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/

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.

Power Play (Scoring Chances, #3) by Avon Gale 5 Star Review!

Power Play  - Avon Gale

A freak accident during the Stanley Cup Playoffs put an end to Max Ashford’s hockey career. Despite everything, Max gets back into the game he loves—only this time, behind the bench as an assistant coach of the Spartanburg Spitfires, the worst team in the entire league. But nothing prepares him for the shock when he learns the new head coach is Misha Samarin, the man who caused Max’s accident.

 

After spending years guilt-ridden for his part in Max’s accident, Russian native Misha Samarin has no idea what to do when he’s confronted with Max’s presence. Max’s optimism plays havoc with Misha’s equilibrium—as does the fierce attraction that springs up between them.

 

Not only must they navigate Misha’s remorse and a past he’s spent a lifetime trying to forget, but also a sleazy GM who is determined to use their history as a marketing hook. But when an unwelcome visitor targets a player, Misha revisits his darkest days, and that might cost him and Max the beginning they’ve worked so hard to build.

 

Review

 

So, I am loving Avon Gale. She is really pitch perfect in this series so far. We get fully realized characters, hockey, great love stories, and human complexity with no false drama. Sexy as hell as well.

 

I read the blurb to this book and I think. Hmmm. Its going to be angsty bleh but it is not. It is wonderful.

 

Misha and Max. Agghhh. Great opposites attract with Max as sunny hero and Misha as dour. They love each other so. And I want every joy for them.

 

Misha is grrrr sexy and tortured but he is also a grown ass man who handles his business and is emotionally available.

 

Mas is thoughtful and resilient. I want to go re read this finely writing romance right now.

 

A comfort read for years to come!

The Bride Says No by Cathy Maxwel $1.99!

[ THE BRIDE SAYS NO: THE BRIDES OF WISHMORE (BRIDES OF WISHMORE #1) ] By Maxwell, Cathy ( Author) 2014 [ Compact Disc ] - Cathy Maxwell

What happens when a bride says no?

 

He is the bastard son of a duke, arrogant, handsome, a little bit dangerous, and, of course, one of the most sought-after bachelors in London. He is also about to be publically jilted by some chit of a girl! Blake Stephens' pride isn't about to let him be humiliated, so he charges after his bride to the wilds of Scotland, determined to bring her to the altar.

What happens when the heart says yes?

 

He is promised to one woman, but discovers his soul stirred by . . . the chit's sister! Lady Aileen Davidson's reputation was ruined ages ago, which is why she's buried herself in the country, but her fiery spirit and bold beauty threaten to bring Blake to his knees, making him wonder if he has proposed to the wrong lass.

 

And now he must make a choice: marry for honor . . . or marry for love?

Clique (Heartsville) by Jayden Brooks Review

Clique (Heartsville) - Jayden Brooks

Adam Locke’s youthful looks aren’t the blessing everyone seems to think. At twenty-eight, he’s a successful photographer with his own studio and respected by his peers—but that doesn’t seem to matter to the men who catch his eye. Instead, he’s brushed aside like an underage twink with a daddy fetish.

When a hot, bearded stranger stops him from accidentally walking into traffic, Adam looks up and finds the man of his dreams. Unfortunately, his first meeting with Brandon ends with him being dismissed as a kid. Again. Adam can’t help his annoyance. He also can’t help staring (and drooling) whenever he spots Brandon walking through the neighborhood with a different dog.

He watches from afar, wondering about Brandon’s story—until the day he’s dared to take another chance. It’s just the push Adam needs, and finally, he catches Brandon’s interest. Now if only he could figure out the key to getting taciturn Brandon to open up and let Adam in. But Adam knows sometimes all it takes is a little patience for the last piece to click into place.

 

Review

 

There are parts of this novella that are really, really good . It is super funny in several places. I like the characters and the world.

 

Then there are places that the writer just doesn't follow up so we get a lack of connection which makes the romance less powerful. (Like Brandon's past)

 

And then there is conflict that is kinda dumb.

 

I will read more by this writer because the funny and charming parts.

The Alien's Mail-Order Bride by Ruby Dixon Review

The Alien's Mail-Order Bride: A Sci-Fi Alien Romance Novella - Ruby Dixon

Though still carrying the scars of his past as an intergalactic soldier, Emvor doesn’t mind the quiet of his chosen life as a farmer. He doesn’t even mind that most nights are lonely on remote Cassa, but he does need help around his farm. A mail-order bride from his homeworld seems like the perfect solution. She’ll be a tall, sturdy female to help with the chores and bear his children.

Unfortunately, the person that arrives is Nicola. She’s small, delicate…and human. She also knows nothing about farming, and she's lied and deceived her way across the galaxy to get to Cassa so she can hide from those that would capture her. She's a problem, and also the most enticing thing he's ever seen.

Now Emvor has to decide…can he keep the woman who’s nothing like what he asked for but is everything he needs?

 

Review


A pretty run of the mill mail order space bride with super nice characters but a little stretch for the conflict.

 

A quick read.

