October 9th, 2017

andrew potter

2017 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Eating Life Beth Burnett

1) This one has it all. It made me laugh. It made me cry. The book was engaging from start to finish. I loved how the author moved the story along telling everyone's story.   Loved all the character except Anna.  They were all well developed and you really get to know them.
2) I really liked this book! The story is different enough to be surprising and the characters are very relatable. The pacing is good and have a good flow to it. Maybe I would have used one chharacter less because the story is not so long and sometimes it seemed to have too much going on.

Eating Life Beth Burnett
Lesbian - Contemporary Romance
Paperback: 278 pages
Publisher: Sapphire Books Publishing (August 15, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1943353875
ISBN-13: 978-1943353873
Amazon: Eating Life Beth Burnett

Carefree and irrepressible, Casey Wilde has spent her life running. Running from love, running from responsibility, and running from commitment. Megan Woodson, Casey’s best friend, has spent her life building security with a long-term partner and a well-paying, highly respected position in the best ad agency in Memphis. Ben Stagg is a man who has lost everything, including the desire to live. And Brilliant Wilson is a photographer who can’t quite figure out why she keeps dating women who don’t love her. Faced with painful and pressing decisions, the group is forced to confront their own life choices. When their worlds collide and everything starts to fall apart, these friends must learn that the only important decision is the one to follow their hearts.

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andrew potter

2017 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Sam Burns Straight from the Heart (Wilde Love #1)

1) This is a great debut novel. The characters are likable. Liam is an undercover officer who saves Alex from a mugging. There is great chemistry between the characters, but the plot seemed a little short and got wrapped up too quickly and too neatly fast.

Sam Burns Straight from the Heart (Wilde Love #1)
Gay - Contemporary Romance
Series: Wilde Love
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (June 2, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 154688369X
ISBN-13: 978-1546883692
Amazon: Sam Burns Straight from the Heart (Wilde Love #1)

On the same night that Alex finds himself disowned and sleeping on his best friend's couch, he meets Liam, who saves him from being mugged. It's a strange time for him to be starting a relationship, but everything about being with Liam feels right. When it becomes apparent that Liam isn't exactly the prince charming he seems to be, Alex has to deal with some hard truths about not just his new boyfriend, but his own history as well. Liam is just trying to do his job, but everything keeps getting in the way. First he gets assigned to watch some stranger, then somehow, he finds himself dating the guy. Even if it doesn't offend the boss, Liam knows the wrong thing to do when he does it. He finds himself wondering, though: is his job really the most important thing in his life, or can he walk away from it all for a brand new relationship?

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andrew potter

2017 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Haunting Muses Doreen Perrine

