ARC Review – Cold Blooded by Amanda Carlson

October 7, 2013 4 Star Reviews, General, Reviews 4 ★★★★

**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 – Cold Blooded by Amanda CarlsonCold Blooded by Amanda Carlson
Series: Jessica McClain #3
Published by Orbit on October 8, 2013
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Werewolves
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
AMAZONB&NBOOK DEPOSITORYGoodreads
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Jessica arrives back in town to find her best friend missing and the most powerful witch in the country is blaming her for it. But before they can move to save her, the group is attacked.

On the run, Jessica and Rourke head to the mountains. Several surprises await them, but in order to save her father they are forced to leave for New Orleans early.

Arriving on the Vampire Queen's doorstep unexpectedly, and bringing trouble on their heels, the Sects are thrown into an all out war. The vicious
skirmish ends up forcing the vamps and Jessica to fight on the same team.

The Vamp Queen ends up owing Jessica, but what Jessica doesn't realize is just how soon she'll have to cash it in...

Cold Blooded was definitely a monumental installment to the Jessica McClain series.  We have revelations, we have action, we have sexy times, and we have Jessica and her wolf kicking some major ass.  And while the action saturated plotline could sometimes become overwhelming, the pure fun and adventure of this series pulls you through and you can’t help but call shotgun on this wild ride that is the life of Jessica McClain, the only female werewolf in the world.

Rourke!!

I can’t say how happy I was to finally have some questions answered about Rourke, who he is and what he is are all finally brought to light in Cold Blooded.  And while Carlson answers these questions, she does so in way that still manages to maintain the mystique of the man.  He’s an alpha male through and through but his mate, Jessica, is also alpha, albeit a reluctant one.  For anyone who thought this relationship was mainly lust, be prepared for some nice moments here.  Lust, yes but also a healthy dose of trust and respect for one another.  I appreciated that Rourke could just as easily fallen into the trap of the typical alpha male but let’s keep it real – Jessica saved his ass in the last book and here, in Cold Blooded, he trusts her and respects her enough to follow her lead, know that she can take care of herself and does all of that without an overwhelming amount of alpha B.S.  

Rourke!!! 

Jessica continues to grow both in terms of her power but also in terms of her leadership abilities.  She trusts her instincts and is now starting to trust her wolf to take the lead when needed.  With each installment in this series, Jessica emerges as a true leader.  She does what’s right and not what’s expected.  Jessica is a supernatural being with a moral compass that reaches beyond her own community and it’s been a thrill ride watching her develop as a character.

The world Carlson creates is also expanding.  In Cold Blooded, we get a better understanding of how witches operate, the power of demons and the underworld, annoying spineless sorcerers, and more lethal vampire machinations.  This world is also getting more interesting, mainly because as Carlson expands it and brings its weaknesses and power plays to the forefront, the more we’re coming to understand Jessica’s place in it.  And, more importantly, we’re finally starting to grasp the impact Jessica and her powers can have on it.

Secondary characters are also strong.  The Vampire Queen is at her conniving best and she is way more than she seems; Ray is bigger and more important than you may have thought…which makes him infinitely more interesting and a bit of a wild card, Danny and Naomi make me go, hmmm…, and there was also a creepy ghost (genuinely creepy) who I hope sticks around.  But, honestly, Tyler is wearing on me.  He acts like an annoying little brother, which is probably the point; I wanted to shake him and say, Just do what your sister says!

Carlson always does action well and this is probably the most accurate description of this series as a whole – action-packed.  To the brim.  The fight scenes are great, Jessica is constantly up against it with some sort of supernatural creature, fighting for her life, and coming out the other end with a newfound revelation about what she can do.  These scenes are always fun and well-done though sometimes I think Jessica, and the reader, need a breather – a moment to catch the collective breath and absorb all the goings on.

My only major problem with Cold Blooded is the device used to bring the witches in on the game.  It opens with a kidnapping, tensions are high, Jessica and crew are mobilizing to act, an uneasy partnership with the witches is made, and then…oh, no biggie.  All’s good, let’s move on to the next adventure.  It just seemed too easy and not as integrated as it could have been. 

Cold Blooded ends on another cliffhanger that sets even higher stakes for Jessica.  I think the next one in the series is going to be very interesting considering the duo Jessica will need to rely on for help.  All in all, Cold Blooded was a fun, action-packed book with the right amount of romance, adventure, and twists to keep me firmly planted as part of the Pack. 4 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.

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