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1) A fantastic debut! I quickly got caught up in the excitement of the competition and Nate's desire to win. With him being such a likable guy, it was easy to cheer for him - and he wasn't too perfect. The sexual tension between Nate and his fellow competitor, Zachary, was just as delicious as all the food. The ending was extremely satisfying.

2) This is a book for foodies. The description of a TV cooking competition gets detailed, with lots of research backing it up, and the cooking is just as informed. If your’e not an avid cook, you’ll probably lose interest. But if you are a Food Network victim just like me, you’ll love the plot and it’s luxurious exploration of a well-described setting. The main characters are adorkable, and their fellow competitors make a fine group of both supporters and villains. “Under the Knife” makes a fine read for those lazy days when you feel like cooking, but would be rather reading about two hot guys instead.

3) This was by far and away my favorite book this year.  The plot moved at a nice pace, there was a good play between the characters, and the characters were really well portrayed and thought out.  It was a good paced read, and I was disappointed when it ended.

Under the Knife by Laurin Kelly
Gay Contemporary Romance
Paperback: 366 pages
Publisher: Less Than Three Press (June 20, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1620047853
ISBN-13: 978-1620047859
Amazon: Under the Knife
Amazon Kindle: Under the Knife

Season three of TV's hottest cooking competition, Under the Knife, is gearing up, and Nate is equal parts excited and terrified that he's one of the twelve competitors. But the prize is a quarter of a million dollars, and that's worth a few weeks of being stressed and afraid. It may not, however, be worth weeks of putting up with Zachary, the cold, snotty competitor who definitely thinks he's better than everyone else. The man can cook, and he's the hottest man Nate has ever seen, but every time he opens his mouth Nate hates him all over again. He came here to be driven crazy trying to prove he's the best chef in the world, but if Nate can't learn to block Zachary out it won't be the competition that pushes him to the breaking point.

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On one hand, the writing is over the top and so is the story. On the other, the voice is vibrant, and though we've seen the whole superhero-romance thing before, the characters and narrative voice pull us through. Bottom line is this book was Fun with a capital F; what more do you really need?

Checkmate Ever After by Lex Chase
Gay Anthology / Collection / Sci-Fi / Futuristic
Paperback: 314 pages
Publisher: DSP Publications (December 15, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1634764617
ISBN-13: 978-1634764612
Amazon: Checkmate Ever After
Amazon Kindle: Checkmate Ever After

Second Edition

Checkmate: Books One through Four

The day disgraced superhero Memphis Rook literally fell into Hogarth Dawson’s lap, you could say it was fate. But the brawny Rook did nearly crush Garth’s pancreas. What started as two ships passing in the night ended on the weirdest adventure of their lives. Together, Rook and Garth form Checkmate, a daring super duo that keeps Axis City safe from a rogue’s gallery of nefarious villains, dastardly masterminds, and a coalition of calamity. Fighting evil wherever it appears―from reality shows to comic book conventions―Checkmate serves up knuckle sandwiches of justice. But by day, they’re a couple of broke losers who can barely afford a burger and navigating a weird thing called a relationship. Ain’t true love grand? Rook and Garth may be in over their heads, and even super heroes fail sometimes, but they’re ready to take a stand when no one else will. Don’t hate the players, because Checkmate owns the game.

First Edition of Pawn Takes Rook published by Dreamspinner Press, 2013.

First Edition of Cashing the Reality Check published by Dreamspinner Press, 2013.

First Edition of Conventional Love published by Dreamspinner Press, 2014.

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1) This collection of almost 60 short essays, some no more than a page or so long, others a thousand words or so, actually do add up to a remarkable look at current gay male ideas, trends, fashions, social consciousness etc. He begins with rather simple, single concept pieces, but as he continued writing on--mostly for OUT magazine-- he took on a great many more serious, even "heavier" issues such as having sex when you HIV viral load exists but is "undetectable," as well as the continued division between positive and negative guys, which won't be going away any time soon. Other concepts come Archer's way-- when to drop a once very close friend; what to expect and how to behave as a gay man in other countries ---South Africa for example. Also how to deal with--and/or avoid--unhelpful families, parents and others. It all adds up to a thinking man's compendium, and as Archer is a good, lighter writer it is always interesting and entertaining.

2) My score for Archer's Omnibus is an easy 40.  What a wonderful collection of stories.  Jesse Archer is a master at the written word.  His prose is rich and captivating.  His essays are beautiful and provocative.  I enjoyed every word, every page, of this collection.

3) Like many collections, some superb pieces and some uninteresting. A good read in small doses.

4) Archer's prose is both sophisticated and edgy and the vignettes themselves are so organic so genuine, it’s easy to lose yourself in the reading of them. Most importantly, they are also very entertaining. While I would recommend this book to anyone, gay men in particular will be able to lose themselves in nostalgia, and why not? They were after all, there.

Archer's Omnibus of Oddities, Mischievous Exploits & Sundry Tales of Insubordination: A Queer Collection of Essays by Jesse Archer
Gay Non Fiction
Publication Date: August 28, 2016
Amazon Kindle: Archer's Omnibus of Oddities, Mischievous Exploits & Sundry Tales of Insubordination: A Queer Collection of Essays

Jesse Archer spins his most shocking escapades into short editorial that is sometimes salacious, often incendiary, and always irreverent. From Manhattan to Burning Man to North Dakota's Corn Palace, follow the totally true adventures of a gay man with a lot to learn. This volume includes a decade's worth of outrageous tales which may involve black sheep, masculine bottoms, forbidden fruit, sex parties, suicide, AIDS cures, prison pen pals, Fire Island survivors, a high school hero, and how to ruin your best friend's wedding.

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The redemption story has been told several times in the stories I've read, but this is a work that really does a good job with it (of those which I've read, one of the few). The plot works along; the flashback device works out well; there are hints here and there, and while some of it might be obvious, there are some pieces that you only put together after you continue to read the story. Really well done in that regard. The author took care to use the setting only as much as was required in order to make the story work; there wasn't an excess of reference or an excess of description or elaboration where it wasn't required, which was nice. The reuse of northwestern Ohio wasn't heavy-handed, and the author still managed to make the place have its own bit of charm to it. These are people, not just characters. Some of the characters do have some flatness issues (Becky was a bit flat, but she also wasn't a principal, so it's forgiveable). These are people with tragic, real backgrounds. While some of it felt a bit heavy-handed at first, it all actually came to a head as feeling like it was something that was plausible, which was very remarkable. I think Justin's turn was sudden, but at the same time, he had been in a rut for twelve years; people can just turn their lives around abruptly one day; it's what makes humanity so unique. Well done. Smooth and easy to read, interesting, doesn't talk down or feel rough. A really enjoyable, smooth style of writing. Dialogue particularly feels very organic. Recommended for consideration for an award.

