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Sunday, 14 April 2013
The Druid Stone
by Heidi Belleau  & Violetta Vane 
MM Romance/Paranormal/Myths/Legends
Carina Press
5 Stars

Blurb:

Sean never asked to be an O'Hara, and he didn't ask to be cursed by one either.

After inheriting a hexed druid stone from his great-grandfather, Sean starts reliving another man's torture and death...every single night. And only one person can help.
Cormac Kelly runs a paranormal investigation business and doesn't have time to deal with misinformed tourists like Sean. But Sean has real magic in his pocket, and even though Cormac is a descendant of legendary druids, he soon finds himself out of his depth...and not because Sean's the first man he's felt anything for in a long time.

The pair develop an unexpected and intensely sexual bond, but are threatened at every turn when Sean's case attracts the unwelcome attention of the mad sidhe lords of ancient Ireland. When Sean and Cormac are thrust backward in time to Ireland's violent history—and their own dark pasts—they must work together to escape the curse and save their fragile relationship.

Book One of the Layers of the Otherworld series


Review:

Ever since his great-grandfather gave him a strange stone, Sean O'Hara has been having the same nightmare every night. He relives again and again the torture and death of someone in the distant past. His sleep disturbed, his days getting more and more surreal as he tries to survive on little sleep and an array of pills, he's at his wits' end. Psychiatrists are no help but he thinks he might have found the solution: Cormac Kelly, an Irish druid.

Unfortunately, Cormac wants nothing to do with him. Emails and letters go unanswered. With nothing left to lose, Sean leaves Boston for Ireland to seek out the one man who is sure can help him. Cormac is reluctant to believe Sean at first, convinced he is one of those "plastic paddies", as he calls them, who think every hill holds a leprechaun or two, everyone drinks Guinness and there really is gold at the end of the rainbow.
But it's when Sean attracts the attention of a sidhe king, Finnbheara, that Cormac realises that perhaps Sean is really cursed after all.

Now, I'm not normally a fan of urban fantasy, but when I read the blurb for this one, I was drawn in with the references to Irish mythology. Being Irish myself, how could I resist? I'm glad I gave it a go, it was a wonderful tale.

Both Sean and Cormac have tortured pasts, which might have come off a bit of a cliché but there was nothing clichéd about this story, it was evocative and imaginative. It was very well-written and I couldn't tell which author wrote which part, it flowed so well.

Sometimes the romance between Cormac and Sean took a back-seat to the plot, which didn't bother me, I like a good bit of plot with my romance. This is certainly a roller-coaster ride of a plot. The book had a bit of everything: romance, adventure, ancient and mythical beings, magic and suspense. It was moving, romantic, funny and heart-wrenching in parts, everything a good novel should be.

I loved the characters, Sean and Cormac's pasts were just part of who they were, it didn't seem to be used as an excuse for cheap drama.

The book was great, I'm glad I read it, but there were a few little niggles that took me out of the story when I first read them. In a few scenes form Cormac's point of view, him being Irish, he referred to being "blocks from home" and walking on a sidewalk. I've never heard any Irish person refer to blocks, it should probably have been street or road. And no sidewalks either, it would have been pavement or footpath.

All in all an excellent read, especially if you like a good bit of plot with your romance.

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