Monday, December 5, 2011

The Rainbow Reader Awards - The Very Best of 2011

As another year gears down, flips on it’s bright yellow turn signal, and aims its scrunched up little nose towards the exit ramp, I figure it is time to flip back through The Rainbow Reader reviews, and bestow the Very Best of 2011 Awards.

So far this year, I’ve had the honor and privilege to review 46 books and two short stories; and have been fortunate enough to post Guest Reviews from two amazing and talented authors – Baxter Clare Trautman and Catherine Wilson. 

Not a bad run for a twitchy little dyke, eh?

I tried to cover the spectrum of lesbian literature available, so authors could have a platform to showcase their work and readers could hopefully find books and stories that they will love.  I’ve read my way through piles of romances, dramas, mysteries, thrillers, poetry, anthologies, erotica, graphic stories, and an autobiography. 

Heck, I even reviewed an audio book just to cover all the bases.

I want to extend a special thanks to each and every one of my Victims (er, the brave and valiant authors) for having the guts, grit, and determination to make your work available.  It takes an amazing amount of talent to write a book, and it takes a constitution of steel to voluntarily become vulnerable to a world of readers and reviewers, and our myriad, sketchy opinions.   

I also want to thank you, The Readers, for stopping by to read my reviews.  Many of you have left comments on this blog, which I appreciate.  Many others have sent me emails or contacted me in other ways, and I want to thank each of you for letting me know what you think . . . that includes the readers who don't agree with me or the opinions presented in TRR reviews - I want everyone to have a voice.

