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 Mystery / Thriller
Hostile Ground by Aleksandr Voinov & L.A. Witt

Paperback: 300 pages
Publisher: Riptide Publishing (January 27, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1626491240
ISBN-13: 978-1626491243
Amazon: Hostile Ground
Amazon Kindle: Hostile Ground

A very well written and engaging book. There were some out of character moments for two undercover cops. Some plot points felt far-fetched. However, if you take this as entertainment, an erotic thriller more than a police procedural, then it's fast moving and enjoyable, with a happy ending.

Fast paced and tense in places. All in all a very enjoyable read. Fairly complex and interesting, although I did predict a couple of events and the story never quite had me on the edge of my seat until towards the end. Very well drawn and the dynamic between them was great. The secondary characters fitted perfectly into the story, I especially liked the young nephew and his issues. The development of the MCs relationship was very believable – I really came to care about them - and the sex scenes sizzled. All locations were carefully described and the actual club where most of the action took place was particularly seedy. Lots if atmosphere. Easy to read. The writing flowed off the page and there was plenty of description but not overdone. Dialogue was believable and how I expected the characters to be, whatever their role in the story.

Lesbian Contemporary Romance
How Still My Love by Diane Marina
Paperback: 258 pages
Publisher: Aspen Palms Press (May 28, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0692229248
ISBN-13: 978-0692229248
Amazon: How Still My Love
Amazon Kindle: How Still My Love

Well written romance with memorable characters. Loved the angst in this book.

Gay Contemporary General Fiction
I Loved You More by Tom Spanbauer
Paperback: 468 pages
Publisher: Hawthorne Books (April 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0986000787
ISBN-13: 978-0986000782
Amazon Kindle: I Loved You More

These characters were well developed. This was a hard book to read because I just fell in love with the characters.

Gay Biography / Memoir
I Probably Shouldn’t Have Done That by Edmond Manning
Paperback: 170 pages
Publisher: Pickwick Ink Press; 1st edition (December 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0989097935
ISBN-13: 978-0989097932
Amazon: I Probaby Shouldn't Have Done That
Amazon Kindle: I Probaby Shouldn't Have Done That

A charming and amusing romp through a life of curiosity and honesty.

Gay Sci-fi / Futuristic
Light by 'Nathan Burgoine
Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (October 15, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602829535
ISBN-13: 978-1602829534
Amazon: Light
Amazon Kindle: Light

This is a fast paced book that keeps you interested all along. I really enjoyed all the characters, well, most of them, at least. It was a surprised to learn at the end of the story who the actual villain was, which at all times I thought it was the psycho church leader. I'm not sure I like the idea of having Sebastian be a strong psychic as well and learn TK. It seems out of place (as in Wow! What a coincidence. Me too!, sort of thing). Overall, an enjoyable read.

Very well written novel that was seamless in its pacing and plot. I loved it and could not put it down. The characters are well developed and likeable. The enemy is scary, though I did find it easy to predict how the evangelist was being manipulated. The setting in Ottawa was different from many m/m novels - the Pride week an excellent backdrop providing varied venues and characters in which to set the action. The ending was well done. Nathan's writing style is very professional and I could not dock a point.

Light was an exciting story from start to finish. I enjoyed every character and even though I guessed the bad guy before the big reveal, I appreciated how the story wove together. Contrasts between the two main characters highlighted them both so neither eclipsed the other. I didn't appreciate seeing the term 'transgendered' since that's a word specifically rejected by the trans community, but the story was otherwise engrossing.

Gay Mystery / Thriller
Love Is A Stranger by John Wiltshire
Paperback: 294 pages
Publisher: MLR Press (May 16, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1608209407
ISBN-13: 978-1608209408
Amazon: Love Is A Stranger
Amazon Kindle: Love Is A Stranger

Amazing book that kept me gripped until the end. Loved the combination of action and the intimacy of the couple.

