Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Review and Giveaway: Kindling the Moon by Jenn Bennett (Arcadia Bell #1)

Being the spawn of two infamous occultists (and alleged murderers) isn’t easy, but freewheeling magician Arcadia “Cady” Bell knows how to make the best of a crummy situation. After hiding out for seven years, she’s carved an incognito niche for herself slinging drinks at the demon-friendly Tambuku Tiki Lounge.

But she receives an ultimatum when unexpected surveillance footage of her notorious parents surfaces: either prove their innocence or surrender herself. Unfortunately, the only witness to the crimes was an elusive Æthyric demon, and Cady has no idea how to find it. She teams up with Lon Butler, an enigmatic demonologist with a special talent for sexual spells and an arcane library of priceless stolen grimoires. Their research soon escalates into a storm of conflict involving missing police evidence, the decadent Hellfire Club, a ruthless bounty hunter, and a powerful occult society that operates way outside the law. If Cady can’t clear her family name soon, she’ll be forced to sacrifice her own life . . . and no amount of running will save her this time.

Note: I received a copy from the author for review

Pub Date: June 28, 2011
Publisher: Pocket Books/Simon $ Schuster
Format: Available as e-book as well as paperback

Buy links
Amazon: Kindling the Moon: An Arcadia Bell Novel
book depository
Author's Website

Edited to add: Contest is now closed and winner notified.

Kindling the Moon is a wonderful debut novel by author Jenn Bennett. I really enjoyed her take on demons and magicians and the mythos of the world she has created. The characters were fascinating and dynamic and very relatable considering that they tend to be anything but ordinary humans. We have a good mix of mystery, action, love, lust, betrayal and family dynamics to keep the reader turning the pages to see what happens next.

Arcadia is a good protagonist. She's powerful, smart, sassy and honest with herself about her strengths and weaknesses and she owns when she screws up. She tries to be a good person and has compassion for others, but she's also not afraid to do what has to be done to survive and to protect the people she cares about. I like that in a main character. I don't enjoy wishy-washy characters and their forced angst because you know that in most cases, it's just so the reader doesn't feel that the MC is a sociopath. For me, if you show just cause and you're billing the character as tough and a badass, I don't need a bunch of faux angst and rehashing things while we cruise the guilt trip highway. I'm good, thanks.

I really enjoyed the supporting cast of characters as well. Father Carrow was one of my faves. In my opinion, he's a great example of a subtly layered character that doesn't fit in a box and I give the author props for not trying to put him in one. All the characters had layers and depth. They all had strengths and weaknesses and flaws and so they were very intriguing to read about. At one point I wanted to smack Lon, our enigmatic love interest and father to the exuberant and lovable Jupe, but I had to give the author and Lon credit because it was worked out promptly in the next chapter where he called himself on his crap and apologized. I liked that it didn't drag into "the thing that keeps them apart until the next book" scenario. It made it more believable. Parents aren't always rational when it comes to their kids' safety and if they already blame themselves for past parental mistakes, they are likely to lash out, but at least he didn't paint himself firmly into unreasonable asshole corner by not being able to admit that he was being a bit hypocritical. I had to learn to go with the flow in this story because the characters would do something that irritated me and I was so used to those types of things not being addressed in other books/series that I wasn't expecting it to happen here. Well, for the most part I was wrong. I really enjoyed that a lot of questions that popped in my head were admitted to and possibly answered by the characters as well.

My one honest issue with this story was that for a generally smart cookie, Arcadia (or Cady) came off as almost deliberately obtuse about a few of the most obvious things in the book. If you follow my reviews at all, you'll know that that is a big pet peeve of mine. There was one part where something that I felt Cady should obviously be concerned about or at least attempt to research she was completely blase about and naturally that came back to bite her in a big way. Instances of this popped up here and there in the story, but it wasn't enough to make me want to stop reading and the characters were likable enough that I wanted to see where the story led them.

Something else that I enjoyed about Ms. Bennett's writing style is her descriptions of characters and setting. I often times have a hard time visualizing these things, but the descriptions were so concise and clear that I had absolutely no trouble getting great mental images that really enhanced the reading experience for me.

I recommend this book to fans of UF and even Paranormal Romance. A fun, fast and highly entertaining read that left me more than willing to take another ride with Arcadia in whatever new adventure awaits her.

Final Grade: B+

Now, thanks to the very gracious author I am able to offer up one signed copy of Kindling the Moon for one lucky winner. Contest is only open to the Continental United States and is going to be open until Tuesday, June 28 at 11:59 pm PST. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post. That's it!

Thanks for reading and good luck!

ETA: I will announce the winner here on the blog on June 29. If I don't hear from the winner by July 2, I will redraw for a new winner.


Unknown said...

Thanks for the giveaway. Please count me in.

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Unknown said...

Would love to win this one. Thanks for the contest love.

robin [at] intensewhisper [dot] com

Mollie W said...

Thanks so much for the giveaway! It sounds good!


Martha Lawson said...

This one sounds good. I'd love to be entered to win it.

follow on gfc

mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

throuthehaze said...

Thanks for the giveaway!
throuthehaze at gmail dot com

emmad said...

I have a friend in the states that would love this. Have added book to my wish list on Amazon so will remember once available digitally.


SusiSunshine said...

I think a good developed side cast is essential to win my heart. All my favorite books actually have exactly that. It gives a books so much.
This book really sounds wonderful and I have to admit that this is actually the first time I heard of it.
Thanks for the review sweety.

donnas said...

Sounds pretty good. Thanks for sharing!

bacchus76 at myself dot com

JenM said...

The blurb on this caught my eye and it definitely sounds like something I'd enjoy reading. Thanks for your review and for the contest.

jen at delux dot com

Shyril said...

Would love to win. Thanks for the offer!


Jennifer said...

please enter me.


stephjx said...

This book sounds great. I would love to win and read it.


Maranda Russell said...

Sign me up! Would love to win a signed copy!

Van Pham said...

This sounds good!! Please count me in. Thanks for the giveaway. :D


Julie said...

Thanks for the chance to win! :D

Marq said...

This sounds like a good start to a new series. I'm definitely interested in reading it.


Anonymous said...

Great review, I'm almost done with the book and I agree with your assessments. I hard this book so hard, and was SO GRATEFUL when Lon redeemed himself :)

The Queen B said...

Hey Pam!
Yeah, I wanted to smack Lon a few times (and even Cady), but at the same time they both owned and dealt with their issues and that was very refreshing so I couldn't hold it against them for long. Are you with me in lovin' Lon, Cady and Jupe together? They are so fab together :D

Anonymous said...

Eep! That was supposed to be *heart it so hard* LOL

I LOVE the three of them together, and I love that Jupe is 13 years old and talks so much and is such a spaz. You know when one of the heros or heroines has a child that it could go so many different ways, and this Jupe couldn't be any more lovable. Lon's message on his cast is priceless. I agree, the possible issues I could have had I felt were dealt with as far as C & L owning their faults, which is huge in my book.

The Queen B said...

LOL, I knew what you meant. I speak Spaz (kidding :P)

I really was surprised by how much I loved Jupe. At times, I loved him more than Lon, lol. I agree, I hate those freakishly precocious children that seem like they're out of some exorcist movie. Ick. You can have wise and insightful kid characters that are still overly enthusiastic and not plastic, which is why I loved Jupe so much. He and Cady were great and I loved that Lon pointed out that both he and Jupe had fallen for her. Oooh, I'm getting all fluttery just thinking about it. LOL. I'm a sap. ::sigh::
And I'm with you on owning your crap. I don't ask that the characters be perfect, but they need to not be oblivious to their baggage either.

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