To give to everyone the chance to enjoy the spotlight of their honorable mentions, I decided to post a little of them every day until October 1, when I will announce the finalists of the 2013 Rainbow Awards. An Honorable Mention means a judge really liked the book, so much they gave it a rate above 36 out of 40; an honorable mention doesn't necessarily mean the book is a finalist, you have to wait the actual announcement on October 1 to know that. So please, enjoy this year Honorable Mentions (in no particular order, 4 out of 5 post), and congratulations to all authors!Badges are designed especially for the Rainbow Awards by Paul RichmondAJ Rose - Power Exchange
Jon: Really enjoyed this one!!
Uli: The best BDSM book I have read in a long time! Combined with a mystery - I can't ask for more! I liked the first person narrative by Gavin a lot, because it was great to be in his head on his way into the BDSM world. His thoughts and feelings felt very realistic to me and so I really sympathized with him. When it came to solving the case I have to admit I had to suspend disbelief for a bit, because Gavin just wouldn't see what was absolutely obvious in my opinion, but the overall quality of the book compensated for that...
Publisher: Voodoo Lily Press; First Edition edition (September 15, 2012)
Amazon Kindle: Power ExchangeAlicia Cameron - Inherent GiftsTessa: Great read with slow smooth flow. Feels like the author really lives and feels with her characters. And she is not in a rush to fit all her thoughts in 100 pages, which gave a perfect opportunity for development.
Paperback: 474 pages
Publisher: ForbiddenFiction (February 24, 2013)
Amazon: Inherent Gifts: A Supernatural Slave Story
Amazon Kindle: Inherent Gifts: A Supernatural Slave StoryAmy Lane - Mourning HeavenFausta: Excellent writing of a raw and hurtful story, some little flaws through too placated description of town and folks and religious attitudes, although "redemption" as Christian virtue is seen, too. Drew me in and took me on a heart wrenching trip, with the promise of a better, even if not flawless and rose, future for the main characters and their surroundings.
Chuck: This book is a work of art. It also borders on crossing that fine line between romantic fiction and erotica with its frequent, lengthy sex scenes. It frequently walks a tightrope between tragedy and melodrama. That it succeeds in avoiding these, and many other traps that have entangled lesser authors, is a tribute to the skill and taste of the author. This book is not an easy read. It should only be read with a drink in-hand and when the reader is in a very good mood. Otherwise, thoughts of knives and ropes may make a fleeting appearance in the reader's mind. Despite its difficulty, and I know from personal experience it's almost impossible to "sell" this novel to others, this is one of Mrs. Lane's finest works, and one of the best pieces of m/m romance fiction I have ever read. It is transcendent. Jo Ann: I don't think I have cried so much while reading, coming to terms with Michael's death was a tragic, life changing experience for Peter and Bodi. Ms. Lane pulled all the heartstrings and dragged me through so many emotions! Excellent novel!!
Paperback: 200 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (September 7, 2012)
Amazon: Mourning Heaven
Amazon Kindle: Mourning HeavenAngelia Sparrow & Naomi Brooks - Barbarossa's BitchTessa: Very unusual read. Post-apocalyptic society. What would you do if you wake up one morning and most of the world population not?... I had a feeling that I'm watching "Mad Max." The idea of time-plot fragmentation only made it so much more exciting for the reader to put all the pieces of puzzle back together into one story. Just like main character was recreating himself into the new life: looking for pieces of puzzle that will click.
Publisher: Storm Moon Press LLC (February 23, 2013)
Amazon Kindle: Barbarossa's BitchAnna Lee - The Prince of GalerirAlan: Beautifully written fantasy love story.
Paperback: 238 pages
Publisher: MLR Press (October 25, 2012)
Amazon: The Prince of Galerir
Amazon Kindle: The Prince of GalerirAnne Tenino - Sweet Young ThangMariana: Anne Tenino is a favorite author for me. I find her writing extremely entertaining and funny. Her characters are always endearing and easy to recognize. This book was no different for me. I liked the characters a lot and found the story entertaining. I found the romance and the whodunit to be well done. I'm looking forward to more of the TAG boys.
