Book Review: The Exile by C.T. Adams

The ExileThe Exile
Book One of the Fae
C.T. Adams
Tor, March 2015
ISBN 978-0-7653-3687-3
Trade Paperback

Helena Hai and her half-human daughter Brianna escaped the faerie world when Helena began to fear for their lives. Power struggles had become more and more violent and war looked to become inevitable. Since Brianna was the daughter of the present Fae king, it seemed she was a likely target of those trying to eliminate any competition to the throne. Besides, King Leu had a new lover.

Helena, a powerful witch in her own right, closed the veil between the human and faerie worlds to fae magic when she fled. In the human world, Helena ran a magic shop and she and Brianna made a good life for themselves. After Helena passed, a living stone gargoyle named Pug helped guard Brianna.

But even as Brianna enjoys her life and her friends, dissension is building in Fae. Leu, Brianna’s father, must fight for his life and protect his world from those who would usurp his power. Family members, afraid Brianna may be favored to be named the next ruler, seek to destroy her, even through the veil.

A large cast of characters people (or creature) this book. Pug, the gargoyle, is Brianna’s good friend. Ju-Long and his daughter Mei, shape-shifting dragons are firmly on her side. The Diamond King is unique and trustworthy. Even some of the lesser fae creatures prove themselves good citizens.

The wicked adversaries of all different ilk are super strong and well-depicted in this story. Unfortunately for Brianna, many of those enemies are King Leu’s own children and her half-siblings, which makes for interesting family dynamics.

Filled with action as the war of succession heats up, Brianna’s human friends and employees are drawn into the struggle. Nick Antonelli, a police detective, is drawn into the faerie world in a violent introduction, possibly souring an attraction Brianna would like to explore.

This is a big book, well-plotted with nicely drawn characters. It’s fairly rare to find a book where the lesser characters are so well developed. There’ll be more Brianna Hai stories, which I’ll look forward to reading. I’m hoping most of these characters will follow her into fae.

Reviewed by Carol Crigger, June 2015.
Author of Three Seconds to Thunder.

Book Review: Hellbent by Cherie Priest

Cherie Priest
Spectra, September 2011
ISBN 978-345-52062-3
Trade Paperback

Cherie Priest has joined my short list of automatic buys, whether she’s writing a new zombie thriller or an urban fantasy/paranormal featuring Raylene Pendle, vampire and thief.

Raylene thinks she’s a real bad-ass, and so she is. She’s all that and more, although as her list of housemates grows to include not only the homeless orphan human kids, Pepper and her brother Domino, but the blind vampire Ian Stott, and Adrian deJesus, ex-Navy SEAL drag queen, you’ve gotta wonder if she’s got a live, beating heart.

This adventure has Raylene’s business associate, Horace, cutting her in on a deal worth millions. All she had to do is steal some outrageous magical artifacts (you’ll laugh your head off when you find out what they are) from some old guy in the suburbs. The trouble is, a powerful magician is after the same artifacts, and it looks like Raylene and she will have to duke it out to gain possessiom. Not so easy, even with Adrian’s help.

At the same time, Raylene has to intercede on Ian’s behalf in a feud between hostile vampire “houses’, then convince his family he’s…er…dead. And, oh yes, try to rescue Adrian’s deaf vampire sister, while she’s at it.

Often hilarious, full of action and great characters, Hellbent is another terrific read. I can’t wait for the next book to see who else Raylene’s gonna add to her household. I just hope they all like kittens.

Reviewed by C.K.Crigger, September 2011.

Book Review: Waking the Witch by Kelley Armstrong

Waking the Witch
Kelley Armstrong
Dutton Books, 2010
ISBN 0525951784

Ever since I first heard about Savannah, I have been waiting for the brilliant kid witch to strut her stuff. She’s twenty-one now and still living at home with her adoptive parents, Paige and Lucas. When a case comes into the agency while the pair are off on their honeymoon in Hawaii, Savannah scoops it up. It’s time she earned her stripes as a private investigator.

The case–young women have been murdered in a small mill town. The police are stymied and there are magical elements involved. Savannah’s going to use her witchy powers to find justice for the women.

She finds a bit of romance, too, when a half-brother of one of the victims shows up to investigate, too. Detective Kennedy might just be the man for her except he’s not magically gifted. Unfortunately, someone in town doesn’t want the cases solved and the killing continues.

I’m going to say upfront this novel might not be for everyone.  If you are dedicated fan of Kelley Armstrong and like the witchy elements of “Women of the Otherworld” you’re probably going to like this book.

Reviewed by Rebecca Kyle, October 2010.

Book Review: Montooth and the Canfield Witch by Robert Jay

Montooth and the Canfield Witch
Robert Jay
Cloverleaf Corporation, 2009
ISBN No. 978-0615296456

Carty Anderson and her “Crew” give the readers a peek into life in the fifties in Winter Free, Florida.   Carty (Catherine “Carty” Andersson) is a 14 years old girl who has learned a lot from spending time with her Dad.  Her friends Blake Holmes, Hale Wending and Maximilian “Mack” Stein make up the group known as “The Crew”.

Carty had agreed that she would help her Aunt Lilly with the housework since Aunt Lilly had fallen and broken her arm.  It was a seven-mile ride on Carty’s bicycle from Aunt Lilly’s home to Carty’s house and she had stayed a little too long.  Aunt Lilly told Carty of a short cut between Duck Luck and Morose Swamp so Carty decided to take the short cut, which Aunt Lilly said, would take her out by the old Hostetter’s house.  The house had been vacant since the death of Cora Hostetter.  Aunt Lilly also told Carty about Sally Canfield, the woman who lived next to the Hostetter property.   People in the area thought that Sally Canfield was a witch.  Carty reminded her Aunt Lilly that it was 1950 and there just weren’t any witches around.  At least Carty did not believe that there was a witch living nearby.

On her way home using the short cut Carty spotted Sally Canfield in her yard.  She also noticed two men who seemed to be watching Sally.  Carty managed to sneak away after she scared the two men and the men wound up being chased by a giant gator.

Back at school, the next day Carty’s teacher Mrs. Tryon explained a field exam that would constitute 50% of the credit on their botany final exam.   The students were to divide into groups and the groups were to find specimens of native Florida vegetation.   Carty and her crew determined that they would have the best luck searching through the swamp.  So began the adventure of Carty and her crew.

The search led them close to the Canfield house and the group met up with Sally Canfield who had many stories to tell the group.  The men that Carty had spotted in the swamp earlier were still lurking around.  It seems the men felt that Sally Canfield had a fortune hidden somewhere on her property.

Montooth and the Canfield Witch is an exciting tale that brings out a lot of history of the area and brings to light old legends.  The one I enjoyed the most was the tale of Green Duck.  The references to times in the 50’s prompted the author to place “End Notes” in the back of the book explaining many phrases not heard often in current times.  One example is the word Mercurochrome.  Mercurochrome used to be used for any scrape or bruise but mercurochrome was removed from distribution in the United States due to its mercury content.

Although this book is primarily a young adult novel, readers of any age group can enjoy the story.

Reviewed by Patricia E. Reid, January 2011.