November 12th, 2017

andrew potter

2017 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Pandora Marguerite Labbe

1) It became quickly apparent that this story would be a blending of genres, and often times that is a tricky adventure. However, Labbe mastered incorporating elements of Horror, Thriller, and Sci-Fi into one story. The romantic subplot even had a little BDSM woven into it, but the sex never felt gratuitous or unnecessary. The characters were all morally gray, which I totally appreciated given the setting of a space prison. The ship was dark, filled with shadows and had me turning the pages as quickly as I could get through them. Even the depiction of the alien - however superficial - felt like its description was purposely left ambiguous so that the reader created more of a monster than what the author described on the page. Well done!

Pandora Marguerite Labbe
Gay - Sci-Fi / Futuristic
Publisher: DSP Publications; 2nd Revised ed. edition (April 25, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1635333539
ISBN-13: 978-1635333534
Amazon: Pandora Marguerite Labbe

2nd Edition

Haunted by the screams of the men he murdered, ex-Marine medic Riff Khora is serving a life sentence on board a prison ship. Seeking more punishment for his crime, he strikes a deal with the corrupt Captain Vidal--an exchange of pleasure and pain--and forges a new life leading the team that surveys space wreckage for salvage.

Ship engineer Zed Jakobsen's psychometric abilities make prison a sentence worse than death, and the barrage of emotional stimuli is an unending torment. His only regret is that he didn't kill the monster who sent him to prison, and only a glimmer of hope to escape a judgment he doesn't deserve keeps him clinging to a brutal existence.

When they board derelict ship Pandora and discover a lone survivor, the hell of prison life plunges into abject horror. An epidemic of violence and insanity consumes their ship, driving the crew to murder and destruction. Mutual need draws Riff and Zed together, and their bond gives them the strength to fight a reality they cannot trust. But Vidal possesses the only means of escape from the nightmare, and he's not letting anyone leave alive.

First Edition published as Pandora in the Deep Into Darkness: Aliens, Alphas and Antiheroes Anthology by Smashwords, 2015.

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andrew potter

2017 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: The Chains of Their Sins (Taking Shield #4) Anna Butler

1) The world Anna Butler has created for her characters to interact in is complex and vivid. I was completely immersed in the customs, politics and different locations - superb world building. The plot is intricate, a real page turner with several surprises along the way. I am certainly looking forward to the next instalment.
2) I’m already a huge fan of this series. The world building is very detailed, the settings easy to visualise and the characters....I really felt for Bennet and Flynn in this story, and could feel their frustration and pain.  The plot is complex, and very engaging.

The Chains of Their Sins (Taking Shield #4) Anna Butler
Gay - Sci-Fi / Futuristic
Series: Taking Shield
Paperback: 344 pages
Publisher: Glass Hat Press; One edition (February 22, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1543166601
ISBN-13: 978-1543166606
Amazon: The Chains of Their Sins (Taking Shield #4) Anna Butler

Shield Captain Bennet arrives on the Gyrfalcon to take up his final year's posting before returning to the Shield Regiment after his rotation out. On the Gyrfalcon he faces up to the fallout from Makepeace—ethical, political and above all, personal. Will he be able to accept necessity: that knowing what the Maess are up to outweighs the humanitarian issues surrounding the prisoners he rescued from Makepeace? Can he ride out the political furore that follows the loss of the dreadnought Caliban? How will he cope with an entire year of serving under his father, Caeden? And worst of all, how in the name of every god in the Pantheon can he stand to see Flynn every single day, with the Fraternisation Regs standing between them and keeping them apart? It will be an interesting year. Bennet can hardly wait for it to be over. Of course, things never really do go to plan...

