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Cat's Got Your Heart

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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.


First published October 5, 2020

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Jem Zero

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 47 reviews
Profile Image for Silvia .
635 reviews1,387 followers
October 28, 2020
4.5 stars!!

I adored this romance between a gay Black albino man and a bi Indian trans man. It's not always easy to make enemies to lovers work credibly in a contemporary romance, but here it worked perfectly, so much that I was hooked from the very first page. Something about how both characters came alive from their very introduction and tore their way out of every page with their sharp edges made them so endearing to me, even when I objectively couldn't stand them.

The romance and the pace at which it moved was completely believable and it reminded me, especially in the second half, of some of my favorite fanfiction (and I say this in the best way possible, with the low and not overly dramatic conflict despite the initial setup, and the way the book rarely strayed away from the central characters). I can truly say that while a lot of contemporary romances are rather forgettable, I won't get Jericho and Harinder out of my thoughts anytime soon.

I can't give 5 stars simply because I felt like my brain and the author's are on completely different wavelengths and that's okay. I couldn't always follow the narrative because my own thought process was on a different, but probably just as fast and messy, path (plus maybe missing some cultural/social context, me not being american and all). This still didn't detract from my enjoyment and when I was reading I never even reached for my phone, which means a lot, trust me.

So if you want to read a funny, heartfelt and diverse queer romance + lots of pets (cats, but not only!) you should definitely give this a try.

TWs: reference to drugs, addiction, and death by overdose; mention of abusive family member, loss of a parent in the past
Profile Image for Joyfully Jay.
7,385 reviews418 followers
November 4, 2020
A Joyfully Jay review.

4.75 stars

Cat’s Got Your Heart is a contemporary, enemies-to-lovers style, get-together story that is set somewhere in the American Northeast in the late fall (and ending just before Christmas). It centers on the two main characters: Harinder Mangal, a transgender Indian twenty-something orphan with a delightfully foul attitude towards others of his species, but a heart of solid gold when it comes to the pets he cares for; and Jericho Adams, a tenacious twenty-year-old transplant from the South who makes his living doing webcomics and working a Patreon account and, despite a hefty online following, is rather an introvert. These two characters could not be more like water and oil if they tried and I just thoroughly enjoyed watching how they mix and separate. For me, the enemies-to-lovers trope is one of the best things about this book and a huge part of that is due to the author’s commitment to it. Roughly the first half of the entire book centers squarely on how much verbal vitriol and visceral vehemence Harinder bears for people in general and Jericho’s dig-your-toes-in attitude when it comes to the concept of a sunken cost. In other words, I felt I really got to revel in how much these two start off as enemies.

Read Camille’s review in its entirety here.

Profile Image for jennrubenstein.
145 reviews5 followers
September 3, 2020
As I began reading, I didn't know how I felt about this book. The characters were petulant and frustrating. The problems they faced and what they'd dealt with were unsolvable. But both Harinder and Jericho endeared themselves to me; just as they wound their way into each other's minds in spite of their supposed best intentions, when I'd put the book down and moved on to other tasks, they kept tickling the back of my mind. Harinder is a grumpy, prickly pet supply store employee who cares more about the well-being of the animals than about most people, and would prefer the public not bother him at all. He's got a caring, empathetic underbelly - though he'd kill me for saying so (or at least ban me from the store). Jericho is a loner, and lonely. An artist who does not often leave his home, whose friends and acquaintances are mostly found online, whose sister is furious with him. He goes to Hari's store in an attempt to make his sister forgive him, and keeps going back. And back. And back again. Even though Hari tries to throw enough obstacles in his way to make him give up and never return. There are plenty of laughs and even more tears to be had throughout this story, not to mention frustration at misunderstandings and intentional misleadings. But I couldn't quit them, the emotional investment got me good. This book didn't feel like most of the fluff, or even the angst, that I often find myself reading. It's in a category of its own, and I hope to read more from Jem Zero in the future.
Profile Image for Danai Christopoulou.
Author 1 book26 followers
September 13, 2020
What an absolute gem this book was!

I'm not ashamed to admit that I started reading this for the title, the cute cover and the promise of fluffy animals and queer love. But wow, this book was so much more! The two MCs, Jericho and Harinder, stayed with me for days after I finished the book. Their delicious banter, their broken hearts, their terror at letting another human being in, the reluctant realization that they may have found someone important in each other... It was equally heartbreaking and heartwarming to read.

