reviews_and_ramblings: (Default)
It's that time of the year again, when I update the Top Gay Books List. Some books went up, some went down, and there are many new entries, especially for the second decade of the XXI century.

As usual some "boring" basic rules: the list considers only gay themed books released after January 1, 2000, so you can consider this a Top 100 List of the XXI century. To enter the list I browsed all the LGBTQ publishers I found, considered all the specific awards and all the recommendations from friends. I haven't read ALL the books, like you, I am trying to read as much as possible, but the list is impartial, meaning that if I didn't like a book, or I haven't read it yet, I nevertheless included it in the list.

To decide the ranking I chose to consider the owned copies on LibraryThing, a cataloguing website that seems to be "serious" and of common use. For every author I considered only a book, the one with more owned copies, so the list is more a Top Authors than a Top Books.

The actual list will remain frozen for 1 year, and in September 2015 I will reopened it and track the changes. In the meantime, I will continue to feature authors from this list in my In the Spotlight appointment.

First decade (2000-2009) (All books with links here:

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
Running with Scissors: A Memoir by Augusten Burroughs
The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst
The Master by Colm Toibin
Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
Specimen Days : A Novel by Michael Cunningham
At Swim, Two Boys by Jamie O'Neill
And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson
Melusine by Sarah Monette
Fraud by David Rakoff

Read more... )

Second decade (2010-2019) (All books with links here:

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green
The Steel Remains by Richard K. Morgan
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
The Miseducation of Cameron Post by emily m. danforth
Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward, Professor, Tattoo Artist, and Sexual Renegade by Justin Spring
Faith & Fidelity by Tere Michaels
The Meaning of Matthew: My Son's Murder in Laramie, and a World Transformed by Judy Shepard
Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution by David Carter
Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle
Promises by Marie Sexton

Read more... )
reviews_and_ramblings: (Default)
It's that time of the year again, when I update the Top Gay Books List. Some books went up, some went down, and there are many new entries, especially for the second decade of the XXI century.

As usual some "boring" basic rules: the list considers only gay themed books released after January 1, 2000, so you can consider this a Top 100 List of the XXI century. To enter the list I browsed all the LGBTQ publishers I found, considered all the specific awards and all the recommendations from friends. I haven't read ALL the books, like you, I am trying to read as much as possible, but the list is impartial, meaning that if I didn't like a book, or I haven't read it yet, I nevertheless included it in the list.

To decide the ranking I chose to consider the owned copies on LibraryThing, a cataloguing website that seems to be "serious" and of common use. For every author I considered only a book, the one with more owned copies, so the list is more a Top Authors than a Top Books.

The actual list will remain frozen for 1 year, and in September 2014 I will reopened it and track the changes. In the meantime, I will continue to feature authors from this list in my In the Spotlight appointment.

First decade (2000-2009) (All books with links here:

1) Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
2) Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs
3) Three Junes by Julia Glass
4) The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst
5) Lord John and the Private Matter by Diana Gabaldon
6) Moab is my Washpot by Stephen Fry
7) The Master by Colm Toibin
8) Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
9) Specimen Days by Michael Cunningham
10) At Swim, Two Boys by Jamie O'Neill

Read more... )

Second decade (2010-2019) (All books with links here:

1) Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan
2) The Hunger Angel by Herta Müller
3) In a Strange Room by Damon Galgut
4) The Absolutist by John Boyne
5) Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher
6) Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward, Professor, Tattoo Artist, and Sexual Renegade by Justin Spring
7) King of the Screwups by K. L. Going
8) Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution by David Carter
9) Faith & Fidelity by Tere Michaels
10) At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream: Misadventures in Search of the Simple Life by Wade Rouse

Read more... )
reviews_and_ramblings: (Default)
It's that time of the year again, when I update the Top Gay Books List. Some books went up, some went down, and there are many new entries.

As usual some boring basic rules: the list considers only gay themed books released in print for the first time after January 1, 2000, so you can consider it a Top 100 List of the XXI century. Books released in electronic format before January 1, 2000, and then in print after that date, I listed it. To enter the list I browsed all the LGBT publishers I found, considered all the specific awards and all the recommendation from friends. I haven't read ALL the books, like you, I am trying to read as much as possible, but the list is impartial, meaning that if I didn't like a book, or I haven't read it yet, I nevertheless included it in the list.

To decide the ranking, again, I tried to be impartial: I chose to consider the owned copies in LibraryThing, a cataloguing website that seems to be "serious" and of common use. For every author I considered only a book, the one with more owned copies, so the list is more a Top Authors than a Top Books.

The actual list will remain frozen for 1 year, and in December 2012 I will reopened it and track the changes. In the meantime, I will continue to feature an author from that list every week, in my In the Spotlight appointment.

First decade (2000-2009)

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs

Three Junes by Julia Glass

The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst

Lord John and the Private Matter by Diana Gabaldon

Moab is my Washpot by Stephen Fry

The Master by Colm Toibin

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan

At Swim, Two Boys by Jamie O'Neill

The Night Listener by Armistead Maupin

more books )

Books from 101 to 200:

Second decade (2010-2019)

By Nightfall by Michael Cunningham

Strings Attached by Nick Nolan

The Cold Commands by Richard K. Morgan

Lessons in Love by Charlie Cochrane

A Better Place by Mark A. Roeder

Me by Ricky Martin

Where's My Wand?: One Boy's Magical Triumph over Alienation and Shag Carpeting by Eric Poole

Love Drugged by James Klise

The Lunatic, the Lover, and the Poet: A Novel by Myrlin A. Hermes

Probation by Tom Mendicino

Perfect Peace by Daniel Black

If you want to browse these books on Amazon, please open the page through this link:

Top Gay Books
reviews_and_ramblings: (Default)
I’m deeply regretting to have not read this book before, this is exactly like one of those historical romances I eagerly read when I was a teenager and so loved. There is the dashing scoundrel, and as often it happens he has a wise old aunt who is holding the purse strings; she deeply love her rake of a nephew but she wants for him to settle down for the good of the title but above all for his own happiness. There is of course a vain lover, more interested to that purse than to the gentleman, and there is of course the innocent soul who happens to step into the mouse’s trap totally unaware. And in this case mouse is the appropriate definition since this is like Stephen, the Earl of St. Joseph, nicknamed Jamie, the shy historian who was supposed to be his nephews’ tutor before the tragedy of losing them and their parents to a shipwreck. Jamie insinuates not only in Stephen’s house and in the life of all the household, but with his good heart and innocent behaviour, also in the heart of the handsome earl, even if the man has a lover, Julian, the Golden One, that is way prettier than the little country mouse Jamie.

As often it happens, there is also a secret in Jamie’s past that makes him probably more suitable to Stephen than Julian, and if this wasn’t an homosexual affair, it would have probably ended in Stephen marrying Jamie, but as it’s, what we can expect is for them to live happily, and scandalously, ever after in sin. How that is possible in England at the end of the XVIII century? (the date you can guess from a reference to the madness of King George and the taking of the throne of the Regent) the answer is simple: wealth and nobless. Not only Stephen has a title, his aunt is also one of the wealthiest women of England and manage the purse strings of more family other than Stephen’s; when the ton tries to ostracize his nephew, she is ready to emulate Jesus Christ and his “who sinned cast the first stone” speech, letting the people be aware she knows secrets and she is ready to spread them.

Once you overcome the homosexuality is illegal issue, what remains to the author is two men and their love story, mostly played inside the walls of Stephen’s house, and so in a safe environment. It’s true that Jamie entered that environment unaware of Stephen’s particular bed choices, but the author is also ready to let the reader know he is not so against the idea; now don’t get me wrong, Jamie is completely, totally innocent, and he wouldn’t dare to face Stephen with his sexual preferences, but upon witnessing Stephen’s encounter with his lover, Jamie remembers how he had feelings for a young seminarist, feelings that were quite similar to what he should have felt instead for a young girl. With such realization slowly comes also another epiphany, he can easily fall in love for mylord, if only that was not an impossible dream: Jamie doesn’t want to end being the plaything of a lord, and if he loves a man there is no other chance.

I really enjoy Jamie’s character but also Stephen; he was not your usual scoundrel, he didn’t redeem only for the sake, of the chance to fall into bed with Jamie, Stephen was already a good man, enough to look at his strange household, made up from castoff of other noble families or worst, from the streets. Jamie fits well among them since he basically assumes the role of the lady of the house, a role he fulfil perfectly in each aspect if not the one of sharing the bed of the lord of the house. Role even Stephen starts to wonder why it’s not covered by the lad, so that he starts a slow, but steady work of breaking down the young man’s defences.

