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/

Summer Stock by Vanessa North Free!

Summer Stock - Vanessa North

Tabloid scandals have driven TV star Ryan Hertzog to North Carolina’s Outer Banks, where he’s hiding out doing summer stock at his cousin’s seaside theater. When a hookup with local handyman Trey Donovan results in Ryan being photographed butt naked, he vows to keep his pants on and his hands off Trey. How was he supposed to know Trey would turn out to be the summer stock set builder?

Trey isn’t looking for a relationship; he’s still recovering from the emotional fallout of an abusive marriage. But Ryan’s laughter draws him in again and again, and he’s not about to say no to fooling around.

As the summer heats up, the paparazzi catch Ryan in increasingly compromising situations. Ryan might be too much drama for a summer fling—and Trey might be just an intermission from Ryan’s Hollywood life. But if they take their cues from Shakespeare, all’s well that ends well.

Blink by Rick R. Reed Review!

Blink - Rick R. Reed

Life can change in the blink of an eye. That's a truth Andy Slater learns as a young man in 1982, taking the Chicago 'L' to work every morning. Andy's life is laid out before him: a good job, marriage to his female college sweetheart, and the white picket fence existence he believes in. But when he sees Carlos Castillo for the first time, Carlos’s dark eyes and Latin appeal mesmerize him. Fate continues to throw them together until the two finally agree to meet up. At Andy’s apartment, the pent-up passion of both young men is ignited, but is snuffed out by an inopportune and poorly-timed phone call.

Flash forward to present day. Andy is alone, having married, divorced, and become the father of a gay son. He’s comfortable but alone and has never forgotten the powerful pull of Carlos’s gaze on the 'L' train. He vows to find him once more, hoping for a second chance. If life can change in the blink of an eye, what will the passage of thirty years do? To find out, Andy begins a search that might lead to heartache and disappointment or a love that will last forever….

 

Review

 

I enjoyed this book but it really didn't feel like a romance because the heroes didn't even met up again until almost the end of the book.

I love the completive tone of the book as it thinks about dating as an older man. I do like that aspect of the book and all its nuances but I want more of their love story and time together. 

We end with a HFN and I think they are both worth more than that.

Better Than Friends (Better Than, #3) by Lane Hayes 3.5 Stars Review!

Better Than Friends - Lane Hayes

When Curt Townsend, a successful young DC lawyer, attends his first gay wedding, he doesn’t expect anything more than a great evening out spent celebrating two lucky guys willing to commit to one another. He certainly doesn’t anticipate meeting someone like Jack Farinelli. Fourteen years Curt’s senior, Jack owns two businesses: a gay bar and a motorcycle shop. He’s gorgeous and self-assured, but Curt is positive they have nothing in common. 

Jack is comfortable in his own skin. He’s attracted to Curt’s quick wit and easy manner but most of all, to their unexpected mutual love of baseball. As they forge a friendship based on their shared enthusiasm for the sport, they begin a journey which reveals how their differences might be the catalyst behind a growing attraction. Both men have experienced their share of pain, but they realize they need to set aside the past and learn to trust in a future if they are to have one together.

 

Review

 

I really enjoy Lane Hayes writing. Curt and Jack are flawed and while the sexy starts pretty early the romance its slower. 

What they want from each other is unclear. Curt even dates someone else (but doesn't sleep with him) for a while. 

The fun of this book is in the opposites attract and the coming into really loving each other as well as the circle of friends.

Listed By Noelle Adams 99 cent!

Listed - Noelle  Adams

They make a deal to get married, for the last three months of her life.

Just before her eighteenth birthday, the doctors tell Emily she has three months to live. Not much time to complete the bucket list she's had since she was twelve. The first item is the hardest--"Get married"--so she turns to the only man she knows who can help.

Paul, a barely reformed bad boy, has inherited a fortune from his mother, but his life is defined by his conflicted relationship with his father--a white-collar, organized-crime boss who, thanks to Paul, is being brought up on federal charges. Without Emily's testimony, his father might walk, so Paul agrees to her unconventional proposal. He'll be her husband for her last three months.

They agree that she'll testify against his father and he'll help her complete her bucket list. It's not supposed to be a true marriage. No consummation. No future. No love.

No love.

She's supposed to die, after all, and love might not be enough.

Because of Miss Bridgerton By Julia Quinn $1.99

Because of Miss Bridgerton - Julia Quinn

Sometimes you find love in the most unexpected of places...

 

This is not one of those times.

Everyone expects Billie Bridgerton to marry one of the Rokesby brothers. The two families have been neighbors for centuries, and as a child the tomboyish Billie ran wild with Edward and Andrew. Either one would make a perfect husband... someday.

