Category Archives: C. E. Case

5 Star Review for Let’s Shut Out the World by Kevin Bentley #MM #Autobiography

CoverTitle: Let’s Shut Out the World
Author Name & Publisher: Kevin Bentley (Chelsea Station Editions)
Publication Date & Length: July 13, 2016 – 196 pgs

Synopsis

Bitingly funny and at times harrowingly sad, Let’s Shut Out the World traces the man-hungry and misanthropic journey of an intensely bibliophilistic young man following his natural bent from a desolate Texas landscape of tumbleweeds, Jesus freaks, and compliant straight boys to the gay capital of San Francisco in pursuit of sex, drugs, a lover, and more. Whether describing having his hair styled by a gang of eighth-grade bullies; staging a Satan festival in the main hall of Greenvale High complete with black robes, black candles, and raw chickens; succumbing to a sneezing fit inside the healing Sanctuary at Chimayo; or indulging in inappropriate sex with a caregiver, Bentley writes with a pen dipped in blood, indignation, and grim whimsy. Let’s Shut Out the World is both prequel and sequel to the author’s rough-and-ready romantic escapades detailed in his diaries, the Lambda Literary Award finalist for memoir, Wild Animals I Have Known.”

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Review

FiveStars

This book is wonderful from the first sentence. Okay, maybe not the first sentence, which is, “My mother got leukemia the year before I turned forty,” but at least from the first page. It’s incredibly funny and the narrator is extremely likable as he deals with growing up the gay kid in El Paso, Texas.
His life experiences are harrowing. They would be hard to read, except he tells them with such charm and grace that I was swept right in. Kevin Bentley has a gift for writing. Thank goodness he hasn’t been squelched by the forces in his life, from child abuse to the AIDS crisis.
I will even say that this is an important memoir. As a community, as humanity, we can reflect on what we’ve gained and lost through the lens of too-contemporary history. He’s literate without being pretentious, forgiving without being blind.
Mainly, I just seriously enjoyed reading it.
Five Stars
~ Christy

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PRE-RELEASE REVIEW! 4 Stars for He/She Smells a Hoo-Hoo by Jack Bunbury #gay #humor

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Title: He/She Smells a Hoo-Hoo
Author Name & Publisher: Jack Bunbury (MacDonald Warne Media)
Publication Date & Length: September 7, 2016 – 48 Pages

Synopsis

While lounging in her pool, He/She the Elegant suddenly finds herself assaulted by a vicious smell, wafting over the walls of her bungalow chateau. Unable to bear the rancid reek contaminating her afternoon, she bundles up her two snide pekepoos and ventures out into the city on a mission to find the source of the smell. What follows is an epic quest – in a bustier, heels and a bombshell bouffant – where our girl bravely faces the deadly sins of Wrath, Lust, Gluttony and worst of all, Broken Nails.

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Review

FourStars

He/She is the heroine of a poem, the rhyming kind, that I spent a delightful evening reading. He/She is funny and charming. The words are, too. Great one-liners and expectations come together to entertain. And her little dogs, too.
He/She smells a bad smell and goes on an epic quest to find the origin, striding across town in high heels. He/She encounters foes and friends. At every turn there is ridiculous, and just enough plot to keep going, and just enough pay-off to be totally satisfied when the adventure concludes.
This poem is a short read, which shows that size doesn’t matter.
C. E. Case

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5 Stars for Blue Days, Black Nights: A Memoir of Desire by Ron Nyswaner #MM #Memoir

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Title: Blue Days, Black Nights: A Memoir of Desire
Author Name & Publisher: Ron Nyswaner (Lethe Press)
Publication Date & Length: May 12, 2016 – 206 Pages

Synopsis

In the years immediately following his Academy Award nomination for Philadelphia, screenwriter Ron Nyswaner fell through the rabbit hole. This gripping, intimate, and darkly comic memoir chronicles this period in his life, a period where a raging drug addiction collided with an obsessive and almost fatal love affair. A wrong turn down a one-way street in the shadow of the Sunset Strip’s Chateau Marmont leads Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Ron Nyswaner on a journey that will nearly drown him in the intoxicating, impulsive, maddening, tragic, and transformative nature of love. Despite the success of his latest film, Ron has been fighting depression and contemplating self-destruction. ”I don’t want a mediocre, empty life,” he tells his psychiatrist-acupuncturist-herbalist after halfheartedly attempting to hang himself with a belt. Then, on a trip from his home in upstate New York to Los Angeles, Ron meets and falls for world-weary Johann, a Latin-quoting, leather-clad hustler with a vague, European accent. In the next year Johann will teach him many things: how to make a crack pipe out of a soda can, how to come down from a crystal meth binge, how to walk down a city street as if he owns it, how to beg in Hungarian, and how to lose oneself utterly in reckless passion. If he can survive it, loving Johann might be Ron’s salvation.

”This beautifully honest tale of the author’s doomed drug-ladden love affair with a hustler is also a beautifully written page-turner.” — The Advocate

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Review

FiveStars

Nyswaner’s memoir is captivating and beautifully-written. He’s a Hollywood screenwriter of some success. At the time this was written he was mostly known for “Philadelphia.” The memoir, though, is not about Hollywood, but about gay prostitutes and drugs. Nyswaner explores his relationship with Johann, which might be love or might be denial, simultaneously with his attempts at therapy and coping with his family.
It’s lush in detail, rich with cultural references and observations, and drops a few names. Mostly it’s a private journey. Nyswaner seems likeable and thoughtful. I’ve read other addiction memoirs, like Augusten Burrough’s “Dry” and Danny Wylde’s “The Wolves that Live in Skin and Space,” and this one is far more palpable. I found myself reading of Nyswaner’s existential crises and crystal meth while nodding along, pleasantly interested, and devouring it straight through.
C. E. Case

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3 Star Review for To Lose His Heart (Matt Glenn #2) by Alec Nortan #MM #Romance @NineStarPress

CoverTitle: To Lose His Heart (Matt Glenn #2)
Author Name & Publisher: Alec Nortan (NineStar Press)
Publication Date & Length: May 30, 2016 – 104 pgs

Synopsis

Things should be going great for Matt Glenn. His business as a security consultant is thriving and he’s rekindled his relationship with sexy detective Jordan Cobbers. But the pressures of work are driving Matt and Jordan ever further apart. Luckily Matt’s old flame, Ben, is on hand to make thing right. But tragedy strikes, and Matt is in danger of having everything ripped from his world, including his sanity. When he loses his heart, how far must he go to find it again?

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Review

ThreeStar

To Lose His Heart is a different kind of novel. More somber and thoughtful, without losing the bulk of its charm or sense of adventure. Reading them both straight through was no problem, but they can each be enjoyed separately. Maybe in the bath or on a rainy day. There’s a third novella coming out that will surely be just as good. Romance definitely takes a back seat to plot, but that’s okay. Sometimes it’s nice just to read about a gay hero.

Alec Nortan’s talent could easily go to something greater, to push the envelopes of romance and character. But if he just sticks to spy capers, they’ll still be a lot of fun.

~ Christy

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3 Star Review for To Steal His Heart (Matt Glenn #1) by Alec Nortan #MM #Romance @NineStarPress

CoverTitle: To Steal His Heart (Matt Glenn #1)
Author Name & Publisher: Alec Nortan (NineStar Press)
Publication Date & Length: April 25, 2016 – 134 pgs

Synopsis

The best way to catch a thief is to act like one—or at least that’s how Matt Glenn operates. He’ll protect your valuables, but the one thing he can’t protect is his own heart. His life is looking up when he meets hot client Ben on his latest assignment. But when Matt comes back into contact with police lieutenant Jordan Cobbers, the man who could have been the love of his life, things get complicated. As the danger rises and lives are placed at risk, will Matt survive?

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Review

ThreeStar

These two novellas follow Matt Glenn, a security consultant with a knack for safe cracking. They’re what Inked calls “Sweet Romance,” and feature no sex. They’re charming and well-written, if somewhat flighty and fleeting. Matt is an affable fellow. He goes between two paramours, bashful Ben and grumpy Jordan, which is a little ridiculous, but not too annoying. The first novella, To Steal His Heart, got me quite swept up in its plot. There’s action, adventure, some violence, and a small cast of supporting characters that feature their own personalities and interactions.

