andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best Gay Mystery / Thriller

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
J.L. Merrow - Lock Nut


Lock Nut (The Plumber's Mate Mysteries Book 5)

"This book is like a cozy mystery series amped up to 11. I adore each and every one of the characters, their relationship, how much it feels like these are people I could easily pass on the street. The writing is fantastic, with a genuine humor that can be hard to find. JL Merrow is a wonderful writer, and this book just prove she'll only keep getting better."

"The writing was solid. There was enough dialect and slang to add to the story without being overwhelming. The narrator has a charming voice. The first chapter was great, captivating from the start. But then I did feel that the banter often went on too long. Yes, the character is charming, but I wanted the author to get on with the story. The same thing was a problem at the end, when after the mystery is solved, the story continues for another 20 pages so we can see how charming the couple is. This was my biggest gripe with the book. Too much charming banter. It goes on and on in scene after scene. A little less would have still given us the charm without tiring us. I did have a bit of trouble remembering who some of the characters were, more the personal friends of the investigators rather than the suspects. The mystery was complex enough to intrigue. There were some truly clever and interesting word choices (one nice paragraph on page 30 as an example). Some funny lines that had me laughing out loud. The author was good at creating problems and interruptions to make the end of questioning believable. That way we as readers don't get bored and we don't get too much info that would help us solve the murder too soon."

"Excellent mystery and sense of place—consistent with her usual fine work."


2.
Clancy Nacht - For Immediate Release


For Immediate Release

"More pros than cons with this book, so let’s start off with the cons. The story takes off quite slowly. We are 30 or more pages into the book before I felt interested enough to continue. I’m not sure if I hadn’t been assigned to read this book if I would have gotten far enough in to get hooked. To me, that’s a significant problem. But then, what might be interesting to me might not be what’s interesting to most other readers, so this could be my failing, not the book’s."

"True mastery of character development. Great depth to each character (even minor ones), and every time I had a character figured out, a new twist was revealed that made me rethink everything. "


3.
C.S. Poe - The Mystery of the Moving Image (Snow & Winter #3)


The Mystery of the Moving Image (Snow & Winter)

"I think this is my favorite from the series so far! Wonderfully written, exquisitely developed, all-around great story! I loved the drama Sebastian always seemed to get into and the idea that not until the end do we find out who the actual perp was. Well bloody done!"

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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best LGBTA Biography / Memoir

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Ruth Simkin - Dear Sophie


Dear Sophie: Life Lessons in Feminism & Medicine

"Dear Sophie is a flawless memoir that is not only a story of Dr Ruth Simkin, but a story of feminism and women in Canada and the field of medicine, skillfully woven together with valuable life lessons. I feel grateful to Dr Simkin not only for her pioneering work that improved the quality of life for so many women, but for sharing her experiences. I found this memoir not only insightful and inspiring and a bit shocking, but at times funny. I learned more than I expected. Thank you!"

"Beautiful memoir of a fascinating life. Simkin's grand-niece Sophie is a very fortunate young woman. I wish I had such a handbook to life from my own grandmother – who had almost no formal education and was gone before I realized how many questions I should have asked."


2.
Todd Allen Smith - Murder, Romance and Two Shootings


Murder, Romance, and Two Shootings

"This is based on real events and although a little humor is injected with the writer's attitude to being shot twice on two separate occasions, the harrowing aspect of the aftermath and recovery is very real and uncomfortable. Mixed in are the dramas of failed romances, lack of compassion and the shock of losing his job as a reporter after the second shooting. My only quibble is the writing style which could have used better editing, but the story is real and I was glad it worked out for the best in the end."

"I thought the 'plotting' seemed a little awkward… then realized it was non-fiction.  A painful but inspiring survivor's tale."


Judith Branzburg - The Liberation of Ivy Bottini

Liberation of Ivy Bottini: A Memoir of Love and Activism

"I love a good Bio/memoir. I love reading about people’s lives. Having all the pics scattered throughout the book, made it seem all that more real. Like I knew Ivy and the rest of the people."

"Branzburg definitely chose the right POV (in first person) for the telling of Ivy Bottini’s story because the narrative rings true and authentic with the inimitable Bottini “voice.” The story is a fascinating, laugh-out-loud, cry-real-tears-of empathy celebration of this infamous trailblazer’s remarkable story."


