Review: Mystical Warrior

Reviewed by Jen

Trace is not a man looking for love.  In fact, a woman in his life is the last thing he wants. But his friend Kenzie has somehow maneuvered his sister Fiona into Trace’s garage apartment.

Fiona is from the 11th century. She was raped as a young woman and went on to spend time as a whore in the warrior-camps before she got pregnant.  She died in childbirth and her baby died soon after. But with magic, she came back as a hawk. She’s only recently regained her humanity, but is afraid of her own shadow. Kenzie thinks living away from the protection of her family will help her gain independence and self-reliance.

Fiona quickly learns that Trace is a good man.  And they become friends over the course of the book. But a relationship is a long time coming, and I guess I can understand why with Fiona’s history. But the story definitely lacked the sexual tension and steamy love scenes that were so great in the earlier books of the series.  Also, while a big theme in the book was Fiona’s eventual empowerment, it was hard to get terribly excited about her great victories of being allowed to cook for Trace and clean his house.   For me, these time travel romances work better when the man is from the past.

Beyond the lack of sexual tension, there was a lack of, well, any tension.  Other than Fiona’s struggles to overcome her personal tragedies, the only other arc centered on the wizard Mac and the mysterious somebody who wants him dead. Our couple is never really a target and when everything seems to be coming to a head, the big fight scene doesn’t even happen.  We essentially just get a set up for Mac to have a book.

Don’t get me wrong, Mystical Warrior wasn’t bad. It was a sweet, easy, pleasant read.  It just wasn’t very exciting. 3 1/2 stars.

*ARC Provided by Simon & Schuster

Mystical Warrior
by Janet Chapman
Release Date: June 28, 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review: Moonlight Warrior

Reviewed by Jen

It’s always such a pleasure to discover a new author. Yes, yes, I know Janet Chapman isn’t a new author; but she’s new to me –and I really like what I see.  Kenzie Gregor is a Highlander from centuries past. He has spent years in the form of animals, most recently a panther, but he’s now a man with a mission. He is a soul warrior: destined to help other souls find their true path. He has recently moved to Midnight Bay with an old Druid priest and a dragon named William (one of the aforementioned lost souls.) He quickly crosses paths with Eve, a divorce’ who is down on her luck and living with her mother Mabel.  Kenzie has unwittingly bought their home out from under them. But he feels a connection to the women and allows them to stay in the house.

He fights his attraction to Eve, fearing his fight against dark magics could put her in danger. But he’s fighting a losing battle. Meantime, William develops an unlikely friendship that might help him find the man buried within him.

I really liked this book, which I’ve learned is a spinoff of Chapman’s Highlander series.  But speaking from experience, I can tell you that it stands strong on its own, even if you’ve never read them.  The sex scenes are steamy without being raunchy. And I most certainly enjoyed seeing a heroine in her early 30s instead of her early 20s.  I’d definitely recommend this one. 4 1/2 stars.

Review: Dragon Warrior

Reviewed by Jen

I try to make it a point never to jump into the middle of an existing series, but I didn’t realize that’s what I was doing when I started this book.  Our hero, William, is a 9th century Irishman who was once trapped in the body of a dragon. It seems he came forward in time to find a man named Kenzie, who used to be a panther, but somehow had the power to make William a man again. I say “it seems” because this all happened in Moonlight Warrior, a book I haven’t read… and one that clearly set up the events in this story.

Anyway, William has it bad for Maddy, a nurse at a retirement home. She is leery of love because of her failed first marriage. But William is determined. He makes allies of the men and women in the nursing home. And it doesn’t hurt that his buddy Kenzie is married to Maddy’s best friend. Maddy’s reticence is not the only obstacle our couple is facing. There are also evil forces… showing up as killer wolves out to get them. I never did understand what/who the wolves were, other than that they were evil. But maybe that was something explained in the first book too. (It’s a fine line an author has to walk, to bring new readers up to speed but spare redundancy for those who have read earlier installments.)

The love story was actually quite good. And the sex scenes were very hot. Unlike many PR books, our heroine is no trembling virgin. She’s a grown woman with a child and a romantic history of her own. It made her very relatable. And William.. Yeow. Chapman paints quite a sexy mental picture!

The bottom line: I really liked this book. But I have no doubt I would have liked it better if I had read Moonlight Warrior first. I’ll be sure to do that before the final book in the trilogy is released, because I do plan on reading Trace & Fiona’s story. 4 stars.

*ARC Provided by Simon & Schuster

Series Reading Order: Midnight Bay Trilogy

This is the reading order for the Midnight Bay trilogy by Janet Chapman: