Wickedly Wonderful Baba Yaga #2 By Deborah Blake ISBN#9780425272930 Author’s Website: http://deborahblakeauthor.com
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Daniele
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… (Goodreads)
This is a fun paranormal romance with lots of fantasy elements. I like the concept of modernizing the Russian fairy tale of Baba Yaga, the child eating wicked witch. It is the Baba Yagas’ job to maintain the balance of the elements by guarding the doors that separate the mundane world (reality) from the otherworld. Beka is tied to the water and is most at home on her surf board or scuba diving. She is a powerful witch but young and inexperienced, and she is questioning whether she even wants to be the Baba Yaga. She has until her thirtieth birthday to decide, and it is rapidly approaching.
The story gets off to an action packed start when a mermaid implores Beka to save her baby that has become entangled in a fishing net. Beka is able to free the little mer but is caught herself and hauled to the surface by Marcus and his father’s fishing crew. This leads to a rocky start for this oil and water pair. Marcus is a battle weary marine who has come home to help his ill father, with whom he has a strained relationship, until he can figure out what to do with his life. The two cannot be more different from each other, nor can they help but be drawn to one aother.
The Mer and Selkie people usually stay in their own territory, concealed in the deep trenches of Monterey Bay. However, something is poisoning their environment and making the inhabitants sick. They have had to move dangerously close to the humans and fear being discovered. The queen of the Mers and the king of the Selkies implore Beka to find the origin of the problem and fix it. Beka has until the next full moon, at which time the ocean people are at their weakest, hoping to prevent anyone from dying.
We learn very early on in the story that the eldest Selkie Prince, Kesh, is behind the toxins. He is upset with his father’s decision to pass the thrown on to his more responsible younger son, and Kesh sets out to ruin everything if it cannot be his. I really wish that there had been some element of mystery and suspense regarding Kesh’s identity and motivation, but he made an excellent, slick villain who was a joy to dislike.
With the support of her dragon disguised as a Newfoundland Chewie and Marcus’s reluctant help, Beka does her best to save the ocean society and accept her destiny, all while falling in love with Marcus.
I thought Marcus’s reaction to Beka’s magic was understandable, but found it interesting that he considered her secret a lie, and that is what bothered him more than accepting this fantastical world around him that he did not know existed. Beka seemed younger than her portrayed twenty-nine years, but I suppose that was her trusting nature and optimistic attitude shining through. I loved Chewie’s levity and obvious affection for Beka, and Markus, Sr., was fun despite his gruff exterior. I truly hope he got his ever after.
Wickedly Wonderful is a nice follow up to Wickedly Dangerous but can definitely be read as a standalone novel. Beka is a much different Baba Yaga than Barbara (from Dangerous) but equally as entertaining. She is such a kind, free spirit, and I would like to hang out for a day in her converted school bus with her and Chewie. I look forward to reading about the third Baba Yaga in the series and recommend this to fans of paranormal romance that is heavier on action than bedroom scenes.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*