14 February 2017

"Catt Chasin' " by Shana Burton

My rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Part of a series?: No
Genre: Christian, maybe?
Format read: E-book borrowed from the library
Sweet or hot?: Sweet, but language is questionable

Disclosure: “Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.”

I recently wrote a post about reading more books by black authors. This is the first book I read after sharing my thoughts on that subject. It met some of my criteria but I'm still not sure how I feel about it overall.

Catt Chasin' is about two chemists, Catt and Jamal, who work together at a cosmetics company. Jamal is the new head of Research and Development who was recruited from another company to help boost sales. He is a player when it comes to the ladies. Catt, the daughter of a minister, is a devout Christian who looks down on Jamal and his womanizing ways. Despite taking an instant dislike to each other, they are paired up for a month-long road trip to get product feedback from shoppers in various cities. Catt and Jamal can avoid each other at the office, but how are they going to manage being in a car together for hours on end?

This book confounded me. It was shelved as "Christian" and "clean romance" on Goodreads, so I wasn't expecting Jamal to propose a foursome in the first chapter! I read titles from both sides of the bookshelf, as it were, but I like to have some idea of what I am getting as far as language and sexual content.  The book has elements I recognize from other Christian romances, such as liberal use of Bible quotes and discussion questions at the end, but Jamal's language and some of the situations he and Catt get into are more earthy than what I'm accustomed to. Upon further research, I found that this book would be considered "urban Christian". (This article by Michael G'Francisco does a good job of explaining the differences between urban Christian and other inspirational fiction.) Perhaps the fact that I haven't encountered this type of book before is another example of how narrow the scope of my reading list has been.

I liked reading a book that was set in Charlotte, NC, even though Burton didn't mention any landmarks or use the city as a character. Catt and Jamal are both in their 30s, which is a nice change from reading about teens and 20-somethings. They are also well-educated black people with steady careers who look more like people my husband and I know in our real lives

Although I was happy to see black characters that were easier for me to relate to, Catt and Jamal still weren't very likable. Catt was defensive from her very first meeting with Jamal, without real cause. The synopsis makes her sound like a confident plus-sized woman, but she keeps bringing up her weight as a source of insecurity.  Jamal wasn't exactly a gem, either. I've read my share of books with alpha heroes. Even though they can be crude and overbearing, there is usually some aspect of protectiveness toward the heroine that makes them appealing to the reader. Jamal didn't have any of that; he just came off as a jerk until the end of the book.

All in all, Catt Chasin' was what I'd class as a light diversion. Despite the problems I had with the book, it gave me hope that I could find the types of books by black authors that I want to read.

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