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Baba Yaga #1

Wickedly Dangerous

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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 of them…

Older than she looks and powerful beyond measure, Barbara Yager no longer has much in common with the mortal life she left behind long ago. Posing as an herbalist and researcher, she travels the country with her faithful (mostly) dragon-turned-dog in an enchanted Airstream, fulfilling her duties as a Baba Yaga and avoiding any possibility of human attachment.

But when she is summoned to find a missing child, Barbara suddenly finds herself caught up in a web of deceit and an unexpected attraction to the charming but frustrating Sheriff Liam McClellan.

Now, as Barbara fights both human enemies and Otherworld creatures to save the lives of three innocent children, she discovers that her most difficult battle may be with her own heart…

329 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published September 2, 2014

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About the author

Deborah Blake

84 books1,709 followers
Deborah is the author of over a dozen non-fiction books on modern witchcraft and a tarot and oracle decks from Llewellyn. Her fiction includes the Baba Yaga series, The Broken Rider series, and the Veiled Magic series, and her cozy mysteries The Catskill Pet Rescue series (mostly from Berkley) as well as a few stand-alone novels.

Deborah lives in a 130 year old farmhouse in upstate NY with multiple cats. She believes in magic, laughter, chocolate, and wine. The order may change depending on the day.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 404 reviews
Profile Image for Mara.
2,485 reviews248 followers
September 6, 2014
Wickedly Dangerous reminded me of a well-known cocktail drink ordered at an unknown joint. You don't really know how good the barman is, but more or less you know what taste the drink is going to have. Then, when the drink arrives, you realize that the barman used sparkling wine rather than champagne. However good the wine is, and yes it's good, it's not exactly the same thing.

WD started strong, but midway through it started to go downhill. You realize soon enough there's something missing, but you can't really pinpoint when or what went wrong. Then all of a sudden around 65% along you understand. The plot and the main character made you think of a classical UF: mystery, crimes, bad-ass heroine. But what the story is: romance.

And unfortunately that meant that the mystery plot was watered down. Everything was on the brink of disaster (he risked his career, she risked her life, the Otherworld its existence, 5 kids their life), but there was no rush, no action, no tension at all. She languidly thought of his hair, of his lies. You are promised a kick ass heroine and you get a lamb in a wolf's clothes. A naive, sweet girl under the leather-dressing, bike-driving, sword-yielding woman.

I might have appreciated it without the mystery plot, above all because this lack of focus made a few things unintelligible to me. There were a few WTF moments, when I couldn't see the scene the way the author wrote it. .

Character-wise we are shown a kick ass Baba, but aren't given many scenes in which she's able and good. At the end of the day, even if I liked her, there wasn't much to her, except this need to love and be Human.
The sheriff was too bland for me, and the rest of characters too shallows, from the villains to the town people who should have been a character in themselves but were again too one dimensional. There were really no explanations for many people's behaviour, where magic didn't seem the culprit.

The world-building was interesting, but again not particularly deep. I was interested in the Russian mythology, and again I can't say I'm satisfied. Baba Yaga is the only Russian myth in the story, all the rest is the usual fae stuff in which she was incorporated.

At the end of the book I had to force myself to keep on. I wasn't interested in the story at all, and the final two chapters that dealt only with the "relationship" could have been cut for all I cared. (And you know how wrong this is for a romance...but then the was no spark between the two. ..)

Overall, WD is a nice book, but it has too many nits for me, one in each aspect I consider important: heroine/characters, plot, world-building
August 26, 2019
Much orbit-shattering eye-rolling occurred while this book was being read. And much mandibula-breaking yawning, too. Not to mention the many mind-blowingly idiotic acts of sheer idiocy that were repeatedly committed by both lame MCs (that’s gender equality for you). Woo hoo! Let’s dance and stuff!

But hey, it’s not ALL bad. Of course not. The book is clichéd as fish, too. AND BLOODY SHRIMPING ROMANCE IN DISGUISE. And formulaic as shrimp. AND BLOODY SHRIMPING ROMANCE IN DISGUISE. And packed with manufactured drama. AND BLOODY SHRIMPING ROMANCE IN DISGUISE.

But hey, it’s not ALL bad. Of course not. This book is also an insult to the real Baba Yaga. Sorry, what was that? What do you mean, Baba Yaga only exists in Slavic folklore? Don’t be silly now. She was my Super Extra Friendly Neighbour (SEFN™) when I was growing up, and I spent many entertaining, educational hours (did you think I was born nefarious?) in her house on chicken legs as a kid. (She even let me nickname her Gertie.) So if I tell you that she’s real, you better take my shrimpy word for it and stuff. But anyway. Where were we? Oh yes, this book is a most outrageous insult to Baba Yaga (also known as Edvokia in some circles 🤪). And if I didn’t know any better, I’d think Deborah Blake has a death wish or something. I mean, Gertie is all love, cuddles and sweetness (and also quite deliciously sexy) but she can get pretty, um, intense, if you piss her off. By making a complete, total travesty of her wonderfully yummilicious persona, for example.

Told you she was hot as fish. And the gentlest, most affectionate babushka ever. Ha!

Nefarious Last Words (NLW™): good for you this book is not. Hazardous to your health it most quite probably possibly is. Stay away from it you must.

[Pre-semi-full crappy non-review nonsense]

Why do I submit myself to such crap torture, you ask? Because I'm a bloody shrimping idiot, that's why.

But hey, worry not for all is not lost and I'm still slightly nefarious and stuff (as far as I know, anyway). Hence the awe-inspiring costume. And the horns. Because it is a truth universally acknowledged that you can't be nefarious if you don't have horns. Yes it is. Just ask Jane Austen.

Semi-full crappy non-review to come and stuff.
Profile Image for Jacob Proffitt.
3,000 reviews1,643 followers
December 20, 2014
This book isn't awful, but I just couldn't keep going (after about 15%). I think the real problem is that it completely flubs the central premise—a tie into Russia's Baba Yaga. Now that's a fantastic idea and one that's kind of obvious in hindsight for a UF, but it's just really, really poorly realized. I mean, I expected Baba to be watered down a bit as she's playing a heroic role here. But Barbara Yager just isn't cutting it.

I have a soft spot for all the trickster beings in legends. They fulfill this desperate human need to have an outside agency that thwarts the dominant power structure, tests cultural and societal boundaries, and probes for deeper truths in the mundane. Baba (just barely) fits that mold and I wanted something with at least some aspect of that ambiguity. But that's not at all what this book is about.

I could tell by the wandering PoV that this was more romance than UF. I was okay with that (because romance can be gritty and ambiguous if it wants) until I realized that the whole UF side of things had been pressed flat to serve a blandly romantic storyline. There's no ambiguity in any of the characters and that's just such a lost opportunity I could cry. And that crosses the bad guy/good guy aisle, too. The bad guys are blindingly, obviously bad, the good guys are absolutely and effortlessly good, and that's before you get to the too-easy shorthand of enviro-absolutism as stand in for morality.

So yeah, I'm deeply disappointed. I'm keeping this at two stars for now because I'm not sure if I'm feeling crossed in my expectations or if it really is deeply unsatisfying. I suspect I'm overreacting because I had such high hopes so I'll err on the side of "it's okay" over "hate it forever".
Profile Image for Maria V. Snyder.
Author 76 books16.9k followers
March 9, 2014
What a fun book! Deborah takes the Russian legend of an old witch - Baba Yaga and brings her into the modern world. Barbara Yeager is "called" to the aid of a small town where 5 children have disappeared. Barbara (aka Baba) is the guardian between our world and the other world where mythical creatures exist. The book has mystery, fantasy, magic, romance, humor and a fun cast of characters. I loved Chudo Yudo - the small dragon disguised as a very large dog.

I especially liked Barbara/Baba's character - she was intelligent and confident and very practical - so nice to see a character that isn't all self-conscious and self-doubting - who needs to learn how to be confident over the course of the story. But that's not to say she didn't have faults - she wasn't perfect, which made it even easier to like her. If she was real, I'd want her to be my BFF :)

I was able to read this early because Deborah sent me a copy for a blurb for the cover and I happily provided her with this: An addicting plot combined with a unique adventure and an intelligent, pragmatic heroine kept me glued to the page. I never had so much fun losing sleep!

Aside for a few logical issues, my biggest concern with the book was the climax/ending. It all happened very fast and I would have liked to see more...problems and issues. However, I wouldn't let that stop you for missing out on this super fun book! I'm looking forward to book 2 (seems there are 3 Baba Yaga's working the US) and it appears book 2 is one of the other Babas.
385 reviews39 followers
June 18, 2021
3.5 stars rounded up to 4. This book was great fun to read, clearly a four-star ride or better, and it only lost points with me for structural imbalance and especially for the author's regrettable decision to obey canons of paranormal romance that just don't fit in an otherwise terrific storyline. The publisher's blurb, repeated at the top of this Goodreads page, sets the story up quite well, so I'll just expand on it here.

Not only Baba Yaga but numerous other magical figures from Old Russian myth and folklore descend on a very rural community in a part of upstate New York that local people actually call "upstate New York." Usually that's a "downstate" (New York City) term meaning "everything beyond Poughkeepsie that messes with our elections." From my limited experience such good people have other names for their regions (like Western New York, Central New York, Genesee Valley, etc.).

So that set me searching, and now I'm fairly confident that fictional Clearwater County, where sheriff Liam McClellan charms and frustrates Baba, lies somewhere near Oneonta. (If you can't find Oneonta on your map, it's halfway between Schenectady and Binghamton.) Problem solved.

The clever innovation that makes this series possible is that Baba Yaga is, as the blurb says,
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...
There are three Baba Yagas functioning in the United States alone, but only one Baba for all of South America. They answer calls for help, and since their mission is also to guard the doors from this world to the Otherworld, we get to visit that realm too.

The Baba Yaga whose mundane identity is Barbara Yager, based in California, answers a call from a believing Russian immigrant in Clearwater County whose granddaughter has been taken. Two other children are missing, and authorities still have no clue. The blurb gives away a tiny morsel of the tale:
...Barbara fights both human enemies and Otherworld creatures to save the lives of three innocent children...
She calls in the three immortal Riders and tries, a little half-heartedly, to disguise all the magical elements, with the result that these outsiders just appear very, very odd to the townspeople and farmers of Clearwater County--and as you can imagine things get pretty heated.

The story gets very complicated, especially the Otherworld part of it, but Barbara's cleverness saves the day with the Otherworld's imperious and all-powerful Queen. It's that complexity that throws the story out of balance for me, though I liked Barbara's solutions. And I was okay with the slow-burn attraction between Barbara and Liam (only a page or two of erotica), but I simply couldn't visualize them as a committed couple.

Liam's a good, decent guy in grief over his baby daughter who died and his wife who fell apart and left; you like him and feel for him at the same time. Baba is a riot, a great character for a reader to follow, but her scope is so much wider than his--USA plus Otherworld versus Clearwater County NY, to which Liam is clearly wedded--that I just can't see them making a life together despite the author's heroic effort to make me believe.

With that reservation, strongly recommended!
Profile Image for Vero.
1,442 reviews9 followers
November 12, 2014
Not all bad, but not good enough. I am on a long and sad search for UF books that are in the same league as Kate Daniels.
I had high hopes for this with the rather unique take on Baba Yaga.
It was not a particularly good read for me.
I am disappointed as it was a mostly very boring read (a little better towards the end), but it was all in all a very formulaic UF run-of-the-mill PNR book.
It was not dark at all - had some ridiculous drama and all was perfect with the world after the MCs finished their adventure with a neat conclusion that pleased all.
Except me.
So I didn't find a new series to enjoy and blew good money on something mediocre.
Profile Image for Sarah.
3,343 reviews1,015 followers
January 10, 2016
You may think you know the legend of Baba Yaga from Russian fairytales but all of the legends are true. In fact, Barbara Yager is one of three Baba Yaga witches in the United States, and along with her sisters, it is her job to keep nature in balance and to guard the portals between earth and the Otherworld. When Barbara's gift pulls her to a small town with several missing children it should be a fairly easy case but it quickly becomes clear that something sinister is going on. There is obviously a being from the Otherworld causing mischief and the magic they are using is having a major impact on both worlds. It is up to Barbara to figure out what is going on and find a way to fix it, hopefully before any more children are taken and before the entire town is turned against her by her powerful new enemies.

So the concept of this series is great and there were a lot of things I liked about Wickedly Dangerous and the prequel novella Wickedly Magical but unfortunately I didn't end up loving this quite as much as I'd hoped. I really like the way the Baba Yaga's are portrayed, Barbara's magical airstream was great and I loved her companion Chudo-Yudo, a dragon who disguises himself as a rather large dog when they have human company. I also really liked the addition of the three immortal riders that all of the Baba's are able to call upon for assistance. I had high hopes for the mystery in the beginning but we ended up discovering the villain of the piece far too early and they were always one step ahead of Barbara which made her look rather incompetent. We're constantly being told how powerful and wise Barbara is but she failed time and time again and nearly ended up getting lynched by a mob of angry townspeople for her efforts.

It's probably partly my fault for going into this series expecting urban fantasy and discovering it was actually paranormal romance. I actually love both genres so that wouldn't usually be an issue for me but I was expecting the mystery and magic to be the main focus and ended up being disappointed that a concept that was so brilliant was watered down for such a mediocre romance. Love interest Sherif Liam McClellan just wasn't anything special and I found the romance between him and Barbara completely unbelievable. I probably could have been sold on them as a couple if it had been drawn out more but they were making puppy eyes at each other pretty much from the moment they met and I never really felt there was anything between them apart from physical attraction.

The story was also fairly heavy handed in its environmental message, I don't mind books that have a bigger message but sometimes you can ram something down my throat so hard that it just leaves a bad taste in my mouth and that was definitely the case here. As much as there were things that bothered me about this book I do still really like the concept behind this series and since the next two books will have Barbara's sisters as the main characters I'm hoping that I'll end up enjoying their stories more. There is so much to like about this world and I really hope that the remaining books focus more on that alongside creating believable romances for the other Baba Yagas.
Profile Image for Ami.
5,864 reviews496 followers
August 25, 2014
Wickedly Dangerous , first in a new series by Deborah Blake, brings forth the retelling of Baba Yaga, a child-eating witch of Russian folklore. Baba Yaga, in Blake’s world, is not the name of a single woman but more of a job title. Baba Yaga maintains balance of the natural world — they are like the agents from the Otherworlds — sometimes being helped by three (gorgeous!) Riders. Barbara Yager is one of the Baba Yagas in the United States. She comes to Clearwater County after sort-of being ‘summoned’ to help find missing children. But Barbara (or Baba) also finds that something is troubling the state of nature in that small town.

I was truly curious when I received the summary of this book. I must admit that the idea of a Baba Yaga retelling was the one that interested me the most. I’ve read several urban fantasy series over the years, and I didn’t think I ever read one regarding Baba Yaga. I really enjoyed what Blake did with the folklore; not that I know much about it, being that I am an Indonesian, Russia is a bit too far from my country *laugh*. But I liked it — this book offers an enchanted Airstream trailer, a white pit-bull that is really a dragon, a bunch of magical beings, and even a trip to the Otherworlds!

Barbara is a wonderful protagonist. After being Baba Yaga, Barbara feels that she is a bit out-of-touch with her human side — so reading how she struggled with her feelings with Liam McClellan, the Sheriff who became Barbara’s love interest, was fun to read. Liam is also a pleasant hero. He is not the kind of domineering Alpha man who usually crowds this genre. In fact, he is kind, dedicated to his job, and pretty much having an open-mind after being presented with the fact that the cloud-haired woman he is interested in is actually a witch with a dog-like dragon. Liam also has quite a heartbreaking backstory, which includes an ex-wife. I was a bit sad with the event that happened with the ex-wife, but I guess it was the right resolution for her.

I must say that this series pretty much falls in the ‘light spectrum’ of urban fantasy — it doesn’t have the ‘life or death end of the world’ kind of situation. The mystery is not heavy and complicated. It doesn’t take long for Barbara to find out who is behind the missing children. The story is then more about how Barbara and Liam try to get out from muddy situations, as the villain tries anything (including magic and manipulation) to be able to achieve their intention. And since this series features a different Baba Yaga for each book (the second one is coming in December), the story is wrapped up with satisfying closure to the mystery and romance.

Wickedly Dangerous is a fast-paced book with an entertaining chemistry between Barbara and Liam and some really cool secondary characters (my favorite was Barbara’s pit-bull-dragon Chudo-Yudo!). It didn’t take me half-way through this book to know that I would be lining up for the next one.

A Guest Review for The Blogger Girls

Profile Image for Jen.
1,434 reviews124 followers
June 3, 2016
4.5 stars - great!

This book was/is really great. I really love stories that feature Baba Yaga. I haven't read many of them, but I really love them. (I really love any story that features any creatures or beings from Russian mythology/folk stories.) :-)

The only reason I'm not giving this story a full five stars is because, even though I laughed out loud and had tears in my eyes once each and found one line that I really just loved, something felt off. I think it was the relationship between Barbara/Baba and Liam. Something about their relationship just struck me as being "off." And even considering the feels I felt while reading this book, I still feel like I only "really enjoyed it." But I'm bumping what would ordinarily be a four-star rating up to four-and-a-half (great!) because. . .Baba Yaga! :-)

Anyway, the things I loved about this series included the mystery and the suspense; the dragons (dragons!!!); the "Baba-Yaga-ness;" and the feels. :-)

About those feels. . .I laughed out loud on page 89 (Chapter Nine) in this scene with Baba Yaga and Chudo-Yudo: lol! :-)

The line I really loved took place in Chapter Thirteen, on page 124, during a scene with Baba Yaga and the Riders (whom I adore! I am especially in love with Alexei): Vodka is poured as a restorative:
They all drank, and Baba filled their glasses again, fetched a plate of pickles to go with the vodka in traditional Russian fashion, then sat down and looked them over carefully.
I love this line because when I lived in Russia, we always ate when we did vodka shots, and invariably there was something pickled in with the food stuffs. (Most commonly, we ate pickled tomatoes.) So I loved seeing this in print because it truly is a traditional Russian thing to do, and I have very fond memories of doing it! :-)

The scene that put tears in my eyes (though they did not fall), happened at the end of Chapter Thirty-One, page 310. Baba herself got a little teary-eyed, and I'm pleased to say that I got teary-eyed right along with her. :-)

The story was set mostly in the Mundane world, which theoretically should just be full of humans and the various Baba Yaga, along with the Riders, the occasional dragon visitor (!!!), and Chudo-Yudo, who is a dragon in a giant pit bull form ().

In the Otherworld, there was a pretty wide variety of creatures/beings: Rusalka, a giantess, and centaurs, among others. I'm really excited by the mix of creatures/beings and hope to see even more varieties in future books in this series. :-)

I guess I've typed a lot, but I haven't said what this story was about yet. So let me do that really quick. As said on the book jacket, Baba Yaga is summoned to find a missing child. But our heroes - Baba and Liam - prevail and the evil is thwarted. :-)

So that's the story in a nutshell. :-) This series looks to be about a different Baba Yaga in each book (or at least, this is the case for the first two books), but I'm going to put how this one ends anyway, even if it doesn't much matter for the story in the next book. :-)

In the end, Barbara/Baba And then we have the Epilogue, in which we are presented with So I am very eager to get my hands on book two and find out what's going on out west. :-)
Profile Image for ☕️Kimberly  (Caffeinated Reviewer).
3,095 reviews665 followers
November 9, 2015
I had a good time listening to Wickedly Dangerous. From its suspenseful story to the humor, and magic, Blake drew me as the reader right into the story and introduced me to Barbara Yager and her dragon-turned-dog in her enchanted Airstream. Now if that sentence did not peak your interest keep reading.

You have probably heard of Baba Yaga—the archetypal wicked witch of Russian tales who lived in a log hut that walked about on chicken legs, rode through the forests in a giant mortar that she steered with a pestle, and ate small children if they didn’t behave. According to legend, Baba Yaga usually appeared as an ugly old crone, although she also wore other faces, and sometimes gave aid to a worthy seeker, if such a one could pass her tests. You probably think you know who Baba Yaga is. But you’d be wrong. Because I am Baba Yaga, and this is my story.

The story takes place in a small Upstate New York town where the local sheriff, Liam McClellan is frustrated by a string of missing children who seems to vanish without a trace. He epitomizes the all-American good guy and I immediately liked him. During routine sweeps of his county, he stumbles upon the Airstream and Baba Yaga. She is posing as a researcher with a doctorate who is collecting and studying plants in the area. She is also an herbalist. Her real reason for being there is that someone summoned her to find a missing child.

“Holy crap!” he said. “That’s a big dog.” “Yes,” said Baba. “But a small dragon.”

Blake’s Baba Yaga is not the old woman; from the tales I remember as a child. Blake has twisted the tale creating a unique heroine. She is still quite witchy and not to be messed with. Clad in biker jeans and tattoos, she loves to be barefoot and has a sweet tooth. When summoned she requires payment and yes sometimes it is in the form of a chicken, but usually it requires the requestor to give up something important. Liam does not know what to make of Barbara and her enormous dog, but soon the two are knee deep in the solving the case.

Three children are missing, someone is sabotaging Barbara’s remedies and there are those in the town that want Liam fired. Barbara senses an Otherworld presence and soon things get complicated for both of them. Blake writes an engaging, suspenseful tale with plenty of twists but she wove in humor and romance keeping the story light. We have a villain that you will love to hate and meet creatures from the Otherworld.

The small-town added depth with its nosey neighbors, politics and grieving parents. Of course, as the stranger in town, Barbara soon finds herself suspect number one with townsfolk and the fact that someone is trying to sabotage her only complicates matters. The romance was sweet, with touches of heat that consummated in a fade to black scenario.

While this book introduces the series, Blake did a wonderful job of slipping us right into an interesting case while fleshing out the world. We learn a great deal about Baba Yaga without information dumps. I loved some of her awkwardness when dealing directly with humans, but she has a quality about her that endeared her to me. I was completely enthralled by Baba Yaga, the three riders and her dragon companion. They guard the magical waters and doors to the Otherworld. The Fae populate the Otherworld and I loved Blake’s depiction of it, right down to its Queen.

Romy Nordlinger does a wonderful narrating and I loved the Russian accent. I will definitely be continuing this series on audio. The tale was twelve hours in length but it felt like four.

Audio provided by publisher This review was originally posted on Caffeinated Book Reviewer
Profile Image for Mandy.
1,086 reviews129 followers
January 27, 2016
Wickedly Dangerous is the first installment in the Baba Yaga Series. Barbara is a guardian of the boarders and balancer of nature, but also a witch and sometimes the wicked witch. She’s been called to upstate New York to deal with a case of missing children as well as something that is damaging the area and a possible open door to the other world. Arriving in town she quickly draws attention being a small town and the only stranger. Barbara quickly starts to befriend people offering magical salves made from herbs to help them heal. The more time she spends in town she determined that the female assistant of Peter Callahan isn’t as human as she appears.

Needing help she calls in the riders a trio of dragons who help the Baba Yaga’s hoping to figure out who’s taking the children. However things aren’t going to be too easy it’s clear that Maya has access to a door because she’s not the only powerful creature roaming around town. The riders each encounter their own supernatural creature. After confronting the Queen she orders Barbara to figure out what’s going on and find the door. They can’t have human children being taken and brought to the other realm. With the help of the riders, Liam who she’s had to reveal her true self to and Chudo-Yudo they may just be able to figure out what Maya really is and save the children. What about her growing connection with Liam that might just change her life forever.

I adore Barbara! While she may have been born human her time with the prior Baba Yaga as well as the magic has changed her into so much more. I love that she’s joined by a dragon who takes on the form of a giant Pitbull named Chudo-Yudo. I like the added love interest of a human man who’s dealing with his own tragic past. I like the chemistry between Barbara and Liam they complement each other very well and seem to be exactly what they need. We also are given an insight into several of the supporting characters who I expect will be popping up in future books.

I’ve had this book on my kindle for far too long and regret not reading it sooner because I enjoyed it so much. I love the Baba Yaga fairytales, they are one of my favorites and the author does an amazing job putting a unique modern twist on a classic concept. I love that Barbara lives in an Airstream instead of the classic hut with chicken legs it works well for the traveling Baba Yaga. Wickedly Dangerous is the first in an exciting new series about some powerful Russian witches who have the power to protect the balance of nature and keep those from using doors into our world at bay. I really liked Barbara she’s a unique character who’s easy to connect with and I couldn’t help falling for her charm. Which is no surprise that she captured Sheriff Liams attention. The author has done a beautiful job creating a captivated story that was hard to put down. I loved every moment of Barbara’s story and look forward to checking out the next book in the series.
Profile Image for Dani ❤️ Perspective of a Writer.
1,512 reviews5 followers
March 2, 2019
Check out more reviews @ Perspective of a Writer...

Barbara Yager hasn't been much of a human ever since she's taken on the role of Baba Yaga... Tasked to keep the balance of nature and guard the borders of our world. Now she travels the country posing as an herbalist and researcher, with her faithful dragon pit bull in an enchanted Airstream. When the charming but frustrating Sheriff Liam McClellan suspects her of stealing three innocent children her own heart will be on the line...

My Thoughts...

I enjoyed this little urban fantasy so much!! Probably my favorite parts were Chudo-Yudo, the adaptable Airstream and the three immortal riders who were just like Babs big brothers! These aren't perfectly written by any means but they're fun. SO FUN!

I really liked Babs. She's totally human but is quite distant from that fact because of being a baba yaga now. She has to report to a very temperamental fae queen, has to keep up with doses of elixer to preserve her life and now has this sheriff who is riding her ass like she's a criminal!

The mystery does get involved... its not clear cut at all, thought you kind of sense where the danger is involved. I did feel like I was waiting for something to happen at times. This is a wickedly dangerous world that I need to visit again...

Cover & Title grade -> C-

It literally looks like three different photos were Photoshoped together and then turned green to try to hide the fact. This book totally deserves better! I'd totally rather have the airstream with the motorcycle out front... That at least makes sense with a photo realistic cover.

As a Writer...

I had a lot of trouble with love interest Liam. It didn't really make sense to me how he acted at times. He's a sheriff and it felt like he didn't even know basics that you know from watching Law and Order!! Come one dude, what's your problem? And his hang up about the supernatural elements just didn't ring true to me either.

Not a fan of Liam... and all the angst surrounding him felt contrived.

Wickedly Dangerous is a fun take on the baba yaga folktale... totally modernized with a biker chick and her pit bull dragon! It's a wild ride through faerie to appease a queen before heads roll and kids become irretrievable.

⋆ ⋆ ⭐⭐⭐ Authenticity
⋆ ⋆ ⭐⭐⭐ Writing Style
⋆ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Plot & Pacing
⋆ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ World Building

You can find this review and many others on my book blog @ Perspective of a Writer. See my special perspective at the bottom of my reviews under the typewriter...

Please like this review if you enjoyed it! *bow* *bow* It helps me out a ton!!
Profile Image for Ian.
1,365 reviews188 followers
October 1, 2016
This is definitely a book I wish I had ½ Stars for. 3 Stars seems unfair, 4 Stars seems too generous.

The good.

Mostly the beginning. Up until about the 60% point I enjoyed it and only have minor complaints.

The Bad.

That last 40% dragged. It's a standalone so things that other authors might have saved for later books were all packed into the last 40% of this book. It doesn't quite work.
Profile Image for Sophia.
Author 5 books345 followers
September 2, 2014
When an author takes a lesser known mythology and brings it into modern times giving it her own splash of personality, I am always eager to grab up the story to see where it will take me. Deborah Blake breathed new life into the Baba Yaga tale giving us a lush, exciting book world to get lost in.

"It's not a name; its a title" Baba Yaga explains, but its also an attitude. This new Baba Yaga does it with flair. She rolls into a small town of Upstate New York in her silver truck and modern travel trailer with her dragon disguised as dog companion to answer the desperate call of a frightened Russian grandmother believing that the Baba Yaga can find her missing grandchild along with the other children that have gone missing. Upon a swift investigation of the situation, Baba sees that she's dealing with more than a missing child, but a boatload of trouble of the Otherworldly variety. Unfortunately, she, the mysterious stranger, has become the scapegoat and not even the attractive sheriff can keep her out of trouble- not that she wants his help. Trouble and danger are the spice to her life- and why enjoy it alone...three more strangers roll into town.

As Sheriff Liam McClellan soon learns, the bewitching beauty in leathers and tats straddling her own honey of a bike, has come and turned his world upside down. Liam suffered a personal tragedy that pushed him into dedicating his life to his job. Now he can't even be satisfied with that because three well-loved children of the town have gone missing and he can't find any clue to help find them. The grieving parents, the scared and watchful town and the head councilman with his own agenda are all driving him hard, but no harder than he drives himself. He has a sudden and disconcerting ally in the mysterious Dr. Barbara Yager who claims she has leads to the children. Liam is conflicted in that he suspects that she has something to do with the children's disappearance and knows she is lying about something if not that. Her presence has seemingly whipped the town into frenzy with some even clambering for her arrest or swift departure, but Liam also feels a strong connection to Barbara and believes she is the only one who can help the children. And that was before he learned her secrets.

