Larimar is a ciguapa-- on full moons, her feet twist backward, her hair straightens, and she can run free and invisible on the wind. She loves living in the same apartment building as her parents and grandmother, but she's lonely. When her best friend sets her up on a blind date with a guy who has the same taste in punk and ska music, Larimar is surprised to feel butterflies. The necessary secret of her identity makes it hard to get close to others, but Ray inspires trust. He's Dominican like her, and he owns his own bakery. Since Larimar works for a corporation with a chain of bakeries in the tri-state area, the two seem to have just the right amount in common-- until Larimar's boss wants to build a store right down the street from Ray's with the express intention of driving him out of business.
Here's my biggest problem with this book-- the lying. Larimar is so desperate not to mess up their fragile, new relationship with the truth that she lies about her job. Afraid of a "You've Got Mail" situation, she sabotages her own work to try and save his business after one date and one chance meeting between them. But she doesn't talk to him about it and plows ahead as if this is the only and most reasonable course of action and not, y'know, unhinged. Then, instead of putting her cards on the table when he asks if she wants to date, she just says, "I have to go," and leaves him hanging. I understand that panic doesn't bring out the best in us, but all the lying and nonsense that led us to this point makes it worse for me. Also, Larimar puts her ciguapa secret and job secret on the same level, and I disagree. One is a matter of identity, and sharing should only happen when she feels safe and ready. I feel like Ray reacts appropriately, treating it as an act of trust and not something that's owed upfront. But he's rightly betrayed once he learns (not from Larimar) what she's been up to on the job lately. And it was all so easily preventable!!
My favorite part of the book was the sense of community it evokes, inviting us into the Dominican enclave in New Jersey from walks on the boardwalk to the scents and tastes of Ray's bakery. The book is replete with recipes, which would excite me more if I had any patience for baking. But it's a cool feature, especially for any bakers out there. I also like that Larimar's on a journey to embrace her natural hair, though it feels kind of plopped in the middle of everything else.
Beyond the fact that the crux of the plot is a lie that's handled badly, the writing also didn't manage to draw me in. Details are given about things like the day of the week and routine, but then emotional moments don't have any greater impact or nuance. It failed to make me feel close to Larimar despite some of the relatable aspects of her life. It also made what could have been a sweet, tender-hearted romance into a bland feature among many.
I wish I had a more positive experience with this one, and readers who don't mind romantic conflict coming from a lie will have a much better time of it. Thanks to Harper for my copy to read and review!
This tale combines Dominican folklore with the modern world. Larimar is a ciguapa, hiding her identity while juggling her culture, helping her parents, career, and romance. When her best friend introduces her to Ray, she struggles with disclosing her secret and her other secret of how her job might take down Ray's bakery. It's an interesting tale of embracing culture, family, and true identity.
I ended up not finishing this book, despite feeling at first like it was written JUST FOR ME—Dominican punk rock loving main character? It’s basically about me! But I couldn’t get past the stilted conversations between the main characters arhat made it hard to believe they even liked each other. May give this book another chance later.
I think one of the things I really didn't like about this book was how much Larimar was lying to the male love interest, especially because I thought the romance was boring and lackluster at most. There also was just not much plot, but I did enjoy the magical elements as well as the incorporation of Dominican culture.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review!
I am from a neighbor island of Dominican Republic and I have never heard about their mythology. Least of all, the ciguapa legend. It is a super creepy legend and the liberties the author took when writing this book, deviating from what is believed was very amusing. I liked a lot what Santos said on her author's note. - The story though, I did not enjoy. At the beginning of the story we are told that the main character is a grown woman that turns into a ciguapa every so often. When she is a regular woman, she still behaves in a childish manner that it is not amusing or entertaining, just kind of annoying. The love interest is very coincidentally interested in the ciguapa legend and is super cool with the fact that she is one. It just seemed completely unrealistic and weird. It was not my cup of tea. Doesn't not mean that other reader will not enjoy it. I still encourage whoever reads this little review to read the book and give it a chance. Who knows? You might disagree with me and enjoy it.
Thank you Netgalley and Harper Perennial and Paperbacks for the opportunity.
I enjoyed Santos’s first book, but something about this one just didn’t click with me. I found the pacing to be really off - the plot was really inconsistent in moving forward. While I liked the characters overall, it was hard to feel the chemistry between Larimar and Ray. I wanted to like the book more than I did.
Thoroughly enjoyed this story for it exposing me to a new magical world within Dominican culture. Highly anticipated read for me and it did not disappoint. This story is told in third person which I normally don't read but loved the way Yaffa S. Santos did it. Each chapter ended with a recipe that tied back into the story and it had my stomach grumbling the whole time! I would love to take a stab at trying to create them one day. This was a good story that blend the life of Larimar a hardworking woman in corporate who also happens to turn into a ciguapa, a Dominican mythological being. This story was so full of emotion and had me wanting to go visit my grandmother and give her a big hug! Would love to read more by this author.