3.
Carla Grant - Uncommon Girls


Uncommon Girls

"I give this memoir a score of 40. I hesitate to give a perfect score, but the book is captivating from page one and continues powerfully till the end. The basic story is a mother learning her son is trans and their journeys (they are separate ones in many regards) as he becomes she. I appreciated the POV of the mother, since so many accounts are through the eyes of the trans person. And I liked that the mother was a complex, intelligent, well-meaning, and terribly flawed individual. Grant tells the story not only of her trans daughter but also how that overwhelming aspect of her life still had to compete with plenty of other parts, her alcoholism, her remarriage, other children, rescue dogs, her daughter's self-harm, and multiple mental health issues. As if the story wasn't complex enough, we learn early on that the trans daughter is also on the autism spectrum, adding multiple additional stresses. It's all fascinating and at times even funny. Grant uses a variety of clever literary techniques to keep the reader interested. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It's excellent."

"Wow, this was not what I expected, and I almost gave up on it in the early going (what with the focus on mom's dating misadventures), but then it came to Eliot's written proposal to wear high heels to school . . . and suddenly I found myself loving this kid. On the surface, it really does seems like it is going to be too much - an autistic child who identifies as transgender, with a recovering alcoholic single parent telling their story - but it is actually beautiful and funny and heartwarming, even as they deal with the challenges of Canadian education and healthcare. Mom's whole "fluid concept of womanhood" is perfect, and Ella is . . . well, I am going to go all out and call her a hero. She is amazing."


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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best Bisexual Fantasy Romance

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Meredith Katz - How Saeter Robbed the Underworld


How Saeter Robbed the Underworld

"How Saeter Robbed the Underworld was such a fun, sweet read. The Norse-esque setting was immersive, the characters were natural and interesting, the romance was yummy, and I found Katz's writing style to be highly polished. A true pleasure to read!"

" A story that is simultaneously familiar and thoroughly unique. Truly a well-spun yarn. Very difficult to put down, and left me with a huge grin. Very well done, author!"


2.
Freddy MacKay - Waiting on the Rain


Waiting on the Rain

"A beautiful story of friendship and family with character as wonderful and as diverse as the Thailand setting. Jira and Bon are such a cute couple, and Areeya and Fon (OMG, I loved Fon!) really bring that relationship to live by interwining it within their own."

3.
Casey Wolfe - A Mage's Power


A Mage's Power (The Inquisition Trilogy Book 1)

"This is an *engaging* book from the get-go, with strong pacing and a deep, intuitive understanding of storytelling as well the genre's hooks. Outstanding book."

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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best LGBTA Contemporary General Fiction, Fantasy & Sci-Fi / Futuristic

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Anna Butler - Day of Wrath (Taking Shield #5)


Day of Wrath (Taking Shield Book 5)

"Coming into a series with the 5th book is always a challenge, especially with high tech space opera, but I still found myself drawn into this almost from the start. So much drama, tension, and mystery, with a covert romance that was actually more intense for being restricted to stolen moments in the shadows."

"This is the last book in an impressive scifi/space opera series, and it ticks all the boxes for a great book: Plot, Emotional Investment (Conflict, Angst, Romance), Character, Resolution and wonderful writing. One point off for a difficult, opening sequence that was hard to follow as it crammed too much information into an already complex story. Otherwise exceptional!"

"Wow, that one blew me away. Not a comfortable story, and one that is still resonating with me days after finishing it, but well worth your time as long as you're not just in it for the HEA. Excellent bi main characters and complex family and friend relationships in a realistic, exciting, devastating, and thoughtful SciFi space saga. Start with book 1 and read in order."


2.
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!"


3.
E.J. Runyon - Good People


Good People

"This was about as close to a perfect story as you can get. The characters were so beautifully drawn, I hated to put the book down, and always looked forward to when I could pick it back up again. The plot was filled with anchors and familiar elements, and yet surprised me at several turns. And, like every excellent story, this one will leave me thinking about it for a long time to come."

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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best Asexual Contemporary, Fantasy and Paranormal Romance & Romantic Com.

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
R.A. Steffan - The Complete Lion Mistress Collection


The Complete Lion Mistress Collection: A WhyChoose Fantasy Romance

"A completely immersive read with excellent world-building and great attention to detail: the corrupt society, the viciousness of people's actions, the compassion of new friends and the love found between our 3 heroes and also Favian's adopted family. The characters were well fleshed out: their future motivations clear, based upon past events and their current situations. I adored Kathrael, such an unconventional but completely believable heroine who well deserved her HEA."

"This trilogy was beyond good. It delved into a mystical medieval time, with fantastic world building. The characters were strong, their voices unique, and the story intriguing and satisfying at the end. Incredible trilogy. Characters are so deep and world building is amazing."

"R.A. Steffan does it again with another wonderful story, once again populated by dynamic characters and (very exciting) a reverse harem relationship. It mixes fantasy with romance, but is much darker in tone than the Horse Mistress stories, although that darkness makes it more powerful."

