Recently I had the prickling sensation of reading TOYING WITH HIS AFFECTIONS by Laura K. Curtis. It was almost like having fleas…wee shivers along my spine, sides and tail. Half the time I was reading the damn thing, I kept having to stop so I could bite my own ass! Seriously. Cats can do that. I know you’re jealous. I’m not sure how the almost-flea thing was connected to TOYING WITH HIS AFFECTIONS, but I do feel like I needed to warn you. Maybe they’re not related at all.
Normally I read a lot of scholarly texts about the quite factual and easily proven superiority of cats as companions over dogs or other animals, so this contemporary romance was a nasty change of pace. By nasty, I mean that’s the adjective the author gave me to put in that space. I think she meant NASTEEE, in the Janet Jackson way. Nasty! Nasty books. Oh you nasty books! Though if nasty books don’t mean a thing, why would you bother reading them? I’d have to argue with the author about her assessment of her own book as a nasty change of pace. Not that she knew WHERE I was going to put that adjective, but still. I just play the words I’m dealt. Sort of.
In some ways TOYING WITH HIS AFFECTIONS reminded me of The Three Little Pigs – and please note that pigs are inferior animal companions compared to cats, and three pigs is about three pigs too many. However, instead of pigs and some idiot door-to-door salesman wolf, too stupid to read the “NO SOLICITING” sign, this book had adult human characters faced with perfectly mammoth situations.
Emphasis on perfectly. Imperfectly mammoth is unacceptable, but perfectly mammoth is like when you decide, yeah, today’s the day I’m going to lay one out on the carpet right before the humans get out of bed, and it’s a really, really big one. Then they wander around the house, half asleep, sniffing and staring at stuff until they step in it. The book starts off with Griffin Barstow and Evie Bell faced with a tiny challenge. The mammoth begins later, and the initial tiny challenge is probably in there to lull you into a false sense of security. Both characters behave angrily about this. They were really looking forward to mammoth, you know? Different kind of mammoth though, since English is tricky. Mammoth steaks in particular. If mammoths weren’t extinct, humans would eat them.
When Candace is introduced, in a scene involving playing catch, the plot really starts to get lovely. And mammoth. Not that Candace is up to the challenge of a mammoth. The sad thing is, Candace is brutally no Bruce Willis.
Don’t even get me started about Patricia. PUH. TRISH. UH. The involvement of Patricia in the narrative will leave readers sleeping. I’m not talking about a cat nap. I’m talking eight hours, huddled between the covers, getting stiffer and stiffer because maybe there’s a cat laying right in the spot where you wish you could stretch out, but you can’t, so you — the human — wake up all crooked. Actually that’s pretty funny, so I guess I don’t hate Patricia that much.
In fact, the story fancifully continues until it seems all dog is lost. I’m all about some lost dog! Get out of here, dog! We’re having mammoth tonight, and there’s none for you. The ending will prod you…to cook steaks for your cat. The pace was like riding in an SUV with a driver who is generous, because we just stopped and bought steaks, on a road that winds through mountains.
If you are looking for a soft and cuddly way to spend four days, this book is definitely an option. The characters and plot are so delicate compared to other books on the market today. You’d think a book with such mammothness could never aspire to delicacy, but it’s a very gentle mammothness. Granted, the feline content in the book was barely eight ounces, which could have been better, but no author is completely wolfish. I should hope, since wolves are canines.
All in all, a fitting tale about joy, when you smell meat, jumping and then despairing, since you jumped up all that way to get yourself some steak and the humans just took it away! Dude. You will or will not feel love if you pick this one up, depending on how hungry you are. Rating: Eight teaser wands with feathers and a fitting green bean. Fitting down the floor vent, when I knock it there, that is.