December 7th, 2011

andrew potter

Patricia Matthews (July 1,1927 - December 07, 2006)

Patricia (Anne Klein, née Ernst) Brisco Matthews (1927-2006) and her husband, Clayton (1918-2004), had been heralded as "the hottest couple in paperbacks," by People magazine. The name Patricia Matthews appeared with astounding regularity on bestseller lists. Five of the ten historical romance were in the one-million category of paperbook books. Patricia's Love series for Pinnacle Books have sold over fifteen million copies. Clayton's successful titles included Dallas, Harvesters, and The Power Seekers.

Despite their sky-rocketing success, Patty, and Clayton ("Matt"), who preferred their shortened names, hadn't slackened their pace.

"We spend our time either traveling to research our books and publicizing them-last year it was a cruise on the Mississippi River, a car trip through Austria and England, and several short trips to New York City-or at home writing them. We invest all our earnings in a corporation titled Pywacket Inc. named after our black cat, and we pay ourselves identical salaries."

Home for Patricia was a comfortable, split-level California house. It was built on a hillside and was surrounded by greenery and a pool. A path leaded to a neighboring house, which they purchased for the purpose of having additional office space, guest rooms, and a game room. All the windows overlooked a spectacular view of Los Angeles.

Patty's office was in the main house and Matt's was in the "second" house. "Now we both have two separate offices for all of our material," said Patty. "The second house is wonderful for visits from my sons and their families, and the large game room on the top floor is furnished with a regulation-size pool table, pin-ball machine, pachinko, darts, and a small slot machine."

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Patricia Matthews's Books on Amazon: Patricia Matthews This entry was originally posted at
andrew potter

Best LGBT Coming of Age / Young Adult

And the Rainbow Award goes to:

1) Robin Reardon - The Evolution of Ethan Poe
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Kensington; Original edition (August 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0758246803
ISBN-13: 978-0758246806
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…

2) David-Matthew Barnes – Mesmerized
Reading level: Ages 13 and up
Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (November 16, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602821917
ISBN-13: 978-1602821910
Amazon: Mesmerized

A gay story directed at young adults - that's still a rare thing I guess. I'm glad that some authors think about young people when they write - maybe the next generation will be more accepting and sensitive :-) -- Caroline

Serious and sad, painful honest in the way that stories about the loss of innocence are. 'Mesmerized' is a story about grief--the varied, unpredictable, inconsistent ways people deal with it, the ups and downs of life after loss, and the moments of joy and loving bonds that find their way through anyway. The hurt and anger are very real, very stark, and the way they coexist with the giddiness of young love and having close friends is very real too. – Aoife

While being punished for writing a controversial article in her high school paper, Serena Albright is befriended by the enigmatic loner Brodie Wiles. Serena witnesses the first time that Brodie meets Lance Royal, who is secretly rehearsing to compete in The Showdown, the biggest dance contest of the year. Immediately, Serena is drawn into their world, inspired by the love she recognizes between them. Through her close friendship with Brodie and Lance, Serena finds comfort for the grief and guilt she feels over the brutal death of her older gay brother, the victim of a hate crime. Frustrated that her deep-in-denial parents spend endless hours in front of the television and refuse to acknowledge the death of their son, Serena accepts the challenge to have a face-to-face meeting with the boy who killed her brother.

3) Catherine Ryan Hyde - Jumpstart the World
Reading level: Ages 14 and up
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Ember (November 8, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0375866264
ISBN-13: 978-0375866265
Amazon: Jumpstart the World

I wish I could give this book a 100. This was the best book I've read in a long, long time. It stays with me, and so the all the characters. And I think as far as YA books go, this is a must read for every YA who has ever thought they were "different." The writing is what most writers should aspire to do. It's simple, it's clean, it's tight, and it's what writing fiction should be all about. I can't recommend this book enough to everyone. If I had kids, I'd sit them down and force them to listen while I read it to them. – Ryan

Elle is a loner. She doesn't need people. Which is a good thing, because now she has to move out of her apartment so her mother's boyfriend won't have to deal with her. Then she meets Frank, the guy who lives next door to her new place. Being with him is impossible: he's a grown-up and has a girlfriend. Still, Elle can't stop thinking about him. Frank isn't like anyone Elle has ever met. He listens to her. He's gentle. And Elle is falling for him, hard. Then Elle discovers that Frank is different in a way that Elle was never prepared for: he's transgender. Elle's head and her heart explode; her world is turned upside down. But when an accident nearly takes Frank's life, Elle must search inside herself to find not only the true meaning of friendship but her own role in jumpstarting the world. Tender, honest, and compassionate, Jumpstart the World is a stunning story to make you laugh, cry, and honor the power of love.

Honourable Mention:

4) Elliott DeLine – Refuse

A very rewarding novel. An excellent reading as young trans struggle through their lives. I really enjoyed the quickness of the story, immersing myself in the tale and reading almost straight through. I'd say you have a winner in this one. Congrats. Young, confused trannies going through the motions. Written very well, easily understood, showing their angst of being young or being a trannie. -- Mick

5) Tracey Pennington – Awake
This collection of stories is very insightful and readable. Although the crises of identity and sexuality that the young characters are undergoing is touching and sometimes upsetting there is also a message of hope that shines through in these stories. Anyone who has a GLBT teenager in their lives should definitely read this book. -- Bobby

6) Andrew Ashling - A Dish Served Cold

A Dish Served Cold is well written, a moving story of love and devotion set against the injustices of an inflexible system of legalised slavery. The characters are well drawn and include a number of very appealing individuals, plus a few out right rogues. It all makes for a fascinating read, one that is hard to put down, an imaginative, well explained and ultimately positive story. -- Ben

7) Greg Herren - Sleeping Angel

Eric Matthews survives a near-fatal accident only to find his whole life has changed. Eric Matthews wakes up in the hospital with no memory of how he wound up there—and soon learns that it’s vital that he remember. Apparently, he was in a car accident—and the body of classmate Sean Brody was found in his car, shot to death. But nothing makes sense to Eric. He and Sean weren’t friends. In fact, they disliked each other--Sean was gay and Eric is...well, he's not sure of much right now!

8) Jeff Erno – Bullied

I saved this one for last because I was a little afraid that I wouldn't be able to stop crying. It is a subject matter that is so relevant and can be handled either too stridently or maudlin. Jeff really captured the voices of young people -- all the stories seemed so authentic and realistic. Excellent all around. -- Janet

9) K.E. Payne - 365 Days

One mixed-up girl, one dull boy, two hot distractions. How does one figure it all out? Life sucks when you’re fifteen years old, confused about your sexuality, and the girl of your dreams doesn’t even know you exist. The sudden entrance of a hot new emo at school only adds to the confusion. Clemmie Atkins thinks she's in love with her school friend, the mysterious and alluring J. Devastated that J doesn’t even seem to know she exists, Clemmie tries to escape her feelings by dating the nice but dim Ben.

10) J.P. Barnaby - Little Boy Lost, Enlightened

Little Boy Lost, Book One Little Boy Lost is the story of Brian McAllister, the boy next door. Brian goes to school, does his homework, and helps his foster parents around the house. Brian also has a secret: he is in love with his best friend, Jamie. But in Crayford, Alabama, being in love with another boy is the worst kind of sin. Brian and Jamie will discover just how deep their emotional bond runs, and at what cost. What will they do if their secret is discovered?
andrew potter

Best Gay Contemporary Erotica

And the Rainbow Award goes to:

1) Heidi Cullinan - Nowhere Ranch
Publisher: Loose Id LLC (February 15, 2011)
Amazon: Nowhere Ranch

I really liked the main characters and I liked the romantic relationship and the slow way it built. Competent and better than a lot in the genre. There was probably just as much "gay rights" lecturing in this story, but I didn't feel like it was blatantly aimed at me. -- Kirsten

Roe Davis is a man who works hard, keeps to himself, and never mixes business with pleasure -- until he takes a weekend away from his new job at Nowhere Ranch and runs into the owner at the only gay bar for two hundred miles. Getting involved with the boss is a bad idea, but Travis Loving is hard to say no to, especially when it turns out their kinks line up like a pair of custom-cut rails. As Loving points out, so long as this is sex on the side, no interfering with the job, they could make it work. The truth is, there’s good reason Roe never settles down and always spends his birthdays and holidays celebrating alone. Shut out in the cold by his family years ago, Roe survived by declaring he didn’t need a home. As his affair with Loving grows into more than just sex, Roe finds out what happens when he stays put a little bit too long: the past always catches up with you. Eventually, even a loner gets lonely, and home will grow up through whatever cracks you leave open for it -- even in a place called Nowhere.

2) Claire Thompson - The Cowboy Poet
Paperback: 252 pages
Publisher: Romance Unbound Publishing (October 30, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1456325698
ISBN-13: 978-1456325695
Amazon: The Cowboy Poet

Tyler Sutton can run all he wants from his past, but he's still got himself to contend with. Dark secret dreams of sexual submission continue to haunt the magazine reporter. The embers of his hidden yearnings burst into a bright flame of reality when Tyler meets Clint Darrow, the cowboy poet. Clint, the foreman on a West Texas bull ranch, hides his dominant sensual nature behind the laconic, quiet persona of a true Texas cowboy. When the pair is thrown together in a search to uncover the culprit of a series of thefts at various local ranches, the connection is immediate and fierce. As they begin to explore their attraction for one another, Clint senses Tyler's need for sexual surrender. Clint must exert every ounce of self control to keep from pushing Tyler too far, too fast. When passion overtakes caution, the firestorm of desire that erupts between them threatens to burn everything in its path.

3) L.A. Witt - With the Band
Publisher: Loose Id LLC (March 22, 2011)
Amazon: With the Band

Very solid, very well written book. I really enjoyed it. The plot flowed very well, no gaping holes. Having followed bands, I felt like this was very well done. The general noise and craziness was very well depicted. I loved the way the two protagonists grew and matured during the course of the book. --Marilyn

Hard rock band Schadenfreude is finally on the verge of the success that’s eluded them for the last several years. With Aaron McClure as their new lead singer, nothing’s going to stop them…except maybe a steamy, secret relationship between Aaron and bassist Bastian Koehler. Aaron knows all too well what can happen when band members get involved with each other. After all, his last band was a casualty of his last relationship, and Schadenfreude forbids band members from dating for that very reason. But Bastian is too hot to resist, and besides, it’s just sex, so what’s the harm? Bastian has just gotten out of a long relationship with his volatile ex-fiancée when Aaron catches his eye. The sexy singer is irresistible, and in spite of the potential for strife within the band if this comes out, Bastian can’t help himself. Their passion in the bedroom is rivaled only by their ambition as musicians, though, and pretty soon, it's going to tear them, and Schadenfreude apart, if they can't get back to playing with the band.