Harinder's relationship with animals is also wonderfully depicted. The amount of care, attention and emotional openness he bestows upon everything from a gecko to a ferret to a cat, juxtaposed with his (not unwarranted but certainly exaggerated) callousness when it comes to interacting with humans at first it feels a bit comical, but after a while makes perfect sense. The way he collapses hugging his friend's cats... I don't think I've read a more emotional scene recently.

Although, the scene at the snowy playground tops that.

Overall, and without getting into spoiler territory, if you love a love story that's soft and fragile and profound and a ton of other adjectives the MCs would probably sneer at, go read this book.

P.S. A big thank you to the author who provided me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. The fangirling is 100% mine.
Profile Image for wandering. bibliophile_ .
199 reviews82 followers
October 8, 2020
This was a really cute and heart warming read. The story is pretty ordinary but yet it tugs at your heart strings.

Jericho stumbles upon the grumpy pet store employee- Harinder, when he intends to adopt a cat. This has to be the cutest meet cute honestly. Harinder is very attached to the pets in the store and in order to ensure a good home, he creates a tedious adoption process in order to see if Jericho really wants the cat and will be committed to the pet. Jericho and Harinder form a weird hate to kinda friendly relationship.

Both these characters are pretty closed off and only expect the worse to happen to them. Life hasn't been the kindest to them. So I really enjoyed to see them finding that trust in each other and gradually open up to each other. The story mostly moves through the everyday life of both of them and how their relationship progresses.
Profile Image for Trans-cending-literature.
142 reviews321 followers
September 28, 2020
I. LOVED. THIS. As a gay trans man, I am always on the lookout for good mlm trans books. And this one was PERFECTION. I am so in love with these characters. I related so much to Harinder, I am also very passionate about pet welfare and diss on chain pet stores so much. I loved his personality and his passion, and that the book actually educated real facts about issues with pet stores. I love enemies to lovers so much, and this one was just *chefs kiss*. I can't say enough good things about this, it was just lovely
Profile Image for Althea.
420 reviews139 followers
October 24, 2020
I received this one as an eARC from the author but this one just didn't click with me. I DNF-ed at chapter 7 because, although I'm not the biggest fan of enemies to lovers at the best of times, this one felt extremely unrealistic, and Harinder was just plain rude and overly mean. I'd say to read it for yourselves to understand what I mean about that but I don't recommend this one at all, which is a shame because I was really excited for it.
Profile Image for E.M. Hamill.
Author 10 books88 followers
September 2, 2020

I keep saying romance isn't my thing, but when it's good, it's good. I guess I protest too much. This romantic, low-heat level story was as fluffy as the cat on the cover and I devoured it in about four hours.

Jericho needs a cat in the worst way. He accidentally let his sister's cat run out the door into the night, and he's devastated because she won't talk to him now. When he finds the perfect cat (named Dumpling) in the adoption room at a small pet store, he expects to be able to pay the fee, sign on the line, and take the kitty home to his sister.

Au contraire, says Harinder. He considers himself an advocate for all the animals in the store (even the feeder goldfish), and takes an immediate dislike to Jericho for no particular reason other than he hates most people. He won't let animals go home with just any jerk who walks in, despite the fact it's a pet store. Hari immediately sets a series of ridiculous obstacles for Jericho as a vetting process to adopt Dumpling, thinking Jericho will just give up and go to Petco.

But Jericho has no such intention. He's going to get that cat by fair means or foul, and out of spite decides to meet every condition Harinder sets for him--maybe just not exactly the way Hari wants him to. That means hanging around the store a lot just to spite the short, grumpy pet store guy...but to their surprise, a strange sort of friendship develops. Jericho's there just when Harinder needs him, responding with compassion and generosity despite Hari's prickly outsides. Once Jericho cracks that veneer, Harinder doesn't stand a chance against a rush of feelings. But Jericho is worried if Harinder discovers he's lied to him, their new trust will shatter.

Oh, this was just a lovely little story. Hari is a grumpy little troll who has a tender heart behind all the snarling and growling. He's almost unlikable at first, but as he begins to thaw to Jericho's tenacity, we start to see who he really is--still acerbic, but desperately lonely. Orphaned Jericho has an abandonment issue that's heartbreaking, so terrified of losing his sister he will do anything to get the one thing he thinks will make her love him again.