This plot functioned as the introduction to a new series, but I enjoyed how the author got things moving along pretty well. I was so impressed when I learned this is her first book in print because of the maturity of the writing. Information was released throughout the book instead of dumped all at once and bogging down the actual story. In fact, Baba Yaga had a lovely mysterious quality to her and was the unknown factor to a certain extent for some time. I liked how that worked. She came across as ambivalent at first. Yes, she answered the cry for help, but she has her own rules and different way of looking at the matter. The reader is enchanted with her world of magic and yet her character is drawn in such a way that she engenders some sympathy. Baba is a bit crusty, but its because she never was exposed to the concept of nurture and was always aloof from the world and people around her. Liam comes along and even though he's a bit broken himself, he is still able to show her how to engage the world and really live. I liked how the author took the time to establish how they fit them together even when they were still dancing around each other a bit. The action side of things was a good strong plot that offered some challenge to the hero and heroine. Their enemies had them backed into corners a few times and it was good to see that stuff wasn't going to be easy. They had to fight hard for their triumphs. Baba proves her guts and wily-ness and Liam his backbone through the plot.

The worldbuilding, as I mentioned earlier a few times, was great particularly since its rather unique to me. I enjoyed learning all about the Baba Yagas, the three riders that can be summoned, their dragon companions that guard the magical water and gateways to the Otherworld, and of course learning of the Otherworld now populated by the Fae. It was a nice blend of the contemporary with the magical world.

The characters were all likeable to me if not more than moderately drawn in depth. Liam was a good representative of the straight human hero. He's tough, competent, loyal, tempered and yet vulnerable too. He had his trust destroyed by a woman he loved and so he struggles to reach out to Baba, but I so respected him when he tried to change and took the first step when he was in the wrong.
Liam was easy to read compared to Baba. She was harder because she was confused, not understanding what was happening between her and Liam since she had never been close to love or relationships. This was all new territory and it scared her a lot, but she didn't make things difficult. The focus of the story was on stopping the enemy and getting the children back, but I loved how the romance didn't get more complicated than it needed to be. In fact, it just sort of happened and they went with it- in fear and wonder, but no kicking and screaming and gnashing of teeth like some romantic pairs with less reason to shy from commitment than these two.
Now, Baba's former friend with benefits thing did confuse me a bit because it was there and gone so quickly. I'm not complaining that it didn't interfere with her relationship with Liam, but I felt like it didn't really have closure as much as it was just swept away tidily. Maybe I read more into it than there was.
The three riders and Chudo-Yudo her dragon disguised as a dog were interesting support characters. I liked what they did to a scene when they were present. You just knew things would happen. I would love my own set of lethal, skilled badboys on bikes at my beck and call like that and a pet dragon? Absolutely. They weren't really teased out as personalities though Baba's bio of them gave the reader a bit more insight into their personality, but not their background so much. I assume there will be more on them as the series progresses.

My take is that this was a abso-fab start to a series that has me excited for what is to come. I look forward to meeting the other Baba Yagas and continuing with the Riders and the Otherworld Fae. If we get check-ins with Liam and his Baba, I will not complain. This series has an Urban Fantasy feel to it even if it also has strong Paranormal Romance elements, but that just makes it have a wider appeal. The romance is subdued though and not detailed out move by move. It is being equally balanced with the action. So, I'm recommending this series to those UF/PNR fans who enjoy mythology made-over modern, creative worldbuilding, strong action and engaging characters with a touch of spicy romance.

My thanks to Penguin Group for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Dark Faerie Tales.
2,274 reviews547 followers
August 7, 2015
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: Children have been disappearing, and a Baba Yaga has been summoned to find them. Will she and the good-looking sheriff be able to work together to find them?

Opening Sentence: The crackle of the two-way radio barely impinged on Liam McClellan’s consciousness as he scanned the bushes on either side of his squad car for any sign of a missing seven-year-old girl.

The Review:

Three children have disappeared in a small town. Sheriff Liam McLellan is driving himself crazy trying to find them, but he’s come up with nothing. It’s been made clear to him that his job is on the line. One night, he comes across a strange trailer in the woods and finds himself immediately suspicious of (and attracted to) the woman who lives there. Her credentials seem to check out, but Liam can’t help but wonder at the timing of her visit to the area.

Barbara Yager is one of three Baba Yagas living in the United States. She’s been summoned here by the grandparents of one of the missing children. She’s pledged herself to finding the children and won’t let the handsome sheriff get in her way. Now, with the help of her dragon (who takes the form of a huge pit bull in human company) and three burly immortals, Baba is rushing against the clock to find the children before it’s too late.

I thought the premise for this book sounded very intriguing. You don’t see many paranormal romances shaped around the Baba Yaga myth. And there are glimpses of a very good book here. Unfortunately, those glimpses get lost amongst the weaker aspects of the story, making it feel like a much longer book than it is. A secondary reason for why I think the book felt long is we find out early on who’s behind the kidnappings, and then it takes the entire rest of the book to finally solve everything. It started to feel rather tedious. On top of that, much of the dialogue felt rather stilted, making it hard to lose myself in the events of the book.

I also had a hard time connecting to our main couple. Liam felt a tad too generic for my tests. He’s your typical lawman romantic hero. Nothing about him really stands out. As far as Baba goes, the way she’s described at times makes her sound like a formidable, kickass heroine, but her actions never bring that side of her out. I started to get frustrated at constantly being told how tough she is, but never actually getting to see it for myself.

There’s also a very strong pro-environment message here, which is fine in and of itself. But the way it’s presented is so heavy handed that it gets old very quickly. I found myself rolling my eyes every time it was brought up. If it had been handled with a bit more subtlety, it would have been easier to take.

Overall, I was disappointed. It’s such a unique premise that I had to bump the rating up a bit, but my true rating would be somewhere around 2.5 stars. I’m curious to see if my issue lies just with this book, or if book two has the same problems. Hopefully, it will be an improvement!

Notable Scene:

“How about now you tell me what is really going on?”

Baba ran out of reasonable, which was bound to happen eventually. It was never her best thing anyway. “Fine,” she snarled back at him. She rose from her seat and said to the others, “Better make room.” Three sets of faces looked alarmed and tucked themselves into the corners of the trailer the best they could.

Liam just looked confused. “Make room for what?”

“Chudo-Yudo,” she said, and gestured at the dog.

As Liam turned to see what she was talking about, Chudo-Yudo moved into the middle of the lounge area, which was as close to a clear space as the Airstream allowed, and shook himself, as if shedding water. Instead, he was enveloped in a greenish-purple mist that sparked and glowed, letting off an odor like charred meat, cold starlight, and eternity. When the mist cleared, the dog was gone, and instead there was a large dragon with scalloped iridescent black scales and blazing red eyes curling in on himself to take up as little room as possible. Still, his tail rolled out onto the tiled kitchen floor, and one leathery wing poked Alexei in the stomach until the burly biker moved a little to the left with an oof.

“Hey, man,” the dragon said. “Thanks for the bone.”

FTC Advisory: Berkley/Penguin provided me with a copy of Wickedly Dangerous. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
Profile Image for Jen (That's What I'm Talking About).
1,501 reviews260 followers
June 15, 2016
Barbara Yager is one of the Baba Yaga, a human, nature-witch of sorts. She was summoned to Clearwater County by an elderly Russian couple whose granddaughter was kidnapped. Right from the start, Baba realizes that otherworldly forces are at work, and that there is a menacing connection between the proposed hydro-fraking of the land and the missing children.

Liam McClellan is the hardworking sheriff whose job is on the line because of the missing children. He knows there is something unusual, something more, going on, but is he ready to accept the truth?

