Author: Lisa Kessler
Release Date: July 15, 2013
ISBN #: 9781622661084
FTC Disclaimer: ARC received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Review Originally Posted at Kelly Smith Reviews
When Mrs. Kessler announced her book blog tour for Moonlight, I immediately volunteered to host an interview and do a review for the novel before its release on July 15th. Why? Because after having read and reviewed her first two vampire novels in the Night Series, I knew that her werewolf-epic would be nothing short of incredible…and I was correct. I am not a big fan of werewolves, as I love vampires, but this novel isn’t just about a wolf…it is about being human.
I opened the .PDF file immediately upon receiving it and was immediately introduced to the two main characters, the elusive and beautiful Lana, who blacks out every time there is a new moon and has no memory of the night, and Adam, the handsome and sexy horse-trainer who turns into a werewolf every time there is a full moon.
Immediately, I liked Lana, recognizing her as a tough-spirited girl unlike what used to be the “norm” for the typical female lead in a romance novel. And I am not a typical romance reader, but Adam certainly sounded as sexy as Mrs. Kessler tried to make him!
Lana was abandoned at birth and moved around as a ward of the state until she was eighteen, when she then put herself through college and became a freelance writer…the best occupation for someone on the run. When she turned eighteen is when the blackouts started, you see, and that was when she went to a hospital and had a CAT scan done on her brain. After she left the hospital (because she didn’t want to be put in a psych facility to see if she had schizophrenia), someone sent people after her–men in grey jumpsuits who all had strange lion-heads with an “N” on the foreheads tattooed on their inner wrists. It was clear that they wanted her.
She evaded them and came to Reno, where she had the fortune/misfortune of running into Adam in a diner, after he tells her he “smelled her scent from outside”. Wow…what a way to win a woman over, huh? When he tells her she is a jaguar, she laughs and doesn’t believe him. When he is about to say more, the diner doors burst open and the men in the grey suits are back for Lana again and this time there is nowhere to run.
Adam leaps (literally) to her rescue, seeing that whoever these men are, Lana does not want to go with them. Why is he protecting the very thing he wished to kill upon smelling her distinctive jaguar scent? That’s a reason he refuses to let himself think about at the moment. it is the night of the new moon, and Adam leaves Lana to her own devices but takes a photo of her in jaguar form, for proof that this strange, naive and enticing girl really does shape-shift into a jaguar on the nights of the full moon.
But learning her true identity isn’t Lana’s biggest problem. She now has the unwanted protection of a werewolf–as Adam claims himself to be–and one of his Pack members, Gabe, is left dead practically at their feet, killed by another jaguar. She now has to find out who she is and quick: the Nero Organization is still looking for her, and now one of her own kind is out killing members of Adam’s Pack…and she doesn’t want to see Adam hurt.
Adam has his own problems without having to deal with jaguar assassins, too. His father, Pack Alpha Malcolm, is pressuring him to find his mate so that he can one day lead the Pack, as is his rightful duty as Malcolm’s first-born son. But what can Dam do when he finds his mate in Lana–a jaguar, the werewolves’ longest and most ruthless enemies?
Trying to work out the age-old feud of cat and dog, Adam and Lana must escape persecution from Nero and the Pack, all while keeping Lana safe, trying to find her birth parents and avoiding Sebastian–the sexy jaguar who is originally assigned to capture Lana but becomes much more than an assassin.
What I really liked about this novel was the underlying theme of bigotry and stereotyping. The Pack thinks all jaguars are evil killers, so Adam can’t bring his mate home to meet them. The jaguars think all wolves are weak creatures therefore they are worth nothing but contempt. It takes the reader to new thought levels, about the racial issues of the 60’s (when it was illegal for an African-American to marry a Caucasian) and the LGBTQA issues that are happening right now in America.
As for the romance, it was a bit steamier than Mrs. Kessler’s previous novels but it was not the dominating factor in the story. In fact, neither was the theme of the hunt for Lana. The true emotion that this story focused on was not lust or fear, but love. It was about loving your mate, loving your family and loving yourself and learning to accept yourself as you are, because when you do, others will start to accept you, too.
The characters were amazingly well-written, from the leads to the supporting, everyone from the assassins to the members of Adam’s Pack were well-rounded, fully-developed people. You felt like they were real as you read about each of them in turn. Read this novel as soon as it is released, because I can guarantee you you will be taken on a page-turning ride of your life into Mrs. Kessler’s mind.