28 January 2012

Embrace the Highland Warrior - Anita Clenney

Summary: When the powerful demon that left Shay for dead discovers her empty grave, he comes seeking retribution, believing she possesses an ancient book he has sought for centuries. Knowing she can't fight the demon alone, Shay returns to her clan and the Scottish Warrior who betrayed her…the only man she's ever loved, where she discovers that betrayal isn't always what it seems. Sometimes it's far worse. (Source: Anita Clenney website)

Comments: This books takes place chronologically within days of the end of Awaken the Highland Warrior. There are a few new characters, including the female lead Shay, her aunt Nina and her aunt's slightly crazy cousin Matilda. We also meet Cody McBain's brothers, Marcus and Lachlan. Shay has returned home, reluctantly, to Virginia and her childhood home which is on the same property of her former best friend, Cody McBain. Why is he her former best friend? Well, because nothing in her life is what it seems and Cody, the one person she trusted above all others, had betrayed her. Apparently, there are many many secrets within the Connor Clan, and we find out about them in this book. 
The premiss is still interesting, that warriors battle daemons here on earth to protect humans, but I'm concerned about the loss of three dimensionality in a couple of characters. A character from the first book in this series I found believable, if annoying at times, Faelen, seems to become a caricature of himself and it is disappointing. Faelen and his wife Bree seem to do little more than constantly disagree with each other. I realize that their relationship is challenging because of his insistence that women should be protected (read: have no fun or adventure), but it's a bit much. I liked them better in the first book - individually and as a couple. Shay and Cody are obviously to be a couple in this story, but there are hurdles to cross before that can happen. Oh, and there are vampires too. Cody seems the most real character and I can see how the relationship will work with Shay. Shay's aunt Nina is also believable, but Matilda pushes the boundaries of reality in what I think was meant as comic relief, but it reminds me of Miss Bates in Emma when she prattles on which were the parts of Emma that I tend to skip over. 
Overall, I find the plot interesting, but some characteristics of the author still bother me - especially repeating remarks over and over. In the first book (review here) it was the litany of things Bree had done for Faelen after she rescued him. In this one, the repeated concept that Shay perceived that people were hiding things from her. It's true. They were. You don't have to beat us to death with it. 
I realize it sounds like I'm complaining a lot, but that's partly because I think these stories have real potential. My biggest hope is that there will be a book for Ronan, probably my favorite character from the first novel that makes an important appearance in this book as well. Somehow he is linked to Bree and I think Shay also. I want to know what's going on there.