Showing posts with label Lambda Literary Awards. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lambda Literary Awards. Show all posts

Saturday, March 7, 2015

This n That: News, Minis, Reads

Hello everyone! I've been MIA, but truthfully behind the scenes trying to come up with a few reviews and / or minis while having a heck of a hard time getting my thoughts together. So, I thought a "this n that" post was called for since my reviewing mojo has taken a break.

First, a couple of days ago the 27th Annual Lambda Literary Awards Finalists were announced. As always, I check out the list to find out if any of my favorite reads or authors are included, or if there are books that may interest me. I was very happy to see a few of my favorites among the finalists: (Click on titles to read reviews)
Regretfully, the list of books by finalists still sitting in my TBR is longer than the list of books above. It was one of those years. I am going to try to read a few before the winners are announced in June.

Congratulations to everyone!

In February I read a few sff novellas, novelettes, and other shorts works. I reviewed two separately here and here. The two novelettes below are very different in content and structure. I liked one more than the other. Yet, they have something in common. Both stories made an impact and stayed with me long after I read them.

Of the SSF short works I read in February, my favorite was Kai Ashante Wilson's 2014 SFF novelette The Devil in America, a free online read at that has been nominated for a Nebula Award. Last year, this author's short story Super Bass was among my favorite.

With "The Devil in America," Kai Ashante Wilson introduces fantasy elements while making a strong social statement. He combines ancient African magic with the left over legacy of slavery in America. The central story, where the fantasy elements of the story are focused, takes place in a post Civil War South. Small sections, depicting racially motivated crimes committed against African Americans throughout US history and to contemporary times, are inserted throughout to punctuate consequences of events occurring in the magical section of the narrative. This excellent novelette is short, to the point, and packs a punch.

I am also familiar with Dale Bailey's short works through his contributions to Asimov's Magazine. His novelette The End of The End of Everything is not nominated, however, in my estimation it is one of the best I read in February. Think of a dystopian earth where everything in the world is slowly dying from a sort of darkness, described as ruin, that is killing everything it touches: man-made structures as well as all living things, including man. When a couple moves to an exclusive artists' colony with a friend, his latest wife and her child, they find the wealthy, famous, and semi-famous indulging in end-of-world free-for-all dissipation and suicide parties that result in carnage. A mutilation artist becomes the ultimate horrifying temptation for the main character, a philandering poet who questions the mediocrity of his life.

This story has excellent sff elements that are utilized throughout the story as a whole. The central character works as both the focus and narrator, and the world-building although murky in its inception, is clear enough for the story's purpose. This novelette, however, is sff/horror, one that is filled with the kind of violence, blood, and mutilation that is horrifying and truthfully not for everyone. That aspect of story did not bother me personally. What this very well-written, fascinating novella was missing for me, was a real representation of the psychological torture that the living should have been experiencing. Instead everyone is portrayed as very sophisticated and for the most part clinically detached. Yet, this novelette stayed with me and I will probably reread it. There is so much going on in this story that I may have missed something. Check out that great cover illustration by Victo Ngai! Free online read at


I also read Radiance, Grace Draven's latest release, Part 1 of her Wraith Kings fantasy romance series. Draven's fantasy world-building is as attractive and compelling as her characters. Imagine two cultures and peoples so different in customs and physical appearance that the other appears to them as 'monsters.' Then imagine the royal houses forging an alliance through a marriage where the bride and groom find each other so physically repulsive they have a problem looking at each other without flinching. What are the chances that they will find a happy ever after?

This fantasy romance has some gushingly sweet lines between two people who find each other physically repellent. That's because Ildiko and Brishen genuinely like each other from the moment they meet.
She drew a circle on his chin with her fingertip. "Your skin color reminds me of a dead eel I once saw on the beach."

Brishen arched an eyebrow. "Flattering, I'm sure. I thought yours looked like a mollusk we boil to make amaranthine dye."
Draven does a fantastic job of utilizing a growing friendship and understanding as a building block to romantic love. Political intrigue is well integrated with both the fantasy and romantic elements of this novel. But there are also battles of wit as well as physical battles, warriors, magic, dark, light, and more. My one niggle is the overly formal dialog that creeps in between the main characters even during intimate moments. But that was not enough to spoil my enjoyment of this story or the beautiful romantic ending to Radiance. That is until you get to the epilogue, which almost serves as a prelude to what promises to be a more politically complex and fantasy-filled series. I will not miss the next installment.


What have I been reading recently? I just finished Vision in Silver: A Novel of the Others by Anne Bishop. More of Meg, Simon, Lakeside Courtyard and Thaisia intrigue. I'm hoping to review this book next week. I'm also trying to catch up with Patricia Brigg's Alpha & Omega UF series and finished Hunting Ground with the hopes of reading books #3 and #4 in March. Maybe I will write one of my series overviews for this one? Let's see if I get going on that!

Right now I'm attempting to read a few books: Echopraxia by Peter Watts, a hard sci-fi novel (stuck at 17%); the contemporary novella Snowed In (Kentucky Comfort #3) by Sarah Title(almost done), and We Are the Cloud by Sam J. Miller, a free online sff novelette at the Lightspeed Magazine site (just began).

Friday, March 7, 2014

Updates + Congrats to Lambda Literary Award Nominees

How is everyone doing this Friday? It has been a hard Winter and it is still cold in the Northeastern part of our country. Brrr... I'm longing for Spring and milder, easier days. On the good side, things are better at home and my husband John is recuperating nicely. :) I'm also back at work, catching up with a mountain of files.