This is a quick read and absolutely adorable with some laugh out loud moments. Don't miss this debut novel from the disgustingly talented Jem Zero.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Solly.
437 reviews30 followers
September 20, 2020
I started this book and practically couldn't do anything else until I finished it, it was super addictive!

The premise already made me incredibly excited because I was in the process of getting everything in order to adopt my kitten when I read this, so I couldn't have read a book about queer people arguing over a cat adoption at a better time, and it was really a good, fun ride.

Harinder is definitely my favourite character of the book, because who couldn't be charmed by that grumpy-as-hell bi trans guy who absolutely adores the animals he takes care of at the pet shop he works at, but despises most human beings? Depises them enough that he'll actively try to prevent them from adopting animals if he doesn't feel they're competent enough to take care of them (and practically no one is competent enough by Harinder standards). I loved him so much, even if he was way too stubborn at times. He's just my kind of characters, and he fit so well with Jericho, the indie artist who is just trying to get a cat for his sister, and really it shouldn't be THAT complicated to adopt one.

I loved Harinder's and Jericho's relationship dynamics from the beginning to the end, because even when they were "enemies" it felt more like a power game they were both happy to engage in than an actually harmful relationship. And then they fit so well when they got together.

It was a genuinely funny, cute story with not a whole lot of angst (there's a little! but it's still a cute read if you need something that's not too angsty). Plus, lots of cute pets, including cats but also ferrets and geckos and more. My only issue is basically personal taste, but the tone of the story was very much trying to be funny all the time and it got a little too much for me at times? I also had some slight concerns about details of the Black & South Asian rep. As a white reader, I can't go into details about it, but I don't know how well-received jokes about calling the police on a Black man would be at the moment (though I saw that the author said ze would potentially stop writing BIPOC as a white person, and idk if that includes the finished copies of this, so that might be an unnecessary comment on my part).

Overall, it had loveable characters, good relationship dynamics and development, cute pets, laugh-out-loud moments, and I enjoyed it enough that I couldn't stop reading!
Profile Image for Janie.
1,012 reviews118 followers
November 24, 2020
I was gifted an ebook via Netgalley. I voluntarily read and reviewed it. All thoughts are my own.

I really wanted to like this book because the premise drew me in - hate to love trope and CATS and trans rep and a MM romance. But in the end, I was left underwhelmed. I couldn't stand Harinder at all. He's extremely rude. Not like a little rude and it could be misunderstood - he is outright terrible and condescending unprovoked. I thought I would like the pet store setting but it seemed to be more a platform for very preachy animal rights activism, which is not to say that I don't love animals and agree with some of the stuff being said. It was just a lot of the book and it was so over-the-top. The first 40% of the book was very repetitive and that's when the synopsis part where Harinder ends up homeless comes into play (finally)...at the 40% mark. Then all of a sudden, Jericho and Harinder are madly in lust/love. I didn't find it believable at all. The first 40% and the last 60% seemed like two different books entirely. This book was just not for me.
Profile Image for Rebekka.
808 reviews29 followers
October 23, 2022
happy I was gifted this book that is unapologetically refreshing!

Two young guys whose armor is anger encounter each other in a battle for cat custody :)
Slow-burn and coming of age.
I also loved that we had one gay albino mc and one trans Indian mc! Their off-colour comments towards white people were completely honest with their personal backgrounds.

Recommend if looking for slow-burn, angry arguments, the most cared for animal enclosures, kisses and no sexual action (apart from one short on page scene) and a happy ending they deserve :)
Profile Image for Emma Goldman.
258 reviews2 followers
December 12, 2020
This book arrived today. I sat down and started reading it before tea. I've just finished it at 21.45. It is great! Definitely a keeper, funny, engaging, with difficult main characters. A cat with a daft name, and a battle over whether it can be adopted. The whys and wherefores come thick and fast, with repartee a speciality. Recommended!
Profile Image for Tessa.
137 reviews10 followers
November 15, 2020
This was a fun read, all the descriptions and their speaking habits made me laugh. I also appreciated that the drama wasn't drawn out, once it got necessary, they did talk about the problems, without big drawn out hissy fits, which was quite refreshing!
Profile Image for Smote.
164 reviews
December 23, 2020
3.5/5 stars

