August 25th, 2011

andrew potter

Best Gay Contemporary General Fiction (1° place): Match Maker by Alan Chin

Without loosing his penchant for eastern philosophy and lifestyle, with Match Maker Alan Chin tests his hand with a sport themed novel, something that apparently is completely at the opposite. Apparently since the chosen sport is yes something that is based on a good physical strength, but it has also deep root in balance and inner calm, Tennis.

Strange is that, the main argument of the novel is that Tennis is a macho sport… well, truth be told in Europe Tennis is probably the most likely candidate to have gay professional players. And no, this is not due to the actual presence of out players, but simply since Tennis is seen like a sophisticated sport, something the common man hardly will play.

But in any case, European misconceptions or not, being gay and a professional player is something that doesn’t match well in any sport, at least to the public opinion, and so Jared and Daniel, teenager lovers who became player and trainer, had seen their dreams smashed; the downfall was not so hard, Jared survives giving few 1 hour lessons each week to people willing to pay more than the average to boast they have a former champion as instructor, and Daniel has a more common job as tennis teacher in a poshy club. They could be happy, but regrets make their life a nightmare, and also their relationship is under duress.

When Connor enters their life, I feared the worst; 18 years old and pretty, and willing to do everything necessary to reach his goal, I was scared he would have been the final blow to Daniel and Jared’s relationship and instead he was their only chance to survive. Connor is not gay, and even if he has a special relationship with Spencer, a same age kid, his is more the jealousy of best friends who don’t like to share a special bond.

Trying to make Connor a better player, Daniel starts to heal also Jared, and four year later their initial defeat, both Daniel and Jared are well aware of what they are losing if they don’t win this time, and it’s not a trophy or money, it’s their happiness and love.

I really liked that, even if Alan Chin didn’t neglect Jared and Daniel’s relationship, quite the opposite actually, he also gave enough insight in the other couples waltzing around, Connor and Shar, Spencer and Harman, even the Baroness and Alma. It makes for a full rounded novel, btw a very long novel considering today standard at over 300 pages, but not boring at all. I read it in a day, with barely a break, and even if the sex was almost non-existent, or better not detailed, it was nevertheless a satisfying romance, maybe even more right for that reason.

Amazon: Match Maker
Amazon Kindle: Match Maker
Paperback: 342 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (September 6, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1615815872
ISBN-13: 978-1615815876

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle
andrew potter

Cheryl Anne Porter (? - August 25, 2004)

Author Cheryl Anne Porter passed away August 25, 2004. An award-winning writer and much sought-after speaker, she made a difference in the lives of many with her words and her sparkling personality. Cheryl wrote historicals for Dorchester and St. Martin's Press, as well as contemporaries for Love & Laughter, Duets and Temptation. Her final Temptation, Blind Date, was published in February 2005. Cheryl leaves behind a legacy of wonderful memories and great books.

Though born in Savannah, Georgia, Cheryl Anne began her life as a citizen of the world. Her father's air force career took her and her family across the U.S., then abroad to England and Germany, before they settled in Oklahoma (for the second time). Cheryl graduated in the top 10 per cent of her high school class, earning a full academic scholarship to the University of Oklahoma. There, she graduated with a B.A. in American literature.

Following careers in teaching and in health care, Cheryl returned to school to pursue her master's in creative writing while also teaching freshman English at the University of Central Oklahoma. Her intended master's thesis turned into her first novel, Jessie's Outlaw. The 1993 book subsequently was chosen by the Library of Congress for its rare book collection.

Inspired by a true incident, Cheryl's second historical novel, Kansas Wildfire, garnered the author's first National Readers' Choice Award nomination. After a mid-'90s move to Florida, she published her third novel, Sara's Bounty, in 1995. Reflecting continued reader demand for the frontier saga, Leisure Books announced Sara's Bounty's re-release in 1999.

International reading audiences were soon introduced to another side of Cheryl's talent — writing crisp, witty, contemporary comedy. The 1997 release of A Man in Demand promptly earned the versatile novelist a nomination for Romantic Times magazine's Best Love and Laughter Romance. In the next few years, Cheryl published a successful string of comedies for Harlequin: The Great Escape (1998), From Here to Maternity and Puppy Love (1999), Drive-by Daddy and Sitting Pretty (2000) and Her Only Chance (2002).

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Cheryl Anne Porter’s Books on Amazon: Cheryl Anne Porter

andrew potter

Changing Jamie by Dakota Chase

Changing Jamie is a Young Adult novel that has a lot to teach also to young adult is no more. It faces an issue, HIV in teenagers that I think most people prefer to ignore since it’s an ugly side of life; moreover, it unveils a practice, that among the bug-chasers and the gift givers that only to think about it make me shiver: underage kids have unprotected sex with HIV-positive men with the exact intent to be infected; of course these kids are depressed, or traumatized, and with a low-level of self-esteem; they probably believe no one loves them, and they believe probably they would be accepted at least by whom has their same illness. Thinking that such practice is described in a Young Adult novel is scaring, but it’s done in a way that wants to teach those kids that is not the way to be loved or accepted, it’s only a way to destroy your life forever, even more than what you believe is in that moment.

The bug-chaser is Billy and as a counterpart the story is told by Jamie, that is, more or less, a very ordinary teenager; Jamie is gay but he is not out; of course he has a crush on the most popular guy at school and of course he has the chance to tutor him, so that they finally exchange more than few words at once. Jamie’s story is sweet and romantic, a first love story with an happily for now end that will make you smile even if, just some pages before you were wondering on the inconsiderate act Billy did, maybe only since his parents were not enough worried of their son’s future.

There is a little bit of the usual routine about gay teenagers in high school, bullied kids and all, but that is not the main theme; for once, and as it should be, the school is mostly accepting, more even supporting, and Jamie and Dylan (Jamie’s dream date) have also the support of the respective families. On the family level, there are also three different approaches on being parents: the indifference of Billy’s parents, the supportiveness of Jamie’s mother and in the end, the lost chance’s attitude of Dylan’s father, who would like something different for his son, but than in the end will accept what his son wants.

All in all, Changing Jamie was a surprisingly balanced novel; it’s not cute or pretty, but it’s not even as sad as it could have slipped due to the matter.

Amazon: Changing Jamie
Amazon Kindle: Changing Jamie
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 184 pages
Publisher: Prizm Books (June 16, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1603703519
ISBN-13: 978-1603703512

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle