In “Blood Moon,” the first installment in The Moonlight Trilogy, local author Teri Harman has set up a whirlwind plot with a magical, flying fireball war zone.
Eighteen-year-old Willa has noticed while volunteering at the Life of Early Twelve Acres exhibit room at the local museum in this small Colorado town that several volumes of history are missing. It leaves the modern-day residents clueless that the town was founded by witches.
Willa, who sees and speaks to ghosts, doesn’t imagine that her quirks, including her ability to dream of the future, are related to witchcraft. She feels isolated because of her bizarre abilities until she meets Simon, a college student who is the new chef at the restaurant where she is a waitress.
It's a heat wave at first sight when they both realize it is physically painful for them to be away from each other. It isn’t long before Willa discovers Simon’s own magical quirks, which include the ability to heal. Willa’s clairvoyance soon leads the couple to Wynter and Rowan, good witches who help Willa and Simon discover their powers — just in time to participate in a race for their lives.
When Archard, the leader or Luminary of the Dark witches, begins a race to find two new witches to complete his coven before the blood moon, it isn’t long before he’s thoughtfully stroking his perfectly trimmed goatee, certain that Willa and Simon are the ideal answer to his coven's vacancies. Willa and Simon feel they have no choice but to join the good witches to fight Archard, who will do anything to capture them and turn them to the dark side.
Harman, who is a regular book contributor for KSL, successfully cements a timeless love between Willa and Simon that becomes the foundation of "Blood Moon." Harman gives Willa and Simon, though often locked in passionate kissing, a relatively chaste romance in the middle of a series of dark battles.
Hand-drawn stars, herbs and chanted spells are prevalent on both good and evil sides of the conflict. Harman keeps vulgar language to a minimum, highlighting the contrast between wholesomeness and cruelty. "Blood Moon" does have several scenes of bloody violence, but they aren't overly descriptive.
Willa and Simon’s noble and magical love is a firm foundation for a compelling, suspenseful and action-packed novel. Though “Blood Moon” is a satisfying self-contained volume, shifting narrative between Twelve Acres’ magical founders and the modern covens leaves plenty of intrigue for future books.
If you go ...
What: "Blood Moon" book launch
When: Saturday, June 22, 7 p.m.
Where: The King's English, 1511 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City
What: Teri Harman presentation, question and answer and signing as part of the Teen Summer Reading Program
When: Tuesday, June 25, 2 p.m.
Where: Orem Public Library, 58 N. State St., Orem
What: Teri Harman book signing
When: Saturday, June 29, 4 p.m.
Where: Viridian Center, 8030 S. 1825 West, West Jordan,
When: Saturday, July 13, 1-4 p.m.
Where: Barnes and Noble, Layton Market Center, 1780 N. Woodland Park Drive
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When: Thursday, July 18, 7 p.m.
Where: Saratoga Springs Library, 1307 N. Commerce Drive, Saratoga Springs
Sheryl C.S. Johnson is the author of "Table for Two," published by Covenant Communications, and owner of GrannyEnchanted.com.