Honourable Mention:

4-tie) D.H. Starr - Wrestling With Love

This was a very good sequel to Wrestling with Desire, but also a very good stand-alone, as the previous story was recapt sufficiently -- Anke

Fyn Alexander - Angel and the Assassin

Angel and the Assassin is a well written, a tender and moving love story spiced with erotic love scenes and plenty of BDSM. Angel is willing to take anything his Master/Daddy deals, and please Kael he does, and Kael is prepared to do whatever it takes to keep him. I loved this story, the growing relationship between Kael and Angel is delightful, Angel is so sweet and enthusiastic, a complete contrast to the mature neatness freak that is Kael, who normally only goes for older men. --Benjamin

Complex characters. I especially enjoyed Kael. -- Bobby

6) Todd Gregory - Games Frat Boys Play

Eight years at an exclusive Swiss boarding school have given Jordy Valentine an impressive education. But the things he really wants to learn-like how to make friends, fit in, and find a lover-have eluded him. He’s hoping college will change everything... From the start, Jordy is intrigued by the Beta Kappa fraternity-especially by handsome rush chair Chad York. Dazzled by Chad’s flirting, Jordy is crushed when Chad cruelly rejects him on Initiation Night. But if Chad doesn’t want Jordy, plenty of other guys do!

7) Michael Willhoite - The Venetian Boy

This was a bit slow to start, but soon had me hooked. The characters were well drawn and felt very real. The ending seemed a bit rushed and was fairly predictable, but the Venetian setting more than made up for it. -- Anna

8) Dale Chase - The Company He Keeps

What if Henry James wrote erotic stories? The result might very well be The Company He Keeps: Victorian Gentlemen’s Erotica, even if he’d never admit it. Set in the sexually repressed and therefore sexually rampant Victorian era, a riotously erotic collection including stories such as “A Remarkably Well Made Man,” “Magnificent Surrender,” “The Westbrook Club,” and “The Late Manner.”

9) Michele L. Montgomery - Lethal Obsession, Caged

A great story - I always say that although I wish anybody well, I like when the author puts the characters through some traumatic events, as long as there is a happy ending. This story was all about tragic experiences combined with kinky elements ;-) I wonder if the author wrote something about supporting characters - there would be a lot of material for other stories! -- Caroline

10) Cheryl Dragon - Backing Brian

Once a Texan, always a Texan and Brian Beaumont has come back home to open his high-end western wear shop. Not everyone is thrilled with the gay son of a Texas millionaire opening a clothing store. Lucky for Brian, his new brother-in-law sends protection from Raider’s Bodyguard Service. If only Brian could resist the hunky muscled Texas native assigned to guard his body day and night. Jones never wanted to go back to Texas. This entry was originally posted at
andrew potter

Best Lesbian Contemporary Erotica

And the Rainbow Award goes to:

1) Roscoe James - Dancing with Venus
Paperback: 266 pages
Publisher: Loose Id, LLC (August 5, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1607377365
ISBN-13: 978-1607377368
Amazon: Dancing with Venus

Would read other stories from this author. Interesting characters. -- Tammy

Jessie doesn't understand matters of the heart, not even her own. Blues is Jessica Butler's life. No performer romances the audience better. Unfortunately the audience is the only thing twenty-eight-year-old Jessie is romancing these days. Her life is an endless string of club dates with the occasional male groupie thrown in to stave off complete isolation. Careful to never surrender more than her body, matters of her heart remain a mystery, even to her. On the outs with her family, she's been running from gig to gig for over a year. When her little sister's wedding invitation finds her in Chicago Jessie realizes it's time to stop running. Unwittingly she starts a pilgrimage that turns the ever elusive matters of her heart into a train wreck. Marcella Dionysius keeps company with the dead Europeans. Instead of bars and clubs, Marci's venues are concert halls and recording studios. She's a world-class cello player, a woman that loves women, and the only daughter of a very powerful man who wants just one thing before he dies. An heir. Marci is an exotic Greek goddess next to Jessie's pale, lanky, Midwestern form, and Jessie hates her sister's best friend immediately. She hates her even more after their first kiss. Because this time running isn't an option.

2) Christine Hall Volkoff - Travels Through Love And Time
Paperback: 244 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace (December 14, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1456466119
ISBN-13: 978-1456466114
Amazon: Travels Through Love And Time

From the rocky coves of the small island of Porquerolles in her teenage years, the glamour of the Cannes Film Festival in the 60's to a café in Paris in the 80's as a middle aged woman, Christine doesn't really know if she is looking for love, or if love is looking for her. At the terrace of a small outdoor café, she discusses Marguerite Duras with an unknown woman, and enters into a whirlwind of anxiety and desire only mitigated by good food and the magic of the city. Has Christine learned anything about love in her travels? In Venice Beach, California, now mature, she becomes smitten with a woman 30 years her junior. As she tries to give Bethany some comfort, she will let herself descend once again into the mysteries of infatuation. Will she be able to follow the advice of her teenage years, finally be able to enjoy the good life, and recover her peace of mind? Get ready to travel through love, space and time .... Three stories, three aspects of love and a world of emotions make 'Travels Through Love And Time' a moving and gripping sequence of novellas that will make your spirit soar.

3) Lesley Gowan - The Collectors
Paperback: 204 pages
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (February 22, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602822085
ISBN-13: 978-1602822085
Amazon: The Collectors

Wow, a BDSM novel with both a head and a heart, this grabbed me early on and refused to let go. I loved the development of the different relationships, and the discussion of love merged with a desire for submission. The contrast between the experienced but uneasy Adele and the far more confident newbie, Laura, provided a great perspective. -- Sally

Laura owns what might be the world’s most extensive collection of BDSM lesbian erotica, but that’s as close as she’s gotten to the world of her fantasies. Until, that is, her friend Adele introduces her to Adele’s mistress Jeanne—art collector, heiress, and experienced dominant. Nothing in Laura’s reading prepares her for the powerful reaction she has to Jeanne or how completely she is captivated by this sensual new world. With Jeanne’s first command, Laura’s life changes forever. But even the most commanding mistress can’t always control a willful submissive, and Adele’s jealousy challenges Jeanne’s dominance and Laura’s place in their world. What Jeanne and Laura learn about themselves on their erotic journey will either drive them apart or change the very nature of their lives.
andrew potter

Best Gay Contemporary General Fiction

And the Rainbow Award goes to:

1) Alan Chin - Match Maker
Paperback: 342 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (September 6, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1615815872
ISBN-13: 978-1615815876
Amazon: 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

In the four years since being forced off the professional tour for being gay, Daniel Bottega has taught tennis at a second-rate country club. He found a sanctuary to hide from an unkind world, while his lover, Jared Stoderling, fought a losing battle with alcohol addiction to cope with his disappointment of not playing on the pro circuit. Now Daniel has another chance at the tour by coaching tennis prodigy Connor Lin to a Grand Slam championship win. He shares his chance with Jared by convincing him to return to the pro circuit as Connor's doubles partner. Competing on the world tour is challenging enough, but Daniel and Jared also face major media attention, political fallout from the pro association, and a shocking amount of hate that threatens Connor's career in tennis, Jared's love for Daniel, and Daniel's very life.

2) Lee Houck – Yield
Paperback: 278 pages
Publisher: Kensington (September 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0758242654
ISBN-13: 978-0758242655
Amazon: Yield

Easily one of the best books I've read in the last few years. Houck writes with an amazing voice, making what could have been an unsympathetic character relatable and likable. The story should be a familiar one, but it felt fresh and engrossing. Strong storytelling and a wonderful way with words. --Josh

In his evocative and mesmerizing debut novel, Lee Houck depicts a contemporary Manhattan thrumming with sex and violence as seen through the eyes of Simon—a twenty-something part-time hustler with a cadre of loyal, sometimes floundering friends. As Simon grows increasingly involved with a gorgeous, guileless client named Aiden, he tries to navigate a path to fulfillment in a city where love and honesty are as dangerous as they are rare. Witty, spare, and rapier-sharp, this is an exceptional story of the friendships that sustain us, the families we create, and the pain and joy that are always within reach, waiting for us to yield…

3) Jameson Currier - The Third Buddha
Paperback: 328 pages
Publisher: Chelsea Station Editions; First edition (August 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0984470727
ISBN-13: 978-0984470723
Amazon: The Third Buddha

I loved this book! --Matt

I really enjoyed this book. The timeline confused me a bit at first, but I was soon sucked in to the intertwining storylines. The characters were well-drawn, the plot fascinating, and the ending emotional. Good stuff! :-) --Cassandra

Jameson Currier expands his richly detailed storytelling to an international level, weaving together the intertwining stories of the search for a missing journalist in the Bamiyan region of Afghanistan with a young man's search for his older brother in Manhattan in the aftermath of 9/11 into a sweeping, multi-cultural novel of what it means to be a gay citizen of the world. Currier once again targets the big themes of modern gay life: identity, faith, homophobia, romance, and the complexity of relationships, but at the heart of The Third Buddha are the little acts of random kindness that continue to astonish in times of crisis and war.

Honourable Mention:

4) Rob Rosen – Sparkle

A madcap coming-out story with a wicked bent, Sparkle: The Queerest Book You'll Ever Love has it all: sex, drugs, and 80's rock 'n' roll, piercings and tattoos, drag queens and near-death experiences, all with a beautiful San Francisco backdrop and enough twists and turns to make even Lombard Street jealous. Your mama never told you that being queer could be this much fun!

5) Mel Bossa – Split

It was told in a series of flashbacks told from Derek’s diary written achingly to ‘Dear Bump’ the longed for younger brother whose stillbirth caused the breakdown of his mother’s mental health. I felt that the author really caught the tone of a child’s story telling with beautiful touches of humour. This book was about a young boy who would have had a very arid childhood if it weren’t for his lovely Aunt and the wonderful friendship he had with the family of his best friend. I’m looking forward to more from this author. --Rachel

6) Michael Alenyikov - Ivan and Misha: stories

In Ivan and Misha, Michael Alenyikov portrays the complexities of love, sexuality, and the bonds of family with boldness and lyric sensitivity. As the Soviet Union collapses, two young brothers are whisked away from Kiev by their father to start life anew in America. The intricately linked stories in this powerful debut, set in New York City at the turn of the millennium, swirl about the uneasy bond between fraternal twins, Ivan and Misha, devoted brothers who could not be more different.

7) Eden Winters - Settling the Score

This was fluff, a pop novel, not literature, but it was fully engaging and entertaining, a solid story. --Johnny

8) Timothy Wang – Slant

Really enjoyed this. Witty, well written. --Juni

I liked the back and forth of the romances, how different each guy was and the mystery of which man he would end up with. --Kirsten

9) Kathryn Shay - The Perfect Family

A very well-written family drama. The main focus is the family and how their teenager son's coming out has thrown a spanner into the harmony of a supposed perfect family. While the story seems very personal (almost like an autobiography) and it offers great sincerity, I'd say it's very difficult for someone like me, who has no religious hang-ups and have little patience for religious reasoning, to relate to it. For readers who can, though, it is a very good read. --Eve

10) Susan Roebuck - Perfect Score

'Perfect Score' is about the rite of passage of two young men, Alex and Sam, from the opposite side of the tracks. Alex lives in his uncle's mansion, and while money and a stable future have been lined up for him by his powerful and withholding uncle, he wants nothing more than to be a song writer and to live happily ever after with Sam -- a boy he met once when he was in his teens. This entry was originally posted at
andrew potter

Best Lesbian Contemporary General Fiction

And the Rainbow Award goes to:

1) Farzana Doctor - Six Metres of Pavement
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Dundurn (February 17, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1554887674
ISBN-13: 978-1554887675
Amazon: Six Metres of Pavement

I wish there were more than 40 points available. This one so surpassed the others in all areas. Truly wonderful. --Jessica

I had a very diffictult time starting this story and as I read the story I asked myself "Why is this story in a GLBT writing contest?" It was around 1/2 through before I found out why. This writer is amazing. It was hard to read at first because the main character was so sad and had been for a very long time. By the end of the story he had finally forgiven himself for an 18 year old error, he had finally stopped looking over his shoulder at what did the neighbors think, and with the new friends and relationships he'd formed he was happy! I really enjoyed this book. --Debra

Ismail Boxwala made the worst mistake of his life one summer morning twenty years ago: he forgot his baby daughter in the back seat of his car. After his daughter's tragic death, he struggles to continue living. A divorce, years of heavy drinking, and sex with strangers only leave him more alone and isolated. But Ismail's story begins to change after he reluctantly befriends two women: Fatima, a young queer activist kicked out of her parents' home; and Celia, his grieving Portuguese-Canadian neighbour who lives just six metres away. A slow-simmering romance develops between Ismail and Celia. Meanwhile, dangers lead Fatima to his doorstep. Each makes complicated demands of him, ones he is uncertain he can meet.

2) Clifford Henderson - Maye's Request
Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (January 25, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602821992
ISBN-13: 978-1602821996
Amazon: Maye's Request

A richly layered story peopled with complex and wonderful characters. Beautifully done. --Jessica

She has a history of complicated relationships. Is it her family legacy? Freshly out of college and possibly in love, Brianna Bell, aka Bean, worries that she’ll never be able to have a normal relationship due to her screwy upbringing. Her parents form a perfect triangle: Mom, Dad, and her mother’s lover—who also happens to be her Dad’s twin sister. Although each of Bean’s parents now lives alone, the animosity between the twins makes dealing with either of them like tiptoeing between landmines. Then her mom, Maye, is threatened with a rare and possibly fatal illness, and she begs Bean to help heal the rift between brother and sister. Reluctantly, Bean intervenes. But the more Bean finds out about her parents’ complicated history, the more she realizes how little she knows. A story of love, longing, and family values.

3) Martha Miller - Retirement Plan
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (May 17, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602822247
ISBN-13: 978-1602822245
Amazon: Retirement Plan

What do you do when you fall through the loopholes in the system and all you have to rely on are your own wits? Lois and Sophie have scrambled and saved for years, planning for their retirement in Florida. But now they've lost it all, and Lois's sniper training from her long-ago service as an Army nurse leads to a desperate career choice. When Detective Morgan Holiday is assigned to investigate a spate of sniper killings, it's just one more stress point in her already overburdened life. But as she grows increasingly solitary—coping with an Alzheimer’s-plagued mother who refuses to be confined to a nursing home, and a police partner counting the days to retirement—she comes to realize that these murders may cut close to home. A modern morality tale of justice, retribution, and women who refuse to be politely invisible. This entry was originally posted at
andrew potter

Best Gay Contemporary Romance

And the Rainbow Award goes to:

1) Sloan Parker – Breathe
Publisher: Loose Id LLC (November 16, 2010)
Amazon: Breathe

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) Kimberly Gardner - Too Soon For Love
Paperback: 328 pages
Publisher: MLR Press (February 19, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1608202992
ISBN-13: 978-1608202997
Amazon: Too Soon For Love

I liked everything of this book. The pace from grieving to new love was perfect. --Anke

A touching m/m romance about loss, second chance and deception. It also has a pretty intriguing plot that creates tensions and valid conflicts in the story. Extra points for including the struggle for a gay character with disability, that aspect enriched the story a lot. Overall, a solid romance with right amount of angst and plot. --Eve

Emotional story with great characters --Juni

Michael Stricker is still reeling from his partner's sudden and untimely death when he meets someone new, someone he could really care about. But first he needs time, time to get his life back in order and time to get over is lost love. But learning to live alone again is nearly impossible with his well-meaning relatives treating him like a poor helpless blind guy. When Alan Stuart befriends Phillip DiMartino's grieving partner, the last thing he expects is to discover hidden lies and infidelity. Guilty over his attraction to the still-grieving man, Alan resolves to stay silent. But the truth has a way of coming out, and soon a dead man's secrets bring about more heartbreak than Alan could have imagined. Although both men vow to keep their distance, staying away is easier said than done, even when it's Too Soon For Love.

3-tie) A.B. Gayle – Caught
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (October 7, 2010)
Amazon: Caught

When Daniel's invalid landlady asks for his help preventing a possible suicide from the clifftop near their home, he doesn't want to disappoint her. So he grits his teeth, picks up his camera, and goes out to play the Chinese tourist. He's done it before: befriended the lonely, lured them away from the danger zone, acted as a safety net. This time, the figure staring out to sea is way out of his league, his complete opposite, the sort of man Daniel's always admired from afar. Then the attractive Taylor turns the tables and lures Daniel out from behind the safety of his camera, and as Daniel finds himself fighting off an attraction he can't deny, he realizes he's in danger of being caught. Will the camera expose truths about himself that he wants to keep hidden?

Ally Blue - These Haunted Heights
Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: MLR Press (February 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1608201848
ISBN-13: 978-1608201846
Amazon: These Haunted Heights

The way Ron and Drew met and got together was well-paced. The story felt real--including the small town reaction to seeing two out gay men having a quiet dinner at a local restaurant. Sad but true. Again, the author did a wonderful job in the way the isolation yet beautiful countryside was both a paradise (for city boy Ron) and a cold place (for country man Drew). --Luce

The tiny town of Sebastian's Bluff is a photojournalist's dream come true. But Ron Winters doesn't expect the moody, mysterious man next door to get under his skin and stay there. When Drew LaSalle meets Ron, feelings he thought twenty years gone stir to life again. He wants what he could have with Ron. But does he want it enough to get past his own walls and grasp it? Secrets, spirits and tragedy converge as Ron peels back the layers of Drew's past and Drew fights both Ron and his own ghosts on the haunted road to happily ever after.

Honourable Mention:

5) Anel Viz - P'tit Cadeau

Generally, I loved the story and thought the writing style to be good. The main character development for Ben was pitch perfect - I understood his complexity but I had a difficult time believing Jean-Yves authenticity. --Janet

6) R.J. Scott - The Christmas Throwaway

From the first chapter, the author draws you into the story and you cannot put the book down until the very end. I like how the author described just enough about the setting and did not bog it down with a description of everything. You still got the feel of the people of the town and the feeling of the season. Oh wow! I just can't say enough about the characters. Plain and simple, every now and then a reader can come across a story and you FEEL what the characters are feeling and that is exactly how I felt reading this story. -- Rachel

7-tie) Sue Brown - Nothing Ever Happens

LOVED IT! I love how Ms. Brown starts a story at the beginning and takes all the way to the end. When she writes about her characters, you get to know them, love them, or hate them. She makes you feel these are people that you personally know. The story flows from beginning to end. There wasn't any part of it where I felt like I was lost in what the author was trying to say. --Rachel

Heidi Cullinan - Dance with Me

Wow. This book just bowled me over - the characterizations and plot development created just enough angst to make my heart ache for them to come together. By far and away the best book I have read in a long time. --Jorgi-Anne

This held my interest despite the whiny character of Laurence, the dancer. The dance details were interesting and used cleverly. --J.P.

9-tie) Feliz Faber - City Falcon

The premise of this story was very unique, the writer's voice was strong, the characters were strong and well-drawn, and the sex was very hot. I really enjoyed the book and found it very engaging once I started it. --Ellis

Mickie B. Ashling – Momentos

Generally not a fan of 1st person narrative but the way the author describes the setting is truly magnificent. Even on the first page as they describe the scent of curry in the air and the feeling of the warm crowded apartment, it's as if you're actually living it. --Alannah

Amy Lane - Living Promises

Six years ago, Jeff Beachum comforted a frightened teenager outside an HIV treatment clinic, and Collin Waters has remembered his kindness ever since. Now, after six years of crushing on the kind, brown-eyed sweetheart of his dreams, Collin is feeling adult and together enough to make his move. Too bad fate, which has never been kind to Jeff, has something else in mind. Jeff's life had fallen completely apart before that long-ago day, and it isn't much better now.

Anah Crow & Dianne Fox - One Real Thing

The story was good and both characters very likable. Holly at times was hard to believe, but such a person, you wanted to believe him. I enjoyed this story a great deal, and might even read again, if the mood strikes. -- Merith

M. King - Light and Water

This is by far my favorite of the bunch! I was really hesitant to start this book, as I read somewhere a bad review, but after starting it I was captivated! The story moved along very nice, the development between Dan and Cesare was really believing, the way they dealt with each other and their problems was totally comprehensible and the writing style was just perfect. --Anke

Katrina Strauss - Sonoran Heat

Tony is newly single, lonely, and stuck in the past. When he grabs a late-night meal at an old haunt, his trip down memory lane is derailed by gorgeous waiter Josh. Tony sees a chance for a fresh start with the twenty-one-year-old, but worries chasing a man half his age will lead to heartache. It's hard to resist when Josh intrigues Tony on an intellectual level--and fires the landscaper's libido hotter than the Arizona desert they call home. Josh has goals.
andrew potter

Best Lesbian Contemporary Romance

And the Rainbow Award goes to:

1) Robin Summers - After the Fall
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books; 1 edition (July 19, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602822344
ISBN-13: 978-1602822344
Amazon: After the Fall

WOW! This book is really good! I could not for the life of me turn my computer off and walk away from it! The storyline was believable enough to make one wonder what could happen if.... Believable enough to make you a little afraid of the future but, at the same time it gives you enough hope to think that one can survive. Very well written and easy to read. --Mitzie

When the world ends, what’s left to care about? Taylor Stone is no hero. She has three simple rules for life after the plague: Keep moving. Keep to yourself. Don’t get involved. The plague took a particular joy in killing the women of the world, making it that much harder for the few who survived. The only thing that matters since she escaped from a small farm outside of Pittsburgh is the truth waiting at the end of her journey home. The rest of the world, or what’s left of it, can go straight to Hell as far as she’s concerned. When a group of survivors offers her food and shelter, she is more than happy to spend a few days, take what she needs, and get out, like she always does. But in a place called Burninghead Farm, despite all her rules and plans, Taylor finds a group of people who have more to offer than the basics of survival. Most of all, there is Kate, a woman who makes Taylor realize love is still alive and makes her dream of a future she thought was no longer possible. If only Taylor can find the courage to fight for it. It turns out that the end of the world isn’t about the end of the world at all, but about what happens after.