Wickedly Dangerous is the first book in an interesting UF romance series centered on the Russian mythology of the Baba Yaga. I enjoyed the premise of the book, taking a modern day spin on the witch who lived in a hut that walked on chicken legs. Baba’s powers are impressive, but she has limits and rules, which makes the entire situation a bit harried when she can’t take the necessary actions to right the wrongs.

I don't know if it was the narrator, writing, or both, but the book seemed to have a fairytale quality when the subject matter warranted a gritty, urban fantasy tone. I couldn’t always put my finger on it, but it didn’t always suit my tastes. I liked the storyline, but the almost whimsical quality turned me off. The language was often flowery and overly descriptive with odd comparisons.

"His hands clenched on the folder until the papers inside crunched like dry bones in an abandoned graveyard."


"The drowsy coals flashed into sudden wakefulness, flames shooting upward as if to meet the stars halfway. Baba's heart roared with matching fury and pain, it's intensity catching her by surprise. One rare tear fell onto the fire and evaporated like a stillborn dream of happiness."

And then there was the awful part when the author compared a luscious roasted chicken to a Vegas show girl after a day in the sun. Just ew.

Unfortunately, between the off descriptions and the constant witch hunt against Baba and Liam, the book began to wear on me, and I just wanted the issues resolved. I understand that witch-hunt mentality and type of behavior would happen in real life, and I don't disagree with the direction of the Dunville residents, but it was brought up too often, and I needed it to end. And the more I listened to the book, the more disappointed I was with the exaggerated stereotypes and problems.

I enjoyed Romy Nordlinger’s performance as Baba, with her slight Russian accent and often frustrated attitude. However, I found that overall, her reading was too cheerful for the seriousness of the subject matter in the book. I like the narrator yet, it didn’t suit the story at all times.

In the end, I found that Wickedly Dangerous started with a promising bang, but ended with a fizzle. I liked most of the story, but there were too many distractions to keep me interested until the end.

My Rating: C
Narration: C
Profile Image for Laura.
Author 15 books600 followers
November 28, 2014
read this review on Got Fiction? book blog

This story was a bit of a let down. It comes across as an Urban Fantasy, but ends up being more of a Contemporary Romance with paranormal aspects. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, except…this was just too easy, and too light. I’d call it PNR lite.

So we have this amazing new paranormal concept-bringing in Russian mythology in the form of the Baba Yaga. We have a leather wearing, sword toting, dragon having, motorcycle riding witch. She’s called to a small town to help locate missing children. But, and it’s a big but, the plot becomes secondary to the romance. The story has all this exciting potential, and it’s not a kick-ass story with a kick-ass heroine. I was honestly expecting another Janet Begay from Stormwalker, or Kate Daniels from the Kate Daniels series, but I got a PNR lite.

Now, once I realized this wasn’t a super intense PNR, or UF, or even a Romantic Suspense, I was able to enjoy it a bit more. BUT (there’s that word again), it still was a bit of a let-down in the mystery/suspense department.

Basically children have been going missing for the past 6 months and everyone is stumped, especially the sheriff. The grandparents of one of the children call on the Baba Yaga to help find them. Enter Barbara Yager. She pokes around a bit, realizes that magic must be afoot, has an inkling of who’s to blame, and then goes and drops the ball. She has lots of chances to shine, and just…fizzles.

The sheriff is, well, he’s not my idea of a hero. He’s more of a Boy Scout. And I guess that isn’t bad,but I feel like there were several instances where he didn’t even stand up for himself, so it’s hard for me to see him standing up for others, let alone as hero material.

I have the next book Wickedly Wonderful, and I’m not really in any hurry to read it. It’s a shame. The mythology is there, it’s just that this doesn’t have the world-building I love that comes with PNR, it doesn’t offer much in the way of PNR for that matter.

As long as you know going in that this is NOT UF or PNR, it’s a contemporary romance with paranormal bits and pieces, or PNR lite, whichever you prefer, you should be fine. I think that might appeal to some readers as well, because I know not everyone wants an intense PNR, or a gritty UF.

***ArC courtesy of Berkley
Profile Image for All Things Urban Fantasy.
1,921 reviews617 followers
September 10, 2014
Review courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy

The mythology of Baba Yaga portrays her as an old witch who lives in the woods in a spinning house that stands on chicken feet. She helps or hurts those who look for her based on what they do for her. I grew up reading and hearing stories of Baba Yaga so it was great to see a book that could effectively ‘modernize’ Baba Yaga and still keep the essence of who she is and what she does for people. I like how the Baba Yaga mythology is added to with Barbara Yagar (a clever modern name) acting as a guardian between the human and the Otherworld where the fairies live.

In WICKEDLY DANGEROUS Barbara is ‘called’ to a town to assist in catching a kidnapper and resolving an imbalance in the natural environment. The Baba Yaga of today has been cast as a modern day private eye of sorts solving crimes and traveling in her Airstream trailer (a very nice update to her chicken feet hut). The mystery is a very very slow burn and took awhile for the story to pick up. I also got a bit frustrated with the fact that the villain was found out so early yet the confrontation took so long to actually happen. I wasn’t to impressed with the villain either as she came off as one dimensional and not to dynamic of an individual to warrant villain-hood in this mystery. While the story dragged in the beginning, it picked up to a fun action packed conclusion and the characters were entertaining enough to keep my interest.

Barbara is mysterious, practical and fun to watch as she interacts with humans and fairies with her matter of fact attitude. I loved Barbara’s dog/dragon Chudo Yudo who is extremely quirky and funny. The creatures in the Otherworld are unique and the most entertaining of all of the characters in the Otherworld is the fairy queen. She is crazy dangerous and brash, just what I would imagine a fairy queen to be like. The relationship with Liam, like the mystery was slow to unravel and didn’t really overtake the plot which is why I was curious as to why this book was labeled as paranormal romance in some places. Sure it has a romance with some sweet scenes between Barbara and Liam who work amazingly well together but it kind of takes a backseat to the mystery. It was fun though to see Liam try to figure out Barbara and the scene when he finds out about Barbara’s magic is very amusing.

WICKEDLY DANGEROUS is a fun retelling of the Baba Yaga mythology in an modern urban fantasy setting. I loved this update and the fact that the personality of Barbara so consistently reflects what she is like in her old tales. While the story starts off slow it has an effective payoff and was an entertaining read.
Profile Image for Christal.
936 reviews70 followers
August 22, 2014
See this review and others like it at Badass Book Reviews!

Deborah Blake's Wickedly Dangerous was a pleasant surprise! I was expecting a somewhat generic, yet entertaining paranormal romance, but this book was actually an action-packed urban fantasy with a unique and intriguing mythology. The writing was clear and concise, nothing that I would describe as special, but it worked for the straight-forward heroine, Barbara Yager.

Barbara Yager is one of three women in the US that work under the title of Baba Yaga. The Babas are good witches that travel the country protecting the earth and helping those that call them. They are entrusted with keeping the balance between our world and the world of the fae, The Otherworld. In Wickedly Dangerous, Barbara is called to help find a missing child but what she discovers goes way beyond a mortal kidnapper. Now, she must work alongside the local sheriff, Liam McClellan, to find the missing children, stop the kidnapper, and put an end to the hydrofracking that is killing the local countryside.

