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 Contemporary Romance
Resurrection Man by K.Z. Snow
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press; 1 edition (August 5, 2014)
Amazon Kindle: Resurrection Man

I am already re-reading the novel, so that tells you everything you need to know about how I felt about this novel. Superb tale. Story of a homeless young adult was developed beautifully. The trials of someone trying to pull himself up by his bootstraps is handled with delicacy, yet boldly. I expected to be really depressed by this story, and found it to be riveting, if a trifle stereotypical of tales of this type. Nevertheless, full points (and kudos) to Ms. Snow for an extremely well told story. Throughout the novel, from the city descriptions to life in a deserted factory, the author made this reader see and smell exactly what the life and plight of a homeless young gay man is like. Excellent.

Lesbian Paranormal Romance
Return of an Impetuous Pilot (RIP Van Dyke Series) by Kate McLachlan
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Silver Dragon Books by RC (February 7, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1619291525
ISBN-13: 978-1619291522
Amazon: Return of an Impetuous Pilot
Amazon Kindle: Return of an Impetuous Pilot

I was intrigued when I noted this novel involved time travel and Amelia Earhart played a role in the plot. Reading this was like riding a roller coaster, with lots of adventure, sexual tension and great characterizations to keep the pages turning.

Gay Fantasy
Rising Frenzy, Men of Myth 2 by Brandon Witt

Paperback: 350 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (September 23, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1623809657
ISBN-13: 978-1623809652
Amazon: Rising Frenzy
Amazon Kindle: Rising Frenzy

This book was extremely well written with rich characters, fantastic world building, and a plot, which ratcheted up after the first half of the book.

Bisexual Erotic Romance
Rocky Mountain Freedom (Six Pack Ranch) by Vivian Arend

Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd. (November 19, 2013)
Amazon Kindle: Rocky Mountain Freedom (Six Pack Ranch)

This book was very well written and showed truly bi characters. Too bad, I came into this world in book 6!

Good filthy fun. Not really my thing (kinky cowboy ménage), but if it was your thing, it would do your thing exceptionally well.

Gay Romantic Comedy
Shiny! by Amy Lane
Paperback: 200 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (February 21, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1627986545
ISBN-13: 978-1627986540
Amazon: Shiny!
Amazon Kindle: Shiny!

This was very well written as is usually the case with Amy Lane. the characters were very likeable and funny. Any time someone asks me what they should read I always recommend an Amy Lane book.

Gay Fantasy
Shirewode (The Wode Book 2) by J Tullos Hennig​
Paperback: 370 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (September 9, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1623806631
ISBN-13: 978-1623806637
Amazon: Shirewode (The Wode Book 2)
Amazon Kindle: Shirewode (The Wode Book 2)

Being a native of Nottingham and knowing the Robin Hood myth inside out, I thought this book had the potential to be another boring re-tell. Boy, was I wrong! This book is utterly enthralling. The prose is sublime: rich, intelligent and atmospheric. I found myself re-reading passages for their sheer beauty. The author has clearly done a lot of research into the period, not only customs and costumes, but also the impact of the church and religious beliefs on a populace still in tune with the ‘old ways’. The Crusades are also shown for the horrendous blood bath they were in the name of God and glory. The plot was not at all predictable and the characters have incredible depth. I’m so blown away by this book I can barely put how I feel into words so, 40, 40, 40.

Gay Young Adult
Silent by Sara Alva
Paperback: 382 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 2, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1493665901
ISBN-13: 978-1493665907
Amazon : Silent
Amazon Kindle: Silent

Silent by Sara Alva was moving, eloquent, and original. The characters in the book were both fierce and heart breaking and any reader, I think, would come to care very deeply about them. This is not just a good YA book, but also a very fine novel for anyone. Loved it!

