It’s Not Me — It’s You

Reflections from Jen

In any given year, I read somewhere between 350 and 400 books.  And every so often, I find a stand-alone that really rocks my world. But 9 times out of 10, the stories I love most are part of a series.  Over time, a series allows you to invest in characters. You learn their quirks and nuances.  You grow to love them, hate them, or lust after them… but whatever the emotion, they become yours.

I look forward to new installments in my favorite series like Star Trek fans count down the days to their conventions.  Like gadget-nerds camp out the night before an Apple product goes on sale.  Or like Harry Potter fans dress up for a movie premiere.  Hell, I reserved a vacation request months ago for the release of Lover At Last.

Unfortunately, every so often, one of my beloved series lets me down.   I’m not just talking about the random Phury book that stands out as an anomaly to an otherwise fabulous series.  I’m talking about multiple books that just make you ask yourself why the hell you just spent 10-bucks.  Books that make you decide once and for all to break up with a once beloved series.

I’ve got a few I’ve already said goodbye to, and others on a watch list.

Anita Blake.  This is kind of THE series that is almost everyone has asked at least once… what the hell happened here?  Granted, not everyone liked the series to start with and not everyone loathes it now, but no one can dispute that the Anita books of today are nothing like the first nine that came out.  It’s my understanding that LKH thinks that people who complain about the change in her books are uptight about sex or something to that effect, but… um… I really like reading about sex in books. A lot.  So if that’s not the issue, what is it?

It would be easy to say that my problem is that Anita has become a whore, but it’s not that simple.  My problem is that the books have changed on a fundamental level.  They started as urban fantasy with no sex in them at all. Anita didn’t believe in sex outside of marriage.  They then morphed into urban fantasy with a little sex, in the context of a love triangle. — I was still down with that. Anita still struggled with her values and her real feelings for two very different men.  Whether you liked Richard (my favorite) or Jean Claude, most people could see the attraction on either side of the coin.

Then came Narcissus in Chains and the books became erotica.  Granted, they are erotica with paranormal elements, but you can’t call a series “urban fantasy” when the main character has sex with 10 or more people in the book.  Orgies, BDSM, m/m, exhibitionism, you name it, Anita does it.   Or one of her harem does it.  And I kept reading for a long time, thinking “maybe it will change back.” “Maybe Hamilton will fix what she did to Richard.” “Maybe…” Hell, I don’t know.  But then, Anita adopted a 17 year-old into her sex family. And there was a line in the book about how they’d have sex and he’d want to cuddle before doing his homework or something, and suddenly, I was done.  I haven’t looked back.

Kitty Norville.  I really, really enjoyed the early books in this series.  If you’re unfamiliar with the series, Kitty is a werewolf DJ, trying to find her way in the supernatural world.  For a time, every single book in the series wow’ed me. Carrie Vaughn gave me an unqualified oh-shit moment in every book. She killed people. She kidnapped people. She shocked me and excited me.  But what she also did was string me along with a love interest that never came to be.

From book one, we’re introduced to Cormac, a werewolf killer who has a simmering mutual attraction with Kitty.  The author teases us with it for book after book.  Even after Kitty gets into a serious relationship with another man, we’re reminded of what almost-was with Cormac. He’s still around. There is still longing.  I’ve started wishing the other guy dead, even though I like him. Finally, after book nine, I realized, it’s never gonna happen.  I feel seriously dicked around.  I’m done.

Chicagoland Vampires.  How I freaking loved this series in the beginning.  It was smart and funny and full of great action. I loved Merit and her friendship with Mallory. I loved her reluctance to be a vamp, how she finally came to love and defend Cadogen House.  And, of course, Ethan.  There was such a great push and pull with Ethan. The highs were so high and then the lows….  (**spoilers ahead**) When Ethan died, I was heartbroken. I cried and cried.  Then Ethan came back to life.. And while there was some WTF-ery there, I thought, “Finally! They will be together.”  Only, the excuses continued.  They got more and more flimsy. Until I got to a point where I just didn’t care anymore.  The new one came by mail and I gave it to my girlfriend to read for me.  She’ll be guest reviewing it for the blog.

