reviews_and_ramblings: (Default)
2015-12-08 02:18 pm

2015 Rainbow Awards

More than 450 books, almost 170 judges, all over the world, and many, many submissions, from indie publishers, from mainstream publishers and a lot of self-published authors. And, to me more important of everything, we raised more than 17.300 dollars donated to LGBT charities:

LGBT charities )

First of all a big thank to all the judges who helped me to arrive to this result:

Rainbow Awards Jury )

And as always a big thank you to the Publishers which allow me and the judges to have all the books for the reading phase:

Publishers )

And now what all you are waiting, the 2015 Rainbow Awards. And the awards go to:


"Rainbow Pride Cheesecake" is the official pin-up boy of the Rainbow Awards especially created by Paul Richmond

Best LGBT COVER
DESIGN:
1.    Carry the Ocean by Heidi Cullinan – Cover by Kanaxa
Runners Up:
2.    The Lion and the Crow by Eli Easton – Cover by Maria Fanning
3.    In the Middle of Somewhere by Roan Parrish – Cover by AngstyG.
4.    Charmed & Dangerous edited by Jordan Castillo Price – Cover by Jordan Castillo Price
5.    The Anatomy of Perception by AJ Rose – Cover by Elizabeth Mackey
6.    Violated by Jamie Fessenden – Cover by L.C. Chase
7.    Everything by Carole Wolf – Cover by Tree House Studio
8.    Immortal by Amy Lane – Cover by Anne Cain
9.    rock by Anyta Sunday – Cover by Natasha Snow
Knight of Ocean Avenue by Tara Lain – Cover by Reese Dante
10.    Beyond the Surface by Felice Stevens – Cover by Reese Dante
ILLUSTRATION:
1.    Hammer and Bone by Kirby Crow – Cover by Roberto Quintero & Kirby Crow
Runners Up:
2.    For Real by Alexis Hall – Cover by Simoné
3.    The King of Forever by Kirby Crow – Cover by Kirby Crow
4.    Undone by E.M. Hodge – Cover by Christine Svendsen
5.    In Distress by Caethes Faron – Cover by Ravven
6.    Broken Ink by Jack L. Pyke – Cover by Natalya Nesterova
7.    Grand Adventures – Cover by Paul Richmond
8.    Hidden Gem by Lissa Kasey – Cover by Shobana Appavu
9.    Happy Holidays by Z. Allora – Cover by P.L. Nunn
10.    The Witch’s Daughter by Rae D. Magdon – Cover by Rachel George

Best Lesbian Sci-Fi / Futuristic
1.    Rabbits of the Apocalypse by Benny Lawrence
Runners Up:
2.    The Caphenon by Fletcher DeLancey   
3.    Journey To You by A.J. Adaire

Best Gay Historical Fiction
1.    Fool's Gold by Jess Faraday
Runners Up:
2.    The Peacock’s Eye by Jay Lewis Taylor   
3.    Sideways Down the Sky by Barry Brennessel

Best Lesbian Young Adult
1.    Come To My Window by Mia Kerick
Runners Up:
2.    Riding the Rainbow by Genta Sebastian   
3.    Missing Mary by Cricket Watson

The Cate Culpepper Award for Best Lesbian Paranormal Romance
1.    Red in Tooth and Claw (Underdogs #4) by Geonn Cannon
Runners Up:
2.    Winter on Spring Street by Stacey Darlington   
3.    Twisted Echoes by Sheri Lewis Wohl

The Sandra Moran Award for Best Lesbian Historical Fiction & Romance
1.    The Witch of Stalingrad by Justine Saracen   
Runners Up:
2.    Bright Lights of Summer by Lynn Ames   
3.    Secrets of Angels by A.L. Duncan

Best Transgender Romance
1.    The Burnt Toast B&B (A Bluewater Bay Story) by Heidi Belleau and Rachel Haimowitz
Runners Up:
2.    Chasing Death Metal Dreams by Kaje Harper   
3.    The Errant Prince by Sasha L. Miller

Best Lesbian Fantasy & Fantasy Romance
1.    Medusa: A Dark Victorian Penny Dread by Elizabeth Watasin
Runners Up:
2.    The Duchess of Manusk by Jordan Falconer   
3.    The Fiend Queen by Barbara Ann Wright

Best Gay Fantasy
1.    The Devil Lancer by Astrid Amara
Runners Up:
2.    Blue on Black by Carole Cummings
3.    Obsidian Sun by Jon Keys   

Best Transgender Fiction
1.    To Summon Nightmares by J.K. Pendragon
Runners Up:
2.    Everybody Knows by Giselle Renarde   
3.    Groom Of Convenience (Scandalous Whispers Of The Remmington Realm) by Vicktor Alexander

The Dirk Vanden Award for Best LGBT Biography/Memoir
1.    Nights at Rizzoli by Felice Picano
Runners Up:
2.    My Body Is Yours by Michael V. Smith
3.    Turkey Street, Jack and Liam move to Bodrum by Jack Scott

Best LGBT Non Fiction, Poetry, Visual Arts / Photography
1.    Girl Sex 101 by Allison Moon
Runners Up:
2.    An American Queer: The Amazon Trail by Lee Lynch   
3.    Speaking OUT: Queer Youth in Focus by Rachelle Lee Smith

Best Gay Fantasy Romance
1.    Most Beautiful Words by Raine O’Tierney
Runners Up:
2.    Americana Fairy Tale by Lex Chase
3.    Astounding! by Kim Fielding
4.    Jackdaw by KJ Charles
5.    Seventh by Rachel White

Best Bisexual Romance
1.    Kneel, Mr. President by Lauren Gallagher
Runners Up:
2.    The Harem Master by Megan Derr   
3.    A Hard Ride Home by Emory Vargas   
4.    A Year in the Life by Cat Grant   
5.    Smoky Mountain Dreams by Leta Blake

Best Gay Young Adult
1.    A Scout is Brave by Jay Jordan Hawke   
Runners Up:
2.    Carry the Ocean by Heidi Cullinan   
3.    The Glass House by Suki Fleet   
4.    Love Spell by Mia Kerick   
5.    rock by Anyta Sunday

Best Bisexual Fiction
1.    Summer Symphony by Brandon Shire   
Runners Up:
2.    I’ll Always Miss You by Raine O’Tierney
3.    Fox-Hat and Neko by August Li
4.    The Inheritor (The Marketplace #6) by Laura Antoniou
5.    The Tide of War by Lori A. Witt

Best Gay Romantic Comedy
1.    Love Me Tomorrow by Ethan Day
Runners Up:
2.    Candy Man/Bitter Taffy (2 books as 1 submission) by Amy Lane   
3.    Played! by JL Merrow   
4.    Lone Wolf by L.A. Witt & Aleksandr Voinov
5.    Blowing It by Kate Aaron   

Best Gay Sci-Fi / Futuristic
1 (tie-in).    Infected: Epitaph by Andrea Speed
Peripheral People by Reesa Herberth & Michelle Moore
Runners Up:
2.    Chaos Station (Chaos Station #1) by Jenn Burke & Kelly Jensen
3.    Song of the Navigator by Astrid Amara
4.    Lonely Shore (Chaos Station #2) by Jenn Burke & Kelly Jensen
5.    Azimuth (Interscission Project #2) by Arshad Ahsanuddin

Best Lesbian Mystery / Thriller
1.    No Good Reason by Cari Hunter   
Runners Up:
2.    The Acquittal by Anne Laughlin   
3.    The Surrender by Terias McKlay   
4.    Blind Trust by Jody Klaire   
5.    No Thru Road by Linda M. Vogt

Best LGBT Anthology / Collection
1 (tie-in).    Keep the Stars Running by Andrea Speed, Talya Andor, Lexi Ander, Leona Carver, and Cassandra Pierce
Hammer and Bone by Kirby Crow
Runners Up:
2.    Gayrabian Nights by Johnny Townsend   
3.    Charmed and Dangerous: Ten Tales of Gay Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy by Jordan Castillo Price
4.    Hope and Love Anthology by Áine P Massie   
5.    Don’t Be Shy – A collection of erotic lesbian stories by Jae & Astrid Ohletz

Best Gay Historical Romance
1.    Semper Fi by Keira Andrews   
Runners Up:
2.    A Fashionable Indulgence by KJ Charles   
3.    Undercover Blues by Chris Quinton   
4.    The Bells of Times Square by Amy Lane   
5.    When Skies Have Fallen by Debbie McGowan

Best Lesbian Contemporary General Fiction
1.    The Language of Hoofbeats by Catherine Ryan Hyde   
Runners Up:
2.    A Small Country about to Vanish by Victoria Avilan   
3.    Everything by Carole Wolf   
4.    Sandcastles by Suzie Carr
All We Lack by Sandra Moran
To Love Again by B.L. Clark
5.    Turning for Home by Caren J. Werlinger

The Dorien Grey Award for Best Gay Mystery / Thriller
1.    Model Citizen by Lissa Kasey
Runners Up:
2.    Blood and Dirt by Lloyd A. Meeker   
3.    Fragmented (Shadow Mountain #2) by Indra Vaughn   
4.    Heat Trap by JL Merrow   
5.    One Marine, Hero by EM Lynley   
6.    Jewel Cave by Elizabeth Noble
24-Karat Conspiracy (Precious Gems #4) by EM Lynley   
7.    Infected: Paris by Andrea Speed
The Best Corpse for the Job by Charlie Cochrane
Sunset Island by Elliott Mackle
Redemption (Diversion #5) by Eden Winters
8.    Boystown 7: Bloodlines by Marshall Thornton   
9.    Fated (Shadow Mountain #1) by Indra Vaughn
10.    Manipulation (Diversion #4) by Eden Winters

