January 9th, 2011

andrew potter

Best Gay Coming of Age/Young Adult (1° place): Summer Song by Louise Blaydon

I know I was expecting a lot from this novel, after all it was the Dark Horse of the Rainbow Awards, winning first place in the Coming of Age/Young Adult category when more or less no one even knew the story was out, but what I was not expecting for it is to be sweet, tender and yes, even a bit sexy.

First of all the story is pretty complex on the writing style field. The author decided to tell it from 4 different points of view, all in first person. Only that 3 of them, best friends Christopher “Kit” and Billy, and Kit’s girlfriend Caitlyn “Lyn”, tell the story like their thoughts are brainstorming in their mind, while Leonard “Lenny”, the new kid in town, is writing a journal. Plus the story starts at the beginning of the year school, with Kit wondering why Billy seems to be surprised, and even a bit scared, by the new kid in the school, Lenny, to then flashbacking three months before, in June, when Lenny is moving from Massachussetts to California to spend the summer with his maternal grandparents.

Kit is obviously jealous of the tight relationship Billy and Lenny developed during the summer, probably even more since he was not there to witness it; Kit spent the summer with his own grandparents, and he left a best friend, Billy, who was almost like a brother and who was telling him everything, to come back to an almost stranger, a Billy that is not even able to tell him that he has a new friend. Yes, Kit is jealous, but even if he wonders if this jealousy means something else, Kit is in love with Lyn, and that is not something he is questioning. What he is questioning, and what makes him angry, is that Billy is no more able to consider him a trusted friend, Billy is no more coming to him to share his soul, he is probably going to the other boy, the new kid, one that has no right over Billy since Kit was there before him.

That was how the story was developing at first, more about the friendship between Kit and Billy and how they were trying to save it; but then it suddenly moved to Billy and Lenny, and how they were instead trying to understand what was happenning between them. The time is the 1955, and it’s not that being gay is something common, let alone in a small town in California. There is no one they can talk to, and while Billy has some experiences with girls, Lenny has neither that, and so they are flumbling around, trying to understand what is good and what is right, what they like and what they don’t.

As I said I was surprised by the “light” undertone of the story; it’s not that the author forgot that being gay was illegal in 1955, it’s only that she decided to not weight it on these boys, letting them living their summer, and then year school, love affair. Truth be told, at the beginning, I had the feeling of reading a man on man version of “Grease”, with Billy in the role of a very surprised Danny Zucco who finds out that Sandy has not gone back to Australia. But Billy is more honest, and probably more in love, than the hero of Grease, and in no way he can deny Lenny’s existence or his love for him.

Summer Love is a very romantic story, and if you, like me, were worried of reading of a same sex love in the 1955, don’t worry, in this case love is stronger than anything else.


Amazon: Summer Song

Amazon Kindle: Summer Song

Reading List:

http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
andrew potter

Judith Krantz (January 9, 1928)

Judith Krantz (born Judith Tarcher on January 9, 1928 in New York City), is an American novelist who writes in the romance genre. Her works include Scruples, Princess Daisy, and Till We Meet Again.

Judith Krantz, known as Judy, grew up in New York City. She was the "youngest, smartest, and shortest girl" in her year. After graduating from the upscale Birch Wathen High School at age 16, Krantz enrolled at Wellesley College.

Krantz told the Boston Globe in 1982 that she attended Wellesley with three goals: to date, to read every novel in the library, and to graduate. "Torchy", as her dormmates named her, held the dorm dating record as the only one to have 13 consecutive dates with 13 different men. Her grades, unfortunately, were not as impressive as her extracurricular activities. Krantz earned one A-plus in English, but had a B- average in her major and C average in everything else. Krantz had the opportunity to improve her marks when she took a short-story class during her sophomore year. Although the professor enjoyed her writing, he refused to give her an A because she had atrocious spelling, and he thought the B would teach her a lesson. Krantz claims to have learned the lesson well -- she did not write fiction again for 31 years.

After graduating from Wellesley in 1948, Krantz moved to Paris, where she worked in fashion public relations. She enjoyed attending elegant parties, borrowing couture gowns, and meeting famous people such as Marlene Dietrich, Orson Welles and Hubert de Givenchy.

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First Book - Scruples (1978) (adapted as a 1980 mini-series): Scruples

Last Book - The Jewels of Tessa Kent (1998): The Jewels of Tessa Kent

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judith_Krantz
andrew potter

Different from Whom? (Diverso da chi?) (2009) directed by Umberto Riccioni Carteni

Director: Umberto Riccioni Carteni

Writer: Fabio Bonifacci

Release Date: 20 March 2009 (Italy)
January 2010 (Palm Springs International Film Festival, USA)

Genres: Comedy

Storyline: What happens when an openly gay man decides to run for mayor in a super conservative town in North Eastern Italy, using his homosexuality as his secret weapon? What would happen if during the electoral campaign, our hero falls in love with his right hand man who happens to be a ... woman? What will the voters say, the political opponents, his official companion? And what in the end will his heart say?

Awards: 2009 David Nomination as Best Actor (Migliore Attore Protagonista) to Luca Argentero, as Best Actress (Migliore Attrice Protagonista) to Claudia Gerini, as Best New Director (Migliore Regista Esordiente) to Umberto Riccioni Carteni, as Best Supporting Actor (Migliore Attore non Protagonista) to Filippo Nigro, David di Donatello Awards
2009 Golden Globe as Best First Feature (Migliore Opera Prima) to Umberto Riccioni Carteni, Golden Globes, Italy
2009 Golden Globe Nomination as Best Comedy (Migliore Commedia) to Umberto Riccioni Carteni, Golden Globes, Italy
2009 Silver Ribbon Award as Best Original Story (Migliore Soggetto) to Fabio Bonifacci and Giulio Manfredonia, Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists
Silver Ribbon Nomination as Best Producer (Migliore Produttore) to Marco Chimenz, Giovanni Stabilini and Riccardo Tozzi, Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists

@Amazon: Different From Whom? (Diverso da chi?) (2009)


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Cast (in credits order)
Luca Argentero ... Piero Bonutti
Claudia Gerini ... Adele Ferri
Filippo Nigro ... Remo
Antonio Catania ... Corazza
Giuseppe Cederna ... Serafini
Francesco Pannofino ... Galeazzo
Rinaldo Rocco ... Samuele

Remo & Piero

And to close, and totally unrelated to the above movie, please enjoy the calendar Luca Argentero did for Max, an Italian magazine, in 2004:

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andrew potter

An Act of Generosity by Sharon Maria Bidwell

This is another of those little jewels that the somewhat overlooked Changeling Press catalogue can offer if you dig a bit. Of course I was helped on my discovery thanks to the name of the author, Sharon Maria Bidwell, one of the first gay romance author I read, and one of my favorite too.

This is only a novella, but it’s a nice and sweet novella, an office affair theme with just that touch of angst that will not unbalance the overall romantic feeling of the story. Robert is the classic English gentleman; when the former lover of his late stepbrother asks him for money, Robert knows she will spend it in drugs, but he also knows that she has a teenager son, not his stepbrother son, but nevertheless the last contact with his beloved relative. Robert gives her the money, hoping she will use part of them for the boy. He doesn’t imagine that the same boy will use that money to change his life and coming back years later to thanks him.

But when Lee meets again Robert, he realizes that the gratitude he was carrying for all those years is developed in something more: Lee, a young gay teenager boy, idolized Robert like the perfect lover, the prince charming coming to save him, and in all his following relationship he was searching the Robert’s clone. And now that he is in front of him, that Robert is interested, and gay, and that he hasn’t recognized him, Lee is unwilling to let his only chance to love being tainted by the doubt, Lee is sure that, if Robert knew who he is, he would not even give a chance to their love.

Despite this being only a novella, the plot is well developed, the balance between story and sex is perfect, and even the supporting character, Robert’s business partner Phil and his p.a. Anna, have enough development to make them real characters and not only someone in the background.


Reading List:

http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
andrew potter

Gay Romance Challenge

With the New Year, I decide to challenge myself ;-) In this last few months my reading list is overflowing, and even if I do read a lot, some "do not miss" books unfortunately "missed" my schedule. And since I have finally surrendered to the e-reader mania and bought an Amazon Kindle, I decided to dig in all those books that are now available to me in a Kindle format.

Every month I will update the list, with the new entries and with the progress on my challenge. If you want to join me, you are welcome ;-) just comment; no prize if not the joy to read a good romance!

So here are the Top 100 Bestsellers in the Gay Romance category on Amazon (most of them are Kindles...):

Bestsellers in Gay Romance

And here is the actual situation (in bold the books I read with link to the review):

Progress: 47 / 100

1) Into the Flames by Morgan Lee
2) No Going Home by T.A. Chase
3) Duck! by Kim Dare
4) An Improper Holiday by K. A. Mitchell
5) Strings Attached by Nick Nolan
6) The Dickens With Love by Josh Lanyon
7) Cameron's Pride (Thrown to the Lions) by Kim Dare
8) Dragonmen 3: Mate Dance by Amber Kell
9) Handcuffs and Trouble (Rawlings Men) by Kim Dare
10) Without Reservations: With or Without, Book 1 by J. L. Langley
Read Before LJ

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andrew potter

Straight from your gay best friend by Terrance Dean

The starting point of this “how to do” book on bettering yourself and your life, Straight from your gay best friend: the straight-up truth about relationships, work, and having a fabulous life, is that, your best gay friend will always give you the right advice since he is not interested himself in what you want. Another woman will be jealous, another man, not gay, will probably work for himself more than you, but a gay man? He will be your best friend since he will be an ally and not a competitor (now, this is not considering all the bisexual men out there, but that is probably in line with the author’s experience, that basically bisexual is only a phase, or you are straight or you are gay).

