Title: Blood Moon (Insolita Luna #1)
Author: M.J. O’Shea
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: Contemporary Paranormal Romance
Length: Novel (173 pages)
Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5
A Guest Review by Aunt Lynn
One Sentence Review: A lovely little tale of love between two best friends, one who happens to be a vamp.
There’s something different about Noah…
Zack Parker met his best friend Noah at his lake cabin when they were only five years old. He realized he felt more than friendship for him by the time they were in junior high school. One fateful night when they were eighteen Zack couldn’t take it anymore. Fueled by love and lust and need, he finally kissed Noah like he’d wanted to for years…and Noah kissed him back, returning every drop of Zack’s passion.
The next morning, Noah ended their friendship for what Zack believed was forever.
Now twenty-one, Zack resents being dragged by his guilt-tripping mother every summer back to the lake cabin where every leaf and rock and turn in the road reminds him of Noah and the love he felt for him three long years before. He hates being reminded of what he lost and more than anything he wants his best friend back.
But this year things are different.
Noah has returned, apologetic and more gorgeous than ever. Amazingly, he seems to want Zack as much as Zack wants him. He’s sweet and attentive, sexy enough to make Zack’s thighs quiver, but there’s something not quite right…
What secret is Noah hiding?
Insolita Luna Series
Blood Moon is the second book of three by this author that I’ve read, and it was another one I liked very much. If you know me from this site, my reading tastes do not usually cover creature features, but there is something about O’Shea’s writing style that had me picking up this vamp tale on the heels of Unintended (reviewed here). What I found was a sweet tale of love with some suspense and danger thrown in along with the blood sucking.
The story opens with Zack, our first-person narrator, traveling with his family to their annual summer vacation spot at the lake. He so doesn’t want to go, but even at twenty-one and a senior in college, he can’t say no to his mother. He has come to despise the trip after his best friend Noah turned his back on him three years ago. Noah’s family lives at the lake year-round, and he and Zack have spent every summer together since they were both five. As they entered into their teenage years, Zack knew he had feelings beyond friendship for the other boy, but held back for fear of making a mess of a good thing. One fateful night, Zack kissed Noah and was surprised that Noah kissed him back, but the next day Noah said goodbye with no explanation. Zack has spent the last three years trying to get over Noah, but there is no use. Now he is back at the lake and miserable because all he can do is think about Noah. Several days into the trip, he is shocked to find Noah waiting for him at “their” dock in the middle of the night. Noah finally tells Zack the truth about why he ended their friendship — and that he had been turned into a vampire — and from then on everything changes. From the lake to New York City to England, the two take on the task of trying to find Noah’s parents’ murderers, performing a rescue mission and finding a way they can be together always.
Like I said, creature features generally aren’t my cup of tea, and I doubt I’ll be gobbling up every vamp and were-whatever and shifter book that comes along now, but I thought this one was just fine. I didn’t know what to expect, and perhaps I am just ignorant of the sub-genre, but this felt kinda Vamp-Lite to me. It was very much a contemporary romance in style with her other books between two sweet young men, one of whom happens to be a nice, blood-sucking immortal. Yes, there is a strong vamp element to the book, but in some ways it was a secondary part of the plot to the romance.
I was engrossed and loved watching the protags reunite after three years apart. (Note: to this end, I see a trend in the three O’Shea books I’ve read, where the heroes must spend some part of the story miserably apart). I thought the first-person narration worked well as we are able to clearly get a picture of Noah from his words and actions, making both characters three-dimensional. I don’t know if it is common or not, but one of the things I really liked was that Zack and Noah are the same age, which may or may not be the case in other vamp stories where the vamp is hundreds of years old. This made their relationship seem more real to me somehow.
The secondary characters are also fully-fleshed, with both the humans and non-humans alike coming off the page for me. I loved the description of the apartment of Noah’s friend, PC, as “a permanent summer camp for the paranormally gifted.”
Without giving anything away, I thought the progression of the story and the ending worked well for me. And as a vamp virgin, I felt I learned along with Zack about the vamp community and what it is like to be one as Noah made explanations and Zach spent time with Noah.
The only quibble I had was that I thought there may have been a touch too much smexxin for the story. Some of it definitely moved the plot along, but there are scenes that I thought took it just over the line. Oh, and I found some small formatting issues that didn’t detract from my enjoyment, but were there nonetheless.
If you’re a fan of paranormals, then you should pick up this story from an author I’m growing to love.