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And the Rainbow Award goes to...


1) Blank Spaces Cass Lennox
Asexual - Contemporary Romance
Series: Toronto Connections (Book 1)
Paperback: 284 pages
Publisher: Riptide Publishing (July 9, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1626494843
ISBN-13: 978-1626494848
Amazon: Blank Spaces (Toronto Connections #1) Cass Lennox

1) I love the way Cass Lennox uses depth focus to control the reader’s feelings. Super-deep focus to get all the good feelings in, and zooming out to introduce elements which are painful or painfully awkward, which prevents kicking the reader out of the fictive dream. This craft mastery, together with engaging characters and a fun art mystery plot is leavened with enough humor to keep you turning the pages until the satisfying ending. The unconventional topic and a fresh take on favorite tropes keeps this book out of the “standard MM romance” realm, making it original, interesting, and a true pleasure to read.
2) One of the best books that I've read over the past 12 months and I hope it wins many awards. This had every element of a good romance novel. Two characters who could be perfect together, they go together so well the reader wants it to happen, but at the same time, there is a big and excellent reason why they shouldn't be together. It would seem there is one thing that makes them very incompatible and the reader might think this is too big an obstacle to overcome. However, as the story goes on it becomes obvious that the one big obstacle that makes them so different to each other is also something that makes them perfect together. The sex scene between the two of them moved me greatly. And the epilogue was wonderful. Alongside the main love story was a cozy mystery story. The fact is, many LGBT couples are in some form of "open" non-monogamous relationship very similar to the one described in this book. We don't find it strange to read it in fiction because we know many people who live like it in reality. I'd love to read more light easy-read romantic fiction that reflects our lives in a more realistic and positive way like this.

2) Alonso Munich is Now Dead S. Gates
Asexual - Paranormal Romance
Paperback: 314 pages
Publisher: Less Than Three Press (May 24, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1684310091
ISBN-13: 978-1684310098
Amazon: Alonso Munich is Now Dead S. Gates

1) The physical descriptions in this book, both of various locations and Atlanta as a whole, are detailed and well-written. I can easily imagine every room entered and route taken, and the author uses the contrast of clutter and sterility in locations to good effect. The descriptions occasionally veer toward the overly-factual, but not too often. Meanwhile, the supernatural elements of the setting were familiar, but often used in fresh ways or with details often overlooked. Alonso’s point of view works a lot with the contrast of a near-dead body and an actively living mind, or sensations such as a necromancer’s magic being worked nearby. Witchcraft techniques such as knot magic are shown without being pedantically explained, and while I’m rarely a fan of soulmate-esque concepts, the Keeper-Charge bond present here feels fresh due to its consensual and not-necessarily-romantic nature. Along with these, a few other details help round out this setting. One is the use of the differences between Alonso’s past and present, from the pop culture he recognizes to how the buildings have changed, which all helps add to his conflicted worldview. The openly dirverse and non-heteronormative nature of this setting is also a boon; there are characters who are transgender, asexual, gay but in a platonic hetero-soulmate relationship and more, and most of them PoC to boot. While characters face a believable amount of friction for their identities, they also find understanding and respect with their allies.
2) I really liked this story. I did wonder why Alonso, nor any others, ever addressed Marcella being transgender head on as a topic of discussion, but it worked out okay. It was worth the read.

3) The Painted Crown (Unbreakable Soldiers #2) Megan Derr
Asexual - Fantasy
Series: Unbreakable Soldiers (Book 2)
Paperback: 330 pages
Publisher: Less Than Three Press (December 5, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1620048434
ISBN-13: 978-1620048436
Amazon: The Painted Crown (Unbreakable Soldiers #2) Megan Derr

1)  I really enjoyed this book that I will buy this and go and buy the first book in the series. There was just something about it that sucked me in.

Runner Ups:

4-tie) Faux (F-Word #3) by E. Davies
4-tie) Uncommonly Tidy Poltergeists by Angel Martinez
5) For a Good Time, Call (Bluewater Bay #17) by Anne Tenino & E.J. Russell
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