At Piper’s Point


Title: At Piper’s Point
Author: Ethan Day
Publisher: Self Published
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: Novel (290 pages)
Rating: 5 stars out of 5

A Guest Review by Aunt Lynn


One Sentence Review: A wonderful, at-times hilarious story about facing one’s past.

THE BLURB

Ten years and many boyfriends later, Cassidy Winters finally returns to the ancestral home of his grandmother, Sadie Hart, despite the best efforts of his father to prevent it. Cassidy’s plans of a quiet, seaside ceremony to wish a final farewell to Sadie quickly unravel as interruptions run roughshod beginning with Neil who walks out of the ocean and straight into Cassidy’s bed. The dominos topple one by one when the little dog he rescues from the hounds of hell brings him to Ben, the hunky vet who rescues Cassidy right back. News of his arrival spreads faster than Cassidy’s legs, bringing his boyhood friend and first love Nate Sommers to his doorstep — leaving Cassidy spiraling into a multi-layered love snafu. As if the island wasn’t getting crowded enough for Cassidy’s good taste and bad decisions, best friends Ollie and Spencer arrive in time to witness the uninvited return of Cassidy’s most recent ex, Teddy, who’s refusing to stay dumped.

Fists fly and all hell breaks loose amid mojitos and martinis as Cassidy finds himself planning a huge party to celebrate Sadie’s life. Accusations are aimed as arguments and libidos boil over, but even through the chaos Cassidy knows exactly what he wants. While he’s certainly willing, he isn’t sure if he’s ready or able for love and life…At Pipers Point.

THE REVIEW

At Piper’s Point is the new novel by Ethan Day, and by far his longest. As regulars of this site know, it is no secret that Day is one of my favorite authors — the humor that comes through and his very colorful characters call to me in a way few authors’ stories do — and this may be his best work yet.

The story opens with Cassidy arriving at his grandmother Sadie’s ocean-front home at Piper’s Point on Hart’s Island, North Carolina. It is finally his after a long and rough legal battle, one which was started after Sadie suffered a stroke and his cold and controlling father put her into a nursing home against everyone’s wishes. Even though she has been gone for four years now, the custody of the property was only recently resolved and he has returned to have a quiet memorial for his grandmother and deal with the house. Sadie was the only family member who really loved and cared about Cassidy, and the summers he spent at Piper’s Point with her, her friend and housekeeper Natalie and Natalie’s son Nate were the best of his memories. Helping make those memories were all of the times he and Nate spent together, especially as teenagers when they explored the physical side of their long friendship. Now he’s back, at least temporarily, and is immediately up to his neck in insanity — men, alcohol, island folk, a rescued little dog — beginning with Neil, who comes out of the ocean like a gift from the sea gods. Soon Nate is around, his friends Ollie and Spencer come to spend the summer, and ex Teddy arrives without warning looking to reunite. Everyone wants his attention and he must make some decisions about his heart and future before it’s all too late once again.

First, let me say that I loved this book. It has something for everyone — a colorful cast, love and romance, laugh-out-loud humor, hot smexxin, a personal journey, and a little dog (for the pet lovers out there). There is such a yummy range and depth of emotion: grief, guilt, anxiety, anger, abandonment, rejection, inadequacy, failure, angst, relief, jealousy, loneliness, gratitude, lust, love, happiness. Don’t get me wrong — there is always a layer of emotion that goes into Day’s books under the fun stuff, but this one really packed it in. I laughed, I cried, I got a little steamy under the collar. It made me want to run out and rent a beach house for the summer on the Atlantic coast.

The story is ultimately about the theme of the past and memories. Cassidy is constantly thinking about his past, learning about his past, connecting with his past, and facing his past. He is surrounded at Piper’s Point by his past growing up with Sadie during the summers, and almost all of the men who are at the house are part of his past. And it’s not just Cassidy; many of the characters are dealing with the past in some way.

Though Cassidy seems perfect on the outside, he is flawed and emotionally scarred. Raised essentially part-time by cold, uncaring, absentee parents, he had the potential of growing up to be just like his father. Luckily, he escaped that by the time he spent at Piper’s Point and with Sadie (and Natalie and Nate), but not before developing some abandonment issues that cause him to end relationships before they can end on him (something his exes call him on constantly and with some hilarity).