On the cusp:

Dark Hunter.  The early books in this series rocked my world. Sherrilyn Kenyon does tortured heroes like nobody’s business.  Even when the catch phrases started to get a little predictable.. Even when all the heroines looked at their downtrodden heroes “like they mattered,” I still swooned.  Probably all the way through Acheron’s book.  (And Lord knows, that book put me through the wringer!)  Then, Kenyon started to go in a new direction. She introduced Thorn and the Hellchasers… she got into Jaden and Azura and Noir.  And I’ll admit, I had a hard time following along. But I figured that was the next phase of the story… Then she started pulling in Native American mythology and sprinkling in some of the old characters and the Dream Hunters… with a pinch of the Hellchasers. And frankly, I’m not sure what the hell is going on anymore.

I liked Seth’s book. It was kind of a throwback to the familiar favorites.  Plus, Styxx is coming, and it’s taking us back into the Acheron world.  I will not miss that, folks.  But where will she go after that?  I’m a little concerned.  The series seems to have lost focus.  One more pantheon comes in, and I think I am out.

Carpathian/ Dark series.  Yes, I still read these. Don’t judge me!! They are my guilty pleasure.  Though lately, the pleasure part is fading.  I love the over-the-top love scenes and super-alpha-alpha males.  I love all the interconnectedness of the Carpathians and the reunion books was fantabulous.  (Yes, spellcheck, that IS a word.)  But I started pulling away when we got into the de la Cruz men, none of whom I liked.  Once we got to Zacharias, though, it went to a bad place.  He was such a dick. He abused his heroine. It was too much.  And we’ve traveled so far away from the characters I love that I feel disconnected.  Feehan needs to get us back to the Carpathian mountains.  She needs to give us that Skylar and Dimitri story.  Or maybe I need to quit reading.

So what about you guys? What series have you broken up with? What killed them for you?

Still in love with some of the series above?  What makes you keep reading?

Share your thoughts, then visit Rachel at Parajunkee and Jennifer at the Book Nympho to see their picks!

Review: Kitty’s Greatest Hits

Reviewed by Jen

This is an eclectic collection of short stories that are supposed to take place in the Kitty Norville world.  Some are better than others. A few… I’m not sure what they’re doing in this book at all.  Here’s a breakdown.

Il Est Ne” – Being a werewolf is new to David. He can’t control his changes; he has no pack.  He thinks he’ll never lead a normal life again.  Then, he meets Kitty at a Waffle House on Christmas.  She recognizes what he is and tries to guide him.  As they talk, news reports come in, of a series of deadly attacks in the area.  David immediately wonders if he is to blame.  So he and Kitty work together to solve the murders.  (This story takes place after the events of Kitty and the Midnight Hour.)

A Princess of Spain” – I’m not entirely sure what this story is doing in this anthology.  It’s set in England in the early 1500’s and tells the story of Catherine of Aragon’s marriage to a young Prince Arthur.  The young groom is too ill to consummate the marriage and it turns out that a vampire has taken him for her pawn.  It wasn’t a bad little story, it just felt out of place.

Conquistador de la Noche” – We’re still in the 1500’s here, but there actually is a Kitty connection this time.  This is the story of how Ricardo de Avila became a vampire.  Yes, we’re talking about Rick.  He was one of Coronado’s men, exploring the new world.  After 10 years, he was approached by an old friend and lured to a neighboring village. It turns out that Diego is a vampire.  Ricardo found out when Diego and three of his vampire friends attacked him and changed him against his will.  The other men thought that once he was turned, Ricardo would be content to kill and plunder at their sides. They were wrong.  Ricardo is made of sterner stuff. And while he’ll never be human again, he won’t be the evil thing they expected him to be.

The Book of Daniel” – This story jumps back to Persia, just after the fall of Babylon.  Daniel is a lion-shifter and advisor to the Persian king, Darius.  Daniel is a pious man, a Hebrew.  His wisdom and devotion to his faith make him a target of the other advisors.  They try to have him killed by tossing him in a lion’s pit.  Imagine their surprise when he walks out, unscathed, the next day.