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andrew potter

2017 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Daimonion (The Apocalypse #1) J.P. Jackson

1) I did not like this book.  As I read, I called it "torture porn."  I thought I made that up, but apparently it is a real thing.  At first I thought it might be BDSM, something I also don't like, but it was way beyond that. However, as I considered each of the elements of the rating, I came to realize that, my personal feelings about the genre aside, this book was well-written.  The plot twists and how all the disparate elements and beings were interwoven, and came together at the end, were intriguing.  The locations were vividly drawn without being laid out like a roadmap.  The characters, grotesque as they all were, were intricate, thought out, unique, and played well - antagonized well - together.  I developed a certain level of sympathy for the main character, who still was evil, just for good reason.  The writing style was extremely painful, and at first I thought that might give it a lower rating, but by the end, it was clear that that was what the style needed to be, given the genre. I won't read another book by this author, and I won't recommend this book to anyone, but it certainly kept my attention, and is likely an excellent work for someone into this sort of thing.
2) If you're looking for a story that'll keep you at the edge of your seat, dying from intrigue? This is it. Wonderful, nail-biting story. I enjoyed every word I read. Definitely will be reading more from this author!

Daimonion (The Apocalypse #1) J.P. Jackson
Gay - Alternative Universe/Reality
Series: Apocalypse (Book 1)
Publisher: Ninestar Press, LLC (July 10, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1947139363
ISBN-13: 978-1947139367
Amazon: Daimonion (The Apocalypse #1) J.P. Jackson

Dati Amon wants to be free from his satyr master and he hates his job--hunting human children who display demon balefire. Every hunt has been successful, except one. A thwarted attempt ended up as a promise to spare the child of a white witch, an indiscretion Dati hopes Master never discovers.

But Master has devilish machinations of his own. He needs human-demon hybrids, the Daimonion, to raise the Dark Lord to the earthly realm. If Master succeeds, he will be immortal and far more powerful.

The child who was spared is now a man, and for the first time in three hundred years, Dati has a reason to escape Master's chains. To do that, Dati makes some unlikely alliances with an untrained soulless witch, a self-destructive shape shifter, and a deceitful clairvoyant. However, deals with demons rarely go as planned, and the cost is always higher than the original bargain.

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andrew potter

2017 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Comes a Horseman (Echoes Rising #3) Anne Barwell

1) I didn't think I was going to like this series because I am not a fan of historical fiction, but it turned out as a page turning marvel.
2) Last year I had the pleasure of reading and judging Winter Duet, Book 2 of the Echos Rising for the Rainbow Awards, and I was left fascinated by the end. Now, what an honor to have the opportunity of reading and judging Book 3, Comes a Horseman. This story was so compelling. It kept me glued to the screen from the beginning with so much excitement going on within its pages. I was at the edge of my seat almost constantly. This is a well written, well articulated, and well constructed story. Now I'm looking forward to reading Book 1, which I wish I had read first instead of last. Ms. Barwell is a magical writer, one to keep an eye on and one to read every book she publishes. Well done, Ms. Barwell! 

Comes a Horseman (Echoes Rising #3) Anne Barwell
Gay - Historical Romance
Series: Echoes Rising (Book 3)
Publisher: DSP Publications (August 1, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1635336651
ISBN-13: 978-1635336658
Amazon: Comes a Horseman (Echoes Rising #3) Anne Barwell

Sequel to Winter Duet
Echoes Rising: Book Three

France, 1944

Sometimes the most desperate struggles take place far from the battlefield, and what happens in secret can change the course of history.

Victory is close at hand, but freedom remains frustratingly just beyond the grasp of German physicist Dr. Kristopher Lehrer, Resistance fighter Michel, and the remaining members of the team sent by the Allies--Captain Matt Bryant, Sergeant Ken Lowe, and Dr. Zhou Liang--as they fight to keep the atomic plans from the Nazis. The team reaches France and connects with members of Michel's French Resistance cell in Normandy. Allied troops are poised to liberate France, and rescue is supposedly at hand. However, Kristopher is no longer sure the information he carries in his memory is safe with either side.

When StandartenfUhrer Holm and his men finally catch up with their prey, the team is left with few options. With a traitor in their midst, who can they trust? Kristopher realizes he must become something he is not in order to save the man he loves. Death is biding his time, and sacrifices must be made for any of them to have the futures they want.

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