I settled into this book expecting a fast-paced thriller filled with intrigue and action. While there is a satisfying amount of both intrigue and action, I was quite surprised to discover that this book is primarily a passionate romance between two strong, charismatic (and enigmatic in the case of one) men. As I have a soft spot for romance, passion and intrigue, this was one of those titles I read late into the night with great satisfaction (if somewhat bleary eyes). I have downgraded slightly, as I felt our protestations of love in the face of the developing plot got a little repetitive at times. In addition, building up to the climax only to end with a continued-in-book-2 notice drove me completely mad. I have no problem with sequels but this ended so abruptly it seems like only 4/5 of a story. Still, I am quite looking forward to book 2.

This first novel of a series (More Heat than the Sun), is the start of their adventure into a future of vulnerability, strength and defiance, both internal and external. The plot and characters develop in a way that is compelling enough to want to know more. Love is a stranger is a story of Ex-SAS Ben Rider, and the man he called his partner for the past six months, Nikolas Mikkelsen. Ben thought he knew Nikolas, but it turns out he knew nothing about him at all. The man was a ghost, living a lie, but Ben wasn’t the only one Nikolas had lied to.

Gay Paranormal Romance
Love You Forever by Amelia Bishop

Paperback: 434 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (March 18, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1497381436
ISBN-13: 978-1497381438
Amazon: Love You Forever
Amazon Kindle: Love You Forever

This is an angst-filled book that will keep you reading until the very last page. I was not expecting all the twists and turns the story took, and will say that more than once the characters made me a little mad.

Lesbian Contemporary Romance
Loved and Lost by Stephanie Kusiak
Paperback: 566 pages
Publisher: Sapphire Books Publishing (July 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1939062586
ISBN-13: 978-1939062581
Amazon: Loved and Lost
Amazon Kindle: Loved and Lost

Where should I begin with this book? If it was the author's intent to reach into the very depths of the reader's heart and soul and pull out every emotion, taking them through the heights of fated love, happiness, joy, and forgiveness, while subsequently raking them over the coals of despair, jealousy, bitterness, grief, anguish, loss, suffering, and unparalleled heartbreak, then I say she has achieved that immensely. This story is my story. Being Jewish, I lost my fiancé and unborn child in the second trimester within weeks of each other, so this story had me in knots as I read it. Especially as I was once, a theater major and he went to school to be a doctor. It was scary to read something so similar written in a book and I almost had to say no, but my story is not unheard of, and this story was so true to life, it hit every issue beautifully. In addition, yes, I wish it would have ended differently, but at the same time, the ending was perfect. Moreover, it is for that reason, and the reasons stated above that I have to give this book a score of 40.

A story that will stay with me a long time caused a lot of emotion when I was reading it. Definitely will be on my reread list.

Oh gosh give me the sequel now! This book was so captivating that I could not put it down until the very end. An incredibly impressive debut book, the author have surely put the stake high so I can only wish her too keep doing what she had done here!

Bisexual Mystery / Thriller
Murder on the Mountain by Jamie Fessenden
Paperback: 210 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (August 22, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1632162024
ISBN-13: 978-1632162021
Amazon: Murder on the Mountain
Amazon Kindle: Murder on the Mountain

This is one of the best books I've read in a while. The romance is subtle and an organic part of the story, while the plot carries through the course of the book without relying on contrived drama.

Gay Contemporary General Fiction
My Favorite Uncle by Marshall Thornton
Paperback: 312 pages
Publisher: Wilde City Press, LLC (June 25, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1925180247
ISBN-13: 978-1925180244
Amazon: My Favorite Uncle
Amazon Kindle: My Favorite Uncle

Sometimes, often, hilarious witty YA story, sometimes serious, and wise. Maybe sometimes hard to digest on the religious front. Very well written, I enjoyed this a lot.

Gay Fantasy
Night Creatures (Immortal Testimonies) by Jeremy Jordan King
Series: Immortal Testimonies
Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (December 10, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602829713
ISBN-13: 978-1602829718
Amazon: Night Creatures (Immortal Testimonies)
Amazon Kindle: Night Creatures (Immortal Testimonies)

This book was beautifully written and unique since it was written in the form of a journal. The people came to life for me. It is the first book in a long time that was able to bring a tear to my eye. When I reached the last page, I wanted to know more.

Lesbian Contemporary Romance
Nightingale by Andrea Bramhall

Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (May 13, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1626390592
ISBN-13: 978-1626390591
Amazon: Nightingale
Amazon Kindle: Nightingale

Wow. What an amazing roller coaster ride of emotions, suspense, passion, angst, and edge of your seat action book this was. Charlie and Haazar were such an amazing couple. This book detailed their story beautifully going back and forth, and back and forth, and back and forth, between the present and the past to show how they were together in the past and how they end up together once again in the present in spite of the obstacles, dangerous and fatalistic though they may be. The setting was masterfully penned by the author's flawless hand and the plot was new and fresh.

Gay Contemporary General Fiction
Paradise at Main and Elm by Barry Brennessel

Paperback: 282 pages
Publisher: Wilde City Press, LLC (October 30, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1925031586
ISBN-13: 978-1925031584
Amazon: Paradise at Main and Elm
Amazon Kindle: Paradise at Main and Elm

Not a romance, I found this book intriguing. The writing is more literary, and despite the frequent change of POV, it draws you in. Both characters, flawed and sometimes difficult to understand and love, are really well done, and the setting surrounds them and makes them be who they are. A very different read, and I welcomed it.

Gay Mystery / Thriller
Pawn of Satan by Mark Zubro
Paperback: 348 pages
Publisher: MLR Press (October 18, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1608209032
ISBN-13: 978-1608209033
Amazon: Pawn of Satan
Amazon Kindle: Pawn of Satan

I found everything about the protagonist of this story, Paul Turner, to be perfect. From the understated but loving relationship he shares with his husband and sons (I especially enjoyed his astute and calm parenting style), to the chemistry of his professional relationship with his irrepressible partner Fenwick, to his rational insight into the murder of the bishop, I found all of it completely compelling. The mystery itself was tightly written and very well executed - a pleasure to read. Oh, as a side note, coming from a suburb of Chicago, I enjoyed the use of my local setting in the book, which all seemed accurate in tone and depiction.

Well drawn - family & cops – the author didn't rely on previous books in the series to do this work for him. Very detailed but complicated - made it difficult to follow significance of some things. Is the Catholic church really that corrupt and gay? Exciting & different to be set within the RC church. It stood alone without having to read the series – although there were some running jokes which I didn't understand. Who did the murder didn't quite matter, so the climax of the book wasn't as exciting as some of the investigation leading up to it. Very detailed conversations which helped with character and fleshing out relationships but were irritating in slowing down the plot.

Gay Contemporary Romance
Perfect Imperfections by Cardeno C.
Paperback: 210 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (May 5, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1627988777
ISBN-13: 978-1627988773
Amazon: Perfect Imperfections
Amazon Kindle: Perfect Imperfections

For me, this book was perfect. The development of their relationship - a joy to follow along. Yes, the whole thing might belong to‚ Fairy Tales for Grown-ups but I was in the right mood for such a slow-moving, sweet story.

This is a fun story, well-structured with tons of sexual tension. I could not wait to find out how the characters managed to get together, given where they started out. The plot was well crafted and well-paced, so the reader's interest never lagged. I loved the humor of these characters, such as Reg's flair for irony. He could make fun of Jeremy's situation without making fun of Jeremy himself. That is tough to pull off. The characters were completely believable and a perfect match for one another. It was interesting how Reg seemed older, even though Jeremy was older, but that also seemed right for the two of them.

