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/

What Not to Bare By Megan Frampton 99 cents!

What Not To Bare - Megan Frampton

Lady Charlotte Jepstow certainly knows how to make an impression—a terrible one. Each one of her ball gowns is more ostentatiously ugly than the one before. Even she has been forced to wonder: Is she unmarried because of her abysmal wardrobe, or does she wear clashing clothing because she doesn’t want to be pursued in the first place? But when Charlotte meets Lord David Marchston, suddenly a little courtship doesn’t sound so bad after all.
 
David will be the first to admit he’s made some mistakes. But when he gets yanked from his post by his superiors, he is ordered to do the unthinkable to win back his position: woo his commander’s niece. If David wants his life back, he must use his skills as a negotiator to persuade society that Charlotte is a woman worth pursuing, despite her rather unusual “flair” for color. But David does such a terrific job that he develops an unexpected problem, one that violates both his rakish mentality and his marching orders: He’s starting to fall in love.

Kulti by Mariana Zapata 99 cents! A Favorite!

Kulti - Mariana Zapata

Trust me, I’ve wanted to punch you in the face a time or five.”

When the man you worshipped as a kid becomes your coach, it’s supposed to be the greatest thing in the world. Keywords: supposed to.

It didn’t take a week for twenty-seven-year-old Sal Casillas to wonder what she’d seen in the international soccer icon—why she’d ever had his posters on her wall, or ever envisioned marrying him and having super-playing soccer babies.

Sal had long ago gotten over the worst non-break-up in the history of imaginary relationships with a man that hadn’t known she’d existed. So she isn’t prepared for this version of Reiner Kulti who shows up to her team’s season: a quiet, reclusive shadow of the explosive, passionate man he’d once been.

Nothing could have prepared her for the man she got to know.

Or the murderous urges he brought out in her.

This was going to be the longest season of her life.

Another Shot (Heartsville) by J.H. Knight Review

Another Shot - J.H. Knight

The town of Heartsville means something different to everyone who lives there. For Aaron Forester, it’s a gay-friendly buffer between himself and the rest of the world. After being outed in high school and bullied to the point of violence, his family uprooted their lives and relocated to the small hamlet. He’s moved on from all that and now owns a popular café in the bustling shopping district. But after twenty years of happy living, Aaron’s past creeps up on him in the most unexpected way. 

Brad Collins only has one regret and he’s carried it with him since he was a teenager. When he moves to Heartsville and gets set up on a blind date with the most adorable, engaging man he’s met in a long time, he couldn’t be happier. But Brad didn’t expect the guy to be the person he outed in high school—whom he’s now falling in love with. 

Aaron and Brad hit it off instantly—in and out of the bedroom. But after a long overdue apology and a small serving of resentment, is their fledgling relationship worth another shot? 

Review

 

Hmmm. The blurb does give everything away but I don't mind that because it keeps the story low angst.

 

This is a decent read and the most interesting thing about it is the idea why we are cruel when we are young.

 

The romance is lack luster because the book kind of ends when the real relationship would begin.

 

Still a great setting and cast.

Don't Twunk With My Heart (Loving You, #2) by Renae Kaye

Don't Twunk With My Heart (Loving You Book 2) - Renae Kaye

Kee Smith isn’t sure who he is anymore. He knows who he used to be—the ignored gay son who chose a blue-collar job just because no one expected it, the submissive bottom who enjoyed large, masculine jocks who put him in his place, the sleek, fashionable twink who partied all night. But after his ex-boyfriend hit Kee and called him names, Kee retired from the social scene.

Back after a year’s hiatus, Kee still doesn’t know where he fits. His friends say he’s a twunk—a twink who put on muscle and turned into a hunk—but Kee is searching for somewhere to belong. Instead of going back to his usual type, Kee hooks up with twink Tate Stevens—a fashion-industry professional who works the image hard. It proves to be the best decision he’s ever made, and not just because he’s starting to regain his sexual confidence.

With Tate, Kee can open up about his fears and confusion without ridicule. Tate has his own fears about putting on weight and getting old. It will take work to make a relationship of opposites succeed, but they begin to realize the compromises will be worth it if they can be together.

 

Review

 

This is an interesting and enjoyable romance. I picked it up because I love Jay from the first book in the series and knew he would show up in here. He did and he is wonderful. 

This couple is the kind that accidentally fall in love. They aren't really each other's types until they are. They don't have much in common until they do. It is lovely.

The dancing and friend scenes are the best.

The Straight Boyfriend (Loving You, #3) by Renae Kaye Review

The Straight Boyfriend (Loving You Book 3) - Renae Kaye

 

Aaron Hall has never been able to remain faithful to a single woman, and for most of his life, he’s dated two women at once. Recently his girlfriend tracked him down and knocked on his door—and his live-in girlfriend answered. Now he has no girlfriend and a mortgage he can’t pay by himself.

Vinnie Rosello needs to change his life—get a better job, stop drinking all his money away, find himself a serious boyfriend… and move out of his parents’ house. Aaron needs help with his expenses, so they become housemates.

Even though Aaron harbors some misconceptions about gay men and Vinnie misses his large Italian family, both men find comfort in their friendship. It’s a good arrangement until everything between them changes.

Vinnie falls in love with Aaron, and Aaron is shocked to realize he feels the same. There’s only one problem—he’s still straight. He’ll have to overcome his fear of labels in order to love the man who’s captured his heart.

 

Review

I have lots of conflicting feelings about this one. There are a number of pros.

 

We get to seeing Jay and Liam who are in the first book in this series and who I adore. They are wonderful here. The whole circle of friends are great.

 

Vinnie's family is wonderful and it is a great look at a non traditional family from a child of one's perspective. I love how much a part of his family Vinnie is and who much they love him.

 

Aaron has a great family as well though we see less of them and he is a all around great guy.

 

The banter, friendship and love between Vinnie and Aaron is great. Christmas is very well done. 

 

Rene Kaye is thinking a lot about the spectrum of sexualities in this book Aaron though slowing in love with Vinnie and sexaully attracted to him identifies as straight. He is not attract to any other men but Vinnie and is attracted to women from porn to really life.

Vinnie is a gold star gay having never been with a woman or been interested.

 

Part of this romance is achey because Vinnie just makes himself so vulnerable as he flat out loves Aaron and will take what he can get. As you can imagine, it takes Aaron a while to get his head around where he is at with Vinnie.

 

I believe in their HEA (though I am a bit confused but something in the epilogue though I think it just means they married and had a child way down the road) and this speaks to good writing on Kaye's part.

 

But like the first book in the series, I wanted a little more. I wanted more exploration of Aaron's habit of dating two women at the same time beyond a high sex drive or if that was it, I wanted more time devoted to talking about it than we get.

 

I wanted more thinking inside the book on the range of sexualities and more time with them after they become an out couple.

 

I read that there was a lot of grrrrrr about this book and author antics. I can see why. If I didn't like the first book in the series so much, I wouldn't have picked it up and wouldn't advice anyone to do so without having read the other books. 

Tall Tail by $1.99 Rita Mae Brown

Tall Tail: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery (Mrs. Murphy Mysteries (Hardcover)) - Rita Mae Brown

At any moment a perfect summer day in Crozet, Virginia—nestled within the Blue Ridge Mountains—might turn stormy and tempestuous, as Harry knows too well when a squall suddenly sweeps in. In a blink, Harry’s pickup nearly collides with a careening red car that then swerves into a ditch. Harry recognizes the dead driver slumped over the vehicle’s steering wheel: Barbara Leader was nurse and confidante to former Virginia governor Sam Holloway.
 
Though Barbara’s death is ruled a heart attack, dissenting opinions abound. After all, she was the picture of health, which gives Harry and her four-legged companions pause. A baffling break-in at a local business leads Harry to further suspect that a person with malevolent intent lurks just out of sight: Something evil is afoot.
 