2-tie) Colette Moody - Parties in Congress
Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (February 15, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602822026
ISBN-13: 978-1602822023
Amazon: Parties in Congress

I would likely never have picked the story up on my own, but wowza, am I ever glad it got assigned to me, because otherwise I’d have missed out on a brilliant, humorously written piece of fiction. This story is a gem well worth reading. I highly recommend it to anyone who has ever been disheartened by the political system here in the US, anyone who has struggled with an improper attraction, anyone with a heart and a brain. Bravo Ms. Moody, bravo. You’ve made a fan out of me. I can't think of a single flaw in the writing of that story. I really believe the story to be one of the best written pieces of fiction it's been my pleasure to read for quite some time. --Cherie

Nicely paced story with good supporting cast. Loved the humor throughout the story. --Tammy

This story was really enjoyable; the story drew the relationship growth between Bijul & Colleen. It may not have been hot & heavy but it showed that sometimes relationships are more than just the sex. I liked the fact that there was diversity in races with the characters. Also the humour was pretty cool as was the sarcastic banter between Bijal & Colleen when the first meet. To be honest I didn’t think I would enjoy it but I am so glad that I read it; it was a real surprise. --Norma

They say politics makes strange bedfellows... Elated to secure her first paid political staff position, Bijal Rao is eager to focus her efforts on the election of her candidate to U.S. Congress. However, Bijal's first unforeseen obstacle is her profound and unexpected attraction to their opponent—incumbent Congresswoman Colleen O'Bannon¬—who is outspoken, charismatic, and openly lesbian. An even greater hurdle is the subterfuge and pretense that pervades the climate in Washington, D.C., where small missteps are readily painted as major gaffes, and lies are explained away as "in the public's best interest." During the heated campaign, both Bijal and Colleen struggle not to cross the lines of propriety—and perhaps more importantly, their party lines.

Q. Kelly - Strange Bedfellows
Paperback: 242 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace (September 15, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1466304812
ISBN-13: 978-1466304819
Amazon: Strange Bedfellows

I've read books that are so good that I just can't put them down until I finish them. I've also read books that have been very difficult to get through because they are terrible. This book was different. I wanted the story to go on forever and found myself putting it down just so that I could come back to it later! It's kind of difficult to explain but it was so well written, and the characters were so realistic, I just wanted to have it to come back to again and again. Great read! --Mitzie

Loved the characters, loved the story! --Tammy

What happens when the queen of the ex-gay movement decides to come out of the closet? The person who helps Frances Dourne with this enormous task is a call girl Frances hires. A call girl with a secret of her own. Can they learn to trust each other enough to find the love they seek in each other's arms? Frances is grappling with something else, too. Her daughter, Marissa, has been gone 11 years. She was kidnapped by her father on her third birthday. Frances hopes her coming out will also ease the way for Marissa's return.

3) Karis Walsh – Harmony
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (August 16, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602822379
ISBN-13: 978-1602822375
Amazon: Harmony

Loved the storyline. I could not put this book down! --Mitzie

Sometimes conformity and control are only shields, and all it takes is the right woman to shatter the illusions forever. Andrea Taylor craves peace in her life, no matter what the personal sacrifice. She arranges her career as a violist, her relationships with family and friends, and even her love life so she can avoid strife at all costs. Everything is going according to plan until she meets Brooke Stanton the night before Brooke’s wedding rehearsal and her ordered existence falls apart. When Brooke hires a string quartet to play at her rehearsal dinner, she doesn’t expect to meet a woman who threatens the security of her already predetermined future. Suddenly she has doubts about the conventional path she has chosen and desires she can no longer ignore. In an eclectic neighborhood in Seattle, Washington, these two women face a life-altering decision—will they fight the attraction that threatens their carefully structured lives or take a chance on finding the harmony only love creates?

Honourable Mention:

5) Lisa Girolami - Jane Doe

I very much enjoyed reading this book. Lisa Girolami is rapidly becoming one of my favorite writers. --Mitzie

6) Bobbi Marolt - Loving Liz

I love Marolt's writing style, and how she gets you into the head of her characters. --Tammy

7) Lesley Davis - Playing Passion’s Game

This story just completely sucked me in... I am not a gamer and have no interest in gaming but Lesley Davis’ Playing Passion’s Game... really did have me enthralled. I started out just to read the first 50 pages and the next thing I knew I was at the end of the book. In my opinion for a book to suck me in like that it has to be good. --Norma

8) Radclyffe – Firestorm

Firefighter paramedic Mallory "Ice" James commands a crew of smokejumpers—twenty women and men who eat together, sleep together, and parachute into the face of raging forest fires together. Discipline and teamwork mean the difference between life and death on the line, and she's earned her reputation as cool and controlled in the face of danger..

9-tie) Rachel Spangler - The Long Way Home

This was a different type of story, and I found it refreshing. The main character was really well written - I found it easy to connect to the struggle in her decisions. --Jorgi-Anne

D.L. Line - Head Trip

I found this story very difficult to get into at first, it took me three goes to get through it... but once I did get past the hurdle the story got really interesting and sucked me in. --Norma
andrew potter

Best Bisexual/Transgender Contemporary

And the Rainbow Award goes to:

1) Justine Saracen - Sarah, Son of God
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (March 15, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602822123
ISBN-13: 978-1602822122
Amazon: Sarah, Son of God

Beautifully written, with a lovingly described setting, original and likable characters and an engaging plot. --Jenna

Extremely well written and engrossing novel. I had a hard time getting into it at the beginning because my preference is a story from a male perspective; however, once I let that go and focused on the story, it certainly kept my attention. I was put off by the story's premise that a woman imitated Jesus because he died rather than resurrected, but I admire the sheer audacity of the writer's creative treatment. The plot was complex and the characters fully developed. Brava, Justine! Mi piace. --Janet

What happens when who we love forces us to change our view of who we are? Against her better judgment, Professor Joanna Valois takes on sexually undefinable Sara Falier as her assistant on a trip to Venice. The object of their research is a sixteenth century heretical book and the truth about the woman condemned to death for printing it. The book, a translation of an ancient codex, not only shattered the lives of nearly everyone who touched it, but 400 years later, could still bring half the world to its knees. Like nesting dolls, this story within a story within a story raises the question as to whether gender-breaking has not only challenged the boundaries of love and sexual desire, but altered the course of history.

2) Ryan Loveless - Building Arcadia
Publisher: TVB Publishing; 1 edition (March 23, 2011)
Amazon: Building Arcadia

I really enjoyed the book. I especially enjoyed how in depth the author went into the incident as it’s called in the book and just how much it affected all three main characters. The book is well written with fantastic plot and character development. Overall, a fantastic book. --Danielle

A dark alley, an unprovoked attack. A lethal shooting. An accused man who can't remember holding the gun. For two best friends, an evening out gone horribly wrong. Musician Connor Adams can't remember killing one of the men who attacked him and his best friend and fellow musician Sam, who is gay. What he does remember is this: three man-shaped shadows coming towards them, a struggle, and Sam falling to the ground. But the attacker is dead, Sam lies in a coma, and evidence points squarely at Connor. Facing twenty-five years in prison and dealing with the grief of Sam's condition, Connor doesn't know if he should lean on his wife Kelly for support or divorce her and let her move on. As they struggle to find the truth of that fateful night under the public's eye, Connor, Kelly, and Sam realize that they need each other like never before and that their long friendship is growing into love. But can they get around forced separation and their reluctance to show their true feelings to find a way back to each other?

3) Ben Monopoli - The Cranberry Hush
Amazon: The Cranberry Hush

Vince Dandro might be going through the quietest quarter-life crisis of all time. He lives alone, works at a comic book shop, and has a crush on his coworker he can't seem to act on. His life is just fine, but only just fine. Everything changes when Vince's long-lost friend Griff shows up at his house in the middle of a blizzard. They were roommates in college, so close back then that Griff's girlfriend called them "lifebuddies" -- but Vince's love for Griff ended the friendship, he thought, forever. They haven't spoken in years. Why has Griff shown up again? And, more importantly, can Vince handle his return? Vince and Griff are two twentysomethings struggling to find their places in the world and in each other's lives. This is a story of friendship and love, both unrequited and requited, and learning how to fly through the post-college void, where sometimes the only sound you can hear is The Cranberry Hush.

Honourable Mention:

4) Tomas Mournian – Hidden

When Ahmed's parents send him to a residential treatment center known as Serenity Ridge, it's with one goal: to "fix" their son, at any cost. But eleven months of abuse and overmedication leave him desperate to escape. And when the opportunity comes, Ahmed runs away to San Francisco. There, he moves into a secret safe house shared by a group of teens. Until they become independent at eighteen, the housemates hide away from authorities, bound by rules that both protect and frustrate.

5) Giselle Renarde - My Mistress's Thighs

Erotic Transgender Fiction and Poetry by Giselle Renarde. A cross-dressing cowboy, a post-war pin-up, and a wolf in grandmother’s clothing all find a special home in My Mistress’ Thighs. This collection of erotic transgender fiction and poetry by Giselle Renarde makes room for everyone. There’s a secret solstice sacrifice, a case of spring fever, an online romance, and a Wednesday night dinner routine that’s anything but dull. This anthology includes erotic favorites, new surprises, and never-before-seen poetry.
andrew potter

Best Gay Fantasy

And the Rainbow Award goes to:

1-tie) Marie Sexton - Song Of Oestend
Paperback: 412 pages
Publisher: Total-E-Bound Publishing (October 26, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0857157477
ISBN-13: 978-0857157478
Amazon: 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

Symbols have power... Aren Montrell has heard tales of the Oestend wraiths - mysterious creatures which come in the night and kill anyone who’s not indoors. Aren’s never had reason to believe the stories, but when he takes a job as a bookkeeper on the BarChi, a dusty cattle ranch on the remote Oestend prairie, he soon learns that the wraiths are real. Aren suddenly finds himself living in a supposedly haunted house and depending on wards and generators to protect him from unseen things in the night. As if that’s not enough, he has to deal with a crotchety old blind woman, face “cows” that look like nothing he’s ever seen before, and try to ignore the fact that he’s apparently the most eligible bachelor around. Aren also finds himself the one and only confidante of Deacon, the BarChi’s burly foreman. Deacon runs the BarChi with an iron fist and is obviously relieved to finally have somebody he can talk to. As their relationship grows, Aren learns there’s more to Deacon and the BarChi than he’d anticipated. Deacon seems determined to deny both his Oestend heritage and any claim he may have to the BarChi ranch, but if Aren is to survive the perils of Oestend, he’ll have to convince Deacon to stop running from the past and finally claim everything that’s his.

Dusk Peterson - The Eternal Dungeon
Publisher: Love in Dark Settings Press (October 18, 2010)
Amazon: 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.

In the Queendom of Yclau lies an underground royal prison that embraces the worst of the past and the best of the future. The Eternal Dungeon is old-fashioned in its equipment and ahead of its time in its treatment of prisoners, seeking to put their best welfare above all else. Torture is part of the process of assisting the prisoners. The High Seeker, Layle Smith, embodies this contradictory institution: a man of deadly impulses, the head torturer binds himself strictly by the dungeon's code of conduct. His efforts to maintain this delicate balance are altered, though, by the introduction into his life of Elsdon Taylor, a vulnerable prisoner who is coming to terms with his own darkness. This 440,000-word omnibus contains four novels and a novella in The Eternal Dungeon, a historical fantasy series set in a land where the psychologists wield whips.

2) Jay Bell - Hell's Pawn
Paperback: 276 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace (July 27, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1463513461
ISBN-13: 978-1463513467
Amazon: 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

John Grey is dead... and that's just the beginning. Purgatory should have been a safe haven for souls that belong neither in Heaven nor Hell, but instead John finds himself in a corrupt prison, one bereft of freedom or pleasure. Along with his decedent friend Dante, John makes a brave escape, only to fall straight down to Hell and into the arms of Rimmon, a handsome incubus. John is soon recruited as Hell's ambassador, visiting the afterlife realms of other cultures to enlist an army strong enough to stand against Heaven. As interesting as his new job is, John's mind keeps returning to Purgatory and the souls still trapped there. Somehow John must stop a war he doesn't believe in and liberate Purgatory, all while desperately trying to attract the attention of an incubus whose heart belongs to another.