Best Gay Contemporary General Fiction
1.    Call Me Home by Megan Kruse
Runners Up:
2.    Sutphin Boulevard by Santino Hassell   
3.    Blink by Rick R. Reed
Lead Me Not by Ann Gallagher
4.    Stealing Arthur by Joel Perry   
5.    Playing House by Bru Baker   
6.    The Eskimo Slugger by Brad Boney   
7.    In Me an Invincible Summer by Ryan Loveless   
8.    An Older Man by Wayne Hoffman
Red Dirt Heart 4 by N.R. Walker
9.    The Fallen Angels of Karnataka by Hans M. Hirschi
10.    Square Affair by Timmothy J. Holt

Best Gay Paranormal Romance
1.    The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal by KJ Charles
Runners Up:
2.    Restless Spirits by Jordan L. Hawk   
3.    Winter’s Wolf by Tara Lain
Orion's Circle by Victoria Sue
4.    Kick at the Darkness by Keira Andrews
5.    Cronin's Key by N.R. Walker   
6.    Wolves of Black Pine by S.J. Himes
Axel's Pup by Kim Dare
7.    Walk a Mile by Sarah Madison
The Altered by Annabelle Jacobs
8.    Threefold Love by Ki Brightly
The Vampire and the P.I. by J.P. Bowie   
9.    Trouble Comes in Threes by M.A. Church
Jerricho's Freedom by JC Wallace   
10.    I'll Still Be There by Keelan Ellis

The Bobby Michaels Award for Best Gay Erotic Romance
1.    For Real by Alexis Hall
Runners Up:
2.    The Slave by Kate Aaron
A Forbidden Rumspringa by Keira Andrews
3.    Breaking the Habit by J.P. Bowie
The Love of Wicked Men (Episodes 1-6) by Brandon Shire
4.    Unfortunate Son by Shae Connor
5.    No Place That Far by L.A. Witt & Aleksandr Voinov   
6.    Make Me Soar (Collars & Cuffs #6) by K.C. Wells
7.    Chance Of the Heart by Kade Boehme   
8.    Dirty Dining by EM Lynley   
9.    Mask by Teodora Kostova   
10.    Turkish Delights by Trina Lane
Wrestling With Passion by D.H. Starr
Training Complex by Leta Blake
Beyond the Surface by Felice Stevens
The Right Time (Right And Wrong #3) by Lane Hayes   

Best Lesbian Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance & Romantic Comedy
1.    Making a Comeback by Julie Blair   
Runners Up:
2.    Barring Complications by Blythe Rippon   
3.    Under a Falling Star by Jae   
4.    All the little Moments by G Benson   
5.    Season's Meetings by Amy Dunne   
6.    For the Love of Cake by Erin Dutton   
7.    To Love Free by Chris Paynter   
8.    Never Too Late by Julie Blair   
9.    Love is Enough by Cindy Rizzo
June Magee, RN, Festival Nurse by Ann McMan, Salem West, Barrett
10.    Spring Blossom (Camellia #2) by Caitlin Ricci & Cari Z.
Up the Ante by PJ Trebelhorn

The William Neale Award for Best Gay Contemporary Romance
1.    Beneath the Stain by Amy Lane   
Runners Up:
2.    Knight of Ocean Avenue by Tara Lain   
3.    The Butterfly King by Edmond Manning
We Found Love by Allison Cassatta & Kade Boheme
4.    A New Man by P.D. Singer
5.    The Deep of the Sound by Amy Lane
Trust the Focus by Megan Erickson   
6.    Arctic Absolution by Lynn Kelling
7.    Everything Changes by Melanie Hansen
8.    Bowl Full of Cherries by Raine O’Tierney
In the Middle of Somewhere by Roan Parrish
9.    Innocence by Suki Fleet
10.    A Restored Man by Jaime Reese

Best Bisexual, Transgender & LGBT Debut
1.    Speaking OUT: Queer Youth in Focus by Rachelle Lee Smith
Runners Up:
2.    Modern Brides & Modern Grooms: A Guide to Planning Straight, Gay, and Other NonTraditional, Twenty-First Century Weddings by Mark O'Connell   
3.    Job Hunt by Jackie Keswick

Best Lesbian Debut
1.    Barring Complications by Blythe Rippon   
Runners Up:
2.    All the little Moments by G Benson   
3.    To Love Again by B.L. Clark   
4.    Wishbone by Elaine Burnes   
5.    The Caphenon by Fletcher DeLancey   
6.    Never Too Late by Julie Blair   
7.    When It Raynes by C.D. Cain
The Surrender by Terias McKlay   
8.    The Paths of Marriage by Mala Kumar
9.    A Story of Now by Emily O'Beirne
10.    No Thru Road by Linda M. Vogt

Best Gay Debut
1.    Most Beautiful Words by Raine O’Tierney
Runners Up:
2.    Trust the Focus by Megan Erickson
3.    Everything Changes by Melanie Hansen
4.    In the Middle of Somewhere by Roan Parrish   
5.    Call Me Home by Megan Kruse   
6.    The HomePort Journals by A.C. Burch
7.    Wolves of Black Pine by S.J. Himes   
8.    Palace Dog by R.E. Nelson
9.    Stealing Arthur by Joel Perry   
10.    Behind Locked Doors by Nicholas Kinsley
Threefold Love by Ki Brightly

Best LGBT Book
1.    Hammer and Bone by Kirby Crow
Runners Up:
2.    Speaking OUT: Queer Youth in Focus by Rachelle Lee Smith   
3.    Hope and Love Anthology by Áine P Massie

Best Transgender Book
1.    The Burnt Toast B&B (A Bluewater Bay Story) by Heidi Belleau and Rachel Haimowitz
Runners Up:
2.    Chasing Death Metal Dreams by Kaje Harper   
3.    To Summon Nightmares by J.K. Pendragon
The Errant Prince by Sasha L. Miller
4.    Everybody Knows by Giselle Renarde
A Boy Called Cin by Cecil Wilde   
5.    Groom Of Convenience (Scandalous Whispers Of The Remmington Realm) by Vicktor Alexander

Best Bisexual Book
1.    Summer Symphony by Brandon Shire   
Runners Up:
2.    Kneel, Mr. President by Lauren Gallagher
3.    The Harem Master by Megan Derr   
4.    I’ll Always Miss You by Raine O’Tierney   
5.    Fox-Hat and Neko by August Li
6.    The Inheritor (The Marketplace #6) by Laura Antoniou
7.    The Tide of War by Lori A. Witt
8.    A Hard Ride Home by Emory Vargas   
9.    A Year in the Life by Cat Grant   
10.    Smoky Mountain Dreams by Leta Blake

Best Lesbian Book
1.    Girl Sex 101 by Allison Moon
Runners Up:
2.    Making a Comeback by Julie Blair   
3.    Barring Complications by Blythe Rippon   
4.    An American Queer: The Amazon Trail by Lee Lynch
The Language of Hoofbeats by Catherine Ryan Hyde
5.    A Small Country about to Vanish by Victoria Avilan   
6.    Under a Falling Star by Jae   
7.    Medusa: A Dark Victorian Penny Dread by Elizabeth Watasin
No Good Reason by Cari Hunter
8.    Everything by Carole Wolf
Rabbits of the Apocalypse by Benny Lawrence
9.    All the little Moments by G Benson
10.    Sandcastles by Suzie Carr
Season's Meetings by Amy Dunne
All We Lack by Sandra Moran
To Love Again by B.L. Clark

Best Gay Book
1 (tie-in). Beneath the Stain by Amy Lane   
The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal by KJ Charles
Runners Up:
2.    Restless Spirits by Jordan L. Hawk    
3.    Fool's Gold by Jess Faraday
4.    Knight of Ocean Avenue by Tara Lain    
5.    Semper Fi by Keira Andrews    
6.    A Fashionable Indulgence by KJ Charles
7.    A Scout is Brave by Jay Jordan Hawke
Model Citizen by Lissa Kasey
Most Beautiful Words by Raine O’Tierney    
8.    Americana Fairy Tale by Lex Chase
For Real by Alexis Hall    
9.    The Butterfly King by Edmond Manning
We Found Love by Allison Cassatta & Kade Boheme
10.    Winter’s Wolf by Tara Lain
A New Man by P.D. Singer
Orion's Circle by Victoria Sue


"Air de Capri" is a 1923 painting by Gerda Wegener, with Gerda herself and her husband, transgender male to female, Lili Elbe
reviews_and_ramblings: (Default)
2015-12-08 05:28 am

2015 Rainbow Awards Winners: Best Gay Book

And the Rainbow Award goes to:

1 (tie-in). Beneath the Stain by Amy Lane
Paperback: 350 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (October 17, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1632162326
ISBN-13: 978-1632162328
Amazon: Beneath the Stain
Amazon Kindle: Beneath the Stain

In a town as small as Tyson, CA, everybody knew the four brothers with the four different fathers—and their penchant for making good music when they weren't getting into trouble. For Mackey Sanders, playing in Outbreak Monkey with his brothers and their friends—especially Grant Adams—made Tyson bearable. But Grant has plans for getting Mackey and the Sanders boys out of Tyson, even if that means staying behind.
Between the heartbreak of leaving Grant and the terrifying, glamorous life of rock stardom, Mackey is adrift and sinking fast. When he's hit rock bottom, Trav Ford shows up, courtesy of their record company and a producer who wants to see what Mackey can do if he doesn't flame out first. But cleaning up his act means coming clean about Grant, and that's not easy to do or say. Mackey might make it with Trav's help—but Trav's not sure he's going to survive falling in love with Mackey.
Mackey James Sanders comes with a whole lot of messy, painful baggage, and law-and-order Trav doesn't do messy or painful. And just when Trav thinks they may have mastered every demon in Mackey's past, the biggest, baddest demon of all comes knocking.
No one does angst like Amy Lane. At times this book was almost too much--even for someone like me who adores angst--but it's impossible to put down. The characters are perfectly flawed, so loveable you feel every shred of their pain and hope and loss. A story that will stay with me forever, for sure.
This book pulled me in from the very beginning, and I almost felt like I was there.
Intense long gripping story with a plot that continued to evolve throughout the story. Interesting characters. Looked at sad side of life as well as the good side.
Amy Lane's dark contemporary stories always gut me -- this one was no different, and it wasn't even one of the darker ones. Incredible characters, roiling emotions, and rock and roll! When you finish an Amy Lane book, you feel like you really know all her characters personally (and for some of the less pleasant ones, that's not entirely comfortable!).
Absolutely loved every word, Amy Lane at her finest!
Coming of age story. As expected from this author, very well written and interactive. A song of life, love and friendship.
1 (tie-in). The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal by KJ Charles
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd. (June 16, 2015)
Amazon Kindle: The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal

A story too secret, too terrifying—and too shockingly intimate—for Victorian eyes.
A note to the Editor
Dear Henry,
I have been Simon Feximal’s companion, assistant and chronicler for twenty years now, and during that time my Casebooks of Feximal the Ghost-Hunter have spread the reputation of this most accomplished of ghost-hunters far and wide.
You have asked me often for the tale of our first meeting, and how my association with Feximal came about. I have always declined, because it is a story too private to be truthfully recounted, and a memory too precious to be falsified. But none knows better than I that stories must be told.
So here is it, Henry, a full and accurate account of how I met Simon Feximal, which I shall leave with my solicitor to pass to you after my death.
I dare say it may not be quite what you expect.
Robert Caldwell
September 1914
"The Caldwell Ghost" and “Butterflies” are previously published short stories. The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal continues and completes Robert Caldwell and Simon Feximal’s story.
Well rounded characters and I enjoyed how their relationship was told through the cases they worked. I loved the world building and that I could picture everything as it was playing out, almost like I was watching a movie.
Another perfect read. A collection of short stories that piece together a lifetime relationship. Sad and sweet, scary and funny, all stories are different and entertaining.
This was literally the best thing I read all year.
This is a charming (if sometimes harrowing) homage to Victorian occultists and its resulting pulp fiction. KJ Charles's mastery of the vernacular of this period is remarkable, as always. Ever wonder what would have happened if Holmes and Watson had been lovers rather than colleagues, and if Holmes's weakness had not been cocaine but the result of arcane tampering? Here's the answer. (In Feximal's world, the Hound of the Baskervilles would have truly been a giant spectral hound.)
I adored this book which hearkened back to the days of Victorian England, and the poignancy of two men investigating to the best of their abilities. The irony--and hope--at the end undid me, and I have spent lots of fruitless--if wonderful time--imagining the ending that I'm sure we all wanted for our heroes. I did not realize until recently that parts of this book were released independently, as individual adventures, and that knowledge only made me love it more. It's like Sherlock Holmes, paranormal style, and I cannot praise it enough.


Runners Up:
2.    Restless Spirits by Jordan L. Hawk   
3.    Fool's Gold by Jess Faraday
4.    Knight of Ocean Avenue by Tara Lain   
5.    Semper Fi by Keira Andrews   
6.    A Fashionable Indulgence by KJ Charles
7.    A Scout is Brave by Jay Jordan Hawke
Model Citizen by Lissa Kasey
Most Beautiful Words by Raine O’Tierney   
8.    Americana Fairy Tale by Lex Chase
For Real by Alexis Hall   
9.    The Butterfly King by Edmond Manning
We Found Love by Allison Cassatta & Kade Boheme
10.    Winter’s Wolf by Tara Lain
A New Man by P.D. Singer
Orion's Circle by Victoria Sue

reviews_and_ramblings: (Default)
2015-12-08 05:23 am

2015 Rainbow Awards Winners: Best Lesbian Book

And the Rainbow Award goes to:

1. Girl Sex 101 by Allison Moon
Perfect Paperback: 388 pages
Publisher: Lunatic Ink (April 7, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0983830959
ISBN-13: 978-0983830955
Amazon: Girl Sex 101
Amazon Kindle: Girl Sex 101

Girl Sex 101 is a sex-ed book like no other, offering helpful info for ladies and lady-lovers of all genders and identities, playful and informative illustrations on each page, and over 100 distinct voices, plus a hot narrative that shows you how to put the info to good use!
Learn how to navigate the twists and turns of female sexuality, with special guidance from thirteen guest sex educators including Nina Hartley, Sex Nerd Sandra, Jiz Lee, Tristan Taormino, Julia Serano, Reid Mihalko, Kelly Shibari, and more!
This is the book every young woman should have been given instead of dry health class lectures on anatomy and menstruation. In a fun, often irreverent, entertaining way, Moon lays out the realities of sex for women, and though the emphasis is on women having relations with women, the information she shares in a sex-positive, non-judgmental way is vital for all women. With an inclusive atmosphere so that all women find themselves represented in a respectful, realistic way, Moon and her guest educators take the mystery out of how things work, how to approach sex in a positive, co-creative way, and what to avoid. With helpful, and wonderful, illustrations and even a story to illustrate certain points interspersed between the educational bits, everything a woman needs to take the anxiety and mystification out of sex is right here.
Great combination of graphics, understandable language, and story-telling with wonderful ‘how-to’s’.
I wish I'd had this book when I was twenty, but even reading it at fifty-six I learned a lot! The book is full of information presented in a professional and entertaining way. No matter how experienced or inexperienced a person (this book's not just for girls!) is, this book has something to teach. Allison Moon knows what she's talking about, and she talks about it all. Oh, and it's fun.
I'm rating logical progression as "plot" and layout as "setting." Characterization – the mildly erotic storyline used as illustration of principles – was strong on diversity but I think individual vignettes would have worked better. These gals shag everyone. And, finally – This is NOT a book that should be read all at once, and it's not a book to give anyone as entertainment. As a textbook for healthy consensual sex, it's excellent.
This is an absolutely unique and desperately needed resource for those who love cis women, female-identified women, feminine-of-center persons, female-bodied persons, and even persons whose bodies and identities don't fall neatly into a category. Targeted at the underserved demographic of those wishing to honor and respect a lover's personhood throughout a sexual encounter, Girl Sex 101 focuses heavily on achieving meaningful consent, negotiating boundaries, learning how to communicate about sex with a partner--especially one who's suffered abuse, misgendering, or body issues--and making the sometimes daunting prospect of true physical intimacy attainable for anyone. I can't recommend it highly enough. Everything about it from its charming fictional interludes to its fun illustrations to its up-to-date, sex-positive feminist approach to the subject matter win rave reviews. This book is a must-read for lesbian, multisexual, and trans* spectrum people.
From beginner to old-timer, very informative female sex primer. Easy to read, conversationally written, and very supportive and encouraging of whichever gender lifestyle a woman may choose. Lots of good tips!
It was informative, well written, and I like that the author also didn't want girls to man hate. Very nicely done.


Runners Up:
2.    Making a Comeback by Julie Blair   
3.    Barring Complications by Blythe Rippon   
4.    An American Queer: The Amazon Trail by Lee Lynch
The Language of Hoofbeats by Catherine Ryan Hyde
5.    A Small Country about to Vanish by Victoria Avilan   
6.    Under a Falling Star by Jae   
7.    Medusa: A Dark Victorian Penny Dread by Elizabeth Watasin
No Good Reason by Cari Hunter
8.    Everything by Carole Wolf
Rabbits of the Apocalypse by Benny Lawrence
9.    All the little Moments by G Benson
10.    Sandcastles by Suzie Carr
Season's Meetings by Amy Dunne
All We Lack by Sandra Moran
To Love Again by B.L. Clark

reviews_and_ramblings: (Default)
2015-12-08 05:19 am

2015 Rainbow Awards Winners: Best Bisexual Book

And the Rainbow Award goes to:

1. Summer Symphony by Brandon Shire
Paperback: 202 pages
Publisher: TPG Books (October 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1506014437
ISBN-13: 978-1506014432
Amazon: Summer Symphony
Amazon Kindle: Summer Symphony

Martin Zoric had vivid dreams of fatherhood, of a small hand pressed to his, of pink dresses and girlish laughter. Then his wife had a stillbirth and his world fell apart. He listened to the unwanted apologies, stood by his wife as was expected of him, and kept his façade strong and firm for the entire world to see. But does he have the strength let go and really grieve? When Ren Wakahisa landed in Croatia he was hoping to escape the cultural pressures put on him to conform. His family wanted him to forsake love for duty. They viewed his happiness as secondary to familial prosperity. Does he have the courage to be who he wants to be? Or, will he yield to their wishes? Summer Symphony is the story of how two men find their answers and what they learn about strength, and grace, and the endurance of love.
A well-written story that packs quite an emotional punch. I was especially engrossed by the depiction of a man's grief at the loss of his child and the tremendous impact that had on his marriage and his life. Overall, a great read.
A book you have to say a lot about it or nothing. It deals with grief in a real, heartbreaking way. I never thought I was reading fiction and I had to remind myself it was a book, because the pain was so real. It's a story about expectations and having to conform to them and having to perform to them. It's a story about cultural differences, blown away by music. Even if this is not a romance and it deals with strong feelings, it's not hopeless, because there's a way you can find to cope, even if you won't ever heal.
Reminiscent of his earlier works. Superb writing that wrings the emotions out of readers!
Thoroughly enthralling story of a summer symphony that is beautiful to behold. Written with a deft hand.
Gut wrenching and raw, this book made me cry several times.
What a beautiful delicate story of the aftermath of bereavement on one man and how he is helped back to his world again.


