The blurbage: "Once upon a time, a spell went awry and Make Believe characters were cast into the ordinary world. And the results aren’t always happily ever after…
Everyone thinks fairy godmothers can do no wrong. But if not for a certain spell mis-cast by Lavender Seelie, Cinderella’s former fairy godmother, the Tales would not be stuck in the Here and Now. Fortunately for Lavender, she’s about to get a second chance at a happy ending…
The Refuge, a sanctuary for wayward Tales, seems like the perfect place for Lavender to start a new life—especially when she discovers an unexpected ally in Seth, the brooding werewolf who’s been typecast as a villain ever since his run in with Little Red Riding Hood. But when humans from nearby towns start turning up dead, their bodies mutilated with archaic Tale symbols, Lavender wonders if Seth’s deep sensuality has blinded her to the truth. And that distraction could put innocent lives in danger. Including her own…"
My take: I really liked SeRine's Red (see my review here). Where that one felt more UF with a heavy dose of romance, this second installment had the romance aspect front and center. It is still first person, as we see everything from Lavender's POV. We just get into the romance faster than in book 1. It surprised me at first, until we find out why everything happened so fast. I liked Lavender's dilemma, and it showed how far her character has progressed.
When I first heard about book 2, I wasn't surprised that Seth was going to be the male lead. However, the choice of Lavender as the heroine did surprise me at first. Lavender is one half of the reason that the Tales are stuck in the Ordinary World. She made a lot of mistakes in the past, and in book 1 we see her as an alcoholic mess. At the start of book 2, a year has passed, Lavender is now friends with Tess, and she is trying to turn her life around. She also pisses off some powerful people and so Tess sends her to the Refuge to get away from the heat.
Being the reason the Tales are stuck in the real world doesn't endear her to many, but I like how she sticks it out and owns her part.
Lavender is not a grandmotherly "bippity boppity boo" type. She's a little hottie and in the end I was very happy with how the romance came together. Both she and Seth have a lot of skeletons in their respective closets. They need someone who will accept them for who they are.
Having a hell of a lot of chemistry doesn't hurt, either.
And Seth? Seth was really endearing once we got to meet him in book 1. His life has been so tragic. I just wanted him to be happy. He can cook too. If you really dig romantic heroes, I think you will be quite satisfied with Mr. Wolf.
The overall conspiracy first unearthed in book 1 is still a big part of the problem in book 2. I was glad to see some parts solved, although there is still plenty left to explore. We also get to see a bit more of Trish Muffet, the heroine of book 3. That one involves Nicky Blue and I cannot wait to read it.
For those who really loved the world of the Transplanted Tales, this book fleshes it out more and gives us a peek into how the Tales who don't get along so well with the Ordinary World live. We also get to see one of my favorite literary characters: Puck.