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Monday, February 7, 2011

Off the Path Review: Moonlight Bleu + GIVEAWAY!

Moonlight Bleu
Moonlight BleuTitle: Moonlight Bleu
Author: Renee Rearden
Page Count: 304 pages (.pdf format)
Publisher: Crescent Moon Press
Copy for review provided by the author in anticipation of an honest review

50 words or less: At 500 years young, Saari Mitchell has a lot on her mind. Being cursed with immortality.  Long shifts at the hospital. Being the fated mate to two different Tueri men. Escaping a serial killer. You know how it goes.

If I had to pick one word to describe Moonlight Bleu, it would have to be ambitious.  Right from the start, the stage is set for a really engaging story with an easy-to-relate-to heroine, a great supporting cast, a pair of eminently likable heroes, and a villain who puts the "eep" in creepy.  All in all it adds up to a very fun way to spend an afternoon.

Saari Mitchell has a lot going on.  She was cursed with immortality in the same scary magical ceremony in which her lover, Miko, was murdered 500 years ago, and has been trying to make the best of things ever since.  She has a job completely devoted to helping people and a pair of best friends (one a cupid, the other a vampire) who not only know about her curse, but love her anyway and keep her secret.  She figures life is about as good as it's going to get, and that her chances of ever finding true love, or even something resembling it, died with Miko. 

Saari is just as surprised as anyone else, then, when she meets Dhelis Guidry while fighting off a rogue vampire and the sparks fly, literally.  Saari isn't sure what to make of their strange connection and is even more baffled to find out that instead of being a proverbial island, she's actually Tueri, a race of paranormally gifted beings with a rich history and a fairly strong, if hidden, presence in the contemporary world.

The surprises for Saari don't end there, as when Dhelis takes her to a Tueri healer, Brogan Vincent, after she's brutally injured by the rogue vampire (it's actually worse than that- the vamp killed her, but Dhelis doesn't know that) and they all find out together that Brogan is Saari's mate as well.

I know what you're thinking, and I'll stop you right now- this isn't a menage romance, at least not yet.  These three share a kiss at the end of the book and that's it for romantic content, which I have to admit is unusual in books billed as paranormal romance.  One of my favorite things about the "romance" in this book, and the quotes are there for a reason, is that it's in its infancy.  These people just met and are thrown together into a powerful bond, and they all want to make sure that what they feel is real, Saari especially, since eventually she's going to have to reveal her whammy of a secret, that being that she's never going to die and they eventually will.  These three are still in the first date stammering and blushing phase of the relationship and are trying to wrap their minds around their unusual circumstances.

The story line involving the Full Moon Killer is interesting, especially because we know who the killer is and what his motivations are from the get go.  That dovetails into a further expansion and exploration of the supernatural world that serves as the setting for the story, and introduces some side characters that I'm hoping make appearances in future books as well.

If I had to make a criticism of this book, it would be that I wasn't entirely sure a) why Saari is still so hung up over Miko's death after five hundred years, and b) why it's so imperative that she keep her immortality a secret from the rest of the supernatural world.  I totally understand why she wouldn't want regular human folks to know, as the temptation to spirit her away to a secure location would be too much for most to resist, but we're talking about a secret community of vampires, werewolves, lunates (which are not the same as werewolves), psychic beings, and more who have just as much to lose from exposure as she does.  I guess I feel like the supernatural community at least would be more tolerant of her situation than she thinks.

With regards to Miko, maybe that's a facet of Saari's story that will get further probing in future books, especially now that not one, but two soul mates have appeared on the scene.  One would think that five hundred years of existence would have dulled the pain somewhat.  I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Besides that, though, this was a really entertaining and detailed book that definitely left me wanting to know what happens next for the characters involved.  If you're looking for an adventurous urban fantasy with a dash of romance but nothing sexually explicit, look no further than this.

Overall Grade: A

This may be a revisited review, but there's a brand new twist, as in celebration of this week's Off the Path feature, the author is offering the winner's choice of either a print or ebook copy of Moonlight Bleu! To enter, simply leave a comment on this post. Easy peasy! The giveaway ends this Friday, February 11th, at 11:59 pm, so enter away!
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