Tour’s Books Blog

November 9, 2009

Short Review: Tempt Not the Cat by J. C. Wilder

  • Title: Tempt Not the Cat
  • Author: J. C. Wilder
  • Type: Paranormal romance
  • Genre: Cat shifter and wounded dove battle evil vampire
  • Sub-genre: Isolated cabin and two adults trapped by the weather
  • My Grade: C+ to B- (3.5*)
  • Rating: PG-13 to NC-17
  • Length: Short novel about about 65,000 words for $5.50
  • Where Available: ebook available at Samhain (for convenience only)
  • FTC Disclosure: ebook purchased on publisher website

This paranormal romance is part of a series that was published by Ellora’s Cave and is still available there, but you don’t need to read the earlier books to enjoy this one.  I say that from experience because I didn’t read the EC books yet, but I likely will.  Before starting the review, I’d like to just take a moment and point out the ‘value for the money’ difference between Tempt Not the Cat and Night Moves.  Ignoring the respective quality of the writing and plot, let’s just focus on the size of the story.  Night Moves rang in at a super lightweight 34, 000 word estimate (novella sold as a ‘short novel’) while Tempt Not the Cat comes in at a light heavy weight 65,000 word estimate (short novel).  That’s nearly twice the bang for the buck – not to mention all the ancillary costs associated with editing and proofing a longer work.  So for $0.30 more, you get a book that’s twice the length and twice the hours of entertainment.  In ebooks, especially as so many in these categories rarely even go to print, this is about the only comparison you can make.

Erihn Spenser (Why do writers persist in the odd spelling of names?  It is so damn annoying!) is a romance author who never had any romance in her life.  At 17 she was kidnapped, physically and sexually assaulted and nearly killed by a serial rapist killer.  She survived, but she’s scarred, physically and emotionally.  It’s been 14 years and still the nightmares plague her.  Her friends who have some serious issues in their own past, but have since found love, are trying to get her out of her self-imposed solitary confinement and into the dating world.  While researching her last book she spent time in the extensive library of the fiance of her friend and discovered an only diary.  It was that book that inspired her were-cat paranormal romance that hit the bestseller list.  Now she’s working on the next installment and needs to get away, so she’s borrowing a friends house up in the mountains so she can write in peace and quiet.  Little does she know that two of her friends are vampires as are their men.

Fayne needs some time alone.  Being a Hunter for the Counsel for centuries has taken its toll.  His adopted son, Max, is in South African on an archeological dig, so he heads up to a friends cabin in the mountains.  Yup.  Same cabin.  Fayne slowly lures the easily frightened Erihn to him using both his human and cat form.  The gradual build up and Erihn’s hesitant approach to the possibility of normal sexual relationship is well done.  In the background is an evil vampire, a mute, that needs Max back in order to use his voice like a puppet.  And he’s desperate for the diary that Erhin has in her possession.

Max comes back from Africa with his ‘immortal’ guardian and communicates with Erihn via telepathy.    Erihn has the diary and a stalker she acquired since she released her latest steamy book.  The evil vamp  wants Max back and Fayne killed.  He enlists the air of the stalker to get Erihn out of the cabin on the pretext Fayne is hurt and needs her despite the “Big Mis”.  All converge on the cabin in the mountains while storms play havoc with mudslides and downed trees.  Seventy pages to get to the big love scene and 20 pages for a ‘Big Miss’ kill off two characters and then a third, save Erihn, save the diary, and then a few pages to shift to cat, learn friends are vamps – but good ones, and reconcile with lover.   Hummmmmmm

So much of Tempt Not the Cat works, but the story has a big weak spot for me with Fayne’s reaction to Erhin’s draft of her new book and his over-the-top accusations.  As a “The Big Mis” it didn’t feel true to Fayne’s character.  I also had trouble believing the ending, including how easily Erihn accepted what happened to her.  The whole ending was just to pat and much too brief.  It needed more tension and a better resolution than what was there.  For me, it felt like the story just ran out of steam.  Despite that, it was a good read and worth a try, especially if you’ve you followed the series.

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