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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Lazuli Moon by Christine DePetrillo

Lazuli Moon by Christine DePetrillo
Jewel of the Night
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (196 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4 books
Reviewed by Poinsettia

Three people search for the legendary Lazuli Moon in the Valdivian Rainforest.

Two of them will find a treasure they never expected.

One won’t live to see another day.

Archaeologist and professor Dr. Nivia Charu can’t let the Lazuli Moon remain hidden forever. With her teaching position threatened and no funds for an expedition, Nivia fears the blue diamond fabled to have healing powers will never be unearthed.

Physician Dr. Benjamin Forrester wants to cure his uncle’s cancer. His attempts at manufacturing a remedy, however, have failed. Desperate and out of options, Ben needs a miracle, and Nivia may just hold the key.

Up against a crazed boat captain and ancient curses, Ben and Nivia join forces to seek the Lazuli Moon. What waits for them in the depths of the rainforest will either make them famous or kill them.

Craving adventure? Look no further than Lazuli Moon.

Ms. DePetrillo drew me into Lazuli Moon right from the beginning. The story opens with an intriguing legend of the Palol people and the Lazuli Moon, a jewel granted to the Palol by their sea god. Ms. DePetrillo weaved the tale of the Palol so well, that I could clearly picture the story in my mind as it unfolded. The story of the Palol is one that Nivia has read many times because her father’s mission in life was to find the gem. When her father died on his last trek into the rainforest, Nivia resolved to take up the quest herself. Unfortunately, she lacks the money to complete her quest, and the college she works for certainly isn’t going to fund her research since no one, specifically her boss, believes that the Lazuli Moon exists.

Ben is a medical doctor and doesn’t normally put much stock in alternative healing methods, but his uncle is dying of cancer and Ben is running out of time to find a cure. When he runs across a seminar for ancient healing practices, he decides to check it out. Nivia and Ben’s paths cross at the seminar. Nivia tells Ben all about the Lazuli Moon. Nivia fully expected Ben to think she’s crazy. Ben not only doesn’t think she’s crazy, but offers to fund the expedition. Within days, Ben and Nivia find themselves in the Valdivian Rainforest. The chemistry between Nivia and Ben is undeniable, but all is not well. Jorge Delgado, their guide into the rainforest, wants Nivia for himself and just might have some designs on the Lazuli Moon too. Will Nivia and Ben discover the truth about Jorge before it’s too late?

One of the things I most enjoyed about the story was the pace. When I picked up Lazuli Moon, I was hoping for an exciting, Indiana Jones-type adventure. I was certainly not disappointed. Ms. DePetrillo kept the plot moving at a good pace without making it feel rushed or skimping on descriptive detail.

I also enjoyed Nivia and Ben as characters. I have to say they weren’t terribly original, but they were so likable that this didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the story at all. Nivia was the typical archeologist in search of ancient civilizations and treasure. She’s smart, independent, and caring. However, her single-minded pursuit of the Lazuli Moon is a character flaw and she makes some very stupid decisions. While these mistakes served to move the plot along, I do have to express some frustration that someone so smart could make a mistake that was so glaringly obvious. Ben was the classic Boy Scout. Like Nivia, he is smart and independent. Together, they make an unstoppable team.

Jorge is clearly the villain of the story. While Jorge is the complete opposite of Ben, he’s appealing in his own dangerous way. I particularly like a scene in which Nivia likens Ben and Jorge to different types of desserts. Ben has doubts about Jorge’s character from the start, but Nivia seems inclined to trust him. I must say I find this a bit difficult to believe since Nivia is smart and usually perceptive. However, this really did serve to move the plot along. I kept turning pages wondering if Nivia would discover the true nature of Jorge’s character before it was too late and how she and Ben would get out of the trouble I knew they were heading for.

I really enjoyed reading Lazuli Moon. The characters are likable, the romance was smoldering, and the pacing was excellent. Anyone looking for a great adventure story with a happy ending will not be disappointed.