December 7th, 2019

andrew potter

Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Blackbird in the Reeds by Sam Burns

Blackbird in the Reeds (The Rowan Harbor Cycle Book 1)

"I love a good story with a variety of paranormal/supernatural characters. The pace was great and the story moved forward with great interest as to how it would all turn out for the central character Devon."

"I love this book. In fact the entire series is great. Sam Burns has a way of dragging you into the story and keeping you entertained until you just can’t put the book down because you can’t wait to see what happens next!"


Who's afraid of the big bad wolf?

Not this redhead.

Devon Murphy has never believed that there were fairies at the bottom of the garden, but when he’s in an accident on his way to his grandmother’s house and comes face to face with the biggest, baddest wolf he’s ever seen, he’s forced to reconsider.

When his grandmother asks him to look into a string of suspicious accidents, he finds a much bigger mystery to unravel. From his childhood best friend to the too-attractive Deputy Wade Hunter, everyone in Rowan Harbor seems to have something to hide. Devon has to get to the bottom of it all before the accidents turn deadly.

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andrew potter

Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Driven by Suzanne Falter

Driven (Oaktown Girls Book 1)

"Nice easy read. Characters were well written. Page turner I didn’t want to put down. Looking forward to more in the series."

"I very much enjoyed this story - a great and unusual setup for the romance with very likable characters, even if Mr. Big was a bit neglected along the way. ;)"


Who says you can't find the love of your life while you're getting your tire fixed? Even IF your boss is actively trying to close her garage? Driven is the oldest woman-owned garage in Oakland - and the pride of the lesbian community. At least, it is until the uber-competitive former race car driver Mindy Rose shows up and opens her own garage, complete with chair massages and a sushi bar. Mindy's out to destroy Driven, a fact that galls her good-hearted, and very ethical Irish assistant Kate. This is just reinforced when Kate has an emergency blow out, and is forced to go into Driven for a repair. Instantly, she finds herself drawn to the tall, tantalizing co-owner Lizzy. That's when things get ... well ... complicated. Especially because Kate is an undocumented worker who seriously needs her job. Soon Kate finds herself hatching a secret scheme to save Driven, while falling hard for Lizzy. Yet, Lizzy has no idea she's part of the Mindy's nasty operation. Or even that Mindy is out to get her. Can sweet Kate and passionate Lizzy finally find the love they've been looking for forever? Or will Mindy find out and bring them and Driven down - and get Kate deported in the process? And when is Kate going to tell Lizzy who she actually is? It's just the beginning of the wild ride that is the Oaktown Girls series.


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Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Mosaic of the Dark by Lisa Dordal

Mosaic of the Dark

"This collection of poetry, collated under various subheadings, delves thoughtfully into many issues of significance to queer women (and non-queer women) – consent, religion, marginalisation/invisibility, philosophy, bereavement, secrets, to name a few. A thought-provoking read."

Poetry. Women's Studies. LGBTQIA Studies. MOSAIC OF THE DARK is a portrayal of one woman's journey to wholeness and addresses the psychological harm that can arise from restrictive societal expectations for women. As the speaker in these poems examines her own early experiences as a closeted lesbian trying to fit her life into the prescribed script of heterosexuality, she grapples with her mother's possibly non-heterosexual orientation and eventual death from alcoholism. In the end, the speaker successfully sheds familial and cultural expectations in favor of her true self and, in the process, experiences a spiritual re-visioning that allows her to move beyond the confines of a male-centered Christianity to a more expansive, mystical way of experiencing the divine.


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Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: The Great Village Bun Fight by Debbie McGowan

The Great Village Bun Fight

"This book was fun and a great joy to read. At times it had me laughing out loud. I loved the writing style, use of language and imagination."

All’s fair in love and war. But not in baking.

Part of Seasons of Love Anthology

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Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Boy Shattered by Eli Easton

Boy Shattered

"Writing about a high school shootings is such a serious subject, and it would have been easy to give it a huge amount of angst that could feel like exploitation. Eli Easton did a great job of writing this story about these two boys and their relationship and emotions, their community and classmates, and their parents. By keeping the story focused on the characters, it feels real and emotional, but not overdone."

"I could not put this book down. A great story. Terrific engaging characters. Contemporary subject matter handled well."


Popular athlete Brian had everything until a school shooter nearly killed him. He survived the massacre with the help of a hero—his classmate Landon, who faced death to help others… and who is openly gay. Brian might be alive, but he can’t face his fears or move on, especially since the shooters were never caught. He’s falling apart, and he can only reach for Landon and hope Landon will take his hand a second time.

Landon did what anyone would do when he found Brian dying on the cafeteria floor. He doesn’t think of himself as a hero, but he’s ready to take a stand against the gun violence tearing apart the lives of young people—people like Brian, who returned to school a shadow of the happy, outgoing quarterback Landon used to admire. Brian still needs him, and as their friendship grows and deepens, wounds might begin to heal. The bond they share could lead a new start for them both.

Only the terror that visited Jefferson Waller High School isn’t over yet.


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Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Hiroku by Laura Lascarso

Hiroku

"The author did an amazing job with this book. All the red flags are out and flying high to warn Hiroku away from Seth and a toxic relationship but the author shows us how easily some characters can manipulate and others can turn a blind eye seeing what they want to see. This book touched me as I read about situations and conversations that I knew too well. I laughed and cried."

Hiroku Hayashi is just coming into his own when he meets Seth Barrett on the basketball courts in the suburbs of Austin. With his shredded jeans, tousled hair and risky behavior, Seth more than lives up to his bad boy reputation.

Seth sees in Hiroku something Hiroku doesn’t see in himself—potential. With a hero-like worship, Hiroku embarks on a complicated and intense relationship with the older teen, who not only fascinates Hiroku as a lover but persuades him to take their experimentation to extremes. Hiroku reasons that if it feels good, then it must be okay.

But as Seth’s demands increase, Hiroku must ask himself, at what point is the sacrifice too much?

Told in parallel timelines of then and now, seventeen-year-old Hiroku weaves a story about emotional manipulation, abuse and addiction while struggling to understand the core of their relationship, who is to blame, and his own compulsion to choose Seth over everything else.

When fear is the heart of love, does it make your feelings any less real?


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Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Swamp Girl by Iza Moreau

Swamp Girl

"The moment I started this book, I was immersed. The narrator's voice is so conversational and what exposition is needed is woven fluidly (almost unnoticeably) into the narrative, which is an incredible skill. I'm giving extra points for the setting, which becomes its very own character. Whether we are in the dark, dank grit of the NYC subway, crowded into the borough where Sixteen lives and works, or sweltering in the swamp of the Florida Everglades, I was completely pulled into the location. The atmosphere created by the author is vivid and tangible, especially in the first half: grime and crime and a young woman who is street-savvy and capable but knows she's not invincible. I really connected with Sixteen here and was intrigued by the people who surrounded her. This drops off a little once we get to Florida and the action plot gets going, but this section is rife with unique side characters, and the women in the story - Sixteen, Carmen, and Dorinda - are well fleshed out, with real world problems; everyone has their own traumas and they are all given weight and importance regardless of what the other characters have gone through, but equally, the reader is given an ending push toward hope, of healing, of love, and of growth. Whether I believe a girl would hop a plane to Florida on a whim is beside the point; this story is so engaging that any leaps of faith are nicely folded in. I really enjoyed this."

"I thoroughly enjoyed this adventure story. I loved the main character and her voice. I enjoyed the author's imagination and writing style."


I decided to climb a tree and see if I could maybe make out a city somewhere, or even a road—any kind of civilization at all. I finally made it up pretty high and looked out through the greenery. Nada, nothing except all the water in the world and probably all the mangrove trees, too.
A tree trunk had floated under the branch I was on, which I thought was strange because there was no current. Then I saw the thing move, saw it lift its gatory head out of the water and look at me with mean eyes.
Now I was really screwed.

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Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: A Bittersweet Garden by Caren J. Werlinger

A Bittersweet Garden

"The interwoven threads of all the characters, both past and present, are just about pitch-perfect."

"This book drew me deeply into its world so much so that I felt I was having the dreams the protagonist was having and feeling the misty rain and sparkling sunshine as she walked and rode around this new-but-familiar bit of Ireland.  It even made me want to watch the movie that’s central to it to immerse myself further into this world.  The weaving of the generations-old Irish ancestry, the fae realms, the slow and natural evolution of romance, the deep family ties, the finding one’s true self, connecting to the earth, all those elements made for an amazing journey that will stay with me."

"Well-paced, well-plotted and well-written. Imagery is vibrant, and off-sets the retreaded plot."


Nora McNeill has always dreamed of exploring her Irish roots. When she finally gets the opportunity to spend a summer in the village where her grandparents grew up, the experience promises to live up to her very high expectations. Except for the ghost that is haunting her rented cottage and is soon invading her dreams.

Briana Devlin has arranged her life the way she likes it: a good dog, good mates, and work with horses. There’s no room in her life for a relationship. Especially with an annoyingly clumsy—and attractive—American who is only going to be around for a few months.

The weeks fly by, and Nora’s ghost becomes more demanding, seeking her help in solving the mystery surrounding her death. Briana watches as Nora becomes more wrapped up in the past, seeming to fade away before her eyes.

Past and present are on a collision course, leaving Nora and Briana caught in a ghostly intrigue that could cost them not only their chance of a future together, but their very lives.

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Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: The Doll Maker by Claire Highton-Stevenson

The Doll Maker: A Detective Sophie Whitton Story

"I liked this one. Pretty intense scenes. Enjoyed the plot and how the author weaves her twisted tale. Hope to read more like this from this author."

"Diaglogue is especially crisp, and the characters make up for it being somewhat predictable thriller. Didn't stop me from loving it thogh."


A body turns up in a field. She’s blonde, another victim. DI Sophie Whitton knows it's him – The man the press has dubbed: The Doll Maker. Whitton and her team must act fast if they are to stop anyone else falling victim to The Doll Maker. With an innate need to seek the truth and find justice for the dead, DI Whitton risks losing it all, including her long-term relationship with live-in lover, Yvonne, as she strives to find a killer, and maybe even herself along the way.

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Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Me Myself & Him by Chris Tebbetts

Me Myself & Him

"Fresh and creative approach to Coming of Age trope through use of parrallel stories and a Narrator point-of-view that is clever, engaging and very funny. Tebbetts has a laser-sharp ear for realism together with a heart for the sentimental. The author’s craft is well-honed and on top of that, it’s a page-turner!"

"I so wanted to share this with some of my students. Chris is a fantastic character and the split in timelines never feels contrived or hackneyed. Awesome read."


Perfect for fans of Becky Albertalli's Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and A. S. King's Still Life with Tornado, this story of parallel time lines cleverly explores how our choices can change and shape us--as well as the ways in which choices don't change the core of our being at all.

When Chris Schweitzer takes a hit of whippets and passes out face first on the cement, his nose isn't the only thing that changes forever. Instead of staying home with his friends for the last summer after high school, he's shipped off to live with his famous physicist but royal jerk of a father to prove he can "play by the rules" before Dad will pay for college.

Or . . . not.

In an alternate time line, Chris's parents remain blissfully ignorant about the accident, and life at home goes back to normal--until it doesn't. A new spark between his two best (straight) friends quickly turns Chris into a (gay) third wheel, and even worse, the truth about the whippets incident starts to unravel. As his summer explodes into a million messy pieces, Chris wonders how else things might have gone. Is it possible to be jealous of another version of yourself in an alternate reality that doesn't even exist?

With musings on fate, religion, parallel universes, and the best way to eat a cinnamon roll, Me Myself & Him examines how what we consider to be true is really just one part of the much (much) bigger picture.


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Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Nevertheless, We Persisted by Amy Klobuchar

Nevertheless, We Persisted: 48 Voices of Defiance, Strength, and Courage

"Each story is powerful, well-written and offers it message without being preachy. It's especially powerful that the stories are from a mix of ages, races, and sexualities. Within its pages is a place for all."

A powerful collection of essays from actors, activists, athletes, politicians, musicians, writers, and teens, including Senator Amy Klobuchar, actress Alia Shawkat, actor Maulik Pancholy, poet Azure Antoinette, teen activist Gavin Grimm, and many, many more, each writing about a time in their youth when they were held back because of their race, gender, or sexual identity--but persisted.

"Aren't you a terrorist?" "There are no roles for people who look like you." "That's a sin." "No girls allowed." They've heard it all. Actress Alia Shawkat reflects on all the parts she was told she was too "ethnic" to play. Former NFL player Wade Davis recalls his bullying of gay classmates in an attempt to hide his own sexuality. Teen Gavin Grimm shares the story that led to the infamous "bathroom bill," and how he's fighting it. Holocaust survivor Fanny Starr tells of her harrowing time in Aushwitz, where she watched her family disappear, one by one.

What made them rise up through the hate? What made them overcome the obstacles of their childhood to achieve extraordinary success? How did they break out of society's limited view of who they are and find their way to the beautiful and hard-won lives they live today? With a foreword by Minnesota senator and up-and-coming Democratic party leader Amy Klobuchar, these essays share deeply personal stories of resilience, faith, love, and, yes, persistence.

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Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: The Things That Come by Dan Ackerman

The Things That Come

"In the first couple of pages, when it turns out the main character is a murderer, I thought about not continuing on at all. But I did keep reading, and I read every word. The book is quite good. That first, horrible scene ended up quite moving. Granted, there were far too many typos and missing words throughout the book, but the writing style itself was so strong that I was willing to put up with it. The cast of characters was diverse—gay, bi, straight, men, women, white, black, and Persian. We had a Catholic, a Muslim, and others whose religion we didn’t know. Characters were stock boys, nurses, students, infants, and prostitutes. None of it felt forced. The diversity felt natural, with characters both happy and upset about the diversity. The most striking aspect of any of the characters was that of the main character, who was schizophrenic. I’m no expert, but I have a friend of thirty years who has schizophrenia, and the author created dialogue and behavior that seemed authentic. The main character is also a cutter, and I’ve known cutters, too. This behavior was also described in a realistic way. And I appreciated that these “faults” were not dealt with as negative, just problems to be dealt with. When strange or potentially sappy or cliché events happened, the author gave the characters realistic thoughts and dialogue that should keep most readers from groaning. I see from the list of other books by this author that they often write about paranormal characters. The relationship of two “investigators” who join up with the FBI to help the main character deal with regular assaults by “the things” is similar to the one in the TV series “Good Omens” (though it looks like this book was written before the series aired and does not seem to be an imitation). I personally would have preferred characters whose supernatural status wasn’t grounded in religion, but that’s just my own bias showing. We never do find out what “the things” are, but I do wish the author had come up with a more captivating title. It’s appropriate enough once you read the book, but I think the lackluster title might keep some readers from picking it up in the first place. The novel was interesting and entertaining, well worth my time. I think most other readers will enjoy it, too."

"The Things That Come is an engaging, character-driven paranormal story with well-developed relationships between the main character, his love interest and his best friend, and seamless, natural inclusion of diversity. Much of the narrative takes place between the paranormal events that are the main driver of the plot, so there is, for most of the novel, a darkness looming over David as he strives to both establish a 'normal' life and solve the crimes of the past that led his parents to take him away from his hometown. The central characters are fully fleshed out, the events are horrifying (but not overly graphic or gratuitous). I was rooting for David from the very first page. His portrayal, both as a bisexual man and someone with a diagnosis of schizophrenia, is flawless throughout. The romance is touching and authentic to the context. My only niggle is that the resolution/conclusion to the paranormal element was a little rushed after such a long, well-paced build-up, but all in all this is an excellent read, and I'll certainly be reading more of Dan Ackerman's work."

"This one really shines. Chapter one opens at a blistering pace with loads of tension, and never lets go. The story was just great; propelled not only by dark revelations of high school secrets but also driven by the plights of David, and a cast of characters so real they all but jump off the page. The Things that Come is a beautifully written exploration of character and redemption. I highly recommend. "


David never wanted to hurt anyone, but he didn't ever think he'd ever be made to choose between his own mutilation or someone else's life. With a threat like that hanging over his head, he returns to his hometown and reconnects with the one person who might believe that the things that come to visit him some nights aren't just another hallucination.

Between his current predicament, an active serial killer, the still-unsolved murders of his classmates in high school, and trying to make his life livable again, David isn't headed down an easy path. He'll need all the help he can get and with a past like his, it isn't easy to ask.

Lucky for him, an old friend and a new one join together to help David keep himself, and others, out of danger. Or, they do the best they can while trying to stay off the radar of the police, FBI, and whatever it is that's been making David's life a living hell.

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andrew potter

Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Slasher Crasher by David Nora

Slasher Crasher

"Slasher Crasher unapologetically satirizes Halloween, but it's so much more. It has all the 80's-porn nostalgia of Stranger Things, and more drama than Dawson's Creek and 90210 combined. And the characters were spot on! It was like high school all over again. We know these people because we went to school with someone just like them. Slasher Crasher was fun, funny, and delightfully grisly. Homerun on this one. "

It was the night HE tried to go home...but got caught in THEIR drama...

It’s Halloween. Nick Roesch, a towering figure of evil and stupidity, escapes from the upstate New York mental hospital he’s been committed to for the past five years. Planning to return to his childhood home, where he brutally murdered his babysitter’s boyfriend, his plans are halted when he crosses paths with an even more terrifying beast—two high school friends with some serious beef. Caught in a battle of loyalty that has been brewing for ten years of their friendship, the two girls, Kathleen Strife and Betsy Coleman, force the feud into a savage showdown, pitting the escaped monster against each other. Who will survive this epic deathmatch, and is it totally wrong to fall in love with the murderous lunatic who just tried to kill your ex-best friend with a machete?


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Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Contact (A New World #1) by M.D. Neu

Contact (A New World Book 1)

"This is a well written story and pulled me in from the beginning. i like sci fi stories that keep me wondering and this is just what Contact does. Can’t wait to see what happens in book two."

"An excellent book that I'd highly recommend to readers of the genre it had me laughing crying and praying for the characters. A book I thought about often for a long time after I'd read it."

A little blue world, the third planet from the sun. It’s home to seven billion people—with all manner of faiths, beliefs, and customs, divided by bigotry and misunderstanding—who will soon be told they are not alone in the universe. Anyone watching from the outside would pass by this fractured and tumultuous world, unless they had no other choice. Todd Landon is one of these people, living and working in a section of the world called the United States of America. His life is similar to those around him: home, family, work, friends, and a husband.

On the cusp of the greatest announcement humankind has ever witnessed, Todd’s personal world is thrown into turmoil when his estranged brother shows up on his front porch with news of ships heading for Earth’s orbit. The ships are holding the Nentraee, a humanoid race who have come to Earth in need of help after fleeing the destruction of their homeworld. How will one man bridge the gap for both the Humans and Nentraee, amongst mistrust, terrorist attacks, and personal loss? Will this be the start of a new age of man or will bigotry and miscommunication bring this small world to its knees and final end?

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Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Conviction (A New World #2) by M.D. Neu

Conviction (A New World Book 2)

"I loved this story. It was fortunate that I had already read the first book Contact, as this next installment flows seamlessly into the next section of the tale. Todd is the perfect 'everyman'. I completely connected with the character, and Neu had me turning pages wanting to discover how he fairs in his precarious new position as an emissary to an alien race, and in his burgeoning new interspecies romance! There are a lot of parallels here to be tied to our current world, which made the book even more appealing, and without being preachy, really sent home the message of kindness, love, bravery and doing what's right. I highly recommend not only the book but the series."

" I read this book in one session. A well rounded sci-fi story that I could imagine as a movie. "

"The two books in this series are easily among the best books I've read in 2019. They have everything I want from a Sci-Fi book. An emotional rollercoaster with twists and turns and world building. They are excellently written."


A little blue world, the third planet from the sun. It’s home to 7 billion people with all manner of faiths, beliefs and customs, divided by bigotry and misunderstanding, who will soon be told they are not alone in the universe. Anyone watching from the outside would pass by this fractured and tumultuous world, unless they had no other choice.

Todd Landon is one of these people, living and working in a section of the world called the United States of America. His life is similar to those around him: home, family, work, friends and a husband.

After the attack on San Jose, Todd is appointed to Special Envoy for Terran Affairs by the nentraee, a position many world leaders question. Undeterred Todd wants to build bridges between both people. However, this new position brings with it a new set of problems that not only he, but his new allies Mi’ko and Mirtoff must overcome. Will the humans and nentraee learn to work together despite mistrust and threats of more attacks by a new global terrorist group, or will the terrorists win? Will this bring an end to an already shaky alliance between nentraee and humans?

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Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: The Stark Divide by J. Scott Coatsworth

The Stark Divide (Liminal Sky)

"This book is three stories about mostly the same people divided by time, but the settings in each were so starkly different that, by the end, the settings were characters themselves. Each was a complete and unique world with intimate details drawing the reader in. The fantastical notions that populated them made them places I wanted to explore. I hope the author will continue to evolve this world much as Anne McCaffery did with Pern. My only critique of to this book is that when someone was going to do something bad, they were written as a bad person without sympathy, and good people were just good. A little predictable, though very nicely fleshed out otherwise. I like a little more nuance and complexity. However, it’s an excellent read."

"A highly recommended SF read, it was a totally gripping read. The world building and descriptions of technology were very  interesting and well done to avoid bogging down the story. The characters were fascinating."


Liminal Sky: Book One

Some stories are epic.

The Earth is in a state of collapse, with wars breaking out over resources and an environment pushed to the edge by human greed.

Three living generation ships have been built with a combination of genetic mastery, artificial intelligence, technology, and raw materials harvested from the asteroid belt. This is the story of one of them--43 Ariadne, or Forever, as her inhabitants call her--a living world that carries the remaining hopes of humanity, and the three generations of scientists, engineers, and explorers working to colonize her.

From her humble beginnings as a seedling saved from disaster to the start of her journey across the void of space toward a new home for the human race, The Stark Divide tells the tales of the world, the people who made her, and the few who will become something altogether beyond human.

Humankind has just taken its first step toward the stars.

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Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Granola Bars and Spaceships by Geneva Vand

Granola Bars and Spaceships

"Granola Bars and Spaceships is a fun, light, well-crafted tale of love across the universe. I enjoyed every minute!"

"When I saw the title I looked forward to reading the book, it sounded fun and it was. Swift easy to read light hearted fun. There was just enough clever thought-provoking content in the story to stop and make you think. for instance, we all have that experience of thinking we've seen something move out of the corner of our eye, but when we look more closely there is nothing there, or is there?"


In the middle of a training trip, Keeska’s shuttle navigation fails and strands Keeska on Earth—alone, no way to contact home, and with no chance of help from the locals…until one does.

When Eric starts leaving food in front of an abandoned storefront in the crappy strip mall by his house, he thought he was helping a dog or a homeless kid. He gets the shock of his life when he discovers an alien instead. Not sure what else to do, especially with the alien bleeding and in shock, Eric realizes he’s about to have an unusual houseguest.

But as Keeska’s health improves, they both forget that Keeska should probably be finding a way home. As they grow increasingly close, they are forced to figure out the answers to questions they never thought would have to be asked…

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andrew potter

Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Magic or Die by J.P. Jackson

Magic or Die

"This is a thrill ride, and quite well written."

James Martin is a teacher, a powerful Psychic, and an alcoholic. He used to work for the Center for Magical Research and Development, a facility that houses people who can't control their supernatural abilities, but left after one of his students was killed, turning to vodka to soothe his emotional pain. The problem is he still has one year left on his contract.

When James is forced to return to the CMRD, he finds himself confronting the demons of his past and attempting to protect his new class from a possible death sentence, because if they don't pass their final exams, they'll be euthanized.

James also discovers that his class isn't bringing in enough sponsors, the agencies and world governments who supply grants and ultimately purchase graduates of the CMRD, and that means no profit for the facility. James and his students face impossible odds--measure up to the facility's unreachable standards or escape.

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Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: The End by M. Rose Flores

The End

"I thoroughly enjoyed this well-written, fast-paced Zombie horror YA book and would recommend it to readers who enjoy YA post-apocalyptic books."

"This book is a fine example of a fresh take on zombie stories. Her writing style keeps readers engaged and the story is well worth the read. "


On Cate Mortensen's seventeenth birthday, her family is scattered in a fight for survival, and she and her sister Melody are catapulted headfirst into a world where their phones are just hunks of plastic, they must scavenge for every bite, and they sleep with weapons in their hands. Traveling alone, and then not so alone, they follow the route their family planned to Alcatraz Island where the hope of safety and a real life awaits.

After more than a year on the road, Cate has found three things to be true. One: Zombies are a thing now. Two: Not all zombies are just zombies. Three (the game changer): Cate is immune to the infection.

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andrew potter

Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: A Muse to Live For by Katherine Wyvern

A Muse to Live For

"A beautifully written romance with characters you can't help loving. Nathaniel is a brilliant artist suffering from depression and unable to paint until one night he sees Gabrielle under a street lamp. The world sees her as a whore, Nathaniel considers her his muse and knows he not only must paint her, he must love her. Even when he discovers that Gabrielle is in fact, Gabriel, his love does not waver. Rescuing him from a life of poverty and abuse becomes Nathaniel's goal in life. Together, and with the help of an old friend of Nathaniel's, they escape to Europe. Nathaniel's paintings of only Gabrielle are a small sensation in the art world. Could it be that at last Gabriel has found a way to live his life as he wishes, or will the artist tire of his muse and return him to the seedy streets of London? As I said, beautifully written with prose and dialogue that will alternately chill and delight you. Excellent."

"A beautiful and unusual love story, with a character who is not so much trans as truly androgynous.  It seems as though it could be genuinely historical – though the 'historical footnote' and book/author quoted at the end turn up no internet search hits.  It's a credit to the author that I did try to find out if that book was real."

"This was such a beautiful read, a wonderful romance about a sad young painter and the lady of the night who becomes his muse. Wyvern's story is a work of art about the creation of art, one that perfectly evokes an era, reading like a rediscovered Victorian manuscript that she has simply given a polish for a contemporary audience."


London, 1884

An artist lives to create. When Nathaniel’s urge to paint died, so did his will to live.

Until the night he meets Gabrielle.

Gabrielle may be just a poor prostitute, but she has the beauty of a Pre-Raphaelite stunner and the otherworldly aura of a fallen angel. She also has a secret. Gabrielle is Gabriel, and when Gabriel’s dark past comes knocking and Gabrielle must abandon her new career as an artist’s model, Nathaniel’s whole world comes crashing down again.

Better to die than living without her love, and the breathtaking creative drive she brought him. But it’s dead easy to die for a woman. Any fool can die for love. To live for it, that takes altogether more courage, doggedness, and imagination.

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andrew potter

Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Miracle by E. Davies

Miracle (Men of Hidden Creek Season 3 Book 1)

"A cute Christmas story. The plot took a bit to develop but that’s ok. I could tell that it was a continuation of a series that I hadn’t read but I was still able to follow along."

"I'm always thrilled to read a romance with a character comfortable with his bisexuality."


“Don’t go yet. Stay here, with me.”

Newly-divorced at forty, Pete Miele’s life didn’t go as planned. When he stumbles into dating men by showing enthusiastic, twenty-four-year-old newcomer Nick around Hidden Creek, can he endure the judgment of old friends?

Coming out cost Nick Mitchell his degree, so his family exiled him at Thanksgiving. Running away to advertise Hidden Creek as a gay tourist gem could help him start a new life. If only it could be with kind and chivalrous Pete. But blood is thicker than water, and he has to go home someday, right?

One sings Jingle Bells and one says humbug, and that’s just the beginning of their differences. When Nick and Pete are drawn together, they start to realize their problems might be in their own heads… but that makes them all the harder to fix. Can Christmas bring both men the miracle they need?

Welcome to Hidden Creek, Texas, where the heart knows what it wants, and where true love lives happily ever after. Every Men of Hidden Creek novel can be read on its own, but keep an eye out for familiar faces around town! This book contains a flying plate of cookies, a protective hunk of a farmer, and several ugly Christmas sweaters.

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andrew potter

Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Behind These Doors (Radical Proposals #1) by Jude Lucens

Behind These Doors: Radical Proposals Book 1

"An unusual love story set in the Edwardian era. Lucien Saxby, a journalist is attracted to Aubry Fanshawe, an aristocrat who in turn is involved in a polyamorous affair with a married couple, Rupert and Henrietta Hernedale. A complicated situation, never mind that Lucien also has dalliances with Ben, a married man with four children. Somehow, they all make this work, and there is deep love and affection here. The backdrop of women's suffrage adds historical and political interest as Lucien is forced by his editor to cover the escalating unrest when women march in London's streets and men in power are forced to listen to their grievances. The story is beautifully written, superb narrative and intelligent dialogue go a long way to draw the reader into a time when same sex love could lead to scandal and in some cases imprisonment. When family felt it had the right to interfere in once's personal affairs and young men of substance were presumed to be marriage fodder, or what on earth was wrong with him? I liked Behind these Doors very much and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical romance and perhaps is looking for something different in the genre. One little niggle - the over abundant use of colons spoiled for me what in every other way was flawless story-telling."

"I really enjoyed this historical story set in turn-of-the-century London, about love growing between a gay journalist and a bisexual, poly aristocrat. From the characters to the emotionally complex relationships to the grounding in historical context, class differences, and the women's movement, the parts of this story melded seamlessly into a great read. The main characters each have their flaws, their reactive points and self-doubts. I appreciated that falling in love didn't have to mean devaluing older relationships. With strong female characters as well, this was a book I will come back to and I'm delighted to see it is the first in a series."

"I love this book! I read it twice. I would give it high ratings."


Lucien Saxby is a journalist, writing for the society pages. The Honourable Aubrey Fanshawe, second son of an earl, is Society. They have nothing in common, until a casual encounter leads to a crisis.

Aubrey isn’t looking for love. He already has it, in his long-term clandestine relationship with Lord and Lady Hernedale. And Lucien is the last man Aubrey should want. He’s a commoner, raised in service, socially unacceptable. Worse, he writes for a disreputable, gossip-hungry newspaper. Aubrey can’t afford to trust him when arrest and disgrace are just a breath away.

Lucien doesn’t trust nobs. Painful experience has taught him that working people simply don’t count to them. Years ago, he turned his back on a life of luxury so his future wouldn’t depend on an aristocrat’s whim. Now, thanks to Aubrey, he’s becoming entangled in the risky affairs of the upper classes, antagonising people who could destroy him with a word.

Aubrey and Lucien have too much to hide—and too much between them to ignore. Rejecting the strict rules and closed doors of Edwardian society might lead them both to ruin… but happiness and integrity alike demand it.
An Edwardian polyamorous romance

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andrew potter

Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Bones and Bourbon by Dorian Graves

Bones and Bourbon

"This is a great story that wraps you up in its story. The author does a wonderful job in creating a world that we know, but is completely new. The characters are charming, relatable and intelligent. If you are looking for a fun read this is it."

"Graves takes the reader on an unimaginable and creative quest with killer unicorns, huldras and furaribis. The story's landscape is surreal and otherworldly just like Alice's tumble through the rabbit hole. If you're looking for action, adventure and a story about the Fae that is completely different, you have to put this on your reading list. Remarkable!"


Half-huldra Retz Gallows is having an awful day. First, he wakes up in the middle of driving to who-knows-where with an angry unicorn head in his passenger seat. This is almost normal, thanks to a lifetime of sharing a body with Nalem, a bone-controlling spirit with a penchant for wicked schemes and body-stealing joyrides. It’s probably a bad idea to ask what else could go wrong.

Jarrod Gallows left home with plans to rescue his little brother from possession. Instead, he got saddled with a dead-end job as a paranormal investigator, a Faerie curse, and a daredevil boyfriend who might be from another world. At least he’s got a new job—except why is his brother Retz here and why does this sudden reunion feel more like a bane than a blessing?

This day’s going to get worse for the Gallows brothers before it gets better. To survive, they’ll have to escape the forces controlling them, as well as the wrath of carnivorous unicorns, otherworldly realms, and even their own parents. Only time will tell if they’ll make it out alive…or sober.

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andrew potter

Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Ascension by Arshad Ahsanuddin

Ascension (The Interscission Project Book 5)

"It’s great to read a fabulous sci-fi story with a romping plot."

"This author weaves complex storylines into a novel that keeps the reader guessing at every turn."


History is a Lie. One final battle will decide whether Humanity will survive to tell the tale.
Welcome, to the End of Days.

Jacob Atkins was eighteen years old when he lost his best friend, Mark. Since then, he’s tried to move on with his life, building a career in the Hourglass Corps. Then an unexpected convergence of events threatens to expose the Hourglass, and destroy everything they have tried to accomplish.
Martin Atkins thought he was perfectly happy as a relatively unremarkable Captain in the Confederation Marines, until a terse message landed in his inbox from a man he thought was the love of his life. Now, all the secrets his family has inherited are at risk, not only from humanity, but from an insidious threat that he has only glimpsed until now.
Calvin Teague has been Michelle Atkins’s obsession since the Janus Incident. But the fugitive traitor is much more than he appears, and at long last, all the misshapen puzzle pieces fall into place as the mystery of his role is finally unravelled, leaving her with no option but to wage a desperate war against the most implacable and terrifying enemy humanity has ever faced:
Its children.

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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best Gay Young Adult

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Laura Lascarso – Hiroku


Hiroku

"The author did an amazing job with this book. All the red flags are out and flying high to warn Hiroku away from Seth and a toxic relationship but the author shows us how easily some characters can manipulate and others can turn a blind eye seeing what they want to see. This book touched me as I read about situations and conversations that I knew too well. I laughed and cried."

Laura Lascarso - When Everything Is Blue

When Everything Is Blue

"This was cute. This was sweet, exciting, fun, rejuvenating to read! Although the surfing didn't happen but a couple of times, it brought me back to when I used to watch the surfers on the beaches of Puerto Rico. This is a fabulous, sweet story and as I mentioned before, fun to read."

2.
S.M. James - In Case You Missed It


In Case You Missed It: LGBTQ Second Shot Romance (The lovehim Series Book 5)

"S.M. James has written a young adult novel full of teenage emotion and angst. The first-person narration shifts from chapter to chapter as we delve into the minds and hearts of Brooks and Darien. They are likeable characters, and their dialogue and texts are clever and realistic. Gay teens will relate to these two thoughtful young men and their relationship."

"The story was sweet as well as the romance between the MCs. This is the first time I read story that deals with cystic fibrosis. While I know nothing about the illness, I suspect the author did extensive research or has experience with family history or a friend. When I came across the first mention of CF, I paused reading to do research. I was impressed with how the plot developed once I knew about it. Very well done. The only thing I didn't care for was the first person/present tense writing. The rest? wonderful story!"


Eli Easton - Boy Shattered

Boy Shattered

"Writing about a high school shootings is such a serious subject, and it would have been easy to give it a huge amount of angst that could feel like exploitation. Eli Easton did a great job of writing this story about these two boys and their relationship and emotions, their community and classmates, and their parents. By keeping the story focused on the characters, it feels real and emotional, but not overdone."

"I could not put this book down. A great story. Terrific engaging characters. Contemporary subject matter handled well."


3.
Mia Kerick – Torn


Torn (Mia Kerick Story Ballads Book 1)

Vinny Bucci and Tommy Stecker are almost cousins. (Their mothers call themselves “sisters of the heart,” so that sort of makes them cousins, doesn’t it?) Since childhood, they’ve shared holidays and Sunday services and their passion for soccer. But now they’re eighteen, high school seniors, and what has always been devoted friendship—the next best thing to family—has started to feel like something else. Something more….

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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best Gay Humor

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Michael Scott Garvin - Aunt Sookie & Me: The Sordid Tale of a Scandalous Southern Belle

Aunt Sookie & Me: the sordid tale of a scandalous southern belle

"If you want to read outstanding, character-driven fiction, this is a book for you. The characters absolutely leap off the pate. The setting is well drawn as well. And the writing is sharp and smart. I loved this."

2.
Joe Cosentino - Drama Dance (Nicky and Noah mystery #8)

Drama Dance: A Nicky and Noah Mystery (Nicky and Noah Mysteries Book 8)

Theatre professor Nicky Abbondanza is back at Treemeadow College directing their Nutcracker Ballet co-starring his spouse, theatre professor Noah Oliver, their son Taavi, and their best friend and department head, Martin Anderson. With muscular dance students and faculty in the cast, the Christmas tree on stage isn’t the only thing rising. When cast members drop faster than their loaded dance belts, Nicky and Noah will once again need to use their drama skills to figure out who is cracking the Nutcracker’s nuts, trapping the Mouse King, and being cavalier with the Cavalier, before Nicky and Noah end up stuck in the Land of the Sweets. You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat entertaining eighth novel in this delightful series. Take your seats. The curtain is going up on the Fairy—Sugar Plum that is, clumsy mice, malfunctioning toys, and murder!

Joe Cosentino - Drama Detective (Nicky and Noah mystery #5)

Drama Detective: A Nicky and Noah Mystery (Nicky and Noah Mysteries) (Volume 5)

"I’m a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes, and so was looking forward to this one. It did not disappoint. To say it’s tongue in cheek would of course be an understatement, but what surprised (and gladdened) me was the amount of heart in the story, particularly in the family dynamics and relationships between Nicky, Noah, and Taavi. There are a lot of sobering issues addressed in this book, but the over-the-top silliness that abounds coupled with the uncomplicated prose delivery softens the blow and allows for the dark to work together with the light. Though some of the jokes got repetitive, there were also several comic gems that had me laughing out loud. I enjoyed this! It put a smile on my face."

3.
David Nora - Slasher Crasher

Slasher Crasher

"Slasher Crasher unapologetically satirizes Halloween, but it's so much more. It has all the 80's-porn nostalgia of Stranger Things, and more drama than Dawson's Creek and 90210 combined. And the characters were spot on! It was like high school all over again. We know these people because we went to school with someone just like them. Slasher Crasher was fun, funny, and delightfully grisly. Homerun on this one. "

Damian Serbu - Santa Is a Vampire

Santa is a Vampire

Simon the Elf wants to tell you the true story behind Jolly Ole St. Nick. Yeah, he’s a vampire. But that alleged gift giver and lover of children hides more than that fact from you. And what about Mrs. Claus and Rudolph? Venture into a world of enslaved elves, enchanted animals, and death wrought by Santa himself. With his sharp wit, Simon will lead you into the darkest realms of Christmas. Warning: Simon cusses a lot. But you would, too, if Santa held you captive.

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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best Lesbian Romantic Comedy

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Lynn Ames - Great Bones

Great Bones

"I adored this book. The story captured me and kept me turning pages. I wouldn't mind a sequel!"

"Charming and fast-paced ‘renta yenta’ tale involving a couple of grandmothers, a couple of grand-daughters and a whole lot of angst. When the grandmothers decide to play matchmaker, the lesbian grand-daughters don’t stand a chance. Snappy dialog, good character development, a few too many cliches but harmless and happily so."

2.
Lisa Moreau - Lovebirds

Lovebirds

Emily Wellington loves birds. Sydney Cooper loves pole dancing. The last thing they expect is to fall in love with each other.

3.
A.J. Adaire - Match Me

Match Me

What do Casey Harrison and Mica Baxter have in common? Apparently pretty much everything. Having known each other since high school, the two peas in a pod, long-time friends and business partners, are a couple in every way but one. That line hasn’t been crossed, due to Casey's industrial strength walls and set in stone conviction against becoming romantically involved with a friend.


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