Justin's Season by S.M. Sawyer
Gay Historical
Paperback: 460 pages
Publisher: NineStar Press (August 6, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1911153781
ISBN-13: 978-1911153788
Amazon: Justin's Season
Amazon Kindle: Justin's Season

The year is 1988, and Justin Davis, a former nationally recruited football prep star, awakens from twelve years of masking his shame with drugs and alcohol to find he has been returned to his former self through what can only be described as a miracle. Triggered by the confirmation of his closely guarded sexual orientation, his fall from grace of over a decade before sets the stage for his redemption. The fulfillment of his destiny is prompted by Providence and the serendipitous deeds of those who are a part of his new life, as their intertwined lives are likewise impacted. Though his rapid evolvement and acceptance of his homosexuality is countered by setbacks, Justin perseveres and eventually triumphs as fate, he believes, has led him back to the sports arena to recapture past glories. In a stunning finale, however, he learns his destiny is not what he had envisioned. His calling has been thrust upon him by circumstances beyond his control. Can Justin embrace it and become the man he was always meant to be?

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1) Dusk Peterson has written a series of compelling short stories sent in ancient times when the love for another man was prohibited and sentenced by death. These are well written and quite entertaining. There are a few of these stories I wouldn't mind if they were extended and given a wider view. Well done!

2) Really nice stories with interesting plots. Mostly character driven, with a hint of plot to push things along. A lot of the intercharacter relationships really shine in this anthology. Excellent. The author took a lot of care with the setting in which these stories are developed. While I normally find weakness when an author borrows a setting in which to set their stories (and initially I was concerned about the author lifting the state of Maryland), I found that I enjoyed the changes and twists the author made, essentially taking Maryland and making it their own. I can really appreciate a lot of the painstaking research the author did, and think this part of their stories really shined. These are people, not just characters. They each have their own unique voice as much as they can and you get that feel  while reading these stories. Excellent. Really well done; a nice balance of being inside the character's head and explaining what's going on. Sometimes, a bit of tell, but generally well balanced with some show to it. Great job. Recommended for consideration for an award.

Risk (Dark Light #2) by Dusk Peterson
LGBT Anthology / Collection / Alternative Universe/Reality
Publisher: Love in Dark Settings Press (August 21, 2016)
Amazon Kindle: Risk (Dark Light #2)

"I hesitated. Was Fairview dead? Was it worth my while to risk my own life for a dead man?"

Until risk arrives, you never know how important the things are that you're required to risk.

A soldier must decide how high a price he is willing to pay for an unspoken bond. A journeyman must choose between an assured future and an untroubled conscience. A boy learns that his life is a lie and must decide which truth he desires. A servant and his beloved master face stark truths as their lives are endangered. A young torturer, satisfied with his lot, gambles everything he has ever valued to learn a new way of treating prisoners. A master must risk the future of his slave, or else risk his own future. . . . "Risk" looks at the dangers and rewards of taking risks.

This second volume of Dark Light collects two novellas (short novels), two novelettes (miniature novels), and two short stories. These tales come from Turn-of-the-Century Toughs, a cycle of alternate history series (The Eternal Dungeon, Dungeon Guards, Michael's House, Life Prison, Commando, Waterman, Young Toughs, and Dark Light) about adults and youths on the margins of society, and the people who love them. Set in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the novels and stories take place in an alternative version of America that was settled by inhabitants of the Old World in ancient times. As a result, the New World retains certain classical and medieval customs.

Volume Contents
"The Unanswered Question" (The Eternal Dungeon). No weapons, no allies, and no guarantees that he will survive the test.
"The Lure" (Young Toughs). His entire life has been a secret. Now he must rip open the secret.
"Journey to Manhood" (Young Toughs). "Perhaps, when they spoke next, the other young man could tell Simmons of any masters here who were in need of an apprentice who was perilously close to the age of journeymanship."
"Lost Haven: a master, his servant, and a disappearing island" (Waterman). Amidst a servant's nightmare, can a haven of hope be found?
"Master's Piece" (Waterman). He was his master's piece: the model for his master's sculptures. But his master was different.
"Spy Hill" (Commando). On a hot summer's day, on a high hill surrounded by the enemy, the best battle-companion can turn out to be the truth.

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1) This novel evoked a wistful, tender mood with its beautiful cover, and that mood carried through in the story. This was a emotional story wonderfully told.

2) It was touching, and unlike anything I have ever read. This book took the cliched trope of Dead People and made it fresh. Carter, though dead, grows as much as Seth. Phoenix tackles the difficult topic of male-on-male domestic violence and it's aftermath with grace and authenticity.

For Never and Always by Ana J. Phoenix
Bisexual Paranormal Romance
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (March 4, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1530373336
ISBN-13: 978-1530373338
Amazon: For Never and Always
Amazon Kinlde: For Never and Always

Seth finds himself alone at an abandoned train station, with no idea what happened, or how he got there. He boards a train, only to discover it’s a special express transporting the recently deceased to their final destination. The conductor tells him he’s having a near-death experience. Seth wonders if it has something to do with his violent boyfriend, but that doesn't matter. All that matters is getting the hell off the train before he actually dies. But when he spots his best friend and secret crush among the traveling dead, the urge to leave fades...

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1) I didn't score it higher because though the story is courageous and groundbreaking, all the information was very compact and rushed.

2) This is a wonderful memoir, touching and funny. The author's magnetic personality comes through on every page.

3) Being familiar with Jazz and her story, I found her biography to be a continuing asset to transgender individuals, young and old.  Telling her story in her own words has been a great read and easy to follow.  So very proud of this young person and everything she has been through to be her authentic self. Brave little soul. Extra Note: The photo of Jazz in her mermaid outfit by the pool was taken by my friend and trans-photographer Rhys Harper from the Transcending Gender Project.

Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen by Jazz Jennings
Transgender Biography / Memoir
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers (June 7, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0399554645
ISBN-13: 978-0399554643
Amazon: Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen
Amazon Kindle: Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen

Teen advocate and trailblazer Jazz Jennings—named one of “The 25 Most Influential Teens” of the year by Time—shares her very public transgender journey, as she inspires people to accept the differences in others while they embrace their own truths.

Jazz Jennings is one of the youngest and most prominent voices in the national discussion about gender identity. At the age of five, Jazz transitioned to life as a girl, with the support of her parents. A year later, her parents allowed her to share her incredible journey in her first Barbara Walters interview, aired at a time when the public was much less knowledgeable or accepting of the transgender community. This groundbreaking interview was followed over the years by other high-profile interviews, a documentary, the launch of her YouTube channel, a picture book, and her own reality TV series—I Am Jazz—making her one of the most recognizable activists for transgender teens, children, and adults.

