Nicole was born and raised in California. She claims to be a San Francisco native; however, she’s lived in both Northern and Southern California. She credits her creativity to the fact that she attended 12 schools between kindergarten and her senior year in high school. Her nomadic childhood allowed her to reinvent herself often. Some might say she was a liar. While others see the stories she told as a coping mechanism. Twelve schools, in six cities, in twelve years – give her a break. Today she channels her storytelling ability into writing novels. Long story short – kids that lie become writers.
The Lunam Ceremony blog tour started last May 23rd and will finish its run on the 27th. This is being hosted by the lovely Giselle from Xpresso Book Tours. For more information regarding the other tour stops, visit the website!
Also, there’s a tour-wide giveaway wherein a $15 Amazon Gift Card is up for grabs. The giveaway is open internationally. Here’s the link:
Born from a curse that allows her kind to shift from human to wolf, Kalysia won the genetic lottery. She is the offspring of an original, born to lead and bound by her duty to produce an heir to continue their bloodline she must leave the only life she has ever known to take part in The Lunam Ceremony. This ancient ritual will solidify her place in the pack and determine who she will love for the rest of her life. There’s just one problem – Kalysia doesn’t believe in love.
That changes when she falls into the hands of Dillan Dukes. The attraction is undeniable. The connection unbreakable. He is everything love at first sight is supposed to be, suddenly her future doesn’t look that bad.
Unwilling to give up hope on going to college and having the life her and Dillan fantasize about outside the pack, she reluctantly takes on the role as pack leader. When an unexpected proposal is made that will grant both Dillan and Kalysia their freedom she is willing to put her ego, and her heart aside, to make her dream come true.
One act of selflessness.
For the life she’s always dreamt about.
Only things are not what they seem.
Can Kalysia and Dillan find happily ever after with the consequences of that night haunting them forever?
Will one fateful night destroy Kalysia’s future along with the future of the pack?
Title: The Lunam Ceremony
Author: Nicole Loufas
Genre: New Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Before anything else, as a host of this tour, I received a digital ARC of this book. However, this neither affects my opinion nor the content of my review in any way.
I have never really been interested in werewolf lore. I didn’t watch any series or movie about it. In fact, if I recall correctly, the only books I’ve read that involved werewolves are Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight saga and the first two books of Maggie Stiefvater’s The Wolves of Mercy Fall series – Shiver and Linger, respectively. Wait, I just remembered that I didn’t actually finish Linger. Oops. Okay, so here’s the thing about Twilight and Shiver: I hated both books – the overwhelming, consuming, eternal kind of hate. I guess that’s why I never felt motivated to pick up another wolf-related book after reading those two train wrecks. With that said, I was pretty hesitant to pick this one up.
However, the premise is pretty interesting and the book cover is extremely pretty, so I just had to.
I held very low expectations for this book. Just by the synopsis alone, I could already tell that romance would be the driving force of this story rather than the actual conflict of the pack. And that isn’t something I typically enjoy. Fantasy/Paranormal/Sci-fi stories that are way too romance-driven, I mean. Despite this, the book turned out to be a better read than I anticipated.
However, before I get to that, I just really need to get this out of my chest: Kalysia is a stupid heroine, and I dislike her. Not hate, just greatly dislike (because she did have her redeeming moments). For one thing, her internal monologues are kind of whiny, which became slightly annoying since most of the time the reason for her whining was caused by her own choices. Given the circumstances though, I can’t fully blame her for being that way so I learned to tolerate her bratty, whiny voice. Another thing I didn’t like was how indecisive (and at times, annoyingly impulsive) she was – definitely not the makings of a pack leader. However, since she was raised outside of the pack and therefore was still in the process of learning their culture, functions and traditions, I was able to find it in my heart to forgive her. I mean it wasn’t her fault she knew little to nothing. She can’t fully be blamed for her incompetence. So what’s my actual problem with Kalysia, you ask? She couldn’t see how bloody selfish she was being. She agreed to what could possibly be considered as the dumbest deal ever, but that isn’t my primary concern. I mean, yeah, okay, if she wanted her and Dillan’s freedom that badly then by all means, go for it. But don’t ever brand it as an “act of selflessness” because it sure as hell isn’t.
Okay, so moving on, let’s talk about the things I did like about this book.
Kalysia’s character during the first 1/3 of the book: Yes, yes. While ultimately, I dislike her character, I actually liked her in the beginning. I mean, she had so much promise! She was quite entertaining to read about, and despite her cluelessness, she displayed a certain kind of finesse and strength. Oh and she totally slayed (not an actual word, I know) in some of the earlier chapters of the book. I particularly admired how she wasn’t afraid to tell Dillan where to shove it!
“What does arm wrestling have to do with the bloodlines?”
