Sunday, August 23, 2009

Dreaming Of You by Ethan Day

Reviewed by Aunt Lynn at Reviewsbyjessewave

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Restaurateur Aden Ingle has been in love with the perfect man since his fourteenth birthday. Unfortunately, his perfect boyfriend only exists in his dreams. But Aden’s always believed it was his destiny to meet his dream man, and he’s perfectly content to wait around for him to walk into his real life.
When he meets Logan Price at a Hotel/Restaurant Trade Show, he finds himself drawn to this man who shakes him out of his dream world. Pretty soon, the flesh and blood reality is becoming more appealing than the fantasy. The only problem is Logan lives half way across the country in California.
Aden’s going to have to choose whether to give up everything he’s built for himself professionally and uproot his whole life for Logan, or wait for the man from his dreams to become a reality.

Dreaming of You is Ethan Day’s second published work, and the second I’ve read (Self Preservation, reviewed here, sparked quite a bit of lively comment a few months ago). At the time I reviewed SP, I said that I’d be more than happy to read and review his next offering as I thought that he’s a good writer, and, well, here I am. I’m so glad I committed myself to that because this was a great book! I’m not usually a gusher, but this book is gush-worthy. DOY is light and humorous — with some seriously funny laugh out loud moments — and sexy. Well-written and plotted with smart, snappy, witty dialog, it reminded me in some ways of a romantic screwball comedy from the 30s and 40s, and I could easily see this made into a film. I read it earlier in the week when I was having a bad time in RL, and it lifted my spirits and successfully took my mind off things.

I am mad about Aden! Narrated by him in first person, we are privy to his discussions/arguments/negotiations with his inner voice, or what he thinks as opposed to what he says out loud, and it’s hilarious. I loved his odd personality quirks — he’s accident prone, he tends to let his mouth get away from him when he’s nervous, he has a karma point system, he has a need to be liked, he’s a horrible driver, and he has a dream man. Here’s a perfect example of Aden:
I never could stand the thought of intentionally being mean or selfish. It had always been my thing. I couldn’t help myself. When people had described my personality to others, I heard one of two things: “He is the nicest person you will ever meet,” or “He is so nice it’s disgusting.” I’m terrified one day I’ll crack and release the serial killer that’s been lurking inside me somewhere.

I want to be friends with this man! Based on some interviews I found and reading his site and blog, I suspect that there’s a lot of Ethan in Aden. *g*
I thought fellow restaurateur Logan was a wonderful compliment to Aden, a sensitive alpha who is willing to unconditionally accept “the sexiest, sweetest oddball [he’s] ever met,” even finding the quirks adorable. He gets Aden when perhaps others may not have.
I adored how fun Logan and Aden are together, even in bed, and how easy their relationship is. I rooted for these two, especially toward the end when Aden needed to make some choices.
Ethan has not only given us two great protags, but also a large, colorful secondary cast, all of whom are well-drawn and three-dimensional: Nathan and Finn, Aden’s best friends; Logan’s group of friends in LA; Rufus, the pseudo-dream man; even Logan’s mother, who makes an appearance early in the story. I loved how Aden is with his friends, especially Finn (who is a total hoot!), and how just about everyone accepts him, oddness and all.
Ethan is a gifted writer who has a way with prose that sucks you in and makes you see what Aden is seeing. I really liked the depth of description of much of the environment, especially when he is in a restaurant. As a pretty serious foodie who has considered opening a restaurant, I could see the d├ęcor, how the room is arranged, what the bar looks like, hear the ambient music, cough on the cigarette smoke. It all felt real to me.

Dreaming of You is one of those feel-good, fun, romantic books that you can immerse yourself in, one I’ll be reading over and over. I highly recommend it, and I am eager to see what Ethan has next for us.

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