Kitty Goes to War by Carrie Vaughn

Posted in Review at 8:26 am by Amber

Title: Kitty Goes to War
Author: Carrie Vaughn
Publisher: TOR Fantasy
Source: Columbus Metropolitan Library

Kitty Goes to War Book Cover

This book doesn’t stray too far from some of the other plot lines in the series.  Kitty is the only one who can save innocent people from being ravaged by X (in this case army soldiers turned into werewolves) but this time she’s got help from Ben and Cormac.  And she’s being sued for libel by the owner of a convenience store chain that seems to be a magnet for the supernatural.

I was hoping this would be related to whatever the vampires have brewing but they take a backseat in this story.  The alpha in the soldiers’ unit is dead and they find it difficult to adjust.  They break out of their treatment facility and Kitty tries to bring them to a point where they can try to balance their wolf and human selves.  In summary, Kitty saves the day, the lawsuit is handled and we’re given a new piece of information about Cormac’s time in prison that’s sure to be needed in the other books in the series.

It was well written but seemed formulaic to me.  At least two more Kitty Norville books are on the way.

Vaughn included her writing playlist so you can get into the mood of the novel while reading it yourself.

Johnny Nash, “I Can See Clearly Now”
Deacon Blue, “Fergus Sings the Blues”
Too Much Joy, “Magic”
Dressy Bessy, “Shoot, I Love You”
Sam The Sham And The Pharaohs, “Li’l Red Riding Hood”
New Order, “Love Vigilantes”
Oingo Boingo, “Stay”
Big Brother and the Holding Company, “Roadblock”
Led Zepplin, “When the Levee Breaks”
Pink Martini, “Autrefois”
Fairport Convention, “Farewell, Farewell”
Paul Simon, “Late in the Evening.


Kitty’s House of Horrors by Carrie Vaughn

Posted in Review at 6:01 pm by Amber

Kitty's House of Horrors Book Cover 

Title: Kitty’s House of Horrors
Author: Carrie Vaughn
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Source: The Columbus Metropolitan Library

In the newest installment of the Kitty Norville series, Kitty and some of her paranormal friends are talked into doing a reality show.  A few strangers are thrown into the mix and one skeptic.  They’re at a remote lodge with several production people.  For a few days it seems to be on the level.  They’re asked to stick around the lodge as much as possible and are taped having a discussion each evening. 

They stumble across a campsite and wonder if something more is happening when the cabin loses power and the one phone to the outside world goes missing.  Dead bodies begin to pile up and they must fight for their lives.  Mostly independent, it’s going to take compromise and teamwork to live. 

It’s not important to have read the other books in the series but I think it would help before tackling this one.  Vaughn is adept at putting Kitty into situations that force her to use all of her (werewolf and human) instincts and this is no exception.  This is one time when no one from her pack can help her.  Ben is sharp but he’s not near Kitty and he’s distracted with Cormac’s impending prison release.  It’s going to take him a day or to before he figures out she’s in danger.  The ending felt like… an ending.  There’s something final about it and until I read the next novel would be released in July, I wasn’t sure the series was going to continue.  The next novel is named Kitty Goes to War.  Combined with the ending of this book I think Kitty’s House of Horrors was a setup to launch Kitty getting heavily involved in the vampire’s Long Game. 

As always, Carrie included her playlist for this book.  Listen to these while you read the book.  Here it is:

Tom Petty, “You Don’t Know How It Feels”
Vampire Weekend, “M79”
Billie Holiday, “What a Little Moonlight Will Do”
The Bangles, “Angels Don’t Fall in Love”
Too Much Joy, “Sort of Haunted House”
The Cure, “A Forest”
Gaelic Storm, “Black Is the Colour”
The Tim O’brien Band, “Another Day”
The Dresden Dolls, “Good Day”
Sarah McLachlan, “Black”
Public Image Ltd., “The Order of Death”
Pink Floyd, “On the Turning Away”
Jeff Oster, “Tibet”


Carrie Vaughn Continues Kitty Norville Series

Posted in Event at 11:39 pm by Amber

Early last year I participated in a blog tour for Carrie Vaughn centered around the Kitty Norville series.  The last book, Kitty Raises Hell, had an excerpt in it for Kitty’s House of Horrors. 

