Cat's Books: Romance

This is a companion blog on the Romance genre to my theme and troupe list making madness. North American Wordcat: Romance Reader Reviewer, Romance List Maker.Twitter @Catsbookrom, Cat's Books Romance Novel Theme Park catsbooks.net Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cats-Books-Romance/

Too Stupid to Live (Romancelandia Book 1) Anne Tenino 4.5 Stars Review

Too Stupid to Live: Romancelandia, Book 1 - Riptide Publishing, Tobias Silversmith, Anne Tenino

t isn't true love until someone gets hurt.

Sam’s a new man. Yes, he’s still too tall, too skinny, too dorky, too gay, and has that unfortunate addiction to romance novels, but he’s wised up. His One True Love is certainly still out there, but he knows now that real life is nothing like fiction. He’s cultivated the necessary fortitude to say “no” to the next Mr. Wrong, no matter how hot, exciting, and/or erotic-novel-worthy he may be.

Until he meets Ian.

Ian’s a new man. He’s pain-free, has escaped the job he hated and the family who stifled him, and is now — possibly — ready to dip his toe into the sea of relationships. He’s going to be cautious, though, maybe start with someone who knows the score and isn’t looking for anything too complicated. Someone with experience and simple needs that largely revolve around the bedroom.

Until he meets Sam.

Sam’s convinced that Ian is no one’s Mr. Right. Ian’s sure that Sam isn’t his type. They can’t both be wrong...can they?

 

Review

This isn't a perfect book but its delightful and if you are a romance novel nerd like I am it is a must read for the meta commentary on the genre, the love of the gerne, and the playfulness Plus, it is a sexy romantic love story.

 

Same and Ian. I love that Ian isn't attracted to Sam at first because he is shallow but really more because he isn't attuned to himself yet. A great deal of this book his Ian's journey to become emotionally connect to himself and others after having lived a closeted life and believed the cultural lies told by hyper masculinity.

 

His journey is moving as his is falling deeper and deeper in love and lust with Sam. I am so happy Ian is already seeking therapy and continues to do so as the plot develops. I love his relationship with his cousin and the developing relationships with the people at his new job.

 

He tries and grows and does great romantic gestures and emotionial bravery and this makes him a wonderful deserving hero for Sam even when he struggles.

 

Sam is everything I love. A nerd, socially awkward bookworm with great friendships and a loving heart. He is super smart and his thinking of the world through romantic novels themes is at once funny, charming, and wise. He is brave and takes risk as Ian learns. Sexy as hell.

 

This is a well plotted book with great charters and love you can believe in. I liked the second book in the series much better after reading this one and can't wait for a third book.

 

The flaws are slight really. A weird lack of setting in an extra place. Western US not California. We never get to see Same as a grad student, writer, and teacher...just as a reader, friend, and waiter. This leaves some depth out of the novel that matters.

 

This will be a long time comfort read for sure. I am resisting the urge to reread right now!

Skin in the Game By Jackie Barbosa 99 cents!

Skin in the Game - Jackie Barbosa

Angela Peterson was always the quiet, shy kid growing up in Harper Falls, crushing on the high school quarterback and honing her football strategy skills. Now grown up and coaching the high school team, she's shocked when that same sexy quarterback returns to Harper Falls, asks her back to his hotel room...and then tries to steal her job.

 

Injured NFL quarterback Cade Reynolds is in Harper Falls to take over as interim head coach, and he never thought the tall, blond bombshell he propositioned would offer up any resistance. Not to a repeat of the amazingly wild night they shared and certainly not to his coaching position.

 

But the Harper Falls High Eagles are Angie's team, and even the hometown hero won't take that away from her, no matter how hot he is. As the two engage in a battle of wits and wills, this is one game neither is prepared to lose.

Wallflower (Old Maids' Club) Catherine Gayle Free!

Wallflower (Old Maids' Club) (Volume 1) by Catherine Gayle (2014-01-18) - Catherine Gayle

The choice between adhering to a long-held pact and finally accepting love could prove Lady Tabitha Shelton’s unhinging. She is plump, plain, pleasant . . . and thoroughly unappealing to any of the men of the ton—apart from fortune hunters. A self-appointed wallflower, she has every intention of remaining one. Tabitha made a vow of spinsterhood with her cousins when they were girls, and she refuses to go back on her word. So far, she’s proven herself quite adept at warding off the blasted fortune hunters’ pursuits.

Noah deLancie, Marquess of Devonport, would prefer to marry for love and companionship—he’s a gentleman through and through—but circumstances have forced his hand: he needs money as badly as he needs a bride. When Noah’s brother-in-law suggests pursuit of his sister, Tabitha, a woman with a dowry large enough to cause even Croesus to blush and who is tantalizingly good company to boot, Noah stumbles into the future he hopes to secure. He’ll stop at nothing to convince Tabitha to marry him.

Nothing, that is, except perhaps the barrel of a dueling pistol, held to his face by his ladylove.

Taxes and TARDIS by N.R. Walker Review

Taxes and TARDIS - N.R. Walker

Brent is a jock, Logan a geek, these men are a world apart. But if opposites attract, maybe it’s the differences between them that make it worth the fight.

 

Brent Kelly is a laid-back tradesman whose only concerns are drinks with friends and which man to bed next. In need of a new accountant to sort out his nightmarish shoebox of tax receipts, he’s referred to Logan Willis.

 

He doesn’t expect to be intrigued by the science fiction-loving, geeky guy with dark-rimmed glasses and a TARDIS-blue shirt. So his fascination with the soft-spoken Englishman surprises him, and their mutual attraction is completely unexpected. He most certainly never expects to fall in love.

 

One a jock and the other a geek, both men know the differences between them are vast and could cause problems. But in this opposites-attract erotic drama, maybe it’s the differences between them that make staying together worth the fight.

 

Review

 

Taxes and Tardis is such a lovely sigh of a sexy romance.

 

It could have been more complex with some of the character work but what is here is so good. It would have been a 5 star read if we had both points of view.

 

I love a geek hero and I love it when someone gets gobsmacked.

 

Both heroes are kind and so into each other.

 

This is a delight.

Reawaken (Under My Skin, #2) by Christina Lee Review

Reawaken - Christina Lee

osing his adoring husband shattered Tristan Rogers's world. For the past few years, he’s been going through the motions, running their dog grooming business while hiding the loneliness he feels down to his bones. When he witnesses an ugly breakup between a pretentious customer and his boyfriend, Tristan can’t help but intervene. Something about the unassuming younger man calls to him, and he can’t help wondering if he’s experienced some heartache of his own.

Life took a tragic turn for Jonas “West” Hollis as a teen, and he’s felt indebted to his overbearing lover ever since. Tristan’s kindness draws him from the start, but with his dreams finally in reach, West can’t risk getting close to someone else. Not now that he can live his life and stand on his own merit.

From innocent texts to companionable rides on Tristan’s boat, what starts as an unexpected friendship between the men sparks into undeniable attraction. Neither are ready for anything deeper than a couple of passionate nights wrapped in each other’s arms but their connection becomes too intense for either to ignore. If Tristan and West want to heal their broken hearts, they’ll need a considerable amount of trust and courage—not only in themselves but also each other.

 

Review

 

This is a quiet melancholy book where Tristen and West find themselves again and then each other after years of grief. 

They become friends. The sexy time are pretty smoking hot and really deepen their relationship. 

This book is a bit like a cup of warm teas with a little bitter and sweet.

Twice a Rake (Lord Rotheby's Influence) by Catherine Gayle Free!

Twice a Rake - Catherine Gayle

Some scandals are meant to be . . .

When Aurora Hyatt loses her journal in Hyde Park, her ruin is a foregone conclusion. After all, if anyone discovers her writings, they’ll find scandalous fantasies involving the newest rake in Town alongside entirely-too-candid thoughts about her typical dreary suitors. Aurora will either be forced into a loveless marriage with the first nodcock to make an offer, or she’ll be assigned a permanent position on the shelf. Oh, dear good Lord. What catastrophe will God smote down upon her next?

If Niles Thornton, Baron Quinton, desires to maintain any semblance of his current lifestyle, he must fulfill the requirements his grandfather, Lord Rotheby, has set for him. First and foremost: he must marry and begin filling his nursery within the year. When he is nearly barreled over by a racing curricle and a journal flies out to land at his feet, his troubles are over. Inside the journals pages, Quin discovers a scandal waiting to happen. Surely a young lady who would write such brazen things in a journal (and then dare to lose it) must recognize the necessity of a hasty marriage, even if the gentleman making the offer is rather less-than-honorable.

In a drunken haze, Quin kisses Aurora on a crowded ballroom floor, necessitating their immediate marriage. Quin’s troubles are only beginning, however, as Aurora’s writings are soon the focus of both gossip rags and drawing room conversation. When word arrives of an even greater scandal following in his wife’s wake, will he prove himself a drunken abuser like his father, or will he become the loving husband of Aurora’s fantasies?

Wildfire By Ilona Andrews $1.99

Wildfire -  Ilona Andrews

Nevada Baylor can’t decide which is more frustrating—harnessing her truthseeker abilities or dealing with Connor “Mad” Rogan and their evolving relationship. Yes, the billionaire Prime is helping her navigate the complex magical world in which she’s become a crucial player—and sometimes a pawn—but she also has to deal with his ex-fiancée, whose husband has disappeared, and whose damsel-in-distress act is wearing very, very thin.

Rogan faces his own challenges, too, as Nevada’s magical rank has made her a desirable match for other Primes. Controlling his immense powers is child’s play next to controlling his conflicting emotions. And now he and Nevada are confronted by a new threat within her own family. Can they face this together? Or is their world about to go up in smoke?

Paint the Stars (Free Fall #3) by Christina Lee and Nyrae Dawn 4 Star Review

Paint the Stars - Nyrae Dawn, Christina  Lee

Ezra Greene has made a pretty decent life for himself. He has a nice apartment and spends his days doing the one thing he’s always loved—creating art. Despite being somewhat of a grumpy recluse, he’s even made a few loyal friends. When he takes a side job painting a mural at a local holistic center, he can’t help being curious about a certain friendly and self-assured yoga instructor, even if he doesn’t buy into any of that Zen crap. His holier-than-thou family already tried fitting him inside a box, and he swore he’d never be molded into anybody’s belief system again.

For Daevonte Randall, adulthood has worked out pretty well. He’s close to his parents and lives with an awesome roommate. He’s content with weekend hookups, teaching yoga, and taking college courses. What he doesn’t expect is to be so intrigued by the brooding and reserved painter he’s been tasked to stay after hours with at the center. Something fascinates him about Ezra, even after Daevonte’s attempts at flirting gets him friend-zoned on the spot.

As weeks pass, Ezra and Dae get to know each other, and soon their friendship catches fire. But Ezra’s been burned pretty badly before so trust and intimacy has to be earned. Daevonte feels up to the task, but it proves difficult as Ezra continues to keep his emotions in check. Dae’s only willing to wait so long, and when they’re dealt a surprising blow, Ezra needs to decide if love is worth the risk, that is…if it’s not too late.

 

Review

 

This is a great romance between grumpy artist Ezra and warm Daevonte the yoga instructor.

We get to visit the friends in this series and watch a love story unfold. Erza's sexuality and personality make a great tension with Daevonte sexuality and personality. They like each other and it a treat to read.

All the little details of this book and work make it a really lovely tender and hot read.

College Boys (Men of Holsum College #1) by Daisy Harris Review

College Boys / Diva and the Frat Boy - Daisy Harris

When soccer star Chris Fischer moves next door to an openly gay classmate, he doesn't realize the wall between their rooms will be so thin he'll hear his neighbor's every move. But soon he and Peter become friends, and Chris is intrigued—imagining what happens on the other side of the wall. Active on the Queer Student Council, Peter Cohen wishes he wasn't so damn hot for his straight neighbor. He can't tell if Chris is flirting or in denial or what, but Chris's innocent overtures lure Peter into flirtation that throws his world into chaos. Peter doesn't want to date a closet case, but he desperately, passionately wants Chris. Soon Chris must choose whether to run away from his new feelings or embrace a relationship with the guy he loves. And Peter must decide if he can give his heart to a guy who hasn't yet figured it all out.

 

Review

 

 

This is a hot and sweet romance. It is a great tale of falling in love and takes particular care with showing how someone comes to understand their sexuality varies and there is no one correct way.

 

We get to see Chris' process while Peter supports him. There is a sweetness to this romance and you will believe in how in love they are.

 

Peter is a great character and we could have spent more time with him outside his relationship and relationship angst. Chris is a great guy as well.

 

I love the message of finding community in the book.

 

A nice start to a new adult series. 

 

Ice By Linda Howard $1.99

Ice - Linda Howard

On holiday leave from the service, Gabriel McQueen is sent into a brewing ice storm to make sure that his father’s distant neighbor, Lolly Helton, who has fallen out of contact, is safe and sound. It’s a trip that Gabriel would rather not make, given the bitter winter weather—and the icy conditions that have always existed between him and Lolly. Arriving at Lolly’s home, Gabriel spots strangers through the windows—one of them packing a weapon—and kicks into combat mode. But once Lolly is rescued, the heat—and the hunt—are on. Snowbound, unarmed, and literally under the gun, Gabriel and Lolly must depend on each other to endure the merciless forces of nature and evade the ruthless enemy out in the blackness of the silent night—and out for their blood.

Destiny's Captive Beverly Jenkins $1.99

Destiny's Captive - Beverly Jenkins

Noah Yates fully believes in the joys of a happy family and a good wife. But that's not the life for him. No, he would much rather sail the wild seas in search of adventure, not tied down. But then the unthinkable happens . . . he finds himself literally tied down. To a bed. By a woman.

 

And Pilar isn't just an ordinary woman. She's descended from pirates. And after giving him one of the worst nights of his life, she steals his ship! Now Noah is on the hunt, and he'll stop at nothing to find this extraordinary woman . . . and make her his.

Throb By Vi Keeland 99 cents!

Throb - Vi Keeland

The rules:

No dating.
No sex outside of the game.
No disclosing the terms of the contract.

Rules were made to be broken, right?

Eight weeks ago I signed a contract. One that seemed like a good idea at the time. A handsome bachelor, luxury accommodations, and a chance to win a prize my family desperately needed. There were some rules though. Lots of them actually. Follow the script, no dating, sex, or disclosing the terms of the deal. After my self-imposed moratorium on men the last year, it wouldn't be hard to live up to my end of the bargain...so I thought. Until I realized the deal I'd made was with the devil...and I was in love with his dirty-talking brother.

Nachos & Hash (Mary's Boys, #1) by Brandon Witt Review

Nachos & Hash - Brandon Witt

Darwin Michaels is living his dreams in the Mile High City. While Denver offers the perfect job, scrumptious dining, and whirlwind dating options, Darwin is losing hope he’ll find the right man to spark his interest for more than a one-night stand—until he sets eyes on Cody Russell.

Cody has just accomplished his life’s goal—get the hell out of Kansas. In one fell swoop, he lands a job at Hamburger Mary’s and gets a newfound family and the chance to be with other gay people! All that’s missing is someone special. But when Darwin shows his interest, Cody is sure it’s too good to be true. After all, what can Darwin possibly see in the high school dropout serving him nachos?

As Darwin falls in love, Cody struggles to realize his worth. When his past threatens the fragile life he is building, Cody spirals into a moment of dark desperation. But Darwin is determined to show Cody that love and family and home are there for him… will Cody accept what is offered?

 

Reviews

 adore Darwin and I adore Cody. The yearning in each of them is tender. 

Darwin wants to find an man to love and Cody doesn't think he can ask for more than what he has. 

The courtship of this book is great as is the circle of friends.

We are moving through a sweet and sexy romance when the plot takes a dark turn with some internal struggles for one of the heroes. 

And while this turn is realistic and the issue (not to give spoilers) one that deserves attention especially in a series that look critically at issues within the gay community, the turn is sharp and a more developed understanding of the character would have enrich the book.

The aftermath is better handled and we end in a very loving place.

Once Upon a Rose by Laura Florand 99 cents! Love this series!

Once Upon a Rose (La Vie en Roses) (Volume 1) by Florand, Laura (2015) Paperback - Laura Florand

She stole his roses.

Fleeing the spotlight, burnt out rock star Layla—“Belle”—Dubois seeks refuge in the south of France. That old, half-forgotten heritage in a valley of roses seems like a good place to soothe a wounded heart. She certainly doesn’t expect the most dangerous threat to her heart to pounce on her as soon as she sets foot on the land.

He wants them back.

Matt didn’t mean to growl at her quite that loudly. But—his roses! She can’t have his roses. Even if she does have all those curls and green eyes and, and, and…what was he growling about again?

