Jessica McClain, Book 1
Author: Amanda Carlson
Source: Publisher for review
Description from Goodreads:
Born the only female in an all male race, Jessica McClain isn’t just different—she’s feared.
After living under the radar for the last twenty-six years, Jessica is thrust unexpectedly into her first change, a full ten years late. She wakes up and finds she’s in the middle of a storm. Now that she’s become the only female full-blooded werewolf in town, the supernatural world is already clamoring to take a bite out of her and her new Pack must rise up and protect her.
But not everyone is on board. The werewolf Rights of Laws is missing text and the superstitious werewolves think that Jessica means an end to their race. It doesn’t help when Jessica begins to realize she’s more. She can change partway and hold her form, and speak directly to her wolf. But the biggest complication by far is that her alpha father can't control her like he can the rest of his wolves.
When a mercenary who’s been hired by the vampires shows up to extract information about the newly turned werewolf only days after her change, they find themselves smack in the middle of a war and there's no choice but to run together. When it’s up to Jessica to negotiate her release against her father’s direct orders, she chooses to take an offer for help instead. In exchange, Jessica must now swear an oath she may end up repaying with her life.
First Sentence: "I drew in a ragged breath and tried to surface from one hell of a nightmare."
It has been ages since I read a straight up paranormal romance, and, though they may not be literary brilliance, I have missed them. Amanda Carlson's Jessica McClain series focuses on shifters, but has just about every paranormal you could hope to find. Full Blooded reminded me heavily of Bitten, the first book of Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series, so, if you enjoyed that, you will likely enjoy the drama of Full Blooded.
Jessica has fought long and hard for her independence from the Pack, but all of that effort goes up in smoke the moment she shifts into her wolf form. Women aren't supposed to shift; in fact, she's the only female werewolf in the world (baby wolfies are bred on human women). No surprise there, right? What's a paranormal romance without a heroine who is a super special snowflake? Since being the only female werewolf in the whole world isn't enough, she also has some other powers too.
All of that, of course, is very unoriginal ground, well-tread in the genre. What I enjoyed, though, was that Jessica was not running from her family because they were abusive or controlling or didn't respect her, but because she wanted to live a different life. Her father Callum, the pack's Alpha, and her brother Tyler support her in everything she does, unless they're positive she'll be seriously hurt by what she's planning. When in doubt, though, they always help her, let her have what she wants. Like, her father could use his Alpha powers to order her to behave a particular way, but he doesn't, except in extreme situations when her life is legit on the line. In fiction, there are a lot of neglectful or abusive families, so I am always so glad to see that, especially in paranormal romance, where it usually takes a back seat to romance.
Anyway, being the only female werewolf is complicated, and, thankfully, not because all of the men think they should be able to get into her pants. Actually, there's a prophecy that says a lady werewolf will destroy all of their kind, so some factions are seriously concerned at her emergence. Her father's first instinct is to lock her up and keep her safe, but he wants her to be happy, so they try to let her just go on with life. Of course, that doesn't work, because there would be no book.
Jessica was mostly a likable heroine. She's strong, brave, loyal, and practical. Even when she meets her mate (hello obvious instalove), she doesn't get gross about it, thank goodness. The only thing I didn't like about her was the way she would refer to things as 'slutty' that didn't seem to be at all. Like, she would worry that as a wolf she would be a slut, and sleep with everyone. *headdesk* Embrace it, girl. Slutty is something society imposes on you; don't let it and you can have way more guilt-free fun.
Oh, also, Jessica loves to eat. Her change makes her ravenously hungry at all times. She eats constantly in the book. Hurray for a heroine that EATS. She has a hunger beast and I thought that was fantastic. Even better, there's a scene where she's talking to this super sexy guy with a big old mouthful of food. Her words come out all unclear, because of how much food she has stuffed in there. This scene was probably my favorite, since Jessica really doesn't care most of the time if she looks hot and that was refreshing.
Thankfully, she doesn't let her somewhat prudish mind stop her from having fun entirely, because the wolf-y side of her convinces her getting some is an awesome idea. Good sexy scenes happen rarely in YA, so this was very enjoyable. The wolfish side of her brain needs to win arguments more often.
Except...I didn't really like the wolfish side of her brain. Basically, this was the thing I liked least, I think. The wolf reminded me a lot of the 'inner goddess' thing. It's all 'my wolf growls' or 'my wolf barks' or 'my wolf is in a frenzy,' encouraging her to fight or to stare someone down have some sex. I don't know. I guess I just didn't like how silly that seemed or how compartmentalized the wolf was, like an entirely different being inhabiting her body. She and the wolf are one, right?
Full Blooded met my expectations just about, a fun paranormal romp. Not much is accomplished plot-wise, and the ending has some insane cliffhangers, so I'll be sticking around for Hot Blooded, the next book in the series.
Favorite Quote: "'I don't want to go, I want to stay and fight. My place is here fighting alongside my Pack, not being protected like some breakable object.'"
Giveaway: I'm giving away my finished review copy to a reader, since my book shelves are overflowing. Since I'm mailing it out, US only. All you have to do is fill out THIS FORM by October 26 at 11:59 PM.