With no further ado, The Rainbow Reader’s Very Best of 2011 Awards 

365 Days
K.E. Payne
Bold Strokes Books
Best use of the word "queasy" to describe the feeling resulting from a date with a teenage boy that smells like a goat
A Ride to Remember
Sacchi Green
Lethe Press
Anthology most likely to result in multiple memorable rides
Beautiful Game
Kate Christie
Bella Books
Sexiest use of a soccer tan in a romance
Beyond Instinct
Lynn Ames
Phoenix Rising Press
Special TRR Reviewer's Award for highest volume of anonymous threats as a result of a review
Bingo Barge Murder
Jessie Chandler
Midnight Ink
Best use of a fungo bat by a minor character
JD Glass
Outlines Press
Most fitting use of the word "Scheisskopf" by a man in a kilt
Damaged in Service
Affinity e-Book Press
Special TRR Reviewer's Award for Best First Page in a story featuring an inappropriate pronoun for a character coming out of the closet
Julie Cannon
Bold Strokes Books
Honorary Award for artistic ability to make protagonists sweaty, dirty, and bloody, but still damn sexy
Desire by Starlight
Bold Strokes Books
Gutsiest use of simultaneous orgasms in a rainstorm under a double rainbow while on a romantic picnic
Dying to Live
Kim Baldwin & Xenia Alexiou
Bold Strokes Books
Special TRR Reviewer's award for repurposing the term "head of the table"
Far - Short Story
Sarah Diemer
Self Published
Best use of a sketchy dystopian soul recycling machine
Erin O'Reilly
Affinity e-Book Press
Best use of more than thirteen female characters in a historical romance
For Frying Out Loud
Fay Jacobs
A&M Publishing
Special TRR Reviewer's award for book most likely to make the Reviewer chuck it all and move to Rehoboth to be Fay Jacobs' Cabana Girl
Forbidden Passions
MJ Williamz
Bold Strokes Books
Best use of the word "twat" as pillow talk in historical erotica
Full Court Pressure
Lynn Galli
Penikila Press
Special TRR Reviewer's Award for It's About Damn Time a Woman Coaches a Men's Major College Sports Team
Getting the Mercury Out
Áine Ní Cheallaigh
Capsule Press
Best use of self-deprecating humor in an autobiography that includes multiple uses of the word "poop"
kris dresen
Outlines Press
Most innovative avoidance of capitalization by an artist with biker babe swagger
Hellebore & Rue
Edited by JoSelle Vanderhooft & Catherine Lundoff
Flyleaf Press
Funkiest cover art in an anthology featuring sexy queer magic mojo
Ann McMan
Bedazzled Ink Publishing
Sexiest use of jagged verbal jousting and intellectual tête-à-tête in a mountaintop romance
Love and Other Demons
kt klimax & miss slinky
Hottest sex scene in the dairy section of a local market in a book of poetry and prose
Miles to Go
Amy Dawson Robertson
Bella Books
Most daring leap to get the girl
Misfortune's Friend
Sarah Aldridge
A&M Publishing
Special TRR Reviewer's Award for making the Reviewer weep while writing her review
Moving Pieces
Emily Maroutian
Maroutian Entertainment
Best use of a troubled, but sexy protagonist with a non-specific gender
Murder Takes to the Hills
Jessica Thomas
Bella Books
Best use of a black Labrador retriever in a mystery series
My Soldier Too
Bev Prescott
Blue Feather Books
Special TRR Reviewer's Award for best toaster-oven moment of 2011
Parties in Congress
Colette Moody
Bold Strokes Books
Most likely to get Googled by confused Louisiana conservatives
Pitifully Ugly
Robin Alexander
Intaglio Publications
Best use of a strap-on as a successful plot device
Port Mortuary
Patricia Cornwell
Putnam Publishing
Most likely to make readers mainline black coffee and chain smoke while obsessing about what everyone else is hiding from them
Promises, Promises: a romp with plenty of dykes, a unicorn, an ogre, an oracle, a quest, a princess, and true love with a happily ever after
L-J Baker
Lethe Press
Best book title over twenty words long for a story that features creamy breasts
Lindy Cameron
Clan Destine Press
Most innovative use of ass tats on a female mercenary
Regal Crest Enterprises
Most likely to make the Reviewer throw the book across the room because she wants to see the damn Happily Ever After
Shadow Point
Amy Briant
Bella Books
Skeeviest bad guy with anger management issues
Shadows of Aggar
Chris Anne Wolfe
Orchard House Press
Miscommunication Award for protagonists who have hot sex but need to communicate better
She Waits
Kate Sweeney
Intaglio Publications
Special TRR Reviewer's Award for juiciest will they/won't they
Souls' Rescue
Pat Cronin
Regal Crest Enterprises
Best use of the Jaws of Life in a romance
Sweet Carolina Girls
R.E. Bradshaw
Blue Crab Publishing
Best use of an absorbent golden retriever in a lesbian drama
Sweet Turnaround J
P.V. Beck
Bedazzled Ink Publishing
Most likely to make readers sport a huge foam finger while reading
The Dark Wife
Sarah Diemer
Self Published
The hottest, most smokin' Lord of the Underworld in Lingerie
The Doge's Daughter - Short Story
Gabriella West
Self Published
Best ménage à trois utilizing a castrato
The Door at the Top of the Stairs
Alison Holt
Biggest cheer for retribution, even though the sadistic bastard really deserved to be strung up by his dangly bits, smothered in honey and left to have his parts picked clean by an army of pissed-off fire ants
The Killing Room
Gerri Hill
Bella Books
The hands down hottest sex scene in a secluded hot spring
The Leaving
Gabriella West
Self Published
Best escape plan implemented by a socially-awkward teenager
The Middle of Somewhere
Clifford Henderson
Bold Strokes Books & Dog Ear Audio
Most likely to cause a massive cholesterol spike before breakfast
The River Within
Baxter Clare Trautman
Self Published
Special TRR Reviewer's Award for sending the Reviewer into a three-day fugue state
The Target
Gerri Hill
Bella Books
Most ill-advised sexual act while being hunted by a hired assassin
The Wedding Party
Tracey Richardson
Bella Books
Best conversation between butches without the use of words
Two for the Show
Chris Paynter
Blue Feather Books
Most compelling use of a Press Box Yoda
Q. Kelly
Ride the Rainbow Books
Highest concentration of intriguing subplots in a book with a character in a persistent vegetative state
When Women Were Warriors
Catherine M. Wilson
Shield Maiden Press
Best kick-ass warrior babes with swords and bows and attitudes
Whitewater Rendezvous
Kim Baldwin
Bold Strokes Books
Sexiest night of wild, lusty passion in a grizzly-ripped tent, in a snow storm, on the banks of a raging river, awaiting emergency evacuation