I haven't had a chance to read a slew of books, but I'm reading some good ones. This last week I finished Cub by the talented Jeff Mann, a gay young adult romance that not surprisingly he aced. I also read Satisfaction by Sarah Mayberry, her latest self-published contemporary romance. I like.

What am I reading now? I just began the much anticipated Murder of Crows (The Others #2) by Anne Bishop . I've been itching to start it but decided to wait until today so I can just savor it and finish it in one sitting if necessary! And, I am also slowly making my way through the gay fiction anthology With edited by James Currier which I'm thoroughly enjoying.

To read, in print, I have Half-Off Ragnarok (InCryptids #3) by Seanan McGuire, and waiting in my Kindle, I have a few science fiction additions: The Waking Engine by David Edison, and two illustrated freebies from, Burning Girls by Veronica Schanoes and Wakulla Springs by Andy Duncan and Ellen Klages .

Changing the subject, I finally got a chance to go around the web a bit to visit a few blogger friends and other favorite websites. I missed that! Anyway, yesterday I found that the list of nominees for the 26th Annual Lambda Literary Awards was released. I'm an avid reader of LGBT books and have been following these awards for years. I love to see which books I read and loved make it to their list, what I missed, and often make lists of new books (and authors) to try.

I would like to congratulate and wish luck to everyone whose books are on that list. Particularly to favorite author Alex Jeffers who is nominated for The Padisah’s Son and the Fox: an erotic fairy tale(Lethe Press), a book I loved, but didn't have a chance to review, and for his novel Deprivation; or, Benedetto furioso: an oneiromancy, (Lethe Press). And to those authors whose books I loved and so thoroughly enjoyed in 2013 that they made it to my list of favorites for the year:

The Rest of Us: Stories by Guy Mark Foster (Tincture/Lethe Press)In His Secret Life by Mel Bossa, (Bold Strokes Books), Boystown 5: Murder Book by Marshall Thornton (MLR Press), Death by Silver by Melissa Scott & Amy Griswold (Lethe Press), Dust Devil on a Quiet Street, Richard Bowes , (Lethe Press), and Light by ‘Nathan Burgoine (Bold Strokes Books)!! And yes to My Dear Watson by L.A. Fields (Lethe Press).

Congratulations and good luck to everyone!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

What did I Read? Ritas, Lammies, Hugos...Oh My!

Every year after all the lists of nominees and finalists for the various awards around town are released, I'm always amazed that after reading massive amounts of books, there are just so many out there that I manage NOT to read! No, no, no... I'm not going to list them here, although I will provide a link to each complete list, but, yes... it is time to figure what or if we read any of those books.

First let's talk about RITA -- take a look at the complete list of the finalists at Wendy's blog, The Misadventures of Super Librarian, it's rather extensive. Out of that list, I read a total of 9 books, and have 1 in my TBR. ONE! The rest of the books in that list are not even in my radar!

Books read & reviewed: (click on titles to read reviews)

Contemporary Single Title Romance:
  Slow Dancing on Price's Pier by Lisa Dale
  Summer at Seaside Cove by Jacquie D’Alessandro*

Historical Romance:
  The Black Hawk by Joanna Bourne
  The Many Sins of Lord Cameron by Jennifer Ashley
  Scandalous Desires by Elizabeth Hoyt*
  Silk Is for Seduction by Loretta Chase*

Paranormal Romance:
  Archangel's Blade by Nalini Singh
  Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison

Romance Novella
  "Angel's Wolf" by Nalini Singh in Angels of Darkness

Book in my TBR Pile:
Historical Romance:
  Unveiled by Courtney Milan

*All the above books were great reads for me. However, Scandalous Desires by Elizabeth Hoyt and Silk is for Seduction by Loretta Chase made it to my 2011 Favorite Books list, and Summer at Seaside Cove by Jacquie D'Alessandro was a favorite and an Honorable Mention. And I'm particularly happy for favorite author Lisa Dale! Congratulations and good luck to all!

Have you read many of these books? If so, which books do you recommend?

Going on to the LAMBDA Literary Awards! Take a look at the complete list at the Lambda Literary Review Blog. When we talk Lammies my percentage is even lower. There's a good reason for that as the Lammies include some sub-genres that I have yet to explore -- but dang! However, although I didn't read most of the books on that list (many of my favorites didn't make it to the finals), it makes me feel better that a couple of my favorite reads made the final cut, and I already had a few on my TBR. :)

Books Read and/or reviewed:

  LGBT-SF/F/H: The German by Lee Thomas*
  Bisexual Non-Fiction: The Horizontal Poet by Jan Steckel
  Gay Erotica: History's Passion: Stories of Sex Before Stonewall Richard Labonté 

Books in my TBR Pile:
  Gay Fiction: Leche, by R. Zamora Linmark
  Gay Fiction: The Unreal Life of Sergey Nabokov by Paul Russell 
  LGBT-SF/F/H & Bisexual Fiction: Triptych by J.M. Frey

*The German by Lee Thomas made it to my overall 2011 Favorite Books list and my LGBT 2011: Favorite Books and Authors list. Congratulations and good luck to Lee Thomas and Jan Steckel whose books brought me hours of enjoyment!

Have you read any of the books on this list? If so, which books do you recommend?


The Hugo Award nominees won't be announced until April 7, 2012. However, I can tell you that I read two excellent science fiction novels last year that are worthy of a nomination and both could make the cut:

Possible Finalists - Books Read:
  Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey
  Embassytown by China Miéville

Possible Nominees - Books in TBR: (Must reads)
  Grail (Jacob's Ladder Book #3) by Elizabeth Bear
  Vortex by Robert Charles Wilson

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for James S.A. Corey and China Miéville!


Congratulations to all the finalists!