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November 12th, 2018

Self Preservation by Ethan Day

My first review of a book of Ethan Day, dating back to February 12, 2009.

Lately it seems that I read a lot of books that have a starting point similar to an Hollywood comedy movie, but since I love comedy, for me it's not at all a problem. And then some comedy I love more than others, like My Best Friend's Wedding, and not since I like Julia Roberts, but since I LOVE Rupert Everett, you can don't believe me, but I liked him even before is coming out, when he was a young actor in an old Italian movie, Cronaca di una morte annunciata.

Anyway in this story Davis is the classical good boy next door: gay and shy, he arrived at College still a blushing virgin and he was obviously swept away from the first good looking guy with enough patience to see behind his protective shield. Jack actually was not a bad guy, and he really liked Davis, and so, after deflowering the virgin, he also played the role of perfect boyfriend for four years, since the lights of New York called him, and he left without a good reason. Davis, poor guy, still loves him, and he has always hoped that, sooner or later, Jack will see a different light and realize that his true love is back at home. So when Davis receives a phone call from Jack announcing that he is marrying a man he met only two weeks before, Davis is sure that he is doing a big mistake and that he has to do everything to stop him. With his best girl friend in tow, he goes to Chicago with every intention to break Jack up from his future groom, Tadd.

Problem is that Tadd is every bit the perfect man, and Davis has no many chance to succeeded. But an help arrives from Alex, Tadd's best friend: Alex has his own reason to want to test Jack's love for Tadd, and then, it's not an hard work to feign interest in Davis, since the man is really cute.

It's the classical comedy of mistake, and also a whirl of possible pair: Davis-Jack, Jack-Tadd, Davis-Alex, Alex... well I need to leave a bit of mystery, needn't I? But even if there are different interaction between the men, the author manages to never actually making no one cheats on someone else: using different time level, all the possible couple are tested to allow the reader to see how they are together, but in the end, only the real one, the true love will conquer all.

I like the mix of high society party world with the small town tittle-tattle behavior of all the characters: even if Davis is plotting to do a very nasty thing, he never really behaves as a villain, and all his attempts are more funny than dangerous. In a way Davis is still that eighteen years old virgin boy who was starstruck by friendly and handsome Jack; doesn't matter if he left 6 years before, Davis is still waiting at home like a good little wife for her husband to be back home after playing around. Probably if Jack was a really bad man, the reader would have no doubt to whom Davis should choice, but instead Jack is really a good guy, maybe a bit selfish, but not so much to make him a nasty character. And so the reader has the same problem as Davis, he is unable to letting Jack go toward his new path.

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The Inside Reader: Ethan Day

Show me the books he loves and I shall know the man far better than through mortal friends - Silas Weir Mitchell
I think that, if I was a gay man, I would be like Ethan Day ;-) No, I'm not turning into a stalker, it's only that, I believe to have a lot in common with Ethan, the love for good comedy, both in books than movies, above all. And I think that we "want" to believe in romance and happily ever after, and we want to see the good in people, or at least we try. So, I'm more than happy to guest Ethan and his list today. Enjoy!

Before settling in for my Inside Reader, I wanted to extend my thanks to Elisa for allowing me to post some of my own reviews and ramblings on her site.

For my ten list I wanted to cut through all the criteria that I hope and pray make it into every book I write: great characterization, romance, and to emotionally move the reader – whether it be with a few laughs or a few tears. Getting down to the very basic thing I want more than anything else, which is to entertain the reader. I always cross my fingers, hoping that reading one of my books is like going out on a really great date. And with any luck, have the reader ready to turn around and go out with me again.

