[Review] FULL BLOODED by Amanda Carlson

Amanda Carlson

Cover Copy: Born the only female in an all male race, Jessica McClain isn’t just different—she’s feared.

After living under the radar for the last twenty-six years, Jessica is thrust unexpectedly into her first change, a full ten years late. She wakes up and finds she’s in the middle of a storm. Now that she’s become the only female full-blooded werewolf in town, the supernatural world is already clamoring to take a bite out of her and her new Pack must rise up and protect her.

My Thoughts: After the action packed into BLOODED, the prequel novel, I had hopes of more of the same for FULL BLOODED.

FULL BLOODED was a little hard to understand at times, though the concept is simple: Jessica is thought to be part of a disastrous prophesy about a female werewolf, one that makes the other werewolves very anxious, even though Jessica has shown no signs of turning being a werewolf, for all outwards appearances she’s very human. She leaves the Pack, assumes a new identity, and stays hidden until her first shift. Alone on her first shift, she trashes her apartment and escapes into the wild until she can gain control of the wolf and assumes human form again. Because of the prophesy, she can’t return to the Pack for help during this tumultuous time of learning to handle her wolf, so she goes back to trying to live under her human identity, even though there’s now a police investigation into the trashing of her apartment and the wolves might be onto her.

This is where it gets hard to understand. Why go back to that old life? Why not assume a new identity and move on? Also, several wolves from the Pack are Jessica’s friends and family, and they move to help her, which only serves to draw attention to Jessica from the wolves who want her dead so the prophesy can’t come into fruition. Why do this? Why not gather the allies she has and find another place to live for a while?

I also had trouble with the concept of the male werewolves being so against Jessica. If, after all these centuries of not having a female, wouldn’t they be happy? Wouldn’t they be attracted to her? Even for survival of the species? I understand they have their beliefs, but this part of the plot wasn’t grounded enough. It seemed to be reaching. Probably because the concept was not clearly shown, but discussed in dialogue.

It doesn’t help that the cop investigating the apartment damage is so bitterly against Jessica for no good reason. She came out more like a victim than the action hero I wanted her to be.  Additionally, after every piece of action, Jessica’s neighbour (who is Latina and her accent is spelled out phonetically in all her dialogue. It was irritating and offensive.) and workplace assistant/friend lavish so much concern over her I felt a little nauseous. “Oh, Jessica! I was so worried! I’m so glad you’re okay!” It really ends up victimizing the hero than making her sympathetic.

(Also, as someone who used to install burglar alarms after break-ins, I found the police’s investigation to be completely unrealistic. Police departments don’t have time to investigate break-ins. This level of harassment would have been much more logical if the bad cop was a private investigator working for the insurance company of the building’s owner.)

I might have had fewer questions about the logic if I was better able to immerse into the story, but I found page after page was dialogue explaining the world-building. (This is “telling”, not “showing”.) There was so much discussion setting up each action piece, followed by so much post-action discussion, it really slowed the pace. I found myself skimming over many pages.

I’m hoping a lot of this is set-up for future books.

The action scenes were brilliant but too short and too far between. I mean this is really Ms. Carlson’s strength. There were times when reading the action, she really reminded me of Kelley Armstrong. I want to see more action.

Ms. Carlson also writes some pretty hot sexytimes in FULL BLOODED, but these scenes were also too short and too far between. When Jessica is surrounded by so many hot werewolves in her life, I had trouble deciding which one I wanted to root for. Well done!

Fans of Rachel Vincent’s Shifter series will love FULL BLOODED. The writing and storyline both reminded me of ROGUE.

Rating: B-
Series: Jessica McClain, #1
Publisher: Orbit
Acquired: NetGalley

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The Jaye Wells Methadone List

No new details have been released about the new forthcoming series by Jaye Wells, except that it’s called Dirty Magic and to “imagine The Wire with Wizards”. We can assume this means to expect an urban setting, maybe a police detective, and lots of magic.

So if you’re missing the Sabina Kane series, here’s a list of a few titles to help get you through the withdrawal:

The Sweet Scent of Blood by Suzanne McLeod

Genevieve Taylor is a sidhe – one of the noble fae – and she’s unusual even in a London where celebrity vampires, eccentric goblins and scheming lesser fae mix freely with humanity…

Genny is a rising star at Spellcrackers.com, where she finds the “M” in magic – which can mean anything from mischief to malice to murder. The spellcrackers are run by the Witch Council, whose ancient tenets prohibit any contact with vampires. And that’s just fine with Genny, who wants as little to do with the bloodsuckers as possible.

But when a sinfully sexy vamp is accused of killing his lover, an old debt forces Genny to help prove his innocence, risking her job, her safety – and the exposure of her own dark secrets. Genny soon realizes that she and her client are both unwitting pawns in a centuries-old power struggle. And it’s not just her own neck at stake but the lives of all of London’s supernatural beings.

The Better Part of Darkness by Kelly Gay

Atlanta: it’s the promised city for the off-worlders, foreigners from the alternate dimensions of heaven-like Elysia and hell-like Charbydon. Some bring good works and miracles. And some bring unimaginable evil….

