Review: Shift in Time (Out of Time, #1) by Mercy Celeste

True love’s first kiss will not break a curse.
Everyone knows that. Even a Normal like Morgan Monstros knows that. But Fane Llewellyn isn’t everyone. He’s like no one Morgan has ever met.

Small, fragile and fierce, Fane doesn’t remember who he is or where he came from. He remembers pain and loneliness. Decades of pain and loneliness. And Morgan Monstros. He could never forget Gan. Gan was his from the day he came to the island. And Fane would fight to the death to keep Morgan safe. Even if he has to fight the whole world to do it.

Take one powerless witch, a sassy Siamese familiar, a panther shifter with amnesia, a meddling wolf clan, and a coven of witches hell bent on war, swirl all together and you get the perfect spell for all out mayhem…..oh yeah and there’s chocolate cake too.

Before reading: Mercy Celeste? Cat Shifters?

It's going down!

After reading: As a Mercy Celeste fan, I can say this is one of the lightest stories I've read from her. Not saying it's bad or good. It was different. When I see a Mercy Celeste story, I know to expect hot, Southern men who love hard and scorching sexy times.

This book, set in Alabama and Florida, most definitely delivered that. Morgan Monstros is a normal in a family of witches. (Think Muggle to Wizards (hey HP fans)) He's in the closet and a virgin, running his family's bed & breakfast on an island in Alabama. His sister leaves her Siamese cat, Starbuck in his care while she returned to the mainland. The cat seems to claim Morgan and has a secret. Morgan and the cat, Starbuck aka Fane Llewellyn have a connection. Through magic, Fane returns to his human form. Both men are fated mates - they face angry family members, witches council and discover Fane's past life before he was turned into a cat.

Human Fane was funny in the first half of the book. I didn't care for the cat speak to be honest but it led credence to Fane's character and the way he was written. His possessiveness of Morgan was a nice touch. And he was supposed to look like jailbait in human form (don't worry about his age - he's legal), so when Fane got Alpha lover on Morgan, it made the scenes more interesting in my head as I read. An Alpha twink? Different. I do like the Civil War angle, anything to do with real historical events always catches my interest. (It was tamer in description than the actual war)

I think Morgan helping Fane acclimate to present day was my favorite, even over the shifter and sex parts. I enjoyed the Llewellyn family reuniting especially the brothers, Falyn and Fane.

Morgan and Fane were a hot couple, sometimes their affection was laid on thick but the sentiment is nice. The story is good. If you like cat shifter stories that are low angst, sassy and dosed with insta-love (paranormal fated mates get a pass for me), you might want to check it out. I prefer Mercy Celeste's contemporary over her paranormal it seems. This was my second paranormal romance I've read from this author.

Great ideas can be found in her paranormal - a Siamese cat shifter who comes from a family of werewolves? Different.  A witch who is ordinary from a family of extraordinary? Cool. The first half stronger than the second half for sure. Once the pair gets to Florida, the focus isn't as sharp as in the first half. More plot lines get introduced, some get lost in the wind.

A few items from the story that wasn't as strong or unclear:

Laurel - villain or not? She's Morgan's homophobic sister who hates magic, seems to be plotting with the evil witch and then she fell off to the wayside. And was forgotten.

Falyn's attraction to Morgan? I won't lie - I was hoping it'd turn into a threesome, a permanent one. Fane's brother started to desire Morgan, he went from homophobe to lusting after a man and not any man, his brother's man. And then it too went off into wayside.

Fane's youthful appearance was explained (mostly) but nothing was discussed as to why he received a new eye and hair color. And the biggest question of them all, how was he able to turn into a cat from his original shifter shape in the first place? The ending made it seem that he could choose any shape so what happened to his original one?

The last 15% - It got a little sloppy with trying to connect the dots with the plot twists. The effect wasn't a big moment which I usually get from this author. The villain had an agenda - what happened with the progeny? Some ideas were introduced and then kind of dropped. The epilogue didn't make much of an impact either - the ghost bit was a little late to the party. When the story focused on just Fane and Morgan without the family members, witches and drama, Shift in Time read great. It ends with a sappy HEA and no cliffhanger.

If the future pairing for the next story is who I think it is, I'm definitely down for reading #2.

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