by Deborah Blake
Series: Baba Yaga #1
Narrator: Romy Nordlinger
Length: 12 hrs and 11 mins
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Narration: 4 cups
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.Contains mature themes.
Wickedly Dangerous by Deborah Blake is the first book in the Baba Yaga series and was recently released by Tantor Audio featuring Romy Nordlinger as narrator. A twist on the Baba Yaga lore, Wickedly Dangerous delivers a mystery wrapped in paranormal woo-woo with a side dish of romance.
I had a good time listening to Wickedly Dangerous. From its suspenseful story to the humor, and magic. Blake drew me as right into the story and introduced me to Barbara Yager and her dragon-turned-dog in her enchanted Airstream. Now if that sentence did not peak your interest keep reading.
You have probably heard of Baba Yaga—the archetypal wicked witch of Russian tales who lived in a log hut that walked about on chicken legs, rode through the forests in a giant mortar that she steered with a pestle, and ate small children if they didn’t behave. According to legend, Baba Yaga usually appeared as an ugly old crone, although she also wore other faces, and sometimes gave aid to a worthy seeker, if such a one could pass her tests. You probably think you know who Baba Yaga is. But you’d be wrong. Because I am Baba Yaga, and this is my story.
The story takes place in a small Upstate New York town where the local sheriff, Liam McClellan is frustrated by a string of missing children who seems to vanish without a trace. He epitomizes the all-American good guy and I immediately liked him. During routine sweeps of his county, he stumbles upon the Airstream and Baba Yaga. She is posing as a researcher with a doctorate who is collecting and studying plants in the area. She is also an herbalist. Her real reason for being there is that someone summoned her to find a missing child.
“Holy crap!” he said. “That’s a big dog.” “Yes,” said Baba. “But a small dragon.”
Blake’s Baba Yaga is not the old woman; from the tales, I remember as a child. Blake has twisted the tale creating a unique heroine. She is still quite witchy and not to be messed with. Clad in biker jeans and tattoos, she loves to be barefoot and has a sweet tooth. When summoned she requires payment and yes sometimes it is in the form of a chicken, but usually, it requires the requestor to give up something important. Liam does not know what to make of Barbara and her enormous dog, but soon the two are knee deep in the solving the case.
Three children are missing, someone is sabotaging Barbara’s remedies and there are those in the town that want Liam fired. Barbara senses an Otherworld presence and soon things get complicated for both of them. Blake writes an engaging, suspenseful tale with plenty of twists but she wove in humor and romance keep the story light. We have a villain that you will love to hate and you will meet creatures from the Otherworld.
The small-town added depth with its nosey neighbors, politics and grieving parents. Of course, as the stranger in town, Barbara soon finds herself suspect numero uno and the fact that someone is trying to sabotage her only complicates matters. The romance was sweet, with touches of heat that consummated in a fade to black scenario.
While this book introduces the series, Blake did a wonderful job of slipping us right into an interesting case while fleshing out the world. We learn a great deal about Baba Yaga without information dumps. I loved some of her awkwardness when dealing directly with humans, but she has a quality about her that endeared her to me. I was completely enthralled by Baba Yaga, the three riders, and her dragon companion. They guard the magical waters and doors to the Otherworld. The Fae populate the Otherworld and I loved Blake’s depiction of it, right down to its Queen.
Romy Nordlinger does a wonderful narrating and I loved the Russian accent. I will definitely be continuing this series on audio. The tale was twelve hours in length but it felt like four.
Wickedly Dangerous is the perfect read for anyone looking for a paranormal tale with unique characters and twists on old lore. Blake’s writing style draws the reader in and holds their attention until the final page.
by Deborah Blake
Series: Baba Yaga #3
Narrator: Romy Nordlinger
Length: 12 hours and 11 minutes
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Purchase*: Audible *affiliate
Narration: 4 cups
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 when she discovers that 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 that 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.
In Wickedly Wonderful, we move to the California coast and meet Beka Yancy who is not yet thirty and struggled with whether or not to accept her place as Baba Yaga.
Again, I listened to the audio and loved the narrative voice of Romy Nordlinger. This series is perfect for audio and I listened in a few sittings.
Beka lives in a decked out bus that looks like it is straight from the sixties on the outside and is much more modern inside. She lives with her faith-full dragon disguised as a rather large, scary dog.
When a mer-woman pulls Beka and her surfboard into the deep-sea to save her baby from a fishing net, she soon finds herself in trouble with Marcus Dermott, a former U.S. Marine who has returned home to help his ailing father operate his fishing boat. She also discovers that the mer-people have left the safety of their underwater cavern because their old and young are getting sick. Something is poisoning their waters. Beka soon finds herself tasked with saving the Mer-people and assigned a mission by the Queen of the Otherworld.
The mystery was solid and kept me listening even as I struggled with the romance. I did not care for Dermott. He was cold, bossy and opinionated. Sadly, by the time he came around I was already disconnected. Thankfully, the mystery, villains, and action kept me in the game.
Blake wrapped up Wickedly Wonderful leaving me with a smile as she set up the next book in the series. I loved the world she has created and look forward to listening to Wickedly Powerful, which releases in 2016.
The first book looks like a lot of fun! Tbh, I’m not sure what to make of the second book. Is Beka the same person as Barbara? And is it worth reading after the first book?
No Kris, each book features a different Baba Yaga. They have territories. . .
I have heard of this books, but had no idea it was really based on lore-lore that I never knew existed. You really have many wanting book one and I do have a credit to use-and an over 9 hour car trip coming up. I was going to use it to listen to the 2nd White Trash Zombie which I just bought, but now I don’t know. Think I am going to have to listen to this one. Great review!