Another thing that probably differentiate this book from other similar books is that the author is quite hard with the female readership, he doesn’t console them, he tries to shock them out of their self-inducted stupor. Basically he is saying that most of the trouble a woman has in a relationship are due to her own self-esteem issues; if a woman doesn’t love herself, she will not be able to find someone else that will love her back.

Point one and point two I quite agree, I probably have more difficulties to agree to point three, since I’m not a religious woman myself; basically the author says that a good relationship with spirituality (doesn’t matter what religion, the important thing is that you have a religion) is the first step towards being more aware of yourself and the world around you.

There are a lot of other advices, that basically are well explained by the titles of the different chapters, that are slogan to write down and remember:

1. Get It Together: If It Don’t Fit, Don’t Force It!
2. Friend or Foe? Recognize Your Frenemies
3. Spirit: Your Number One Relationship
4. Love Yourself: If You Don’t, Who Will?
5. Get Some Me Time: Not Some Him and Some Her, Just a Little Me Time
6. Stimulate MENtally and Physically: From Manolos To MOMA
7. Working 9 to 5: Is This a Way to Make a Living?
8. Ambitious: Not Am Bitches
9. Family Dearest: You Can Pick Your Friends, But Not Your Family
10. Forgive: ’Cause You Know Not What You Do
11. Be Still and Wait: Patience Is a Virtue
12. Be Open to Love When It Shows Up: A Closed Heart Doesn’t Receive Joy
13. Every Man Is Not Relationship Material: Get Up and Move On!
14. You Get What You Ask For: Recognize the Difference Between a Winner and a Loser
15. Listen: It Will Save You a World of Headaches
16. Date: It’s That Thing You Do Before Sex
17. Let Go of Being Right: Don’t Make Him Wrong…Right?
18. Money Can Buy Sex, but Not Love: Gigolos Get Lonely, Too
19. Yes, Girl, He Is into You—And Him, Too!

Other than probably taking them in consideration next time I will have to take some important decision, I have to say that I liked this book since I felt that the author was not preaching, that he lived and experimented himself most of the above, from both sides, who was trying to better himself and maybe even from the side of who has to be left behind. Here and there, the personal life of the author, told more in a narration form than a manual, came out, and that part of the book is probably what I liked best, together of course with the moment when the author was writing about someone else woman life and I was thinking this is me.

Easy and fast to read, even if I’m not sure I will be able to follow all of this advice, or maybe, having followed some, knowing that not always the output is positive, nevertheless they are good advice, and that is said from a woman perspective, woman that would like to find a gay best friend like Terrance Dean.

Amazon: Straight from Your Gay Best Friend: The Straight-Up Truth About Relationships, Work, and Having a Fabulous Life
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Agate Bolden (October 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1932841563
ISBN-13: 978-1932841565

Reading List:

http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
andrew potter

The Darcy Boys & The Case of the He-Bot Hunks by A.J. Ryan

The Case of the He-Bot Hunks is another silly adventure of the Darcy Boys, the unlikely duo cooked uo by the fervide mind of A.J. Ryan, one of the pseudos of Geoffrey Knight. The Darcy Boys are two stepbrothers, one 18 years old wasp boy from the West Coast and his recently acquired “twin”, an Afro-American street boy from New York City. Tommy is all innocence and joy, Dash is all sex and as much joy as Tommy; no one of them is really dumb, but let us say that they are not exactly geniuses. But they are young, they are wealthy, and they are all alone for the summer, and they have all intention to enjoy the combination.

In this second adventure, Tommy’s dream comes true, the Abercumbie & Felch (!)’s models are coming into town and he wants to meet them. And what surprising, but well-welcomed chance when their director and photographer proposes Tommy to join the group. They are all so young and handsome, All American boys “tackling each other in a boyish demonstration of male bonding dripping with homoerotic undertones”… if you are thinking this is “only” a funny piece, you will have to think twice. This is a ironic piece, and the author is well proving that he can write everything, and making a short story into a little horror parody that I highly recommend.

As I have already told for the first episode, Dash and Tommy are so young and beautiful, and perfect and wealthy, that nothing will dare to ruin their perfection, neither reality.


Amazon: The Darcy Boys and the Case of the He-Bot Hunks
Amazon Kindle: The Darcy Boys and the Case of the He-Bot Hunks
Paperback: 54 pages
Publisher: Eternal Press (June 7, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 161572110X
ISBN-13: 978-1615721108

Series: The Darcy Boys
1) The Case of the Secret Skulls: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/864908.html
2) The Case of the He-Bot Hunks

Reading List:

http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle