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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Take My Picture by Giselle Ellis



Take My Picture by Giselle Ellis
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (154 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Sex
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Reviewed by Phlox

Aaron has no idea what he's walking into when he shows up to pose for a famous—and famously bad-tempered—photographer. He certainly doesn't expect to end up working as Jake's assistant for five frustrating, thrilling, and crazy years instead of in front of the camera.

It all works until Jake realizes Aaron has become the focus of his life, a life that's threatened when Aaron actually leaves him to start a relationship with someone else. Though it breaks his heart, Jake realizes he has to set his beloved muse free to have any chance of winning Aaron back.

Jake and Aaron are two of the most endearing emotional train wrecks I’ve ever come across. While Jake is an agoraphobic photographer with serious control issues that bleed over into OCD, Aaron is an emotional hyperactive, who has difficulty staying in the moment and hides self-esteem issues behind his rapid-fire, sideways veering conversation. The reader knows from the start that they’re either meant for each other or a disaster of epic proportions in the making, probably both.

Despite their quirks and oddities, and partly because of them, I found it impossible not to fall in love with them. Ms. Ellis paints such a wonderful portrait of their relationship as ‘just friends’, with their often hilarious banter and their push-pull way of dealing with each other. They challenge each other. They force each other out of their respective comfort zones. They make everyone else around them a little nuts with a communication style meant for the two of them alone. Of course, their emotional instabilities also prevent both of them from taking that last step, the one where they admit how much they mean to each other, as they try to fill the void with other boyfriends in Aaron’s case and one-night stands in Jake’s.

Once in awhile, the banter goes on just a bit too long and there were spots in the story where the editor side of my brain was insisting ‘too much telling’. I would have liked to have been in scene through some of Aaron’s disastrous boyfriend issues rather than being told in narrative, but for the most part, the style of telling is so charming that I was able to ignore editor-voice.

Told in deep third-person POV, Jake and Aaron have such unique, convincing voices that the reader becomes immersed in the how’s and why’s of the motives behind their actions, their doubts and fears, their continual denials and anguish. This immersion is what makes the story emotionally engaging, while the quirky humor weaves light threads throughout to keep it from becoming heavy-handed. This is not one of those deeply tragic, sharply poignant stories one often finds in M/M romance. But the ‘black moment’ is still bleak enough that my eyes filled with tears.

At the end of a romance, one often wonders if the characters will appear again. What happens next? In this case, I hope not to see Aaron and Jake again. To see them in another story would mean something has gone wrong with their lives, and I so want them to be happy. A great read that I recommend.

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