The Temptation of Robin Green” – Robin is a Lieutenant in the military, working for the Centers for the Study of Paranatural Biology.  We heard about this research facility in Kitty Goes to Washington, although in this story, there are far more outlandish creatures than we were introduced to in any of the Kitty novels.  Basically, the story is about how Robin encounters a Selkie and succumbs to his charms.  But what really bothered me about the whole things is the presence of Rick. Apparently, he was a prisoner there at one time… though to my recollection that has never been acknowledged in the series. (Did I forget this?)  Robin frees him when she escapes with the Selkie.  –And by the way, the Selkie ditches her.

Looking After Family” – Now THIS is the kind of story I had in mind for this book. It’s a little peek into the history of Cormac and Ben. It takes place right after Cormac’s father is killed and he goes to live with Ben’s family.  Cormac is cut off emotionally and Ben barely recognizes his cousin.  On the first full moon after he moves in, Cormac sneaks out to hunt and Ben tags along. It’s then that Ben learns about werewolves and what really killed his uncle.  And it’s the beginning of that connection between Cormac and Ben that continues into the current books.

God’s Creatures” – Here we see the Cormac we met at the beginning of the series.  He’s a hunter; he believes all werewolves are monsters.  And he’s been hired by a rancher to track one down and kill it.  Cormac discovers the creature is linked to a local Catholic girls school.  I think maybe this experience is one of many that begins to show him that there are more to werewolves than just beasts.

Wild Ride” – Oh, TJ, I hardly knew you.  (**sniff**) This is the story of how TJ became a werewolf.  From the moment he found out he was HIV positive, to his decision to be bitten… and his eventual choice to strike out as a lone wolf.  It was good, but bittersweet, in light of the events of Kitty and the Midnight Hour.

Winnowing the Herd” – This may be the shortest story in the book… just six pages.  It gives us a glimpse of Kitty’s state of mind just before the first book. She’s at a staff party for the radio station… basically stifling the urge to forgo the vegetable tray and have one of her co-workers for dinner.

Kitty and the Mosh Pit of the Damned” – It’s been about a year since Kitty took her talk show national, and she’s at a club to investigate a band whose every concert ends in violence.   Is there something in the music making it happen? Is it the bandmembers themselves?  Things go bad quickly when an audience-member is killed in the moshpit.  It’s then, that the true source of the violence is revealed.

Kitty’s Zombie New Year” – Kitty is celebrating the new year at a party with her radio station crew, when a strange girl shows up at the door. Her eyes are dull; she’s unable to talk. Kitty realizes she must be a zombie… but how did she get that way?  Zombies in Kitty’s world aren’t brain eating, walking carcasses.  The girl is the victim of a selfish lover… and it’s damage that can never be undone.

Life is the Teacher” – Remember Emma? She was Alette’s living descendant who was turned into a vampire at the end of Kitty Goes to Washington.  In this story, she is still coming to terms with what she has become and sets out to take blood from a human for the first time.  She encounters a man from her old life and struggles with the rising monster inside her.  It was a sensual story with a satisfying ending.

You’re on the Air” – We were introduced briefly to Jake in Kitty and the Silver Bullet. He was a vampire who called into Kitty’s show. He was made against his will and had no family.  Now we get that phone call from his perspective… and we get to see what happens after he hangs up and decides to live his unlife with the cards that were dealt him.

Long Time Waiting” – This is the story most people will probably buy the book for.  It details what happened to Cormac when he went to prison.  Essentially, there is a demon killing inmates.  And in the prison is the spirit of a demon hunter who knows how to defeat him. Amelia needs a human host to do the job and she thinks Cormac would be the perfect host. He fights the idea, but eventually gives in for the greater good.

Here’s the thing: I hate the entire concept of Cormac sharing his body with this woman.  Is she supposed to be an eventual love interest?  The story reminds us of the unresolved feelings of Cormac for Kitty.  Why does Carrie Vaughn torture me this way?  Kitty and Cormac are like the dangling carrot I have been chasing for years.  Kitty (and in a different way, Ben) is supposed to be the one who sees inside him… who has this bond with him… not some woman that’s been dead 100 years.  It was a good story, but it just stirs up my angst all over again.

Vaughn did provide some Author’s Notes at the end, which I did find insightful, answered a few of my questions, and added to the stories.

