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Review: Wickedly Magical by Deborah Blake

Review: Wickedly Magical by Deborah Blake
Wickedly Magical by Deborah Blake
Series: Baba Yaga #0.5
Published by Berkley
Published on: August 5 2014
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 73
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
One Star
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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…

Barbara Yager loves being one of the most powerful witches in the world, but sometimes she’d rather kick back in her enchanted Airstream with a beer in her hand than work out how to grant the requests of the worthy few who seek her out.

But when a man appears with the token of a family debt of honor, Barbara must drop everything to satisfy the promise owed by her predecessor—and she isn’t above being a little wicked to make sure the debt is paid in full…


I wasn’t going to review this on the blog, b/c it’s a novella, and I seldom have much to say about novellas. But then I started writing my review on Goodreads, and I discovered that this one was bad enough to be an exception.

I’m so very tired of getting excited about new UF series that have interesting blurbs and covers, only to get my hands on the actual book and have that hope destroyed.

It’s a mean trick.


It makes me angry.


“What was so terrible about this one?” you ask. Well . . . for starters:

“Hmm,” she said. “‘Curiouser and curiouser,’ to quote Alice.”
Chudo-Yudo looked up from gnawing on the remains of his bone. There wasn’t much left. “What?”
“It’s a quote from Alice in Wonderland,” Barbara said.


It wasn’t enough to unnecessarily add, “to quote Alice.”  NOPE. We’re much too dense to get the reference. Who cares that it’s one of the most often quoted lines in literary history? Not Deborah Blake. So just to make doubly sure her bibliophileness doesn’t get overlooked, she gave us the book title as well.

But why stop there?

“I know that,” the dragon said grumpily. “I’ve read my Lewis Carroll.”

Not only are we stupid, but we’re LAZY. We can’t be trusted to look up the author on our own.

Maybe I’m blowing this out of proportion, but I’m one of those readers who, when an author starts to capitalize things that aren’t usually capitalized like, “The Look,” or, “Big Deal,” and goes on to have the character say that he or she could FEEL, or almost HEAR the capital letters . . . that annoys the crap out of me. I’m perfectly capable of recognizing emphatic capital letters without being lead by the nose, thankyouverymuch.

That whole dialogue had a similar feel, but admittedly, that could just be me. Unfortunately, that was the least of my issues with this prequel.

There were the inconsistencies.

Chudo-Yudo is a dragon. Chudo-Yudo is a dragon that appears to be a dog. Chudo-Yudo appears to be a dog, b/c in this new and modern world, a dragon cannot simply walk around as a dragon, but make no mistake–Chudo-Yudo is a dragon.

Except for when it suits his purpose to be a dog . . . then he’s a dog. And when I say, “suits his purpose,” I don’t mean when he’s trying to blend into the human world. NOPE. I mean when he wants the scratches, or a bone . . .

And the writing was so . . . BLEH.

“I’m a very lucky woman,” Grace agreed, but she was gazing coyly up at Jonathan in a way that could turn him on in an instant.

Really? That’s the best you could do? Turn him on? In an instant??


Or how about this:

“Barbara!” Bella said sharply. “What is it?”
“I don’t exactly know,” Barbara said. Even to her own ears, her voice sounded far away and dreamy. “This isn’t like any other Call I’ve ever had. It’s . . . different. Stronger. As if I can hear Fate saying my name out loud, leading me to a path that will change everything.”
“Change it how?” Beka asked.
“I don’t know,” Barbara said in a quiet voice. “I only know that after this, nothing will ever be the same again.”

SO. . . this Call (<—–a kind of subliminal mental pull towards whatever problem needed her special attention) . . . It’s different ? Stronger? It will change everything ? Nothing  will ever be the same?


And don’t get me started on the oblique justifications of Bad Guy’s actions.  Dude stumbled across a magical artifact that allowed him to bend people to his will, and he used it to form a cult and create a harem: yes, he did a bad thing, but poor guy, he was raised in foster care, and only wanted a family. *bats eyelashes*

AND his “family” members’ money . . . AND property . . . AND multiple beautiful women in his bed . . .

He convinces a lonely, old couple to sign their house over to him by taking advantage of their regret over not being able to have children.

Yeah, sorry .  . . the “product of his environment” argument has never worked on me. Not for adults.

So YEP, this was pretty terrible. If I wasn’t bored, I was irritated. If I wasn’t irritated, I was bored. The only reason I finished it was b/c NOVELLA. DNF-ing a novella just feels lazy, and if you didn’t pick up on it earlier, I’m not a fan of lazy. NOPE. I’d much rather be stubborn instead. *facepalm*

Not recommended.

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Jessica Signature

One Star

My name is Jessica and I live in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I’m trying my hand at writing, but mostly I read. My favorite genres are Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, and the YA versions of those genres, but if there is a book of a different color getting lots of buzz, I’ll read it too, just to be informed. If I’m not reading or writing, I’m probably on Goodreads or Pinterest or baking blueberry pies because I love them.



