Review: The Demon Hunter

The Demon Hunter
The Demon Hunter by Lori Brighton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ellie has always been different, from playing with fairies as a child to fighting demons as an adult. She grew up wondering why no one else seemed to notice the oddities of the world that she came into contact with on a daily basis. When she is the only witness of a demon attack and the police suspect her, Ellie skips the country heading to England where she plans to keep a low profile. Everything is going fine, until Devon appears, stumbling around her garden like a drunken fool, and completely naked no less.

Six months ago Devon sacrificed himself to bind the soul of a demon and save the world from certain destruction. Thanks to a spell gone awry, Devon is back. But Devon hasn’t come alone. The very demon he tried to destroy has returned and is wreaking havoc on earth. When Devon meets Ellie, he instantly recognizes another supernatural being. Ellie may just be the only person who is strong enough to destroy the demon, if the demon doesn’t destroy her first.

A good follow up to Ms. Brighton’s The Ghost Hunter.

Once again we are taking back into Ms/ Brighton’s Paranormal England to pick up where she left off in The Ghost Hunter.

Devon, is a Victorian raised man brought back to life in the 21st century. Former warrior of god, he sacrificed himself to allow the h/h in the previous book to have their HEA. We finally get to learn what makes Devon tick, more about his family and also his ill-fated first wife. His backstory is important, because it explains how his feelings lead to his protection of Ellie.

Ellie is an American, who like in The Ghost Hunter, has come to England (but unlike the Ghost Hunter she’s avoiding the police). Ellie is a fun character who fights her attraction and eventually her feelings for Devon. Of course, the information she learns about her self at the same time, doesn’t help her confidence in their budding romance.

This book moves beyond the plot to destroy the demon and really focuses on Ellie and Devon finding their inner strength. Devon to not just accept a modern woman, but a meddling do it herself modern woman. And Ellie finding the strength to control her powers and save the day.

There are a few twists in the book including another romance, a death of a character, and betrayal, which keep the plot from slowing down. I was also happy with the final twist at the very end and look forward to more books along this series.

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Review: Haunted Warrior

Haunted Warrior
Haunted Warrior by Allie Mackay
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Kendra Chase is exhausted from her work as a ghost whisperer, so she’s been looking forward to her vacation in Edinburgh. But work awaits her as the tiny fishing village is being excavated, and supernatural uprisings have been reported.

Graeme MacGrath knows the source of the psychic trouble. The excavation is disrupting the protective veil between this world and darker, more ancient ones. He hates to admit it but he will need the fetching Kendra and her paranormal abilities to save the town he loves from unspeakable evil.

I have read Ms. Mackay’s previous paranormal books (Highlander in My Bed, etc) and really enjoyed them. This is a companion book (which does mention one of the other books characters) and a very similar concept as her previous books.

The heroine Kendra, is essentially a ghost whisperer. She goes into historical areas and crosses/soothes the restless spirits. Usually so that new construction of some sort can go on. Beyond her ghost abilities, I didn’t feel her character was well developed, unlike the heroines in previous novels. She’s pretty plain and forgettable.

Graeme is the more interesting of the two and you see more of his characters depth and strength. Especially in his love for animals, including his dog and the seals native to the area. You also understand how deep his conviction to safeguard his home and community runs.

There was great potential in this book which was undeveloped. The story built up the idea of a strong villain only to have the showdown between him and Graeme be so unremarkable, boring, and anti-climatic it leaves a pallor over the rest of the story.

While the romance is touching with good interaction and flow between the couple, the meandering path the plot takes hurts this book. You think your going to get a nasty villain driving this couple to the brink and all you end up with is an annoying fly to swat.

All in all, not one of the better books in these related series. Her earlier Highlander books are better with stronger plots. I am hoping she will bounce back with the next one.

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Review: Highland Nights

Highland Nights
Highland Nights by Donna Grant
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is my favorite of the three sister’s books. I found both Fiona and Gregor to be compelling characters and a perfect fit for each other.

Fiona has difficulty opening up because she has felt abandoned all her life (by Moira). She want’s nothing to do with the prophecy or the man that has come to take her away. She firmly believes that she can seal away her heart, to protect herself from being abandoned again, and be the one to walk away from her family, her mate, and anything else that may harm her.

Gregor has a deep dark secret from which he feels he can never recover from. I happen to be a big sucker for hero’s with guilt trips, mostly because it shows just how deep emotions these types of men have. Because of this guilt, Gregor fights having anything he truly wants, family, friends, love, and it clouds his view of his actions. He always sees himself as being the mercenary, despite him acting like a good man.

Ms. Grant continues her theme of abandonment of Fiona over and over in the book, which helps the reader understand Fiona’s reactions towards Gregor and why she desperately both pushes him away and pulls him closer to him. This dichotomy also feeds Gregor’s misinterpretation of Fiona’s actions.

Unlike Glenna in the first book, the reader has better understanding of the depth of Fiona’s character and her actions make sense within the story that was created. I also thought the growth of Gregor’s character and his ability to not just trust and open up to Fiona, but also the growth of his friendship with Conall was both subtle and natural. As a reader, I was rooting for him to over come his past and was glad to see this flow well within the story.

Of course the overarching story plot was moved forward, secrets of the Fae and the couple were uncovered as we move on to the third book.

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Review: Highland Mist

Highland Mist
Highland Mist by Donna Grant
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’ve read a few of Ms.  Grant’s books before and when I saw this discounted on Amazon,  thought I’d pick it up.   The story starts off with a druid prophecy surrounding 3 girls,  two of which are murdered along with their parents.   The third child,  a baby is taken by MacNeil to raise as his own.
Glenna,  is very young,  isolated,  and unsure of her abilities.   She has been feared by her clan and her powers abused by her father.   When she sees her chance to escape,  she takes it offering herself up as captive to Conall.
Conall is a druid who has turned his back on his powers.   He carries a deep resentment towards them because, as laird,  he could never fully embrace druid life.   He is a kind man,  but like most heros expects to be immediate compliance with his orders.   He is good at reading people because of both his druid gift and natural intuition.   Except for MacNeil, whom he continues to expect to obey the same honor system, despite repeated proof otherwise.
My biggest problem in the book was the growth of Glenna’s character.   She had a long way to go and her route didn’t always make sense.   She seemingly sweeps aside all emotion in the attempts to come between her and Conall or when someone attempts to kill her or others.   But then her emotions run out of control for much more minor incidents.   One expects a woman who can start fires and does so for being told to head back to the castle by Conall would use the skill, even subconsciously,  when being choked to death by an assailant.   I also though Glenna was more whinny than strong and really didn’t get invested in her character.  Hence bringing my rating from a 3.5-4 down to a 3.
On the other hand,  I found Conall and his struggle much more compelling.   I also found many of the supporting characters to be interesting and have a lot of depth,  which bodes very well for the rest of the series.   I especially enjoyed the loch scene and the building desire between the couple during the druid festival. I also enjoyed the overarching series plot.   I was glad the author introduced us to all the future h/h (or at least I think she did,  I may find myself wrong this afternoon).

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Review: Embrace the Highland Warrior

Embrace the Highland Warrior
Embrace the Highland Warrior by Anita Clenney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really am enjoying this series and it’s a nice change from my normal, historical, genre. I find the characters well written, with the hero/heroine both alphas, which I find important in a contemporary setting. The book also does a good job of explaining how the “clan” deals with the issue of the paranormal in the modern world with technology, internet etc which helps to keep the reader engrossed in the story and not asking how could they do that.

This book continues the over arching story line picking up where the previous book left off. It is the story of one of the more interesting characters from the previous book (Cody).

Don’t worry, you get a lot more of the entire clan, and kilts many more kilts!

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Review: Demon’s Bride

Demon's Bride
Demon’s Bride by Zoe Archer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The 2nd book in Ms. Archer’s series picks up a few months after the end of the first book as we peak in on Leo’s wedding to Anne, a poor baron’s daughter on the verge of becoming a spinster. Like in the first book, the story starts out by isolating the heroine. Anne, who finds Leo overwhelming and confusing, is left in Leo’s dreary and lonesome townhouse, immediately after the wedding, as he pursues his fortune and revenge on The Exchange (recall that Leo’s gift was the ability to foresee future financial disasters).

As Leo tries to get to know his wife, he, like Whit in the previous book, finds himself pulled away from his gift and the work the Devil wants him to do. But it is not just Leo’s drive to for more money that drives him. It is also his desire to be accepted into the gentry that pushes him further into the Devil’s grasp. Anne, desperate to please the man she’s falling in love with, because an unknowing pawn in his game. But as Anne finds her own inner strength to overcome her own beliefs that she never quite fit in (as she stated she and Leo had something in common, they both stood on the outside and watched people dance) and find her own self confidence her doubts about Leo grow, driving them apart.

Of course the Devil, unwilling to lose another Hellraiser, grants Leo an additional gift, which is how Leo discovers Anne is learning the truth about him and that he is slowly losing her. Of course even the Devil can’t stop himself from messing up his own well laid plans. It is the Devil’s own desire to continue controlling the hellraisers at any cost that allows the man to overcome their own demons and find the things that truly matter to him.

Like the first book, the ending is resolved quickly and the main plot stays focused on Leo and Anne finding their own internal strength. You will see old friends again in this book and discover that there is more than one way for the band to reclaim their souls plus a few other twists at the end setting up for the 3rd book (which I believe will be Bram’s and I cannot WAIT to see how his gift is dealt with and the type of woman he is matched to)

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Review: Devil’s Kiss

Devil's Kiss
Devil’s Kiss by Zoe Archer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another great series from Zoe Archer. The concept to the story is quite simple, 5 friends, as close as brothers, unwittingly release the devil from his imprisonment. The grateful Devil gives each man his heart desires at the cost of each man’s soul.

For Whit, his gift was the ability to control odds (chance). Whit’s character is a lost risk taker, always upping the bet in order to feel the rush. He has ignored everything else in his life, his estates, his sister, and most other responsibilities.

Zora is a young gypsy girl who is not afraid to speak her mind. She too is a wandering soul searching for excitement.

Like most of Archer’s books, part of what drives the story are the character flaws of the hero/heroine, and her knack at isolating them. In this story, Whit save’s Zora from the Devil by claiming her himself (as she is also part of his heart’s desire) but it comes at a high cost for Zora loses everything she holds dear, freedom, her family, her ability to be seen by anyone but Whit. Whit is blinded by everything but the rush of power he feels from his gift and cannot see through that to understand what he has done to Zora, even as he falls in love with her. Through the use of his gift, Archer again isolates the Whit. Zora, on the other hand, uses the isolation to become stronger herself and overcome her fears and biases – about gorgies, about herself, and to focus on what is truly important in life – love.

It is not until Zora escapes her imprisonment that Whit understands what he faces and does one of the hardest things for him, he turns his back both on his gift and his friends. They both discover that they can draw strength from each other to overcome even themselves.

In the end, Whit uses the gifts he naturally has, his intelligence, gambling skill, love and trust of Zora, to beat his own demon and take back his soul (and all the other souls his own personal demon had collected). Some may find this part seemed to develop quickly and way to easy, but main point of the story is first battling and defeating the devil within you. After that, defeating that demon in real life is supposed to be easy (I adore the symbolism used)

For those that like the Blades of the Rose series, Zoe Archer has created another series that may surpass the previous one in it’s detail and character pairings.

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