Review of ‘Kat & Mouse: a Crosscannon Roller Derby romance’ by Jacquelyn Heat
Book number 1 in the Roller Derby series. To really enjoy this book you have to understand at least a little bit about Flat Track Roller Derby as it’s a rather big part about this sport. I knew nothing about except it’s on roller skates. At the end of the book, there are about five pages with an explanation about Roller Derby which was very helpful. Jacquelyn Heat is a Roller Derby player herself, so she knew what she was writing about.
The story is told from both main characters’ points of view. Katrina had a difficult time as a teenager back home and is still running from her family. Now she lives with her best friend Lonny and tries to make a life with her photographic work. In her free time, she’s an excellent referee in Roller Derby. She has a crush on Dot Mauser (Mouse), the most penalty-heavy skater in Crosscannon Roller Derby (CRD).
Dot has a bad temper, which isn’t helpful when she’s playing, and she thinks Kat has a thing for her, but not in a good and fair way. She is a great trash artist, but she’s the only one who can’t see this. After Kat made the first step to meet with Dot outside Roller Derby, for the first time, Dot sees Kat for real. The attraction is mutual and soon they are spending a lot of time together.
The characters are great, both struggling with baggage from the past which still influences them today. Slowly we learn why they act the way they do. I loved them both, even though, sometimes I could have slapped them on the head for making some bad decisions. As the author tells the story about Kat & Mouse, the fictional characters, we learn a lot about some tough issues. I don’t want to spoil too much, but it is a very emotional roller coaster ride. The themes are self-awareness, angst, homophobia, and mental issues, but also friendship, trust, love, photographic- and trash-art and about the great sports Roller Derby. The secondary characters are fantastic and added much to the story too. Real women power.
The romance is realistic with all the ups and downs, the emotions are palpable in good and in bad times. They have good chemistry and the few love scenes are hot. The pace and flow of the story are great, although I think the middle part is a bit long. And I would have loved to know more about Kat’s upbringing and Dot’s struggle as a young woman.
This is the author’s debut novel, I’m impressed by her writing and the depth of the story. I sure will read more from Ms. Heat. On her Goodreads site, she says, she’s now working on #2 in this series and the story is about one of the other skaters from CRD. I’m looking forward to the second book.
Recommended to everybody who loves a good lesbian sports romance, with some complications and angst in it.
My rating 4.25 stars.
ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review