December 8th, 2019

andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best LGBTA Poetry

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Jan Steckel - Like Flesh Covers Bone

Like Flesh Covers Bone

"This was an excellent collection of poetry. Each theme was explored through several kinds of styles and feelings. Emotions ranged from heartfelt to somber to angry, among others—and all of the poems thoughtful and invoked great imagery. The poems were witty and insightful. The collection was thoughtful and critical of the current dilemmas we face."

"Poetry is sometimes hard to judge—you either get it or you don’t. Some of these were very dark, but I can honestly say I liked them."

"Overall, I thought her poetry strong and dynamic. Her words build on current events and deep social issues. It wasn’t a fluffy read but felt very relevant to things happening now and made me think that this author is a warrior with words."

"Steckel is brilliant.  Not all the poems have the same power, but those that do really dazzle."


2.
Renée Vivien (translator Samantha Pious) - A Crown of Violets

A Crown of Violets

"I loved the fact that this book gave both the French and then the English translation for each poem—I found it very interesting. I liked the poems as well."

"Beautiful explorations of the complexities of a full spectrum female love — joyful, tortured, expectant, unrequited. Brave and unabashed. Also, the translation sparkles, bringing the verse dancing to life on the page. Absolutely wonderful."


Sandra de Helen - Desire Returns for a Visit

Desire Returns for a Visit: Intimate Poems about Lesbian Love

"The poetry in this book was a bit hit and miss for me but as I was judging it overall, I give it an outstanding rate."

"The author wrote with lyrical, beautiful sentences that painted pictures in my mind. Her choices in style and presentation were fabulous."


3.
Lisa Dordal - Mosaic of the Dark

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."

Julie Marie Wade - Same-Sexy Marriage: A Novella in Poems

Same-Sexy Marriage

"I found this entire approach to be fascinating. I had a very clear picture early on of the author herself as well as other intertwined into her story, especially her mother and the fictional husband created by her mother. Although a tad confusing, I liked also the alternative ending she provided for the fictional marriage ... or at least I assume it's fictional, hence the commend about confusing. She's created a new twist on an ancient genre --epic poetry. Must admit I like her approach much better than the classic poetry I used to fall asleep reading."


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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best Bisexual Historical & Paranormal Romance

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Jude Lucens - Behind These Doors (Radical Proposals #1


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."


2.
E.J. Russell - Demon on the Down-Low (Supernatural Selection #3)

Demon on the Down-Low (Supernatural Selection Book 3)

"It was a thrill to read this book because it was very well written and exciting. A true page-turner. It was a plus to see characters from the previous book revisited within this new story and it was a bit sad to see everything come to an end. I need to read more of this author’s work."

"I fell instantly in love with Hamish, an Australian Kangaroo shifter who's gruff personality was on point throughout the entire novel. Hamish had depth, he was real to me. And then there was Zeke, who was conflicted, frenetic and utterly adorable. Zeke, being the good demon he is, just wants to please everyone. There were moments in this story where I laughed out loud. There were also a few spots where the description of hell sent shivers down my spine. Well done EJ Russell, it's not easy to disturb me! This was cute, fun, sexy and Russell had you rooting for the demon the entire time. This whole series is just joy. Highly Recommend."


3.
Lexi Ander - Caledonia Destiny

Caledonia Destiny (Blessed Bane Book 1)

"Caledonia Destiny hooked me from page one. I did have an inkling of how things would transpire, but the author twisted the end in such a unique way, I was still surprised at the resolution. The setting was very well balanced, enough description to ground the reader without going overboard. There were a few places where character remarks clouded the setting, but they were few and my mind readily dismissed them. The characters’ depth and growth was masterfully handled. The emotions and reactions felt real, when a book brings me to tears, the loss of Roi, I know I’ve connected to well developed characters. The style is probably my favorite part of the book. I’ve read others that use period spelling, but only in speech. The choice to do so, to research not only changes in spelling but in terminology, was what truly pulled me into Ewen and Roi’s world. The writing style immersed me in this world, compelled me to remain. In summary, this was an excellently composed story, one that draws a reader in so completely that they must blink to remember where they really are. "

"All the beautiful writing I expect from a Lexi Ander book with worldbuilding skills on par with my favorite fantasy romances. The blend of history, magic, action and romance is wonderfully compelling. Really enjoyable to read."


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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best Lesbian Historical

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Elena Graf - Lies of Omission


Lies of Omission (Passing Rites Book 3)

"The writer captured the tone of the between-the-world-wars-era aristocratic Germany perfectly. The characters were complex and nuanced, and their story arcs compellingly told."

"I was engrossed from the very start about what happens with relationships during WWII--weather it be interpersonal or work related, with Margarithe. Wonderfully rich storytelling had me wanting for more, and I could hardly wait to start the next book in the series."


Elena Graf - Acts of Contrition

Acts of Contrition (Passing Rites Book 4)

"Full Marks, once again for the author for the excellent continuation of what happens after the war ends with Margarithe. While this book could have been a gross and detailed account of the evils that happened to Margarithe, Ms. Graf lead us through without heavy trauma which only enhanced and kept me reading until the very last word."

2.
Jane Alden - Across A Crowded Room


Across A Crowded Room

"This story was engaging from the get-go with the vivid imagery of the opening sequence of events."

3.
Kim Finney - Under The Microscope


Under The Microscope

"The true mark of an historical novel of this calibre is that it always stays in 'character' and allows no 21st Century 'isms' to creep in. Nor does it reduce the complexity of the language and culture of the times into something more palatable to our politically and socially 'correct' mores. This story is a thing of beauty, and I enjoyed it immensely."

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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best Bisexual Fantasy

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Jeanne G’Fellers - Cleaning House


Cleaning House (Appalachian Elementals Book 1)

"Jeanne G'Fellers writing is a refreshing bit of story telling, able to weave magic into the story line and give life to wonderfully robust queer characters. I can't wait to read the next in the series. Thank you for allowing me to read this piece."

2.
Ariana Nash - Silk & Steel


Silk and Steel 2: Iron & Fire

Alliances are forged and broken, friendships shattered, and despite the odds stacked against them, two hearts collide in this explosive sequel to Silk & Steel.

3.
Megan Derr - Dragon Magic


Dragon Magic

"Dragon Magic is a highly enjoyable adventure with deeply complex and interesting characters, twisty politics, magic, and smoldering love. It's the perfect recipe!"

"A slow start, and I was initially perturbed by the conflict between the characters, but once I settled in . . . what a wonderful fantasy, full of action and adventure, and (OMG!) polyamorous romance."


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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best Lesbian Fantasy & Paranormal Romance

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Beryll and Osiris Brackhaus - Orc Haven


Orc Haven

"This story was a joy to read, from beginning to end."

2.
Helen Jayne - Aegle: sapphic Soulmates


Aegle: Sapphic Soulmates

A sizzling enemies to lovers lesbian romance.

3.
Veronica Watts - Her of the Wood

Her of the Wood

"Veronica Watts' writing style is unique and engaging. I found myself completely drawn in to Her of the Wood, truly caring for the characters as I got to know them. A great read!"

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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best Gay Fantasy

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Xia Xia Lake - Shinigami


Shinigami: Takamagahara Monogatari Book 2

"Reading the author’s introduction, I found the premise of this story intriguing. I’m not familiar with Noh theatre or the storylines this story was based on. At the same time, the prose was so clear and sparkling that I was drawn in, in no time. It’s a beautifully structured story — the slowest of slow burns, but gorgeous through and through. Truly a delight."

"I have never felt the attraction for this type of story but I must admit, the author's writing style is one that engulfed all my senses and left me wanting more. It was a sweet story packed with a lot of feels. I wouldn't mind reading the next book for this one was a HFN."

"I enjoyed this book very much because it was so different up until the end.  I ultimately finished the last paragraph disappointed and asking "what just happened?" Love how the author built a fictional world using Japanese folklore combined with historical facts."

2.
Angel Martinez - The Mage on the Hill


The Mage on the Hill (The Web of Arcana Book 1)

"I loved the world building in this story. It was rich and detailed, and I particularly liked the mix of magic and our world, complete with pop culture references. The magic system is very original and well thought out. I also loved the characters who complement each other, while being endearing in their own right. The story pulled me in immediately and didn’t let go until the final page, and I found the writing style very easy to read."

3.
Dan Ackerman - For A Glance


For A Glance (The Serpent's Throne Trilogy Book 1)

"Fresh and original treatment of Satan as a kind of good guy who is thoughtful, discerning and far too philosophically aware of his own fall from grace to be overly arrogant. As Lucifer, he (Satan) is in charge of Hell and, apparently, Purgatory, we see and feel the heat as temptation, cruelty, carnal lust, even a kind of romance, flourish in this busy traffic hub of falls from grace. Lucifer is nothing if not Quality Control Manager of the Underworld, despite his royal status as head devil. Although most arrive because of “getting their just desserts,” a few people arrive accidently—some vague algorithmic error or mathematical discrepancy—and are being punished harshly, through no fault of their own, don’tcha know! Meanwhile, the Angels above couldn’t care less—It’s all so beneath them and they are terribly busy, you see! Still, Lucifer has to sort this out. He has, after all, a sense of fairness and justice, however ironic that may seem. In this m/m retelling of the devil-as-(once-) human mythology, the author creates a Fantasy world of oddities and yet familiarities, paradoxes and conundrums. There are parts of the Nine Circles Of Hell that almost conjure up Paradise…lost or otherwise. The novel is spooky that way, and hugely entertaining. Lucifer wants nothing so much as a boyfriend. Complete with hugs, kisses and…hotness. Amusing, thought provoking and well written. Plus cats and kittens."

Lisa Henry – Anhaga

Anhaga

"I could not put Anhaga down. Henry's style of writing just about blew me away; she's funny, complex, intriguing. I was drawn in completely by the world she created and her well developed characters. I definitely want to see more of Min, Kaz, and Harry!"

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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Lesbian Fantasy

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Caren J. Werlinger - A Bittersweet Garden


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."


2.
Kellie Doherty - Sunkissed Feather and Severed Ties


Sunkissed Feathers and Severed Ties (Broken Chronicles Book 1)

"This book had me sucked in from the moment the necklace went around her neck. Sometimes in these types of stories the characters names can get on my nerves a bit, but I loved the story overall. I’ll more than likely buy more of this series."

"When I started reading the book I was worried it would be difficult to follow it due to the all world created and how many infos seemed needed to understand how their society worked, but the author was able to balance well the infos needed within an exciting plot. This book definitely left me with the curiosity to see what's come next. And that's pretty much the best thing that can happens when you start a new series."


3.
Benny Lawrence - Beggar’s Flip


Beggar's Flip

"I chuckled when I realized I'd started reading this story on 'Talk like a Pirate Day'. There was enough exposition on what had happened in the previous book to enable me to catch up easily. The characters, both main and secondary, as well as the plot, were grounded and real, and the occasional hints of melodrama were perfect ... it was a pirate story after all."

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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best Lesbian Contemporary General Fiction & Erotica

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Caren J. Werlinger - When the Stars Sang


When the Stars Sang

"Absolutely loved this one. Quirky romance in a quirky setting. Loved the Island and the characters I met especially Blossom. Was completely drawn into getting to know both of the MC’s and their journey’s. This is not the first but definitely my favorite from this author. She has honed her storytelling and made it an art!"

"Heartwarming. Great characterizations and delightful storytelling here."

"This story has all the feels! I will remember this book for a long time (had a book hangover when I was done). It’s not a short read but it was very touching and engaging. Great characters. Very realistic and relateable."


2.
Susan Stocker - Kiss Your Elbow (An Embellished Memoire of Growing Up in the 50's and 60's)


Kiss Your Elbow: An Embellished Memoire about Growing Up Gay in the 50's and 60's

"This was a fantastic memoir. It was funny, poignant and relatable. I didn't want to stop reading it and I honestly am not a fan of Memoirs! Can't wait for book number two to continue the story!"

"Loved this story from start to finish. Great storytelling style. Felt like I was literally along for the ride. Had me smiling and relating. Great character portrayals. "


3.
Rae D. Magdon - Fur and Fangs (Vol 1-10)


Fur and Fangs: Volume 1-10

"This was a cute, fun, thoughtful read. The writing flows wonderfully, and the author does a marvelous job with representation and diversity. I enjoyed it immensely."

"Old fashion romance with a paranormal arc. Usually not my favorite genre but this one held my interest. Riley and Izzy work well as a couple, both with baggage to be fleshed out."


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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best Bisexual Contemporary GF, Humor, Mystery / Thriller & Sci-Fi / Futur.

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Debbie McGowan - The Great Village Bun Fight


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."

2.
Lori A. Witt - Incel


Incel (Walker & Arruda Book 1)

Detective Damian Arruda thought his partner was just too distraught to accept his wife’s murder as a random act of violence. Then the devastated widower got too close to the truth, and now Damian is grieving his best friend. As his conscience threatens to eat him alive, he’ll stop at nothing to find the killer.

Vicki Clifford - Deception is the Old Black: A Viv Fraser Mystery

Deception is the Old Black: A Viv Fraser Mystery (Scottish Cozy Mystery Book 4)

In Deception is the Old Black, Scottish super sleuth Viv Fraser is faced with a new investigation. When top brass of the National Task Force, summon her to root out a mole within their ranks, she realises she’ll be pushed to her limits. Never one to shirk a challenge, this time she’s forced to raise her game to dizzying heights.

3.
Mia Kerick - The Weekend Bucket List

The Weekend Bucket List

High school seniors Cady LaBrie and Cooper Murphy have yet to set one toe out of line they've never stayed out all night or snuck into a movie, never gotten drunk or gone skinny-dipping. But they have each other, forty-eight hours before graduation, and a Weekend Bucket List.

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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best LGBTA Anthology / Collection

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Kira Harp - Rainbow Briefs volume 2


Rainbow Briefs volume 2

"I liked some of the stories more than the others, but on a whole the book was good. I’d like to read Volume 1. There are some pretty good authors out there."

"I must say that whenever I have to rate an anthology there are usually one or more stories that don't capture my attention. With Ms. Harp's anthology, though, I was mesmerized with all! These stories are so well written, with quite a few where I wanted them to continue. I'm not usually one to like FF stories but these were written so candidly, so natural, so perfectly I really enjoyed them all. I'm really liking this storyteller. This is the second time I read any of her stories and I'm wanting to read more! Bravo, Kira!"


2.
Angel Martinez - Brandywine Investigations: Family Matters


Brandywine Investigations: Family Matters

With his career firmly established and his reputation as a successful PI growing, Hades should have the perfect life with his human lover, his faithful ferryman, his dogs and the parts of his family still speaking to him. But murder and chaos are never far away for death lords as his nephew Dionysus and his oldest friend Charon are drawn into the maelstrom.

3.
Dusk Peterson - Danger (Dark Light #3)


Danger (Dark Light, Volume 3)

"When I first started reading this collection I wasn't sure what to expect. But as I read along I became more and more involved in each story. Why aren't more people reading this! Each story was well thought out, well documented (at least the settings), and well written. One can tell that the author put their heart into every word and by doing so, my heart went to the characters as well. Bravo! This is definitely a ten across the board for me. Very highly recommended!"

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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best Lesbian Historical Romance

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Edale Lane - Heart of Sherwood


Heart of Sherwood

"This fantastic, powerful, and awesome tale was a unexpectedly unconventional and unique twist on the classic Robin Hood stories."

"This book was a fun take on an old classic. It was loooong though (hahaha). I liked the way this author gave a twist to the story and the romance was sweet. It had a good flow and great world building."


2.
T.T. Thomas - House of Bliss


House of Bliss

"House of Bliss is a beautifully written mystery in a setting so carefully and richly described that I felt like I was there! Highly recommend for anyone who would enjoy a complex relationship set within a complicated mystery, all against the backdrop of an historical era marked by both great scientific change and wealth, and the darkness of poverty and despair. Kudos!!"

Jane Alden - Jobyna’s Blues

Jobyna's Blues

"Sweet and poignant, a well-researched look at a part of American history that is too often left invisible. EXCELLENT sense of place and time."

3.
K’Anne Meinel – Pioneering

Pioneering (Vetted Book 3)

In the epic sequel to Cavalcade we find out what happens to the Herriot’s once they arrive in Oregon and take up their claim.

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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best Asexual Contemporary, Fantasy and Paranormal Romance & Romantic Com.

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
R.A. Steffan - The Complete Lion Mistress Collection


The Complete Lion Mistress Collection: A WhyChoose Fantasy Romance

"A completely immersive read with excellent world-building and great attention to detail: the corrupt society, the viciousness of people's actions, the compassion of new friends and the love found between our 3 heroes and also Favian's adopted family. The characters were well fleshed out: their future motivations clear, based upon past events and their current situations. I adored Kathrael, such an unconventional but completely believable heroine who well deserved her HEA."

"This trilogy was beyond good. It delved into a mystical medieval time, with fantastic world building. The characters were strong, their voices unique, and the story intriguing and satisfying at the end. Incredible trilogy. Characters are so deep and world building is amazing."

"R.A. Steffan does it again with another wonderful story, once again populated by dynamic characters and (very exciting) a reverse harem relationship. It mixes fantasy with romance, but is much darker in tone than the Horse Mistress stories, although that darkness makes it more powerful."

"This was an excellent polyamorous romance story, with beautiful characters and dynamics that I greatly enjoyed, set in a fascinating and engaging world. I loved it!"


2.
Jae - Perfect Rhythm


Perfect Rhythm

" I love stories where the main characters start out in a place of opposition. The characters here, like in so many of Jae’s books, are really well drawn, three-dimensional, and so, so likeable. It’s a good, meaty plot as well. Fantastic book."

"I found myself pulled into the novel—the characters where believable. I really liked how the story flowed from beginning to end."


Ava Kelly - Havesskadi

Havesskadi

"Fabulous world building and mythology, I would like to more about the red dragon and how the anasketts corrupted her. The settings were full of imagery and atmosphere, particularly the castle and I really liked the writing style - no massive info dumps here. I really wanted to rate this book higher because I enjoyed the story, but I kept coming back to the fact that almost half the story was about 2 characters who hardly talk to each other and hid things from each other, with little character development at this point and I was left feeling disappointed at the end. I would've liked to see Arkeva and Orsie discovering new things together outside the castle."

3.
Sam Burns - Strike Up the Band


Strike Up the Band (Wilde Love Book 3)

"This book was an absolute joy to read. When I'm judging for these awards, I try to keep a little outside of the story so that I can make notes on my reading experience. It was impossible with this story: it grabbed me immediately and sucked me right in. I was invested in the characters so quickly it was a shock, but a welcome one. I didn't want to stop reading. The writing is top notch, both lyrical and uncomplicated; the plot proceeds so seamlessly, everything that occurs is organic, and the pacing is perfect; there is nothing forced or contrived about any of the characters or events. Elsi and Alex are unique and well-developed characters, Jake's grief and self-realizations are thoughtfully explored, and Brian's juxtaposition of self-chastisement and self-confidence is just beautiful. His kindness and his willingness to roll with what everyone else needs, entangled with the fragility of desperately needing to fit in, to do what's right, is lovely. The look into the world of touring and recording, of the almost... loss of control over one's own life/identity while in the entertainment business, was interesting and never overpowering the real reason we are here: the exploration of family, of healing, and of self. Full marks."

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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best LGBTA Contemporary General Fiction, Fantasy & Sci-Fi / Futuristic

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Anna Butler - Day of Wrath (Taking Shield #5)


Day of Wrath (Taking Shield Book 5)

"Coming into a series with the 5th book is always a challenge, especially with high tech space opera, but I still found myself drawn into this almost from the start. So much drama, tension, and mystery, with a covert romance that was actually more intense for being restricted to stolen moments in the shadows."

"This is the last book in an impressive scifi/space opera series, and it ticks all the boxes for a great book: Plot, Emotional Investment (Conflict, Angst, Romance), Character, Resolution and wonderful writing. One point off for a difficult, opening sequence that was hard to follow as it crammed too much information into an already complex story. Otherwise exceptional!"

"Wow, that one blew me away. Not a comfortable story, and one that is still resonating with me days after finishing it, but well worth your time as long as you're not just in it for the HEA. Excellent bi main characters and complex family and friend relationships in a realistic, exciting, devastating, and thoughtful SciFi space saga. Start with book 1 and read in order."


2.
Dorian Graves - Bones and Bourbon


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!"


3.
E.J. Runyon - Good People


Good People

"This was about as close to a perfect story as you can get. The characters were so beautifully drawn, I hated to put the book down, and always looked forward to when I could pick it back up again. The plot was filled with anchors and familiar elements, and yet surprised me at several turns. And, like every excellent story, this one will leave me thinking about it for a long time to come."

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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best Bisexual Fantasy Romance

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Meredith Katz - How Saeter Robbed the Underworld


How Saeter Robbed the Underworld

"How Saeter Robbed the Underworld was such a fun, sweet read. The Norse-esque setting was immersive, the characters were natural and interesting, the romance was yummy, and I found Katz's writing style to be highly polished. A true pleasure to read!"

" A story that is simultaneously familiar and thoroughly unique. Truly a well-spun yarn. Very difficult to put down, and left me with a huge grin. Very well done, author!"


2.
Freddy MacKay - Waiting on the Rain


Waiting on the Rain

"A beautiful story of friendship and family with character as wonderful and as diverse as the Thailand setting. Jira and Bon are such a cute couple, and Areeya and Fon (OMG, I loved Fon!) really bring that relationship to live by interwining it within their own."

3.
Casey Wolfe - A Mage's Power


A Mage's Power (The Inquisition Trilogy Book 1)

"This is an *engaging* book from the get-go, with strong pacing and a deep, intuitive understanding of storytelling as well the genre's hooks. Outstanding book."

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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best LGBTA Biography / Memoir

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Ruth Simkin - Dear Sophie


Dear Sophie: Life Lessons in Feminism & Medicine

"Dear Sophie is a flawless memoir that is not only a story of Dr Ruth Simkin, but a story of feminism and women in Canada and the field of medicine, skillfully woven together with valuable life lessons. I feel grateful to Dr Simkin not only for her pioneering work that improved the quality of life for so many women, but for sharing her experiences. I found this memoir not only insightful and inspiring and a bit shocking, but at times funny. I learned more than I expected. Thank you!"

"Beautiful memoir of a fascinating life. Simkin's grand-niece Sophie is a very fortunate young woman. I wish I had such a handbook to life from my own grandmother – who had almost no formal education and was gone before I realized how many questions I should have asked."


2.
Todd Allen Smith - Murder, Romance and Two Shootings


Murder, Romance, and Two Shootings

"This is based on real events and although a little humor is injected with the writer's attitude to being shot twice on two separate occasions, the harrowing aspect of the aftermath and recovery is very real and uncomfortable. Mixed in are the dramas of failed romances, lack of compassion and the shock of losing his job as a reporter after the second shooting. My only quibble is the writing style which could have used better editing, but the story is real and I was glad it worked out for the best in the end."

"I thought the 'plotting' seemed a little awkward… then realized it was non-fiction.  A painful but inspiring survivor's tale."


Judith Branzburg - The Liberation of Ivy Bottini

Liberation of Ivy Bottini: A Memoir of Love and Activism

"I love a good Bio/memoir. I love reading about people’s lives. Having all the pics scattered throughout the book, made it seem all that more real. Like I knew Ivy and the rest of the people."

"Branzburg definitely chose the right POV (in first person) for the telling of Ivy Bottini’s story because the narrative rings true and authentic with the inimitable Bottini “voice.” The story is a fascinating, laugh-out-loud, cry-real-tears-of empathy celebration of this infamous trailblazer’s remarkable story."


3.
Carla Grant - Uncommon Girls


Uncommon Girls

"I give this memoir a score of 40. I hesitate to give a perfect score, but the book is captivating from page one and continues powerfully till the end. The basic story is a mother learning her son is trans and their journeys (they are separate ones in many regards) as he becomes she. I appreciated the POV of the mother, since so many accounts are through the eyes of the trans person. And I liked that the mother was a complex, intelligent, well-meaning, and terribly flawed individual. Grant tells the story not only of her trans daughter but also how that overwhelming aspect of her life still had to compete with plenty of other parts, her alcoholism, her remarriage, other children, rescue dogs, her daughter's self-harm, and multiple mental health issues. As if the story wasn't complex enough, we learn early on that the trans daughter is also on the autism spectrum, adding multiple additional stresses. It's all fascinating and at times even funny. Grant uses a variety of clever literary techniques to keep the reader interested. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It's excellent."

"Wow, this was not what I expected, and I almost gave up on it in the early going (what with the focus on mom's dating misadventures), but then it came to Eliot's written proposal to wear high heels to school . . . and suddenly I found myself loving this kid. On the surface, it really does seems like it is going to be too much - an autistic child who identifies as transgender, with a recovering alcoholic single parent telling their story - but it is actually beautiful and funny and heartwarming, even as they deal with the challenges of Canadian education and healthcare. Mom's whole "fluid concept of womanhood" is perfect, and Ella is . . . well, I am going to go all out and call her a hero. She is amazing."


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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best Gay Mystery / Thriller

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
J.L. Merrow - Lock Nut


Lock Nut (The Plumber's Mate Mysteries Book 5)

"This book is like a cozy mystery series amped up to 11. I adore each and every one of the characters, their relationship, how much it feels like these are people I could easily pass on the street. The writing is fantastic, with a genuine humor that can be hard to find. JL Merrow is a wonderful writer, and this book just prove she'll only keep getting better."

"The writing was solid. There was enough dialect and slang to add to the story without being overwhelming. The narrator has a charming voice. The first chapter was great, captivating from the start. But then I did feel that the banter often went on too long. Yes, the character is charming, but I wanted the author to get on with the story. The same thing was a problem at the end, when after the mystery is solved, the story continues for another 20 pages so we can see how charming the couple is. This was my biggest gripe with the book. Too much charming banter. It goes on and on in scene after scene. A little less would have still given us the charm without tiring us. I did have a bit of trouble remembering who some of the characters were, more the personal friends of the investigators rather than the suspects. The mystery was complex enough to intrigue. There were some truly clever and interesting word choices (one nice paragraph on page 30 as an example). Some funny lines that had me laughing out loud. The author was good at creating problems and interruptions to make the end of questioning believable. That way we as readers don't get bored and we don't get too much info that would help us solve the murder too soon."

"Excellent mystery and sense of place—consistent with her usual fine work."


2.
Clancy Nacht - For Immediate Release


For Immediate Release

"More pros than cons with this book, so let’s start off with the cons. The story takes off quite slowly. We are 30 or more pages into the book before I felt interested enough to continue. I’m not sure if I hadn’t been assigned to read this book if I would have gotten far enough in to get hooked. To me, that’s a significant problem. But then, what might be interesting to me might not be what’s interesting to most other readers, so this could be my failing, not the book’s."

"True mastery of character development. Great depth to each character (even minor ones), and every time I had a character figured out, a new twist was revealed that made me rethink everything. "


3.
C.S. Poe - The Mystery of the Moving Image (Snow & Winter #3)


The Mystery of the Moving Image (Snow & Winter)

"I think this is my favorite from the series so far! Wonderfully written, exquisitely developed, all-around great story! I loved the drama Sebastian always seemed to get into and the idea that not until the end do we find out who the actual perp was. Well bloody done!"

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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best Lesbian Alternative Universe/Reality & Sci-Fi / Futuristic

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Angel Martinez - Safety Protocols for Human Holidays

Safety Protocols for Human Holidays: A Holiday to Remember

"Fascinating and quirky, this sci-fi holiday story is unique, unexpected, utterly charming. The writing is exceptional, the plot serviceable and the character development a tour de force."

2.
Matt Doyle - The Fox, The Dog, and The King (The Cassie Tam Files #2)


The Fox, the Dog, and the King (The Cassie Tam Files Book 2)

"This author does one of my favorite things as a reader: puts me right into the action and trusts me to pay attention. And I did. The writing style is uncomplicated and engaging, with a main character I liked pretty much immediately and side characters who are unique and complex. Though the clarity of setting suffers a little at the beginning, by the halfway point, I was well settled in this fascinating futuristic society and trooping right along with Caz as she navigates the complex underworld of New Hopeland. This is the second book in a series, but the author is very clever about delivering what would otherwise have been a ton of exposition, using conversation and character relationships to show me who these people are and what their history is with each other rather than trying for a general info dump, which would have lost points with me. A second book in a series can be a risky choice for an awards submission, but this book can easily stand alone, with fully developed characters and an appealing mystery: close to cozy, but with a sinister edge. I appreciate being trusted by the author. I would love to go back and read the first book, as well as any that follow."

Rae D. Magdon - Lucky 7

Lucky 7

"This story had all the right elements in the right places ... including room for a sequel without sacrificing a satisfying ending."

3.
Matt Doyle - LV48 (The Cassie Tam Files #3)


LV48 (The Cassie Tam Files Book 3)

"This novel was easy to get engaged with. The characters were interesting and different enough so that each one stood out in my head with ease. I liked the idea of a strong female lead and I loved that her being a lesbian was a non issue (as it should be). I found the backdrop for the story interesting and I really wanted more of that, but I loved what I got. The author was able to craft a good mystery but didn't bog us down in details that made the story lag. Overall it was a fun read and I enjoyed it."

K. Aten - Waking the Dreamer

Waking the Dreamer

By the end of the 21st century, the world had become a harsh place. After decades of natural and man-made catastrophes, nations fell, populations shifted, and seventy percent of the continents became uninhabitable without protective suits. Technological advancement strode forward faster than ever and it was the only thing that kept human society steady through it all. No one could have predicted the discovery of the Dream Walkers. They were people born with the ability to leave their bodies at will, unseen by the waking world. Having the potential to become ultimate spies meant the remaining government regimes wanted to study and control them. The North American government, under the leadership of General Rennet, demanded that all Dream Walkers join the military program. For any that refused to comply, they were hunted down and either brainwashed or killed.

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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best Lesbian Mystery / Thriller

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Cari Hunter - Alias


Alias

"Lovely read, and I usually hate first person. Stellar job."

" Once again, Hunter doesn't disappoint. If you're looking for a well-written, thrilling mystery with fully drawn characters, an exciting plot, plus a marvelous Welsh setting, this book is for you."

"A solid entry by an excellent writer. Lots of tension, mystery, romance. First-rate performance on all levels."


2.
Jody Klaire - Noble Heart


Noble Heart (The Above and Beyond Series Book 5)

"Fast paced action packed story that covers most of the genres. Awesome plot line and writing style. Page turner. Enjoyed the interactions between all of the characters in this story."

3.
Claire Highton-Stevenson - The Doll Maker


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."


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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best Gay Historical Romance

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Alex Jane - The Arrangement


The Arrangement (Homestead Legacy Book 1)

"The Arrangement is a compelling love story between two shifters with a past that will stay with you after its conclusion. A gay Beauty and the Beast meets Secret Garden, the simple tale is sweetly told from the heart. Alex Jane has written a satisfying historical romance."

"This is my first Alex Jane's book I read and I'm definitely not disappointed. In fact, I'm looking forward to reading more from this wonderful author. The story flowed smoothly, the characters were lovable and caring, especially Ruth with her mother hen actions, and Solomon with his caring personality."

"This book was a fantastic blend of history and the paranormal."


Anna Butler - The Jackal's House (Lancaster's Luck #2)

The Jackal’s House (Lancaster's Luck Book 2)

"This is an entertaining and logical sequel to The Gilded Scarab for readers who like the combination of historical MM romance and science fiction. Anna Butler created realistic, likeable, and interesting leading characters in a captivating environment. The leading character’s first person voice is so realistic that I couldn’t believe it wasn’t written by someone in 1900. The story also included enticing villains, a nice plot twist, and a satisfying ending. I believe the novel would have been even stronger if edited to alleviate the many lengthy and repetitive sections. I’m looking forward to book 3 in the Lancaster’s Luck series!"

"I loved part 1, this is still good, but a little less captivating."

"Rich, engrossing steampunk world that pulls you in and refuses to let go - engaging and seductive."


2.
Eli Easton - Robby Riverton: Mail Order Bride


Robby Riverton: Mail Order Bride

"Looking at the cover and the title gave me a feeling it would be a funny comedy. It wasn't, even if it had it's funny parts what with Robbie being disguised as Rowenna. I guess I was expecting full-on chuckles. And although I was a bit disappointed I still enjoyed reading it immensely. I love reading historical westerns and I feel there aren't many out there. At least not in the M/M genre. Highly recommended."

"Great fun, sort of a cross between Louis L'Amour and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert."


3.
Rebecca Cohen - Captain Merric


Captain Merric

"Well written, deliciously attention to historical detail, and great romance between British naval officer and swashbuckling pirate - a fun read."

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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best Gay Historical

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Tanya Chris - Predestination Unknown


Predestination Unknown

"I am an avid fan of time travel stories and this one didn't disappoint. I'm so glad to have read this wonderful story where one young man goes back in time and saves the lives of so many people proclaimed as witches. It was quite entertaining and it kept me wanting to read more, especially at the end of the story! Why, oh, why did it have to end! I really hope Ms. Tanya will write more stories like this."

"While almost always a lighthearted read, Predestination Unknown tackles a lot of serious subjects, yet never loses sight of the fact it's a love story. I really enjoyed getting to know Luther and Ezekiel. Their romance is super sweet and I loved the way things worked out for them. The author manages to wrap up the plot satisfactorily while giving both characters what they want, almost without compromise. A challenge well met."

"A clever premise and attention to historical detail help build a time-travel romance with urgency and purpose. A fun, fast read that puts a new spin on Puritans, Salem, and the witch trials."


2.
Daniel M. Jaffe - Yeled Tov

Yeled Tov

"Excellent coming of age story that follows a young Jewish man struggling with his sexuality, self-loathing, vivid imagination and fear of rejection while at college against the backdrop of the 1970's. Deeply moving and a transformative story for all readers, regardless of age, gender, or sexuality."

"This book is an absolutely gorgeous coming of age story. Jake's struggle to be a good man and a devout Jew as he wrestled with the realization that he's homosexual is a beautiful, sometimes devastating, but ultimately a hopeful journey to self-acceptance. It was the perfect balance of bittersweet, funny, and insightful. I highly recommend this novel. "


3.
Stephan Knox - Anáil Dhragain (Dragon's Breath)


Anáil Dhragain: (Dragon's Breath) (The Pendhragains Book 1)

"This was a very good book. Thank you for the opportunity to read it."

"A story with a good pace, interesting characters, and plenty of twists to keep me entertained to the end."


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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best Gay Contemporary General Fiction

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Dan Ackerman - The Things That Come


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. "


Dan Ackerman - That Doesn't Belong Here

That Doesn't Belong Here

"That Doesn’t Belong Here is far and away the best story I’ve read this year. On the border of young adult and new adult fiction, this is the story of Kato, an ‘impossible creature’, and of friendship and love. It’s also a stark allegory for every inhumanity humankind commits against those deemed ‘lesser humans’ and animals. I truly struggled to put this down even to sleep, and I sobbed my heart, but this is generally not a sad story. There is hope and there is humour, and Kato is such a brilliant, optimistic character. Levi is his opposite in many respects, but together they are…byouiful. This is the second novel by this author I’ve read, and in both cases, the entire cast of characters is richly developed, the pacing is excellent, the plot is sustained to the end, and the ending…just perfect! Yes, Dan Ackerman has secured themselves another fan."

2.
J. Scott Coatsworth - The River City Chronicles

The River City Chronicles

"I absolutely loved The River City Chronicles. The author acknowledges Armistead Maupin in the Foreword, but truthfully, I loved this book way more than Maupin. I figured out fairly early on where some of the plot points were headed, but it didn't matter. It was just lovely to be immersed in this world. If only this was 'book 1' then I could visit again and again."

3.
A.M. Leibowitz - Keeping the Faith


Keeping the Faith (Faithfully Yours Book 3)

It’s been three years since Micah’s spouse, Cat, passed away at the age of thirty-six. In the process of cleaning his house, Micah discovers a series of letters Cat hid before he died, in which he made one request: that Micah empty his life of Cat as a way of moving on. Micah has been able to work through his sorrow, but he’s unable to fulfill Cat’s last wish. He can’t see a way past his loneliness despite all the caring people around him.

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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best Transgender Contemporary, Erotic, Historical & Paranormal Romance

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Katherine Wyvern - A Muse to Live For


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."


Katherine Wyvern - Spice & Vanilla

Spice & Vanilla

"Beautifully told tale of a cross-dressing man and his two lovers. Di and Hugh equally meet Raphael/Lucie’s needs until Raphael decides he wants Di to know all of him. Crippled by a car accident, Di feels lucky to have Raphael for a lover, but reacts badly when confronted by Lucie. Emotionally stunted Hugh knows about Raphael/Lucie, but feels threatened when Di is brought into the equation. The author skirts making the trio into a manage, yet manages to create a complicated relationship among the three work well. I wouldn’t have chosen to read this book on my own, but am very glad the contest made me read it."

"Emotional and captivating story of four characters, Lucie, Rafe, Diana and Hugh with a twist. Lucie and Rafe are one person. The dynamics between these amazing people are what kept me riveted to the story. The author has done a marvelous job of drawing their relationships and their love and affection for one another. It would be a spoiler if I said too much about the plot. It unfolds beautifully and has to be relished without me dropping hints as to what may or may not happen. Read it and enjoy."

"Di is a young woman who survived a severe accident, but lost her mobility, her fiance, her profession and her beloved eventing horse. In the isolation of her small cottage, her cat is her companion as she tries to rebuild. Hugh is a gay Dom who hides his heart away and tries to give his subs precisely what they need, without ever being vulnerable himself. Raphael is elegant, musical, both kind and exacting, bisexual and a sub. And Lucie... well Lucie is feminine for Lucifer and she's a kinky masochistic sub to Hugh, who works to indulge her, but she's far far more to Raphael, and eventually to herself as well.  This story builds slowly— over time we see the dark places inside these characters but also the light ones. We see love, expressed and hidden, and bad and good choices, as Lucie, in particular, struggles with what it means to be a real girl. I was pulled in gradually, fascinated and engaged with how these people would work out a relationship that could satisfy all the different parts of them without breaking anyone. Recommended."


2.
L.A. Witt – Adrift


Adrift (Cruising Book 1)

"What an enjoyable read! I had a great time with Eric and Andrew in this book. The conflict, setting, and narrative voices were established quickly and well, and the description of the excursions on land took me back to the sultry heat of summer in Western Europe. Not to mention (of course!) the wonderful heat between the two leads. The story offered some nicely negotiated surprises and good internal character development, especially for Eric as he came to terms with the recent dissolution of his previous relationship. Eric has a delightful and warm vulnerability, the kind where you have evolved past giving a crap about people who disapprove of you, but sometimes it still creeps up on you and tries to push you down. Toward the end, the narrative voices lost some of their uniqueness; I had a harder time orienting myself as to whose head I was in at chapter changes. But this did not detract from the truly engaging love story between two people with a lot of chemistry. The sex scenes were steamy and varied; I fully believed that, by the end, these two just-mets were definitely ready to try for more."

"A sweet story of two men meeting on a cruise ship - one, Eric is on his own after being dumped by his fiance and the other, Andrew accompanying his parents. They meet at an LGBT mixer on board although they had bumped into each - literally- before. They talk, are attracted to each other, but before it goes any further, Eric tells Andrew he is trans. Rather than being turned off, Andrew is intrigued, and the sexual encounter becomes a much deeper connection. Well written, with characters you will be easily drawn too. Highly recommended."


Brooklyn Ray - Darkling

Darkling (Port Lewis Witches Book 1)

"A dreamy powderkeg of emotions, magic, and the risks of being true to oneself. I cannot wait to read the rest of this series. Writing style is first off, the author’s use of metaphor blends with the magical setting to wonderful effect; the lines between the literal and the fantastical blurs, granting a dreamlike effect to the prose. The use of magic to convey emotions highlights this ability quite well. Furthermore, descriptions in this tale utilize all senses, which makes it engaging on multiple levels for the reader. In addition, all the characters have distinct voices, even the minor side characters or non-verbal characters such as the familiars. If anyone ever asks me to pinpoint a pinnacle of craft when it comes to descriptive prose, this book is going to the top of that list."

"This was a very engaging book, super intense. The story was well written and the world building was wonderful. I loved the characters! I will be checking into the rest of the series directly."


3.
Tia Fielding – Four

Four (Love by Numbers Book 2)

"Just as I thought I loved this book as much as I loved the last book. I loved the characters. Both the main ones and the secondary ones. Hell, I loved the township as a whole. This one even had me crying in spots."

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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best Gay Romantic Suspence

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Tara Lain - The Case of the Sexy Shakespearean


The Case of the Sexy Shakespearean (The Middlemark Mysteries Book 1)

"I enjoyed this cozy mystery. The MCs are likeable, and are supported by an interesting supporting cast amongst a littering of obnoxious individuals. I loved the cats who are characters in their own right. The setting felt real and was easy to imagine. The plot had a few red herrings, and clever twists. I’m hoping this is the first in a series."

"Extremely entertaining with a plot twist at the end that I didn’t see coming.  The main characters were endearing and I loved the subtle message about the stutter’s origin and why it lessens near the end.  This feels like a book with both prequels (I want more about Ramon Randell and other cases solved by the professor) and sequels (what other mysteries does our dynamic duo solve?"


2.
Amy Lane - A Few Good Fish


A Few Good Fish (Fish Out of Water Book 3)

"This was a sexy seamless read. The characters were amazing and Amy's writing style is fun and addictive."

"Exciting plot, well paced - interspersing periods of high action with domestic scenarios. Beautifully written so settings were real - from shopping in Walmart’s to raiding a mercenary military camp. The quality of the writing also meant characters were clearly defined, each one unique. The only down was that this book is mid series, some scenes or discussions were slightly confusing without the context of previous books, although generally the author managed to supply some details of previous episodes."


3.
Eden Winters - Suspicion (Diversion #7)


Suspicion (Diversion Book 7)

"I just love this series, so it was a treat for me to read this newest installment. I've been following Lucky and Bo from their beginnings, and I can only admire the way the author keeps them true to themselves while letting their characters grow and change over time. They feel like real persons to me. Not to mention the supportive cast. There's not one cardboard character among them; they all have their own personalities, quirks and peeves. But what keeps me returning to these books over and over is the deep humanity they breathe, the inane belief in the good in all human beings they convey."

"Suspicion continues Winters' Diversion series in a way that should delight existing fans as well as intrigue new readers. I'd only read the first book, and a long time ago, but I was able to fall back into the story of Lucky's fall and rise (and fall, and rise) as an agent with the Southeastern Narcotics Bureau. This story develops his family (blood and found) and tests loyalties. A fast-paced adventure with plenty of steam."


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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best Lesbian Young Adult

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Iza Moreau - Swamp Girl


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."


2.
Iza Moreau - Ghost in the Piano


Ghost in the Piano (Elodie Fontaine Mysteries Book 2)

"I enjoyed this second entry into the Elodie Fontaine Mysteries. I had the chance to read the first book before this one, which made for some nice continuity of character and story-line. The narrative voice in this book is smooth and lyrical, the style engaging, and the pacing and incorporation of the main plot and the side plots is organic and managed well. The focus rests squarely on the mysteries of the hour rather than the romances, with just enough of a nod in the other direction to weave it all together into a fun mystery with a little romance in the Big Easy. I very much enjoyed the setting, the old house especially, and the introduction of Elodie’s grandparents, who aren’t as bad as she fears they will be. A pleasant and heartwarming story about different kinds of families!"

"I really enjoyed this story and hearing about all of their lives, even about the people from the past. It is definitely a series I think I’ll have to go back and read book 1, and then buy the rest of the series… "


3.
Jessica Yeh - Bend for Me


Bend for Me

Avery Bennett is a bit of a player. But not without cause. After falling in love and ending up with a broken heart, she vowed never to get attached again. Hardened, Avery is determined to protect herself, not bending and absolutely refusing to break for anyone.

Jacqueline Rohrbach - The Soulstealers

The Soulstealers

"The world-building here is skillfully handled, presented in a way that entices the reader without overwhelming. Together with three-dimensional characters and a great plot, this makes for an exciting, satisfying read."

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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best Gay Erotic Romance

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
L.A. Witt - Sink or Swim


Sink or Swim (Anchor Point Book 8)

"I loved the joy, gentleness. and hope in Sink or Swim. The way life should be."

2.
Clancy Nacht & Thursday Euclid - The Congressman's Whore: A Marriage of Convenience


The Congressman's Whore: A Marriage of Convenience

"I enjoyed this book very much. It was angsty and full of drama and intrigue. Had good flow. The characters were realistic and relatable. Great storyline."

Lane Hayes - Leaning Into the Look

Leaning Into the Look (Leaning Into Series Book 6)

"Although this is part of a series, it can be read as a stand alone in my opinion. Sweet story with complex yet lovable characters who draw you into the story almost immediately. Grant Kostas has overbearing Greek parents who love to meddle in both his social and business lives. Miles is recently out of a long term relationship, not really looking for another and yet the two find themselves inexplicably drawn to each other. Their courtship is funny yet poignant and the realization that they do truly need each other is a beautiful thing. Thoroughly recommended."

Lane Hayes - Leaning Into Forever

Leaning Into Forever (Leaning Into Series Book 7)

Geordie De La Rosa is a legend among wine lovers in Napa Valley. His ultra-fabulous style paired with a penchant for leading impromptu sing-a-longs has made him a star attraction at Conrad Winery. Co-owning a well-respected winery was never Geordie’s aspiration but he likes the niche he’s made for himself. He won’t deny that his job and his friends have helped ease his heartache and grief after the death of his longtime partner.

3.
L.M. Somerton - Trusting Him


Trusting Him (The Retreat Book 2)

"Hot, HEA, loved the characters. It was just fully satisfying."

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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best LGBTA Young Adult

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Amy Klobuchar; Edited by In This Together Media - Nevertheless, We Persisted


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."

Chris Tebbetts - Me Myself & Him

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."


2.
R. Zamora Linmark - The Importance of Being Wilde at Heart


The Importance of Being Wilde at Heart

"I have never read a story written quite like The Importance of Being Wilde at Heart. Part haiku, part list, part prose, part conversations with Oscar Wilde... loved it. The setting and characters were natural, realistic, and the story was poignantly relatable. A work of art!"

"Absolutely charming first love story with the writings (and life) of Oscar Wilde as its blueprint and alter ego. The writer’s fresh and tender approach to gender, love, irony and lust makes this book read almost like a long poem. Moves along at a great pace, comes complete with a second-string of good friends, and credibly resonates with all the pathos, comedy and poetry of first love. The author knows his craft and certainly knows a great deal about Oscar Wilde. Highly recommended."


Chad Sell - The Cardboard Kingdom

The Cardboard Kingdom

"I loved it. These beautifully illustrated snippets of the everyday summer lives of kids with an amazing imagination made me laugh, cry, growl, and root for them. What starts with only a couple of kids roleplaying together grows into a true whirlwind adventure between a great many friends. Great costumes, fantastical masks, and brave plots prove that these kids have more in common than they initially think. They support each other in such wonderful ways, I was happy to read the whole thing in one sitting. There are characters for everyone: the boy who dresses up like a girl, the vocal girl who is told she's too loud for a good girl, the reformed bully, the prince and his rogue best friend, the bookish boy without friends, and so on. Something and someone for everyone to relate to. I was blown away by how much could be told with just a few pages and images. Couldn't recommend this higher."

"I loved this colourful, kid-friendly graphic novel. The stories are inventive, and will hold the interest of a young reader while opening their eyes to plethora of ideas and possibilities."

"I’ve never read a graphic novel before. I quite enjoyed the experience. I liked all the little individual stories that made up the kid’s summer holidays. Made me wish I had had a group of neighbourhood friends like that when I was growing up… it would have been fun."

Stefani Deoul - Zero Sum Game

Zero Sum Game (A Sid Rubin Silicon Alley Adventure)

"There is nothing I haven’t loved about this book. When there are a lot of characters I can find myself lost in trying to figure out who is who, or what not but the author made an awesome job in giving every character a clear voice, so much so that even the most peripheral ones where easy to understand ad remember. Another thing that I really loved about this book is the way the author was able to give a voice to the adolescent stage of life, it is clear from the start that we are looking at a group of teenagers, without it being demeaning or becoming a caricature. Now I want to read the first book in this series and this is actually the best compliment any reader could give to an author, being curios till the point to wanting to know about what they wrote before and becoming such a fan that ones want to wait patiently for the next book."

"There’s a zany brilliance about Stefani Deoul’s writing that makes this second book in the Sid Rubin Silicon Alley Adventure a pleasure to read. Although the story revolves around a small group of nerdy, needy and semi-nihilistic teen brainiacs who solve mysteries by virtue of their encyclopedic knowledge of video games, game theory and teenage angst, the superior writing keeps one going even when the subject matter is somewhat arcane to all but the most dedicated of millennials. Deoul’s use of the first-person POV is perfect, striking the exact right balance amongst the competing mood swings associated with young adult blasé, bedevilment and botheration."


Emily Skrutskie - Hullmetal Girls

Hullmetal Girls

"This is an excellent contribution to the scifi-genre with young adult characters. The world-building is outstanding. The plot captivating. The book is LGBTI-friendly without being itself LGBTI fiction at all."

"Emily Skrutskie's Hullmetal GIrls is inclusive, diverse, delightful scifi that's refreshingly grrl power in a traditionally male-dominated genre. The characterizations ring true, and the gender and sexual identities of the characters are coincidental rather than fetishized or focused upon. It's simply one more aspect of who they are. The classic tropes utilized in the telling of this tale are no less enjoyable for being tropes. Overall, I deeply enjoyed this story and would definitely read more in this universe."


3.
M. Rose Flores - The End


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. "


Mia Kerick - The Princess of Baker Street

The Princess of Baker Street

"I found this book compelling from the first age and I could not put it down until I'd finished. It's not an easy light fluffy read, I had tears streaming down my face. I really felt for the characters and for real people I've known who at times have been Eric and his friend. Thankfully all the characters get the correct ending for their stories. Note: I read the book without reading the blurb. I see the first paragraph in the blurb would imply this is primarily the story of a trans girl and readers expecting that may be disappointed. Although some of her story does emerge told through Eric's point of view, the book is not her story. The story is more about how other people in school react to her, firstly as a boy who doesn't conform to gender expectations and later as an out trans girl. I'd say this book is primarily about bullying and surviving school through that adolescent period. It sits well with other books that combine LGBT themes and bullying, such as James Howe's Misfits series. The bullying is severe and there is a suicide attempt. And it is Eric's story of survival both at school and at home, where he suffers neglect. It is a story that is very real, I can imagine there are kids living something similar in every school. Eric's thirteen years of age and navigating his way through life at a tricky age. From his point of view, all other kids around him could potentially ruin his life. He tries to fit in and avoid drawing attention to himself. To fit in and not be bullied. He's an average kid. Part of survival means not associating with the kid who doesn't fit in. I would recommend this book to young readers in general. I'd be happy for my children to read it. However, I would say it is targeted at general readers not specifically trans youth."

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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best Gay Alternative Universe/Reality & Sci-Fi / Futuristic

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
M.D. Neu - Conviction (A New World #2)


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."


M.D. Neu - Contact (A New World #1)

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."


2.
J. Scott Coatsworth - The Stark Divide


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."


3.
Arshad Ahsanuddin - Ascension


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."



Books in the top 25% rate range

4.
C.C. Bridges - Angels Rising


Angels Rising (Heaven Corp Book 3)

"An absolute gem of a book. The world-building is detailed and the author has created a unique and inventive society. The story flows really well with plenty of tension and surprises along the way. I was invested in the MCs and rooting for their 'happy ever after' and I enjoyed this book so much that I shall be buying the earlier books in the series."

5.
Pelaam - Strawberry Fields


Strawberry Fields

"Oh goodness…I was in awe of the vivid descriptions of the automatons, of Nathan & Nicholas’ struggles & inner strength, the steampunk nature meeting danger & sinister dealings. It was wonderful and I couldn’t stop turning the pages!"

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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best Gay Fantasy Romance

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Jamie Sullivan - Heart of the Dragon


Heart of the Dragon

"Quite an entertaining story. I'm not one to get so deeply enthralled with a fantasy book but this one definitely brought me to its fantastic dragon world. I really enjoyed it and wish it was longer. Great job from a new to me author. I'd definitely want to read other stories from them. Well done!"

"I loved this story. It was funny, well-written, and all the characters were gorgeous, including the dragon."


2.
J. Scott Coatsworth - Lander


Lander (The Oberon Cycle Book 2)

"The world building is well-thought-out and detailed, and the characters three-dimensional and kick-arse. I also appreciated that there were great female characters in this who play an integral part of the story. The plot kept me up late turning pages, answered some questions from book one, yet asked more, which is what I would expect from the second in a three book series."

"Lander is a well-crafted and enjoyable ride through an immersive world. It went down smoothly and left me wanting more."

"I think I may have reviewed Skythane (book 1) for Rainbow Awards a couple of years ago and loved it. This book is just as good."


J. Scott Coatsworth - Ithani

Ithani (The Oberon Cycle Book 3)

"The world J. Scott Coatsworth has created for his characters to interact in is complex and vivid, so much so that I had to read the first 2 books to be able to fully understand Ithani. I was completely immersed in the customs, politics and different locations - superb world-building and a unique concept made this book a joy to read. The plot is intricate, a real page-turner with several surprises along the way. I am certainly looking forward to reading more from this author."

"This fantastic, fascinating, vivid, three dimensional, action packed, enthralling, and totally awesome story pulled me in from the very first page, and I read it in one sitting because I couldn't put it down."


3.
Meredith Katz - Smoke Signals


Smoke Signals

"This totally charming and captivating take on St. George and the Dragon stole my heart from the outset. Enchanting!"

"My only complaint about Smoke Signals is that I want more. I want to know more about the world that Katz created where dragons and humans exist together, of which we only got a narrow, tantalizing glimpse with Mike and Zali'thurg's enchanting tale. Smoke Signals set off a chain reaction of "what ifs" for me, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm seriously considering some fanfiction... "



Books in the top 25% rate range

4.
Jacqueline Rohrbach - The Dragon's Rebel


The Dragon's Rebel

"I really enjoyed this book, and I don't usually gravitate towards fantasy. I found the storyline intriguing without being overly complicated. It had good movement with twists and turns that kept me from turning off the reader. Very creative setting without being so fantastical that I couldn't relate to it. Multidimensional and flawed characters in just the right places. The connection between the 2 protagonists built in a realistic fashion. Good use of show vs tell. Writing appropriate to setting."

"This is the type of story where the more you read the more it grabs you by the 'feels'. It was well written and the author did what I love in a story; she captured my attention to the point that I didn't want to put the book down, nor did I want the story to end. "


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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best Gay Paranormal Romance

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Jackie North - Honey From the Lion


Honey From the Lion: A Love Across Time Story

"This is my favorite type of story to read. Jackie North has, with her fabulous pen/keyboard, transported me to a wonderful world. I felt the chill Laurie felt, felt the frustrations John felt, and mostly, felt the love that slowly (although all within a week) grew between the two men. This was totally enjoyable and recommend it for anyone who loves reading about time travel. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the antics of these two precious beings. I will be checking out the rest of the series and will most definitely be reading this one again and again. Bravo, Jackie!"

"I stumbled with the first few chapters, having a hard time settling into the story, but then absolute magic happened. I could not put this book down. I was swept back in time to 1891 when life was far simpler and yet dangerously harsh. The arrogance of Laurie and gruffness of John made for realistically flawed characters. The 'ghost' story at the beginning set the stage incredibly well - you knew what was coming and it hooked me in with a desperate need to keep turning the pages to see how this would all end. PS - Not the way you think, but in every way you hope. Brilliant. Ms. North goes onto my 'auto-buy' list."

"I love the time travel aspect of this story.  The historical side of it felt very realistic, was wonderfully detailed, and very easy to visualise. I enjoyed the contrast between the reality of the past, and the way it was portrayed in the present. I loved both Laurie and John’s journey as they slowly opened up to each other, and Laurie’s shift from needing to get home to the present, to his realisation that his future was in the past with John.  The author’s writing style is very easy to read, flows well, and kept me turning pages to find out what happened next."

"I know I don’t give 40 often, but this one drew me in from the very first line and held me until the last. I’m more than likely going to add it to my favourites list. And then track down more of this author."


2.
E.J. Russell - Single White Incubus (Supernatural Selection #1)


Single White Incubus (Supernatural Selection Book 1)

"When I read the blurb, I wasn’t very excited about reading the book itself. But the story surprised and enchanted me so much that I not only bought a copy, but I’m reading the second in the series right now. The characters of the gregarious bear shifter and the introverted, fussy incubus were so well drawn that they transcended fantasy and became very real to me. The paranormal dating agency mix-up, while laughably ludicrous, was the right touch of silliness to give the story a light touch. That the story was so well-written that it flowed easily meant it became one of those books that’s nearly impossible to put down. All in all, what looked on the surface as a long, difficult reading task was in reality a delightful experience. Thank you!"

"So glad I made sure to read these last two books in order by the same author. Very fun read with exciting characters. The conflict was very realistic in concern to a mixed-match couple who found what they needed instead of what they thought they wanted."

"This was a super fun, very cute, quick read. It's not often Bear Shifters get good representation, but Russell did a commendable job with Ted. I wasn't sure about Quentin's character, but I grew to like him. I did find the incubus demon culture was an interesting take, and I loved Pauline, the grandmother. Plowed through this book in two days. Definitely a page-turner! Loved seeing David and Alun from Cutie and the Beast in this story too. It's great when other characters are pulled in."


3.
Tara Lain - Hidden Powers


Hidden Powers (Superordinary Society Book 1)

"What a fantastic story! Tara once again takes us on a roller coaster ride with this tale of magic and adventure. I loved and enjoyed reading all the different characters and their peculiar, tight-knit family-like lives. The romance is sweet and all in all, the book is quite entertaining. As I've previously said, Tara has never let me down."

"There was so much to love about this book. Best story from start to finish. Fast-paced and entertaining."



Books in the top 25% rate range

4.
Sara Dobie Bauer - Escaping Exile


Escaping Exile (The Escape Trilogy Book 1)

"This was an awesome read! Very fast paced and interesting to see what element would or could ruin the newfound happiness of an exiled Vampire in need of a lesson."

5.
Jackie North - Wild as the West Texas Wind


Wild as the West Texas Wind: A Love Across Time Story

"A lovely gentle western, well written and lovely characterisation."

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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best Bisexual Contemporary and Erotic Romance & Romantic Suspence

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
E. Davies – Tremble


Tremble (Significant Brothers Book 6)

"I absolutely loved this book! It was engaging from the start and I connected with each MC. The story flowed and was flawless. It was effortless to read and I enjoy not having to work at understanding the book. The descriptions of the setting were done beautifully and I could picture in my mind perfectly. The story was angsty and the characters somewhat broken but they still hadn’t lost the hope of having their HEA."

E. Davies - Miracle

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."


2.
L.A. Witt - The Torches We Carry


The Torches We Carry

"Witt’s story of two men who come together after breaking up for a couple of decades is unusual in the realm of m/m romance. Where another author might have opted for a big misunderstanding to have separated the two, Witt chose to have the breakup hinge on the men’s reluctance to commit to being together because it was the more difficult choice. Instead, they shied away from the hard work a genuine relationship requires, broke up, and formed easier, but less important, liaisons. What they realize finally is that love can’t be shunted aside and a puny substitute put in its place. Both characters are vividly drawn to show how easy it is to mislead ourselves into taking the easy path through life and then being dissatisfied when it doesn’t fulfill us. Working their way out of the trapped lives they created, realizing where they went wrong, and struggling to become whole, happy men is a journey real and immediate to many people. Witt makes it bearable with characters that readers will identify with and love. All in all, this book was a joy to read. It makes readers think about life and love long after the last page is turned."

L.A. Witt - Rank & File

Rank & File (Anchor Point Book 4)

"I thought it was totally readable — fast and fun, just a solid read."

3.
Johnny Miles - Café y Chocolate


Café y Chocolate

"When it comes to the descriptions of the hurricane, the writing's pretty damn good. The calamity and the aftermath are shown well, apparently by the author's personal experience. The conflict between an easy life and a hard one that Sereno struggles with is relatable and understandable. Sometimes the harder choice is the more rewarding one. The story is very sensual, regards to both the sexuality and awakening the senses. The setting of Puerto Rico feels real, tangible and concrete. The bisexual aspect was handled rather nicely, but the unsafe sex threw me a bit. Beyond those few nitpicks, this one was surprisingly good. Certainly left me thinking about disaster areas and the very real problems people there face."


Books in the top 25% rate range

4.
Kyell Gold - Ty Game


Ty Game by Kyell Gold

"Wow, this was a great book. The characters are fun, light-hearted, sweet, and still realistic, though being something other than human. The dialogue, the progress of the plot, the atmosphere--it all feels normal, like it could happen to any old human. There are cute pictures too. Sure, there's some needless shit going on, like all the random hook-ups with chicks, the games one after the other, and the leading lady's job stuff. But despite the on-occasion slow pacing, overall the story flows organically, with ease. The ending surprised me a bit and wasn't entirely satisfactory but worked well, I suppose."

5.
L.A. Witt - It Was Always You


It Was Always You

Tyler Schaeffer’s whole world has been yanked out from under him. Job? Gone. Marriage? Kaput. With nothing to keep him in Chicago, he’s headed home to Seattle to lick his wounds and start over. To his surprise, his high school best friend—the man he ghosted five years ago—swoops in to help him pick up the pieces.

Freddy MacKay - Watermelon Kisses

Watermelon Kisses: A Holiday to Remember

Such a beautiful, heartfelt story. So many feels for a short tale. I laughed, I cried. Amir and Esmail warmed my heart. A wonderful, realistic story about two men who love each other and managed to escape from a terrible place, and now try to live in peace and safety in a new country. Relatable and sweet. At times, the almost poetic use of the English language made me sigh with contentment. There's a constant melancholy mood, complete with doses of hopefulness, all of which works well in the holiday setting. Finding inner peace after a trauma can't be easy, and I applaud the main characters for doing so through love and compassion. A truly lovely novella that pulls on your heartstrings.

6.
K. Evan Coles and Brigham Vaughn - Behind the Stick (The Speakeasy #3)


Behind the Stick (The Speakeasy Book 3)

Kyle McKee lives a charmed life. He co-owns Under, an uptown speakeasy, where he is chief mixologist. Friends poke fun at Kyle’s tiny one-bed apartment in Chelsea, but they’re the best support system a man could ask for. Unfortunately, Kyle’s lackluster love life has led him to take a break from dating.

7.
L.A. Witt - Blood & Bitcoin

Blood & Bitcoin: Organized Crime (Criminal Delights Book 4)

"I enjoyed this book. It was fun to read a story about an two heroes who live on the darker side of the moral compass, but are still very relatable and working for the greater good in their own way. The plot had movement, action, and some good old fashioned heat. The world felt very real."

"I really liked this. The story had an engaging plot and the characters were complex, sometimes doing things which seemed contradictory but helped make them three-dimensional."


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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best Lesbian Contemporary and Erotic Romance & Romantic Suspence

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Jeannie Levig - A Heart to Call Home


A Heart to Call Home

"Wonderfully written book with a cast of characters that you feel like you know. Not only the MC’s but the supporting players too. As I was reading I could feel the raw emotions felt by both Dakota and Jessica. The author kept me enthralled throughout the entire story. Definitely a winner."

"We romance-lovers love romance because we know we’re going to get an HEA at the end. Some people might think this makes the writer’s job easy, but in reality, it poses a difficult question: how can you write a story that’s so intense that a reader can’t possibly see how it will work out for the MCs in the end, even though the reader knows that it will? Because this intensity and uncertainty — uncertainty in the face of the certain HEA that the reader knows is coming — is what makes it a great story. This is that kind of story. The setup presents two engaging and thoroughly relatable MCs with seemingly insurmountable internal and external difficulties, then lets them muddle through them. And it works brilliantly. On top of this, there are several clever and heartwarming subplots. All in all, it’s a brilliantly written and thoroughly satisfying romance. Brava!"

"An elegant, accessible and sure-handed writing style supports a well-designed plot with multi-dimensional characters and a Sophie’s Choice of conflicting emotions and difficult decisions. This is a page-turner in the true sense of the word, and it pulls you forward on its momentum of real feelings and compelling dialog. Levig hits all the reader’s buttons and takes one along on a ride that is both sensually breath taking and smoothly heart-wrenching. The resolution is most satisfying because the author is a master storyteller."


2.
Geonn Cannon - Can You Hear Me

Can You Hear Me

"A bloody good story. It would make an awesome movie."

"Loved this story. From start to finish the author kept my interest in all aspects of the storyline. The characters are well written and  he makes you invested in the outcome between them. Setting was unique in certain aspects and really made me feel like I was sitting in the locations being described."

"This is a great read. I loved it right from the start and it offer not only an interesting plot but also a very unusual one. It is difficult to find books that surprise me, and this definitely surprised me in the best way possible. I appreciated how atypical this story is and how easily kept me totally engaged in the story from start to end. This may be easily one of my favourite book of 2019. Really really really good!"


3.
C.J. Murphy - Frame by frame


frame by frame

"Loved this one from start to finish. I felt drawn into the story. Loved the character and how they both struggled with coming to terms with their fears. Great supporting cast as well."

"I loved this story! Very sweet and well written."

"This novel started out with a bang: immediately the setting was so rich and the characters that inhabited it were so unique and complex that I was sucked right in. The existing relationships between Val and Laurel, Ree, and the rest of the Cool Springs denizens were subtle and engrossing, and had me so curious over the back story between them all, how they met and where they were going. I was engrossed. I loved Val: equal parts unapologetic and reclusive, she had a fragility that pulled me in but a strength that just got more and more fascinating the more I learned about her. While I feel the pacing suffers a bit toward the end when certain plot revelations were given over more to exposition than the detailed and considered encounters I had become used to, by that time, I was so in love with the characters that I was more interested in finding out how their story finished. Contrasting Laurel's internal struggles with what might be against Val's external and internal struggles with what came before was genius and very effective. Thank you for a lovely read about acceptance and love!"


Lynn Ames - Chain Reactions

Chain Reactions

"I really enjoyed this book. It was a breath of fresh air. Ms. Ames does not put out a plethora of books, but the ones she does put out are well thought out and a joy to read."

"Great storytelling. Well written characters that you got to know in depth. Loved Nora and wished I could have known her better. Settings spot on. Felt a little sluggish in some spots but overall an awesome read."

"Great book! I was deeply moved by this story and love to read about strong, intelligent female characters. I cried big ugly tears!"



Books in the top 25% rate range

4.
Jeannie Levig - A Wish Upon a Star


A Wish Upon a Star

"A wonderfully engaging love story, featuring two believable, likable middle-aged women."

"Loved this heartwarming unique story. Had some moments that made me laugh out loud too. The author nailed the autism arc spot on. I liked how Erica and Leslie figure out how to make it work and how Sienna responds to a new person in her life."

"I just really enjoyed this story, from the opening paragraph right to the very end."


5.
Heather Blackmore - It's Not a Date


It's Not a Date

" I had already read this one and went to refresh myself with the story and ended up rereading the whole book again. Totally enjoyed it. Loved the 2 MC’s Kade and Jen and both of their vulnerabilities. Also loved the relationship between Holly and Kade. Interesting story arc. "

"This book hit a little close to home for me… my mother suffers with dementia. The story itself was pretty good."

"Excellent romance with a convincing setting and great character development."


6.
Clare Ashton - The Goodmans


The Goodmans

"This was my 1 st Claire Ashton book and it won’t be my last. The writing is wonderful and the characters, all of them are written superbly. I felt I got to know each and everyone. She made me feel like part of the family drawing me into the story itself. The plot line was complex but each piece of the story was integral to the whole."

"The Goodmans was total „reading bliss“. I had to laugh was near tears, had „deep thoughts", the whole gamut of emotions was addressed. A rom com where you can see disaster looming and the author turns the right corner with tongue-in-cheek. The characters are revealed layer by layer and the writing was superb. The whole package of goodness is wrapped up in this book."


7.
Jae - Just for Show


Just for Show

" This is a fresh take on a familiar setup. The characters are likable, and although as a romance, we all know how it’s going to end, I was never sure *how* the characters were going to get there. The writing and storytelling sparkle. Really well done."

"This story sucked me in right from the get go. I loved it all."ù

"A thoroughly enjoyable fake relationship romance. A fun read und perfectly written."


8.
Suzie Carr - The Curvy Side of Life


The Curvy Side of Life

"I enjoyed this story very much. Characters were funny and well fleshed out. Totally can relate to Faith and her journey Easy read attributed to the writing style. Only down side was it was a little wordy in some spots."

"I found this story full of angst and drama. One of those that you don’t know how it will end until it ends. The premise was solid as was the setting. It was a gripping story and an enjoyable read."


9.
Jae - Paper Love


Paper Love

"Awesome book. I loved learning a bit about Germany through this story. Well written with great main and supporting characters. Anja and Susanne fit very well together."

"This was an alright story but it was hard to get into. It did flow well and could have been great if it was a bit faster paced."

"Another on of Jae‘s great romances. Set in one of the cutest towns in Germany."


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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best Gay Contemporary Romance & Romantic Comedy

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Taylor Fitzpatrick - Thrown Off the Ice


Thrown Off the Ice

"This story left my heart aching. I was left aching for Liam, who, from the very beginning felt a strong attraction toward Mike. These two characters were perfect together even through the rough patches they encountered, mostly because of Mike wanting to protect Liam from what he knew was going to be a broken heart. Wonderfully written, the plot moved smoothly. Surely one of the best stories I've had the pleasure of reading. I Loved it!"

"I loved this book! The storyline was tight and driven but complex on so many levels and emotional. It had me laughing, grunting in frustration,  and ultimately crying. The author clearly took the time to develop both characters to an extent far beyond the surface."


2.
Morningstar Ashley - Risking It All


Risking It All (A Begin Again Novel Book 2)

"I got sucked into the lives of Danny and Jaden. They equally broke my heart and made me love them as I lived their lives with them. I actually wished the book was longer."

"I liked the story. Great premise and likeable characters."


3.
Amy Lane – Crocus


Crocus (Bonfires Book 2)

"One word sums up this book, the second in the series, for me: family. The warmth, love and support the members of this fairly new family feel for and offer each other through their dark times permeates this book. I wish I'd had a dad like Larx; what a wonderful human being. Amy Lane has created a real page-turner of a romance, so much so that I've had to buy the first in the series to read more."

"I loved the theme of blending and creating family, although the complexities made it harder to stay really connected with so many characters. Still, I loved seeing two older guys falling further in love despite all the obstacles their busy lives can throw at them."



Books in the top 25% rate range

4.
Tara Lain - Home Improvement — A Love Story


Home Improvement — A Love Story

"What a wonderful, romantic, awesome, well written and a treat this was to read! I loved these characters, especially Gabe with his patience and understanding, his daughter, Ellie, for being such an awesome teen, and of course, Jerry, for his shyness and all his fears. I'm so glad that, in the end, everything worked out for this lovable couple. I have always enjoyed reading Tara's works."
"This book is part of a series and can be read as a stand alone however after reading this book i will be looking for the other books. I loved the characters and the story itself had me turning the pages to see how everything would play out."

"Great single dad story. I am a fan of Ms. Lain’s and always try to get her books. So glad i was given the chance to read this one."


5.
L.A. Witt - Rabi and Matthew


Rabi and Matthew

"This was fantastic! The story emphasizes on the idea that no matter who you are, no matter your status, race, financial, or otherwise, the heart wants what the heart wants. In this case, two young men from two political rival families. They feel an attraction before they realize who the other one is and they fight against the current to remain friends, then lovers. They fight for their freedom to love one another, in spite of the hatred and rivalry amongst siblings and parents. This was well written and quite enjoyable."

6.
Tara Lain - High Balls


High Balls (Balls to the Wall Book 5)

"Loved this story! Very sweet romance of characters that you think would be total opposites from appearances. Engaging from the start. Romance, sweetness and just the right amount of angst."

7.
Tara Lain - Love You So Special


Love You So Special (The Love You So Stories Book 3)

"The characters were the real highlight of this well-plotted story. They were three-dimensional and believable, and fit so well together. The plot was excellent as well — a familiar setup, but executed so uniquely and well. I very much enjoyed this one."

"Ms. Lain has never, not once, let me down. Oh, how I enjoyed reading and in my mind 'listening' to and about the classical music portrayed in this story! I loved Francois, his shyness, his fear of being in public (I really relate to him), and the sweetness within him. I also loved Artie's strength, his gentleness and the love he developed toward Francois. I wish to read more of these two enjoyable characters. Keep 'em coming, Tara!"


8.
Kelly Wyre – Fight


Fight

"Good characters. Good plotting. Nice solid transformations at the end. Very satisfying. And really good sex writing, too."

"On the face of it, this book was a spate of clichés. There was the repressed closet case, the golden-hearted thug, the benevolent father figure, the scheming fiancée, the amazon warrior sister, there were drugs, abuse, violence, shady pasts and even shadier characters, explosions, fire, blood and death. And yet, all this worked together to make a compelling whole,  due in no small part to the wonderful depiction of characters. None of them was cardboard, each had layers and depths that were a joy to discover. Add to that the main character's incredible growth to finding their true selves and a writing style that, while redundant at times, really appealed to me, and this was a win for me. "


9.
L.A. Witt - The Husband Gambit


The Husband Gambit

Hayden Somerset is convinced the ad is a joke, but he responds anyway because, hello, $1.2 million. He’s broke, living in a tiny apartment with two roommates, and exhausted from praying his ancient car survives just one more week. His skyrocketing rent and crushing student loans aren’t helping either. At this point, there isn’t much Hayden wouldn’t do for that kind of cash.

10.
E.J. Russell - Mystic Man


Mystic Man (States of Love Book 40)

"Mystic Man is part of a publisher's collection emphasising geographical location, and the setting of this story is beautifully depicted - the author offers lots of great detail taking the reader on a virtual tour (Cody's an awesome tour guide). I appreciated the emphasis on friendship for the first part of the book, with the dual point-of-view narration providing insights into Aaron and Cody's mutual attraction. I really liked the characters, although I have to say, Kaya's telling of Amelia Earhart's accomplishments totally stole the story."

"The love story between Aaron and Cody evolved organically in a way that made me long to move, like Aaron did, somewhere that no one knew me just to see what sort of magic would happen.  The adventure wasn't just believable, the author made it desirable.  All the bits and details came together haphazardly, never seeming contrived.  I was a bit sad when the story ended because I wanted to see the guys evolve into full married bliss."


11.
Jodi Payne & B.A. Tortuga – Wrecked


Wrecked

The call comes when Beckett Adler least expects it. He’s made a new life for himself in Vermont and has a law practice of his own. After four years he’s even stopped wearing his wedding ring. So when he finds out his husband, bull rider Skyler Paulson, has been seriously injured at an event, he isn’t sure what he wants to do. He knows what’s right though, so he heads down to Baltimore to bring his man home.

Kim Fielding - A Full Plate

A Full Plate (Dreamspun Desires)

"This was truly a fun read. So many times through the story I tried to convince Tully to think of the life he'd have with Sage in a small town oppose to a life as a rich man in a large city where no one actually knows anyone. I'm so glad he 'listened' to me. LOL I really loved the outcome of their lives. Wonderful story and highly recommended!"

Kim Fielding - The Little Library

The Little Library

"I have always enjoyed Ms. Fielding's stories and this one kept me entertained just as much as the ones before. It's a wonderful story. Sweet, romantic and full of compassion, although there's the issue of the homophobic neighbor, which I think was portrayed quite well. Looking forward to more amazing stories from this amazing author!"

L.A. Witt - Wash Out

Wash Out (Anchor Point Book 7)

"Good characterization of PTSD, losing your career or dream, and a gay friendly dream work place for people with PTSD. Number 7 in a series, each with a different couple. I would guess that more of the setting is done in the earlier books. HFN ending."

"This was another strong entry in L.A. Witt’s Anchor Point series. Logan and Casey have demons that clash: Logan is no longer in the military (he’s a contractor on the base) and still suffers from severe PTSD; Casey’s still in the navy but washed out of SEAL training because of an injury. Logan thinks Casey’s lucky not to have combat-related stress, but Casey resents losing the only thing he ever wanted. How the two men come together to help each other cope with their issues is delivered in L.A.’s trademark clean and snappy prose, with a good dose of banter, and plenty of heat."W


12.
Eli Easton - Family Camp


Family Camp: Daddy Dearest, Book 1

"This was a fun read. I truly enjoyed reading the couple's smooth romance, how their interest in each other developed, and especially the kids, each with their own 'disability' and how a strong family unit became strong. Wonderful story and I highly recommend it!"

A.M. Leibowitz – Drumbeat

Drumbeat (Notes from Boston Book 3)

" I'm a huge fan of queer ensembles, particularly when those include bi characters. Diverse relationships (romantic/aromantic) and some fairly heavy stuff give this novel incredible depth. The three central characters are very well drawn, and there's also an excellent cast of supporting characters - covering most of the rainbow."W

14.
C.S. Poe - Color of You


Color of You

Bowen Merlin— yes, that’s his real name—accepts a position in the quaint town of Lancaster, New Hampshire, as the high school band director. He leaves New York City for the snowy countryside of New England just in time for the holidays. With class, homework, after-school activities, and a surprise Christmas concert to plan and rehearse, Bowen is plenty busy. And since he’s never had much luck with romance, factoring in time to find Mr. Right isn’t a priority….

E. Davies - Hard Hart

Hard Hart: A Hart's Bay Novel

"What I like most about this story is the relationship between Jesse and Finn. I really get why they like each other. It develops organically and never feels forced, and it progresses nicely in terms of each character’s individual hang-ups and fears. The side characters are introduced smoothly. I feel like I’m getting to know the core group for this series, and it never feels like a set-up, just a very natural progression. POV is well-delineated; I am always very clear about whose head I am in, even without the chapter titles to tell me, and I enjoy seeing through each character’s eyes. Though I feel just a little bit overdosed on the sex scenes, I really like how well they are written; the heart comes through, and the sensual care they take with each other, as well as the emotional development of their bond. Bravo! I would definitely read more in this series!"

L.A. Witt - Bouncing Back

Bouncing Back (Wilde's Book 10)

"Loved reading this! The relationship between Samir and Elliot is simply sweet. I loved the protectiveness Elliot had for his lover, the sweetness and gentleness he treated him with, and the way Samir fell head over heels for Elliot. Quite entertaining and worth the read. I'd always loved Ms. Witt's stories and will always be searching for more."

Marguerite Labbe - A Little Side of Geek (Geek Life #1)

A Little Side of Geek (1) (Geek Life)

"I don't usually go for the geeky, game con genre, but I must admit, this was such a treat to read! It was a fun, quirky story that left me simply satisfied when I reached the end. The characters were sweet, the story could pass as real-life events. I adored Morris in his kilt and the shy Theo with all the responsibilities dumped on him when his parents died and he tried to do as much as he possibly could for his teen brother. Excellent story from an author I truly admire."

Marguerite Labbe - A Whole Latte Sass (Geek Life #2)

A Whole Latte Sass (Geek Life Book 2)

It’s no secret cosplayer Felipe Suero is looking for his happily ever after—in his love life as well as his career. He’s getting his degree so he can quit his miserable job and start his own costume business. Now he just needs to land the sexiest silver fox to ever attend a con.

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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best Asexual Debut Book

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Ava Kelly - Havesskadi


Havesskadi

"Fabulous world building and mythology, I would like to more about the red dragon and how the anasketts corrupted her. The settings were full of imagery and atmosphere, particularly the castle and I really liked the writing style - no massive info dumps here. I really wanted to rate this book higher because I enjoyed the story, but I kept coming back to the fact that almost half the story was about 2 characters who hardly talk to each other and hid things from each other, with little character development at this point and I was left feeling disappointed at the end. I would've liked to see Arkeva and Orsie discovering new things together outside the castle."

2.
Evelyn Benvie - Something To Celebrate


Something to Celebrate: Escape from the Holidays

"This book…you could almost taste the wind, the spirits, feel the intense loneliness of Niko and Fan, as they deal separately and together of what it means to be together and yet true to their own sense of self. The fact that Niko is Demiand Fan is a winter spirit added to the magic in this book, and actually have a HEA of which I approve."

3.
Kail Muse – Homeplanet

Homeplanet

Centuries ago Earth was declared a dead planet and humanity was left with a cluster of space stations called the Human Colonies. Now a power shortage could lose them their home all over again. Desperate not to let that happen, they turn to the kyni for help. One of the most powerful species in the known universe, the kyni are the only ones with both the power and the ability to fuel the Human Colonies. Though Calder has never heard anything good about them, he accepts a job as a bodyguard, determined to guarantee his brother will have a home. If he has to work for terrifying, heartless aliens to do that, so be it. But when the kyni arrive, they're nothing at all what anyone expects...

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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best LGBTA Debut Book

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Dorian Graves - Bones and Bourbon


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!"


2.
R. Zamora Linmark - The Importance of Being Wilde at Heart


The Importance of Being Wilde at Heart

"I have never read a story written quite like The Importance of Being Wilde at Heart. Part haiku, part list, part prose, part conversations with Oscar Wilde... loved it. The setting and characters were natural, realistic, and the story was poignantly relatable. A work of art!"

"Absolutely charming first love story with the writings (and life) of Oscar Wilde as its blueprint and alter ego. The writer’s fresh and tender approach to gender, love, irony and lust makes this book read almost like a long poem. Moves along at a great pace, comes complete with a second-string of good friends, and credibly resonates with all the pathos, comedy and poetry of first love. The author knows his craft and certainly knows a great deal about Oscar Wilde. Highly recommended."


3.
Rory Power - Wilded Girls


Wilder Girls

"A most beautiful horror story! The writing is sublime and complex and purposefully precise. The characters—none like them! Comparisons were made to a female Lord of the Flies, but the closer comparison is a Wilkie Collins gothic horror story with overtures of romance, but of the f/f variety. Layered and yet cryptic in places, the book is a wonderful, ugly ride until the end. The abruptness of the ending, while not a true cliffhanger, might merit a couple points penalty in some minds, but the overall opus deserves the highest score. Expect more and fabulous from this debut author!"

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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best Bisexual Debut Book

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Jude Lucens - Behind These Doors (Radical Proposals #1)


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."


2.
M. Rose Flores - The End


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. "


3.
Ariana Nash - Silk & Steel


Silk and Steel 2: Iron & Fire

Alliances are forged and broken, friendships shattered, and despite the odds stacked against them, two hearts collide in this explosive sequel to Silk & Steel.

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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best Gay Debut Book

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Xia Xia Lake - Shinigami


Shinigami: Takamagahara Monogatari Book 2

"Reading the author’s introduction, I found the premise of this story intriguing. I’m not familiar with Noh theatre or the storylines this story was based on. At the same time, the prose was so clear and sparkling that I was drawn in, in no time. It’s a beautifully structured story — the slowest of slow burns, but gorgeous through and through. Truly a delight."

"I have never felt the attraction for this type of story but I must admit, the author's writing style is one that engulfed all my senses and left me wanting more. It was a sweet story packed with a lot of feels. I wouldn't mind reading the next book for this one was a HFN."

"I enjoyed this book very much because it was so different up until the end.  I ultimately finished the last paragraph disappointed and asking "what just happened?" Love how the author built a fictional world using Japanese folklore combined with historical facts."


2.
Stephan Knox - Anáil Dhragain (Dragon's Breath)


Anáil Dhragain: (Dragon's Breath) (The Pendhragains Book 1)

"This was a very good book. Thank you for the opportunity to read it."

"A story with a good pace, interesting characters, and plenty of twists to keep me entertained to the end."


3.
MD Neu - The Calling


The Calling

"This book, by far, was the best read. The emotional connection between the characters and story were paced very well and the story, as a whole, was awesome. I hated to see this end with no word if there will be more."

"I enjoyed this interesting twist on vampires, and particularly liked the idea of the choice of light or dark. The final showdown rocked, and had me turning pages.  The characters are interesting, although they feel a little emotionally detached at times, yet this does mesh with the perspective of the MC narrator. "


Maz Maddox - Heartache & Hoofbeats

Heartache & Hoofbeats: Stallion Ridge 1

"A thoroughly enjoyable read all around. Very imaginative worldbuilding. I loved the writing style, well-paced, funny and quirky, it fit the Setting and subject of the book just perfectly. Can't wait to pic up the next # !"

"Pleasant surprise! I would never trust a western with centaurs, lamias, mermaids and other mythological beings, but I really liked this, to the point of pushing me to look for the sequel."


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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best Lesbian Debut Book

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
C.J. Murphy - Frame by frame


frame by frame

"Loved this one from start to finish. I felt drawn into the story. Loved the character and how they both struggled with coming to terms with their fears. Great supporting cast as well."

"I loved this story! Very sweet and well written."

"This novel started out with a bang: immediately the setting was so rich and the characters that inhabited it were so unique and complex that I was sucked right in. The existing relationships between Val and Laurel, Ree, and the rest of the Cool Springs denizens were subtle and engrossing, and had me so curious over the back story between them all, how they met and where they were going. I was engrossed. I loved Val: equal parts unapologetic and reclusive, she had a fragility that pulled me in but a strength that just got more and more fascinating the more I learned about her. While I feel the pacing suffers a bit toward the end when certain plot revelations were given over more to exposition than the detailed and considered encounters I had become used to, by that time, I was so in love with the characters that I was more interested in finding out how their story finished. Contrasting Laurel's internal struggles with what might be against Val's external and internal struggles with what came before was genius and very effective. Thank you for a lovely read about acceptance and love!"


2.
Susan Stocker - Kiss Your Elbow (An Embellished Memoire of Growing Up in the 50's and 60's)


Kiss Your Elbow: An Embellished Memoire about Growing Up Gay in the 50's and 60's

"This was a fantastic memoir. It was funny, poignant and relatable. I didn't want to stop reading it and I honestly am not a fan of Memoirs! Can't wait for book number two to continue the story!"

"Loved this story from start to finish. Great storytelling style. Felt like I was literally along for the ride. Had me smiling and relating. Great character portrayals. "


3.
Chris Zett - Irregular Heartbeat


Irregular Heartbeat

"The mark of a great story is when the storyteller, in this case the writer, disappears from the readers awareness as she becomes completely immersed in the story itself."


Books in the top 25% rate range

4.
Helen Jayne - Hestia: sapphic soulmates


Hestia: Sapphic Soulmates

"I liked this book but it left a little bit to be desired for me. I felt it could have been so much more. I wanted it to be so much more."

5.
Gail Newman - Sunlight in the Shadows


Sunlight in the Shadows

"Wonderful story with a multitude of well written characters. Loved the interplay between them all."

Cheryl Espinosa-Jones - An Ocean Between Them

An Ocean Between Them

"This was a truly well written book. Watching the character growth, I truly connected into and identified with the struggles from both main characters. What bumped it to a 10 for me was actually a small moment. Sal stops her thoughts, recalls her therapy work, and rewrites her internal monologue. That level of thought, of attention to detail, put these characters and the depths shown in their development on a whole other level for me. The plot was well planned and executed, though there were moments where things were a little predictable. The settings were well described, though I had to go back and check where they were, getting a little lost in the locations. The only criticism I’d have is the perspective switch. I wish the headers explained time as well as who we were following. It took me a minute to realize we’d jumped into the past with Chloe’a sections. It is however something one can guess and so I didn’t dock much for it. Honestly, this book was hard for me. I lost my co-parent last year and I wasn’t sure if I could handle a book on this topic, especially as I face the anniversary of her death. The fact that I connected so solidly with it, as someone going through grief, speaks to the caliber of writing."

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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best Asexual Book

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
R.A. Steffan - The Complete Lion Mistress Collection


The Complete Lion Mistress Collection: A WhyChoose Fantasy Romance

"A completely immersive read with excellent world-building and great attention to detail: the corrupt society, the viciousness of people's actions, the compassion of new friends and the love found between our 3 heroes and also Favian's adopted family. The characters were well fleshed out: their future motivations clear, based upon past events and their current situations. I adored Kathrael, such an unconventional but completely believable heroine who well deserved her HEA."

"This trilogy was beyond good. It delved into a mystical medieval time, with fantastic world building. The characters were strong, their voices unique, and the story intriguing and satisfying at the end. Incredible trilogy. Characters are so deep and world building is amazing."

"R.A. Steffan does it again with another wonderful story, once again populated by dynamic characters and (very exciting) a reverse harem relationship. It mixes fantasy with romance, but is much darker in tone than the Horse Mistress stories, although that darkness makes it more powerful."

"This was an excellent polyamorous romance story, with beautiful characters and dynamics that I greatly enjoyed, set in a fascinating and engaging world. I loved it!"


2.
Jae - Perfect Rhythm


Perfect Rhythm

" I love stories where the main characters start out in a place of opposition. The characters here, like in so many of Jae’s books, are really well drawn, three-dimensional, and so, so likeable. It’s a good, meaty plot as well. Fantastic book."

"I found myself pulled into the novel—the characters where believable. I really liked how the story flowed from beginning to end."


Ava Kelly - Havesskadi

Havesskadi

"Fabulous world building and mythology, I would like to more about the red dragon and how the anasketts corrupted her. The settings were full of imagery and atmosphere, particularly the castle and I really liked the writing style - no massive info dumps here. I really wanted to rate this book higher because I enjoyed the story, but I kept coming back to the fact that almost half the story was about 2 characters who hardly talk to each other and hid things from each other, with little character development at this point and I was left feeling disappointed at the end. I would've liked to see Arkeva and Orsie discovering new things together outside the castle."

3.
Sam Burns - Strike Up the Band


Strike Up the Band (Wilde Love Book 3)

"This book was an absolute joy to read. When I'm judging for these awards, I try to keep a little outside of the story so that I can make notes on my reading experience. It was impossible with this story: it grabbed me immediately and sucked me right in. I was invested in the characters so quickly it was a shock, but a welcome one. I didn't want to stop reading. The writing is top notch, both lyrical and uncomplicated; the plot proceeds so seamlessly, everything that occurs is organic, and the pacing is perfect; there is nothing forced or contrived about any of the characters or events. Elsi and Alex are unique and well-developed characters, Jake's grief and self-realizations are thoughtfully explored, and Brian's juxtaposition of self-chastisement and self-confidence is just beautiful. His kindness and his willingness to roll with what everyone else needs, entangled with the fragility of desperately needing to fit in, to do what's right, is lovely. The look into the world of touring and recording, of the almost... loss of control over one's own life/identity while in the entertainment business, was interesting and never overpowering the real reason we are here: the exploration of family, of healing, and of self. Full marks."

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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best LGBTA Book

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Anna Butler - Day of Wrath (Taking Shield #5)


Day of Wrath (Taking Shield Book 5)

"Coming into a series with the 5th book is always a challenge, especially with high tech space opera, but I still found myself drawn into this almost from the start. So much drama, tension, and mystery, with a covert romance that was actually more intense for being restricted to stolen moments in the shadows."

"This is the last book in an impressive scifi/space opera series, and it ticks all the boxes for a great book: Plot, Emotional Investment (Conflict, Angst, Romance), Character, Resolution and wonderful writing. One point off for a difficult, opening sequence that was hard to follow as it crammed too much information into an already complex story. Otherwise exceptional!"

"Wow, that one blew me away. Not a comfortable story, and one that is still resonating with me days after finishing it, but well worth your time as long as you're not just in it for the HEA. Excellent bi main characters and complex family and friend relationships in a realistic, exciting, devastating, and thoughtful SciFi space saga. Start with book 1 and read in order."


2.
Chris Tebbetts - Me Myself & Him


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."


Amy Klobuchar; Edited by In This Together Media - Nevertheless, We Persisted

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."

3.
Stefani Deoul - Zero Sum Game


Zero Sum Game (A Sid Rubin Silicon Alley Adventure)

"There is nothing I haven’t loved about this book. When there are a lot of characters I can find myself lost in trying to figure out who is who, or what not but the author made an awesome job in giving every character a clear voice, so much so that even the most peripheral ones where easy to understand ad remember. Another thing that I really loved about this book is the way the author was able to give a voice to the adolescent stage of life, it is clear from the start that we are looking at a group of teenagers, without it being demeaning or becoming a caricature. Now I want to read the first book in this series and this is actually the best compliment any reader could give to an author, being curios till the point to wanting to know about what they wrote before and becoming such a fan that ones want to wait patiently for the next book."

"There’s a zany brilliance about Stefani Deoul’s writing that makes this second book in the Sid Rubin Silicon Alley Adventure a pleasure to read. Although the story revolves around a small group of nerdy, needy and semi-nihilistic teen brainiacs who solve mysteries by virtue of their encyclopedic knowledge of video games, game theory and teenage angst, the superior writing keeps one going even when the subject matter is somewhat arcane to all but the most dedicated of millennials. Deoul’s use of the first-person POV is perfect, striking the exact right balance amongst the competing mood swings associated with young adult blasé, bedevilment and botheration."


R. Zamora Linmark - The Importance of Being Wilde at Heart

The Importance of Being Wilde at Heart

"I have never read a story written quite like The Importance of Being Wilde at Heart. Part haiku, part list, part prose, part conversations with Oscar Wilde... loved it. The setting and characters were natural, realistic, and the story was poignantly relatable. A work of art!"

"Absolutely charming first love story with the writings (and life) of Oscar Wilde as its blueprint and alter ego. The writer’s fresh and tender approach to gender, love, irony and lust makes this book read almost like a long poem. Moves along at a great pace, comes complete with a second-string of good friends, and credibly resonates with all the pathos, comedy and poetry of first love. The author knows his craft and certainly knows a great deal about Oscar Wilde. Highly recommended."


Chad Sell - The Cardboard Kingdom

The Cardboard Kingdom

"I loved it. These beautifully illustrated snippets of the everyday summer lives of kids with an amazing imagination made me laugh, cry, growl, and root for them. What starts with only a couple of kids roleplaying together grows into a true whirlwind adventure between a great many friends. Great costumes, fantastical masks, and brave plots prove that these kids have more in common than they initially think. They support each other in such wonderful ways, I was happy to read the whole thing in one sitting. There are characters for everyone: the boy who dresses up like a girl, the vocal girl who is told she's too loud for a good girl, the reformed bully, the prince and his rogue best friend, the bookish boy without friends, and so on. Something and someone for everyone to relate to. I was blown away by how much could be told with just a few pages and images. Couldn't recommend this higher."

"I loved this colourful, kid-friendly graphic novel. The stories are inventive, and will hold the interest of a young reader while opening their eyes to plethora of ideas and possibilities."

"I’ve never read a graphic novel before. I quite enjoyed the experience. I liked all the little individual stories that made up the kid’s summer holidays. Made me wish I had had a group of neighbourhood friends like that when I was growing up… it would have been fun."

Emily Skrutskie - Hullmetal Girls

Hullmetal Girls

"This is an excellent contribution to the scifi-genre with young adult characters. The world-building is outstanding. The plot captivating. The book is LGBTI-friendly without being itself LGBTI fiction at all."

"Emily Skrutskie's Hullmetal GIrls is inclusive, diverse, delightful scifi that's refreshingly grrl power in a traditionally male-dominated genre. The characterizations ring true, and the gender and sexual identities of the characters are coincidental rather than fetishized or focused upon. It's simply one more aspect of who they are. The classic tropes utilized in the telling of this tale are no less enjoyable for being tropes. Overall, I deeply enjoyed this story and would definitely read more in this universe."


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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best Transgender Book

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Katherine Wyvern - A Muse to Live For


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."


2.
Dorian Graves - Bones and Bourbon


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!"


3.
Mia Kerick - The Princess of Baker Street


The Princess of Baker Street

"I found this book compelling from the first age and I could not put it down until I'd finished. It's not an easy light fluffy read, I had tears streaming down my face. I really felt for the characters and for real people I've known who at times have been Eric and his friend. Thankfully all the characters get the correct ending for their stories. Note: I read the book without reading the blurb. I see the first paragraph in the blurb would imply this is primarily the story of a trans girl and readers expecting that may be disappointed. Although some of her story does emerge told through Eric's point of view, the book is not her story. The story is more about how other people in school react to her, firstly as a boy who doesn't conform to gender expectations and later as an out trans girl. I'd say this book is primarily about bullying and surviving school through that adolescent period. It sits well with other books that combine LGBT themes and bullying, such as James Howe's Misfits series. The bullying is severe and there is a suicide attempt. And it is Eric's story of survival both at school and at home, where he suffers neglect. It is a story that is very real, I can imagine there are kids living something similar in every school. Eric's thirteen years of age and navigating his way through life at a tricky age. From his point of view, all other kids around him could potentially ruin his life. He tries to fit in and avoid drawing attention to himself. To fit in and not be bullied. He's an average kid. Part of survival means not associating with the kid who doesn't fit in. I would recommend this book to young readers in general. I'd be happy for my children to read it. However, I would say it is targeted at general readers not specifically trans youth."


Books in the top 25% rate range

4.
Mia Kerick - All Boy


All Boy

"An intriguing story with well-developed characters that takes a realistic and touching look at issues involving friendship, bullying and identity."

"I'm not a big fan of YA, but All Boy is exceptionally well written and had me engrossed from beginning to end. Jayden and Callie are excellent characters, so warm and understanding of each others complex differences. Highly recommended."


5.
Carla Grant - Uncommon Girls


Uncommon Girls

"I give this memoir a score of 40. I hesitate to give a perfect score, but the book is captivating from page one and continues powerfully till the end. The basic story is a mother learning her son is trans and their journeys (they are separate ones in many regards) as he becomes she. I appreciated the POV of the mother, since so many accounts are through the eyes of the trans person. And I liked that the mother was a complex, intelligent, well-meaning, and terribly flawed individual. Grant tells the story not only of her trans daughter but also how that overwhelming aspect of her life still had to compete with plenty of other parts, her alcoholism, her remarriage, other children, rescue dogs, her daughter's self-harm, and multiple mental health issues. As if the story wasn't complex enough, we learn early on that the trans daughter is also on the autism spectrum, adding multiple additional stresses. It's all fascinating and at times even funny. Grant uses a variety of clever literary techniques to keep the reader interested. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It's excellent."

"Wow, this was not what I expected, and I almost gave up on it in the early going (what with the focus on mom's dating misadventures), but then it came to Eliot's written proposal to wear high heels to school . . . and suddenly I found myself loving this kid. On the surface, it really does seems like it is going to be too much - an autistic child who identifies as transgender, with a recovering alcoholic single parent telling their story - but it is actually beautiful and funny and heartwarming, even as they deal with the challenges of Canadian education and healthcare. Mom's whole "fluid concept of womanhood" is perfect, and Ella is . . . well, I am going to go all out and call her a hero. She is amazing."


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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best Bisexual Book

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Jan Steckel - Like Flesh Covers Bone


Like Flesh Covers Bone

"This was an excellent collection of poetry. Each theme was explored through several kinds of styles and feelings. Emotions ranged from heartfelt to somber to angry, among others—and all of the poems thoughtful and invoked great imagery. The poems were witty and insightful. The collection was thoughtful and critical of the current dilemmas we face."

"Poetry is sometimes hard to judge—you either get it or you don’t. Some of these were very dark, but I can honestly say I liked them."

"Overall, I thought her poetry strong and dynamic. Her words build on current events and deep social issues. It wasn’t a fluffy read but felt very relevant to things happening now and made me think that this author is a warrior with words."

"Steckel is brilliant.  Not all the poems have the same power, but those that do really dazzle."


2.
E. Davies – Tremble


Tremble (Significant Brothers Book 6)

"I absolutely loved this book! It was engaging from the start and I connected with each MC. The story flowed and was flawless. It was effortless to read and I enjoy not having to work at understanding the book. The descriptions of the setting were done beautifully and I could picture in my mind perfectly. The story was angsty and the characters somewhat broken but they still hadn’t lost the hope of having their HEA."

3.
Jude Lucens - Behind These Doors (Radical Proposals #1)


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."



Books in the top 25% rate range

4.
M. Rose Flores - The End


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. "


E. Davies - Miracle

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."


5.
E.J. Russell - Demon on the Down-Low (Supernatural Selection #3)


Demon on the Down-Low (Supernatural Selection Book 3)

"It was a thrill to read this book because it was very well written and exciting. A true page-turner. It was a plus to see characters from the previous book revisited within this new story and it was a bit sad to see everything come to an end. I need to read more of this author’s work."

"I fell instantly in love with Hamish, an Australian Kangaroo shifter who's gruff personality was on point throughout the entire novel. Hamish had depth, he was real to me. And then there was Zeke, who was conflicted, frenetic and utterly adorable. Zeke, being the good demon he is, just wants to please everyone. There were moments in this story where I laughed out loud. There were also a few spots where the description of hell sent shivers down my spine. Well done EJ Russell, it's not easy to disturb me! This was cute, fun, sexy and Russell had you rooting for the demon the entire time. This whole series is just joy. Highly Recommend."


6.
Lexi Ander - Caledonia Destiny


Caledonia Destiny (Blessed Bane Book 1)

"Caledonia Destiny hooked me from page one. I did have an inkling of how things would transpire, but the author twisted the end in such a unique way, I was still surprised at the resolution. The setting was very well balanced, enough description to ground the reader without going overboard. There were a few places where character remarks clouded the setting, but they were few and my mind readily dismissed them. The characters’ depth and growth was masterfully handled. The emotions and reactions felt real, when a book brings me to tears, the loss of Roi, I know I’ve connected to well developed characters. The style is probably my favorite part of the book. I’ve read others that use period spelling, but only in speech. The choice to do so, to research not only changes in spelling but in terminology, was what truly pulled me into Ewen and Roi’s world. The writing style immersed me in this world, compelled me to remain. In summary, this was an excellently composed story, one that draws a reader in so completely that they must blink to remember where they really are. "

"All the beautiful writing I expect from a Lexi Ander book with worldbuilding skills on par with my favorite fantasy romances. The blend of history, magic, action and romance is wonderfully compelling. Really enjoyable to read."


Meredith Katz - How Saeter Robbed the Underworld

How Saeter Robbed the Underworld

"How Saeter Robbed the Underworld was such a fun, sweet read. The Norse-esque setting was immersive, the characters were natural and interesting, the romance was yummy, and I found Katz's writing style to be highly polished. A true pleasure to read!"

" A story that is simultaneously familiar and thoroughly unique. Truly a well-spun yarn. Very difficult to put down, and left me with a huge grin. Very well done, author!"


7.
Debbie McGowan - The Great Village Bun Fight


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."

L.A. Witt - The Torches We Carry

The Torches We Carry

"Witt’s story of two men who come together after breaking up for a couple of decades is unusual in the realm of m/m romance. Where another author might have opted for a big misunderstanding to have separated the two, Witt chose to have the breakup hinge on the men’s reluctance to commit to being together because it was the more difficult choice. Instead, they shied away from the hard work a genuine relationship requires, broke up, and formed easier, but less important, liaisons. What they realize finally is that love can’t be shunted aside and a puny substitute put in its place. Both characters are vividly drawn to show how easy it is to mislead ourselves into taking the easy path through life and then being dissatisfied when it doesn’t fulfill us. Working their way out of the trapped lives they created, realizing where they went wrong, and struggling to become whole, happy men is a journey real and immediate to many people. Witt makes it bearable with characters that readers will identify with and love. All in all, this book was a joy to read. It makes readers think about life and love long after the last page is turned."

S.M. James - Not Gonna Lie

Not Gonna Lie: LGBTQ Enemies to Lovers Romance (The lovehim Series)

Everyone has their secrets. Last year Digi walked out on Webcon, on his fans, and on Gram. Now he’s back determined to give what they had a real shot, but Gram is more prickly than ever, not willing to risk his heart again. Despite trying to stay out of the spotlight, the anonymous Public Service Announcements draw Digi back in. As the secrets of the internet’s top celebrities are leaked to the world, it’s only a matter of time before Digi and Gram are next. To get through it, they have to set their rivalry aside. Will Digi handle the pressure of the bright lights long enough to find who is tearing their world apart? Or will the threat of full exposure be too much for him to handle?

8.
Freddy MacKay - Waiting on the Rain


Waiting on the Rain

"A beautiful story of friendship and family with character as wonderful and as diverse as the Thailand setting. Jira and Bon are such a cute couple, and Areeya and Fon (OMG, I loved Fon!) really bring that relationship to live by interwining it within their own."

Johnny Miles - Café y Chocolate

Café y Chocolate

"When it comes to the descriptions of the hurricane, the writing's pretty damn good. The calamity and the aftermath are shown well, apparently by the author's personal experience. The conflict between an easy life and a hard one that Sereno struggles with is relatable and understandable. Sometimes the harder choice is the more rewarding one. The story is very sensual, regards to both the sexuality and awakening the senses. The setting of Puerto Rico feels real, tangible and concrete. The bisexual aspect was handled rather nicely, but the unsafe sex threw me a bit. Beyond those few nitpicks, this one was surprisingly good. Certainly left me thinking about disaster areas and the very real problems people there face."

L.A. Witt - Rank & File

Rank & File (Anchor Point Book 4)

"I thought it was totally readable — fast and fun, just a solid read."

9.
Casey Wolfe - A Mage's Power


A Mage's Power (The Inquisition Trilogy Book 1)

"This is an *engaging* book from the get-go, with strong pacing and a deep, intuitive understanding of storytelling as well the genre's hooks. Outstanding book."

10.
Kyell Gold - Ty Game


Ty Game by Kyell Gold

"Wow, this was a great book. The characters are fun, light-hearted, sweet, and still realistic, though being something other than human. The dialogue, the progress of the plot, the atmosphere--it all feels normal, like it could happen to any old human. There are cute pictures too. Sure, there's some needless shit going on, like all the random hook-ups with chicks, the games one after the other, and the leading lady's job stuff. But despite the on-occasion slow pacing, overall the story flows organically, with ease. The ending surprised me a bit and wasn't entirely satisfactory but worked well, I suppose."

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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best Lesbian Book

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Cari Hunter - Alias


Alias

"Lovely read, and I usually hate first person. Stellar job."

" Once again, Hunter doesn't disappoint. If you're looking for a well-written, thrilling mystery with fully drawn characters, an exciting plot, plus a marvelous Welsh setting, this book is for you."

"A solid entry by an excellent writer. Lots of tension, mystery, romance. First-rate performance on all levels."


2.
Jeannie Levig - A Heart to Call Home


A Heart to Call Home

"Wonderfully written book with a cast of characters that you feel like you know. Not only the MC’s but the supporting players too. As I was reading I could feel the raw emotions felt by both Dakota and Jessica. The author kept me enthralled throughout the entire story. Definitely a winner."

"We romance-lovers love romance because we know we’re going to get an HEA at the end. Some people might think this makes the writer’s job easy, but in reality, it poses a difficult question: how can you write a story that’s so intense that a reader can’t possibly see how it will work out for the MCs in the end, even though the reader knows that it will? Because this intensity and uncertainty — uncertainty in the face of the certain HEA that the reader knows is coming — is what makes it a great story. This is that kind of story. The setup presents two engaging and thoroughly relatable MCs with seemingly insurmountable internal and external difficulties, then lets them muddle through them. And it works brilliantly. On top of this, there are several clever and heartwarming subplots. All in all, it’s a brilliantly written and thoroughly satisfying romance. Brava!"

"An elegant, accessible and sure-handed writing style supports a well-designed plot with multi-dimensional characters and a Sophie’s Choice of conflicting emotions and difficult decisions. This is a page-turner in the true sense of the word, and it pulls you forward on its momentum of real feelings and compelling dialog. Levig hits all the reader’s buttons and takes one along on a ride that is both sensually breath taking and smoothly heart-wrenching. The resolution is most satisfying because the author is a master storyteller."


3.
Caren J. Werlinger - When the Stars Sang


When the Stars Sang

"Absolutely loved this one. Quirky romance in a quirky setting. Loved the Island and the characters I met especially Blossom. Was completely drawn into getting to know both of the MC’s and their journey’s. This is not the first but definitely my favorite from this author. She has honed her storytelling and made it an art!"

"Heartwarming. Great characterizations and delightful storytelling here."

"This story has all the feels! I will remember this book for a long time (had a book hangover when I was done). It’s not a short read but it was very touching and engaging. Great characters. Very realistic and relateable."



Books in the top 25% rate range

4.
Geonn Cannon - Can You Hear Me


Can You Hear Me

"A bloody good story. It would make an awesome movie."

"Loved this story. From start to finish the author kept my interest in all aspects of the storyline. The characters are well written and  he makes you invested in the outcome between them. Setting was unique in certain aspects and really made me feel like I was sitting in the locations being described."

"This is a great read. I loved it right from the start and it offer not only an interesting plot but also a very unusual one. It is difficult to find books that surprise me, and this definitely surprised me in the best way possible. I appreciated how atypical this story is and how easily kept me totally engaged in the story from start to end. This may be easily one of my favourite book of 2019. Really really really good!"


5.
C.J. Murphy - Frame by frame


frame by frame

"Loved this one from start to finish. I felt drawn into the story. Loved the character and how they both struggled with coming to terms with their fears. Great supporting cast as well."

"I loved this story! Very sweet and well written."

"This novel started out with a bang: immediately the setting was so rich and the characters that inhabited it were so unique and complex that I was sucked right in. The existing relationships between Val and Laurel, Ree, and the rest of the Cool Springs denizens were subtle and engrossing, and had me so curious over the back story between them all, how they met and where they were going. I was engrossed. I loved Val: equal parts unapologetic and reclusive, she had a fragility that pulled me in but a strength that just got more and more fascinating the more I learned about her. While I feel the pacing suffers a bit toward the end when certain plot revelations were given over more to exposition than the detailed and considered encounters I had become used to, by that time, I was so in love with the characters that I was more interested in finding out how their story finished. Contrasting Laurel's internal struggles with what might be against Val's external and internal struggles with what came before was genius and very effective. Thank you for a lovely read about acceptance and love!"


Lynn Ames - Chain Reactions

Chain Reactions

"I really enjoyed this book. It was a breath of fresh air. Ms. Ames does not put out a plethora of books, but the ones she does put out are well thought out and a joy to read."

"Great storytelling. Well written characters that you got to know in depth. Loved Nora and wished I could have known her better. Settings spot on. Felt a little sluggish in some spots but overall an awesome read."

"Great book! I was deeply moved by this story and love to read about strong, intelligent female characters. I cried big ugly tears!"


6.
Jeannie Levig - A Wish Upon a Star


A Wish Upon a Star

"A wonderfully engaging love story, featuring two believable, likable middle-aged women."

"Loved this heartwarming unique story. Had some moments that made me laugh out loud too. The author nailed the autism arc spot on. I liked how Erica and Leslie figure out how to make it work and how Sienna responds to a new person in her life."

"I just really enjoyed this story, from the opening paragraph right to the very end."


7.
Heather Blackmore - It's Not a Date


It's Not a Date

" I had already read this one and went to refresh myself with the story and ended up rereading the whole book again. Totally enjoyed it. Loved the 2 MC’s Kade and Jen and both of their vulnerabilities. Also loved the relationship between Holly and Kade. Interesting story arc. "

"This book hit a little close to home for me… my mother suffers with dementia. The story itself was pretty good."

"Excellent romance with a convincing setting and great character development."


8.
Clare Ashton - The Goodmans


The Goodmans

"This was my 1 st Claire Ashton book and it won’t be my last. The writing is wonderful and the characters, all of them are written superbly. I felt I got to know each and everyone. She made me feel like part of the family drawing me into the story itself. The plot line was complex but each piece of the story was integral to the whole."

"The Goodmans was total „reading bliss“. I had to laugh was near tears, had „deep thoughts", the whole gamut of emotions was addressed. A rom com where you can see disaster looming and the author turns the right corner with tongue-in-cheek. The characters are revealed layer by layer and the writing was superb. The whole package of goodness is wrapped up in this book."


9.
Ruth Simkin - Dear Sophie


Dear Sophie: Life Lessons in Feminism & Medicine

"Dear Sophie is a flawless memoir that is not only a story of Dr Ruth Simkin, but a story of feminism and women in Canada and the field of medicine, skillfully woven together with valuable life lessons. I feel grateful to Dr Simkin not only for her pioneering work that improved the quality of life for so many women, but for sharing her experiences. I found this memoir not only insightful and inspiring and a bit shocking, but at times funny. I learned more than I expected. Thank you!"

"Beautiful memoir of a fascinating life. Simkin's grand-niece Sophie is a very fortunate young woman. I wish I had such a handbook to life from my own grandmother – who had almost no formal education and was gone before I realized how many questions I should have asked."


Jae - Just for Show

Just for Show

" This is a fresh take on a familiar setup. The characters are likable, and although as a romance, we all know how it’s going to end, I was never sure *how* the characters were going to get there. The writing and storytelling sparkle. Really well done."

"This story sucked me in right from the get go. I loved it all."ù

"A thoroughly enjoyable fake relationship romance. A fun read und perfectly written."


10.
Suzie Carr - The Curvy Side of Life


The Curvy Side of Life

"I enjoyed this story very much. Characters were funny and well fleshed out. Totally can relate to Faith and her journey Easy read attributed to the writing style. Only down side was it was a little wordy in some spots."

"I found this story full of angst and drama. One of those that you don’t know how it will end until it ends. The premise was solid as was the setting. It was a gripping story and an enjoyable read."


11.
Jae - Paper Love


Paper Love

"Awesome book. I loved learning a bit about Germany through this story. Well written with great main and supporting characters. Anja and Susanne fit very well together."

"This was an alright story but it was hard to get into. It did flow well and could have been great if it was a bit faster paced."

"Another on of Jae‘s great romances. Set in one of the cutest towns in Germany."


12.
Judith Branzburg - The Liberation of Ivy Bottini


Liberation of Ivy Bottini: A Memoir of Love and Activism

"I love a good Bio/memoir. I love reading about people’s lives. Having all the pics scattered throughout the book, made it seem all that more real. Like I knew Ivy and the rest of the people."

"Branzburg definitely chose the right POV (in first person) for the telling of Ivy Bottini’s story because the narrative rings true and authentic with the inimitable Bottini “voice.” The story is a fascinating, laugh-out-loud, cry-real-tears-of empathy celebration of this infamous trailblazer’s remarkable story."


13.
G. Benson - Who'd Have Thought


Who'd Have Thought

"Who'd Have Thought was a very smooth read, with characters who I easily came to care about."

"Highly recommended fake romance."


14.
S.L. Kassidy - Learning to Walk Again


Learning to Walk Again (Scarred Book 5)

" A well-written story populated with relatable characters."

15.
Wendy Hudson - Meant to be Me

Meant to Be Me

"Well written suspenseful romantic page turning story. All of the characters are well written and intense. Highly recommended."

"Beautifully written, this taut, tense novel has the appeal of a Thriller and the lure of a Romance. Hudson does a great job of convincing us of the madness of the stalker while painting the main characters as credible in their confusion and confrontation with both good and evil. Would have liked to understand more about the antoganists’s motivation, that is, to have seen a bit more digging into the psyche. Overall a talented and intriguing execution of a compelling premise."


Iza Moreau - Swamp Girl

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."


16.
C.J. Murphy - Gold Star Chance


Gold Star Chance (Five Points Book 1)

"Another winner from this author. Loved the storied history of the 2 MC’s Jax and Chance. Characters are well developed. Definitely fits the romance genre."

"I really enjoyed this story. I read it, and I know I’ll read it again, just because for me it was that good."


17.
Chris Paynter - Just a Touch Away


Just a Touch Away

"Nice easy flowing romance with well written characters. Loved the lake setting. This author continues to delivery awesome romance to the genre."

18.
Caren J. Werlinger - A Bittersweet Garden


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."


19.
Susan Stocker - Kiss Your Elbow (An Embellished Memoire of Growing Up in the 50's and 60's)


Kiss Your Elbow: An Embellished Memoire about Growing Up Gay in the 50's and 60's

"This was a fantastic memoir. It was funny, poignant and relatable. I didn't want to stop reading it and I honestly am not a fan of Memoirs! Can't wait for book number two to continue the story!"

"Loved this story from start to finish. Great storytelling style. Felt like I was literally along for the ride. Had me smiling and relating. Great character portrayals. "


Jae - Not the Marrying Kind

Not the Marrying Kind (Fair Oaks Book 2)

"The writing and characters pulled me in right away."

"The story was well written, and I felt more sorry for Sasha than I did Ash, but I did like their circle of friends."


20.
Sandra de Helen - Desire Returns for a Visit


Desire Returns for a Visit: Intimate Poems about Lesbian Love

"The poetry in this book was a bit hit and miss for me but as I was judging it overall, I give it an outstanding rate."

"The author wrote with lyrical, beautiful sentences that painted pictures in my mind. Her choices in style and presentation were fabulous."


Sallyanne Monti - Light at the End of the Tunnel, A Memoir

Light at the End of the Tunnel: A Memoir

"I enjoyed the writing and the basic premise used to tell this story."

"This memoir had me from the beginning--the family expectations and the questioning of Sallyanne's sexual attratction from the very beginning had me think this was bisexual, until I got deeper into the book.  Fascinating she buried her growing attraction to woman when she married, came to the fore with one little keystroke of fate. Wonderfully written, it's a loving tribute to herself, and a beautiful love story of her relationship with another woman."


Chris Zett - Irregular Heartbeat

Irregular Heartbeat

"The mark of a great story is when the storyteller, in this case the writer, disappears from the readers awareness as she becomes completely immersed in the story itself."

Renée Vivien (translator Samantha Pious) - A Crown of Violets

A Crown of Violets

"I loved the fact that this book gave both the French and then the English translation for each poem—I found it very interesting. I liked the poems as well."

"Beautiful explorations of the complexities of a full spectrum female love — joyful, tortured, expectant, unrequited. Brave and unabashed. Also, the translation sparkles, bringing the verse dancing to life on the page. Absolutely wonderful."


21.
Kellie Doherty - Sunkissed Feather and Severed Ties


Sunkissed Feathers and Severed Ties (Broken Chronicles Book 1)

"This book had me sucked in from the moment the necklace went around her neck. Sometimes in these types of stories the characters names can get on my nerves a bit, but I loved the story overall. I’ll more than likely buy more of this series."

"When I started reading the book I was worried it would be difficult to follow it due to the all world created and how many infos seemed needed to understand how their society worked, but the author was able to balance well the infos needed within an exciting plot. This book definitely left me with the curiosity to see what's come next. And that's pretty much the best thing that can happens when you start a new series."


22.
Helen Jayne - Hestia: sapphic soulmates


Hestia: Sapphic Soulmates

"I liked this book but it left a little bit to be desired for me. I felt it could have been so much more. I wanted it to be so much more."

23.
Rae D. Magdon - Fur and Fangs (Vol 1-10)


Fur and Fangs: Volume 1-10

"This was a cute, fun, thoughtful read. The writing flows wonderfully, and the author does a marvelous job with representation and diversity. I enjoyed it immensely."

"Old fashion romance with a paranormal arc. Usually not my favorite genre but this one held my interest. Riley and Izzy work well as a couple, both with baggage to be fleshed out."


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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards

450 books, 106 judges, all over the world, and many, many submissions, from indie publishers, from mainstream publishers and self-published authors. And, to me more important of everything, we raised $12.313,92 donated to LGBT charities:

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First of all a big thank to all the judges who helped me to arrive to this result:

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And now what all you are waiting, the 2018-2019 Rainbow Awards. And the Rainbow Awards go to:


"Rainbow Pride Cheesecake" is the official pin-up boy of the Rainbow Awards especially created by Paul Richmond

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"Air de Capri" is a 1923 painting by Gerda Wegener, with Gerda herself and her husband, transgender male to female, Lili Elbe

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