1) Sloan Parker – Breathe
Publisher: Loose Id LLC (November 16, 2010)
Lincoln McCaw lost everything -- his home, his job, his partner -- after he caused a fatal accident. A year later, he's drowning the guilt and despair in whiskey, but he needs to move on. His sister and her kids are counting on him. Then he meets a man who ignites a passion Lincoln thought he’d never find. Too bad one night is all they can have together. Now he needs to figure out how to turn away from the only person who makes him feel alive…before whoever is sending him threats decides Lincoln needs to suffer more than he already has. Jay Miller is surrounded by grief and misery until he finally gives in to all those years of sexual fantasies about being with another guy. Realizing he’s ended up in the arms of the man who caused his wife’s accident, he tries to pull away. But how can he give up a friendship he needs more than anything -- a friendship and a love that could save him? He may not have time to make the choice before someone else destroys it all.
2) Robin Reardon - The Evolution of Ethan Poe
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Kensington; Original edition (August 1, 2011)
Amazon: The Evolution of Ethan Poe
Thought-provoking! Great characters. Ms. Reardon's writing style is effortless, easy to read, and truly pulls you into the life, persona and internal conflict of the main character. -- Bobby
In the space of a few months, sixteen-year-old Ethan Poe's life has become a complicated mix of facts, theories, and hypotheses. Things he knows beyond doubt: his parents are divorcing, his older brother Kyle is exhibiting alarming behavior, and his best friend is turning into a spiritual fanatic. Then there are the shifting uncertainties-including his feelings toward his father and his desire to both blend in and stand out in his rural Maine hometown. Most pressing of all, there's his attraction to Max Modine, a boy he wants to know much better than he does. Despite Ethan's initial reluctance, he gets pulled into a heated and sometimes violent conflict about whether to introduce Intelligent Design into science classrooms. Family and friends are turning against each other, school is a battleground, and Ethan will have to take a stand. Because some facts are irrefutable and some bonds unbreakable, even when they can't be seen. And once Ethan finds the courage to become who he was meant to be, the outcome could be absolutely extraordinary…
3-tie) Tamara Allen - The Only Gold
Paperback: 300 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (March 21, 2011)
Amazon: The Only Gold
I loved this book, couldn't put it down and stayed up way too late several nights running to finish it. --Anne
Ms Allen writes some of THE best historical romance stories ever; she does it very well. She can drop a reader into the era and locale within a handful of paragraphs and never look back. In ‘Gold’, her plot thickened and developed, foreshadowing events with just enough mystic to not give it all away. This was a most excellent story and one I will read again and enjoy with as much verve. --Merith
Jonah Woolner's life is as prudently regulated as the bank where he works. It's a satisfying life until he's passed over for promotion in favor of newcomer Reid Hylliard. Brash and enterprising, Reid beguiles everyone except Jonah, who's convinced Reid's progressive ideas will be the bank's ruin. When Jonah begins to discover there's more to Reid than meets the eye, he risks succumbing to Reid's charms-but unlocking the vault to all of Reid's secrets could lead him down a dangerous path. Losing his promotion-and perhaps his heart-is the least of Jonah's difficulties. When the vengeful son of a Union army vet descends upon the bank to steal a government deposit of half a million dollars during the deadliest blizzard to ever sweep New York, Jonah and Reid are trapped, at odds and fighting for their lives.
Marten Weber - Benedetto Casanova, The Memoirs
Paperback: 414 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace (March 18, 2011)
Amazon: Benedetto Casanova, The Memoirs
I liked this book very much. Had sex and history all beautifully combined that you lose yourself in his words, his descriptions, his passions. It was expertly done, very nice and reading more than 500 pages I wanted it to go on for more, a 1000 pages still would be enjoyable. What a story Casanova writes! A beautiful history lesson. --Mick
This was an incredible piece of literature and should definitely be considered for the final award. While the writing was excellent and the historical research was compelling, I had a serious problem with the fact that so much of this book was centered on sex. It was like reading a glorified hand job digest. --Johnny
Great pastiche of the original, but just too long. --Lee
No doubt you have heard of Casanova, the famous womanizer, and maybe you’ve seen the movie, or read the account of his life. But did you know he may have had a gay brother? Benedetto, a few years Giacomo’s junior, was pressed into service of the Church, to follow the famous lover of women through the courts of Europe. On the way he had amorous adventures with countless men, but, unlike his brother, fell in love and kept alive a romantic relationship with a strapping German soldier over time and distance. Benedetto Casanova’s (fictional) memoirs were discovered only in 1881, when an English traveler rummaging through a private library in Rome found them glued to the pages of a book. They were written in Italian and have never before been published in English. Marten Weber delivers a wonderful "translation" of this challenging text, full of linguistic cunning and his usual talent for breathtaking eroticism.
