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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:

Lesbian Non Fiction
Lesbian Marriage: A Love & Sex Forever Kit by Kim Chernin & Renate Stendhal
Paperback: 162 pages
Publisher: www.lesbiansexsurvival.com (April 15, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0615992366
ISBN-13: 978-0615992365
Amazon: Lesbian Marriage: A Love & Sex Forever Kit
Amazon Kindle: Lesbian Marriage: A Love & Sex Forever Kit

This “handbook” is actually quite entertaining, educational and handy for any two lesbians who have ever found themselves confronting the scenarios the authors present---which is nearly all of us! The authors bring their own and others’ case histories into a readable review broken into three parts 1) The Situation 2) The Dialog about it (either the authors’ own dialog or recreated dialog from various couples and 3) The Toolkit—a very good list of Do and Don’t practical advise for dealing with, talking about and repairing the kinds of situation that virtually all couples face---with some special sections for Butch & Femme, Lesbian Sexual Lives, etc. Highly recommended for the How To crowd.

Gay Romantic Comedy
On Archimedes Street by Jefferson Parrish
Paperback: 350 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (November 20, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1627982248
ISBN-13: 978-1627982245
Amazon: On Archimedes Street
Amazon Kindle: On Archimedes Street

I am very hard when I rate setting and the reason why is because I feel most authors spend less time on this than other aspects of a novel. This author made me feel like the setting was another character. Great well rounded book.

Gay Mystery / Thriller
Relief Valve (The Plumber's Mate) by JL Merrow
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd. (March 25, 2014)
Amazon Kindle: Relief Valve (The Plumber's Mate)

First, let me start by saying that I have not read the first book in this series, a lack that I intend to rectify once I have finished reading for the awards this year. However, as my job is to judge this book alone on its merits, I have to say that not reading the first did not at all hinder my enjoyment of this one. I also greatly appreciated that the author did not attempt to "recap", which I always find a clumsy device. Of necessity, this meant that Tom's ability to "find" things was taken casually here as a given (I am assuming it was fully explored in book 1), which was a little peculiar, but I did like the way it was ultimately integrated into the main plot(s).

Gay Contemporary General Fiction
Sex & Sourdough by A.J. Thomas
Paperback: 266 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (December 13, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1627983074
ISBN-13: 978-1627983075
Amazon: Sex & Sourdough
Amazon Kindle: Sex & Sourdough

I bought this book several months ago on a whim. I thought the title was cute. However, this book is so much more than that. The author takes the reader on a journey, quite literally. By the time I was done reading this I felt as if I had just had a wonderful vacation. In addition, the characters are unique and likeable. They feel like family when I was finished reading this.

I loved this story and was caught up in it almost immediately I started reading. Great tension at the end, and a writing style that was easy to read. A new author to me, but one I will have to read more of.

Gay Anthology / Fantasy
Stitch (Gothika) by Sue Brown, Jamie Fessenden, Kim Fielding and Eli Easton
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press; 1 edition (April 20, 2014)
Amazon Kindle: Stitch (Gothika)

The first three stories were almost flawless. Only the fourth and final story was a bit lacking, but overall, this was my favorite of the five books, by far. There were great ideas, strongly set in specific times and places, with believable, likeable characters and fascinating story development. I actually ordered this book from Amazon after reading it because I want my own copy. It's a book I'll read again.

Lesbian Fantasy
The Empath (The Above and Beyond Series Book 1) by Jody Klaire
Publisher: Bedazzled Ink Publishing Company (August 24, 2014)
Amazon Kindle: The Empath (The Above and Beyond Series Book 1)

New to me author and a born storyteller.

Bisexual Contemporary General Fiction
The River Within by Baxter Clare Trautman
Paperback: 260 pages
Publisher: Bedazzled Ink Publishing Company; 2 edition (March 13, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1939562252
ISBN-13: 978-1939562258
Amazon : The River Within
Amazon Kindle: The River Within

An absolute triumph. One of the best of its kind this year.

Lesbian Paranormal Romance
True Nature by Jae
Paperback: 468 pages
Publisher: Ylva Verlag e.Kfr. (October 31, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 3955330346
ISBN-13: 978-3955330347
Amazon: True Nature
Amazon Kindle: True Nature

Jae makes very good use of setting here, firmly establishing the world in which her characters interact. I loved the pacing and the way the plot developed. I also love it when characters--like the ones in this book--are made so real they can fascinate or irritate, when they can get the reader rooting for them or silently praying for their destruction. I enjoyed this one very much.

Lesbian Contemporary General Fiction
What Matter Wounds (Claire Lance Book 5) by Geonn Cannon
Publisher: Supposed Crimes LLC (March 30, 2014)
Amazon Kindle: What Matter Wounds (Claire Lance Book 5)

I really enjoyed how all of the pieces of Claire’s story were slowly revealed and then came together. I was really rooting for Claire and Jodie through the whole book.

Lesbian Anthology / Contemporary Romance
All you can Eat, A Buffet of Lesbian Erotica and Romance by R.G. Emanuelle & Andi Marquette
Publisher: Ylva Publishing (August 20, 2014)
Amazon Kindle: All you can Eat, A Buffet of Lesbian Erotica and Romance

I did enjoy all the recipes... The first story Fresh Fruit by Ashley Bartlett was my favorite... I’m still smiling about it.

Transgender Young Adult
Beloved Pilgrim by Christopher Hawthorne Moss

Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press; 2 edition (January 23, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1627985387
ISBN-13: 978-1627985383
Amazon: Beloved Pilgrim
Amazon Kindle: Beloved Pilgrim

This is a complex, well-researched, highly enjoyable story with characters that will stay with you long after the story is done. I loved it.