Amazon: The Price of Temptation
Amazon Kindle: The Price of Temptation
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Seventh Window Publications (September 30, 2005)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0971708932
ISBN-13: 978-0971708938

M.J. Pearson's In the Spotligh post:

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle
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I went back to read this novel by Mark Roeder since, having read Masked Destiny, I learned some info about one of the character, Brendan Brewer, that let me think it was a nice and sweet love story; in a way it’s and there is also a bit of “fairytale” feeling that makes it light, and on the contrary of Masked Destiny, there isn’t any paranormal event, making it an ordinary, and in this case ordinary is nice, coming of age story.

Brendan is the most popular kid at high school, quarterback of the football team, handsome and friendly, for a very wealthy family that allow him to have a nice car and all the last fashion available, Brendan is even more fascinating since he seems unaware of his good looks and fortune. Brendan has also a secret, but not really something that is causing him trouble: he is gay, and in his openness and yes, lucky youth, he has already realized it and decided it’s fine. Sure, Brendan is aware he cannot come out at school that it’s not easy, but more or less, he is fine.

Not the same for Casper; he is the poorest kid at school, and even worst, he is abused at home; his older brother has more than once abused him and he is still doing that. Most night Casper sleeps under the open sky to avoid being alone in the same room with his brother. In his young mind, Casper associates being gay with being abused, and so, when Brendan makes a move with him, Casper is scared to death.

But as I said, Brendan is such a nice boy that Casper in the end is able to trust him; their newfound happiness is destroyed by Brendan’s family and but the dramatic decision they take on their son’s fate. Again Brendan will prove to be strong and with a self-consciousness that is rare in such a young man; he will maintain the promise he did to Casper to protect him, whatever it will take.

I preferred the first part of the story, until Brendan and Casper are trying to find their path in life alone; I found the last part, when Brendan and Casper go to live with Ethan and Nathan (from Someone Is Watching) a little too similar to what I guess is Ethan and Nathan’s own story, almost a repetition. All in all, I think that, even if Casper is cuter and the one who needs more protection, even from the reader point of view, I think the best character was Brendan, I most of all loved how he is so open with his feelings and ready to love despite all the trouble it implies.

Amazon: A Better Place
Amazon Kindle: A Better Place
Paperback: 394 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace (January 31, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 145657390X
ISBN-13: 978-1456573904

Series: Gay Youth Chronicles
1) Outfield Menace
2) Snow Angel
3) The Soccer Field Is Empty
4) Someone Is Watching
5) A Better Place

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle
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Desert Sons and its author Mark Kendrick are probably among the first examples of “not tragic” coming of age gay love story. Not so many years ago, less than 5, it was almost impossible to find a love story among gay teens without any drama happening in it, and most of the time, one or both main characters didn’t arrive to the end of the novel. Yes, I know, I’m maybe a little dramatic, but trust me, especially in the print books world the situation was not really far from what I described. That is the reason why I mostly stuck to ebooks, it was strange, but in the ebooks world things went different, and the happily ever after was possible.

Maybe due to my “bad” past experiences, I didn’t read sooner Desert Sons by Mark Kendrick, even if this is one of those covers that came often to my notice, and not since it is pretty; Mark Kendrick’s romance novels were among the few you could find in the Gay Fiction department in bookstores, and when you browsed the net, most often than not they came out atop of the search. Other than being mostly tragic, at the time it was also pretty common to have stories about teenagers, don’t know why, maybe since many authors had a not easy period at that same age and they really felt the matter was important.

What I immediately noticed about Desert Sons is that these two teenagers are… teenagers! They are not little men with a teenager body but an adult mind, they are two horny guys who mostly want to experience, and if in the meantime they also find love, well, even better. Truth be told, this is a better description for Scott, Ryan, poor guy, has not an easy life, and he is scared by everything, and being gay is one big secret more that he doesn’t want to reveal, I think since he is afraid that would be another reason for people to shun him. Ryan has not a steady family, he tragically lost his parents and his brother and grandmother are not enough for him to feel safe. He clings to every adult figure he meets, with or without sexual interest: that is the reason why he is friend with Frank, a married man who he sees as the only counsellor he can trust, and why he started an abusive relationship with Crawford, an older guy, 28 years old.

When things got awry, Ryan’s grandmother sends him living with his uncle Howard in the Desert. Here Ryan meets Scott, another gay teenager, even if at the beginning they don’t know about each other; Ryan thinks his entire problem derive from him being gay, and he doesn’t want to act upon it no more. But Scott has other ideas, above all since, as I said, he is gay in a place where there are no other boys like him, and when he meets Ryan it’s like the manna from the sky; it doesn’t hurt that Ryan is cute, but basically Scott wants so much a boyfriend that he would take everyone, and sincerely, at the beginning, I had the felling he didn’t like so much Ryan as a friend, but as a boyfriend he could do.