Barbara was a nice change from a lot of "first-book" heroines that have to find themselves and their strength throughout the story. She already knew who she was in Wickedly Dangerous and she didn't care who might have a problem with it. She was strong, smart, and powerful, but also very polite and caring towards the townspeople. Even when things go bad, Barbara doesn't want innocents to get hurt and uses her powers to gently turn them away. Don't get me wrong, she loves a good fight now and then, but only jumps in when it's warranted. Liam wasn't my favorite UF leading man, but he was sufficiently sweet and respected Barbara and her abilities. It might have taken him a little bit to get on board with her crazy world, but once he did, he let her take the lead. Liam had been hurt in the past and it was nice to see him begin to move on from those demons. I think he and Barbara worked well together and, as long as they stay open and honest with each other, could make a run at something real.

The side characters in Wickedly Dangerous were diverse and interesting. I never knew Russian (or Slavic) folklore featured dragons, but the character of Chudo-Yudo drove me to look into it. While he was there mainly for comic relief à la Oberon from the Iron Druid Chronicles, Chudo-Yudo was cute and an interesting blend of dog and dragon. I always really liked the characters of the Riders. They were three "men" that came to help when a Baba called, but they each had distinct personalities and appearance traits that made them stand out. We didn't meet many of the fae residents, but the queen was regal, powerful, and a bit scary. I hope we learn more about the balance between our world and the Otherworld in the next book.

I hesitate to classify this series as a paranormal romance because I think the fantasy elements are stronger than the love story, but each book will focus on a different Baba Yaga in the same vein as most PNR series. We learned a tiny bit about the two other American Babas in this book, and it appears Wickedly Wonderful will showcase the west-coast Baba, Beka Yancy. I will be sad to leave Barbara and Liam behind, but it will be interesting to see how Beka's life differs from Barbara's; though I am hoping we get some cameo appearances at the very least!

Thank you to Berkley and Netgalley for providing an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Chris.
362 reviews4 followers
April 21, 2016
I received this book as part of GoodReads First Reads giveaway.

Overall, this was an interesting and fast paced read that I enjoyed. I especially liked the idea of the Baba Yaga being a title passed down from witch to witch. I think it affords some neat opportunities for sequels. After this our heroine can settle down happily ever after (or not as the case may be) and Ms Blake can go on to write another in the series about another Baba Yaga facing different challenges, meeting different characters and being a new character herself. So someone could jump into Wickedly Whatever without needing to read this one first.

And I liked some of the background elements of our heroine's life. Chudo-yudo and the three riders were quite funny when the appeared and Baba's magical house was interesting. Apparently it's sentient and likes messing with people. I wish more would have been done with that but what are you going to do?

And now I'll start complaining. I did like this book, it's just there's a lot to complain about here too.

Sheriff Liam McClellan is an incompetent sheriff. I can forgive not finding the magically kidnapped children. But at one point he breaks into an office to get evidence. And don't give me any 'greater good' arguments. The expression is 'innocent until proven guilty' not 'I'm pretty sure he's guilty so I'm going to break into his office on the off chance he left evidence lying around and if I'm wrong no big deal'. And at one point he goes to serve an arrest warrant on our heroine. She's not home but her grandma is. Okay, on board so far. Then the sheriff tells grandma to tell Baba Yaga to turn herself into tomorrow and to have an alibi for 6:00. Now I'm not from New York but I'm pretty sure New Yorkers do not have the right to 24 hours to build an alibi for a given time. Finally, Sheriff McClellan has no concept of how to delegate. Comparatively minor complaint, but if it's a plot point that the bad guy is stirring up trouble across the county, maybe the sheriff could send his deputies to help out? There wasn't even a joke about them being busy guarding a doughnut shop.

There was also a sub plot about the sheriff being fired for not finding the missing kids. That would work with a city police department but a county sheriff is an elected position. The county board, city council and mayor don't have the power to fire a sheriff. Presumably they could play hell with his budget but not fire him. Caveat: I'm not from New York so maybe they do things differently there.

And back to Baba Yaga, our heroine. She's not nearly the bad ass she's built up to be. She rarely does anything out of the ordinary. Sure, she constantly tells us she could take on an angry mob or that she'd like to punch so-and-so in the face or next time she see's what's his name she's going to run him over but all she does is punch one person in the face and control the weather a few times (admittedly impressive but I'd be more impressed if she could find a more beneficial use for making it rain than to disperse angry mobs). So I'm left to conclude she's more talk than action.

So, there you have it. Overall I liked the book for the interesting approach to a classic fairy tale figure, some pretty cool world building and some hilarious side characters but there were definite flaws with the plot and characterization as well.
Profile Image for Tori.
2,825 reviews478 followers
September 13, 2014

“You have probably heard of Baba Yaga-the wicked witch of Russian tales who lived in a log hut that walked about on chicken legs, rode through the forests in a giant mortar steered with a pestle, and ate small small children if they didn’t behave. According to legend, Baba Yaga usually appeared as an ugly crone, although she also wore other faces, and sometimes gave aid to a worthy seeker, if one could pass her tests.

You probably think you know who Baba Yaga is. But you’d be wrong. Because I’m Baba Yaga, and this is my story.”

Barbara Yager aka Baba Yaga has been called to a small farming community to help locate three missing children. Disguised as a herbalist, she travels in a magical Airstream RV with her talking pit bull/dragon protector. Not known for being comfortable with alot of human interaction, Barbara’s investigations lead her to believe that the missing children are part of a much larger picture that involves dark magic. With the handsome town sheriff at her side, Barbara pits her will against human and not so human enemies-determined to protect the town, the children, and her heart.

Deborah Blake’s debut Wickedly Dangerous is the first book in a new series that is based on the Russian fairy tale of Baba Yaga. Blake manipulates this old tale to make Baba Yaga more of a job title and bestowing it on three young women. This trio of “sisters” use their magic to help keep the nature in balance and guard the doorways between the mortal world and the otherworld. Blake offers an interesting mixture of legend and mythology that blends together to produce a story that is at times engaging and fun despite the serious subject matter.

Read the rest of my review at Smexy Books
Profile Image for Madison Warner Fairbanks.
2,367 reviews338 followers
January 9, 2017
Wickedly Dangerous by Deborah Blake

Magic and dragons. Or at least a small dragon disguised as a dog.
Children have been abducted from Clearwater County. The Sheriff hasn't had any success finding them or even finding suspects. Baba Yaga is called in to help. Sheriff Liam and Baba join forces to search for clues.
An Otherworld story of magic and evil.

It was an appealing story that tugs at the heartstrings. The author uses an abundance of flowery descriptive prose. It certainly builds the visual world in detail enough to practically see it come alive in front of your eyes. But a little less, would have been okay too.

The sheriff walks into the police station.
"The cooler air inside the station was like a melody written in the key of relief. He nodded at a couple of deputies sitting at their desks in the outer room, ignoring the wrinkle noses and grimaces that followed in his week. He'd come in smelling like worse things than manure; they'd live. The ancient AC units wheezing within the frames of the windows with peeling white paint would eventually clear the air.
His secretary, Molly, trailed him into his office, her low heels tapping on the beige linoleum on the floor. "Nice aftershave, boss," she said waving a sheaf of colored papers in front of her nose. "Something new you're trying out?" The message memos were color-coded and various shades to indicate urgency, and Liam noted an unusual number of oranges and reds in the midst of the usual yellows. It was a hell of a stack too.
"I've been gone only two hours," he complained."
Excerpt from Wickedly Dangerous by Deborah Blake
Profile Image for Jennifer.
778 reviews38 followers
January 24, 2015
I think this is the kind of story I'd have liked a lot better if I hadn't studied Russian history and culture, and thus had less of an image of Baba Yaga already in my mind. A Baba Yaga who's credible as a powerful witch of ambiguous nature is not really suited to the fluttering of romantic heroines. The dissonance became more jarring for me toward the end of the book, and I really struggled with the last hundred pages.
Profile Image for Crystal P.
524 reviews7 followers
August 31, 2021
Deborah Blake blends the magical world with the non-magical well in this story about a Baba Yaga named Barbara Yager. Barbara, in the course of her duty as a Baba Yaga, ends up in Sheriff Liam McClellan’s town and it soon becomes apparent that she was called there - someone from the magical realm she protects the doorway to is wreaking havoc in the non-magical world. Things get a tad crazy and Deborah Blake keeps the reader on their toes as twists and turns abound. I felt horrible for Liam a time or two and was relieved when all was wrapped up with a little bow on top.

