Book Review: Like Cats and Dogs by Kate McMurray
I’m definitely a sucker for romances with animal sidekicks, so couldn’t resist picking up this one set in a cat cafe. Our heroine Lauren is the cat cafe’s manager, and when a hunky new vet Caleb joins the practice next door, sparks fly straight away between the two.
Enemies to Lovers is always an interesting trope, and Friends With Benefits Who Catch Feelings can work too, but this one tried to mash them up in a sort of Enemies With Benefits, One of Whom Catches Feelings But The Other One Is An Idiot kind of way, and I have to say it didn’t work all that well for me. I get that you can be physically attracted to someone you don’t like. You might even act on it a time or two. But catching feelings for someone who remains dismissive of you and your life choices does not sound like a recipe for a good relationship.
To Caleb’s credit, he’s well aware that he is not good relationship material. He’s only months out from a messy divorce which derailed his life plan completely. And he’s open about his baggage with Lauren upfront; which doesn’t stop her from accusing him of hiding behind it.
I struggled to like both of them at times. Caleb was uptight and snobby about Lauren’s life choices, openly thinking of her as a ‘flake’ despite the fact that she has a decent job and is making a success out of the business she’s running. And Lauren, despite claiming to accept Caleb wasn’t in the right headspace for a serious relationship, was continuously pressuring him to actually commit to one. I never got the feeling that there was any real trust between them.
There aren’t really enough fun and light-hearted moments for this to qualify as a rom-com; it’s too introspective as both Lauren and Caleb overthink their personal issues and deal with each other’s baggage. And I’m not sure I bought it as a romance because Caleb never really did develop any true respect for Lauren and that’s a deal-breaker for me. I don’t think this is badly written, but as a romance it missed the mark by a lot. Two stars.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.