3) Lee Benoit – Moonspun
Publisher: Loose Id LLC (September 21, 2010)
Amazon: Moonspun

I was surprised that I actually enjoyed this book. I didn't think I would but loved the characters. --Rachel

This story absolutely fascinated me... I was entranced from the moment I first began reading until the very last page. All the way through I needed to know more. It was a beautiful story. --Norma

Jamie Cowan hoped his new gig as playwright-in-residence at an urban theater would be the start of a new life -- a proud life out of the closet. Instead, he's stuck in student digs with oversexed roommates and a morose parrot. He's too intimidated by city life and city people to be honest about being gay, much less try to find a lover. Worst of all, he's blocked, unable to write, and in danger of losing his dream life before it even begins -- until an errand for the theater brings him face-to-face with the most beautiful man he's ever seen. Spider is a humble Dominican-American tailor. Meeting Jamie gives Spider a glimpse of a life -- and love -- he never imagined for himself. But Spider has a secret, and it's not that he's gay. Whenever the moon is high, Spider sits before his loom and weaves tapestries that predict the future. Spider and Jamie's mutual attraction is undeniable, but first they must overcome Jamie's closet and Spider's secrets. That's when they learn that their past fears are nothing compared to a new one: an arcane threat that will test Jamie's mettle and threaten Spider's very survival.

Honourable Mention:

5) Cecilia Tan - The Prince's Boy

This story needs to come with a warning. *Do not read if you have any sort of cardiac issues* LOL. No, really. Brilliant from start to finish, but whew! What a marathon! You'd better train up for this one, or be prepared to read it in small bite sized pieces (if you can put it down, and yes, it is that good). There is graphic torture, rape, slavery, every form of questionable behavior one could think of. And with all that? A story not to be missed. By turns gritty and lyrical. It is the chiming of tiny crystal hand bells and the inescapable, thundering peal of the bells of Notre Dame. A powerhouse, a tour de force. --Cherie

6) Scarlet Hyacinth - Bed and Breakfast

This book started off slow but quickly became so engrossing I could not put it down and read straight through in a couple of hours. Yes, there are the usual vampire topes, but the fantasy world-building gives it a fresh and unique take. The world-building is wonderfully detailed and flows smoothly in the story. And what a romance! The sexual tension is thick enough to cut with a knife because our couple doesn’t jump into bed together on first site. It was delicious! The subtitle suggests a series that I will not hesitate to buy, and would love to see in print. This book has me looking for more by this author. --Jem

Good read, I really enjoyed the different take on vampires here. The plot and setting were very well written and it was a very easy book to read. Character development was especially good. --Perpetua

7-tie) Sasha L. Miller - Stolen Hearts

I really enjoyed this story. The world building was good, the characters were intriguing, and the conflict held my interest. --Cassandra

Amy Lane - Hammer & Air

Amazing story, and very well written. Strong narrative voice, and good dialogue along with great diction and dialect. A wonderful adaptation of traditional fairy tale and Gay romance. The story and plot are original, a BIG plus in this genre. The setting is magical and the love/sex scenes are organic and very steamy. If this one doesn't win, something's very wrong. --Tim

Kannan Feng - Lord of Misrule

Atia Selene is the premiere magical university on the continent, and Verity Fen is its brightest star. Handsome, spoiled, and too smart for his own good,Verity has his pick of his fellow students, breaking the heart of any young man who falls into his bed. One of the privileges of Verity's position is a servant who he treats with disdain, who may prove to be the one man Verity can't use and use up. Iskander cares for his master with grace, skill, and discretion, along with a heavy leather belt and a thoroughly commanding attitude.

10-tie) Kyell Gold - Isolation Play

Devlin Miski thought coming out on national TV would be the hardest part about being a gay football player. But it's when his press conference is over that the trouble really starts. The athletic tiger and his boyfriend Lee, a fox with a tongue as quick as his wit, still won't get many breaks in their fight for understanding. They'll need to deal with a stubborn reporter determined to get a story any way he can, furious parents, and hostile teammates--not to mention each other. All's fair in love and war--and this is both.

Brandon Witt - Submerging Inferno

I liked the creative idea of having a half-demon, half-mer hero, and there's plenty of action. --CassandraThis entry was originally posted at
andrew potter

Best Lesbian Sci-Fi / Fantasy

And the Rainbow Award goes to:

1) Barbara Davies - Bourn's Edge
Paperback: 196 pages
Publisher: Bedazzled Ink Publishing Company (November 11, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1934452521
ISBN-13: 978-1934452523
Amazon: Bourn's Edge

Wonderful, wonderful book! --Debra

Following an attempt to kill her, librarian Cassie Lewis leaves the only life she's ever known and flees west into the mist-shrouded borderlands that lie between England and Wales. There, the sleepy, hillside village of Bourn's Edge provides a safe haven for her to regroup and decide what to do next, and reclusive local artist Tarian Brangwen provides an intriguing and welcome distraction. But Cassie soon makes a startling discovery that turns her world upside down. For deep in the heart of the adjacent Bourn Forest lies an entrance to Faerie, and the enigmatic Tarian is much more than she appears.

2) Andi Marquette - A Matter of Blood
Paperback: 204 pages
Publisher: Bedazzled Ink Publishing Company (January 3, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1934452564
ISBN-13: 978-1934452561
Amazon: A Matter of Blood

Outlaw Torri Rendego can't shake her past, which most often involves Kai Tinsdale, her former Academy bunkmate and now commander in the hated Coalition forces. She's convinced the Coalition is up to no good on Kai's family holdings and decides to investigate. Problem is, the Coalition is definitely up to something, and Torri and the crew of the Far Seek have to pursue an outrageous plan to gather information and pass it along to Kai somehow. But even the best-laid plans can go dangerously awry, especially where Kai's concerned. Risking herself, her crew, and a tenuous tie to a shared history, Torri goes deep into Coalition territory to uncover a secret with far-reaching consequences for a distant and ancient culture. The stakes of this venture may prove way too high, even for a gambler like Torri.

3) JoSelle Vanderhooft and Catherine Lundoff - Hellebore and Rue
Paperback: 238 pages
Publisher: Lethe Press (May 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1590213777
ISBN-13: 978-1590213773
Amazon: Hellebore and Rue

This is an excellent collection of witch stories. The editors did a great job, I was very disappointed to reach the end. --Julie

It seems weird to rate an anthology as such but overall the stories were really well written, and they all flowed really well. There were a few stories here that when I started reading I thought "oh, this isn't going to fit" and then it did, so it was like finding a surprise inside. A really good read. --Jorgi-Anne

The essence of fantasy is magic and the folklore of women has often dwelt on the innumerable powers they possess. Magic that heals, magic that destroys, magic that saves their community. All these elements and more can be found in the queer women of Hellebore & Rue. These lesbians shape their worlds, their wants and needs, and, most important, their destinies. Here are stories of a greenmage reuniting with her former partner on one last mission in Connie Wilkin's ''The Windskimmer''; a shaman calling on the power of the Medicine Buddha to fight demons in Jean Marie Ward's ''Personal Demons''; and even an aging school nurse discovering a dark secret about her heritage in Steve Berman's ''D is for Delicious.'' A dozen stories by a dozen talented authors, including Juliet Kemp, Lisa Morton, Ruth Sorrell, C. B. Calsing and other names that promise the reader many wonders.

Honourable Mention:

4) Erica Lawson - The Chronicles of Ratha, Children of the Noorthi

I had read this story in draft chapter form prior to the publication of this book, and I am very impressed with the editing and rewriting of this story. The plot flows and the characters more distinct making you want to read more about them. Well done! --Julie

5) Sarah Diemer - The Dark Wife

Interesting read. Great setting, really got a feel for the atmosphere, almost felt like I was there. --Tammy
andrew potter

Best Bisexual/Transgender Sci-Fi / Paranormal / Fantasy

And the Rainbow Award goes to:

1) L.A. Witt – Static
Paperback: 214 pages
Publisher: Amber Quill Press, LLC (July 15, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1611249538
ISBN-13: 978-1611249538
Amazon: Static

I have never read a novel with a transgender character before now. Perhaps to soften what can be a controversial topic, the author used science fiction to craft the story. The story is alternately narrated by Damon and Alex, in first person POV. A few times, this became problematic, yet readers need to see the story from both of their sides. I read fiction for escapism, and this book severely pushed the limit. Overall, it was a gripping story with a great HEA. Recommended. --Jem

Damon Bryce is worried sick when he doesn't hear from his girlfriend after she visits her estranged parents, but when he checks up on her, he's in for the shock of his life--she's a shifter, part of a small percentage of the population who can shift genders at will. Thanks to her parents, though, she's been forcibly given an implant that leaves her static--unable to shift--and male. Alex Nichols desperately wants the implant removed, but getting it out isn't nearly as easy as putting it in. The surgery is expensive and dangerous. Left in, the implant carries its own set of risks, with the potential to cripple or even kill him. On top of that, he's carefully kept his identity a secret from more people in his life than just Damon, and his parents aren't the only ones appalled by shifters. Stripped of half his identity and facing serious physical effects and social ramifications, Alex needs Damon more than ever, but he doesn't see how their relationship can get through this unscathed. Especially if Alex is a static male permanently...

2) Penelope Friday – Thrace
Publisher: Manifold Press

A collection of three short stories, each set on the planet Thrace, a not very popular destination due to its bleakness, and the resident alien population of Tsygons, an androgynous species blessed with three eyes and a long tail. Three interesting stories each of which in one way or another explores relationships between humans and aliens, and in some cases love and intimacy between the two. The theme of the ugliness of prejudice features strongly too. --Benjamin

Welcome to the planet Gielgud, crossroads of the galaxy, where the indigenous species has three eyes, a tail – and no gender. Welcome to the city of Thrace; travellers of all kinds wander through here. Most are just looking for a good time, free of the restrictions of their own cultures, but some of them have a more specific agenda in mind. And welcome to JJ’s bar, where all genders and those who are genderless are welcome. This is where adventures tend to start …

3) Lauren P. Burka - Up For Grabs 2
Publisher: Circlet Press, Inc. (January 18, 2011)
Amazon: Up For Grabs 2

This was a really interesting and enjoyable read for me, it’s not something that I'd choose for myself but I am glad I got to read it and I will not make the mistake of passing similar type of books again! Each of the stories were written amazingly well. --Perpetua

A collection of eclectic stories, one giving off vibes reminiscent of Vonnegut while another of Lawerance. Sci Fi abound in mystical properties. Some very nice gems in this anthology. --Merith

As editor Lauren P. Burka says in her introduction, "All erotica is the story of sex breaking free from biological need to become the co-conspirator of pleasure." Never is that more apparent than in the sharp-eyed, sharp-minded stories she has selected for Up For Grabs 2, the second volume of gender exploratory erotica she has brought together by asking the question "What happens to sex if we let go of every assumption we have about gender and start from scratch?" Have you ever dreamed of being so close to the people you loved that you could share your identities, your emotions, and your pleasures? M. Christian has written a story just for you. Do you crave the touch of intersex flesh so much that you will set aside everything you believed about your own sexuality? Raven Kaldera has got you covered. What would the future be like if we had an option beyond male or female, where "it" is not an insult? Elizabeth Thorne takes us on a tour. In a harsh future where the meaning seems drained from life, will gender still matter? Ask Zachary Jernigan. What would happen if our sexualities were defined not by our gender but by specific body parts? Find out what sex is like for a "mouth" in M. Svairini's story of the same name. This entry was originally posted at
andrew potter

Best LGBT Historical

And the Rainbow Award goes to:

1-tie) Marten Weber - Benedetto Casanova, The Memoirs
Paperback: 414 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace (March 18, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1461010934
ISBN-13: 978-1461010937
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.