It is available!  (The Hachette Book Group site notes it is available on 1/1/2010 and Amazon has it available for preorder until 1/4/2010.) 

In this book, Kitty participates in a reality tv show which isn’t turning out to be the experience Kitty thought it would be.  As the bodies pile up she has to figure out who is behind the murders and who to trust.  This time it sounds like she can’t rely on anyone in her pack to help her.


Kitty Norville Giveaway Winner

Posted in Giveaway at 9:41 pm by Amber

Congratulations to Kelly B for winning the first four Kitty Norville books by Carrie Vaughn!!

I noticed the entries were fewer for this giveaway and I think it’s because (1) a lot of people were giving away books as part of Carrie’s blog tour and (2) I wanted to make it fun by having everyone do a little bit more than just leave a comment so an entry required a little more thought than usual.

The questions left were really great.  For some of them I could hear Kitty provide an answer.  One of those answers would probably be, “Buy my book!”

Kitty does get started on writing a memoir during Kitty Takes a Holiday.  Surprisingly, it does get finished and published.  The events in the Kitty Norville books take place fairly close together so doing a book tour would definitely give Kitty a reason to do some traveling.  And she could ask answer some of those questions in person.

Rhonda’s question of “How do you feel about the way werewolves are portrayed in recent urban fantasy novels such as NEED or the Mercy Thompson novels?” would definitely appeal to the former English major in Kitty.  In fact, she’d probably devote an entire show to it.

Cheryl S. brought up a good point with “I would ask her what are her favorite foods.  Do werewolves eat differently than humans when in human form?”  In the novels Kitty eats a lot of rare steaks.  But she also drinks wine.  Where is the junk food and chocolate?

Lisa Damian said, “I would ask her opinion about this frustrating ability I have to make everything technological around me go wonky.”  You are not alone.  I know someone who has this ability… computers, speakers, watches and lights are the main things that behave abnormally in his presence.

These questions are so good I’m going to pass them along to the Hachette Book Group to pass along to Carrie.


Kitty Raises Hell by Carrie Vaughn

Posted in Review at 3:25 pm by Amber


Kitty Raises Hell

Kitty knows something from Las Vegas has followed her home to Denver.  It smells of brimstone, uses fire and seems to have hands although she can’t see them.  This apparent demon begins widening its circle of destruction from Kitty to her pack and eventually the streets of Denver.  Along the way, Kitty becomes involved with the paranormal investigators from the reality tv show Paradox PI, has the younger brother of her best friend TJ show up on  her doorstep with a lot of uncomfortable questions and has a mysterious vampire appear who claims to be able to rid Denver of the demon.  The vampire’s price is free passage in Denver which immediately gives Rick, Denver’s Master vampire, pause.

This book is likely one of the first of many showdowns Kitty will experience during The Long Game.  Because vampires live for so long they make strategic decisions that will place themselves where they want to be in hundreds of years.  They have all the time in the world while other supernatural beings have less time.  With each adventure that befalls her, Kitty is gathering recruits for a great battle and she probably doesn’t even realize it.  Heck, Carrie Vaughn may not completely realize it yet but I suspect she does.  🙂  This is one author who has her act together.

One of thing I admire about Kitty is her confidence which has grown since the series began.  She has her moments of doubt but she trusts herself.  Kitty’s thought processes are sound – she can recognize when a decision is based on fact or emotion but also trusts her instincts.  One of those instincts is often knowing who she can trust and how far to trust them.

Kitty Raises Hell provides the first chapter to Kitty’s House of Horrors, the next Kitty Norville adventure which left my mouth watering for more.  I’m sure it will be worth the wait.