Now, joke aside, I wanted to highlight as this novel really pointed out how these two boys, 16 and 17 years old, are still young, and unsure, and with the whole life in front of them to make mistake; you cannot pretend from them to be comfortable with their own life, they need time to take they own decision, and yes, maybe even take them wrong. But, thumbs up to Mark Kendrick, at least he gave them the chance to do that, and also to learn from their mistake.

Amazon: Desert Sons
Amazon Kindle: Desert Sons
Paperback: 350 pages
Publisher: iUniverse Star (June 24, 2001)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0595191304
ISBN-13: 978-0595191307

Mark Kendrick's In the Spotlight post:

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle
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Best Overall Gay Novel (2° place), Best Writing Style (1° place), Best Setting (2° place) and Best Futuristic Novel (1° place)

This is one of those books that mostly everyone recommended me to read; I have to admit that I delayed the reading since I’m not really a fantasy lover, and, I don’t know why, I also had the feeling that the romance in the story was not really the main theme, and so the other reason why I sometime read a fantasy novel, the romance, was excluded. But this last point is not true, there is a romance in the story, even if it’s on a Young Adult level, making this a Gay novel that I’d have no issue at all to recommend myself to a teenager reader.

But lets go back to the story and its main characters: David is the narrative voice, a 16 years old guy; the age of David is an important details of the story since, not only it makes this a Coming of Age story, it also determines the balance between David and Callan, who is 23 years old. The story is set more or less 100 years in the future, when, after another Ice Age, the world reverted to a Pre-Industrial Revolution period; this is again not an irrelevant detail, while in our modern society, a 23 years old man having an affair with a 16 years old guy would be considered a criminal, in a country farm society of the XIX century, 16 years old is considered almost adulthood, and indeed David’s mother is pushing him to marry.

Of course, when the relationship between David and Callan comes out, there is the hint from more than one townsfolk that Callan is corrupting their children; I think the author simply stroked through this hypothesis making David being the first having sexual thoughts on Callan. The very first time they met, when Callan has not even his “own” voice in the story, David thinks that it would be nice to have the hands of the young healer on him. It’s for sure an innocent thought, David has no sexual experience, let alone same sex sexual experience, but it’s nevertheless the first hint of their future love story.

Aside from the relationship between David and Callan, the other strong point of this novel is the setting, and the contraposition between Sci-fi and Fantasy genre: the environment where all the characters are moving is a mix between reality and legend. Who is old enough to remember the time before the Ice Age, tells stories about a world where machine and artificial energy made life easier; people know the stories are true, since simple reminders of that past, like the iron fences, are still there to prove that. But then comes the strong contraposition with a total fantasy element, the Dragons: Dragons are flying in the sky and those dragons is something that was not “real” in the past, and that now are very real, killing animals but also small children. The author will try to explain the presence of a fantasy element like Dragons with a sci-fi expedient like a scientific experiment gone wrong, plunging again the story more on the Sci-fi theme than the Fantasy, but still maintaining all the characters living in this “old fashioned” setting.

The social environment was another interesting point; other than reverting back to a farm society, loosing all the modern infrastructures easing the lives of people, also the mentality of the people did the same. Homosexuality is yet again a crime, and people conveniently forgot what little civilization society reached just before the Ice Age. Plus the “government” (an outside force to their community) has become the enemy and so everything coming from outside is an enemy as well. It’s quite a claustrophobic environment, but in a way it’s also easier to manage: you know well who is against you, but you know also who can be your friend, and so it’s also possible to prove the simply fact that being homosexual it’s not automatically being the bad guy.

Buy Here

Amazon: A Strong and Sudden Thaw
Amazon Kindle: A Strong and Sudden Thaw
Paperback: 280 pages
Publisher: Lethe Press; Reissue edition (January 30, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1590210638
ISBN-13: 978-1590210635

R.W. Day's In the Spotlight post:

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle

Cover Art by Anne Cain
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Already from the blurb I knew that this wasn’t a gay romance, but you never know. Danny is a 20 years old in search of security; not a good time for the search, at that age nothing is sure. Starting from his family: it’s not that Danny had a bad family experience, it’s only that he hadn’t a normal family; his mother got pregnant at 17 years old, his grandparents took her and the love-child in, and the father was somewhere in the picture, but always on the edge of it, and finally, when Danny was still a teenager, he went to work on the North, at Ogunquit, Maine. Now, years later, Danny dropped out from college, basically since he wasn’t even sure why he was there, and decided to spend the summer with his father, washing dishes in the same place where his father bartend, Dishes, a gay club for the slightly older gay summer crowd.

