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VINE VOICEon July 8, 2008
I am not a big fan of the paranormal romance novel. I think there are so many of them that calling them cliche is too mild a term. What is worse is that so many of them seem like it is the same story written over and over again.

But Sea Witch (Children of the Sea, Book 1) gives the subgenre a nice boost in the right direction.

Caleb Hunter is a former soldier and big city policeman. Understandably, he has returned home to an island off the coast of Maine called World's End. He's come back because he wants a simpler life.

Margred is a child of the sea. Literally. She's a selkie who is 700 years old and she comes to shore in search of sex and she chooses Caleb as her target.

The story opens as simple as that. She wants him, she lets him know, he backs off but can't quite forget her. He searches her out again and they have their tryst. After that, it is she who can't quite forget him.

And that's where the main narrative begins and Ms Kantra does a wonderful job of keeping the balance between explaining the mythical (and making it seem plausible), a believable romance, and a small town murder mystery with distinctive characters.

The story is well paced and never overdone. Events that unfold are described in such a fashion that it never feels rushed or convoluted. Secondary characters are given enough distinction that they don't feel like props to the main characters.

And the main characters are likable without being too perfect. Caleb is no rich man. He lives in a one bedroom apartment. He has issues with his father. He has a limp he acquired from his stint in the Iraq war. He has a few nightmares too. Margred is a selkie who is forced to be a human for an indeterminate amount of time. She's fairly sure she doesn't want to stay that way. She has moments of cowardice and indecision.

But these quirks of theirs never overpower or overtake Caleb and Margred's innate goodness. The quirks just make them accessible and relatable and easy to spend time with.

So easy that I read this novel in one evening. The story flow was simply that smooth and enjoyable.

And already I'm looking forward to more from Ms Kantra and the good news for me is that her next Children of the Sea novel, Sea Fever (Children of the Sea, Book 2), is coming out in August 2008. Based on the quality of Sea Witch (Children of the Sea, Book 1), I can't wait!
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VINE VOICEon July 27, 2008
Police Chief Caleb Hunter never expected to find a woman as alluring as Margred along the shoreline of World's End. Caleb is a man seeking only peace, a job that he can relax and try to forget the horrors of war. Margred shines like a beacon of hope to him, but she has a secret she knows he won't possibly believe. Margred is a selkie and everyone knows selkies are not meant for everlasting love with humans. Or are they? Meanwhile, the quiet island now harbors a darkness that threatens Margred's entire existence. Will Caleb believe Margred is a selkie in time to stop the evil that lurks on the island?

Atmosphere is key to the success of SEA WITCH. Virginia Kantra creates a very haunting, almost mystical mood that makes the selkie legends seem alive. One can easily envision both the island of World's End as well as the selkies' island Sanctuary through Ms. Kantra's vivid descriptions.

Virginia Kantra does a great job with character development. Margred is a bit distant initially, as befitting a selkie. The changes that occur in her help propel the story, as she is woman unused to caring for anyone but herself. Caleb challenges all that she knows and believes about herself and her race. Caleb is a great contrast to Margred, a man with deep emotional scars after a life of sacrifice. Whether fighting for his country or looking after his family, Caleb has willingly put aside his own needs. And yet despite their differences, Caleb and Margred share one thing in common... both are lonely and see potential happiness in the other.

SEA WITCH is an unusual story, one that draws the reader into the dark but oh so captivating world of the selkies. I've read other paranormal short stories by Virginia Kantra and am glad to see her style translates well into a full length paranormal tale. Easily recommended!

COURTESY OF CK2S KWIPS AND KRITIQUES
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on August 7, 2008
Margred is a selkie. Able to shift shape and live either as a human or a seal, Margred is a widow and has gone without the sexual touch of a mate for many years. Finally, however, her need for touch and the warmth of another has driven her to shore and an island called World's End. Carefully hiding her pelt, a selkie's greatest possession and treasure, Margred begins her hunt for the perfect man. She finds him in the form of island Police Chief Caleb Hunter, a veteran of the Iraqi war and a local islander.

Caleb Hunter is a one-man force. As far as law enforcement goes, he is it. Fielding yet another call from an irate islander complaining of a bonfire on the beach, Caleb is astonished to see the beautiful dark eyed woman staring at him across the flames. Attraction flares in her eyes and Caleb finds himself instantly lured to her side where sparks fly.

