Wickedly Wonderful, by Deborah Blake. Urban fantasy. Paperback, 342 pages. Book two in the Baba Yaga series.
Despite the categorization by Amazon of "Paranormal Romance," I'm willing to leave this book over in the Urban Fantasy stack because - dum dum da - it had an actual plot built around character motivation. In this book, there is something poisoning the Merfolk's habitat in the Pacific Ocean, and Beka Yancy is asked to please check it out and hopefully put a stop to it.
This is Blake's second book in the series, and I'm pleased enough
that she is continuing to build complete universes and solid plots on which she can base reasonably fleshed-out characters. Sure, Blake has the "wow, he's cute" "he just couldn't stop thinking about her" romantic commentary, but that's almost white noise for me. The romance was nice, but it certainly was secondary to the "we need to solve X" push.
Don't believe the Amazon book blurb. Marcus Dermott, a battle-scarred former U.S. Marine, and his ailing fisherman father.
... blah blah blah. Yeah yeah, every other romance character is coming back from Afghanistan with PTSD these days. Thankfully, Marcus's Marine background is basically used as an explanation for why he left and for why he can kick ass during the final fight scene rather than a crutch to heave along a limping romance. He gets to have a full backstory, not just sprout fully fledged out of the sand. He's a reasonable guy who is a smidge stronger and more set in his ways than perhaps a regular surfer dude.
I do have a big complaint about our heroine, though. 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
blah blah blah. Yeah, Beka has an insecurity complex that was fed by the previous Baba Yaga. Apparently she never thought to get counseling or perhaps talk to anyone else about her concerns or doubts. But hey, one big fight and she's ready to take on the world! *sigh* The denouement was painfully predictable.
in this second book, despite having a new set of main characters, Blake continues to use the sidekick dragon-dog as the humor relief. I'm sure she got him from the same bin that Kevin Hearne got his for the Iron Druid series. I'm not complaining, mind you, but the one-track-mind, you humans are so weird and self-delusional
commentary can get distracting.
I picked this book up because I liked the first one. I recommend it as light reading to the urban fantasy crowd.