A Caryn Review: Cutie and the Beast (Fae Out of Water #1) by EJ Russell


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I LOVE fairly tale retellings!  And of course, Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorites because I am such a sucker for that hurt/comfort trope.  I also think that a fairy tale retelling is a good way to showcase an author’s creativity – being original while still following the basic skeleton of curse and redemption and attraction to the inner beauty is hard to do when it’s been done so often! 

This retelling brings in a lot of Celtic folklore, combining the Irish, Welsh, Scots, and British fae in the Unified Seelie Court, as well as adding the more modern paranormal elements of vampires and shifters, and then throwing in some Druids just for fun, to create the world of the “Supes”.  Dr. Alun Kendrick is the “shrink to the supes” – an exiled Sidhe warrior who is now a psychologist  in Portland, catering to the mental maladies of the supernatural, as well as treating humans who have been accidentally exposed to (and traumatized by) supes.  His is a very specialized, and private, practice and he intends to keep it that way.

David Evans is an earnest and enthusiastic young man who works at a temp agency.  He’s been intermittently going to nursing school which is his passion, but in the meantime is working to support his terminally ill Aunt Cassie.  David tries, he really does, but every job he lands ends up in disaster as things just seem to happen around him – that riot in the dentist’s office?  Totally not his fault.  Besides, he’s done some transcription for Dr. Kendrick, and his voice is so swoon-worthy, he just has to meet the man.  So when the office manager position came open, it only took a little prevaricating to get it, and David just knew that he would do a fabulous job.  It was fate, it was right, and damn it, he was going to make it work.

The first day, however, didn’t go as planned.  Dr. Kendrick’s voice is just as smooth and dulcet as David remembered, but that face? 

He looked like the victim of a failed experiment on the island of Dr. Moreau who’d tried to get the results fixed at a cut-rate back-alley plastic surgeon.

But David is nothing if not determined, and even in that initial hostile meeting he noticed something more, something worth putting up with all of Dr. Kendrick’s glares and attempts to get rid of him in order to break through to the man beneath the ugly.  David’s irrepressible cheerfulness, his sublime coffee, the color he brought into the sad grey office, and his uncanny insight into client’s problems did catch Alun’s attention, but his dancing clinched it.

Stubborn, impudent, maddening, human David, with his wildly colorful office accessories, constant challenges, and the worst dancing Alun had seen in over two millennia.  Goddess strike him blind, but the man was bloody wonderful.

Thus the two men become a unlikely partners drawn into a conspiracy that could destroy the Unified Seelie Court and endanger all supes, in both fae and human worlds.  In the process, they finally solve the mystery of a centuries old murder that led to Alun’s curse, and both men find out there is more to them than they believed.

I loved the entire wild ride, from the dull, lifeless office to the magical, glittering world of Faerie.  I loved the secondary characters, the clients, the druid aunties, and especially Alun’s brothers Mal and Gareth (who will be getting their own books in the future, yay!).  We have an exciting plot, character growth, great dialogue, beautifully described settings, and it was also freakin’ hilarious.  What more can you ask from a book?

I didn’t really have a place to put it in this review, but must include this last quote:

“What about that poser guy?  Jackson.  What’s he?  Demon?  Troll?  Were-jackal?”  “Worse.”  Alun’s voice dropped to a husky whisper.  “Lawyer.”  David gulped…

Regarding the cover art by Lou Harper:  before I read the book, I have to admit I thought it was a little annoying, and I didn’t like the model’s smirk.  Now that I’ve read it, well, that is David!

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 283 pages
Published July 24th 2017 by Riptide Publishing
Original TitleCutie and the Beast
ISBN 1626495998 (ISBN13: 9781626495999)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesFae Out of Water #1

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