Title: Hunter’s Moon (Insolita Luna #2)
Author: M.J. O’Shea
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: Contemporary Paranormal Romance
Length: Novel (623 pages/88,616 words)
Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5
A Guest Review by Aunt Lynn
One Sentence Review: xxxxxx
This review contains what could be considered spoilers
Miles craves adventure but he’s started to believe that perhaps it isn’t in his stars—until a late night encounter makes him wonder if the creatures he creates in his stories could possibly be real.
PC is a wolf. A lycan since birth, he’s spent the first twenty-four years of his life trying to be the exact opposite of what everyone expects of him. He hunts supernatural troublemakers, hangs out with vampires, and refuses to settle down—no matter how much everyone else might want him to. One confusing night, his body responds, turning into his wolf form and hurling him into the darkness to save a stranger.
Pulled together by a physical force stronger than either can resist, PC and Miles must learn to live with each other because separation, even for just minutes, means unendurable pain. Miles finds himself falling for the unpredictable lycan, his strange friends, and their nightly adventures but his reluctant lover is determined to find a way to break the bond between them.
Together, they are drawn into a mystery full of werewolves, lycans, bad vampires and a growing pile of dead humans. Finding the truth at the bottom of it might just be the hunt of PC’s life—especially if he wants to keep Miles alive.
Insolita Luna Series
This was a hard review for me to write because, while I generally liked the book, I had some problems with it, problems maybe others will not have. More on this later. Hunter’s Moon is the sequel, of sorts, to this author’s Blood Moon (reviewed by me here), which I enjoyed even though creature features normally aren’t my thing. This second book is PC’s (a secondary character from BM) story and features the protags Zack and Noah as strong secondary characters. Though it is book two, one can read it as a standalone, but I would recommend going back and reading BM .
Set about a year after the end of BM, the story opens with us meeting Miles, our first-person narrator, a shy, quiet senior at NYU studying to be a writer. He is discontent with his life, restless, bored and tired. Originally from San Diego, Miles has always been drawn to New York City, and now that he’s there, he’s disappointed in just about everything about it. He thought it would be excitement and adventure, but he’s gotten none of that in the three months he’s been in town. His escapes are the fantasy fiction he writes and the part-time job he has at a small, but popular indie bookstore with coffee to die for. One night after staying too late at the shop, Miles gets mugged, but ultimately saved by a giant wolf who he feels inexplicably drawn to. Soon he is obsessing about the wolf with the golden eyes, and when a teen comes into the store with the same eyes, Miles can’t help but kiss him. Now it’s no longer obsession, but he is sick and in the worst pain of his life. Could Zack, one of his TAs, have the answer? When he finds out that this wolf/boy PC is a emotionally-unpredictable lycan, that they have way more than just attraction, that PC’s friends aren’t what they seem, that his life is about to change forever, and that there appears to be the beginnings of paranormal war happening, can he handle it all?
What I liked:
I adored beta Miles, and loved the first chapter where we meet him. His own description of his feelings and situation are great, and I felt like I knew him intimately by the end of that chapter. He is so sweet, that Miles, and I felt really bad for him as we go further into the story and he gets emotionally tossed around by PC. I thought he handled everything as well as could be expected, a real trooper.
PC, on the other hand, I had mixed feelings about. His ever-changing emotions had me on edge as much as Miles, and I often felt he was making the situation worse with little to no explanation. Resistant and reluctant, I found this second beta a bit difficult to like and wanted to slap him often, especially during the first part of the book. I warmed up to him as the story went on, though, as he finally was able to come to terms with the happenings in the book.
The secondary cast is wonderful. Not only are Zack and Noah back (and they play a pretty big role here), but the group of mixed friends/family that we met in book one is perfect. Vamps, lycans, witches and humans all looking out for each other and caring for and teasing one another. The inclusion of Miles’ new friend Lisa was a great choice. Also, the bookstore had character of its own, and I could visualize it easily as I read through the book.
The first thing that bothered me — and this may not bother anyone else — is that the format of the book is odd. What I mean by that is the PDF pages are smaller in dimension than in previous books by this author and publisher, the margins are wider, the font seems larger and more widely spaced, and as a result, an 88k word book takes up 623 pages. If you look at this book and “OMG, it’s over 600 pages!” fear not. If it was formatted as the other books, it would be half or more smaller than it is. I felt like the entire time I read it, I was pressing the “next page” button on my reader. For some reason that I can’t really explain other than it just wasn’t relaxing, this bothered me. I showed it to my partner and she said “So?” so perhaps it truly is just me.
Next, it is no secret that I am a big fan of this author. I think, as a relative newbie in published works, her writing has a level of sophistication and technical skill that you usually don’t see. I have to admit, though, that when I read through Hunter’s Moon the first time, I was a bit surprised — and not in a good way. In fact, I almost disliked it for a number of reasons, but a second read-through worked some of the kinks out for me and in the end, I decided that, while I had some issues and I liked Blood Moon better, it was okay. But even now I feel that O’Shea’s writing style was slightly off here, and I am not even sure I can explain that fully. As I read it that first time, I wondered if maybe she wrote this one first, making this offering just slightly less mature than the other books by her that I’ve read. Now, so far any book by her is still better written than many others that I’ve encountered in the genre, but like I said, it felt just a bit…off. Related to this — and maybe even contributing to it — I found an editing error in the very first sentence of the very first chapter that had me on edge for the rest of the book. It seemed very unlike her, based on her other books, and it threw me off. I proceeded to find several other errors that should have been, in my opinion, caught during editing and proofing.
Without including spoilers, I felt that the surprise that is in store for Miles — and us — about two-thirds of the way through the book was not necessarily a good one. I had almost eagerly awaited the thing he and PC were waiting for, to see and experience it through his eyes, and instead I felt thrown into something different, and something we’ve already seen and experienced.
Lastly, I wondered about Miles’ mother; there are several mentions of telling her about everything, but it happened off-screen. We are told about part of it after the fact, and I am guessing at the end she knows the full story, but I felt a bit cheated out of seeing that happen.
Despite my issues, I think fans of the author and of Blood Moon should pick this one up as well.