~ Christy

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4 stars for The Haunted Pub by Melanie Tushmore @tushmore_ #Bisexual #MM #Paranormal @LT3Press

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Title: The Haunted Pub
Author Name & Publisher: Melanie Tushmore (Less Than Three)
Publication Date & Length: May 10th, 2016 – 364 Pages

Synopsis

Suffering from depression, and going through a rough time because of it, Fizz’s misery culminates in his parents throwing him out, leaving him with two bags, twenty pounds, and nowhere to go. Desperate, he calls his brother, who takes him to The Queen Anne’s Revenge, where Fizz winds up living in a room that hasn’t had a human inhabitant for more years than anyone can actually count—a room that seems to already have an occupant…

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Review

FourStars

The Haunted Pub is a charming, fun story about a mischievous ghost tormenting a motley group of earnest, gay characters who run a run-down pub in England. There’s an ensemble rather than one pairing, which was a nice surprise, narrated mostly by Ryan, an even-keeled fellow at odds with the weirdness around him.
The story aspires to scary but remains a farce. There are hi-jinks and a bit of camp, and everyone gets a happy ending. It’s even quite sexy.
The story also aspires to some depth, but doesn’t quite get there. Fizz, our introductory character, suffers from clinical depression and suicidal tendencies. His portrayal is realistic enough, but gets too pat a conclusion. There’s also a harrowing account of rape that has meaning but lacks…accountability, somehow.
That makes The Haunted Pub a somewhat guilty pleasure, but a pleasure indeed. Action, drama, scrappy humor, and British accents make a splendid escape for an afternoon’s read.
C. E. Case

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5 Stars for Sword and Star (Root Code #3) by Sunny Moraine @DynamicSymmetry #MM #SciFi @RiptidePublishing

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Title: Sword and Star (Root Code#3)
Author Name & Publisher: Sunny Moraine / Riptide Publishing
Publication Date & Length: May 23, 2016 / eBook 415 pages

Synopsis

Three months after a brutal battle at Peris, Adam Yuga, Lochlan D’Bideshi, and their rebel fleet are embroiled in a new conflict. But things aren’t going well. Even with Lock’s homeship, Ashwina, at the head of the fleet, the Protectorate forces are adapting to their tactics. Before long, two devastating blows send the ragtag rebels on the run. But the greatest threat may come from within.

Since the battle at Peris, Protectorate loyalist Isaac Sinder’s determination to eliminate the rebel fleet has only intensified—along with his ambition. The Protectorate is decaying, and it’s clear to Isaac that only he can save it, by any means necessary.

As the situation worsens for the rebels, the strain begins to tell on everyone. But more than exhaustion grows within Adam. Something alien has started to change him. Lochlan fights to hold on, but even he may not be able to follow Adam down the dark road ahead.

As Isaac’s obsession turns to insanity, it becomes evident that more sinister plans than his are at work. Bound together by threads of fate and chance, Adam and Lochlan turn their eyes toward a future that may tear them apart—if they’re lucky enough to survive it at all.

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Review

FiveStars
Sword and Star is book three of the Root Code series and I would recommend reading Line and Orbit (#1) and Fall and Rising (#2) because I assume they are as awesomely good as this one. I have not read any of Sunny Moraine’s work before. That seems like a massive oversight.
Sword and Star is a deep and rich space opera. Adam Yuga and his husband Lochlan are at the center of a great saga. Developed and fascinating characters like telepaths and mind-melders and space soldiers swirl around them. Including an amazing, interesting antagonist I kind of rooted for. The universe is drenched in politics. Aliens abound.
These are tales of intense, abiding love, but sex is scant. Instead there’s soap opera turmoil (in a good way) and quite a bit of existential brooding. There are mysterious, suspenseful elements I find myself thinking about when I’m apart from the book.
If you’re fans of Adam and Lochlan already, this is not some cash-grab sequel, this is a masterpiece that stands on its own. If you’re not yet, wonder awaits you.
 C. E. Case
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