December 3rd, 2015

andrew potter

Blog Tour: Love is Found by R. Paone

Love is Found (Only If) by R. Paone
Publisher: R. Paone (November 16, 2015)
Amazon Kindle: Love is Found (Only If Series Book 1)

BLURB: “Love is Found” is the moving story about coming-of-age in suburban New York and discovering the broad concept of sexuality and love.

Based on true events of love, the story’s protagonist, Robert, finds himself thrown into the realization that upon entering graduate school he is beginning a new chapter in his adult life. Comfortable with being gay, he yearns for love but dwells on the ideal of being alone while being consumed by the world of academia. Upon starting a new job he meets a coworker, whom he begins an unlikely relationship with considering this man identifies as straight.

When sex is introduced and emotions run amok, the routine of Robert’s life is thrown into chaos with unexpected outcomes. Little does he know if his heart can survive the overwhelming desire and how this man will alter the course of his life just not now, but for the next decade.
The first novel in the debut “Only If…” series by R.Paone introduces the heartbreaking portrait of one young man finding love in all the wrong places while exploring themes of one’s sexual identity, passion, and nostalgia.

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About the Author: R.Paone started on this writing journey in June, 2014. From events that were beyond his control, he decided to start this new path in his life before my 30th birthday. It has been quite the journey mapping out this story arc. He has learned so much writing a novel in that it has been therapeutic and also eye opening as it evolves. He hopes everyone will enjoy what is to come from the "ONLY IF" series as I want this to be something anyone could reach for and say "that could happen to me." Stay tuned! Three fun facts about him is: he live in NYC, has a vast horror movie collection and has a great appreciation for Enya.
:: Facebook Page :: Twitter :: Website ::

Winner’s Prize: $5 Amazon Gift Card
Runner Up’s Prize: E-copy of the book
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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2015 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Call Me Home by Megan Kruse

Call Me Home by Megan Kruse
Lesbian Contemporary General Fiction
Paperback: 292 pages
Publisher: Hawthorne Books (March 3, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0990437000
ISBN-13: 978-0990437000
Amazon: Call Me Home

Call Me Home has an epic scope in the tradition of Louise Erdrich’s The Plague of Doves or Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping and braids the stories of a family in three distinct voices: Amy, who leaves her Texas home at 19 to start a new life with a man she barely knows, and her two children, Jackson and Lydia, who are rocked by their parents’ abusive relationship. When Amy is forced to bargain for the safety of one child over the other, she must retrace the steps in the life she has chosen. Jackson, 18 and made visible by his sexuality, leaves home and eventually finds work on a construction crew in the Idaho mountains, where he begins a potentially ruinous affair with Don, the married foreman of his crew. Lydia, his 12-year-old sister, returns with her mother to Texas, struggling to understand what she perceives to be her mother’s selfishness. At its heart, this is a novel about family, our choices and how we come to live with them, what it means to be queer in the rural West, and the changing idea of home.

This is a beautiful tale told in three voices:  Lydia speaks from the first person point of view, and Jackson and Amy speak from the third person point of view.  The timetable is not linear, but the writer purposely reveals the details of their lives as needed.  The struggles of physical/mental abuse are shown by each voice as they perceive them and add up to the tragedy that is domestic abuse.  The gay theme is masterfully told by both Amy and Jackson.  At one point Amy goes to Seattle to participate in an LGBT rally because she wants the best for her son: "She wanted every promise that lit from these hopeful tongues, the warm and waiting streets they marched on.  She wanted him to have what was owed to him, for the world to crack open for him.  She did not want for him to feel the poor, small life that was already around him for a minute longer, when all of this was here, waiting." There is also the relationship between Lydia and Jackson.  more like siblings they are twins.  They feel each other's presence even when they are apart:  "...if Jackson lives as though he never knew us at all - it doesn't matter.  I'll remember it for us, I thought; I will remember all of it; I will leave nothing out.  I didn't know why it was important, but it was." The character development is outstanding.  They pop out of the page and speak to you.  After a few pages you can't help but feel their pain. This is the best novel I've read this year!  At its heart, this is a novel about family, our choices and how we come to live with them, what it means to be queer in the rural West, and the changing idea of home and family.

Kruse seamlessly weaves the story through past and present - each time period as pertinent and relative to each other in the story as they are in the individual’s life. No loss of suspense in the transitions, rather a skillful heightening. The writing is as spare and plain as the emotionally impoverished lives the characters lead, and the settings are perfectly balanced - as broken as the characters yet full of potential. Perfectly paced character development - the damaged young daughter hating and fearing her abusive father; the gay son so hungry for his father’s love and his hate for his mother; the guilt-ridden mother driven after decades of abuse to finally flee her the husband she once loved, who could at turns be fun and loving. It would have been easy to keep him just a bad guy but Kruse makes him as sympathetic and damaged as the rest of his family. A lovely novel of resiliency and continuing to believe in ones dreams.

Heartbreaking and richly told. 

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2015 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: The Slave by Kate Aaron

The Slave (Free Men 1) by Kate Aaron
Gay Erotic Romance
Series: Free Men
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Croft House (October 27, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1502964651
ISBN-13: 978-1502964656
Amazon: The Slave (Free Men 1)
Amazon Kindle: The Slave (Free Men 1)

At twenty-seven, Tamelik has been a slave more than half his life, having witnessed his family being murdered in front of him when he was just a child. Naturally submissive, although with a petulant streak, he can’t help but fall in love with the master who treats him kindly. Tam's dreams come true when his mistress walks out, leaving her husband behind. For six glorious months, he and his master get to be together. Then Tam is ordered to purchase another slave. He wants to hate Kai for being unruly and ungrateful. For being of the same race as the men who murdered his family. For being his eventual replacement in their master’s bed. But it’s hard to hate a man who cries himself to sleep, flinches at the slightest touch, and blushes beautifully when he’s kissed. Seducing Kai has suddenly become more challenge than chore, and with his master’s encouragement, Tam finds himself falling for his new companion. Except... nobody can be in love with two people at once, can they?

The characters are outstanding, and the setting was marvellous -- science fiction that reads like fantasy. The cliffhanger ending kind of annoyed me, but I immediately went out and bought the two sequels, so I guess it worked! 

Kate Aaron's story, The Slave, is but a whisper away from perfection. The ending of the story, while as flawlessly written as the rest, turned the book from a perfectly executed introduction, body, denouement, and richly satisfying ending to one that felt unfinished. I am aware that the ending feeds into the next book in the series...If it had been put as the beginning of the second story, I think I could have given this masterfully written story a perfect score. It hurt to not be able to do so.

What I appreciate most about this author, is her ability to take a subject matter that holds zero interest to me as a reader, while still managing to create characters that keep me engaged enough to continue reading in spite of that fact. There was enough setting and world-building to make the story feel real, though I confess I would have enjoyed seeing even more detail included, especially with regard to the Master’s complex considering the bulk of the story takes place there. The relationship is the plot here, one of self-discovery and in that sense, was well fleshed out, but otherwise not too complicated. Overall, I prefer this authors Puddledown Mysteries over this fantasy-based story, but like any great author, Kate managed to make this story work for me. 

