Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Druid Next Door by E.J. Russell


From Riptide:

Professor Bryce MacLeod has devoted his entire life to environmentalism. But how effective can he be in saving the planet when he can’t even get his surly neighbor to separate his recycling?
Former Queen’s Enforcer Mal Kendrick doesn’t think his life could get any worse: he’s been exiled from Faerie with a cursed and useless right hand. When he’s not dodging random fae assassins in the Outer World, he’s going toe-to-toe with his tree-hugging neighbor. And when he discovers that the tree hugger is really a druid, he’s certain the gods have it in for him—after all, there’s always a catch with druids. Then he’s magically shackled to the man and expected to instruct him in Supernatural 101.
All right, now things couldn’t possibly get worse.
Until a mysterious stranger offers a drunken Mal the chance to gain back all he’s lost—for a price. After Mal accepts, he discovers the real catch: an ancient secret that will change his and Bryce’s life forever.
Ah, what the hells. Odds are they won’t survive the week anyway.
Source:  An electronic copy in exchange for an honest review.  

The Bad:  
I don't love Mal and Bryce as much as I loved David and Alun from Book 1, Cutie and the Beast.  I mean, I like Mal and Bryce, but I LOVE David and Alun.  Especially David.  

The Good:
David, Alun, and Gareth all make appearances in Druid.  This makes me so very happy!  

I'm a big paranormal fan, so I love the supernatural elements to this series.  A world where the fae, shifters, druids, etc. all exist and are just as messed up as the rest of us.  

Someone recently asked me for recommendations on a sweet read and this and Cutie were among the first books to come to mind.  This entire series should come with a sweetness warning.  And while the stories are sweet, there are also elements of prejudice and racism faced by the couples.  In Druid, Bryce has no idea he's a powerful Druid until Mal tells him and sics David and his grandmother on him.  But fae hate druids.  And many fae won't take kindly to a fae dating a druid.  More importantly there's an old legend that a druid can make a fae a slave through mind control.  

Mal as a middle child, Mal has always felt invisible and just picking up the scraps from his older brother, who is the Queen's enforcer (a job Mal took over when Alun was banished), and his younger brother, who is the last true bard.  Mal likes how Bryce makes him feel special and let's him relinquish control.  Bryce is horrified that he sometimes feels tempted to control Mal, but knows he never actually would, especially as his feelings grow deeper.

So Mal and Bryce are trying to figure out who they are separately, and together, all while Mal ropes Bryce into helping him complete quests in order to end his curse.  What they get in to is much bigger than Mal's curse and could be deadly to, not just them, but all of the fae.    

Bottom Line:  Read this series.  Start with Cutie and the Beast.  Next is The Druid Next Door.  And then Bad Boy's Bard.  You won't be sorry.  It's sweet romance, paranormal fun, and throw in some mystery to complete the recipe for a thorougly enjoyable read!  

~ Shel  

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