Title: Bayou Blues
Author: Sierra Dean
Series: Genie McQueen, book 1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Sierra Dean
Source: Review copy from author
When your sister has saved the world, you have a lot to live up to.
Genie McQueen thought she’d seen it all after helping her big sister Secret stop the Apocalypse. The dead walked, New York City burned, and things nearly went to hell in a hand basket. After it was all over, the world knew about vampires and werewolves, and Genie’s life would never be the same.
But now, three years later, someone doesn’t want werewolves or any supernatural creatures to live alongside humans. A new anti-werewolf church with a charismatic leader and a cult-like following has declared open season on Genie’s whole species. When a member of her pack is kidnapped, she decides it’s time to stop going with the flow and to step up and fight for her people.
Tagging along for the ride is a handsome troublemaker, Wilder Shaw, a pack outsider who just wants to save his brother, but will leave Genie’s head spinning in the process.
Equally troubling are the ghosts of her past she can’t quite shake, the nightmarish figures who haunt her even when she’s wide awake, and a dark magic inside her she hasn’t yet learned to tame.
Things are about to get messy in the bayou.
Let me start by saying I love Sierra Dean and I love her books. I love them so much I don’t think she can write anything bad. I’m pretty sure even her grocery list must be entertaining to read.
I spent many hours lost in the Secret McQueen Universe and when I saw the series come to an end I felt like I lost a good friend. Luckily for me -and other fans of the series, who like me, weren’t ready to say goodbye to that wonderful world- Sierra had the brilliant idea of a spin-off series. This time around based on Secret’s little sister, Genie McQueen. I have to be honest, I had some misgivings about Genie being the heroine of this next series; I thought she was too young and too good and didn’t have it in her what it was needed to be a good UF heroine, but… I was wrong and I’m very happy to be wrong.
Bayou Blues starts three years after the end of the Secret McQueen series. Even though the existence of werewolves and vampires is now in the open, Genie is trying to live a normal life; she is going to college and to the dismay of her pack, she has a human boyfriend. But her tranquil and normal life changes when the leader of an anti-werewolf church starts to publicly promote the killing of werewolves. Afraid for her life, her uncle and leader of the pack, Callum, asks her to return to the pack’s compound.
Returning to her family home was not what Genie was expecting and things only get more complicated when one member of the pack is kidnaped from the church and Genie realizes nobody is planning to do anything to rescue him. That doesn’t sit well with her or with Wilder, who is the brother of the kidnapped werewolf; so together, against Callum’s orders, they decided to embark on a secret rescue mission. What none of them were expecting was to find something more serious and complicated than a zealot and a kidnapping, but a very complicated situation that could change the public image and acceptance of all the werewolves.
As I said before I wasn’t sure about Genie, but Sierra proved me wrong. On the beginning of the book she was the Genie I remember from the Secret McQueen series, but slowly she started to transform and become more. I loved to see her come into her own strength page after page and become the heroine (I didn’t know) she had the potential to be. The best part is that she’s not Secret, she is original and completely herself. Of course, she’s not perfect and has not only big shoes to fill, but also a long way to go, the good news is she is on the right track.
I really liked Wilder and I liked what Sierra did with him in regards to his family. I don’t want to say much about it because I don’t want to give spoilers away, let’s just say it was nicely done.
I liked that Wilder was able to leave his preconceptions about Genie behind and see her for what she truly was. I also liked that he never doubted what she was capable of doing and always supported her in her decisions.
Wilder and Genie made a nice couple. I liked that their relationship, if I can call it that, started slowly, from acquaintances to friends and from friends to something more; but here comes my big “but” and that is that we know that there is a soul-bonded mate out there for Genie and I’m afraid he’s going to show up when we less expected and get everything complicated and messy. I only hope
Sierra I beg you there won’t be a love triangle in the future.
From the secondary characters I really liked Genie’s uncle and leader of the pack, Callum. He is in a difficult position trying to protect his wolves while being the leader they need. He is in a place I wouldn’t want to be. One thing I really loved about him was that he saw the potential in Genie and did something pretty great about it. The only thing that worries me about it is the complications that could cause with Genie’s brother, Ben, because I don’t think he’s going to be too happy with the new and improved version of Genie.
The villain in the best Sierra Dean style (she’s great creating unforgettable villains) is despicable, disgusting and vicious. Although I kind of guess the reasons behind his actions, they still carried a shock factor when they came to the light.
The story is really good and well paced. It also plants the seeds of what is coming for the werewolves. Things are only going to get more difficult for them now that their existence is out in the open. I wonder what is happening with the vampires and if we will see how this new situation is affecting
my Sig and
my Holden them.
The mystery is well done and it kept me glued to the pages wanting to know what was going to happen next.
All in all Bayou Blues is a great start to a very promising series and I, for one, can’t wait to see what else Sierra has in store for Genie and the wolves. Knowing her I’m pretty sure what is to come will be epic.
My Verdict: 4 Paws
Other books in the series
Black Magic Bayou (December 2015)
Other reviews Goodreads
Order Bayou Blues Amazon
Let me welcome Sierra to my blog, she is going to talk us about what it was to return to the McQueen Universe.
Round 2 – A Return to the McQueen Universe
Secret McQueen represented a big thing for me as a writer. Something Secret This Way Comes was the first book I ever finished writing, it was my first published work, and in a lot of ways it feels like my baby. I’ve been writing Secret for over a decade, counting all the years it took me to finish that first book, and when the last paragraph of A Secret to Die For was done, I was saying goodbye to not only a beloved series, but also a dear friend. I know Secret Merriweather McQueen better than I know anyone, an finishing her series was hard.
As it turns out, jumping back into her universe was even harder.
In between work on the last Secret book, I tackled other projects, wrote different worlds, took some time off, even. I did a lot of things that didn’t involve working in the McQueen universe. When I dove back into writing Genie’s book, it represented some new challenges.
Because so much of my world-building was pre-established, I had to check back with the former books several times to make sure I wasn’t messing anything up. The trouble with creating a new world is there are a ton of rules that go along with it, and if you make a mistake, someone is bound to notice. Heck, there was a brief moment, right as I was finishing my first draft, where I suddenly realized: one of the featured secondary characters in this book might have died in a Secret book. (Luckily, he did not, but I did need to change several plot details when I remembered his involvement in Grave Secret). And it’s not just big details. I had to check back to see if I’d mentioned Magnolia’s eye color previously (I had), or whether an off-hand remark made in Keeping Secret might tie me to something in the Genie books.
But, in spite of all the extra work of comparing the new book to the old series to avoid mistakes, I’m glad I decided to do it. It was apparent right away when I started writing Bayou Blues that writing in this world felt like home to me. Sometimes writing a book can feel like a slog. It’s always a lot of work and can sometimes be frustrating and exhausting. But jumping back into the McQueen world was so comfortable, and so right, that writing this book was a joy. I can’t wait to write the next book in Genie’s series, and help create new rules that are all her own.
And if I messed up anyone’s eye color… let’s just say magic is responsible, okay?