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: The Bride and the Beast

The Bride and the Beast
The Bride and the Beast by Teresa Medeiros
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An easy relaxing read but it lacked a certain something that I can’t seem to put my finger on.

I liked both the main characters. Gwendolyn is a sensible woman who has never gotten over the teasing she received as a child. Bernard (aka the Dragon) is back for revenge for the death of his family and his own capture. Neither of them are able to see themselves clearly and the story is how they open each other’s eyes to their true self.

The story never bogs down, but it just lacks a depth to the characters that I wasn’t expecting, having read some of Ms. Medeiros more recent works. They both find their way to each other eventually, but the conclusion, just felt like it needed more, preferably more begging by Bernard and Gwendolyn having to be forced to make a hard decision. Izzy’s intervention felt like the author gave Gwendolyn a cop out between having to choose between the past and the present which, while it gave her an overall happily ever after, meant that Gwendolyn never had to truly overcome her family’s past. She could just shove it aside and not deal with it. In fact, she never had to deal with that fact, only Bernard did and that is perhaps why there just seemed to be nothing missing.

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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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