elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,

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 Romantic Comedy
Caught! (The Shamwell Tales) by JL Merrow
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd. (August 19, 2014)
Amazon Kindle: Caught! (The Shamwell Tales)

This was a delight to read. The characters were very well written and funny.

Visual Arts & Photography
dr.a.g. by Christopher Logan

Publisher: Bookthefilm Publishing

Oh, I so wanted to give this book a perfect score... but there was a single photograph whose flaws seemed unintentional. The lack of focus neither softened the models face, nor made it seem I looked through the lens of a kinder world...it merely left me with a nagging sense of the photo being out of focus. But something in the absolute precision of detail in the feathers and sparkling faux gemstones surrounding the models face combined with the soft focus and almost painted quality of the actual face was...riveting. I returned to this single photo repeatedly (page 42) and gradually came to see that my fascination was because the picture was not, in fact fuzzy, poorly taken or poorly photo-shopped. It was in fact brilliant. A bit disturbing as great art is wont to be, and because of this, the piece became a mesmerizing statement about the nature of drag and its implications in art.

Gay Historical Romance
Forever Hold His Peace by Rebecca Cohen
Paperback: 200 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (June 16, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1627987703
ISBN-13: 978-1627987707
Amazon: Forever Hold His Peace
Amazon Kindle: Forever Hold His Peace

Well-crafted story with several turns making the main characters figure out how to manage their changing roles and relationships.

I have not read the first two in the series, but I certainly will now! Anthony and Sebastian are beautiful together with their love and are memorable. I especially liked how truelove prevailed and that they overcame the odds to stay together and get their happy ending.

Lesbian Young Adult
Freak Camp: Posts From a Previously Normal Girl by Jessica V. Barnett

Series: Freak Camp
Paperback: 226 pages
Publisher: Jessica V. Barnett; 1 edition (April 25, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0692028528
ISBN-13: 978-0692028520
Amazon: Freak Camp
Amazon Kindle: Freak Camp

From word one this book sort of sucks you in. Great read.

Wonderful story about discovering who you are and how you fit in the world.

Gay Young Adult
Heavyweight by MB Mulhall
Paperback: 230 pages
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press (April 23, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1627987142
ISBN-13: 978-1627987141
Amazon: Heavyweight
Amazon Kindle: Heavyweight

Excellent story tackling the relevant teenage issue of bulimia, with a male sufferer to make it even more valuable. MB Mulhall's writing style is accessible and touching. The MC, Ian, is well developed and steals your sympathy right away. I found the device of Jules's family just a little too perfect - they were almost unbelievably nice. It would have been nice to see some minor discord there, just for believability.

Gay Paranormal Romance
Hell & High Water (THIRDS Book 1) by Charlie Cochet
Paperback: 296 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (July 7, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1632160110
ISBN-13: 978-1632160119
Amazon: Hell & High Water (THIRDS Book 1)
Amazon Kindle: Hell & High Water (THIRDS Book 1)

This is a great paranormal story. The twist on shape shifters keeps this fresh so that the readers do not as if they are re-reading something old. The follow up books are just as good and since this is a series that needs to be read in order do not forget to pick them up as well.

Transgender Young Adult
If We Shadows by D.E. Atwood
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press (March 6, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1627988203
ISBN-13: 978-1627988209
Amazon: If We Shadows
Amazon Kindle: If We Shadows

I do not know how this book could get any more perfect. An intricate plot told in accessible language that manages to come through in a very believable teenage voice. The characters are multi-layered and likeable. Most of all, the author addresses the difficulties of being a transgendered teen, as well as the mechanical details--therapies, "packers," balancing the opinions of parents/friends/school/potential love interests--rather than romantically glossing over them. It is simultaneously romantic and realistic. I am looking forward to reading it again.

Gay Erotic Romance
It's Like This by Anne O'Gleadra
Paperback: 202 pages
Publisher: Beaten Track Publishing (July 7, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1909192791
ISBN-13: 978-1909192799
Amazon: It's Like This
Amazon Kindle: It's Like This

I loved this book and its characters; how much each loved each other and needed each other. I appreciated that even when there was doubt, they continued to be there and fight for their relationship. I also appreciated the uniqueness of their relationship and how it was just them learning each other and what felt right for them. They were young, but not immature or ridiculous. Very well written and engaging.