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2015 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: A Restored Man by Jaime Reese

A Restored Man by Jaime Reese
Gay Contemporary Romance
Series: The Men of Halfway House
Paperback: 362 pages
Publisher: Romandeavor, Incorporated; 1 edition (February 15, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0991457072
ISBN-13: 978-0991457076
Amazon: A Restored Man
Amazon Kindle: A Restored Man

Cole Renzo thinks his greatest challenge is to behave for the remainder of his term at Halfway House. Until he meets his new boss, Ty Calloway, a man who ticks off every box on Cole’s list of interests. A sought-after restorer and customizer of exotic and collectible cars, Ty had enough confidence to command what he wanted in life, until one fateful night changed everything. Almost two years later, he’s slowly rebuilding his life with great control. He’s defied the odds and works tirelessly to be the man he once was—but he still feels broken. Cole’s candor and unfiltered personality awaken Ty’s barely-remembered desire to greet each new day with a smile, while Ty’s unwavering acceptance of Cole’s quirks and brash humor makes Cole feel as if he fits in for the first time in far too long. When a nemesis threatens Ty’s personal restoration and the things he holds dear, Cole is determined to protect their relationship, even if that means sacrificing everything he’s worked so hard to achieve. But Ty will have to let his guard down, surrender control, and admit he needs Cole first, even if that puts himself at risk of breaking beyond repair.

An engaging story, with likeable characters. I began invested in their story very quickly and wanted to keep reading to find out what happened next. An interesting backdrop against car restoration added to the setting and storyline. 

Despite some parts that didn’t actually advance the plot and could have been eliminated, the characters were presented as real, flawed, three-dimensional people I was happy to care about, and this includes the side characters and their families. The struggle of both men to see their own worth and see that good prevails over evil is riveting and full of unexpected turns, and the specialized car environment is well-researched and written with passion for cars as well as for romance.

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2015 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Keep the Stars Running

Keep the Stars Running by Andrea Speed, Talya Andor, Lexi Ander, Leona Carver, and Cassandra Pierce
Gay Anthology / Collection / Sci-Fi / Futuristic
Paperback: 514 pages
Publisher: Less Than Three Press (May 13, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1620045311
ISBN-13: 978-1620045312
Amazon: Keep the Stars Running
Amazon Kindle: Keep the Stars Running

Space is not always filled with adventures and glory. Not everybody goes racing off to battle evil and save the galaxy. Between the rebels, pirates, royals, and spies are the everyday people who work hard just to get by and ensure everyone gets home safe. Less Than Three Press presents a collection of tales about the ordinary folks who keep the stars running.

Every time I read an Andrea Speed book I get sucked in. I read all the books in the anthology, they were all good.

Although on a similar theme, each story took a different approach. I was hooked very early on by not just the plots, but the characters and worldbuilding.  A few authors new to me who I will be reading more of. Loved it.

In the previous anthologies I've said that there was a mixed bag of good and not so good stories. In this one, though, I must confess, I Loved all the stories within. Each one was quite entertaining and some even kept me at the edge of the seat. I must say, I'd love to see these shorts expanded to novel size and let us see more of these couples and the men and women who surround them. Well written, entertaining stories!

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2015 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Wolves of Black Pine by S.J. Himes

Wolves of Black Pine (The Wolfkin Saga Book 1) by S.J. Himes
Gay Paranormal Romance
Publication Date: June 30, 2015
Amazon Kindle: Wolves of Black Pine (The Wolfkin Saga Book 1)

An ancient civilization long hidden from humanity is on the brink of chaos and war. Peaceful for thousands of years, the wolfkin clans are mysteriously losing packmates, kidnapped and killed by unknown foes.
The nightmare begins with an ambush by humans at a gathering of their kind, and lives are lost. Among them is Luca, youngest grandson of the two most powerful wolves in the Northern Clans. Thought long dead and gone, he is forced into a half-life, hidden in the far northern wilds of Canada and cut off from his kind. Those who raised him have no idea the creature they harbor in their midst, and name him Ghost. He begins to lose himself over the long years, and though he barely recalls his true name, the one wolf he never forgets is Kane.
Kane, Heir to the wolfkin clan Black Pine, is charged with hunting down the traitors who betrayed their kind to the humans. Years fly by, and more wolves are dying. He refuses to give up, and he vows to never again fail another of their kind, as he failed young Luca years before. His heart tells him Luca lives, but his mind tells him that it’s foolish hope, his guilt eating him alive.
Fate and magic change the course of their lives, and the two wolves long separated by the years find their paths intertwining. Though the gift of their reunion doesn’t come without price. Faced by the consequences of their growing love, and the goddess-forged bond between them, Kane and Ghost are besieged on all sides. Enemies are coming for their blood, and without the steadfast loyalty and love of family and friends, they may not be safe from the very people they fight to protect.