Sometimes you fall in love with exactly the person you think you should...

 

Or not.

There is only one Rokesby Billie absolutely cannot tolerate, and that is George. He may be the eldest and heir to the earldom, but he's arrogant, annoying, and she's absolutely certain he detests her. Which is perfectly convenient, as she can't stand the sight of him, either.

 

But sometimes fate has a wicked sense of humor...

Because when Billie and George are quite literally thrown together, a whole new sort of sparks begins to fly. And when these lifelong adversaries finally kiss, they just might discover that the one person they can't abide is the one person they can't live without...

Secret Seth by Ki Brightly 3.5 Star Review!

Secret Seth - Ki Brightly

Tyler Faulkner lived for his work, constructing Hollywood sets. His designs were perfect, and he expected equal perfection from his crew and himself. But, talented as he was, he felt trapped. A creative clash with a producer left him out of more than just a job, and Tyler decided that maybe a new beginning was exactly what he needed.

Seth Goodwin was reliable. So rock-steady that his father made him a partner in the family construction business over his older brothers. Seth’s job was simple—he took a highly skilled crew out on the road to build ridiculously expensive projects for rich clients. Their success prompted Seth and his dad to hire a new designer.

Seth wasn’t so steady around Tyler. Tyler didn’t simply draw art; he forced it into reality, elbowing his way into Seth’s work crew and life, whether he wanted him there or not. But Seth had a secret he’s been keeping for a long while, and Tyler, flamboyant and verbose, wasn’t someone who fit in a closet, unless he was looking for the perfect shoes to go with his outfit. Would Seth and Tyler be able to make it work? Or would everyone’s secrets catch up with them? 

 

Review

There is so much I loved about this romance. However there are too many frayed edges with some of the side character relationships.

 

I adored Seth. His point of view as he grows closer and closer to Tyler. Tyler is ... passionate and brave but also lonely and hurt. He is flamboyant and brash and with Seth's steady friendship he evens out a bit.

 

I just am all over their romance and all the time Brightly spend building their connection. They are on the road and the work is grueling. They are honest with each other in work and as they begin to become each other's person. And that is the so special and really not seen as often as I would like in love stories.

 

There are elements that need more time and just outright conversation. The main one is Seth's sexuality. The exploration of it is wonderful though.

 

Family relations with Seth's family are complex and left a little too tangled.

I would love to see more contemporary romances from this author.

Dark Horse (Class 5 Series Book 1) by Michelle Diener Free! Great book!

Dark Horse - Michelle Diener

Some secrets carry the weight of the world.

Rose McKenzie may be far from Earth with no way back, but she's made a powerful ally--a fellow prisoner with whom she's formed a strong bond. Sazo's an artificial intelligence. He's saved her from captivity and torture, but he's also put her in the middle of a conflict, leaving Rose with her loyalties divided.

Captain Dav Jallan doesn't know why he and his crew have stumbled across an almost legendary Class 5 battleship, but he's not going to complain. The only problem is, all its crew are dead, all except for one strange, new alien being.

She calls herself Rose. She seems small and harmless, but less and less about her story is adding up, and Dav has a bad feeling his crew, and maybe even the four planets, are in jeopardy. The Class 5's owners, the Tecran, look set to start a war to get it back and Dav suspects Rose isn't the only alien being who survived what happened on the Class 5. And whatever else is out there is playing its own games.

In this race for the truth, he's going to have to go against his leaders and trust the dark horse.

Barbarian Prince By Michelle M. Pillow 99 cents!

The Barbarian Prince - Michelle M. Pillow

Breaking up is hard to do...

Going undercover at a mass wedding as a bartered bride, Morrigan Blake has every intention of getting off the barbaric alien planet just as soon as the ceremony over. Or, more correctly, just as soon as she captures footage of the mysterious princes rumored to be in attendance.

 

After a euphoric night, Morrigan discovers her ride left without her and an alien dragon shifter is claiming she's his wife. It's not exactly the story this reporter had in mind. And to make matters worse, the all-to-seductive alpha male refuses to take no for an answer.

 

Being cursed by the gods was never so frustrating...

Prince Ualan is prepared to follow dragon shifter tradition and marry the woman revealed to him during the marriage festival. When the stubborn, yet achingly sexy, Morrigan refuses to accept their shared fate, it is all he can do to keep from acting like the barbarian she accuses him of being.

 

In a Badger Way (Honey Badger Chronicles, #2) by Shelly Laurenston 4 Star Review!

In a Badger Way (Honey Badger Chronicles #2) - Shelly Laurenston

Petite, kind, brilliant, and young, Stevie is nothing like the usual women bodyguard Shen Li is interested in. Even more surprising, the youngest of the lethal, ball-busting, and beautiful MacKilligan sisters is terrified of bears. But she’s not terrified of pandas. She loves pandas. 
 
