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/

A Gentleman Never Keeps Score (Seducing the Sedgwicks, #2) by Cat Sebastian 4 Star Review!

A Gentleman Never Keeps Score - Cat Sebastian

Once beloved by London's fashionable elite, Hartley Sedgwick has become a recluse after a spate of salacious gossip exposed his most-private secrets. Rarely venturing from the house whose inheritance is a daily reminder of his downfall, he’s captivated by the exceedingly handsome man who seeks to rob him.

 

Since retiring from the boxing ring, Sam Fox has made his pub, The Bell, into a haven for those in his Free Black community. But when his best friend Kate implores him to find and destroy a scandalously revealing painting of her, he agrees. Sam would do anything to protect those he loves, even if it means stealing from a wealthy gentleman. But when he encounters Hartley, he soon finds himself wanting to steal more than just a painting from the lovely, lonely man—he wants to steal his heart.

 

Review

 

It took me a bit to relax into this book and trust the Cat Sebastian would be able to give me a happily ever after in this queer interracial historical romance. 

She does. The writing is lovely and detailed. Sam and Hart make a wonderful couple. 

Hart is in crisis and has to reexamine so many things as his life is upended after he is exposed for being a kept man. He has to come to terms with the truth that through it felt like a choice to support his family, the power dynamics at play make "choice" such a complex concept. 

Sam has to decide to have someone for himself.

Lines of class, race, and sexuality weave together. 

The romance charming, hot, and sweet and feels possible. 

The secondary characters really engaging as Hart builds new and better connections. 

I would have like to know more about the Free Black community and felt that the aspects of the plot to due with Hart's brothers depended too much on the first book but overall so well written and engaging.

On the Ice (Stick Side #1) by Amy Aislin 3.5 Review!

On the Ice (Stick Side #1) - Amy Aislin

For college sophomore Mitch Greyson, determination and persistence are the name of the game if he wants to make it as a professional hockey player. A busy schedule of practices, games, classes, homework, two part-time jobs—and now, working with a tutor to help him pass the class he’s failing so that he can keep his scholarship—shouldn’t leave him with enough time to flirt with the NHL player in town. But that doesn’t stop him.

Placed on the injured reserve list until his broken arm heals, NHL defenseman Alex Dean is using the time off to be with his ailing grandfather and get a head start on the book he’s been commissioned to write. He doesn’t expect to get roped into a tutoring gig, especially not for cocky, smart-ass Mitch.

But Alex soon discovers that there’s more to Mitch than meets the eye...and he really likes what he sees. Only Alex doesn’t dare risk his NHL career by coming out, and a relationship between them would jeopardize Mitch’s chances with the organization too.

It looks impossible. Then again, the best things usually do...

 

Review

 

I loved the romance at the center of the book between Mitch and Alex. Mitch's first cocky bold approach and then Alex demanding he be real.

As Alex is demisexual, we get a slow burn romance which creates lots of space for emotionial connection. 

Alex is just a solidly great guy and so comfortable in his own skin. 

Mitch is really wonderful too and the dates and falling in love as they handle a long distance relationship is well done.

Outside the romance, there needs to be better work with the other issues. Mitch's hardworking exhaustion is done well as his Alex's family and they both have good friends. However, Mitch's mom is drawn as a villain too simply and his dad's cluelessness as well as the length of his brother's reaction to something that happen makes little sense. 

Good overall! I look forward to Cody or Yeager's story

 

Marriage of Inconvenience by M.J. O'Shea Review

Marriage of Inconvenience - M.J. O'Shea

Lights, camera, lies.

Kerry Pickering has a problem. As a publicist for Hollywood bad boy Jericho Knox, it’s Kerry’s job to keep Jericho in the news. So far, Jericho’s partying and public escapades have made it easy. But Jericho has a secret, and when that secret is revealed in the most spectacularly disastrous way, it’s up to Kerry to spin it.