I loved, loved, and loved this book.  The author did a really good job bringing these characters alive for the reader.  I can’t wait for the next book in this series to come out.  This series is now on my must read list.

A rich, thickly layered setting peopled with unique and memorable characters.

The world building of the Wolfkin and their culture was meticulous. I really liked the premise of the alpha / shaman power split and came to care about both MCs and their supporting cast of secondary characters. What I found frustrating was the repetition of information from one chapter to the next; it was almost like the "Previously on...." openings you get on TV serials. The book would really benefit from a damn good edit. I shall be reading the second book because I want to know how the story arc will continue for the 2 MCs, but will be skimming over any superfluous details.

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2015 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Journey To You by A.J. Adaire

Journey To You by A.J. Adaire
Lesbian Sci-Fi / Futuristic
Paperback: 236 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (August 26, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1516881761
ISBN-13: 978-1516881765
Amazon: Journey To You
Amazon Kindle: Journey To You

What do you do if you are one of the few who remain alive after a mysterious, flu-like virus claims most of the global population? This is a question Kim Robins and Peri Henderson have to answer when the world changes and society falls apart. Violent gangs of looters make it unsafe to remain in the city. Hoping to improve their chances for survival, Kim and Peri decide to hike into the remote forest area of Maine. Dangerous circumstances along the trail cause the women to join forces with another hiker and her dog. The longtime friends and their new companions set off on a daunting trek filled with both menacing and kindhearted survivors. With evidence of the illness everywhere they go, will this journey bring each of the women the happiness and safety she seeks?

I enjoyed this story. The setting, plot and characters were developed well. I think the writing style is the weakest category. A good editor or copy editor might make it flow better. Dialogue and narration are well balanced. Dialogue is believable but there could be a little more diversity in speech to develop identifiable differences with the characters. They  sound pretty much the same. All-in-all a nice read that should satisfy those interested in futuristic or apocalyptic genres.

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2015 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Hope and Love Anthology by Áine P Massie

Hope and Love Anthology by Áine P Massie
LGBT Anthology / Collection / Young Adult
Paperback: 370 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (September 30, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1502522357
ISBN-13: 978-1502522351
Amazon: Hope and Love Anthology (A Donation Anthology for the Milwaukee LGBTQ Community Center Book 1)
Amazon Kindle: Hope and Love Anthology (A Donation Anthology for the Milwaukee LGBTQ Community Center Book 1)

It starts with hope. That’s what LGBTQ Centers all over the world give us, the hope, the community, the care and education we need in a world that is often hate filled, scared of the unknown, and downright scary. When first introduced to community many of us rejoice as it’s often the first time we’re able to be out and be our true selves without fear or shame. This anthology is for the benefit of one such center, one that touches many many lives, and like others, needs help and nourishment as well. Centers like the MKE LGBT Community Center depend on the love and support of others so that they may help and support us. Within this collection of stories, you will find hope, family, love, and community. Take a chance on a new author or one of your beloved… read, enjoy, and know that you are helping children, adults, teens, and elderly alike in our greater LGBTQ community! One hundred percent of the income from this volume goes directly to The MKE LGBT Community Center in Milwaukee, WI USA.

