Thursday, October 6, 2022

Today's read... Wildblood by Lauren Blackwood

 We're off to the jungle with today's read! Add a little magic, adventure, least, that's what the blurb promises. I'm all game, since this sounds like a very original setting and should keep me, the reader, on their toes. Jungles scream danger and adventure, right? The tour company addition is also interesting, and...well...who knows what else this one holds. Although it's not Halloweeny in the traditional since, I'm thinking there's going to be mystery and danger... 

I have read Within These Wicked Walls, a prize-winning book by this same author, and I loved that one. So, I'm expecting a treat.

Today's read doesn't hit the shelves until beginning February this coming year, which leaves plenty of time for the anticipation to build... if it's worth it. Let's find out if that's the case.

by Lauren Blackwood
Wednesday Books
YA Fantasy
336 pages

FEBRUARY 7th, 2023!!!

Eighteen-year-old Victoria is a Wildblood. Kidnapped at the age of six and manipulated by the Exotic Lands Touring Company, she’s worked as a tour guide ever since with a team of fellow Wildbloods who take turns using their magic to protect travelers in a Jamaican jungle teeming with ghostly monsters.

When the boss denies Victoria an earned promotion to team leader in favor of Dean, her backstabbing ex, she’s determined to prove herself. Her magic may be the most powerful on the team, but she’s not the image the boss wants to send their new client, Thorn, a renowned goldminer determined to reach an untouched gold supply deep in the jungle.

Thorn is everything Victoria isn't - confident, impossibly kind, and so handsome he leaves her speechless. And when he entrusts the mission to her, kindness turns to mutual respect, turns to affection, turns to love. But the jungle is treacherous, and between hypnotic river spirits, soul-devouring women that shed their skin like snakes, and her ex out for revenge, Victoria has to decide - is promotion at a corrupt company really what she wants?



Danger comes in all forms, each one deadlier than the last, in a fast-paced read, which doesn't let up until the end.

Victoria has been working for The Exotic Lands Touring Company since she was six, although not by choice. As a Wildblood, her talents gave the company reason enough to kidnap her and have her steer customers safely through the dangers of the jungle. Now eighteen, she hopes to finally get a promotion. When a group shows up, paying to be lead into the depths of the jungle and not along the usual path, Victoria knows death awaits them but also sees this as her chance to finally achieve her goals if she pulls it off. Unfortunately, that also means she'll have to make the group leader, her nemesis, shine. But when his bad decisions lead them from one danger to the next, and she hears the jungles promise of certain death, even she might not be able to steer them through. And maybe, not even herself.

This is a gripping read with one tense situation after the other. It's impossible to predict what they'll be facing next or even how they can overcome the dangers. While the idea of a jungle already means enough danger, this tale amps it up and adds fantastical creatures to the mix along with more than a little paranormal. Blood magic ensures a dark tone right along with greed, revenge, and hate. Violence and murder along with mentioned rape (mentioned without graphic as happening in past) and abuse ensure this is not one for sensitive readers. It also is not overly graphic or inappropriate for older YAers.

The plot does lure in and keep the reader hooked, and there are many mysteries, which do find resolution by the end. I enjoyed Victoria's tenacity and, yet, meek moments, and found many of the characters around her well done with their varying intentions (good and bad) and personalities. It flows together very well and even adds just enough comic relief, here and there, to keep things from weighing down too much. Although it's not a light story. My only criticisms land on the romance, which is instant and doesn't come across natural in the slightest, the missing emotions at some events, and a few logic stumbles. These kept the read from becoming the amazing tale it could have been, but didn't hold it back from being a good read and worth the peek. I had a hard time putting this one down and enjoyed it quite a bit.

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