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Review: Mainly by Moonlight – Josh Lanyon

Mainly by Moonlight - Josh Lanyon

Genre: Fantasy, Romance

LGBTQ+ Category: Gay

Reviewer: Dan

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About The Book

A gay high-society wedding. A stolen book of spells. A love-threatening lie. Can a witch avoid a murder rap without revealing the supernatural truth?

Cosmo Saville guiltily hides a paranormal secret from his soon-to-be husband. And if he can’t undo a powerful love spell, uncertainty threatens his nuptial magic. But when he’s arrested for allegedly killing a longtime rival, he could spend his honeymoon behind bars…

Police Commissioner John Joseph Galbraith never believed in love until Cosmo came along. Falling head over heels for the elegant antiques dealer is an enchantment he never wants to break. So when all fingers point to Cosmo’s guilt, John struggles to believe what his heart is telling him.

As Cosmo searches for the real killer among the arcane aristocracy, John warns him to leave it to the police. But with an unseen enemy threatening to expose Cosmo’s true nature, the couple’s blissful future could shatter like a broken charm.

Can Cosmo find the lost grimoire, clear his name and keep John’s love alive, or will black magic “rune” their wedding bells?

Mainly by Moonlight is the first book in the sexy Bedknobs and Broomsticks romantic gay mystery series. If you like spell-binding suspense, steamy star-crossed fun, and a dash of paranormal, then you’ll love Josh Lanyon’s charming tale.

The Review

I tuned in to Mainly by Moonlight because I had previously enjoyed another series by Josh Lanyon. I thought the move into a world of magic and modernity would be a perfect move and while I found the concept behind the novel interesting and worth exploring, to me, the execution was debatable.

This book drops us into a world of magical high society that is abruptly merged with the mortal world of a police commissioner. There is a lot of money being thrown around by the main characters in this novel and it’s a rush of escapist fantasy for the paycheck-to-paycheck crowd (I assume that’s most of us). Money is a recurring element, almost as steadfast as the magic, and it seems to get just as much done for the character as his magical powers.

Overall, I found the characters to be somewhat flat and not well explored, especially as a couple. While Cosmo and John may have had a lot to unveil and give to each other, relatively little of that is explored on page, as we are thrown into this debacle of an engagement with little backstory. I think this may have been an attempt by the author to add to the mystery and not to make the plot twist of their romance too telegraphed to the audience and preserve some shock value. 

As a pair, Cosmo and John lack chemistry in the sense that I don’t understand why Cosmo in particular is invested in the marriage as he (SPOILER) is not the one under the influence of a spell. Their romance feels like a struggle, and maybe it’s supposed to, but they lack the history that would make this struggle make sense to the reader (or, to this reader, at least).

There are interesting hints about who each of them is and whom they can become, and as this is the first installment, the author left a lot undiscovered. 

The mystery element to the story develops more nicely than the romance and hints at a much richer and broader world than what we see on page. I wish the author had spent more time developing these elements. I think this novel could have worked better with a longer introduction to Cosmo and John’s relationship, whirlwind as it is. Lanyon does a nice job fleshing out this world with organic details, and I have to commend his consistency across the novel. There are no unlikely character about-faces in the name of love.

Mainly by Moonlight was not a bad read by any means, it was light and easy with a dash of spice tossed in, and the mystery kept me interested. The hardest part, for me, was having enjoyed Lanyon’s previous work so thoroughly and having higher expectations. 

The Reviewer

Dan Ackerman is a writer and educator who has lived in Connecticut for their entire life. They received their BSED from CCSU in 2013 and wrote their Master’s thesis on representations of women in same-sex relationships in contemporary Spanish literature and cinema. Currently, Dan is studying for a second MA in ABA and works in a center school for students with a variety of intellectual, developmental, or multiple disabilities. In their spare time, Dan continues to read and write, supplemented with a healthy amount of movie marathons and gaming.

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