The team decides the best course of action is to make the public fall in love—with Jericho’s secret committed relationship. The one that doesn’t exist. Yet.

The team wants someone they can trust. Someone in the inner circle. That someone is Kerry. But what will happen when Kerry realizes that for him, the romance is no longer pretend? Can Jericho love him back, or is he just playing a role?

 

Review

 

t took me a while to warm up to this romance. I like pretend relationship romances but Kerry and Jericho take too long to spend any real time together.

And then Jericho is too big a jerk to Kerry for too long.

Once, they over that part of the plot, the book gets better and we have the fun of this troupe.

Snake Snack (Arrowtown #2) by Lisa Oliver Review

Snake Snack (Arrowtown Book 2) - Lisa Oliver

Simon liked the idea of having a Fated Mate; after all, Ra and Seth certainly seem happy enough. A random encounter in Jackson changes his thinking though, making him wonder if he should have thought that mate thing through more thoroughly. As a snake shifter, he was used to being alone. Who cared if he upset anyone or not? But his old behavior wasn’t going to win him any hearts, including his mate’s.

Darwin works three jobs to survive. On his own for more years than he can count, he stays away from shifters and shifter towns. Trusting no one, he works and sleeps and while his life is dull, it’s safe and that’s all Darwin cares about. When he comes across a snake in his apartment, his first instinct is to hit it with his trusty bat. But the mate pull works both ways and Darwin’s forced to consider some changes in his life. 

Two stalkers, two kidnappings, life is rarely dull in Arrowtown. With Ra running for mayor and Liam’s and Lucien’s life threatened by their past, Simon and Darwin have their work cut out for them. Being mates is one thing; love is a totally different matter. 

 

Review

 

Alright. So this is the week I read books with mouse shifters. 

So, this this a whack a do paranormal romance with for me too much action and not enough romance.

The lack of communication will make you want to smack things and there is two crazy villians that kidnap a hero each. 

But what saves, this for me is the the mpreg part of the book is interesting.

Okay.

Lucas by D. B. Reynolds $1.99!

Lucas - D.B. Reynolds

The badlands of South Dakota . . . haunting landscapes, legendary outlaws, and . . . vampires?

Lucas Donlon, Vampire Lord, is one of the most powerful vampires in North America and beyond. Charming and irreverent to his friends and lovers, he enjoys everything about his life as a vampire. But when a neighboring lord makes the mistake of declaring war, he quickly discovers that Lucas is every bit as lethal as he is charming.

Kathryn Hunter doesn’t care about powerful vampires or their wars. Her baby brother is missing, and she will do anything to find him, even if it means going against both her FBI bosses and the local vampire lord. But Lucas Donlon has other plans for the lovely FBI agent who’s landed on his doorstep.

Waging war against their enemies and each other, Lucas and Kathryn will risk everything to keep the most deadly vampire war in hundreds of years from engulfing every vampire and human in North America.

Lost in Indigo (Colors of Love Book 1) by V. L. Locey 4 Star Review!

Lost in Indigo - V.L. Locey

Mathieu Beresford was so close to seeing his dream come true.

The thirty-eight-year-old captain of the Buffalo Surge had led his team to the final round of the playoffs with his aggressive defensive play and leadership. During the first game of the championship series, he was taken down, and his leg snapped upon impact with the boards. From his hospital bed, Mathieu watched his team go on to win it all.

Adrift in anger, resentment, and the new direction of his life, he returns to his mansion along the St. Lawrence River. Alone and sulking, Mathieu is not prepared for Indigo Neu to enter his life. The genderflux twenty-year-old botany major signs on to play nursemaid, confidant, and groundskeeper over the summer and slowly leads Mathieu out of his confusion––one tender smile and touch at a time.

The deeper Mathieu falls, the more he wonders if being lost might not be so bad after all.

 

Review

 

I am excited about the start of V.L Locey new series Colors of Love.

This first book in series gives us an age gap romance set on the stunning St. Lawerence River between a pro hockey player and a college student doing gardening for the summer. 

