andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best Gay Debut Book

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Xia Xia Lake - Shinigami


Shinigami: Takamagahara Monogatari Book 2

"Reading the author’s introduction, I found the premise of this story intriguing. I’m not familiar with Noh theatre or the storylines this story was based on. At the same time, the prose was so clear and sparkling that I was drawn in, in no time. It’s a beautifully structured story — the slowest of slow burns, but gorgeous through and through. Truly a delight."

"I have never felt the attraction for this type of story but I must admit, the author's writing style is one that engulfed all my senses and left me wanting more. It was a sweet story packed with a lot of feels. I wouldn't mind reading the next book for this one was a HFN."

"I enjoyed this book very much because it was so different up until the end.  I ultimately finished the last paragraph disappointed and asking "what just happened?" Love how the author built a fictional world using Japanese folklore combined with historical facts."


2.
Stephan Knox - Anáil Dhragain (Dragon's Breath)


Anáil Dhragain: (Dragon's Breath) (The Pendhragains Book 1)

"This was a very good book. Thank you for the opportunity to read it."

"A story with a good pace, interesting characters, and plenty of twists to keep me entertained to the end."


3.
MD Neu - The Calling


The Calling

"This book, by far, was the best read. The emotional connection between the characters and story were paced very well and the story, as a whole, was awesome. I hated to see this end with no word if there will be more."

"I enjoyed this interesting twist on vampires, and particularly liked the idea of the choice of light or dark. The final showdown rocked, and had me turning pages.  The characters are interesting, although they feel a little emotionally detached at times, yet this does mesh with the perspective of the MC narrator. "


Maz Maddox - Heartache & Hoofbeats

Heartache & Hoofbeats: Stallion Ridge 1

"A thoroughly enjoyable read all around. Very imaginative worldbuilding. I loved the writing style, well-paced, funny and quirky, it fit the Setting and subject of the book just perfectly. Can't wait to pic up the next # !"

"Pleasant surprise! I would never trust a western with centaurs, lamias, mermaids and other mythological beings, but I really liked this, to the point of pushing me to look for the sequel."


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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best Bisexual Debut Book

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Jude Lucens - Behind These Doors (Radical Proposals #1)


Behind These Doors: Radical Proposals Book 1

"An unusual love story set in the Edwardian era. Lucien Saxby, a journalist is attracted to Aubry Fanshawe, an aristocrat who in turn is involved in a polyamorous affair with a married couple, Rupert and Henrietta Hernedale. A complicated situation, never mind that Lucien also has dalliances with Ben, a married man with four children. Somehow, they all make this work, and there is deep love and affection here. The backdrop of women's suffrage adds historical and political interest as Lucien is forced by his editor to cover the escalating unrest when women march in London's streets and men in power are forced to listen to their grievances. The story is beautifully written, superb narrative and intelligent dialogue go a long way to draw the reader into a time when same sex love could lead to scandal and in some cases imprisonment. When family felt it had the right to interfere in once's personal affairs and young men of substance were presumed to be marriage fodder, or what on earth was wrong with him? I liked Behind these Doors very much and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical romance and perhaps is looking for something different in the genre. One little niggle - the over abundant use of colons spoiled for me what in every other way was flawless story-telling."

"I really enjoyed this historical story set in turn-of-the-century London, about love growing between a gay journalist and a bisexual, poly aristocrat. From the characters to the emotionally complex relationships to the grounding in historical context, class differences, and the women's movement, the parts of this story melded seamlessly into a great read. The main characters each have their flaws, their reactive points and self-doubts. I appreciated that falling in love didn't have to mean devaluing older relationships. With strong female characters as well, this was a book I will come back to and I'm delighted to see it is the first in a series."


2.
M. Rose Flores - The End


The End

"I thoroughly enjoyed this well-written, fast-paced Zombie horror YA book and would recommend it to readers who enjoy YA post-apocalyptic books."

"This book is a fine example of a fresh take on zombie stories. Her writing style keeps readers engaged and the story is well worth the read. "


3.
Ariana Nash - Silk & Steel


Silk and Steel 2: Iron & Fire

Alliances are forged and broken, friendships shattered, and despite the odds stacked against them, two hearts collide in this explosive sequel to Silk & Steel.

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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best LGBTA Debut Book

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Dorian Graves - Bones and Bourbon


Bones and Bourbon

"This is a great story that wraps you up in its story. The author does a wonderful job in creating a world that we know, but is completely new. The characters are charming, relatable and intelligent. If you are looking for a fun read this is it."

"Graves takes the reader on an unimaginable and creative quest with killer unicorns, huldras and furaribis. The story's landscape is surreal and otherworldly just like Alice's tumble through the rabbit hole. If you're looking for action, adventure and a story about the Fae that is completely different, you have to put this on your reading list. Remarkable!"


2.
R. Zamora Linmark - The Importance of Being Wilde at Heart


The Importance of Being Wilde at Heart

"I have never read a story written quite like The Importance of Being Wilde at Heart. Part haiku, part list, part prose, part conversations with Oscar Wilde... loved it. The setting and characters were natural, realistic, and the story was poignantly relatable. A work of art!"

"Absolutely charming first love story with the writings (and life) of Oscar Wilde as its blueprint and alter ego. The writer’s fresh and tender approach to gender, love, irony and lust makes this book read almost like a long poem. Moves along at a great pace, comes complete with a second-string of good friends, and credibly resonates with all the pathos, comedy and poetry of first love. The author knows his craft and certainly knows a great deal about Oscar Wilde. Highly recommended."


3.
Rory Power - Wilded Girls


Wilder Girls

"A most beautiful horror story! The writing is sublime and complex and purposefully precise. The characters—none like them! Comparisons were made to a female Lord of the Flies, but the closer comparison is a Wilkie Collins gothic horror story with overtures of romance, but of the f/f variety. Layered and yet cryptic in places, the book is a wonderful, ugly ride until the end. The abruptness of the ending, while not a true cliffhanger, might merit a couple points penalty in some minds, but the overall opus deserves the highest score. Expect more and fabulous from this debut author!"

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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best Asexual Debut Book

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Ava Kelly - Havesskadi


Havesskadi

"Fabulous world building and mythology, I would like to more about the red dragon and how the anasketts corrupted her. The settings were full of imagery and atmosphere, particularly the castle and I really liked the writing style - no massive info dumps here. I really wanted to rate this book higher because I enjoyed the story, but I kept coming back to the fact that almost half the story was about 2 characters who hardly talk to each other and hid things from each other, with little character development at this point and I was left feeling disappointed at the end. I would've liked to see Arkeva and Orsie discovering new things together outside the castle."

2.
Evelyn Benvie - Something To Celebrate


Something to Celebrate: Escape from the Holidays

"This book…you could almost taste the wind, the spirits, feel the intense loneliness of Niko and Fan, as they deal separately and together of what it means to be together and yet true to their own sense of self. The fact that Niko is Demiand Fan is a winter spirit added to the magic in this book, and actually have a HEA of which I approve."

3.
Kail Muse – Homeplanet

Homeplanet

Centuries ago Earth was declared a dead planet and humanity was left with a cluster of space stations called the Human Colonies. Now a power shortage could lose them their home all over again. Desperate not to let that happen, they turn to the kyni for help. One of the most powerful species in the known universe, the kyni are the only ones with both the power and the ability to fuel the Human Colonies. Though Calder has never heard anything good about them, he accepts a job as a bodyguard, determined to guarantee his brother will have a home. If he has to work for terrifying, heartless aliens to do that, so be it. But when the kyni arrive, they're nothing at all what anyone expects...

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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best Gay Contemporary Romance & Romantic Comedy

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Taylor Fitzpatrick - Thrown Off the Ice


Thrown Off the Ice

"This story left my heart aching. I was left aching for Liam, who, from the very beginning felt a strong attraction toward Mike. These two characters were perfect together even through the rough patches they encountered, mostly because of Mike wanting to protect Liam from what he knew was going to be a broken heart. Wonderfully written, the plot moved smoothly. Surely one of the best stories I've had the pleasure of reading. I Loved it!"

"I loved this book! The storyline was tight and driven but complex on so many levels and emotional. It had me laughing, grunting in frustration,  and ultimately crying. The author clearly took the time to develop both characters to an extent far beyond the surface."


2.
Morningstar Ashley - Risking It All


Risking It All (A Begin Again Novel Book 2)

"I got sucked into the lives of Danny and Jaden. They equally broke my heart and made me love them as I lived their lives with them. I actually wished the book was longer."

"I liked the story. Great premise and likeable characters."


3.
Amy Lane – Crocus


Crocus (Bonfires Book 2)

"One word sums up this book, the second in the series, for me: family. The warmth, love and support the members of this fairly new family feel for and offer each other through their dark times permeates this book. I wish I'd had a dad like Larx; what a wonderful human being. Amy Lane has created a real page-turner of a romance, so much so that I've had to buy the first in the series to read more."

"I loved the theme of blending and creating family, although the complexities made it harder to stay really connected with so many characters. Still, I loved seeing two older guys falling further in love despite all the obstacles their busy lives can throw at them."



Books in the top 25% rate range

4.
Tara Lain - Home Improvement — A Love Story


Home Improvement — A Love Story

"What a wonderful, romantic, awesome, well written and a treat this was to read! I loved these characters, especially Gabe with his patience and understanding, his daughter, Ellie, for being such an awesome teen, and of course, Jerry, for his shyness and all his fears. I'm so glad that, in the end, everything worked out for this lovable couple. I have always enjoyed reading Tara's works."
"This book is part of a series and can be read as a stand alone however after reading this book i will be looking for the other books. I loved the characters and the story itself had me turning the pages to see how everything would play out."

"Great single dad story. I am a fan of Ms. Lain’s and always try to get her books. So glad i was given the chance to read this one."


5.
L.A. Witt - Rabi and Matthew


Rabi and Matthew

"This was fantastic! The story emphasizes on the idea that no matter who you are, no matter your status, race, financial, or otherwise, the heart wants what the heart wants. In this case, two young men from two political rival families. They feel an attraction before they realize who the other one is and they fight against the current to remain friends, then lovers. They fight for their freedom to love one another, in spite of the hatred and rivalry amongst siblings and parents. This was well written and quite enjoyable."

6.
Tara Lain - High Balls


High Balls (Balls to the Wall Book 5)

"Loved this story! Very sweet romance of characters that you think would be total opposites from appearances. Engaging from the start. Romance, sweetness and just the right amount of angst."

7.
Tara Lain - Love You So Special


Love You So Special (The Love You So Stories Book 3)

"The characters were the real highlight of this well-plotted story. They were three-dimensional and believable, and fit so well together. The plot was excellent as well — a familiar setup, but executed so uniquely and well. I very much enjoyed this one."

"Ms. Lain has never, not once, let me down. Oh, how I enjoyed reading and in my mind 'listening' to and about the classical music portrayed in this story! I loved Francois, his shyness, his fear of being in public (I really relate to him), and the sweetness within him. I also loved Artie's strength, his gentleness and the love he developed toward Francois. I wish to read more of these two enjoyable characters. Keep 'em coming, Tara!"


8.
Kelly Wyre – Fight


Fight

"Good characters. Good plotting. Nice solid transformations at the end. Very satisfying. And really good sex writing, too."

"On the face of it, this book was a spate of clichés. There was the repressed closet case, the golden-hearted thug, the benevolent father figure, the scheming fiancée, the amazon warrior sister, there were drugs, abuse, violence, shady pasts and even shadier characters, explosions, fire, blood and death. And yet, all this worked together to make a compelling whole,  due in no small part to the wonderful depiction of characters. None of them was cardboard, each had layers and depths that were a joy to discover. Add to that the main character's incredible growth to finding their true selves and a writing style that, while redundant at times, really appealed to me, and this was a win for me. "


9.
L.A. Witt - The Husband Gambit


The Husband Gambit

Hayden Somerset is convinced the ad is a joke, but he responds anyway because, hello, $1.2 million. He’s broke, living in a tiny apartment with two roommates, and exhausted from praying his ancient car survives just one more week. His skyrocketing rent and crushing student loans aren’t helping either. At this point, there isn’t much Hayden wouldn’t do for that kind of cash.

10.
E.J. Russell - Mystic Man


Mystic Man (States of Love Book 40)

"Mystic Man is part of a publisher's collection emphasising geographical location, and the setting of this story is beautifully depicted - the author offers lots of great detail taking the reader on a virtual tour (Cody's an awesome tour guide). I appreciated the emphasis on friendship for the first part of the book, with the dual point-of-view narration providing insights into Aaron and Cody's mutual attraction. I really liked the characters, although I have to say, Kaya's telling of Amelia Earhart's accomplishments totally stole the story."

"The love story between Aaron and Cody evolved organically in a way that made me long to move, like Aaron did, somewhere that no one knew me just to see what sort of magic would happen.  The adventure wasn't just believable, the author made it desirable.  All the bits and details came together haphazardly, never seeming contrived.  I was a bit sad when the story ended because I wanted to see the guys evolve into full married bliss."


11.
Jodi Payne & B.A. Tortuga – Wrecked


Wrecked

The call comes when Beckett Adler least expects it. He’s made a new life for himself in Vermont and has a law practice of his own. After four years he’s even stopped wearing his wedding ring. So when he finds out his husband, bull rider Skyler Paulson, has been seriously injured at an event, he isn’t sure what he wants to do. He knows what’s right though, so he heads down to Baltimore to bring his man home.

Kim Fielding - A Full Plate

A Full Plate (Dreamspun Desires)

"This was truly a fun read. So many times through the story I tried to convince Tully to think of the life he'd have with Sage in a small town oppose to a life as a rich man in a large city where no one actually knows anyone. I'm so glad he 'listened' to me. LOL I really loved the outcome of their lives. Wonderful story and highly recommended!"

Kim Fielding - The Little Library

The Little Library

"I have always enjoyed Ms. Fielding's stories and this one kept me entertained just as much as the ones before. It's a wonderful story. Sweet, romantic and full of compassion, although there's the issue of the homophobic neighbor, which I think was portrayed quite well. Looking forward to more amazing stories from this amazing author!"

L.A. Witt - Wash Out

Wash Out (Anchor Point Book 7)

"Good characterization of PTSD, losing your career or dream, and a gay friendly dream work place for people with PTSD. Number 7 in a series, each with a different couple. I would guess that more of the setting is done in the earlier books. HFN ending."