Which means that whether Shen wants her to or not, she simply won’t stop cuddling him. He isn’t some stuffed Giant Panda, ya know! He is a Giant Panda shifter. He deserves respect and personal space. Something that little hybrid is completely ignoring.
 
But Stevie has a way of finding trouble. Like going undercover to take down a scientist experimenting on other shifters. For what, Shen doesn’t want to know, but they’d better find out. And fast. Stevie might be the least violent of the honey badger sisters, but she’s the most dangerous to Shen’s peace of mind. Because she has absolutely no idea how much trouble they’re in . . . or just how damn adorable she is.

 

Review

 


Bamboo eating, mellow, bodyguard and all around great guy and panda shifter, Shen is the hero I have been waiting for a long time. We learn fun about panda sex. lol And Stevie is all over that.

 

Stevie's sexual agency is awesome. She likes Shen (who wouldn't) and she pursues him. I loved it. He loved it. Honey Badger/Tiger mixed musical and science genius meets contented steady panda shifter for the win.

 

Shelly Laurenston is one of my very favorite writers and love her world. This book shines our of the work female rage, assertiveness, sisterhood and joy she does so well.

 

The romance is light in someways here and while I long for Shen and Stevie to have more moments in this very busy plot, I enjoyed the action adventure as well as the close look at Stevie's struggle with mental illness.

 

A fun ride in every page.

 

I was given this book for my honest review. So, there you have it!

Last Night with the Earl by Kelly Bowen #1.99

Last Night with the Earl - Kelly Bowen

Earl. War hero. Notorious rake. After the Battle of Waterloo, Eli Dawes was presumed dead-and would have happily stayed that way. He's no longer the reckless young man he once was, and only half as pretty. All he wants is to hide away in his country home, where no one can see his scars. But when he tries to sneak into his old bedroom in the middle of the night, he's shocked to find someone already there.

Rose Hayward remembers Eli as the arrogant lord who helped her late fiancé betray her. Finding him stealing into her art studio doesn't correct her impression. Her only thought is to get him to leave immediately. Yet the tension between them is electric, and she can't help but be drawn to him. He might be back from the dead, but it's Rose who is suddenly feeling very, very much alive.

My Boyfriend Is a Bear by Pamela Ribon & Cat Farris 5 Star Review!

My Boyfriend Is a Bear - Pamela Ribon, Cat Farris

Bear meets girl.

Nora has bad luck with men. When she meets an (actual) bear on a hike in the Los Angeles hills, he turns out to be the best romantic partner she’s ever had! He’s considerate, he’s sweet, he takes care of her. But he’s a bear, and winning over her friends and family is difficult. Not to mention he has to hibernate all winter. Can true love conquer all?

 

Review

 

A book I didn't even know I needed. Charming and with sly social commentary. I loved this whimsical romance in graphic novella form.

Well drawn. Expressive. Funny. Real. Honestly, the best thing I have read in a long time. I made three other people read it in the last two weeks. 

I loved this whimsical romance in graphic novella form. The conceit is charming the idea of just dating a bear as the other dating isn't going so well. Bright, happy, with emotionial depth. 

I really grinned over the look at dating. My favorite line can't be written here but it made me do a spit take. Friendships are also explored as are horrible morally questionable jobs.

With a hero who is good the heroine's cat. 

But the mirror to what a loving relationship should really be with the kindnesses to who each person is....wonderful.

And there is a cat. With a hero who is good the heroine's cat. Yea! And a HEA!

Nora and her Bear are the best.

The Royal Treatment by MaryJanice Davidson $1.99

The Royal Treatment - MaryJanice Davidson

In a world nearly identical to ours, except for the fact that Russia never sold Alaska to the United States, the eccentric Baranov family has a problem. The crown prince refuses to find a bride. And without a queen at his side, the kingdom of Alaska could fall into chaos. With no other choice, the Baranovs do the only thing possible in a situation like this: give a commoner a royal reeducation.
 
Christina, Her Future Royal Highness or whatever, gets a crash course in how to be a princess-to-be, including, but not limited to: don’t tell jokes you picked up from guys on the fishing boat; stifle your burps; don’t ask for cocktail sauce with your oysters; always remember that the most important word in “royal family” is family; and never forget that falling in love is a whole lot easier than it looks . . .

The Spinster’s Guide to Scandalous Behavior By Jennifer McQuiston $1.99!

