Book Review: Witch Child by Celia Rees

Mary is the grand-daughter of an old woman who was hanged as a witch.  Not knowing her mother or father, a woman turns up on the day of the hanging to take her away, but life is anything but settled for Mary.  Although the woman rescues her from danger, for the locals already suspect she might be a witch as well, the woman sends her away.

Even though she is provided for, Mary is abandoned and alone, forced to start a new life in the New World.  In amongst her new things she finds ink, paper and a quill – the means to make a journal.  And so Mary begins a record of all that happens to her…

However, the danger she is supposedly being protected from at home – falling under the same suspicion as her grandmother – follows her across the ocean.  Superstition and mistrust is worse in the New World than the Old one.  How will Mary fare?

This was a very interesting, unusual read.  Told in the form of diary entries, we hear Mary’s tale told in her own words.  The people she meets are interesting; some are really kind, and some are quite the opposite.  And the descriptions of the places she visits are clear and evocative.

Although this book is aimed at teenage readers, I found it gripping, holding my attention to the very end.  I needed to find out how things turned out for Mary and so I couldn’t put the book down until I had finished it.  It is simple yet engaging as it manages to evoke the terror of the period for someone accused of witchcraft especially when it comes to the basic fact that you cannot reason with people who are scared of what they cannot explain.

Short Story Review: Seeing Eye by Patricia Briggs

Moira Keller is a blind, hereditary witch who hires her witchy services out in the city she lives in, Seattle.  Amongst the supernatural community she is well-known for her abilities.

The night before Samhain, Moira receives an unexpected visitor in the middle of the night.  His name is Tom Franklin, a werewolf, whose brother, Jon, is a cop.  Tom has sought Moira out because he believes that while his brother was working undercover he was kidnapped by a group called Samhain.

The group is one Moira has come across before.  Samhain is lead by a man named Kouros, who Moira has a little unfinished business with.  It is because of this that Moira decides to help Tom find his brother, before it is too late, and regardless of the danger involved.  And there is a lot of it.

I enjoyed reading this paranormal short story; it offered something different to other paranormal shorts that I have read.

I liked the two main characters – Moira and Jon.  Their personalities were strong and independent and yet they interacted very well together.  They – especially Moira – also had enough of a back story to make the characters, and the story itself, interesting.

The characters were well-supported by the setting of the story and the locations visited, as well as the depth of detail that the author managed to work into the narrative with regards to supernatural background.

I recommend this short stort to those who enjoy paranormal fiction.  It is definitely worth a read for those who like the genre.

This short story was found in Strange Brew, ed. P.N. Elrod.

Short Story Review: Witch Flame by Tara West

Witch Flame is the prelude to the Keepers of the Stones series by Tara West.

When Witch Flame begins, Feira has recently discovered that she possesses the powers of a witch.  However, she has also been orphaned and she is following the guidance offered to her on the wind, guiding her towards Aloa-Shay, the village by the sea.  On the journey there she is taken in by an old woman, Akahi, who raises her.  She can immediately tell that Feira is a witch, and she knows that if the villagers find out she won’t be safe.

As Feira grows up, living with Akahi, they managed to keep her secret, but they know that it can’t be kept forever.  Soon Feira and her lover, her destiny, are forced to flee from Aloa-Shay, and the abilities that she has been forced to keep hidden are soon necessary as they travel to the island of Shifting Sands, in the hope of finding a new home.  But what sort of welcome can they expect?

I really enjoyed this quick fantasy read.  I loved the concepts that the author works with, such as the Elementals.  There is a depth to the world that Feira lives in, and details provided brought it to life.  I am intrigued to learn what happens to Feira in the rest of the series.

Included with Witch Flame is a bonus story, or rather a creation myth that explains how the world that Feira lives in was created.  I found this to be a very interesting read and a great addition to the short story.

I downloaded this short story for free from Smashwords.

The Magician – Free eBook

The Magician

Andromache Jones has somehow managed to capture the attention of The Magician and finds herself caught up in The Game, his challenge that has very real life and death consequences, and not only for her.  Can she complete the test he has set in the alloted time and live to see another day, or will failure, and The Magician triumph?

The Magician is the dark debut of the Andromache Jones Mystery series.  This is a prelude to the witchy whodunnit series and your chance to get to know the heroine of the books.  .

To read a preview of The Magician, please see this post.

To download your free copy of The Magician, available in a variety of formats, please visit its Smashwords page.