“Nothing I guess. Conall was trying to prove that half-breeds are just as strong as purebloods, and he was right. Only the boy debunked his theory in another way. If that boy were strong, in heart and mind, he wouldn’t have let me win.”
“You’re wrong, he was strong in heart and that’s why he let you win,” I tell him.
“So you’re saying I have a weak heart?”
Jesus, he was so temperamental. “No, I’m saying he had a strong heart, too. Sacrificing your happiness for someone you barely know, that takes courage and strength. Let me ask you something? How did Monte and Lowell treat that kid after he lost?”
Dillan reflects for a moment then says, “Not very nice.”
“Imagine what would have happened if you lost?” Dillan flinches at the thought. “It takes a strong person to lose with dignity.”
“See, this is why I love you. You can twist something like losing into a good thing!” Dillan grabs my hand and brings it to his lips.
Kalysia’s mother, Layla: Seriously, she is such a hero in my eyes, especially when she was forced to put up with her own bratty, self-entitled child. Layla was perfect in acting as both a friend and a mother. I really liked how she didn’t take anyone’s bullshit and liked to make the most out of whatever situation they were in. Basically, Kalysia was able to describe her mother perfectly in the following passage:
My mother is overbearing at times, but she is also the most selfless person I know. I assume all mothers are to a certain degree. It comes with the title. You’re a mom; you give up your life, your dreams, your body, to give life to another human. I may be destined to produce an heir to my bloodline, but I am in no way ready to give up on my happiness or dreams for that to happen.
Also, Layla is the queen of slay-age (also not a word, I know). I can’t properly articulate how on point her character is. I just can’t.
“I don’t understand what is going on with you, Kalysia. You orchestrated all of this, and now that it’s come to fruition, you can’t handle it.”
You go, Layla!
Jase: I won’t deny it. He’s pretty cute. And he sounds a lot like me.
“Yeah. I do casual. On very rare occasions I’ll do complex. But never complicated. Complicated always turns into messy. And there is no way I’m doing messy again,” Jase starts to walk away, and even though he’s rejecting me, it puts a smile on my face.
Same, Jase, same.
The werewolf mythology: I really, really, really loved how the author constructed the pack’s history. I am not well-versed in this sort of thing, but I really liked how the goddess Gaia was integrated into the story. It was amazing how the werewolf ancestry was immersed with politics, tradition and business. It all felt incredibly modern and realistic to me. I can’t really articulate my thoughts and feelings about it. Just know that I was swept away and astounded by the brilliance.
Lunam is like a quinceanera, a bar mitzvah, and spring break all rolled into one night. The girls become women, the boys become men, everyone gets laid, and nobody remembers a goddamned thing.
The importance of maintaining the bloodlines: I genuinely wondered how the author was going to pull off such a romance-driven story under the Paranormal genre. But I’ll be damned, she basically nailed it. Seriously, the way she crafted the werewolf lore and emphasized on the hierarchy of position and power based on the purity of bloodlines was fantastic. Relationships and ties were used as a form of gaining more power. It was tragic. It was awful. It was brilliant. It made sense why everyone was making a big deal out of soulmates and getting matched and having children and whatnot. I enjoyed it. Additionally, I liked how the “insta-love” element to Dillan and Kalysia’s relationship was handled.
A voice in my head is chanting. Go. Go. Only I don’t know which direction it wants me to move on. I start to turn around when I feel his hand grip mine.
“We’ll do it together,” Dillan says. We lock eyes, and he gently pulls me forward. We stand at the edge of the canopy. Our past behind us, our future before us, hand in hand. We’ll do it together. His words echo in my head. He is the one. He will be my partner. We’ll do it together.
Feminism and gender equality: The inner feminist in me is squealing, yep. Exhibit A:
A woman’s worth should have nothing to do with her ability to breed.
That ending: Totally did not expect that turn out. Total cliffhanger. But I loved it.
In summary: My main problem was definitely the heroine, Kalysia. I’m hoping that she greatly improves in the next installment. I have mixed feelings regarding Dillan as well. Sometimes, he’s kind of an ass. Sometimes, he’s really sweet. Other than these two characters, I greatly enjoyed The Lunam Ceremony. This book both frustrated and amused me. Either way, it is definitely worth reading.
Excerpt from the book:
“Ok,” I say. Then, remember something I’ve been dying to know but was too embarrassed to ask my mom. “Can I just ask one more question.”
She smiles at me and locks the door. “Just one.”
“So, after I phase, let’s say I find my mate. What happens next?”
“Nature takes over.” Tandy has a sly smile.
“We have sex, on the first date?” I feel vomit creep into my throat, and it has nothing to do with the beer.
“Like you said, we’re all sluts.”
I’m honestly not satisfied with the way I constructed this review. I haven’t reviewed a book in what feels like forever so I guess I’m pretty rusty(???). Still, thank you so much to Giselle and Xpresso Book Tours for this opportunity!