Our friend (and wonderful blogger) Peat mentioned that he was working on a tag based on the frustrating things cats do. I (Fab) loved the idea (my favourite ever D&D character that I’ve played was a very annoying Tabaxi) – so I’m very excited that it’s live now – check out THE EVIL CAT BOOK TAG over at Peat’s blog here! I snagged Kat and here are our choices for Peat’s prompts (prompts and flavour texts are copied from him).
Knocking shit off of high places – A book with a cliffhanger
We’ve all seen it right? The majestic leap up high. The tentative dab of the paw at something on the high surface. The crash if you don’t get to them quick enough. Hopefully it wasn’t breakable. Or your wedding ring. But, really, this wasn’t the cat’s fault. It’s yours. Some things shouldn’t be left near cliffs…
Fab: We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia is the first book in a duology about two sapphics who fall in love while married to the same guy in a terrible system and burn down the status quo in the process. It ends in a way that I did not see coming, and the wait for book two was truly torture. This is a series where you really need to have both books ready to binge.
Kat: Dying on Second is the fourth book in the Marie Jenner Mystery series by E.C. Bell. Marie has a secret – she can see and speak with the deceased. Like her mother before her, she helps the dead to move on to the next plane of existence. Needless to say, because of her unique abilities, she’s seen and experienced some pretty heavy stuff, but nothing compares to the situation she faces in the conclusion of book 4 – talk about a cliffhanger! To see what happens to Marie and how she gets out of this latest mess, readers will have to check out book 5 in the series, Hearing Voices.
Howling at 3am – A book you didn’t sleep to finish
To you, it is sleep time. To the cat, it is playtime. Or maybe they’re hungry. Or just evil, for ’tis the witching hour. Whatever the reason, you should be awake. The cat says so. Some books are similarly insistent…
Fab: All of Us Villains by Christine Lynn Hermann and Amanda Foody (finally out in November…) was one of those books that I simply could not put down. Think Nevernight meets Gossip Girl, with a dash of The Hunger Games. Addictive YA at its best, with a cast of morally grey characters who compete for power and survival. Magic that has been kept secret now unveiled by a tell-all book, and perhaps working together might be a solution after all? This one definitely kept me reading until I was done, and I’m still impatiently awaiting the sequel. Even though book one isn’t published yet.
Kat: I read the entire first trilogy of Ilona Andrew’s Hidden Legacy series in three days. That’s right folks – three books, three days. Needless to say sleep was not a priority. This series is near perfection for me, and Burn for Me will knock your socks off with its action-packed plot and inventive magic system. The over-arching, series-wide plot is well-paced, each book contributing significantly to the development of the conspiracy and uncovering more hints as to the identify the ultimate big bad. The romance is slow-burn, with tension building over the course of the first two books, exploding with steam in the second, and then coming to the HEA conclusion at the end of the first trilogy. Highest of recommendations to fans of Urban Fantasy Romance!
Hiding before a vet visit – A book with a self-destructive character
Some people have a sixth sense for impending calamity. Most cats have a sixth sense for an impending visit to the vet and hide. Who cares if it’s for their own good? We’ve all read someone like that…
Fab: Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo is an excellent book. But damn, Alex Stern is a self-destructive character. She has no sense of self-preservation or caution. She leaps head-first into danger without thinking twice about what could happen. Partially because that girl carries a shit ton of baggage around with herself, partially because of who she is. But I can’t think of a more self-destructive character than our dear Galaxy.
Kat: I think we can all agree that our favorite detective has issues with self-preservation. Storm Front is the first book of Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files series, and our introduction to Harry’s peculiarly adept ability to put himself into danger. I mean, how many wizards do you know willingly visit a powerful blood-sucking vampire at night in her demesne and then exposes her true form for everyone to see? Terrible idea, Harry. Terrible. That’s not the last time Harry puts himself in a terrible situation in this book, and certainly not the last time across the broader series. Despite his assertion otherwise, Harry Dresden has a serious death wish.