If you like enemies to lovers and cheesy, sappy romance mixed in with ridiculous arguments then this is the book for you. I did find the pacing a bit slow (and took issue with the feeder fish passage (please don't use goldfish (or rosy reds) as feeders, they're high in thiaminase which blocks the absorption of thiamine and can cause a vitamin deficiency in predators). However, despite the pace, I did finish the whole book in one sitting and enjoyed reading it! The ending pleasantly surprised me, going past the easy stage of just working things out to the nicer level of wrapping up other plotlines and giving a solid epilogue for both main characters. Also huge shout-out to the solid trans rep in a way that differed from the norm (and felt more similar to my own experiences!)
Profile Image for Veronica of V's Reads.
1,528 reviews41 followers
October 9, 2020
Jericho is an albino Black male approaching his 21st birthday and he's upset his only living relative in the world, his twin sister, Shiloh, by allowing her demon of a cat (Mephistopheles) to escape into a dark night in their nondescript East Coast suburban town. He thinks that buying a replacement will heal the rift that's cropped up. He lives alone in a one-bedroom and supports himself since he was 17 and escaped the "loving" supervision of their abusive uncle. Jericho owns his introverted nature and is 100% socially maladroit, but he is a successful cartoonist for his own webzine and Patreon supporters. So, it can't be that hard to buy a cat, right?

He stops at the nearest pet store to home, Aquariums & More, because shop local, right? And that's where he meets Harinder, a small, pudgy young man who is absolutely not going to allow Jericho to adopt one of the cats in the back. No, Harinder has hoops for days that he makes prospective adopters jump through, knowing that few will bother to continue with the process through a 10-page compatibility survey, bogus community service hours requirement, and anything else he can dream up to deter folks. See, Harinder's pretty much primal when it comes to animals and he'll piss off eighteen dozen humans if it means not letting one unsuitable pet owner take an animal from his care.

And, care Harinder imparts. He is fastidious in his treatment and cleaning of animal cages working well beyond his clockable hours as the sole customer-facing employee in Aquariums & More. Harinder's boss, an aging Indian man, only keeps the store as a venue to showcase his custom tank builds, and he's rarely on-site. Essentially, Harinder has license to torment uneducated customers and is unbothered by the terrible Yelp reviews. Jericho sees through his game pretty quick and being a contrary sort regards his mission to adopt a replacement cat for Shiloh as a challenge. And Jericho aims to win.

Being self-employed gives Jericho the flexibility to enter the store on the regular and meet or exceed all of Harinder's ridiculous stipulations. His presence and keen observational skills puts Jericho in a position to recognize that Harinder's actually very principled and dedicated to the animals at the store, engendering a grudging respect. . He also witnesses harassment of Harinder by friends of his housemate, and is likewise present when Harinder's tenuous living situation implodes.

The snark and walls each man has built to protect themselves from the meanness of their existence begin to crack as Jericho solicitously brings Harinder and what remain of his belongings into his own apartment. It's sweet and entertaining, and the attraction that Harinder has tried to not acknowledge definitely blooms in this hot house. None of this is too overt. These guys are generally not impetuous, and they don't need more than companionship, at first. Of course, having Harinder in his place means that the ruse to adopt the cat is far more complicated, especially as Harinder has a deep desire to adopt the one cat that Jericho wants--if he could house a pet, that is. The more that these two men connect, the more the deception tears at Jericho, until it becomes too much to bear--and Harinder is not happy. Things had been going so well, though, that Jericho's quick thinking and growing affection are soon enough overcome their conflict.

This is a fun book to read, with great pacing and a delicious slow burn. There are definitely race issues at play, and Harinder's view of Jericho's struggles is interesting, and supportive. I rather felt as if the author was writing a book from a British English perspective, as the American details seemed a bit vague and generic. That said, the characters were engaging, the plot creative and the enemies-to-lovers trope well-executed. Expect a happy ending and a well-housed cat, or two.
Profile Image for Helen.
262 reviews158 followers
September 19, 2020
I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review – thanks so much to Jem Zero for sending this to me!

If you’ve ever wanted to read a romance which is basically the literary equivalent of that one video of those two guys aggressively giving each other the middle finger in the middle of a crowded street, then this is the book for you.