I really enjoyed almost every single story in this anthology. They all displayed stories of young LGBTQ people discovering themselves and finding love in spite of adversity, homophobia, rejection, homelessness, abuse, and heartbreak. Each story was told with a fresh array of characters, some fully developed, some with the setting fully described, some with a plot so rich that I found myself pulled in and fully engaged until the end. However, there were two: Breath Of Life and My Book Boyfriend which seemed to interrupt the flow of the reason the anthology. With Breath Of Life the story was disjointed, had the worst editing, was confusing, and had a lack of focus. My Book Boyfriend contained confusing references regarding who was speaking and who was doing what. While I was also disappointed by the lack of lesbian stories (only 2) and transgender, genderqueer, genderfluid, and asexual stories in the anthology, this was only my personal preference and didn't have any weight on the score. However, the placement of the lesbian stories in the anthology did, as they were at the very end.

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2015 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Love Spell by Mia Kerick

Love Spell by Mia Kerick
Gay Young Adult
Paperback: 124 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (April 21, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1511831855
ISBN-13: 978-1511831857
Amazon: Love Spell
Amazon Kindle: Love Spell

Strutting his stuff on the catwalk in black patent leather pumps and a snug orange tuxedo as this year’s Miss (ter) Harvest Moon feels so very right to Chance César, and yet he knows it should feel so very wrong. As far back as he can remember, Chance has been “caught between genders.” (It’s quite a touchy subject; so don’t ask him about it.) However, he does not question his sexual orientation. Chance has no doubt about his gayness—he is very much out of the closet at his rural New Hampshire high school, where the other students avoid the kid they refer to as “girl-boy.” But at the local Harvest Moon Festival, when Chance, the Pumpkin Pageant Queen, meets Jasper Donahue, the Pumpkin Carving King, sparks fly. So Chance sets out, with the help of his BFF, Emily, to make “Jazz” Donahue his man. An article in an online women’s magazine, Ten Scientifically Proven Ways to Make a Man Fall in Love with You (with a bonus love spell thrown in for good measure), becomes the basis of their strategy to capture Jazz’s heart. Quirky, comical, definitely flamboyant, and with an inner core of poignancy, Love Spell celebrates the diversity of a gender-fluid teen.

I loved Chance and his quirky, flamboyant personality. It's great when a character leaps right off the page at you, and that's what happens in this book.

While this book started out a bit silly, with a narrator I thought would be over-the-top and goofy, it turned out to be a sweet and well-written tale. I loved Chance, the narrator, and how sweet he turned out to be after his initial shallow impression.

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2015 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: A Scout is Brave by Jay Jordan Hawke

A Scout is Brave (The Two-spirit Chronicles Book 2) by Jay Jordan Hawke
Gay Young Adult
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press; 2 edition (December 18, 2014)
Amazon Kindle: A Scout is Brave (The Two-spirit Chronicles Book 2)

Set in the late 1990s in the months following the brutal murder of Matthew Shepard, "A Scout is Brave," tells the coming-of-age story of 14-year-old Joshua Ishkoday, a part Native American boy coming to terms with his sexual orientation. Joshua is new to the Scout troop that invites him to a week of summer camp in northern Wisconsin. Some of the weaker kids in the troop soon realize they have a special friend in Joshua, who is not afraid to stand up to the troop's ruthless bullies. Joshua’s bravery and kindness is infectious, and the bullied Scouts quickly see their own inner worth and strength. Joshua, however, is plagued by self-doubt as he comes to terms with his developing feelings for Cody, the son of the troop’s tough and stern Scoutmaster. The two quickly realize they have more in common than just Scouting, as they confide in each other their deepest secrets and develop a close friendship. That friendship soon faces its greatest challenge, as the homophobic troop bullies come to believe that a "queer" has “infected” their troop. Struggling to come to terms with his sexuality and with the troop bullies, while at the same time discovering the camp's deep, dark secret, Joshua has to summon all of his courage and learn for the first time what it truly means to be brave. "A Scout is Brave" is especially timely in light of the increased media attention to anti-gay bullying and the string of high profile gay teen suicides. The novel powerfully portrays the psychology of bullying and demonstrates the pervasiveness of bigotry in American culture.

