Crime and Catnip - T.C. Lotempio
I haven't read the first two books in the Nick & Nora Mysteries series but it was so interesting and I was told it should've been fine as a standalone. Of course, reading in order is always better but a lot of series pull it off to where you can jump in and feel like you're not missing anything.

That wasn't entirely successful for Crime & Catnip though. I recommend reading this if you're read the series or starting at the beginning with Meow If It's Murder. You can skip like I did, but it'll only wind up Good instead of Great.

There's plenty to love though and I really wish I'd had time and the ability to read the first two novels for receiving this one for review.

I liked Nora, her shop, her friends, and her crime reporting past. I didn’t get her reluctance to talk to the two law enforcement officers working the case. There’s mention of a time where she jumped the gun, but I didn’t feel it.

The same can be said for the current beau and the former one night stand.

The parts I was most excited for was Nick the Cat and the mystery. They were equal parts fascinating and confusing.

Considering how much the past wound up involved in everything including the mystery, I really screwed myself on this one. So, spoonful of salt for this one folks but my reading experience was 3 stars.

Solid elements and storytelling but the background is extremely necessary for them to come off as realistic, reasonable people instead of a canny valley Twilight Zone episode.

Players from the previous books pop back up like Wak-a-Moles. There’s information on how they’re connected but that’s not the same thing as actually reading their history for yourself. And this isn’t some simple small town shenanigans of warring neighbors.

I think Nick the Cat wouldn’t have come off as creepily paranormally gifted – I was seriously thinking Nick the Human was transformed into the cat—if I’d read everyone being shocked and getting used to Nick in the first book.

I think seeing how Nora and FBI Dude got together and how they were burned by their last relationships would’ve made them more understandable. As it is, meh. Scaredy cats with no chemistry.

Also, if I’m to believe Nora and the Cop have a chance, her friends need to make better arguments. I’m in the “he’s a typical guy and she’s a commitment-phobe so she’s creating problems” rather than sparks are flying and none are hitting the page.

I cannot say this enough: it boils down to the fact I skipped ahead. I think this series would be great for those who want focus on the mystery and sleuthing with a familiar rather than interpersonal drama and romance. It’s toned down compared to most cozies, swapping the hijinks for more complicated relationships and intrigue.

But start at the beginning to give it a fair shot.