"This was another strong entry in L.A. Witt’s Anchor Point series. Logan and Casey have demons that clash: Logan is no longer in the military (he’s a contractor on the base) and still suffers from severe PTSD; Casey’s still in the navy but washed out of SEAL training because of an injury. Logan thinks Casey’s lucky not to have combat-related stress, but Casey resents losing the only thing he ever wanted. How the two men come together to help each other cope with their issues is delivered in L.A.’s trademark clean and snappy prose, with a good dose of banter, and plenty of heat."W


12.
Eli Easton - Family Camp


Family Camp: Daddy Dearest, Book 1

"This was a fun read. I truly enjoyed reading the couple's smooth romance, how their interest in each other developed, and especially the kids, each with their own 'disability' and how a strong family unit became strong. Wonderful story and I highly recommend it!"

A.M. Leibowitz – Drumbeat

Drumbeat (Notes from Boston Book 3)

" I'm a huge fan of queer ensembles, particularly when those include bi characters. Diverse relationships (romantic/aromantic) and some fairly heavy stuff give this novel incredible depth. The three central characters are very well drawn, and there's also an excellent cast of supporting characters - covering most of the rainbow."W

14.
C.S. Poe - Color of You


Color of You

Bowen Merlin— yes, that’s his real name—accepts a position in the quaint town of Lancaster, New Hampshire, as the high school band director. He leaves New York City for the snowy countryside of New England just in time for the holidays. With class, homework, after-school activities, and a surprise Christmas concert to plan and rehearse, Bowen is plenty busy. And since he’s never had much luck with romance, factoring in time to find Mr. Right isn’t a priority….

E. Davies - Hard Hart

Hard Hart: A Hart's Bay Novel

"What I like most about this story is the relationship between Jesse and Finn. I really get why they like each other. It develops organically and never feels forced, and it progresses nicely in terms of each character’s individual hang-ups and fears. The side characters are introduced smoothly. I feel like I’m getting to know the core group for this series, and it never feels like a set-up, just a very natural progression. POV is well-delineated; I am always very clear about whose head I am in, even without the chapter titles to tell me, and I enjoy seeing through each character’s eyes. Though I feel just a little bit overdosed on the sex scenes, I really like how well they are written; the heart comes through, and the sensual care they take with each other, as well as the emotional development of their bond. Bravo! I would definitely read more in this series!"

L.A. Witt - Bouncing Back

Bouncing Back (Wilde's Book 10)

"Loved reading this! The relationship between Samir and Elliot is simply sweet. I loved the protectiveness Elliot had for his lover, the sweetness and gentleness he treated him with, and the way Samir fell head over heels for Elliot. Quite entertaining and worth the read. I'd always loved Ms. Witt's stories and will always be searching for more."

Marguerite Labbe - A Little Side of Geek (Geek Life #1)

A Little Side of Geek (1) (Geek Life)

"I don't usually go for the geeky, game con genre, but I must admit, this was such a treat to read! It was a fun, quirky story that left me simply satisfied when I reached the end. The characters were sweet, the story could pass as real-life events. I adored Morris in his kilt and the shy Theo with all the responsibilities dumped on him when his parents died and he tried to do as much as he possibly could for his teen brother. Excellent story from an author I truly admire."

Marguerite Labbe - A Whole Latte Sass (Geek Life #2)

A Whole Latte Sass (Geek Life Book 2)

It’s no secret cosplayer Felipe Suero is looking for his happily ever after—in his love life as well as his career. He’s getting his degree so he can quit his miserable job and start his own costume business. Now he just needs to land the sexiest silver fox to ever attend a con.

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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best Lesbian Contemporary and Erotic Romance & Romantic Suspence

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Jeannie Levig - A Heart to Call Home


A Heart to Call Home

"Wonderfully written book with a cast of characters that you feel like you know. Not only the MC’s but the supporting players too. As I was reading I could feel the raw emotions felt by both Dakota and Jessica. The author kept me enthralled throughout the entire story. Definitely a winner."

"We romance-lovers love romance because we know we’re going to get an HEA at the end. Some people might think this makes the writer’s job easy, but in reality, it poses a difficult question: how can you write a story that’s so intense that a reader can’t possibly see how it will work out for the MCs in the end, even though the reader knows that it will? Because this intensity and uncertainty — uncertainty in the face of the certain HEA that the reader knows is coming — is what makes it a great story. This is that kind of story. The setup presents two engaging and thoroughly relatable MCs with seemingly insurmountable internal and external difficulties, then lets them muddle through them. And it works brilliantly. On top of this, there are several clever and heartwarming subplots. All in all, it’s a brilliantly written and thoroughly satisfying romance. Brava!"

"An elegant, accessible and sure-handed writing style supports a well-designed plot with multi-dimensional characters and a Sophie’s Choice of conflicting emotions and difficult decisions. This is a page-turner in the true sense of the word, and it pulls you forward on its momentum of real feelings and compelling dialog. Levig hits all the reader’s buttons and takes one along on a ride that is both sensually breath taking and smoothly heart-wrenching. The resolution is most satisfying because the author is a master storyteller."