Publisher: Riptide Publishing (July 20, 2013)
Amazon Kindle: Sweet Young Thang (Theta Alpha Gamma)Anyta Sunday - Taboo For You
Theresa: Nicely written, you can feel and understand the angst that the lead characters are feeling.
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Amazon Kindle: Taboo For You (Friends to Lovers)Benny Lawrence - Shell GameMariana: LOVE LOVE LOVE this book. What an incredibly entertaining adventure! The characters were fantastic, the setting was great, the story was awesome. The interactions between ALL of the characters were so crisp. I was so engaged reading this... will definitely look up this author's back list.
Michelle: While I'm not often a fan of 1st person perspectives in novels, especially when that means switching characters, in this case the author made the right call – both the main characters have their own emotional baggage, and our understanding of them is heightened by us seeing their internal monologue, their strong voices, as well as how their individual perspectives on each other and on the drama that unfolds around them. There's a lot of humour in this story, once we know that's the tone to adopt whilst reading it, but it's also smart – there's meta commentary, a take home message as well as the satisfaction of a romance done right. Plus, we've got reluctant corsairs in a stellar piece of world building, doing crazy ship-side stuff and the you can fairly well taste the salt. Warning for child abuse, but it's included sympathetically, not for titillation.
Publisher: Bedazzled Ink Publishing Company (June 27, 2013)
Amazon Kindle: Shell GameBrita Addams - Tarnished GoldCaroline: Well, I don't care much for show business but this one had a nice historical touch. It wasn't very angsty, just something I need from time to time – a true romance. I wouldn't change a thing.
Paperback: 350 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (March 25, 2013)
Amazon: Tarnished Gold
Amazon Kindle: Tarnished GoldCarter Quinn - Out of the BlacknessMariana: Pretty heavy book, but not heavy handed. The abuse is off page but not less impactful. I don't know that I would read it again, but I am glad I did read this one and would definitely read more from Carter Quinn.
Paperback: 360 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (July 17, 2013)
Amazon: Out of the Blackness
Amazon Kindle: Out of the BlacknessCate Ashwood - Keeping SweetsJaymi: I loved this book! "Porn stars" is usually a hit or miss plot device with me but Keeping Sweets is definitely a hit. The transformation of both male leads was engaging and the secondary characters added to the overall story.
Paperback: 206 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (March 11, 2013)
Amazon: Keeping Sweets
Amazon Kindle: Keeping SweetsDan Skinner - Memorizing YouMichele: I haven't read a story this engaging in too long. This is a story of how love happens and how love wins out overall. Even with the unexpected heart-wrenching ending, the author managed to make me love each character in the story....even though I'd like to slap the author on the back of the head for doing what he did. But he did it with so much heart, so I think I'd have to hug him instead. Thankfully I kept telling myself this was a fiction story....but then I think omg! this could have happened. This probably did happen! Back to the tears.
Publisher: Cerberus Inc. (July 9, 2013)
Amazon Kindle: Memorizing YouErin Dutton - More Than FriendsTammy: Another winner from Erin Dutton. Loved the angst she weaves through the story, with 3 strong main characters.
Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (February 5, 2013)
Amazon: More Than Friends
Amazon Kindle: More Than FriendsHeidi Cullinan - Dirty Laundry
Theresa: Wonderfully written. Both main characters insecurities were handled beautifully and in a way that the reader can relate to them even if they didn’t have those specific problems themselves. Although this book is part of a series written as a collaboration with other authors, this book stands alone which is also a plus.
Valerie: Very well written. I really liked the author's writing style. Adam and Denver were both well rounded characters and I could feel Adam's pain when he was having his panic attack. Overall both character's issues very handled very realistically.
Amberly: I’ve loved this one so much I’ve reread it, which I almost never do. The characters are damaged and real and both go through a development arc yet stay true to their core person. This book completely stands on its own. The writing though solid, veered into preachy or moral-of-the-story narrator a couple of times. The highest score I’ve ever given.
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Riptide Publishing; First edition (January 20, 2013)
Amazon: Dirty Laundry (A Tucker Springs Novel)
Amazon Kindle: Dirty Laundry (A Tucker Springs Novel)J.L. Merrow – SlamApril: I just loved how funny the main character was through-out this story. The plot seemed to develop slowly, but this allowed for the reader to get to know the main character well.
Theresa: Fun and playfully written. Loved the plot twist and the connections between characters.
Publisher Samhain Publishing (April 1, 2014)
Amazon Kindle: Slam!J.P. Barnaby – AaronCassandra: Sad but lovely story. I felt for both characters and wanted to see them heal each other. The ending (while hopeful) was realistic to the point of making me wonder if they would stay together.
Paperback: 238 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (October 8, 2012)
Amazon Kindle: AaronJamie Fessenden - By That Sin Fell The AngelsMichele: Mr. Fessenden did a marvelous job and I highly recommend this story be one of your award winners. I can't say enough positive about it. The strong messages he has throughout the story really make a hell of a lot of sense.
Paperback: 210 pages
Publisher: Itineris Press (August 29, 2012)
Amazon: By That Sin Fell the Angels
Amazon Kindle: By That Sin Fell the AngelsJordan L. Hawk – Hainted
Josie: Simply gorgeously written. Ms. Hawk pulls you straight into the story with rich storytelling.
Lyne: Great story with lots of little twists and turns.Luce: I have to admit: this is a book I'd kept an eye on since it was first published. The premise intrigued me (because opposites attract is a favorite trope of mine) while, at the same time, made me apprehensive. As it happens, I'm a huge scared cat when it comes to darker paranormal stories. Especially in a case like this one when the author is one I've never read before. This is an author who knows her characters, who understands that the journey the characters need to take will be filled with bumps on the road. I was thoroughly impressed by the depth of talent this author displayed while telling a paranormal romance unlike any I've ever read before.
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Amazon Kindle: HaintedJordan L. Hawk – WiddershinsPamela: The plot has been used before, but it was well written. The characters were believable, and I liked their slow romance. Good story.
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Amazon Kindle: Widdershins (Whyborne & Griffin)Karis Walsh - Sea Glass InnMitzie: As a parent, I know firsthand how easy it is to lose oneself because our kids come first. I found this book to be amazingly honest about the day to day lives that we sometimes lead and the internal struggles that we face from day to day.
Christina: This was my favorite of all the books. I fell in love with the characters and the plot and I hated to see it end.
Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (January 8, 2013)
Amazon: Sea Glass Inn
Amazon Kindle: Sea Glass InnKim Pritekel – ConnectionDeb: Good book, top rate.
Publisher: Sapphire Books Publishing (August 12, 2013)
Amazon Kindle: ConnectionL.A. Witt - From Out in the ColdAnke: This was a wonderful book. I was hesitant to start reading as I was under the impression of starting a depressing, dreary book. Thankfully, that wasn't the case. Last but not least - this was what I call an Epilogue :) rounded up the story in a very satisfying way, no questions left open, but not over the top. Simply wonderful.
Christina: Beautiful and moving story that made me both laugh and cry. I really enjoyed it and adored the characters.
Publisher: Loose Id LLC (December 3, 2012)
Amazon Kindle: From Out in the ColdL.J. LaBarthe - City of JadeCherie: This story had a lyrical beauty that will bring readers back to the author's works again and again. Definitely a story I shall read again and again. It teetered on the brink of perfection... I think this is a story that will improve with each reading until it becomes a treasured favorite.
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press; 1 edition (June 6, 2013)
Amazon Kindle: City of JadeLaura Hughes - Don't AskMariana: The more I think about these characters, the more I like them. The main characters are freshmen/sophomore in HS, which is around my daughters age. I thought the author depicted this age group accurately. Some kids are mature, others not; some are dating, some can't get someone to like them back; and then all the angst that they felt about it (although the real life kids I know are WAY more dramatic). He lightly touched on the cutting, which is a HUGE thing nowadays and super scary as a parent. I really loved how the parents were depicted and even the teachers (although they weren't around much). This felt genuine and lovely. There wasn't any major angst or overwrought drama, and as a reader I wanted to know more about these characters and see them develop. This was a very nice read.
Publisher: Prizm Books (April 16, 2013)
Amazon Kindle: Don't AskLee Pulaski - An Eagle River ChristmasCarey: Author Lee Pulaski has written a truly entertaining tale with An Eagle River Christmas. The story of two men, from the same town but from very different lives, intersect as one comes home for a sad occasion and the other fights to leave behind a less than sustaining existence. A real winner.
Paperback: 274 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (September 27, 2012)
Amazon: An Eagle River Christmas
Amazon Kindle: An Eagle River ChristmasLori Toland - Dangerous SubmissionTara: I enjoyed the characters a lot, especially Robbie who is a charmer. The writing style is also very engaging.Tom: This erotic romance was well paced, Drake and Robbie are well fleshed out, sexy, and I enjoyed how their relationship evolved while the thriller part of the book played out. The book was well paced, very well written, and while there was a lot of sex, it was hot and fit the storyline nicely!
Publisher: Loose Id LLC (April 22, 2013)
Amazon Kindle: Dangerous Submission (Dangerous Affairs)Lynn Ames - All That Lies WithinJodie: All That Lies Within is a wonderful romance, with believable and well-rounded characters that draw you into the story. It was so well written it was a pleasure to read and I already know it will be at the top of my re-read list.
Tammy: Totally loved this one. This was my first Lynn Ames story and won't be my last. The feelings of the 2 main characters were intense and the story flowed nicely. Sorry to see it end.
Paperback: 302 pages
Publisher: Phoenix Rising Press (June 16, 2013)
Amazon: All That Lies Within
Amazon Kindle: All That Lies WithinLynn Kear - Black-Hearted Bitch
Deb: I couldn’t put this book down. This author writes her character in edgy first person. The manuscript was pristine and well edited. The only thing that kept it from getting a perfect score was the ending. I was happy that she left the door open for a sequel, but the ending was so abrupt that I at first thought my copy had gotten corrupted when I converted the pdf for my kindle and went back to check the original pdf to check. Perhaps a simple “the end” would have solved that, or an author’s bio on the next page would have clarified that. I’ve never read this author before, but you can be sure I’ll be checking her out on the internet for other titles.
Publisher: Grey Fedora Books (August 24, 2013)
Amazon Kindle: Black-Hearted Bitch (A Kell Digby Crime Novel)Lynn Lorenz - Bayou LoupSue: This was a nice shifter story, written in an easy-to-read, good flowing style. It had quirky and interesting minor characters as well as good main characters that made you want to see a happy ending (supplied).
Publisher: Loose Id LLC (December 24, 2012)
Amazon Kindle: Bayou Loup (Rougaroux Social Club)Marten Weber - In the Mirror, a Monster
Michele: This is one of the hardest books I've ever had the pleasure of reading. There is no such thing as following the rules in the publishing MM world with this story. Every single thing about it, is different. From the married characters to the lively ones they have come across and who do stay with them in their B&B type home, Mr. Weber tackles a lot in the strangest way possible. A killing without a murder? Awesome work here.
Paperback: 270 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (January 15, 2013)
Amazon: In the Mirror a Monster
Amazon Kindle: In the Mirror a MonsterMegan Derr - Black MagicFeliz: This was a compelling, absorbing and very pleasant read. The fantasy elements in here wove together to a caleidoscope of greys instead of black and white. What appeared to be the bogeymen at first turned out to be mislead "normal" people that could be redeemed, what seemed to be the purest of of the pure proved to be able of cruelty and violence. Further, this book played on the claviature of fantasy archetypes (the priest, magician and warrior) in a new and enticing way, combining them with an endearing theological concept.
Paperback: 284 pages
Publisher: Less Than Three Press (October 31, 2012)
Amazon: Black Magic
Amazon Kindle: Black MagicMegan Derr - Love You Like a Romance Novel
Steve: The highest rate of this year.
