Sunday, 8 July 2012

ARC Review: Moonglow - Kristen Callihan

Once the seeds of desire are sown . . .
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 . . .


Their growing passion knows no bounds . . .
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.

This review will contain small spoilers for Firelight and Moonglow.



Six months ago--has it really been that long?--I read and reviewed the first of Kristen Callihan's Darkest London novels, Firelight. I might have complained a lot in my review, but the truth is that her story left an indelible mark. That's why when I saw Moonglow on NetGally I clicked the little request button and sat on my crossed fingers until I was accepted.

Well, not literally, but you get the sentiment.

It's turn for the second Ellis sister, Daisy, to find her freedom and happiness after a year of widowhood. She's making do with her own special gift after her late husband left her destitute and embracing her basic desires when she stumbles on a dead body and is attacked. That's when Lord Ian Ranulf, Marquis of Northrup, picks her up and whisks her to the safety of his home. There are many obstacles on their way to happiness not least of which is his fascination with her sister, Miranda.

I liked the demons and the fire starter in the first book, and in this one we get to see the some of lore explored further. Daisy and her sisters are elementals. This made my poor physicist heart ache because, although, I could accept earth and fire as the elements worshipped in the past, mixing it with ice made no sense to me. Poppy controlling water in all four of its states--ice=solid, water=liquid, steam=vapour, plasma--would have been more logical.

Truth is I'm jealous of Callihan's imagination. She's taking these known myths and legends and making them hers with an unexpected twist. She's always surprising me, which isn't easy to do these days. I might not understand the need for splitting werewolves and lycans into two and making the myth sound somewhat contrived, but I can appreciate the story it gave me. Ian learning to live again and embracing all the feelings he'd been hiding from so long was a joy to read. I cared less about Daisy, but at least she never truly irritated me. Her choice in the end was something I saw coming from early on, but the manner of it reduced a certain lore aspect to a mere plot point. Or that's what I'm going to assume until Callihan expands on it in another book.

Where Firelight was more about a mystery and a marriage of convenience, Moonglow is about emotions such as fear, regret, and loneliness. There's a mystery too, but not for its own sake. It's about the characters and their reactions.

Overall, Moonglow is more polished a novel than Firelight and the raw talent it showed. I could see Callihan's growth as a writer on the page. The sex scenes where actually sexy--huge part of it was the delayed gratification--and I never got the feeling that they simply didn't fit. The descriptions were more to the point, though, I'd appreciate a fewer mentions of sinew and cord-like muscles. There also was the unfortunate use of word globes and something called a Gaelic shrug. Callihan has yet to hit the perfect balance on implied accent, but she had the decency of use it sparsely.

As I'm incapable of proper squeeing or oohing and aahing, I'll let the rating speak for itself.


I received an Advanced Readers Copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.

Series:           Darkest London #2
Pages:          327 (epub ARC)
Publisher:      Grand Central Publishing
Imprint:         Forever
ISBN:           9781455508587
Published:      expected, July 31st 2012
Source:          NetGalley, Publisher


38 comments:

  1. Thanks Rameau!!!
    I want to read this one now :)

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    1. I just realised it doesn't show the four star rating here. I'll try to keep that in mind in the future.

      :)

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  2. I actually liked Firelight more, it felt more exotic and wild. You're right calling it raw talent, Rameau. Moonglow slipped a little bit more in HR cliches and those feelings and accent on the couple took away from the plot development which is what fascinated me so much in the first book. However I'm still waiting for Poppy's book. She and Winston are very different from the other two couples. Great review!

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    1. You're right. In some ways Firelight felt more original where as Moonglow is more traditional. However, I thought Firelight was unbalanced in the storytelling and pacing that it prohibited me from fully enjoying the story. I remember considering deducting a star from its rating because of it. I didn't have the same problem with Moonglow, its storytelling or pacing. There were few more romance clichés but not enough to bother me.

      I'm hoping Callihan will find her perfect balance with Poppy's book and writing for an established couple, but even if she doesn't, I'll be waiting to see what she'll write next.

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  3. Sounds like a good series, nice review!

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    1. Thank you. If you like paranormal historical romance, this might be a series for you. I like that it's not solely focused on vampires or werewolves, but that the world is much richer than that.

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  4. Thank you for your great review. I really feel like I know what to expect. I want to try this series now. And what a gorgeous cover!

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    1. It's a beautiful cover. Firelight had a gorgeous cover too for the redhead Miranda, but I like the green better.

      I hope you enjoy the series and that I didn't spoil it too much for you.

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  5. This made my poor physicist heart ache

    So you are a physicist? And you read a lot? And you can write great reviews? I am impressed!

    As I'm incapable of proper squeeing or oohing and aahing

    I am sure you are capable of all these but simply that capability is burried deeper inside your chest than in case of other people.

    something called a Gaelic shrug

    From a book of Peter Mayle about Provence, the most Gaelic land in France:

    "A certain amount of limbering-up is required before any major body parts are brought into action, and your first moves should be nothing more than a frown and a slight sideways tilt of the head. These indicate that you cannot believe the foolishness, the impertinence, or the plain dumb ignorance of what the Parisian has just said to you. There is a short period of silence before the Parisian tries again, repeating this remark and looking at you with some degree of irritation. Maybe he thinks you're deaf, or Belgian, and therefore confused by his sophisticated accent. Whatever he feels, you now have his complete attention. This is the moment to demolish him and his nonsense with a flowing, unhurried series of movements as the full shrug is unfurled.

    Step One. The jaw is pushed out as the mouth is turned down.
    Step Two. The eyebrows are fully ****** and the head comes forward.
    Step Three. The shoulders are raised to earlobe level, the elbows tucked in to the side, the hands fanning out with palms facing upward.
    Step Four (optional). You allow a short, infinitely dismissive sound—something between flatulence and a sigh—to escape from your lips before letting the shoulders return to a resting position."

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    1. That was the most thorough description of a shrug I've ever read. And way too expressive for the Finn in me. Same goes for the proper squeeing.

      Physicist? Yes, well, trying to be. Less than successful so far.

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    2. French can complicate even a shrug but what can you expect from people who eat snails?

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  6. I'm going to have to head over to Netgalley. i really enjoyed Firelight but I'm glad to hear that the writing has gotten even better. I had a few issues with the first.

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    1. I had those too, and found this to be more balanced. It's rare for me to find an author I want to watch grow as a writer, but I think Callihan might be one.

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  7. sounds like this one was better than the first, i'd really like to read both books!

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    1. If you do, I hope you like them.

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  8. Not my genre but I love your enthusiasm for the book!

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    1. Thanks. There aren't many paranormal books, or books in general, I can gush over.

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  9. Nice review Rameau, for some reason I thought this was a YA series, but I guess not. Perhaps the beautiful covers?
    I might put these on my wishlist now, thanks.

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    1. It's the girl in the pretty dress, isn't it? YA notoriously abuses that cover format. I hope you'll get a chance to read them soon.

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  10. Just because the cover is great, I would want to read this book. I know! That's a really good reason. Anyway, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

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    1. I pick up books all the times solely because of their gorgeous covers, and I get equally disappointed with them. I'm happy to say this is one of the exceptions (since I picked up Firelight because of its cover).

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  11. Oh I didn't even realize it was out in NetGalley already. See how much I'm paying attention to details. Oh I'm so glad you liked it and it sounds even better than the first. Hm... must read this one.

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    1. It was there in June, I think. I try not to read and review ARCs too far in advance because then I'll forget to post the reviews on time. I hope you'll like it.

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  12. I requested this without having read the first book and Now I need to read both! Face palm, what was I thinking! Glad though that this is a good series!

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    1. Happens to me all the time. Sometimes it's worth it to go back and start from the first of the series, sometimes it's not.

      That's a one way of finding out if our tastes are similar or not. I hope you'll like it.

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  13. I like it when I could actually see in the writing the improvements an author makes in her/his writing style! Maybe subsequent books would show even better writing from this author...

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    1. I'm hoping so too. The part where the author improves wasn't as much a surprise to me as was the part where I could articulate it semi-coherently.

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  14. glad you enjoyed it as well. you're right I didn't think that the two books were that different. Well I think I prefer a little bit more forelight but I really enjoyed this one. Daisy is a great character to follow and I'm curious to see the next one. great review!

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    1. Thank you. I'm curious about Poppy's book too.

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  15. I have both of these loaded on my Kindle and am really looking forward to reading them! I'm glad to hear that you this one so much :)

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  16. Sounds like a trilogy to pick up for sure!!!

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    1. It is, for me. I hope you'll like it too.

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