in his heels, convinced that his past and his internal demons would be too much to ask Jonah to accept, so he continues to push Jonah away. Perseverance is not a trait Jonah thought he had but he quickly learns the only way he is going to win Ethan’s heart is persistence and tenacity.
Ethan may have been with dozens of guys during his tour with Johnnies, but when it comes right down to the mechanics of a relationship, he is just as inexperienced as Jonah is, and they will have to learn how to be a couple and be in love together. The obstacles they have to overcome are many. Ethan is severely scared mentally from the incident when he was a child and the reaction of his family, mostly his mother, in the aftermath. He doesn’t think he deserves to be loved. And while Jonah knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that Evan is what he wants, he will have to come to terms with the life Evan leads and learn how he fits into it.
I swear to Jesus, Amy Lane is going to be the death of me! That woman takes my heart, rips it out, stomps up and down on it, then hands it back to me all bloody and bruised. This was an intense, emotional story and Lane really made me feel Evan’s pain in the words she used to describe it. It is such an insane journey following his thoughts, seeing how he coped with the madness that is his life on a daily basis. It wasn’t all sunshine and roses for Jonah either, though he never doubted his parent’s love for him even with the stress of a terminally ill sibling, he had to deal with his own issues of self worth and loathing. They have to learn how to balance the confusion with confidence and take the good with the bad and find a way to keep moving forward in order to make a life together.
Sean Crisden has narrated all the books in this series thus far, and I hope he continues to lead that charge. His voice has become another one of the brother’s in this motley crew of a family that is Johnnies! It’s all about the tone change, nuances and subtle inflections he uses from one character to another that gives Lane’s words a voice and makes these characters a reality inside my mind.
This book left me wrung out and exhausted, but it was so worth it in the end. Dramatic, slightly dark, definitely sexy and just so well written. A must read for fans of Amy Lanes work, as well as those that like gritty romances with an edge.
"Ethan and Jonah were great together"
The narrator was okay. Sometimes, the voice for Jonah made me think of 16 year old naive boy. It made me pause sometimes. Other than that, I loved listening to this one.
The timeline for this book matches with Dex's book, right after Chase gets in the hospital.
What I always remembered about Ethan/Evan was that he needed "touch" so I was excited to jump into the book of the guy who needed lots of hugs & touches.
Ethan's family life was as crappy as Chase & Dex's life. Another reason that Johnnies because his make-shift family. Ethan was the "smart one", the one who did well in school and was supposed to go to college. But right now, he is making movies.
I found his story to be so sad especially with the tattoos he used to label himself and keep people at bay. This whole time he craved physical touch, but he needed emotional touch just as much.
Jonah Stevens was a great match for him because Jonah was observant. His sister Millie's illness had made them very aware of non-verbal communication and Jonah was able to see past Ethan's aloofness.
I am glad that one of the Johnnies boys fell in love with a guy from a family who accepted their child's boyfriend. Jonah's family was really cool and I really enjoyed the love that they lavished on people. It will help Jonah and Ethan continue to grow and develop as they chart their lives together.
I must say that my tears this time had nothing to do with the two guys but was for the sister. Very touching and I was so sad for her. But the story was well written and another enjoyable installment in the series. I am anticipating the next book
"Great story. Hate the narration."
I wish I can change the narrator , I can hardly stand it. But this series is so good , is a shame the narrators don't deliver a higher quality of work. Who matches the book and the narrators? They are not doing a good job.This happend in most books I'm getting.
Ethan. He is a great character. And is the only one the narrator makes sound decent.
He completely distracts from this great story. The narration Is shamefully awful, creepy, laughable, just awful.
Yes,there are some amazing MM erotica that can make fantastic movies.and this is one .
I wish I can hear it with a better matched narrator.
"Not that moving, but well-told"
This is the second book in the series that I read and I did not enjoy it nearly as much as the first, Dex in Blue. I really felt for Dex and his lover but Ethan's story did not grab me as much. Both of them are soul-searching young adult men coming to understand their place in the world, how to be adult men who can get and deserve what they want, and I loved that aspect in both books. However, I really understood Dex and his reasons for having reservations about accepting himself whereas I didn't resonate with Ethan's I'm sure that is just me and my own, personal, psychology or experience and that it may well be the reverse for other readers....which is to say, I don't thing the writing fell short.
My same criticism of the narrator applies to this book as well: His voice is more mature than the characters' and he at times adapts a childish voice that is just wrong for him and makes the character sound silly. He is a fine reader, gets the inflections and emotions right, but he makes the other main character, Ethan's lover, sound like a pimple-faced nerd, which makes is not easy to the attraction for Ethan, let alone allows you to feel the depth of that character's already-adult feelings about himself (so he can be a guide and light for Ethan).
For those who like to know, there are explicit sex scenes. I found them to be sexy, important to the story development (not just gratuitous) and one of the reasons to keep listening to an otherwise just ok story.
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