The turd dangling from their behind – A sequel that was a bit, er, turd
Sometimes cats eat hair. And sometimes when they do, it gets stuck post-defecation, with a little bit of said defecation attached to it. So when your darling cat goes by and you get excited, you soon realise there’s something horrible behind them. Just like a bad sequel…
Fab: I have to admit, I wasn’t as hyped about Children of Blood and Bone as most of my friends were. But I still enjoyed it quite a lot and was excited for the sequel. (And, I truly hate being negative about books on the blog! Peat, you’re worse than a cat with a turd stuck to its butt for making me be mean on purpose!) Children of Virtue and Vengeance was probably my biggest disappointment of 2020. Not the worst book I’d read – I mean, I did finish it – but in terms of what I expected and what I felt when reading.
Kat: What’s worse than a sequel that’s a bit of a turd? The final book in a trilogy that’s a bit of a turd. I absolutely adored the first two books in Amanda Bouchet’s The Kingmaker Chronicles series. I blew through them so quickly with the fresh Greek-mythology-based world-building. I was genuinely excited to see how the series would end, and unfortunately I DNF’ed the final book, Heart on Fire. To me, it seemed to be a complete departure from the tone and focus of the first two books. It was almost like it was written by someone else entirely! Very disappointing. However, the first two books are solid, so if you’re the type of person that doesn’t need to read the full series to feel complete, I highly recommend them!
Puking on the carpet – A book with a betrayal
We all know this one. And we all know it’s not really the cat’s fault. But why now? And especially, why there? Why not a nice easy to clean surface? Right or wrong, it feels like a betrayal…
Fab: With a title like A Lesson in Vengeance, Victoria Lee’s latest book is bound to be prime real estate for those backstabbing sapphics. Felicity and Ellis spend most of the book betraying each other and the people to various degrees and it’s a joy to read. Highly recommend this for some premium cat puking on the carpet betrayal energy.
Kat: Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie is one of the best revenge books out there. But in my opinion, it is also contains one of the most powerful betrayals I’ve ever read in that it subverts the entire quest for vengeance and exposes its futility. You’ll have to read the book to discover the details of the betrayal, but suffice to say it helps solidify Abercrombie’s well-deserved reputation as the master of grimdark fantasy.
Dragging in live animals – A book with shocking violence
One time I heard a great commotion and looked up to see a pigeon flying up my hallway, pursued by a mighty predator bounding away. I get that you are a mean lean hunting machine, but do you have to bring me the final act to watch? Sometimes it all just seems a little over the top…
Fab: There are a lot of books that have a liberal approach to violence. But knowing Peat and his tongue in cheek approach to this (and the cat chaos energy of this tag), there was only one choice for me: When We Were Magic by Sarah Gailey. Yes, this is a delightful sapphic found family witchy YA novel. But also, it starts with an accidental murder by exploding penis. I am not kidding. It’s also not a spoiler because it’s the inciting incident for the story. So yeah. That’s that. Highly recommend the book. It is actually quite wholesome.
Kat: Grace Draven is not one to hold back on graphic content, and that’s not just limited to explicit sex. There is often a strain of brutality and rawness in her books that can be quite unexpected for Romance readers. When I first read Radiance, I didn’t know what to expect; so, when I reached the torture scene (I won’t spoil who is tortured by whom or why), I was shocked. While not the most violent scene found within her canon, this scene was my first encounter with violence in her books. It’s honestly one of the things I appreciate about her as an author, though – she is graphic across all aspects of her writing!
Looking you in the eye before misbehaving – A book with a character desperate for attention
It’s one thing to be naughty, nay, malevolent. But to look right at me before you do it? Just to make sure your cry for attention will get attention? Why not lie in front of the television ins- oh, you did that too. Cats just really love attention…
Fab: I did not have to think long about which character I think is the biggest attention whore when Gideon is right there. The star of Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir is swagger incarnate. Just look at her on that cover. She needs to be the focus of every room that she walks into. Especially if she is supposed to be lying low. Subtlety is not one of her strengths. But that is part of why I am so damn in love with her.