Gay Historical Romance
Lovers and Liars by Paul Alan Fahey
Paperback: 230 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (January 11, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1494361973
ISBN-13: 978-1494361976
Amazon: Lovers and Liars

A collection of short stories. Well, I am not too fond of short stories because I like to be longer with the characters I grew to love. However, I tried to be objective and I can say that this collection was good – it was a great portrait of people living in difficult times. We cannot forget that there was life during the war – not only battles. People were still people.

Gay Romantic Comedy
Merry Gentlemen by Josephine Myles
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd. (November 12, 2013)
Amazon Kindle: Merry Gentlemen

I just love Josephine Myles' characters. They are always so well written and easy to fall in love with. Merry Gentlemen was no exception. Loved the humor in the story as well.

Lesbian Contemporary Romance
No Boundaries by Donna K. Ford
Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (May 6, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1626390606
Amazon: No Boundaries
Amazon Kindle: No Boundaries

This book was amazing. From the beginning, I was riveted by the characters as they grabbed hold of my attention and did not let go. The author's style was quick, light and easy to read and I would love to pick up more from Ms. Ford.

Gay Young Adult
Not Broken, Just Bent by Mia Kerick

Paperback: 180 pages
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press (February 14, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1627985298
ISBN-13: 978-1627985291
Amazon: Not Broken, Just Bent
Amazon Kindle: Not Broken, Just Bent

I love Mia Kerick's writing, and this YA novel had all her hallmarks - realistic characters she made you feel for in a very believable situation and setting. The issue of physical abuse and deprivation were sensitively tackled without hitting the reader over the head with it.

I was swept up in this engrossing novel for the best of all possible reasons: the author made me care deeply about all of the characters...and maybe even love them.

I found this to be an excellent read. The writing was solid, the setting clear, and the character development grew in depth as the story went along. Mia did not take the easy way out of any of the problems in her characters’ lives and she gave no easy answers. realistically Ben's heartache was painfully brought to the page and I could 'feel' his regret and pain....and even though Timmy was 'off page' for some time during the separation, because the writing had been so strong earlier in showing the love they both felt for each other, I felt that I 'knew' his pain during the separation too without having to read of it. I was completely emotionally involved in the story and characters, hence my high marks for characters, plot and setting.

Lovely. Such a great build of character. We see how they both grow, especially in the time they are apart, and have a good inside view on Ben. Nice secondary characters, especially Ben's dad. This is not really a plot driven book, but there is development with tension - the build-up of the abuse and Ben's indecision then action; their period apart which is not static for either boy, and then the development of their relationship through their reunion. Felt like school and college and in Ben's case a home, albeit a very masculine one.

Gay Sci-fi / Futuristic
Piper by Leona Carver
Paperback: 540 pages
Publisher: Less Than Three Press (September 10, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1620042428
ISBN-13: 978-1620042427
Amazon: Piper
Amazon Kindle: Piper

My second read of this book, and I will now seek out Leona's work avidly. The characters start out, like we all do, as seen from the outside without knowledge of what is within. Leona then develops them by showing us their natures, not telling us. The world is perfect for a sci-fi novel - a space station marvelously described that you feel you're inside it, but it's very fragility in space is made clear too. The plot? Amazing. An obvious modern rewrite of ""The Pied Piper,"" it takes that story, does not diverge much from the traditional storyline, but expands it into something that is believable and works. I did not want this to end. It's far from short, and doesn't go on too long, but you want to know more. Yet it is satisfyingly complete, which sounds a contradiction, but Leona Carver made me want more of perfection. In addition, yes, I would love to see it win.

I am a sucker for a good fairy tale retold in a new and well-developed setting, and this novel delivers that in spades, with engaging characters, an intriguing universe, and a finely crafted plot.

I very much enjoyed Piper from start to finish. The characters are all engaging and the plot just gets more and more complicated. I wasn't as sold on Atmosphere's last ditch efforts as I wanted to be, though. I think more time from his POV leading up to that scene would have helped. However, I thought the epilogue nicely wrapped up what could have otherwise been several additional books, making this a great stand alone story.

