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Saturday, June 11, 2011


Author:  Lexi George
Plot Type:  Paranormal Chick Lit (CH), Soul Mate Romance (SMR)
Publisher and Titles:  Brava 
     Demon Hunting in Dixie (4/2011)
     "The Bride Wore Demon Dust" in So I Married a Demon Slayer anthology (8/2011)
     Demon Hunting in the Deep South (8/2012)
     Demon Hunting in a Dive Bar (2/2013)

     This post was revised and updated on 3/19/13 to include a review of the third book in the series, Demon Hunting in a Dive Bar. That review appears first, followed by an overview of the world-building and reviews of books 1 and 2:

        BOOK 3:  Demon Hunting in a Dive Bar        
     This book picks up on a love story that began at the end of the previous book when Conall, the Dalvahni captain, first met Rebekah (Beck) Damian, owner of a demonoid bar in Hannah, Alabama. As is true of many paranormal romance relationships, their first meeting did not go well, primarily because Conall, the demon killer, thought Beck was a demon. As it turns out, Beck is only half demon (on her mother's side), and she does not have any of the demons' more reprehensible characteristics. As this book opens, Conall has been secretly spying on Beck for months, and now he approaches her for help in determining what secret weapon the demons have discovered that can mortally injure a Dalvahni. Beck, of course, is outraged that Conall believes that she has demon contacts and that he is asking her to help him after he sneered at her contemptuously back when they first met for being a demon girl. The development of their love match forms the backbone of the story.

     As the plot advances, a few new characters stumble into the bar, including a vegetarian zombie, a piano-playing ghost, a feline harbinger of doom called the Wampus Kitty, and a young demonoid girl who needs rescuing from her horrific family clan. The charm and humor of the story rests on the quirky characters more than on the twisted plot, which includes some demons who want to recruit Hannah's demonoids in their battle to take over the world. In another related story thread, Conall still wants to find that Dahlvani-killing weapon that the demons have discovered.

     One of the big surprises for Beck is the sudden appearance of her twin brother, Evan. Unfortunately, this is also one of the biggest weaknesses in the plot. We are supposed to believe that Beck and Evan knew each other as children, although no one else in Hannah has ever seen Evan before or known of his existence. Supposedly, their demon mother dropped off Beck with her father, but took baby Evan along with her on a life of drugs/murder/mayhem. How, then, did they ever meet? Why doesn't Jason (the twins' biological father) or Toby Littleton (Beck's surrogate father) know about Evan? Nothing about this part of the story makes any sense at all. Evan's adult character is under the complete control of his mother and her partner (another demon, who, in another head-scratching moment, Evan calls his father) and he is under a geis to do whatever they tell him to do. If you can ignore the roots of this improbable brother-sister relationship, the rest of the story is pretty good—much stronger on plot (and much darker) than the previous two books.

     In this book we learn more about Dahlvani history and culture. Here, Conall explains it all to Beck: "The Dalvahni do not come from a planet. We reside between worlds in the Hall of Warriors...[in] another dimension...A Dalvahni warrior has no family, save his brothers...The Dalvahni do not have parents...Kehvahn made us...He is the god who created us." (p. 214) Conall also explains the history of the djegrali demons: Kehvahn's brother, " a trickster who released the djegrali [from behind the veil] out of mischief....The djegrali simply are. They are older than the gods, older than the first star...They are powerful and capable of great magic....If the [human] body they inhabit dies, they die also. Thus, they move from body to body, consuming them like locusts." (p. 215) 

     The most important bit of new information is the reason why Hannah, Alabama, attracts the djegrali and why it allows the heretofore emotionless Dalvahni to fall in love. I won't spoil things by telling you that reason because it is an integral part of the plot. Other than the implausibility of the twins' childhood, this book has the strongest plot of the series so far. This strength of plot makes the book darker and a lot less "fluffy" than the first two books. Beck is a stronger and much more mature heroine than the previous two, and Conall exhibits a nice balance between his alpha and his sensitive sides. As always, the writing is witty and frequently hilarious.  

     The book ends with a cliff hanger involving Evan and one of the local eccentrics, so I'm guessing that his love story will be told in the next book. Click HERE to read an excerpt of Demon Hunting in a Dive Bar.

