Book Reviews

Catís Got Your Heart by Jem Zero at NineStar Press

Genre Gay / Bisexual / Trans* / Contemporary / New Adult / Interracial / Romance / Humor/Comedy
Reviewed by Christy Duke on 20-October-2020

Book Blurb

A Fluffy Feline Isn’t the Only Thing They’re Fighting For

Adopting a cat doesn’t sound hard. Then Jericho Adams meets Harinder Mangal, the surly pet store employee who loves animals and hates customers. Their first encounter inspires more than simple loathing—it puts the ball in motion for an absurd game of deceit that boasts a fluffy cat named Dumpling as the prize.


Harinder hates Jericho’s attitude, especially when it comes to owning a pet. He attempts to chase the other man from his store and is shocked when Jericho overcomes every obstacle, no matter how bizarre. Not only that, but he generates some of his own wild inconveniences that leave Harinder seething in his ugly sweater and mom jeans.


Before either man can get the other to crack, Harinder finds himself unexpectedly homeless. Despite their mutual antagonism, Jericho invites Harinder to crash at his place. The increased proximity makes it difficult for Harinder and Jericho to maintain their respective ruses, not to mention stopping themselves from actually caring about their pet-parenting rival.


Book Review

I don’t often read new-to-me authors anymore and that’s not because of lack of interest, but more due to me having such a huge number of books on my to-be-read shelf that I’m desperately trying to make time for. Regardless of the whys, the blurb for ‘Cat’s Got Your Heart’ really captured my attention and I decided to give it, and Jem Zero, a chance.


“Active discomfort and aggression are the tools with which he navigates most of his life, even around people he likes. He’s painfully aware of that. He’s also aware that his rare moments of happiness engender a vulnerability he hates revealing. Harinder’s soft squishy underbelly is a map to his own personal city of gold, and no one is plundering those riches today, or ever, thanks.”


‘Cat’s Got Your Heart’ is an interesting character study about two young men who have suffered through their share of adversities. Harinder’s beloved father died when he was a teen and he struggled through a multitude of foster homes before he turned eighteen. He is quite a bit like a feline and several of the other species of animals he protects and cares for so adamantly at the pet store where he works. He is prickly, foul-mouthed, quick to anger, and even though he’s only five foot three, Harinder commands the area as if he were a giant. He also carries a pretty big secret that I think the majority of authors would have made a larger part of the storyline, but Jem Zero wrote it as a bit of a throwaway and I have to admit that was rather disconcerting.


Jericho is an African-American, gay, albino man and life has been rough for him. He and his twin sister were abandoned by their mother at a young age. Shiloh got adopted but Jericho was sent to live with his uncle who was not a nice man. Jericho saved for years in order to file to be emancipated as early as he could and then he fled the area to move to where his sister and her fiancé live. He is lucky to be gifted with artistic skill that allows him to work from home since he’s not good with people. Through no fault of his own Jericho is determined to get his sister a cat to replace the one she lost and he figures going to the local pet store is a lot better than trying out a chain store. Plus, it’s closer on the bus line to his apartment. Strange how small decisions can change the trajectory of an entire life.


What begins as two men trying to one-up each other and determined to win this battle, slowly, oh so slowly, grows into a hesitant friendship, a deep caring for the other, trust, respect, and finally love. I enjoyed this story but the writing style is unlike any I’ve seen before and very often it took a turn into “what the hell land” leaving me scratching my head, going back several pages, and trying to figure out what was going on. It’s very possible that it is only my interpretation and the fault lies with me as to why I couldn’t grasp some of the content. However, many errors that tend to lurk in a first release by a new author are absent in this book, so I’m curious to see what the author has up her sleeve in future releases.


Overall, I can recommend this book as a unique character study, not to mention the fact that Harinder cares for animals much like I do. As in, he likes them a whole lot more than people and has absolutely no problem telling customers exactly how he feels. *grins*


“Harinder Mangal is twenty-four years old, and he feels like Christmas has come two days early. A month and a half ago, some idiot walked into his store, and Harinder made it his mission to scare him off, but it didn’t work. For the first time in his life, he’s played a game he doesn’t mind losing.


Jericho Adams is twenty-one years old, which is more than old enough to not mind losing every once in a while.”




DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by NineStar Press for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 288 pages/75100 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 05-October-2020
Price $6.49 ebook, $16.99 paperback
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