November 11th, 2016

andrew potter

2016 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Death Wears Yellow Garters by Rae D. Magdon (355-08-31-2016)

1) Loved the mystery. Loved the characters. And I absolutely loved the cover, which immediately invoked the mood of this story.

2) I loved the quirky, very real, and very sympathetic protagonist of this well-constructed mystery. Terrific characters and a very sweet romance.

3) This novel had my attention from the opening, had me thinking about it when I was busy, and kept me coming back, so that I finished it in less than a day.  The mystery was complex with a number of quirky characters well fleshed out, the budding relationship between the protagonist and her girlfriend was very believable with the racial difference between them open without being heavy, the topic of mental illness was handled extremely well, with sympathy but not pandering, and the crazy aunt was a terrific twist.  I didn't figure out whodunnit until they told me.  Overall very satisfying.

4) What a fun read! Witty humor, and entertaining characters. Aunt Mimi is a crack up.

Death Wears Yellow Garters by Rae D. Magdon
Lesbian Mystery / Thriller
Series: Death Wears...
Paperback: 164 pages
Publisher: Desert Palm Press; 1 edition (January 31, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1942976003
ISBN-13: 978-1942976004
Amazon: Death Wears Yellow Garters
Amazon Kinlde: Death Wears Yellow Garters

Jay Venkatesan’s life was going pretty great. She had Nicole—her perfect new girlfriend—and her anxiety was mostly under control. But when Nicole’s grandfather dies under mysterious circumstances at his 70th birthday party, Jay is thrown into a tailspin. Her eccentric Aunt Mimi is determined to solve the mystery no matter what she thinks about it, and the police are eyeing Nicole as one of their prime suspects. No matter how often Jay insists that real life isn’t like one of her aunt’s crime novels, she finds herself dragged along for the ride as the mystery unravels and the shocking truth comes to light.

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andrew potter

2016 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Lessons for Sleeping Dogs (340-08-29-2016)

1) Novels set in the past demand so much of the author. Like novels set in the present, they must advance plot, create vibrant characters, give the reader a sense of place, and (last but not least) be well written. In addition, however, they must also be true to a time and place. This imposes the extra burden of research. "What were the main concerns of people living then?" "How did they talk?" "What were the manners and mores of the time?" People who attempt this genre usually fail miserably. Not Charlie Cochrane, I'm glad to say. I read it first for enjoyment. Jonty and Orlando are delightful opposites--a Shakespeare scholar and mathematician--who play off each other skillfully. Writing a mystery, the author adheres to the Agatha Christie formula, appropriate to 1921, when the novel is set. A locked-door murder or double suicide--which the sleuths acknowledge as a cliche--and a classic denoument, where each suspect is grilled in the same room. Delicious, to anyone who loves Christie and her contemporaries. On a second reading, I read for anachronisms. Here's where I entered the author's world. I tried to do the author's work. She mentions Japanese maples. Were they introduced to England before 1921? (Yes.) Did people say "built like a brick outhouse" then? (Researched. Couldn't find out.) How about "we've had our moments," "tell him off," and "life of Riley"? (Research provides no definitive answer, but my guess is yes.) Is "huffing and pudding" (page 183) a typo? Probably not. Charlie Cochrane does not make the amateur's mistake of explaining the time. Her characters simply live in it. What does "show Georgie how to harden his conkers" mean? (A game where children thread chestnuts--conkers--on a string and combat each other, trying to smash the competitor's chestnut.) BTW, we had a similar game in 1960s Louisiana, where children faced off over boiled Easter eggs, tapping tip to tip, and only one would break. The secret was to use a duck egg. This game is universal. Ponc and Conkers mean the same thing. And what about "Angel of Mons"? (A WWI battle, where, fictionally, the ghosts of Agincourt bowmen arrowed the Germans.) What does "Snapdragon" mean? (An old version for bobbing for apples, where people pluck and eat raisins set afire in a shallow lake of brandy.) Then, of course, the language of the time: "overegging the pudding," "sail close to the wind," and "a touch parky," for example. They don't interfere--readers get the gist without looking it up. The language does not interrupt the story. In short, brava, Charlie. P.S. Riptide editors, please change "principles in the drama" to "principals in the drama," on page 91

2) Cambridge Fellows is a series I started reading years ago and not once has bored me. Each book is quite entertaining and well written. But then again, everything I've read of Charlie Cochrane has been a good experience. Each book in this series, or at least the ones I've read, deal with whodunit murders. Ms. Cochrane has the ability of leaving you guessing until the very end, leaving you making assumptions throughout the story. That is what I call a good storyteller. Ms. Cochrane is an author that never disappoints. Keep 'em coming, Charlie!

Lessons for Sleeping Dogs (Cambridge Fellows Mysteries) by Charlie Cochrane
Gay Historical
Series: Cambridge Fellows Mysteries
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Riptide Publishing (June 2, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1626492743
ISBN-13: 978-1626492745
Amazon: Lessons for Sleeping Dogs (Cambridge Fellows Mysteries)
Amazon Kinlde: Lessons for Sleeping Dogs (Cambridge Fellows Mysteries)

Cambridge, 1921

When amateur sleuth Jonty Stewart comes home with a new case to investigate, his partner Orlando Coppersmith always feels his day has been made. Although, can there be anything to solve in the apparent mercy killing of a disabled man by a doctor who then kills himself, especially when everything takes place in a locked room?

But things are never straightforward where the Cambridge fellows are concerned, so when they discover that more than one person has a motive to kill the dead men—motives linked to another double death—their wits get stretched to the breaking point.

And when the case disinters long buried memories for Jonty, memories about a promise he made and hasn’t kept, their emotions get pulled apart as well. This time, Jonty and Orlando will have to separate fact from fiction—and truth from emotion—to get to the bottom of things.