Tamara Allen - The Only Gold
Paperback: 300 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (March 21, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1615818383
ISBN-13: 978-1615818389
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.

2) Tracy Rowan - Suffer the Little Children
Publisher: Torquere Press, Inc. (January 26, 2011)
Amazon: 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.

3-tie) Bonnie Dee & Summer Devon - The Nobleman and the Spy
Paperback: 246 pages
Publisher: Loose Id, LLC (September 28, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1611183669
ISBN-13: 978-1611183665
Amazon: The Nobleman and the Spy

A beautiful book, takes place in England in the 1850s or so and filled with espionage, terroristic bombings and two men carelessly falling in love with each other. I liked it very much, one of the best books I've read in a long, long time. Congrats to authors Bonnie Dee and Summer Devon. I'm still amazed that it was two women who wrote such a man's book, and as a man, I'm struck by it and always shake my head from disbelief yet I know that it's true. Great, wonderful job! --Mick

It’s a nicely written historical romance. I really liked how the relationship between two main characters has developed. The main intrigue was a bit boring sometimes, but the conversations between Karl and Jonathan rewarded reading the boring parts ;-) --Barbara

They once faced each other on a battlefield. Now soldier-turned-spy Jonathan Reese must keep watch over the man he’s never forgotten. A close encounter reveals Karl von Binder, the count’s son, also recalls the day he spared Jonathan’s life. Sparks fly between the former enemies and Jonathan begins to lose perspective on his mission. He knows he must maintain distance because the heat he encounters in Karl’s touch stirs him far too deeply for his own good. He can’t keep away -- especially when he suspects someone is trying to kill the nobleman. The spy becomes a protector as Jonathan guards the man he’s begun to care for. Together the men try to puzzle out who would benefit from Karl’s death -- and how much they’re willing to trust each other when a torrid sexual fling threatens to become an affair of the heart.

Erastes - Mere Mortals
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Lethe Press (March 23, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1590210433
ISBN-13: 978-1590210437
Amazon: Mere Mortals

Erastes is truly gifted in bringing a historical setting to life. The novel overflowed with detailed description, but never felt bogged down by it. And the language was completely on the mark for the time period. Plus, the characters warmed me and the mystery intrigued me. The story has a refreshing unpredictability that is often missing in gay romance. --Jem

Nice. Loved it. --Julia

Orphaned Crispin Thorne has been taken as ward by Philip Smallwood, a man he's never met, and is transplanted from his private school to Smallwood s house on an island on the beautiful but coldly remote, Horsey Mere in Norfolk. Upon his arrival, he finds that he's not the only young man given a fresh start. Myles Graham, and Jude Middleton are there before him, and as their benefactor is away, they soon form alliances and friendships, as they speculate on why they ve been given this new life. Who is Philip Smallwood? Why has he given them such a fabulous new life? What secrets does the house hold and what is it that the Doctor seems to know? Trust acclaimed author Erastes to tell a moving story in the field of gay historical romance.

Honourable Mention:

6) Erastes - Last Gasp

Tributary by Erastes: It's 1936 and a generation of disaffected youth waits in the space between a war that destroyed many of their friends and family, and a war they know is bound to come. The White Empire by Chris Smith: Escaping in 1838 from the drawing rooms of Belgravia and the constraints of his landed family, Edgar Vaughan takes up missionary work in the trading post of Hong Kong. Sand by Charlie Cochrane: People come to Syria for many reasons: tourism, archaeology, or because they need to leave Edwardian England to escape potential disgrace. The Ninth Language by Jordan Taylor: Thousands of outsiders descend on Canada's Yukon Territory during the 1898 gold rush, wreaking havoc on the landscape and the indigenous people who live there.

7-tie) Rowan McAllister - A Devil's Own Luck

Rowan McAllister is one of my favourite authors in this genre. Great, as always. --Julia

Historical novels are in my sweet spot. This, I thought, was exceptionally well written. I've read this author before, and have enjoyed their previous works as well. --Jorgi-Anne

Bonnie Dee & Summer Devon - House of Mirrors

I liked both the romance and the mystery and felt that the story didn't rush in to tell us everything we needed to know in order to enjoy it. There's plenty of ambiance between the carnival and the early 20th century aspects. I didn't feel like I was hit on the head with too much info about the way things were back then either. The authors did a good job of giving the dialog enough of an "old times" vibe without making it sound too old school. --Luce

9) Morgan Cheshire - Solemn Contract
Publisher: Manifold Press

This book is sweet and charming. Set in early American history, it's not your usual m/m setting, which makes it all the more fun because the period feels accurate, as do the characters. The plot is not complex, but neither is it overly grim or unnecessarily harsh. Classic melodrama which a deft hand for keeping the same melodrama in check. Thoroughly enjoyed reading this and recommend it happily. --Heidi

10) KC Warwick - Prove a Villain

Having returned to Elizabethan London after an absence of two years, Hugh Seaton is happy to resume his old job as tailor to the company of actors known as Strange's Men. He is less content when he finds himself looking for a murderer, and hiding his former lover, playwright Christopher Marlowe, who is suspected of stabbing one of the players to death.
andrew potter

Best LGBT Mystery / Thriller

And the Rainbow Award goes to:

1) J.M. Redmann - Water Mark
Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (September 14, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602821798
ISBN-13: 978-1602821798
Amazon: Water Mark

Wonderful book, well written. Had my attention from the very first word to the last. --Debra

Redmann portrays the horrors of Katrina masterfully, from the setting to the characters, all while weaving an mystery with many twists and turns. --Julie

It’s just one more body in one more destroyed house. In New Orleans, a few months after Katrina, there are thousands of destroyed houses and hundreds of body yet to be found. Can one more matter? It does to Micky Knight as she takes on the quixotic search to find out who the woman was and why she might have died there. But is Micky searching for justice or just doing anything to avoid confronting the ways Katrina destroyed everything that had tied her to New Orleans? In a city that doesn’t even have working stoplights, there seems little need for a private investigator. Her friends are all struggling with their own disrupted lives, lost jobs, destroyed homes. And the woman Micky thought she’d be with forever, Cordelia James, hasn’t returned. Micky’s investigation leads to a tangle of greed and deceit that stretches back generations. Someone is using the destruction wrought by the flooding to finish what was started a hundred years ago. To stop them Micky will have to risk not just life and limb, but any chance to reconnect with Cordelia and rebuild the life she had before Katina. But if she doesn’t stop them, a young Midwestern teenager whose only crime was wanting to help the destroyed city, will be the next body left in an abandoned house. The sixth Micky Knight mystery.

2) Greg Herren & J.M. Redmann - Women of the Mean Streets
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (August 16, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602822417
ISBN-13: 978-1602822412
Amazon: Women of the Mean Streets

Women. Crime. Justice. At least the search for it. On the mean streets, the back allies, the dark corners. These are stories of tough women in hard places. The nights are long, the women are fast, and danger is always a short block or quick minute away. Edited by award winning author/editors J.M. Redmann and Greg Herren, Women of the Mean Streets is an anthology of some of the top, tough women crime writers today, noir stories with a lesbian twist.

3-tie) Julie Bozza - The Definitive Albert J. Sterne
Publisher: Manifold Press

A very gripping thriller. At first I was a bit shocked that it has almost 700 pages but once I started reading I couldn’t stop. The part I enjoyed the most was the love story between the two main protagonists. All the characters have depth and are complex which made them very realistic. I found this book very fascinating and I will definitely read it again. --Verena

The book was a refreshing change from the usual "m/m-fare" and had a great mix of a real thriller and romance, although with a character like Albert I am not sure if romance is the right word... ;-) One problem I had was that I was missing some explanation for why Albert was the way he was. --Uli

Albert Sterne, forensics expert with the FBI, is so obnoxious on the surface that no-one bothers digging deeper. When he’s sent to Colorado to investigate what turns out to be the work of a serial killer he encounters Special Agent Fletcher Ash and they end up reluctantly joining forces to unravel the case. It’s only a matter of duty, though; it can’t be more, because Albert doesn’t do friendship – and he certainly doesn’t do love!

EM Lynley - Rarer Than Rubies
Paperback: 214 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (July 29, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1615819304
ISBN-13: 978-1615819300
Amazon: Rarer Than Rubies

I really enjoyed this book. Not a book I would have ever thought to buy. The adventure was outrageous and I found myself laughing out loud. --Marilyn

Really enjoyed this one and sat up till 12.30 (way past my bedtime) last night because I had to finish it to see what happened. It's been a while since I've had to do that with a story. --Anne

When Trent Copeland runs into Reed Acton at a Bangkok airport, he thinks the handsome American is too good to be true. Why would someone like Reed be interested in a quiet, introverted gay-romance writer? After all, even an obvious tourist like Trent can see that there is more to Reed's constant unexplained appearances in his path than meets the eye. Reed Acton has one mission and one mission only-he needs to get the map that was accidentally slipped into Trent's bag and keep the mobsters who want the priceless artifact from taking deadly revenge. Trent Copeland is a delicious and damned near irresistible diversion, but Reed can't afford distractions right now, especially if he wants to keep Trent safe. From Bangkok's seediest back alleys to the sacred north, the two men will fight to stay one step ahead of the bad guys and learn that the only treasure worth finding is... each other.

Honourable Mention:

5) John F. Rooney - Unprotected Love

I must admit when I first started this book I didn’t think I was going to like it... but by about 10 pages in I couldn’t put it down. It kept me guessing the whole way through... I will definitely be looking for more of this persons work... I liked the fact that there was no major love interest... it was a brilliant police story. --Norma

6) Marshall Thornton - Boystown 3

I'm definitely going to have to go back and read the first couple of Boystown books. I have to admit the first couple of pages didn't pull me in, but once I got into the book it was really interesting. The main hero wasn't all that likeable but there was a certain something about him, this was a promiscuous private investigator in AIDS era Chicago and it seemed very familiar but different all at the same time. --Ellis

7-tie) JoAnne Soper-Cook - Willing Flesh

Wonderful idea and very enjoyable story. Characters and the Victorian London setting seem genuine and believable. --Alan

L.A. Witt - Cover Me

When paramedic Nick Swain responds to a shooting in a seedy neighborhood, his entire world is thrown off its axis. His life is threatened…twice. Allegations of racism and medical neglect threaten his career and his ability to sleep at night. Not that he’ll be sleeping any time soon after the incident throws him into the path – and arms – of Detective Andrew Carmichael. One hot night after another with Andrew may help Nick relieve some stress, but sex won’t solve every problem in his life.