A story every young people should read. Very touching and well written, it really gets to the reader. A must for growing up kids.

This was a story I really enjoyed. I felt like the characters were real breathing people.

I was fascinated both by the main character, Joshua, and the glimpses of Native American culture. Another plus is that, while this is the second in a series of three related books, it is written in such a way that this story can be enjoyed entirely on its own without feeling that something has been missed.

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2015 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Because of Summer by Elle Vaughn

Because of Summer by Elle Vaughn
Lesbian Contemporary Romance
Paperback: 334 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (July 1, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1514800691
ISBN-13: 978-1514800690
Amazon: Because of Summer
Amazon Kindle: Because of Summer

Taylor is a cocky Miami bartender with something to prove. Working at The Tide with her best friend Kade, she boosts her ego by seducing all the straight girls that Kade is interested in. After promising him that for the sake of their friendship she'll quit her little game, he meets the girl who he thinks could be the love of his life. But Taylor also feels immediately drawn to her. Diem, a free spirited Bohemian girl, is like no one Taylor's met before. But having sworn to Kade that she wouldn't try anything, she’s going to uphold her promise and be a good friend. But as her attraction to Diem grows deeper, Taylor finds it harder and harder to hide it. Diem is spending her summer break in Florida. Crashing at her friend Katie's place, she's positive this summer will prove to be her most exciting yet. It starts off without a hitch when she meets a gorgeous and charismatic man named Kade who sweeps her off her feet. Diem is beyond infatuated with him, but after having just broken up with her long term boyfriend, she wants to take things slow. As Diem struggles with her feelings for Kade, she befriends his best friend. Diem is intrigued by Taylor and wants to get to know her better. Although, Diem can tell that Taylor is attracted to her, Diem just doesn't share her feelings. As the two grow closer, Diem brings out a side of Taylor that she has never let loose before. Diem makes Taylor feel more carefree than ever before, while Diem is sent reeling on a whirlwind path of self discovery. Despite Diem's wavering feelings, Kade never gives up on making her his. Diem must decide between the man who’s perfect for her or the woman she can‘t imagine herself without.

I can really recommend this book. Only one glitch with an over-the top villain, otherwise very convincing (and heart-wrenching!). Good sense of time and place. Really. Diem and Taylor both started out well-rounded and went through so much growth; well Taylor more than Diem but that's par for the course. And the same was true for Kade; while he was somehow flitty and shallow in the beginning, he ended up a grown up young man who's worth to be taken seriously. I cared for all three and hurt for all three. Delicious, engrossing, fast-paced, just exactly to my taste.

Really well written - beautiful characterization. 

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2015 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Season's Meetings by Amy Dunne

Season's Meetings by Amy Dunne
Lesbian Romantic Comedy
Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (December 16, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1626392277
ISBN-13: 978-1626392274
Amazon: Season's Meetings
Amazon Kindle: Season's Meetings

Could the festive road trip from hell actually lead to love?

Catherine Birch is a lonely workaholic who hates Christmas. This year, she is being forced to celebrate with her best friend’s family in the Highlands of Scotland. Having missed her flight, Catherine reluctantly ventures on a road trip with beautiful stranger Holly Daniels.

Although polar opposites, the intense attraction between them is unmistakable. Just as Catherine begins to think spending Christmas with Holly might not be so bad, a raging snowstorm leaves them stranded in the middle of nowhere. Huddled together, with little chance of rescue, they forge a pact: if they escape, they’ll make this a Christmas to remember. But will it be remembered for the right reasons?

I really enjoyed this book.  You could feel like you were with the characters especially when they were stranded in that decrepit car in the snow.  A wonderful holiday romance!

A light, enjoyable holiday romance with a cute dog who almost steals the story. I look forward to revisiting this book each Christmas season.

Catherine and Holly were a breath of fresh air. They’re funny, sweet, complete opposites, and totally made for each other. Add in an adorable Cairn terrier named Kimmy, and I was hooked.