Kat: He may groan about being called the Thorn of Camorr, but make no mistake, Locke Lamora loves to be the center of attention. From his elaborate disguises and public performances to his desire that his targets know who bested them, the protagonist of Scott Lynch’s Gentleman Bastard series is a just bit of an attention whore. The Lies of Locke Lamora is the first book in this thrilling series centered around this lovable yet frustrating character and his merry band of trouble-makers.
Shredding things- A book with a destructive character
Soft furnishings. Wrapping paper. Your jeans. The loo roll. If a cat can shred it, a cat will shred it. One of my cats once got into a multi-pack of loo roll and pretty much redecorated the house. Some types are just inherently destructive…
Fab: Zetian in Xiran Jay Zhao’s Iron Widow is the female badass version of a suicide bomber. She joins a special ops division purely to get revenge for her sister’s death at the hands of a mecha pilot – and proceeds to kill him within a few chapters. She has no moral qualms, is out for revenge and her own survival is an afterthought. Neither she nor this book take any prisoners, and I knew within a few pages that I was in love. Read this as soon as you can.
Kat: Need someone murdered? Beat-up? Blown-up? Dani, a super-human vigilante, from Kit Rocha’s Mercenary Librarian series has got you covered. She’ll be the first person to offer up her destructive services and is downright excited at the prospect! In Deal with the Devil, she doesn’t understand why her team doesn’t think a rocket launcher or C-4 are appropriate items to pack for their quest. When things go south, she doesn’t hesitate to comment, “Now aren’t you sad I didn’t bring the C-4?”
Has never been fed, never – A series you can’t get enough of
Whether it’s the incessant yammering whenever in the kitchen, the attempts to trip you up and get their food quicker, or the naked theft from your plate, many cats give the impression of having never been fed before. But hey, we all know what it’s like to be insatiable, right…
Fab: I’m not the best at reading whole series. Because I tend to read books as they come out, I forget about series as I wait. But I’ve recently been obsessed with the Memoirs of Lady Trent by Marie Brennan, starting with A Natural History of Dragons. I still haven’t quite forgiven my friends for letting me sleep on these books for so long. They’re smart, featuring a nerdy, ambitious female lead who is prickly and not always the most charming and sociable – someone who is a lot like me. I raced through the five books of the series this summer, mostly in audio book, and I highly recommend them.
Kat: I cannot get enough of Tessa Dare’s Girl Meets Duke series. There are so many things to love about this Victorian-era Historical Romance series, the least of which is the fact that the MMC in the first book, The Duchess Deal, swears in Shakespeare! Her wit, humor, and banter are thoroughly entertaining, but what I really can’t get enough of is the quirky band of eccentric women who attract and join forces with an equally unique group of misfit men. Oh, and did I mention the steam? Whew! I am not-so-patiently waiting for the next book!
Be so cute you forgive them anyway – A book with a wicked MC you like
This set of tags might make you think I hate cats, but I love my little hyperactive gremlins like few other beings. There’s many reasons for it, but one is they’re so bloody cute. Some characters definitely have that energy too…
Fab: Everyone’s got to have one problematic fave, and Mia Corvere from Jay Kristoff’s Nevernight series is mine. She is such a messed up character, but she is also a bisexual icon and she helped me figure out who I am. She would also fit into so many other categories in this tag – she is also both self- and outwardly destructive, the books in the series have kept me up late reading and they most definitely end on cliffhangers. They are also bloody and addictive. Yes, there are problematic aspects to the series, and I will not deny them (one of the characters is named after the Jewish word for God that is not supposed to be uttered, the name for the society infamous for blood sorcery is very close to a subset of the Jewish people and a society presented as barbarian in the books can be read as similar to the Aborigines/Maori people), so do approach these books with caution.
Kat: I have to admit that I shouldn’t like Ryder as much as I do, but what can I say – I’m a complete sucker for his over-the-top brand of wickedness. In Fighting Destiny, we are introduced to a deliciously sexy and wicked MMC who is clearly terrible for our female heroine on multiple levels. But as the book – and series – progressed, I found myself increasingly intrigued and rooting for this unlikely and oftentimes morally ambiguous MMC. Let’s be honest – his wickedness just made him even more hot!