I generally review romance, paranormal and urban fantasy. I tend to pick review books that I want to read, so generally my reviews will be positive. I always give my honest opinion: good, bad, and indifferent.
Note: on my blog I use a letter grading system. I've listed the ratings below. For sites with stars, I have listed the equivalent rating. If I didn't finish the book, I will not rate it with stars.
A+ Personal Favorite (5 stars)
A Loved It (4.5 or 5 stars)
A- Enjoyed A Lot (4 or 4.5 stars)
B+ Liked It A Lot (4 stars)
B Liked It -- Recommend (4 stars)
B- Liked It -- But I had a few small issues (3 or 3.5 stars)
C+ Liked It -- But I had issues (3 or 3.5 stars)
C Finished It -- Liked some, didn't like some (3 stars)
C- Finished It -- Liked a little, didn't like a lot (2 or 2.5 stars)
D Not A Big Fan (2 stars)
E Don’t Waste Your Time (1 star)
TW: Reading this book was like watching a Train Wreck
DNF: Did Not Finish
updated July 9, 2015
My Rating: 3 stars: Liked it, but I had some issues (B-)
Originally Posted at That's What I'm Talking About
Review copy provided by NetGalley
The third story in the Jessica McClain series picks up immediately after the conclusion of the previous book, Hot Blooded. Jessica, her mate Rourke, and their various pack mates and friends have just survived a nasty encounter with the crazed goddess Selena. Now the group is being questioned by a powerful witch, Tally, on the disappearance of her niece, Jessica's friend Marcy. Marcy was kidnapped by a group of sorcerers wanting to get at Jessica. Quickly, the entire situation escalates, and Jessica and Rourke go on the run to escape and re-group.
Cold Blooded is a high-octane ride, filled with crazy action and fights with several close calls. Jessica is coming into unimaginable power and has been quick to adjust, learning how to wield it with ease. While this helps Jessica and her friends as she journeys to save not only Marcy, but her father as well, sometimes I felt that solutions to problems came a little too easily for Jessica and the others. Apparently, none of the new supernaturals have learning curves if Jessica and newly made vampire Ray are examples. While Jessica did have two previous novels to work through some of the issues, in reality, only a few days to weeks have passed since she became the only female werewolf. I would have liked more failures or at least a few more struggles for Jessica as she learned about the supernatural world and her own internal controls.
Jessica does wage through multiple battles before she can save Marcy or her dad. She faces several foes this time around; it was almost too many to keep straight. The action is pretty intense and even a little gruesome at times. I enjoyed the battles most when Jess and her friends worked together as a team to defeat whatever was happening. This was one of the things I liked most about the second book: the teamwork of Jessica and her friends. This time around it felt more like Jessica was the alpha and everyone just did what she said. There wasn't as much camaraderie. In addition, I didn't feel as invested in her journey because something always happened to make things easy for her. There was the mysterious child prophet who gave Jessica answers and it felt a little to convenient. Then there was a friendly ghost, a crazed vampire seer, witches with spells, Ray's new supernatural abilities, and finally her own powers, all giving Jessica an "easy" way out, or at least it felt that way to me. Again, there were some amazing battle scenes, but I just didn't feel connected to the characters and invested in the outcome as much as I had in the prior novels.
Overall, the story moved quickly, from one big scene to the next. Early on, there was a rewarding scene for those who have followed the series since the beginning. It is satisfying to finally have something we've been waiting for since book one to finally happen (wink, wink). I enjoyed her deepening relationship with her mate, Roarke, as well as her friend, Naomi. Both relationships help balance Jessica and create a more enriching character. I do wish, however, that Jessica and Roarke would have finally had a bit more time to be together, but I’ll take what I can get! In addition, Ray is back and he is changed - literally. At the end of the second book, Naomi had to change Ray into a vampire in order to save his life. How the hard-headed ex-cop deals with this is entertaining. However, I am on the fence about one big change that we find out about Ray later in the story. Let's just say it was a little too reminiscent of Butch a la the Black Dagger Brotherhood.
While most of the story lines from the previous books were tied up, once again the author begins the next story at the end the current one. After the final battle is waged, the situation progresses, leaving a cliff-hanger type ending. I'm okay with this type of ending because it truly is the start of the next book rather than an unfinished story. I was, however, left feeling unsatisfied with the storyline involving the vampire Queen Eudoxia and her second, Valdov. There was implication of more going on than meets the eye, yet it wasn't truly addressed. I hope that there is more of that story in the next book.
All in all, Cold Blooded is a good story for those that follow the Jessica McClain series. The book progresses important plots and storylines, but also changes the direction of Jessica's journey. While the action was exciting and intense, sometimes I felt removed from the characters and the outcomes. The next book looks to go back to the format of the second story - with a smaller, close-knit group going on a journey. That is something I can look forward to.