Gay Anthology / Contemporary General Fiction
Playing Ball by Shae Connor, Kate McMurray, Kerry Freeman & Marguerite Labbe

Paperback: 270 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (September 25, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1627981756
ISBN-13: 978-1627981750
Amazon: Playing Ball
Amazon Kindle: Playing Ball

This was overall a very enjoyable anthology. The characters are 'people' one can actually 'see' in real life. Their situations are factual, things like what each of these men went through I could see happening to men out there.

This array of stories sucked me in... I liked they were so easy to fall into and feel like you were a part of the story itself—sign of good writing to me.

Probably the best anthology I have ever read. Each story was a little gem. Loved it.

Gay Sci-fi / Futuristic
Rarely Pure and Never Simple by Angel Martinez
Paperback: 200 pages
Publisher: MLR Press (January 24, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1608209199
ISBN-13: 978-1608209194
Amazon: Rarely Pure and Never Simple
Amazon Kindle: Rarely Pure and Never Simple

Gorgeous story I was reading for the third time. It did not matter a bit. The plot is tense, the characters well built up throughout until you really know them by the end. The romance is achingly lovely without being mushy for a single moment. These are real people. The world building is perfect - a logical premise, a believable response to Variants with in the population. Angel's writing style is likewise impossible to fault. She does not fall into the trap of overusing epithets, repeating herself, etc. She writes narrative and dialogue equally well. Lovely story I would not mind seeing win this.

Gay Fantasy Romance
Reawakening by Amy Rae Durreson
Paperback: 260 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (January 17, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1627984054
ISBN-13: 978-1627984058
Amazon: Reawakening
Amazon Kindle: Reawakening

I loved this story. Approaching the breadth of The Hobbit in scale, setting and character development, yet filled with "sparkly" characters and MCs. (Sparkly means lesbian and gay, no transgender in this book). Great glossary at the end, but meant for reading after the story ends. Prepare to be transported to an "earth like" planet or maybe earth a long time ago, with dragons, spirits, and humans. You will laugh, cry and yearn to be part of this dragon's hoard!

Gay Young Adult
Running Through A Dark Place: Children of the Knight #2 (The Knight Cycle) by Michael J. Bowler

Series: The Knight Cycle
Paperback: 388 pages
Publisher: self; First edition (May 12, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0990306305
ISBN-13: 978-0990306306
Amazon: Running Through A Dark Place: Children of the Knight #2 (The Knight Cycle)
Amazon Kindle: Running Through A Dark Place: Children of the Knight #2 (The Knight Cycle)

So I guess this was book two in a series. I now want to read book one. Definitely sucks the reader in.

Gay Contemporary Romance
Sacrifices (Jeff Woods Mysteries Book 2) by Chris T. Kat
Paperback: 250 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (April 28, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1627986685
ISBN-13: 978-1627986687
Amazon: Sacrifices
Amazon Kindle: Sacrifices

I loved the first book in this series and the second did not let me down at all. Tense plot, three dimensional characters and excellent writing. Cannot wait for the next one!

Bisexual Contemporary Romance
Slide (Roads) by Garrett Leigh
Paperback: 326 pages
Paperback: 274 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (October 14, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1627981470
ISBN-13: 978-1627981477
Amazon: Slide (Roads)
Amazon Kindle: Slide (Roads)

Slide is a stunning work of homoerotic fiction, a deep psychological study awash with authentic details, gripping characterizations and two protagonists who personify the term “survivor”.

I only have a couple things to say about my experience reading Slide. It pulled me in from the very first page. I was expecting an angst-fest but it was not. Sure, there was some angst but it made sense and never felt like too much. The writing and the characters were exceptionally well done.

Gay Contemporary Romance
Solitude by Anna Martin & Tia Fielding
Paperback: 214 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (August 27, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1632161605
ISBN-13: 978-1632161604
Amazon: Solitude
Amazon Kindle: Solitude

Not everything is about S*x. Even for pornostars. Gael and Liam exploring their compatibility in and especially out of bedroom.

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