‘A Touch of Moonlight’ by Yaffa S. Santos fully stole my heart. ATOM was full of delicious food with delectable descriptions that had me ravenous, stunning recipes throughout, family, friendship, community, music, and the sweetest romance with a really cool supernatural twist. I adored Larimar (and not only because she owns my dream car), learning about ciguapas, and there were parts that hit me in the gut, just had me so full of emotion I felt like I was going to burst, like this quote from Larimar’s grandmother to her: “You’re not living the dream I dreamed, Larimar. You ARE the dream I dreamed.” Excuse me while I go cry again. I come from a different background than Larimar, but I always, always wonder if I’d make my immigrant ancestors proud or if I’d be a huge disappointment to them, wonder if I’m doing enough to honor the choices they made that brought our family here to the US, and this quote just caught me so off guard in the most beautiful way. No matter how many times I reread it, I’m still a mess. 😂
Gorgeously written, full of so much heart, originality. and an amazing cast of characters, ‘A Touch of Moonlight’ was by far one of my top favorite reads of the year and I highly, highly recommend it.
Thanks to and Netgalley and the publisher who provided me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
I really enjoyed A taste of sage. This was a good magical romance filled with Dominican folklore, culture, and food. I didn’t like that Larimar told Ray about her family secret and not the fact that her job was going to impact him directly. The romance was nice. I like how Larimar came to accept her identity as a ciguapa during the full moon, her curly hair magically straightens out, her feet face backwards, and she can skip across water a superhuman speed. This book was full of heritage, culture, love and tons of recipes.
3.5 stars rounded up
I really enjoy magical realism stories, especially when they feature creatures and magic I'm not familiar with. This book is about a ciguapa, a Dominican mythological being that takes a female form, has backward facing feet, and long glossy hair. I thought the magic was incorporated well into a modern setting and liked seeing how Larimar navigated her other side.
The romance was sweet but pretty predictable. Larimar works for a chain bakery/cafe and her work may result in her new love's small bakery closing. There are misunderstandings that turn into lies and eventually it all has to come to a head. It was still cute, I just hoped it would be a little different.
This has a lot of Dominican culture and food and I got hungry reading it. If you want a fun romance with a twist, add this to your list.
I voluntarily read and reviewed this book. All opinions are my own. Thank you to Harper Paperback and NetGalley for the copy
3 stars by the Goodreads scale, meaning I liked it.
I received both the e-ARC and audio ARC from NetGalley, so thanks to them and Harper Perennial.
Although I have the e-book, I 100% listened to the story on audio, really enjoyed Diana Pou's interpretation.
I liked learning more about the Dominican culture, and about Larimar's journey from a punk-loving teen in a traditional family, to navigating her way in the corporate world, developing strong friendships, and understanding herself and her loved ones better. Also, the full moon causes her to turn into a mythical creature (def worth sticking around for the author's note!). I kinda wish we'd gotten more about the ciguapa or that her transformation was more integral to the story.
Two issues that lowered my rating:
One is with the writing style. Besides a couple of the inconsistencies that others pointed out, there is just. so. much. exposition. As in, every step of making a cup of tea is described. Beacon's brand colors are navy blue and white. We are told the color of every top she wears. "Larimar tapped the phone screen to begin typing" a reply to a message on her phone AND "Reply from @thelarimarcitron" is also spelled out in the text. It's distracting.
Likewise, many clichés: Mami's bifocals are discovered on top of her head. The new Beacon location is across the street from the new love interest's indie bakery. The HS mean girl is secretly insecure.
The other is more of a character problem: it was really hard to sink into the story when we are aware (and constantly being reminded) that she is lying to Ray about two major things. How hard would it be to say "oh hey, I am sometimes a mythical creature and BTW, my company is trying to put your passion-project-bakery out of business." Alright, kinda hard, but still...she puts off either telling him or ending things because *she* is enjoying their connection so much, without ever apparently thinking about how he is going to feel.
<spoiler>It seemed like a copout that she was passed over for a promotion and disrespected by the owner, thereby making it easy for her to quit. Might've been more interesting to see her figure out how to navigate two good things.</spoiler>
FYI--very low heat; they don't kiss until the 2/3 mark, nor progress to more until 86%, and then it's closed door.
A Touch of Moonlight is about Larimar, a 34-year-old woman who happens to transform into a ciguapa on the full moon. This is a contemporary story that follows her life, family, love, and being a mythological creature from Dominican myth. I love a good story with fantasy elements and really like learning about different creatures from myth and folklore so I was super excited to read this book!