For me this book had it all. It was an outstanding read. The world building was rich, detailed, the writing very crisp, and accomplished, and the character development throughout the story was superb. Each of the boys go through profound changes and growth, and I believed in all of it totally. I was emotionally invested in Alex and Seb from the moment I met them, and completely immersed in their world. I felt I shared in their heartache and their love. Sara Alva gave both of them so much depth and character. The side characters too had a depth and believability to them, and Sara seemed to have taken as much care with them as she did the two leads. This was gritty and realistic, and not without some heartache along the way - but ultimately, this was an extremely beautifully told love story, and one that will stay with me for a long time. I would recommend this book to anyone and I am sure that I will read it repeatedly. Top marks from me.

What a beautiful book. I really enjoyed the story of a young lad finding his own moral compass. Bit of a slushy ending, and left me wanting to know what happened to Seb & Alex after the ending. Such a clever, well-paced development of character, particularly Seb's.

Gay Mystery / Thriller
Slasherazzi by Daniel A. Kaine
Paperback: 248 pages
Publisher: Wilde City Press, LLC (June 11, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1925180239
ISBN-13: 978-1925180237
Amazon: Slasherazzi
Amazon Kindle: Slasherazzi

Very original plot line - I guessed who the murderer was half way through, after several wrong ideas - but then was thrown into a lot of doubt. Some original twists and ending. However, this was very violent with detail, much more so than I would choose to read.

Slasherazzi is a gore filled novel that takes the reader down a path they may not want to go. The opening is in the killer’s (Slasherazzi’s) point of view, but it doesn’t give you an insight to the mind that is capable of such terrifying brutality. We know nothing of the killer, except he’s done this before, and until he gets caught, he’s going to do it again. Alex is a cop, and the Slasherazzi is his nemesis. The visuals the writer portrays of the killer’s deeds are not for the faint hearted, but Alex and Vince’s relationship keep the story interesting, and the reason behind the Slasherazzi’s violent acts are understandable when they are finally revealed.

Gay Contemporary General Fiction
Stronger Than This by David-Matthew Barnes
Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (February 18, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602829888
ISBN-13: 978-1602829886
Amazon: Stronger Than This
Amazon Kindle: Stronger Than This

I loved these characters so much. It was hard to go on the journey with them and not thank the author afterwards.

Bisexual Romantic Comedy
Stuff (The Bristol Collection) by Josephine Myles
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd. (May 27, 2014)
Amazon Kindle: Stuff (The Bristol Collection)

Charming - not much else to say. Just very, very charming.

Gay Contemporary Romance
Summer Son by Anna Martin
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press; 1 edition (July 31, 2014)
Amazon Kindle: Summer Son

Loved it from beginning to end.

Gay Contemporary Romance
Takedown (Bannon's Gym) by Cat Grant

Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd. (July 29, 2014)
Amazon Kindle: Takedown (Bannon's Gym)

Wonderful, well-written, complex story. It's gritty, not one of those romances that leaves readers sighing happily at the end, so marketing it to the right audience is important.

This was a novel that caught me very off-guard. I really did not expect anything out of a story so far from my own life (and the type of m/m novels I read), but the author has got me buying the first novel in the trilogy, and signing-up for the third when it’s available. This, for everything that made it up, is one of the best novels I have read...ever. One point: the reader has to be ready to accept a gritty, angst-ridden storyline, or none of what I said above will win them past the first few chapters. It is their loss.

I very much enjoyed Ms. Grant's writing. The complexity of the story told and the cast of characters should have been confusing, but I had no problems keeping up with the flow of the story. The details of the fights were visceral and I felt like I was with Tom and Travis in the ring. Love the themes of family, friendship and love. My only complaint is that the robbery that led to the diner burning down felt contrived and I don't understand why that information wasn't conveyed to the police. It's glossed over, then never brought up again. But in the grand scheme of things, it was a small thing.

Gay Erotic Romance
The Foster Family by Jaime Samms
Paperback: 330 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (February 14, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1627985522
ISBN-13: 978-1627985529
Amazon : The Foster Family
Amazon Kindle: The Foster Family

I am not usually a fan of ménage but the characters, story and relationships made this a fantastic read. Pleasantly surprised and would add it to the few M/M/M books I would reread.

Gay Contemporary General Fiction
The Genealogy of Understanding by Daniel M. Jaffe
Paperback: 326 pages
Publisher: Lethe Press (May 5, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1590211804
ISBN-13: 978-1590211809
Amazon: The Genealogy of Understanding
Amazon Kindle: The Genealogy of Understanding

This was so uniquely written. I loved the way the author centered the book on the Torah. I felt like I learned something by the last line.

Gay Contemporary Romance
The Last Thing He Needs by J.H. Knight
Paperback: 220 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (July 28, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1627988599
ISBN-13: 978-1627988599
Amazon: The Last Thing He Needs
Amazon Kindle: The Last Thing He Needs

For a good story wonderfully told. I will keep my eyes open for more from this writer. A smoothly flowing plot that might be a little foreseeable but is never boring. In addition, there is no deux ex machina, things suddenly don't turn out easy and simple. There are so easy solutions; kudos for that. Moreover, it was fascinating to watch just how things clicked together - and what's more, they did not simply click to move the plot along but actually were part of the plot and tied up on who these characters are. Incredibly well done characters that were consistent in their actions and behaviors with their history.

Great conflict, loved the characters, loved the angst.

Gay Contemporary Romance
The Mating of Michael (Sex in Seattle Book 3) by Eli Easton
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (June 30, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1632160153
ISBN-13: 978-1632160157
Amazon: The Mating of Michael (Sex in Seattle Book 3)
Amazon Kindle: The Mating of Michael (Sex in Seattle Book 3)

Wonderful book all around. Gripping tale, endearing characters, well- rounded story and even a satisfying epilogue - What has not to love!

The book is very enjoyable, and the characters are what they are. This is like the 1930’s movie that has got real star-power, but is boosted into the higher ranks by its character actors. Plot is sweet and lovely. The story of a polio-stricken writer of sci-fi, who’s fading in his profession and a physical therapist/sex surrogate (!) goes exactly where an experienced reader of m/m fiction would expect. Can anyone say a gay version of Love Affair, remade as An Affair to Remember, remade as Sleepless in Seattle. Perfectly adequate and enjoyable read, but this reader has been there and read (and seen) that. Easton obviously knows Seattle and its environs. As a sucker for such settings, she had me at “Seattle.”

I hate to give a perfect score to anything, because there is always room for improvement, right? However, in this novel, I could not find anything to deduct for. The characters are so vivid and well drawn, they feel like real people. The plot never lagged; it was enjoyable and intriguing right from the beginning, and the sexual tension was high. The characters deserved to find love, and they were perfect for each other. I could not help but root for them. The setting elements immersed me in the story world and keep me there. The writing and editing were nearly flawless and appropriate for the genre. I didn't want this book to end.

A captivating novel about two very interesting men. The writing was fun and enjoyable and I loved the way we got to see both the tough and the venerable sides of both men. James's polio was handled very well. The sex surrogacy was an interesting twist and handled very well as a healing method. It was good to see the difference from the way Michael treated that to the way he felt for James. Quite the wonderful happy ever after, too.

Gay Contemporary Romance
The Silence of the Stars by Kate McMurray
Paperback: 200 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (May 30, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1627988939
ISBN-13: 978-1627988933
Amazon : The Silence of the Stars
Amazon Kindle: The Silence of the Stars

I have read a few of Kate McMurray’s books before, I was not disappointed I like a story that has it all, and for me this did. I enjoyed it from the very first page.