"This was an excellent polyamorous romance story, with beautiful characters and dynamics that I greatly enjoyed, set in a fascinating and engaging world. I loved it!"


2.
Jae - Perfect Rhythm


Perfect Rhythm

" I love stories where the main characters start out in a place of opposition. The characters here, like in so many of Jae’s books, are really well drawn, three-dimensional, and so, so likeable. It’s a good, meaty plot as well. Fantastic book."

"I found myself pulled into the novel—the characters where believable. I really liked how the story flowed from beginning to end."


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."

3.
Sam Burns - Strike Up the Band


Strike Up the Band (Wilde Love Book 3)

"This book was an absolute joy to read. When I'm judging for these awards, I try to keep a little outside of the story so that I can make notes on my reading experience. It was impossible with this story: it grabbed me immediately and sucked me right in. I was invested in the characters so quickly it was a shock, but a welcome one. I didn't want to stop reading. The writing is top notch, both lyrical and uncomplicated; the plot proceeds so seamlessly, everything that occurs is organic, and the pacing is perfect; there is nothing forced or contrived about any of the characters or events. Elsi and Alex are unique and well-developed characters, Jake's grief and self-realizations are thoughtfully explored, and Brian's juxtaposition of self-chastisement and self-confidence is just beautiful. His kindness and his willingness to roll with what everyone else needs, entangled with the fragility of desperately needing to fit in, to do what's right, is lovely. The look into the world of touring and recording, of the almost... loss of control over one's own life/identity while in the entertainment business, was interesting and never overpowering the real reason we are here: the exploration of family, of healing, and of self. Full marks."

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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best Lesbian Historical Romance

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Edale Lane - Heart of Sherwood


Heart of Sherwood

"This fantastic, powerful, and awesome tale was a unexpectedly unconventional and unique twist on the classic Robin Hood stories."

"This book was a fun take on an old classic. It was loooong though (hahaha). I liked the way this author gave a twist to the story and the romance was sweet. It had a good flow and great world building."


2.
T.T. Thomas - House of Bliss


House of Bliss

"House of Bliss is a beautifully written mystery in a setting so carefully and richly described that I felt like I was there! Highly recommend for anyone who would enjoy a complex relationship set within a complicated mystery, all against the backdrop of an historical era marked by both great scientific change and wealth, and the darkness of poverty and despair. Kudos!!"

Jane Alden - Jobyna’s Blues

Jobyna's Blues

"Sweet and poignant, a well-researched look at a part of American history that is too often left invisible. EXCELLENT sense of place and time."

3.
K’Anne Meinel – Pioneering

Pioneering (Vetted Book 3)

In the epic sequel to Cavalcade we find out what happens to the Herriot’s once they arrive in Oregon and take up their claim.

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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best LGBTA Anthology / Collection

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Kira Harp - Rainbow Briefs volume 2


Rainbow Briefs volume 2

"I liked some of the stories more than the others, but on a whole the book was good. I’d like to read Volume 1. There are some pretty good authors out there."

"I must say that whenever I have to rate an anthology there are usually one or more stories that don't capture my attention. With Ms. Harp's anthology, though, I was mesmerized with all! These stories are so well written, with quite a few where I wanted them to continue. I'm not usually one to like FF stories but these were written so candidly, so natural, so perfectly I really enjoyed them all. I'm really liking this storyteller. This is the second time I read any of her stories and I'm wanting to read more! Bravo, Kira!"


2.
Angel Martinez - Brandywine Investigations: Family Matters


Brandywine Investigations: Family Matters

With his career firmly established and his reputation as a successful PI growing, Hades should have the perfect life with his human lover, his faithful ferryman, his dogs and the parts of his family still speaking to him. But murder and chaos are never far away for death lords as his nephew Dionysus and his oldest friend Charon are drawn into the maelstrom.

3.
Dusk Peterson - Danger (Dark Light #3)


Danger (Dark Light, Volume 3)

"When I first started reading this collection I wasn't sure what to expect. But as I read along I became more and more involved in each story. Why aren't more people reading this! Each story was well thought out, well documented (at least the settings), and well written. One can tell that the author put their heart into every word and by doing so, my heart went to the characters as well. Bravo! This is definitely a ten across the board for me. Very highly recommended!"

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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best Bisexual Contemporary GF, Humor, Mystery / Thriller & Sci-Fi / Futur.

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Debbie McGowan - The Great Village Bun Fight


The Great Village Bun Fight

"This book was fun and a great joy to read. At times it had me laughing out loud. I loved the writing style, use of language and imagination."

