New Release Review: Moonglow by Kristen Callihan

Title: Moonglow

Author: Kristen Callihan

Availability: July 31, 2012 (Grand Central Publishing)

My Summary:

A dangerous supernatural creature is after Daisy Ellis Craigmore … or at least it’s killing people that smell like her.  Only the rakish (and decidedly delicious) Ian Ranulf, Marquis of Northrup seems to know what it is and how to keep Daisy safe.  On the journey to unearth the killer, Daisy and Ian face interfering relatives, family secrets, Scottish Clan intrigue, London society, back alley perfumers, and ghosts from their pasts.  Learning to trust in love, and each other, they just might find the peace they have both been seeking as well.

Memorable Line:

We are all imperfect creatures, love.  I don’t want perfect.  I just want you.

My Thoughts:

This paranormal/fantasy Victorian-era romance is the second installment in the Darkest London series, following the excellent first volume, Firelight.  I’m not usually one to read paranormal but Ms. Callihan does such an masterful job with characterization and world-building, I couldn’t help but fall in love with this book (especially with Ian and Daisy).

Ian Ranulf (previously known as Viscount Mckinnon) featured prominently in Firelight, which centered around Daisy’s sister Miranda and her husband Lord Benjamin Archer.  Ian was Archer’s romantic rival: the cocksure insouciant rake as foil to Archer’s brooding, wounded hero (though, really, there was never any contest as far as Miranda was concerned!).  When we meet Ian again in Moonglow, his sexual prowess has, er…wilted (as has any interest he thought he had in Miranda).  It appears the pleasures of the flesh are no longer enough to satisfy the emptiness that has been building in Ian for years … and years … and years – until danger brings Daisy to his door.  Daisy adds a much needed spark to Ian’s life, displaying a tenacity and innate zest for life that all at once exasperates, intrigues, and most definitely arouses him. In her he sees a kindred spirit.

Damn if she didn’t remind Ian of himself.  Before he lost heart.  When he tackled life with lusty abandon, and frank curiosity.  But … something was killing her natural vivaciousness, like a frost creeping along tender spring grass.  As if she too were slowly giving up the struggle.  He found himself wanting to banish that look.

Despite the horrors of an abusive marriage, Daisy is ready to return to being the lively, adventurous and sensual girl she once was.  Unfortunately not all the scars her husband left behind have healed and Daisy now struggles with the emotional aftermath of his cruelty.  Craigmore might not have completely crushed Daisy’s spirit, but he did a damn good job trying.  Being with Ian, whether arguing, laughing or loving, brings Daisy back to herself.

Jesting with [Ian] made her feel right.  The sensation was like that first true breath she took after removing her corset for the night…

Daisy learns to accept who she is.  She realizes she is a desirable woman with unique abilities and much to offer the world – and Ian.

Setting aside the supernatural elements of this story (which Ms. Callihan handles clearly and, dare I say it, believably), this is a beautiful love story of two damaged souls and the lengths they will go to for love.  The chemistry between them leaps off the page.

Ian and Daisy talk to one another honestly, sharing feelings and secrets (the scene in the pub where Ian explains his affliction is especially memorable, being both funny and touching at the same time).  They also work together throughout the story, despite the fact that Ian would prefer Daisy not involve herself, lest it put her in further danger.  Needless to say, Daisy does not yield to Ian’s autocratic demands, leading to grudging admiration and the revelation of Daisy’s inner strength.  I have to add, I love it when Daisy calls him on “playing the Scottish lord”:

“You get riled up and off you go, throwing that Highland accent about as if to intimidate.”  She dropped her voice in an imitation of his. “Ye will do as I say or I will take ye overrr me knee an’ stroop yer backside!”

****

He lifted a finger and gave her a look worthy of a governess.  “No objections, or I’ll throw you over me shoulder and march you home, whether ye will it or no.”

“Your Scottish is showing again.”  She grinned at his scowl.

I loved that they were friends before they became lovers … and Oh my! … once they give into that mutual desire, it’s scorching.  Daisy and Ian are two sensual creatures who are WAY more than compatible in the bedroom (and the carriage and … you get the point).  The love scenes are well written and powerful without being raunchy.

While Firelight concentrated on two individuals touched by magic, Moonglow expands on the characters introduced there and creates an entire supernatural world surrounding them.  The third book in the series, Winterblaze, is expected early 2013.  It will center on Daisy and Miranda’s eldest sister Poppy and her police inspector husband Winston, who both appeared in the earlier volumes and whose tragic love story has already begun (Poor Poppy!  Oh Winston!).

Moonglow is funny and touching and sexy as hell – a near perfect read.

If this book were a nail polish it would be: Dior Vernis #207 Or Lumière (Golden Light).

Golden Light is beautiful color from the Dior Golden Jungle* Collection for Fall 2012.  Rather than being a straight metallic (a formula that I usually avoid), Golden Light is a sheer shimmer, with shades of gold mixed in.  The light seems to radiate from the polish, allowing it to glow, reminiscent of, well, a moon.  Stunning on it’s own and breathtaking when layered over a darker polish, such as Dior Vernis #605 Amazonia, a rich dark ‘jungle’ green.

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The combo seems just right for Ian and Daisy, our moonstruck hero and his earthy love.

The Dior Golden Jungle Collection is currently available at Nordstrom and on Dior.com effective August 1.

*Spoiler alert: The significance of the ‘jungle’ aspect will become apparent once you read the book.

My Rating 5/5 bottles of polish (my first 5 polish rating!)

The fact that Ms. Callihan reeled me into her beautifully written story, in a sub-genre I usually don’t read, and made it believable, touched my heart and made me laugh, earns Moonglow top marks!

*DRC copy received via netgalley*

One response

  1. [...] to see so many of my favorite reads of the past year on the list, especially both Firelight and Moonglow by Kristen Callihan, A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean, and About Last Night by Ruthie [...]

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