Search This Blog

Thursday, August 2, 2012

'Moonglow' Darkest London #2 by Kristen Callihan

 Received from the Publisher

From the BLURB:

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.
Daisy Ellis is a free woman, though you wouldn’t know it from the way she has sequestered herself from London society. Now a widow and free of her sadistic husband, Craigmore, a part of Daisy is immensely relived that the old bugger is dead and she is now safe from him. But the ton still talk and Daisy has subdued her need for companionship and lustful play. Until now.

But on the night that Daisy has chosen to take her first paramour in six years, tragedy and horror strike. A beast falls upon Daisy and her nameless suitor in a dark London alley . . . and what Daisy sees, she can hardly believe. Neither man nor beast, she watches in horror as it rips and mauls and she barely escapes with her life.

Ian Ranulf, the Marquis of Northrup is out on the town. He’s running around London, trying to calm his imprisoned wolf and shake off memory of the six failed whores he could not find the will to couple with. And then he hears a scream, and smells blood mixed with Lycan. In one-hundred-and-thirty odd years, Ian has never seen or smelt anything like what he finds in that dark London alley. People eviscerated by what smells like a sick werewolf. But mixed among the rotting stench of death and sickness is a scent of sunshine, and a luckily unscathed Daisy Ellis. 

Ian knows of the Ellis family, since he recently tried his hardest to break off the marriage between Lady Miranda and her husband, Archer. But he never thought Miranda’s sister would be even more delectable than her. Unfortunately for Daisy, Ian is not the only one desperate to have her – the maddened werewolf also seems to have caught her scent, and is intent on tracking her down. 

‘Moonglow’ is the second book in Kristen Callihan’s ‘Darkest London’ historical paranormal series.

I very recently read Callihan’s first ‘Darkest London’ book ‘Firelight’ and absolutely loved it. In this new series she is reimaging 18th century London, making it far more fantastical and supernatural. In rewriting history, Callihan’s London has monsters lurking in the shadows – demons, werewolves, ghosts and all manner of things that go bump in the night. First book ‘Firelight’ introduced us to the mysterious, masked Lord Archer, and his new fire-starter bride, Miranda Ellis. In ‘Firelight’ on top of combating Archer’s many masked secrets and her own fiery capabilities, Miranda found a hurdle in Ian Ranulf. A certifiable rake, he was quick to warn Miranda of the dangers Archer posed and warned her off marrying him – with the enticement that he would make a worthier lover. Miranda did not heed his warnings and got her happy ending with Archer. But as a reader, I was utterly intrigued by rakish Ranulf and the delicious possibilities he posed. Needless to say, I was thrilled to learn that the second book in Callihan’s fantastical series concentrated on him . . . especially since we learn that his wolfish charm was no fluke. Not at all.

The action in ‘Moonglow’ kicks off right away, with a werewolf attack and Daisy barely escaping with her life. Luckily for her, Ian Ranulf was out running around London when he scented the crazed werewolf, and ran to her rescue. The moment he sees Daisy and smells sickness on the were, Ian knows he is inevitably embroiled in tracking the monster down. Ian is, it turns out, an exiled werewolf of his old Ranulf clan – a prestigious pack of werewolves who rule most of Scotland. Ian has been exiled ever since he refused to challenge his sickly Alpha father for the throne, instead letting his vindictive little brother, Connall, have leadership. And, as Ian’s investigations prove, Connall has no knowledge or even intention of doing his part to track and end the mad werewolf. So it’s left to Ian, the reluctant Alpha. 

When Daisy is saved by Ian and taken to his townhouse, she doesn’t know who he is – except her saviour. It’s not until Miranda comes to collect her that she realizes Ian is the same man who tried to break up her sister’s marriage to Archer, the same Ian who tried his best to bed her. Daisy is instantly wary, especially since she has had her fill of unkind men. Unluckily for her, the mad wolf has her in his scent, and Ian intends to keep her close and keep her safe. This is an especially uncomfortable establishment, since Daisy becomes more and more enamoured of the big, hulking Scot . . . 

I suspected Ian Ranulf would be an interesting character from his devilish stint in ‘Firelight’, but I wasn’t prepared for how much I'd enjoy him. Callihan is definitely proving herself as a writer of delicious hero’s – I loved Archer and his quiet intensity in ‘Firelight’, not to mention the delicious secrecy of what lay behind his mask. Ian is entirely different, but equally enticing. He’s a bit of a tragic hero, really – a werewolf who has already been alive for more than one-hundred years and experienced his fair share of heartbreak and loss. Initially (and as in ‘Firelight’) he’s a terrible rakehell – bedding whores (however unsuccessfully) and enjoying getting Miranda and Daisy’s ire up. But as the story unfolds, Ian’s sad history is revealed – those he loved and lost, the woman who plagues his memories and their ending that convinced him he is a monster. So Ian keeps a firm leash on his wolf – lest he become the monster he fears. In Callihan’s universe, werewolves can live forever if they reach maturity without disease or grievous injury. The wolf is always within them, but they do not turn into wolves – for doing so may lead to never turning back to man. Ian is unnaturally strong and fast, he heals otherwise deadly wounds (including being able to grow back limbs) his eyes can change to wolf and he can turn his hands to claws. But to become wolf is to lose himself, and while the creature prowls within, he keeps it buried.

Daisy was an equally complex and charming character. She suits her name; a lovely, sunshine woman who, even though she has known heartache and lived through an abusive marriage, has come out the other side with war wounds and a spine made of steel. She was a fantastic leading lady, especially for the way she handled Ian and her growing, inconvenient feelings for him. Daisy and Ian’s romance was made trickier by the remembrance of his supposed ‘feelings’ for her sister, Miranda. Daisy Ellis is very unlike her sister; she’s short and curvy where Miranda is statuesque, and Daisy has golden curls to Miranda’s flaming red locks. When these two do get together though, they rival Miranda and Archer for the intensity and heat of their romance; 

“Och now.” His callused palm cupped her cheek. “Did ye fear I'd lose my pretty face?” he said, drawing out his brogue as though he knew she liked to hear it.
“Of course.” She nudged his ribs with her fist. “What else is there to admire about you?” When he bent his head down to peer at her, she rested her forehead against his. “Certainly n-not your inane conversations.” Her fingers curled about his shoulders as he peppered her face with soft kisses. “Or your r-ridiculous jests.”
He gatherer her tightly once more and soothed her with gentle strokes as she cried. His chest was a fortress, his arms battlements. Her cheek pressed against the warmth of his pectoral muscle and she heard the steady drum of his heart.

Calliahn’s ‘Darkest London’ world grows exponentially in ‘Moonglow’, as I'd hoped it would. We learn more of the beasties who prowl London, and the organizations tasked with keeping them in check. There’s the SOS – The Society of the Suppression of Supernaturals – whose job it is to keep tabs on the supernatural’s and keep the knowledge of them from humans. And we meet a few more of the fantastical species that run rampant in Callihan’s world, like the GIM (ghosts in the machine – or, body snatchers). I loved a certain GIM we meet in ‘Moonglow’, and hope it’s not the last we read of him and this race of creature. Especially because I loved their steampunk physiology, so beautifully imagined by Callihan; 

Embedded within the centre of his chest lay a little glass window framed in gold, through which, beneath the cage of bones, blue veins, and flesh, pumped a golden heart, a miracle of clockwork gears and moving pistons.

Callihan also gives us a lengthier introduction to the Ellis sisters and their background – including eldest sister, Poppy who is married to Inspector Winston Lane. I really loved learning more about the sisters, and how they fit into this supernatural world (it’s a doozy!). But I especially loved the set-up for third book in the series, ‘Winterblaze’, which concentrates on Poppy’s story. This is going to be a very different romance and I can’t wait to read it! Callihan laid some incredibly enticing groundwork in ‘Moonglow’, and now I am counting down to book three.

I loved Kristen Callihan’s first book, ‘Firelight’. I became completely enthralled with this skewed, supernatural London and the dashingly complex characters she writes. I am beyond pleased that second book, ‘Moonglow’, continues my fascination and obsession with this new paranormal historical series – now a favourite of mine. I cannot wait for more books in this series I am so happily addicted to!


1 comment:

  1. This series sounds so awesome! Will def add it to the wishlist!

    Great review hon!

    Btw, is your address still the same? Wanna ship something out for you so it get there b4 ur bday LOL


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

| More