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The Highlander Next Door (Spellbound Falls)…
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The Highlander Next Door (Spellbound Falls) (2014)

by Janet Chapman

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Birch was kind of annoying with her battered women thing. It felt a little forced of a topic. Niall wasn't that bad as a 12th Century Scot brought forward into the future. He's adapted pretty well. Really liked his dog Shep. ;-) It was also interesting adding in the Canadian Romani families. ( )
  pnwbookgirl | Feb 7, 2016 |
Another fun trip to Spellbound Falls. Here we have Niall, twelfth century Highlander, brought forward in an earlier book as a possible suitor for Titus's daughter. He lost out on that one, but decided he liked the current time, so he stayed and has become the town's first police chief. One of the benefits of the job is free housing, next door to the local women's shelter, with the understanding that he will watch out for them. This puts him in frequent contact with Birch, the shelter director, a woman with very definite opinions about men.

Birch is new to Spellbound Falls also. She has brought her mother with her to help run the shelter. She is of the opinion that men are more trouble than they are worth. After witnessing her mother's four disastrous marriages, plus the ones she sees in her work, she has decided that marriage is not for her. Currently at the top of her list is her neighbor. She needs his cooperation in support of the work she does, and she isn't getting it. There's something about him that rubs her the wrong way, but that may just be the attraction she refuses to admit.

I loved the relationship that built between Niall and Birch. Niall freely admits that Birch aggravates the heck out of him, but that very feistiness is one of the things he likes about her. He also senses that beneath her frequent confrontations, she is just as attracted to him, which amuses him a lot. Their encounters are fun to see as they deal with situations with very different methods. As they begin to work together, Birch starts to realize that Niall is someone she can trust and her attitude begins to change a little. However, she's still stubborn about what she does and tends to get herself into trouble that Niall has to save her from. Niall reverts somewhat to his medieval Highlander persona, as his protective nature kicks in. That clash with Birch's modern attitude makes for a few interesting situations. The intensity of his first rescue of her kicks their attraction up a couple levels. I loved seeing Birch go after the comfort she needed afterwards. As their relationship progressed, Niall was able to understand Birch and her ways better as he learned more about her background. I liked seeing Birch learn to trust that Niall would be there for her, and Niall convince her that he loved her just the way she was. The only thing I wonder about is that he hadn't yet told her the truth about who he was. I missed that because it has always been a fun part of previous books.

There was some mystery included in the book as something from Birch and her mother's past creates trouble for them. Starting with a strange car that runs her off the road, Birch and Niall try to figure out who is after her and why. When the final confrontation comes, I have to say that I was impressed with Birch's ability to stay calm and focused. I loved how Niall was able to get help and support from his friends, and how it all came together at the end.

The secondary characters were terrific, especially Birch's mother. Though the initial impression was one of something of an airhead, but it turned out she was anything but. I understood Birch's need to protect her, and loved seeing their close relationship. It was great fun to see Hazel really come into her own as Niall's secretary and Girl Friday. She was really quite a powerhouse. I also loved seeing her with Sam, and then with Birch's father Claude. It will be interesting to see if anything happens with them in future books.

Also present throughout the book are appearances by a new deity, one that was brought forth in a previous book, The Heart of a Hero. The question everyone has is whether he'll be a good one or a bad one. I quite enjoyed the way he appeared to Birch, and the conversations she had with him. I especially liked her talk with the eagle who ate her pie. Eventually we have a name for him, and I get the feeling he'll come down on the side of good. It was fun to see the differences between a "modern" deity and the ancient ones like Titus and Mac. I'm looking forward to seeing more of him in later books. ( )
  scoutmomskf | Dec 17, 2015 |
This is a story that I wanted to love and even though I did love parts of the story, overall it was an average read for me, it felt a little flat and considering this is one of my favorite authors, it’s quite a disappointment. I have enjoyed seeing how this series has progressed, but with each book I have felt less and less interested, and I had too high hopes for this one. And I just want to say I have been waiting for Niall’s book for quite some time. Niall along with some other Scotsman, were transported from medieval Scotland to modern Maine. He has come to Spellbound Falls, and is the chief of police and his neighbor, is a pain in his backside, a woman out for women’s rights…Birch Callahan. When we learn of Birch’s history with men, most especially the men her mother has been married to but all four husbands ended up being scumbags….and only her birth father is the only man she has ever loved or respected. There were many scenes that were quite fun to read and boy can Niall and Birch go at it. The quick-witted bantering and the easy-going playfulness that these two characters tend to have with each other….was enough to keep me interested. As a bonus we get many characters from previous books and love seeing these characters again. The two main characters are both equally matched, they each have their own interests and goals, and we see how despite their differences, they work best together and not fighting each other. I did enjoy seeing the fun banter, but after so long it got too old, meaning that it was too much. I did enjoy Niall way more than Birch though. She was a bit of a harpy and she tended to be too harsh in her judgments, she didn’t really soften until the very end. But as an overall read, it didn’t come to par as Janet Chapman’s usual style, so I felt disappointed. I will still read her in the future, and maybe I will re read her previous books before I read her next book coming up later this year. I would still recommend this author, and try out her earlier books (because they are outstanding) and I hope the next book of hers sings to me better!! ( )
  addictofromance | Jun 17, 2015 |
The plot and action of this paranormal romance were pretty good but the story was too full of history on people and events from other books in this and her highlander series that I have already read. Birch yells at her neighbor chief Niall when his big dog attacks her little dog.
( )
  Dawn772 | Jan 29, 2015 |
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This one is for you, Lucy, for having the sense of humor to laugh with us and not at us.  Thank you for loving my brother.
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Despite knowing the orcas and sharks inhabiting the inland sea were under strict orders not to harm humans, Niall put more power to his strokes when he felt something brush against his leg - because, hell, he wasn't completely suicidal.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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