Release Day Review: Wickedly Powerful and Wickedly Ever After by Deborah Blake

Wickedly Powerful by Deborah Blake
Book #3 in Baba Yaga
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publication Date: February 2nd 2016
ARC Provided by Netgalley and Berkley Romance

Synopsis from Goodreads: 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…

The only thing more fiery than Bella Young’s red hair is her temper. She knows that a Baba Yaga’s power without strict control can leave the people she cares about burned, so to protect her heart—and everyone around her—the only company she keeps is her dragon-turned-Norwegian-Forest-cat, Koshka.

But when Bella is tasked with discovering who’s setting magical fires throughout Wyoming’s Black Hills, she finds herself working closely with former hotshots firefighter Sam Corbett—and falling hard for his quiet strength and charm.

Sam may bear the scars of his past, but Bella can see beyond them and would do anything to help him heal. Only before she can rescue her Prince Charming, she’ll have to overcome the mysterious foe setting the forest fires—a truly wicked witch who wields as much power and even more anger than Bella…

 

Christal’s Review

Wickedly Powerful is not the place to begin your Baba Yaga journey, but it was a great addition to the series.  While certain elements diverged from its predecessors in many ways, some worked out better than others.  Bella was a wonderful new Baba and her story with Sam was both heart breaking and exciting.  Deborah Blake continues to create stories that obviously belong in the same universe without telling the same tale over and over again.

One thing I really loved in Wickedly Powerful was Bella Young herself.  Ms. Blake did a great job with making her very different from Barbara and Beka.  I would describe Bella as the middle child; she wasn’t as experienced as Barbara but she had much more confidence and time under her belt than Beka.  I loved that her Chudo-Yudo, Koshka, was a cat…. erm, dragon cat… and that her caravan manifested as a modern day gypsy cart.  She was smart but a little hot-tempered, as befitting the fire element, and had great chemistry with the romantic lead, Sam Corbett.  Sam was a very sympathetic character, but also still bruised and haunted.  He and Bella complimented each other well and he definitely came out of his shell as the story went along.  I still think it would have been interesting to see a Baba choose someone other than a human as her spouse, but I can’t be too upset since we got Sam instead.

Readers of this series will remember Brenna, Beka’s evil Baba mentor that refused to step down until the Queen forced her hand, and the three Riders – Mikhail Day, Alexei Knight, and Gregori Sun – that aided Barbara before going missing after the events of Wickedly DangerousWickedly Powerful is as much their story as it is Bella’s and I think the book suffered a little from that.  Because Brenna and the Riders don’t interact with Bella for much of the book, they were also given POV time to fill in the blanks behind the scenes.  Add this to Jazz, Bella’s protégé, and Sam’s POVs and Bella doesn’t get as much time in her own story as  I would have liked.  While I’m glad that the mystery behind the Riders was solved, I actually enjoyed the Bella-centric plots more.  I liked seeing her fight fires and would have been interested to learn more about the ways she tackles them, especially the times when she is masquerading as a volunteer.  I also would have loved to see a little more of the magic training/testing she put Jazz through, a Baba Yaga aptitude test of sorts.

Even though I didn’t get as much Bella POV as I wanted, I still felt like I connected with her more than Beka from Wickedly Wonderful.  Bella also has a certain “down-to-Earth” sense about her that Barbara can, at times, lack.  This made it very easy to slip into her sections and to engage with her as the lead.  I would very much like to revisit Bella’s story and to see her in action again in the future.  I’ve enjoyed each of the Baba Yagas in different ways and do have to say that I am a little wary that the next book won’t follow them.  Mikhail takes over as the first non-Baba lead for book 4.  I hope that our favorite ladies are still included somehow and that we get to jump back into their lives in future books.

If you are looking for a good paranormal romance that is heavier on the paranormal than the romance, you could do a lot worse than the Baba Yaga series.  Each book has a great female lead with a smoking hot romantic foil, plus plenty of world building, magic, and action.  Wickedly Powerful lived up to my expectations and Bella and Koshka are standouts for the series!

Thank you to Berkley Romance via Netgalley for providing an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4 Stars = B

 

 

Wickedly Ever After by Deborah Blake
Book #2.5 in Baba Yaga
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publication Date: January 19th 2016
ARC Provided by Netgalley and InterMix

Synopsis from Goodreads: 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…

Having triumphed over a powerful enemy and ended up with both a wonderful guy—Sheriff Liam McClellan—and an adorable adopted daughter to raise as a Baba Yaga, Barbara Yager is ready to welcome her happily ever after.

But first she must bring Liam to the Otherworld and get the Queen’s permission to marry him. The Queen, however, is not so easily persuaded. She gives them three impossible tasks to complete in two weeks’ time—and if they fail Barbara will have to watch Liam slowly age and die like all humans, and kiss her happily ever after good-bye forever.

 

Christal’s Review

Wickedly Ever After was a short, but satisfying read.  I really liked Barbara and Liam in Wickedly Dangerous, so it was nice to catch up with them again and to see how little Babs is progressing in her Baba training.  The story was pretty simple; the Queen of the Otherworld gives Barbara and Liam three impossible tasks that they must complete before she will give her permission for them to marry and for Liam to drink the water of life and death.  Barbara and Liam set off immediately on their quest with Babs and Chudo-Yudo in tow.

Though the page count was low and the quests were a little too easy, this was still a fun read.  Barbara and Liam had plenty of help throughout their journey and it was fun to have all three Babas on the page at different times.  This was a cute little outing that didn’t have much effect on the overall storyline, but it did give readers a chance to check in with some of our favorite characters.  While I wouldn’t recommend this as a starting point to the series, Baba Yaga fans should be pleased with this novella.

Thank you to InterMix via Netgalley for providing an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 3.5 Stars = B-

Series Reading Order:
0.5. Wickedly Magical
0.1. Wickedly Dangerous
0.2. Wickedly Wonderful
2.5. Wickedly Ever After
0.3. Wickedly Powerful

 

© 2016, Badass Book Reviews. All rights reserved.