October 1st, 2016

andrew potter

2016 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Kestrel's Talon by Bey Deckard (123-06-03-2016)

I was considering a lower rate for writing style, because there were some odd sentences an usages, but at the end, I read the AU bio and discovered he's Canadian, and Canadian English explains the majority of the oddities I'd noted---being neither US English nor UK English. Seau... that leaves us at 36. I reconsidered the other three scores with an eye toward shaving off a point, but I simply couldn't find any reason to do so. This is one of the best books I've read this year. :)

Kestrel's Talon (The Stonewatchers #1) by Bey Deckard
Gay Erotic Romance
Series: The Stonewatchers
Paperback: 414 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (May 20, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1533274886
ISBN-13: 978-1533274885
Amazon: Kestrel's Talon (The Stonewatchers #1)
Amazon Kindle: Kestrel's Talon (The Stonewatchers #1)

Following the Prentish/Nemarri war, Kes is rejected by his homeland under the guise of religious purity laws. Though he's spared execution, the proud Nemarri's fate is only marginally more merciful than death when he is sold into sexual slavery at a prosperous pleasure house. Despite his stoic endurance, Kes knows he’s reaching his breaking point, but there is nothing he can do—there is no path to freedom in the Holy Prentish Empire, only a lifetime of humiliating servitude. That is, until a beautiful young slave and his formidable master approach Kes in the marketplace and make an astonishing offer to take him home with them. The only problem: “home” is the accursed Horthmont Castle from the scare-stories of Kes’s childhood. Thrown into a world of living myth, powerful magic, and ancient gods, Kes learns the secrets kept hidden by Horthmont’s thick blackstone walls. There he discovers something he thought he’d never know again: hope for the future.

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

This journal is friends only. This entry was originally posted at http://reviews-and-ramblings.dreamwidth.org/4842452.html. If you are not friends on this journal, Please comment there using OpenID.
andrew potter

2016 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: A Gentleman's Position by K.J. Charles (144-06-10-2016)

1) KJ Charles is a new-to-me author who's work I will definitely be reading more of in the future. Talented and engaging prose, a full cast of three dimensional and flawed characters, and a creative plot kept me fully immersed in this story start to finish. I could see 1800s London; I could feel the emotion and passion that seeped from the (virtual) pages; and I worried how the gentlemen were going to get themselves out of their fix. All around a well written and well told story, and one I would definitely recommend to all.

2) Brilliantly drawn characters - heroic and flawed at the same time. I don't remember anyone else writes better in terms of details in such historical setting than this author. The setting, the characters jumped out of pages. Fascinating plot with a hint of wickedness - a thoroughly enjoyable read.

3) This has been a great series, strong in period detail with a real underpinning of events and attitudes from that era, but with sympathetic and recognizable main characters. In this book, David Cyprian, Lord Richard's valet and miracle worker, moves from silent agent behind the scenes to the man Richard wants. But also the man Richard is convinced he must not have, if he is to maintain his integrity. I really enjoyed watching these two fight toward an understanding. Richard's mistakes are painful, and yet fully appropriate for a man of his class and times. David had impressive strength and resolve, not to mention other talents. There were some unexpected reveals, but for the most part the joy of the story was in watching these men battle their own impulses.

4) Full of intrigue and strong historical details.

A Gentleman's Position (A Society of Gentlemen Novel) by K.J. Charles
Gay Historical Romance
Publisher: Loveswept (April 5, 2016)
Amazon Kindle: A Gentleman's Position (A Society of Gentlemen Novel)

Power, privilege, and the rigid rules of class leave two hearts yearning for connection in the sizzling new Society of Gentlemen novel from K. J. Charles.

Among his eccentric though strictly principled group of friends, Lord Richard Vane is the confidant on whom everyone depends for advice, moral rectitude, and discreet assistance. Yet when Richard has a problem, he turns to his valet, a fixer of unparalleled genius—and the object of Richard’s deepest desires. If there is one rule a gentleman must follow, it is never to dally with servants. But when David is close enough to touch, the rules of class collide with the basest sort of animal instinct: overpowering lust.

For David Cyprian, burglary and blackmail are as much in a day’s work as bootblacking—anything for the man he’s devoted to. But the one thing he wants for himself is the one thing Richard refuses to give: his heart. With the tension between them growing to be unbearable, David’s seemingly incorruptible master has left him no choice. Putting his finely honed skills of seduction and manipulation to good use, he will convince Richard to forget all about his well-meaning objections and give in to sweet, sinful temptation

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

This journal is friends only. This entry was originally posted at http://reviews-and-ramblings.dreamwidth.org/4847917.html. If you are not friends on this journal, Please comment there using OpenID.
andrew potter

2016 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Whistle Blower by Dev Bentham (160-06-24-2016)

1) Interesting plot and complex characters with a touch of sadness. The only part I was let down was the romance between the two characters which seems slightly flat comparing to the landscape and plot.

2) This is a contemplative, character-driven story, where the romance happens alongside life, and life for these two men is such that they must make difficult choices. I very much enjoyed closely following their thoughts and motivations. The setting was stunning; the story unravels gradually for the most part, and the characters are complex. This was a page-turner for me.