  1. Well…maybe it’s just the novella that is bad and book 1 will be good? Or not….

    I am bad with novellas, sometimes they do not make me want to read more. Then I read more and it’s good. I hate prequels, sequels, in betweens
    blodeuedd recently posted…Author Interview: Rhoda Baxter

    • Well, I openly acknowledge that a good series can have a crap prequel, so I’ll let you read the actual book, and if you think it’s good, maybe I’ll reevaluate 😉

  2. Sorry that this was so bad, but at least it was a novella and not a full length novel. Silver lining and all. Better luck next time.
    Melanie Simmons recently posted…Ugly Love Audiobook by Colleen Hoover review

    • Yes, ma’am. That is certainly a silver lining. AND I had plenty of time to cancel my pre-order of the paperback 😉

  3. Nice to see that my instincts were right on with this one. Something about that second paragraph of the blurb just aggravated me and I passed on this. Thanks for the confirmation. Better luck next time. 🙂
    Judy recently posted…Review: Her Kilted Werewolf by Tabitha Conall

    • Thanks, and yeah, I’m reading a Briggs, so MUCH better. Would that I had your foresight though. I just saw a pretty cover and new UF, and made grabby hands. *smacks grabby hands*

  4. Whoo, this sounds exceptionally bad, Jessica. I don’t even want to start with that Alice in Wonderland thing… I’ve encountered similar stuff in some books I’ve read and I’m like, “Really? You think I’m stupid or something?” I mean seriously, it’s redundant and that would majorly piss me off >__>
    Faye recently posted…Random Things in Motion #7: Would you be selfish… in a post-apocalyptic situation?

    • THANK YOU. I am NOT an idiot, and I really do not appreciate being treated like one. So unnecessary.

  5. Ack! I will definitely be avoiding this one. I don’t need books that frustrate me to no end no siree!
    kindlemom1 recently posted…Sunday Post

    • NO one does, LOL. Even if ranting in a review is therapeutic, I’d rather avoid it altogether.

  6. I HATE authors that think their readers are dumb; it’s a HUGE slap in the face. And, how dare she quote Lewis Carroll in such a way, and a crappy novella to boot. Blasphemy! I’m happy I decided to pass on this series.

    • Yeah, LOL. This one is really bad. I’m just glad I decided to read the novella, so I had time to cancel my paperback preorder.

  7. I just added a shelf to Goodreads called “You-don’t-want-to-read-this” because of this book. Seriously. It’s the only one on there right now. Because, this is the sort of book I would so pick up based on the cover and synopsis. And I don’t want to forget this review and put myself through that torture. And this was clearly torture. The quotes were torture – I don’t know if I could have made it through a novella this bad, so kuddos to you. And thanks for reviewing it on the blog, because I might have missed it if you hadn’t!
    Berls recently posted…Sunday Post | 53rd Edition

    • LOL. I need one of those shelves. It would be infinitely useful. And seriously—they were so bad that I read them out loud to my husband. You are welcome. I happy to spread the word on this one, b/c TERRIBLE.

  8. Yuck! I’m sorry you wasted any of your precious time on this one, Jessica. But I appreciate you sharing your thoughts so I know to steer clear. Boring and irritated…*frowns* I hope your current read is stellar!

    • PRECIOUS TIME, Brandee! Precious time just gone . . . I think you can tell how I felt about that, LOL. And yes, it is thank you. The Briggs story collection–SO good 😉

  9. Awww sorry this one wasn’t that great. Hope your next read is better 🙂 I had to lol at the gifs and pictures in the review.

    • Thanks, LOL. I don’t often use gifs on here, but this one really NEEDED them 😉

  10. Ew. That whole Alice in Wonderland exchange is just awful. Like going over to someone’s house and seeing that their bookshelf is full of classics that they’ve never read…just so they can look “smart.” I no longer feel bad about having zero interest in this series.
    Danya recently posted…Review: Skinwalker by Faith Hunter

    • I’m so glad that I’m not the only person annoyed by that. I had someone on Amazon tear me a new one about having a problem with dialogue, blah blah, which I why I went back and added the part of Big Deals, b/c same thing, really. It felt like desperation for acknowledgement. BLAH.

  11. OMG Jessica those gifs are everything! Sorry this was a crappy prequel, it’s unusual but I’d be willing to give book one a try just to see if it gets better, I’m a masochist that way…LOL Well, sometimes a book is too crappy for a second chance but I have continued series where I wasn’t exactly blown away by the first installment. 🙂
    Lori recently posted…Blog Tour: So I Married a Werewolf by Kristin Miller {Guest Post & Giveaway}

    • That has happened to me in reverse (I’ve read a book, really liked it, gone back and read the prequel, and HATED it), so I might be willing to give this series another shot if I saw some good reviews for the first full novel . . . *wink, wink, nudge, nudge*

  12. Hahahahhahahhha, your review has such a pissed off atmosphere. It’s not funny but it is fun to read. Anyway, lol, same thing, bolding words is plain stupid. I’m reading a comic right now and, in EVERY bubble, there are 3 WORDS bolded. It’s like WTH man?? It’s annoying but, like you, stubborn because it’s a COMIC= not long so I can finish it. I once DNFed a story of 21 pages. haha…but it was really bad. I could have wrote that short story.

