November 27th, 2016

andrew potter

2016 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Lost Treasures by Jazzy Mitchell (362-08-31-2016)

This is a very good debut book. I have found the story very entertaining and new. I enjoyed the peculiar setting so much that I was very glad about the care that the author have put in describe every minute detail and the characters were all well developed and likable if not 100% believable. Good start!

Lost Treasures by Jazzy Mitchell
Lesbian Contemporary Romance
Paperback: 190 pages
Publisher: Desert Palm Press; 1 edition (September 3, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1942976216
ISBN-13: 978-1942976219
Amazon: Lost Treasures
Amazon Kinlde: Lost Treasures

After working at a Manhattan clothing boutique for a little over a year, Torry Hansen requests permission to design the window displays. This is a big step for Torry since she associates fashion with her mother, who died in a tragic accident. The decorations cause quite a stir, even catching the attention of Evelyn Allbright, who decides to have her magazine, Trending, feature the shop, its designs, and the window display designer. Recognizing Torry’s talents, Evelyn becomes fascinated and decides to convince Torry to leave the boutique for bigger and better things. As Evelyn's interest in Torry transforms from professional to personal, so do her actions during her quest to keep Torry in her life.

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andrew potter

2016 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Deal-Breaker by Siri Caldwell (104-05-08-2016)

1) A complex, yet believable story peopled with lively, likable characters.

2) Deal Breaker is a delicious hybrid of humor, angst, romance and several sexy-as-hell main characters. Somewhere between the laugh-out-loud exchanges and the too-hot-to-touch sexiness, the author has masterfully fine-tuned the art of comedic timing and storyline that the book is over too soon, leaving you wanting more!

3) Siri Caldwell is one of two favorite lesbian authors of mine.  If I'm in the mood for exceptional writing with depth of characters and emotional growth then I grab one of her books.  She never disappoints me. I'll be looking for my next read from her backlist.

Deal-Breaker by Siri Caldwell
Lesbian Contemporary Romance
Paperback: 258 pages
Publisher: Brussels Sprout Press; 1 edition (April 9, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0997402318
ISBN-13: 978-0997402315
Amazon: Deal-Breaker
Amazon Kindle: Deal-Breaker

This was not the plan. After a career-threatening injury, backup dancer Rae Peters crashes at a friend’s in a middle-of-nowhere college town to recover. She’d rather be onstage performing with a rock star than stuck in a swimming pool doing rehab exercises, but at least the people-watching is good. Make that person-watching, because she only pays attention to one person: the cute water aerobics instructor who’s always lugging around accounting textbooks like she might be smart. Jori Burgess is a grad student with a young daughter and a blackmailing ex-boyfriend. She’s got her hands full being a single mother, and studying, and teaching at the pool, and pretending to be someone she’s not. The last thing she needs is one more complication, but Rae is one complication she can’t resist. Rae has no trouble resisting, because she promised herself a long time ago that flirtatious straight girls were not for her. Even if they claimed they weren’t that straight. Especially if they claimed they weren’t that straight. Really, thank you, but no. She’s not going to fall for someone who’s got red flags plastered all over her very attractive…uh…personality. Being friends, though? Being friends is not a problem, and neither is dancing together, and neither is holding on a little longer than is strictly appropriate, and neither is… Yeah. This could be a problem.

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2016 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Throwing Stones by Robin Reardon (83-04-16-2016)

1) “Throwing Stones” is an excellent YA novel. I like the depiction of Jesse,a teenager. The story starts out with Jesse coming out to his parents. Jesse is like any teenager: he wants to be loved, and receive love in return. His initial attraction to Griffin, another teenager from high school, brings Jesse out of his comfort zone as he tries to find out more about Griffin. Griffin, for his part, is leery of Jesse because Griffin is pagan and many others who live apart from the rest of the town are wary of people because of the prejudice in the town. The writer does a very good job of getting into Jesse’s mind, exposing his thoughts and feelings, and even confused emotions about Ronan, who he subsequently meets and for whom develops stronger feelings. I would have liked more setting details and more interspersed dialogue and story as Jesse’s family treats Jesse after he comes out. However, this is a great read and I would recommend it to anyone seeking a very good YA novel.

