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/

Social Skills by Sara Alva 4 Star Review!

Social Skills - Sara Alva

Music is the only form of communication Connor Owens controls. No matter how badly he wishes to fit in, friendly banter and casual conversations have never been his thing. College is yet another social universe he has no clue how to navigate—until he meets Jared, a football player with chestnut eyes and a cocky grin that holds the power to shatter his self-imposed prison. 

Jared's attention opens Connor up to a new realm of emotional and physical intimacy. But as Connor's self-confidence grows, so does his fear that everything will fall apart. Because in this socially stratified world, how long can a relationship between an introverted violinist and a closeted football player really last?

 

Review

 

I enjoyed this New Adult romance recommend by AJ Truman on the Big Gay Fiction Podcast.

I love a socially awkward character and we get that here. 

The writing is lovely as is the character development. Both Connor and Jared are a big messes but they are young and do what young people do.

The cast is great. I will for sure look for more books by this author.

Beyond the Sea by Keira Andrews 4 Star Review!

Beyond the Sea - Keira Andrews

Even if it means quitting their boy band mid-tour, Troy Tanner isn’t going to watch his little brother snort his future away after addiction destroyed their father. On a private jet taking him home from Australia, he and pilot Brian Sinclair soar above the vast South Pacific. Brian lost his passion for flying—and joy in life—after a traumatic crash, but now he and Troy must fight to survive when a cyclone strikes without warning.

Marooned a thousand miles from civilization, the turquoise water and white sand beach look like paradise. But although they can fish and make fire, the smallest infection or bacteria could be deadly. When the days turn into weeks with no sign of rescue, Troy and Brian grow closer, and friendship deepens into desire.

As they learn sexuality is about more than straight or gay and discover their true selves, the world they've built together is thrown into chaos. If Troy and Brian make it off the island, can their love endure?

 

Review

 

I love an island survival story. I grew up reading everyone you can think of and my addiction to Blue Lagoon was off the hook so it figures I love the grown up versions (not that Blue Lagoon wasn't but I was a kid) too.

I almost didn't pick this one up because I am not a fan of two straight guys falling in love but Will from The Big Gay Fiction Podcast loved this book and I have never read a bad Kiera Andrews book so I bought it. 

It was so good. Its a slow burn as it should be and love is strong and grand. Both heroes are complex and making their lives work as a couple both on the island (extrovert/introvert problems) and off the island (fame and oh hello discovered bisexuality is realistically done. 

It is a great story and romance. Woo hoo!

Someone to Love By Mary Balogh $1.99!

Someone To Love (A Westcott Novel) - Mary Balogh

Humphrey Westcott, Earl of Riverdale, has died, leaving behind a fortune that will forever alter the lives of everyone in his family—including the daughter no one knew he had...
 
Anna Snow grew up in an orphanage in Bath knowing nothing of the family she came from. Now she discovers that the late Earl of Riverdale was her father and that she has inherited his fortune. She is also overjoyed to learn she has siblings. However, they want nothing to do with her or her attempts to share her new wealth. But the new earl’s guardian is interested in Anna…
 
Avery Archer, Duke of Netherby, keeps others at a distance. Yet something prompts him to aid Anna in her transition from orphan to lady. As London society and her newfound relatives threaten to overwhelm Anna, Avery steps in to rescue her and finds himself vulnerable to feelings and desires he has hidden so well and for so long.

The Christmas Throwaway by R.J. Scott Review

The Christmas Throwaway - R.J. Scott

For Zachary Weston Christmas means sleeping on a churchyard bench in the freezing snow with nothing better in his future. Thrown out of his home for being gay, he is left without money or, it seems, anywhere to go.

 

Until a stranger shows him that some people do give a lot more than a damn.

Ben Hamilton is a rookie cop in his small home town. He finds a young throwaway, fresh from the city, sleeping on a bench in the churchyard on a snowy Christmas Eve. Can he be the one to give Zachary his own Christmas miracle?

 

Review

 

 lovely Christmas romance where Zack who has been thrown out by his family and beaten for being gay finds rest and comfort when a young police officer finds him and helps him get back on his feet.

Everyone in this book, but the villains who are off page, are very kind. There is a careful exploration of the idea of throwaways instead of runaways that is very touching.

This is a slow burn romance as Zach is just almost 18 to Ben's 24 when the book begins. 

It is a hopeful tale.