     This light and fluffy series centers around the small town of Hannah, Alabama, the site of a heavy infestation of djegrali demons. Other than these evil demons, there are two other types of supernaturals in Hannah: demonoids (demi-demons who are the offspring of human/demon matings) and Dalvahni demon hunters, who are all tall, handsome, sexy alpha types. One reason for the demonic infestation is that in demon language, Han-nah-a-lah means "the end of all things." So if you're a demon or a demon hunter searching for Han-nah-a-lah, then Hannah, Ala., is the perfect place to look. 

     The author explains on her web site that, "The Dalvahni are a race of immortal warriors created by the god Kehvahn to hunt and capture the djegrali, or demons, when they leak into other worlds and cause mischief....The Dalvahni know nothing but duty and the hunt. They are humorless and emotionless, except for battle rage and lust...until they come to Hannah and fall in love, and then the fun starts!"

     Although this paranormal romance series is somewhat lightweight on the paranormal side, it is definitely top heavy with romance. In the first two books, ten of the main and supporting characters find their soul mates, and most of them get their HEA endings within these pages: 

     >  Adara ("Addy") Corwin, florist, and Brand, fierce Dalvahni warrior
     >  Evangeline ("Evie") Douglass, shy bookkeeper (and Addy's BFF), and Ansgar, laconic Dalvahni warrior
     >  Shepton ("Shep") Corwin, funeral director and brother of Addy, and Lenora, Dalvahni sex thrall 
     >  Edmuntina ("Muddy") Fairfax, Addy's eccentric great-aunt, and Amasa Collier, eccentric former town drunk
     >  Hibiscus ("Bitsy") Corwin, Addy's widowed mother, and Carl E. ("Carl-ee") Davis, chief of police
     Much of the humor comes from the dialogue, mainly from putting these other-dimensional, demon-hunting hunks into a small-town southern culture. They continually either misinterpret or literally translate various colloquialisms and idioms ("Why do you say you slept like a rock? Rocks do not sleep."), and they speak in a formal manner that uses no contractions ("That is good""I do not understand"). Additional humor comes from the charcters' constant wisecracking, but this gets old fairly quickly. 

     The plots are a bit thin and the characters are somewhat shallow, but if you're looking for a featherweight paranormal beach read, you might like this series.  

     Click HERE to go to a page on the author's web site entitled "This and That," which includes the following entries: "Ten Things to Do if You're in Hannah"; "If Brand Dalvahni, Alpha Male Demon Hunter, Kept a Diary";  and "Recipe for a Dalvahni Demon Hunter."

READALIKES: If you like funny, frothy stories about immortals from other dimensions being transported to human communities, here are a few more that you might want to try these series:

     Karen Kelley's PRINCES OF SYMTARIA series (SMRV3, S4, H3)
     Gena Showalter's IMPERIA series (SMRV2, S4, H4)
     Annette Blair's WORKS LIKE MAGICK series (SMRV3, S4, H4

             BOOK 1:  Demon Hunting in Dixie             
     One night while Addy (our human heroine) is walking her dog (Dooley Ann), she is attacked and stabbed by a demon and rescued by Brand, who appears in the doorway of a portal from another dimension. Brand is an immortal demon hunter who has been tracking the demons that attacked Addy. When Brand heals Addy, he leaves some of his essence within her, thus providing her with some of his magical powers. 

     Just as all this is happening, one of Brand's fellow warriors (Ansgar) shows up to warn Brand against getting involved with a mortal. But it's already too late for Brand and Addy—love/lust has struck them both. At first, Addy fights against believing in the existence of demons and immortal warriors and fiery swords. In fact, she spends several chapters getting her mind around this new development in her life. The plot revolves primarily around the various romances, but it does have a few interruptions for some not-too-violent demon action. There are a few decapitations, but no graphic details.

     The plot has several inconsistencies and illogical points. For example, after Brand heals Addy, her hair turns from brown to platinum blond and grows several inches, and it continues to grow inches a day. No explanation is provided for this, and the hair growth doesn't happen to the other Dalvahni folks. So...why is is it happening to Addy? This wouldn't be such a problem if the author didn't made it a running joke. Everyone in town is constantly commenting on Addy's new look. So why not provide an explanation? Addy's sarcastic quips flow freely throughout the story, along with her favorite expletive, "Crappydoodle." In any case, this lightweight romantic series provides some chuckles with its quirky characters and preposterous situations. Click HERE to read an excerpt.

