November 16th, 2021

andrew potter

2020-2021 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Open Hearts (Stealing Hearts #3)

Open Hearts (Stealing Hearts #3) by K. Evan Coles

This is a friends-with-benefits arrangement with some cultural diversity thrown in, set at a wedding. Jae is an older nurse anesthetist and Emmett is a younger chef at Endless Pastabilities which he co-owns. Jae's brother is marrying Emmett's sister, and they're the best men. Instant attraction, agreement of casual hookups, and then falling in love, getting scared by feelings, and trying to return being friends again. Yup, it's a rollercoaster ride of emotions. I have no negatives about this book. Highly recommendable and easily one of the best books I've read all year.

https://amzn.to/30uu9jN

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andrew potter

2020-2021 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: What We Lost in the Fire and Other Stories

What We Lost in the Fire and Other Stories by Wendell Ricketts

I was consistently impressed with the number and variety of narrators and other characters. The author has clearly met many folks during his life and paid attention. The characters felt believably different, something many authors can’t pull off. The characters showed different mindsets, different classes, different religions and ethnicities, different ways of speaking, all done convincingly. While all the stories were good, one in San Francisco in the 1950s and one in Rome around the year 2000 were especially beautiful. In another story, one line illustrated the author’s skill at describing even ordinary things. “Untouched except for a rectangular gap where the name had been sliced away, the cake looked like a page from a redacted FOIA report.” Whether or not this book wins any awards, people should read it. I’m glad I did.

https://amzn.to/3CkzCHk

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andrew potter

2020-2021 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: TAD

TAD by M.D. Neu

Drag queen befriends the Angel of Death. What a great premise! I loved this, particularly the relationship between Doug and Tad and the way it developed.

https://amzn.to/3chPfEM

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andrew potter

2020-2021 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Splinters of the heart

Splinters of the heart by Alyssa Rabil

Twenty-one year-old Aaron needs money, so he goes for gay-for-pay, Dom-sub porn. The scene goes horribly awry, but he is rescued by ex-doctor, current-savior Silas. In fact, these two keep saving each other, time and again, from bad guys and bad situations. This is a dark romance, but the romance is not all there is to this story, which made this hard to pin down as a genre. The writing is pretty damn good, not gonna lie. The dialogue especially is where this shines. Everything sounds like something real people could say. The traumas are handled well and are believable, even if the plot is at times a tad melodramatic. The way Aaron often mentions he and Silas are standing side by side at a precipice, at any moment about to plunge to their deaths, shows the inner workings of these two broken people. At first the edge refers to death, later changes to mean love and freedom, trust and hope, basically living again. The author did a great job conveying the subtle shift from darker themes to brighter ones. This is reflected in their sex scenes which are so tender and sweet and patient that they legit had me tearing up. Overall, though the story took me for a spin of uncertainty many times in the beginning, this was definitely worth the read. Traditional romance story this is not, and at times this reads more like a crime thriller. But at heart it's about the healing power of love, trust, and hope. Still, no easy fixes here, as Aaron continues going to therapy even after he falls in love because love can fix many things but not everything. The underlying current of hope made me finish this with a happy grin.

https://amzn.to/3wNWJJ2

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andrew potter

2020-2021 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: The Complete Dragon Mistress Collection

The Complete Dragon Mistress Collection (Eburosi Chronicles Bundles) by R.A. Steffan

As a whole, the series shines. Great fun. Great characters. Great sex. And dragons. The large cast of characters occasionally overwhelms, but the story is never dull and ends satisfyingly.

https://amzn.to/3ChKg1r

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