2) I enjoyed this story. This was a telling account of an attempt to break down the barriers and the fears people have with something they do not understand. Robin's easy writing style drew me into Jesse Bryce's life - thoughts, trials, curiosities, friendships, drama. The set up was Christian vs Pagan, and the misunderstandings that occur when rumor or gossip take over, and one boy's quest for the truth. Robin Reardon's ability to weave in a great deal of history and backstory of Paganism without it sounding like a lecture or a boring history lesson kept me spellbound to the story. This was a delightful read.

3) I loved this novel! I was particularly drawn to the main character, Jesse Bryce, and there is a solid sense of place about the story.

Throwing Stones by Robin Reardon
Gay Young Adult
Paperback: 406 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (September 7, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1517253101
ISBN-13: 978-1517253103
Amazon: Throwing Stones
Amazon Kindle: Throwing Stones

What if you fell in love with a Pagan?
And what if you were both gay? What would happen next?

In this paranormal romance, something is drawing seventeen-year-old Jesse Bryce toward the community of Pagans who live in "the village," just outside his rural Oklahoma town. Maybe it's that he has a crush on Griffin Holyoke, a tall, dark-haired boy with a tree tattooed all up his back. Or maybe it's that the Pagans accept Jesse for who he is, unlike his family--or his church, where he hears that being gay is a sin.

After a man from the village is murdered while trying to prevent an assault on a girl from the town, Jesse's confusion at the town's unsympathetic reaction inspires him to set a mission for himself: to build a bridge of acceptance between the town and the village.

As Jesse defies his parents and continues to visit the village, he witnesses mysterious rituals that haunt him with their beauty and intensity. And he falls in love with one enigmatic, mercurial Pagan who opens his eyes to a whole new world.

This first-person story explores what can happen when we make conclusions about others based on too little information, or on the wrong information. Whether we're misunderstanding each others' religions or each others' sexual orientation, everyone benefits from learning the truth. And everyone benefits from forgiveness.

Find out what happens. Scroll up and order your copy today.

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andrew potter

2016 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Love Unlocked (390-09-04-2016)

Brilliant collection of stories by some very talented writers, each story a diverse take on love, lost and reborn. A real page turner.

Love Unlocked by Claire Davis and Al Stewart, Victoria Milne, Dawn Sister, J P Walker, Caraway Carter, Ofelia Gränd, Debbie McGowan
LGBT    Anthology / Collection / Contemporary Romance
Paperback: 608 pages
Publisher: Beaten Track Publishing (February 14, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1786450208
ISBN-13: 978-1786450203
Amazon: Love Unlocked
Amazon Kindle: Love Unlocked

Love Unlocked is a collection of seven short stories and novellas - unique LGBTQ romances inspired by the Love Lock Bridge. THE STORIES: The Trap by Claire Davis and Al Stewart Writer's Lock by Victoria Milne Locked in the Moment by Dawn Sister The Weekend by J P Walker The Scarlet Lock by Caraway Carter He Melted Us by Ofelia Gränd Chain of Secrets by Debbie McGowan

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2016 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Broken Blades (004-02-16-2016)

1) A strong book set at a time that to me is still more the dominion of history lessons and horror and those childhood stories that my grandparents never, ever tell. So not exactly a time that lends itself to romance, and I admit I was sceptical when I first picked this book up. Happily my scepticism was misguided. Instead of the wartime romance I was half-dreading, this book is the story of two men struggling to stay human in an increasingly inhuman world; remembering that the enemy soldier is a human being, too, is just one part of it. Very well done. But then, everything about this book is well done: The plot is solid and gripping and although it jumps ahead in time twice, it doesn’t seem episodic; the characters are all complex and layered, even the secondary characters – even the obligatory super-Nazi was interesting from a meta perspective! – and the protagonists have a depth that is sometimes more hinted at than revealed fully; the setting was evocative and done right – at least, this German reader was very pleased to come across genuine German names as well as properly spelled and grammatically correct German sentences; the writing, finally, flowed smoothly, at a good pace, and managed to keep me up way past my bedtime because I simply could. Not. Stop. Reading. Last but not least, I quite enjoyed seeing the Germans from the American character’s perspective, all those little comments and observations on manners and language, and I couldn’t help grinning at the bit where Mark wonders at Armin’s mood because from his tone of voice he can’t tell whether Armin is annoyed or not, what with German sounding the same all the damn time. :-)

2) Writing as you wish it do be when you look for this kind of reading; well-developed characters; perfect research; and some very little flaws are covered by a gripping story, although dark, mesmerizing.