The Spinster's Guide to Scandalous Behavior: The Seduction Diaries - Jennifer McQuiston

In New York Times bestselling author Jennifer McQuiston's enticing new Seduction Diaries entry, a mysterious journal may provide a potential spinster with instruction—or lead her to her heart's desire

 

Free-spirited Lucy Westmore isn't yet a spinster, although she fully intends to be. Fortunately, an eccentric aunt has left her both a diary detailing the secrets to spinsterhood and a cottage in Cornwall. Unfortunately, an insufferable marquess is angling for her prize! Turning Lord Thomas Branston down flat should be easy. So why does this man who won't take no for an answer make Lucy's body and soul sigh yes?

 

Thomas knows the real value of Heathmore Cottage, and he has no intention of letting some silly Society miss get her hands on it. He'll simply have to charm Lucy into selling. But the clever young woman he encounters, first in London, then en route to Cornwall, stands stubbornly on her own two (quite lovely) feet. And now, Thomas can think only of sweeping her off them.

Marriage of Unconvenience by Chelsea M. Cameron 4 Star Review!

Marriage of Unconvenience -  Chelsea Cameron

Lauren “Lo” Bowman is in a bit of a pickle. She needs money, like ASAP. She lost her job, the rent is due, and her car needs repairs. Problem is, the inheritance left to her by her old-fashioned Granny has one stipulation before she can collect: she has to be married.


Let’s just say suitors (of any gender) are not knocking down her door. And then Cara Simms, her best friend from childhood that she’s recently reconnected with, pours her heart out and confesses that she needs money to pay for grad school. Lo has a completely brilliant idea: they should get hitched.


Not married married. Like, fake married. All they have to do is play the part for the lawyers, get the money, and then get the marriage annulled. Easy as hell.


Well, it starts out that way, but being fake married feels a lot like being real married, and Lo is flipping out. She cannot be falling for her best friend. Can she?

 

Review

 

If you like marriage of con romance, you must pick up this lovely book.

Lo and Cara have been friends since childhood. They have a always loved each other but here we get to see that love turn romantic and physical. 

They are wonderful as are the cast of friends and Lo's parents. 

The plot has all the fun of the theme--wedding dresses, rings, ceremonies, deepening feelings. 

The inheritance stuff is silly but Cara coming to full terms with her sexuality is tender. 

Light, low angst. The cover matches the mood. 

Hard Hitter By Sarina Bowen $1.99!

Hard Hitter (A Brooklyn Bruisers Novel) - Sarina Bowen

As team captain and enforcer, Patrick O'Doul puts the bruise in the Brooklyn Bruisers. But after years of hard hits, O'Doul is feeling the burn, both physically and mentally. He conceals his pain from his coach and trainers, but when his chronic hip injury becomes too obvious to ignore, they send him for sessions with the team’s massage therapist.

After breaking up with her long-term boyfriend, Ari Bettini is in need of peace of mind. For now, she’s decided to focus on her work: rehabilitating the Bruisers’ MVP. O'Doul is easy on the eyes, but his reaction to her touch is ice cold. Ari is determined to help O'Doul heal, but as the tension between them turns red hot, they both learn that a little TLC does the body good

Faith & Fidelity (Faith, Love, & Devotion, #1) by Tere Michaels 4 Star Review!

Faith & Fidelity - Tere Michaels

Faith, Love, and Devotion: Book One

Reeling from the recent death of his wife, police officer Evan Cerelli looks at his four children and can only see how he fails them. His loving wife was the caretaker and nurturer, and now the single father feels himself being crushed by the pain of loss and the heavy responsibility of raising his kids.

At the urging of his partner, Evan celebrates a coworker’s retirement and meets disgraced former cop turned security consultant Matt Haight. A friendship born out of loneliness and the solace of the bottle turns out to be exactly what they both need.

The past year has been a slow death for Matt Haight. Ostracized from his beloved police force, facing middle age and perpetual loneliness, Matt sees only a black hole where his future should be. When he discovers another lost soul in Evan, some of the pieces he thought he lost start to fall back in place. Their friendship turns into something deeper, but love is the last thing either man expected, and both of them struggle to reconcile their new and overwhelming feelings for one another.

 

Review

 

 

Evan and Matt. This is a book that is a favorite of many people. I can see why.

I was crying in the first chapter which is a testimony to great writing. It is a stunning depiction of grief. 

These are two broken men and the friendship that grows between them. And we can see them fall in love. 

I am not a huge fan of the lack of awareness both men have around their sexuality and the gay for you theme. I wrinkle my nose a bit. 

Also, while I enjoy the reality of Evan's dealing with his childern given his level of bereavement, I think there needs to be more of a healing from that where instead I think he shifts the care taking to Matt.

I love the writing, like the romance, but don't adore the leaning into the next book on with this same couple that means while we do get HEA that too much is left dangling.

But I am glad I read it.