The characterizations in the story, in particular that of Sandy, are excellently drawn and remain true to the players throughout. In addition, McMurray represented the romantic aspect credibly as one between two men, rather than allowing one of the players to become more like a woman as the romance progressed (a tendency I see often in M/M books written by women). In addition, the emotional difficulties Sandy experiences because of his time in the Army are presented clearly, believably, and without gratuitous sensationalism.

Gay Erotica
The Thief Taker by William Holden
Series: Thomas Newton Erotic Adventure
Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (April 15, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1626390541
ISBN-13: 978-1626390546
Amazon: The Thief Taker
Amazon Kindle: The Thief Taker

I normally dislike historical fiction, but this story caught me from the first chapter. Told in first person, this story unfolded beautifully. Thomas and Pierre were both likable, while being slightly flawed.

Gay Contemporary Romance
The Tin Box by Kim Fielding
Paperback: 210 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (September 20, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1627981691
ISBN-13: 978-1627981699
Amazon: The Tin Box
Amazon Kindle: The Tin Box

Engaging characters, evocative settings, realistic character growth (for Will, the POV character; his love interest, Colby, started out already fabulous). The story-within-the-story that is the catalyst for Will's change is heartbreaking. **Tears**

Gay Historical Romance
Think of England by KJ Charles
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd. (July 1, 2014)
Amazon Kindle: Think of England

Very captivating book – history, mystery and, of course – love. It was hard to put it down. The house with its mysterious passages... so there was plot, apart from the love story. I miss it in some of the M/M books.

Drama, intrigue, fantastic characters and a very deft and capable hand with setting left me feeling like I didn’t want to leave this world behind, so I read the story again. There is literally nothing not to like about this story, no place where it fell down, nothing that disappointed. There’s sex, romance, mystery, atmosphere, historical accuracy…read this. You don’t have to love historicals to love this book.

Gay Biography / Memoir
True Stories Too: People and Places From My Past by Felice Picano
Paperback: 278 pages
Publisher: Chelsea Station Editions (June 19, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1937627152
ISBN-13: 978-1937627157
Amazon: True Stories Too: People and Places From My Past
Amazon Kindle: True Stories Too: People and Places From My Past

An honest examination of people, places and Picano himself. A timely reminder of the heady freedoms of post-Stonewall days, and the achingly thorough tragedy of AIDS.

This one was surprisingly hard to put down. As one of the authors of The Joy of Gay Sex, I expected there to be a lot more sex in here, and while he mentions some of his sexual encounters, he doesn’t detail them at all. They are handled the same way as he details a menu. That said, I loved the writer’s style and how he was always looking for solutions to his problems, rather than complaining about them, and thus enjoyed incredible success and adventures. He evokes times and places well, making me feel that I was there in Greenwich Village in the 60s and 70s and his experiences with the most well-known names in gay rights and gay literature. I loved the chapter detailing his book tour in Japan, recognizing places and personality types that are quite distinctive, all described in wonderful anecdotes.

Gay Historical
Turnbull House by Jess Faraday

Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (February 18, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 160282987X
ISBN-13: 978-1602829879
Amazon: Turnbull House

Turnbull House is what the historical reader wants - an immersion into the period without overlong explanations that a character living in that time would never employ. The soot and mist and nasty weather of late 19th century London are all around and seen through the eyes of the character as he moves through a London with dangerous predators at all social strata. Every character, the purely fictional and the historical figures we encounter, are characters, quirky, interesting, real for their time. The intrigue is complex, motivations often multilayered. This was a joy to read.

Oh man, what a fun book! I had to go off and get the prequel to it by the end because I just needed more. This is the sort of historical novel I can read and get sucked right into. Part of that probably stems from the fact that it takes place in London at a time that is currently very popular in TV shows and film, so there’s a sense, even for the casual consumer of entertainment, of familiarity. The majority of this novel’s allure comes from its wonderfully well-written characters, though. I can’t wait for more.