There are a great deal of common tropes here but I think what the book does really well as look at the costs of being closeted as Mat is. It also takes seriously the struggle of coming out in a religous culture (in this case French Canadian Catholic) and when you are from the generation of men just after the highest point of the AIDS epidemic. 

I was a young adult during these time period and newly out as bisexual and going to my first Prides and much of my activism intersected with what was happening in the community around AIDS so I think I have a special infinity for stories that blend the arc of recent LGBTQA history into the characters.

Mat and Indigo are instantly attracted. The love that builds between them is that young tender first love through they both are far from virgins. Indigo's identity as genderflux layers into the plot.

Indigo does think he can handle a relationship on the down low. But he cant's and Mat is confronting the end of his career and coming out.

Despite the high drama of some of the plot points the overall tone of book is sweet and reflective. 

We get a lovely HEA. 

Squeak And A Roar (Midnight Matings #1) by Joyee Flynn Review

Squeak And A Roar - Joyee Flynn

The paranormal world is in chaos. The elders are tired of their younger people playing the field, causing trouble, and fighting with each other. Everyone who attends the UPAC Conference now has twenty-four hours to claim a mate of a different species. If they don't, they will never have a mate. The spell is cast. There is no escaping the Midnight Matings. Software developer Gavin Ashby is perfectly happy with his life. He finds other people annoying after being around them for only a short period of time, and having a mate sounds like pure torture to him. Video game tester Ant Marino is satisfied with his quiet, solitary life. After being accosted and almost forcibly mated, he meets the aloof but handsome Gavin. Neither Ant nor Gavin are prepared for the feelings that arise. Will the two men continue to dance around each other or will they pounce on love and never let it go.

 

Review

 

I am a sucker for unusual shifters and it is even better and here we get a mouse shifter (yay!) and lion shifter.

Ant and Gavin. Here is the thing. Gavin is a jerk. Now, he was raised to be that way but it is still annoying. However, he does learn and improve. But, yeah, he is mean and knee jerk to often.

Ant is much better character. Willing to make the best of a bad situation and supportive. Brave.

We get to spend time with the Pride which really who cares? Jerky Pride. Politics. Bleh. 

I would have loved to spend time in mouse culture with the Mischief. 

So, not great but I might try another in this multi author series because bunny shifter.

Yours Until Dawn By Teresa Medeiros $1.99

Yours Until Dawn - Teresa Medeiros

Gabriel Fairchild's valor during battle earns him the reputation of hero, but costs him both his sight and his hope for the future. Abandoned by the fiancée he adored, the man who once walked like a prince among London's elite secludes himself in his family's mansion, cursing his way through dark days and darker nights.

 

Prim nurse Samantha Wickersham arrives at Fairchild Park to find her new charge behaving more like a beast than a man. Determined to do her duty, she engages the arrogant earl in a battle of both wit and wills. Although he claims she doesn't possess an ounce of womanly softness, she can feel his heart racing at her slightest touch. As Samantha begins to let the light back into Gabriel's life and his heart, they both discover that some secrets -- and some pleasures -- are best explored in the dark ...

Double Up (Lake Lovelace, #1) by Vanessa North 4.5 Review!

Double Up - Vanessa North

Knowing he’s loved can make any man fly.

Fifteen years ago, Ben Warren was a wakeboarding champion: king of big air, ballsy tricks, and boned grabs. Until a career-ending injury left him broken in ways he still has no hope of fixing. Now he takes his thrills where he can get them, and tries not to let life hurt too much.

Then Davis Fox arrives in Ben’s sporting goods store with a plan to get in touch with his estranged brother by competing in the annual wakeboarding double-up contest. The catch? He’s never ridden before. It’s crazy, but Ben’s a sucker for the guy’s sob story—and for his dimples, too—so he agrees to coach Davis.

