For What It's Worth

Monday, April 23, 2012

Review: Kindling the Moon (Arcadia Bell, #1) by Jenn Bennett

Being the spawn of two infamous occultists (and alleged murderers) isn’t easy, but freewheeling magician Arcadia “Cady” Bell knows how to make the best of a crummy situation. After hiding out for seven years, she’s carved an incognito niche for herself slinging drinks at the demon-friendly Tambuku Tiki Lounge.

But she receives an ultimatum when unexpected surveillance footage of her notorious parents surfaces: either prove their innocence or surrender herself. Unfortunately, the only witness to the crimes was an elusive Æthyric demon, and Cady has no idea how to find it. She teams up with Lon Butler, an enigmatic demonologist with a special talent for sexual spells and an arcane library of priceless stolen grimoires. Their research soon escalates into a storm of conflict involving missing police evidence, the decadent Hellfire Club, a ruthless bounty hunter, and a powerful occult society that operates way outside the law. If Cady can’t clear her family name soon, she’ll be forced to sacrifice her own life . . . and no amount of running will save her this time. goodreads

It's pretty difficult to blow me away with something original in the UF genre these days but Kindling the Moon did just that. If you're looking for a fresh spin on urban fantasy then look no further.

Arcadia (Cady) Bell, a powerful self taught magician, has been in hiding for the past 7 years under an alias after her parents were accused of three gruesome murders that made headlines because of their ties to the occult. They faked their deaths and separated from Cady for her own protection. Cady now co-owns/bartends at Tambuku Tiki Lounge; a bar that caters to Earthbound demons. Cady has honed her magic and is able to create binding spells to break up fights between the customers. She's carved out a pretty good life but it's lonely since she can't reveal her true identity or form any attachments for fear of endangering herself & her parents.

Once the media discovers that Cady's parents are alive . A magical order called the Luxe demands Cady's help in finding them for retribution for the murders. If they are not delivered within two weeks Cady must take the punishment in their place.

Cady is put in touch with Earthbound demonologist Lon Butler to find the one rare demon that may be able to prove her parents  innocence.

I admit I don't usually enjoy books with magic. It actually took me a little while to even understand those elements in Kindling the Moon but once I stopped trying so hard to remember each type of sigil/spell and demon and just went with the flow everything came together and made sense.

While this series contains all the usual elements of urban fantasy; demons, Imps, binding spells, as well as tossing in loads of cool pop culture references and pygmy hedgehogs (I may be a tad obsessed with Mr. Piggy) Jenn Bennett does something special and gives us the most relatable characters that I've read in a very long time. And a mature, adult relationship. Hallelujah!

Cady is the perfect UF protagonist but unlike most from the genre. She's smart, tough yet vulnerable and willing to ask for help. Hallelujah x's 2! I want to be her friend. I want to hang out with her. I will pet sit Mr. Piggy for her while she's banishing imp's. And just maybe I will try to steal Lon from her…….

Lon - The "enigmatic demonologist" Swoon…….Now this is my kind of guy. He's got the brooding, wounded, slightly snarky vibe (did I mention he looks like a sexy pirate? or that's he's an empath so he can sense just how to please you? ). Lon's also a little older than your typical hero. He's in his 40's so I don't feel so pervy liking him, lol. He's a dad to a 13 year old hyperactive teenager (oh no!! a kid?? In my gritty UF!!!  Don't roll your eyes - I'll get to Jupe in a minute)  and he takes that very seriously. He doesn't just welcome any woman to his bed or into his life.. His first priority is his son. Call me an old fuddy duddy but these days I like my guys hot but responsible. Lon is both.

Cady and Lon have incredible chemistry but the nice thing about them is that because there is a kid involved they have to proceed with caution. Lon has been burned by his ex-wife and Cady hasn't let anyone close to her since her parents. There is enough sexual tension between the two to steam up the pages rather than a constant state of lust and sexually explicit scenes. This is one of the best relationships I've read in a loooooong time.