Christmas - Scotland - Romance - a workaholic that we an all identify with - Perfection.

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2015 Rainbow Awards Submission: Fox-Hat and Neko by August Li

Fox-Hat and Neko by August Li
Bisexual Young Adult
Paperback: 340 pages
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press (July 16, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1634760220
ISBN-13: 978-1634760225
Amazon: Fox-Hat and Neko
Amazon Kindle: Fox-Hat and Neko

Tsukino Ayumu is new to Yuuyake. When he lived in Tokyo, he always kept his head down, content to remain unnoticed in the crowd of students around him. Now in a small fishing village, he connects with Ikehara Haruki, his first real friend, and builds a close friendship with two girls, Shizuka and Chou. The four friends stick together as they forge their path through the haphazard world of dating and relationships while preparing for life after school ends.

But fate will intervene, with Ayumu’s plans in particular, as the village’s young people are targeted by an unseen threat. Suffering violent and shocking dreams, Ayumu comes to discover that the spirit world has plans for his destiny. Despite his personal belief that he’s nothing but ordinary, he must learn to fight―and lead―to protect the friends he would die for. The mysterious Fox-Hat and Neko know Ayumu better than he knows himself, and he must decide if they will point him toward a path that leads to a happy ending for all… or the end of everything he knows and loves.

An intriguing, delightful story, told from multiple perspectives without losing or confusing the reader. Great world-building.

I enjoyed this book far, far more than I thought I would, and primarily on the basis of its wonderful folkloric roots and lack of unnecessary angst.

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2015 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Chaos Station (Chaos Station #1) by Jenn Burke & Kelly Jensen

Chaos Station (Chaos Station #1) by Jenn Burke & Kelly Jensen
Gay Sci-Fi / Futuristic
Publisher: Carina Press (March 2, 2015)
Amazon Kindle: Chaos Station (Chaos Station #1)

Book one of Chaos Station

"You're not real. Felix Ingesson is dead."

The war with the alien stin is over, but Felix Ingesson has given up on seeing his lover, Zander Anatolius, ever again. Zander's military file is sealed tighter than an airlock. A former prisoner of war, Felix is attempting a much quieter life keeping his ship, the Chaos, aloft. He almost succeeds, until Zander walks on board and insists that Felix isn't real.

A retired, broken super soldier, Zander is reeling from the aftereffects of his experimental training and wants nothing more than to disappear and wait for insanity to claim him. Then he sees footage of a friend and ally—a super soldier like him—murdering an entire security squad with her bare hands and a cold, dead look in her eyes. He never expected to find Felix, the man he'd thought dead for years, on the ship he hired to track her down.

Working with Felix to rescue his teammate is a dream come true…and a nightmare. Zander has no exit strategy that will leave Felix unscathedâ€"or his own heart unbroken.

This was an amazing book. I don't even like sci-fi all that much and within a few chapters I was thoroughly hooked. The writing was polished, the characters believable and enjoyable, the plot crisply paced. I don't have enough good words to say about this novel.

Two lonely soles reunited in space. Original settings will give gift the reader with the galactic romance that survived separation by time and warzones.

Chaos Station was nearly flawless. I was able to immerse myself in the detailed worlds of the space stations and star ships, and the inner worlds of the broken characters. The plot moved along at a good pace, the characters grew and changed believably, and the action was hot. This novel just flew by, leaving me hungry for more.

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2015 Rainbow Awards Submission: Twisted Echoes by Sheri Lewis Wohl

Twisted Echoes: Reluctant Psychic by Sheri Lewis Wohl
Lesbian Paranormal Romance
Series: Reluctant Psychic
Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (November 18, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1626392153
ISBN-13: 978-1626392151
Amazon: Twisted Echoes: Reluctant Psychic
Amazon Kindle: Twisted Echoes: Reluctant Psychic

Love, loss, and lies—echoes from a past that threaten the future. Can a reluctant psychic set things right, or will an angry spirit destroy those she loves the most? Lorna Dutton is ready for something new and a chance to move beyond the numbness of a broken heart. Inheriting her great-aunt’s house on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, she embarks on an exciting adventure only to discover things are more complicated than simply starting over. Free spirited Renee Austin makes her feel again while visions and ghosts rock her world. Only when she embraces her newly discovered psychic abilities can she put the ghosts to rest and save the woman who captures her heart.