The bottom line: I enjoyed the book as a whole.  It reminded me why I liked the series… especially “Looking After Family,” “Wild Ride,” and “Il Est Ne.”  Unfortunately, it also reminded me how frustrated I’ve become with the direction it has ultimately taken.  4 stars.

*ARC Provided by Tor Books

Kitty’s Greatest Hits
by Carrie Vaughn
Release Date: August 16, 2011
Publisher: Tor Books

Review: Kitty’s Big Trouble

Reviewed by Jen

It’s road trip time for Kitty Norville.  Remember the vampire Anastasia from Kitty’s House of Horrors?  She’s back and she’s asking Kitty to come to San Francisco to retrieve an object of great power.  Evil and super-old vampire Roman is after it too, so Kitty hits the road with Ben and Cormac, headed to the west coast.

The object, which Anastasia calls “the pearl” is hidden in the underground tunnels of Chinatown. And as our group of heroes goes searching for it, they get wrapped up in some ancient Chinese mythology.  Kitty realizes, once again, how much she still doesn’t know about the supernatural world. But even in the face of gods, she holds on to her fighting spirit and struggles to do the right thing, while protecting the two people she cares most about.

I suppose it sounds good at face value, but I felt unengaged for most of the book.  Yes, there was a little danger, but I guess the key word here is little.  There was virtually no tension for me to latch on to. I mean, the series has completely lost anything resembling a romantic or sexual tension. Ben is a nice guy; he loves Kitty; she loves him; blah, blah, blah.  Cormac is there as some bizarre, possessed, third-wheel/bodyguard.  Any excitement about any of them is long gone, as Vaughn has clearly made the Kitty/Ben pairing permanent and unshakeable.

There is also no personal investment in the story arc. Kitty is doing Anastasia a favor. Yeah, it has greater implications, but the entire mission feels removed from Kitty’s life.  It’s not like Vaughn will kill off Kitty, Cormac or Ben … and if she would have killed off Anastastia, Henry, Grace or Sun, I can’t say I would have cared. So that leaves me… well… uninvested.

It wasn’t a bad book.  I liked it, but I didn’t love it.  It just kind of felt like a bridge to intensify the conflict between Kitty and Roman.  3 1/2 stars.

*ARC Provided by Tor Books

Kitty’s Big Trouble
by Carrie Vaughn
Release Date: June 28, 2011
Publisher: Tor Books

Review: Kitty Goes to War

Reviewed by Jen

Kitty Goes to War is book 8 in Carrie Vaughn’s smart and entertaining Kitty Norville series.  A few months have passed since the events in Kitty’s House of Horrors. Kitty still has nightmares about what happened there, but she is easing back into her life. And Cormac is back in play, forging a new life for himself as a parolee.

In Kitty’s latest radio show, she opens the phone lines for her callers to talk about the “Speedy Mart” convenience stores and odd happenings that are going on there. (I have to admit, the premise made me smile as one of Kitty’s early books featured what she thought was a wacked out caller ranting about Speedy Marts being built on ley lines.) Just a few days later, she is sued by the chain’s owner for libel.  It’s not all that strange until the man shows up in person, offering to drop the suit if Kitty issues an on-air apology. The whole thing smells wrong to Kitty, so she asks Cormac to do some research on the man and on strange phenomenon at the convenience stores.

In the meantime, Kitty gets a call from the feds, asking for her help to deal with three werewolf soldiers who have lost touch with their humanity.  Kitty makes it her mission to help the men. But it doesn’t look like all of them can be saved.

The military angle is an interesting one. But I have to admit, much of my attention was on Cormac. He came back from prison “different.” And I can’t say I was very excited once I heard the reason why.  I hope that gets resolved away at some point.

In reading this, I took some time to figure out why I can’t let go of the idea of something between Cormac and Kitty. It’s because in every book, the author reminds us of the spark between them. She reminds us of what almost was. The path not taken.  I wonder if I could just accept Ben if we didn’t get those reminders about Cormac in every book. And the reminder that he wants Kitty too. It’s maddening, especially as we get closer and closer to the end of the series. Because I feel jerked around by it.

Despite my Cormac rant, I enjoyed the book. As always, I love Kitty and can’t wait to see what happens next. 4 stars.