I enjoyed the story overall.
Profile Image for Maia.
234 reviews94 followers
April 28, 2021
3.5 stars

I really liked the idea of Baba Yaga being a group of women who comes to help when they get "summon" by someone who believes in them.
And yes, I liked the story here but I feel like there were some things that were missing (I just don't know what) and I really didn't feel invested in the love story .
One thing is sure, I liked the story but I was really here for the dragon who glamours himself as a dog!

I don't know if I'll keep going with this serie, each book is about a different Baba Yaga so hopefully it'll be different but I'm not sure, I'll need to be in right mood and who knows when that's going to be 😂
Profile Image for Deb Lester.
617 reviews18 followers
September 30, 2014
Deborah Blake brings readers the first book in a new series, Wickedly Dangerous. Blake has taken an old world fairy-tale and turned it into a modern paranormal romance. Readers who are familiar with the Russian fairy-tale character, Baba Yaga, will certainly recognize her in Dr. Barbara Yeager, a botanist on a mission. She isn't exactly the old hag of legend, and her dragon disguised as a dog, Chuba Yudo is quite the character in his own right. Readers looking for something more than the average fairy-tale retelling will love this one!

What I liked

Everybody knows that the literary and television worlds have lately been turned on their heads with the influx of fairy-tale based stories. From Once Upon a Time and Sleepy Hollow to Grimm and other television shows, readers are seeing their old familiar stories, changed, retold, modernized. In the book world the same thing is happening, from Snow White to Sleeping Beauty and beyond. I would have to say that some of these books and retelling are quite amazing and I always love it when something new and different comes along. That's what I felt like I got with Wickedly Dangeous... a refreshing look at an old world tale.

The Baba Yaga of legend and myth was an old hag. She was not necessarily good, but not necessarily bad. She was a tricky old lady with a dragon companion and three riders at her back to do whatever she needed done. In Deborah Blake's version of the story, readers get an updated tale that is both intriguing and full of surprises. Dr. Barbara Yeager is a different kind of Baba Yaga, she is still mysterious and sneaky to an extent. Her dragon is disguised as a big dog, Chuba Yudo. Her mode of transportation, a silver Air-stream trailer. She was younger, aged slower and packed quite a punch. I loved the character. She might have been worldly wise in some things, but she didn't know a thing about love. She still has her companions and along with them and the local sherriff, she sets out to find out who or what is taking the children from a small upstate town. A great retelling, very modern, very edgy.

Liam the local sheriff, puts a twist in the Baba Yaga's plans. She is here due to a Russian grandmother desperate to find her missing grandchild, but she doesn't approach things like any other woman, Liam has ever met. He was a strong, dedicated man. The law meant something to him. His own inner demons were hard to tame and he was a bit jaded when it came to love. But he was just the right man for this job and this woman. These two dance around each other for awhile, but it's obvious that they are attracted to each other. The romance wasn't too overstated and it was one element to the story. The fact that the Otherworld has come calling might have been the central conflict of the story, but Blake makes the reader want Liam and Barbara to have their happy ever after, just like in the fairy-tales of old.

The mystery of who or what had taken the children was so interesting. The inhabitants of the Otherworld were full of surprises and a whole lot of trouble. Liam is forced to look at things in a whole different way than he is used to with this case. When he realizes that Barbara may hold the key to finding the missing children he is willing to accept her help even before he learns who she really is and what she can do. I thought Blake did an exceptional job of giving him a reason to suspend his disbelief in the strange and paranormal. She didn't make it easy for him to believe, but she made it imperative that he did. Loved that part!

What I didn't like:

This is probably just a pet peeve, but upon reading about the next book in the series, I found that the author gives readers another Baba Yaga, since there are several that help to keep the balance between this world and the Otherworld. I wanted to learn more about this Baba Yaga in the next one. But hopefully there will some side notes here and there in the next books to let readers know how these characters progress. It certainly didn't take away from my enjoyment of this book.

Bottom Line:

This was a great book to start off the series and readers will enjoy learning about the old Baba Yaga legends and tales, as well as, fall in love with this new and different version of the tale. Strong characters and a very interesting theme help to make this one, a book that paranormal readers will not want to miss. The touch romance was well played and didn't take over. The book has a slight Urban Fantasy feel to it that will definitely broaden the audience. A very good first effort.
Profile Image for Ren Puspita.
1,199 reviews929 followers
February 16, 2017
3 stars

Wickedly Dangerous is the first installment of Baba Yaga series and also debut novel from Deborah Blake, whom, before this one writing mostly non fiction book. I pick this one because it's rare to read about Baba Yaga as main character, since usually this crone often portrayed as side characters or because her menace characteristic, a villain. Baba Yaga in Blake's world is not the crone that people used to know, but a title for a witch that kinda like "paranormal police". It's feel unique at the first time tho, but then I realize that Wickedly Dangerous is just an okay read for me.

I feel that it's hard to connect with Barbara Yager at first. She act though just for "though heroine trope" sake. She feels aloof, and while this is understable because Barbara herself said that she was not good with emotion, that make her feel...cold. I don't like a character that make me struggle to connect with, because that's mean I can't sympathize with her/him. Her romance with the hero, Liam McClellan also feel...awkward.

The world building feel too light. We have Otherworld, yes. But other books have it too. We have Queen and King that ruled this Otherworld together, but I don't know, they feel light. Maybe I read too much about the Seelie, Unseelie and their cruel court, and I expect the Queen will be cruel. I don't feel it there. Actually, it can be nice, but I feel something missing. Each time I read about the Queen, I remember the White Queen from Alice movie. A quirky character but easily forgettable.

The best part for Wickedly Dangerous is the small town setting. The conflict with the town's folks is nicely done, not going overboard and I can accept it for a tight-knit society, their reaction to Barbara for being a stranger is well-written. The plot can be slow sometimes and make me lost interest for many times, but the mystery is what keep me going. Sadly, the villain fall into two dimensional characters and I feel that the Russian myth just being here for accessories. I want them to be explored thoroughly, tho. The three Riders that help Barbara is okay too, your standard manly macho brotherhood, although they provide a good comic relief. My favorite character is Chudo Yudo, a Russian dragon that turned into pitbull dog, whose humor make me smile. Alas he's just become a pet, and I wish he get more "dragon-revealed" time.

For a paranormal romance...not much sexy times. The first time is..fade to black *rolling eyes*, the second time is I just don't care since Barbara and Liam relationship is just awkward. It's not that paranormal romance (or UF) must have sexy times that scream"so hot! I want to fan myself". In the other side, I feel grateful for the lack of sexiness.

This book indeed suffer from being "first book in series" syndrome, and also because this is debut, so many aspect that feel lacking. But, first impression is a must, and Wickedly Dangerous is just okay for me, so to read the next book is not my priority this time.
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