In her remarkable memoir, Jazz reflects on these very public experiences and how they have helped shape the mainstream attitude toward the transgender community. But it hasn’t all been easy. Jazz has faced many challenges, bullying, discrimination, and rejection, yet she perseveres as she educates others about her life as a transgender teen. Through it all, her family has been beside her on this journey, standing together against those who don't understand the true meaning of tolerance and unconditional love. Now Jazz must learn to navigate the physical, social, and emotional upheavals of adolescence—particularly high school—complicated by the unique challenges of being a transgender teen. Making the journey from girl to woman is never easy—especially when you began your life in a boy’s body.

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1) Jonah and Tate are relatable, even though their situations are nothing like mine. I love that their relationship was strong and just got stronger through adversity.

2) Really well done.  There were a few issues I had with the author’s writing style with this book that she hasn’t exhibited in other works of hers that I’ve judged in the past. But otherwise, this was a really good story with great characters. The theme of finding yourself and standing up for who you are is very well done.

Come What May (All Saints) by A.M. Arthur
Gay Contemporary Romance
Series: All Saints (Book 1)
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Carina Press (April 19, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 037300396X
ISBN-13: 978-0373003969
Amazon: Come What May (All Saints)
Amazon Kindle: Come What May (All Saints)

ALL SAINTS

ALL SAINTS

Jonas needs Tate. He just doesn't know it yet.

Or at least, he doesn't want to admit it. Because there is no way Jonas Ashcroft is gay. He's a straight, carefree frat-boy player, just like any good son of a conservative state senator. If only his struggle to convince everyone—especially himself—didn't leave him so miserable. No matter how many girls or bottles he drowns himself in, Jonas can neither escape nor accept who he is.

Enter Tate. He's smart, confident and instantly sees right through Jonas's surly exterior. Sure, he's done things in life he's not proud of, but he knows who he is and what he wants. And what he wants is Jonas. As their easy friendship intensifies into something more, Tate introduces Jonas to a life he's never known. One filled with acceptance and sex and a love that terrifies and excites them both.

But some inner demons refuse to be shaken off so easily. When Jonas's old life barges in, he faces a shattering choice, one that could destroy everything he and Tate have fought so hard for. Sometimes love just isn't enough—and sometimes it's exactly what you need.

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1) I enjoyed this story and want to go and read book 1: Gyrfalcon & book 2: Heart Scarab to read more of this world.

2) This series really caught me in the first book. Things are going well for Shield Captain Bennet. In the second book, things go awry,  and the third book, Makepeace, any hope of the main character getting out of a situation unscathed is not in the cards for Shield Captain Bennet. The political intrigue, missions gone wrong, and the recovery physically and mentally of Bennet in Makepeace is excruciating at times. I am hopeful there is a resolution in the next book.

3) Strong and interesting plot. Slow buildup with a mix of character-driven elements and plot-driven elements. Also thoroughly enjoyed the science fiction setting and the amount of vagueness so we readers can use our imagination to fill in blanks. Really great setting. Enough details when needed and imagination for the rest. A good balance; not perfect, but very good. They don't linger on minutae and know when to concentrate on the little things v. showing the big things. Each character feels like they stand on their own two feet and have their own voice, which is something I've found lacking in a number of entries. Clear, intelligible, easy to consume writing style. Really loved the slow burn on the plot and how casual some of the conversation feels. While there are a lot of moments spent in character's heads, they're balanced out by the action and by the transition. Recommended for award consideration.

Makepeace (Taking Shield #3) by Anna Butler
Gay Sci-fi / Futuristic
Series: Taking Shield (Book 3)
Paperback: 330 pages
Publisher: Wilde City Press, LLC (July 29, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 192550624X
ISBN-13: 978-1925506242
Amazon: Makepeace (Taking Shield #3)
Amazon Kindle: Makepeace (Taking Shield #3)

Returning to duty following his long recovery from the injuries he sustained during the events recounted in Heart Scarab, Shield Captain Bennet accepts a tour of duty in Fleet as flight captain on a dreadnought. The one saving grace is that it isn't his father's ship--bad enough that he can't yet return to the Shield Regiment, at least he doesn't have the added stress of commanding former lover, Fleet Lieutenant Flynn and knowing the fraternization regulations will keep them apart. Working on the material he collected himself on T18 three years before, Bennet decodes enough Maess data to send him behind the lines to Makepeace, once a human colony but under Maess control for more than a century. The mission goes belly up, costing Albion one of her precious, irreplaceable dreadnoughts and bringing political upheaval, acrimony and the threat of public unrest in its wake. But for Bennet, the real nightmare is discovering what the Maess have in store for humanity. It's not good. It's not good at all.

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This was a really lovely story about second chances. Our two protagonists, who meet after eight years following the accident that fundamentally disrupted their lives and caused their breakup, have both achieved success in their own ways and have not allowed the accident to limit their drive or ambition to succeed. They have clearly matured over the years - and they have just as clearly never forgotten the other. I found these characters to be sensitively drawn and believable. Their wary interactions at the outset, when they are thrown together again, create a wonderful tension in the story. Although the reader may be fairly certain from the outset that they will have their happy ending, reaching it is a measured process - the pacing of the story is excellent. Also, I don't personally know much about equestrianism outside of popular stories ("International Velvet" comes to mind), but I found it a fascinating setting. Jake's father came across as overly Byzantine at the outset, but he is depicted more three dimensionally as the story progresses - I found I liked where his relationship with his son ends up.

Fool's Gold by Sarah Madison
Gay Contemporary Romance
Paperback: 246 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; first edition (July 21, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1535427760
ISBN-13: 978-1535427760
Amazon: Fool's Gold
Amazon Kindle: Fool's Gold

Eight years ago, Jake Stanford had it all: a spot on the U.S. Olympic Equestrian Team and the love of his life, Rich Evans. A tragic accident wipes out everything in the blink of an eye. Hard work and sacrifice get him another shot at Olympic Gold, but only if he puts his past behind him and agrees to work with Rich again. Bound by secrets he cannot share, Rich was forced to give up Jake eight years ago. Now he has a second chance to help Jake realize his dreams. But the secrets that drove them apart haven’t changed, and Rich must face them or risk losing Jake forever.

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1) Intriguing, fast-paced and philosophically engaging, IMO, but unnecessarily complicated. Vaguely Scandinavian, and adequate for a plot-and-character-centred narrative, but the descriptions of Skelling -- the more realistic setting from which the adventurers set forth for an enchanted island -- could have been more detailed. More information about the climate, the flora and the fauna would have been useful, especially since plant magic is a key element. Awesome. Very good, but no passages really stand out, since the style is in service to the plot.

