RITA Reader Challenge Review

RITA Reader Challenge: Moonglow by Kristen Callihan

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Title: Moonglow
Author: Kristen Callihan
Publication Info: Forever 2012
ISBN: 9781455511099
Genre: Paranormal

Book Moonglow This RITA® Reader Challenge 2013 review was written by Fran. This story was nominated for the RITA® in the Best Paranormal Romance category.

The summary:     

Finally free of her suffocating marriage, widow Daisy Ellis Craigmore is ready to embrace the pleasures of life that have long been denied her. Yet her new-found freedom is short lived. A string of unexplained murders has brought danger to Daisy's door, forcing her to turn to the most unlikely of saviors . . .

Ian Ranulf, the Marquis of Northrup, has spent lifetimes hiding his primal nature from London society. But now a vicious killer threatens to expose his secrets. Ian must step out of the shadows and protect the beautiful, fearless Daisy, who awakens in him desires he thought long dead.

As their quest to unmask the villain draws them closer together, Daisy has no choice but to reveal her own startling secret, and Ian must face the undeniable truth: Losing his heart to Daisy may be the only way to save his soul.

And here is Fran's review:

So Moonglow is a confirmed werewolf book, although lycan is the preferred term in this universe.  I happen to love werewolf books—I might even consider myself a connoisseur of things werewolf-ey—so I was predisposed to enjoy the novel.  There are familiar tropes present but with some curve balls tacked onto the end, giving the book a fresher feel.  A quick caution: because the paranormal aspect is an active character in the novel, I’d encourage non-subgenre fans to be aware before they click the buy button —there’s too much preternatural to ignore.     

Often paranormal romances (in my experience) end up using the supernatural elements as simple garnishes for the romance, but Ms. Callihan has her love arc thoroughly integrated with her world.  She strikes the balance necessary for an engaging story without compromising the development of the relationship or the emotion.  I’d give her a 6.5 out of 10 on the angst scale—the characters Tell Each Other Things but the mutual trust and foundation for love is always apparent to the reader.  Her wolf pack dynamics (and how lycans fit into the greater world) are interesting, and they’re revealed as the book unfolds.  The interactions are not especially complicated but do, however, make sense and provide interesting conflict.

Scent plays a huge (and awesome) role in this book.  Our hero is a lycan with heightened senses, and our heroine is a self-proclaimed “nose”:

“Your valet uses champagne in his boot polish mix— very ingenious of him as your boots are like mirrors. He draws your bath with oil of rose hip and sweet orange, which makes me believe you suffer from dry skin. You wear Le Homme Number 12 from Smithe’s, an expensive cologne featuring essences of vetiver, amber, and sandalwood. And though its popularity among nobs might lead me to confuse you with another, one cannot overlook your natural scent, which is a subtle mix of meadow grass, fresh rain, white wine, and well… you.”

Ian stared at her with his mouth surely agape. She did not flinch, though a fetching pink flush colored her cheeks. He snapped his mouth shut. “Fuck me,” he breathed with genuine surprise. So rare that anything truly shocked him these days. 

Her flush grew. “Thank you, but no.” 

Ian shook his head to clear it. He felt dizzy, as though he’d been running and had come to a sudden stop. Jesus, but this woman kept him on his toes. “I’d say you were bamming me if it weren’t all true.”

Notice the joke.  The humor is peppered throughout, often initially at the expense of the hero’s virility—if you catch my drift.  *winks saucily at reader*

Next, the characters.  Our hero, Ian, is the brooding lycan, cursed with lonely immortality and a wounded past.  He’s handsome, a tad rakish, and charming.  But what exactly gives him that rich, full-bodied, memorable hero taste?  He treats our heroine, Daisy, as an equal.  Can you imagine?

“Northrup?” 

“Mmm?”

“I apologize. For not telling you about the perfumer before I went to find him. I am not…” She took a deep, coal-tinged breath. “I am not accustomed to having a man finding me worthy of being a partner.” His gaze made her heart pound and her fingers shake. She hated feeling so exposed but found she hated his hurt and disappointment more. 

“I would say that it was your previous partner who was unworthy.” Really, he took her breath away at times.

Me too, honey.  Me too.  Yay guys who trust women to make smart decisions and handle themselves!

Daisy is fantastic.  She comes into an awesome power that’s both beautiful and terrifying.  She’s witty, snappy, and refuses to take a back seat in the action.  She’s an experienced lady actively seeking pleasure in the first few pages of the books…which I always find refreshing.  And she’s got a dark past of her own.  