Gay Contemporary Romance
Cub by Jeff Mann

Paperback: 226 pages
Publisher: Bear Bones Books (February 14, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1590213394
ISBN-13: 978-1590213391
Amazon: Cub
Amazon Kindle: Cub

This is a novel I will highly recommend to my friends who enjoy reading YA novels, especially readers who enjoy stories with unusual twists and turns. The best of the four (of five) novels I have read so far – by far. Very uniquely plotted YA novel involving a baby “Bear”, a “Cub” who, in addition to having to deal with his gayness, also has to come to terms with first imagining, then delving into his interest in light BDSM. The Cub’s dealing with his feelings, while doing it in a rural (VERY rural) environment, which he does not want to leave, is handled beautifully. Mann’s handling of growing up in a rural, small-town environment in West Virginia is perfectly written.

Gay Contemporary Romance
Ethan in Gold by Amy Lane
Paperback: 350 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (October 4, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1627983171
ISBN-13: 978-1627983174
Amazon: Ethan in Gold
Amazon Kindle: Ethan in Gold

OMG, what a book that was! I spent all day reading, alternating between amusement and anger and melting and crying my eyes out. Can I give this one 40/40 for Emotional Impact? This is plot at its finest. Brilliantly done. You can literally watch it unfold as you read: one event sets off a whole chain of events and developments that feed on each other and fuel further events and developments. This should be used as an example for teaching students about plot, it is that well done. Brilliant, evocative and addictive. You are sucked into it and cannot stop reading; you need to know what happens next, even if it is painful. In addition, suddenly it is over, and while it certainly feels over - the story is told, it ends here - you could keep reading about these two for another 320 pages.

Gay Erotic Romance

Gin & Jazz 1- 4 by Morticia Knight
Starring Role (Gin & Jazz 4)
Paperback: 236 pages
Publisher: Totally Bound Publishing (February 7, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 178184724X
ISBN-13: 978-1781847244
Amazon: Starring Role (Gin & Jazz 4)
Amazon Kindle: Starring Role (Gin & Jazz 4)

Get hooked from the first words. Historical romance at its best. What is happiness? Being reach and famous or poor but loved? One sweet naïve youngster is searching for the answers to happiness in a harsh world around.

Lesbian Contemporary General Fiction
Hoosier Daddy by Ann McMan & Salem West
Paperback: 286 pages
Publisher: Bedazzled Ink Publishing Company (November 22, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1939562368
ISBN-13: 978-1939562364
Amazon : Hoosier Daddy
Amazon Kindle: Hoosier Daddy

The community that works in and around the truck plant was so well drawn. The characters and situations can be goofy and slapstick, but there’s a real emotion here as well, and it all came together in fun, surprising ways.

Lesbian Historical Romance
Murder and the Hurdy Gurdy Girl by Kate McLachlan

Paperback: 198 pages
Publisher: Quest by RCE (August 8, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1619291266
ISBN-13: 978-1619291263
Amazon: Murder and the Hurdy Gurdy Girl
Amazon Kindle: Murder and the Hurdy Gurdy Girl

Rich in historical details. I will definitely keep buying this author's novels. Very creative storyline set in Needles Eye, Idaho, and the life of a dancer in a hurdy gurdy.

A couple of unnecessarily gruesome and graphic scenes, and the final meeting between the two main characters not being congruent with the finale of their previous interaction, were not enough to seriously mar the great storytelling this novel represents.

Transgender Biography / Memoir
Queerly Beloved: A Love Story Across Genders by Diane & Jacob Anderson-Minshall
Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (May 13, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1626390622
ISBN-13: 978-1626390621
Amazon: Queerly Beloved: A Love Story Across Genders
Amazon Kindle: Queerly Beloved: A Love Story Across Genders

An amazing book about transitioning. I loved the dual narratives by the couple and felt it really told the whole story of what it is like to have one partner transition from female to male while the other remains supportive, loyal, and deeply in love with her mate. Queerly Beloved is beautifully written by both authors and a must for LGBT readers. Loved it.

Gay Sci-fi / Futuristic
Strain by Amelia C. Gormley
Paperback: 318 pages
Publisher: Riptide Publishing (December 12, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1626490708
ISBN-13: 978-1626490703
Amazon: Strain
Amazon Kindle: Strain

Amazing setup for a dark, dystopian fic. While many would baulk at the rape themes, I can read post-apocalyptic stories with it in the understanding that the world we live in – and its morals – are dead. It is a well-written, extremely deep story that hides its message beneath a pile of kinky sex. You have to go away and think about it for a while or you are just going to flip. Therefore, I have thought about it, and only given its ratings now, once the whole, rather than the shocking surface, sunk in.

Lesbian Biography / Memoir
The End of Eve: A Memoir by Ariel Gore
Paperback: 234 pages
Publisher: Hawthorne Books (March 11, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0986000795
ISBN-13: 978-0986000799
Amazon: The End of Eve: A Memoir
Amazon Kindle: The End of Eve: A Memoir

I loved this honest and amusing tale of endeavoring to live a good life and to deal civilly with a nightmare of a mother. Beautifully done.

Gay Young Adult
The Seventh Pleiade by Andrew J. Peters

Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (November 19, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602829608
ISBN-13: 978-1602829602
Amazon: The Seventh Pleiade
Amazon Kindle: The Seventh Pleiade

I love when I receive a book to judge that I would never have chosen to read on my own and I fall in love with it. Not what I expected in a very good way kept me interested from page one.

Suspenseful, edgy, believable emotional responses. Great Y/A tone. Points taken for use of too modern language at times. "Had a thing for” the character, really struck me. Otherwise, very enjoyable fantasy read.

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