Paperback: 248 pages
Publisher: Less Than Three Press (January 9, 2013)
Amazon: Love You Like a Romance Novel
Amazon Kindle: Love You Like a Romance NovelOsiris Brackhaus - Lovers in ArmsJennifer: I swear I'm a much harder judge, but this book was just amazing. I started reading others sent to me, but this one sucked me in and I stopped reading them.) The characters are fleshed out in a way that makes them feel real. The book is superb, from the supporting characters to the inclusion of German in the book. It felt real, and I enjoyed every moment.
Tessa: When I read the description of this novel, I first thought "Not again. Captive enemy lovers - how original". Let me tell you how wrong I was. This novel is actually very sweet and well developed. Two main characters just fall in love from the sky (one of them literally). Like two pieces of the puzzle that clicked together just right - they are the answers to each other’s life search. Once united, they are unwilling and unable to stay apart despite all the life challenges of that difficult war and post war time. Thank you again for this sweet story.
Rosie: I loved the originality of the story. I have never read a story about the Nuremberg trials that was a romance before. So I take my hat off to the author for not only taking on that plot but succeeding with it. This was a completely charming love story. I thought the character he created in the Nazi Officer Johann von Biehn was amazing, he was both honourable and believable. His American love interest Captain Frank Hawthorne was equally well written. I thoroughly enjoyed this charming love story.
Paperback: 168 pages
Publisher: Fantastic Fiction Publishing (July 21, 2013)
Amazon: Lovers in Arms
Amazon Kindle: Lovers in ArmsRadclyffe – Crossroads
Fernanda: I have found this book really entertaining. This is a solid romance, when you can follow the two protagonist from a shaky start, where they don't like each other at all, to the final they lived happily ever after. A good, solid and plain lesbian romance that cover all the right base of the genre.
Mitzie: Radclyffe does it again with another wonderfully written story. I couldn't put it down!
Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (November 13, 2012)
Amazon Kindle: CrossroadsRebecca Cohen - Duty to the CrownApril: I bought the first book after reading this one for the Awards.
Paperback: 210 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (March 4, 2013)
Amazon: Duty to the Crown
Amazon Kindle: Duty to the CrownRider Jacobs – LegionJane: An interesting tangled web of immortal family intrigue. I liked the different realms, the different types of human like species and that the celestial family lived together in what sounded like a palace with all mod cons. The story flowed well, no information dumps, the sex scenes fit in well and the prose was humorous in the right places.
Publisher: MLR Press (Jul 11, 2013)
Amazon Kindle: LegionSage Marlowe - Fantasy for SaleBarbara: Very easy style and the characters were well drawn and believable. Not much time spent on setting but it didn't take away from the book in particular. Nicely written sex scenes, and a good story.
Publisher: Total-E-Bound Publishing (June 27, 2013)
Amazon Kindle: Fantasy for SaleSandra Moran - Letters Never SentFernanda: This was another really satisfying read. Everything here is well balanced and have a deep that have made me read it with eagerness! Probably the only tiny thing that I can tell as a critic is that sometimes I was a little troubled about the change in the different years but I am also aware that the 2 stories needed to interact this way so this haven't reduce my enjoyment.
Paperback: 300 pages
Publisher: Bedazzled Ink Publishing Company (June 17, 2013)
Amazon: Letters Never Sent
Amazon Kindle: Letters Never SentSandrine Gasq-Dion - A Betting Man, A Marrying Man (2 novellas as 1 submission)Tessa: If you are looking for sweet present time fairytale - look no longer. Ideal gay city: City that is full of gorgeous bisexual men, which makes life so much easier for a couple of gay ones. All supportive characters are truly supportive: every parent is accepting, every coworker watches your back. A bit idealistic - but hey, we need to believe in happy ends too.
