Category Archives: C. E. Case

5 Stars for The Firebird and Other Stories (Beings in Love #5) by R. Cooper #MM #Fae

1.5

Title: The Firebird and Other Stories (Beings in Love #5)
Author Name & Publisher: R. Cooper (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: September 18, 2015 – 350 pgs

Synopsis

Magical creatures known as beings emerged from hiding amid the destruction of the First World War. Since then they’ve lived on the margins of the human world as misunderstood objects of fear and desire. Some are beautiful, others fearsome and powerful. Yet for all their magic and strength, they are as vulnerable as anyone when it comes to matters of the heart.

A firebird in 1930s Paris is drawn to a writer with a haunted past. Upon returning from fighting in the Pacific, a jaguar shifter finds a third-gender human on his doorstep. Early rock ‘n’ roll DJ Hyacinth the fairy shocks his listeners with his admiration for his quiet assistant. During the AIDS crisis, a gruff, leather-wearing troll dreams of a settled life with a mixed-species elf across the bar. An imp, who remembers only too well how cruel the world can be, tells himself he’s content to stay behind the scenes—if only his chaotic, impish magic would stop getting in the way. And a shy human tending his poisonous and carnivorous plants is convinced no one will ever want him, certainly not the handsome werewolf grieving for a lost mate. Human or being, all must overcome fear to reach for love.

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Review

FiveStars

My words are no match for the exquisite language of The Firebird and Other Stories. At 350 pages, it takes a long time to read. Every word must be poured over, examined, experienced. The stories themselves aren’t short, either. They rise and fall, starting with Human or Other and ending with Us.
Most of the stories are historical and sweep me into the past with intoxicating feelings. The fairies and imps and jaguars are out of Place, but in Time. There’s more sensuality than sex, and it isn’t missed. Cooper writes with great care.
Just one of these stories would be worth the price of admission. Cooper gives generously and days later the characters still live inside me.
C. E. Case

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3 Stars for A Dandelion for Tulip (Beings In Love #6) by R. Cooper #MM #Fantasy

CoverTitle: A Dandelion for Tulip (Being(s) In Love #6)
Author Name & Publisher: R. Cooper (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: June 24, 2016 – 200 pgs

Synopsis

David is in love with Tulip, a kind and unusually quiet fairy in his social circle. But everyone knows Tulip doesn’t date humans. David tells himself he is happy to be Tulip’s friend, because he doesn’t believe a fairy could love him and Tulip has never tried to “keep him”—as fairies refer to relationships with humans.

Fairies are drawn to David, describing his great “shine,” but David knows only too well how quickly fairies can forget humans, and thinks he’s destined to be alone. He can’t see his own brilliance or understand how desperately Tulip wants him, even if Tulip believes David can do better.

But exhausted and more than a little tipsy at a Christmas party, David makes his feelings too obvious for Tulip to deny any longer. Because of a past heartbreak involving a human, Tulip is convinced someone as shiny as David could never want a “silly, stupid fairy” in his life. Now, if he wants to keep David, he’ll have to be as brave as his shiny, careful human.

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Review

ThreeStar

I like that this book feels like a sequel to something. It starts in the moment, the characters all knowing each other. There’s history and texture. It’s immediately immersive. I love fairy (fey) stories.
But the angst went on a little too long. David and his fairy, Tulip, are both obstructionist to their own desire to be together. Their friends, especially Flor, are supportive and amusing. But the angst goes on for months. Pages and pages. Insecurity is not my kink.
The payoff is quite lovely, at least. David and Tulip, even in wallowing, are likeable, attractive, kind characters. I would like to read more in this universe. Or any universe R. Cooper happens to offer.
C. E. Case

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3.5 Stars for Doc Brodie and the Big, Purple Cat Toy by Brigham Vaughn @AuthorBVaughn #MM

Copy of Doc Brodie and the Big, Purple Cat Toy - Brigham Vaughn

Title: Doc Brodie and the Big, Purple Cat Toy
Author Name & Publisher: Brigham Vaughn (Two Peninsulas Press)
Publication Date & Length: June 16, 2016 (111 Pages)

Synopsis

Grant Murchison is a computer programmer with a great job, a small house he’s fixing up, and a mischievous tabby cat named Molly. Doctor Brodie Hall is a veterinarian with a sleeve full of tattoos and an enormous mastiff named Ruby.
When Molly gets sick after nibbling on Grant’s favorite purple toy, he rushes her to the vet clinic where the doctor works. Grant’s embarrassed to admit what Molly ate, but Brodie finds Grant’s reaction charming.
Brodie decides to pursue Molly’s owner, but getting close to Grant is a bigger challenge than he anticipated. Despite Grant’s attraction to the vet, his past leaves him unable to trust in a future together. Doc Brodie may be great with scared and hurting animals but will his technique work on Grant?

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Review

ThreeandHalfStars

This novella stars sex front and center. It’s decent sex: masculine and unabashed. The plot is intended to be humorous, I think, but it involves at times a sick cat, which proved harrowing for me. The cat, it should be said, is the star of the novel. She’s just so perfectly a cat.
Grant is a bit of a nerd. His loneliness is real and his backstory poignant. He manages not to be too self-effacing, but he is a little, if that’s a trigger. Brodie is the veternarian in shining armor, only too willing to look past Grant’s insecurities.
There’s some drama, but they both behave like responsible, grounded adults, which is refreshing in this genre. They’re a bit generic. It would have been good to see some culture clash in their relationship. But for a nice Sunday afternoon read (or Sunday night, ifyouknowwhatImean), it’s servicable. You won’t remember it Monday morning.
C. E. Case

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5 Stars for Resistance (Village Love #1) by Lillian Francis #MM #Romance @LillianFrancis_

CoverTitle: Resistance (Village Love #1)
Author Name & Publisher: Lillian Francis (Finally Love Press)
Publication Date & Length: July 5, 2016 – 150 pgs

Synopsis

How long can you wait on a promise?

After his first night with Mal, Rick broke the habit of a lifetime and invited the sexy radiographer to spend the weekend in the sleepy English village he called home. Rick isn’t in denial but he’s afraid to reveal his sexuality in the close-knit community that has known him since he was a babe in arms.

The sex is amazing but equally Mal loves lazy days spent in the garden at Slopy Bottom, and every precious moment he spends with Rick. For Mal the village quickly becomes an oasis of peace, far from the noise and grime of life in London, a slice of tranquillity with Rick at the heart. But Mal has defied his family and his religion to be true to himself, and there is no way can he join Rick in his self-built closet, no matter how comfortable it is…

Rick is afraid revealing the true nature of his relationship with Mal will change the way his neighbours see him. He adores these people, this village, and he can’t face the thought of losing everything over who he chooses to sleep with. When the alternative is giving up a man who has slotted perfectly into his life—a man who he might just love—it’s no choice at all. But, knowing what has to be done isn’t always as easy as putting it into practice.

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Review

FiveStars

Despite the title, there’s nothing particularly challenging about this story of Mal and Rick falling in love in a sleepy English village. It’s pure romance stuff: hot sex, family issues, internalized homophobia. But while the story feels familiar, it doesn’t feel old fashioned. Rick and Mal inhabit a modern world. Francis shows us that world with tenderness and depth.
She didn’t have to make Mal “Malik,” a gay Muslim trying to get along in a world that doesn’t quite know what to do with him. She didn’t have to make Rick less than perfect, less than educated, less than heroic. She did anyway. The story is richer for those details. She offers neither assimilation nor ostracizing, but instead a world where people are treated well when simply present. No litmus test required.
Resistance gets better as it goes along. It twists from two blokes getting it on into a true tale of a relationship where the only enemy is fear.
It’s also a quick read, which I always appreciate. It’s a wonderful book to spend a day with. There’s a prequel available, totally worth checking out.
C. E. Case

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5 Star Review for The Complete Horse Mistress Collection by R.A. Steffan #Menage #Trans

CoverTitle: The Complete Horse Mistress Collection (The Horse Mistress #1-4)
Author Name: R.A. Steffan
Publication Date & Length: May 8, 2016 – 838 pgs

Synopsis

Carivel was born female, but she has been secretly living as a boy for years in her adoptive village of Draebard. The last thing she needs is to fall for not one, but two unattainable men—a dominating warrior and a reluctant wolf-shifter with a horrific past. Now, the Alyrion Empire is poised to invade, and Carivel must choose whether to keep her secret or reveal it—not only to the men she loves, but also to the powerful female ruler whose army could help protect Draebard during the coming war.

Steamy and spellbinding, The Complete Horse Mistress Collection combines detailed world-building and a heartfelt romance between three noble, damaged people who have no one to turn to but each other.

In addition to Books 1 through 4, The Horse Mistress boxset also contains an exclusive series epilogue not available anywhere else—Return of the Wolf.

Author’s note: This series contains descriptions of violence and graphic sex, including sex between men, sex with multiple partners (MMF), and elements of fully consensual BDSM within an established, loving relationship. Additionally, it deals with issues of gender identity and gender fluidity. It is intended for a mature audience.

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Review
FiveStars

Carivel is the star of this collection of fantasy/historical paranormal stories. Taking place in a tribal setting, where clans are highly structured and socially demanding, Carivel struggles with her role as a man with a woman’s body. She falls in love with shape-shifting eunuch Senovo and warrior Andoc. Their menage is lovely, explicit, and intense. Beyond the confines of gender and sexuality. The plot, too, is captivating. I read through these quickly, caught up in plot twists and harrowing experiences.
Though Carivel has a lot of issues to deal with, she’s not let off the hook when it comes to society. Other characters defy gender and sexuality expectations and Carivel must learn to be a leader, even when breaking the rules could mean death.
There’s powerful meaning in this tale. It’s challenging in all the right ways, and quite a story, too.
Five Stars
~ Christy

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5 Star and 4 Star Review for Cervena by Louise Lyons #MM #Romance @louiselyons013 @dreamspinners

Červená-HighResTitle: Cervena
Author Name & Publisher: Louise Lyons (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: July 22, 2016 – 170 pgs

Synopsis

When Joel Jones finds homeless Russian, Sasha, outside his gay nightclub in Prague, he cannot find it in his heart to turn him away, so he offers him a home and a job as a dancer and stripper.

Despite a fifteen-year age gap, romance develops between them, but is interrupted when Joel has to return to England for many weeks to deal with a death in the family.

Upon Joel’s return, he is horrified to discover his business partner, Karel, has gambled away the club’s money and put them all at risk. Joel buys him out of the club, but when Karel continues to gamble, the people he owes pursue Joel for the debt instead—and they’ll stop at nothing to get paid.

Suddenly Joel and those he cares about—especially Sasha—are in danger, and Joel finds himself with no choice but to seek the help of known criminal, Vincenc Jankovic. Ensuring a happy future for himself and Sasha will mean a struggle and some difficult decisions, but Joel is determined to protect what they’ve built together.

Review

FiveStars

Cervena is the name of a gay nightclub in Prague. Points for exotic setting. Sasha is a homeless Russian immigrant who gets work thanks to Cervena’s kind-hearted owner Joel. Points for confronting social issues without condensation or ire. There’s sex, sex, sex. Points, points, points. This is a fun, romantic, thoughtful novel. Lyons knows what she’s doing as she presents Joel’s heart to us in the midst of strippers, snow, and antagonists.
This book is also marketed as a thriller, so there’s some violence. Boys getting hurt isn’t everyone’s thing. The romance is a little thin. It doesn’t matter. The story is the perfect length and the characters are perfectly dreamy. I feel like I’ve been on a vacation to Prague.
Five stars
~ Christy
FourStars
I liked the setting for this book, which was in Prague. Here we have Joel, who meets a homeless boy named Sasha, who is also 15 years younger than him, but that doesn’t stop them from falling in love.
The story was actually very sweet and Joel was such a wonderful character. He was kind, caring, patient and willing to do anything to be with Sasha. There were a lot of nice naughty scenes *wink* *wink* lol
This is just a simple story to get lost in when you wanna get lost in a romantic story. There’s a little bit of violence, but it’s not overwhelming. By the end of the book, I wanted a Joel. lol.
Cookie

Excerpt

Sasha’s pale face lost the little color it had and he pressed close to me again. “What are you going to do? Can the police help?”