Awesome, I hope you love it Lorna. It is an easy listen that sucks you in 🙂 perfect for a car ride.
Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf
Oh…this series doesn’t follow the same character? I was surprised and a bit disappointed when I got to your second review….but it sounds like the first would do as a stand alone right?
Yes. Each works as a standalone. I am excited for the next audio coming in 2016. You would enjoy these Melissa.
Brandi Breathes Books
The old lure does sound like an interesting element and good to hear that there was humor as well
I loved the humor element Brandi 🙂
Suspenseful and humorous, that sounds like a win to me!
Yes…you would like these Candace
The Bibliophile Babe
It sounds like a really interesting story!
These are fun with a nice mystery, a little humor and some smooching 🙂
Melissa (Books and Things)
You had me at Baba Yaga and then you had to quote: ““Holy crap!” he said. “That’s a big dog.” “Yes,” said Baba. “But a small dragon.”” Oh must read. Then in the second book there is a group of mer people? Um yes! I saved these in my library account to listen to soon! 😀
I love the dragon companions Melissa. This is such a fun listen
Thanks for this review Kimba! I had these on my wishlist, but now I bought them. both, and pre-ordered book 3. And I will ask my best friend to get me the prequel novella.
That is awesome Aurian, I look forward to your thoughts. I cannot wait for the audio of book 3.
Oh, Kim, I definitely have to get to know Baba! She sounds like a smart, strong and slightly wicked heroine. I’m glad you enjoyed these two installments so much. And who wouldn’t want to have a dragon-turned-dog as a helper?
I think you would like these and yes a Dragon dog
I have these both to listen too! I hope to get to them soon but my cd rom on my computer is not liking me right now. I think I wore it out listening to to many audiobooks in a row…lol.
LOL, I transfer them to my smartphone and and use the Smart Audiobook App
I should have did that more often but I always listen while I surf the net or blog so just listened on my pc. Now I can’t even get media player to let me rip them to transfer. 🙁
Ooh these sound quite cool! I’ve never really listened to audio books but really want to get into the habit, especially after reading this!
I listen when doing mundane chores and love it.
I loved her version of the Baba Yaga legend especially Barbara’s story. I can’t wait for the third one that releases in the new year.
I am so excited for the next audio.
I have been eyeing this series for awhile as I always crave good UF, and I think I would like this new spin on Baba Yaga!
This is a great series on audio Heidi 🙂
What, you’re reviewing two at a time now?! DO you EVER sleep??? LOL 😀 I like the small-town setting and its idiosyncrasies, and the premise sounds promising. I’d love to check out the series.
:snort: Here is the thing Ramona… I read/listen to about 25 books a month. I am constantly trying to figure out how to squeeze them all into my blog for the month. I love to write discussion posts, take Saturdays off and toss in some tips and tricks, recipe and book recs, Nonna’s corner etc…I simply run out of space. I have all of November done except 5 reviews (most Ho-Ho-Ho books) and already have begun filling in Dec and Jan. #realworldbookaddictproblems
You know how I love the paranormal woo hoo. 😉 This sounds like my kind of series!
Yes and it was fun to listen 🙂
A mystery wrapped in paranormal woo-woo, unique characters, a dragon disguised as a dog – sounds wonderful to me.
Yes indeed 🙂 thanks Tracy
I don’t know much about the Baba Yaga legend/folklore, so I think that aspect would be really interesting for me Kim. Wickedly Dangerous sounds pretty all-around fantastic, and Wickedly Wonderful sounds solid even though the romance wasn’t quite as strong for you. Loved the reviews!
Yes, even though the romance didn’t work for me, WW was still an engaging listen.
These sound like unique mystery novels. I especially like the sound of the heroine from the first book. I think I’d have fun reading about her.
Great reviews, Kim!
Barbara Yancy was great Nick, this is a fun mystery series with some paranormal woo-woo thrown in.
I was really intrigued by Wickedly Dangerous. I like the twist on the Baba Yaga lore, all the supes, and the mystery and romance. Wickedly Wonderful kinda lost me since the Baba Yaya is different (is that explained?) and that you didn’t like the hero. :/ I do like that Blake incorporates so many supes though…fae, mer-people…
Yes there is more than one Baba Yaga..they have territories so to speak.
Sounds like an interesting and unique story. I never heard about Baba Yaga before. But I love it when old tales become part of a book series! Just like these stories about Greek gods you’ve always heard about.. But when these stories are slightly changed in a book.. Fun!!
I love the first cover.. the second one doesn’t really work for me. Too bad the second book wasn’t as good as the first one. I hope the third book will work for you! 😉
Google Baba Yaga…very interesting folk lore. Maureen. I am really hoping I love the next one and yes cover one is stronger.
So she’s Barbara the Baba Yaga? lol. Sounds like an interesting book, but of course I’m drawn to the Californian chick even more.
Yes…and I am totally avoiding November 9 reviews and will stop by after to compare notes 🙂
Different babas, hmmmm
Yes…I loved the old lore so this was a fun twist.
I hadn’t actually heard of Baba Yaga till I came across a review for the book Baba Yaga’s Assistant. Now I’m curious. Where would you advice me to start. (Not here I presume) especially since you didn’t like the second one much.
Here is an informative site to try : http://www.oldrussia.net/baba.html and this article: http://www.ancient-origins.net/myths-legends-europe/baba-yaga-confounding-crone-slavic-folklore-002836
I did buy the first one when it was released but I haven’t tried it yet I confess. It’s too bad that the second isn’t as good. I’m curious to see how book 3 will be.