With that thought in mind, I sat down and chose ten books (more actually as several are part of a series) which fit that criteria for me as a reader. They aren’t listed in any particular order so much as how they came to me when I sat down to write this. Let me also say that I’ve stumbled across a great many wonderful authors throughout 2009, which was a particularly good year for me, considering I was fortunate enough to have a few books of my own published. Some of those writers are on this list – to the great many that aren’t – keeping in mind the limitation of ten books – don’t hate me because you didn’t fit! : )


1) Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil by John Berendt – Despite not being fiction, I think one of the best lesson’s I learned as a writer from reading this book, was how important a colorful secondary cast of characters could be. I was so entertained by the southern charm of all the quirky characters that I continuously had to keep reminding myself that someone had been murdered! The movie version of course sucked-ass due to the Hollywood cliché of inserting a het-romance in some lame attempt to dial down the homosexuality, but the book is a gem and the cast of real-life characters, the envy of this writer. Who knew real people could be so interesting? : )

Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Vintage (June 28, 1999)
Publisher Link: http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9780679751526
ISBN-10: 0679751521
ISBN-13: 978-0679751526
Amazon: Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil

Shots rang out in Savannah's grandest mansion in the misty,early morning hours of May 2, 1981. Was it murder or self-defense? For nearly a decade, the shooting and its aftermath reverberated throughout this hauntingly beautiful city of moss-hung oaks and shaded squares. John Berendt's sharply observed, suspenseful, and witty narrative reads like a thoroughly engrossing novel, and yet it is a work of nonfiction. Berendt skillfully interweaves a hugely entertaining first-person account of life in this isolated remnant of the Old South with the unpredictable twists and turns of a landmark murder case. It is a spellbinding story peopled by a gallery of remarkable characters: the well-bred society ladies of the Married Woman's Card Club; the turbulent young redneck gigolo; the hapless recluse who owns a bottle of poison so powerful it could kill every man, woman, and child in Savannah; the aging and profane Southern belle who is the "soul of pampered self-absorption"; the uproariously funny black drag queen; the acerbic and arrogant antiques dealer; the sweet-talking, piano-playing con artist; young blacks dancing the minuet at the black debutante ball; and Minerva, the voodoo priestess who works her magic in the graveyard at midnight. These and other Savannahians act as a Greek chorus, with Berendt revealing the alliances, hostilities, and intrigues that thrive in a town where everyone knows everyone else. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is a sublime and seductive reading experience. Brilliantly conceived and masterfully written, this enormously engaging portrait of a most beguiling Southern city has become a modern classic.

2) First You Fall: A Kevin Connor Mystery by Scott Sherman – I found this author after reading a review he wrote of one of my books on Amazon. I hadn’t read his book at the time I e-mailed to thank him for his kindness. It was something I soon rectified and was so happy I did. Kevin Connor is sweet, sexy, funny, and a hooker? A combination I never would have imagined would’ve worked for me had Sherman not decided to put pen to paper. What made this story so fresh was the fact that Kevin’s career path wasn't the focus of the story. Sherman created a delightfully fun, frisky, and at times laugh-out-loud funny book. A second installment should soon be available, and I for one, can’t wait to fall all over again.

Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Alyson Books (June 1, 2008)
Publisher Link: http://www.alyson.com/9781593500597.html
ISBN-10: 1593500599
ISBN-13: 978-1593500597
Amazon: First You Fall

When his friend’s death is ruled a suicide, Kevin Connor—a hustler by trade, sleuth by default—sets out to prove a case of murder. It doesn’t help matters that the victim’s grown children, who disapproved of their father’s gay lifestyle, are only concerned about their inheritance. But they are not Kevin’s only problem. His high-strung mother has moved in with him—and she knows nothing about his questionable . . . job. Scott Sherman has written for Newsweek, Genre, Instinct, and The Washington Blade. He is the host of the number-one rated The Digital Photography Show on The Podcast Network.

books from 3 to 10Collapse )

About Ethan Day: “I am a gay man living in Missouri...I can hear the gasps already!! How very un-chic of me, yes I know. It was here I was born and here I have stayed.

