Tuesday, February 14, 2017


I'm very excited to review Selene Castrovilla's new novel, Luna Rising. The award-winning author has published children's books and young adult novels, so I knew the writing  for her first venture into women's fiction would be sound. I was not disappointed.  Plus, don't you just love the title? That's what lured me in.
You had me at Luna!

Ms. Castrovilla creates an interesting character in Luna Lampanelli, an almost-40-something mom who finds herself without a man after separating from her husband (who has kept the fact that he's gay a secret since before the wedding bells and after the birth of their two boys.) Luna is not a typical women's-fiction heroine. Though she's funny and smart, she's also deeply damaged. Her father was a heroine addict who left her in the hands of her narcissistic mother. Thus, Luna's obsessive desire for love is understandable, but her pursuit of it can be frustrating as she falls for one unsuitable man after another. I found myself wanting to shout at Luna:

Fortunately, Luna has a conscience (which she refers to as Jiminy - like the Cricket in Pinnochio) and a snarky, but honest, best friend named Sunny (a secondary character who truly came alive.) I enjoyed this novel the most when Luna was having conversations (real or imagined) with either of them. The snappy, hilarious exchanges between Luna and Sunny were works of art. In fact, I felt the book's greatest strength was the truly believable dialogue, the type a reader can get lost in. This is not something to take lightly as I've read books where the prose flowed along, but the dialogue was phony and stilted. Also? This book contains the type of dialogue that makes me think of there could be a movie version. Therefore, I've taken the liberty of casting Luna and Sunny. I'm sure the author will not mind!

Luna: Rosario Dawson

Sunny: Maya Rudolph

Bottom line, Luna Rising is a solid debut in Women's Fiction. Those who enjoy the genre will find much to love about Luna and her quest for happiness. It is not, however, a typical fluffy romp. There's plenty of romping to be had, for sure. But, it is not as satisfying as it should be as the reader is never given the opportunity to form a bond with any of the male characters. In fact, we find much to dislike about each of her lovers. This can be a wonderful thing in Literary Fiction but not something a reader expects in Women's Fiction. Still, it was well worth the read as I loved the characters and dialogue along with  Jiminy's on-point psycho-analysis. I rate it a 3.5 out of 5.

My rating system:
5 - Never. Not unless the novel is the next Gone With the Wind. I don't trust 5's, and neither should you.
4.5 - Great. One of the best novels I've read in awhile.
4.0 - Really good. I highly recommend it.
3.5 - Good. Lives up to expectations.
3.0 - Good enough. Enjoyable if not perfect. Who needs perfect all the time?
2.5 - Weak. Author has potential, but reading this particular novel was a struggle due to flaws.
2.0 - Not good. Can't recommend at all.
1.5 and below - Never. I don't trust anything below a 2, and neither should you.

Title: Luna Rising 
Author: Selene Castrovilla 
Publisher: Last Syllable Books 
Publication date: April 25, 2017 
Target Audience: Adult 
Genres: RomanceWomen's Fiction 
Length: 450 Pages 
Source: Author 
Format: eARC 
Find It: Goodreads
Buy It: AmazonBN
My Rating:  3.5

Life begins at thirty-eight for Long Island mom and writer Luna Lampanelli, when she kicks her secretly gay husband to the curb. She’s got her freedom, but what she wants is love.
Luna knows she doesn’t need a man to exist, but try telling that to her heart. Against the advice of Sunny, her snarky best friend, and Jiminy, the cautioning voice in Luna’s head that just won’t shut up, Luna sets course to find a mate.
Luna speed and on-line dates her way into several short-lived, surreal relationships. There’s Ari, the humorless Israeli who refuses to assimilate – to America, and to humanity. There’s Alex, the young and handsome ex-crackhead who informs Luna he doesn’t want to be monogamous while they’re in bed. There’s Memphis, the wild-eyed sadomasochist. There’s Red, angry and crippled, who becomes the catalyst for Luna to join Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous.
But before Luna can proceed to recovery, she meets the elusive but oh so appealing Trip. He’s emotionally unavailable and has the Madonna-Whore Complex, but how can Luna (aka “whore”) let him go when she enjoys his dry wit so much, and his naked body even more?
Humorously haunting and packed with unspeakable truths, Luna Rising follows a woman’s funny and heart-breaking struggle to relate with un-relatable men and an un-relatable world, and to figure out something even more un-relatable: herself.

About Selene Castrovilla

Selene Castrovilla is the award-winning author of multiple narrative nonfiction picture books and young adult novels. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School and a BA in English from New York University. She lives on Long Island with her two sons and too many cats.

(Of Note: I was provided a free advanced review copy of Luna Rising from Last Syllable Books in exchange for an unbiased review. I received no compensation for this review and am not acquainted with the author.)

This is a Jen Halligan PR book tour.


  1. Thank you for taking part in Selene's blog tour!

  2. Thank you! I love your casting. I've actually written a pilot script with Luna and Sunny as equal leads.

    I appreciate your support in my new genre! Means so much.

    1. Thank YOU for the opportunity to review this fabulous book. Sunny and Luna - the new Grace and Frankie!