As it happens, Barbara died in the shadow of the local cemetery’s statue of the Avenging Angel. Just below that imposing funereal monument lie the remains of one Francisco Selisse, brutally murdered in 1784. Harry’s present-day sleuthing draws her back to Virginia’s slave-holding past and the hunt for Selisse’s killer. Now it’s up to Harry and her furry detectives—Mrs. Murphy, Pewter, and Tee Tucker—to expose the bitter truth, even if it means staring into the unforgiving eyes of history and cornering a callous killer poised to pounce.

Fire Along the Sky by Sara Donati $1.99

Fire Along the Sky - Sara Donati

The year is 1812 and Hannah Bonner has returned to her family’s mountain cabin in Paradise. But Nathaniel and Elizabeth Bonner can see that Hannah is not the same woman as when she left. For their daughter has come home without her husband and without her son…and with a story of loss and tragedy that she can’t bear to tell. Yet as Hannah resumes her duties as a gifted healer among the sick and needy, she finds that she is also slowly healing herself. Little does she realize that she is about to be called away to face her greatest challenge ever.

As autumn approaches, news of the latest conflict with Britain finds the young men of Paradise—including eighteen-year-old Daniel Bonner—eager to take up arms. Against their better judgment, Nathaniel and Elizabeth must let him go, just as they must let his twin sister Lily, a stubborn beauty, pursue her independence in Montreal. But on the eve of the War of 1812, an unexpected guest arrives from Scotland: It is the Bonners’ distant cousin, the newly widowed Jennet Scott of Carryckcastle. Far from home, Lily and Jennet will each learn the price of pursuing their dreams and the possibility of true love.

But it’s Hannah herself who must risk everything once more—this time to save Daniel, who’s been taken prisoner by the British. As the distant thunder of war threatens Paradise, Hannah may learn to live—and maybe love—again in one final act of courage, duty, and sacrifice.

Off the Ice (Hat Trick, #1) by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn Review

Off the Ice (Hat Trick) - Avon Gale

Tristan Holt is nothing if not pragmatic. Despite a flourishing career as a defenseman for the Atlanta Venom, Tristan knows he can’t play hockey forever. One day he’ll retire — if an injury doesn’t force him to hang up his skates first. His backup plan? Finishing his business degree. But he doesn’t count on a very inappropriate attraction to his standoffish sociology professor, Sebastian Cruz.

Sebastian is on the bottom rung of the Sociology Department at Georgia State. He has his sights set on tenure, and he can’t afford to be distracted, especially not by a sexy student with a body straight out of Sebastian’s dreams. No matter how much Tristan tempts him, that’s one line Sebastian won’t cross. At least not until summer classes end. After that, everything is fair game.

But Sebastian lives loud and proud, and Tristan is terrified of being the first out player in the NHL. Neither of them can afford to risk their hearts when they can’t imagine a happily ever after. The problem is, unlike hockey, when it comes to love, there are no rules.

 

Review

 

I love a good hockey romance and this is a very enjoyable read. My favorite parts were how thoughtful Tristen, self determined, and how he navigated his coming out. 

Seb is less likable but that is okay. I get why Tristen likes him so much and he is an intersting character. I do wish that professor would show up in books as more empathic than they are often portrayed. 

This is a solid love story with some sweet and super hot moments.

Burning Up By Anne Marsh 99 cents!

Burning Up - Anne Marsh

Tt takes a special kind of hero to be a smoke jumper. To take the greatest risks. To live or die in the raging heat of the moment. And it takes a special kind of woman to love him. . .

Where There's Smoke. . .

For Jack Donovan, smoke jumping is a way of life. He lives for the adrenaline rush--the thrill of flying over the burning California hills, the intensity of diving straight into the inferno, the glory of taming the forces of nature. Love is a distant ember compared to the feeling he gets fighting fires--until an emergency call from his hometown brings him face to face with the one woman he can't forget. . .

There's Fire

Lily never got over the handsome rogue who once kissed her senseless--and then left. She vowed she was done with love-'em-and-leave-'em men and small town life. Until a series of malicious fires set by a stalker has her running home to hide. Now, their summer is heating up as Jack fights to save her from the stalker's fiery threats and to convince her to give the passion between them a second chance.

Chase the Sun (Free Fall #2) by Christina Lee and Nyrae Dawn 4 Star Review

Chase the Sun - Nyrae Dawn, Christina  Lee

Jamie Tolland has only ever known his small Oregon town. Same job, same friends, same gay bar. He feels obligated to stay, especially as his mother’s illness progresses. But when a situation presents itself in the form of a vintage sports car, he jumps on the chance to not only repair it, but also drive it to its new owner in LA.

Conner Murphy left Oregon years ago to make his life in West Hollywood. Like his unconventional parents, he’s always been a free spirit, never settling on one job or girl for too long. When he inherits his late uncle’s classic Chevelle, he’s more than happy to let his childhood friend Jamie help.

Jamie and Conner are as different as night and day. Even after years of living apart, they still have a blast together—but now it’s mixed with an undeniable spark of attraction. Before they know it, they can’t keep their hands off each other. For Conner it’s all new and exciting, but Jamie isn’t the type of guy who takes this sort of intimacy lightly.

Conner soon realizes that Jamie quenches something deep inside of him that no one has before, but he doesn’t know how to handle a real relationship. As Jamie’s time in LA comes to an end, and the more they struggle to get on the same page about their feelings, the more Jamie realizes that trying to tie Conner down is as futile as capturing the sun.

 

Review

 

Watching Conner and Jamie fall in a love is a joy. They were friends as kids and while Conner has never been with a man he has always had an open sexuality. 

Jamie leaves his small town and gets to experience LA. This book is a little love note to Los Angles which is always a treat because it is a great unrated city. 

Conner is open hearted and kind and sunny but he has layers and complexities. The family lives of our heroes add textures to this love story as do the circle of friends. 

Then, we get s pretty sweet romantic gesture to send us on your HEA way.

Secret Santa Baby by Robin Covington Free!

Secret Santa Baby - Robin Covington

Nicholas knows once Tessa leaves the company she helped found, they might drift apart. Before she starts her own company in the new year, he wants to woo the woman he fell in love with during college. So he poses as her Secret Santa and plans a big reveal at the company holiday party. But when his best friend wants to rekindle his romance with Tessa, will Nicholas lose his last chance

Chapter Five and the Axe-Wielding Maniac Marie Sexton Review

Chapter Five and the Axe-Wielding Maniac - Marie Sexton

Author Joshua Franklin Hill has a bad case of writer’s block. When an axe-wielding maniac knocks on his front door and asks to dig up his living room floor, he figures his Monday from hell is complete.

But an axe-wielding maniac may be just what Josh needs.

Review

 

Nice free short story with a quick sweet romance between and older writer hero and younger man looking to find a treasure. There is a nice bit of history and a whole lot of fun in this quick read. 

One Small Thing Kindle Edition by Piper Vaughn and M.J. O'Shea Review

One Small Thing - Piper Vaughn O'Shea, Finn Sterling

Daddy” is not a title Rue Murray wanted, but he never thought he’d have sex with a woman either. Now he’s the unwitting father of a newborn named Alice. Between bartending and cosmetology school, Rue doesn’t have time for babies, but he can’t give her up. What Rue needs is a babysitter, and he’s running out of options. He’s on the verge of quitting school to watch Alice himself when he remembers his reclusive new neighbor, Erik.

Erik Van Nuys is a sci-fi novelist with anxiety issues to spare. He doesn’t like people in general, and he likes babies even less. Still, with his royalties dwindling, he could use the extra cash. Reluctantly, he takes on the role of manny—and even more reluctantly, he finds himself falling for Alice and her flamboyant father.