2.
Geonn Cannon - Can You Hear Me

Can You Hear Me

"A bloody good story. It would make an awesome movie."

"Loved this story. From start to finish the author kept my interest in all aspects of the storyline. The characters are well written and  he makes you invested in the outcome between them. Setting was unique in certain aspects and really made me feel like I was sitting in the locations being described."

"This is a great read. I loved it right from the start and it offer not only an interesting plot but also a very unusual one. It is difficult to find books that surprise me, and this definitely surprised me in the best way possible. I appreciated how atypical this story is and how easily kept me totally engaged in the story from start to end. This may be easily one of my favourite book of 2019. Really really really good!"


3.
C.J. Murphy - Frame by frame


frame by frame

"Loved this one from start to finish. I felt drawn into the story. Loved the character and how they both struggled with coming to terms with their fears. Great supporting cast as well."

"I loved this story! Very sweet and well written."

"This novel started out with a bang: immediately the setting was so rich and the characters that inhabited it were so unique and complex that I was sucked right in. The existing relationships between Val and Laurel, Ree, and the rest of the Cool Springs denizens were subtle and engrossing, and had me so curious over the back story between them all, how they met and where they were going. I was engrossed. I loved Val: equal parts unapologetic and reclusive, she had a fragility that pulled me in but a strength that just got more and more fascinating the more I learned about her. While I feel the pacing suffers a bit toward the end when certain plot revelations were given over more to exposition than the detailed and considered encounters I had become used to, by that time, I was so in love with the characters that I was more interested in finding out how their story finished. Contrasting Laurel's internal struggles with what might be against Val's external and internal struggles with what came before was genius and very effective. Thank you for a lovely read about acceptance and love!"


Lynn Ames - Chain Reactions

Chain Reactions

"I really enjoyed this book. It was a breath of fresh air. Ms. Ames does not put out a plethora of books, but the ones she does put out are well thought out and a joy to read."

"Great storytelling. Well written characters that you got to know in depth. Loved Nora and wished I could have known her better. Settings spot on. Felt a little sluggish in some spots but overall an awesome read."

"Great book! I was deeply moved by this story and love to read about strong, intelligent female characters. I cried big ugly tears!"



Books in the top 25% rate range

4.
Jeannie Levig - A Wish Upon a Star


A Wish Upon a Star

"A wonderfully engaging love story, featuring two believable, likable middle-aged women."

"Loved this heartwarming unique story. Had some moments that made me laugh out loud too. The author nailed the autism arc spot on. I liked how Erica and Leslie figure out how to make it work and how Sienna responds to a new person in her life."

"I just really enjoyed this story, from the opening paragraph right to the very end."


5.
Heather Blackmore - It's Not a Date


It's Not a Date

" I had already read this one and went to refresh myself with the story and ended up rereading the whole book again. Totally enjoyed it. Loved the 2 MC’s Kade and Jen and both of their vulnerabilities. Also loved the relationship between Holly and Kade. Interesting story arc. "

"This book hit a little close to home for me… my mother suffers with dementia. The story itself was pretty good."

"Excellent romance with a convincing setting and great character development."


6.
Clare Ashton - The Goodmans


The Goodmans

"This was my 1 st Claire Ashton book and it won’t be my last. The writing is wonderful and the characters, all of them are written superbly. I felt I got to know each and everyone. She made me feel like part of the family drawing me into the story itself. The plot line was complex but each piece of the story was integral to the whole."

"The Goodmans was total „reading bliss“. I had to laugh was near tears, had „deep thoughts", the whole gamut of emotions was addressed. A rom com where you can see disaster looming and the author turns the right corner with tongue-in-cheek. The characters are revealed layer by layer and the writing was superb. The whole package of goodness is wrapped up in this book."


7.
Jae - Just for Show


Just for Show

" This is a fresh take on a familiar setup. The characters are likable, and although as a romance, we all know how it’s going to end, I was never sure *how* the characters were going to get there. The writing and storytelling sparkle. Really well done."

"This story sucked me in right from the get go. I loved it all."ù

"A thoroughly enjoyable fake relationship romance. A fun read und perfectly written."


8.
Suzie Carr - The Curvy Side of Life


The Curvy Side of Life

"I enjoyed this story very much. Characters were funny and well fleshed out. Totally can relate to Faith and her journey Easy read attributed to the writing style. Only down side was it was a little wordy in some spots."

"I found this story full of angst and drama. One of those that you don’t know how it will end until it ends. The premise was solid as was the setting. It was a gripping story and an enjoyable read."


9.
Jae - Paper Love


Paper Love

"Awesome book. I loved learning a bit about Germany through this story. Well written with great main and supporting characters. Anja and Susanne fit very well together."

"This was an alright story but it was hard to get into. It did flow well and could have been great if it was a bit faster paced."

"Another on of Jae‘s great romances. Set in one of the cutest towns in Germany."