On to the kid….Jupe. I hate reading about kids in books. They ruin everything!! Damn whiny kids. BUT Jupe! This kid is awesomesauce with a cherry on top! He's a smart ass and unbelievably pure of heart. Where Lon is all brooding and reserved for fear of being hurt or in protection of his family - Jupe wears his heart on his sleeve. He forces the plot forward by saying things only a kid would say out loud and it was so refreshing rather than having everyone dancing around and misunderstanding each other for three books.

Add in a fast paced, downright creepy, twisty plot and you've got yourself one promising series on your hands.

As soon as I finished reading this book I went to Jenn Bennett’s website to see what other books she had out so I could go on a shopping spree and I was stunned to find that this was her first book. The writing is just too amazing for that to be possible! This series makes it to the keeper shelf.

Rating: 4 out of 4 Excellent fun filled, gritty debut but what really stood out to me were the characters and the relationship dynamics. I don't think I've ever fallen in love with so many characters of a book so soon in a series. As soon as I put the book down I was bereft and dying for book 2.

Author website | twitter | Pinterest (cool character/places inspiration drawings and photos from the series)
Publisher: Pocket
Source: Bought
Buy the book! Kindling the Moon: An Arcadia Bell Novel

Book trailer for Summoning the Night (Arcadia Bell book #2)

Source: via Jenn on Pinterest

And for something a little extra check out Cemetery Cat designs for Cady’s Moonchild Necklace. This is actually how I found out about the book – after buying the necklace. You should check out Cemetery Cat designs if you’re a fan of  PNR/UF. She has several collections from all the popular series – BDB. VA and more….


  1. I am sad, i liked it, I just didn't like it as much as I had hoped.

  2. I'm glad to see that you liked this one so much, Karen. I just received the second book in the mail for review. It sounds like I will like it more than I like other pnr :)

    1. I hope you have the first book. You'll miss a lot of set up. Let me know what you think of it when you're done.

    2. I don't have the first book, the second book was a surprise review book. I think I'll try it though, just because it sounds different.

    3. You should really read book #1 first. you'll miss out on a lot of the relationship and background. Let me know if you would like to borrow. Tiger's got it now.

  3. So this was the famed battered book courtesy of your dog. ;) Reading the synopsis, it sounds like something I've never read before. But reading your review, oh wow, this book has just made it to my TBR and wishlist. I also do love characters that are relatable and responsible. Great review!

    1. Yes this is the infamous book that has been de-post-it noted and nibbled lol

  4. Uhhh, I know I /said/ I didn't want to borrow this one, but...I kinda want to borrow this one. The non-annoying kid was what did it for me. Ilona's the only other UF author I've ever seen who wrote a kid in a way that didn't make me want to flee.

    But it sounds like your puppy got to this one first. :-D

  5. Love the witty review Karen. Adding this one to my TBR. There's no doubt that if you loved it, then I will too!!

  6. Wow Karen. If this one blew you away, then it's definitely getting a spot on my to-read list. Can't wait!

  7. Oh you *so* talked me into this. I hope I get blown away too. GREAT review.

  8. Okay, you sold me! I am always on the lookout for good UF and if it impressed you, it's got to be fun. Besides, I have to know more about these *whispers* sexual spells!

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

    1. Other than Carolyn Crane's Mind Games trilogy I haven't liked too many UF's as of late. There is one particularly steamy "sexual spell" lol

  9. I don't read many books with magic either. (I'm just now reading Harry Potter!!) Though this sounds like a series I could get into - it's all about the characters!

    - Jessica @ Book Sake

  10. I am always on the lookout for great UF. Just based on the synopsis, I probably wouldn't be particularly drawn to AB. But your review sold me on it. You have excellent book taste. I've already added this to my tragic TBR-list!

  11. Magic is not my favorite thing to read about but I think she keeps it fresh. It's the relationships though (the fact that there even is one) that makes me love it so much.