Full Blooded (Jessica McClain #1) by Amanda Carlson
Released: September 11, 2012
Favorite Quote: “How do you like me now?”
Jessica McClain is the only female to be born pack in the last couple hundred of years. As she is regarded as, “the evil apocalypse that will end their race” and constantly fighting for her life, she leaves the pack and heads to the city to live on her own in seclusion. When she awakes in the middle of the night, in the throes of her first change, Jessica realizes that everything has changed. Now she is the only true female werewolf in the world and everyone wants a piece of her.
I was thrilled when I received an arc of Full Blooded. I was also thrilled to have met Amanda Carlson in New Orleans at the Authors After Dark convention. It’s easy to see where the humor and energy in this series comes from. She is a whirlwind. I read the prequel, Blooded, which left me jonesing hard to know what happens to Jessica once she leaves her father’s pack. Full Blooded is Amanda Carlson’s debut urban fantasy novel that takes us into a supernatural world of hot, sexy shapeshifters, nasty, political advancing vampires, and a prophecy that all revolves around the first female to be born into a wolf pack in hundreds of years-Jessica McClain.
A strong character driven series, a majority of the book sets up the world and introduces the characters who are important to the arc and storyline. Carlson does a wonderful job of explaining shapeshifter politics and the world around us and integrating them into the main conflict. A steady pace combined with humorous dialogue and action packed scenes keeps us moving along as we get up close and personal with our protagonist, Jessica McClain. Jessica is her pack’s alpha’s daughter. She is also the first female to be born into the pack and her birth is shrouded in secrecy and a prophecy. A prophecy that claims her existence heralds the end of the werewolves existence. This puts a damper on her childhood. Faced with never ending dominance battles and death threats, when she fails to change in puberty, her father agrees to let her leave the pack and move to the city to live on her own as a human. When the shift does come upon her, six years later, Jessica knows she has no choice but to reunite with the pack. While she loves seeing her dad and brother again, the majority of the pack still see her an an instrument of evil. Jessica also learns that while she is a shapeshifter, she has certain abilities that have never been seen before and put a huge target on her back.
Once Jessica shifts, the whole world seems to know it, and suddenly Jessica finds her apartment ransacked and she is attacked out of the blue. Jessica now has enemies she’s never heard of-creepy vampires, sneaky witches, and even a psycho goddess-each one more name on the “Get Jessica” list. Someone wants her and it’s up to her family and friends to figure out why.
Jessica is a great UF heroine. Intelligent, intuitive, and independent; she does a great job of handling her life and problems without falling prey to arrogance and/or bitchiness. She’s not one to deny help from anyone if she needs it, but she has no problems taking care of business on her own. She has a healthy outlook on life and sex, but who wouldn’t with all the sexy shapeshifters prowling around her? I love her internal monologue, which is distinctly snarky as she tries to acclimate herself to all the changes she is going through. Especially in relations to her wolf, whom she has named Jezebel.
“Hold on their Jezebel…I’m not interested in becoming a slutty werewolf. We are not lifting tail for every good looking guy who comes along.”
I loved how she and her wolf were able to balance their natures and align themselves with each other. They communicate well and even the wolf brings some snark to the table.
The secondary cast are all strong, personable characters who could each carry a storyline all by themselves. I love Jessica’s dad, Cullum. He truly loves Jessica and wants her to stay where he can protect her, but realizes that his love will probably get her killed. You can tell letting her go breaks his heart. Her brother is delightful and I like the relationship they have. I also enjoyed meeting James and Danny-pack members. James is Cullum’s second and he just screams DO ME every time he opens his mouth. RAWR! Danny has some of the best lines,is a complete perv, and I can’t wait to see more of him in the next installment. Rourke is the most interesting to me as he is an mercenary shape shifter for hire and approaches Jessica to “talk.” Gorgeous, alpha, and a complete bad-ass. Jessica is not what he expected and when one thing leads to another, both Jessica and Rourke find themselves in a situation neither of them planned on but don’t know how to escape. And their not sure they want to.
The main conflict intertwines with the “meet and greet” storyline and we find ourselves drifting along comfortably, until towards the end when suddenly it merges with an explosive scene changing game and climatic ending. We learn who was targeting Jessica and why.
There is a cliffhanger that left me feeling a little deflated though. I’m not a huge cliffhanger fan, especially this early in the game. The epilogue clues us into the storyline for the next book, Hot Blooded, and while I will beat you all up for this book, I did feel that the set up for the cliffhanger was done prematurely, hence I’m knocking my grade down. I would have liked to have seen that particular storyline manifest itself later in the series as the characters involved got to know one another better.
Amanda Carlson is a new, must read, author in the urban fantasy genre and I recommend to all those who love an action packed story with engaging dialogue, smoking hot characters, and a heroine who is guaranteed to make you laugh while she’s kicking butt.