Friday, August 4, 2017

Flashback Friday: Take My Picture by Giselle Ellis #Review #Giveaway

Author: Giselle Ellis
Book: Take My Picture
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Publication date: February 23, 2010
Length: 154 pages

Reviewed by Erin


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.

Buy Links


I'm going to tell you all a little story, one that's very personal, and if you know me at all, you know I DON'T do personal on FB. Like hardly ever, but I need to in order to talk about Take My Picture because my love for this book, and the reasons for it, are deeply personal. We all have that ONE book. You know what I'm talking about, the book we can pick up when we need to smile, or cry, or remember a person or a place or a time. I read Take My Picture a little over 4 years ago, 4 years and 1 month, almost to the day to be exact. It was a Saturday, afternoon to be precise. I know this because I remember everything about the how and the why I found Take My Picture.

 I had a friend who was, at the time, one of the most important people in my life. He loved to read; he devoured books so fast I could hardly keep up. He asked me for recommendations; I made him lists that would last for barely longer than a week. We'd never met face to face, but I talked to him daily, for hours a day. He was vibrant and goofy and complex and his reading tastes matched mine almost perfectly. At that time, I was reading almost exclusively MM books and as he was gay, he was in heaven reading about people like Ty Grady and Zane Garrett or Sam Kage and Jory Harcourt or Xander Karcek and Christian Edwards. So, he messaged me one day and said, "E, I need a book." I asked him, "What kind? What are you in the mood for?" and he said, with a sigh, because he sighed a lot, "I'm not sure. I just need something to make me feel, you know?" And I did know, because I knew him. So, I did what I usually did and started scouring All Romance and the Dreamspinner Press websites, searching for just the right book. (Yeah, I know, there were and are lots of other places to find books, but I wasn't as knowledgeable and savvy back then as I am now.) So, there I was, sitting in my favorite chair, scrolling through pages and pages of books, reading blurbs, looking at reviews on Goodreads, trying to find him what he was looking for. When I saw Take My Picture, I just knew. Maybe it was the camera on the cover because my friend was a photographer. Maybe it was the blurb, which is relatively short and doesn't really say a lot., but still spoke to me. I still don't know what it was that made me tell him, "I found it, here it is." But I did and he was all, "Okay, I'm diving in right now." A short time later the messages started. "Oh my God, Erin! This book!" and "Holy shit, you won't believe what Aaron just said to Jake!" and then "I hate you, this book is breaking my heart." and then "Just wait until you get to this one part, you'll know it when you get to it." And then, finally, "Thank you. You have no idea how much I needed this book."

 I waited until he was done reading before I started, but it was hard to do because I was dying to see what was affecting him so greatly. When I read, and I came to the parts I knew he'd been talking about, I knew why the book moved him the way it did. When we talked about the book later on, we'd both laughed and cried at the same places, as we often did. Sadly, my friend is no longer in my life, but I read Take My Picture a few times a year when I'm missing him like crazy, or when I need a pick me up, and it always leaves my heart happy and full. My friend was a mix of both Aaron and Jake. Arron's complete ridiculousness and whimsy and Jake's cynicism and his built-up walls and I never, EVER, finish reading without remembering all the wonderful things about my friend who meant, and still means, so SO much to me. 

Aaron and Jake are probably one of my most favorite couples, if not the top. They will make you laugh, make you gasp and go awww, and break your heart. They will make you smile so big you think your face will split in two and then ugly cry all over the place. To me this is the pinnacle of friends to lovers books so if that's your jam, and you haven't read this, by all means do yourself a favor and fix that ASAP. Truly. There is something just so endearingly wonderful about Aaron that will grab you immediately.

“…I was talking to Aly! How many times do I have to say this before you understand?” Aaron’s voice drifted through the door he was pushing open, obviously still chewing Jake a new one. “It’s just not right, hanging up the phone when someone else is on it; it’s bad manners you Neanderthal.”

“Well, seeing as how you’d still be down there talking to her right now if I hadn’t hung up the phone instead of standing up here in the same room as her face to face, I see only positive results to my actions.”

“You would, you goombah.”

“Hello, Tony Soprano.”

“I know,” Aaron said excitedly, totally forgetting his beef with Jake. “I heard it on the Sopranos! I love that show!”

“Does it bother you that you’re only now watching The Sopranos, years after everyone else?”

“I don’t like to be rushed into things—you know, the whole tortoise and the hare bit?”

“That doesn’t make any sense.”

“That very well may be, but it doesn’t make it any less true.”

*Snort* I love Aaron!