Or maybe he just wants her.

When an enemy invades his valley and threatens his home, heart, and livelihood, Matthieu Rosier really knows only one way to defend himself.

It might involve kissing.

And that might be just the start.

Empty Net (Scoring Chances Book 4) Avon Gale 4.5 Star Review!

Empty Net - Avon Gale

Spartanburg Spitfires’ goalie and captain, Isaac Drake, ended last season with an unexpected trip to the playoffs. He’s found a home and a family with his coach and mentor, Misha Samarin, and he’s looking forward to making a serious run for the Kelly Cup. But things take an interesting turn when Isaac’s archnemesis, Laurent St. Savoy, is traded to the Spitfires. After Laurent’s despicable behavior in the playoffs last year, Isaac wants nothing to do with him—no matter how gorgeous he is. But that changes when Isaac discovers the reason for Laurent’s attitude.

Laurent St. Savoy grew up the only son of a legendary NHL goalie in a household rife with abuse. He was constantly treated like a disappointment, on and off the ice. When a desperate attempt to escape his father’s tyranny sends him to the Spitfires, the last thing Laurent wants is to make friends. But there’s something about Isaac Drake that he can’t resist. Laurent has an opportunity to explore his sexuality for the first time, but he’s cracking under end-of-the-season pressures. When facing the playoffs and a rivalry turned personal vendetta, Isaac’s not sure he’s enough to hold on to Laurent—or their relationship.

 

Review

This is by far the darkest book of the series so far but this love story really shows off what an amazing storyteller Avon Gale is.

 

She takes the villain from the last book in the series Laurents and pairs him with the beloved scrappy Drake in an truely stellar enemies to lovers romance with a healing journey for all.

 

This book delves into the darkness of what happens when someone is exposed to systematic abuse and what it means to love someone enough to stand by as they heal.

Laurents is awful for a reason. However, he chooses to become aware and change and risk loving someone. He gets therapy. I can't tell you how much I celebrate when a character gets professionial help in a book showing others the way. He works at his recovery from an eating disorder and self care from his abusive childhood and young adulthood.

 

His demisexuality is gently explored. He becomes his better self and a wonderful partner for Issac. I love the dating scenes.

 

Issac is so much a great emotionally brave character and sexy as hell (Lauren is broodingly hot). Issac just shines and finding romantic love and the love of an adopted father makes him even more compelling.

 

He falls in love but doesn't try to solve Laurents problems. He is a partner.

 

I really adored their romance as always the hockey and the secondary characters and the pondering for friendship.

 

The books ends with a happily ever after that includes doing the right things for yourself as well as others.

Maid Marian by Elsa Watson $1.99

Maid Marian - Elsa Watson


An orphan and heiress to a large country estate, Marian Fitzwater is wed at the age of five to an equally young nobleman, Lord Hugh of Sencaster, a union that joins her inheritance to his, vastly enriching his family. But when she is seventeen, Lord Hugh, whom she hasn't seen in years, dies under mysterious circumstances, leaving her alone again--a widow who has never been a bride. Like all unmarried young ladies of fortune, she is made a ward of Richard the Lionheart, England's warrior king. With King Richard away on Crusade, Marian's fate lies in the hands of his mother, the formidable Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, who will arrange her second marriage. The lucky bridegroom will get Marian's lands and, in return, pledge his loyalty--and silver--to King Richard. Marian herself is irrelevant and she knows it. Determined not to be sold into another sham marriage, she seeks out the one man whose spies can help uncover the queen's plans--Robin Hood, the notorious Saxon outlaw of Sherwood Forest. 

Marian is surprised to discover that the famed "prince of thieves" is not only helpful but handsome, likable and sympathetic to her plight. Following her plan, Robin’s men intercept a letter from Queen Eleanor, from which Marian learns, to her horror, that she is to marry her late husband’s brother. His family's history of mysterious deaths, puts Marian in grave danger. Once married, her land becomes theirs and they can easily dispose of her--a fate she may have only narrowly escaped already. On the eve of her wedding, Robin Hood spirits Marian back to the forest. Queen Eleanor believes her to be dead, allowing Marian to begin a new life with Robin Hood's outlaws, who pledge to help her regain her fortune and expose the treachery of her enemies.