Update: It was pointed out in the comments that I didn’t address Cassidy and the relationship(s) he has.  Without including spoilers, he does have intimate relations with more than one of the men central to the story, but there are no ménages and no cheating on his way to Twu Wuv Forevah.  This is a romance, so there is definitely an HEA, but the road to get there is a little rocky.  This may bother some readers looking for a romance where the two protags meet, get together, and smexx it up, and there are no outside influences on their way to their HEA.

The various men in Cassidy’s life who make up much of the cast were very fun to watch, as were their interactions. I never knew what was going to come next between the alcohol consumption, the flying fists, and who was sleeping with whom. I also got a real feel for the local flavor of the townsfolk and establishments. And Sadie herself is almost ever-present throughout, making her a strong secondary character among a strong, fully-fleshed cast.

There are a few things that I noticed about this book compared to others by this author. The last three stories I’ve read by Day were narrated in first-person (he writes a very successful first-person narrator), and I was immediately struck that this was being told third-person. This is more of an observation more than anything, and not a criticism, just different. It took me a few moments to reorient myself.

Also, it initially starts out more somberly than his other books, which is not a bad thing at all, just unexpected. I am accustomed to the trademark snarky humor that is liberally laced in his other stories starting from page one, and here it is missing until we are many pages in. Upon reflection, this is good because it does allow us to get a benchmark of where Cassidy is in his emotional state when we meet him and how far he will come by the end of the book. But once it beings to roll, the crazy, at times screwball-ish happenings had me snickering away.

OVERALL

Run, don’t walk, to pick up this latest story by the wonderful Ethan Day. You won’t be sorry.

At Piper’s Point is available tomorrow, July 27, from LooseID.

95 comments

  • TJ

    Ethan, shhh! You were supposed to keep that from the girls. They’ll be jealous cause I got what you need baby

    I couldn’t reply to you so I have to do it this way. You are no longer in my good books. Now you’re making side deals? Just because you have what he needs? It’s not my fault I was born a girl. 🙂

    • No, no, no… hold on Wave. There were no side deals with Ethan. I may be easy, but I no ho! We’re just 2 consenting adults having some fun. 😉

      You should enjoy being a girl – no dangly bits to get “accidently” hurt, no hairy chest or legs, no manly smell, no… Mmmmm. What was I saying? Kind of zoned out there. I think I need a cold shower.

      • Yeah, TJ, you totally ruined that “enjoy being a girl” bit there! LOL I thank my father every day for supplying that Y chromosome!

        • Yeah Buda I kinda blew that one. But I bet you’re now singing “I’m strictly a female female and my future I hope will be in the home of a brave and free male who’ll enjoy being a guy having a girl like me” LOL

  • Okay…first things first…can we change the mud pit to something else…like maybe a Jello pit? Cause I just got done cleaning up a doggie diarrhea accident and ‘mud’ is no longer offering up a very nice mental picture for me.

    OMG!! Buda is totally re-writing our history!! : )

    He was having a mini-fit about having to buy the antho – because he usually hates antho’s as he only winds up liking one of the stories. So I inform him that he could wait a month or two and buy it as an e-book single. Also bringing up that he’d have less of a wait for the sequel by that time!! Does he listen to me? NO!!

    Then he blames sweet, innocent, little ole me after disregarding my sound advice! As if I would EVER tease or taunt outside the confines of fiction. Buda…you seem to enjoy self-inflicting pain upon yourself!?! Are you like a reformed cutter or something? ; )

    • Ethan, please. As if I’d have a mini anything!

      You’re the one twisting the scenario to suit your purposes! You’re just pure evil. It’s no wonder we love you so much. 🙂

      And it’s still your fault. :p

      • Buda
        Did someone say something about a “mini”? Where are those nekkid photos you sent me? I should forward them to Ethan – see if he would want to go into a pit with you, mud, jello or anything else after he sees them. LOL

        BTW I don’t care what Ethan promised you after you tried to bribe him, I’m still not giving up LiF. As for Lynn she can stop waving food in Ethan’s face. BTW Ethan, she does have a low center of gravity, in other words, if you’re 5 ft tall she would have to look up at you, WAY up. 🙂

      • Did you read all the stories in the antho? You have to email me and tell me what you think of one particular story. I can’t wait for your review. 🙂

        • Actually, no. I was so upset when I finished Sno Ho that I couldn’t continue. I swear I cried for a second knowing it would be ages before I could finish Boone & Wade’s story. I simply couldn’t bear to read the rest of the antho.

          You see how he has scarred me?!

          *sniffles*

    • Ethan
      Stop egging the boys on. No mud pits (unless I get to watch) 🙂 LiF is mine so don’t go making any deals with the winner you scumbag. 🙂 I’m having enough trouble with Aunt Lynn waving food in front of your face as a bribe. LOL

      • I absolutely do not want to review any of Ethan’s books…ever! That’s because I love him more than any of you and could never rate him lower than 5+ DIK! But the mud wrestling sounds like fun 😉

        • That’s because I love him more than any of you…

          *gasp!* Okay, no one — No. One. — could love him more than me, so you must be mistaken. I think you and I need to head to the mud pit to see who does love him more, TJ. I have a low center of gravity, so you better watch out!

        • Thanks TJ! And don’t worry…unlike that daft, silly Monica Lewinsky chick, I burned the cum-stained Navy dress you asked me to put on when we fooled around that night. There’s no DNA evidence that can tie us together. ; )

          • Ethan, shhh! You were supposed to keep that from the girls. They’ll be jealous cause I got what you need baby. 😉

        • TJ
          I’ll remember that. He has quite a few books coming out. Don’t blame me when they end up with moi because you turned them down. LOL

      • Shame on you Wave!! To insinuate I would ever egg the boys on…or offer any under-the-table type deals!! I have weak knees!! I’d never crawl under the table!! : )

        Oh my…I think we might have fallen way off the silly meter over the last 24 hours! Maybe no one else will ever read any these last bits. LOL!

        • Ethan
          I’m in stitches at the picture of you trying to make under-the-table deals on your weak knees, crying OUCH every few seconds. That is priceless. How romantic. Can I be there to film this?

          No one will read these comments (I hope). I needed this after the shitty day I had.

          • Wave, don’t’ fall for his lines! I watched him that one time. Knees had nothing to do with how quickly he got under the table and down to work. I tell ya, I was impressed! 🙂

  • Wave, if you knew what Ethan put me through with Sno Ho, there’d be no question that I should be LiF’s reviewer. Just ask him. Oh, he’ll deny it was his fault, but you’ll be able to see through his thin falsehoods and see just how deeply he wounded me. 😉

      • You see, Wave? I told you he’d deny it. The man is clearly delusional.

        Here’s what really happened: He suggests–to me, mind you! me, who thinks a brick to the head is subtle!–suggests I might maybe think about waiting to read Sno Ho because maybe possibly I won’t have to buy an anthology just for Boone & Wade.

        But we all know I have no patience, this penchant for instant gratification…and I was feeling guilty–that’s right, I said it: guilty–that I hadn’t read it yet. So you see where this is going, right? Clearly, clearly it is Ethan Day’s fault that I’ve been tortured with this long wait for Life in Fusion.

        Which is why I should be the one to review LiF. And I promise not to hold this whole sad debacle against him–well, not much.

        .
        .
        .

        Of course…if we’re talking mud pit, he does owe me…. *g* Whaddya say, Ethan? You gonna man up and meet me in the pit?

        • Buda
          that rationale actually makes sense but it’s still NO!!!! No matter how many fights you engineer with Ethan and TJ. Of course I’ll watch the two of you getting it on in the mud as I review the book. You think your wait was long??? It was January when I reviewed Melting the Slopes and I had to read and review a book in there that should never have been written so I deserve something for that. 🙁 By my count it will be 11 months until I get the sequel so my wait is longer than yours. LOL

          Ethan
          Shame on you. 🙂

  • I think I’m in love with Ethan Day…

    I wasn’t too sure when I read the blurb as Sue said above I’m not always that keen on multiple lovers etc. but actually it was just fantastic. Loved it from start to finish, laughing out loud one minute then tearing my hair out the next when Cassidy and Nate couldn’t see what was right in front of them.

    Superb.x

    • Thanks Becky! I’m so happy you enjoyed the book. : ) I guess that blurb has caused some confusion for people. I was going for a zany/life spinning out of control kinda vibe, but some are reading it and thinking…slutty characters. : )

      For me personally, I’m okay with slutty characters…horny guys need love to. But I can see where some are getting confused by it.

      I’m glad you gave it a try despite your reservations, and that you loved it on top of that is just author-icing on the e-book cake.

      Hope you have a great week, Becky!

    • Hi Becky and thanks for commenting.

      I think I’m in love with Ethan Day…

      Sorry honey, he’s mine, mine, mine. You’re gonna have to fight me for him. Wave, is the mud pit ready yet? 🙂

      Seriously, this is such a yummy book and like I said, probably his best yet. If you haven’t read other stuff by him, you need to. If you have, you know what I mean.

      • Lynn
        I hate to tell you this but TJ and Buda are already making a move on Life in Fusion which is the sequel to Sno Ho. I think they are in collusion. 🙂

        • Waaaaah! 🙂 Actually, I knew I wouldn’t get a shot at the sequel to my second favorite story of his. I am eager to see who gets it. Will TJ and Buda use the mud pit to decide, and do I get to watch? 😉

          • I’m very sorry but I did manage to review Sno Ho before you knew it was out. LOL. So now the guys are ganging up on me. I’m hiding. 🙂

          • Lynn
            TJ is too much of a gentleman to go into a pit, mud or otherwise, but LiF is mine. Hands off. It’s a sequel and the rules say that the sequel must be reviewed by the person who reviewed the first book (well generally anyway). LOL Ethan had better not try to make side deals with the guys. Where were they when his first book, Self Preservation, was released? 🙂

  • I finally read the book and there is only one thing I can say: “It was transcendent!” 😀

    Lynn, I agree with you – this IS the best Ethan’s book so far. I liked all of them, but At Pipers Point is just fantastic. The characters are great, Sadie included. I would have liked more about Nate, especially his life without Cassidy, but this was Cassidy’s book so that was all right. Cassidy’s friends were hilarious, the setting was fabulous, the Dog was cute and I wouldn’t mind reading more about these people. Can we have a book about Neil, Ethan, to revisit Hart’s? Please, please, please… I just LOVED how he baited Nate. XD

    Everyone should read this book! Thank you, Ethan!

    • Good morning LadyM. I’m so glad you loved the book as much as I did. Yeah, the book is so character driven and Ethan writes them so marvelously.

      A book about Neil, huh? 🙂 Ethan?

    • Hi LadyM & Aunt Lynn! Thank you so much for the truly wonderful comments. It’s always a little scary, writing these books and loving the characters so much yet wondering in the back of your mind if anyone else will. So for you to want more – that’s about as good as it gets for me. : )

      I hesitate to open my mouth and say I’ll do a sequel of any kind, since I have yet to finish the sequels to SP, DoY or Sno Ho. I have at least started the SP sequel, and Life in Fusion, the Sno Ho sequel, is next out of the gate. So I certainly won’t say Neil will never get his own book or that I’ll never make another trip to Hart’s…but it won’t be in the immediate future.

      I have too many books going now as it is, LOL. I have four currently in the works (actually five – but I’m not allowed to talk about the fifth one just yet). For now I’m going to concentrate on finishing up what I have on my plate. After that, I’ll be able to sit back and figure out where to go from there.

      Thanks again for the very lovely comment, it was most appreciated. : )

  • Okay, so I finished this a couple of hours ago and these guys are still running around in my head. I love that!

    Aunt Lynn, I hope you won’t be offended that I didn’t read your review until after I’d finished the book. Not that I don’t trust you, I just didn’t want any spoilers or outside influences. Now that I’ve read both, I shouldn’t have worried. Your review was almost as brilliant as Ethan’s book! 😮

    This book, these guys were just so terrific, I just can’t even find the words. Sadie, man, she and my Aunt Ada would have been as thick as thieves! Ollie was an absolute kill! I loved how he had Cassidy’s number before Cass even knew what it was.

    I laughed (Ollie/Dog) and cried (Sadie/bracelets) and rolled my eyes with a smile on my face (at Cass, usually).

    I really wanna say I think the orgy scene was my favorite part of the book. So flipping hot.

    Except there was no orgy scene. 😉 There was very little actual sex, though there was a great deal of sexual tension, which is almost as good, if you ask me.

    Seriously, take Aunt Lynn’s advice: run to get your copy! You won’t regret it.

    Thank you, Ethan!

    • LMAO @ orgy scene!! I did a double take when I read that!

      I’m so happy you liked the book, budajsguy. I promise you nothing makes me happier than hearing that. : )

    • Aunt Lynn, I hope you won’t be offended that I didn’t read your review until after I’d finished the book. Not that I don’t trust you, I just didn’t want any spoilers or outside influences. Now that I’ve read both, I shouldn’t have worried. Your review was almost as brilliant as Ethan’s book! 😮

      *blush* Wow, praise indeed. Thanks a bunch. And no, no offense at all. I’ve done that my own self a few times.

      I’m so glad you liked it, and like Ethan, I almost chocked on my tea at the orgy comment. 🙂 There were so many great things to love about this book, from the wonderful characters to the hilarity of some of the situations Cassidy and his crew found themselves in.

