ARC Review – Hot Blooded by Amanda Carlson

September 19, 2013 3 Star Reviews, General, Reviews 3 ★★★½

**I received this book for free from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

ARC Review – Hot Blooded by Amanda CarlsonHot Blooded by Amanda Carlson
Series: Jessica McClain #2
Published by Orbit on April 23, 2013
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Werewolves
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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It hasn't been the best week for Jessica McClain.

Her mate has been kidnapped by a Goddess hell-bent on revenge --- but Jessica is playing for keeps.

Because she's the only female werewolf in town...it comes with its own set of rules...and powers.

Aided by two vamps, two loyal Pack members, and one very reluctant human, Jessica must rescue her man while coming to terms with what being a wolf really means.

All in a day's work for a girl.

The second novel in the Jessica McClain series is a full on action adventure featuring one angry Goddess and plenty of monsters, demons, and a few newly risen beasties...

Hot Blooded is the second book in Amanda Carlson’s Jessica McClain series – a series that follows the only female werewolf in the known (supernatural) world.  The first novella and full-length book took me my storm.  I loved the action, the romance, and our heroine, the reluctant werewolf, Jessica, as she tries to navigate this new world of wolfdom.  So it was with high expectations that I cracked the Kindle spine, so to speak, to read this one.  And, as expected, Hot Blooded was action-packed and a lot of fun. 

The plot is straightforward but full of adventure and action.  Jessica has to save her mate.  Period.  This story is all about getting to Rourke and saving him before the demented goddess, Selene, kills him.  To do this, Jessica and her band of unlikely companions has to overcome a series of scary, ass-kicking obstacles before they can reach Rourke.  On the road with her are Tyler, Danny, Ray (of all people) and the two vampires tasked with helping, brother and sister duo, Eamon and Naomi.  Jessica, the poor girl, never gets a break.  She has to fight rock monsters, flesh eating demon bats, scary naiads, and killer zombie goats.  It was definitely fun to see the gang do battle and grow stronger as a team.  Oaths are taken, bonds are cemented, flesh is eaten, and friendships are made.

By far, what I enjoyed most about Hot Blooded was witnessing the continued growth of Jessica as the only female werewolf and the developing relationship she has with her wolf.  Make no mistake, Jessica is powerful.  She’s at the center of a prophecy that could shift the balance of power within the supernatural world but what her role is in that prophecy is unclear.  But who cares about a damn prophecy when your mate is in trouble and that’s what this book is all about.  Getting to him.  On the road we see Jessica take charge.  She is the unquestionable leader of the group — an alpha, albeit a reluctant one.  She takes charge, gives direction, and leads the group into one of the toughest challenges they have yet faced.  Each obstacle thrown in her way pushes Jessica to a new level of power and seeing her develop her strength and control as a Lycan was nice to witness.  Her relationship with her wolf is growing.  It’s a connection that’s reminiscent of Jane Yellowrock and her beast but without the all the dark mystery.  One thing I hope Carlson does is explain that connection at some point.  Not to compare too much but in the Jane Yellowrock series, we do eventually come to understand how Jane became connected to her beast and I hope Carlson does the same.  Regardless, I like how they’re learning to work and trust in the instincts of the other. 

The other strong point for me in Hot Blooded was the cast of secondary characters.  I never thought I would be interested in Ray but Carlson flipped that switch for me and by the end of the book, I was really curious to see what would happen to the cop we all love to hate.  Perhaps the most interesting new relationship is the Jessica – Naomi friendship.  I like to see another strong secondary female character come to the foreground and, in Naomi, Carlson has crafted a smart, shrewd, and powerful ally for her heroine.  Tyler and Danny are present with their single-minded drive to protect their beloved Jessica.  I always find Tyler funny with his WTF expressions dropped at just the right moment.

I think where things went slightly off course for me was in some of the pacing.  There was a lot of action but often, in the middle of an action scene, were long conversations about what to do, what the threat was, a bit of an info dump on who, what, where, and how.  I like a good strategy session but, honestly, by the time they ended their discussion on how to help Naomi and Danny from flesh eating demon bats, they would’ve been dead.  And I mean dead dead.  As dead as a supe can be.  Point of no return dead.  You get my meaning.  Sometimes it would have been nice to have some action without the explanation.  

Hot Blooded is a fun follow-up to the debut, Full Blooded.  Honestly, if you like action and strong female heroines who can also make you laugh, you would do well to read this series.  3.5 Howls!

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About Amanda Carlson

Amanda Carlson is the author of the upcoming Jessica McClain series. The first book, Full Blooded, will be released by Hachette Book Group, ORBIT US & UK SEPT 2012. She’s been writing for over ten years. Full Blooded is her first novel. She lives in Minneapolis, with her husband and three kids.

3 Responses to “ARC Review – Hot Blooded by Amanda Carlson”

  1. braine

    This felt more like a filler for me. Like an extended companion novella. It has lots of action but plot wise it didn’t really move things along a great deal. I still love it though & cant wait for book 3!

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