Charlie Madigan is a divorced mother of one, and a kick-ass cop trained to take down the toughest human and off-world criminals. She’s recently returned from the dead after a brutal attack, an unexplained revival that has left her plagued by ruthless nightmares and random outbursts of strength that make doing her job for Atlanta P.D.’s Integration Task Force even harder. Since the Revelation, the criminal element in Underground Atlanta has grown, leaving Charlie and her partner Hank to keep the chaos to a dull roar. But now an insidious new danger is descending on her city with terrifying speed, threatening innocent lives: a deadly, off-world narcotic known as ash. Charlie is determined to uncover the source of ash before it targets another victim — but can she protect those she loves from a force more powerful than heaven and hell combined?

Bitten & Smitten by Michelle Rowen

Dear Mom,

I might be a wee bit late for Cousin Mary’s wedding. It’s been a tough week. Turns out, my blind date from hell was literally from hell. Guy bit me. Next thing I know, I’m being chased all over the city by vampire hunters. And did I mention that I got fired, too?

Bright side– I met a man. Thierry de Bennicoeur. How great is that name? Anyway, he’s sexy, six hundred years old, and a tad suicidal, but no one’s perfect, right? And we have a deal– he’s gonna show me the ropes of the vampire world, and I’m supposed to help him end his existence. Or maybe I’ll just try to convince him life is worth living– no small challenge with the mostly immortal, let me tell you. I’ll admit it’s a complicated relationship. But with my luck, I just might have a date for that wedding after all.

Hugs and kisses,

The Stubborn Dead by Natasha Hoar

Rachel Miller thought her next job was a run-of-the-mill haunting. As a member of the Order of Rescue Mediums it’s her duty to release trapped spirits from the earthly realm. But when called to client Sylvia Elkeles’s house, she finds a wraith who doesn’t act like he should.

The Order considers the wraith an extreme threat and Rachel may be forced to use a barbaric ritual to free him—a ritual that comes with a heavy personal price. If she fails to humanely release the wraith, she’ll have her supernatural abilities bound.

When Janus Ostara—local supernatural mob boss—shows up demanding her attention, and Sylvia keeps secrets that may place Rachel in mortal danger, she doesn’t need her abilities to know something darkly sinister is at play.

Between uncovering Sylvia’s disturbing motives, and avoiding Janus, Rachel has enough on her hands without dealing with a wraith who may not realize he’s supposed to be dead…

20,000 words

Blooded: A Jessica Cain Novella by Amanda Carlson

Jessica McClain was born the only female in an all male race. The only problem is-she’s no wolf. Called a curse, a witch and the Daughter of Evil by the superstitious wolves, Jessica decides to fight for her freedom, at age nineteen, the only way she can-in the ring.
When she’s brutally attacked right after her fight, is it enough to finally earn her freedom off Compound, or will she be forced to endure the hatred even longer . . .
Word Count 19,400

Spider’s Bite by Jennifer Estep

They call me the Spider. I’m the most feared assassin in the South — when I’m not busy at the Pork Pit cooking up the best barbecue in Ashland. As a Stone elemental, I can hear everything from the whispers of the gravel beneath my feet to the vibrations of the soaring Appalachian Mountains above me. My Ice magic also comes in handy for making the occasional knife. But I don’t use my powers on the job unless I absolutely have to. Call it professional pride.

Now that a ruthless Air elemental has double-crossed me and killed my handler, I’m out for revenge. And I’ll exterminate anyone who gets in my way — good or bad. I may look hot, but I’m still one of the bad guys. Which is why I’m in trouble, since irresistibly rugged Detective Donovan Caine has agreed to help me. The last thing this coldhearted killer needs when I’m battling a magic more powerful than my own is a sexy distraction…especially when Donovan wants me dead just as much as the enemy.

[Review] BLOODED by Amanda Carlson

Blooded by Amanda CarlsonCover Copy: Jessica McClain was born the only female in an all male race. The only problem is-she’s no wolf. Called a curse, a witch and the Daughter of Evil by the superstitious wolves, Jessica decides to fight for her freedom, at age nineteen, the only way she can-in the ring.
When she’s brutally attacked right after her fight, is it enough to finally earn her freedom off Compound, or will she be forced to endure the hatred even longer . . .
Word Count 19,400

My Thoughts: BLOODED by Amanda Carlson is a short story introduction to her world of werewolves and the human girl trying to break free of the Pack.

Jessica is the daughter of the Pack’s Alpha leader, and as such, she has to prove her worth to pack. But being a female means she’s only human, born without any of the advantages her twin brother got as a full werewolf. In this short story, we learn how much Jessica wants to get out of the Pack before the Pack kills her. The Pack believes in a prophecy that might be about Jessica, and they’ll risk their lives with the Alpha to make sure it doesn’t come to fruition.

Carlson gives us a lot action in these four chapters. The words read like an MMA fight, first in the ring and then– if you can believe this, because I couldn’t– in the lake. I did not expect an all out brawl in the water. Talk about high octane reading!

Although I did find the dialogue could be “As you know, Bob” and the inner monologue could be repetative at times, I think these are typical for a first novel, and I expect to see less of this in subsequent stories.

If you love werewolves and lots of action, Amanda Carlson’s new series is sure to please.

The first book in the series, FULL BLOODED will be released in September. I recommend reading this novella, BLOODED, first.

Rating: B+
Series: Jessica McClain
Publisher: Orbit Books
Acquired: NetGalley

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