Monday, November 25, 2013

Book Review: With Friends Like These by L. Hunter Cassells

With Friends Like These
by L. Hunter Cassells
Publisher: Amazon (November 24, 2012)
ebook,  107 53p  (the press kit materials said 107 pages but the actual ebook registered 53.  I'm thinking this is the difference between a regulation manuscript format and the book format which tend to a 2:1 ratio)

If looked at one way this paranormal, urban fantasy feels incomplete being so short, (at 53 pages it doesn't quite reach novella length) and ending abruptly in what at first feels like a cliffhanger.  But on reflection I see that the story problem established at the beginning has been accomplished thus continuing on with the characters would require a new story problem and thus a new story.  So it seems to be a stand alone long short story establishing a storyworld with plenty of room for sequels.

I do not mention this as a negative nor hold it against it.  I happen to like any length of story as long as it has all the elements of a good story: an interesting premise, well drawn characters and story worlds, good pacing, good dialog, characters with depth and worth caring about, deft handling of motivation, emotional tone, description, point of view and plot.  With Friends Like These has all of that.

The story problem aka protagonist's main goal was Callie Walker's need to find out who had broken her wards and allowed her client to be killed by the very thing she'd been hired to protect him from.  Her investigation and the discoveries she made opened up new vistas in her world and upended her world view.  She most definitely grew in the process and exhibits great potential for more growth as new story problems are presented for her to struggle against or towards.

The story was a quick read not just because of its length but because of difficulty in stopping once started.  I would definitely be interested in reading more about Callie and her circle.

From the Publishers:

Callie Walking is a freelance mage who solves supernatural problems. When a troubled client hires her to protect him from a “vampire”, she casts the appropriate spells and positions the usual amulets. Now, something has gone terribly wrong. Her client has turned up dead and drained of all his blood. The cops say it’s suicide, but Callie knows better.
Now she is on a mission to find out what went wrong. In her search she uncovers an ancient, long-hidden power. It challenges Callie’s deepest beliefs about right and wrong, good and evil. She knows her life will be forever changed… if she survives.

What they are saying:

“ I really enjoyed the characters, their histories and especially their interactions. There was nothing trite or old hat. It was surprisingly “new hat.”
I recommend it to anyone who loves vampires and even to those who don’t usual like vampires. It shows that there is always a refreshing new way to look at seemingly settled concepts. Now, I am just waiting to read the next book. These characters have not come even close to exhaust the possibilities inherent in their personalities.”-Skeptic, Amazon Reviewer
“Best book I have read in years!  I am a avid reader, but never read vampire books of any kind. What a surprise was waiting for me. This book is wonderful, and a written with great wit. I laughed out loud. The suspense kept me turning pages until I had read the whole book in one day. Now I am yearning for another book about “Miss Callie”. I would enjoy reading more from a truly gifted author. This should be a national best seller.”Earle Drake, Amazon Reviewer
“Lots of fun! It’s great to see Cassells’ writing in a more modern setting, and her characters are as engaging as ever. One of my favorite things about her stories (past her artful descriptions) is the depth and accessibility of her characters. I was impressed that even in a short like this she was able to smoothly set up a world with lots of potential for back-story and new plots – I hope she uses it!
Would recommend to a friend (did already).”-AJCB, Amazon Reviewer

L. Hunter Cassells grew up near the Germantown of which she writes, and now lives not far away, in a curious household involving a happy man, two ambiguous cats, two loud grandsons, their studious moms, and what might be a dozen chickens (chickens come, chickens go; best not to ask too many questions).  She has seen more than twenty thousand days and nights, holds a degree in geology, occasionally goes contra dancing, has belonged to the Society for Creative Anachronism longer than most of its members have been alive, and herds nuclear physicists for a living (no, really, she does).

L. Hunter Cassells Website

Follow the blog tour for more reviews, giveaways, author interviews and guest posts: 

So Many Precious Books Nov 6 Review & Giveaway
Serendipity Nov 6 Review
Immortality & Beyond Nov 7 Interview
Books, Books & More Books Nov 8 Review
I’m a Voracious Reader Nov 11 Review
Rose & Beps Blog  Nov 11 Guest Post
Ordinary Girlz Nov 12 Review
Saving for 6 Nov 13 Review
Moonlight Lace & Mayhem Nov 15 Spotlight
Giveaways & Glitter Nov 18 Review
Mom With a Kindle Nov 19 Interview
The News In Books Nov 21 Review
Joy Story Nov 25 Review
Paperback Writer Nov 26 Guest Post & Giveaway


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