Monday, October 12, 2015

ARC Review: Trouble Comes In Threes by M.A. Church

Trouble Comes in ThreesBlurb:

A snowstorm in the South—on New Year’s Eve—is a perfect recipe for a catastrophe. After two soul-crushing bad breaks, Kirk’s waiting for disaster number three to strike when, naturally, two stray cats arrive on his doorstep during the storm and decide to make themselves at home. Tenderhearted Kirk lets them stay even though there’s something decidedly odd about his overly friendly felines.

Out of the punishing weather and full of tuna, Dolf and Tal are happy to be snug in Kirk’s house. But then their human goes outside for firewood and suffers a nasty fall that leaves him unconscious. Now the two cats have no choice but to reveal themselves.

Kirk wakes up to find the two kitties are actually Dolf and Tal. They’re cat shifters—and his destined mates. Being part of a feline threesome is enough for Kirk to grapple with, but soon he learns they come from a clowder that doesn’t believe humans and shifters should mix. Kirk knew those two cats would be trouble. Little does he know the real trouble lies ahead.

My rating:

This book is the first in what appears to be a series about cat shifters finding their mates.

In this first book, we meet Dolf(oon) and Tal(ise), a mated shifter pair, scenting Kirk, a human, in a home improvement store. They know immediately that he's their mate, for both of them, and while threesomes in their world are rare, they're not unheard of.

Except Kirk is a human, so permissions must be obtained from their Alpha (Dolf's father) and some other higher-uppers. Meanwhile, they sort of stalk Kirk and figure out where he lives, as well as run a background check, because human.

From the start, there is an undertone of racism on the shifter side, and some clowder (pack) members are outraged that Dolf and Tal intend to mate with this human. As if human is a four-letter word.

Dolf and Tal appear on Kirk's doorstep as cats during a winter storm and make themselves right at home. I really liked the initial interactions between them, including the part where Kirk gets hurt outside and the two cats have to come clean about what/who they are. Mating bonds get explained, and the mating takes place.

It was fascinating to see that each of the men brought something special to the relationship, and while menages can be tricky, it really worked out here, with Kirk giving both Tal and Dolf something they'd been missing before. Both Dolf and Tal also give something to Kirk that either is uniquely able to provide. Very well done on the author's part.

Of course, racism doesn't die just because the human is now not so human anymore, and there are some tense situations in which Kirk is confronted with prejudice from other clowder members.

I liked that the author included this very human topic, and made it part of her supernatural world, to allow the reader to draw parallels.

The story is also rather well-balanced between action between the sheets and the prospering relationship, and real action when Kirk is viciously attacked by a shifter and the men have to fight off a threat to their lives.

While the reason given for this threat seemed a bit far-fetched, it was at least somewhat explainable in the strained relationship between shifters and humans, and the disdain many shifter had for the humans they interact with. The viciousness of the attack could however only be explained with lunacy on the part of the attacker, and I simply took it for what it was.

The important clowder members are also nicely integrated into the plotline, and each was given a different personality, with Remi being much more open toward Kirk, and Heller being on the opposite side of that spectrum. It would be rather nice if Heller were given a human mate as well, just to see how'd he like it if the shoe's on the other foot. If mates are truly a gift, as Dolf and Tal assert, then I'd like to know what Heller's problem is.

Overall, this seemed to be a nice start to a new series, and I look forward to the next one.

** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **

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