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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best Bisexual Contemporary and Erotic Romance & Romantic Suspence

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
E. Davies – Tremble


Tremble (Significant Brothers Book 6)

"I absolutely loved this book! It was engaging from the start and I connected with each MC. The story flowed and was flawless. It was effortless to read and I enjoy not having to work at understanding the book. The descriptions of the setting were done beautifully and I could picture in my mind perfectly. The story was angsty and the characters somewhat broken but they still hadn’t lost the hope of having their HEA."

E. Davies - Miracle

Miracle (Men of Hidden Creek Season 3 Book 1)

"A cute Christmas story. The plot took a bit to develop but that’s ok. I could tell that it was a continuation of a series that I hadn’t read but I was still able to follow along."

"I'm always thrilled to read a romance with a character comfortable with his bisexuality."


2.
L.A. Witt - The Torches We Carry


The Torches We Carry

"Witt’s story of two men who come together after breaking up for a couple of decades is unusual in the realm of m/m romance. Where another author might have opted for a big misunderstanding to have separated the two, Witt chose to have the breakup hinge on the men’s reluctance to commit to being together because it was the more difficult choice. Instead, they shied away from the hard work a genuine relationship requires, broke up, and formed easier, but less important, liaisons. What they realize finally is that love can’t be shunted aside and a puny substitute put in its place. Both characters are vividly drawn to show how easy it is to mislead ourselves into taking the easy path through life and then being dissatisfied when it doesn’t fulfill us. Working their way out of the trapped lives they created, realizing where they went wrong, and struggling to become whole, happy men is a journey real and immediate to many people. Witt makes it bearable with characters that readers will identify with and love. All in all, this book was a joy to read. It makes readers think about life and love long after the last page is turned."

L.A. Witt - Rank & File

Rank & File (Anchor Point Book 4)

"I thought it was totally readable — fast and fun, just a solid read."

3.
Johnny Miles - Café y Chocolate


Café y Chocolate

"When it comes to the descriptions of the hurricane, the writing's pretty damn good. The calamity and the aftermath are shown well, apparently by the author's personal experience. The conflict between an easy life and a hard one that Sereno struggles with is relatable and understandable. Sometimes the harder choice is the more rewarding one. The story is very sensual, regards to both the sexuality and awakening the senses. The setting of Puerto Rico feels real, tangible and concrete. The bisexual aspect was handled rather nicely, but the unsafe sex threw me a bit. Beyond those few nitpicks, this one was surprisingly good. Certainly left me thinking about disaster areas and the very real problems people there face."


Books in the top 25% rate range

4.
Kyell Gold - Ty Game


Ty Game by Kyell Gold

"Wow, this was a great book. The characters are fun, light-hearted, sweet, and still realistic, though being something other than human. The dialogue, the progress of the plot, the atmosphere--it all feels normal, like it could happen to any old human. There are cute pictures too. Sure, there's some needless shit going on, like all the random hook-ups with chicks, the games one after the other, and the leading lady's job stuff. But despite the on-occasion slow pacing, overall the story flows organically, with ease. The ending surprised me a bit and wasn't entirely satisfactory but worked well, I suppose."

5.
L.A. Witt - It Was Always You


It Was Always You

Tyler Schaeffer’s whole world has been yanked out from under him. Job? Gone. Marriage? Kaput. With nothing to keep him in Chicago, he’s headed home to Seattle to lick his wounds and start over. To his surprise, his high school best friend—the man he ghosted five years ago—swoops in to help him pick up the pieces.

Freddy MacKay - Watermelon Kisses

Watermelon Kisses: A Holiday to Remember

Such a beautiful, heartfelt story. So many feels for a short tale. I laughed, I cried. Amir and Esmail warmed my heart. A wonderful, realistic story about two men who love each other and managed to escape from a terrible place, and now try to live in peace and safety in a new country. Relatable and sweet. At times, the almost poetic use of the English language made me sigh with contentment. There's a constant melancholy mood, complete with doses of hopefulness, all of which works well in the holiday setting. Finding inner peace after a trauma can't be easy, and I applaud the main characters for doing so through love and compassion. A truly lovely novella that pulls on your heartstrings.

6.
K. Evan Coles and Brigham Vaughn - Behind the Stick (The Speakeasy #3)


Behind the Stick (The Speakeasy Book 3)

Kyle McKee lives a charmed life. He co-owns Under, an uptown speakeasy, where he is chief mixologist. Friends poke fun at Kyle’s tiny one-bed apartment in Chelsea, but they’re the best support system a man could ask for. Unfortunately, Kyle’s lackluster love life has led him to take a break from dating.

7.
L.A. Witt - Blood & Bitcoin

Blood & Bitcoin: Organized Crime (Criminal Delights Book 4)

"I enjoyed this book. It was fun to read a story about an two heroes who live on the darker side of the moral compass, but are still very relatable and working for the greater good in their own way. The plot had movement, action, and some good old fashioned heat. The world felt very real."