Harinder is a extremely grumpy pet-shop employee who avoids doing his job at all costs, lest he deliver an animal into incompetent hands. Jericho is a struggling artist who just wants to adopt a gosh darn cat – and the only thing standing in his way is Hari, who is determined to do whatever he possibly can to get in the way.

It took a little while for me to really get into this story, for a few different reasons. Firstly, the abrasiveness of the characters took me aback at first. As someone who’s not at all confrontational and will cry if someone even uses a slightly mean tone of voice when they speak to me, I was startled by just how combative they were. As the book continues, you learn that it’s largely a defence mechanism, and of course there’s no real aggression behind it, but it did surprise me given that the book promises to be a fluff-fest. Later, though, things take a turn and the book delivers all its sweet, low-angst goodness. The second half of the book reads like the fluffy fanfic you’d read about your OTP, curled up in bed with a hot drink (and, ideally, an animal of your choice sitting in your lap.) Once the characters start to peel their layers back, they become charming, and the constant jibes grow soft around the edges, allowing you to get closer to the characters as they get to know each other better.

In terms of plot, this book is pretty chill, with no huge blow-up of conflict, so I’d definitely recommend this if you need some good old-fashioned escapism (and don’t we all, right now?) I appreciated that it diverges a little from the usual romance blueprint of ‘massive fight tears the relationship apart, making everyone miserable’ – instead, the characters talk to each other (gasp) and resolve everything pretty quickly, which was refreshingly healthy, though it did create a slight pacing problem in my opinion, leaving the story a bit directionless towards the end. The last 50 pages or so feel like filler, as we return to tie up any and every loose end that we’ve encountered in the story so far. It felt almost as if the author had suddenly remembered about all of the plot threads ze set up in the beginning and had to try and resolve everything one after the other in a bullet-pointed list. This got a little frustrating because I kept thinking the story was over and then I’d turn the page and we’d spend a few pages addressing yet another tiny plot detail. I appreciated the commitment to making sure that everything was neatly wrapped up, but I did wonder if it could have been condensed slightly just to tighten things up.

Overall, Cat’s Got Your Heart was a hopeful, heart-warming read that delivers all of the catharsis promised by its gorgeous cover. Although it was a little too low-stakes for my personal tastes, I appreciate the concept and I think it would be a great recommendation for anyone who needs a really relaxing read.
Profile Image for Arthur.
126 reviews5 followers
November 28, 2020
I was sooo hyped for this book, and in the end, I was almost disappointed.

What I looked forward to the most was the trans rep, and while that is there, it's ... kind of not. The only mention of it at all throughout the book is how short Harinder is, one moment of hesitation before taking his shirt off, and then an abrupt reveal in the middle of a sex scene. In this sex scene, it's casually dropped in the narrative that Harinder's dad completely accepted him, so he's only ever lived as a man since a small child and was able to take puberty blockers, so he never needed top surgery--and therefore doesn't have scars or breasts in a previous scene where he takes off his shirt to get in a hot tub with Jericho, at which point I was convinced that the trans rep was a lie because there hadn't been ANY mention of it and he just took his shirt off without any commentary except that he has a tattoo around one nipple, so Jericho is clearly looking closely enough to see any scars, which he apparently doesn't have. The explanation retroactively makes sense, but it sucks that we don't get anything at all until 3/4 through the book.

So ... it doesn't actually feel like trans rep, tbh. It feels like a completely cis pairing, until Hari suddenly whips his packer out while they're about to have sex and putting the transgender "reveal" (both to Jericho and to the reader, who would have no idea if they missed the trans tags in the reviews) in a sex scene really just makes it feel. icky? Like again, a cis reader would have no idea he was trans until now, so all they would take away from this book is "sometimes you have sex with a person and they surprise you that they're SECRETLY TRANS and the gay guy just went along with it without any questions or concerns whatsoever."

I'm definitely not *asking* for any transphobia from a gay man insisting he couldn't possibly touch a vagina, there is more than enough of that already, but if I was going to have sex with someone and they suddenly revealed something was not what I expected--whether that's genital piercings, a prosthetic, that I had made a wrong assumption about who tops/bottoms--I'd need at least A moment to process that for a second. Especially since Jericho is a virgin! He probably had at least some ideas of how they would have sex that suddenly aren't applicable anymore, but they didn't even stop to talk about it, what they wanted, who would do what, protection, PROTECTION--testosterone doesn't actually stop you from getting pregnant btw, you just can't carry a baby to term while taking it, so theoretically, Hari could still get pregnant here if they had that kind of penetrative sex, which they did not discuss at all.