Stop by The Rainbow Reader next week, when special Guest Blogger, Barrett, reviews Ruth Perkinson's Piper's Someday in another edition of TRR's Rewind Series.


  1. Not bad at all! Thanks for allowing my books to be part of the excitement this year :)

  2. Heeeeyyyy!
    kidding, I'm still chuckling about your awards, geez, makes me want read several I hadn't known about.
    Great job, MS. West.
    (Promise, I will *never* make that mistake again)

  3. Bravo to all the wonderful winners. And thanks for my win, Salem ;-)

  4. Gabriella, Barrett & Kelly - thanks for stopping by to drop a line! This was just a fun way for me to say thanks to all the great authors and readers out there who make The Rainbow Reader possible. If I could, I'd squeeze every last one of you until you pop . . . and at last count, that's a whole lot of squeezin!

  5. Can't write....still laughing....dogs think Mommy's having seizure....little dog wonders if big ones know how to dial 911...

    Okay. There. (Wiping tears, dogs sigh and go back to couch)

    Salem, you get the Best Crack-Me-Up Even on a Rotten Day Award. Sorry about the 3-day fugue, my friend, but it was probably good for you. Viva La Fugue and THANKS for all your support, love, and humor. (And without saying you get the Best Damn Twitchy Little Dyke Award!)

  6. Bax - in the immortal words of my hero, Hattie McDaniel, "my heart is too full to tell you exactly how I feel and may I say... Bless you!" I've long aspired to hold the 'Best Crack-Me-Up Even on a Rotten Day Award', and worked hard for it. Really, really hard. But know that I never once DREAMED I would be so lucky to hold the 'Best Damn Twitchy Little Dyke Award'. Thank you! Thank you all!!!!


  7. Salem, thank you so much for including me with such talented authors. You rock.

  8. You're welcome, DeJay. But the secret's out - you belong in that list of talented authors! After all, it's been almost 20 years since a book flipped the emotional switches in me that "Redemption" did. Great debut!

  9. Thank you so much, Salem! :) You are awesome incarnate.

  10. (Blush) You're welcome, Sarah. Thanks for the opportunity to review your book and short story this year.

  11. Thanks to La Salem for this honor. I'm humbled to be in such great company. But, hey? I have to ask... Have any of you received your toaster ovens yet??? I've been staking out my mail box ever since this got announced, and we're supposed to have a frost tonight....

  12. Hmm, guess you missed the official notice of Awards. In rank order, I will show up at the homes of all 2011 TRR Award winners with tattoo tools in hand. My little creepy, Super Squirrel cohort will proceed to provide each winner with a tattoo of me, in 6" stilettos with a push up bra and holding a toaster oven, on a location on the award winners body, to be determined by the author Barrett. It's a little unconventional for major literary awards, but it works for us. You have NO clue how honored you should be! ((wink))

  13. Aw, I love Hattie McDaniel. Congrats on a great year, Salem -- well done! I like your take on awards!

  14. Thanks for the props, Salem! I'll pass your comments on to Sarah, the Press Box Yoda. lol


  15. Thanks Amy - hope you kick some literary butt with Scapegoat!

  16. Chris, you know how I have a soft spot for your Press Box Yoda. Give Sarah my best, and let her know I'm anxious to hear what she and the rest of her gal pals are getting themselves into next.

  17. I've long aspired to hold the 'Best Crack-Me-Up Even on a Rotten Day Award', and worked hard for it. Really, really hard.
    British Food