Publication Date: 09/02/2014
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Sensation
Genre: Paranormal Romance
(Received for an honest review from Berkley Sensation)
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Indiebound
Deborah Blake on the WEB: website, blog, twitter, facebook, goodreads
Excerpt from, Wickedly Dangerous, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature
FIRST IN A NEW SERIES!
Known as the wicked witch of Russian fairy tales, Baba Yaga is not one woman, but rather a title carried by a chosen few. They keep the balance of nature and guard the borders of our world, but don’t make the mistake of crossing one of them…
Older than she looks and powerful beyond measure, Barbara Yager no longer has much in common with the mortal life she left behind long ago. Posing as an herbalist and researcher, she travels the country with her faithful (mostly) dragon-turned-dog in an enchanted Airstream, fulfilling her duties as a Baba Yaga and avoiding any possibility of human attachment.
But when she is summoned to find a missing child, Barbara suddenly finds herself caught up in a web of deceit and an unexpected attraction to the charming but frustrating Sheriff Liam McClellan.
Now, as Barbara fights both human enemies and Otherworld creatures to save the lives of three innocent children, she discovers that her most difficult battle may be with her own heart…
Deborah Blake brings readers the first book in a new series, Wickedly Dangerous. Blake has taken an old world fairy-tale and turned it into a modern paranormal romance. Readers who are familiar with the Russian fairy-tale character, Baba Yaga, will certainly recognize her in Dr. Barbara Yeager, a botanist on a mission. She isn't exactly the old hag of legend, and her dragon disguised as a dog, Chuba Yudo is quite the character in his own right. Readers looking for something more than the average fairy-tale retelling will love this one!
What I liked:
Everybody knows that the literary and television worlds have lately been turned on their heads with the influx of fairy-tale based stories. From Once Upon a Time and Sleepy Hollow to Grimm and other television shows, readers are seeing their old familiar stories, changed, retold, modernized. In the book world the same thing is happening, from Snow White to Sleeping Beauty and beyond. I would have to say that some of these books and retelling are quite amazing and I always love it when something new and different comes along. That's what I felt like I got with Wickedly Dangeous... a refreshing look at an old world tale.
The Baba Yaga of legend and myth was an old hag. She was not necessarily good, but not necessarily bad. She was a tricky old lady with a dragon companion and three riders at her back to do whatever she needed done. In Deborah Blake's version of the story, readers get an updated tale that is both intriguing and full of surprises. Dr. Barbara Yeager is a different kind of Baba Yaga, she is still mysterious and sneaky to an extent. Her dragon is disguised as a big dog, Chuba Yudo. Her mode of transportation, a silver Air-stream trailer. She was younger, aged slower and packed quite a punch. I loved the character. She might have been worldly wise in some things, but she didn't know a thing about love. She still has her companions and along with them and the local sherriff, she sets out to find out who or what is taking the children from a small upstate town. A great retelling, very modern, very edgy.
Liam the local sheriff, puts a twist in the Baba Yaga's plans. She is here due to a Russian grandmother desperate to find her missing grandchild, but she doesn't approach things like any other woman, Liam has ever met. He was a strong, dedicated man. The law meant something to him. His own inner demons were hard to tame and he was a bit jaded when it came to love. But he was just the right man for this job and this woman. These two dance around each other for awhile, but it's obvious that they are attracted to each other. The romance wasn't too overstated and it was one element to the story. The fact that the Otherworld has come calling might have been the central conflict of the story, but Blake makes the reader want Liam and Barbara to have their happy ever after, just like in the fairy-tales of old.
The mystery of who or what had taken the children was so interesting. The inhabitants of the Otherworld were full of surprises and a whole lot of trouble. Liam is forced to look at things in a whole different way than he is used to with this case. When he realizes that Barbara may hold the key to finding the missing children he is willing to accept her help even before he learns who she really is and what she can do. I thought Blake did an exceptional job of giving him a reason to suspend his disbelief in the strange and paranormal. She didn't make it easy for him to believe, but she made it imperative that he did. Loved that part!
What I didn't like:
This is probably just a pet peeve, but upon reading about the next book in the series, I found that the author gives readers another Baba Yaga, since there are several that help to keep the balance between this world and the Otherworld. I wanted to learn more about this Baba Yaga in the next one. But hopefully there will some side notes here and there in the next books to let readers know how these characters progress. It certainly didn't take away from my enjoyment of this book.
This was a great book to start off the series and readers will enjoy learning about the old Baba Yaga legends and tales, as well as, fall in love with this new and different version of the tale. Strong characters and a very interesting theme help to make this one, a book that paranormal readers will not want to miss. The touch romance was well played and didn't take over. The book has a slight Urban Fantasy feel to it that will definitely broaden the audience. A very good first effort.
Wickedly Dangerous is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
About the Author:
Deborah Blake has published seven books on modern witchcraft with Llewellyn Worldwide and has an ongoing column in Witches & Pagans Magazine. When not writing, Deborah runs The Artisans’ Guild, a cooperative shop she founded with a friend in 1999, and also works as a jewelry maker, tarot reader, and energy healer. She lives in a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural upstate New York with five cats who supervise all her activities, both magical and mundane.
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