And the Rainbow Award goes to:
1-tie) Heidi Cullinan - Hero (Dreamspinner Press)
Hal Porter is no man’s hero; he’s just another Los Angeles construction worker. So when he sees a building appear on what the day before was an empty plot of weeds—a site where people have been found dead—Hal knows a guy like him should steer clear of whatever is going on. But a vision at the building's window draws him inside, and there Hal finds Morgan, a magical shapeshifter held captive by a rival clan... and Hal’s the only one who can save him. It doesn’t take Hal long to realize he’s in over his head, not only because the clan has powers beyond his imagination but also because he’s fallen in love with Morgan. There’s no escape for them now without a hero to break the curse, and Hal knows it can’t be him. But as Hal and Morgan work together, they discover gifts far more powerful than magic and that heroes aren’t always in shapes they expect.
Heidi Cullinan - Miles and the Magic Flute (Dreamspinner Press)
Characters are engaging and intense. Wild fantasy elements are vivid. Uses a lot of unnecessary dialogue tags, which has the effect of lessening the intensity of this unique story. --K.C.
I really got sucked into this one, and was hooked up until the end, which lost a little bit of the luster for me. It was a little too happy of a happy ending, if that makes any sense? But overall what an awesome book! --Ethan D.
When the forest behind a Minnesota pawn shop turns out to be the doorway into a faerie paradise, Miles Larson doesn't see any reason to complain. He's bankrupt, single, and living in a trailer in his backwoods hometown after being laid off from his big city job: he could use a little downtime in a homoerotic dreamland. But Miles soon learns that in the faerie world, nothing is quite as simple as it seems. The beautiful faerie man who has captured Miles's heart might also be after Miles's soul. The frightening beast who chases him through the forest is actually a noble-hearted human under a terrible curse. And at the center of it all is the deathly beautiful Lord of Dreams, a faerie so powerful that if Miles so much as looks at his face, he will be lost in dreamland forever. The only hope for Miles's escape is a magic flute, an enchanted instrument that holds the answer to the faerie lord's defeat. But even if Miles is smart and strong enough to wield it, will he dare? When the cold light of truth dawns, if there is no reality beneath the love he's found in the faerie realm, Miles will have to return to his own world—alone.
2) Becca Abbott - Cethe (SL Publishing Group)
I loved this story. It is very intense but other readers should know that there are several rape scenes that they might want to skip past. Other than that it was an outstanding story that calls for a follow up. --Lyne
A wonderful fantasy novel that was easy to get lost in and thoroughly enjoyable. There was a great deal of world building and clearly the author had a very firm idea of the history and environment detailed within the novel. A strong voice, but nevertheless one that could have used a little more work in the opening scenes, which didn't give the same impression of the author's ability as the rest of the book. The character development was good--entirely predictable, but still enjoyable. --James
Human-like, but not human, the nara ruled Tanyrin for centuries. The most feared among them were their naragi, sorcerers whose power was all but invincible. Not until the coming of Arami Lothlain, King of Tanyrin and Blessed of Loth, did the rein of the nara come to a bloody end. For four hundred years afterwards, the land was at peace. Stefn Eldering was the youngest son of the Earl of Shia, the last in a long, proud line of demon hunters. He was also a sin-catcher, living proof of God's displeasure, the shame of his existence atonement for the sins of his ancestors. Michael Arranz was the son of a duke and one of the despised h'naran, half-bloods cursed with the blood of the nara running through their veins. Of all the h'nara, his family alone was immune from the persecution of the powerful Church of Loth, protected by an ancient covenant. In ordinary times, the paths of Michael and Stefn would never have crossed. Alas, times were no longer ordinary. The latest of the Lothlain kings was a weakling, unable to curb the ambitions of an increasingly powerful, corrupt clergy. Famine stalked the land. Fear of the h'nara, fanned by the Church, spread tentacles everywhere. Tanyrin teetered on the edge of chaos. A loyal and devoted friend to Tanyrin's crown prince, Michael could refuse Severyn Lothlain nothing, not even when Severyn asked the unspeakable of him. Determined to wrest the throne from his brother, Severyn intended nothing less than the resurrection of the ancient naragi. Michael, whose naran blood was the purest in Tanyrin, was the logical choice. But for Michael become what mankind feared most, he needed a conduit through which to take the powerful, dangerous magic of the Dark Stream. He needed a man who carried the ancient blood of the cethera. He needed Stefn Eldering.
3) J.C. Herneson - Spring of the Stag God (Lethe Press)
I probably fell a little on the generous side of things with this one because I've honestly never read anything like it. It's way past anywhere I've gone in terms of fantasy, as either a reader or writer. --Ethan D.
Prepare your loins for tales of erotic adventure in the world of Khernia, in this first release of the Stag God Chronicles. "A Stag God is Born" - A sexual prisoner of his cruel uncle, young Ashlan befriends the man's prisoner, Imbru once a feared warrior of the Split Hoof orc tribe, called The Ravager of Men by by the humans, because he spent his seed only on men. Imbru knows the truth behind Ashlan's strange dreams of running through fields with an antlered brow. Ashlan doesn't understand the dreams or know he is about to inherit a divine mantle he never wanted--the legacy of the great antlered Stag God of the wild places. "The Stag & The Bear" - The young god suffering the pains of new divinity goes seeking a mentor, the great Bear God of the stormy mountain tops. Along the way, an orc hunter is forced to his knees to become Ashlan's new discipline. But approaching an old god is treacherous and his were-bear minions must be confronted and defeated before the Bear God's den is reached. "The Stag God's Disciple" - Habra of the Tines, a young orc, goes among humans to preach the worship of Ashlan. But the Patriachs of the human lands do not want to relinquish their power and bind, rape and imprison Habra. But in the dungeons new friends are waiting to be found as the faith in the Lord of the Seven Tines spreads like passion through a man's nethers.
5-tie) C.J. Black - Illusion of Night (Liquid Silver Books)
Rayne Auster - Tapestry for Love (Dreamspinner Press)
7) John Caruso - Lightbearer (Bold Strokes Books)
8) E.M. Lynley - Bedknobs and Beanstalks (Ravenous Romance)
9) Scarlet Hyacinth - Elven Journals Unseen Paths (Noble Romance Publishing)
10) Jay Bell - The Cat in the Cradle (Swimming Kangaroo Books)
Rainbow Awards: Best Gay Fantasy
And the Rainbow Award goes to: