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2014 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mentions

Waiting for the winners to be announced on December 8, I will post daily the 2014 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mentions: an honorable mention means a judge gave a rate of 36 or above out of 40 to the book; an honorable mention doesn't mean the book is among the winners or runners up, could be could be not, but it's important to understand there were more than 500 books in the literary contests, more than 250 among the finalists, and the difference between winners or not is only few decimal points. So please, congratulate with me this year honorable mentions:



Gay Contemporary Romance
A Heart for Robbie by J.P. Barnaby
Paperback: 214 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (July 11, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1632160668
ISBN-13: 978-1632160669
Amazon: A Heart for Robbie
Amazon Kindle: A Heart for Robbie

I have never read any of JP Barnaby’s work before... this book was bloody brilliant in my opinion... I am so glad I get to read 2 more for the 2nd phase.

Transgender Young Adult
Cevin’s Deadly Sin by Sally Bosco
Paperback: 258 pages
Publisher: Queerteen Press (February 17, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1494874350
ISBN-13: 978-1494874353
Amazon: Cevin's Deadly Sin
Amazon Kindle: Cevin's Deadly Sin

This is a well-written story with engaging characters. I found myself pulled in immediately, and it was very difficult to put down. It was emotionally complex without being draining, and structurally complex while still being a quick read. Very deftly written and extremely enjoyable.

Gay Biography / Memoir
Gaysia: Adventures in the Queer East by Benjamin Law
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Cleis Press (May 13, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 162778036X
ISBN-13: 978-1627780360
Amazon : Gaysia: Adventures in the Queer East
Amazon Kindle: Gaysia: Adventures in the Queer East

I would award more points if I could. To be honest, this book vastly outshines all the other finalists in this category. More a combination travelogue / cultural study than memoir, this enlightening work should be read by every GLBT rights advocate in the world. I applaud the author for undertaking such an ambitious (and often unpleasant) project and for presenting his findings with sensitivity and casual grace. Gaysia does not read like a dry academic paper. The prose is lively and laced with both humor and deep feeling. Characters and settings (there is a dizzying array of both!) are so adroitly drawn, I felt I was accompanying Mr. Law on his journey. He also made the wise decision not to lapse into either preachiness or bathos but to let situations speak for themselves. Although his personality is evident throughout the book, his voice never overwhelms the voices of the people whose stories take center stage therein. A remarkable effort all around and one that deserves major awards. Kudos, Mr. Law!

An interesting and clear-eyed look at a variety of cultures, that certainly helps me appreciate how very far my own culture has come.

I was really blown away by this book. Having lived and traveled around Asia for five years, many of Benjamin Law’s observations hit home for me. Not being a gay man, I was treated to seeing the same things from an entirely different perspective. Sex is a huge aspect of Asia, and Ben explores that with in-depth discussions with sex workers, tourists, locals, and then provides an accurate and colorful picture of what it’s like to be gay in Asia, and how it varies widely from country to country. It’s part travelogue, part social observation, and true journalism. The writing is witty, gritty, and honest. He gets below the surface to examine what it’s like to be gay in more repressive countries like China or India, where being gay is stigmatized and far more dangerous than Thailand or Ben’s native Australia.

Lesbian Contemporary General Fiction
Let the Lover Be by Sheree L. Greer
Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (August 19, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1626390770
ISBN-13: 978-1626390775
Amazon: Let the Lover Be
Amazon Kindle: Let the Lover Be

This book is like a roller coaster ride, and I have loved every single pages of it, an amazing start for a new author for sure!

Let the Lover Be was an extremely surprising story. It was gritty, raw, sexy, with a realistic, yet uncharacteristic HEA ending. The character of Kiana is an alcoholic who is broken, ravaged by the death of her mother which she never dealt with, and the breakup of her relationship with Michelle who has just sent her an invitation to her wedding in New Orleans. The author did a great job of making every character so well-rounded, so fleshed out. From Kiana even to Michelle's fiancé, Michael. The dynamic struggle between Kiana and Genevieve who at her core was good, selfless and wanted to change, was different from that of Kiana and Michelle and the author did a great job of displaying that.

Lesbian Romantic Comedy
Out Of Retirement by Erica Lawson
Paperback: 230 pages
Publisher: Affinity E-Book Press NZ; First edition (April 14, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1927282586
ISBN-13: 978-1927282588
Amazon: Out Of Retirement
Amazon Kindle: Out Of Retirement

I couldn’t open this book so I ended up buying it off of Amazon... all I am going to say is it was so worth the $7.52 I spent... have read one other of Erica’s books (Soul Walker in last year or the year before Rainbow Awards) this book didn’t disappoint me at all.

Lesbian Contemporary General Fiction
Rest Home Runaways by Clifford Henderson
Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (August 19, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1626391696
ISBN-13: 978-1626391697
Amazon: Rest Home Runawayst

Good, good and so good! I have loved this book so well written, so funny and also so touching, practically a perfect read that you could not put down until the very end.

A laugh-out-loud funny and yet still poignant story about family and aging and relationships that was a delight to read.

This was a very interesting look into the lives of three different people: Cora, Mac, and Morgan and how their lives are changed by the actions of Mac when he takes off one day during a field trip from an elderly rest home at the request, or rather the demand, of his deceased wife Effie, based on a decades old promise to her. The setting was beautifully described and the emotions felt by each character was so unique to them: the confusion and frustration of Mac, the fear, loneliness, betrayal by her wife, and frustration with her job and the situation of Morgan, and the rigidness, determination and ultimate freedom of Cora were all splashed across the pages reaching out to the reader.

Lesbian Romantic Comedy
That Certain Something by Clare Ashton
Paperback: 238 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (May 26, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1499331185
ISBN-13: 978-1499331189
Amazon: That Certain Something
Amazon Kindle: That Certain Something

Never having read Clare before – this story had me laughing from the very first page—I loved it.

Witty, well-written, easy to read - with serious moments and sweet romance!

Gay Historical Romance
Tournament of Shadows by S.A. Meade
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Totally Bound Publishing (March 21, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1781847533
ISBN-13: 978-1781847534
Amazon: Tournament of Shadows
Amazon Kindle: Tournament of Shadows

Seemingly impossible love story and yet there it is Irish captain and an officer of Russian army in Bukhara... Ii kept me at the edge the whole time.

What did I even read here? This isn’t your typical Western European-centric historical novel. This throws you right into the action, into a situation where you have to pay attention to your surroundings, where you have to follow the path of our hero as carefully as he follows it himself, and the wonderful thing is it’s so easy to. The protagonists are intriguing, the setting is compelling and the quest, such as it is, keeps you hooked. This is a fantastic novel that deserves to be appreciated for the effort, the elegance and the sheer craftsmanship that went into it.

S.A. Meade has brought this period in time to life, it made me feel like I was right there with Gabriel and Valentin throughout their journey. Both characters were intriguing and memorable. Their story of falling in love was beautiful and sensual. The suspense kept me turning the pages. It had everything I wanted in a historical romance and more! 

Lesbian Fantasy Romance
A Kingdom Lost by Barbara Ann Wright
Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (April 15, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1626390533
ISBN-13: 978-1626390539
Amazon: A Kingdom Lost
Amazon Kindle: A Kingdom Lost

A super talented author. Superb world building. Compelling storytelling. The characters leap of the page they seem so real. You wish you were reading 4 of the author's titles every year.

Gay Mystery / Thriller
Antidote (Don't... 2) by Jack L. Pyke
Series: Don't...
Paperback: 406 pages
Publisher: Fantastic Fiction Publishing (May 5, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1622341643
ISBN-13: 978-1622341641
Amazon: Antidote (Don't... 2)
Amazon Kindle: Antidote (Don't... 2)

I am so glad I got this book to review because I would never have picked it off a bookshelf with it containing a threesome relationship and a strong BDSM theme, not usually my favorite things on a story. Antidote is not an easy read by any means. The author does not pull her punches with the details of the dark world 2 of the MCs found themselves in nor with the emotional backlash following their trauma. That said, I could not put it down and found myself thinking about the book when I was doing other things. This is the most riveting book I have read in a long time and I have bought Book 1 so I can immerse myself in this word again. In fact, I shall be reading all her books.

Lesbian Contemporary Romance
Dudek by Taylor James
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (April 24, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1494847221
ISBN-13: 978-1494847227
Amazon: Dudek
Amazon Kindle: Dudek

Loved this book and the characters, main and supporting alike. Would definitely read others from this author.

Gay Mystery / Thriller
Home The Hard Way by Z.A. Maxfield
Paperback: 328 pages
Publisher: Riptide Publishing (July 14, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1626491461
ISBN-13: 978-1626491465
Amazon: Home The Hard Way
Amazon Kindle: Home The Hard Way

Fascinating tangle of old guilt and new sins, highly engaging characters, a suspenseful, inherently consistent plot and steaming hot eroticism. In addition, I loved to see the Dom in this light BDSM setting come apart for a change too.

This book is one of the best examples of fiction done well. Each intricate thread is weaved perfectly through the story keeping tension high and the plot, character development, and setting perfectly balanced.

Gay Paranormal Romance
Motel. Pool. by Kim Fielding
Paperback: 206 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (May 12, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1627988793
ISBN-13: 978-1627988797
Amazon: Motel. Pool.
Amazon Kindle: Motel. Pool.

A brilliantly written book with a sharp plot line and sexy characters with chemistry that popped to life. It was a page-turner from the start that I finished in one sitting.