Gay Contemporary Romance
Unbroken by Larry Benjamin
Paperback: 268 pages
Publisher: Beaten Track Publishing (September 20, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1909192295
ISBN-13: 978-1909192294
Amazon: Unbroken
Amazon Kindle: Unbroken

It was very compelling and readable, believable and moving. The end, as I said, was a bit TOO happy, which made this seem more like a fairy tale than a real story about real people. I think that was a flaw, but I still highly recommend the book.

A beautiful story filled with truth and honesty. One of my favorite reads this year. I feel privileged to have read it.

This book ripped me apart emotionally. The character of Lincoln had a voice that was so strong, his emotions so graphically described, his personality so artfully fleshed out that I felt that I was he. I sobbed when Martizka died, grew angry when Jose left, trembled in fear when Tony's aunt and uncle discovered him and Lincoln. Through it all the different settings of the book, even the description of the characters were given with such mastery of skill, such effortless talent that I felt as if I were there. I lived Lincoln's life and love story. Experienced his pain, his triumphs, and his heartbreaks. Shared his losses.

Gay Erotic Romance
Uncovered (Dev and Lee Book 4) by Kyell Gold
Publisher: 24 Carat Words (September 1, 2014)
Amazon Kindle: Uncovered (Dev and Lee Book 4)

There were two things going against this book right from the start, furry erotica and football. I have no interest in the first and an active dislike to the second. I thought I was going to hate this book. I started out not liking it but Lee and Dev grew on me. I had to overcome the hurdle of their established relationship and history of which I knew nothing. Once that happened, I was really into it. OK, I still skimmed most of the football games, but I was invested in the story. The writing was great, and the story and characters pulled me in. I was impressed.

Gay Young Adult
Us Three by Mia Kerick
Paperback: 180 pages
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press (April 3, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1627989080
ISBN-13: 978-1627989084
Amazon: Us Three
Amazon Kindle: Us Three

I was (almost) surprised I liked this as much as I did. I avoid m/m/m as it rarely works for me. However, Mia Kerick is such a good writer, she quickly convinced me this relationship not only works, but also has to be the way it is. If you have any fears about that aspect of the story, forget them. The emotions are well shown without being melodramatic. It is all very real.

Gay Paranormal Romance
Wide Asleep (Tales from Ballena Beach Book 3) by Nick Nolan
Series: Tales from Ballena Beach Book 3 (Book 3)
Paperback: 407 pages
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (February 4, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1477817972
ISBN-13: 978-1477817971
Amazon: Wide Asleep (Tales from Ballena Beach Book 3)
Amazon Kindle: Wide Asleep (Tales from Ballena Beach Book 3)

This is my first book by Mr. Nolan and it grabbed my attention from the first page. I loved the little twists and turns the story took and could not wait to see what would happen next.
b) Beautifully researched in all aspects, tight plotting, satisfying ending... this book is simply terrific. I am getting tired of stories where everyone is wealthy, but even that works given the backstory.

Lesbian Paranormal Romance
Windigo Thrall by Cate Culpepper
Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (January 14, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602829500
ISBN-13: 978-1602829503
Amazon: Windigo Thrall
Amazon Kindle: Windigo Thrall

I am a sucker for stories about Native American folklore, curses, and supernatural creatures, and this story grabbed me from page one. Well-drawn characters and a serpentine plot added to my enjoyment. A very entertaining read.

Lesbian Fantasy
Wolf’s Eyes (Amendyr Series Book 2) by Rae D. Magdon
Series: Amendyr
Paperback: 238 pages
Publisher: Desert Palm Press; 1 edition (August 19, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 150082870X
ISBN-13: 978-1500828707
Amazon: Wolf’s Eyes (Amendyr Series Book 2)
Amazon Kindle: Wolf’s Eyes (Amendyr Series Book 2)

New to me author and if you are into Lesbian werewolves this is for you. Will be a must read going forward. Terrific mix of plot, character development and romance. A very clever take on the fable Little Red Riding Hood.

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