Marshall Thornton - Desert Run

The author did an excellent job setting the scene; even before he started to clearly define when the story took place, I was able to get a sense of the time period. The writing was great and the setting was interesting. --Shanna

10) Greg Herren - Who Dat Whodunnit

Very good plot with quite a bit of suspense. I don't know much about New Orleans, but I can tell that the author does. I could feel that there was a lot of history and knowledge there. I liked the way the Superbowl win was described and used as a part of the story-- it's such a unique take on that event. I loved the characters. I loved the contrast of the different families and how they treated each other. I'm actually probably going to go back and get more of this series, because I really liked the characters and wanted to know more about them. --Kirsten
andrew potter

Best Gay Paranormal / Horror

And the Rainbow Award goes to:

1) Megan Derr – Midnight
Paperback: 298 pages
Publisher: Less Than Three Press (January 11, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1936202638
ISBN-13: 978-1936202638
Amazon: Midnight

Megan Derr's Midnight is probably the best book I have read this year. I feel no hesitation in giving this superlatively written book a perfect score. It is sublime. I now have a new standard of brilliance to hold myself to as both a reader and a writer. --Cherie

I was impressed with this book. Ms. Derr does an excellent job creating a magical alternate universe twith a Regency era flavor. --Bobby

Lord Devlin White, Duke of Winterbourne, is the last in a long line of powerful witches who assist the Demon Lord of London in keeping control of the Nightwalkers living amongst normal men. With all but one of his siblings gone to the new American colonies, his proud family line all but ended, Devlin is kept from gloom and despair only by unusual ward, Midnight. Neither alive nor dead, sustained by magic and a bond to Devlin, and confined to the night, Midnight is happy to spend his life by Devlin's side-though he longs for the day that Devlin sees him as more than a ward. But the powerful magic that raised him from the dead is desperately sought by someone who will stop at nothing to obtain the secret of Midnight that Devlin would die to protect...

2) Belinda McBride - Blacque Bleu
Paperback: 258 pages
Publisher: Loose Id, LLC (August 29, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1611183626
ISBN-13: 978-1611183627
Amazon: Blacque Bleu

This was quite a surprise! Normally the relationship dynamic portrayed in this story isn't my cup of tea but I actually felt a real connection to the characters and I didn't notice things that would normally bother me. The characters were a great blend of realism with that hint of supernatural. Despite the common story line, it stands strong on its own and is really more about relationships and need for companionship and to be understood rather than the supernatural. Definite re-read! --Alannah

A closeted werewolf and a dying vampire give in to desire and make an unusual and powerful connection. Lukas Blacque is a deeply closeted werewolf, and almost more than anything in life, he desires his neighbor, Oliver Bleu. Oliver is a vampire who is slowly dying from insomnia. More than anything, he needs Lukas Blacque and the rich blood that flows through his veins. On the day that Blacque makes an important commitment to his family and pack, he also succumbs to temptation and agrees to a passionate weekend with the alluring vampire. At sunset on Friday, it’s all about urgent lust and the drive to lose his virginity. When the sun rises on Monday, lust has shifted to love and devotion. He’s not sure he can walk away, even for the commitment he’s made. He’s even less sure Bleu will let him go. In Blacque’s world, vampires and werewolves make uneasy bedfellows, and a gay werewolf is an impossibility. In Bleu’s world, all living creatures are little more than vessels for food and sex. But in the mysterious and magical town of Arcada, the unexpected is always waiting right around the corner. Now Blacque and Bleu just need to survive long enough for Arcada’s magic to work for them.

3) Timothy McGivney – Zombielicious
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: MLR Press (December 23, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1608202631
ISBN-13: 978-1608202638
Amazon: Zombielicious

Sexy and horrifying, Zombielicious is an innovative twist on the Zombie craze. The multiple point of view narration could have been a real mess, but the author really makes it work well. Fast paced and exciting; a refreshing change from all the whiny angst ridden plot lines being recycled again and again. This one's a winner. --Tim

Amidst a zombie outbreak, Walt, athletic and confident, meets shy and quiet Joey, the attraction between them both instant and electric. With strength in numbers, they band together alongside fellow survivors; Jill, an ex-porn star turned nurse who's made a startling discovery about her past; Ace, a disgruntled security guard who just can't live up to certain short comings; and Molly, the fiery redhead unwilling to give up on her dreams of stardom. In this apocalyptic new world of the dead, an anything-goes attitude has become the law of the land and lust, betrayal, true love and redemption are all just a gunshot away.

Honourable Mention:

4) Andrew Wolter - Much of Madness, More of Sin

A winner all the way around. --Carey

5-tie) Lex Valentine - Breathe Me In

Very enjoyable story about two mates and their struggle and passion to be with one another. As with the rest of her books in this series, it was a well written. --Michelle

I gave it a high rating because honestly, I have yet to read this series but I was still able to follow along with the story and I was not confused with who the characters were. The rest of this series is definitely going on my TBR list. --Rachel

Lee Thomas - The German

Set during the height of World War II, The German examines the effect a series of ritualistic murders has on a small, Texas community. A killer preys on the young men of Barnard, Texas, leaving cryptic notes written in German. As the panic builds all eyes turn toward a quiet man with secrets of his own, who is trying to escape a violent past. Ernst Lang fled Germany in 1934. Once a brute, a soldier, a leader of the Nazi party, he has renounced aggression and embraces a peaceful obscurity.

7-tie) Angel Martinez - A Different Breed

This book was a little surprising for a gay paranormal romance. In a very good way. Vampires in gay romance have become a little trite, but Martinez looks at them with fresh eyes. Though it does lean more toward erotica in that the relationship happened way too love-at-first-sight fast, there was a well-developed plot to support the romance of two very likeable protagonists. --Jem

EM Lynley - Wicked Good

This was an anthology so it was hard to figure out how to break down the rating, but as a whole each story was plotted well with believable settings and fully developed characters. It's rare for an anthology to not have a single disappointing read but this one did not. Each story was unique but enjoyable in their own right. I would have to say that this is one of the best anthologies that I've read in a while. --Shanna

9-tie) J.L. Merrow – Camwolf

Loved this book. It's the first time I've read this author, will have to read more. --Anne

Storm Grant - Shift Happens

Paranormal adventure with some lovely touches of humour --Juni

This story is freshly original in its telling of a shifter story. I loved how the romance was incorporated into the action; how the love built between Adrian and Tom, even when one of them wasn't quite human. --Merith
andrew potter

Best Lesbian Paranormal / Horror

And the Rainbow Award goes to:

1) Meghan O'Brien – Wild
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (June 14, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602822271
ISBN-13: 978-1602822276
Amazon: Wild

This book was a great read, and I'd happily read another by this author. Suspense and romance mixed together well, with the romance being a deliciously complicated snarl of trust, desire, and longing both for a partner and for acceptance of self. --Heidi

This was an interesting book; it slowly drew me into the story. I liked the fact that two strong women had vulnerable sides. I liked the way the story line played out it wasn’t obviously in your face and it kept you wanting to read more... So for me this was a great book. --Norma

The only thing that frightens shapeshifter Selene Rhodes more than the full moon is the idea of falling in love. Selene Rhodes has lived her whole life with a terrible secret: not only can she take the form of any animal at will, but once a month the full moon transforms her into a fierce wolf-creature without a human conscience. Managing her condition means living by a strict routine, and more importantly, abstaining from intimate relationships with human beings. Selene is convinced that love and friendship can only bring her pain. Forensic pathologist Eve Thomas is well-acquainted with the pain of romantic love. Swearing off relationships after having her heart broken by a cheating ex, Eve throws herself into her work: catching murderers. When Selene comes to her aid after an attack by a masked man in Golden Gate Park, Eve is shocked by how powerfully she is drawn to her mysterious savior. Shaken by her own feelings for Eve, Selene is even more terrified to realize she isn’t even close to being the scariest monster stalking San Francisco. There is someone out in the city who is killing for pleasure, and his next target is the one woman he thinks might be able to stop him: Eve.

2) L.L. Raand - Blood Hunt
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (March 15, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602822093
ISBN-13: 978-1602822092
Amazon: Blood Hunt

I will now have to go back and read the books from the beginning of the series. Because, this is an excellent story... I have never read anything quite like it. I like a book that can surprise me. --Norma

I must admit I am a Radclyffe aka L.L. Raand fan. I will be going back and reading the first book in this series, because this is the second book of a three book series, which made it a bit difficult at the beginning to figure out the dynamics of the were pack, but as the story progressed fell into place easily enough. --Michelle

Sylvan, the Wolf Were Alpha, forges an uneasy alliance with Detective Jody Gates, heir to a powerful Vampire clan, to battle a shadow army of humans and rogue Weres. With outside forces threatening to destroy the Praetern Coalition, Sylvan battles Pack resistance to her newly-turned Were mate and Jody fights her growing hunger for human reporter, Becca Land. A Midnight Hunters Novel.

3) Nell Stark & Trinity Tam – nevermore
Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (October 19, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602821844
ISBN-13: 978-1602821842
Amazon: nevermore

A coup. A plague. A falling soul. In this sequel to everafter, Valentine Darrow and Alexa Newland are separated when Alexa is caught in the middle of a Wereshifter civil war halfway around the world. Meanwhile, a mysterious disease begins to ravage the shifter population of New York City. Unable to reach Alexa to warn her, Val must penetrate the darkest secrets of the Consortium in a race against time to save her lover and friends. Will Alexa be able to avoid the clutches of a powerful Were who wants to use her as bait? And in Alexa’s absence, will Valentine be able to resist the powerful temptation of her growing thirst?

Honourable Mention:

4) Winter Pennington - Darkness Embraced

This story captures your attention instantly. I think this story would do very well under an Erotica category. --Julie

5) Cate Culpepper - River Walker

I love Cate Culpepper's writing; River Walker drew me in effortlessly and carried me through every page in rapt wonder. --James
andrew potter

Best Gay Sci-Fi / Futuristic

And the Rainbow Award goes to:

1-tie) CC Bridges - Angel 1089
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd. (September 21, 2010)
Amazon: Angel 1089

I could not put it down. I expected to be a little lost following a story in another world and was not. I was immediately drawn into it and was disappointed when I got to the end, only because I wanted more. The story flowed very well and was very well written. --Rachel

When this deal breaks, Heaven will fall. Heaven Corp, Book 1. Catching two demon burglars is routine for Gabriel 1089, who’s one cog in an army of cybernetically modified humans protecting the sky city of Heaven. Until two turns into a twenty-demon ambush. When he wakes up, he’s missing his network-enabled halo—and one of his metal wings. The down-level junk dealer tending Gabe’s wounds has hands that spark nerve endings he never knew he possessed. But for an angel cut off from Heaven, an attic in Old Trent feels more like a trap than a sanctuary. Demons on his doorstep are nothing new for Jeff Werth. Ever since they saved his daughter’s legs, they’ve been calling in their marker. In exchange for his services—nursing Gabe back to health so they can use him as a pawn in their war with Heaven—they’ll consider the debt paid in full. Except having a powerless angel at his mercy feeds a rising desire that has him rethinking the deal. Then the de-haloed Gabe begins having dreams that become visions…then memories. Until he’s not sure whose side he’s on. Heaven, or the simple family man who healed his broken wings…and made his heart whole.