Runners Up:
2.    Kneel, Mr. President by Lauren Gallagher
3.    The Harem Master by Megan Derr   
4.    I’ll Always Miss You by Raine O’Tierney   
5.    Fox-Hat and Neko by August Li
6.    The Inheritor (The Marketplace #6) by Laura Antoniou
7.    The Tide of War by Lori A. Witt
8.    A Hard Ride Home by Emory Vargas   
9.    A Year in the Life by Cat Grant   
10.    Smoky Mountain Dreams by Leta Blake

reviews_and_ramblings: (Default)
2015-12-08 05:16 am

2015 Rainbow Awards Winners: Best Transgender Book

And the Rainbow Award goes to:

1. The Burnt Toast B&B (A Bluewater Bay Story) by Heidi Belleau and Rachel Haimowitz
Paperback: 214 pages
Publisher: Riptide Publishing (January 3, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1626492174
ISBN-13: 978-1626492172
Amazon: The Burnt Toast B&B (A Bluewater Bay Story)
Amazon Kindle: The Burnt Toast B&B (A Bluewater Bay Story)

After breaking his arm on set, Wolf’s Landing stuntman Ginsberg Sloan finds himself temporarily out of work. Luckily, Bluewater Bay’s worst B&B has cheap long-term rates, and Ginsberg’s not too proud to take advantage of them.
Derrick Richards, a grizzled laid-off logger, inherited the B&B after his parents’ untimely deaths. Making beds and cooking sunny-side-up eggs is hardly Derrick’s idea of a man’s way to make a living, but just as he’s decided to shut the place down, Ginsberg shows up on his doorstep, pitiful and soaking wet, and Derrick can hardly send him packing.
Not outright, at least.
The plan? Carry on the B&B’s tradition of terrible customer service and even worse food until the pampered city boy leaves voluntarily. What Derrick doesn’t count on, though, is that the lousier he gets at hosting, the more he convinces bored, busybody Ginsberg to try to get the B&B back on track. And he definitely doesn’t count on the growing attraction between them, or how much more he learns from Ginsberg than how to put out kitchen fires.
Honestly, this book blew me away and that's not easy to do. It was hilarious at times and poignant at others and just such a joy to read. It kept me up into the early morning hours until I couldn't keep my eyes open to read "just one more scene." I nearly ran into a bridge support on my daily walk because I couldn't put my phone away to stop reading the book. I loved how Ginsberg's gender, while being an issue...wasn't THE issue. The story was more about Derrick coming to terms with his own sexuality and what that meant in his world. And everything was just so well done. The sex was perfect. The reactions were perfect.. Derrick coming to terms with his parent's death and how well loved he actually is...perfect. And Ginsberg was perfect. I couldn't think of *anything* I would change, hence my score.
Ah, this book had two great characters that I was rooting for the whole way through. Wonderful little book.
Really well written - beautiful characterization.
This was a sweet story exploring a relationship which was very different for one of the MCs, Derrick, who proved to be a kindly man who gained insight into his own past and character as the book went on. His boyfriend Ginsberg, was also patient and kind in how he made allowances for the new situation his partner found himself in. The B&B itself was another character in the story. I don't know how realistic the sex scenes were, but they were nicely unsensational, and gave me food for thought.
Ginsberg, badass stunt double for the star of the show-within-the-book, caught my attention in the first of the Bluewater Bay stories. Ginsberg is a force of nature, and the contrast between his personality and verve, and Derrick's curmudgeonly (yet oddly innocent) viewpoint is highly entertaining.


Runners Up:
2.    Chasing Death Metal Dreams by Kaje Harper   
3.    To Summon Nightmares by J.K. Pendragon
The Errant Prince by Sasha L. Miller
4.    Everybody Knows by Giselle Renarde
A Boy Called Cin by Cecil Wilde   
5.    Groom Of Convenience (Scandalous Whispers Of The Remmington Realm) by Vicktor Alexander

reviews_and_ramblings: (Default)
2015-12-08 05:12 am

2015 Rainbow Awards Winners: Best LGBT Book

And the Rainbow Award goes to:

1 Hammer and Bone by Kirby Crow
Paperback: 198 pages
Publisher: Riptide Publishing (July 30, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1626492050
ISBN-13: 978-1626492059
Amazon: Hammer and Bone
Amazon Kindle: Hammer and Bone

Carnival mystics. Zombie tribes. Bad magic in the Bayou. Mage-princes, alien cities, and soul-stealing priests. The grim monsters in the worlds of these dark, speculative tales are true horrors, but it’s the people you should fear the most.
People like Michel, a boy pining for his best friend, Ray. But a presence in the swamp calls Michel to avenge another lost love, and he must decide which summons to answer. Or Angelo, a prescient cop who denies his visions until they endanger the man he loves. Or Bellew, an overseer in a shantytown of criminals sheltering a revenant and feeding it from their ranks.
From ruined lands of steam and iron, to haunted Southern forests, to brutal city streets where hope and damnation flow from the same spring, only a few stubborn souls possess the heart to challenge evil on its own terms. Some wield magic, some turn to rage or even love, but the ones left standing will survive only if they find the courage to carve their own paths to freedom.
Even if it means carving through flesh.
So many worlds, each intricately crafted and fully formed--so different from one another, yet fully, gloriously brought to life in the space of a short story. Breathtaking characters, and stories that impact like a punch to the gut. This is how speculative fiction should be done.
Sooo creepy. The setting for the book, for the different stories contained within were so wonderfully described that as each story revealed its creepy, horror, paranormal aspect it only served to increase the tension, the creepy factor. Each character within the story were interesting, and they maintained their intrigue throughout. There was very little character development with each story being so short, and the intent of the author for the overall vein of the book/collection, but I still would have liked to see the characters stretch and grow more. The plot of most of the stories was interesting, though some of them were just too confusing or disjointed. An overall great read.
Wow. Just wow. What a freaking journey this was! When it comes to world-building, Crow is a master of her craft. An imaginative collection of weird tales that suck you into their dark fantasy world and won't let you leave without a couple of dents in your heart and a fond memory of every character in each different world. Taking these stories beyond expectations, the author delivers us stories with happy endings and far-less-than happy endings, and both gay and lesbian pairings. Sad and bleak and depressing took on new meanings in this anthology of splice-of-life tales. More than once I was left heartbroken, most of all by Hangfire, a beautiful story of love and loss that left me in tears. The author's creativity deserves a definite thumbs-up!


Runners Up:
2.    Speaking OUT: Queer Youth in Focus by Rachelle Lee Smith   
3.    Hope and Love Anthology by Áine P Massie



reviews_and_ramblings: (Default)
2015-12-08 05:07 am

2015 Rainbow Awards Winners: Best Gay Debut

And the Rainbow Award goes to:

1.    Most Beautiful Words by Raine O’Tierney
Paperback: 200 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (October 10, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1632162105
ISBN-13: 978-1632162106
Amazon: Most Beautiful Words
Amazon Kindle: Most Beautiful Words

Twelve-year-old Autumn's world is shattered when her beloved Great-Pop, Tommy Johnson, suffers a stroke that leaves him comatose. With everyone around her resigning themselves to the inevitable, Autumn is the only one not willing to give up. She and Great-Pop have more secret stories to share with each other, after all. More stories about Roy McMillan—the great love of Tommy's life whom he lost fifty years ago.
Autumn struggles to keep Great-Pop on this side of death's door. But how can she compete with the beautiful and mysterious Valley—a place of surreal magic where the sun never fully sets? Especially when there's someone familiar in the Valley who will do everything he can to keep Great-Pop from returning to her.
It was a really difficult book to read, dealing with an hard issue such as death. But the way it was  faced is really sweet and strong. I think it's really difficult to let go people you love, and this book teach us to let go. Well written even if confusing in some passage, nontheless a very agreable book. Touching.
Here's the inspirational comment = A heartbreaking, beautiful story that left me shattered to pieces and crying my eyes out. This is about true love, a close-knit family, stories that can fill entire lifetimes, and a journey through dreams, life and death to learn what truly matters. I will remember this amazing, haunting love story for a long time to come. Loved everything about it!
I'm speechless... It was a very unusual book for me, it left me crying but mostly with happy tears...


Runners Up:
2.    Trust the Focus by Megan Erickson
3.    Everything Changes by Melanie Hansen
4.    In the Middle of Somewhere by Roan Parrish   
5.    Call Me Home by Megan Kruse   
6.    The HomePort Journals by A.C. Burch
7.    Wolves of Black Pine by S.J. Himes   
8.    Palace Dog by R.E. Nelson
9.    Stealing Arthur by Joel Perry   
10.    Behind Locked Doors by Nicholas Kinsley
Threefold Love by Ki Brightly

reviews_and_ramblings: (Default)
2015-12-08 05:00 am

2015 Rainbow Awards Winners: Best Lesbian Debut

And the Rainbow Award goes to:

1. Barring Complications by Blythe Rippon
Paperback: 396 pages
Publisher: Ylva Verlag e.Kfr. (October 3, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 3955331911
ISBN-13: 978-3955331917
Amazon: Barring Complications
Amazon Kindle: Barring Complications

It's an open secret that the newest justice on the Supreme Court is a lesbian. So when the Court decides to hear a case about gay marriage, Justice Victoria Willoughby must navigate the press, sway at least one of her conservative colleagues, and confront her own fraught feelings about coming out. ­­ Just when she decides she's up to the challenge,­­ she learns that the very brilliant, very out Genevieve Fornier will be lead counsel on the case. Genevieve isn't sure which is causing her more sleepless nights: the prospect of losing the case, or the thought of who will be sitting on the bench when she argues it.
I was pleasantly amazed at this debut work. Blythe Rippon did an excellent job establishing time and place for her story, and she populated it with very real, very human characters. Multiple viewpoints in a novel can get tricky, but Ms. Rippon switches deftly between Victoria's and Genevieve's perspectives. The dialogue was realistic, there was an unexpected but welcome touch of humor, and the novel moved at a pace that kept me turning pages.
This was such a unique and interesting story. The characters were very well-developed and felt so realistic. The writing style was excellent, there wasn't one boring or slow part. I enjoyed it very much.
So amazingly good. One of my favorite book of the year for sure. As a non american reader I have loved how well the author explain the Supreme Court procedures and the double point of view is so well balanced that seems like the only way this story could have been told. Everything in this book is done so well that it was actually difficult for me to take brakes to do important and so much needed things like sleep! This is a book that I will re-read for sure. A wonderful and actually perfect debut that will make me wait impatiently for her next book.
The idea that this is Mrs Blythe Rippon's debut lesbian, contemporary, romance novel is astonishing as there was such depth, breadth, life, such a realness, vitality, and a thrumming of awareness and anticipation that seemed to thrum throughout every word, every sentence, every paragraph, and every page. Much like the mellifluous and (let's admit it, AMAZING) music she referenced in the book, this story vibrated and flowed like a beautiful melody. Lulling the reader into a vivaciously, entertaining book, about a notably historic moment, and while there might have been some readers who may have found their eyes glazing over at the lengthy and verbose use of legal jargon that seemed to infuse the pages of this novel, Mrs. Rippon's ability to weave their meaning without making the reader feel interminably foolish, or her cheeky way of subtly encouraging the reader to research the numerous legal cases referenced within, only serve to enhance the plot and make it more engaging and enthralling. As for the setting, between the vivid description of the biting cold that made me want to reach for a coat, the rainstorms that made me feel as if my own dress loafers were soaked through, the swimming in the pool that always made me feel exhausted (and strangely smelling of chlorine), even to the mojitos that always left a delightful taste on my tongue, Mrs. Rippon's skill at plunking the reader down in the middle of a scene and not just guiding them through it, but making them experience it, is above par. The characters, from the two main characters: Victoria and Genevieve, to the secondary characters: William, Diane, Sonya, Tara, Bethany, Pollard, Alistair, Rosie, Jamie (of HRC), Nicollete "Nic" (of NCLR), Wallace, even Roxie, etc. are all so completely well executed and well-rounded that there wasn't one character I could imagine lifting out of the novel and tossing away due to frivolity as I can so often do to many other novels. And while of these things point to the brilliance, the beauty, the sheer elegance that is Mrs. Rippon's writing style, and why she is so deserving of a score of 40/40, none do that more than the different quotes from the book to show the interaction between the characters and those directly from the case which was at the center of this novel, which I have included below. As we read and judge these books, sometimes focusing on different aspects of the books, the chemistry between the couples: physical and emotional, the plot of the story, it was lovely to read a story that had at its core a couple not only fighting for their own love, but for the rights of all same-sex couples to be able to marry in the U.S. Something of which we all celebrate, now that the battle has been won. Well done, Mrs. Rippon. Very, very, well done.


Runners Up:
2.    All the little Moments by G Benson   
3.    To Love Again by B.L. Clark   
4.    Wishbone by Elaine Burnes   
5.    The Caphenon by Fletcher DeLancey   
6.    Never Too Late by Julie Blair   
7.    When It Raynes by C.D. Cain
The Surrender by Terias McKlay   
8.    The Paths of Marriage by Mala Kumar
9.    A Story of Now by Emily O'Beirne
10.    No Thru Road by Linda M. Vogt

reviews_and_ramblings: (Default)
2015-12-08 04:55 am

2015 Rainbow Awards Winners: Best Bisexual, Transgender & LGBT Debut

And the Rainbow Award goes to:

1.    Speaking OUT: Queer Youth in Focus by Rachelle Lee Smith
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: PM Press (November 15, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1629630411
ISBN-13: 978-1629630410
Amazon: Speaking OUT: Queer Youth in Focus
Amazon Kindle: Speaking OUT: Queer Youth in Focus

A photographic essay that explores a wide spectrum of experiences told from the perspective of a diverse group of young people, ages 14–24, identifying as queer (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning), Speaking OUT: Queer Youth in Focus presents portraits without judgment or stereotype by eliminating environmental influence with a stark white backdrop. This backdrop acts as a blank canvas, where each subject’s personal thoughts are handwritten onto the final photographic print. With more than 65 portraits photographed over a period of 10 years, the book provides rare insight into the passions, confusions, prejudices, joys, and sorrows felt by queer youth and gives a voice to an underserved group of people that are seldom heard and often silenced. The collaboration of image and first-person narrative serves to provide an outlet, show support, create dialogue, and help those who struggle.
I really liked how even though there was an official author the story was written by the individuals. Compelling, real, and positive outlook toward the future.
All I can tell you is that it moved me.  Each page made me think, smile, feel.
Visually stunning and poignant, this book puts together the youth of the LGBTQ community and their thoughts at the time of their portraits for an exhibit. The book is the result of the exhibit.  There are many THEN and NOW sections--of how the person felt at the time, and the reflection of what was going then and now. Some moved me to tears, while others made me think, and few made me laugh.  The most basic and universal of messages--let me be free to be me--get to know me--I too am human were wonderfully documented in this book..


Runners Up:
2.    Modern Brides & Modern Grooms: A Guide to Planning Straight, Gay, and Other NonTraditional, Twenty-First Century Weddings by Mark O'Connell   
3.    Job Hunt by Jackie Keswick

reviews_and_ramblings: (Default)
2015-12-08 04:49 am

2015 Rainbow Awards Winners: Gay Contemporary Romance

And The William Neale Award goes to:

1. Beneath the Stain by Amy Lane
Paperback: 350 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (October 17, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1632162326
ISBN-13: 978-1632162328
Amazon: Beneath the Stain
Amazon Kindle: Beneath the Stain

In a town as small as Tyson, CA, everybody knew the four brothers with the four different fathers—and their penchant for making good music when they weren't getting into trouble. For Mackey Sanders, playing in Outbreak Monkey with his brothers and their friends—especially Grant Adams—made Tyson bearable. But Grant has plans for getting Mackey and the Sanders boys out of Tyson, even if that means staying behind.
Between the heartbreak of leaving Grant and the terrifying, glamorous life of rock stardom, Mackey is adrift and sinking fast. When he's hit rock bottom, Trav Ford shows up, courtesy of their record company and a producer who wants to see what Mackey can do if he doesn't flame out first. But cleaning up his act means coming clean about Grant, and that's not easy to do or say. Mackey might make it with Trav's help—but Trav's not sure he's going to survive falling in love with Mackey.
Mackey James Sanders comes with a whole lot of messy, painful baggage, and law-and-order Trav doesn't do messy or painful. And just when Trav thinks they may have mastered every demon in Mackey's past, the biggest, baddest demon of all comes knocking.
No one does angst like Amy Lane. At times this book was almost too much--even for someone like me who adores angst--but it's impossible to put down. The characters are perfectly flawed, so loveable you feel every shred of their pain and hope and loss. A story that will stay with me forever, for sure.
This book pulled me in from the very beginning, and I almost felt like I was there.
Intense long gripping story with a plot that continued to evolve throughout the story. Interesting characters. Looked at sad side of life as well as the good side.
Amy Lane's dark contemporary stories always gut me -- this one was no different, and it wasn't even one of the darker ones. Incredible characters, roiling emotions, and rock and roll! When you finish an Amy Lane book, you feel like you really know all her characters personally (and for some of the less pleasant ones, that's not entirely comfortable!).
Absolutely loved every word, Amy Lane at her finest!
Coming of age story. As expected from this author, very well written and interactive. A song of life, love and friendship.


Runners Up:
2.    Knight of Ocean Avenue by Tara Lain   
3.    The Butterfly King by Edmond Manning
We Found Love by Allison Cassatta & Kade Boheme
4.    A New Man by P.D. Singer
5.    The Deep of the Sound by Amy Lane
Trust the Focus by Megan Erickson   
6.    Arctic Absolution by Lynn Kelling
7.    Everything Changes by Melanie Hansen
8.    Bowl Full of Cherries by Raine O’Tierney
In the Middle of Somewhere by Roan Parrish
9.    Innocence by Suki Fleet
10.    A Restored Man by Jaime Reese

reviews_and_ramblings: (Default)
2015-12-08 04:39 am

2015 Rainbow Awards Winners: Lesbian Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance & Romantic Comedy

And the Rainbow Award goes to:

1. Making a Comeback by Julie Blair
Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (July 14, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1626393575
ISBN-13: 978-1626393578
Amazon: Making a Comeback
Amazon Kindle: Making a Comeback

Jazz pianist Liz Randall is reeling from her wife’s death and struggling to keep their band together. An invitation to play at the prestigious Monterey Jazz Festival is an opportunity she can’t turn down, and a challenge she might not be up to until she enlists the help of a mysterious neighbor who’s surprisingly knowledgeable about jazz.
When Jac Winters reluctantly agrees to help, a past she wants to forget threatens to destroy the carefully ordered life she’s built with her guide dog, Max, in the quiet town of Carmel-by-the-Sea.
With music and love swirling around them like ocean currents, will Liz and Jac play it safe or risk everything on making a comeback?
Absolutely brilliant story about love lost and regained, no punches pulled. Wonderful background of music.
This is definitely an author I would look up again. I truly enjoyed the flow of the story.
Loved it - love the Jazz, the partner's death, the neighbor, the locale of Carmel by the Sea - loved it.
This book was much better than her debut one and if Julie Blair can improve so much with only two book I will wait impatiently for her 3rd one. Really good job! I have nothing to say because the book have offered me all I want: a good solid plot that make sense and give away so much in the feelings department that one can only empathize with the protagonists. And also if it was not a original story it was fresh enough to old my interest from cover to cover. Definitely one of the best read this year and so it deserved a perfect score.
A little slow placed but overall well written romance. Very likeable MC's, both vulnerable and finding their way to love.


