Thursday, August 27, 2015

Accidentally Catty (Accidentals #5) by Dakota Cassidy

After stopping to help an injured cougar veterinarian Katie Woods quickly realises that she just brought a ton of trouble into her life when her hand suddenly turns into a paw after being scratched.  With a set full of new teeth, Katie goes through all the logical medical reasons for her sudden transformation.  Lucky for Katie, the crew of OOPS is on the task. Having been through an accidental turning before, Wanda, Marty, Nina and Casey are on the case.  Katie thought that suddenly having a paw was pretty wild but when the cougar who scratched her turned into a handsome Englishman, Kate quickly realised that this already complicated situation is even more complicated - or, at least, that is what her quickly beating heart is telling her.

This book five of the Accidentals series and it's now absolutely formulaic. It goes like this: girl gets accidentally scratched/bitten by some supernatural creature, girl has a freak out cause she is no longer completely human, boy feels immediate attraction and of course responsibility for the change, boy is also dealing with some kind of mortal danger, girl and boy solve his problems and have their HEA.  These books are so formulaic that at this point I swear they've been written by the numbers.

Each male interest comes with their own little twist and in Shaw's case it's amnesia.  Because he cannot remember who he is let alone his own name, Shaw is of little help assisting Katie with her change.  Shaw is the typical tall dark and handsome type with a shade of commanding and creepy.  Creepy how you may wonder? When a man sniffs a womans panties to ensure that he is straight, I'd say a shade of creepy is an accurate description. On the side of good, Shaw is entertaining and sarcastic, easily my favorite character in Accidentally Catty.

Unfortunately, once again, Nina makes an appearance in this book.  I just want this character to disappear into a massive plot hole and never ever return.  Being a vampire, Nina is the enforcer of the OOPS crew but has the class of a billy goat.  Look, I'm not one with virgin ears or eyes but I am sick of Nina's dialogue because every second word she says is fuck.  The constant swearing doesn't make her look tough but it just makes her look ignorant with a teeny vocabulary.  I also don't understand exactly why the women are friends with Nina. They all constantly have to hold her back and tell her to shut up, even as she bullies them, curses them out and threatens them every second page.

Okay sorry about the Nina rant but I cannot stand that character and in fact, I deserve a cookie for putting up with her for FIVE books.  Okay, back to Katie.  Kate is in her early forties and recovering after a bad divorce in which her work reputation was ruined.  When Shaw enters her life, the last thing she is looking for is romance, particularly with someone who doesn't look old enough to vote.  Kate quickly becomes obsessed with the idea that she is a cradle robber and goes into complete denial. So how does she deal with having an attraction she feels is inappropriate? Well, she  tries to convince herself that Shaw is gay.

It's worth noting that this is book 5 in the Accidentals series and we have yet to be introduced to a single LGBT character.  Instead, what Cassidy offered us was a terrible parody of inclusion.  Kate tells herself that Shaw must be gay to deal with her uncomfortable attraction to him.  If Shaw is gay then he is safe as far as Kate is concerned.  Other than Kate's fear of her attraction to Shaw, she justifies believing that he is gay based in the fact that he made some vague reference to Project Runway. Having the straight love interest being thought of as gay is a cheap device and offensive.  Then Cassidy doubles down on her offensiveness. 
Casey clucked her tongue. “If he was thinking about your taters, I highly doubt he’s gay.”

“Maybe he was thinking about surgically acquiring a pair of his own that were fashioned after mine?” Transgenders had implant surgery all the time. Though any surgeon who took on the task of changing Beck’s gender had his work cut out for him with all that hard, gruff exterior to work with. He’d make an ugly woman.

Marty chuckled. “You, as a veterinarian, know this already, but it bears saying the rule applies to the paranormal, too. Primarily, shapeshifters of the animal variety remain true to animal kingdom rules in their sexual behaviors. I can’t say I’ve ever seen two male werewolves shack up, set up housekeeping, and make crème brûlée together in their nest of love. Not that I’d care, mind you. I’m every bit as progressive as the next person. I support love, period. I’m just saying it hasn’t ever happened that I’m aware of. So if you hoped to fend off that growing attraction you have going on for him by telling yourself he’s gay—I’d find a new distraction. It’s okay to think he’s yummy. We won’t point fingers.”

Noooo. Katie briefly rolled her eyes heavenward. Please, please don’t let that be true. I can’t afford another attraction to a man that will only bring me trouble. “But he likes Project Runway.” Admittedly, a feeble defense if ever there was one.

Casey took one last sip of coffee before taking her cup to the big copper basin sink to rinse it. “And I like Ice Road Truckers, but I can assure you, I’m not a lesbian, and Beck didn’t say he liked Project Runway. As I recall, it just sparked a memory for him.”

Katie let her eyes slide closed when she leaned her hip against the counter. He had to be gay. Period. She’d accept nothing less. (pages 88-89)
 Right, so Shaw has to be gay so that Katie can feel comfortable but at the same time Marty is certain that he cannot be gay because shapeshifters supposedly follow the rules of the animal kingdom. It seems Dakota Cassidy is woefully ignorant about the number of animal species out there that have homosexual members - dolphins, bonobos, penguins, sheep. Not only is it ignorant, but deciding gay people are "unnatural" is a gross, homophobic slur that is used far too often. Reading that it made me wonder if Cassidy realises that it's a b.s. excuse for her lack of inclusion. As the author of the Accidentals she and she alone decides what can fit in her world and thus far, Cassidy has chosen exclusion. Also who the fuck are Transgenders?  I know that trans people exist transgenders not so much.  Am I the only one who rolled their eyes at the invocation of SRS? Just plain and simple no.

Despite the fact that much of this series has been set New York city, there's been very little real inclusion.  This time, Cassidy decided to include a sidekick character of colour.  Kaih had no problem quickly accepting that Katie had become a shifter because of the legends he learned growing up with his tribe.  All Kaih really does is follow orders even when they are issued in the most offensive way.
Nina took her by surprise and just in time to save Spanky's jugular by hauling Katie off him, yanking her upward so fast, her bones creaked in protest.  "Kaih. Could we have something to you know, cover his man-bits?  They're dangling.  Ingrid, quit hovering in the corner like some weird-ass voyeur and man up.  Make yourself useful, and help Tonto here find a blanket to cover the kid with."

Kaih looked as though he might challenge Nina's stab at him until she gave him her special brand of evil eye.  He and a simpering Ingrid scurried out of the room to do Nina's bidding wordless. (pg 47-48)

In what world is it appropriate to call an Indigenous person "Tonto" and then issue orders the way that Nina did? I was so astounded by this I had to put down Accidentally Catty for awhile.  I don't expect racism to disappear in fantasy book but I do expect that the author make it clear that this is not acceptable.  Not a single character bothered to call Nina out on her language, yet throughout the book they have no problem repeatedly telling her to have several seats. This leads me to believe no one had a problem with the "Tonto" comment.  Not only did no other character have a problem with what Nina said, they went on to giver orders themselves to Kaih.

The Accidentals series is formulaic and there is little character growth in the returning characters.  Nina remains just as irritating as she was in the first book in this series.  Accidentally Catty is exactly what it sells itself to be and if the formulaic paranormal romance series is your thing, this might be the series for you.  I prefer twists, turns, variations and character growth, none of which Accidentally Catty had.  Even if I could get over the paint by numbers plot there is also the offensive appropriation of LGBT people and the casual racism which serve to make this book even more unappealing.  This series started off light, fluffy and funny and by book five it has become absolutely tiresome.