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andrew potter

2016 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Jack of Thorns by Amelia Faulkner (171-07-13-2016)

1) Jack of Thorns is a beautifully written book that touches on difficult subjects of various addictions, traumas and asexuality. The development of both main characters is described perfectly, and what's more, even though there are paranormal elements, is totally believable. Besides, nothing is rushed or underdeveloped.

2) Jack of Thorns was a captivating read. It’s an atypical romance that can get you so engaged in the characters that you don’t really care if they’re getting it on, and this one sets the scene with a few paranormal twists that really enrich things. Which is not to say that I wouldn’t love to see more development between Laurence and Quentin, but I’m willing to get into Book 2 for that 😊

Jack of Thorns (Inheritance #1) by Amelia Faulkner
Bisexual Paranormal Romance
Series: Inheritance
Paperback: 442 pages
Publisher: LoveLight Press; 1 edition (May 9, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1533077622
ISBN-13: 978-1533077622
Amazon: Jack of Thorns (Inheritance #1)
Amazon Kindle: Jack of Thorns (Inheritance #1)

Florist. Psychic. Addict.
Laurence Riley coasts by on good looks and natural charm, but underneath lies a dark chasm that neither heroin nor lovers can fill. Sobriety is a pipe dream which his stalker ex-boyfriend is pushing him away from. Luckily, Laurence has powers most can only dream of. If only he could control them.

Aristocrat. Psychic. Survivor.
Quentin d'Arcy is the product of centuries of wealth, privilege, and breeding, and is on the run from all three. A chance encounter with an arresting young florist with a winning smile could make him stop. Laurence is kind, warm, and oddly intriguing but Quentin's wild telekinesis and his fear of sex make dating a dangerous game.

When opposites attract, they collide.
Desperate to fix his rotting life, Laurence prays for aid and accidentally summons a fertility god who prefers to be called Jack. Jack is willing to help out for a price, and it's one Laurence just can't pay: he must keep Jack fed with regular offerings of sex, and the florist has fallen for the one man in San Diego who doesn't want any.
If they're to survive Jack's wrath, Laurence and Quentin must master their blossoming feelings and gifts, but even then the cost of Laurence's mistake could well overwhelm them both. How exactly are mere mortals supposed to defeat a god?

Jack of Thorns is the first book in the Inheritance series and contains mature themes and events which may be distressing to some readers. It has a low heat rating and an HFN ending.

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andrew potter

2016 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Thorns and Fangs by Gillian St. Kevern (273-08-14-2016)

1) Well written story that kept me engaged the whole way through. Interesting storyline and twists, and I stayed up waaaay too late to finish because I couldn't put it down.

2) I will definitely be reading more of this series. I thought the author was good and will be checking out more from this author.

Thorns and Fangs (Thorns and Fangs #1) by Gillian St. Kevern
Bisexual Paranormal Romance
Series: Thorns and Fangs
Paperback: 484 pages
Publisher: NineStar Press (August 6, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1911153854
ISBN-13: 978-1911153856
Amazon: Thorns and Fangs (Thorns and Fangs #1)
Amazon Kindle: Thorns and Fangs (Thorns and Fangs #1)

Nate is caught between two dangerously hot vampires who can compel people to do whatever they want and a ruthless necromancer who wants Nate for all the wrong reasons—and that’s only the start of his problems. Escort Nate prides himself on two things: his ability to please his clients and his normality – living in the monster capital of the world, ordinary is rare. Hunter, a darkly charming vampire with more charisma than is good for him, decides Nate is just what he needs. Nate’s sympathetic nature and skill in the bedroom are put to the ultimate test. But Hunter wants Nate for someone else – his brother, Ben. Nate is immediately attracted by the control with which Ben holds his sensitive nature in force. Too afraid of becoming a monster to allow himself to feel, Ben struggles to resist Nate’s generosity of emotion. As a vindictive necromancer makes Ben his target of revenge, Nate discovers that making people feel good doesn’t compare to making Ben feel. As Nate’s normal world crumbles around him, and he desperately searches for a way to save Ben, Nate is unable to escape becoming the necromancer’s latest victim. But Nate’s death is only the beginning. Coming back to life in the bathroom of Gunn, a Department Seven officer who hates the vampire family that Ben and Hunter belong to, Nate doesn’t know who to trust or even what he is. As the necromancer’s trap pulls tighter around himself and Ben, Nate is forced to let go of normal and embrace powers he doesn’t fully understand. In defiance of Ben’s vampire sire and hunted by Department Seven, Nate and Ben finally learn to trust and rely on each other. But when the necromancer succeeds in capturing Ben, Nate alone can come to his rescue.

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andrew potter

2016 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: The House on Fremont Drive (146-06-10-2016)

This should probably be an Honorable Mention. I wasn't sure if it was an Young Adult novel or not, because most of the main characters are teens. But the themes, plot development, and ideas inside the book is all pretty adult stuff. In fact, it's an intriguing mixture of' characters and genres, from the paranormal tale to the Svengali-manipulation story and also a pretty sturdy YA romance, but in the end it all coheres and tells a pretty good story with a satisfying ending.

The House on Fremont Drive by Jere' M. Fishback
Gay Contemporary General Fiction
Publisher: Dark Hollows Press, LLC (May 11, 2016)
Amazon Kindle: The House on Fremont Drive

Eighteen year-old Nate Ziegler has problems. A dead boy's ghost dwells in the crawl space above Nate's walk-in closet; the ghost won't leave Nate alone. Nate's cross-country teammate is an astrology freak; he wants to recruit Nate as his disciple. Nate's new boyfriend is an emotional mess; he's a victim of physical and psychological abuse. And Nate's parents don't even know Nate is gay. How will he deal with it all?

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