What an exciting, thrilling, mysterious, yet heartbreakingly beautiful parallel love story of three different couples two of which were interracial and of the LGBTQ spectrum and one of which was an opposites attract type. There were moments of intense paranormal activity. The plot was unique and superb and I really loved the way I didn't know what was going to happen from one section to the next. The characters were all fully formed and the setting was like a breath of fresh air, which is exactly what one of the characters describes it as. The author's writing style is like sunshine even though much of her story is full of dark undertones, sadness, and evil.

Loved it - set in the Pacific Northwest - terrific Paranormal and a new romance that hopefully will flesh out in book #2 Twisted Whispers.

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andrew potter

2015 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Fool's Gold by Jess Faraday

Fool's Gold by Jess Faraday
Gay Historical Fiction
Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (April 15, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1626393400
ISBN-13: 978-1626393400
Amazon: Fool's Gold

For once, Ira Adler has it easy. He has money in his pocket, a comfortable arrangement with an undemanding young man, and no one's punched, chased, or shot at him in years. Suddenly, an explosion turns everything upside down.

Eager to leave London, Ira accompanies his friends to America to settle a family matter. But though a handsome lawman and a trip aboard a luxurious ocean liner provide welcome distraction, Ira soon finds himself embroiled in a plot that stretches from London's back alleys to the dusty dirt roads of California. Before he knows it, Ira is up to his neck in train robbers, rattlesnakes, unscrupulous cattle kings, and persistent young women driven to frenzy by his exotic accent.

Just when he's ready to flee back to Britain, Ira gets a fistful of second chances. But London is calling. Will Ira answer? Or will he embrace a new life abroad?

So good - an exciting page turner. Innovative in using both Victorian London and the pioneering days of America. Well drawn - interesting to have a black man in such an important role, but he was just accepted. Quite a lot of characters with in depth relationships between them which gave the book depth. This book was the third in a series, but I didn't find it a problem. It was an exciting and fast moving plot with lots of intricacy, although there was some reliance on coincidence (acknowledged in the story). I liked the adventure taking more time than the relationship. Well written, good description, vocabulary and grammar made for an excellent read.

Taut, intriguing, companionable—three words to describe the reader experience of Fool’s Gold. In this beautifully written story, we find, as we always do, that all that sparkles is not gold. What we lose in the discovery makes Faraday’s theme of what we gain in the recovery all the more satisfying.

I read the series for context before tackling this one as it was on my tbr pile anyway. I found this final book a little less satisfying than the first two - which would have been solid 40s. Maybe the switch of the London characters to the Wild West didn't work, because I never felt the setting fit the characters very well, while well described. However, the main character, Ira Adler, develops throughout this series from a kept boy into a strong, moral, inspirational man.  The side characters are equally as familiar and very well described and fleshed out. The plot slowed a bit midway (only a little), but it was enough to mark it down by a point. I'd happily read anything by Jess Faraday now, however, because ze can obviously write very good historical mystery fiction.

This story started out with a bang, literally!  This period adventure takes place in London, across the ocean to America, and then across the vast lands to California. Ira Adler just wanted a quiet life, but life and the ensuing adventure to accompany his best friends to the Wild West of the U.S., made his life anything but! This tale was one adventure after another--following Ira Adler like a shadow. The story telling never got boring and kept my attention as I quickly turned from page to the next to see what happened next!

Third in series but standalone, maybe fourth book coming? but complete with ending; excellent in all ways possible.

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