  • Wow. These comments are turning into Shades of A Vintage Affair. First Josh freaked everyone out and now folks are having a go at poor Ethan. But I know he’s a big boy and can handle it. 🙂

    I haven’t gotten very far into APP, but it’s already sucked me in. Sadie already reminds me of my favorite (Great) Aunt Ada. Gotta love that.

    • Hi there Budajsguy. Yeah, controversy are us. 😉

      I think there may be quite a few of us who have/had a “Sadie” in our lives. 🙂

      Let us know what you think when you’re done.

    • Hi Budajsguy! I wish everyone had a Sadie in their life at one point or another. Great Aunt Ada sounds like a keeper!

      And sure, I can handle it alright, just don’t think any less of me should I try pulling out a lip quiver or something first to see if that won’t push things my way. ; )

  • You’re not alone having that quirk, Sue. *g*

    >>I have a curious question. Do you consider it cheating if the main protagonist has not yet made up his mind to commit to one person, and is having sex with others until he decides on which man he wants? I don’t. I call that dating.<<

    Well, not cheating perhaps… But if he's having sex with several people in a story, it's not a story I'd really like to read.

    I like the sex scenes to be between the two people who's meant to be together.

    Sorry, that's just my opinion. *shrugs* So I guess this is what goes on in this story? :/

    • Hi TT
      I haven’t read the book so I have no idea if Cassidy is sleeping with everyone. That was just a general question.

      >>I like the sex scenes to be between the two people who’s meant to be together.<< Since in the real world typically people date others, sometimes simultaneously, while others are serial daters until they find the partner they want, I was just curious about how Sue defined cheating.

      • Ah, okay. It was a good question. *g*

        >>Since in the real world typically people date others, sometimes simultaneously, while others are serial daters until they find the partner they want, I was just curious about how Sue defined cheating.<<

        Yeah, people do that. I would've never done it though, and would be pissed if someone I was dating dated others, especially if there was sex involved, so I don't like it in fiction either. *lol*

    • TT, see my comment to Sue re: this. You have to read the story to understand, but I wouldn’t lead you astray. Cheating and menages are big no-nos for me, so that definitely would have made it into the review if either/both were present.

      • I hope Sue changes her mind and reads the story. If it’s an author you know and like, then you trust you will find more to like regardless of the path the author chooses; I for one would hate to see cookie-cutter storylines with no room for something different. For instance, in Josh Lanyons latest “A Vintage Affair”, there was m/f/m. I’m not a fan of menage and don’t read it, but it fit in with the context of the story and was stronger for it. It also ended up being another of my favorite stories from Josh. Hate to think I would have missed out because of not venturing outside my comfort zone.

        • I agree with you Stacy. It sounds like Sue hasn’t read Ethan yet, so she may change her mind once she realizes he is a true romantic at heart.

      • >>TT, see my comment to Sue re: this. You have to read the story to understand, but I wouldn’t lead you astray. Cheating and menages are big no-nos for me, so that definitely would have made it into the review if either/both were present.<<

        Good to hear that cheating and menages are big no-no's for you. They certainly are for me too. And that you still liked this book even if he sleeps with more than one man…

        This is a quirk I have – I like a character to only be sexually active with the one he's ending up with. I think I might try reading it though, since you rec it when you don't like menages or cheating either, but it certainly won't be on the top of my tbr list. *lol* I'm just really uncertain about this book because of all this…

        • Like I said TT, I would need to give spoilers to explain why it’s okay, but it all works. Trust me. Let us know what you think after.

          • >>Like I said TT, I would need to give spoilers to explain why it’s okay, but it all works. Trust me. Let us know what you think after.<<

            If I'm uncertain about a book or if it's a new author for me I tend to read the end to make sure it ends well, so that I can sit down and enjoy the book without any nasty surprises coming my way. *lol*

            So yeah, I prefer spoilers. But I'm sure not many others do. I'm just weird that way. *lol*

        • Other than Sno Ho (as mentioned above) you might want to start with Ethan’s ‘As You Are’… there isn’t any cheating, though the main character’s love interest ‘dates’ others. It’s a wonderful journey for both Julian (Julie) and Danny, told in Julian’s voice with such a quirky sense of humor, through laughter and tears and reconciliations of more than one type.

          A close second would be ‘Self Preservation’. It has a “Best Friend’s Wedding” feel but with the HEA. Again, heavy on the humor but, just as heavy with the angst intermixed.

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