Kindling the Moon (Arcadia Bell #1) by Jenn Bennett
New authors have it tough and that's the plain hard fact, not only do they have to bring something fresh and new to the table, but in a growing genre like UF, you gotta bring in your top gun and Jenn Bennett brings it ten-fold with flags waving and gun blazing with Kindling the Moon. I was happily surprised in how much I loved and enjoyed this book, the pace and story were very easy to follow along with a great world building and most of all LON! RAWR! In UF you want the perfect balance in your lead, someone "not" perfect, but can kick-ass when the time comes and someone to relate to on some level, while holding and pushing the story along- Arcadia "Cady" Bell is that perfect blend. On the run and in hiding Cady has been living in hiding when her parents were accused of murder. A bar owner/bartender of a Tiki Bar that cater to the Earthbound -demons whom are part human and demon- Cady has been enjoying her life, but still worries about her parents as she herself learns to grow stronger as a mage/magician. When word comes that her parents are in more danger then before and it's up to Cady to save them and find the true killer before Cady stands in for the crime! Cady's not perfect know it all, but she knows her magic and learns and plans ahead- but not without side effects. This was another big bonus I loved about the book, and Cady, that magic isn't used without causing some big or small side effect. When Cady needs leads and help she turns to a Earthbound Father Callow who refers her to a strong Earthbound - Lon Butler. Lon (be still my beating heart! *swoon) comes across as one expressionless cool guy whom has a hard time talking and comes across a tad closed off, but with great humor when he opens up (but a guy described as a pirate! no-less *swoons again*) whom seems to have alot of knowledge and becomes a partner of for Cady as they try to figure out whom the killer is. There is a big age gap between Cady and Lon (May-December, 25-42) The author pulled it off so smoothly that even the age gap while comes up between the characters, like them it's like no big deal (also perhaps after reading about Vampires and Werewolves that have even greater age gaps between years of the leads- this is small beans)when a something that could have turned into one of those big-mis I hate in books, Lon just shines bright a lot in my eyes when he takes the blame where it belongs and apologizes and again when Lon mentions a "Connection of maybe more" when Cady and him first meet (and freely admits of wanting to get into her pants) it came more across as attraction as they first grow into the relationship then just jumping into bed with one another. And let's not forget to mention Jupe - Lon's hyper, fun, young teenager son, whom you just want to gobble up. Where Lon is cool and calm like a river. Jupe is like a fun whirlwind! The story has an nice breezy feeling, with some big action pieces and a nice romance sub-plot that doesn't hinder the story but gives the characters a chance to grow and trust in one another as they gather bits of the puzzle. The world has lots of room to grow and learning about the mages and the types of Earthbounds and the effects of Cady's own hidden powers. There is some big twists and turns that if your paying attention can figure out pretty much wants going on, but still came off somewhat surprising in the end. There's alot of room for this series to grow (and more Lon to love) that this book quickly became a keeper for me and a Jenn Bennett became a new author I'll be on the look-out for!