Highland Shift by Laura Harner

HighlandShift200x300_121013Elena MacFarland wonders what everyone else knows about her new farm that she doesn’t, and whether she’ll live long enough to find out. Betrayed by her fiancé and the powerful Worthington family, Elena fights back and negotiates a comfortable settlement with one small caveat: she must live in Scotland for two years. One kidnapping and two attempts on her life later, the darkly arrogant Scot, Faolan MacGailtry declares himself her new protector and moves into her farmhouse. Major problem? He was present at all three incidents. Elena decides to follow the adage to keep her friends close and enemies closer—but which is he? One by one, Elena uncovers Faolan’s darkest secrets: his Druid heritage, his connection to her past, and finally, the deadly curse that is powerful enough to destroy them both.

Reader notes: This is the first book of the Highland Destiny series and includes multiple paranormal elements, including Druidry, Fae, shapeshifting and magick. Heat level warning: slowly builds from extreme sexual tension toward full erotic romance.

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Reviewer: Gina

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

*There may be spoilers present*

I don’t generally like stories with a lot of filters (knew, saw, heard, realised, felt, etc.) but I’m glad I persevered with this one as it’s an easy read, has good flow and is a little different from others in the same genre. I expected a fairly straight-forward shifter trope in which a Were discovers his mate and she resists (on the surface, at least) their bond. The author has created good chemistry and tension between the Faolan and Elena.

This story is also longer than I expected – but this is a welcome and refreshing change in an industry suddenly seemingly full of novelettes and novellas. I was glad for the opportunity to immerse myself in a world and not be ripped away before I was ready.

In fact, I enjoyed up to about the half way mark, but then felt the story became mostly ‘telling’ and I couldn’t buy into Elena’s fast adaption to, and control of, her newly realised skills. I failed to read the note to readers under the blurb, and the transition from paranormal romance into a more fantasy one came as a surprise. While I enjoy genre-straddlers, and especially urban fantasy where the two co-exist in the best kind of way, I don’t feel the transition was signposted clearly enough in the first half of the book – – it left me feeling as if the two story types had been bolted together, or some time had lapsed between the first half being written and story completion.

That said, I love some of the ideas introduced in this story – and some older, more familiar, ideas are given a fresher twist. In fact, some of these moments could have been expanded, even though that would have given the story additional length.

Over-all, I enjoyed the first 50%, found the next 35% a little disappointing, and the book came back t itself in the final 15% or so. As the first in a series, it has got enough of a set up for the next book, and the next leading man has entered the scene, which is good as I don’t think I found a book boyfriend in Faolan – merely a dalliance.

While I don’t feel compelled to one-click the next book immediately, it is one I might put on my wish list to be reminded of the series every now and then as book one was good for a bit of light-hearted reading, escapism and sexy scenes.