Also great in this book: no quick fixes.  The h/h recognize that they have issues, but embrace them.

Her throat ached as she wrapped her arms around his neck. “It might never fully go away, Ian.”  She searched his face for any sign of wariness. “These old fears. As much as I try to change, I might fall back into darkness now and then.” 

Gently, he threaded his hand through her curls, spreading them about her. “We are all imperfect creatures, love. I don’t want perfect. I just want you.”

And:

“God, I am a hypocrite,” he said. “I tell you to let go of the past when I cannot release mine.”

Her hand was in his hair, stroking, petting. “Perhaps there are some things we can’t let go of, but simply accept as over.” 

He would. If she was his future, he would accept the past for her.

I’m totally convinced they will face their inner demons as a team and come out on top and still in love.

And the ending.  I love that the ending wasn’t a 100% magical story-book ending.  Not exactly harsh, maybe jagged.  But still it was happy.  A believable ending for a paranormal romance…not that that’s an oxymoron or anything. 

Now, all that being said, I don’t think I’ll ever read it again.  Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed it.  I didn’t have any major problems and I don’t regret spending $6.35 and four hours of my reading time on it.  I would definitely recommend this book.  But because it didn’t strike me enough to pick up again, I’ve got to give it an A-.


This book is available from Goodreads | Amazon | BN | Kobo | iBooks.

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Ren says:

    I enjoyed this book and the first one in the series for many of the reasons noted above.

    So I was all the more disappointed when the third book had me gnashing my teeth and tearing my hear and firing off “YOU WILL NOT BELIEVE THIS @#$%ING &#!+” emails to the people who are amused by the sound of my head exploding, in no small part because the aforementionedYay guys who trust women to make smart decisions and handle themselves! was conspicuously absent—in a couple that had been together for 14 years and should have had more regard for each other than the pairs in the previous books exhibited when they’d barely even been introduced.

  2. 2
    Fran S. says:

    Yeah Ren that’s disappointing to hear.  I got really nervous when Winston seemed so completely removed from his wife at the end of Moonglow.  Winter in the title definitely seems appropriate.  It’s on my TBR list—-I enjoyed the first one too.  I’m hoping, maybe I’ll enjoy it.

  3. 3
    Sarah Y. says:

    I loved Winterblaze. It was a little angsty but I could see how Winston could feel angry at being kept from a very important aspect in his wife’s life. It does change their marriage and their trust. To me, it would have been unbelievable if Winston thought his wife was just a little bookshop keeper for the last 10 or whatever years they’ve been married and then when he finds out about her to just be like “Oh you have superpowers and you’re part of some league to keep the monsters at bay? Ok, cool. Rock on.” Winston and Poppy both get to rediscover each other and fall in love again. Also, there is a fight scene where Winston gets to see Poppy do her “thang” and he can’t help but admire her; so I would like to think that seeing a more physically aggressive Poppy is attractive to Winston.

    That being said, I will admit that I don’t usually like paranormal romances but Kristen Callihan laces her words with crack and I just eagerly lap up her words. I have enjoyed all three books in the series so far!

  4. 4
    Ren says:

    I totally agree Winston had every right to be angry about being deceived for the entire duration of their relationship. And I don’t hold a grudge against Poppy for keeping secrets because she has significant obligations that sometimes have to take precedence over her personal life.

    I don’t, however, feel that issue was adequately resolved, as their sole means of relating to one another for most of this book (and apparently the entire duration of their relationship) was sexual. He had “a cockstand you could hang a hat on” every five seconds, regardless of the situation (for instance, immediately after he almost blew her brains out—because that’s a HUGE turn-on—or because she was wearing a pink dress that of course made him think of her vagina), and the vast majority of their reminiscences about their history involved throbbing and/or moist genitals. (Didn’t these people ever have a conversation? No wonder he didn’t have a clue she had a whole other life. If he had any senses outside of his pants, maybe he would have noticed something amiss during the course of 14 years… which then made me question his supposedly mad skillz as a detective.) At the end, I felt like the moral of the story was “As long as we’re still hot for each other, this relationship can be salvaged.”

    I also didn’t appreciate that the trim, nerdy Winston of the previous books had to get an Extreme Makeover because, as we all know, only cut-and-buff men can be heroes in romance novels.

    And then there were the chapters and chapters of sequel bait.

    And THEN…

    I was ranting for the entire length of time it took to read it, so let’s just say absolutely nothing about Winterblaze worked for me, the end.

  5. 5

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