Aleksandr Voinov & Rhianon Etzweiler - Dark Edge of Honor
Publisher: Carina Press (August 15, 2011)
Amazon: Dark Edge of Honor

Dark Edge of Honor is too gritty to gush about. But after checking the story out again, I have to say that my first assessment holds true: I believe this story deserves a perfect score. Brilliant, edgy, as rush as thrilling as any rollercoaster ride...but don't make the mistake of thinking this one is a light read. The ideas, the tenets it raises? Will echo in your soul long and long. The uncompromising brilliance is almost painful. Well done Aleksandr and Rhiannon. Well done. -- Cherie

Darker than I usually like to read, but so good. --Merith

Sergei Stolkov is a faithful officer, though his deepest desires go against the Doctrine. A captain with the invading Coalition forces, he believes that self-sacrifice is the most heroic act and his own needs are only valid if they serve the state. Mike, an operative planted within Cirokko's rebels, has been ordered to seduce Sergei and pry from him the Coalition's military secrets. His mission is a success, but as he captures Sergei's heart, Mike is tempted by his own charade and falls in love. When the hostile natives of the planet Cirokko make their move, all seems lost. Can Mike and Sergei survive when the Coalition's internal affairs division takes an interest in what happened in the dusty mountains of Zasidka Pass…?

M.J. O'Shea - Dark Sun
Publisher: Loose Id LLC (July 5, 2011)
Amazon: Dark Sun

This book was awesome... The only thing more I could want, is if it was a series and not just this book. I highly recommend it. --Norma

A really fantastic story with a nice sense of world building. It has a Romeo and Juliet feel with a bold dash of Robin Hood thrown in. The story universe and the problems associated with it, reminded me of Total Recall. And the ending was rather abrupt. It made the story feel like there's more to come, and I hope so because this story would be incomplete without more to back it up. --Merith

Lynx is the spoiled sheltered son of the Dragon Triad, a crime family that rules over futuristic New Seattle. When he gets separated from his cousins during an adventure in the seediest part of town, he meets the man of his dreams in a bar owned by the Phoenix Triad, his family’s bitter rivals. After a night spent in passion, his mysterious lover disappears and Lynx fears he’ll never find him again. Orion has a secret. On the surface he’s the perfect son, a society prince, heir to the Phoenix Triad’s corporate throne. But in his other life he’s known as Katana -- thief, hacker, hero who steals from the triads to help the poor citizens of Bottom City. Orion knows the pretty Dragon he met in the bar that night is trouble, but he can’t forget the passion they shared. So when the opportunity arises, Orion captures him and takes him on an adventure he’ll never forget. Will their love match survive the revelation of their true identities and the heat of their families' feud?

2) Amy Lane - A Solid Core of Alpha
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (August 8, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1613721420
ISBN-13: 978-1613721421
Amazon: A Solid Core of Alpha

In an act of heroism and self-sacrifice, Anderson Rawn's sister saved him from the destruction of their tiny mining colony, but her actions condemned the thirteen-year-old to ten years of crushing loneliness on the hyperspace journey to a new home. Using electronics and desperation, Anderson creates a family to keep him company, but family isn't always a blessing. When Anderson finally arrives, C.J. Poulson greets him with curiosity and awe, because anyone who can survive a holocaust and reinvent holo-science is going to be a legend and right up C.J.'s alley. But the more C.J. investigates how Anderson endured the last ten years, the deeper he is drawn into a truly dangerous fantasy, one that offers the key to Anderson's salvation-and his destruction. In spite of his best intentions, C.J. can't resist the terribly seductive Anderson. Their attraction threatens to destroy them, because the heart of a man who can survive the destruction of his people and retain his sense of self holds a solid core of alpha male that will not be denied.

3) Aislinn Kerry - Double Feature
Paperback: 236 pages
Publisher: Amber Quill Press, LLC (August 13, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1611249503
ISBN-13: 978-1611249507
Amazon: Double Feature

Set in a sort of near-future, this menage/poly book is one of the better ones I've read. The idea of a man and his clone and his clone's lover hooking up is definitely novel (to me at least), but the pairing of the three isn't about titillation. It's as if the three complete each other in a tangible way. It's a wonderful book and if you've been looking for a poly m/m/m that doesn't descend into syrup or pointless sex, you've come home. --Heidi

As Hollywood's biggest holovid star, Adrien Grant has all the money and fame a man could want. The price he pays is keeping his sexuality firmly in the closet. When damning photos get leaked to the press, he decides a nice long vacation in the Spanish countryside is just what he needs. But Spain holds a surprise that he never could have foreseen. Cristian Rodriguez wants nothing more than to run his bed-and-breakfast in peace with his partner, Felix. But every glance in the mirror reminds him of the one thing he'd rather forget--that he's Adrien Grant's clone, a pale imitation of Hollywood's biggest celebrity. Still, they live a peaceful life until the day Adrien himself shows up on their doorstep, insisting he has a reservation. Adrien's a spoiled celebrity with the paparazzi hot on his heels. Cristian's got a chip on his shoulder the size of Europe and a lifetime of resentment burning inside him. Felix just wants to salvage what remains of his and Cristian's crumbling relationship. But what if each of them is just what the others need?

Honourable Mention:

6) Chris Quinton - Fool’s Errand (Fool’s Odyssey Trilogy 1)
Publisher: Manifold Press

I enjoyed this story; it was a good read although I had a few reservations about the relationship and the balance within it but that's a personal thing rather than a reflection of the writing. I also wish there was a little more about the vampire myth within this universe, but wondering if that will be explored further within this series. --Anne

7) Jordan Castillo Price - Zero Hour

Jordan has expanded on ideas that have been around for decades with her futuristic look at how society will become, how people will be bred and farmed for their genetic dispositions. The world-building and character development is totally on par with JCP’s other works. She is a craftsman in this. The read spurred me to read more and more until the story was finished. Definitely a DIK. --Merith

8) Anne Barwell - Cat's Quill

Tomas Kemp has two successful novels to his name and the true belief that a successful sequel is only a matter of a little inspiration. When Tomas meets a mysterious stranger under the branches of an old oak tree, he feels compelled to tell him about a book he holds dear and the sequel he wants to read. But Cathal doesn't share that deep belief that the sequel Tomas seeks ends happily. Cathal has seen enough of a world where stories are real to know that happy ever after is sometimes the dream that won't come true.

9-tie) Chris Quinton – Starfall

Overall the book was interesting and well-written. The love story between the two central characters – Ash and Conn – was especially good. I also appreciated effort that went into the development of the central character, Ash, the amphibian-alien. It was different and creative, yet managed to be believable. I think it works because of the detail Chris provided and the writing style. --Will

Stevie Woods - Other Worlds

This book was very entertaining, light, and well phased. It got me sucked in right away, and I was not able to pause even for a second. I also loved the characters in the beginning, and they surprised me in the end, I had thought the complete opposite of their personalities at first. The writing was good as well, albeit a bit too American for my taste. When it comes to these kind of books, I tend to skip the bedroom-parts, and this time I didn't have to. It was much appreciated. --Morg This entry was originally posted at
andrew potter

Best LGBT Non Fiction

And the Rainbow Award goes to:

1-tie) Fay Jacobs - For Frying Out Loud
Paperback: 248 pages
Publisher: A&M Books; First edition (November 3, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0615342914
ISBN-13: 978-0615342917
Amazon: For Frying Out Loud

This collection of essays and observations is wise, sarcastic, humorous, and touching. Simply wonderful. I'm a new fan! --Bobby

2011 Delaware Press Association Book of the Year! **** Fay Jacobs is back! The author of As I Lay Frying and Fried & True returns with more wise and witty recollections about contemporary life in general and more specifically life in Rehoboth Beach, a small resort town on the Delaware Coast. A treat for longtime fans and new readers alike For Frying Out Loud is a collection of Fay s latest columns plus some new, never published material. It s provocative, political, occasionally heartwarming and reliably hilarious. Jacobs' witty way of describing universal experiences in her utterly unique voice will keep you laughing, smiling and relating page after page.

Patricia Nell Warren - My West
Paperback: 422 pages
Publisher: Wildcat Press; 1st edition (June 15, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1889135089
ISBN-13: 978-1889135083
Amazon: My West

A beautiful book of essays on the West, talks about Life not gayness, not just movie, Cowboys and Indians fighting it out but actual people building their lives for themselves on a day to day basis. Warren looks at everything, old time haying, horse teams, forage plants, bobcats, Oriental rugs, etc., etc. Her wealth of knowledge is encyclopedic but never does she intrude by showing off. I followed after her, like a schoolboy desperate to grasp and learn all I could. The book was a delight to read, her language, her easy poise was enchanting, her talk of cities New Orleans, Los Angeles, etc., was almost hypnotic as the book simply held you enthralled by its knowledgeable simplicity. A sheer delight. --Mick

A provocative collection of blogs, commentaries, historical essays and other personal writings on the American West, past, present and future. MY WEST reflects a half century of the Montana-born author's literary career, as well as her deep long-term commitment to pondering her native region, whose ongoing history and human experience still has the power to swing the United States. Warren's subjects range from A (agriculture) to Z (zest), with the arts, animals, cities, cooking, gender, history, politics, sexual orientation, spirituality and women in between.

2) Felice Picano - True Stories
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Chelsea Station Editions (March 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0984470778
ISBN-13: 978-0984470778
Amazon: 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.

3) Dorien Grey - Short Circuits, A Life in Blogs
Publisher: Untreed Reads Publishing (June 24, 2011)
Amazon: Short Circuits, A Life in Blogs

Possibly one of the best stories I’ve ever read. --Merith

I was definitely entertained while reading about Roger's life (and WHAT a life!). I'm not overtly familiar with Dorien's stories so, to me, this was more like taking a peek into his life. Perhaps the perspective would've been different if I'd come in a fan. Because this book spans a lot of years and in several different places, I might be a bit apprehensive. Roger and the people who have come and left his life were really fascinating. But then, real people usually are, no? Very crisp and warm. --Luce

Lambda-nominated author Dorien Grey (The Dick Hardesty Mysteries, The Elliott Smith Mysteries) knows more than just how to write a great murder novel. He's also had amazing life experiences in the military and around the world. Here, for the first time, are the collected blog and journal writings of this prolific author. As Grey notes, "Sometimes things are more clearly seen through the eyes of others." The hope is that the reader will see similarities to his/her own life, and recognize the commonality of the human condition.

Honourable Mention:

5) Belo Miguel Cipriani – Blind

Imagine if the most severe physical pain and sorrow in your life were inflicted by the people you trusted most. In the spring of 2007, Belo Cipriani was beaten and robbed of his sight at the hands of his childhood friends. Blind: A Memoir chronicles the two years immediately following the assault. At the age of twenty-six, Belo found himself learning to walk, cook, and date in the dark. Armed with visual memory and his newly developed senses, Belo shows readers what the blind see. He narrates the recondite world of the blind, where microwaves, watches, and computers talk, and where guide dogs guard as well as lead. This entry was originally posted at