Davis is everything Ben isn’t: successful, confident, and in love with life. And he wants Ben to love life—and him—too. But before Ben can embrace a future with Davis, he needs to remember how to hope.

 

 

Review

 

Vanessa North writes this tale of a former pro athlete and a younger hero with care.

She explores the sport of wake boarding. addiction, and friendship.

What I like best about this romance is that Ben and Davis have this dance of what real success means. Ben is stuck and Davis is willing to move forward.

We don't get enough time with Ben's talents and work nor a fully understanding of his mother but we do get the engrossing details of a romance with characters and connections that make me savor each moment.
 
 

 

Dark Wolf Rising By Stephanie Rowe Free!

Dark Wolf Rising - Stephanie Rowe

A decade ago, wolf shifter Cash Burns severed all ties to his past in order to protect his best friend, the childhood sweetheart he has never forgotten. When she's targeted for assassination by his pack on Christmas Eve, he's the only one who can save her…but at a cost greater than he can afford. 

Haunted by a tragic secret, Brynn McKenzie has been fighting for survival, alone in a world she doesn't fit. She's on the run for her life, forced to choose between redemption and survival. She has nowhere to turn, until the man who walked away from her so long ago appears in her hotel room with a knife and a promise she can't afford to believe. 

When passion ignites between Bryn and Cash, will it shatter what little hope they have for survival, or make them stronger than they ever thought they'd be? 

Macarons at Midnight (Just Desserts, #1) by M.J. O'Shea and Anna Martin Review

Macarons at Midnight - M.J. O'Shea, Anna  Martin

Tristan Green left his small English town for Manhattan and a job at a high profile ad agency, but can’t seem to find his bearings. He spends a lot of time working late at night, eating and sleeping alone, and even more time meandering around his neighborhood staring into the darkened windows of shops. One night when he’s feeling really low, he wanders by a beautiful little bakery with the lights still on. The baker invites him in, and some time during that night Tristan realizes it’s the first time he’s really smiled in months.

Henry Livingston has always been the odd duck, the black sheep, the baker in an old money family where pedigree is everything and quirky personalities are hidden behind dry martinis and thick upper east side townhouse facades. Henry is drawn to Tristan’s easy country charm, dry English wit, and everything that is so different from Henry’s world.

Their new romance is all buttercream frosting and sugared violets until Tristan's need to fit in at work makes him do something he desperately wishes he could undo. Tristan has to prove to Henry that he can be trusted again before they can indulge in the sweet stuff they're both craving.

 

Review

 

The baking in this romance was amazing and comes with recipes. 

The book also showcases New York City. 

The love story between Tristen is sweet and tender. The loneliness Tristen feels so far from England and Henry's choice to not be part of the New York elite is nicely detailed.

Because the connection between the heroes charms, the conflicts in the book between Tristen and his awful work environment and then the over reaction of Henry of something that happens feels too heavy handed and made me want to skip around and took away from the pleasure of the book.

Bonded (Bonded to the Alpha #1) by Robin Moray Review

Bonded to the Alpha - Robin Moray

Bonded mates are rare, and every wolf knows that the killing of a bond-mate is punishable by death. But nineteen-year-old Callum is fully human, woefully ignorant of Pack Law, and when an accidental encounter with a frenzied beta leaves the wolf dead and Callum battered but alive, he finds himself facing the wrath of the pack -- until the dead wolf’s mate invokes the right to claim Callum as his own.

With his life on the line, Callum’s only choice is to bond with the troubled alpha, and carve a place for himself in the pack by any means necessary. 

Taking the bond was the worst mistake Nero ever made. But now, with his bond-mate dead, the clock is ticking. He needs to bond again by the full moon, or his next transformation will kill him. That’s all he needs the human for, just a means to an end. At least that’s what he tells himself, but as the bond takes hold he finds himself falling deeper into something he swore he would never do again.

 

Review

 

This wolf shifter romance moving along pretty nicely and then it did that thing where it just ended. Like the author was going to write a serial. Bleh.