The setup was really good. What a cool idea to have a person be a ciguapa and also try to go about her contemporary life. It showed a nice cross-section of generational experiences with her grandmother and mother also being ciguapas from the Dominican Republic and Larimar being born in New Jersey. I didn't know what a ciguapa was before reading this book and loved getting to learn more!
However, I thought that the rest of the book was super average. The characters weren't especially memorable, the dialogue was super basic, and the plot points felt kind of like the author was describing chess and not "actual" people (i.e. person went there, he said this, she said that, etc). I feel like the setup was so good but the plot and characters weren't interesting enough to follow through and create a unique book.
Overall, I thought this book was fine and recommend it if you want a quick read. 2.55 stars from me rounded up to 3. Thank you to Harper Paperbacks and NetGalley for the electronic advanced reader's copy of this book in exchange for my honest review!
I loved this novel. Yaffa's stories are so delicious and magical. I adored A Taste of Sage so I was so happy to see this was coming soon. I enjoyed reading about a ciguapa finding love. I enjoyed that while Larimar's secret wasn't one she had to learn to deal with rather one she chose to share with those she trusted. It was a lovely story and makes me so excited for what Yaffa has in store next
This story is told in third person primarily from the point of view of Larimar. I had similar issues with the format of this book that I had with Taste of Sage, assuming they are unchanged in the final version. Many chapters end with recipes that relate to the story, and while some of them look scrumptious and worthy of trying, paging past them in an ebook while reading was distracting. At one point, I had to page 23x to get to the next chapter. As in my previous review, at least in the ebook version, the recipes would be better off placed and indexed at the end of the book.
While I found the character of Lumi in Taste of Sage to be delightful, I had a difficult time relating to Larimar, since she spent most of the book lying about herself to the male love interest. I found her cultural mythical creature to be very interesting and I get that her previous relationships may have had difficulty accepting her as a ciguapa, but she was also lying to Ray about her profession, which came about in a strange way that could have been easily corrected. Not to mention the repercussions it would have to his business when it was revealed. This was not really a miscommunication trope, it was straight up lying for the majority of the story and I couldn’t find much empathy for the professional situation especially when she was devising ways to sabotage her own project.
Limited recommendations to those interested in Dominican culture and the ciguapa knowing the relationship contains predictable and exposable lies.
Thank you to Netgalley and Harper Paperbacks for a copy provided for an honest review.
Women's fiction masquerading as romance. Loved the diverse cast and paranormal aspects that weren't as Western normative as typical in fiction. But honestly a let down.
The premise is interesting, but I couldn't really get into it. From the beginning it was quite difficult to connect with the characters, and I had a hard time adjusting to the author's writing style. Dipping into other cultures is exciting for me but some elements were just thrown in without context.
A huge thanks to the publisher for my complimentary copy and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.
This is my first read by Yaffa S. Santos and it was one of my most anticipated reads of the year .I loved that the book had a wonderful blend of magic and food. . The book tells the story of Larimar, a hardworking woman in corporate who also happens to be a mythical Dominican creature whose legs change during the full moon. This book is perfect for fans of spooky /fantastical romance with a hint of yummy. Loved it! It's so perfect for Halloween.
This book fell a little flat for me. The characters were poorly developed even if the concept was interesting. I wish I had enjoyed this more
Thank you to NetGalley and Harper for an ARC of A TOUCH OF MOONLIGHT in exchange for my honest opinion.
Genre: Romance, Women's Fiction, Paranormal Romance
Heat level: One chili pepper (closed door)
In ways, this is a paranormal romance, but in another way, it's the story of a woman coming to accept herself on her journey to find love who just happens to be a ciguapa.
If that doesn't make sense, I'll rephrase it. The supernatural elements don't overtake the story and the focus is more on the main character, Larimar.
I was so excited to dive into a story focused on a Dominican Republic American character because I love to see the world through a different lens. The tight knit family shines through as well as a love for dance and music.--
Larimar works hard in her position and has been burned in the past, so she thinks working to earn enough for a down payment for her parents to have a house is the sum of her existence. But her best friend disagrees and introduces her to Ray, an ex-soldier, Dominican American, and baker. There's one point in the story where Larimar bumps into a former friend—I didn't think this thread was essential to show Larimar's growth because I could already see her changing. But it didn't distract from the delight I felt in reading this story.
Our dear Larimar digs a hole for herself. Sure, she's nervous to get close to Ray, but let me tell you, she's brought the troubles she faces on herself!
As a bonus, this book has a bunch of recipes! I love to see what other people cook.
This is a fun, lighthearted read, and I enjoyed it.
Unfortunately this book did not work for me. It seemed to ramble in places and a lot of things didn’t make sense. The concept was super awesome but the execution just fell short for me.