I'm currently single but always looking for that special someone that makes my heart skip a beat...in addition to being able to put up with my neurotic ass. The worst thing about being a romance writer is finding a real life hottie that can live up to the fantasy I create in my head and subsequently thrust upon him before actually getting to know the real him. I can hear you getting all judgie...it's an occupational hazard!! To all my past and future boyfriends, my sincerest apologies...I can't help myself!

I was the youngest of four children and the only boy, so needless to say, I was spoiled rotten. I've always had an extravagant fantasy life. When I played with my Star Wars action figures as a child, I liked to make up my own stories. Naturally, Luke Skywalker and Han Solo were totally meant for each other, and Princess Leia made a bitchin' wise cracking Fag Hag.

I somehow managed to survive high school living in a small racist town in Southeast Missouri and emerged unscathed, realizing life was too short to pretend to be anything other than who I was. I was the little homo that could...so damn it, I did! It was all very Lifetime Movie Network meets After School Special I assure you.

After a few stints in college, I eventually signed up for a Creative Writing course. I took the class because there were no tests. For once my scholastic laziness paid off, and I found an outlet for all the fantasies running amuck in my head. It was love at first write, and I've been doing it off and on ever since.

Now I've decided its time to un-barricade the doors and unleash my imagination onto the world. So very sorry world!! With the help of the lovely and talented team at Loose Id and MLR Press, my fantasy life is now available for public consumption. I'm desperately hoping your really, really hungry.”


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Ethan Day, judge of the Rainbow Awards

