The Circle - Readers' Comments

Some things said about THE CIRCLE SQUARED

Or as I like to call them, my paychecks for C2

Send one here.

"My boss hates you. My BF isn't too fond of you either."

"Magic! I lived your story while I read it! It was like I was right there!"

"Holy $#!^ Unbelievably emotional, real, detailed, rich, deep, moving..."

"Next time someone asks me if I read any good books lately I will have an answer!"

"When I get angry now I see a black panther in a cage and me standing there with a stick!"

"Congratulations. You made me bawl like a baby and laugh like a loon, sometimes at the same time."

"The story went beyond touching and took me there with it. I was out of control and only along for the ride."

"I lost count of the times I would laugh then cry then be laughing again over and over all in the same chapter!"

"So I finished reading Circle 2.....what day is it? Where am I? Who am I? I gotta read all of this again... I loved it. Don't change a thing... do what you do because it works and it's so right!"

"Absolutely wonderful! Real and richly drawn characters and not just the main and his close friends but others too as well as his parents. I feel like I know these people! I miss them already!"

"The Circle and Circle 2 are some of the best stories I've read in a long time. When I would get to the end of a chapter, I would have to click on the link for the next chapter and just keep reading."

"Your story should come with a Surgeon General's warning: This product may be harmful to your health. It may cause loss of sleep, mood swings, loss of appetite, and result in withdrawal symptoms."

"I once wrote you after reading the Circle long ago and thanked you for a long, complex and fulfilling story. I just read part two and it was a fitting sequel. Again you told a compelling and detailed tale, and worked my emotions throughout."

"Amazing. I couldn't guess what was coming next and I couldn't tell if I would be laughing or crying or yelling. The way you worked the lyrics in the big Paradise Theater show was absolutely stunning! The last chapters were mind-blowing, heat-stopping and awe-inspiring!"

"I heard Styx songs before but now when I do I listen and really enjoy them and I always think of Alex and his friends and enjoy the music even more. I thank you and Toby for making the effort to Show Me The Way." - Oh! Clever!

"I found your story on Nifty by going through looking for the hot scenes and when Alex and Toby had sex I read past it a little and got hooked. I went back and started over and read it through and ended up spending all week reading every minute I had almost nonstop until I finished and felt like I lived another life!"

"The angst of being a gay teen and feeling alone... the worries and fears that filled every day... the constant concern to stay invisible... the horror of knowing you're different... it's all there and in spades, and still you manage to prove that it's all illusions and self-created barriers and that friends are there even when you can't see them."

"Your descriptions personifying Alex's thoughts and worries at the end of the day in chapter eleven had me rolling with laughter at the same time I felt so sorry for him! The scene where Alex lets his folks in a little about the hospital "head-shrink" had me laughing and crying at the same time and that wasn't the first time or the last time!"

What a masterfully written story. I could not tear myself from this novel. Ray is a very talented author who has the rare ability to make the characters become part of your imagination. I found myself creating other stories in my mind. I so wanted to travel to 1980s Chicago and meet the characters. I don't know what other praise can be given. Thank you ray for sharing and creating these wonderful stories. wow... just wow.

"Its like you have a button to my emotions and push it at will through the whole story. A line here or a line there and I feel like I lost my best friend again just like when Toby died in part one or I'd be laughing at some comment one of the guys made at another. Alex would be thinking and feeling down and I would be too. Or one of his friends would try cheering him up and I'd laugh! I feel like I was in the story when it happened and was Alex. I feel like I lived parts of a whole different life than my own."

"I don't think I have ever written an author of any kind before, but I can't resist complimenting you for The Circle (I & II), which has to be absolutely the most realistic, absorbing story I can remember ever seeing. It's one of those that you literally have to tear yourself away from, the kind that makes people sit up all night even on a work or school night because they get so absorbed. I'm in awe of your ability to make the reader feel what Alex feels so intensely and in such detail- and all too often to cry right along with the kids. What convinced me to read it all? You name it: the realistic interaction and believable descriptions of the characters, your ability to make a reader feel like he's right there like a fly on the wall, and best of all, thinking what Alex thinks and feeling what he feels. That's a real talent."

"The Circle (and the stories around it) is the first in many years to reach down and touch me in a deep way. Few of the stories connect in such an emotive way. And never has an author gone so far as creating "props" (it feels wrong to call them that) such as the letters. When I read them I can feel the powerful teenage emotions (the hormones of youth can be felt even 20 years later) and I am thrown back to my own youth. Your stories have been compelling, convincing, plausible, but thrilling. The sex in even the X rated versions is not a distraction but instead pushes the story forward and deeper. I just wanted to say thank you for writing something that obviously in some way must come from the heart and from life."