Kitty and the Dead Man’s Hand by Carrie Vaughn

Posted in Review at 9:01 am by Amber

Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand

Kitty and Ben now engaged.  Like all things in Kitty’s life… nothing goes as planned.  They decide to elope and have a Las Vegas wedding.  Ozzie, her boss, approaches Kitty about doing a live studio show while she’s there.  It’s her chance to do a tv show on her terms this time.  The trip turns into a working vacation.  Her mother insists on being there for the ceremony.  And guess what?  The hotel just so happens to host a gun enthusiast convention at the same time which might not be so bad if some of those enthusiasts didn’t make their living as werewolf hunters.

The lights, crowds and sounds set the wolf sides of Kitty and Ben on edge because it dulls their senses.  Vaughn gets the setting on the Las Vegas strip completely right.  I was in Las Vegas two years ago for a friend’s wedding and this book brought back some good memories.  Even the details about the weather  at various times of day are spot on.

While Ben plays poker, Kitty meets the Las Vegas Master vampire and becomes intrigued by two acts she’d like to feature on her show.  The first is magician Odysseus Grant who seems to use real magic in his act.  The second is the trained animal act (lions, and tigers but no wolves, oh my!) of Balthasar, King of Beasts.  Kitty wants to know if the were-felines are there against their wishes or not.  Odysseus and Balthasar don’t get along either which makes Kitty curious about their history.

This book felt like a long setup for Kitty Raises Hell so I’m glad these two books were published a month apart.  There is a lot of action in this one and it’s possibly the sexually raciest of the series.  Kitty and the Dead Man’s Hand continues the theme of The Long Game which was introduced in Kitty and the Silver Bullet when Kitty learned more about vampire politics than she cared.

Kitty Norville Book Giveaway!

Posted in Event, Giveaway at 12:30 am by Amber

By this afternoon I’ll have reviews up for the two most recent books in Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Norville Series – Kitty and the Dead Man’s Hand and Kitty Raises Hell.  Each book in the series stands on its own.  However, if you want to get started at the beginning I have a prize package to give away of the first four books in the Kitty Norville series.  That’s right – Kitty and the Midnight Hour, Kitty Goes to Washington, Kitty Takes a Holiday and Kitty and the Silver Bullet can be yours!  (Links go to my reviews.)  These books have generously been provided by Miriam with Hachette Book Group. 

Kitty is a DJ who just happens to be a werewolf.  She gets outed on her talk show and becomes the first celebrity werewolf.  Here is a sample of the types of calls that come in during The Midnight Hour.  Kitty approaches her callers with a little bit of skepticism and knows she doesn’t have all of the answers.  If you called The Midnight Hour what would you ask Kitty?

Just leave your answer as a comment and that will be your entry into the giveaway.  One comment per person, please!  This giveaway is open to US and international mailing addresses and will end at 7:59pm Eastern on Monday, March 30th, 2009.  The winner will be chosen using the randomizer on random.org. (This is a sticky post until March 30th – please scroll down to read more of the blog.)

Interview With Carrie Vaughn

Posted in Event at 12:10 am by Amber

Today is Carrie Vaughn Day while she is doing a virtual tour for Kitty and the Dead Man’s Hand and Kitty Raises Hell.  The series has been great fun for me to read and review.  I’m so pleased that I was able to send some questions to Carrie and be able to share her answers with everyone.  Thank you to Miriam Parker with Hachette Book Group for arranging it!

Carrie Vaughn

Amber: I love how the cover art shows Kitty with something or someone that is key to the book but doesn’t give anything away.  How collaborative are you with the cover artists?

Carrie: Not very.  Most of the development/discussion is handled by the publisher’s art department.  I’ve had a little bit of input and have made a few suggestions that were incorporated, but the artwork is mostly finished by the time I see it.  That said, last fall I did get a chance to talk a little bit via email with Craig White, the artist on all six of Kitty’s covers.  He’s great, and he’s definitely made an effort to make sure the covers match the spirit of the books.