Bittersweet Blood By Nina Croft 99 cents!

Bittersweet Blood - Nina Croft

ara Collins just wants to be normal. Everyone else wants her dead.


Tara's eccentric aunt raised her to be fearful of the world and follow the rules. But after her aunt's death, Tara is ready to take control and experience life for the first time. But she quickly discovers that everything she's been told is a web of lies. Determined to solve the mystery of who she is truly, she hires a private investigator to help her uncover the truth.
Christian Roth is more than your average PI. A vampire and ex-demon hunter, Christian lives among the humans, trying to be "normal." But recently, things seem to be falling apart. There's a crazed demon hell-bent on revenge hunting him down, and a fae assassin on the loose with an unknown target. And the Order he abandoned desperately needs his help.


As the secrets of Tara's past collide with the problems in Christian's present, she finds herself fighting her attraction to the dark and mysterious investigator. Falling in love does not fit into her plans at all, but Tara soon learns that some rules are meant to be broken.

Leo Loves Aries (Signs of Love, #1) by Anyta Sunday 4 Star Review!

Leo Loves Aries - Anyta Sunday

A new person will enter your life in the early year, Leo. Look past any moments of frustration they might bring and laugh—this could be the start of a thriving friendship.

Theo Wallace usually laughs at the horoscopes his mom sends. Still hung up on his ex-girlfriend and practically friendless, this one begs him to reconsider. Because a friendship that stuck, that thrived…

Well, that would be a reason to leave past pains behind and look to the Bright Future.

When his sister Leone challenges him to find her the perfect date for a spring wedding, Theo uses it as a chance to make new friends. Theo’s ex economics tutor and newest roommate Mr. Jamie Cooper seems to be a possible and convenient match. Real convenient. Like written in the stars, convenient.

All he has to do is make sure this Jamie is good enough. Could really be The One for her, and the friend for him.

But watch out, Leo, the stars have a surprise in store…

 

Review

This is a light romance with a great pair of siblings, a lot of banter, and a slow burn with a clueless hero.

 

Boy is Theo clueless. It can be a bit much at times how much he doesn't get that he is falling in love with Jamie and that he is jealous or that Jamie is gay. The banter is wonderful but it can also go a bit far when I long for more emotionial connections.

 

However, overall, this is a charming romance with wonderful smart characters and a great cast.

 

Good times!

Sing Me Home By Lisa Ann Verge Free!

Sing Me Home - Lisa Ann Verge

Ireland, 1307

Blessed with an angel’s voice, Maura of Killeigh escapes from a convent determined to join a band of traveling players. They’ll be her protection on the roads while she searches for the parents who abandoned her at birth. But once face-to-face with the seductive, sinfully handsome vagabond who rules the troupe, Maura wonders if she wouldn’t be safer traveling alone....

Unraveling Josh (Ellery College, #3) by Edie Danford 5 Star Review!

Unraveling Josh - Edie Danford

When the crown prince of bad boys hooks up with his former high school crush, he’s after just one kind of happy ending.

Nick McQueen just scored the perfect hookup—Ellery College ski champion, Joshua Pahlke. What better way for Nick to prove his transformation from high school loser to sexy sinner? He’ll gift golden-boy Josh with the hottest, dirtiest sex of his life and then leave him begging for more.

But his definition of happiness is about to change…

Josh needs to blow off steam. He’s spent years pushing himself in academics and sports, but nagging injuries and career doubts have him craving a new challenge. Nick might be the key—he sure as hell turns Josh’s crank. Josh eagerly rises to the task of winning over moody-broody Nick. But when new love and old secrets change the rules of their game, “winning” takes on a whole new meaning.

 

Review

 

This is a pitch perfect romance with wonderful characters, emotionial intimacy, healing, forgiveness physical trust, self discovery and so much love.

Josh and Nick. The journey they take together is wonderful but just as wonderful is the path they take as individuals. 

Josh might seems to perfect but he is self reflective and struggles with the burden of being so well rounded good in looks, attitude, sports, school that he is often unseen. He also struggles with his own set of issues as we all do.

Nick has crushed on Josh forever and has a lot of unexamined behaviors and painful past. Yet, he is very loving and kind with Josh. I love the different acts in this book and how we see Nick transform and become more himself and his best self not just in his relationship with Josh but to himself and others and even letting go of people that don't support his better being. 

Josh and Nick together are red hot but also comforting and the time together a joy even in its painful moments.

The writing is lush and each character of the book compelling. A grand read.

I hope for more in the series especially with more difficult characters. 

A joy.

 

 

The Corset Diaries By Katie MacAlister $1.99

The Corset Diaries - Katie MacAlister

No woman in her right mind would consent to wearing a corset for a month. Especially a “skinny-challenged” woman like Tessa. But dreams of being debt-free dance in her head when she gets an offer to appear in a reality TV show. 

A Month in the Life of a Victorian Duke is about real people pretending to live on an English estate, circa 1879. And Tessa's leading man—a real-life Duke—is so handsome she can barely breathe, with or without the corset...