"I remember finding The Circle years ago and reading it and falling so deeply into your story that I lost track of time and read until I couldn't keep my eyes open. Alex and his friends were so real and so engaging. I wrote then and told you how much I enjoyed your story. Imagine my joy when I saw that part two was done! Oh fraptuous joy! I dove in, hoping that it was even slightly as good, most sequels being far less involved or rich. Not only did you hit the ball out of the park again you batted in a run or two this time! More characters, more side stories, more emotions, more surprises! The half-way point left me stunned and afraid but you brought me back and had me crying and laughing at the same time again. You mixed both horror and joy and came up with a story that left me breathless and spent! Thank you and bless you and get to work on part three!"

"Wow! I waited to read it again before I wrote. I wanted to write as soon as I finished but I had to read it again first. Amazing! I've read more books than I can count in my lifetime, and yours are easily among the very best of them. I'm 67 now and most of the classics are either on my shelves or in my Kindle, and I'm really proud to have yours right there with them. When you print them I will purchase them and put them alongside them as well. Every person I know who reads stories like yours I've pointed your way and reminded them more than once. The ones who have read them have always agreed that they are remarkable and outstanding. You made me cry and laugh and feel everything from shame to victory to fear to love to grief to joy. There were times I couldn't read through the tears and times I couldn't read from the laughter. But the entire time I couldn't stop reading! "Just one more chapter!" And now I can only plead, "Just one more book!" But please, more than one!

"Wow. What more can I say? Read the Circle way back and like others say, fell into the story and had to keep reading to the end to climb back out. Beautifully written, deeply moving. Yes, of course, I laughed and I cried. Fell in love with Alex and Tom and the rest. Felt so jealous of Alex for his great, great friend. Wished I had had the same ... And the The Circle squared. Great invention, and excellent execution. I couldn't stop reading, neglected my work, had to find out what happened next. Worried continuously about Alex, and didn't even dare hope that it would turn out for the best in the end.
Appreciative of the repetition. Painful though it was.
And when it ended, that empty feeling of loss and love at the same time.
Hope to see ... Circle Cubed some day."

"I spent the weekend reading it just like I did the Circle when I found it a couple of years back. I did nothing else. I read. I managed an occasional bathroom break and time to make coffee and find something to snack on, otherwise I read and read. I laughed and cried and yelled and screamed and carried on like I was there and could do something about something. I need to take a few hours to sleep and let the story percolate before I write anything more but I'm too strung to sleep... probably the best story I've ever read online... made me cry and laugh... I hated and loved... there were times I wanted to shake my monitor... agonizingly frustrating yet painfully enjoyable... beautifully written... and again I am going to miss the guys until you can bring me again into his world! HURRY!"

"I don't really know where to begin. Perhaps I should just say thanks for two great stories (Circle 1 & 2) because I can't really find the right words to express exactly how I feel - truly I'm lost for words.
I've read them both as fast as I can, spending most of the last two weekends sitting in my chair with my iPad, cups of coffee and the occasional bite to eat.
I can't really comprehend the effort and emotional strain of composing two epic tales and will have to wait impatiently for the third story. I'm sure that this will be as good as the others if not better.
As I said at the start, thanks seems far too inadequate but it's all I have to offer.

"I just spent an entire weekend reading the second book and I'm exhausted. I expected it to be at least good if not really good and you didn't disappoint. Some sequels seemed written just to have a sequel but not yours. It not only answered questions it raised more. It not only made me laugh as much it made me laugh more. It not only made me cry as much it made me cry more. Best of all when it ended it made me want more even more!!! The frustration of knowing what the second book revealed but not knowing the things it hints at is excruciating! I'd love to write a book on your books! The way you weave details in and through the narrative and bring them out at the right time is pure masterwork. The small things I noticed in book 2 that aren't resolved are obviously leading to something shocking in book 3! And the little things in both books that are still left unanswered are going to add up to something for sure! The scarf stands out. What the hell is going on with that? You mention it time and again and burn it into my head, and I just know there's something special to do with that thing! The painful repetition of the nightmares is painful to read, but the minute changes within it make it so worth it! The leads and details tell so much! Oh yes and how the characters become so familiar is awesome. When one of them says something not typical for them you don't have to point it out I just know thier up to something! Thats another great thing about your books - you get me used to something by describing it and then you let me continue noticing without mentioning it! By the end of book 2 you don't even tell me what Tom's looks mean, just describe it and I know! Its like I know him now! And the other guys. So awesome! Its like I lived the story! Thank you for the friends I never had and the adventures I never experienced!"

Further suggestions to add to the Surgeon General's warning.

"... and eye strain."

"... lack of movement and a sense of temporal disorientation."

"... readers with heart conditions should use with extreme caution."

"... to be taken in moderate doses."

The Circle - Readers' Comments