Wrong Bed, Right Guy By Katee Robert 99 cents! Love this book!

Wrong Bed, Right Guy - Katee Robert

Prim and proper art gallery coordinator Elle Walser is no good at seducing men. Heck, she's been throwing hints at her boss for months, but he's completely clueless. Desperate to escape her mother's matchmaking efforts, she comes up with a plan—buy some lingerie and climb into her boss's bed. The plan goes brilliantly…until she accidentally seduces a sexy stranger instead.

 

Bad boy nightclub mogul Gabe Schultz just had the best almost-sex of his life. Too bad the smoking hot blonde thought he was his brother and bolted before he could finish what they started. Though her holier-than-thou attitude puts a serious damper on his mood, Gabe's never been one to give up on something he wants. And he wants Elle. Now he just needs her to convince her to give him a chance…

Fake Boyfriend by Jerry Cole Review

Fake Boyfriend: M/M Straight to Gay First Time Romance - Jerry Cole

Vincent Diaz's life was extraordinarily boring. He worked a boring job and went home to his boring life knowing he'd given up all of his dreams of being an artist and creating for a living. That was when Bryan Andersen barged into his life, smiling, laughing, and pulling him close, declaring him to be his new boyfriend— whether Vincent liked it or not.

Bryan had recently broken up with his girlfriend, Dana, who handled the breakup less than well, leading Bryan to come up with the ultimate excuse— that he had "realized he was gay" and that's why he couldn't see her anymore. She didn't buy it. He needed to find an alibi and quick! Together, Vincent and Bryan fake dating to throw Bryan's ex-girlfriend off his trail, but Dana doesn't give up easily, and Vincent and Bryan find their quick-forming friendship may be leading to a relationship that's not as fake as they had intended it to be....

 

Review

 

This was a quick finding yourself kind of romance. It has a gay for you theme which I don't care for much but fake relationships are a favorite theme of mine and this one was fun. 

I enjoyed the aspect of the story where both Bryan and Vincent grew as people and found the courage to go after what they wanted to have richer fuller lives.

The stalker element was a bit over the top just in that while Bryan eventually did go to the police, there could have been much more discussed about domestic abuse and stalking of men by women.

They both could have come to a deeper understanding of their sexuality as well.

But it was a quick enjoyable read with some really good parts but shallow and a lack of realism in places and details of location made it not as good as it could have been.
 
 

 

Pumpkin By Ines Johnson Free!

Pumpkin: a Cindermama Story - Ines Johnson

Single mother Malika “Pumpkin” Tavares lost faith in fairytales after she fell for a toad. Now she believes she’s not cut from the storybook, heroine cloth and searches for Mr. Good Enough amongst the sidekicks and supporting men of the town. 

Love at first sight isn’t a cliche for town royalty Armand “Manny” Charmayne. For generations the Charmaynes have spotted their soulmates by seeing a golden aura the first time they laid eyes on The One. 

When Manny meets Pumpkin he sees…nothing, but sparks fly off the Richter scale. The more he gets to know her the more he considers defying fate, if only he can convince her to take a chance on love again

Hard to Let Go By Laura Kaye $1.99

Hard as You Can - Laura Kaye

Beckett Murda hates to dwell on the past. But his investigation into the ambush that killed half his Special Forces team and ended his Army career gives him little choice. Just when his team learns how powerful their enemies are, hard-ass Beckett encounters his biggest complication yet--a seductive, feisty Katherine Rixey.

A tough, stubborn prosecutor, Kat visits her brothers' Hard Ink Tattoo shop following a bad break-up--and finds herself staring down the barrel of a stranger's gun. Beckett is hard-bodied and sexy as hell, but he's also the most infuriating man ever. Worse, Kat's brothers are at war with the criminals her office is investigating. When Kat joins the fight, she lands straight in Beckett's sights . . . and in his arms. Not to mention their enemies' crosshairs. 

Now Beckett and Kat must set aside their differences to work together, because the only thing sweeter than justice is finding love and never letting go.

Someday (Delicious #1) by Sierra Riley 4 Star Review!

Someday - Sierra Riley

When you’re around, you’re all I can see”


“Someday, my prince will come.”

Danny is an artist, and he has the best job in the world. He gets to create beautiful things at the bakery his best friend owns. The only thing that would make life better is finding his own personal Prince Charming, but despite a life-long addiction to happily-ever-after, he doesn’t really hold out much hope for that. He’d rather be alone than compromise who he is for men who are only interested if he tones down his flamboyant personality.

“Someday, I’ll find a better life."

Mace learned to protect himself while growing up in a harsh foster care system. Serving an unjust prison sentence taught him even more valuable life lessons. Don’t let your feelings show. Trusting people only gets you hurt. It’s okay to want things, but don’t expect to hold onto them. Now that he’s out, Mace keeps to himself, quietly enjoying the work he’s found caring for beautiful things while he saves for a better life. Even if he has no idea what that will actually look like.

“It’s you. My better life is you."

When Danny bursts into Mace’s life, the beautiful man has him questioning everything life has taught him, from his sexuality to the wisdom of trusting someone with his heart. Danny makes him want things he’s not sure he believes in, and when a series of local robberies lead to his arrest, his faith in what’s possible is put to the test.

 

Review

 

I love this couple. Danny and Mace are very themselves in this opposites attract romance 

Both Danny and Mace are drawn with such layer and details. Great stuff on plants, Disney flowers, art. They are talented and wonderful.

They both have issues to work through but their relationship shines as they find out more and more about each other and fall in love.

They are steadfast and this romance will leave you warm and fuzzy.

Delicious (Delicious #2) by Sierra Riley Review

Delicious - Sierra Riley

“You’re exactly what I never knew I needed.”


“I don’t have time for love.”

Gavin Campbell has poured everything he has into starting up his bakery, Delicious. Its success has given him a sense of security that was sorely lacking in his childhood, and even if working round-the-clock hasn’t left him any time for a personal life, you can’t have it all, right?

“Maybe I just need something delicious in my life.”

Outgoing, successful, and with an ass to die for, Ben Edwards is everything a girl could want… and yet none of his exes have managed to tie him down. He knows the fault isn’t with them, though. No matter how great the girl, Ben just doesn’t seem wired to fall in love. 

“I want to be the one who takes care of you.”

When an accident leaves Gavin unable to work, Ben steps in to help, inviting Gavin into his home, his life and, eventually, into his heart. Despite homophobic relatives, a jealous ex-boyfriend, and more sweet temptation than either man was prepared for, they’ll each discover that just because they didn’t know something was missing, doesn’t mean it can’t still be found.

 

Review

 

This is a sweet read. Ben is a natural care taker and when Gavin gets injured he takes care of him. And falls in love.

Gavin works too much and Ben didn't really understand he was attracted to men until Gavin.

They have a good deal of things to work out but there is great chemistry, care, and respect between these leads to it makes for a really good read.

Falling (Delicious #3) by Sierra Riley 3.5 Star Review

Falling - Sierra Riley

You’re the best fake boyfriend I ever had.”


“Love exists… in books, at least.”

There’s no way bookstore owner Jeremy Bennett is going to his ten-year class reunion after accidentally drunk-posting on the reunion’s Facebook page and making himself sound a) much more interesting than he actually is, by b) claiming to do the kind of things he actually only reads about, and c) worse, also claiming to have a super hot boyfriend, when in reality, d) his dating history is more like the bastard love child of a trainwreck and a what-not-to-do reality show.

“I’m no good at romance.”

When one of Nick Roberts’ personal training clients mistakes him for the boyfriend of a new gym member, Nick decides to play along on a whim. After all, he can’t let the guy die from embarrassment, and besides, even though Nick isn’t gay, he has a feeling that the story behind the mistaken identity might prove to be the most fun he’s had since moving to Tulsa.

“I went from faking it to feeling it. Don’t tell me this isn’t real.”

Falling for your fake boyfriend is a guaranteed dating fail. Unless the stars align…

 

Review

 

This is a really lovely pretend relationship romance. Nick is super kind and Jeremy is quirky in the ways writers often are.

There is fun dating here and lots of little surprises that are revealed about each hero along the way which make this a very engaging romance.

The love story is at the center but we get a good deal of personal growth from both heroes and nice circle of friend

Hello Forever (Hello Goodbye, #2) by Sarina Bowen 4 Star Review!

Hello Forever (Hello Goodbye) (Volume 2) - Sarina Bowen

A basketball game changed both their lives.

When they were only teenagers, Axel and Caxton were caught making out in the woods at church camp. And afterward, Cax disappeared from all the youth group activities.