He's this whirlwind of light and laughter and you can't help but love him ... even when he's so SO damn oblivious that you want to kick him in the shins. And then there's Jake. Stubborn, surly, broken, soft and sweet Jake. Gah! If there's ever been a character so in need of a hug as Jake, I don't know if I've found him yet. He will frustrate you, no lie, but you can't help but want him to be happy and see that Aaron is the only one who can make him so.

As time went on and the calls coincided with Jake’s foul moods, his odd-request moods, Aaron came to realize he only needed to do one thing. Whenever the phone rang and he grunted his version of hello, Jake would say hello in a small quiet voice, and Aaron would simply say, “I’m still here.”

And Jake would say, “Okay.”

And Aaron would ask, “Can you sleep now?”

And Jake would reply, “Yes, now I can.”

*My. Heart.*

Their friendship might seem a bit dysfunctional, and I suppose if I'm being honest, it more than likely is, but the thing is, I don't care. I WANTED Aaron and Jake to be together so badly that it didn't matter to me how it happened as long as it did. And it does, oh my, how it does. Their happily ever after is my all-time favorite and probably always will be.

He felt beautiful and strong. Like a wild thing Jake would never want to let from his sight for fear it would run away into the night.

“You’re taking my picture, aren’t you?” Aaron asked quietly.

“Yes,” Jake breathed, his eyes following the path of those fingers.

“How many have you taken?”

“Hundreds,” Jake answered, sweeping his tongue across his lips, “a day. Every day I take hundreds of you.”

“Take one now,” Aaron ordered.


“No? You don’t want one?” Aaron asked, momentarily uncertain.

“I always want one. But now,” Jake answered, looking away from Aaron’s hand and up in to his eyes, “I want the real thing. I took pictures because I couldn’t have you. Thousands filled with my want, my need for you. I want to stop for a while so I can touch what only my film has been able to touch until now.”

*And, I die. Every time.*

And the nicknames? They kill me every. Single. Time. Moz and Flip ... they're perfection and unique and seriously the best ever. Just wait until you see how they come about. *giggles* 

With all that being said (or uhm, rambled) let me say a few other things about Take My Picture. As perfect as I think it is, it's not without its flaws so it's only fair to mention them. There is the use of the "R" word, more than a few times. While I no way condone this, I do stop to remember that this book was written in 2007 and then re-released in 2010. Publishers, editors, authors, and readers alike are more sophisticated now than we were back then so I have no doubt this would be corrected if it were to be written today. Also, this is a short book, only 157 or so pages so there are some things missing. As I said, to me the book is absolutely perfect the way it is, but others might feel differently. And lastly, and most discouraging, this is the only book as far as I know at least, that Giselle Ellis has written. If you're anything like me and fall head over heels in love with a book, you want more from the author who penned it, and in this case, you'll be out of luck. 

Take My Picture will always and forever remain one of my most cherished, treasured, and favorite books. I hope you’ll read it and love it as I do. I’ll be honest, I’m asked a lot what my favorite books are and more often than not, I DON’T tell people this one. I know, after my much too long gush fest, what the hell? But, this book is SO personal to me that I kind of want to keep it just for me. Weird, I know, but true. However, when we all talked about doing this new feature, this was the very first book I thought of so here we are. If you read, please take special care of Aaron and Jake. They’re so precious, but I hope they give you even a fraction of the soul-filling love and warmth they’ve given me.



Enter to win August's Flashback Friday giveaway!
A $5.00 Dreamspinner Press GC!
Contest will end
August 28th


a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. My go to would be the Cut & Run series

  2. My favorite flashback book is "If I Must" by Amy Lane I adore the story and fab characters.

  3. I recommend this book too! My favorite flashbacks are Latakia by JF Smith, Strawberries for Dessert by Marie Sexton, and I'll Be Your Drill, Soldier by Crystal Rose.

  4. A couple favorite flashbacks of mine are Social Skills by Sara Alva and Widdershins by Jordan L. Hawk.

  5. The Trap by Indigo Wren

  6. Surf Bay series by Ashley John. thay always leave me feeling happy and gooey lol

  7. I love Marie Sexton's Coda Series, Amy Lane's Johnnie's series & Tere Michaels Faith & Fidelity series.

  8. The Gladiator's Master by Fae Sutherland & Marguerite Labbe.

  9. Thanks for the flashback. For me, I have to go back a ways, but one is the gay gothic, Virga's Gaywyck, and of course, Maupin's Tales of the CIty.

  10. Thanks for the flashback. For me, I have to go back a ways, but one is the gay gothic, Virga's Gaywyck, and of course, Maupin's Tales of the CIty.