Better Than Catnip by Ruth J. Hartman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Once again, one of my favorite sweet romance authors has delivered a story as warm and fuzzy as the cat on the cover. Don't let looks fool you, though. This story takes us deep within the bowels of a terrifying place...a cat shelter!
Ok, so not so terrifying to most people, and not to Roxy, the heroine of the story. Unfortunately, for 11-year-old Derek, who's been forced to volunteer at the shelter or face juvenile detention, it's his worst nightmare. And that's a shame, because Derek's single dad, Max, is one fine specimen of a man. He and Roxy hit it off, but their future together is questionable, since Roxy cannot give up her cats, and Max cannot force his son to overcome his fear.
I loved the reality of this situation. One could imagine themselves in Roxy and Max's shoes. Mrs. Hartman writes in such a way that their desire for one another tugs at your heartstrings, but you feel sympathetic toward Derek, who really does try his best. The characters are genuinely flawed--Roxy being awkward around teens and clumsy, and Max (a high school basketball coach) being a loud Sasquatch at times. I particularly love that these quirks provide both laughs and conflict as the two of them try to make it work in what at times seems to be an impossible relationship.
I highly recommend this book, and any of Ruth J Hartman's works, to all the sweet romance lovers out there, young adult and beyond. And if you're an ailurophile (cat lover), I'm sure you'll find it purrfect!
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