Ogunquit is strange, it’s not like Provincetown where 99% of the population is gay, but it’s quite near; the difference is that Ogunquit is in the middle of a place where being gay is not so simple, and so it’s like a natural reserve, a place where you can be liberal while everyone else around you judge but don’t touch. Danny has no problem with his sexuality, he is quite sure to like girls, but he has not yet found the right one; even if he doesn’t like so much his father’s behaviour, I think that Danny is not so much different from him, he has not a strong core. Danny is drawn by authoritative figure since he has never had one in his life, and so even now, he prefers a partner that can be the leader in the relationship. And he hasn’t found one in women, so maybe, even if it’s a small maybe, he is wondering if a man, maybe…

And then there is his father, working for year in a gay club. Is he or is he not? And if he is, why not Danny? Right when all these questions are brainstorming inside him, Danny is faced with two different chance at love: Mercy, a very hot girl, to whom Danny is really attracted, but who is not exactly nice; she is quite the judgemental type, and Danny is not sure to like this attitude. On the other side there is Hector, the gay waiter of Dishes; he is handsome and kind, he even helps Danny on his first date with Mercy… now Danny likes a lot Hector’s attitude, but he is not physically attracted by him.

I think that Danny is in the middle and any decision he will take will be the right for him; he can choose to be with Mercy, following the physical lead, and being happy since, in the end, both he and Mercy will balance their characters. Or he can choose to be with Hector, following his brain, arriving to like, and maybe love him, a love that can be as satisfying as a physical inducted one. This is possible since Danny is open to the world, to life and to all type of love.

Dishes is not a long story, and in the end, I don’t even think it’s the final story for Danny; it’s only a moment in his life, a delicate and life-changing moment, but the only one he will face in the future.

Amazon: Dishes

Amazon Kindle: Dishes

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle
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Guest review by Amie Love ([ profile] amielove1)
Original review posted here:

I love this series and this author. After reading a few of her works, she is now an auto-buy for me and I have never been disappointed. I have to admit that when I read the blurb I didn´t think this storyline would work; I was never so thrilled to be so wrong. This is not only a romance, m/m, or erotica. Told from Victor´s point of view, these stories are rich and vivid, immersing you into an engrossing world of the paranormal and murder. The plotline and amazing world building vividly intertwine with the growing relationship between Victor and Jacob. In a world where the paranormal has now become accepted as fact, riveting mysteries take center stage. As in real life, the characters and their relationships unfold and grow as an integral part of the storyline. The eroticism of this book is beautifully balanced with the paranormal and mystery; none of the elements overwhelm the others. When Victor and Jacob are intimate, the first person perspective makes it feel immediate and very, very hot.

Victor is broken. He´s a detective and a medium overwhelmed by the burden of his psychic powers; he has difficulties living with the constant bombardment of harassing ghosts and repeated visions of their deaths. He is an oddity who makes almost everyone around him uncomfortable. He´s a scruffy and rumpled train wreck of a man, a drug addict with poor self esteem, a former mental patient misdiagnosed with schizophrenia. He is inundated with paranormal activity and struggles to conceal his homosexuality from his fellow police officers. He lives in a perpetual drug-induced fog in an attempt to reduce his psychic powers, living in a world where it is dangerous to be too strong of a psychic.

Jacob is almost Victor´s opposite. He is physically and mentally strong, well dressed, handsome, successful and intelligent. He is a widely celebrated detective in another precinct, and is the "normal" in the psychic/normal partnerships required by the police force. He is powerfully attracted to and protective of Victor, who is a bit confused by Jacob´s attention.

This series has fully fleshed main and secondary characters, fantastic mysteries, an engrossing plot and striking world building. I highly recommend the entire series; they are as enjoyable on the second or third read as the first. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to read these. Once you pick them up you won´t be able to put them down again.

Amazon: PsyCop: Partners
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Guest review by Alex ([ profile] ashmedai)
Original review posted here:

The Sluts is a novel which is mainly set on a web site where gay male escorts are reviewed by their clients. It's a story told through these reviews, e-mails, telephone conversations and posts on web forums, which is exactly why I was ambivalent about starting this book. I found it hard to imagine how a novel could be written in that format and not become a disjointed mess. However, once I picked it up, I could barely put it back down, and was riveted from cover to cover. It's hands down one of the best contemporary novels I've ever read, and one that blows 99% of so-called "gay fiction" clear out of the water.

