Publication Date: 12/02/2014
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Sensation
Genre: Paranormal Romance
(Received for an honest review from Berkley Sensation)
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indiebound, itunes
Deborah Blake on the WEB: website, blog, twitter, facebook, goodreads
Books in the series:
0.5. Wickedly Magical
1. Wickedly Dangerous
2. Wickedly Wonderful
Coverart: Click the Image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.
Excerpt from, Wickedly Wonderful, courtesy of the author's website.
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…
Though she looks like a typical California surfer girl, Beka Yancy is in fact a powerful yet inexperienced witch who’s struggling with her duties as a Baba Yaga. Luckily she has her faithful dragon-turned-dog for moral support, especially when faced with her biggest job yet…
A mysterious toxin is driving the Selkie and Mer from their homes deep in the trenches of Monterey Bay. To investigate, Beka buys her way onto the boat of Marcus Dermott, a battle-scarred former U.S. Marine, and his ailing fisherman father.
While diving for clues, Beka drives Marcus crazy with her flaky New Age ideas and dazzling blue eyes. She thinks he’s rigid and cranky (and way too attractive). Meanwhile, a charming Selkie prince has plans that include Beka. Only by trusting her powers can Beka save the underwater races, pick the right man, and choose the path she’ll follow for the rest of her life…
Deborah Blake continues her tales of the Russian Baba Yaga's with the second book in the series, Wickedly Wonderful. This book is part mystery and part romance, with a touch of folklore and a ton of paranormal characters. Readers who read the first book in the series, Wickedly Dangerous are treated to a change of scenery and a change in Baba Yaga's. Blake has created a world that is reminiscent of the old tales of the Baba Yaga, with a more modern spin that will take readers by surprise. A very good addition to this intriguing series!
What I liked:
Having read Wickedly Dangerous, I was interested to see how Blake would once again make the Baba Yaga tale, fresh and inviting. Blake's interpretation of the old Russian stories, gives readers more than one Baba Yaga to focus on. In the latest installment, Wickedly Wonderful, Beka Yancy is a young Baba Yaga just starting out, but not without considerable powers. With her affinity for water, it only seemed natural that this Baba Yaga lived on the coast and took up surfing. The change in heroine and scenery was enough to give this book and entirely different feel than the first, it had good originality and depth.
Beka is very different from Barbara, the previous heroine. She is beginning her journey as a Baba Yaga and does not have the confidence that comes from experience yet. She is thrown into a situation with the Selkie King and the Mer Queen that would have been daunting for even the most mature of the Baba Yaga's. Someone is poisoning the home of these paranormal denizens of the deep and it's up to Beka to solve the mystery. Blake develops Beka's character throughout the book, building on each experience and situation, until she begins to come into her own and believe in herself and her abilities. It almost had that 'coming of age' vibe about the story that was very satisfying when Beka realizes her worth.
The mystery wasn't exactly a mystery to the reader. Though Beka and her love interest Marcus go through the book trying to figure out what is happening in the ocean and why, readers are privy to the villain's plan and intentions. I think it would have been a bit more intense had the reader been trying to figure it out along side the characters, but there was a certain unique quality to seeing inside the mind of someone so full of greed. It was an interesting perspective for sure.
The romance between Beka and Marcus was central to the story and I felt as a reader they were a very good match. Marcus is an ex-Marine who is a bit battle scarred and world weary. Beka's bright nature and love of life were obviously good for him and his steadfast and loyal attitude helped her to trust in him and herself. Their relationship was a slow build that readers will definitely enjoy. Blake does a good job of giving the reader a little hiccup with the Selkie prince, but it was easy to recognize who Beka should be with. A great overall romantic tone and enough spice to make it interesting.
Overall I liked this book quite a bit better than the first book. There wasn't as much background on the Baba Yaga legend, but I don't think that was necessary unless being read as a standalone. I liked the re-occurring characters of the Fairy Queen and the Riders and the change of heroine made it seem fresh and new. Chudo Yudo was a beautiful Newfoundland in this one and still as wise as anyone would expect for a dragon. The romance was tender and believable and the mystery had a totally different angle than expected. A excellent second effort!
Wickedly Wonderful is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 5 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.
Her Baba Yaga series includes Wickedly Dangerous and the ebook novella, Wickedly Magical.
The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Wickedly Wonderful by Deborah Blake.
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