2) While this story started off slowly, it quickly gained momentum and built into something far more complex than I envisioned. To call it another Viking story is doing it a disservice; unsurprisingly from Barbara Ann Wright, there's a fully realized fantasy civilization to discover. The love stories spin out in a way that's simultaneously central to and secondary to the plot. If not for the intense bonds formed between the women, the plot would take an entirely different course, and yet the demands of the story press and harry the women into situations they'd never have dreamed of. I want a sequel!

3) Beautifully written, this fantasy tale of true love in the Viking era will steal your heart.

Beyond Gold and Glory by Barbara Ann Wright
Lesbian Fantasy Romance
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (September 15, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1626394377
ISBN-13: 978-1626394377
Amazon: Beyond Gold and Glory
Amazon Kindle: Beyond Gold and Glory

Like heroes from an ancient tale, Aesa and Maeve plan to raid foreign shores, claiming gold and glory for their homeland. Young and in love, neither considers what will happen if one is chosen to be a warrior and the other is left behind.

On a mist-shrouded island, Aesa meets Ell, a woman enslaved by an insidious curse. Maeve walks the path of dark magic and finds Laret, a woman well acquainted with pain. Together, they must break the magic surrounding Ell, an act that will force them to choose between their dreams, their homes, and the women they love.

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1) Ann's books are always pretty good. As usual, the storyline was great and the scenes flowed effortlessly. I found myself engrossed in the characters and enjoyed myself immensely.

2) I enjoyed this book by Ann McMan. I had to read it 2 times through as I found a lot going on and ALOT of characters.

3) Backcast is a masterpiece of plot weaving and thematic diversity. There are colorful, relatable and three-dimensional characters, and the author has a rare and refreshingly approachable writing style that makes this book so readable. I dare anyone not to shed a tear or two at “essays” 7, 10 and 12.

4) This imaginative author gives us a multi-dimensional story with interesting characters and a relatable story line all wrapped in a unique writing style. Highly recommended.

Backcast by Ann McMan
Lesbian Contemporary General Fiction
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Bywater Books (December 8, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1612940633
ISBN-13: 978-1612940632
Amazon: Backcast
Amazon Kindle: Backcast

"I love Ann McMan."—Dorothy Allison, National Book Award finalist for Bastard Out of Carolina

When sculptor and author Barb Davis is given an NEA grant to pair original feminist sculptures with searing first-person essays on transitions in women's lives, she organizes a two week writing retreat with twelve of the best, brightest, and most notorious lesbian authors in the business. But in between regularly scheduled happy hours and writing sessions, the women enter a tournament bass fishing competition, receive life coaching from a wise-cracking fish named Phoebe, and uncover a subterranean world of secrets and desires that is as varied and elusive as the fish that swim in the waters of Lake Champlain.

Set on the beautiful shores of Vermont's Lake Champlain, Backcast is richly populated with an expansive cast of endearing and outrageous characters who battle writer's block, quirky locals, personal demons, unexpected attractions, and even each other during their two-week residency. For Barb and each of her twelve writers, the stakes in this fast-moving story are high, but its emotional and romantic payoffs are slow and sweet.

Filled with equal parts laugh-out-loud humor and breathtaking pathos, Backcast serves up a sometimes irreverent, sometimes sobering look at the hidden lives of women, and how they laugh, love, lose, and blunder through their own search for meaning.

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1) An interesting take on a dystopian society. Will and Mal are two halves of a whole who fight for each other more than for themselves. My only complaint is that I have to wait for book 3.

2) An imaginative take on a caste system, this story contains surprising events along with heartache.

In Pain (In Distress #2) by Caethes Faron
Gay Sci-fi / Futuristic
Publisher: Branwen Press (October 26, 2015)
Amazon Kindle: In Pain (In Distress #2)

In a future ruled by an exploitative caste system, Malcolm, a member of the highest caste, and his lover Will, a member of the lowest caste, work with their family to change the world in which they live. Will's found the solution to their problems: a way to infiltrate the Department of Genetic Integrity and hopefully find the truth they've been searching for. But just when victory is in their grasp, tragedy snatches it away.

Devastated, Malcolm seeks revenge for the horrors inflicted upon his family, but each of his victims draws him further form the goal he's spent his whole life working toward. Will is left to shoulder the burden of leading the movement for change, but he can only do so much. To pull their family through the darkness and toward a brighter future, Malcolm and Will must rely on the unlikeliest of allies--an ally who may prove even more dangerous than the enemies they face.

In Pain is the second book in the In Distress series and is intended to be read after In Distress.

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1) Believable and relatable characters in a landscape that skillfully blends San Francisco with a wonderful fantasy world makes for a very entertaining story.

2) I am not really a fan of this type of story but I found this one to be. An enjoyable read. I really loved Lee and the book offered many twists and turns. I hadn't read the other book in this series but I didn't need to. This one could have been a stand alone.

3) A very interesting, new and different fantasy. I have liked it a lot! The characters are well developed and the plot offer enough intrigue to keep anyone attention, but my favorite part was the setting, this mash up of a very 21° century city and a fairytale world.

4) The author gives us a delightful, imaginative, heartfelt tale wrapped in excellent storytelling. An excellent read.

The Songbird Thief (Oaktown Fey #2) by Skye Allen
Lesbian Young Adult
Series: Oaktown Fey
Paperback: 206 pages
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press (August 25, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 163477003X
ISBN-13: 978-1634770033
Amazon: The Songbird Thief (Oaktown Fey #2)
Amazon Kinlde: The Songbird Thief (Oaktown Fey #2)

An Oaktown Fey Book

Where's the harm in a little petty theft now and then? Fifteen-year-old Lee is about to find out. Lee has a gift--the ability to use her songs to enchant prospective victims, making them easy to rob--but it isn't without a price. The source of this mysterious ability is revealed when Lee comes to San Francisco, fleeing her stepfather's abuse: she is half fey. This knowledge puts a strain on Lee's relationship with her friend and secret crush, Sonja, since Sonja thinks entanglements with the fey only lead to trouble. As her adventure takes her deeper into the intrigues of the Faerie Realm, Lee discovers her power has the potential for more than fun and profit. Some would use it for evil, and only Lee can decide if there's good to be found in her songs.

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1) Little slow to start but really built into a great story.

2) I loved how the author was able to establish character, setting, and history in a few deft strokes. The world of this story drew me in right away. A rousing and thoroughly enjoyable read.

3) This book was high fantasy at its best. An intriguing setting based on ancient Venice, lost princes and lost love, intrigue and power play both political and personal... The three main character's paths were wonderfully convoluted and intertwined, nothing was quite as it seemed in the beginning, and the plot twists kept me on the edge with tension all through the story. Loved it and will definitely reread. My only issue was the tedious beginning; actually not all too surprising with that much worldbuilding to take care of, but still a bit tough to get through.