The story opens up with a review of "Brad", an adrogynous child-hustler with obvious mental problems, according to his client. This review is followed by another, then another, as slowly the story of "Brad" becomes more and more bizarre - Brad, who may be mentally ill, drug addicted, or not; who may be fifteen or eighteen, have a brain tumor, or not. Or all or none of the above. Who may not even be real. Who, if he's real, may be under the wing of a psycho-sadistic pimp named Brian, who's apparently hiring him out for "the ultimate" satisfaction of pedophiles, extreme sadists and, ultimately, snuff, after there's nothing left of Brad to dismember. Or maybe not!

One review or conversation verifies any or all of the above as truth, and is immediately contradicted by another. And most of it is lies. The only certain truth is that Brad and Brian become objects of obsession, almost iconized by this on-line community, as their saga continues and seems to reach a conclusion...which is immediately put into question again.

I'd definitely recommend this book, but not to everyone. The sex and violence described in the story are graphic and extreme, the plot is sordid and very dark, but if that's your cup of tea as much as it's mine, you're in for a highlight and a treat with this brilliantly written book. Brutal as it is, the violence is never gratuitous, it's a book for intelligent readers and a glimpse into the depravity of the mind, nothing I'd categorize in the mindless splatter-genre. Beyond that, I can't praise it enough, it's truly a tour de force.

Amazon: The Sluts

Dennis Cooper's In the Spotlight post:
reviews_and_ramblings: (Default)
As I hope you noticed, I have a Top 100 Gay Novels list. It was born as a "Gay Romance" list, but then it was impossible to limit it to only the romance titles, there were so many books out there that were out of the boundaries of romance, but still they were wonderful. I still maintain the limit of the print release after January 1, 2000, and still consider only books available also in print: in this way I'm able to manage and maintain the list all by myself.

But, there is a but... some books of the list I read, some I have in mind to read, but some of them I will have never the courage to read, they are too strong for me, too far from my comfort zone. I know, it's not a good excuse for a reviewer, but guys, I have never pretended to be a real reviewer! So I'm making a proposition to who will like to accept it: if you have read one or more books in the list, and would like to send me a review, I will post it giving you full credits. I know that among my friends there are who have already read some of these novels (yes, yes, Alex ([ profile] ashmedai) and Paul ([ profile] gwailowrite), I'm calling also you, I know you read Dennis Cooper and Alexander Chee...), and it's not even necessary that you liked the book, even if it would be preferable. And you can also send me a review of the novels I have already read, if you want.

My idea, if possible, is to have at least a review for every novel in the List, so that all the authors in there will have the change to have a better Spotlight. So, here is the list: (simple) (with photos)

I hope you will join me in this. Thank you in advance.
reviews_and_ramblings: (Default)
This is a classical thriller story but with the hand of a woman in the doing, and so it doesn't lack of romantic elements. BUT this doesn't mean that the thriller part is not strong and cold, but it's a neat cold, not bloody and messy like sometime it's if the writer is a man. Sorry, but I'm really convinced that you can recognize the hand of a woman or that of a man, as I'm convinced that there are "limbo" zones where it's almost impossible to distinct. In this case I felt the hand of the woman when the characters got sentimental, when they share their feelings, when their dreams all in all convoy in having a suburb home with a dog in the back garden. Or maybe this is only the ordinary and the thriller author I read in the past lacked in describing it.

Jack is the good guy of the story, probably the only one. He is a surgeon in Baltimore, a divorced man who realized later in his life that he prefers men over women, and he is a so good guy that he managed to get a friendly divorce and rebuilt a life of his own. Now he is quite the workaholic type, even if sometime he indulges in his pleasure. He has not a bad life, and probably with time, he will also improve it, adding the above-mentioned home and dog, and maybe also a partner. But all of this crashed down when Jack witnesses to a murder and he is the only one who can recognize the killers. He is taken into custody waiting for the trial, and relocated in another city... all his life is shattered and he has no hope to regain it.

Enter D, an hit man with a personal code of behavior: he only kills people who deserve it. Since he is the better in the field, he can choose, and what he doesn't want to do he passes on. But this time he can't refuse, he is blackmailed into killing Jack. Only that when D meets Jack, he really isn't able to kill the man, the innocence of the man is clear in his eyes and D is tired to let people die due to an event that isn't their fault. So D turns from enemy to protector, and he appoints himself the only protector of Jack. He kidnaps the man and runs all over the United States with his precious load.