“I haven’t told the police. I don’t know who this man is, or how many people he has working for him. All I have is a description of the man who came into the club. They want the money paying electronically into a bank account, so I don’t even get to meet them. I don’t see what the police can do. They can’t watch us every minute, and they won’t have anything to go on to find this guy. Paying what he’s asking for is the only way I’ll know you’ll be safe.”

“How much?” Sasha whispered.

“It doesn’t matter.” I hugged him tight and breathed in the scent of his skin.

“How much?”

“They want fifteen million.”

Sasha hissed one of his favorite curses in Russian. Then he drew away from me. “It’s too much. After everything Karel did already, it’s too much. You can’t give him the money, Joel. I’ll leave. Then he won’t be able to use me to threaten you.”

“You can’t leave!” I cried, horrified. “I love you. I’m not letting this come between us.”

“It’s the only way. I love you, too, but… fifteen million, Joel. I’m not worth it.”

I thrust him from me and gripped his shoulders hard enough to make him wince. I gave him a little shake before I released the pressure. “You are worth it. Don’t you ever think that. I’m not losing you over money. No way. Besides….” I took a breath. “You think those men will just go away if you disappear? They’ll find something else to blackmail me over.”

“I still think you should call the police. They’re used to dealing with this kind of thing. I know you think they won’t be able to find these guys, but they’ll have ways of doing it we haven’t even thought of.”

“No, Sasha. I’m not taking that risk. And you won’t tell anyone.”

“I said I wouldn’t, didn’t I?” He pulled away, his face angry. “But I think you’re crazy to try to deal with this on your own. You’re not a superhero, Joel.”

“No, I’m just me. An ordinary man with two businesses I worked hard for and a man I love very much. I’m just doing the best I can to hold onto that.”

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4 Star Review for Blow Down (The Plumber’s Mate #4) by J.L. Merrow #MM #Mystery @jlmerrow

CoverTitle: Blow Down (The Plumber’s Mate #4)
Author Name & Publisher: J.L. Merrow (Samhain Publishing Ltd)
Publication Date & Length: July 12, 2016 – 249 pgs

Synopsis

Death is what happens while you’re making other plans.

The Plumber’s Mate Mysteries, Book 4

The last thing newly engaged plumber Tom Paretski needs is to stumble over another dead body. He’s got enough on his mind already as the reality of his impending marriage sinks in. Not only is his family situation complicated, his heroism at a pub fire made him a local celebrity. Now everyone and their uncle wants a piece of his psychic talents.

Hired to find a missing necklace, Tom and his fiancé, private investigator Phil Morrison, wind up trying to unmask a killer—and there’s no shortage of suspects, up to and including the local bishop himself.

As Tom and Phil try to uncover the truth, they find themselves pulled in all directions by the conflicting pressures of their families and their own desires. But the murderer they’re up against is a ruthless schemer who won’t hesitate to kill again. If Tom and Phil aren’t careful, their love—and all their plans for the future—could be blown down like a house of straw.

Warning: Contains a bishop of questionable Christian charity, a necklace of questionable taste, and a plumber of questionable nationality who may be running out of time.

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Review
FourStars

Blow Down is the most British thing I’ve experienced since Downton Abbey, in a delightfully wonderful way. Tom Paretski is a plumber. He has a truck full of plumbing stuff and everything. His dreamy fiance Phil is a private investigator. Convenient since Tom keeps finding dead bodies everywhere. The curses of small towns in England. (I guess there they’re “villages”).
Tom is also a psychic, which should make me roll my eyes, but is in fact very well done. He gets vibes and there’s even a pseudoscience dowsing explanation I’m happy to roll with. Tom is charming and surrounded by a cast of supporting characters who annoy and love him.
Tom and Phil do a lot of watching telly and drinking down at the pub, so this cozy novel meanders a bit slowly. If the body’s already dead, where’s the urgency, right? But since getting sucked into Tom’s world is so fun, it doesn’t matter. Merrow’s world is vivid and palpable. I absolutely love spending time there.
I had not read the Plumber’s Mate Mysteries 1-3 before I read 4, which seemed to work out fine. But I’ve bought them all now. This is one of the last reviews I’ll be writing for Inked Rainbow Reads and I’m thrilled to go out on such a high note.
Four stars
~ Christy

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