Gay Young Adult
Pray The Gay Away (A Southern Thing) by Sara York
Series: A Southern Thing
Paperback: 314 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (March 2, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1496133579
ISBN-13: 978-1496133571
Amazon: Pray The Gay Away (A Southern Thing)
Amazon Kindle: Pray The Gay Away (A Southern Thing)

Another author that did an amazing job at setting.

Gay Paranormal Romance
Shades of Sepia by Anne Barwell
Paperback: 210 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (January 31, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1627985417
ISBN-13: 978-1627985413
Amazon: Shades of Sepia
Amazon Kindle: Shades of Sepia

This is the first book in the Sleepless City series. Two different authors write this series so the readers will get a fresh view each time. I loved this first book and will have to keep my eyes open for more of the books.

Gay Contemporary General Fiction
The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Alison Levy
Age Range: 9 - 12 years
Grade Level: 4 - 7
Lexile Measure: 750L (What's this?)
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (July 22, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0385376529
ISBN-13: 978-0385376525
Amazon : The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher
Amazon Kindle: The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher

I loved this story and was sucked into it within the first few paragraphs. Wonderful light hearted look at life with two dads and their four sons. I loved the way the fact both parents were men was not an issue but just accepted as the makeup of their family. The tone of the book reminded me of several series I would read as a kid and loved. There needs to be more books like this out there.

Gay Young Adult
Vivaldi in the Dark by Matthew J. Metzger
Paperback: 294 pages
Publisher: Queerteen Press (December 8, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 149362279X
ISBN-13: 978-1493622795
Amazon: Vivaldi in the Dark
Amazon Kindle: Vivaldi in the Dark

Okay, I will fully admit I judged a book by its cover with this one. Not that that is such a bad thing. The cover is beautiful. In addition, I'm so very glad I read this novel. The main characters were well written. By the end of the novel, they felt like my best friends. I think every child struggling with coming out should read this book.

Very mature for a young adult book, without being sexual. I truly believe even those that are not YA fans will enjoy this book based on the wonderful writing of a great story.

Emotionally charged, vivid characters, believable conflict, setting and description of music used to advantage. I found the story gripping, my heart was fully engaged. First rate.

Transgender Biography / Memoir
Babette: The Many Lives, Two Deaths and Double Kidnapping of Dr. Ellsworth by Ross Eliot
Paperback: 358 pages
Publisher: Ross Gustafson (December 9, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0991186109
ISBN-13: 978-0991186105
Amazon: Babette: The Many Lives, Two Deaths and Double Kidnapping of Dr. Ellsworth
Amazon Kindle: Babette: The Many Lives, Two Deaths and Double Kidnapping of Dr. Ellsworth

This book was compelling in every way. Wonderful characterization. Vivid setting. Interesting plot. In addition, writing that drew me in from the very first page. Although I do not usually enjoy stories written in the present tense, I quickly became accustomed to the narrative choice of Eliot and found it a most effective device for telling Babette’s life story. A wonderful read!

Multilayered, interesting, well-told, educated. The typesetting and production is sometimes a bit "homespun" though.

Lesbian Contemporary Romance
Camellia by Caitlin Ricci & Cari Z.

Paperback: 168 pages
Publisher: Less Than Three Press (May 7, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1620043572
ISBN-13: 978-1620043578
Amazon: Camellia
Amazon Kindle: Camellia

I know a book is good when it makes me a fan of a lifestyle that I usually do not find attractive or interesting. BDSM is usually not my scene at all and if it is a setting so explored and exploited nowadays in literature, a few reads have been able to engage me during their reading, but this book is one of the winners!

As a member of the BDSM community and a Dom I often cringe when I read books that contain BDSM/Kink elements. I especially cringe when these stories attempt to delve into the mindset of a Dom because they so often get them wrong. However, this story did such a gloriously, magnificent job on both of these jobs that I found myself hard-pressed to put the book down even when I had to go to sleep. The characters of Danielle and Lucy contained such a fiercely sensual element of true domination and submission that was well fleshed out and explored, delved into in all the ways that it should be.

Lesbian Contemporary General Fiction
Ebenezer by JoSelle Vanderhooft
Paperback: 280 pages
Publisher: Zumaya Boundless (December 18, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1612710689
ISBN-13: 978-1612710686
Amazon: Ebenezer
Amazon Kindle: Ebenezer

What a beautiful, breathtaking, emotionally gripping twist on the A Christmas Carol novel. The setting was so artfully described that the reader can almost feel the snowflakes, the cold, gripping wind of New York City, taste the red sand of Utah, and shrink in fear from the crushing embrace of the Future. Ebenezer was a selfish, broken, self-centered, hurt character that I ran the gamut of emotions for while reading the book. I was annoyed, sympathetic, angry, compassionate, sad, encouraging, hopeful, and at the end happy when she turned things around. The author's take on this novel was so different that I was shocked at the way things turned out between Ebenezer and Marley, even after Ebenezer's visits with the spirits, but it was the change in her relationship with Bell that most took me by surprise.

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Tags: rainbow awards 2014
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