Guest Reviewers Top Picks for 2010

Many of the books on the site are reviewed by the Guest Reviewers, so Wave asked us to come up with our lists of top books for 2010. As you know, Gay Book Reviews is growing by leaps and bounds, and the number of reviewers is growing right along with it. Some of us are brand-spankin’ new baby reviewers (on this site, at least!) and some have been extra-super-duper busy this past year, so you’ll notice a few only have a couple of items in their lists.

In alphabetical order here are the books rated by Alexi, Buda, Cole, Erastes, Feliz, Jenre, John, Kassa, Leslie, Lily, Lynn, TJ, Val and Victor J. Banis:

Alexi’s Top 3 Books for 2010

  1. Bee Among the Clover by Margueritte Labbe and Fae Sutherland
  2. Dark Designs by Luisa Prieto
  3. If I Must by Amy Lane

Buda’s Top 6 Books for 2010

  1. The Trap by Indigo Wren
  2. In the Flesh by Ethan Stone
  3. The Loss of Innocence Store by George Seaton*
  4. Forsake Not by Maura Anderson*
  5. Public Lives, Private Pleasures by Adrianna Dane
  6. A Bid for Love by TD McKinney & Terry Wylis

*Both part of Honorable Silence anthology from MLR Press

Cole’s Top 3 Books for 2010

  1. The Match Before Christmas by Eden Winters
  2. An Earlier Heaven by DW Marchwell
  3. Illustrated Men, an MLR Press Anthology (Stories inspired by Michael Breyette)

Erastes’ Top 10 Books for 2010

  1. Prove a Villain by K C Warwick — Elizabethan London
  2. Counterpoint by Ruth Sims — 19th century Europe
  3. Bob the Book by David Pratt — contemporary (yes — really!!) LOL.
  4. It Takes Two by Elliot Mackle — 1940s America
  5. The Wages of Sin by Alex Beecroft — 18th century england
  6. The Gentleman and The Rogue by Bonnie Dee and Summer Devon — Regency
  7. Fall of a State by Kate Cotoner — Chinese
  8. Lover’s Knot by Donald Hardy — Victorian/Edwardian England
  9. The Lonely War by Alan Chin — WW2
  10. The Dark Farewell by Josh Lanyon — 1920s America

Feliz’s Top 2 Books for 2010

  1. Transit by Raev Gray and Aleksandr Voinov
  2. Pioneers by Lynn Lorenz

Jenre’s Top 10 Books for 2010 (In no particular order)

  1. Keeping Promise Rock by Amy Lane
  2. I Fell in Love with a Zombie by Sean Kennedy
  3. Sonoran Heat by Katrina Strauss
  4. The Puppy Love Series by Jeff Erno
  5. Mobry’s Dick by K.Z. Snow
  6. Blinded by Our Eyes by Clare London
  7. A Red Tainted Silence by Carolyn Gray
  8. Bound and Determined by Jane Davit and Alexa Snow
  9. Amor En Retrogrado by A.M. Riley
  10. All or Nothing by James Buchanan

John’s Top 5 Books of 2010

First off, Big THANKS to Wave for letting me review. And for putting up with me when I disappear for weeks at a time. 🙂

  1. Angel of Thirteenth Street by Eden Winter
  2. State of Mind by Libby Drew
  3. The Telling by Eden Winter
  4. Anagama Fires by Sarah Black
  5. Duncan’s World by T.A. Chase

Kassa’s Top 7 Books for 2010

  1. Lord of the White Hell (Books One and Two) by Ginn Hale
  2. Urban Shaman by Lyn Gala
  3. Promises by Marie Sexton
  4. Cat in the Cradle by Jay Bell
  5. Helpless by MJ Pearson
  6. Hero by Heidi Cullinan
  7. Truth in the Dark by Amy Lane

Leslie’s Top 5 Books for 2010

  1. Lover’s Knot by Donald Hardy
  2. Take My Picture by Giselle Ellis
  3. Probation by Tom Mendecino
  4. Little Boy Lost Book One: Enlightened by J.P. Barnaby
  5. To Hell You Ride by Julia Talbot

Lily’s Top 5 Books for 2010

  1. Slow Bloom by Anah Crow and Dianne Fox
  2. Double Blind by Heidi Cullinan
  3. Back to Normal by Wren Boudreau
  4. Making His List by Devon Rhodes
  5. My Life In Your Hands by AR Moler

Aunt Lynn’s Top 10 Books for 2010 (in alphabetic order)

