Guest Reviewed by Ami
Title: Wickedly Wonderful
Author: Deborah Blake
Series: Baba Yaga #2
Heroine/Hero: Beka Yancy/Marcus Dermott
Genre: MF Paranormal
Length: 352 Pages
Release Date: December 2, 2014
Available at: Berkley, Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: 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…
Review: Wickedly Wonderful is the story of West Coast Baba Yaga, Beka Yancy. With water as her strongest element, Beka is at her best when she is settling down near the ocean, just surfing, swimming, diving… When something is poisoning the water where the ocean’s supernatural beings are residing, Beka is requested by Queen of the Merpeople and the King of the Selkies to help finding out the cause. In the meantime, she is struggling with her position as the youngest Baba Yaga and also dealing with her growing attraction to ex-Marine Marcus Dermott and fighting off the intense courting from Kesh, Prince of the Selkies.
After reading Wickedly Dangerous back in August, I knew that this series would be on the lighter side of fantasy (or maybe best to see it as light paranormal romance?) and that I should enjoy it as such. Guess what, I really liked this sequel as well!! I think that is the way to come into this book – don’t expect something heavy-like, you know, like epic battles where everyone is bruised and battered.
I thought, in a way, Beka was more vulnerable than her Baba sister. She is very young – in terms of Baba’s age; not yet thirty years old (Barbara from the first book, for example, has been a Baba Yaga for decades). Beka has not decided whether she would continue taking the Baba Yaga mantel from her predecessor. In addition, Beka’s mentor always tells her that she’s not ready yet as Baba. So she is unsure of herself, she lacks of confidence, she doesn’t know if she has what it takes to be a Baba Yaga. For me, that makes Beka more relatable. It’s great to have a strong heroine, but sometimes I also like to read about a heroine who needs to learn her mistakes and to get stronger. That is what happens to Beka … she learns that she needs to stop listening to the voices that discourage her, and she really rises up to the occasion.
The mystery surrounding the poisoned water was NOT exactly a mystery. Readers were told from early on who the villain was. We were even told from the villain’s point of view as to the reason why. So it wasn’t really a mystery – having said that, it was the process of Beka finding out about it that was worth it to read. Of course, as a reader who already pretty much knew everything, I also got frustrated and found myself saying, “Damn it, Beka, don’t be so gullible! Trust your instincts!” because I wanted Beka to stop being too kind-hearted and too trusting.
As for the romance, it did feel a little lacking in heat. I did enjoy the humorous situation that happened, such as when Marcus was being jealous of Kesh, or when Chewie (Beka’s Chudo-Yudo) clearly favored the sailor over the prince, and it helped to keep the relationship interesting to read. However, I must admit that I liked reading Marcus’s relationship with his father better – it was more complex, and at times, it felt more emotional, more urgent, compared to Beka and Marcus’s relationship.
The secondary characters were wonderful, from Chewie to the Wily Serpent crew. I also liked reuniting with the Riders, although the disappearance of one of the riders here definitely set up something for book three. So bottom line, when it comes to book #3 with Bella’s story (and I think her element is FIRE), well, count me in!!
Overall Impression: I really liked it
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*