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Saturday, October 15, 2016


Author:  Deborah Blake
Plot Type:  Soul Mate Romance (SMR) 
Ratings:  Violence3; Sensuality3; Humor—3
Publisher and Titles:  Berkley
          Dangerously Charming (10/2016)
          Dangerously Divine (TBA)

     This trilogy is a spin-off of Blake's BABA YAGA SERIES, which consisted of three novels and two novellas telling the stories of three mystical witches right out of Russian folklore as they meet their soul mates and solve some magical mysteries. Click HERE to go to my ongoing review post for all of the books in the BABA YAGA SERIES. That post also includes a detailed description of the world-building, which will be the same as this series.

     Here is a very brief summary of that mythology: There are three Baba Yagas in America, each one appearing to be an attractive young woman. To prolong their lives, increase their strength, and boost their natural magical powers, each one regularly drinks the Water of Life and Death, which is supplied to them by the Queen of the Otherworld. 

     The Baba Yagas are assisted by three Riders, handsome "young" men who are actually thousands of years old. The Riders are half-brothers who share a father but have different mothers. Their father is a minor god, and each mother is a different type of paranormal entity, a fact that is very important in the BROKEN RIDERS SERIES. Each Rider has a signature color. 
> Mikhail Day (aka Bright Dawn, the White Rider), the youngest, is tall and Viking-blond. He dresses in white and rides a white Yamaha motorcycle. 
Gregori Sun (aka Red Sun, the Red Rider), the eldest, has Asian features and a Fu Manchu moustache. He dresses in red and rides a red motorcycle.
Alexei Knight (aka Dark Midnight, the Black Rider) dresses in black and rides a black motorcycle.
     The Riders were created to live forever, but they lost their immortality in Wickedly Powerful (the final BABA YAGA novel) when a former Baba Yaga tortured them until they nearly died. After one of the friendly Baba Yagas saved their lives with the Water of Life and Death—an act that was expressly forbidden—the Queen made the Riders mortal. The three men also lost their magical powers and much of their super strength, either because of the torture, because of the effects of the magical Water, or because of the Queen's actions when she took away their immortalitythus, BROKEN RIDERS.

     As the series opens, the three brothers are living apart and have been together only once since their tragedy. Each is dealing with his new mortality and loss of powers in a different manner. Each book will feature a Rider pulling himself together and meeting his soul mate while getting involved in various dangerous magical adventures. The Baba Yagas and their soul mates are supporting characters in this series.

                         NOVEL 1: Dangerously Charming                          
     From the author of the BABA YAGA SERIES, a brand new series set in the same world, filled with wild magic, enchanting damsels, and the irresistibly daring men who serve the Baba Yagas. The Riders are three immortal brothers who, for centuries, protected the mythical Baba Yagas. But their time serving the witches has ended—and their new destinies are just beginning. 

     Ever since a near-fatal mistake stripped Mikhail Day and his brothers of their calling to be Riders, Day has hidden from his shame and his new, mortal life in a remote cabin in the Adirondack mountains. But when a desperate young woman appears on his doorstep, he cannot resist helping her—and cannot deny how strongly he’s drawn to her. 

     For generations, women in Jenna Quinlan’s family have been cursed to give up their first born child to the vengeful fairy Zilya. When Jenna finds herself unexpectedly pregnant, she is determined to break her family’s curse and keep her baby, even if it means teaming up with a mysterious and charismatic man with demons of his own. 

    To unravel the curse, Jenna and Day will have to travel deep into the Otherworld. But the biggest challenge of the journey might not be solving an ancient puzzle but learning to heal their own broken hearts.


    As the novel opens, Mikhail Day is living far off the grid in an isolated cabin in the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate New York. He spends his days and nights drowning in grief and guilt because he believes that it was his fault that he and his brothers were captured and tortured. Day has always been famous for helping ladies in distress, but when he did that in Wickedly Powerful, it turned out to be a trap set by a former Baba Yaga who wanted to use the Riders' blood to make herself immortal. Day believes that his brothers will never forgive him for getting them captured, and he certainly will never forgive himself, so he mopes around the cabin indulging in long, angst-filled interior monologues. Day's constant self-flagellation gets old very quickly, and the book would have been stronger if a few chunks of his on-going, soul-crushing angst had been cut out.

     And one more thing about Day: Soon after Jenna arrives in his life, he notices some changes in his appearance and behaviorspecifically, a tendency to turn green, furry, and fangy whenever Jenna is in danger. Apparently, when the Riders lost the immortality and magical powers given to them by their father, the genetic traits of their mothers began to become more dominant. Searching for Mom and dealing with these new powers will be part of each Rider's quest.

     One stormy night, a gorgeous young woman knocks on Day's cabin door. Jenna Quinlan is desperately trying to escape Zilya, a wicked fairy who wants to take away her unborn child just as soon as she gives birth. It seems that Jenna's family has been under Zilya's curse for generations because one of her female ancestors married a man the fairy wanted for herself. To add to Jenna's problems, her ex-boyfriend is after her as well. Stuart is a spoiled rich boy who lives under his father's thumb. He doesn't believe that the baby is his, but his father demands DNA proof from the baby's blood. Being wealthy and spineless, Stuart succumbs to his father's demands by hiring some thugs to go after Jenna and drag her off for medical testing. When the hit men attack Jenna, Day's new furry über-identity kicks in and comes to her defense with a roar. Jenna is a terrific heroinecourageous, open-hearted, and ready to do anything necessary to keep her baby out of the hands of the wicked Zilya.

     Although Day keeps telling himself that he wants nothing to do with another female in distress, he is drawn to Jenna (and vice versa) and we know from the first knock on his door that the two are soul mates. The plot follows the couple as they get some help from one of the Baba Yagas and head off to the Otherworld to figure out the solution to a fairy puzzle that will break the curse. There are a few bedroll-by-the-campfire scenes in which Day and Jenna get to know one another quite well, but the descriptions of their sexual antics are sketched in with few details.

    Three standard HEA tropes form the themes of the story: Love conquers all; family is important; and all evil doers receive their proper punishment. This is a rather charming story with likable lead characters and a plot that has enough surprise twists and romance roadblocks to keep the action moving along at a nice pace. Although you won't doubt for a moment that Jenna and Day will solve the riddle and ride off into the sunset with their baby, Blake does a good job with building their characters and setting up the intersecting story lines. 

    Blake provides enough background on the infamous torture of the three Riders that you can read this novel as a standalone, but you'll enjoy it even more if you read the BABA YAGA novels first.

    The second novel will tell Gregori Sun's story as he moves into a Buddhist monastery; searches for his mother; and meets his soul mate, Ciera Evans, in a soup kitchen at a homeless shelter in St. Paul, Minnesota.

   Click HERE to go to the Dangerously Charming page on where you can read an excerpt by clicking on the cover art

FULL DISCLOSURE: My review of Dangerously Charming is based on an electronic advance reading copy (ARC) of the book that I received from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I received no promotional or monetary rewards, and the opinions in this review are entirely my own.

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