Runners Up:
2.    Barring Complications by Blythe Rippon   
3.    Under a Falling Star by Jae   
4.    All the little Moments by G Benson   
5.    Season's Meetings by Amy Dunne   
6.    For the Love of Cake by Erin Dutton   
7.    To Love Free by Chris Paynter   
8.    Never Too Late by Julie Blair   
9.    Love is Enough by Cindy Rizzo
June Magee, RN, Festival Nurse by Ann McMan, Salem West, Barrett
10.    Spring Blossom (Camellia #2) by Caitlin Ricci & Cari Z.
Up the Ante by PJ Trebelhorn

reviews_and_ramblings: (Default)
2015-12-08 04:32 am

2015 Rainbow Awards Winners: Gay Erotic Romance

And The Bobby Michaels Award goes to:

1.    For Real by Alexis Hall
Paperback: 362 pages
Publisher: Riptide Publishing (February 15, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1626492808
ISBN-13: 978-1626492806
Amazon: For Real: A Spires Story
Amazon Kindle: For Real: A Spires Story

Laurence Dalziel, a thirty-seven year old trauma surgeon, is worn down and washed up. And for him the BDSM scene especially is all played out. He’s tired of pantomiming submission, and he’s long since given up looking for more than hollow release.
Then he meets Toby Finch. Nineteen years old. Fearless, fierce, and vulnerable. Everything Laurie can’t remember being.
Toby doesn’t know who he wants to be or what he wants to do. He doesn’t know how he ended up where he is or where he’s meant to be going. But he knows, with all the terrible certainty of youth, that he wants Laurie.
He wants Laurie on his knees. He wants to make him hurt, he wants to make him beg, he wants to make him fall in love. But while Laurie will surrender his body to Toby’s desires, he won’t surrender his heart. Because whatever they have, however right it feels, he knows it can’t last. Toby has to live his own life, and Laurie has to let him.
It can’t be for real.
Oh my dog!!!! . . I was a bit let down when I saw it was BDSM. That usually does very little for me. But this book made me a believer. I have loved Alexis’s other books because they are clever, funny, and hot. I love this one because I was forced to, much like Laurie, the jaded BDSMer was forced to love Toby but not in a stilted set-up. They were so perfect together.  There were bits that felt slightly holier-than-thou about BDSM  (eg the conversation about safe-words) but who cares. The book has so much heart to go along with Alexis’s usual cleverness I’m thoroughly charmed and wowed by it. The BDSM was never forced or silly—except in the one scene when it was supposed to be, and even that wasn’t cheapened into being a mere plot device because Dom, the secondary character, is more than a stereotype (and he made sure we and Laurie knows it) . The heroes are fabulous and I get snuffly just thinking of them – and I NEVER get snuffly about books. I feel sorry for whoever dropped the ball on reading this. S/he missed an absolute treat. It’s one of the best books I’ve read this year. And now I have to recover and get some sleep because Hall made me stay up way past my bedtime, reading.
The emotionality, the depth and the sheer brilliance of the writing took my breath away. An awesome read and a wonderful, poignant romance.
BDSM, but with much more focus on the psychology, the needs of the two men and the balance of the relationship, than any mechanics of the physical side. Not that there aren't excellent sexual episodes in it, but there are no formal scenes here, no careful planning and stylized progression. Just two men, one older, one younger; one experienced in the scene, one completely new to it; one broken by losing love through no fault of his own, one urgently seeking something he's never had... and the young, inexperienced guy is the Dom. This worked for me on so many levels. The writing is excellent. (If you haven't tried this author yet, and were daunted by the accent or the steampunk of other stories, try this one.) The men are imperfect, physically as well as in their very human emotions and psychology. The progression through the relationship is organic, not formalized, moving in very believable fits and starts. There are wonderful moments and painful moments and I read it in one breathless evening, then went back to the beginning.


Runners Up:
2.    The Slave by Kate Aaron
A Forbidden Rumspringa by Keira Andrews
3.    Breaking the Habit by J.P. Bowie
The Love of Wicked Men (Episodes 1-6) by Brandon Shire
4.    Unfortunate Son by Shae Connor
5.    No Place That Far by L.A. Witt & Aleksandr Voinov   
6.    Make Me Soar (Collars & Cuffs #6) by K.C. Wells
7.    Chance Of the Heart by Kade Boehme   
8.    Dirty Dining by EM Lynley   
9.    Mask by Teodora Kostova   
10.    Turkish Delights by Trina Lane
Wrestling With Passion by D.H. Starr
Training Complex by Leta Blake
Beyond the Surface by Felice Stevens
The Right Time (Right And Wrong #3) by Lane Hayes   

reviews_and_ramblings: (Default)
2015-12-08 04:24 am

2015 Rainbow Awards Winners: Gay Paranormal Romance

And the Rainbow Award goes to:

1. The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal by KJ Charles
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd. (June 16, 2015)
Amazon Kindle: The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal

A story too secret, too terrifying—and too shockingly intimate—for Victorian eyes.
A note to the Editor
Dear Henry,
I have been Simon Feximal’s companion, assistant and chronicler for twenty years now, and during that time my Casebooks of Feximal the Ghost-Hunter have spread the reputation of this most accomplished of ghost-hunters far and wide.
You have asked me often for the tale of our first meeting, and how my association with Feximal came about. I have always declined, because it is a story too private to be truthfully recounted, and a memory too precious to be falsified. But none knows better than I that stories must be told.
So here is it, Henry, a full and accurate account of how I met Simon Feximal, which I shall leave with my solicitor to pass to you after my death.
I dare say it may not be quite what you expect.
Robert Caldwell
September 1914
"The Caldwell Ghost" and “Butterflies” are previously published short stories. The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal continues and completes Robert Caldwell and Simon Feximal’s story.
Well rounded characters and I enjoyed how their relationship was told through the cases they worked. I loved the world building and that I could picture everything as it was playing out, almost like I was watching a movie.
Another perfect read. A collection of short stories that piece together a lifetime relationship. Sad and sweet, scary and funny, all stories are different and entertaining.
This was literally the best thing I read all year.
This is a charming (if sometimes harrowing) homage to Victorian occultists and its resulting pulp fiction. KJ Charles's mastery of the vernacular of this period is remarkable, as always. Ever wonder what would have happened if Holmes and Watson had been lovers rather than colleagues, and if Holmes's weakness had not been cocaine but the result of arcane tampering? Here's the answer. (In Feximal's world, the Hound of the Baskervilles would have truly been a giant spectral hound.)
I adored this book which hearkened back to the days of Victorian England, and the poignancy of two men investigating to the best of their abilities. The irony--and hope--at the end undid me, and I have spent lots of fruitless--if wonderful time--imagining the ending that I'm sure we all wanted for our heroes. I did not realize until recently that parts of this book were released independently, as individual adventures, and that knowledge only made me love it more. It's like Sherlock Holmes, paranormal style, and I cannot praise it enough.


Runners Up:
2.    Restless Spirits by Jordan L. Hawk   
3.    Winter’s Wolf by Tara Lain
Orion's Circle by Victoria Sue
4.    Kick at the Darkness by Keira Andrews
5.    Cronin's Key by N.R. Walker   
6.    Wolves of Black Pine by S.J. Himes
Axel's Pup by Kim Dare
7.    Walk a Mile by Sarah Madison
The Altered by Annabelle Jacobs
8.    Threefold Love by Ki Brightly
The Vampire and the P.I. by J.P. Bowie   
9.    Trouble Comes in Threes by M.A. Church
Jerricho's Freedom by JC Wallace   
10.    I'll Still Be There by Keelan Ellis

reviews_and_ramblings: (Default)
2015-12-08 04:17 am

2015 Rainbow Awards Winners: Gay Contemporary General Fiction

And the Rainbow Award goes to:

1.    Call Me Home by Megan Kruse
Paperback: 292 pages
Publisher: Hawthorne Books (March 3, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0990437000
ISBN-13: 978-0990437000
Amazon: Call Me Home

Call Me Home has an epic scope in the tradition of Louise Erdrich’s The Plague of Doves or Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping and braids the stories of a family in three distinct voices: Amy, who leaves her Texas home at 19 to start a new life with a man she barely knows, and her two children, Jackson and Lydia, who are rocked by their parents’ abusive relationship. When Amy is forced to bargain for the safety of one child over the other, she must retrace the steps in the life she has chosen. Jackson, 18 and made visible by his sexuality, leaves home and eventually finds work on a construction crew in the Idaho mountains, where he begins a potentially ruinous affair with Don, the married foreman of his crew. Lydia, his 12-year-old sister, returns with her mother to Texas, struggling to understand what she perceives to be her mother’s selfishness. At its heart, this is a novel about family, our choices and how we come to live with them, what it means to be queer in the rural West, and the changing idea of home.
This is a beautiful tale told in three voices:  Lydia speaks from the first person point of view, and Jackson and Amy speak from the third person point of view.  The timetable is not linear, but the writer purposely reveals the details of their lives as needed.  The struggles of physical/mental abuse are shown by each voice as they perceive them and add up to the tragedy that is domestic abuse.  The gay theme is masterfully told by both Amy and Jackson.  At one point Amy goes to Seattle to participate in an LGBT rally because she wants the best for her son: "She wanted every promise that lit from these hopeful tongues, the warm and waiting streets they marched on.  She wanted him to have what was owed to him, for the world to crack open for him.  She did not want for him to feel the poor, small life that was already around him for a minute longer, when all of this was here, waiting." There is also the relationship between Lydia and Jackson.  more like siblings they are twins.  They feel each other's presence even when they are apart:  "...if Jackson lives as though he never knew us at all - it doesn't matter.  I'll remember it for us, I thought; I will remember all of it; I will leave nothing out.  I didn't know why it was important, but it was." The character development is outstanding.  They pop out of the page and speak to you.  After a few pages you can't help but feel their pain. This is the best novel I've read this year!  At its heart, this is a novel about family, our choices and how we come to live with them, what it means to be queer in the rural West, and the changing idea of home and family.
Kruse seamlessly weaves the story through past and present - each time period as pertinent and relative to each other in the story as they are in the individual’s life. No loss of suspense in the transitions, rather a skillful heightening. The writing is as spare and plain as the emotionally impoverished lives the characters lead, and the settings are perfectly balanced - as broken as the characters yet full of potential. Perfectly paced character development - the damaged young daughter hating and fearing her abusive father; the gay son so hungry for his father’s love and his hate for his mother; the guilt-ridden mother driven after decades of abuse to finally flee her the husband she once loved, who could at turns be fun and loving. It would have been easy to keep him just a bad guy but Kruse makes him as sympathetic and damaged as the rest of his family. A lovely novel of resiliency and continuing to believe in ones dreams.
Heartbreaking and richly told.


