Red Blooded (Jessica McClain #4)
Summary From Amazon:
Jessica is going to Hell.
After settling a fragile truce between the vampires, werewolves and witches, the last thing Jessica wants to do is face the demons head on. But when the Prince of Hell kidnapped her brother, he set into motion a chain of events that even Jessica doesn’t have the power to stop.
Now, Jessica must go into battle again. But Hell is a whole new beast — new rules, more dangerous demons, and an entirely foreign realm. And when Jessica is dropped into the Underworld too soon, without protection or the help of her friends, she must figure out just how powerful she can be… or she will never make it out alive.
When I got the invitation to read Red Blooded on NetGalley I jumped on the opportunity. Full Blooded, book one in the series, was the first ARC I ever received, back when I first started blogging, and I’ve been hooked ever since. So to say I was excited to see what Red Blooded had in store would be an understatement. Also, the book came out today (Sep. 9) so if you want to go get a copy you can!
Red Blooded delivered in just about every way, giving me the diverse paranormal group I’ve come to expect, and the wide array of talents and powers displayed, all in a brand new world to explore. One of my favorite things about the Jessica McClain series is that Carlson takes the standard paranormal creatures (werewolves, vampires, witches, etc.) and alters how we think about them by combining some, and giving others new traits and personalities that you might not expect. Red Blooded has all of the paranormal beings you could possibly want, and introduces plenty of new ones as Jessica makes her way through the Underworld/Hell.
Carlson’s version of the Underworld/Hell (I have to use both because she does interchangeably, tad annoying I know) is an intriguing one. She makes it feel at times more alive than you might imagine, with vivid descriptions of ever-changing colors and textures of structures and tunnels, and the vast differences of the world at night and during the day. Alternatively, it is a very structured and clean place, with seemingly identical demons roaming around in vast numbers, and at times it seems regimented and even a bit cold. The combination makes for a really interesting experience on all sensory levels.
The character list remains pretty expansive, as I was alluding to earlier, and the new additions in the book are well worth the read by themselves. I can’t get into too much detail without spoilers, but one of the new creatures Jessica meets when she arrives in Hell has a very interesting personality, and instantly had me gravitating toward them. The supporting cast is really strong as well, from the BF Rourke to the bizarre (and adorable) young oracle Maggie, the quick-witted Ray and the incredibly stubborn Vampire Queen, and all sorts of other compelling characters make it one wild ride.
My complaints for Red Blooded are ones I’ve made consistently throughout the series, so I’ll keep them short. Jessica often seems incredibly dense, the last to pick up on what’s going on, and yet it doesn’t seem like she is intentionally being portrayed as a moron, so that’s frustrating. That leads me to my other issue, which is the repetitious conversations, weird pauses for info dumps, and the amount of info dumps throughout the book that feel awkward because it is so forced, all of which seems to stem from how slow Jessica is, and it is annoying to deal with.
Overall I definitely enjoyed Red Blooded, as I have with the rest of the series. While I do have complaints, they are for things I’ve come to accept come with the better parts of the books in the series, but those issues have kept the last few books from being five stars. I would recommend the series to anyone who enjoys a wide variety of paranormal creatures in different (and usually pretty awesome) worlds. I’m looking forward to book five to see what craziness happens next! Thanks as always for reading.
Cold Blooded Blog Tour
Summary From Goodreads:
Jessica arrives back in town to find her best friend missing and the most powerful witch in the country is blaming her for it. But before they can move to save her, the group is attacked.
On the run, Jessica and Rourke head to the mountains. Several surprises await them, but in order to save her father they are forced to leave for New Orleans early.
Arriving on the Vampire Queen’s doorstep unexpectedly, and bringing trouble on their heels, the Sects are thrown into an all out war. The vicious
skirmish ends up forcing the vamps and Jessica to fight on the same team.
The Vamp Queen ends up owing Jessica, but what Jessica doesn’t realize is just how soon she’ll have to cash it in…
I am so excited to be part of the Cold Blooded blog tour! I’ve been hooked on the Jessica McClain series ever since I was lucky enough to win a copy of Full Blooded when I started blogging. Though I don’t have the giveaway on this post, if you would like to enter to win some awesome swag AND a SIGNED copy of the book you can go here or click one of the pretty pictures above. ^.^ Without further ado, my review!
Favorite line: “You can’t fight the threat in your underwear!”
The line I picked was chosen because it is a great example of the humor Carlson weaves throughout the entire book. You are going to laugh, constantly, sometimes from a witty remark, other times as a form of relief from all the tension surrounding the characters.
Jessica is a fantastic MC. She kicks butt constantly, refuses to let anyone get in her way even when she doubts the choices she makes, and is fiercely loyal to her loved ones, and even to some not-so-loved that she is forced to align with. Her sense of humor is sharp, her devotion to her mate is beautiful, and the bonds that she is able to create with all varieties of supernatural beings has more to do with her character than any magical properties she has. She doesn’t relish killing, or having to constantly exert her will onto people, really she’s a softie underneath, but don’t tell her I said that. Jessica is someone you want to have on your side at all cost, and I love reading from her perspective.