          NOVELLA: "The Bride Wore Demon Dust"             
     This novella appears in the anthology, So I Married a Demon Slayer. It tells the love story of Rafe Dalvahni, demon slayer, and Bunny Nicole Raines, small-town librarian in Hannah, Alabama. Click HERE to read an excerpt.

          BOOK 2:  Demon Hunting in the Deep South         
     First, let's review: When Evangeline (Evie) Douglass was possessed by a demon at a climactic moment in book 1, her demon-hunting lover shot and killed her in an attempt to free her from the demon, and then he brought her back to life. That lover is Ansgar, one of the two Dalvahni warriors we met in the first book of the series. The Dalvahni are trained to suppress all emotion because they are, first and foremost, demon slayers, and emotions would just interfere with their duties. When Ansgar fell hard for Evie, he was swamped by unfamiliar feelings that he couldn't handle. Seeing an opportunity for escape, he wiped away all her memories of him after he saved her life. Then he took off for his home realm, positive that he would forget Evie, and that she would be better off without him. Obviously, that never works out the way you think it will.

     Now for book 2: As the story opens, Evie's chief nemesis, Meredith Starr Peterson (aka Death Starr) is brutally murdered in Evie's office at the lumber mill, and someone tries to frame Evie for the crime. We met Meredith and her nasty sidekicks in book 1 as they constantly made all sorts of mean-girl comments to both Addie and Evie. Ansgar, who has been unable to stay away from Evie and who has been shadowing her in his invisible form, comes back to his corporeal self to give her support during this difficult time, and she feels an attraction to him. During the period that Ansgar has been gone, Evie has been living an empty life. She feels as if she's missing someone or something but can't quite grasp just what it is. When she meets Ansgar in this book, seemingly for the first time, she quickly falls for him, and their romance moves along at a fast pace...right up until the moment she discovers that he memory-wiped her and that every single one of her friends knew all about it. 

     In the action plot, Evie spends some time in jail and is attacked by demons. The identity of the behind-the-scenes villain is pretty obvious early on in the story, but the climactic showdown still has some punch. The most puzzling thing about the demons in this series is that they don't do much demon damage out in the world at large. They mainly seem to spend their time and energy on sneak attacks on the Dalvahni warriors and their friends and lovers.

     Once again, the plot is thin, the subplots are bizarre, and the humor comes from sarcastic quips and silly situations—not to mention the quirky characters. New romantic pairings occur among the supporting characters, and we meet Conall, the leader of the Dalvahni, who meets the 21st century southern female bar owner who will be his romantic downfall. Book 3 will tell his story. 

     The most colorful new character is Nicole, who lives in a broken-down (literally) trailer with her Chihuahua, Frodo. Here's what Nicole looks like as Evie first meets her: "A short, plump woman burst into the Sheriff's Department and tottered up to the front desk on a pair of [pink] high-heeled boots. She wore her hair shaved close in the front and long in the back. the bristles at the top of her scalp were bright pink, fading into stringy, yellow locks that fell below her shoulders. A tight top displayed her fleshy arms and overflowing cleavage, and her stocky legs were encased sausage-like in shiny, form-fitting black breeches that ended below the knee. This vision of oddness carried a writhing furry lump under one arm." (p. 32) Nicole's favorite expletive is "Mothertrucker!" One of the more ridiculous subplots concerns a dog-stalking veterinarian who hates all Chihuahuas because Frodo bit off his fingers when he came on to Nicole. 

     If you're looking for a quick, light, funny read, you may enjoy this series. Click HERE to read an excerpt of Demon Hunting in the Deep South.

1 comment:

  1. Hey, Patricia, thanks for the awesome reviews! Yes, I cyber stalk myself. I freely admit it! In book 3, Evan was Beck's imaginary playmate (or so she thought!), so they never actually meet until they are adults and Evan comes to Hannah for the first time. They were psychically linked as children because they are twins. When Beck entered puberty, her "visions" of Evan faded and she consigned him to her childhood imaginings. Guess I didn't make that clear. Oops! :-)