4) Another story deserving of full marks - absolutely stunning representation of an alternate Venice where men are sent as exiles from a woman dominated world and left to sink or swim as it were. Living in a culture of murder and robbery some men rise to the top and find love and honor while others lead lives of chaos and mindless sex. A dark but never depressing story of power struggles and a desperate need for happiness in a world gone mad.

Malachite (Paladin Cycle #1) by Kirby Crow
Gay Fantasy
Series: Paladin Cycle
Paperback: 408 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (August 23, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1535261692
ISBN-13: 978-1535261692
Amazon: Malachite (Paladin Cycle #1)
Amazon Kindle: Malachite (Paladin Cycle #1)

Marion Casterline is the highwarden of Malachite, an ancient, beautiful city floating in a shallow sea. In the aftermath of a brutal gang war, there is finally peace in the city, which gains new life every year through the sacred ritual of Aequora. Through Aequora, exiles, outlaws, and orphans can become citizens of Malachite. This ritual is vital to the city's survival, because Malachite is populated only by males. Jean Rivard grew up in the Zanzare slums at Marion's side. As boys, they were branded into the violent Teschio gangs that ruled the criminal underworld of Malachite. Known in the slums as the Prince, Jean became a spy, an assassin, and Marion's lover. As men, they worked together to destroy the Teschio and crown Kon Sessane as magestros of the city, only to drift apart after the battles were won: Jean to the Black Keep, Marion to the grand halls of the Consolari. When Marion announces his engagement to Kon's son, Jean is hurt and resentful. Marion is leaving him and their past behind in every possible way. Marion also believes that he's starting a new life, but when a charismatic rebel leader kindles a revolt in the slums, he realizes that the only man who can prevent war from devouring the city he loves is his very own prince.

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1) Great plot development. The story is easy to consume and to follow and has a lot of logical progression to it. The plot is a little predictable in places, but overall, it's fun to read and enjoyable. They did some research and had some details that were very uncommon, but thoughtful. I can really appreciate that. It's the hallmark of a good writer not just to be able to put prose onto paper, but also to be able to use the setting and the culture of the setting in the plot in unique ways. The characters feel like real people. They have troubles and wants. Conflict is present. They don't feel like they fall flat, and characters whom you don't expect to relate to end up having some serious worries, flaws, and concerns. Good show overall! Clean and simple. A bit too much adverb use in some places where the adverbs can simply be replaced with a stronger verb. Overall, very pleasant and easy to read/consume, which is a pleasure. Recommended for consideration for an award.

2) This gorgeous re-imagining and refreshing interpretation of a classic fairy tale is a literary tour de force that awakens a fountain of possibilities for readers. As the forces of good and evil meet the conflicting reflections we each bring to our understanding of what it means to be different, Werlinger has achieved a poignant and powerful verbal picture of love, heroines and humanity.

The Beast That Never Was by Caren J. Werlinger
Lesbian Fantasy
Paperback: 246 pages
Publisher: Corgyn Publishing (May 22, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0996036865
ISBN-13: 978-0996036863
Amazon: The Beast That Never Was
Amazon Kindle: The Beast That Never Was

What if Beauty was the Beast? Lise’s father is dead, and the life of plenty and freedom that she has known as the daughter of the King’s Huntsman is gone. She must now live a life of duty to her mother and sisters, helping them to cope in their altered circumstances. But where her mother would have her wed a childhood friend to secure their future, Lise knows that is not what she longs for. When she meets a mysterious woman in the forest, Lise feels the stirrings of emotions she cannot give voice to, but with this woman, she doesn’t have to say anything—Senna knows. Cursed, hunted, and feared, Senna has been forced to wander from place to place for more years than she cares to remember. She gave up hope long ago that there could ever be an end to her isolation. Odd sightings in the forest—monsters of legend come to life, old enemies back from the past, fearsome beasts on the prowl—begin to frighten the people of Lise’s village. Somehow, all of these things are connected to Senna. As the villagers’ fear grows, so does their hatred. Senna prepares to flee, accepting what has become her fate, but Lise isn’t ready to give up her one chance for happiness. Soon, only Lise stands between the villagers and the woman she has grown to love.

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1) Absolutely loved this book. Great continuation of the series. Fascinating world and wonderfully developed characters. The writing style allows the reader to be carried away in the story, it flows around you with no jarring discordance to pull you from the story.

2)  This book is the perfect ending to a fascinating, enthralling, compelling, and emotional series that captivated me from the very first book.

Ringed Love (Sentries #6) by Elizabeth Noble
Gay Fantasy Romance
Paperback: 200 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (May 23, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1634772474
ISBN-13: 978-1634772471
Amazon: Ringed Love (Sentries #6)
Amazon Kinlde: Ringed Love (Sentries #6)

"Sequel to Tethered Pair "

"Sentries: Book Six "

New Colorado Protectorate fell with the assassination of Chancellor Clarke. Afterward, like many others, Todd and Nick Ruger left the land of their birth and made a home up north in Yellowknife. Though they have to say a sad farewell to friends and loved ones, they are taken in with open arms and in turn offer shelter to others.

They must still contend with angry ghosts, Windigos, and water spirits, but through it all, their love and devotion for each other never falters. Nick is awarded a degree in veterinary medicine and trains students from Yellowknife, while Todd becomes the town sheriff and takes on new sentry apprentices of his own. They remain steadfast in their duty as sentries as well, leaving a legacy meant to protect and defend those who need it the most.

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1) Four Point starts with banging suspense, and it ratchets up from there. This is a gritty read about a subject matter I generally avoid, survival of rape and sexual torture. It's not for the queasy, but Salinger is a heroine easy to like despite her many faults. A slow-burning romance rises eventually to a sexy sizzle, making this a satisfying read.

2) Dark, gritty, damaged three-dimensional characters, and a well written suspenseful mystery kept me engaged start to finish.

Four Point by Max Ellendale
Lesbian Mystery / Thriller
Publication Date: September 17, 2015
Amazon Kindle: Four Point

Thirty-two bodies, twenty years, and a cold case that lives inside her alone. Detective Sali James teeters on the edge of sanity as she's forced to unearth her darkest days in order to stop Washington's most elusive serial killer. "Isn't watching beautiful?"

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1) The setting and world building elements were unique and atmospheric, making this an enjoyable steampunk read.

2) A short read with a lot of story packed into the pages. The way Jess Faraday wove the main character's story with the supporting cast was a skill I find missing in a great deal of writing these days.  From the opening sequence, Rosetta Stein, is an adventurer, a searcher, a scientist, grabbed me, and did not let go until the very end.  Nothing was superlative in this short; spinning an intriguing story of a lost artifact, accusations of anarchy, and a blooming romance.  Though the main character is a lesbian, there are other same sex relationships that play into the telling. Jess Faraday's masterful writing has these relationships enrich the story rather than distract from it.