Six years later, Axel is astonished to spot his first love’s face in the crowd of a college basketball game he’s watching on TV—at a school which has just offered him a job. It’s a thousand miles away, in a tiny rural town. But suddenly, he can’t wait to get there.

Cax can’t believe his eyes when Axel appears in the same Massachusetts town where he now lives. And he’s still just as drawn to Axel as ever. But he can’t let himself go there again, because loving Axel will mean giving up everything else he holds dear.
Both men have so much to lose. But as far as their love is concerned, it's Hello Forever.

 

Review!

 

Sabrina Bowen writes another amazing New Adult romance. I am not a fan of reunited tropes but Axel and Cax made me so happy they found each other. Renunited after being torn apart works. 

This book has angst and laughter and just really good writing, plot and character development. The conflict is powerful and the pace toward happily ever after is just right.

Sexy and sweet. So good!

Nyx's Pixie (A Dragon's Treasure #2) by K.M. Mahoney 4 Star Review

Nyx's Pixie - K.M. Mahoney

In a world of beauty and magic, the Draak are an elite force, sworn to protect king and country. But with no wars and a king powerful enough that none want to challenge him, the life of an immortal warrior can be more dull than deadly. Until one lonely dragon finds a human mate. Suddenly, the king’s warriors are falling in love one after another. Seamus, king of the Fae, would be happy for his men, if it weren’t for that niggling worry in the back of his mind. It is said that a mated dragon gains abilities to protect his mate, and a dragon with a Treasure—a mate that is a dragon’s perfect match in every way—is strongest of all.

Everything happens for a reason. If the Draak are growing more powerful, then something is coming. Whatever it is, Seamus fears it could very well destroy the harmony he has worked so hard to bring to Faerie.

 

Review

 

I really like the world KM Mahoney has created in this book.

Pol is a delightful hero because he is underestimated all the time. His secret powers are amazing and he is a pixie which grand.

Nyx is a grumpy dragon shifter but he always treat Pol as an equal. 

The plot outside the love story is less intersting but I like this couple.

Before I Wake by Eli Easton Review

Before I Wake (Torqued Tales) - Eli Easton

Nurse's aide Jonesy is drawn to Michael, the comatose victim of a hate crime whose homophobic parents have rejected him. Jonesey sits with Michael, reads to him, and encourages Michael to wake up. Jonesy may not be the smartest guy in the world, but he knows Michael needs him. And if he also thinks Michael is the most beautiful thing he's ever seen, well, Jonesy knows better than to hope for things that can never happen.

Michael is lost in a dungeon, a dark and terrifying place. His only comfort is the sound of a man's voice. Can Michael come back? Does he want to? Maybe Jonesy can convince him that some things are worth living for.

 

Review

 

This is a short intense read. It is lovely and full of hope and healing. I do wish for a little more to really trust in the happily ever after but adore the heroes and the writing.

Puzzle Me This by Eli Easton Review

Puzzle Me This - Eli Easton

Luke Schumaker designs computer games, working from his home. Every day he walks his dog in the woods nearby, never suspecting that someone who is completely smitten is watching. The watcher is Alex Shaw, and he too works from home, designing logic and crossword puzzles. Alex’s options are limited: he’s too shy to approach Luke and his wheelchair won’t let him follow into the woods. His solution? Secret messages for Luke in the crosswords he writes for the local paper. When Luke decodes them, romance begins, but then they face greater puzzles, like Alex’s interfering sister and what commitment to a man in a wheelchair really takes. And, most puzzling of all, how do you know if love is real?

 

Review

 

I liked the start of this romance very much and the meeting of two different kinds of nerds. 

However, I would have preferred more couple time and a bigger story. The conflict was predictable and well thoughtful not as engaging as it could have been.

Eli Easton's writing, as always, shines.

Call the Midwife By Jennifer Worth $1.99

Call The Midwife: A True Story of the East End in the 1950s - Jennifer Worth

Viewers everywhere have fallen in love with this candid look at post-war London. In the 1950s, twenty-two-year-old Jenny Lee leaves her comfortable home to move into a convent and become a midwife in London's East End slums. While delivering babies all over the city, Jenny encounters a colorful cast of women—from the plucky, warm-hearted nuns with whom she lives, to the woman with twenty-four children who can't speak English, to the prostitutes of the city's seedier side.

An unfortgettable story of motherhood, the bravery of a community, and the strength of remarkable and inspiring women, Call the Midwife is the true story behind the beloved PBS series, which will soon return for its sixth season.