I guess that's a better summary of what I wanted and was disappointed about: more communication during the sex. I definitely wouldn't prefer Jericho freak out or have a bad reaction, I just strongly prefer a lot of explicit communication and discussion before having sex.

And I wanted a transgender character I could connect to but instead spent over half the book legitimately wondering if he was cis :(
Profile Image for Chels.
84 reviews1 follower
October 3, 2020
First, I love reading books with diverse characters, and this was one of the best regarding that, including LGBTQ+, POC, and even albinism. The plot was entertaining and realistic and I liked the character and story progression and development. The two main characters meet when Jericho wants to adopt a cat from the pet store Harinder works at. To say their meeting does not go well is an understatement, and it is almost immediate disdain for each other.

Both characters have some baggage and past familial problems that are revealed continuously throughout the story that reflect in their actions and how the think of others. I really liked Jericho’s character. He was so kind and I actually felt a bit bad for him because of the way others treated him; he would purposely go around hang someone who treated him awfully just so someone would not ignore him. I just wanted to hug him and I think he deserves so much more.

Harinder… I actually don’t think I liked him too much. Yes, he had some stuff that is still impacting his life, but he literally chose to be intentionally rude beyond his strict vetting process for new pet parents (which I strictly support because pet owners should have a more rigorous adopting process to ensure they are responsible parents.) Even when Jericho did some amazing, kind things for him, he was still not very thankful about it. I think Harinder’s attitude was really the only part of the story I didn’t like.

Beyond my feelings toward Harinder, I loved how he and Jericho learned to trust and lean on each other. This book was a great Own Voices style story and do recommend this book. I received this book as an advance copy from NetGalley and this is my honestly review. Cat’s Got Your Heart is available here and releases on October 5, 2020.

Profile Image for Amanda B.V..
135 reviews3 followers
October 2, 2020
**I received this complimentary ARC from the publisher, courtesy of NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.**

As someone who is still getting to know their tastes in books, I took a shot with this. I haven't read many contemporary books, much less new adult romances, but the plot really drew me in. And I don't regret my decision. I was hooked after reading the first few chapters and my enjoyment increased with every new chapter.
The writing is something I didn't know I loved until now and it really made me fall for the book even more. It fit so well with the characters, which is another huge thing I loved about this book.
I personally felt connected to the two main characters, in different ways. Funnily enough, I didn't expect to relate so much to Harinder and his way with the pet store. I felt myself agreeing with a lot of his thoughts on the pets and how they should be raised. Although he was more straight forward with his opinions to other people, I couldn't stop agreeing with him! The anxiety that both Jericho and Harinder go through reflects so well with my own that it was almost jarring to think that these weren't my own thoughts being written down!
The overall relationship between the two characters through this book was wonderful. I never once found myself pulled away from the story because of certain actions or phrases. Everything meshed so well together; truly a new favorite of mine!
The comedy elements, whether intentional or not, is exactly the kind I look for in a story like this. The sense of humor and overall relationship that the characters have with each other is so endearing and made me slightly jealous that I don't have someone I can be like that with!
I can not gush enough about this book. From the characters to the writing to the plot; everything made me love this book even more. I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to read this book as it is most definitely going to be my favorite book of the year.
Profile Image for Kristy Moore.
195 reviews12 followers
November 17, 2020
🌟4.5 The Grumpy One Is Cranky For The Irritable One Stars.🌟

I like the trope "the Grumpy one is soft for the Sunshiney one" and this book turns that trope a little sideways and inside out.

Harinder is definitely the Grump in this relationship, but Jericho has so much emotional baggage from a combination of his unusual appearance that draws unwanted attention and being an unwanted abused child, he's not exactly a ray of Sunshine himself.

The two men have similar problems with connecting with others due to their deviation from the societal "norm," but go about protecting themselves in vastly different ways.

Jericho lives a mostly solitary life, with a high school friend he never sees, and a sister who is currently not speaking to him as his only friends. He tries to diffuse potentially dangerous situations with absurdist humor ("Making people uncomfortable is easier than trying to scare them off.")