Runners Up:
2.    Sutphin Boulevard by Santino Hassell   
3.    Blink by Rick R. Reed
Lead Me Not by Ann Gallagher
4.    Stealing Arthur by Joel Perry   
5.    Playing House by Bru Baker   
6.    The Eskimo Slugger by Brad Boney   
7.    In Me an Invincible Summer by Ryan Loveless   
8.    An Older Man by Wayne Hoffman
Red Dirt Heart 4 by N.R. Walker
9.    The Fallen Angels of Karnataka by Hans M. Hirschi
10.    Square Affair by Timmothy J. Holt

reviews_and_ramblings: (Default)
2015-12-08 04:10 am

2015 Rainbow Awards Winners: Gay Mystery / Thriller

And The Dorien Grey Award goes to:

1.    Model Citizen by Lissa Kasey
Paperback: 220 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (June 22, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1634761308
ISBN-13: 978-1634761307
Amazon: Model Citizen
Amazon Kindle: Model Citizen

Oliver “Ollie” Petroskovic’s life as an international supermodel was heading in the right direction. He worked part-time for his brother at his detective agency―Petroskovic Haven Investigations―and had just bought his dream house. But all that changed when he found his brother dead, a victim of PTSD-induced suicide.
Almost a year later, Ollie is trying to keep his brother’s business afloat, but can’t get his PI license. Then his brother’s best friend, Kade Alme, shows up, fresh from the battlefield after a close brush with death. Kade is looking for a new life, in more ways than one, and with PI license in hand, he’s exactly what Ollie needs to keep PHI running.
When one of Ollie's childhood friends gets in trouble, Ollie feels he has to help. Kade insists on investigating if only to keep Ollie safe. Neither realizes the danger they’re in as someone tries to tear them apart before they can find solid ground together.
Well written mystery with lovable characters. Just enough angst to keep things interesting.  I couldn't stop reading.
Totally fresh and original characters. Engaging mystery. Strong, interesting writing style.
If you like mysteries then you really need to give this story a chance.  I was pulled in right from the beginning by both the characters and the mysteries woven through the story.  There are several OMG moments and I was surprised by how everything played out.  This is one story that would make a great series, and I plan on re-reading it soon.
A deliciously plotted murder mystery with a great cast of characters and believable relationships.


Runners Up:
2.    Blood and Dirt by Lloyd A. Meeker   
3.    Fragmented (Shadow Mountain #2) by Indra Vaughn   
4.    Heat Trap by JL Merrow   
5.    One Marine, Hero by EM Lynley   
6.    Jewel Cave by Elizabeth Noble
24-Karat Conspiracy (Precious Gems #4) by EM Lynley   
7.    Infected: Paris by Andrea Speed
The Best Corpse for the Job by Charlie Cochrane
Sunset Island by Elliott Mackle
Redemption (Diversion #5) by Eden Winters
8.    Boystown 7: Bloodlines by Marshall Thornton   
9.    Fated (Shadow Mountain #1) by Indra Vaughn
10.    Manipulation (Diversion #4) by Eden Winters

reviews_and_ramblings: (Default)
2015-12-08 04:00 am

2015 Rainbow Awards Winners: Lesbian Contemporary General Fiction

And the Rainbow Award goes to:

1.    The Language of Hoofbeats by Catherine Ryan Hyde   
Paperback: 342 pages
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (December 9, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1477824685
ISBN-13: 978-1477824689
Amazon: The Language of Hoofbeats
Amazon Kindle: The Language of Hoofbeats

From the bestselling author of Pay It Forward comes a story of the heartbreak and healing power of family. New to a small town, Jackie and Paula envision a quiet life for their kids: a young adopted son and two teenage foster children, including the troubled Star. However, they quickly butt heads with their neighbor, Clementine, who disapproves of their lifestyle and is incensed when Star befriends her spirited horse, Comet. Haunted by past tragedy and unable to properly care for Comet, Clem nevertheless resents the bond Star soon shares with the horse. When Star disappears with Comet, the neighbors are thrown together—far too close together. But as the search for the pair wears on, both families must learn to put aside their animosity and confront the choices they’ve made and the scars they carry. Plumbing the depths of regret and forgiveness, The Language of Hoofbeats explores the strange alchemy that transforms a group of people into a family.
The Language of Hoofbeats is a touching story of a lesbian couple that moves into a small town with 3 children.  One they adopted, the other two are fosters.  Their closest neighbor is not happy that they have moved in and they are lesbians.  The story shows how the neighbor and the couple have to push aside differences when one of the children does something unthinkable that affects them all.
Mrs Catherine Ryan Hyde work seem to be always precise and on point and this book is another example of why I enjoy to read her books. This is not the first time that I read a book divided into two point of views but it is a lot more rare that the different voices are not connected by a romance building among the owners of those voices. I think that the way she balanced her protagonist's stories is perfect and the story even if not new is never trite or banal.
The characterization was a rare piece of craftsmanship, making even the most disagreeable character human and sympathetic.  Best of the bunch – VERY well done!
The plot structure was perfection. There were lots of arcs, but they all came together. Clem's struggles seemed to mirror Star's, and the horse brought them together. The setting--Clem's house, the barn, and Jackie's house were well done and used to maximum benefit. Characterization was spot on. Character growth of everyone was incredible. It seemed they all had fears they needed to overcome. The writing style was fantastic--each sentence has a purpose.
For me, this book is a straight 10-10-10-10 for a total of 40. I was almost sure it would be 5 pages into it. Okay, I need to justify my rating. This is going to be longer than you want to read, but I'll get around to something you can use by the end. When I read other lesfic, I can't help but compare the writing to my own writing. There are a lot of authors I judge "not as good" or "really, really not as good". And then there's a group that I consider peers, or close enough. There are a few I put "a little better". Then there's Catherine Ryan Hyde. I can only hope someday to write this well. You probably can't use any of that and want a simple one liner. So... The Language of Hoofbeats tugged at my heartstrings. It made me laugh. It made me cry. I felt joy, and I felt sorrow. And I felt hope.


Runners Up:
2.    A Small Country about to Vanish by Victoria Avilan   
3.    Everything by Carole Wolf   
4.    Sandcastles by Suzie Carr
All We Lack by Sandra Moran
To Love Again by B.L. Clark
5.    Turning for Home by Caren J. Werlinger

reviews_and_ramblings: (Default)
2015-12-08 03:54 am

2015 Rainbow Awards Winners: Gay Historical Romance

And the Rainbow Award goes to:

1. Semper Fi by Keira Andrews
Paperback: 324 pages
Publisher: KA Books (April 30, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0993859844
ISBN-13: 978-0993859847
Amazon: Semper Fi
Amazon Kindle: Semper Fi

The war is over. The battle for love has just begun.
As Marines, Cal and Jim depended on each other to survive bloodshed and despair in the Pacific. Relieved to put the horrors of war behind him, Jim went home to his apple orchard and a quiet life with his wife and children. Knowing Jim could never return his forbidden feelings, Cal hoped time and an ocean between them would dull the yearning for his best friend.
But when Jim's wife dies, Cal returns to help. He doesn't know a thing about apple farming--or children--but he's determined to be there for Jim, even as the painful torch he carries blazes back to life. Jim is grateful for his friend's support as he struggles with buried emotions and dark wartime memories. Then Jim begins to see Cal in a new light, and their relationship deepens in ways neither expected.
Can they build a life together as a family and find happiness in a world that would condemn them?
This is a historical that is very well done by Ms. Andrews. The characters really pulled me in and I loved the way the author allows them to find their happily ever after.
Of the three historicals I’ve read this is by far my favorite. The author did an excellent job of writing an accurate historical piece and making the love story appealing to the reader. Normally I don’t like a lot of flashbacks, but this was written in a way that made the flashbacks keep the characters story moving forward. The plot itself was original and creative. Excellent job of taking the reader to both the South Pacific and Upstate New York. Both the main characters were written excellently. Their backstories were done well and their growth throughout the story realistic. Language was appropriate to the times. Good use of showing. Pace was enjoyable.
This was by far my favorite book this year. The characterizations were fantastic; the plot moved along at a good pace. I liked the way the chapters went back and forth between past and present as well.
This was a gorgeously written book. Usually, I don't enjoy books that flip between timelines, but in this case it worked very well - the arc of a young Cal and Jim surviving Okinawa and reaching the end of the war carefully mirroring the modern arc of Cal and Jim struggling to come to terms with their relationship and ultimately building a life together with their family. The secondary characters were thoughtfully drawn and the storyline was treated in a lovely, understated and sensitive way. Even the smallest throwaway line of Sergeant Tyrell smiling at Cal to tell him that he was now a Marine was perfectly meaningful, leading the reader to understand that Tyrell had not been abusing his power in treating Cal harshly but hoped to give him the skills to survive wartime and that Cal, to an independent observer, really appeared to be a promising but undisciplined young man. I felt that Jim's agonizing over balancing what was best for his children against what was best for himself and Cal went on just a touch too long and dragged the pace of the plot a bit, but that's a pretty minor complaint. One of my favorite reads this year.
Wow! Two books in one: the story of the war years, then the recovery and journey of self discovery skillfully blended together. Bitter-sweet and utterly enthralling, I cannot recommend this book enough.


