Monday, 15 April 2013

Blog Tour: By the Light of the Moon (Review + Author Interview + Giveaway)

By the Light of the Moon (Lakeside #1)
Title: By the Light of the Moon (Lakeside #1)
Author: Laila Blake
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon US/UK | iTunes

Synopsis: Withdrawn and with a reputation for her strange, eccentric ways, young Lady Moira Rochmond is old to be unwed. Rumors say she has been seen barefoot in the orchard, is awake all night in moon-struck rambles, and sleeps all day. Some even claim her ghostly pallor and aloof manner are signs of illness, a curse, or insanity.

The hopes of the peaceful succession to her father’s fief lie in an advantageous marriage. Moira, however, has a hard time attracting suitors. When one does show interest, her family pushes for a decision.

Almost resigned to the fact that she has no choice but to play the part she has been given in life, Moira is faced with Owain, a member of the mysterious Blaidyn creatures and a new guard in her father’s castle, specifically tasked to keep her safe. He is different from other people she knows and when one night under the full moon she makes the acquaintance of the wolf who shares Owain’s soul, she starts to trust him and seek his presence. As he becomes one of the few individuals who doesn’t make her want to hide and retreat, she wants to learn more about him and they grow closer until they share a kiss one night under the moon.

Faced with feelings and desires that overthrow everything she thought she knew about herself, Moira knows non-the-less that they have to be kept utterly secret. However much they try, they continue to be drawn to each other until one night, Owain discovers something about Moira that shakes him to his core.

Book Trailer

Prologue Reading


There’s a reason why I don’t usually review historical romance. I usually find it hard to adjust in the setting. I am not familiar with the archaic words used and I find it hard to imagine the scene itself. All I can see in my mind are fluffy dresses and laces. 

It wasn’t different while I was reading this book. I had a lot of questions and comments. I didn’t understand a lot of things. It might have helped if the author explained the strange characters when they were first mentioned. One of my questions was about Blaidyns. They were already mentioned as early as prologue but it wasn’t explained until this character named Brock had a lecture session with the lead character, Moira. 

I was also very slow in understanding the connections between the characters. I was caught between guessing and just waiting for an explanation to come. I felt lost. It wasn’t the kind of lost you’d usually feel when you feel like the author is making you think about something that is will be proven wrong, which is kind of exciting. It’s the different kind of being in the dark and I don’t like it at all. It simply meant that I didn’t understand what the hell I was reading. 

I also can’t find the significance of the Fae named Niamh and her Halla, Devali. That’s it? Devali was sent to find Maeve and tell her about what her mother thought about her? I expected more sinister motives behind this but it felt short. 

I was also lost with the Fae world until Brock explained it. Unfortunately, it also felt short. I wish it was more elaborated and given more background than just the history. 

What I liked about this book, are Moira and Owain. Other than the slight insta-love after the full moon, I liked them. Moira started as a girl who craves for freedom but instead of being sympathetic towards her, I felt irritated by her whining. The first time I appreciated her was when I she showed her intelligence during her lecture session. 

Moira and Owain, no matter how cheesy Owain’s endearment is, was one of those couples you’d love to root for. They were obviously star-crossed, even if we acknowledge Moira’s true identity. I think I even like Owain more than her. He was what he was from the first time he was introduced in this book. He was loyal and protective and caring. Unfortunately, there was no description of how they looked except for the long hair Moira had. 

This book has a lot of potential. I bit of changes would definitely make a vast improvement. I am looking forward to know more about Faes and of course, about Moira and Owain’s life after running away.

Author Interview

I'm lucky not just to have the privilege to read this book before its release date but I also had the chance to ask Laila some questions. Here are five of the most cliche questions, in my opinion that tickled my curiosity.

I know that you might have heard this lot of times but can you describe By the Light of the Moon in three words? 

Actually, that’s the first time I’m trying to answer this. Definitely not easy, especially because I still have a very hard time touting my own horn. I can’t find three descriptive words – like sweet, dark, silly – but I can give you three nouns that encompass the major points of the story: Prejudice, PTSD and Power.

What made you decide to write a book about Faes? 

It’s funny, I don’t feel like I did. The Fae feature in the book, they are one of the major forces but we learn relatively little about them and their ultimate motives. They are a shadow force, something that lurks just out of reach. Even the Fae in the book – primarily Maeve and Brock are always described by humans, which can never be a full description because humans can’t fully understand what Fae are – or what the Land Across actually is. It is not within a mortal’s scope of imagination to understand the immortal – and I actually find that a fascinating problem of communication between the two. They simply don’t understand each other – as you can also see from the way Fae describe humans.

I think I wrote a story about a girl who doesn’t feel part of her world because she has been planted somewhere that goes against her ancestral memory of how the world should be. So, I feel like I have written a story about Crosslings – Iris and Moira, most of all, but Blaidyn in their nature are a cross of species as well, and face similar challenges of trying to bridge the chasm in their nature.

Why historical romance? Why not use the modern world instead?

I suppose every story comes with a setting that makes that particular story possible. I have written modern romances, post apoc, urban fantasy and all kinds of ideas in between and I always feel like certain characters only work in certain worlds. Moira in a modern world would have been sent to a psychologist, possibly institutionalized. There would be no reason for her to set out on the difficult task to emotionally emancipate herself from a male-dominated world and culture because we’ve already done that to a large degree. And I do find a sense of romance in the starkness and harshness of medieval worlds without all the luxury commodities we have these days. It suited the mood and feeling I had for this particular story.

Did you have everything planned when you started writing this book? How long did it take for you to finish it?

Most of it yes, although some minor ideas and some of the details came in later. It also works as the start of a trilogy so a lot of the plot has to be fixed in order to work with the rest. It took me about 5 months to write and 2 to edit.

What can we expect in the second book of the Lakeside series? 

I’m actually in the very last chapters of that one right now. Its working title is “A Taste of Winter”, which sets the theme for me. Without giving away spoilers – this is romance after all – we leave the first book on a happy note. But the world isn’t that easy and the problems they had, didn’t just disappear. In fact through trying to solve their issues the way they did, they created new ones for themselves. In the second book, Moira and Owain learn about the consequences of their actions. They have to test the mettle of their relationship against the harsh reality of prejudice and hardship outside of a nice, relatively sheltered castle. Of course, the antagonists also keep plotting and we learn more about Maeve and her mother as well of Owain’s personal history.

And with that, I am so glad to know that we'll know more about Owain and the Faes in the second book. Thank you very much, Laila!

About the Author

Laila Blake, born in 1985 in Cologne/Germany, is a bi-lingual author and translator. She has an MA in Specialized Translating and has worked with several research projects in Applied Linguistics and language acquisition. Teaching English to adults is still paying most of her bills. 

Growing up with a love of stories, she started her first epic fantasy story at the age of 13. It didn’t grow past a few chapters and since then, she has gone through a myriad of ideas and beginnings, both in English and German, has learned a lot and lived a lot and dreamed of being a writer. 

In 2013, Crimson Romance picked her debut novel for publication and she has been working on its sequel ever since. In the meantime, she has also gotten short-stories into several erotic anthologies to be published later this year, and has been working on other projects and ideas. 

“By the Light of the Moon” will be released on the 8th of April and constitutes her very first novel. The second book in the Lakeside Series, tentatively titled “A Taste of Winter” will follow later the same year.

Now, it's giveaway time!

Here's what's up for grabs:
- 3 eBooks copies of By the Light of the Moon
- 3 beauty product sets, thanks to Bottega Verde

Open internationally