3) Enjoyable quick easy read.  The author kept me engaged in the story. I really liked the "steampunk " feel. Usually not my favorite genre. Quirky but fun.

The Strange Case of the Big Sur Benefactor by Jess Faraday
Lesbian Historical
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (June 15, 2015)
Amazon Kindle: The Strange Case of the Big Sur Benefactor

Billiwack, California, 1884. When translator Rosetta Stein comes across her rival, Bartholomew Vincent, under attack by weird, raven-headed man-beasts behind the infamous Puckered Rosebud Gentleman’s Club, she senses opportunity. She rescues him in exchange for a crack at the commission he stole from under her nose—a strangely inscribed artifact found by Big Sur bigwig George Taylor Granville in the Santa Lucia mountains. Misfortune has stalked Vincent from the moment he took on the project, and he’s only too happy to share it. In the meantime, a lady marshal has come to Billiwack, investigating rumors of strange, unlicensed weapons, and she can’t seem to decide if she’d rather kiss Rosetta or arrest her. And Vincent is suffering romantic complications of his own, in the forms of Rosetta’s charming layabout brother, and an amorous professor who won’t take God, no! for an answer.

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It was extremely interesting to read a story set in an ancient world of Sparta. It let me understand their culture better and, what is more, to see Spartans as people (who had feelings after all) and not only soldiers fixed on killing.

A Tested Love (Spartan Love #2) by Kayla Jameth
Gay Historical Romance
Paperback: 324 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (March 11, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1634769791
ISBN-13: 978-1634769792
Amazon: A Tested Love (Spartan Love #2)
Amazon Kindle: A Tested Love (Spartan Love #2)

"Sequel to A Spartan Love"

"Spartan Love: Book Two"

"The Epics of Apollo s Men"

Lured by seductive promises, Andreas risked his life to be with Theron, only to find himself betrayed. Abandoned and alone, Andreas resigns all hope of seeing his fierce warrior again and resumes his life as a helot.

All too aware of the harsh punishment Sparta demands of men who love other men, Theron reluctantly surrenders Andreas in hopes of keeping him safe. The warrior returns to Sparta to embrace his destiny in place of the helot he has grown to see as a man, not just a slave. Cold but honorable duty will be his new lover.

Duty proves to be a jealous lover when Sparta demands the final test of Theron s loyalty. Sent to kill Andreas, Theron must find a way to come to terms with his burning desire for his handsome helot before their forbidden love destroys them both."

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1) This is a fantastic read! Two broken men. One, a famous singer. The other, an abused young man. They meet at a mental hospital. Cameron Fox, the singer, after a DUI, sentenced to a work-release at Riverbend Behavioral Health Facility. Jonah Radley is a writer and reclusive man who admits himself to the same facility twice a year to deal with hallucinations and nightmares that cloud him caused by childhood trauma. The two for a bond almost from the beginning being that Jonah has always had a crush on Cameron or the role he played in a teen TV show when he was younger. Being that Cameron works at the facility while Jonah is a patient they are not allowed to start a romantic relationship. It's not allowed. But once the year Cameron is sentenced to work at the facility they start a beautiful relationship, helping each other battle Jonah's monsters. Well written, well done. Will look forward to reading more from this new to me author. Cheers!

2) A fascinating page turner. The subject of mental illness is handled very well and the relationship between all the characters including the secondary ones is very well done. It’s not easy to build a relationship between two men when one has a mental illness but this author has done an amazing job with it. A must read!

Strong Medicine by J.K. Hogan
Gay Contemporary Romance
Paperback: 314 pages
Publisher: Wilde City Press, LLC (July 29, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1925506142
ISBN-13: 978-1925506143
Amazon: Strong Medicine
Amazon Kinlde: Strong Medicine

Two men who meet in a psychiatric institution couldn't possibly find happiness together--could they?

The world seemed to be telling disgraced former child star and singer Cameron Fox that he would never be happy again. A drunken car accident gets him sentenced to a work release program at Riverbend Behavioral Health Facility.

Reclusive, traumatized writer Jonah Radley has an entire graveyard of skeletons in his closet. Jonah regularly hospitalizes himself for psychotic episodes caused by a horrific childhood trauma, his biggest secret--one he refuses to speak about in therapy.

Jonah and Cameron form a bond inside the hospital, forged in mutual pain and hope for a better life. Once they leave the hospital, they must decide if they are brave enough to explore the intricacies of living with mental illness--and find a new normal together.

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Very different take on Greek mythology where the gods and demi-gods are flawed, selfish and sometimes devious characters without a lot of moral fiber. Nevertheless, often humorous, poignant and thoroughly entertaining.

King of the Storm (The Godhead Epoch #1) by B. A. Brock
Bisexual Fantasy
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: DSP Publications (November 24, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 163476157X
ISBN-13: 978-1634761574
Amazon: King of the Storm (The Godhead Epoch #1)
Amazon Kindle: King of the Storm (The Godhead Epoch #1)

The Godhead Epoch: Book One

No one can outrun destiny or the gods.

In Epiro, a kingdom in Greece, Perseus is prophesied to be a great demigod hero and king, with a legacy that will shape the world of Gaia. When he was born, his grandfather exiled him, and his mother brought them to Seriphos, where she created an academy for demigod youth. Perseus trains there and waits for the day when he will be able to take the throne of Argos.

Despite potential future glory, Perseus's fellow students think he is weak. By the time he reaches manhood, he has given up the hope of having any real friends, until Antolios, a son of Apollo, takes an unexpected interest in him. Perseus and Antolios fall in love, but Antolios knows it cannot last and leaves Seriphos.

Perseus, grief-stricken and lonely, rebels against the Fates, thinking he can avoid the prophecy and live his own life. But when the gods find him, he is thrust into an epic adventure. With his divine powers, he fights gorgons and sea serpents, and battles against his darker nature. Perseus strives to be his own man... but the gods have other plans.