Whistle Blower by Dev Bentham
Gay Contemporary Romance
Paperback: 214 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (February 5, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 163476983X
ISBN-13: 978-1634769839
Amazon: Whistle Blower
Amazon Kindle: Whistle Blower

Money can’t buy happiness. Jacob Nussbaum knows this better than anyone. He's a corporate lawyer deep inside a huge New York firm, where he works overtime, sacrifices any chance at a personal life, and has been selling his soul for years. With a secretary as his only friend, he trudges on, until his whole world is blown apart by a manila envelope of photos―evidence that one of the firm’s partners is the dirtiest lawyer in one hell of a filthy business.

In search of the truth, Jacob travels to a small northern Wisconsin fishing resort. There he meets Ben Anderson, a brutally lonely man, who knocks him off his feet. Ben prompts Jacob to reevaluate his life. He’s a dozen years older than Jacob, still recovering from the death of his long time love, and doesn’t want to leave anyone a widower. But a jaded New Yorker on a soul-searching mission might be just the man to convince the grieving Ben that it's never too late to begin again.

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

This journal is friends only. This entry was originally posted at http://reviews-and-ramblings.dreamwidth.org/4852409.html. If you are not friends on this journal, Please comment there using OpenID.
andrew potter

2016 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Across Your Dreams by Jay Lewis Taylor (74-04-04-2016)

1) What a beautiful book! It is full of vivid imagery, well-drawn and unique characters, and the story--oh, so heartbreaking but yet appropriate for the times. War is hell, and it took its toll on the young men caught up in it. I felt like I was there with Alan, Lew and Russ, experiencing what they did right alongside them. I reveled in their stolen moments together with their beloveds, and cried for their devastating losses. This story will definitely stick with me for a very long time. I loved it. All the points.

2) I awarded top marks to this book because I thoght the writing was exceptional. I was transported back in time to the Great War. The sense of time and place were outstanding. The language of the book perfectly fitted the setting and the lives and opinions of the characters all felt true to time and place. An exceptional read.

3) This is a convincing, well-researched historical novel about a very closeted network of gay men who don't have access to a community of like-minded people. The homophobia of the surrounding society is extreme, and so is their anxiety about sexual contact with other men, including kissing. The drama of warfare and the great flu epidemic, which together destroyed millions of lives, all seem true to life, and they could hardly be exaggerated. As a historical novel, this book is a solid achievement.

4) Touching and tender love story. A very real sense of the time and place. Excellent story.

Across Your Dreams by Jay Lewis Taylor
Gay Historical
Publisher: Manifold Press (May 1, 2016)
Amazon Kindle: Across Your Dreams

"I hope we'll meet again on the other side of fear, but should this damn war choose otherwise then all we can do is bear it ..."

Lew and Russ, Grant and Alan have been caught up in the Great War, which governs their coming together and their moving apart; which has sucked them into the machine and seems reluctant to spit them out. When at last the Armistice comes, three out of the four survive; but how many will survive the peace?

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

This journal is friends only. This entry was originally posted at http://reviews-and-ramblings.dreamwidth.org/4824248.html. If you are not friends on this journal, Please comment there using OpenID.
andrew potter

2016 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Prince of the Playhouse by Tara Lain (76-04-07-2016)

1) While the plot had brief moments of predictability, the author was able to avoid most resolutions I assumed were coming. What I truly enjoyed about the book was the world building and the characters. I wanted to exist in the world the book was built on--never mind the characters. Ms. Lain's real skill comes into play with the chemistry she brings to life between her characters, main and supporting. They have emotions and motivations that make sense, follow logically, and the plot supports the development and the growth of the characters. Her methods are easily digestible and enjoyable to read.

2) Flawless. I loved how Ru's crush on his big-screen hero almost immediately started to mature after he met the man in person. Lain kept their relationship firmly rooted in real life, despite all the theater in their lives. Recommended.

Prince of the Playhouse (Love in Laguna #3) by Tara Lain
Gay Contemporary Romance
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (April 4, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1632169630
ISBN-13: 978-1632169631
Amazon: Prince of the Playhouse (Love in Laguna #3)
Amazon Kindle: Prince of the Playhouse (Love in Laguna #3)

"A Love in Laguna Novel"

Driven by his desire to become a successful fashion designer and concerned with hiding his questionable past, Ru Maitland has let obsession with action movie star Gray Anson on the big screen replace his social life. Then obsession and reality collide when Ru is asked to design fashion costumes for a special performance of Hamlet at the Playhouse in Laguna starring none other than Gray Anson. Gray turns out to be a compelling mix of shy and brash and, despite a high profile engagement to a female socialite, the signals Gray sends Ru have his libido doing the salsa.

Gray Anson has what most people only dream of great wealth, huge fame, a job he loves. For that, he s given up any semblance of privacy and the right to say no to the thousands of people who depend on him and the millions who love him. He sees everything he s ever wanted just outside the bubble of his life, but how can he make the compromises needed to embrace it? When Ru s shady past crashes into Gray s paparazzi-haunted present, both men have to learn that sometimes the only acceptable compromise is the truth."

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

This journal is friends only. This entry was originally posted at http://reviews-and-ramblings.dreamwidth.org/4825092.html. If you are not friends on this journal, Please comment there using OpenID.