Such a pleasure to read this book. It was funny and warm and wonderful, with dialogue that sparkled. Jeremy should have been annoying, and yet Cardeno C crafted a wonderfully complex man who is part diva, part wise, part naive, part full of sadness and part full of joy. Reg is his perfect foil, warm, loving, and not willing to put up with his crap in a way that is strong and tender. The patience and love Reg has for Jeremy is only overshadowed in the story by Jeremy slowly learning about himself as he's finally slowed to just be. Hats off. An excellent, lovely romance.

Gay Contemporary Romance
Pick Up the Pieces by Tinnean
Paperback: 324 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (February 21, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1627985158
ISBN-13: 978-1627985154
Amazon: Pick Up the Pieces (The Light in Your Eyes)
Amazon Kindle: Pick Up the Pieces (The Light in Your Eyes)

I think I liked this because of the uber masculinity of the characters and how it wasn't understated just because it was a love story. Great book.

Gay Paranormal Romance
Raising Shawna (Love & Life in the Panhandle) by Vicktor Alexander
Publisher: The Rooster & The Pig Publishing (November 13, 2013)
Amazon Kindle: Raising Shawna (Love & Life in the Panhandle)

This is a great book but readers should keep in mind that it covers some dark topics. I cannot wait to see what the rest of the series will look like.

Gay Historical
Randy by Jane Elliot
ebook, 182 pages
Published August 1st 2014 by Manifold Press
ISBN13 9781908312259
edition language English

Approaching middle age, Garrison Gaines is aware that all his humble hopes for the future have crumbled into dust. He’s travelling through the vast Unorganized Territories of the central United States when his path crosses that of Randy Everett, a young man who dreams of great adventures in exotic far-away locales – and, while no one can accurately predict the future, one thing is quite certain: that neither man will walk away from the encounter completely unaffected.

A beautiful story that isn’t about romance so much as it is about discovery, adaptation and a deepening of character. The writing is wonderfully descriptive, the protagonists are well-rounded and fun to read about, and the setting…oh, the setting. You are there, and you are hanging on for dear life. I haven’t ready many westerns before, but Jane Elliot’s work deserves a second look.

Gay Sci-fi / Futuristic
Rangers Over Regulus by Alex Powell
Paperback: 226 pages
Publisher: Less Than Three Press (October 30, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1620042657
ISBN-13: 978-1620042656
Amazon: Rangers Over Regulus
Amazon Kindle: Rangers Over Regulus

Cowboys and robbers in space. A bit robotic technology in the mix to get a sweet entertaining story of wild wild future.

Very impressed with this sci-fi story about a vampire, a ranger, and how two very different people came together to do right a 'disastrous' wrong.

Lesbian Mystery / Thriller
Rapture, Sins of the Sinners by Fran Heckrotte & A.C. Henley
Paperback: 230 pages
Publisher: Affinity Ebook Press NZ LTD; First edition (November 11, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1927282063
ISBN-13: 978-1927282069
Amazon: Rapture, Sins of the Sinners
Amazon Kindle: Rapture, Sins of the Sinners

Well written story with interesting characters. The story is fast paced and intensely emotional. It made me feel for the characters and the injustice they had to go through. The end was thoroughly satisfying.

I felt reading Rapture was like reading a mainstream, polished novel. The flow of the writing and story was excellent, the characters were well developed & seemed real, not cardboard clones. The secondary characters were good & played into the story seamlessly. The authors tied up all of their loose ends & made the whole story believable.

Not particularly complicated in terms of plot but well-constructed and solid. A solid alt universe setting with intriguing possibilities – would definitely like to read more stories set here. The characters really make this one come alive, well developed and sympathetic, their romance feeling like a very natural and realistic progression of their relationship. Engaging, witty, would definitely like to read more from this author.

Great read, believable all the way around. Loved the MC's. Sad that we will not have any more stories from this author.

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Tags: rainbow awards 2014

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