Runners Up:
2.    A Fashionable Indulgence by KJ Charles   
3.    Undercover Blues by Chris Quinton   
4.    The Bells of Times Square by Amy Lane   
5.    When Skies Have Fallen by Debbie McGowan

reviews_and_ramblings: (Default)
2015-12-08 03:43 am

2015 Rainbow Awards Winners: LGBT Anthology / Collection

And the Rainbow Award goes to:

1 (tie-in).    Keep the Stars Running by Andrea Speed, Talya Andor, Lexi Ander, Leona Carver, and Cassandra Pierce
Paperback: 514 pages
Publisher: Less Than Three Press (May 13, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1620045311
ISBN-13: 978-1620045312
Amazon: Keep the Stars Running
Amazon Kindle: Keep the Stars Running

Space is not always filled with adventures and glory. Not everybody goes racing off to battle evil and save the galaxy. Between the rebels, pirates, royals, and spies are the everyday people who work hard just to get by and ensure everyone gets home safe. Less Than Three Press presents a collection of tales about the ordinary folks who keep the stars running.
Every time I read an Andrea Speed book I get sucked in. I read all the books in the anthology, they were all good.
Although on a similar theme, each story took a different approach. I was hooked very early on by not just the plots, but the characters and worldbuilding.  A few authors new to me who I will be reading more of. Loved it.
In the previous anthologies I've said that there was a mixed bag of good and not so good stories. In this one, though, I must confess, I Loved all the stories within. Each one was quite entertaining and some even kept me at the edge of the seat. I must say, I'd love to see these shorts expanded to novel size and let us see more of these couples and the men and women who surround them. Well written, entertaining stories!
1 Hammer and Bone by Kirby Crow
Paperback: 198 pages
Publisher: Riptide Publishing (July 30, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1626492050
ISBN-13: 978-1626492059
Amazon: Hammer and Bone
Amazon Kindle: Hammer and Bone

Carnival mystics. Zombie tribes. Bad magic in the Bayou. Mage-princes, alien cities, and soul-stealing priests. The grim monsters in the worlds of these dark, speculative tales are true horrors, but it’s the people you should fear the most.
People like Michel, a boy pining for his best friend, Ray. But a presence in the swamp calls Michel to avenge another lost love, and he must decide which summons to answer. Or Angelo, a prescient cop who denies his visions until they endanger the man he loves. Or Bellew, an overseer in a shantytown of criminals sheltering a revenant and feeding it from their ranks.
From ruined lands of steam and iron, to haunted Southern forests, to brutal city streets where hope and damnation flow from the same spring, only a few stubborn souls possess the heart to challenge evil on its own terms. Some wield magic, some turn to rage or even love, but the ones left standing will survive only if they find the courage to carve their own paths to freedom.
Even if it means carving through flesh.
So many worlds, each intricately crafted and fully formed--so different from one another, yet fully, gloriously brought to life in the space of a short story. Breathtaking characters, and stories that impact like a punch to the gut. This is how speculative fiction should be done.
Sooo creepy. The setting for the book, for the different stories contained within were so wonderfully described that as each story revealed its creepy, horror, paranormal aspect it only served to increase the tension, the creepy factor. Each character within the story were interesting, and they maintained their intrigue throughout. There was very little character development with each story being so short, and the intent of the author for the overall vein of the book/collection, but I still would have liked to see the characters stretch and grow more. The plot of most of the stories was interesting, though some of them were just too confusing or disjointed. An overall great read.
Wow. Just wow. What a freaking journey this was! When it comes to world-building, Crow is a master of her craft. An imaginative collection of weird tales that suck you into their dark fantasy world and won't let you leave without a couple of dents in your heart and a fond memory of every character in each different world. Taking these stories beyond expectations, the author delivers us stories with happy endings and far-less-than happy endings, and both gay and lesbian pairings. Sad and bleak and depressing took on new meanings in this anthology of splice-of-life tales. More than once I was left heartbroken, most of all by Hangfire, a beautiful story of love and loss that left me in tears. The author's creativity deserves a definite thumbs-up!


Runners Up:
2.    Gayrabian Nights by Johnny Townsend   
3.    Charmed and Dangerous: Ten Tales of Gay Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy by Jordan Castillo Price
4.    Hope and Love Anthology by Áine P Massie   
5.    Don’t Be Shy – A collection of erotic lesbian stories by Jae & Astrid Ohletz

reviews_and_ramblings: (Default)
2015-12-08 03:35 am

2015 Rainbow Awards Winners: Lesbian Mystery / Thriller

And the Rainbow Award goes to:

1. No Good Reason by Cari Hunter
Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (June 9, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1626393524
ISBN-13: 978-1626393523
Amazon: No Good Reason (The Dark Peak Series Book 1)
Amazon Kindle: No Good Reason (The Dark Peak Series Book 1)

“I can’t do this. I can’t do any of this without her.”
Detective Sanne Jensen (not blonde, not tall, definitely not Scandinavian) and Dr. Meg Fielding (scruffy, scatterbrained, prone to swearing at patients) are lifelong best friends, sharing the same deprived background and occasionally the same bed.
When a violent kidnapping stuns the Peak District village of Rowlee, both women become involved in the case. As Sanne and her colleagues in East Derbyshire Special Ops search for the culprit, and Meg fights to keep his victim alive, a shocking discovery turns the investigation on its head. With the clock ticking, Sanne and Meg find themselves pushed closer by a crime that threatens to tear everything apart.
A fabulous mystery, well grounded in setting, creepy and steadily paced, reminiscent of the television show Broadchurch.
Very good craft. Great story. I would like to have seen more kickass in the heroine. A little to indecisive for my taste. But a great story idea that really grabs you about midway through. I’d like to have seen the heroine force the issue a little more. The plot components are all there and in order. But the heroine could have made that flow a little faster, a little more captivating by rebelling every once in a while. Setting is Excellent. The reveal was a little slow on a few issues and, I believe, incomplete on others. The heroines’ father. How that impacted her decision making could have been developed a little more. And there were two specific times I wanted to grab the H and yell at her. Go do this now. You not doing this particular thing is out of character for you. The most important of the two was when they finally linked one person to the killings (Farley I believe) and everyone else gave up on the second victim (Rachel). And our H went home wounded and tired, all teary eyed, but she had a hunch or maybe a hope. She shouldn’t have given up. She should of fought Meg to the point of anger and continued the search on her own. In the dark. In the rain. Through the pain. That’s what makes our heroes heroic. Great stuff. Nice flow. Very clean. Well edited. Only mention here would be using a lot of brand names. Especially products that a reader outside the UK may never have heard of before. Great one. I will be finding another title by this author for personal reading.
Brilliant. This started out looking like another trudge through a cliché formula, then suddenly spun out into a hair-raising hunt. I'd go on about how good it is but I don't want to give away any surprises. A real surprise.
An excellent start into a new series oozing with brithisness and characters who run deep.


Runners Up:
2.    The Acquittal by Anne Laughlin   
3.    The Surrender by Terias McKlay   
4.    Blind Trust by Jody Klaire   
5.    No Thru Road by Linda M. Vogt


reviews_and_ramblings: (Default)
2015-12-08 02:55 am

2015 Rainbow Awards Winners: Gay Sci-Fi / Futuristic

And the Rainbow Award goes to:

1 (tie-in). Infected: Epitaph by Andrea Speed
Paperback: 330 pages
Publisher: DSP Publications (November 18, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1627988610
ISBN-13: 978-1627988612
Amazon: Infected, Epitaph
Amazon Kindle: Infected, Epitaph

Sequel to Infected: Undertow
Infected: Book Eight
In a world where a werecat virus has changed society, Roan McKichan, a born infected and ex-cop, works as a private detective solving crimes involving other infecteds.
Tiger strain infections start showing up all over Seattle, much to Roan's dismay, and worse yet, they may have a personal connection. Meanwhile, Roan gets hired to look into the puzzling death of Dee's former lover. Then the FBI wants him to investigate a new apocalypse cult of infecteds pushing for a violent revolution against normals. All around Roan, events are spiraling out of control. Just when his singular abilities are needed most, Roan develops new symptoms that might signify dire consequences if he doesn’t stop shifting at will. Roan finds himself at a crossroads and must make a difficult decision about his future.
This is the beautiful first meeting of soul mates. It's heartbreaking, for those like me who know how that story ends, but it's a sort of privilege to be able to see two people who were born to be together meet and recognize they're meant for each other. It's great to see how the main characters complement each other and their dialogs are lively and funny. Even if there is a sort of sadness, the undertones are not hopeless, because what the author was able to convey is the dignity of Paris even in the bad place he is at the moment. And Roan is a caring, badass, no-bullshit hero, who speaks more through his deeds than his words.
I've been hooked on Roan's story since book one and have really enjoyed reading each and every book in the series.
1 (tie-in). Peripheral People by Reesa Herberth & Michelle Moore
Paperback: 350 pages
Publisher: Riptide Publishing (January 26, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1626492697
ISBN-13: 978-1626492691
Amazon: Peripheral People: A Ylendrian Empire Novel
Amazon Kindle: Peripheral People: A Ylendrian Empire Novel

Corwin Menevie and Nika Santivan are decorated veterans of the Imperial Enforcement Coalition, and are perfectly capable of solving cases the old-fashioned way. When they’re paired with Westley Tavera and Gavin Hale, the most powerful Reader/Ground team to emerge from the Psionics Academy, it could either be the best thing that’s ever happened to crime fighting, or the makings of a quadruple homicide.
During a routine investigation, West’s talent puts them on the trail of a brutal serial killer who traps his prey in a deadly mental playground. Then the killer starts baiting the team, laying psychic landmines at crime scenes and exposing IEC secrets. The strain of the case binds the agents closer together—so close that Nika and Gavin start sharing a room, and even the curmudgeonly Corwin finds himself as occupied with West as he is with the murders.
But as West’s visions of death grow more violent, the only way out for all of them may be straight through the mind of a monster. If they’re not careful, they may forget which side of the hunt they’re on.
Peripheral People was an intelligent and absorbing thriller that kept my interest from start to finish. The plot moved along at a cracking pace and I loved the character development and romance between the two leads. The supporting characters were interesting and three dimensional. I will probably read more from this author.
A perfectly created world. I'd not read any of this series, but soon understood what was going on. The main characters were shown clearly and had distinct, individual personalities. The world-building was excellent, and I had no trouble believing West and Corwin could travel psychically into others' minds. The book wasn't quite perfect - one or two occasions it seemed to get bogged down a little with interpersonal relations rather than getting to the heart of the plot and solving the mystery, but overall it's one of the best I've read in this category.
I read this book and re-read it. This held my interest from the start for the interesting characters, and their past, plus the tension between the main guys.


Runners Up:
2.    Chaos Station (Chaos Station #1) by Jenn Burke & Kelly Jensen
3.    Song of the Navigator by Astrid Amara
4.    Lonely Shore (Chaos Station #2) by Jenn Burke & Kelly Jensen
5.    Azimuth (Interscission Project #2) by Arshad Ahsanuddin