"I really liked this. The story had an engaging plot and the characters were complex, sometimes doing things which seemed contradictory but helped make them three-dimensional."


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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best Gay Paranormal Romance

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Jackie North - Honey From the Lion


Honey From the Lion: A Love Across Time Story

"This is my favorite type of story to read. Jackie North has, with her fabulous pen/keyboard, transported me to a wonderful world. I felt the chill Laurie felt, felt the frustrations John felt, and mostly, felt the love that slowly (although all within a week) grew between the two men. This was totally enjoyable and recommend it for anyone who loves reading about time travel. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the antics of these two precious beings. I will be checking out the rest of the series and will most definitely be reading this one again and again. Bravo, Jackie!"

"I stumbled with the first few chapters, having a hard time settling into the story, but then absolute magic happened. I could not put this book down. I was swept back in time to 1891 when life was far simpler and yet dangerously harsh. The arrogance of Laurie and gruffness of John made for realistically flawed characters. The 'ghost' story at the beginning set the stage incredibly well - you knew what was coming and it hooked me in with a desperate need to keep turning the pages to see how this would all end. PS - Not the way you think, but in every way you hope. Brilliant. Ms. North goes onto my 'auto-buy' list."

"I love the time travel aspect of this story.  The historical side of it felt very realistic, was wonderfully detailed, and very easy to visualise. I enjoyed the contrast between the reality of the past, and the way it was portrayed in the present. I loved both Laurie and John’s journey as they slowly opened up to each other, and Laurie’s shift from needing to get home to the present, to his realisation that his future was in the past with John.  The author’s writing style is very easy to read, flows well, and kept me turning pages to find out what happened next."

"I know I don’t give 40 often, but this one drew me in from the very first line and held me until the last. I’m more than likely going to add it to my favourites list. And then track down more of this author."


2.
E.J. Russell - Single White Incubus (Supernatural Selection #1)


Single White Incubus (Supernatural Selection Book 1)

"When I read the blurb, I wasn’t very excited about reading the book itself. But the story surprised and enchanted me so much that I not only bought a copy, but I’m reading the second in the series right now. The characters of the gregarious bear shifter and the introverted, fussy incubus were so well drawn that they transcended fantasy and became very real to me. The paranormal dating agency mix-up, while laughably ludicrous, was the right touch of silliness to give the story a light touch. That the story was so well-written that it flowed easily meant it became one of those books that’s nearly impossible to put down. All in all, what looked on the surface as a long, difficult reading task was in reality a delightful experience. Thank you!"

"So glad I made sure to read these last two books in order by the same author. Very fun read with exciting characters. The conflict was very realistic in concern to a mixed-match couple who found what they needed instead of what they thought they wanted."

"This was a super fun, very cute, quick read. It's not often Bear Shifters get good representation, but Russell did a commendable job with Ted. I wasn't sure about Quentin's character, but I grew to like him. I did find the incubus demon culture was an interesting take, and I loved Pauline, the grandmother. Plowed through this book in two days. Definitely a page-turner! Loved seeing David and Alun from Cutie and the Beast in this story too. It's great when other characters are pulled in."


3.
Tara Lain - Hidden Powers


Hidden Powers (Superordinary Society Book 1)

"What a fantastic story! Tara once again takes us on a roller coaster ride with this tale of magic and adventure. I loved and enjoyed reading all the different characters and their peculiar, tight-knit family-like lives. The romance is sweet and all in all, the book is quite entertaining. As I've previously said, Tara has never let me down."

"There was so much to love about this book. Best story from start to finish. Fast-paced and entertaining."



Books in the top 25% rate range

4.
Sara Dobie Bauer - Escaping Exile


Escaping Exile (The Escape Trilogy Book 1)

"This was an awesome read! Very fast paced and interesting to see what element would or could ruin the newfound happiness of an exiled Vampire in need of a lesson."

5.
Jackie North - Wild as the West Texas Wind


Wild as the West Texas Wind: A Love Across Time Story

"A lovely gentle western, well written and lovely characterisation."

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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best Gay Fantasy Romance

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Jamie Sullivan - Heart of the Dragon


Heart of the Dragon

"Quite an entertaining story. I'm not one to get so deeply enthralled with a fantasy book but this one definitely brought me to its fantastic dragon world. I really enjoyed it and wish it was longer. Great job from a new to me author. I'd definitely want to read other stories from them. Well done!"

"I loved this story. It was funny, well-written, and all the characters were gorgeous, including the dragon."


2.
J. Scott Coatsworth - Lander


Lander (The Oberon Cycle Book 2)

"The world building is well-thought-out and detailed, and the characters three-dimensional and kick-arse. I also appreciated that there were great female characters in this who play an integral part of the story. The plot kept me up late turning pages, answered some questions from book one, yet asked more, which is what I would expect from the second in a three book series."

"Lander is a well-crafted and enjoyable ride through an immersive world. It went down smoothly and left me wanting more."