Ethan Day was on the Rainbow Awards Jury since 2010, basically the 2nd years of the awards, and when we started collecting the Honorable Mention... here are some of Ethan's:
2010
Donald Hardy - Lovers Knot: My first historical and surprisingly great w/ mystery and paranormal aspects to it. Thanks for this - who knows how long I would have gone without reading a historical if it weren't for your contest! : )
Heidi Cullinan - Miles and the Magic Flute: I really got sucked into this one, and was hooked up until the end, which lost a little bit of the luster for me. It was a little too happy of a happy ending, if that makes any sense? But overall what an awesome book!
J.c. Herneson - Spring of the Stag God: I probably fell a little on the generous side of things with this one because I've honestly never read anything like it. It's way past anywhere I've gone in terms of fantasy, as either a reader or writer.
Dorien Grey - The Secret Keeper: This one was tough for me, I could tell it wasn't the first book in the series and I felt like I was missing part of the longer story arc. Kinda ruined the story for me a bit. I'm pretty anal about reading a series in order...a pet peeve. : ) But the writing was top-notch.
Clare London - Blinded by Our Eyes: Even though I saw a few things coming in this mystery, I thought this was a really well written book and I genuinely cared about the main character.
Carol Lynne & T.a. Chase - Dracul's Blood: Another book who's premise was totally unique and brilliant - not at all wat I was expecting - I bumped it up a few points for that reason. : )
2012
Michael Griffo - Unwelcome: I feel a little bad because I think the YA book suffered slightly because I hadn't read the first book in the series and I couldn't shake the feeling that I'd missed out on something. That kept the characters from feeling as close, I think. But I felt that was my issue, and not the authors fault, so I bumped that score up to an 8 from my original 7. Reading books out of order is a pet peeve - had I realized it earlier I would've had time to get the first book and read it before. That's the problem with my procrastination. Pretty bad on my part considering thecover says 'Lesson Two'! Though it's not in very big print.
Shane Allison - Nice Butt, Gay Anal Eroticism: I'm not sure judging these stories with the same criteria is a good thing, lol! Characterization and setting seemed less important and some of these shorts did better than others, but judging it from the whole isn't easy. I did find most of it...arousing? LOL! You can give it an extra point for me if you feel like that should figure into it. But I didn't really connect with characters so much as enjoyed watching them in my head, which is more like watching porn - where characterization isn't such a big thing.
2013
Alexa Land - Feral: I enjoyed this one, it had a nice build that kept me turning the pages and held my interest. The author did a nice job with setting, taking the time to set the scene without becoming overly detailed. I enjoyed the authors ‘voice’ though there were a few character foibles here and there that seemed off and thus pulled me from the story – but I did connect to them, was able to relate to them, which was nice. So not perfect scores but overall, I enjoyed the read.
George Seaton - Saving Skylar Hand: I enjoyed this book immensely. The characters developed through childhood, into puberty and beyond and it all felt real, and I found all the characters relatable. The author has a beautiful writing style and knack for providing a sense of setting w/o needing no overkill in details - that being said, I could have personally handled a little more. But I did find myself able to see the story unfolding inside my head w/o having to work to fill in the blanks. I thoroughly enjoyed both protags. A simple story, which I can totally appreciate as well as a little bittersweet here and there, nice.
2014
Kate Aaron - The Dead Past: I thoroughly enjoyed this novella. The author drew me completely into the setting to the point I felt like I was there. I liked the characters and wanted to continue reading in order to discover more about them. The mystery was also well plotted and kept me interested in reading more, though I felt the resolution came and was resolved a little quickly. I enjoyed this enough to go looking for the author and was happy to see there is another book available in the series. I'll be picking that up. Well done, Kate! : )
2015
Kim Fielding - Astounding!: This was a bit of an odd book for me as it started out feeling like it was going to be one thing and then turned on a dime part way into the story. That wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, mind you, just an odd thing. The cover as well, made it feel like I was getting a contemporary romance only to be surprised by the sci-fi aspect, so I didn’t get the vintage pulp-mag connection right away. I enjoyed the characters and the author included enough setting details throughout most of the book that I didn’t have to work as hard filling in the blanks. As someone who has never visited Yosemite, I would have appreciated more details about the area, but that was a small thing. I did feel at times that the emotional aspect of the relationship was a teensy bit heavy-handed here and there, but I enjoyed the story overall! My first time reading this author and based upon what I read, I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up another book by her.
Kate Aaron - The Slave: What I appreciate most about this author, is her ability to take a subject matter that holds zero interest to me as a reader, while still managing to create characters that keep me engaged enough to continue reading in spite of that fact. There was enough setting and world-building to make the story feel real, though I confess I would have enjoyed seeing even more detail included, especially with regard to the Master’s complex considering the bulk of the story takes place there. The relationship is the plot here, one of self-discovery and in that sense, was well fleshed out, but otherwise not too complicated. Overall, I prefer this authors Puddledown Mysteries over this fantasy-based story, but like any great author, Kate managed to make this story work for me.
2016
Lynn Kelling - Loving the Master: The characters really put this one over the top for me. I enjoyed the fact this author didn’t completely ignore setting, adding details about the world in which the characters moved around in—I could have used more of that. I could have done without some of the sex and still enjoyed the story just as much, but that is a personal taste thing. I didn’t always ‘believe’ what was happening within the story, but the characters themselves felt real to me. All in all, I’m not much of a BDSM fan and that didn’t matter in the least with this story, the characters were well-drawn and I cared what happened to them, which allowed this story transcend the BDSM subgenre ties(no pun intended) to become a really nice romance. Two thumbs up.
Jp Bowie - Every Breath I Take (All I'll Ever Need #2): "A well-written romance with enough tension to keep me reading along to discover how it was all going to turn out at the end. I would have enjoyed more detail to setting, there was enough here that I didn’t feel like I had to work the whole time I was reading, trying to imagine those details for myself but I could have used more. I realize that’s an issue within the genre as there are many readers who don’t like much or any setting details. That being said, I’m selfish and greedy, and therefore always asking for more. : ) While the characters all felt real and I became invested in what happened to them, for me, there were perhaps too many POV’s for such a short novella length book. I would have preferred less in this size word count, or perhaps a longer book to allow the reader more time with and insight into each character. This felt like a second book in a series, so perhaps there is more to be found in an earlier work. I did appreciate that while this felt like a sequel to another book, the author provided enough backstory that I never felt lost in this book. All in all, well done!"



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