  1. All She Wrote by Josh Lanyon
  2. At Piper’s Point by Ethan Day
  3. Book 11 of the Donald Strachey Mystery series Cockeyed by Richard Stevenson
  4. Book Two of the Bill Turner Case Book series Death by Misfortune by AM Riley
  5. Electric Melty Tingles by KZ Snow
  6. The final book in the Royal Navy series: Home is the Sailor by Lee Rowan
  7. The remaining two books in the Lessons series: Lessons in Trust and Lessons in Seduction by Charlie Cochrane
  8. Lily White, Rose Red (Grey Randall, Private Dick Casefile #1) by Catt Ford
  9. The Prayer Waltz by KZ Snow
  10. Summer Song by Louise Blaydon

Stacey’s Top 2 Books for 2010

  1. The Emperor’s Wolf by JC Owens
  2. Dark Waters by Chris Quinton

TJ’s Top 5 Books for 2010

  1. 72 Hours by Clare London
  2. Icecapade by Josh Lanyon
  3. Love Most Inconvenient by DJ Manly
  4. Out of Bounds by Viki Lyn
  5. Shadowlands by Charlie David

Val Kovalin’s Top 5 Books for 2010

The God Eaters by Jesse Hajicek
  1. The God Eaters by Jesse Hajicek
  2. Carol of the Bellskis by Astrid Amara
  3. The Manituw by Lisbeth Jenkins
  4. Aloes by Chris Quinton
  5. Workin’ on the Railroad by Deirdre O’Dare

Victor J. Banis
Hmm, I loved all the stories I reviewed here last year, of course, because I don’t write reviews except of books that I enjoy. And it would be impossible for me to pick one or two winners from among them, since they are all of them, in their individual ways, winners. So, I’ll offer instead some reasons why I think each of these has special merit.

Match Maker and The Lonely War by Alan Chin — Alan is one of my favorite writers. He always manages to tell an engaging story about real people, and writes with the kind of wisdom that offers the reader enlightenment along with his entertainment. You come away from an Alan Chin tale with just a shade more understanding of the human condition than when you went in.

Counterpoint and Song on the Sand by Ruth Sims — another of my favorite writers, Ruth often skirts the edges of sentimentality without ever falling into the pit. Again, her characters are flesh and blood, which allows the reader to really care what happens to them, and her plots are such that there is always plenty happening.

Memoirs of Colonel Gerard Vreilhac by Anel Viz — a writer new to me, and one with whose writing I immediately fell in love. It is hard to write convincing historical fiction, with enough detail to evoke an earlier era, and not at the same time fall into pedantry, but this writer does it admirably. His novel is both intensely erotic, and admirably literary, not an easy feat to achieve either.

Normal Miguel by Erik Orrantia — another writer new to me this year, and I had read no more than a page or two before I was hopelessly charmed. Like the others on my list, Orrantia has the gift of creating believable characters, in this case a huge slate of them; but where this book really shines is in bringing to life an entire village in the Mexican mountains, people who are poor in everything but spirit.

Then there is the review you didn’t read—Holy Communion by Mykola Dementiuk. I wrote it, but you never saw it, because before I got it posted, a virus ate my computer, and I hadn’t backed the file up and I just never got it rewritten. Never mind. I can tell you that Mykola writes a different kind of story from the writers listed above. His stories are street tough, hard hitting, and always verging on genius. This is about a seven year old boy and the week of his confirmation, and is perhaps the most lyrical thing of Dementiuk’s that I have read, but don’t let that fool you into expecting Peter Pan. The book, btw, won a Lambda award last year.

Of course, there are a lot of wonderful books that I missed, writers I have yet to discover, and some old friends that I somehow neglected over the past year, but you needn’t copy my failing. You can’t go wrong with a book by Pat Brown or Josh Lanyon or Neil Plakcy and I can only feel guilty that they aren’t in the list above. In fact, it seems to me as if the genre of gay fiction (or m/m if you prefer) has never been in better shape. Not even in the so-called golden age of gay fiction — the 60s and early 70s — were there so many fine writers producing such an array of good reading. Cause for all of us to celebrate, I’d say.


  • Buda —

    Please forgive me for this VERY overdue THANK YOU for your review and support of my book, THE TRAP. It’s my first book, and I kind of walked to the precipice, opened my hands, and let it go, taking only the VERY occasional through-my-fingers peeks to see how it was flying. Which is why it has taken me literally until May of 2011 to discover you put my book on your list of top books for 2010! I can’t tell you how much that means to me, or how much I appreciate your review and comments. Thank you so, so much. You totally made my week … I’m just so embarrassed that it took me damn near six months to realize it! 🙂


  • Buda – thank you for including Forsake Not from the MLR anthology “Honorable Silence” on your list for 2010! Those two characters really demanded to be written and I like how the story turned out.

    I’m thrilled and hope you continue to enjoy my stories.

  • Thanks, Buda, for your recognition of “The Loss of Innocence Store,” from the MLR anthology, “Honorable Silence.” Kinda like that little story myself…


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