The two men are at the opposite: Jack is open and friendly, without any secret in his past, who he is, is plainly displayed in his face. Jack is not a temperamental man, he is quiet and serene, he is the classical doctor that inspires you trust. Jack is upright and trusting, he doesn't hide his feelings and he is easily hurt since he is so open. But Jack is also unable to hold a grudge and he is the perfect partner for D since he is able to see behind the facade D presents to the world.

D is not cold and aloof as he seems; he doesn't even choose to be who he is, someone else at the beginning of all made that choice for him, and D followed the path it was presented to him. Times ago, D probably had the same dreams of Jack, of an home and a family in some nice places. Then a tragic fate, something he has no guilt of, shattered his world, and D claimed himself an avenger, and in his own particular way, he tries to correct the fate for whom has no guilt. And sometime he kills the one he judges guilty.

Where Jack is gay, and has already made his path out of the closet, D is still in the limbo. He is not actually in denial, since he simply excluded any personal relationship from his life, both with women than men. When he meets Jack, he is more drawn by the innocence of the man than by the man himself. In a way, their relationship is another joke of the destiny, since probably D would have fallen in love of a woman, if she was as innocent as Jack, but since he met Jack, Jack is the object of his love. D becomes Jack's protector, and Jack becomes all D's world, from not feeling anything, D passes to feel even to much, and all his love is poured on Jack.

As I said there is a lot of emotion flowing throughout the novel, and also some very nice sex scenes, but there is also a good level of tension, and the novel is also very long, and so we have also the chance to reach an apex, slowly come down, and suddenly reach another apex, all the time with some new details and events that maintain a fastpacing rhythm.

Amazon Kindle: Zero at the Bone

Amazon: Zero at the Bone

Jane Seville's In the Spotlight post:

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle

Cover Art by Paul Richmond
reviews_and_ramblings: (Default)
It's not often that I read a book so easy... easy to read and easy to like. In an almost utopian world, Paul is a teen apparently without problem: at 5 years old his teacher wrote in his profile that he was absolutely gay, and she did it as a positive thing, Paul was a lot more aware of himself than his fellow schoolmates. After reading his profile, remember at 5 years old, he went at home and said to his mom, "Mom, I'm gay!" and his mom replied, "Oh, dear, you learned a new word!", more or less with these words. Now Paul goes to high school and he is probably the most popular student of the school, even if probably he has to share the throne with Darlene/Daryl who is at the same time the quarterback of the local football team and the queen beauty of the school (in drags!).

So no, apparently Paul has no problem if not since in this moment he has too many guys around him: his best friend Tony, who is gay, but who, unfortunately, lives with uber religious parents who think that their son will be damned forever; his ex-boyfriend Kyle, who dumped Paul in a not so nice way and also said to all the school that Paul tried to turn him gay when he really was straight; and finally his new-boyfriend Noah, who is new in town and so he doesn't really now Paul and all his chaotic life.

Paul stays never put, he is always in motion and he is always involved in something; not that Paul regrets it, he really like to be the center of attention. Paul is a really nice character, but truth be told, he is a very narcissistic guy, but with all the positive side of being so: he shines, he is a real leader, but he also considers people around him, he can never say no when someone asks him help. Problem is that being of all also means really not having someone special only for him. When he meets Noah, Paul knows that the guy is the special one, but Noah needs attention and patience, and Paul needs to be cautious, something that he is not able to be. Being the center of the universe means that everything he does is common knowledge, and everyone he meets ends on the billboard with a bet on how much it will last.

There is a strange parallelism in the book with the real world: Paul's family is a "normal" family according to the story's standard, they are accepting and supporting, they are always available for their son, in this utopian world they represent the classic All American family made of morning pancakes and family holiday; instead Noah's parents are the black sheep, too taken by their jobs to be aware that their son and daughter are alone and probably nurturing future problems. Noah faces his parent's indifference isolating himself from his similar; he is almost transparent until Paul didn't notice him by chance: no one in school had realized that there was a new student among them. As expected, when the school star meets the lone wolf, it's not simple for them to find a common ground.

I like this story since the problem Paul and Noah face are the very normal problems that would face a "straight" couple: family, friends, and school. It's not a problem that they are gay, no one raises a brow; but it's not even under-lighted that they are gay: in this world, gay and straight are alike, and the small town is scattered of gayness, that is imbued in the social texture.

