House of the Cat by Shelley Munro
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Genre: Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (199 pgs)
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Xeranthemum
Two brothers slugging it out, an alien world and a hell-horse…
Jockey Camryn O’Sullivan is an alcoholic on a downward spiral after the death of her husband. When aliens kidnap her, she’s both terrified and reluctantly fascinated by Ryman Coppersmith. She’s positive the weird attraction is an anomaly. Something to ignore. She’ll train the alien’s horse and they’ll return her home. Simple. There’s no need for sex or a stubborn male kitty-cat to replace the precious memories of her husband.
Murder. Betrayal. Banishment. Feline shifter Ry has experienced them all. When his foster brother—the man who betrayed him—proposes a wager, the lure to clear his name is irresistible.
Camryn’s arrival triggers a jump in his already overactive sex drive. It’s a struggle to keep his hands off. Something in his mysterious feline background compels him to chase her and the passion firing between them soars out of control. Ry doesn’t understand the mechanics of their attraction but knows he can’t afford to lose Camryn…despite his promise to return her home.
This book pushed all my happy buttons because it has every one of my absolute favorite elements I look for in romance. There is not one wrong turn in the whole adventure.
First off, the female lead, Camryn, is a woman of deep passions and pain when I first met her. She was spiraling out of control to self destruction caused by the devastating loss of her husband. Ms. Munro captured the picture of a woman in despair with clarity. Throughout this story, I got to see her heal and find herself again. She’s plucky, determined and quite clever; at least once she gets over her shock of being with real live aliens. I love the part where she screamed. It was pretty funny. Not to those on the ship I bet, but honestly, I got a kick out of it. There were so many fun moments interspersed throughout House of the Cat. I cracked up every time she referred to the captain of the ship as ‘Kitty’. I thought her internal dialogue and her descriptions of the governor were wonderful windows into her personality. I would love to meet her for real, she’s amazing.
Ry is the hero and he’s a man on a mission to reclaim his family, his home and his happiness. He simply can’t understand why his brother betrayed him and for most of the story he just doesn’t get it. He really loved his brother so what did he ever do to deserve the treachery? That was a poignant conflict throughout the story. The other interesting fact is Ry is more than a man. And he has that super kitty mojo that even I would be hard pressed to resist. He has a sense of humor, honor and courage. And he has this little problem of not being able to resist Camryn. My hot button with any man who can shift into a cat is his ability to purr and his knowledge of sensual nibbles and bites and Ry has that down solid. Oh my!
Reading the scenes where he finally seduces her burned up the pages with scorching results. Ms. Munro has an exemplary understanding of how to balance the story with their inevitable need to mate, numerous times. And every time gets better and better because unbeknownst to either character, something is happening and it explains the weird things that eventually occur to both of them. It was a pleasure to read the first time and it’s going to be just as good when I read it the second, and third. They are that much fun.
The entire book isn’t happy-go-lucky however. There are some gruesome parts because after all, they are on a different planet with a different culture and very weird creatures. Blew my mind that Ms. Munro could at first horrify me with the descriptions of their behaviors and then make me want to go out and pet one. Luke was adorable. What a twist of writing that was! And the races? Yikes, what a melee. It reminded me of the pod racing scene in the second Star Wars series – fast, furious and vicious. The villain and the sub-villain were written dastardly enough to be convincing bad guys. The main villain had a lot of normal human vices that took over and destroyed whatever good was in him, very convincing. The other guy was just slimy. He should have had more comeuppance coming to him after the way he treated his own daughter. I was miffed on her behalf.
The other secondary characters, his crew, are vital and well fleshed out. They were not cardboard caricatures of people but had personalities and affect. Mogens is an alien I’d like to know more about. I found him to be unique, interesting and a really cool concept. I wonder what his story is? On top of that thought is my hope that there’s another installment in the future because I’d jump at the chance to read about Camryn’s brother’s reaction should he ever meet Ry and his gang. Just thinking about it puts a huge grin on my face.
House of the Cat is an amazing thrill ride of adventure, quests, lost heritage and found love. Extremely well written love scenes spice up a solid and exciting plot line. I was gripped from the first chapter and entertained non-stop until the final and very satisfying happily-ever-after. Ms. Munro knows romance and she’s proved it again with this engaging and fast paced story. Not only am I putting this book on my keeper shelf, I can’t wait to tell all my friends. It rocks!