Rue and Erik are as different as two people can be, and Alice is the unlikeliest of babies, but Rue has never been happier than when Alice and Erik are by his side. At least, not until he receives an offer that puts all his dreams within reach and he’s forced to choose: the future he’s always wanted, or the family he thought he never did.

 

Review

 

I loved this feel good romance with hidden depths. I adored the premise.

 

Rue is a wonderful hero. He works hard and loves his baby. He is fun and loving. This is book is a compelling look at single parenthood particularly with an infant.

 

I like romance novels that balance family life and friendship with the love story. One Small Thing does this well.

 

Erik is a great hero too who blooms as he falls in love and friendship.

 

I love the nerd aspect and the becoming friends and then lovers as well as the acceptance of each hero exactly how he is.

 

I wanted more time after they got together and after the first major couple crisis I honestly wanted more sexy times as well but what I got was very good and I know I will see more of this family in the next book in the series.

The Wrong Kind of Woman - Voss Porter

All of her life, Dana Anderson has done what was expected of her. She put herself through school, she worked hard for her career, and she held her brother together after the loss of both parents. As summer comes and her inhibitions lower, however, she finds herself face-to-face with danger, mystery, and an illogical chance at true love. 


Will rough and ready biker, Bri Gunner, be the woman of her dreams? Or will the heat of their passing flame burn out?

 

Review

 

I wanted to like this book so much more than I did.

 

I wanted more of the romance and couple time. I like each heroine and I love opposites attract.

 

However, as much as I like the secondary characters, I wanted more couple time and interaction and less time stuck inside the heroine's heads.

 

It is well written but not enough romance for me.

Wrapped Together (Portland Heat) Annabeth Albert Review

Wrapped Together  - Annabeth Albert

For a stationery store owner, the holidays are great for business. But for Hollis Alcott, Christmas reminds him of the tragic events of three years past, and the last thing he wants to do is take part in Portland’s over-abundance of festive cheer. But Sawyer Murphy, a hunky gift shop owner whose brother is married to Hollis’s sister, has made it his mission to pluck Hollis out of his holiday blues. And his plan is beginning to work. Wrapped in the warm glow of newfound passion, the former business rivals hit up Portland’s finest holiday traditions—and Hollis’s icy attitude begins to melt like snowflakes on his tongue. But he isn’t sure he can trust anyone with the only gift he has—his heart—without breaking it like an antique ornament. Unless he can find the courage to take a leap with the one lover he never expected . . .

 

Review

 

A lovely addition to the series with a Christmas flare. I adore this street in Portland and love Hollis Alcott and Sawyer Murphy in this friends to lovers opposites attract romance.

Hollis is a great uptight hero who it turns out is uber sexy in bed. Sawyer is a wonderful sunny hero.

 

I wanted a little more on the issue of Sawyer just not being read for a relationship with Hollis until recently. It would have given the book more depth to explore this topic but it is a enjoyable romance with lots of quirks and turns.

Devil in Spring By Lisa Kleypas $1.99

Devil in Spring - Lisa Kleypas

An eccentric wallflower  . . .

Most debutantes dream of finding a husband. Lady Pandora Ravenel has different plans. The ambitious young beauty would much rather stay at home and plot out her new board game business than take part in the London Season. But one night at a glittering society ball, she’s ensnared in a scandal with a wickedly handsome stranger.

A cynical rake  . . .

After years of evading marital traps with ease, Gabriel, Lord St. Vincent, has finally been caught by a rebellious girl who couldn’t be less suitable. In fact, she wants nothing to do with him. But Gabriel finds the high-spirited Pandora irresistible. He’ll do whatever it takes to possess her, even if their marriage of convenience turns out to be the devil’s own bargain.

A perilous plot  . . .

After succumbing to Gabriel’s skilled and sensuous persuasion, Pandora agrees to become his bride. But soon she discovers that her entrepreneurial endeavors have accidentally involved her in a dangerous conspiracy—and only her husband can keep her safe. As Gabriel protects her from their unknown adversaries, they realize their devil’s bargain may just turn out to be a match made in heaven . . .