3) One of the most touching, heartbreaking beautiful story I ever read. Set in a German POW camp at the end of WWII, it is not a easy reading, the covered topics certainly leave its marks on the reader. But you won’t be able to put it down, you need to know how the main characters get to their well deserved happy ending. Be ready to cry, a lot, be ready to get angry, to feel relieved. The authors managed to engage the readers describing the environment and every action with such powerful attention to detail that you can almost see yourself there. There must have been a lot of reserch behind it, a very good job. A book to read at least once in a lifetime.

4) This book wasn’t at all what I was expecting. The setting is about as dramatic as it gets, but the story itself, the development of the romance and the tightly-written scenes between Armin and Mark are surprisingly easy to read. It was so engaging I couldn't put it down.

5) Full marks from me on this excellent story of two men who meet at the 1936 Olympics, have one night of passion and eight years later are reunited during World War II. Armin is the POW camp Commandant where Mark, an American airman is brought when his plane crashes. The men at first are wary of one another, but as time passes the attraction they felt eight years earlier is rekindled and their purpose becomes to save each other's lives, as the Allies close in on a defeated Germany. Couldn't put this down until I had read and savored every word. Without a doubt my favorite book of this year.

Broken Blades by Aleksandr Voinov & L.A. Witt
Gay Historical Romance
Paperback: 312 pages
Publication Date: February 15, 2016
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1523448040
ISBN-13: 978-1523448043
Amazon: Broken Blades
Amazon Kindle: Broken Blades

They only had one night together—a stolen interlude at the 1936 Olympics. After Mark Driscoll challenged Armin Truchsess von Kardenberg to a good-natured fencing match, there was no resisting each other. Though from different worlds—an Iowa farm boy and a German aristocrat—they were immediately drawn together, and it was an encounter neither has ever forgotten. Now it’s 1944, and a plane crash in hostile territory throws them back together, but on opposite sides of a seemingly endless war. Facing each other as opponents is one thing. As enemies, another thing entirely. And to make matters worse, Mark is a POW, held in a cold, remote castle in Germany… in a camp run by Armin. They aren’t the young athletes they were back then. The war has taken wives, limbs, friends, leaving both men gray beyond their years, shell-shocked, and battered. The connection they had back then is still alive and well, though, and from the moment Mark arrives, they’re fencing again—advancing, retreating, testing defenses. Have they been given a second chance? Or have time and a brutal war broken both men beyond repair?

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andrew potter

2016 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: King of the Storm by B. A. Brock (018-02-23-2016)

Very different take on Greek mythology where the gods and demi-gods are flawed, selfish and sometimes devious characters without a lot of moral fiber. Nevertheless, often humorous, poignant and thoroughly entertaining.

King of the Storm (The Godhead Epoch #1) by B. A. Brock
Bisexual Fantasy
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: DSP Publications (November 24, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 163476157X
ISBN-13: 978-1634761574
Amazon: King of the Storm (The Godhead Epoch #1)
Amazon Kindle: King of the Storm (The Godhead Epoch #1)

The Godhead Epoch: Book One

No one can outrun destiny or the gods.

In Epiro, a kingdom in Greece, Perseus is prophesied to be a great demigod hero and king, with a legacy that will shape the world of Gaia. When he was born, his grandfather exiled him, and his mother brought them to Seriphos, where she created an academy for demigod youth. Perseus trains there and waits for the day when he will be able to take the throne of Argos.

Despite potential future glory, Perseus's fellow students think he is weak. By the time he reaches manhood, he has given up the hope of having any real friends, until Antolios, a son of Apollo, takes an unexpected interest in him. Perseus and Antolios fall in love, but Antolios knows it cannot last and leaves Seriphos.

Perseus, grief-stricken and lonely, rebels against the Fates, thinking he can avoid the prophecy and live his own life. But when the gods find him, he is thrust into an epic adventure. With his divine powers, he fights gorgons and sea serpents, and battles against his darker nature. Perseus strives to be his own man... but the gods have other plans.

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