The same easy attitude that is in all the book, is also when it's time to talk of Paul and Noah as a couple; they are the icon of young boyfriends, they are tender and cute, they are all kisses; sex is not contemplated in their relationship, but it's not something they avoid for a conscious decision, it's almost like it doesn't exist in their world. You don't miss it since it's not necessary; there was never a place or a time in the book when the reader expected it, and so I didn't miss it. The only time when something of sexual came in my mind, was when Paul realized that he was gay since he was interested in a game of two of his friends and he was a bit too much focused on their t-shirts and in the way they went up... and Paul was 5 years old, so no, no sex can be possibly part of it!

Amazon: Boy Meets Boy

David Levithan's In the Spotlight post:
reviews_and_ramblings: (Default)
This one was a certain to-buy-book: first it's a may/december relationship and I love it, second it's a Loose Id LGBT book and with rare exception I buy all of them (but this doesn't mean that I read all of them...), third it has a young character, probably virgin, and I'm very naughty about it... Plus, and I'm sincere about that, after deciding that I would buy it, I discovered that it was the first book of one of my LJ friends (I recognized the cover) and so one more reason, since I followed all the gestation (how I missed that it would be out with Loose Id, I don't know, but my brain sometime lose a chip here and there).

When I first opened it, thinking to read it on a session before sleep, I had a little surprise: it was 300 pages long, no way I could read it in one night. And another concern was: it is enough good to keep my attention for so much pages? The answer is yes: the book is funny and compelling and if not for my body need of sleeping, I wouldn't put it down till the end. But as soon as I had the time to end it, it was my first thing in the to do list!

Tristan is a 19 years old horny guy... well, poor boy, horny maybe is a strong word, but it's exactly what he is. At fourteen years old Tristan was wondering if he liked girls or boys, but since he was a very cute boy, and girls are smarter then boys at that age, all the girls around caught him before he was able to catch a boy. And so for the next five years Tristan enjoyed the life and the girls... but now he is arrived at a point where he is able to discern, and sexual release is not the only thing he wants. He is finally ready to admit that he is attracted by men, and a man he wants... being around all that girls has taught him a lot of things, above all that the better place to drag is a bookstore. And since he wants to draw a man, what better place that the gay section?

On his very first expedition, Tristan gets lucky... maybe... since the man he hooks up is Officer Michael Truax, the young cop who patrols the neighbor and that always preaches him about being a good boy. But Michael is also a very sexy guy, 27 years old and friendly when he is not on duty. Soon Tristan is ready to forget that Michael is a cop, to enjoy the fact that he is a gay man willing to teach him a thing or two on how it should be the life of a healthy gay man. What it starts like a funny thing soon becomes the real thing, and Tristan has to decide if he is ready for it: no doubt that he is in love with the man, but he is still a 19 years old boy at his very first experience on the "dark" side... maybe he needs to consider other ways, before setting for true?

In this book there is the right dose of awareness that being a gay man today is not always simple, but luckily our two characters don't fight too much to find their way in the world; reality is there, right behind them, and sometime it makes its appearance, but all in all, it leaves them free to enjoy their love.

Michael is a very nice character. Strong, good, tender and caring... and wealthy! A good son, loving with his mother, and a good boy, always ready to offer an hand or an ear. Maybe he is not a man easy to fire up, but he is always "warm"; and he has passion inside: he doesn't deny his desires and his needs; he was attracted to Tristan since the guy was 17 years old but obviously he has never act on his passion since the moment the boy is legal and willing; but as soon as he understands that the boy is ready to be pick up, he is there in front line: no regrets on being too old or on gives him space to test his newfound sexuality, if someone needs to teach something to Tristan, it will be him.

Tristan is a joy to read. He is funny, sweet and sexy. He is clearly a boy with a great spirit and a loving family behind him. He was raised in good way, and he has strong values; he knows what is right and what is wrong; life maybe has put him in front of some obstacles (he lost his father 2 years before), but all in all he walks in steady grounds. And so he can enjoy life, and makes enjoy it also to you, with a freedom that is refreshening.

The story of Michael and Tristan is funny and sexy. There is a lot of sex, but it's always light and not angst: it is almost like you savor it with the same joy and sense of discovery that is of Tristan.

Amazon: Crossing Borders
Amazon Kindle: Crossing Borders
Paperback: 316 pages
Publisher: Loose Id, LLC (September 8, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1596327839
ISBN-13: 978-1596327832

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle

Cover Art by Anne Cain


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