The rest of the cast are just as engaging and Carlson makes sure that there are no throwaways. The baddies, though at times it is hard to tell if some of them are truly bad or not, are fun to root against and each have their own twisted motive for wanting to harm Jessica and her friends and family. The vampire queen is my favorite of the bunch. She’s a bit off her rocker, and conniving as heck, but I loved her tirades, the brilliance of her schemes, and the way she maintains an authoritative figure at all times. Oh, and the friends and family I mentioned? Well I can’t go into all of them as the cast is actually quite large in Cold Blooded.
For supernatural lovers there is everything you could want in this book and more. Vampires? We’ve got them in spades. Werewolves? Packs on packs on packs. Fae? Check. Demons? Oh you betcha. Witches? Hilarious, crazy, one a bit irritating (in a good way), and even a special surprise in this group. There are even spellcasters! There are a few surprises too, one I won’t mention by name and the other, Rourke, well he’s got something he’d like to show you. I think you’ll like it as much as Jessica did…well maybe not that much. ^.^
The story is a whirlwind of an adventure. Action junkies I found a book for you too! We have epic battles, daring escapes, rescues, fun car chases, and a bit of everything else you can think of. There is a TON of stuff going on in Cold Blooded, but it is so much fun to go along for the ride! Jessica has to save just about everybody, but is she up to the task? Oh and for you romance lovers out there, the one between Jessica and Rourke is so sweet, but steamy as well. 😉
If you couldn’t tell I really enjoyed Cold Blooded. It was so nice getting to experience these characters again, as well as meeting a few new faces, and learning sooo much more about all of them. The story is great as Carlson’s writing shines, the book is impossible to put down with all the craziness going on, and I’d recommend it to anyone. It is an adult book, but I’d say teenagers would be fine reading it as well, and would love it just as much. There is something in Cold Blooded for everyone. Thanks as always for reading, don’t forget to enter the giveaway I linked above, and if you want to check out what other people on the tour are saying about Cold Blooded click right here! ^.^
Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #166/200
It hasn’t been the best week for Jessica McClain.
Her mate has been kidnapped by a Goddess hell-bent on revenge — but Jessica is playing for keeps.
Because she’s the only female werewolf in town…it comes with its own set of rules…and powers.
Aided by two vamps, two loyal Pack members, and one very reluctant human, Jessica must rescue her man while coming to terms with what being a wolf really means.
All in a day’s work for a girl.
The second novel in the Jessica McClain series is a full on action adventure featuring one angry Goddess and plenty of monsters, demons, and a few newly risen beasties…
I received an e-book ARC of Hot Blooded by Amanda Carlson in exchange for an honest review. Hot Blooded is set to release on April 23, 2013.
The Jessica McClain series has a special place in my bloggy heart as the first book in the series, Full Blooded, was one of the first books I ever reviewed on the blog. I loved Full Blooded and gave it an exuberant five Frodo review so I was understandably quite anxious and excited for the second installment in the series, Hot Blooded.
The story continues from the point of view of the main character, Jessica, as she prepares to battle some familiar foes and a seemingly never ending barrage of new ones. The definite strength of Hot Blooded, Jessica and the rest of the cast of characters continue to shine as each has quite the personality and Carlson’s blatant refusal to allow even a small role to become cookie cutter, something I greatly admire her for pulling off. Jessica has a sharp sense of humor and a kick-butt attitude that makes for a killer heroine combination. She’s surrounded by other strong characters, some new (that I won’t reveal because *in my River Song voice* Spoilers!) and plenty of familiar ones such as Ray (think asshole detective, general pain in the rear), her brother Tyler and the ever hilarious Danny.
Another strong point of Hot Blooded was expanding the list of supernaturals to include a plethora of new ones. While werewolves still are the main featured type, vampires and goddesses, as well as a few surprise “supes” make appearances. There are underworld beings that are filled with just as much power as creepiness, low level smelly beings that make their presence felt from the onset, and a variety of others.
However, unlike with Full Blooded I felt that Hot Blooded suffered from a very slow buildup. There were a couple of supposedly suspenseful scenes, but really through the first 100 or so pages it was just a painstakingly long journey sequence. Information is shared with the reader that is necessary, but I wonder if the story needed to go on for that long in order to present it all, I have to think that there was a more efficient way, oh well. The info dumps that seemed designed to only catch up new readers were more frequent and farther into the book than I am used to and between those and the repetition of the desire for Jessica to reunite and free her mate I was left feeling disconnected and distant from the storyline on multiple occasions. I wanted to become engrossed in Hot Blooded, but it was roughly halfway through the book before the real action started and the excitement level not only took longer to develop than in Full Blooded but it wasn’t as strong when it did occur. There were good battles that are definitely worth being patient to get to, but Hot Blooded is definitely more developmental in pacing vs. the frenzy that was Full Blooded.
Overall Hot Blooded was a good book, but unfortunately not a great one. The second book in a series can result in a bit of a letdown in terms of action and/or fluidity as it can often struggle to appeal to new readers and move the plot forward at the same time, I think that was the case with Hot Blooded. I have a good feeling about Cold Blooded (Book 3 in the series) and though I wasn’t in love with Hot Blooded, I’d still recommend giving it a shot when it comes out, especially if you enjoyed Full Blooded. It’s a solid entry into the series filled with plenty of laughs to make up for some of the slower parts. Thanks as always for reading! ^.^
Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #93/200