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1) A strong book set at a time that to me is still more the dominion of history lessons and horror and those childhood stories that my grandparents never, ever tell. So not exactly a time that lends itself to romance, and I admit I was sceptical when I first picked this book up. Happily my scepticism was misguided. Instead of the wartime romance I was half-dreading, this book is the story of two men struggling to stay human in an increasingly inhuman world; remembering that the enemy soldier is a human being, too, is just one part of it. Very well done. But then, everything about this book is well done: The plot is solid and gripping and although it jumps ahead in time twice, it doesn’t seem episodic; the characters are all complex and layered, even the secondary characters – even the obligatory super-Nazi was interesting from a meta perspective! – and the protagonists have a depth that is sometimes more hinted at than revealed fully; the setting was evocative and done right – at least, this German reader was very pleased to come across genuine German names as well as properly spelled and grammatically correct German sentences; the writing, finally, flowed smoothly, at a good pace, and managed to keep me up way past my bedtime because I simply could. Not. Stop. Reading. Last but not least, I quite enjoyed seeing the Germans from the American character’s perspective, all those little comments and observations on manners and language, and I couldn’t help grinning at the bit where Mark wonders at Armin’s mood because from his tone of voice he can’t tell whether Armin is annoyed or not, what with German sounding the same all the damn time. :-)

2) Writing as you wish it do be when you look for this kind of reading; well-developed characters; perfect research; and some very little flaws are covered by a gripping story, although dark, mesmerizing.

3) One of the most touching, heartbreaking beautiful story I ever read. Set in a German POW camp at the end of WWII, it is not a easy reading, the covered topics certainly leave its marks on the reader. But you won’t be able to put it down, you need to know how the main characters get to their well deserved happy ending. Be ready to cry, a lot, be ready to get angry, to feel relieved. The authors managed to engage the readers describing the environment and every action with such powerful attention to detail that you can almost see yourself there. There must have been a lot of reserch behind it, a very good job. A book to read at least once in a lifetime.

4) This book wasn’t at all what I was expecting. The setting is about as dramatic as it gets, but the story itself, the development of the romance and the tightly-written scenes between Armin and Mark are surprisingly easy to read. It was so engaging I couldn't put it down.

5) Full marks from me on this excellent story of two men who meet at the 1936 Olympics, have one night of passion and eight years later are reunited during World War II. Armin is the POW camp Commandant where Mark, an American airman is brought when his plane crashes. The men at first are wary of one another, but as time passes the attraction they felt eight years earlier is rekindled and their purpose becomes to save each other's lives, as the Allies close in on a defeated Germany. Couldn't put this down until I had read and savored every word. Without a doubt my favorite book of this year.

Broken Blades by Aleksandr Voinov & L.A. Witt
Gay Historical Romance
Paperback: 312 pages
Publication Date: February 15, 2016
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1523448040
ISBN-13: 978-1523448043
Amazon: Broken Blades
Amazon Kindle: Broken Blades

They only had one night together—a stolen interlude at the 1936 Olympics. After Mark Driscoll challenged Armin Truchsess von Kardenberg to a good-natured fencing match, there was no resisting each other. Though from different worlds—an Iowa farm boy and a German aristocrat—they were immediately drawn together, and it was an encounter neither has ever forgotten. Now it’s 1944, and a plane crash in hostile territory throws them back together, but on opposite sides of a seemingly endless war. Facing each other as opponents is one thing. As enemies, another thing entirely. And to make matters worse, Mark is a POW, held in a cold, remote castle in Germany… in a camp run by Armin. They aren’t the young athletes they were back then. The war has taken wives, limbs, friends, leaving both men gray beyond their years, shell-shocked, and battered. The connection they had back then is still alive and well, though, and from the moment Mark arrives, they’re fencing again—advancing, retreating, testing defenses. Have they been given a second chance? Or have time and a brutal war broken both men beyond repair?

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Brilliant collection of stories by some very talented writers, each story a diverse take on love, lost and reborn. A real page turner.

Love Unlocked by Claire Davis and Al Stewart, Victoria Milne, Dawn Sister, J P Walker, Caraway Carter, Ofelia Gränd, Debbie McGowan
LGBT    Anthology / Collection / Contemporary Romance
Paperback: 608 pages
Publisher: Beaten Track Publishing (February 14, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1786450208
ISBN-13: 978-1786450203
Amazon: Love Unlocked
Amazon Kindle: Love Unlocked

Love Unlocked is a collection of seven short stories and novellas - unique LGBTQ romances inspired by the Love Lock Bridge. THE STORIES: The Trap by Claire Davis and Al Stewart Writer's Lock by Victoria Milne Locked in the Moment by Dawn Sister The Weekend by J P Walker The Scarlet Lock by Caraway Carter He Melted Us by Ofelia Gränd Chain of Secrets by Debbie McGowan

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1) “Throwing Stones” is an excellent YA novel. I like the depiction of Jesse,a teenager. The story starts out with Jesse coming out to his parents. Jesse is like any teenager: he wants to be loved, and receive love in return. His initial attraction to Griffin, another teenager from high school, brings Jesse out of his comfort zone as he tries to find out more about Griffin. Griffin, for his part, is leery of Jesse because Griffin is pagan and many others who live apart from the rest of the town are wary of people because of the prejudice in the town. The writer does a very good job of getting into Jesse’s mind, exposing his thoughts and feelings, and even confused emotions about Ronan, who he subsequently meets and for whom develops stronger feelings. I would have liked more setting details and more interspersed dialogue and story as Jesse’s family treats Jesse after he comes out. However, this is a great read and I would recommend it to anyone seeking a very good YA novel.

2) I enjoyed this story. This was a telling account of an attempt to break down the barriers and the fears people have with something they do not understand. Robin's easy writing style drew me into Jesse Bryce's life - thoughts, trials, curiosities, friendships, drama. The set up was Christian vs Pagan, and the misunderstandings that occur when rumor or gossip take over, and one boy's quest for the truth. Robin Reardon's ability to weave in a great deal of history and backstory of Paganism without it sounding like a lecture or a boring history lesson kept me spellbound to the story. This was a delightful read.

3) I loved this novel! I was particularly drawn to the main character, Jesse Bryce, and there is a solid sense of place about the story.

Throwing Stones by Robin Reardon
Gay Young Adult
Paperback: 406 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (September 7, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1517253101
ISBN-13: 978-1517253103
Amazon: Throwing Stones
Amazon Kindle: Throwing Stones

What if you fell in love with a Pagan?
And what if you were both gay? What would happen next?

In this paranormal romance, something is drawing seventeen-year-old Jesse Bryce toward the community of Pagans who live in "the village," just outside his rural Oklahoma town. Maybe it's that he has a crush on Griffin Holyoke, a tall, dark-haired boy with a tree tattooed all up his back. Or maybe it's that the Pagans accept Jesse for who he is, unlike his family--or his church, where he hears that being gay is a sin.

After a man from the village is murdered while trying to prevent an assault on a girl from the town, Jesse's confusion at the town's unsympathetic reaction inspires him to set a mission for himself: to build a bridge of acceptance between the town and the village.

As Jesse defies his parents and continues to visit the village, he witnesses mysterious rituals that haunt him with their beauty and intensity. And he falls in love with one enigmatic, mercurial Pagan who opens his eyes to a whole new world.

This first-person story explores what can happen when we make conclusions about others based on too little information, or on the wrong information. Whether we're misunderstanding each others' religions or each others' sexual orientation, everyone benefits from learning the truth. And everyone benefits from forgiveness.

Find out what happens. Scroll up and order your copy today.

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1) A complex, yet believable story peopled with lively, likable characters.

2) Deal Breaker is a delicious hybrid of humor, angst, romance and several sexy-as-hell main characters. Somewhere between the laugh-out-loud exchanges and the too-hot-to-touch sexiness, the author has masterfully fine-tuned the art of comedic timing and storyline that the book is over too soon, leaving you wanting more!

3) Siri Caldwell is one of two favorite lesbian authors of mine.  If I'm in the mood for exceptional writing with depth of characters and emotional growth then I grab one of her books.  She never disappoints me. I'll be looking for my next read from her backlist.

Deal-Breaker by Siri Caldwell
Lesbian Contemporary Romance
Paperback: 258 pages
Publisher: Brussels Sprout Press; 1 edition (April 9, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0997402318
ISBN-13: 978-0997402315
Amazon: Deal-Breaker
Amazon Kindle: Deal-Breaker

This was not the plan. After a career-threatening injury, backup dancer Rae Peters crashes at a friend’s in a middle-of-nowhere college town to recover. She’d rather be onstage performing with a rock star than stuck in a swimming pool doing rehab exercises, but at least the people-watching is good. Make that person-watching, because she only pays attention to one person: the cute water aerobics instructor who’s always lugging around accounting textbooks like she might be smart. Jori Burgess is a grad student with a young daughter and a blackmailing ex-boyfriend. She’s got her hands full being a single mother, and studying, and teaching at the pool, and pretending to be someone she’s not. The last thing she needs is one more complication, but Rae is one complication she can’t resist. Rae has no trouble resisting, because she promised herself a long time ago that flirtatious straight girls were not for her. Even if they claimed they weren’t that straight. Especially if they claimed they weren’t that straight. Really, thank you, but no. She’s not going to fall for someone who’s got red flags plastered all over her very attractive…uh…personality. Being friends, though? Being friends is not a problem, and neither is dancing together, and neither is holding on a little longer than is strictly appropriate, and neither is… Yeah. This could be a problem.

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This is a very good debut book. I have found the story very entertaining and new. I enjoyed the peculiar setting so much that I was very glad about the care that the author have put in describe every minute detail and the characters were all well developed and likable if not 100% believable. Good start!

Lost Treasures by Jazzy Mitchell
Lesbian Contemporary Romance
Paperback: 190 pages
Publisher: Desert Palm Press; 1 edition (September 3, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1942976216
ISBN-13: 978-1942976219
Amazon: Lost Treasures
Amazon Kinlde: Lost Treasures

After working at a Manhattan clothing boutique for a little over a year, Torry Hansen requests permission to design the window displays. This is a big step for Torry since she associates fashion with her mother, who died in a tragic accident. The decorations cause quite a stir, even catching the attention of Evelyn Allbright, who decides to have her magazine, Trending, feature the shop, its designs, and the window display designer. Recognizing Torry’s talents, Evelyn becomes fascinated and decides to convince Torry to leave the boutique for bigger and better things. As Evelyn's interest in Torry transforms from professional to personal, so do her actions during her quest to keep Torry in her life.

Rainbow Awards Guidelines: http://www.elisarolle.com/rainbowawards/rainbow_awards_2016.html

This journal is friends only. This entry was originally posted at http://reviews-and-ramblings.dreamwidth.org/4905204.html. If you are not friends on this journal, Please comment there using OpenID.
1) A lovely writing style, and each story was full of unique, engaging characters. I was drawn in right away and had a hard time putting it down!

2) Bizarre collection of mostly ex-Mormon stories that some may find hard to believe. Informative and at the same time immensely entertaining.

The Washing of Brains by Johnny Townsend
Gay Anthology / Collection / Contemporary General Fiction
Paperback: 276 pages
Publisher: Booklocker.com (August 1, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1634915828
ISBN-13: 978-1634915823
Amazon: The Washing of Brains

A world-weary man becomes a widower for the third time. A budding feminist tries to make a political statement by giving birth to her "illegitimate" son in church just before Mother's Day. Missionaries in Rome try to prevent a terrorist bombing. The Prophet devises a plan to reverse global warming. A Salt Lake bishop is overwhelmed by his congregants' secrets. An unhappy bartender reminisces about the affair he had with his mission president in Paris.

Rainbow Awards Guidelines: http://www.elisarolle.com/rainbowawards/rainbow_awards_2016.html

This journal is friends only. This entry was originally posted at http://reviews-and-ramblings.dreamwidth.org/4860942.html. If you are not friends on this journal, Please comment there using OpenID.
I started with mixed feelings as I ve never read before a book categorized from beginning as asexual and was prepared to be disappointed. Well, I wasn’t. The rhythm seemed a bit stunted but after a few pages it was obvious it fit the book and the old western feeling of it. This book is complicated from romantic and sexual points of view though apparently very simple and straightforward. It portrays the fluidity of human sexuality, the ways it’s different from person to person and sometimes different during a lifetime and with different partners involved. It’s not a book that everybody would enjoy, but it is different and interesting and I, for sure enjoyed it. A good debut story and I’ll be adding this author to my “to watch” list.

Lone Star on a Cowboy Heart by Marie S. Crosswell
Asexual Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Less Than Three Press (July 25, 2016)
Amazon Kindle: Lone Star on a Cowboy Heart

Sam, a sheriff's deputy in a small Arizona town, is off-duty when he finds himself in the middle of a hold-up at a local diner. He makes it out alive only because of Montgomery, who shoots the robber attempting to kill Sam—but in the fallout, the second robber gets away.

In the aftermath of that ugly night, Sam is determined to know Montgomery better, while Montgomery is determined to find the man who escaped. He's also dead set on avoiding the deputy, having secrets of his own he doesn't want out.

But loneliness is hard, and Montgomery can't resist the companionship Sam is offering—the companionship he's always wanted, but could never find. If they're going to explore it, however, first they'll have to stop the growing threat of the robber who got away...

Rainbow Awards Guidelines: http://www.elisarolle.com/rainbowawards/rainbow_awards_2016.html

This journal is friends only. This entry was originally posted at http://reviews-and-ramblings.dreamwidth.org/4921667.html. If you are not friends on this journal, Please comment there using OpenID.

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All cover art, photo and graphic design contained in this site are copyrighted by the respective publishers and authors. These pages are for entertainment purposes only and no copyright infringement is intended. Should anyone object to our use of these items please contact by email the LJ's owner.
This is an amateur blog, where I discuss my reading, what I like and sometimes my personal life. I do not endorse anyone or charge fees of any kind for the books I review. I do not accept money as a result of this blog.
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