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Review: My Cat’s Guide to Online Dating – Christian Baines

My Cat’s Guide to Online Dating - Christian Baines

Genre: Comedy, Horror, Magical Realism, Contemporary

LGBTQ+ Category: Bi, Gay, Poly

Reviewer: Lucy

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About The Book

A hook-up gone bad can be purrder.

Fresh from a breakup, deeply closeted freshman Zach jumps at the chance to housesit his family home and enjoy a long, horny summer free of both his ex and his religious parents. But when an old enemy turned hot hookup falls to his death, Zach turns to the only true friend he’s ever known—his cat, Grace Jones.

With the dead man’s phone and a knack for texting, she promises Zach help, for a price that will satisfy both their appetites. Does it matter if Grace Jones’ powers draw on something far more ancient and sinister than a cell phone?

“Get laid, Zachary. Get laid.”

Each new hook-up brings Zach darkly humorous discoveries about life, love, sex, and his own desires. But Zach knows it’s only a matter of time before someone discovers his secret. Can he rely on his feline protector, or is he trapped in a hungry devil’s bargain?

The Review

I read this blurb and jumped into this book with both proverbial feet. Horror is really, sincerely, not my thing. I am that person who watches scary movies through their fingers while brutally clutching the unfortunate soul next to them. However, I was instantly drawn into the story and the brilliantly crazy premise. I have no regrets, because it was an excellent book with well-written, intelligently snarky dialogue and dark, dark humor. I will admit to spending the first two or three chapters with my hand over my mouth, muttering, “Oh…he…didn’t…” repeatedly.

But he did. Repeatedly.

Zach is house-sitting for his religious zealot parents while they attend some crazy evangelical retreat. The phone call with Zach’s mom was hysterical, and sets up some great foreshadowing and gives clarity to what Zach grew up with, and why he has so many of the issues he struggles with throughout the book. He decides that while his folks are away, he can use their house to thoroughly explore any sexual fantasy he’s ever had. So he downloads every hook-up app available and starts browsing through the list of probably-closeted hookups available in his small, conservative Indiana town. Throughout the story, we’re treated to the closeted jocks, the naïve preachiness of small town, and the classic hypocrisy of the ‘love the sinner, not the sin’ mentality. Because things rarely go to plan, the first hook-up is a disaster, and Zach’s sexual revolution is hijacked by his cat, Grace Jones.

But, even though his plans went awry, Zach meets some unexpected folks throughout the book. The author did an excellent job giving us a wide variety of characters and relationships, while poking holes in some of the normal relationship tropes.

This book is absolutely horror with some magical elements. There are on-page references to blood and gore. Also, there is a lot of sexual content. But all of that is pertinent to the story and doesn’t hit the ‘gratuitous’ mark for me.

What brought me to the book was the great premise and a well-written blurb. What kept me reading was an instinctive writing style that consisted of a fabulous cast of characters, great pacing, and a dark humor that sugar-coated some of the more gruesome elements.

If, like me, horror isn’t your preferred genre, you might shy away from this book, but I’d encourage you to give this a try anyway, because of the outstanding story-telling. If you’re a fan of horror and a wee bit of gore isn’t bothersome, you’re going to absolutely love this story from start to finish.

Be like me, and come for the great premise and well-written blurb, but stay to the finish because of the overall excellence of the story.

The Reviewer

I’m an avid reader who loves pretty much all genres except math textbooks. As a kid, my parents exposed me to everything from fairies, hobbits, and dragons to the biographies of interesting people around the world, interspersed with poetry, plays, and music. Into adulthood, I spent a lot of years with my nose buried in various textbooks. Now, I read whatever grabs my fancy.  

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