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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

Overall rating

4.7 out of 5
5 Stars
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  • Definitely a hit. so good

    This book was both a joy and so hard to read. I didn’t want to read Henry’s story. He was a jerk to Jackson and his brother when we were first introduced to him in Fish on a Bicycle. But his story was awful. It needed to be told and there was so much there that explained and Amy did it beautifully. You can’t see Henry and Lance be awesome together until they are together and I love it. There is kindness and heat as they navigate what it means. They laugh and roll their eyes because sometimes you can’t and it’s so normal. This book is almost a companion to Fish on a Bicycle as both stories blend together. You see events from Henry’s POV about Jackson and Ellery. Henry is about redemption and found family. It’s about confronting those demons within and defeating them with help. I’m gonna go back and read this now. I received an ARC for my honest review

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    5 person found this review helpful

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  • Worth rereaduibg!

    I really loved Shades of Henry. It does have ties to other series (Fish Out of Water series and the Johnnies series), but can most definitely be read as a standalone without any confusion. It is more that you will be interested in the other characters and want to read their stories. Henry himself was a great character who really had to grow a lot in this story. He had gone through something pretty serious that forever changed the course of his life and while dealing with that change, he struggled to accept himself and enlarge his worldview past what his father had raised him to believe. I loved watching Henry break out of the mental box he had been raised in almost as much as I enjoyed watching him grow to find his place in the world the person for his heart.

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    1 person found this review helpful

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  • Good story, likeable characters, not really a stan

    I would rate this 3.75 stars. Do yourself a favor and don't read this unless you have read the following series by Amy Lane first: Johnnies, Racing For The Sun, and Fish Out of Water. You could read this first, or out of order, and enjoy the romance between the main characters Henry and Lance, but the main events of the novel come at you sideways via the fifth book in the Fish Out of Water series; you would have to keep track of two different names for a plethora of characters from the Johnnies series, since each has their real name and their porn star name. The true emotional payoff will come for the faithful fans who will enjoy all the series being woven together and already know all the side characters in this. Henry is finally at rock bottom when he goes to visit his brother Davy (aka Dex), a former porn model, in Sacramento with his husband Carlos (Kane). After nine years in the Army he flounders with what to do now that he has been discharged. His brother sets him up at a flophouse used by a stable of young guys who work for Johnnies. His tragic story is layered into the book as he tries to avoid thinking or talking about it unless he has to. He acts as a "den mother" for Cotton, Randy, Zeppelin, Fisher, Billy, and Curtis along with Lance. As a resident finishing his internship at the hospital, Lance still does the occasional porn scene to pay off his student loans. As the oldest in the house, and the same age as Henry, it's inevitable they are drawn together. Right when I started to get everyone straight, and Lance and Henry are forming a bond, there's a murder, which drags the P.I. Jackson Rivers and lawyer Ellery Cramer, among others, from the Fish Out Of Water series into it. Maybe the absolute worst time for a relationship, might be the best time. As Henry navigates his abusive relationship from the past eleven years or so, he doesn't even know how broken he is. This makes his journey from internalized homophobic abuse victim to over the top hero at the end, without any counseling, a bit unbelievable for me. Lance is the stable presence here, not because he doesn't have issues of his own, but because he knows what they are and seeks treatment both for himself and to inspire the other Johnnies in the house. To me, Lance is the real hero. Then, there is what I wanted to happen versus what I could realistically expect to happen based on the story so far; having something be emotionally satisfying doesn't make it a realistic conclusion. What saves this for me are the genuine moments of intimacy and connection Amy Lane is known for invoking in her writing. I will probably read everything again, catch up on the few books I missed, and read this last.

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    1 person found this review helpful

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  • Great start to a new series

    It took longer than it probably should have to realize that Henry was the younger brother from Dex in Blue but I was overjoyed when I realized the connection. This was the story that had been unfinished in my mind ever since reading Dex in Blue-wondering about the younger brother who was unwise enough to be carrying on an affair with his best friend/brother-in-law. The description of that affair through Dex's eyes did not scratch the surface of what Henry was going through during that affair, which is detailed in Shades of Henry. I admit that I did not have a very good opinion of Henry once I remembered who he was and how he behaved towards his brother in Dex in Blue and he did little to change that during the first chapter or so of the book. But Amy Lane has a great way of taking a character that shouldn't be redeemable or a character that maybe doesn't behave the greatest and making the reader not only change their minds about how they feel about this character but also make you cheer them on to find their own happiness. And she definitely did that with Henry in this book. It was nice to see Henry go from a bitter man that hated himself for being gay to the point of not even being able to admit to himself that he was gay, to befriending the other tenants of "The Flophouse" to the point of caring for and defending those same men, to being able to accept that he is gay and in a relationship with another man. This book goes through the complexities of repairing his relationship with his brother, forming friendships with men that he used to look down on, to having to face his past. Lance was dealing with his own demons while he was helping Henry work through his problems, and it was nice to see a relationship that formed in spite of the MCs issues instead of the plot forcing their relationship to supposedly solve all of the main characters problems. Also, I have to make a confession-I've never read any of the Fish Out of Water books so I didn't know who those characters were when they were introduced later in the book. I don't feel like that detracted from enjoying that part of the plot, though I'm sure I would have liked it even more had I read the series (especially book five, which I gathered from the book's description mentioned Henry and his legal issues in more depth). 4.5 stars

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  • A captivating read

    Love this author. Her characters are perfectly imperfect. The dialogue is charming and brilliantly detailed to breath life and personality into not only the main characters but the secondary characters as well. Always an excellent read

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