Title: WICKEDLY POWERFUL
Series: Baba Yaga #3
Author: Deborah Blake
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 304 Pages
Published: Berkley (February 2, 2016)
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 Wine Glasses
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…
"You say wicked like it's a bad thing."
Deborah Blake concludes her utterly charming Baba Yaga series with WICKEDLY POWERFUL. It's the third and final book in the series. It could be read as a stand-alone if that is your preference, but, your enjoyment would most assuredly be increased if the series is read in order as there is a mystery that plays out through the series. The author does fill in what a newbie would need to know - so no worries about being lost - but, heck, the series is exciting, incomprehensible and mystifying - and you won't want to miss out on any of the wild adventures within it. So do yourself a favor, and read the series in order if you can.
Since I met Deborah at the Coastal Magic Convention this year, she has become one of my favorite go-to authors and WICKEDLY POWERFUL does not disappoint! Her Baba Yaga series is a fracturing retelling of the wicked witch in the old Russian folk tales who lived in a wooden chicken hut on legs. This book is the story of Baba Yaga Bella Young and tower firewatcher Sam Corbett. Both characters shined and I ate up the chemistry between them.
Bella is one of just three Baba Yagas in the United States. Each has a special affinity; Bella's is to fire and she is appropriately a flaming redhead. Bella's magical chicken hut home has evolved into a colorful gypsy's caravan.
Sam Corbett is our tortured hero. He is a former hotshots firefighter who was the only survivor after a raging wildfire backtracked onto his team. The aftermath left him scarred inside and out. He lost his whole crew which included his best friend and his fiancé. Now he can't be around fire and suffers from PTSD. He still wants to be of service in some way, so he works as a conscientious tower firewatcher in the darkly beautiful Black Hills forest in Wyoming. Strangely, there's been many more fires this year that can't be explained, so he and the firefighters have been kept hopping. You would think that there's no way he could be around a firewitch, right? You might want to think again.
Following please find a few of my favorite quotes from this oh-so-addictive read:
"You're welcome to join us again sometime," Bella said....
"Right. Well, I don't know." Sam looked at the ground. scuffing one boot in the dirt. "I'm usually not very good company."
"I'm hanging out with a teenager and a temperamental cat." Bella said with a small smile. "The bar is set very low around here."
"You should stay," he repeated. "The worst of the storm may be over, but it is still raining. It's pitch-black out there, and you're already tired and soaked to the bone. "Not exactly great conditions for riding a dirt bike. I wouldn't want you to get hurt."
Bella took another small step toward him, tilting her head up so she could look into his eyes.
"And that's the only reason you want me to stay?" To keep me safe?"
Sam shook his head. "No. Not the only reason." And he leaned down to kiss her, suddenly realizing he'd been wanting to do it since the day he met her.
Sam started to move away, and she pulled him closer.
"Where are you going?" she asked.
"Shhh," he said. "I'm just going to grab the blanket and turn out the light. I'll be right back."
Bella chuckled sleepily and waved her right hand. The blanket lifted off the back of the chair where she'd left it and came slowly sailing across the room to drape itself over their entwined bodies. A snap of her fingers and the single lamp in the kitchen went out.
Sam blinked in the sudden darkness. "You're a very handy woman to have around," he said.
"You have no idea," she replied, and proceeded to demonstrate that she wasn't quite as tired as he'd thought.
Sam could feel his jaw drop open, but it took him a moment to gather himself together enough to shut it. He blinked at Jazz. "Did that cat just talk, or am I losing my mind?"
Koshka laughed, a bizarre sound coming from something with whiskers and ear tufts. "So you believe in witches but not to talking cats? You have a very limited worldview, Human. You might want to work on that."
If you are a fan of this series, you would be acquainted with the Riders, a trio of sexy brawn who respond to the Baba Yagas' calls when they're needed. The problem is that they've stopped responding and have gone missing. Bella has been charged with finding them. There's fear that a certain retired Baba Yaga may be involved. I will share that the situation with the Riders is dire and sad. But, the book is really good and the Riders will be featured in a new series soon - so, thankfully, they do survive.
Supporting characters include Jazz, a feisty runaway, and, for good measure, a dragon disguised as a large cat. I inhaled this book in one day as I wasn't able to put it down once I started it. WICKEDLY POWERFUL is a romantic, suspenseful mystery with plenty of thrills. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys bewitchingly brilliant, wonderfully witchy brews! I'm happy dancing that Deborah is writing a spin-off series set in this same magical world entitled the Broken Riders. (Remember? I told you they survived!) The first book is DANGEROUSLY CHARMING and it's making its debut in October 2016! I can't wait!
Suggested Reading Order:
WICKEDLY MAGICAL (Book # 0.5)
WICKEDLY DANGEROUS (Book #1)
WICKEDLY WONDERFUL (Book #2)
WICKEDLY EVER AFTER (Book #2.5)
WICKEDLY POWERFUL (Book #3)