Review: Kitty’s House of Horrors

Reviewed by Jen

Let me start off by saying I really liked this Kitty installment. Kitty’s House of Horrors, book 7 in Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Norville series, kicks off with our heroine getting an invitation to appear on a reality show featuring well-known members of the supernatural community.  About a dozen participants are shipped off to an unknown location to be filmed together for two weeks.  We see a lot of familiar faces: Tina the psychic from Kitty Raises Hell; Grant the magician from Kitty and the Dead Man’s Hand; Jeffrey the psychic fromKitty Goes to Washington; and Ariel the radio talk show host we heard about in Kitty Takes a Holiday. (Before I get too far into this, I have to say, I love it when old characters come back in play during a series. It’s like a bonus for fans who have read all the books from the beginning.)  We also have some new faces, with assorted vampires, shifters and one human skeptic that the supernatural folks are tasked with convincing that their gifts are real.

Some weird stuff starts happening and there is immediate tension between Grant and one of the vampires, Anastasia. Each thinks the other may be working with Roman, that really old, nefarious vamp we met in the last book.  If you’re not familiar with Roman, he is part of a vampire faction working what they call “the Long Game,” which is a strategy for world domination.  Anyway, the “weird” quickly becomes more serious as (*spoiler*) people start showing up dead. All the camera and production folks are gone; power is out; there are no phones and no escape.

The “house guests” start getting picked off one at a time as they scramble to figure out who is behind the attacks and how to escape.

It’s tough for Kitty to be away from her pack and Ben… who is (at the same time) working to get Cormac released at his parole hearing.

A lot of people die in this book. One, especially, made me sad. I’ve always had a soft spot for Jeffery, since he brought Kitty a message from TJ from the other side.  Killing people we know and care about in the story reminded me of the “anything could happen” feel of early Kitty books.  I also managed to feel tension, both at what was happening in the house with Kitty and wondering what was happening with Ben & Cormac.

This was classic Kitty Norville. Exciting. Unpredictable. 5 stars.

Review: Kitty Raises Hell

Reviewed by Jen

Kitty Raises Hell picks up with Kitty and new husband Ben back in Denver, after their caper in Las Vegas.  They’re going on with their lives, when the word “Tiamet” shows up, burned into their restaurant New Moon. Of course, Tiamet is the cult Balthasar and his were-cat buddies were part of in Kitty and the Dead Man’s Hand. Their problems in Vegas didn’t stay in Vegas.

While running with the pack that full moon, Kitty and her fellow wolves notice a malevolent force. It has the smell of fire and brimstone. One of the wolves is threatened and almost hurt.

In the meantime, a group of paranormal investigators have come to town and Kitty takes an interest. She tags along as the team checks out a suspected haunted house.  But the van where Kitty and the trio are set-up outside the house is attacked.  They pick up the scent of fire and brimstone, just like during the run. And Kitty realizes she’s the target.

Kitty teams up with the paranormal investigators and reaches out to Grant, the mysterious magician she met in Las Vegas.  They’re all trying to figure out what exactly they’re dealing with. To complicate matters further, Roman, an unusual vampire, comes forward, offering to help fight off the threat, in exchange for safe passage in Denver.

There are plenty of twists and turns in the mystery. And we get to know two characters that will make return appearances in later books: Roman and Tina, the psychic.

We also see Kitty and Ben grow stronger as a couple. I can’t say they’re very exciting together. But at least Kitty feels safe with him. And he’s a good guy, his blandness notwithstanding.

I liked it better than the last book. 4 1/2 stars.

Review: Kitty and the Dead Man’s Hand

Reviewed by Jen

I haven’t met a Kitty Norville story I didn’t like.  That’s true of Kitty and the Dead Man’s Hand too.  I liked it, though it didn’t quite stand up to the blubbering fan-girl love I had for the last two books in the series.  At the end of our last Kitty installment, Ben popped the question and Kitty agreed to marry him. To me, that spelled the kiss of death, either for their relationship or Ben’s life. This book put that theory to the test.

Wedding planning has become overwhelming for Kitty, so she and Ben decide to elope to Vegas. Kitty’s boss thinks this would be an ideal time for Kitty to do a live tv version of her radio show.  So when she gets to Las Vegas, Kitty goes on the hunt for some good show-fodder.  She meets the Master of the city, Dom, who comes across as kind of lame (especially when you think back to Alette in Kitty Goes to Washington.) He clues her in to an all-shifter “animal act,” featuring Balthasar, King of Beasts and a bunch of were-tigers and lions. Magician Odysseus Grant sparks Kitty’s curiosity and warns her off against Bathasar and his crew.  Meantime, a bounty hunter convention is going on at Kitty’s hotel and many of the people there are old friends of Ben & Cormac’s from their hunting days. Two of them set their sights on Kitty.

So, we have danger from Balthasar and his crew, danger from the bounty hunters, mystery surrounding Grant, a wedding to plan –and all of a sudden Ben goes missing.  Ha! My theory from the onset is proving itself to be true! Now, when Ben’s life was in danger in the last book, I was very shaken up. I didn’t want him to die. But here, I just didn’t feel the same urgency. I almost felt like it was a given that he had to go now, so that Kitty’s life would change again.

So imagine my utter shock, when he was still alive!  Yep, Ben survives AND they still get married.  I don’t know how I feel about that.  Not triumphant. Just strange.   I think the reason I feel a little unsettled at the end of this book is that I didn’t feel that gut-wrenching something I’ve felt near the end of every Kitty book yet.  Maybe it was supposed to be Ben’s kidnapping, but I just didn’t feel it. Hmm.

I’m interested, as always, to find out what happens next with Kitty. 4 stars.

Review: Kitty and the Silver Bullet

Reviewed by Jen

Kitty and the Silver Bullet opens five months after the events of the last book. Kitty and Ben are still together and have formed a pack two. All seems well until Rick the vampire tracks her down and asks her to come back to Denver to support his bid to become master of the city. Kitty likes Rick but doesn’t want to go back to Denver and deal with politics of the old pack she left behind. She says no, but finds out soon after that her mom has cancer, so she throws caution to the wind and goes back home, with Ben in tow.

She settles back in at her old radio station but keeps her head down. It doesn’t work for long. A famous Broadway star decides to use Kitty’s show to come out as a vampire. And while this seems like a coup, it turns out there is more to the woman than meets the eye. Not only is Kitty drawn into the battle over between Rick and the current master, Arturo… She comes face to face with her old alpha Carl and his mate Meg. It turns into an all-out war between Kitty, Rick & Ben versus Arturo, Carl & Meg.

There are some very poignant parts of the book, not the least of which is the introduction of submissive wolf Jenny. Kitty sees the young woman as a reflection of who she used to be and wants very much to save her. Kitty is also struggling with her mom’s health and mortality. Not to mention questions about her relationship with Ben.

There has been a “holy-cow” moment in every Kitty book yet. In Kitty and the Midnight Hour it was TJ’s death. It blew me away and I cried my eyeballs out. In Kitty Goes to Washington it was Kitty’s kidnapping and being forced to change in front of the cameras. I was enraged for her and felt her helplessness and fury. In Kitty Takes a Holiday it was Cormac going to jail. (The hook up and Kitty and Ben was pretty big too –though it happened early in the book.) And this book was no exception. Our big moment here (at least for me) happened when we realized Meg and Carl had Ben.

I spent the whole book trying to figure out how we were going to get Cormac out of jail and get Ben out of the picture, so Kitty and Cormac could finally be together. Only, the moment I thought we were really going to lose Ben, my chest tightened up. I realized Ben had wound his way around my heart. And Kitty’s too. And all of a sudden, I didn’t want to get rid of him. I was angry at Carrie Vaughn for making me care about him and then taking him away in some awful, brutal way. I thought of that major character death in Kim Harrison’s For a Few Demons More, and I steeled myself for a fountain of tears. And then… He lived. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

So by spoiling you on every major development in all four Kitty books up to this point and even spoiling a major arc in an entirely different series, it doesn’t seem so bad to reveal that Kitty becomes the new werewolf alpha and Rick becomes Denver’s new master vamp. They all live happily every after!