The next book in the series feature the same couple, the third one 1/4 features them and in the 4th they just some up. I have read the 4th book and its much better.

There is good writing here but so many threads that lead to no where that I am not inclined to read the rest of the books.

Love Has No Expiration by C.S. Poe Review

Love Has No Expiration - C.S. Poe

There's more to life than work, and love has no expiration, even for those approaching their forty-fifth birthday.

Daniel Richards is a private chef in New York City who has committed over a decade to his skills and passion. He has carved out a name for himself in the industry and has bookings for parties and dinners months in advance. Now that he's in his midforties, however, he's come to the realization that he's lonely and desperate for companionship. Two days before Valentine's Day, he meets Keith Maxwell at a farmer's market and can't keep the much younger man out of his thoughts. Keith is eager and willing to take a chance with someone older, but Daniel's reluctance stops Keith's every attempt. Worried his career will suffer if he dedicates time to a serious romance, or that Keith won't be satisfied with someone so much older, Daniel nearly thwarts his own attempts at finding happiness.

 

Review

 

I like C.S. Poe's writing a great deal and this is a lovely age difference romance which starts at a Farmer's Market.

This love story between Keith and Daniel explores adjusting one's life to make room for love. 

Well written.

The Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley $2.99

The Geek Feminist Revolution - Kameron Hurley

A powerful collection of essays on feminism, geek culture, and a writer's journey, from one of the most important new voices in genre.

The Geek Feminist Revolution is a collection of essays by double Hugo Award-winning essayist and science fiction and fantasy novelist Kameron Hurley.

The book collects dozens of Hurley's essays on feminism, geek culture, and her experiences and insights as a genre writer, including "We Have Always Fought," which won the 2014 Hugo for Best Related Work. The Geek Feminist Revolution will also feature several entirely new essays written specifically for this volume.

Diving in by Bru Baker Review

Diving In - Bru Baker

Being the pool boy makes it easy for Max Jansen to ogle his long-time crush, water polo player Everett Caldwell. Never mind the fact that Max owns the company and is overqualified for the task of monitoring chlorine and cleaning skimmers. He’s just happy to watch his unattainable dream play—until one day Everett invites him over and suddenly Max is his platonic plus-one for everything from movie nights to racy industry parties. Then Max learns the one-time Olympian isn’t as straight as everyone assumes, and he isn’t sure how long he can hold out before his crush grows much deeper.

 

Review

 

This is a lovely short story between Max and Everett;

It is fun crush romance with the added bonus of water polo. 

Good stuff.

The Sword of Shannara Trilogy › Terry Brooks $2.99!!

The Sword of Shannara Trilogy - Terry Brooks

he Sword of Shannara
Long ago, the wars of the ancient Evil ruined the world. In peaceful Shady Vale, half-elfin Shea Ohmsford knows little of such troubles. But the supposedly dead Warlock Lord is plotting to destroy everything in his wake. The sole weapon against this Power of Darkness is the Sword of Shannara, which can be used only by a true heir of Shannara. On Shea, last of the bloodline, rests the hope of all the races. 

The Elfstones of Shannara
The magical Ellcrys tree is dying, loosening the spell that bars the Demons from enacting vengeance upon the land. Now Wil Ohmsford must guard the Elven girl Amberle on a perilous quest as she carries one of the Ellcrys’ seeds to a mysterious place where it can be quickened into a powerful new force. But dark on their trail comes the Reaper, most fearsome of all Demons, aiming to crush their mission at any cost. 

The Wishsong of Shannara 
An ancient Evil is stirring to new life, sending its ghastly Mord Wraiths to destroy Mankind. To win through the vile growth that protects this dark force, the Druid Allanon needs Brin Ohmsford—for she alone holds the magic power of the wishsong. Reluctantly Brin joins the Druid on his dangerous journey. But a prophecy foretells doom, as Evil nurses its plans to trap the unsuspecting Brin into a fate far more horrible than death.