Margred and Caleb spend hours satisfying each other but as soon as Caleb's guard is down, Margred disappears, taking Caleb's heart with her. Unable to forget her, Caleb spends the next few days searching the beach looking for the sensuous siren that fills his thoughts and haunts his dreams. The lovers are reunited once again when Caleb rescues her after an assault. Margred states she can't remember her attacker and Caleb knows she is withholding information. He has to earn her trust - he yearns for it. But, he is ill prepared for her story.

I read Virginia Kantra's novella, `Sea Crossing' in the Shifter anthology a few short weeks ago and since that time, I have been dying for the release of Sea Witch. Sea Witch has combined paranormal elements with legend and lore to equal a sensuous, sultry, and suspenseful tale. The epitome of an avenging hero, Caleb's desire to protect Margred was noteworthy and I loved watching them fall in love with each other.

Sea Witch is exactly what I wanted it to be and I have no choice but to Joyfully Recommend this endearing and provocative novel.

Talia
reviewed for Joyfully Reviewed
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on October 17, 2010
*2.5 Stars*

I found this book pretty frustrating. The world idea was interesting, and I wanted to like it just for that--I mean, come on, selkies!--but I found the world building thin and the romance even thinner.

One of my largest problems with this book was the hero, Caleb. He played the role usually reserved for super irritating females that are sweeter than pie and perfect. He was the quintessential martyr throughout the book. He never got truly angry with the heroine (and she did some pretty lame things) and when he did get a little irritated, he would be over it before you could blink. I don't appreciate that character type any more in a man than I do in a woman.

I have future images of him scrambling to pick up the pieces behind her while she plays the lovable "free spirit" and wanders away without telling anyone her whereabouts after she gets tired of waiting for a ride, or something equally irritating that Caleb will just excuse as part of her charm.

I had a really hard time warming up to Margred after the events in the beginning. I don't have a problem with her pragmatic attitude toward sex, but I do have a problem with the shady way she treats her chosen partner. You may not want strings, but that doesn't give you the right to hop off his lap and leave without saying goodbye after round two while he thinks you'll be right back. (FYI: Not a spoiler - it happens in by page 33) That just makes you skeezy, and it infuriates me that the hero didn't have a problem hooking back up with her when she came back.

The relationship felt pretty nonexistent to me. They fell in love, but I can't remember seeing it happen. They weren't ever shown to be having a personal conversation. How could they really? Margred lied about herself, and it's not like she could give him in depth details about her life and personality without admitting all. So, what exactly did he love? The sex? Because that seems to have been all that was really developed.

Margred seemed to go from a stoic, emotionally self contained selkie, to a sobbing quivering mess in no time flat. It happened so fast that I felt I got whiplash from the change.

After I gave up on the romance I stuck it out because I wanted more info on the world. I wish there was more detail about her people running through these pages. I didn't want an info dump, but I was expecting something a little more comprehensive. Hopefully we get more detail in the second book.
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on September 1, 2012
I've been reading paranormal romance for several years now, and "Sea Witch" was a nice change in pace from the standard vampire and werewolf offerings. The characters were well developed and the story really kept my interest. Even without the building emotion, the plot is suspenseful. There is definitely passion and steamy sex, always a plus in a good romance. I'll be reading the other books in this series and I'd definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a good read.
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VINE VOICEon November 30, 2008
This is the story of a lonely Selkie Margred, who comes out of the sea long enough to get sex from a human male. I was a little unclear on whether human men were just better at this, or why the selkie women wouldn't just have sex with the selkie men. But anyways, Margred picks Caleb, the sheriff in the small town of World's End and a recent vet of the war in Iraq. Caleb is immediately thinking Margred the woman of his dreams, he wants more than a fling...and Margred is immediately ready to jump back in the water. She leaves him, and he is upset. But then she is attacked later on the beach. Caleb decides its up to him to care for her and keep her safe from the 'man' on the beach who attacked her. Magred is much more upset by the fact that this "man" is actually a demon who dumped her pelt into the fire. Her pelt is her seal skin which allows her to go below the sea, back to her seltie home. When another seltie shows up dead, the book takes on a new direction and Caleb and Margred vow to find the killer. And Magred, may realize she has more feelings for Caleb than she thought possible. This was a well written romance novel with a ton of original ideas. My problem with this story is that I thought there was too much sex for my liking. I had a hard time deciding if they were falling in love or if it was just the rush of all that sex. There is a fine line sometimes, to be sure. Besides being beautiful and needing his help, I couldnt' really see much that stood out in Margred's personality to draw Caleb's interest. The mystery was good and the ending came too soon. There were some elements left in the story where I can see the series going in the future. This was an entertaining story, good but not great. If you are as much a romance lover as a paranormal lover than this is the book for you.
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on October 29, 2015
I'm 35. I am not a virgin. Sometimes I just want a good sexy story that isn't about abuse or rescue or acting surprised to feel aroused. This curvey womanly Sea Witch was "hungry" before she ventured onto the beach to find herself a man to seduce. I would have been really happy with just that, but then the story itself was great, too!
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By far the aspect of Margred’s tale that caught at me the hardest was the characterization of her as a selkie. The author’s ability to put herself in the place of a seven hundred-year-old immortal from an extremely different ‘society’, biology and background is nothing short of stunning. This isn’t a human who happens to live in the sea—this is a being who is decidedly different, and has a great deal of difficulty adjusting to human culture and custom. Some of those details are deep and emotional; others are the small details of everyday life:

I also enjoyed Caleb’s character. While he has the troubled past of many romance heroes, and fits the currently trendy mold of veteran of the Iraq conflict, there’s a surprising amount of depth to him and his family. His personality is more grounded in his career as a police officer than it is in his past as a soldier, and the interplay between him and his father and sister is great. While the father seems like just another abusive drunk at first, he’s much more three-dimensional and ‘real’ by the end of the story. And the sister… well, I suspect she’ll end up being the subject of the next book, or possibly the one after that.

The world-building is similarly fantastic. The history of the selkie, the elementals in general, and the tensions between them and humans is simple and beautiful. The setting of a small island in Maine is the perfect foil for it, earthy and rich, unutterably human. A full panoply of characters make the town come alive, from the old lady who runs a restaurant and ended up mayor just so the lawyer everyone hates wouldn’t get the job, to the volunteer firefighters who go off to their day jobs as fishermen. In particular the investigators who come to town to help catch a murderer surprised me with their characterization. In most books they’d simply be foils, insisting on seeing Caleb as the murderer no matter what happens. Instead they’re much more even-handed and realistic.

Sea Witch is a beautiful story that would appeal to fans of a handful of genres. As a fantasy/paranormal tale it’s gorgeous, complex, and fascinating. As a romance, it’ll definitely grab hold of you. As erotica it’s hot and sexy, with plenty of enjoyable chemistry between its characters.

NOTE: Review book provided by publisher
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on April 25, 2012
This is a great Selkie-tale! I love this sea-tale, "Sea Witch (Children of the Sea, Book 1)." Author Virginia Kantra's writing is fascinating, intriguing and a very fun story-line to read. Once I started reading this book I could not lay it down. Our heroine is beautiful, magical Margred who is a shape-shifting Selkie, and she is in disparate need of some loving. She comes looking for it along the shore of an island in Maine called World's End. On the beach she spots handsome Police Chief, Caleb Hunter and comes to shore to hopefully have relations with him. Caleb's Mother was a Silkie, so he is half Silkie, half Human, but he and Margred do not know that yet. Caleb believes he is all human. He knows nothing about Silkie's. Margred and Caleb have an encounter on the beach that changes their lives forever. There are nasty evil demons in this story that are the enemy and cause much strife for our two lead characters. In this story we are introduced to Prince Conn. He is the mysterious handsome leader of the Selkie. Conn is the wonderful, sexy lead in my favorite in this series called, "Sea Lord (Children of the Sea, Book 3)" ~ 5 stars.
I loved every second of "SEA WHICH". It is entertaining, exciting and thoroughly enjoyable. This story captured my attention and imagination and held it. I highly recommend this book. This series has a very high place of honor on my keeper shelf. Enjoy!

Grade: A-
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on April 11, 2012
I believe this is supposed to be in the paranormal/fantasy romance section only it felt more like a fantasy story. It had a great story but the romance almost seemed like an after thought to the Maggie (the selkie) as they don't think or react like a normal human. I do think Kantra portrayed this aspect of the Selkie well.

We also discover a dynamic to the Selkie (water elemental) and other elementals (demons are fire, we don't know what air and earth are yet). Kantra is very poetic with her words which makes this feel less like a pocket romance and more like an intricately woven story that while I wasn't fascinated was well written enough to make me want to read it.

As is usually the case with a first book of a series, this wasn't the more interesting book but I can definitely see the potential for future books and after reading this one you pretty much figure that Kantra has introduced you to Caleb's family because the series will be about them. Of course, upon reading about the fourth book, I'm not sure I'm entirely right but I assume Kantra had to have come up with more characters.

As for the characters themselves, Caleb was interesting while not being overly exciting. Maggie was less interesting but together they were interesting enough to finish the story. I was more interested in Caleb's siblings and am happy the second book is about his brother.

An interesting read.
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