"I think I may have reviewed Skythane (book 1) for Rainbow Awards a couple of years ago and loved it. This book is just as good."


J. Scott Coatsworth - Ithani

Ithani (The Oberon Cycle Book 3)

"The world J. Scott Coatsworth has created for his characters to interact in is complex and vivid, so much so that I had to read the first 2 books to be able to fully understand Ithani. I was completely immersed in the customs, politics and different locations - superb world-building and a unique concept made this book a joy to read. The plot is intricate, a real page-turner with several surprises along the way. I am certainly looking forward to reading more from this author."

"This fantastic, fascinating, vivid, three dimensional, action packed, enthralling, and totally awesome story pulled me in from the very first page, and I read it in one sitting because I couldn't put it down."


3.
Meredith Katz - Smoke Signals


Smoke Signals

"This totally charming and captivating take on St. George and the Dragon stole my heart from the outset. Enchanting!"

"My only complaint about Smoke Signals is that I want more. I want to know more about the world that Katz created where dragons and humans exist together, of which we only got a narrow, tantalizing glimpse with Mike and Zali'thurg's enchanting tale. Smoke Signals set off a chain reaction of "what ifs" for me, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm seriously considering some fanfiction... "



Books in the top 25% rate range

4.
Jacqueline Rohrbach - The Dragon's Rebel


The Dragon's Rebel

"I really enjoyed this book, and I don't usually gravitate towards fantasy. I found the storyline intriguing without being overly complicated. It had good movement with twists and turns that kept me from turning off the reader. Very creative setting without being so fantastical that I couldn't relate to it. Multidimensional and flawed characters in just the right places. The connection between the 2 protagonists built in a realistic fashion. Good use of show vs tell. Writing appropriate to setting."

"This is the type of story where the more you read the more it grabs you by the 'feels'. It was well written and the author did what I love in a story; she captured my attention to the point that I didn't want to put the book down, nor did I want the story to end. "


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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best Gay Alternative Universe/Reality & Sci-Fi / Futuristic

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
M.D. Neu - Conviction (A New World #2)


Conviction (A New World Book 2)

"I loved this story. It was fortunate that I had already read the first book Contact, as this next installment flows seamlessly into the next section of the tale. Todd is the perfect 'everyman'. I completely connected with the character, and Neu had me turning pages wanting to discover how he fairs in his precarious new position as an emissary to an alien race, and in his burgeoning new interspecies romance! There are a lot of parallels here to be tied to our current world, which made the book even more appealing, and without being preachy, really sent home the message of kindness, love, bravery and doing what's right. I highly recommend not only the book but the series."

" I read this book in one session. A well rounded sci-fi story that I could imagine as a movie. "

"The two books in this series are easily among the best books I've read in 2019. They have everything I want from a Sci-Fi book. An emotional rollercoaster with twists and turns and world building. They are excellently written."


M.D. Neu - Contact (A New World #1)

Contact (A New World Book 1)

"This is a well written story and pulled me in from the beginning. i like sci fi stories that keep me wondering and this is just what Contact does. Can’t wait to see what happens in book two."

"An excellent book that I'd highly recommend to readers of the genre it had me laughing crying and praying for the characters. A book I thought about often for a long time after I'd read it."


2.
J. Scott Coatsworth - The Stark Divide


The Stark Divide (Liminal Sky)

"This book is three stories about mostly the same people divided by time, but the settings in each were so starkly different that, by the end, the settings were characters themselves. Each was a complete and unique world with intimate details drawing the reader in. The fantastical notions that populated them made them places I wanted to explore. I hope the author will continue to evolve this world much as Anne McCaffery did with Pern. My only critique of to this book is that when someone was going to do something bad, they were written as a bad person without sympathy, and good people were just good. A little predictable, though very nicely fleshed out otherwise. I like a little more nuance and complexity. However, it’s an excellent read."

"A highly recommended SF read, it was a totally gripping read. The world building and descriptions of technology were very  interesting and well done to avoid bogging down the story. The characters were fascinating."


3.
Arshad Ahsanuddin - Ascension


Ascension (The Interscission Project Book 5)

"It’s great to read a fabulous sci-fi story with a romping plot."

"This author weaves complex storylines into a novel that keeps the reader guessing at every turn."



Books in the top 25% rate range

4.
C.C. Bridges - Angels Rising


Angels Rising (Heaven Corp Book 3)

"An absolute gem of a book. The world-building is detailed and the author has created a unique and inventive society. The story flows really well with plenty of tension and surprises along the way. I was invested in the MCs and rooting for their 'happy ever after' and I enjoyed this book so much that I shall be buying the earlier books in the series."

5.
Pelaam - Strawberry Fields


Strawberry Fields

"Oh goodness…I was in awe of the vivid descriptions of the automatons, of Nathan & Nicholas’ struggles & inner strength, the steampunk nature meeting danger & sinister dealings. It was wonderful and I couldn’t stop turning the pages!"

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