This book was an emotional roller coaster for me. But it was fantastic. I still have a place in my heart for Cormac, but I no longer know where he fits. I still miss TJ and it makes me sad to think about him. But when all is said and done, all I really care about if finding out what happens next. 5 stars.

Why do I have so much trouble reviewing this series without spoilers?

Review: Kitty Takes a Holiday

Reviewed by Jen

I know it appears there are a lot of hidden spoilers here.  But, they all focus on one big, surprise event in the book… I can’t really share my feelings on this story without mentioning it, but I hope the review still makes sense for those of you who choose not to click on the spoilers.

Book 3 in Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Norville series is the best yet. Kitty Takes a Holiday details Kitty’s efforts to get away from it all after her kidnapping at the end of Kitty Goes to Washington. She’s decided to rent a cabin in the woods and write her memoirs. Only it’s not going so well. She starts getting harassed… People leaving dead animals on her porch and whatnot. But things only get worse when werewolf hunter Cormac shows up with lawyer Ben, who has been bitten and has contracted lycanthropy. Cormac figures Kitty can help Ben recover and learn how to accept his wolf. But Ben’s not on board; he wants Cormac to kill him.

We’ve been watching the will-they or won’t-they between Kitty and Cormac since the beginning of the series.

So imagine my shock and surprise when instead of the Cormac hookup I’ve been waiting for, Kitty hooks up with Ben! Remember the scene at the end of Final Destination, when the girl is arguing with her friends, then turns to stomp off and gets hit by a bus? I was completely blindsided by that scene. It came out of nowhere, but at the same time, it made sense in the context of the movie. That’s how I felt when Kitty rolled over after her first run with Ben and had sex with him. Totally blindsided. Of course, Cormac realizes something is amiss between his cousin and lady of interest. He takes off, to leave Ben and Kitty to deal with the growing threat to Kitty safety.

In addition to the dead animals and the threat of a curse outside Kitty’s door, it also appears that the wolf involved in Ben’s infection has followed him to the cabin. But is it really a wolf or something scarier?

A lot was going on in this book, but it never felt scattered or confusing. I never realized that I cared about Ben, but by the end of the book, I was surprised to find out that I do. And I see why Kitty does. And the whole triangle with Kitty-Cormac-Ben is intriguing. I hate what happened with Cormac in the end, but I hold out hope that this will be resolved in the next book or one soon after.

5 stars.

If you are a Kitty fan, don’t miss this one. It’s a game changer. If you’ve never read Kitty before, start with Kitty and the Midnight Hour and keep going with the series. You’ll be glad you did.

Review: Kitty Goes to Washington

Reviewed by Jen

OK. I have to say, I love Kitty Norville. Kitty Goes to Washington is book 2 in the series, by Carrie Vaughn.  Following her hasty departure from Denver in Kitty and the Midnight Hour, Kitty is doing her late night radio show at a different station every week. Now, she’s been summoned to Washington, DC, to testify before Congress about supernaturals… since she has “come out” as a werewolf on the show.

As soon as Kitty arrives in the nation’s capitol, she is intercepted by the minions of Alette, the city’s master vampire. Kitty is not sure if Alette’s intentions are good or bad, but the vampire says she just wants to give Kitty safety and protection during her stay. Kitty accepts. While waiting to testify, Kitty learns about the shapeshifters of  Washington DC and their easygoing way of getting along with each other. They all hang out together at a werewolf bar, where she meet Luis, a hot Brazilian shifter, who becomes her man of the moment. Cormac and attorney Ben show up and help Kitty out when she starts learning more about government research facility at the center of the hearings –and her safety becomes more at risk.  We also learn more about the Rev Elijah Wood and who and what he is (but I’m not going to say what that is.) It all ends with a bit of horror for poor Kitty, when she is kidnapped. What happens after that would be a shame to spoil.

I  loved seeing Cormac again. I keep rooting for him to hook up with Kitty, and frankly, I want to shake him out of his fear and prejudice about her.  I LIKED Allete, probably more than any of the shapeshifters we met in this book. And I’m proud of Kitty for her continued growth and strength.  I was upset with what happened to her at the end, but it was a great plot device and a jumping off point for the next installment in the series. I just wish there were more repercussions for those who worked against her.

5 stars. I love this series.