1) This was also a book where some of the stories were better than others, but as a whole it wasn’t bad. If I had have bought the book I wouldn’t have been mad that I’d wasted my money as I really did enjoy most of the stories.
2) An anthology of provocative, well-curated pieces that stretches the boundaries of what a sapphic ghost story can be while still celebrating the women and specters that helped form the genre. Every piece spoke to me, leaving me haunted and awed (or even going “aww”) in equal turn. This may be a near-perfect score, but upon examination, this is a near-perfect anthology. There are three types of plot at play across this anthology. The first are those styled like a typical ghost story, involving a chance encounter with a stranger and their ghostly nature being the twist. There is nothing detrimental about this; rather, they felt like an homage to the genre while providing their own sapphic spin, the sort of stories one would imagine listening to around a late-night campfire. The second type of plot at play is the observation; most common in the poetic pieces, the focus is musing on the situation at hand through use of form and description. Though a few of these lean toward enigma or purple prose, most of these still evoke a haunted sensation in both the speaker and the reader. The remaining stories played with the concept of ghosts in a less literal sense, and often felt like chapters from a larger piece of work. From memories and time travel to guilt and A.I. recordings, the unique takes these stories took on ghosts made their plots harder to predict. Most of these had more positive endings than the other pieces; I applaud one particular piece for making a zombie-transformation loving and romantic. Despite the similar theme, every short story in this collection has a unique location and mood. There are Victorian-esque seaside manors, the last quiet Sunday before school in suburbia, and marooned spaceships eaten alive by growing desperation, and each place feels equally believable. Real world locations like the graveyard-filled Colma feel well researched and lived-in, while the glimpses we see of fantastical locations like a zombie-friendly moon are enticing and leave me wanting more stories in these settings. The range of moods is impressive as well; plenty of stories are as creepy as one would expect a ghost story to be, while others are more action-packed tales of desperation and survival, and a few even feel sweet. Due to the theme of ghosts, many of the characters involved are either learning to deal with loss, or wish they were as they are haunted by their pasts—though explorations of a loss of self are just as common as the loss of a loved one. Most of them manage to find strength and hope by the end of the story, even if their newfound acceptance has a darker twist to it in some of the tales. There are also quite a few unreliable narrators in this anthology, leading the readers to question how real some of these ghosts (or even our protagonists themselves) may be. As expected from an anthology, there are a wide array of writing styles at play. There are third-person adventures, first person musings with unreliable narrators, even a couple poems and a second-person piece. There are modern voices a-plenty, with a few authors bringing elements of other languages and cultures into play, while others are more reminiscent of classic authors like Jane Austen or Mark Twain. A couple stories lean toward the verbose or even purple prose, but otherwise, the writing is clear, poetic, and typo-free.

Haunting Muses Doreen Perrine
Lesbian - Anthology / Collection / Fantasy
Paperback: 182 pages
Publisher: Bedazzled Ink Publishing (October 21, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 194383752X
ISBN-13: 978-1943837526
Amazon: Haunting Muses Doreen Perrine

In this collection of lesbian stories, ghosts, be they actual or the metaphorical ghosts of memories, aren't necessarily evil and hauntings may or may not be bad. How do we move beyond the foul spirits or integrate the shining beings who haunt us in the cruelest or the best ways? And how do we or our characters reconcile these ghosts into transformation and healing within present reality?

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andrew potter

2017 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: A Perfect Life and Other Stories Elaine Burnes

1) Each location, be it mundane or fantastical, is lovingly described and vividly imagined. The author manages to write two stories about tours through Alaska without the setting feeling rehashed between them, evokes changes in two women’s lives by the state of a car and a single office plant, and even manages to write a Halloween story that feels fresh through the use of weather. While most of these stories are in a contemporary setting, I must give a special shout-out to the one SFF story in this collection, as well as the fantastical visuals included in another otherwise-mundane tale. The author’s worldbuilding is filled with so many intricate details, from how children would survive on a desert planet (and how this fits into an intergalactic war) to how dangerous lasers would actually be in space. Even the story “The Gift,” which takes place in a shopping mall during the holidays, becomes evocative as the protagonist describes the mall as a grotesque insect queen littered with parasitic shoppers, a visual that wouldn’t seem out of place in a bizarre fantasy novel.

A Perfect Life and Other Stories Elaine Burnes
Lesbian - Anthology / Collection / Contemporary General Fiction
Paperback: 178 pages
Publisher: Bedazzled Ink Publishing (September 1, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1943837368
ISBN-13: 978-1943837366
Amazon: A Perfect Life and Other Stories Elaine Burnes

Call it happily ever after or a perfect life, it's a universal destination we all hope to reach. Lily plays out the anxieties of her freshman year while standing in line. Lin, wanting only to be left alone, watches a stranger waiting on her porch. Denny flies tourists around an Alaska mountain, hoping to forget, while Alice embarks on an adventure to remember. Tate and Emily, friends since childhood, team up to play out the pirate games of their youth, only this time it's not a game. From North America's highest mountain to that quirky town at the end of the hook of Cape Cod and well past the stars beyond, Burnes explores the hopes and fears that drive us all. With eight previously published stories, and the all new "Auto Repair," A Perfect Life and Other Stories is the first collection by the author of Wishbone.

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