Hari has become aggressively defensive after years of being bullied, even in the home he currently lives in, but he's a total softie towards animals and cannot stand the idea of any of the creatures he's responsible for selling going to a home where there is even the slightest risk of negligence or abuse. The only person we ever see Hari make special effort be polite to is his boss, who (spoiler!) sees right through all the layers of Hari's self defensive antisocial act and does his best to be supportive without actually expressing it directly.

The two misanthropes manage to annoy each other right into an accidental friendship turned relationship after a series of mishaps and misunderstandings, and learn to let down their emotional walls just a tiny bit at a time.
Profile Image for Mx Phoebe.
1,000 reviews
October 21, 2020
Cat’s Got Your Heart is witty, sarcastic, in your face, no holds barred, slap your hand away ridiculously funny shocking in an “OMG did he just say that...and he said what in return?” Let me read that again...Jem Zero please follow me on social media forever...kind of book.

Oh and honey, I am not done yet. Make some popcorn because this book is that kind of book. Zero is quick with the lines and with the humor. Watching Harinder and Jericho is a dream in verbal foreplay. Zero adds depth to the story by having both characters be culturally diverse and then adds more to each character to explore an area not many people read about today. I love it!
There is also a sub-story in Cat which I would love to see explored further in a sequel as this character achieves success. I actually would love to see the backstory on Ms. Watson and I think there is a story there with Shiloh if I sensed the undercurrent correctly. Basically what I am saying is that Zero has created a secondary cast of characters that makes you want to read more about them.

Zero also writes dark undertones in the story as bullying, homophobia, racism, parental death, self-esteem, drug use, and abuse are part of some characters' stories. Zero keeps it real and acknowledges that there are no easy answers and that some walls we put up ourselves.

Cat’s Got Your Heart definitely stole my heart - give it a chance to steal yours too.

I received an ARC of this book and I am writing a review without prejudice and voluntarily.
Profile Image for Sarita Chapdelaine.
1,172 reviews1 follower
October 7, 2020
This book was provided by the author via IndiGo Marketing & Design in exchange for an honest review.

This is a weird and wonderful story that is masterfully crafted and a joy to read. Cat's Got Your Heart is quirky, hilarious, gritty, inspiring, has amazing and diverse characters, has a pet store that I wish was the standard for all, the snark level is perfect and I could not put it down. I love Jericho and Harinder even though they don't seem to be very likeable at the beginning of this story but as it unfolds and their difficult pasts are revealed many of their actions and reactions make a lot more sense. I absolutely love that Harinder fiercely protects all of the residents of the pet store where he works and his ridiculous requirements that he insists Jericho meets if he wants to adopt one of the cats were hilarious. Jericho is determined to do whatever it takes to adopt Dumpling even if it means dealing with the grumpy and difficult Harinder. Both of them are lonely and even though they are exactly what the other needs it will take a lot of patience and care for them to discover who they really are under the surface. I love how their relationship evolves, the ending is perfect and I can't wait to read more books by this author.
Profile Image for Ije the Devourer of Books.
1,695 reviews53 followers
October 3, 2020
This is a lovely story with well developed and entertaining characters. Harinder and Jericho detest each other on sight. Harinder believes Jericho should not have the cat he wants to buy and Jericho thinks the pet store employee is an ass, but he is determind to get the cat he wants.

And so the battle commences. As Jericho runs the gauntlet of Harinder's requirements for pet adoption, the two men gradually become a surprising life line for each other, helping each other come to terms with painful pasts.

I enjoyed reading this. The story has a way of growing on the reader. Although there are conflicts and difficulties, the two characters overcome these in a meaningful and realistic way. There is lots of snark and banter in the story which enriches the reading experience in an odd kind of way.

I also liked the diversity of the characters, and I thought the way the author depicted albinism was thoughtful and creative. I haven't come across albinism in a romance before. I think this is definately a book I will read again and this author is definately worth following for future reads.

Copy provided by Ninestar Press via Netgalley in exchange for an unbiased review.
Profile Image for Anabela.M..
959 reviews15 followers
October 10, 2020
I admit it, I see grump in a book's blurb and my mind immediately starts screaming "Read it! Read it!". Fact is, more often than not the story isn't as exciting as the blurb and I'm disappointed by the time I reach the ending. Thankfully, it was not the case with this book.

Reading The Cat's Got Your Heart felt pretty much like watching a rom-com movie. Harinder was precisely the kind of grouch with a big heart that makes my knees melt. I laughed at the way Jericho got under his skin, bringing out the worst, growling side of Harinder and I appreciated the fact that their animosity lasted long enough to satisfy my love for enemies to lovers romance. And, of course, amidst the sniping, snapping, fighting and plotting, a tentative friendship developed. Harinder and Jericho were cute to begin with, but they became the cutest when feelings started to grow between them.

This was a very entertaining read which outdid all my expectations and honestly I'm also a bit in awe, considering this is Jem Zero's debut novel. I'm definitely reading their next book.

* ARC provided by the author via IndiGo Marketing&Design in exchange for an honest review
630 reviews3 followers
October 13, 2020
An absorbing slow burn queer romance between an Indian bi trans man and a Black Albino gay cis guy, starting with the attempt to adopt a cat which really shouldn't be as hard as Harinder makes it for Jericho. Set in America's east coast in the heart of winter, the weather and Jericho's lack of preparation feature heavily. I really enjoyed the queerness of the characters and the fact that neither had easy upbringings leading to creative ways to survive with little money in such a harsh environment. I'm not sure that I get the whole 'enemies to lovers' trope especially in this instance where they literally shout at each other and are often incredibly rude. I did enjoy that both characters were of different ethnicities and understood the racism that each other had and were facing, in that way it felt very true to life. Loved the other characters too, Jericho's sister was great and the neighbour Ms Watson with her wise knowing smile was welcome light relief.

With thanks to Net galley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Paperbacks and Lattes.
5 reviews41 followers
October 2, 2020
Cat's Got Your Heart by Jem Zero was an absolute delight to read! This a hate to love romance story between Jericho and Harinder. Harinder is the grumpy guy who works at a pet shop and has amazing love for the pets he cares for at the store. He cares about the animals so much that he's reluctant to let anyone adopt one. So when Jericho comes into the pet store to adopt a cat, Harinder puts him through a ridiculous and rigorous adopting process in hopes of scaring Jericho away. But Jericho is not so easily deterred and accepts the many challenges Harinder puts before him. As Jericho and Harinder gets to know each other an unlikely friendship forms and Jericho comes to the rescue when Harinder is suddenly homeless. With being in such forced proximity they begin to have feelings for each other that neither can deny. Their relationship is full of funny banter, they both overcome their fears and begin to trust each other. I loved the progress of Jericho and Harinder's relationship and absolutely enjoyed reading their story. The writing was a bit weird which knocked a star down from the rating.
January 3, 2023

they’re supes cute but!! no homo !! 😔👊🏽
the more i read on, the more i grew fond of our characs ( w/ our short n’ grumpy harinder and awkwardly sweet jericho). i did think harinder was rather impolite at times (mostly in the beginning), i understand it’s a defense mechanism, but it was a bit hard to read nonetheless 😪. he managed to worm his way into my heart by the end tho 3333 (along w/ jericho who deserves the best might i add🥺). also, i love the way the story progressed and how the events unfolded! i wasn’t bored at all; it was a page-turner throughout :)) finished around 3:30 am and wanted more :,(. i did find the way the shiloh situation ended to be a bit eh bc it turned out that entire thing was a misunderstanding and jericho was worrying and stressing for no reason :// i still don’t understand shiloh and layla’s reasoning but oh 🐳. also, the rep here was lovely💞

stan ms. watson
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Susan Anne.
584 reviews2 followers
October 8, 2020
I‌ ‌received‌ ‌a‌ ‌copy‌ ‌of‌ ‌Cat’s Got Your Heart ‌by‌ Jem Zero ‌via‌ ‌IndiGo‌ ‌Marketing‌ ‌&‌ ‌Design‌ ‌in‌ ‌exchange‌ ‌for‌ ‌an‌ ‌honest‌ ‌review.‌ One of the thin‌gs I liked most about this book was neither main character was a jock frat boy. Those of us with disabilities all too often don’t find people like us in the starring role. While neither Jericho nor Harinder had a visible disability, they both differed from neurotypical, which was a major part of the story, as they have to navigate each other’s reality in order to become friends. The fact they did not transition quickly from enemies to lovers made the story seem real to me and endeared the characters to me. As a cat person, I could relate to Harinder and enjoyed watching Jericho develop a love of animals as well. I would read another book by the author.
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