5) Tracy Rowan - Suffer the Little Children
When Victorian private investigator Nick Romney’s step-father, an Anglican bishop, is murdered, Nick refuses to get involved. At the urging of his family, though, Nick and his lover Davy step in to investigate. Together they uncover the truth of the bishop’s involvement in the dark and horrifying world of child prostitution, the reason why he was killed, and the shocking identity of the murderer.
6) Alan Chin - Match Maker
“Match Maker” by Alan Chin is one of the best books I have ever read. The story was fascinating from page 1 to the end. And the characters were so realistic and intriguing. Once I started reading I couldn’t stop until I had finished it. Mr. Chin’s writing style is superb. --Verena
This book was a nice surprise, because I didn't expect to like it so much, because I am really really not interested in tennis... But I have to say it got that an high rating from me, because one thing I liked about the book was the great representation of tennis and the psychological side of it for the players. I actually thought I might watch a tennis match on TV again once in a while. The book really had a great story line and was full of interesting characters. --Uli
7) Felice Picano - True Stories
From author Felice Picano, co-founder of the path breaking Violet Quill Club, comes a new collection of memoirs, many of which have never appeared in print. Picano presents sweet and sometimes controversial anecdotes of his precocious childhood, odd, funny, and often disturbing encounters from before he found his calling as a writer and later as one of the first GLBT publishers. Throughout are his delightful encounters and surprising relationships with the one-of-a-kind and the famous-including Tennessee Williams, W.H. Auden, Charles Henri Ford, Bette Midler, and Diana Vreeland.
8-tie) Marie Sexton - Song Of Oestend
Great world building-- familiar enough to relate to, but with some interesting changes. I liked the mixture of modern with the generators and the old-fashioned windmills. I didn't think I'd like the main character Aren too much, but the author did a really great job of making him (all of them) multifaceted and interesting and he really grew on me the more he grew up. --Kirsten
Paranormal western. I wasn’t too sure at the beginning as I worried it would be a little too horror-like for me to enjoy & I’m not a big fan of alternative reality/sci-fi, but quickly grew to love it. --Juni
Dusk Peterson - The Eternal Dungeon
Normally I don't feel much need to express my thoughts on the books I read beyond the score, but in the case of The Eternal Dungeon, I feel I should. It seemed on the surface, given its title and length, that it must surely be an extensive love letter to sexual horror, and reading through the table of contents seemed only to support this. You can imagine my astonishment to discover that it is in fact a deeply moving philosophical work, which yes, has both sex and torture in it, but surprisingly little of either despite the fact that it all takes place in a dungeon. The characterization is very good and even bold, and the world building, while narrow, is solid and hints at a vast and real world that exist beyond the confines of the story. The overarching plot development is excellent, and is an extensive metaphor for the major themes of the book. The writing is eminently readable, and the author's decision to intersperse in-story historical analysis alongside the events taking place works beautifully.
10) Jay Bell - Hell's Pawn
The author took what could have been overdone and cliche (war between heaven and hell) and gave it a really unique twist. All the different "heavens" were really well done, but what I thought was the most creative was the section of the story set in purgatory. I thought the characters were fabulous. They all seems to have a mix of flaws and heroic characteristics and I really liked that Bell thought of the animals and what happens to them after they die-- Bolo the seeker was really neat. --Kirsten
Beautifully intricate fantasy with complex characters & a great slant to the usual m/m tropes. Felt it stated a little slowly but picked up. –Juni