Publisher: Wilde City Press, LLC (May 10, 2013)
Amazon Kindle: A Betting Man
Publisher: Wilde City Press, LLC (July 17, 2013)
Amazon Kindle: A Marrying ManSarah Madison - The Boys of SummerGene: This was a thoroughly enjoyable read. The characters are very well drawn, and this is one of the best use of settings I've seen in a long time. The writing is very good. I think a strong, independent editor could have helped polish up the few rough spots in the manuscript.
Publisher: Sarah Madison (April 14, 2013)
Amazon Kindle: The Boys of SummerShira Anthony & Venona Keyes – Prelude
Mariana: I enjoyed this book quite a lot. There was nothing new to the story, but it featured a solid set of characters and a sweet romance. Music and the expression of emotion and freedom are central to the characters and the authors do very well to express it. Having been to many concerts (my daughter also plays the violin), there is a feeling that you walk away with when you hear a very good song played; these authors did a great job in translating that feeling to words. This is a 4th book in a series, but I didn't feel as if I was missing out by not reading the previous three; having enjoyed this one, I will be buying the others.
Paperback: 250 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (May 6, 2013)
Amazon: Prelude (Blue Notes)
Amazon Kindle: Prelude (Blue Notes)Stacey Darlington - Long Snows MoonFernanda: A really good book. The story is really good and I have enjoyed it a lot!!
Paperback: 198 pages
Publisher: Melange Books (June 29, 2013)
Amazon: Long Snows Moon
Amazon Kindle: Long Snows MoonSue Brown - The Sky is DeadAmy: WOW is all i can say. I am so glad you assigned this to me. What an amazing story! Not much I can say other than I adored this!
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press; 1 edition (April 16, 2013)
Amazon Kindle: The Sky Is DeadT.A. Chase & Devon Rhodes - A Sticky Wicket In BollywoodApril: I read the work of both authors all the time, frequently buying their books. I enjoyed the writing style of this book, very predictable in terms of how good the authors both are.
Series: International Men of Sports
Paperback: 214 pages
Publisher: Total-E-Bound Publishing (July 12, 2013)
Amazon: A Sticky Wicket In Bollywood
Amazon Kindle: A Sticky Wicket In BollywoodT.A. Webb - Second ChancesJim: The story is very well written, believable, and extremely touching in parts.
Paperback: 200 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (October 17, 2012)
Amazon: Second Chances
Amazon Kindle: Second ChancesT.J. Klune - Tell Me It's RealEllen: This book was all about the characters, which is perfectly fine in a rom-com, and even finer when the characters are quirky and engaging as they are here. Although at times I had trouble with the narrator's tangents, there were enough literal laugh-out-loud moments that I got past that.
Jordan: The writing style is engaging and witty. The characters are all well-realized, with flaws which make them both sympathetic and (in the case of the narrator) hilarious. Not your typical "love at first sight" book.
Paperback: 350 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (February 15, 2013)
Amazon: Tell Me It's Real
Amazon Kindle: Tell Me It's RealT.T. Thomas - A Delicate RefusalJoann: I would give this a twenty if I could! It was seriously that good! This one was one that once I started reading I found it hard to put down. Imagine my bosses face when I clocked back in one minute late... haha. Oops. Yes, I was that engrossed in the book. The way the author describes the time period she placed this piece in is incredible. She's obviously done an extended amount of research. The romance between the ladies in the story was breath taking. They suffered so many ups and downs throughout their years. Wonderful story!
Paperback: 294 pages
Publisher: Bon View Publishing (July 25, 2013)
Amazon: A Delicate Refusal
Amazon Kindle: A Delicate RefusalVal Kovalin - Reach For the MoonEden: I reallly enjoyed this coming of age, friends to lovers story.
Publisher: VK-Now Books (June 9, 2013)
Amazon Kindle: Reach for the Moon (Alejo and Bobby #2)Vaughn R. Demont - Community ServiceGene: I simply loved this one. The main character, as the narrator, has an engaging voice and personality. The plot is nice and twisty and kept me reading anxiously to see what comes next.
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd. (May 7, 2013)
Amazon Kindle: Community Service (Broken Mirrors)