Amber: The books always seem to be a logical next step in Kitty’s character arc.  Do you tend to write the next one while revising/editing the prior book?

Carrie: I always have ideas cooking.  I’ve pretty much always known what the next book is while I’m writing the current one, and I think that’s lent a sense of continuity to the series.  When I started, I had no idea the series would go this far, but fortunately each book I’ve written has given me ideas for the next.

Amber: Of all the songs you include on the playlists for each novel, is one song a particular favorite?

Carrie: I think I’d have to say Peter Murphy’s “I’ll Fall With Your Knife,” which is the last song on the playlist for the first book.  It’s not necessarily my favorite song, but it was the song that was playing when I figured out what Kitty and The Midnight Hour was about, before I even started writing the book. Because of that, it has a pretty powerful effect on me.

Amber: Have you had any memorable moments while on book tours?

Carrie: Not really, because I haven’t really done any book tours.  I have done some of the big conventions–New York Comic Con, San Diego Comic Con, and Dragon Con.  I remember sitting at my signing at Dragon Con, watching Eric Estrada flirt with some very scantily clad women.  This year at New York Comic Con, I sat two seats down from Lou Ferrigno.  I love people watching, and these venues offer great opportunities for people watching.

Amber: Anything else you’d like to share?

Carrie: Thanks for reading!  I feel that Kitty’s success has a lot to do with the great word of mouth the books have gotten, especially online.  I really appreciate that.

Carrie’s Bio: Carrie Vaughn had the nomadic childhood of the typical Air Force brat, with stops in California, Florida, North Dakota, Maryland, and Colorado. She holds a Masters in English Literature and collects hobbies-fencing and sewing are currently high on the list. She lives in Boulder, Colorado.

Here are the other stops on Carrie’s tour:


More Playlists for Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Norville Series

Posted in Event at 10:42 pm by Amber

To get you in the mood for tomorrow with Carrie Vaughn, I have the last two playlists available from Kitty and the Dead Man’s Hand and Kitty Raises Hell.  The nice thing about Carrie’s playlists are the memories some of these songs conjure up for me.

Playlist for Kitty and the Dead Man’s Hand
Electric Light Orchestra, “Mr. Blue Sky”
Frank Sinatra, “Come Fly with Me”
Carmen Miranda, “Chattanooga Choo-Choo”
The Muppets, “Sheep May Safely Graze/Rama Lama Ding Dong”
Fleetwood Mac, “When the Sun Goes Down”
George Thorogood, “I Drink Alone”
Steve Miller Band, “Abracadabra”
R.E.M., “Orange Crush”
Bigod 20, “The Bog”
Pet Shop Boys, “The Theatre”
Soft Cell, “Entertain Me”
Mojo Nixon, “Elvis is Everywhere”
Rodrigo y Gabriela, “Diablo Rojo”

Playlist for Kitty Raises Hell
Eric Burdon & the Animals, “Paint It Black”
KT Tunstall, “Hold On”
Thompson Twins, “In the Name of Love”
Pretenders, “Day After Day”
Oingo Boingo, “Just Another Day”
Squirrel Nut Zippers, “Soon”
The Cardigans, “Happy Meal II”
Abby Travis, “Blythe”
Duran Duran, “View to a Kill”
They Might Be Giants, “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)” (Severe Tire Damage version)
Garbage, “As Heaven Is Wide”
Cyndi Lauper, “All Through the Night”


Upcoming Visitors

Posted in Event, Uncategorized at 1:21 pm by Amber

Things have been quiet here as I get ready for some visitors to stop by the blog over the next few weeks.

This Wednesday is Carrie Vaughn Day!  I’ll have my reviews of her two most recently published Kitty Norville books available for you and a little something extra.  🙂

On April 7th Karina Fabian will be stopping by with a guest post.  I’ll have an interview conducted via email with her and a review of Magic, Mensa and Mayhem!

Then on April 23rd Connie Arnold will stop by for an interview and share some excerpts of her work.

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