2.
Lori A. Witt - Incel


Incel (Walker & Arruda Book 1)

Detective Damian Arruda thought his partner was just too distraught to accept his wife’s murder as a random act of violence. Then the devastated widower got too close to the truth, and now Damian is grieving his best friend. As his conscience threatens to eat him alive, he’ll stop at nothing to find the killer.

Vicki Clifford - Deception is the Old Black: A Viv Fraser Mystery

Deception is the Old Black: A Viv Fraser Mystery (Scottish Cozy Mystery Book 4)

In Deception is the Old Black, Scottish super sleuth Viv Fraser is faced with a new investigation. When top brass of the National Task Force, summon her to root out a mole within their ranks, she realises she’ll be pushed to her limits. Never one to shirk a challenge, this time she’s forced to raise her game to dizzying heights.

3.
Mia Kerick - The Weekend Bucket List

The Weekend Bucket List

High school seniors Cady LaBrie and Cooper Murphy have yet to set one toe out of line they've never stayed out all night or snuck into a movie, never gotten drunk or gone skinny-dipping. But they have each other, forty-eight hours before graduation, and a Weekend Bucket List.

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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Best Lesbian Contemporary General Fiction & Erotica

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Caren J. Werlinger - When the Stars Sang


When the Stars Sang

"Absolutely loved this one. Quirky romance in a quirky setting. Loved the Island and the characters I met especially Blossom. Was completely drawn into getting to know both of the MC’s and their journey’s. This is not the first but definitely my favorite from this author. She has honed her storytelling and made it an art!"

"Heartwarming. Great characterizations and delightful storytelling here."

"This story has all the feels! I will remember this book for a long time (had a book hangover when I was done). It’s not a short read but it was very touching and engaging. Great characters. Very realistic and relateable."


2.
Susan Stocker - Kiss Your Elbow (An Embellished Memoire of Growing Up in the 50's and 60's)


Kiss Your Elbow: An Embellished Memoire about Growing Up Gay in the 50's and 60's

"This was a fantastic memoir. It was funny, poignant and relatable. I didn't want to stop reading it and I honestly am not a fan of Memoirs! Can't wait for book number two to continue the story!"

"Loved this story from start to finish. Great storytelling style. Felt like I was literally along for the ride. Had me smiling and relating. Great character portrayals. "


3.
Rae D. Magdon - Fur and Fangs (Vol 1-10)


Fur and Fangs: Volume 1-10

"This was a cute, fun, thoughtful read. The writing flows wonderfully, and the author does a marvelous job with representation and diversity. I enjoyed it immensely."

"Old fashion romance with a paranormal arc. Usually not my favorite genre but this one held my interest. Riley and Izzy work well as a couple, both with baggage to be fleshed out."


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andrew potter

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards: Lesbian Fantasy

And the Rainbow Award goes to...



1.
Caren J. Werlinger - A Bittersweet Garden


A Bittersweet Garden

"The interwoven threads of all the characters, both past and present, are just about pitch-perfect."

"This book drew me deeply into its world so much so that I felt I was having the dreams the protagonist was having and feeling the misty rain and sparkling sunshine as she walked and rode around this new-but-familiar bit of Ireland.  It even made me want to watch the movie that’s central to it to immerse myself further into this world.  The weaving of the generations-old Irish ancestry, the fae realms, the slow and natural evolution of romance, the deep family ties, the finding one’s true self, connecting to the earth, all those elements made for an amazing journey that will stay with me."

"Well-paced, well-plotted and well-written. Imagery is vibrant, and off-sets the retreaded plot."


2.
Kellie Doherty - Sunkissed Feather and Severed Ties


Sunkissed Feathers and Severed Ties (Broken Chronicles Book 1)

"This book had me sucked in from the moment the necklace went around her neck. Sometimes in these types of stories the characters names can get on my nerves a bit, but I loved the story overall. I’ll more than likely buy more of this series."

"When I started reading the book I was worried it would be difficult to follow it due to the all world created and how many infos seemed needed to understand how their society worked, but the author was able to balance well the infos needed within an exciting plot. This book definitely left me with the curiosity to see what's come next. And that's pretty much the best thing that can happens when you start a new series."


3.
Benny Lawrence - Beggar’s Flip


Beggar's Flip

"I chuckled when I realized I'd started reading this story on 'Talk like a Pirate Day'. There was enough exposition on what had happened in the previous book to enable me to catch up easily. The characters, both main and secondary, as well as the plot, were grounded and real, and the occasional hints of melodrama were perfect ... it was a pirate story after all."

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