    Also, those author references don’t seem necessary in my opinion. It’s just weird plus it’s an adult novella right? So did the author think it would appeal to adult readers?? THOSE childish references? Naaha. Sorry you had to go through this love. I admire your stubborness in a way since I had DNFing books. It feels lazy even with novels to me. Great review. 😀
    Lola recently posted…The Official Header Is Coming + A Glimpse ❤

    • Well, it wasn’t actually bolded in the novella, that’s just how I show that something was italicized in a quote, b/c my quotes are always italicized—does that make sense?

      EXACTLY—not necessary at ALL. What I really think is that the author was desperate for the reader to acknowledge what I’m sure she felt was her own cleverness at quoting a classic . . . except that every-damn-body quotes that book, and not only do they quote that book, that’s the same part they quote. I’m actually reading a brand new book right now that has used that same line TWICE, but without smashing the reader over the head with the title and author. That’s too books in a ROW. Blah. Thanks, Lola 😉

  13. Oh NO! I had such high hopes for this one as well. I really wanted something unique. I loved the idea of Baba Yaga and thought this might have some cool Russian folklore in it. Like Firebird did for Phoenixes. Was there any? Thanks for the honest review, Jessica 😉
    kim { Book Swoon } recently posted…Adult Book Review: Maplecroft by Cherie Priest

    • I like the Baba Yaga story too (creepy as it is), and while there were a couple superficial references to the more commonly known details of the myth (house with chicken legs, eating children, flying around in a mortar), there wasn’t anything with depth. BUT this was just the novella, and don’t forget—you LOVED that Curse Keepers book, and I absolutely did not, so you might like this too 😉

  14. I think you already know that I love these gifs and this post. And this is what I commonly refer to as a crap book. Yup. It’s never good when a book is 1 star, you know? I mean, 2 is bad but one is just crap. But even though this was a crap book, I think you wrote a stunning review that had me nodding my head and yelling: YOU TELL IT GURRRRRRRRL!!! ♥

    • Thanks, Cristina! It was a crap book. But at least it was a SHORT crap book, and YES, I will tell it, LOL. Gotta spare you guys the agony 😉

  15. Oh nooooooo! I was so excited about this series and you’re right it’s mainly about the cover lol. I already pre ordered book 1 and I really hope it will be better than that, now I’m really really anxious…

    • Me and you both, LOL. I’m such a sucker for a good cover, especially when it comes to UF. But who knows? Maybe the full novel will be great 😉 I’ll be keeping an eye out for your review when it’s released!

  16. Oh my GIFS! We’re so sorry you wasted your time on this novella; but on the other hand — if you hadn’t, we wouldn’t have THIS review. We are in stitches! We had our own mini rant here at the Belle’s house about authors coming off completely condescending in their work when they think we readers aren’t bright enough to get what they’re implying. Geez Louise. This review of this terrible, horrible, no good, very bad book is AWESOME.
    ~Michele and Mckenzie
    Michele recently posted…Review: Opposition (Lux #5) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

    • Haha THANKS, ladies! This was definitely a frustrating endeavor, and getting a little ranty helped me blow off some steam, so I’m glad it made you laugh 😉

  17. Well…. it seems i won’t be in a hurry to get this one Jessica. It sounds like I would be frustrated, very quickly!

    Naomi @ Nomi’s Paranormal Palace
    Naomi recently posted…Teaser Tuesday #104 – Come Back by J.A. Huss

  18. Oh wow, this sounds horrible all the way around. But I swear, I watched the gif of the girl with the soda for like a good two minutes. HILARIOUS.
    Jennifer Bielman recently posted…Writing & Publishing Tips: World Building Without Getting Sued by Kathy Bryson (Guest Post)

    • YEP. This was awful. But I’m glad I sucked you into my gif timewarp. It totally sucked me in too 😉

  19. Ugh really? I think we ALL know where “Curiouser and curiouser” comes from -.- I hate when that happens. It feels like I’m being patronized.

    Maybe it’s the prequel that’s crap and the rest of the books are good?

    Also, LOL at the first gif! Hahahaha!
    Marianne recently posted…Review: Manga Classics: Pride and Prejudice by Stacy King, Po Tse, & Jane Austen

    • EXACTLY. And I hate being patronized.

      You are an optimist.

      Glad you liked it 😉

  20. Weeeell, I know I will be staying well away from this novella and quite likely from the whole series after your review!
    I’m not keen on patronizing and drama queen stuff like the one you pointed out!
    Pili recently posted…Waiting On Wednesday #55!!

  21. Aw man, sorry you and this novella didn’t get along. The dialogue and exaggerated writing do sound annoying
    Brandi Breathes Books recently posted…The List by Siobhan Vivian review by Brandi Breathes Books

  22. Oh no, I was looking forward to this series… 🙁 Will read the novella anyway because I always try to read anything connected to Russian mythology and history, but now at least I’m forewarned.
    kara-karina recently posted…Paranormal Fantasy Joint Review: The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness